AUTHENTICITY OF THE BIBLE

HOW DO WE KNOW THE BIBLE IS AUTHENTIC AND CAN BE TRUSTED OVER
ALL OTHER RELIGIOUS DOCUMENTS IN EXISTENCE?

 

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How do we know that this bible (The Word) is based on fact?  Why are we willing to place our faith in it and why were most of Jesus' deciples willing to suffer horrible deaths defending it?  Doctor Luke says it best in the first Chapter of his letter to Theopolis,

"Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed."  (Luke 1:1)

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Courtesy of The Virtual Bible Museum.

The Bible (The Word) as we commonly know it consists of sixty-six books, which were originally written in three ancient languages. Most of the Old Testament was written in ancient Hebrew, with parts of Daniel and Ezra written in Aramaic, a sister language to Hebrew. The New Testament was written in an ancient Greek known as Koine Greek.

Exodus 24 tells us that Moses wrote the first portions of the Bible, specifically it was called The Pentateuch, standing for the first five books.  Through Joshua and Samuel the rest of the Old Testament was written down (I Samuel 10:25)  Men designated to make copies of the original manuscripts as they deteriorated were called scribes.  They followed the instructions in the Talmud, a book of jewish law, in the copying from soaking the animal skins (parchment) in water and lime to writing with a special ink and in a special font, reducing the chance of misreading by future scribes.  The scribe had to sing and say aloud each word as he copied it letter by letter.  He had to bathe each day before he began copying and when he came to God's name he had to bathe again.  Following the completion of a page he totalled up the numerical values of the letters and compared it to the copy.  If it did not match exactly, he destroyed it.  It then had to be reviewed by three rabbis.  It was reviewed again after 30 days to see if it was satisfactorially aging.  So we can be sure that we have "exact" copies of the original manuscripts due to the extraordinary respect and care the scribes used.

In 1947 this was documented when a shepard boy found the Qumran Caves, pictured below.  This is where the Essenes, a jewish sect considering itself a righteous remnant, hid portions of scrolls of all books of the Bible, except Esther, in clay pots, pictured below.  When examined and compared with the copies of the original scrolls, available at the time, virtually no differences were found.  Only very slight, insignificant grammatical-type deviations were found.   Thus, we have further proof that the Bible that we believe in is the same in context as those books penned by both the old and new testament prophets and apostles.

Here is one of the most concise summaries of Bible authenticity that I have seen, including a nice table! It is courtesy of Greg Denham's site (brother of my current pastor, Wes) at Calvary Chapel of Auburn .

Here are other wonderful commentaries by great scholars, also:

John Macarthur

John Hagee

Halley's Commentary

Chuck Missler

The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry

BUT IS THE BIBLE RELIABLE?
There are basically three tests historians use to analyze a historical document. The first test is known as a “bibliographic test” which studies how the original text reached us. If the document in question is not an original text but a copy of that text, then certain questions are asked to determine its authenticity.

One of the most important questions to answer is, “What was the space of time between the original text and the time a copy was written? Below is a chart that shows the results of this test on notable historical writings and how they compare to the text in the New Testament.

Aristotle wrote his poetics in 343 B.C. The first copy of Aristotle’s writings was made in A.D. 1100. That means there was nearly a 1400-year gap between the original documents of Aristotle’s first copy of writings; and we only have 5 copies! Plato’s work was written in 400 B.C., and the first copy was written A.D. 900. That means there was a 1300-year span between those writings with seven copies of his work in all. Julius Caesar’s work was written in 100 B.C. and its first copy was A.D. 900, which is a 1000-year span, and we have 10 copies. Finally, 100 B.C. was when Caesar’s work was completed. 1000 years later, in A.D. 900, the first copy was completed. We have 10 copies of this work.

Author

Date of Original Writings

Date of First Copies

Time Difference Between Writings

Number of Copies Made


Aristotle


343 B.C.


A.D. 1000


1400 years


5


Plato


400 B.C.


A.D. 900


1300 years


7


Caesar


100 B.C.


A.D. 900


1000 years


10

The New Testament on the other hand was finished by A.D. 100. Its first copies were available immediately during the first century A.D. written on papyrus, the writing material of the first three centuries A.D.

Today, over 5500 copies of the original text in the Greek language are available for our study and use. Another 1000 copies are in primary languages. Over 10,000 copies are in Latin – all completed by hand before the invention of printing.

Sir Fredric Kenyon, a director and principal librarian at the British Museum, offered this perspective on the text of the New Testament: “The interval between the dates of the original composition and the earliest existing evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has not been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established.”

