Many in our society today hate the bible…they hate the whole concept of absolute truth and absolute authority…The cry of a Post Modern generation as they reject the supernatural is that the bible was written by man and is therefore to be dismissed.
2Timothy3:16-17 says “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for correcting, for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction and for training in all righteousness.”
Accusations against the bible include:-
- It is anti science
- There is no proof God wrote it
- Its easily dismissed
- Its full of contradictions
Here is some thoughts on the Evidence of the Authenticity of the Bible
2 broad categories:
1) External evidence
2) Internal Evidence
3 external evidences that this book is truly a miracle book:
1. The miracle of it’s origination
This book is really a library of books…66 in all. These 66 books were written over a period of 1600 years.
They were written by 40 different men,
from 13 different countries
3 different continents…
and yet it all comes together as a literary masterpiece, with one central theme. That’s a miracle…with a divine Author overseeing the whole thing!
Those 40 men came from a variety of backgrounds:
some were rich, some were poor
…if we were to take 40 men from this room today, and let’s say they were all equal in social standing, education, and background: if we put them all in a room together, the 40 of them probably couldn’t ALL agree on any one thing, much less everything! And yet, God’s Word stands without contradiction! And they all write about the same hero, Jesus Christ.
The Bible covers a variety of subjects:
Origin of universe
creation of man
beginning of sin
divine principles of government
rise and history of Israel
incarnation of Christ
institution of the church
evangelization of the world
Yet, with all of this variety, with all of these colors making its light, with a thousand threads weaving its tapestry, there is one theme from beginning to end: Jesus Christ, and the redemption of mankind.
Genesis: seed of woman Gen. 3:15
Exodus: passover lamb
Leviticus: high priest
Numbers: pillar of cloud by day, fire by night
And we could go on and on…
Needless to say…this book is a miracle
2. The miracle of its preservation
No less amazing than the Bible’s origination, is it’s preservation.
“forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven” scripture says.
The Bible is not the “book of the month”, it’s the book of the Ages!!!
No book has been the object of more attacks, more scorn than the Bible.
No book has ever been despised and rejected like the Word of God.
It’s been burned, ridiculed, outlawed, but amazingly, the more it is attacked, the more it multiplies!
Voltaire in his day said, “in 100 years the Bible will be a forgotten book, only to be found in museums.” 100 years later, Voltaire was dead, and his house was purchased by the Geneva Bible Society for the printing and distribution of Bibles!
Many a man has preached the funeral of the Bible, only to find out that the corpse outlives the pallbearers!
John Cummings said, “the empire of Caesar is gone, but the Word of God still survives, the legions of Rome are moldring in the dust, but the Word of God still survives, the avalanches that Napoleon heaped upon Europe have melted away, but the Word of God still survives, the pride of the Pharoahs has fallen, but the Word of God still survives. Tradition has dug for it a grave. Many a Judas has betrayed it with a kiss. Many a Demas has forsaken it, but the Bible still survives!”
The Bible is a miracle in it’s origination…it’s preservation…
3. The miracle of it’s circulation
No book has been circulated like the Bible. By far the #1 seller of all time. Many people have given their lives for the cause of circulating the Word of God. The Gideon’s are just 1 organization doing this, and each year they distribute over 80 million Bibles worldwide…and I have friends who risk their lives to smuggle the Bible into countries whose leaders forbid it’s distribution………………….and some church members don’t even carry theirs to church…………….what a shame!
John Wycliffe gave his life to translating the Bible from Latin to English, against the wishes of the pope, by the way. (Wycliffe had spoken out against the pope that he was not infallible) After his death, the church actually dug up his bones and burned them, and threw the ashes into the Thames River…what a beautiful picture, though, of what he did for the Bible, for the river carried his ashes to the ocean, and ocean currents spread them over the world, and everywhere that waves lap the shore, the Word of God has been distributed.
It’s a miracle book…in it’s origination, preservation and circulation
Now the internal evidence………..
1. Scientific Accuracy
The Bible revealed scientific facts hundreds and thousands of years before science learned about them.
While it is true that the Bible is not primarily a science book, not a text book designed to speak to your mind, but rather a love letter to speak to your heart, we should remember that the God of salvation is the God of creation…and when the Bible does speak on scientific matters, it speaks with complete authority and absolute certainty and accuracy.
Every once in a while you’ll hear about modern science disagreeing with the Bible. What should we do when this happens? Be patient, and give science time to catch up! Science has always needed to catch up with the Bible. Some examples:
As recently as 1600 doctors and scientists still believed that many ailments and diseases were a result of the human body having too much blood.
