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How Trustworthy is the Bible?

They say if you can't remember history, then you are bound to repeat it. The following article was originally an answer given in reply to a Mormon who was doubting the accuracy, veracity and importance of the word of God. So for the benefit of all, here my response to him in it's entirety. "Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?" Isaiah 40:21. Archaeology bears witness to the reliability of the Bible. Time magazine wrote: "Archaeological digging continues to turn up new evidence that the Bible is often surprisingly accurate in historical particulars, more so than earlier generations of scholars ever suspected. (The Bible: The Believers Gain, Time, Dec. 30, 1974, 34.) "It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference" -Nelson Gueck, Reformed Jewish archaeologist. Science, contrary to ancient traditions, but according to truth, was taught in the Bible. Blood = life "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat" Genesis 9:4; Leviticus. 17:14. Important role of the heart. "A sound heart is the life of the flesh," Proverbs 14:30. The roundness or sphere shape of the earth. "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers" Isaiah 40:22 (circle/sphere here = globe). The earth hanging on nothing. "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing" Job 26:7. Humans made of same elements as the earth. "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" Genesis 2:7. Wind. "The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits" Ecclesiastes 1:6. Water. "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again" Ecclesiastes 1:7. Weight of air. "To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure" Job 28:25.

Simultaneous day and night hinting at rotation of the earth. "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left" Luke 17:34-36. The Bible is indestructible. 1. The Dead Sea scrolls prove the text of the Bible has not changed significantly (no truths or doctrines were ever lost). 2. Biblical accounts at attempts to destroy it, Jeremiah 36:23-24, 32. 3. Kings and armies tried to destroy it. In 170 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanies and his armies attempted to destroy all the scriptures. 4. Roman persecutions sought to destroy it. Diocletian (about A.D. 300) swept the countryside demolishing churches and burning every page of scripture. They even minted coins in anticipation that said that the church had been "blotted out and Christian superstition is destroyed." 5. During the Inquisition so many thousands were martyred, some for no more of a crime than having a Bible. 6. The council of Toulouse forbade the possession of Bibles. 6. During the 30 years war (1618-1648) Spanish soldiers sought out any bits of Bible or scripture to destroy them. 7. Voltaire, in 1778, said the Bible and Christianity would not last another 100 years. Yet fifty (50) years after his death, Bibles were being printed at his very house! Why were Roman Catholics, during the dark ages, so determined to blot out the Bible? In their own words: "In an address by the cardinals of the (Roman Catholic) church to Pope Pius III, who reigned in 1503, the following words are recorded. 'Of all the advice that we can offer your holiness, we must open your eyes well and use all possible force in the matter, namely, to permit the reading of the gospel as little as possible in all the countries under your jurisdiction. Let the very little part of the gospel which is usually read in mass, and let no one be permitted to read it more. So long as people will be content with the small amount, your interest will prosper; but as soon as the people want to read more, your interest will begin to fail. THE BIBLE is the book which more than any other thing has raised against us the tumults and tempests BY WHICH WE HAVE ALMOST PERISHED. In fact, IF ONE COMPARES THE TEACHING OF THE BIBLE WITH WHAT TAKES PLACE IN OUR CHURCHES, he will soon find discord, and will realize that OUR TEACHINGS ARE OFTEN DIFFERENT FROM THE BIBLE, AND OFTEN STILL, CONTRARY TO IT." The above is to be found in the National Library of Paris, Vol. 2: pages 650 and 651." From Dr. Fabian S. Reinhart, in "Facts for Roman Catholics," pages. 3-4. Were the canonization of scriptures contingent upon the councils of Catholics? In "God's Infallible Word" by David Bernard, pages 90-91, he writes: "...By about 150 we find numerous New Testament quotations representing every book except one to four short personal letters. BY ABOUT 200 WE HAVE CLEAR POSTBIBLICAL WITNESSES TO EVERY BOOK OF THE NEW TESTAMENT... It is important to note that they (regional councils at Hippo 393, Carthage 397 and 419 A.D.) SIMPLY RATIFIED WHAT GRASS-ROOTS BELIEVERS AS A WHOLE HAD PRACTICED FOR CENTURIES: 'The decisions of CHURCH COUNCILS in the fourth and fifth centuries DID NOT DETERMINE THE CANON, NOR DID THEY EVEN FIRST DISCOVER OR RECOGNIZE IT. IN NO SENSE WAS THE AUTHORITY OF