The second test is the “internal test” which examines the accuracy of the text itself. One way to accomplish this is to identify any witnesses of the information in the text that is in question. How close, in other words, were the witnesses geographically and chronologically to the text that is under review.

In regard to the New Testament, individuals who were either eyewitness to the events recorded, or who had personally interviewed witnesses of the events recorded in Scripture wrote it. In fact, for a book to be considered “canonical,” it had to be written by a prophet or an apostle or one who had a close relationship and was under the guidance of an apostle (Mark to Peter, Luke to Paul). Only those who had witnessed the events or had recorded eyewitness testimony could have their writings considered as Holy Scripture. The gospel writer, Luke, begins his narrative, “Most honorable Theophilus: Many people have written accounts about the events that took place among us (Luke 1:2).” They used as their source material the reports circulating among them from the early disciples and other eyewitnesses of what God had done in fulfillment of his promises.

Peter tells us that he was a first-hand eyewitness to the account he describes: 2 Peter 1:16 – “For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and His coming again. We have seen His majestic splendor with our own eyes.” Consider the detail of John’s description in 1 John 1:1, 3a – “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life…that which we have seen and heard we declare to you…”

The New Testament writings were in circulation in the generation that they were penned. This means that there was ample opportunity for the Scriptures to be challenged or refuted! Furthermore, the witnesses of the life of Jesus and many of the authors who penned the New Testament were martyred for their faith. Granted, dying for a belief is nothing new, nor is it necessarily convincing that the cause is right. After all, people have given their life for causes both good and bad throughout history. However, no one knowingly gives his or her life for a lie! This is what made the deaths of many of the original followers of Christ so powerful. The apostles knew whether or not Jesus had resurrected! The fact that they were willing to give their lives in a martyr’s death tells us they were convinced that Jesus had conquered the grave and was alive!

The great historian Will Durant, in his momentous work, “The Story of Civilization”, offered this perspective on the credibility of the New Testament writings: “…they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed – the competition of the apostles for high places in the Kingdom, their fight after Jesus’ arrest, Peter’s denial, the failure of Christ to work miracles in Galilee, the references of some auditors to his possible insanity…his despairing cry on the cross. No one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them. That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic, and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible then any recorded in the gospels. After two centuries of higher criticism, the outlines of the life, character, and teaching of Christ remain reasonably clear, and constitute the most fascinating feature in the history of Western man.”

Thirdly, historians also analyze historical writing using what’s called the “external test.” This test is meant to identify whether there are outside sources apart from the writings being analyzed that substantiate the accuracy, reliability, and authenticity of the documents in question! The Bible has a few outside sources that substantiate its accuracy. The historian Eusebius quotes Hierapolis (A.D. 130) affirming the writings of John. Iranaeus, Bishop of Lyons in A.D. 180, was a student of Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna. Both Iranaeus and Polycarp affirmed John’s writings! Dr. Clark Pinnock, professor of Interpretation at McMasters University in Canada, rightly observes: “There exists no document from the ancient world witnessed by so excellent a set of textual and historical testimonies, and offering so superb an array of historical data on which an intelligent decision may be made. An honest man cannot dismiss a source of this kind. Skepticism regarding the historical credentials of Christianity is based upon an irrational basis!”


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Courtesy of The Virtual Bible Museum.

 

The following is a copy of a portion of a Hebrew Torah scroll that is over 300 years old.

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Courtesy of The Virtual Bible Museum.

 

John Macarthur's Commentary on the Origins of the Bible

Go Here for the entire teaching!

All translations of Scripture, all of them, are based on ancient sources…ancient sources that have been discovered in libraries throughout ancient times, treasures for those libraries. They have been discovered, they have been studied, they have been analyzed for their accuracy. They have been compared by the most fastidious, dutiful, thoughtful, careful scholars through the centuries so that I can say to you, unequivocally, the Bible you hold in your hand, if you have formal equivalency, an actual translation, I can assure you, you have an accurate…an accurate Bible.

The Holy Spirit, who is the author of Scripture, inspiring every writer of Scripture, is also the preserver of Scripture. Supernaturally, He moved on the writers without disrupting their own words and thoughts and ideas so that they wrote exactly what He wanted them to write. He moved on the preservers to make sure that the Scripture stayed pure for history.

The printing press didn’t show up till around 1500. Everything up to that time was copied by hand. Scribes understood the seriousness of what they did. There are some amazing stories about scribes, listen to this, copying down the Hebrew Old Testament who wrote one letter, left, and took a bath. Came back, wrote another letter, left, and took a bath, and did that until they had written the whole Old Testament. Sort of ceremonial cleansing to remind them after every letter of the importance and the sacredness of what they were copying.

