Think about this: What if the Bible is not true? What if it’s not from God? Then what? If so, we have no right to ever try to convert anyone nor should we. What we beleive is no better than any other man made religion.
But what if the Bible is true? What if it really is God’s words to the human race? This changes everything! Over the next months, we will cover 10 good reasons to believe that the Bible is actually God’s Word. If someone asked you why you believe the Bible is true, would you be prepared to give an answer?
Reason #1: There is extremely strong manuscript evidence to suggest that the Bible we have today is what was originally written thousands of years ago and has not been corrupted over time.
First things first. Do we even have the Bible as it was originally written? Until recent history, the most recent copy of the Old Testament known to mankind what written over 900 years after the time of Christ! Considering when each of the Old Testament books were originally written, that's a lot of time for a text to possibly change. Given the incredible prophecies in the OT concerning Jesus, how do we know that over time, the OT wasn't altered in order to conform to Jesus? In 1947, one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time was made when a boy stumbled upon a cave in the Qumran region and found what would be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Parts of every OT book were found (except Esther), including entire books and multiple copies.
For Christians, two major discoveries were made when the scrolls were examined. First, the copies of the OT predated Jesus by approximately 100 years! Second, with the exception of some minor copying errors, the scrolls were virtually identical to our bible today! In essence, Christian scholars could now say that the Old Testament we read today is the same one Jesus read from in the synagogues.
That covers the Old Testament. What can we say about the reliability of the New Testament? After all, it's been two-thousand years since it was first written.
Simply put, the New Testament is overwhelmingly the best attested work from the ancient world. With the NT, there is a far greater number of existing manuscripts (over 5,000) than compared with any other ancient text. (By the way, by "manuscript" we mean a copy of something written by hand before the invention of the printing press). There is also a far shorter lapse of time between the first known copies of a given work and when it was originally written (see below). To deny the authenticity and accuracy of the New Testament would mean we would have to throw out every single text we study and learn about prior to Shakespeare!
In summary, God has preserved his word to mankind over the past 3,000 plus years. It stands alone as the best preserved work of the ancient world and we have overwhelming evidence to back up that claim. In the coming weeks we will examine nine other reasons to believe that the Bible is actally God's words to mankind.
Pastor Adam Barton