THE CANONICAL BOOKS CONTINGENT UPON THE LATER CHURCH COUNCILS. All those councils did was to give later, broader, and final recognition to WHAT WAS ALREADY A FACT, namely, that God had inspired them and that the people of God had accepted them in the first century.' (Geisler and Nix, rev. ed., 231. As an example of a point on which we should not follow the teaching of fourth- and fifthcentury leaders, under the influence of Augustine the three councils just mentioned included the Apocrypha as part of the Old Testament.) 'THUS WE DO NOT DEPEND ON THE AUTHORITY OF FOURTH CENTURY LEADERS WHEN WE ACCEPT THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON, nor need we endorse all doctrines they taught. Neither should we regard the authority of the post-apostolic church as prior, superior, or equal to that of Scripture: 'The Church no more gave us the New Testament canon than Sir Isaac Newton gave us the force of gravity... Newton did not create gravity, but recognized it... All the churches were trying to do was to see which of the books claiming to be in some sufficient sense apostolic really were so- A QUESTION PRINCIPALLY OF HISTORICAL FACT.' (J.I. Packer, God has spoken, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979) page 119." The historical evidence of the copies of the manuscripts. "The early church fathers, following the death of the last apostle, continued to perpetuate the same regard for the perfect preservation of the Scriptures. Polycarp said, 'Whosoever perverts the sayings of the Lord... that one is the firstborn of Satan.' Within one hundred years of the death of the apostles, a heretic named Marcion corrupted the Word of God by making copies in which he shortened some books and ignored others. He was soundly condemned by Irenaeus. In fact, Irenaeus was so concerned that the text be preserved perfectly that he defended the traditional reading of a single letter. Justin Martyr also condemned Marcion by saying, '...the wicked demons have also put forward Marcion of Pontus.' Tertullian, near the year 208, seemed to claim that the original manuscripts written by the apostles, or their exact copies, were still being read." -The Search for the Word of God, by Daniel Segraves (Word Aflame Press), pages 42-43 "The Bible is the best preserved book in the world with over 13,000 manuscripts of the New Testament (in whole or part) of which 5,000 manuscripts are in Greek. OF NO OTHER ANCIENT WRITING DO WE POSSESS SO MANY MANUSCRIPTS. The best attested work beside the Bible is Homer's Iliad, of which 643 manuscripts exist (far short of the 13,000 of the New Testament), and 5 percent of the Iliad are variant readings. Most great works of old came to us by only a few, sometimes only one manuscript. For instance, Aristotle is known by only five manuscripts, the oldest of which dates 1400 years after he lived. Plato's... 7 manuscripts... the oldest dating 1200 years after his death. Herodotus... 8 manuscripts, 1300 years removed. Caesar's Gaelic wars... 10 copies... 900 years after his death. Yet no classical scholar would dare argue the authenticity of any of these classics. Sir Fredric Kenyon in 'The Story of the Bible' stated, 'It cannot be too strongly asserted that... the text of the Bible is certain. The number of manuscripts is so large that it is... certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved... This can be said of no other ancient book in the world." - Excerpt from "The Bible: It's Origin and Use" TheWord Aflame Elective Series, Pentecostal Publishing House. So what about the New Testament? How much has been preserved, and how close to the originals? Number of (Greek) manuscripts- 5,366. Years later than autographs- 1.

Fragments 30-50 years. 2. Most of New Testament- 150 years. 3. All of New Testament250 years. In addition to the manuscripts, there are over 36,000 quotations cited by early church fathers before the council of Nicea (325 A.D.). "THERE IS MORE EVIDENCE FOR THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT THAN FOR ANY OTHER ANCIENT BOOK, even those from which we obtain much of our knowledge of ancient history... NO BOOK FROM THE ANCIENT WORLD COMES TO US WITH MORE INTEGRITY THAN THE BIBLE." - Excerpt from 'God's Infallible Word' by David K. Bernard.

"There are not wide divergencies (between variants of the copies of the N.T.)... Out of the thousands of variant readings in the manuscripts, none had turned up thus far that requires a revision of Christian doctrine" -from F.F. Bruce, The Books and Parchments. On the unresolved variants- "...Only one letter out of 1,580 in the Old Testament and... no more than one one-thousandth part of the New Testament... Only 400 (New Testament variants) materially alter the sense. Among these, no more than about 50 have real importance for any reason whatever; and even in the case of these 50, not one touches on any article of faith or any moral commandment not forcibly supported by other entirely clear passages, or by the teaching of the Bible as a whole" - Excerpt from 'The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture' by Rene Pache, Moody Press. The testimony of prophecy. "The Bible is the only prophetic book of all the books of major religions. It is the only book containing many specific predictions that have actually come to pass without error... Someone has estimated that one-fourth of all verses in the Bible are predictive, with almost 1200 events predicted literally, and over 600 events predicted symbolically... Many literal prophecies have already come to pass just as the Bible foretold... Josh Mcdowell... selected eleven prophecies and calculated the probability of their being accurately foretold by human wisdom. he found it to be... one in 576 followed by fifty seven zeroes... for all practical purposes it is zero." - Excerpt from 'God's Infallible Word' by David K. Bernard.