At first, they were copying the original texts, written by Moses, written by David, written by Isaiah, written by Paul, written by Paul, James, Mark, Luke. They knew what they had in their hands and they copied it carefully because they understood it was Holy Scripture. Now, today, we have…let’s just take the New Testament cause that’s where we’ve been working, we have twenty-five thousand ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, twenty-five thousand. You say, “Is that all there…” Oh no, I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many there were that disappeared over the centuries, but there are twenty-five thousand that are extant, that now exist. This is an abundance of manuscripts by which we can compare them all and come to the accurate understanding that we need. Such an abundance shows how the Holy Spirit preserved everything. That was the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Old Testament manuscripts. When they were found, they were written before the time of Christ and they are matched to the translations we have today, showing how the Holy Spirit preserved Scripture.

Nothing…nothing in ancient literature, even comes close to the mass of manuscripts that we have on the New Testament. And what they demonstrate is the uniformity and the consistency. There are, as I said, twenty-five thousand ancient manuscripts. There are five thousand, six hundred or so Greek manuscripts and they go way back. We have Greek manuscripts from the second century, from the third century. Our Lord lived in the first century. There is a manuscript called P-52 and they’re numbered and named according to the people who found them, or the location, or something like that. This one called P-52 has parts of the gospel of John and it dates from 100 to 150 and John was living in the nineties. Somebody copied an original, most likely, or a copy of an original, very near the original.

There is another papyrus, they were writing on papyrus so they’re called papyri, there’s another one called the Bodmer Papyri in which we find John and Luke and it dates from 175 to 225. And then there’s the very famous papyrus called the Chester Beatty papyrus that has all four gospels and the book of Acts and it dates around 200. They go way back.

Here’s the amazing part. There probably shouldn’t be a lot of manuscripts from those early years. Why? Because second century in particular and the third century, for sure, was a time of immense Christian persecution, and an effort to stamp out Christianity by the destruction of Christians and Christian scriptures. But the Lord preserved these ancient texts, copies of those very close to the original.

Once you get into the fourth century, around 325, or so, you get Constantine making Christianity legal. The persecution ends and now manuscripts proliferate. They’re everywhere. And so by the time you pass say 325, the Council of Nicea, we begin to see manuscripts in abundance.

The two most important ones, one is called, it’s a Codex, this is called a Codex because it is a bound volume, rather than a scroll. The first one that is very important is called Sinaiticus and it’s about 350 and it’s the whole New Testament. The second important one is called Vaticanus, 325 and it’s the whole Bible. By the way, both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus end Mark at verse 8.

We also have eight thousand ancient copies of the New Testament in Latin called the Vulgate. And the Vulgate dates from 382 to 405. We also have 350-plus copies of the Bible in Syriac that goes back to the 200’s. If I’m belaboring this a little bit, I’m going to tell you why. We have all these ancient manuscripts that when compared all say the same thing. The early church fathers, for example, before 325 because there was the Council of Nicea in 325, they’re called the ante nicene fathers because they were before Nicea, the early fathers in the 200’s and 300’s, if you just read…there were these guys writing all kinds of theology, and all kinds of biblical study material, if you take the church fathers prior to 325, there are among those fathers about 32 thousand quotes from the New Testament. There are so many quotes from the New Testament among those fathers in the writings of the fathers, which we have, which are held in libraries, that we can reconstruct the complete New Testament from nothing but the writings of the fathers. That’s another source to find what the New Testament said in ancient times.

The writings of the early church fathers also confirm the accuracy of the gospels. There are over nineteen thousand quotations from the gospels in the writings of the fathers. So whether you’re reading a Greek manuscript, a Syriac Bible, or whether you’re looking at a Latin Vulgate or whether you’re reading a quote from a church father, it is crystal clear that they all had the same thing. They would be reading essentially in their language what you’re reading today in yours because yours is drawn from those ancient manuscripts.

Now let me give you something to compare with all that. The second most common ancient document in the manuscript world is Homer’s Iliad. Remember that when you went to college? You had to read that epic poem called the Iliad by Homer? Next to the New Testament there are more copies of Homer’s Iliad than any other ancient piece of literature. Oh, by the way, there are 643 of them…643, small change compared to twenty-five thousand. And, oh by the way, the oldest one is from the thirteenth century A.D. and Homer wrote in the eighth century B.C. We don’t have anything even close to when Homer wrote. Who knows whether Homer ever said any of that?

