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Chapter 15

The Bible - the only truth you need to know

 

The world and its peoples are floundering. As a whole, the peoples of the world lack any sense of direction or of destiny. Men and women in the world seemingly have nowhere to go. However, there is an answer to all the woes of mankind and it is found in the Bible.

The message of the Bible is the entire answer to every need that mankind could ever have. It is only in the Bible that man can find out what he is to believe. There is no other source of absolute truth on earth, although there are many false prophets and philosophers who give all forms of answers. However, their views can never survive for very long. The Bible is the only eternal source of peace and purpose for mankind.

This Chapter deals with the issue of the Bible as being the source of ultimate truth, its credibility, its authenticity and its authority. You the reader, need to know something about the background of the bible and its development. You need to know that you have a reliable document on which you can base your life. You need to know that it is the Word of God and that no other book or source of information can ever provide you with the guidance it provides. This Chapter will attempt to provide that information for you.

What is the Bible?

The dictionary gives this good broad definition. " The collection of books recognised and used by the Christian church as the inspired record of God's revelation of himself and of his will for mankind." ( Zondervan p.81.) No other world religion can make the claim, that they have and use God's actual words as their guidelines for life. Other religious books only have in them brief teachings and philosophies for living.

The Bible is God's actual story about himself and his dealings with mankind over at least 4000 years prior to the birth of Christ, and his hope and will for mankind over the last 2000 years and beyond. No other religion has a God who has come to earth, taught the people, died, was resurrected and remained on earth for a further 40 days before returning to heaven to prepare a place for every believer. No other religion has the evidence of such a book, and of a man who lives forever! The Bible and its disclosure of Jesus Christ, is the only book in the world in which it is worthwhile believing.

The word Bible has been derived from the Greek words biblia, the plural of biblion and biblios meaning book. The Bible has 66 books written over about 1600 years by 40 authors. Although it was penned by men it was inspired by God, which means that God himself, through his spirit, told these men what to write.

Writings prior to the birth of Christ were initially in Hebrew and later translated into Greek. Since Christ, all writings were in Greek, and later translated into English about 600 years ago. The Bible was not generally available to common man until after the invention of printing about the fifteenth century.

How authentic is the Bible?

To be authentic is to be real, not dishonest, counterfeit or deceptive. Authenticity would also mean that the present Bible is basically the same one that was written by the original authors at those times. This is important, because if the Bible is able to be verified as the word of God, then it can be said to have the authority of God. ( Chant p.23.)

Yes, the Bible is authentic. This is the short answer to the question and also the long one if the evidence is honestly reviewed. This evidence includes scrolls, both passed down and newly found, along with prophetic, archaeological and historical evidence, coupled with personal experience.

Written evidence - manuscripts and scrolls.

The evidence for the new testament is quite large, there being in existence about 4500 greek manuscripts dating back to 125 a.D. ( Bryant p. 82 ) moreover, the dead sea scrolls found in 1947, contain copies of all Old Testament books except the book of Esther. Not only that, but they show that the original writings handed down were extremely accurate. ( Chant p 25.)

Prophetic evidence.

The word prophecy in the Bible, means the words spoken by prophets of God and predicting future events. Bible prophecy is one of the most important proofs of biblical authenticity. There are hundreds of prophecies in the Bible which have already come to pass, and several more which will come true in the future. Two examples of those already fulfilled are as follows.

The birth of Christ was prophesied by isaiah about 700 years before ( isaiah 7:14.) and the prophecy of the betrayal of Christ came from Zechariah over 500 years before the birth of Christ. It was so accurate that even the thirty pieces of silver was specified.(Zechariah 11: 12-13.) what we have here are verifiable historical events being predicted many years before, excellent evidence of the authenticity of the Bible.

Archaeological evidence.

There is also extensive archaeological evidence. Two specific examples will have to suffice, but there are many others. The first of these, which has been viewed by the author, is hezekiah's tunnel in Jerusalem. Hezekiah was king of Judah about 700 b.C. This tunnel, built to ensure a water supply in case of siege, ran from the Spring of Gihon to the Pool of Siloam. This tunnel is recorded in scripture in 2 Chron. 32:30.

The second, also viewed by the author in 1985, is the garden tomb where Jesus was buried after the crucifixion. Scripture itself provided the information which led General Gordon to look for and find the garden and the tomb late last century. Although there are sometimes disputes about biblical sites these examples and others that could be quoted, I believe are undeniable evidence of the authenticity of the Bible.

Historical evidence.

World history includes many references to Biblical events. For the new testament, Ken Chant tells us that during the reign of Emperor Tiberius there was a man named Jesus who was recognised by many jews as the Messiah and that he was put to death by Pontius Pilate. Also that Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch were men who were personally acquainted with the apostles. ( Chant p 27.) also, many of the roman emperors mentioned in the Bible feature prominently in history.

In the Old Testament many of the prominent Hebrews were mentioned in association with the empires of Babylonia, Assyria and Persia, all of which are easy to verify in historical documents. All in all, there is sufficient evidence in terms of manuscripts, prophecy that has come true, archaeology and relationship to secular history, to be sure that the Bible is authentic.

What authority does the Bible have?

The faith of the Christian rests on what the Bible says. What therefore is the basis of it's authority? Firstly, the Bible itself states that it is the inspired word of God. ( 2 tim 3:16) following from that, what the Christian believer then until you begin to take things in. Chapter 24 deals with this issue of man's logic.

Secondly, and very much connected with the first point, is that God thinks and does things differently to man. It takes some time to get used to this aspect of God's character. Chapter 21 looks at understanding God's ways.

Lastly, there is an enemy called Satan with his host of demons, who will desperately try to stop any person from reading and understanding the Bible. If this ever happens with you, then get the help of an experienced Christian believer.

Finally.

At some point you will realise that you need to make a decision that the Bible is true and needs to be followed. There is a chorus that Christians sing, which says that " God said it - I believe it - and that settles it for me." That's the only way to understand and live by the Bible and to gain the benefits that God offers through his words.

What this chapter has said.

  1. People of the world are floundering and need the truth of the Bible.
  2. The Bible has a documented past that helps establish its authenticity. Other religious books are not historically based in the same way as the Bible.
  3. Biblical authenticity is established by evidence of manuscripts, prophecy, archaeology, history and by the personal experiences of believers who find its claims to be true.
  4. Challenges to Biblical authority always fail.
  5. There are some difficulties in the understanding of scripture. However, these can be overcome.
  6. Accepting the Bible requires a positive and firm decision to accept what it says.