I love to read my Bible. I especially enjoy reading the New Living Translation (NLT) Life Application Study Bible as it offers notes that help me to understand the culture, history, and context of what I am reading.
But there was a time when I didn’t read my Bible. I didn’t even really believe it to be true.
And I know a lot of people who feel this way. My own family members have questioned the accuracy and truth of the Bible.
Can we trust the Bible to be true and accurate? Does it have the authority to inform my life? Is it truly God-breathed?
Pastor Tracy of Causeway Christian Assembly recently preached on “Can I trust the Bible?” I found her short sermon to be right on the mark. She outlined what the Bible is and gave three reasons why we can trust it to be the Word of God. I found her sermon to be so well presented that I have shamelessly lifted it almost word-for-word and present it here:
What is the Bible?
The Bible is comprised of 66 books written by about 40 authors from different backgrounds. The writings span 1500 years in 3 different languages. It contains different literary categories including history, poetry, prophecy, song lyrics, etc.
They all tell one unified and coherent story. The creation of humanity, the rebellion of humanity, and the redemption of humanity. The Bible is God’s Word.
How can we trust the Bible is God’s Word?
1. The Bible itself testifies that it is the Word of God
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17 NIV).
The phrase “God-breathed” draws meaning from the creation story in Genesis. God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And the man became a living being. God made humans come to life.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful.”
God ensured that what was written was what He intended to be said. The scriptures weren’t written by men that used their own ideas. The Scriptures were God-breathed and penned by those yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20–21 NIV).
2. Outside evidence proves the Bible is historically accurate
By applying the same criteria for accuracy to the Bible as is applied to other ancient documents we prove the Bible to be accurate.
With thousands of ancient writings in original language text copied from each book of the Bible, we can compare ancient documents with each other to verify their accuracy.
This process for comparison was very rigid which even involved counting letters to ensure nothing was missing.
For example, Plato’s “The Republic” was written around 400 BCE. The earliest copy we have was in the 9th Century CE; a time span of about 1300 years from when it was originally written to the first copy. And only 7 copies of this exist.
No one doubts the accuracy of this document.
Now, look at the New Testament in the Bible and apply the same criteria.
The New Testament was written between 50–100 CE. The earliest copy we have was from 125 CE; a time span of only 25 years. And over 24,000 copies in Greek, Latin, and other languages exist. Greek language copies are said to be 99.5% accurate to one another with none of the errors affecting interpretation but rather spelling.
If we can trust the accuracy of other ancient documents with the same type of test we can also trust the accuracy of the New Testament.
We can say the same for the Old Testament. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the 20th century it was determined that the quality of biblical transmission was so rigid that even after 1000 years the copies were word-for-word identical in more than 95% of the text. And again most of the differences were spelling.
When it comes to the accuracy of the Bible, we can be confident to say that the Bible is the most accurately preserved and verified document of the ancient world.
We can trust the Bible because it says so and because it passes the accuracy test.
The Bible can be trusted for other reasons:
* It accurately predicted the future
* Its historical reliability is verified through archeological finds
* There are no scientific errors. It tells us amazing facts about our world and our universe thousands of years before scientists discovered that they were actually true
3. The ability of Scripture to have a transformational effect
The Bible isn’t merely entertainment. As we read the words we encounter God. We learn about Who He is and how much He loves us.
We read about what He did to bring His people to Himself and what He is still doing and going to do.
We learn how to live our lives under the authority of God and as we do we experience the transformational power of a living God who would give us His living word to guide us.
And of course, throughout every page and throughout every book we are pointed to Jesus. The One through Whom we are reconciled to God.
In a time when truth is subjective, we can trust the Bible. We can stand upon its promises. We can take comfort from the passages we read. We can learn from its wisdom. We can meet and get to know our Saviour.
I agree with everything Pastor Tracy says here and believe the Bible to be true. How about you?