Is the Bible true? The perception is growing that only backwoods, uneducated Southern folks still cling to the outdated teachings of a corrupted, ancient book. Placing that perception aside, is there actually a good reason to believe the Bible is what it claims to be—Scripture “breathed out by God” (2 Tim. 3:16)? In a word: yes—far more evidence than can be conveyed here. This is only a small handful of the evidence that compels me to believe in Scriptural accuracy and authority.
1. I believe in the Bible because historical evidence supports it.
At first, it is easy to be skeptical of the Bible’s historical accuracy; after all, its record is thousands of years old. However, archaeology has seen “faithfulness [or ‘truth’] spring up from the ground” (Psa. 85:11). Archeological discoveries have supported both Old and New Testament historical accounts.
- The city of Jericho was not only been discovered in an archaeological dig, but details revealed by the dig clearly parallel the Biblical account.
- Skeptics of King David’s existence were forced to reconsider when a 3,000-year-old inscription was found to mention “the house of David.” Related inscriptions mention the kings Jehoram (1 Kin. 22:50, etc.) and Ahaziah (1 Kin. 22:40, etc.).
- At the time of Jesus’ birth, the governor of Syria, Quirinius, called a census (Luk. 2:1-2). A coin was discovered that indicates Quirinius ruled around the time of Christ, and papyrus census forms parallel the biblical census.
- Archaeologists have found inscriptions indicating the existence and positions of Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate, both of whom played important parts in Christ’s trial (Mat. 26:57-66).
2. I believe in the Bible because manuscript evidence supports its accuracy.
Is the Bible is the same today as it was when it was written? After all, it was compiled over the course of thousands of years by writers with vastly different backgrounds, and the original manuscripts are long since gone. Despite these concerns, the evidence supporting the accuracy of the Scriptures is incredible.
- The copying methods of Jewish scribes were painstaking and precise—in some cases, down to the letter. Because of the scribes’ meticulous work, we can know that today’s Old Testament remains true to its intent.
- The Dead Sea scrolls include pieces of every Old Testament book except Esther! These manuscripts are dated to the first and second century B.C. The Isaiah scroll, dated to about 100 B.C., matches virtually word for word with our copies of Isaiah today.
- From the time of their writing, New Testament books were copied and shared among congregations (Col. 4:16). In part because books were copied and shared, over 5,500 early fragments and copies of New Testament writings exist; the most comparably supported ancient writing, Homer’s Iliad, boasts only 643 copies.
- 99% of discrepancies between manuscripts are obvious slips of the pen or alternate spellings that do not change the text’s meaning.
3. I believe in the Bible because of its internal harmony.
Within the Bible we find prophecies and their precise fulfillment, many of them centered around one uniting theme: the scheme of redemption. The Bible is simply too intricate, too harmonious, to be anything but inspired.
- The Bible begins its story of redemption in Gen. 3:15, where it tells of a man, the “seed of a woman,” crushing the serpent’s head. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses,David, and many other prophets and Old Testament books follow the thread started in that first prophecy, all of which are fulfilled in Christ. How could these prophets, separated by hundreds of years and hundreds of miles, have contributed consistent details about the same man’s life?
Based on historical, manuscript, and internal evidence, we can rest assured that the Bible is what it claims to be: the inspired, powerful Word of God (Heb. 4:12). Because we recognize its accuracy and authority, we can respond like the Thessalonians: “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (1 Thes. 2:13).