It has come to my attention over and over again, that Christians of various denominations when trying to justify their unbiblical practices cite that the Bible is unreliable, it has lost too much in translation, it is outdated, much of it is irrelevant for today, the stories are figurative and didn’t literally happen, and the list goes on. Surprisingly, this reasoning is cited by CHRISTIANS. It is clear that with this reasoning, one could justify just about anything- any behavior, any practice, any action, or any doctrine. With this reasoning , literally anything goes! Leaders can create doctrines on a whim (and have over the past few hundred years), and they can justify their doctrines with the claim that the correct understanding of the Bible has been lost in the translation. Look at the vast division that has occurred since the Reformation by reason of this thought process. Look at the wide array of unbiblical doctrines that have been sold to the masses using this precept. What is stopping the next reformation from claiming- “Jesus wasn’t really the son of God, that was a translation error.” The tragedy, is that the masses have bought into this reasoning like the blind falling into a ditch. Leaders claim divine guidance when creating their doctrines, with no possible method to “test the spirits” as they’ve proclaimed the Bible unreliable. What is the truth? Is the Bible a reliable book?
Reliability means that something is trustworthy and consistently good in quality. Looking to the Old Testament, these are ancient writings. Just knowing the fact that these books were written thousands of years ago begs the question- could these books possibly be that well preserved and reliable for the reader today? Prior to 1946, it would be difficult to vouge for the reliability of the Old Testament, but everything changed with the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This was a collection of 981 texts found in caves of the West Bank. These works contain the earliest known surviving manuscripts of works later included in the Hebrew Bible canon. The texts are written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Nabataean, mostly on parchment with some written on papyrus and bronze. They have been dated as early as 408BC. A whopping 40% of these scrolls contain copies of texts that are from the canonized Hebrew Bible. Some 30% contain non-canonized books like the Book of Enoch, Jubilees, the Book of Tobit and the Wisdom of Sirach. Finally the remaining 30% include sectarian manuscripts like Community Rule, The War Scroll, etc. Important to note is the STRIKING ACCURACY that today’s Hebrew Canonized Bible has in comparison to these Dead Sea Scroll texts. It is evident that those that copied these texts over the years were extremely disciplined in making EXACT copies of the original.
Also important to note, is that these scrolls of the Old Testament were written prior to the coming of Christ. In other words, these are the ancient Hebrew books that Jesus would be referring to in his ministry. Jesus taught from these exact books as seen in the New Testament record. According to Norman Geisler, Jesus affirmed seven key points in relation to the OT: “Jesus affirmed its divine authority…its imperishability…its unbreakability…its ultimate supremacy…its factual inerrancy…its historical reliability…and its scientific accuracy.” Jesus declared:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets (the OT); I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of the pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” ~ Matthew 5:17-18
We can find that these same books, using the same words as found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, were used by Jesus in His ministry. He along with the Apostles are found in the NT often quoting from the Old Testament as well. According to the OT, these writings began when they were dictated to Moses by God on Mount Sinai. There God shared with Moses the history of the world, and the future as well. The Book of Jubilees also points to earlier writings that were passed down from Noah, and were read and studied by Abraham revealing the ways and laws of God. These books have never been found. In more recent findings, archeologists have discovered earlier Hebrew writings that date back to 1000BC, and affirm the existence of King David, along with confirming the existence of Bible stories we find in the OT. See this article: “Oldest Hebrew Text is evidence for Bible Stories?”
In addition to the accuracy we find in the actual texts discovered prior to the birth of Christ, we also find a stunning accuracy in the prophecies presented in the Old Testament. We find that even from the beginning, these books prophecy of Christ. In Genesis, Eve is told that of her offspring, the head of the serpent will be bruised. This would one day be Christ. The entire Old Testament points to Christ. Jesus in the NT even explained to His disciples how the OT spoke of Him (Luke 24:27(44)).
