Why trust the Bible? June 29, Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Mark 13:31)

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1 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Mark 13:31) 1. Unity despite diversity of authorship a. Despite great diversity in authorship, the Bible is unified in its teachings on hundreds of controversial subjects and on the centrality of Jesus. b. Written over a 1500 year span c. Written by over 40 authors from all walks of life i. Moses political leader ii. Peter fisherman iii. Joshua military leader iv. Luke gentile doctor v. Solomon king vi. Matthew tax collector vii. Paul rabbi d. Written in different places i. Moses in the wilderness ii. Jeremiah in a dungeon iii. Daniel on a hillside and in a palace iv. David running from Saul v. Paul in prison vi. John in exile on the island of Patmos e. Written on three continents i. Asia, Africa, and Europe f. Written in three languages i. Hebrew (most of OT), Aramaic, Greek (NT) g. No single author understood the plan completely. Over time each added his piece to the puzzle. When Jesus came, all the pieces came together to reveal a picture far greater than any individual author could have imagined. 2. Circulation a. By million copies b. By billion copies c. "The world's best selling and most widely distributed book is the Bible, with an estimated 2.5 billion copies sold, " Guinness Book of World Records d. "No other book has known anything approaching this constant circulation" (The Cambridge History of the Bible). 3. Translation a. One of the first major books translated i. Greek translation of OT called the Septuagint, circa 250 BC b. "By the end of 1993, the whole Bible had been translated into 337 languages; 2,062 languages have translations of at least one book of the Bible." Guinness Book of World Records

2 4. Survival a. Survival through time i. Though the original manuscripts (autographs) have long perished, the Bible has been remarkably preserved by copying and recopying. Compared to other ancient literature, the Bible has more manuscript evidence than any 10 classical writings combined. ii. New Testament 1. 5,600 Greek NT manuscripts 2. Over 10,000 Latin NT manuscripts 3. 5,000 10,000 NT manuscripts in other ancient languages Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, etc. 4. So, at least 20,000 NT manuscripts before the printing press 5. Even without all these manuscripts, we could construct virtually all the NT multiple times over from early church fathers sermons, commentaries, etc. We have over 1,000,000 quotations from the church fathers. 6. We have less than 20 manuscripts for your average ancient writer. We don t have the original writings of any ancient document, but with the NT we have over 1,000 times the number of copies compared to your average ancient document! iii. Old Testament 1. Jews preserved it [the Old Testament text] as no other manuscript has ever been preserved they kept tabs on every letter. They had special classes of men within their culture whose sole duty was to preserve and transmit these documents with practically perfect fidelity scribes, lawyers, Massoretes. Who ever counted the letters and syllables and words of Plato or Aristotle, Cicero or Seneca? B. Ramm, Protestant Christian Evidences b. Survival through persecution i. The Bible has withstood countless attacks over millennia as people have sought to burn it and ban it. c. Survival through criticism i. "No other book has been so chopped, knived, sifted, scrutinized, and vilified. What book on philosophy or religion or psychology or belles lettres of classical or modern times has been subject to such a mass attack as the Bible? with such venom and skepticism? with such thoroughness and erudition? upon every chapter, line and tenet? B. Ramm, Protestant Christian Evidences 5. Prophecy I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them. Isaiah 42:8 9 2

3 a. General historical prophecy i. Far too many prophecies fulfilled in history to list here. See Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell for a nice description of some major historical prophecies. b. Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus i. His First Advent 1. The fact. Genesis 3:15; Deuteronomy 18:15; Psalms 89:20; Isaiah 9:6; 28:16; 32:1; 35:4; 42:6; 49:1; 55:4; Ezekiel 34:24; Daniel 2:44; Micah 4:1; Zechariah 3:8. 2. His Divinity. Psalms 2:7,11; 43:6,7,11; 72:8; 102:24 27; 89:26,27; 110:1; Isaiah 9:6; 25:9; 40:10; Jeremiah 23:6; Micah 5:2; Malachi 3:1. 3. Human Generation. Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 21:12; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10; II Samuel 7:14; Psalms 18:4 6,50; 22:22,23; 89:4; 29:36; 132:11; Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15. ii. His Forerunner 1. Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; 4:5 iii. His Nativity and Early Years 1. The Fact. Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Jeremiah 31:22 2. The Place. Numbers 24:17,19; Micah 5:2 3. Adoration by Magi. Psalms 72:10,15; Isaiah 60:3,6. 4. Descent into Egypt. Hosea 11:1 5. Massacre of Innocents. Jeremiah 31:15 iv. His Mission and Office 1. Mission. Genesis 12:3; 49:10; Numbers 24:19; Deuteronomy 18:18,19; Psalms 21:1; Isaiah 59:20; Jeremiah 33: Priest like Melchizedek. Psalms 110:4. 3. Prophet like Moses. Deuteronomy 18:15 4. Conversion of Gentiles. Isaiah 11:10; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalms 18:49; 19:4; 117:1; Isaiah 42:1; 45:23; 49:6; Hosea 1:10; 2:23; Joel 2: Ministry in Galilee. Isaiah 9:1,2. 6. Miracles. Isaiah 35:5,6; 42:7; 53:4 7. Spiritual graces. Psalms 45:7; Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; 53:9; 61:1,2. 8. Preaching. Psalms 2:7; 78:2; Isaiah 2:3; 61:1; Micah 4:2. 9. Purification of Temple. Psalms 69:9 v. His Passion 1. Rejection by Jews and Gentiles. Psalms 2:1; 22:12; 41:5; 56:5; 69:8; 118:22,23; Isaiah 6:9,10; 8:14; 29:13; 53:1; 65:2 2. Persecution. Psalms 22:6; 35:7,12; 56:5; 71:10; 109:2; Isaiah 49:7; 53:3 3. Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. Psalms 8:2; 118:25,26; Zechariah 9:9 3

