Where did the Bible come from?
2 Timothy 3:16a All Scripture is breathed out by God
The source of the Bible is God. No, God did not personally write the words down. But He was guiding the minds of the human authors so that He stands behind every word.
“The remarkable structure of the Bible should also be stressed. Although it is a collection of 66 books, written by 40 or more different men over a period of 2,000 years, it is clearly one Book, with perfect unity and consistency throughout.”
How does the Bible help us?
2 Timothy 3:16b and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness
The purpose of the Bible is:
teaching = learning God’s truth
reproof = confronting us that we’re off God’s path
correction = getting us back on God’s path
training in righteousness = establishing solid behavior.
When 2 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture”, what specifically is it referring to?
It is referring to the original manuscripts upon which the Bible was written down.
Do we have the original manuscript upon which the Bible was first written down?
But we are confident we know the original manuscript because:
1) “Jews preserved it as no other manuscript has ever been preserved. Their scribes kept tabs on every letter, syllable, word and paragraph. They had special classes of men within their culture whose sole duty was to preserve and transmit these documents with practically perfect fidelity. Whoever counted the letters and syllables and words of Plato or Aristotle or Seneca?”
2) “There are way more copies of the biblical manuscripts, with remarkable consistency between them, than there are for any of the classics like Plato, Aristotle and Socrates. “There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament.””
“In the case of the New Testament, we have thousands of complete manuscripts and multiple thousands more fragments available. There are more than 5,000 copies of the entire New Testament or extensive portions of it. In addition, we have several thousand more fragments or smaller portions of the New Testament. If these numbers don’t seem like a lot, compared to other works of ancient history, the manuscript evidence and copies for the New Testament far outweigh manuscript evidence for other works. For instance, there are less than 700 copies of Homer’s Iliad and only a handful of copies of any one work of Aristotle. So when it comes to manuscript evidence, the New Testament definitely has numbers on its side.”
“Compared with other ancient writings, the Bible has more manuscript evidence to support it than any ten pieces of classical literature combined”
“But what about manuscript evidence for the Old Testament? Space does not allow a thorough treatment here, but it is likewise incredibly accurate. Manuscripts that are part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, for instance, clearly show that our modern copies of the Old Testament are incredibly accurate.”
Matthew 5:17-18 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Jesus is affirming the total accuracy and authority of the Old Testament.
3) “It’s also interesting that within the early centuries of the Christian church a number of scholars quoted the New Testament. Amazingly, they quoted the New Testament so much that every single verse of all 27 books of the New Testament is quoted by these scholars with the exception of only 11 verses, all within a few hundred years of the beginning of the Church. We could also add the fact that much of the New Testament was written within just a few decades of the death and resurrection of Christ. First Corinthians, for instance, dates from the 50s – only twenty years or so after the death and resurrection of Christ. This is important because 1 Corinthians 15 contains key elements of the gospel message, emphasizing the importance of Christ’s resurrection, and claiming that more than 500 people had seen the risen Christ. People who would still have been alive at the time of the writing of 1 Corinthians would have been around to corroborate or criticize the claims made in the letter.”
With all that evidence we can trust our current Bibles to accurately reflect the original. And it is compelling.
But why should we believe the Bible?
- Fulfilled prophecy.
“There are over 300 specific prophecies in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.” “The very dimension of the sheer fulfillment of prophecy of the Old Testament Scriptures should be enough to convince anyone that we are dealing with a supernatural piece of literature….God has himself planted within the Scriptures an internal consistency that bears witness that this is his Word.”
Some examples of Old Testament prophecy that were fulfilled:
Jesus would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
The tiny village of Bethlehem as the birthplace of Israel’s Messiah (Micah 5:2)
Jerusalem and temple to be destroyed after Messiah (Daniel 9:26)
For the most part Israel would reject Jesus (Isaiah 53:1)
Jesus would be despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:3)
Jesus would be abused (Isaiah 53:4)
Jesus would not have a just trial (Isaiah 53:8)
Jesus would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9)
Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zech 1:12)
He would be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9)
His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16)
His side would be pierced (Zech 12:10)
People would gamble for his clothes (Psalm 22:18)
He would be mocked (Psalm 22:7)
He would be offered gall and vinegar (Psalm 69:3)
None of His bones would be broken (Psalm 34:20)
He would utter a forsaken cry (Psalm 22:1)
All of those verses were written centuries before Jesus was born.
Search the Bible and you’ll find many more. That can’t be just
He quoted 49 different Old Testament verses. He quoted from 24 different Old Testament books. So what? Well, 77% of the Bible is Old Testament, and clearly Jesus strongly endorses its validity.
“Why is it important that we cite such statistics demonstrating that Jesus accepted the Old Testament as reliable? Because, if the New Testament is reliable in its claims, then Jesus is who He claimed to be – God in the flesh, substantiated by His resurrection from the dead. As such, His remarks about the Old Testament are likewise reliable.”
“The Bible is not a science book, yet it is scientifically accurate. We are not aware of any scientific evidence that contradicts the Bible. Quite the contrary: For millennia while mankind was floundering in its understanding of the universe, the Bible was making no secret of the complex science that makes life function”:
Biological importance of blood to life (Leviticus 17:11).
Roundness of the Earth (Isaiah 40:22)
Almost infinite extent of the sidereal universe (Isaiah 55:9)
Law of conservation of mass and energy (II Peter 3:7)
Hydrologic cycle (Ecclesiastes 1:7)
Vast number of stars (Jeremiah 33:22)
Law of increasing entropy (Psalm 102:25-27)
Paramount importance of blood in life processes (Leviticus 17:11)
Atmospheric circulation (Ecclesiastes 1:6)
Gravitational field (Job 26:7)
Precision of movement in the universe (Jeremiah 31:35,36)
Principle of fluid dynamics (Job 28:25)
Correlation of mental & physical health (Proverbs 12:4)
The hydrologic cycle (Psalm 135:7)
Nobel Prize winner in physics Arno Penzias remarked, “The best data we have [concerning the beginning of the universe] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”
For years skeptics would say that the Bible is unreliable because it mentions cities like Ninevah and Sodom, until ruins of both cities were found.
Critics used to call the book of Daniel false because there was no evidence of Belshazzar as king in Babylon. And then they found ancient documents that proved the Bible right again.
The Hittites were once thought to be a Biblical legend, until their capital and records were discovered at Bogazkoy, Turkey.
It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Isaiah 20:1, because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon’s palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq.
The excavation of Jericho reveals that the walls of this city did indeed fall as described in the book of Joshua.
Just a sample of the archeological evidence supporting the Bible.
“The Bible is true because it gives us the experience it claims it will”. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” How does experience prove the Bible? Very simply – try it, and you’ll see it will transform you into Christlikeness as you obey.
“From St. Augustine to Martin Luther to countless everyday men, women and children across the centuries, the words of the Bible have transformed lives unmistakably and forever. “As unnamed masses of Christians down through the ages have shown us, the Bible is the most reliable place to turn for finding the key to a life of love and good works.””
“Consider also its global impact: The Bible has had a greater influence on the laws, art, ethics, music and literature of world civilization than any other book in history. Can you think of one that even comes close? “Christianity”, as set forth in the Bible “is responsible for a disproportionately large number of the humanitarian advances in the history of civilization—in education, medicine, law, the fine arts, working for human rights and even in the natural sciences.”….
Concluding thought: every single time we read the Bible with sins confessed and a teachable heart, we are allowing the God of the Universe, our Creator, our Savior (assuming we have trusted Jesus as our Savior) to speak into our lives. He wants to speak to me? Him? Why would I want to pass up an opportunity like that?