How do we know the Bible is the book it claims to be? During my career as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, I frequently care for survivors of trauma, and or, life changing disease.
Beyond being a physician, I too am also a survivor of severe trauma and life changing disease. Because of these reasons, and despite them, I remain a faithful Christian for whom the Bible remains a frequent resource.
But how can I be sure that this resource can be relied upon? Is it really a unique book, filled with truthful testimony of the claims it makes?
People frequently challenge my beliefs saying, “Yes but the Bible is just a book written by men; how can you be sure it’s the truth?”
The Facts—A Unique Book
Let’s take a look at the facts—the simple things of which many scholars have been aware, and are uncontested. It truly is a unique book for many reasons. It was written over a 1500 year span, over 40 generations, by 40 different authors, all from different places, times, and moods.
Also, its authors included a fisherman, a doctor, a herdsman, a king, a tax collector, and a rabbi, among others. In addition, they wrote from places as dismal as a prison or dungeon to those as beautiful as the wilderness or the confines of a palace. Consequently, their moods varied from the pits of sorrow and depression to the heights of joy and jubilance.
Unlike any other book, the Bible was written from three different continents, Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was also written in three different languages including Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Its books partly comprise two thirds and one third as the “Old” and “New” Testaments respectively.
However, amazingly, all 66 books, from “Genesis” to “Revelations” tell one consecutive unfolding story, in complete harmony, regardless of topic, and despite coming from different authors, times, and places!
In Bible times, special men who carried messages were called prophets. Sometimes their message was God’s Word. Often their messages were concerning daily living and occasionally they even foretold future events. The Bible is filled with examples of prophecies that accurately told of subsequent future events that would come to pass, or that were realized as truth.
Approximately 27% of the Bible is prophecy and a significant amount of it has been precisely fulfilled.
Prophecy has been studied over the years by many Biblical scholars. In one study https://www.biblebelievers.org.au/radio034.htm of eight specific prophecies (ultimately fulfilled by Jesus Christ) they conservatively estimated that the chance of one man fulfilling all eight prophecies was one in 1017.
Those are incredible odds as that is one huge number by any standards!
To illustrate how large these odds are, if one took the same number of silver dollars and placed them in the state of Texas, they would cover the state and be two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and mix the whole pile over the area within state lines.
Next, blindfold a man and allow him to go anywhere throughout the state with the mission of finding the one marked coin. The odds of doing so would be the same as those of the eight prophecies being foretold and having them be fulfilled by one man, as they were through Jesus Christ! That’s astounding testimony!
In Bible times, the prophets who recorded the Word of God were instructed to transcribe the message exactly as it was received. As a result they were not free to add or delete any of the message. Its accuracy has been proven through time, regardless of the number of Bibles produced.
In the past Go0d spoke to our forefathers through the prophets… Hebrews 1:1
…you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along… 2 Peter 1:20, 21
The books of the original Bible were called autographs and were recorded on animal skins or thin paper from plant fibers. As such they needed to be copied to a lasting medium called scrolls. They took every precaution to insure accurate transmission of the text.
Consequently, they meticulously counted every letter and every word noting the exact middle of each within the manuscript. Also, this was done with each copy and comparisons were made with the original autographs.
They were exact copies!
To illustrate the accuracy of the copies, the Dead Sea Scrolls, written in 100BC, were found and compared to manuscript copies made over hundreds of years to 900AD. There were no significant differences in the different texts!
Again, God told the prophets what He wanted recorded and they were not to change God’s Word in any way by adding or deleting information or thoughts of their own.
In addition to being accurate, Scripture should be viewed as the very product of God—something of His breath from deep within. God and his words are inseperable. Scripture or the Bible is often referred to as Holy. Holy simply means “that which is set apart, that which is different.”
This again supports the idea that the Bible is unique. The source of its content is God’s breath. Yet, 40 different authors told one continuous harmonious story while writing on many different topics.
And many of the authors never even knew one another!
All Scripture is God-breathed. 2 Timothy 3:16
It’s not just a book written by a “bunch of Good guys.”
Often times people want to contest the existence of God or claim there is no basis for Christianity. They will often make the claim, “Hey, it’s a collection of moral stories and principles written by a bunch of good guys.” They’re looking for something to blame for the injustice in the world.
These are the same people who claim no loving God could allow all of the pain and suffering we see in the world today. No loving God would allow a world to be filled with such chaos.
But the Bible is truly a source of good news! And God’s still in charge! It’s the best resource for life and we’ve discussed only 4 supporting reasons:
- unique book by 40 different authors transcribing God’s Word from different places, times, and moods
- Filled with proven prophecies
- accuracy is incontestable.
- God Breathed
The Bible is the most quoted, the most published, the most translated and the most influential book in the history of mankind.
How has the Bible influenced your life? Is the Bible a trusted resource in your life? Please feel free to share your thoughts.