Why Should I Believe The Bible?
Because of its Authorship
The Bible is by far the number one selling book of all time. It was the first book printed after the invention of the printing press. It contains some of the oldest historical writings in existence. The Bible documents the history of the earth from the creation until a few years after the death of Christ. It contains within its pages the written record of God’s word. And it is entirely written for the benefit of mankind and contains detailed instructions on how mankind should live and treat one another in this existence and how to achieve immortality with God in Heaven forever.
So that being stated, why should we believe it? Why should we live our lives in accordance with the instructions written within? Why should we use it to seek eternal life? In short, why should I believe the Bible? This lesson is one in a series of studies which will examine the evidence, both internal and outside the Bible, which supports the authenticity of the Bible as the written record of God’s word.
The Bible has a Unique Authorship
The Bible we have today is a collection of sixty six ancient books and letters written by 40 different people who lived in many different parts of the world and were separated by centuries of time. It took almost 1500 years for all of the Bible to be written. Moses penned the book of Genesis about 1400 years before Christ walked the earth. It is generally believed that John wrote the last 4 books of the New Testament at the latter part of the first century. A table showing the dates of the authorship of each book of the Bible and the writer is included at the end of this lesson for review.
The Bible was written by 40 different people, but it makes the internal claim in 2 Peter 1:21 to have only one author, “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (NKJV). The Bible exists, therefore it’s existence must have an explanation. Moreover, the explanation for the Bible’s existence must also be adequate to make an accounting for how it got here and for what it contains. The explanation must take in to account the vast expanse of time it took to write it, the number of people who participated, not only in the writing of it, but of the events depicted therein.
The Bible is a book of much more than just a bunch of rules God expects us to live by. It also contains a record of the rise, fall and existence of civilizations that until recent archaeological discoveries, were unknown to man living in this century. The Bible also contains prophetic foretelling of events that would happen some time in the future beyond the time these prophecies were written. Isaiah wrote of a king named Cyrus who would order the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem before it was destroyed. Isaiah wrote this during a period of time between 740-680 B.C. The temple was destroyed in about 587 BC. Cyrus became the king of the Medo-Persian empire in about 538 BC. About one year or so after Cyrus became king, he issued a decree to rebuild the temple that had been destroyed by king Nebuchadnezzar 70 years earlier. Isaiah prophesied about the rebuilding of the temple and called Cyrus out by name as the one who gave the order at least about 80 years before the temple was destroyed and 150 years before Cyrus issued the decree to rebuild it in Jerusalem.
This prophecy is by no means an isolated incident within the pages of the Bible. The Bible literally contains hundreds such prophecies with about 400 of them being messianic in nature.
An explanation for the existence of the Bible must take into account the fact that no mortal man who ever lived possesses the ability to look down the corridors of time and predict with unerring accuracy events that would take place in the distant future. Only an all-knowing God would be able to achieve such an accomplishment as that. So when the Bible makes the internal claim to have a single author who directed those who were writing it, there is compelling evidence in support of this claim which quite simply cannot be explained away.
The Bible has a Unity of Theme
From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 the entire theme of the Bible is the ultimate salvation of mankind. It contains a record of the fall of man from paradise, it records the events associated with God’s handling of the people of the earth and throughout the writings, there are records those who did evil and suffered and those who did good and were blessed because of it. Under the old covenant, the law of Moses was specifically aimed at governing the Jewish nation and bringing them to the time of Christ. After the death of Christ, the law of Moses was abrogated and replaced with the new covenant which applied to all people all across the earth. The entire theme of the Bible from beginning to end deals with the deliverance of man from the condemnation that is the result of sin.
The question must be asked, how did 40 people write 66 books over a period of 1500 years and achieve such a unified theme throughout? The answer is simply that they could not have, not by themselves, and not without divine guidance. The hand of an almighty, all knowing God is all over the pages of the Bible for anyone willing to look at the evidence objectively and without personal bias.
The Bible is Self Authenticating
A self authenticating document is one that can be accepted without external proof to support the claim that it is what it appears to be. This means that the Bible, by itself, contains all of the information and evidence required for someone to come to the conclusion that it is the written record of God’s word.
In our society today, we have what are known as self authenticating documents. For example, there are many occasions where one needs to positively identify oneself for some purpose such as cashing a check, engaging in to a property sale or exchange, boarding an airplane or entering into another country. Driver’s licenses and passports are generally recognized as self authenticating documents. The very existence of and possession of one of these documents is all that is required in order to demonstrate to someone that you are who you say your are.
Document that have been notarized and bear a notary seal are documents that are self authenticating. The presence of that notary seal and the accompanying signature is an endorsement that indicates the document has been examined by an independent outside party and found to be authentic and all information contained therein is accurate. Drivers licenses, passports and other such documents used for the purpose of identification are issued by agencies who require a level of positive identification that is beyond question before they are approved and issued. In all instances, self authenticating documents have third party verification from a source other than the bearer as to the validation of it. All self authenticating documents are endorsed in such a way that their authenticity is beyond any reasonable doubt.
It is significant in the demonstration that the Bible is a self authenticating document that we understand and acknowledge that all of the information which will be used to authenticate the Bible comes from within the Bible. That being said, there will always be those critics who will refuse to accept internal biblical evidence that is self authenticating, but will accept self authenticating secular documents which contain a mere fraction of the internal evidence of what is available in scripture at face value and without question. The level of internal evidence which self validates the Bible is on a scale of magnitude far in excess of any other document in the history of earth. Not even the declaration of independence of the United States of America with the signatures of authors of the constitution even comes close to the level of self authentication that is contained within the Bible itself.
