By Chaz Oswald, Michigan
Before exploring this question, we should first tackle a prior question: What is the Bible? Well, the Bible is a compilation of 66 God-inspired and inerrant books written by roughly 40 different authors over 1600 years. Many of the authors had no communication or contact with each other, yet wrote distinctly about the same God—a feat unmatched by any other religion. Moreover, as stated in the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, “The Bible contains many different styles of writing such as poetry, narration, fiction, history, law, and prophecy.”
To prove the reliability and trustworthiness of the Bible, Professor Jimmy Williams* gave us three observable examinations. It states: “These tests are the bibliographic test, the internal test, and the external test. The first test examines the biblical manuscripts, the second test deals with the claims made by the biblical authors, and the third test looks to outside confirmation of the biblical content.”
Bibliographic Test. It was identified that there are over 19,000 copies of the New Testament in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000 as compared to that written by Caesar, Aristotle and Plato which range from only one to twenty manuscripts.
The Jewish scribes held great reverence toward the Scriptures. Hence they exercised extreme care in making new copies of the Hebrew Bible. As a result, the quality of the manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible surpasses all other ancient manuscripts. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, there has been significant evidence that the Hebrew scrolls match that which is found in the Bible today. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99% textually pure. That is an amazing accuracy.
Internal Test. The content analysis conducted has identified the biblical authors as primary spectators to the events around them and independent witnesses to that of Jesus Christ. What these authors observed were not mere folly or whims of belief but rather honest conviction. They maintained their testimony through both extreme persecution and martyrdom. The apostles believed so strongly in the Christ whom they preached that they suffered greatly to spread the Gospel. If the events were untrue, why would these men sacrifice their own lives?
External Test. This test in particular can be used when defending biblical accuracy to the so-called agnostic “intellectuals” who regard the Bible as a mere fairytale. The historical records by sources outside of the Bible conclusively prove the accuracy of biblical events. For example: The historical evidence of our Lord Jesus is confirmed by Roman, Greek and Jewish sources and citations. In addition, “the first-century Jewish Historian Flavius Josephus made specific references to John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and James in his Antiquities of the Jews” *. There has also been extra-biblical confirmation or reference to Jesus written “by an imprisoned Syrian named Mara Bar-Serapion” which compares three deaths: that of Socrates, Pythagoras and Christ.
Today’s misperception is that atheists and agnostics have an “intellectual high-ground” when it comes to scientific fact, understanding, reason and logic; the Christian viewpoint, on the other hand, is unfairly criticized as archaic in belief. However there are many concrete evidences that inherently prove the Bible’s unquestionable accuracy and thus, its authority. The question is: Are we willing to objectively examine the reliability of the Bible? When proven true, would we submit to its authority?