God On The Net

The Truth of the Bible

"Why should I believe the Bible is true?"

Think about your local city, county, province, or state government, or any of the major national governments, e.g., United States, Britain, France.  Over even as little as a ten-year period, do you see a consistency of vision, of plan, of purpose?  Or, instead, do you see repeated changes in goals and priorities?  And that is only over ten years!

Now consider the Bible:  It was written over a period of one and a half thousand years on three continents (Europe, Africa, and Asia), in three languages (Hebrew, classical Koine Greek, some Aramaic), by about forty authors including non-Christian Jews (Old Testament), Jewish Christians (e.g., Paul) and Gentile Christians (e.g., probably Luke), most of whom did not know each other or know of each others' writings, including a political leader (Moses), fisherman (Peter), herdsman (Amos), military general (Joshua), prime minister (Daniel), physician (Luke), king (Solomon, David), rabbi and tent maker (Paul).  Yet still there is a consistent set of goals and purposes: to unite men with God forever.

(See McDowell, Josh. Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Vol I). San Bernardino CA: Here's Life Publishers, 1979)

Also see Christian Doctrine at http://www.carm.org/doctrine/chrdoc1.htm

Christian Evidences at http://www.grmi.org/renewal/Richard_Riss/evidences

ELS Bible Codes -- God's Signature

"Why should I believe the New Testament?  After all, New Testament stories were passed down for centuries before they were written down."

The last major books of the Bible, the Gospel of John and Revelation, were written down before 100 A.D.!  A portion of the Gospel of John, the John Ryland Papyrus, was discovered by Ryland in the tomb of someone buried in Egypt around 120 A.D.  It would have taken about 25-30 years for copies to spread from Patmos and Asia Minor to Egypt.   Contrary to common belief, the books of the New Testament are not ordered chronologically.  All of Paul's letters were written before any of the Gospels.  (Paul was executed around 64-68 A.D.  Mark may have been written before this.)

Luke investigated everything himself.

Luke states right up front: Luke 1:1-4 [1] Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, [2] just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. [3] Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, [4] so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Peter, an eyewitness, wrote about what he himself saw and heard.

2 Peter 1:16-18 [16] We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. [17] For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." [18] We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

"First-century Christians believed they were hearing the new word of God.  That seems pretty important.  Why didn't they write things down immediately?"

As pointed out, Luke states that by the time he wrote his gospel many people already had written things down.  It is important to realize several things:

  • This was a society where oral traditions were commonplace.  Hence, it would not be unusual to pass things on orally. 

  • Christians were persecuted to death by both Jews and Romans.  Under such circumstances there would be less written down and less circulated. 

  • Writing materials were much more scarce; hence, written documents were more scarce. 

  • Many first-century evangelists had known Jesus personally or were associates of people who knew Jesus personally.  Papias, bishop of Hierapolis around 135 A.D. stated that he felt he could learn more from people who knew Jesus than from things written in books. Considering that at the time there were many "gospels" circulating, some of which obviously are highly fictitious, this was probably a wise choice. 

  • The Gospels are based on pericopes, short anecdotes.  Although the Gospels were not written until about 36 years after Jesus' death, the pericopes were written sooner. 

  • It was commonly believed that Jesus was going to return in just a few years.

    Matthew 24:32-34 [32] "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. [33] Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.  [34] I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

    This is the primary reason.  At the time, Christians didn't realize that the "this generation" here refers to the last generation before Christ's return, not the Apostles' generation.  As Christians started dying, Paul specifically had to address this, e.g., in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, (one of the two major passages describing "The Rapture") the earliest book of the New Testament.  (James may have been earlier.)

As time passed, the generation that personally knew Jesus began to die off and Jesus still had not returned.  Christians began to realize that by the end of the century there would be nobody left alive who had known Jesus, and that rumors and fabrications would gradually become the norm. Therefore, various Christians began to write the stories down, ultimately leading to today's New Testament.

"Why should I believe the Bible is inspired by God?"

This is an argument developed by Charles Wesley, co-founder of Methodism:

The Bible was inspired by one of five sources:

  • God
  • good men
  • good angels
  • evil men
  • evil angels (demons and/or Satan -- the Devil)

The Bible could not have been inspired by either good men or good angels.  The Bible says repeatedly "Thus says the Lord ...."  If this is true, then God is the one who inspired the writers.  If it is false, then the one who inspired the writers is lying.

