The Authenticity of the Bible

The Authenticity of the Bible

It is evident that Christians are not the only ones who claim the authenticity of the bible. These scholars with their professional expertise have made many discoveries which coincide with the records in the bible, proving that the bible is true.

The Authenticity of the Bible

(adapted from a sermon by Pr Chin Aun Quek)

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The scripture is given by the inspiration of God so that everyone can be saved. Nonetheless, not everyone knows the way to salvation. How can we have God forgive our sins?

We find that every human race has its own method. Some think that by slaughtering animals for sacrifices, they can obtain forgiveness from God. In another culture, their sons are offered as sacrifices to their God. We may find such ways of redemption frightening.

What then must we do to receive God’s forgiveness? God tells us what His method is, and has inspired His servants to record the way – our sins can be forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

2 Tim 3:15 records that the scriptures given to us make us wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the reason we must believe in the Bible – we have to search the bible in order to understand the way of salvation.

“All scripture is given by God’s inspiration”.

Some people question how a book written by humans can be called the book of God. We must understand that the bible was not recorded based on human intention; it was a book that God wanted them to write. God moved them with the Holy Spirit so that their spirits were stirred up and they were able to record His word.

Nonetheless, those who oppose the bible continue to doubt. The bible we have now is a translation of the past, and has gone through many generations. Perhaps the authenticity of the bible has been compromised. There are many examples of ancient classics that have departed from their original meaning, after being handed down from one generation to the next.

Then why would we still believe in the scriptures and continue to rely on its teachings?

The reliability of the bible

In 1947, a shepherd found many ancient scrolls in certain caves northwest of the Dead Sea. These scrolls have been verified to be written about 200 years before Jesus Christ. That is roughly 1000 years before the first publication of the bible. One of the scrolls contained the book of Isaiah and this ancient version is identical to the book of Isaiah we have now. Such comparisons between these scrolls and the version we have now serve to demonstrate that even after a thousand years of translation and copying, the form that we have now is still identical to the original.

A professor from the New York University has said, “If anyone should think that the bible is unreliable, then he should also reject all books of history.”

Why? The New Testament within the bible has the most number of copies among ancient manuscripts. There are 5,300 copies in the Greek version, and 10,000 copies of the Latin version. There were also 9,300 earlier manuscripts. The different books in the bible alone account for 24,000 copies. The sheer quantity of copies demonstrates the reliability of the bible.

Another professor from a Scottish university who is also a historian said in one of his speeches that there are only 7 historical records on the wars of Julius Caesar, yet we believe the records are reliable. In comparison, the bible has a much larger number of copies of manuscripts available. Should they not be even more reliable? He concluded that, “If historians were to have the attitude of some religious authorities in questioning the authenticity of the bible, there will not be any history books that historians can believe in.”

Archaeology verifies the authenticity of the bible.

In the past, archaeological methods were not as advanced. Modern archaeology, through its advanced technique, has discovered many things that were previously undiscovered.

An archaeologist from McGill University said that modern archaeology has led many who doubted the bible to believe in the bible now. He added that much evidence in support of the accuracy of the scriptures has been uncovered in Palestine.

Another world renowned archaeologist remarked that many scholars, especially historians, who used to doubt the authenticity of the bible, have come to realise that their doubts are unfounded, thanks to the discoveries by modern archaeology. They now know the bible is indeed true.

It is evident that Christians are not the only ones who claim the authenticity of the bible. These scholars with their professional expertise have made many discoveries which coincide with the records in the bible, proving that the bible is true.

Example 1 – The talking serpent and the origin of sin

The bible records the origin of man, the origin of sin and death. The latter is recorded in Genesis 3:1-6 and tells of how the cunning serpent spoke to Eve. Many people find it hard to believe and think it is merely a fable. Some claim that this is a story Moses invented, for how could a serpent speak? Certainly none of us have seen one; we only see talking and dancing animals in fables and fairy tales.

Then one day, an archaeologist found a Babylonian clay sculpture. This sculpture was of a tree. To the right of the tree stood a man and to its left, a woman. Beside the woman, an upright serpent could be seen and it looked as if it were leaning towards the woman’s ear, speaking to her.

Scholars have verified that this sculpture is more than 5,000 years old. It was made even earlier than the time when Moses recorded the book of Genesis. This suggests that the story of Eve and the serpent is not one invented by Moses. It was a legend that already existed from early days. Babylonian sculpture also contained words which told of how humans were deceived by the serpent, leading to their sin against God, and being driven out of the Garden of Eden.

Furthermore, this story was not unique to Babylon; similar forms of the story existed in other countries. The story may differ in its presentation, but the main characters and the facts of the story remain the same. Again, these evidences point to its authenticity and suggest that it is not something invented by Moses.

