The Bible's Reliability
Contrary to popular opinion, to believe the Bible’s claim about itself—that it is the divinely inspired and inerrant Word of God—does not require you to take out your brain and throw it away. It doesn’t demand a blind leap of faith into the illogical and unbelievable. Instead, to believe the Bible’s incredible claim is made both reasonable and believable by a mountain of corroborating evidence. In this chapter we will look at the mountain of evidence for the Bible’s reliability.
THE BIBLE’S MIRACULOUS CONTINUITY
The first piece of evidence that supports the Bible’s claim to be the divinely inspired Word of God is the Bible’s continuity.
The Bible was written over a period of more than fifteen centuries. It was written in various places, stretching all the way from Babylon to Rome. It has more than forty different authors from various stations in life. For instance, the Bible was written by kings, priests, shepherds, farmers, fishermen, and slaves. There is even a physician and a publican (tax collector) numbered among the penmen of the sacred Scriptures.
In addition to the above, the Bible was also written in many different styles of writing. It contains narrative, law, songs, proverbs, poetry, prophecy and letters. Yet, despite all of this diversity among its writers and writing styles the Bible is still a complete, harmonious, and logical book without contradictions or errors. Its continuity is simply inexplicable apart from its claim of divine inspiration. Therefore, the Bible’s continuity serves as indisputable evidence of its divine inspiration!
THE BIBLE’S SCIENTIFIC RELIABILITY
The second piece of evidence that supports the Bible’s claim to be the divinely inspired Word of God is its scientific reliability. Although the Bible is not a science book, it is, contrary to popular present-day opinion, proven to be scientifically reliable in every scientific statement found on its pages.
Listening to the condescending voices speaking down to Bible believers from today’s ivory towers of academia leads one to believe that the Bible and science are completely incompatible. Science contradicts the Bible and the Bible contradicts science. However, nothing could be further from the truth. While it is true that contradictions exist between the Bible and “what is falsely called science,”1 true science has never been at odds with the truth of the Scripture.
Did you know that thousands of years before science discovered that the earth was spherical and suspended in space, the Bible declared these truths?2 Did you know that Matthew Maury, the first man to chart the currents of the sea, learned of the sea’s paths by reading Psalm 8:8?3 And are you aware of the fact that the healthy diet prescribed by your doctor today was prescribed by God in the Book of Leviticus over three thousand years ago? Far from disproving the Bible, as today’s Bible deniers contend, true science has always substantiated the teachings of the Scripture.
In 1861, the French Academy of Science published a brochure of fifty one “scientific facts” that supposedly disproved the Bible. The brochure was used by the atheists of the day to ridicule Christians. Today, however, all fifty one of these “facts” have been proven false by modern-day science. Once again, true science has confirmed rather than contradicted the truth of the Scripture.
Although the Bible was not written to be a science book, every scientific statement it makes is accurate and true. In time, its teachings are always verified by true science. Far from being at enmity with the Bible, true science is always a source of additional evidence for the Bible’s reliability.
THE BIBLE’S HISTORICAL RELIABILITY
The third piece of evidence that supports the Bible’s claim to be the divinely inspired Word of God is its historical reliability. Although the Bible is not a history book, it is proven to be historically reliable in every historical fact found upon its sacred pages.
Throughout history, critics of Christianity have attempted to chip away at the Bible’s credibility with what they perceived to be historical inaccuracies. Yet, not a single archaeological discovery has ever disproved one thing in the Bible. In fact, archaeology has repeatedly proven the historical accuracy of the Scripture.
One of the things that Scripture’s critics once used in their attempts to undermine the validity of the Bible was the ancient Hittite civilization. While the Hittites were definitely named in the Scripture, no historical evidence of their actual existence had ever been discovered. As a result, Bible detractors touted this “fanciful” civilization as proof of the Bible’s unreliability. Then, over one hundred years ago, archaeologists discovered the ruins of this ancient civilization, a civilization previously unheard of apart from the pages of God’s divinely inspired Word.
Although the Bible was not written to be a history book, every historical statement it makes is accurate and true. As the great historian William Albright once said, “We no longer trouble ourselves with attempts to prove the Bible. The Bible can stand for itself.”
THE BIBLE’S PROPHETIC RELIABILITY
The fourth piece of evidence that supports the Bible’s claim to be the divinely inspired Word of God is its prophetic reliability. There is probably no greater proof of the Bible’s reliability than Biblical prophecy!
It has been estimated that two-thirds of the Bible is prophetic either in type, symbol or direct statement. Interestingly, none of the so-called holy books and sacred writings of the world’s other religions contain a single line of prophecy. How do we explain this abundance of prophecy in the Holy Bible and absence of it from all other “holy books”?
The answer to the above question is obvious. If the uninspired authors of the world’s other “holy books” had attempted to predict the future their predictions would have proven untrue. As a result, they would have been exposed as frauds, their writings as fictitious, and their teachings as false. To have any hope of perpetrating their religious ruse upon the masses, these false prophets had to steer clear of prophecy, abdicating its lofty sphere to God’s true seers—the divinely inspired authors of Scripture.
The Bible is proven to be the Word of God by the fact that it alone contains prophecy. Prophecy’s peculiarity to the Bible proves that the Holy Bible is the world’s only holy book. All other “holy books” are exposed as unholy frauds by the absence of prophecy from their pages.
Why do the critics of the Christian faith always concentrate their efforts on trying to destroy the credibility of the Bible, particularly the credibility of the Bible’s prophetic texts? Is it not because prophecy attests to the Bible’s utter reliability and absolute truthfulness?
