HOW DO WE KNOW THE BIBLE IS GOD'S WORD?
I. Why is This Issue Important?
A. So you may be sure you are not following the word of men (1 Thess. 2:13).
B. So that you may have moral absolutes for the decisions you must make daily concerning your actions and attitudes (Psalm 119:133).
C. If the Bible is God's Word, then it deserves to be surrendered to, and obeyed as God's Word (James 1:22).
D. Most people know by their conscience and everyday life that there is a right and wrong way to do things. Every time someone says, "That is not fair" or "They shouldn't have done that", they are admitting to the idea of right and wrong. They believe in some standard of morality or code of behavior. Yet, who's code or standard is it? Their own, or someone else? May we share with confidence the standard God has given, being assured this is truly His standard.
II. What Evidence Do We Have That the Bible is God's Word?
A. Internal evidence
What does the Bible reveal about itself?
1. The unity of teaching
We have 66 different books written by over 40 different authors. They were farmers and fishermen, a doctor, a Prime Minister and others from many walks of life; and they wrote over a 1600 year span. These 66 different books were written in various places, times and in three languages. Each author speaks on hundreds of controversial subjects with amazing unity and harmony in their teaching. This is a powerful proof of their Divine inspiration. Could five men today, from different walks of life, come up with the same opinion on just 10 subjects?
2. The testimony of Jesus
a. He called the Scriptures the Word of God (Mark 7:13).
b. He emphasized the importance of each word (Luke 18:31)(Luke 24:44).
c. He said His words would also surely come to pass (Matt. 24:35).
d. He quoted Old Testament Scripture (Matt. 4:4) (Matt. 21:42).
e. He believed in the historical accounts of creation, Adam and Eve and the destruction of Sodom (Matt. 19:4-3) (Matt. 11: 23-24) (Matt. 22:29).
f. He said, the source of all error comes from not knowing the Scriptures (Matt. 22:29).
3. The Testimony of Peter and Paul
a. Peter equates his writing with the prophets of the Old Testament (2 Pet. 3:2).
b. Peter equates Paul's writing with "other Scriptures" (2 Pet. 3:16).
c. Paul believed his teachings were the commandments of the Lord (1 Cor. 14:37).
B. External evidence
How do we know the words in the Bible we read today haven't been changes over the centuries?
a. We have over 5,600 Greek manuscripts or parts thereof, dating from 110 A.D..
b. We also have over 18,000 versions of the Scriptures, (a version of the Bible is when it is translated into another language) there are Syriac, Latin, Egyptian, Armenian and Georgian versions dating as early as 150 A.D..
c. The Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls were found in 1947 by a shepherd boy in the Qumran Caves west of the Dead Sea. These scrolls were dated from 150 B.C. to 70 A.D.. They found the entire book of Isaiah, the books of Samuel and fragments of also every other book in the Old Testament. Before these were found, the earliest Old Testament manuscripts were dated from 900 A.D.. The Dead Sea Scrolls reveal the accuracy of the copyist in preserving the Word of God. Over a 1000 year period of time had passed with only spelling and grammatical differences in the text.
C. Early church lectionaries
1. These were the reading lessons for the public worship services. They contained the majority of the New Testament. These lessons show the harmony between what they quoted, our Bible today.
D. Early church fathers' writings
1. These were men who were appointed by apostles or followed soon after their death. Men like Ignatius (70-110 A.D.), Polycarp (70-156 A.D.), Clement of Rome (90 A.D,) and many others. John Burgon has cataloged over 86,000 quotations from the New Testament. Again, their quotations of the New Testament are identical to the Bible today.
E. Fulfilled prophecy
Prophecy is another powerful proof that God has authored these words. Only God knows the future!(Isaiah 41:21-23). See these prophecies.
1. Prophecies relating to the total destruction of cities and ethnic peoples
a. Babylon (Isaiah 13:19-22) (Jer. 51:26). Where is Babylon today?
b. Edom and its capital Petra (Isaiah 34: 6-18) (Ezek. 35:5-7). Where is Petra today?
2. Prophecies relating to a gradual and permanent decline of a nation
a. Egypt (Ezek. 29:15).
3. Prophecies concerning Israel's future
a. Their entry into the Promised Land, their disobedience, decline, captivity, dispersion and re-gatherance back to their land (Deut. 28-30) (Ezek. 37) (Hosea 3:4-5) (Joel 3:1-2). Jesus also predicted this (Luke 21:24).
4. Prophecies concerning the entire history of the world
a. Daniel 2 and 7 describe the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman Empires. Ending with the 10 nations in Europe during the tribulation period. Compare (Rev. 13 and 17).
F. Archaeological evidence
Archaeology proves the Bible isn't full of myths that never happened. It is proof that the Bible is a reliable historical document.
1. Did the flood occur?
a. In 1929, Dr. C. L. Wooley found major flood deposits at the ancient city of Ur. There were several strata of human occupation, then a solid 8' water-laid clay layer without human relics; then another diverse culture and city beneath it. Similar finds were made at the city of Kish and Fara in 1929-1920.
2. Did King David really exist?
In 1993, excavators at Tel Da uncovered an inscription with the word BYTDWD on it. They convincingly argued that the word means “house of David” and dates to the ninth century BC.
3. Hezekiah’s Tunnel
The most dependable water source for the city of Jerusalem during the Israelite settlement was the Gihon Spring. However, its location outside the city walls was problematic. During an attack or siege, the inhabitants were cut off from their vital water source. In 1867, explorer Charles Warren discovered a vertical shaft cut through bedrock allowing the people of Jerusalem to reach the waters of the Gihon Spring from behind the city walls. This shaft was probably built originally by the Jebusites and may be how David’s soldiers captured the city from them (2 Sam. 5:6–8). A new water system employing part of the earlier one was built by Hezekiah near the end of the eighth century BC due to an Assyrian military threat. Hezekiah’s tunnel sloped gently away from the Gihon Spring to allow water to flow from it to the Pool of Siloam inside the city walls.
Hezekiah’s tunnel was cut by two teams digging toward each other from opposite ends. It was not chiseled in a straight line but was serpentine due to frequent shifts in terrain. The two teams made adjustments as they drew near each other and heard the picks of the other team. An inscription twenty feet (six meters) from the Siloam Pool has been discovered that describes the meeting of the two cutting teams.
4. The Siloam Pool in Jesus’ Time
In 2004, during construction work to repair a large water pipe south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, on the ridge known as the City of David, archaeologists excavated part of a monumental pool where Jesus performed the miracle of restoring sight to a blind man in the Gospel of John, just as the Bible said.
5. Babylonian Siege Tower and Arrowheads
Uncovered during excavations in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter during the 1970s, this 22-foot tower, with walls 12 feet thick, helped defend Jerusalem against the Babylonian invasion in 586 B.C. Around the base of the tower, a thick layer of charred wood, ashes and soot bore witness to the raging fire that accompanied the Babylonian destruction. Among the charred rubble, excavators found five arrowheads: four of iron, and one of bronze. The bronze arrowhead was of the Scytho-Iranian type used by the Babylonian army. The iron arrowheads were typical of those used by the Israelites. Lying in the ashes, these five small artifacts gave poignant testimony to the furious clash that preceded the fall of Jerusalem.