The number of prophecies prohibits even beginning to list them here. They range from specifics of Christ's ministry, to the rise fall and dispersion of the Jews, to the rise and fall of many specific kingdoms, even the present European Community! So what does the Bible have to say for itself? Jesus Christ accepted the entire Old Testament as God's word. "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it" -Luke 16:16. "Search THE SCRIPTURES; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and THEY ARE THEY WHICH TESTIFY OF ME. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" -John 5:39-40. "The word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken" -John 10:35. Jesus Christ commissioned the writers of the New Testament. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations...Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" -Matthew 28:19-20, "The Spirit of truth... will guide you into all truth... and he will shew you things to come" -John 16:13. "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine... I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world... As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world... Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me THROUGH THEIR WORD; That they all may be one" -John 17:9-21. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY WORDS SHALL NOT PASS AWAY" -Matthew 24:35. "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come... whoso readeth, let him understand" -Matthew 24:14-15 "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" -1 Corinthians 14:37. "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" -Galatians 1:11-12. Therefore, you cannot accept Jesus as a man of integrity and reject the authority of the scriptures (Old or New Testament). Either the Bible is the Word of God, as Jesus claimed, and would not pass away or Jesus was a liar, deceived, or a fool. If the Bible is not God's word, then Jesus was not a righteous, noble, and wise man. For such a man would not perpetrate what would be the greatest hoax in the world. "The holy scriptures... are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: That the man of God may be perfect, THROUGHLY FURNISHED UNTO ALL good works. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For THE TIME WILL COME WHEN THEY WILL NOT ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" -2 Timothy 3:15- 4:4. The Bible is... Absolute. "Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest

be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged" -Romans 3:4. Precise. "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" -Proverbs 30:5-6. "Thus saith the LORD... all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word" -Jeremiah 26:2. "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" -Matthew 5:18. Note: A jot = the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, tittle = a small stroke of the pen that distinguished certain Hebrew letters. Immutable. (unchanging / constant)- "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven" -Psalm 119:89. Whole. "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you" -Deuteronomy 4:2, "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple" -Psalm 19:7. Consistent. "Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever" -Psalm 119:160. Eternal. "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever" -Isaiah 40:8, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" -Matthew 24:35. Unbreakable. "The scripture cannot be broken" John 10:35, "There hath not failed one word of all his good promise" -1 Kings 8:56. Irrevocable. "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" -Matthew 5:18-19. "All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me" -Luke 24:44. "Scripture must needs have been fulfilled" -Acts 1:16. Complete. "For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" -Revelations 22:18-19. "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" -Matthew 4:4.

Therefore, if anyone would like to say that the Bible is just "a reference manual" the scriptures testify against just such, by saying: "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, LET HIM ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE THINGS THAT I WRITE UNTO YOU ARE THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD" -1 Corinthians 14:37. "And IF ANY MAN OBEY NOT OUR WORD BY THIS EPISTLE, note that man, and have no company with him, that HE MAY BE ASHAMED. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" -2 Thessalonians 3:15. And if anyone would like to say that the Bible was "speaking to people of a different time and culture" let him know that the Bible says this. "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." - Luke 21:33. "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and THEY ARE WRITTEN FOR OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let HIM THAT THINKETH HE STANDETH take heed lest he fall" -1 Corinthians 10:11-12. Or if someone comes claiming to be "spiritually enlightened" but says "the scriptures alone don't make a lot of sense," let them acknowledge that the scripture testifies against them when it says this. "Teach no other doctrine... From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers... understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm" -1 Timothy 1:3-7. "...Even as our beloved brother PAUL also according to the wisdom given unto him HATH WRITTEN UNTO YOU; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to

be understood, which THEY THAT ARE UNLEARNED AND UNSTABLE WREST, as they do ALSO the OTHER SCRIPTURES, unto their own destruction." -2 Peter 3:15-16 Or if they tell you that the scriptures are not "a verbatim work", let them know that the scriptures say that- "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" -Proverbs 30:5-6. "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" -Revelation 22:18-19. For example- "...To Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." -Galatians 3:16. "These things teach and exhort. IF ANY MAN TEACH OTHERWISE, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; HE IS PROUD, KNOWING NOTHING, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth" -1 Timothy 6:3-5. "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols (an idol can also mean a falsehood). Amen" -1 John 5:20-21. "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding... But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint... Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he" -Isaiah 40:28-41:4. The Bible was, is, and will ever be, the standard by which all other religious works are compared. May God Bless you in Jesus' name.