But now, science knows, it’s the blood that fights diseases, brings nourishment, repairs tissue, promotes growth. If only they had read Lev. 17:11, “the life of the flesh is in the blood.”
14th Century – black plague decimated the population in Europe, as 1 in 4 people died!
It wasn’t the scientists/doctors who brought the plague under control, it was the church. The church applied a principle to the situation that was unheard of in that day, but which we take for granted today…quarantine! Lev. 13:46
46 He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
People in Moses’ day didn’t know anything about microbiology. They didn’t know what a germ or virus was! But God gave them the principle of quarantine.
1800’s – physician in Vienna named Semovice, in charge of a hospital there pregnant women were coming in for routine exams immediately after exams, many of them were dying of infection. Semovice noticed that doctors were entering the OB area from all other areas of the hospital, including the morgue, without washing their hands – he made it a rule the doctors had a fit! “this is ridiculous, it will slow us down!”
The medical field today knows to wash up, but only because science has caught up with the Bible in this area.
Thousands of years ago, Moses said in Numbers 19
14 ‘This is the law when a man dies in a tent: All who come into the tent and all who are in the tent shall be unclean seven days; 15 and every open vessel, which has no cover fastened on it, is unclean. 16 Whoever in the open field touches one who is slain by a sword or who has died, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
17 ‘And for an unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for purification from sin, and running water shall be put on them in a vessel. 18 A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, the slain, the dead, or a grave. 19 The clean person shall sprinkle the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, wash his clothes, and bathe in water; and at evening he shall be clean.
Principles here: quarantine, washing with water, changing clothes, time interval for bacteria to die
How did Moses know these things? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.”
So far we’ve been looking at the medical field, and all the verses we’ve looked at so far are from the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Bible, written down by Moses. Where was Moses from? Egypt!
Egypt was the leader in the medical trade in those days. The ancient Egyptians were considered to be brilliant in the area of medicine. Archaeologists found a medical book in 1855, “Papyrus Eburs”: a comprehensive book containing virtually all the medical info they had in the time in which Moses lived. Some of the info it contained were simply outlandish.
“to prevent the hair from turning grey, you anoint your head with blood of a black cat boiled in oil, or with the fat of a rattlesnake”
baldness: “apply a mixture of 6 fats, namely those of the snake, to strengthen it, anoint with the tooth of a donkey, crushed in honey.”
Another cure: soak head in persimmon juice
Other remedies include donkey’s dung, lizard’s blood, swine’s teeth, rotten meat, moisture from pig’s ears, fly excretion
This is from the brilliant ancient Egyptians, in whose schools Moses was educated. I’m glad in Moses’ writings we don’t find these instructions! I’m glad that when you read the dietary code sanitary code Moses wrote down, you find the highest standards anywhere, and without medical contradiction…why? Because all scripture is given by inspiration!
We take for granted that the earth is suspended in space, hanging from nothing. Ancient Egyptians believed and taught that the earth was supported by 5 marble pillars.
Greeks believed earth rested on the shoulders of the god Atlas.
Hindus believed earth rested on the backs of elephants, when they shook, that was an earthquake…and the elephants rested on the back of a huge tortoise, which was on top of a coiled serpent in the midst of a cosmic sea.
Aren’t you glad you don’t read that foolishness in the Bible!
Job said in the oldest of Biblical writings:
He stretches out the north over empty space;
He hangs the earth on nothing.
That was a radical thought until just a few hundred years ago. How did Job know that perhaps 8000 years ago? All scripture is given by inspiration!
Nobody believed the earth was round until 1492. “Columbus, you’re gonna sail off the end of the earth…but 700 years before Christ, Isaiah said that God “sits upon the circle of the earth.” Circle in heb. Means globe or sphere. Is 40:22
Number of Stars
150 B.C., Astronomer named Hipparchus laid down his pencil and smiled, “it’s done”! He believed he had counted all the stars in the sky. 1,022! That was the number used in Universities for 250 years. Then Ptolemy came along and laughed, 1,022, that’s ridiculous, there’s 1,026! He found 4 more! And that was science for 1,300 years. Then Galileo came along with his invention, the first crude telescope, he looked thru it for the first time, and gasped. We know now that there are billions and billions of stars in each of the galaxies, which are innumerable!
What did the Bible say long before any of them were even born?
22As the host of heaven cannot be numbered
God said to Abraham, your seed will be innumerable, (then used an illustration) like the stars of heaven.