Think about it. Christianity’s critics may attempt to explain away Israel’s miraculous crossing of the Red Sea as a mere wading through the shallow waters of the Reed Sea. They may attempt to explain away the manna in the wilderness as a common sap that oozed from a desert plant. They may attempt to explain away the fire that fell on Elijah’s Mount Carmel sacrifice as a chance bolt of lightning. They may attempt to explain away the resurrection of our Lord as nothing more than the hallucinations of His disciples. And they may attempt to explain away the Apostle Paul’s miraculous conversion on Damascus Road as a sunstroke. Nevertheless, if the Bible predicts the future and its predictions come true, the critics of Christianity are silenced. They are left with nothing to say.
The Bible teaches us that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”4 More than anything else, prophecy testifies to men of the truth of Christ. As the Apostle Peter declared, the most persuasive proof of the claims of Christ is not the testimony of eyewitnesses like himself, but “the more sure word [testimony] of prophecy.”5 Not only are the claims of our Savior proven by the fulfilling of the Bible’s manifold predictions, but also the claim of the Bible itself, namely, that it alone is the divinely inspired Word of God.
Along with Bible prophecy proving Christ’s claim to be the living Word of God and the Bible’s claim to be the written Word of God, it also proves the God of the Bible to be the one and only true God. Having personally preordained and predetermined the future, only the sovereign God of the Holy Scriptures is capable of predicting it.
- This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future. Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!” (Isaiah 44:6-8 NLT)
- Gather together and come, you fugitives from surrounding nations. What fools they are who carry around their wooden idols and pray to gods that cannot save! Consult together, argue your case. Get together and decide what to say. Who made these things known so long ago? What idol ever told you they would happen? Was it not I, the Lord? For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior. There is none but me. (Isaiah 45:20-21 NLT)
- Do not forget this! Keep it in mind! Remember this, you guilty ones. Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. (Isaiah 46:8-10 NLT)
THE BIBLE’S MIRACULOUS PRESERVATION
The fifth piece of evidence that supports the Bible’s claim to be the divinely inspired Word of God is its miraculous preservation. Its indestructibility serves as incontrovertible proof of its utter reliability.
No book in the history of the world has garnered more opposition or had more antagonists devoted to its destruction than the Bible. Despite innumerable would-be nemeses and voluminous ventures dedicated to its eradication, the Bible has more than survived; indeed, it has actually flourished. It is by far the world’s bestseller and most translated book, with daily sales topping yearly sales of fictional best sellers and translations in more than two thousand languages and dialects.
Voltaire, the famous French atheist, dedicated his life to the destruction of the Bible. He once vowed, “It took twelve men to start Christianity. One will destroy it.” However, shortly after his death, Voltaire’s house and press were being used by the Geneva Bible Society to produce Bibles for the propagation of the Gospel throughout the world. While Voltaire’s ideas have long since been discredited, the book that he dedicated his life to destroying remains not only the world’s bestseller, but also the world’s best buy.
Only a supernatural power could keep a book in existence that has been attacked so much by so many. Truly, the Bible’s indestructibility is proof positive that it is the divinely inspired and miraculously preserved Word of God.
THE BIBLE’S UNPRECEDENTED INFLUENCE
The sixth piece of evidence that supports the Bible’s claim to be the divinely inspired Word of God is its unprecedented and unrivaled influence on our world. Not only has the Bible had more influence on our world than any other book in history, but it has had more influence on our world than all other books put together.
The world’s calendar and most of its holidays stem from the Bible. The Bible has greatly influenced the fine arts. It has inspired the writings of such literary geniuses as Milton, Ruskin and Shakespeare. It has inspired famous paintings of Scriptural scenes by artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Michelangelo. And it has proven to be our world’s most prolific wellspring of inspiring music. For instance, Johann Sebastian Bach devoted most of his musical genius to Bible-centered music.
Like its immeasurable influence on the world, the Bible’s influence on America has been equally immeasurable. According to Christopher Columbus, it was certain passages in Isaiah that inspired the voyage upon which he discovered the Americas. America’s first settlers were people seeking freedom to read and interpret the Bible for themselves. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are rooted in the Bible. Our country’s most important government buildings all display quotes from the Bible. And, our presidents have always been sworn into office with their right hand on the Bible.
Did you know that nine out of our country’s first ten colleges were founded by churches, and the tenth by an evangelist, George Whitfield? Did you know that ninety-five percent of our country’s current colleges and universities were originally founded by Christian organizations? Did you know that our modern nursing system is modeled after our Lord’s parable of the Good Samaritan?6 And did you know that the symbol of our country’s medical profession comes from the biblical story of the brazen serpent?7
What other explanation is there for the Bible’s unparalleled impact upon our world apart from its claim of divine inspiration? Surely, its claim is true, for nothing else but the Word of God could leave such an indelible impression upon our world.
THE BIBLE’S LIFE TRANSFORMING POWER
Finally, and perhaps the most irrefutable piece of evidence of all for the inspiration and reliability of the Bible, is its power to change lives. The late W. A. Criswell once wrote: “The Bible works. Its truths transform the hearts and lives of men and women. It converts to a better life the small and the great. The beggar on the street and the king on his throne, the poor woman weeping in an attic room and the philosopher in his endowed chair, the profoundest thinker, and the uncultured savage are all changed by the power of this Book. The drunkard, the thief, the libertine leave their sin to walk in the light of God’s precepts. The proud atheist becomes a humble believer in Christ by the truths of the Bible.”
According to Dwight L. Moody, “The Bible was not given for our information, but for our transformation.” Moody added, “I know the Bible is inspired, because it inspires me.” Like Dwight L. Moody and millions of others, I too know the Bible is true because it has changed my life. What other proof do I need?
1 1 Timothy 6:20
2 Isaiah 40:22; Job 26:7
3 “The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.”
4 Revelation 19:10
5 2 Peter 1:15-21
6 Luke 10:30-37
7 Numbers 21:8-9