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself……….. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” ~ Luke 24:27, 44-45
Even the archeological historic record proves time and time again the accuracy of the OT biblical record. OT critics once claimed that King David never existed, rather that he was made up by the ancient Jewish scribes in the 6th century BC to boost morale after the Persians came into power. In July of 1993, a broken basalt inscription was found in Tel Dan, northern Israel. It is dated by archaeologists to the eighth century BC. The inscription claims that the king of Damascus (Ben-Hadad of Syria), killed the king of Israel (Jehoahaz) and the king of the “house of David” (which would be Joash of Judah). This account can be found in 2 Kings 13:1-25 and means that the dynasty of King David was known over 200 years prior to the scribes “supposedly” inventing him in the 6th century BC. Few archaeologists now deny the actual existence of King David as a historic figure. In another example, for a long time the only reference to an Assyrian king by the name of Sargon could be found in Isaiah 20:1. It was assumed that no such king ever existed- rather he was made up. In 1843, Paul-Emil Botta, the French vice-consul and archaeologist in Mosul uncovered the great city of Khorsabad, and “Sharru-kin” (Sargon) is now one of the best known Assyrian kings in the ancient world. There are many more examples of this human error of discounting the Old Testament as fabricated. Its striking accuracy is proven and preserved, and Christ Himself put his seal of approval on the Law, and the Prophets (OT). To lie about it, or to plant seeds of doubt concerning it, leads to very dangerous ground. As quoted in the very last chapter of the OT:
“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.” ~ Malachi 4:4
The New Testament is of course more recent than the Old. This is a collection of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John), the book of the first Acts that the Apostles accomplished, many letters of the Apostles written to various congregations, and the book of Revelation speaking on the judgments of God, and the great and dreadful day of the Lord. These books and letters were written mostly in the first century AD. Speaking to their accuracy and reliability, it is much easier to prove their reliability than it is to prove the OT’s reliability. There exists today more than 5,000 original copies of the entire New Testament, along with thousands of complete manuscripts and multiple thousands more original fragments available that all speak to the accuracy of the current copy in existence. To give you a comparison, there are less than 700 copies of Homer’s Iliad, and only a handful of copies of any one work of Aristotle in existence today. If you are looking for manuscript evidence to the accuracy of the New Testament, the numbers of manuscripts available are overwhelming in comparison to other ancient works. In addition to this, when considering the writings of the first Christians in the early centuries, these scholars quoted the New Testament so much, that every single verse of all 27 books of the NT are quoted by these scholars with the exception of only 11 verses, all within a few hundred years of beginning the Church. Add to this the fact that these books were all written within a few decades of the death and resurrection of Christ. Today we are able to examine original manuscripts and fragments to see if they are reliable when it comes to what they report. If you are looking for the best historically accurate ancient report available today, you’ll find it in the New Testament.
There are many “scholars” that have made it their life’s work to discredit the accuracy of the Bible today. Due to their work, millions of Christians have gone down this road of no longer believing in the accuracy of the Word of God. They have been lured and tempted by various unbiblical feel good doctrines by rejecting the Bible as the accurate Word of God. If this is you, we encourage you to research this matter extensively for yourself. Wolves in sheep’s clothing are a dime a dozen today. You must test their doctrines and their words using the Word of God. That is what it is for. Begin this journey by simply studying the origins of the Bible, and realizing that it is a gift from God, a light to our path today! If you believe in Jesus, but you reject God’s Word that points to Him in prophecy (OT), and you reject God’s Word that speaks of His life, death, resurrection, and the record of the first church (NT), what do you really believe? Believe it ALL, or reject it ALL, do not be found lukewarm.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:1
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” ~ 2 Timothy 3:14-17
“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.” ~ 1 Corinthians 4:6
“For I am the Lord, I change not” ~ Malachi 3:6
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.“ ~ James 1:17
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” ~ Hebrews 13:8
“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.“ ~ Psalm 89:34
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” ~ Matthew 22:29
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.“ ~ 2 Peter 1:20