4 4. Betrayal by Own Friend. Psalms 41:9; 55:13; Zechariah 13:6 5. Betrayal for Thirty Pieces of Silver. Zechariah 11: Betrayer's Death. Psalms 55:15,23; 109:17 7. Purchase of Potter's Field. Zechariah 11: Desertion by Disciples. Zechariah 13:7. 9. False Accusation. Psalms 27:12; 35:11; 109:2; Psalms 2:1, Silence Under Accusation. Psalms 38;13; Isaiah 53: Mocking. Psalms 22:7,8,16; 109: Insult, Buffeting, Spitting, Scourging. Psalms 35:15,21; Isaiah 50: Patience Under Suffering. Isaiah 53: Crucifixion. Psalms 22:14, Offer of gall and vinegar. Psalms 69: Prayer for Enemies. Psalms 109: Cries Upon the Cross. Psalms 22:1; 31: Death in Prime of Life. Psalms 89:45; 102: Death With Malefactors. Isaiah 53:9, Death Attested by Convulsions of Nature. Amos 5:20; Zechariah 14:4, Casting Lots for Vesture. Psalms 22: Bones Not to Be Broken. Psalms 34: Piercing. Psalms 22:16; Zechariah 12:10; 13: Voluntary Death. Psalms 40: Vicarious Suffering. Isaiah 53:4 6,12; Daniel 9: Burial With the Rich. Isaiah 53:9. vi. His Resurrection 1. Psalms 16:18 10; 30:3; 41:10; 118:17; Hosea 6:2. vii. His Ascension 1. Psalms 16:11; 24:7; 68:18; 110:1; 118:19 viii. His Second Advent 1. Psalms 50:3 6; Isaiah 9:6,7; 66:18; Daniel 7:13,14; Zechariah 12:10; 14: Dominion Universal and Everlasting. I Chronicles 17:11 14; Psalms 72:8 Isaiah 9:8; Daniel 7:14; Psalms 2:6 8; 8:6; 110:1 3; 45:6,7. 6. Influence a. "If every Bible in any considerable city were destroyed, the book could be restored in all its essential parts from the quotations on the shelves of the city public library." C. McAfee,The Greatest English Classic b. "I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him." Napoleon 4

5 7. History/Archaeology a. Biblical archaeology s greatest significance is that it has corroborated many historical records in the Bible. Menahem Mansoor, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin at Madison b. It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference. Archaeologist Nelson Glueck c. There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition The excessive skepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, certain phases of which still appear periodically, has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition to the value of the bible as a source of history. Archaeologist B. William F Albright d. In general, the evidence of material culture fits the biblical account beginning with the period of the settlement of the tribes of Israel in the land of Canaan and the establishment of the kingdom of Israel. David Ussishkin, Jewish professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University e. The NT documents are the best historical documents of the ancient world. Here are five reasons historians take the NT material seriously. i. The narratives were written soon after the events they report. ii. Multiple, independent, primary source documents verify each other. In addition to the four gospels and the writings of Peter and Paul, 17 secular references along with archaeological evidence further corroborate the canonical accounts. iii. The NT documents include details of eyewitness testimony: times of day, weather conditions, local customs, names of provincial rulers, and other minutia characteristic of authentic accounts. 1. "I have been reading poems, romances, vision literature, legends and myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know none of them are like this." CS Lewis 2. Ancient fiction was nothing like modern fiction. Modern fiction is realistic, and it didn't appear until about 300 years ago. 3. Mark reports that Jesus was asleep on a cushion in the stern of a boat. 4. Peter was 100 yds out in the water when he saw Jesus on the beach. 5. Peter jumped in the water and together they caught 153 fish. 6. Mark 15:21 states that the man who carried Jesus cross was the father of Alexander and Rufus. 7. Such details were not in any ancient literature, and the only explanation of them is as recollections of eyewitnesses. iv. The gospels include embarrassing details. v. There was no motivation for the writers to deceive. 5

6 8. Millions of changed lives a. Over thousands of years, millions of people from all over the world and from all walks of life have had their lives completely changed by the Bible. Concluding remarks A good goal is to try and provide enough evidence to get someone to read the Bible. Martin Luther once likened the Bible to a caged lion. When the lion is challenged, there really is no need to defend it. Just let it out of the cage! We want them to read it and be like the officers sent to arrest in John 7 who come away saying, No one ever spoke like this man! Sources 1. Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell 2. Ancient Words Ever True by Greg Koukl 6

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