Example 2 – The existence of King Belshazzar

The book of Daniel is a prophetic book which contains many historical facts. It documented the rise and fall of both the Babylonian kingdom and the Persian Empire. The story involving the last king of Babylon, King Belshazzar, records how he used the holy vessels taken from the temple for wine and blasphemed against God to an unprecedented extent. The bible records how a hand suddenly appeared on the wall and started to write. Everyone was afraid and no one could decipher the meaning of those words. Daniel, a prophet of God, translated the writings on the wall according to the revelation from God. He told the king that as a judgment from God, his kingdom would fall and end that very day. No one believed Daniel for Babylon was such a fortified city that even the Persians failed to capture the city before. However, the Persian army had already surrounded them and indeed, overcame Babylon and killed these people. It was clear that the fate of the Babylonian kingdom was in the hands of God.

Historians have disputed this story because they were unable to find a king by the name of Belshazzar in any historical records. They were only able to find King Nebu Na’id, who was not killed. It was only later, when an archaeologist found clay tablets which, when placed together, revealed Belshazzar to be the son of Nebu Na’id. They co-ruled the kingdom for some time, and Belshazzar was left to handle the affairs of the kingdom when his father lost interest in politics and left the kingdom. This explained how King Nebu Na’id came to escape the massacre during the Persian army’s attack; he was not in the kingdom. This was another example of how archaeological findings support, rather than conflict, the authenticity of the bible.

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The fulfilment of prophecies

The bible is the book of God and it is true and reliable. In fact, the bible proves itself, for there are many prophecies in the bible, which have been fulfilled.

In Isaiah 46:8-10, when Jerusalem was surrounded by mighty nations all ready to attack her, the Israelites prayed to God for deliverance. They became weak and faithless when God did not act immediately. However, God sent a prophet to remind the people to reflect on their transgression, to be strong, and stand firm. They were told to “remember the former things of old, for [He is] God…” From ancient times, God has declared things that are not yet done. As people of God, they knew that the things of old referred to the experiences of their ancestor, Abraham.

In the beginning, he did not even have a son. But God said to him that his descendants would form a great nation, and that he would become the father of many nations. Abraham believed God and His promise, and left the land of Ur to go where God commanded him to. Perhaps back then, it felt like a big family with Isaac, Jacob, Esau, and Jacob’s twelve sons. However, by the time of Isaiah, Israel had become a great nation and God was the only one who told Abraham of what was to come. No one other than God knows the things of the past and can declare the future. God is a living and true God.

God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled after years. Some prophecies in the bible were fulfilled in a shorter time frame, while some have yet to be fulfilled. For example, God tells us there will be the end of time, when Jesus Christ will come again to judge people of the world – this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled.

The dreams that Pharaoh saw in Genesis 41 is an example of prophecies fulfilled in just a few years. God showed Pharaoh the things that were to come. In Genesis 41: 25-30, Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh’s dreams and told him that seven years of famine would follow seven years of plenty. Although Egypt was a high civilised country then, Egyptians believed in many religions and mythical things. It was hard for them to believe the Lord is God. Nonetheless, the Pharaoh had faith that his dreams were given by God, and used the prophecy revealed to adequately prepare the country for an upcoming drought. The prophecy came to pass as was revealed.

Historians doubted this incident primarily because of the existence of the Great River Nile. They believed that even if drought occurred in other countries, Egypt had the Nile to supply it with water. They also questioned the lack of historical records on the seven years of abundance and seven years of drought.

Archaeology has uncovered evidence which suggests a great famine in Egypt. According to an artefact, Egypt experienced years of great famine at a time close to when Joseph was in Egypt. This has since been verified by experts and corroborates with the story told in the bible.

But one of the most important prophecies is that which concerns all nations:

Luke 2:8-14 – Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

The prophecies concerning Jesus Christ are relevant for all nations. He is not only the Saviour of the Israelites; He is the Saviour of all people for He wishes to save everyone.

Hundreds of years ago, prophet Isaiah prophesised that a virgin shall conceive and bear a son. He is the Messiah, and His name shall be called the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Prophet Micah prophesised that a great King shall come out of Bethlehem. The prophets prophesised according to God’s words and they all came to pass. Indeed, Jesus Christ is God in the form of flesh, conceived and born of a virgin, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Prophecies regarding His death and resurrection are also recorded in the bible. These prophecies have come to pass, affirming to us that Jesus Christ is indeed God who has come in the form of flesh to save people of the world. Because He is our Saviour, if we believe in Him our sins can be forgiven. We can be saved and have eternal life. This is something we understand from studying the Scriptures. This is why Jesus told us to search the scriptures for in it, we have eternal life. The scriptures bear witness of Christ. As Paul says, “The scripture is inspired by God so that we can be wise for salvation.”

2 thoughts on “The Authenticity of the Bible”

    1. Hi, thanks for asking! Through Jesus death on the cross, He removed our sins: “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev 1:5). This was the righteous requirement of God (Heb 9:22). The outcome is that we have been brought near to God (Eph 2:13): we have entered into the Holy of Holies, where we have a direct relationship with Him (Heb 10:19). Importantly, we have been justified and delivered from the wrath of God (Rom 5:9). We invite you to read more on our post below for the answer and also find out Why do we preach that Jesus is our Salvation? (http://www.truejesuschurch.sg/jesus/questionwhy-do-we-preach-that-jesus-is-our-salvation/). Feel free to write to us again.

      May His Spirit lead us to all truth and understanding!

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