The Bible records the fact that Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible, and Jesus verified that in the NT. For many years, unbelieving historians laughed at the thought that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. ‘that’s impossible’, they said, for there was no written language when Moses lived! Archaeologists continued their work, and in 1887 in N. Egypt 300 clay tablets were unearthed, we know them as the “tel-el-armana” tablets. What were they? Letters and business transactions between Egypt and Palestine, dated centuries before Moses was even born. And now it has been proven not only did they have a written language, they had a postal service!
Remember the story in the book of Daniel of Belshazzar seeing the handwriting on the wall? For centuries histories mocked that story as mythology, stating that they have the Babylonian records, which show that the last king of Babylon was NOT Belshazzar, but was Nabonitis. As a matter of fact, they say, we have no record anywhere that any Belshazzar ever lived!
One day a clay tablet was found by archaeologists which revealed the truth: Nabonitis was the father of Belshazzar, and they were co-regents, ruling together! Nabonitis traveled the world, his son ruled the kingdom. Now we have a better understanding of Daniel 5:16
16 And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
What if that tablet had never been found? Should we doubt the Bible, no! But isn’t it terrific how God makes His truth known, often times with an exclamation point tacked onto the end!
Late 1800’s. early 1900’s Sir William Ramsey was a well-known archaeologist and historian. He was professor of humanities at Aberdeen University. He was considered to be the world’s most imminent scholar on Asia-Minor, and it’s geography and history. He read the book of Acts and said,
“the book of Acts is a highly imaginitive and carefully colored account of primitive Christianity” (in essence, “of my knowledge of history, I have no respect for Luke as a historian”)
Then he went to the middle east for the express purpose of proving the Bible wrong in its history. He came home and wrote the book, “Luke, the beloved physician” in which he proclaimed Dr. Luke to be one of the worlds foremost historians.
Here’s a quote from Sir William Ramsey…this was after looking carefully at the evidence:
“I take the view that Luke’s history is unsurpassed in its trustworthiness. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian, and they will stand the keenest scrutiny, and the harshest treatment.”
Finally, consider the 3rd category:
No book in history has dared to predict the future to the degree the Bible has, without being proven wrong.
For the sake of time, let’s narrow it down to just the prophecies that dealt with the coming of Christ, 2000 years ago.
Over 300 direct prophecies in question, like,
Is. 7:14 He would be born of a virgin Lk. 1:7 it happened!
Micah 5:2 born in Bethlehem Lk. 2:4 that happened!
Gen. 49:10 born of tribe of Judah Mt. 3:3 that happened!
Psalm 78:2 speak in parables Mt. 13:34 that happened!
Zech. 9:9 ride on colt of a donkey Mt. 21 that happened!
Is. 61 heal broken-hearted Lk. 4:18 that happened!
Is. 53:3 rejected by own Jn. 1:11 that happened!
Is. 53:7 stand silent before accusers Mk. 15:5 that happened!’
Ps. 22:18 cast lots for His robe Jn. 19:23 that happened!
Ps. 22 (hundreds of years before crucifixion ever invented or thought of) prophets said they would pierce His hands and feet, and it happened!
Ps. 22:1 “my God, why forsaken me?” Mt. 27:46 that happened!
v. 5 tongue cleave to jaw Mt. 26:15 that happened!
Zech. 11:2 sold by enemies for 30 silver Mt. 26:15 that happened!
Is. 53:9 buried w/ rich Mt. 27 that happened!
One skeptic said, “certainly this is the most striking coincidence of details.”
Dr. Charles Ryrie points out that, by the law of chance, it would require 2 hundred billion earths, each populated with four billion people, to come up with one person who could achieve one hundred accurate prophecies without any errors in sequence. But, in Christ’s coming alone, there were not one hundred, but over 300 prophecies fulfilled! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, the prophecies dealing with His first coming!
Here is an illustration – cover the state of Texas with twenty cents piece, half a metre deep, mark the back of 1 of them with an X. Fly a man in and drop him anywhere you want in the state, blindfold him, and ask him to find that quarter with the X first try! That’s the same chance of just 8 of the Bible’s prophecies being fulfilled by coincidence!
It’s more than just a coincidence, it’s evidence that demands a verdict!
PostModernism hates the bible ….they hate the whole concept of absolute truth and absolute authority….
But the Bible stands on its own merits. And as it does it therefore demands that we answer the question – What are we going to do with the truth that it preaches?
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(I want to acknowledge a contributor to these notes is Ps Jerry Shirley of Grace Baptist Church.)