The information on self authenticating documents is verifiable. One can fact check the information on these kinds of documents and they will stand up to the most vigorous scrutiny. Signatures can be compared, records can be consulted, testimonies can be substantiated and the information in the document will be proved true.
The Bible makes the internal claim that it is the word of God in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness“. In 2 Peter 1:20-21, we read that all scripture was written under the direction of God, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (NIV). Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:37, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (KJV).
The Bible contains historical information which can be checked. It must be noted here that there has never been a historical event, or mention of a civilization or nation that can be proved to be false. In matters of historical accuracy, the Bible is infallible.
The Bible contains a record of a vast number of fulfilled prophecies. No man can predict with 100% accuracy events that will transpire years and most cases centuries before they actually happen. These prophecies can be examined and verified. Every single prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled with the only exception being those in regard to the second and final advent of Jesus Christ and the associated end of the earth.
The Bible contains the eyewitness testimony of people who lived and witnessed many historical events which can be verified through history and archaeology. The Bible also contains the eyewitness testimony of many people who suffered horrific persecution and often death as a result of their testimony. Most of the writers of scripture died violent deaths because of their loyalty to God.
The Bible gives us a record of a king who voluntarily sacrificed Himself so that His subject could live. Documents are falsified for a reason with self serving motives. The king of the Bible was not self serving. His disciples who accompanied Him on earth and were eyewitnesses to Him for the most part went to their deaths proclaiming Him as the Christ. They were forbidden by Jesus to seek earthly gain of any kind. They were required to suffer for their loyalty to a king that was put to death. No one who is going make up a grand lie like this and perpetrate it with no hope of any personal physical gain.
And who is going to make up a story where a king was born in a stable manger, lived a life of poverty and sacrifice and was ultimately put to death by the very people He came to save? The king gave His own life as a substitutionary death sentence for mankind so that mankind could have a hope of salvation. He died in mankind’s place for shortcomings of mankind. You can’t make this stuff up. And people for centuries have been put to death because of their faith in and loyalty to this man.
The Bible contains all of the components of a self authenticating document to a degree that no other document that has ever existed can possibly achieve. It contains checkable facts, it bears the seal of the testimony of eye witnesses who died for their belief in it, and it contains a message that would never be the product of a self serving group of deceivers.
The Bible has No Contradictions
A contradiction occurs when two (or more) different statements on a topic cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. For instance, let’s look at the statements, “I am driving my car today” and “I am not driving my car today.” Both statements cannot both be true at the same time and in the same way. They are mutually exclusive. However, the following is not a contradiction: “Bob saw two people get out of his car.” and “Frank saw three people get out of his car.” These statements are not mutually exclusive because both statements can be true at the same time. Bob and Frank may have been standing in different places and saw the even differently. Both statements can be true at the same time and in the same sense without excluding the other. There is no contradiction when both statements are true, and neither one negates the validity of the other.
A perfect example of this is found in the written record of the number of times the cock crowed before Peter denied Jesus the third time on the night of His betrayal. Jesus told Peter in Matthew 26:34 that “before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (KJV). In writing of the same event, Mark wrote in 14:30, “before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice“. And in John’s gospel account, he wrote in 13:38, “the cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice” (KJV). All three of these men were present when Jesus made this statement to Peter and they recorded it from their perspective. All three of these statements are true if Peter denied Jesus before the cock crowed at all. The fact that Mark said before cock crowed twice does not necessarily imply the cock to have crowed once before Peter’s third denial. Mark’s record would be just as true if he said “before the cock crows the tenth time, thou shalt deny me thrice” When the cock crowed the very first time, it had not yet crowed the second time so it was true that Peter denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed twice. Critics of the Bible love to attack the authenticity of the bible by claiming contradictions where no such real contradiction exists.
In all sixty six books, written by 40 different people, over a period of 15 centuries, there are no real contradictions that can be definitively demonstrated. Given these circumstances under which the scriptures were written, the significance of this fact cannot be understated. It would be nearly impossible for one person to produce such a document as complex as the Bible without any contradictions, let alone 40 who lived over a period of 15 centuries and were unable to collaborate on it during its production.
The Bible Must be Explained
Critics of the Bible love to make the claim that Christianity is false. But talk is cheap and assertion and denial is not proof. In order for Christianity to be false, the book which contains what is necessary to know and follow Christianity must be debunked. The Bible must be proven to be false. It’s existence must be explained away. Before this can be accomplished, a number of questions must be asked and answered satisfactorily.
How could 40 people, separated by geography, nationality, culture, walks of life and 15 centuries all collaborate to produce a document that contains a unified theme such as the Bible possesses? Did they just make it up as they went? How did they achieve the collaboration it would have taken to produce such a document as the Bible?
How could people living centuries prior to an event be capable of accurately predicting it with 100% accuracy? There are about 400 prophecies regarding the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus and they were all fulfilled completely. And if that is not enough, then we have many prophecies which can be verified through history and archaeology. How could mortal man achieve such a feat?
How could any document written by 40 different people spanning 4000 years of history be historically error free as far as we know? The Bible does not contain one single record of any event or people that be definitively proven as false?
Why would 40 people craft a religion that required 15 centuries to unfold and portray a king who would conquer His enemies by dying for them?
Why would 40 people craft a religion that more often than not ended with their deaths?
The Bible exists and it contains information that simply could not be true without the guidance of a single mind with a singular purpose.
The Bible exists it contains records of things that are impossible for mortal man to achieve on his own.
Why should I believe the Bible?
Because it cannot be proven to contain anything that is not truth.