(In other words, I'm a good man and I inspire you to write the book.  You agree to write the book because I tell you "The Lord says ...."  If I am a good man, I won't claim the Lord said it unless He did say it.  If He did say it, then He is the real inspiration for the book, not me.)  By definition, good men and good angels wouldn't lie.

The Bible could not have been inspired by evil men or evil angels.  The Bible lays out a strict moral code that condemns sin and condemns sinners to eternal punishment.  Evil men and evil angels wouldn't inspire a book that condemns them and their  actions, beliefs, and way of life.

Hmm, now who do we have left? ...

"Does prophecy prove the Bible is true?"

The God of the Bible specifically says that He foretells the future as proof:

  1. That He exists
  2. That He controls human history
  3. That words allegedly inspired by Him actually are inspired by Him

Isaiah 44:6-8 [6] "This is what the LORD says-- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. [7] Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come-- yes, let him foretell what will come.  [8] Do not tremble, do not be afraid.   Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."

Isaiah 48:2-5 [3] I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. [4] For I knew how stubborn you were; the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze. [5] Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, `My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.'

Some examples:

Here are some quick examples of prophesy.  Many books give dozens more.  Estimates are that about twenty-five percent of the Bible, 8250 verses were prophetic when written.

     Psalm 22 -- David's prophecy about the Messiah's Crucifixion

Compare Psalm 22 to the Crucifixion scenes in the Synoptic Gospels (i.e., Matthew, Mark, and Luke).  A thousand years beforehand David described the crucifixion of the Messiah -- a non-standard crucifixion!  Normally, the Romans would break the victim's legs after several hours, to hasten death:

John 19:31-34 [31] Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. [32] The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. [33] But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. [34] Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

As David said at Psalm 22:16-17 [16] ... a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. [17] I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.

     Ezekiel Chapters 5 and 11 -- The Rebirth of Israel

In Ezekiel 5:5 et seq. ("and following"), written about 580 B.C., God said that in the  future He would punish the Israelites for worshiping false gods, punish them and their descendants worse than He ever had or would punish anyone else, including scattering them throughout the world. In verse 11:17 et seq.  He said that in the last days He would bring back the Jews from all nations. In Chapter 37, known as the vision of the Valley of Dry Bones, He shows Israel being brought back to life.  This happened May 14, 1948 when Israel became an independent nation -- TWO AND A HALF THOUSAND years after God told us!

Of course, by then it was old news -- God told it to Moses THREE AND A HALF THOUSAND YEARS AGO:

Deuteronomy 30:1-3 [1] When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, [2] and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, [3] then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.

Ezekiel also contains many prophecies against various city-states, e.g., Edom, Tyre, Sidon.  Each of these was unique and each was fulfilled as stated.  (See McDowell, ibid., Chap. 11, Sec. 2A)

Also see Hagee, John. Beginning of the End. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996

See the links in Dawn's Prophecy Page at http://www.geocities.com/~dawn-/

Also see Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus Christ

"What about The Book of Mormon?  Is it also inspired by God?"

Mormonism claims to be a Christian religion, the only true Christian religion but in fact is not Christian at all.

"What about the Koran (also spelled Qu'ran), the religious book of Islam?  Is that inspired by God?"

Islam claims that the Koran is the word of God, given through the angel Gabriel, but the Koran directly contradicts some of the most fundamental teachings of the Bible. They can't both be true.

"Isn't this really all just a matter of personal interpretation?"

Christians claim that God exists, the God of the Bible is the only real God, He will eternally reward those who follow Him and eternally punish those who reject Him.

However, Christianity and some other religions such as Mormonism and Islam do not limit their claims to "spiritual" matters that cannot be examined in the "real" world.  These religions claim that actual events occurred with actual people at specific times and specific places.  This takes them out of the realm of "personal interpretation" and puts them in the realm of investigation.  If someone claimed to be a prophet, did his prophecies come true?  If a text is claimed to be "from God" does it make statements that contradict known historical facts?

Why is it that only the Bible has thousands of hidden codes telling future events -- the ELS Bible Codes?

"Apologetics" comes from the Greek word apologia, which means "to defend."  The whole point of Christian Apologetics is defending Christian beliefs -- showing facts and evidence to support Christians' claims and showing  facts and evidence that other religions are not true.


(c) 1998 by Rick Reinckens

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