Another familiar piece of literature to a student of history is the Golic Wars, Caesar fought Golic Wars. He wrote the Golic Wars, the history of the Golic Wars in the first century B.C. There are ten existing manuscripts of that, the oldest one is a thousand years after Caesar wrote.

Some of you may have heard of Herodotus, the Greek historian. He wrote history. In fact, Herodotus could be the father of historians, he was the son of the first historian. He wrote in the fifth century before Christ. We have eight manuscripts of Herodotus’ history and the earliest is 1300 years after he wrote.

There’s another one. Because I studied European history and have always been fascinated by this, I’m even reading something about it now, the history of the Peloponnesian war written by Thucydides, we have eight manuscripts of that, the earliest is 1300 years later. Do I need to go on? Nobody bothered to protect those. Nobody bothered to preserve those. But, boy, did they work hard to protect the Word of the living God. They knew what they had. With so many accurate manuscripts, you can know with no hesitation that the Bible you hold in your hand is a true English translation of the original autographs, as they’re called, preserved accurately.

One of the scholars that I’ve studied in years past, is a man named A.T. Robertson. You’ll see his name connected to matters regarding biblical scholarship. A.T. Robertson says, “The vast array of manuscripts has enabled textual scholars to accurately reconstruct the original text with…listen to this…more than 99.9 percent accuracy.” That’s pretty good. More than 99.9 percent accuracy.

What’s so amazing about this, these are all hand copies…hand copies. Now you say, “You mean, in all of that there are no errors?” Oh, I didn’t say that. They made errors. They put in a wrong word, put in a wrong spelling, left something out, occasionally they even tried to clarify something, some of these scribes. But guess what, we have so many manuscripts, we know when they’re doing that. We know when we’re doing that. Plus, if something shows up in a later manuscript, and it’s not in any of the earlier ones, we know it was added later. It isn’t brain surgery.

And there’s a science of textual criticism, it’s called lower criticism. The science of textual criticism…I’ll give you an illustration of it. If you came across a manuscript in Greek that said, “It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven, you have your manuscript…it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Hum. And let’s say you found another fragment discovered somewhere and it said this, “It’s easier for a cord to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven.” You certainly can’t put a camel through the eye of a needle, but you could put a cord through the eye of a needle. Which would be the correct one? What would your answer be? Not cord, because nobody would turn cord into camel, but somebody might turn camel into cord. Oh, by the way, there’s only one two stroke difference between the word for cord and the word for camel. But we know when somebody does that. That’s the science of textual criticism. Camel is right. We also know that because of the text, because the text says, “It’s impossible with man,” and it would be impossible to put a camel through the eye of a needle.”

 

OLD TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS (Courtesy of John Hagee Prophecy Study Bible)

As stated previously, the Hebrew Bible has come down to us through the scrupulous care of the ancient scribes who copied the original text in successive generations. By the 6th century the scribes were succeeded by a group known as the Masoretes, who continued to preserve them for another 500 years in a form known as the Masoretic Text. Babylonia, Palestine and Tiberias wer the main centers of Masoretic activity; but by the 10th century the Masoretes of Tiberias, led by the family of ben Asher, gained the ascendancy. Through subsequent editions, the ben Asher text became in the 12th century the only recognized form of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Daniel Bomberg printed the first Rabbinic Bible in 1516-17; that work was followed in 1524-25 by a 2nd edition prepared by Jacob ben Chayyim and also published by Bomberg. The text of ben Chayyim was adopted in most sbusequent Hebrew Bibles, including those used by the Kng James translators. It was used for the first 2 editions of the Biblia Hebraica, by Rudolph Kittel, in 1906 and 1912. Paul Kahle, in 1937, published a 3rd edition of Biblia Hebraica, based on the oldest dated manuscript of the ben Asher text, the Leningrad Manuscript B19a (A.D. 1008), which Kahle regarded as superior to that used by ben Chayyim.

For the New King James Version the text used was the 1967/1977 Stuttgart edition of Biblia Hebraica, with frequent comparisons being made with the Bomberg edition of 1524-25. The Septuagint (Greek) Version of the Old Testament and the Latin Vulgate were consulted. In additon to referring to a variety of ancient versions of the Hebrew Scriptures, the New King James Version also draws on the resources of relevant manuscripts from the Dead Sea caves. In the few places where the Hebrew is so obscure that the King James followed one of the versions, but where information is now available to resolve the problems, the New King James Version follows the Hebrew text. Significant variations are recorded in footnotes.

NEW TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS (Courtesy of Halley's Bible Handbook)

The original manuscripts of all the New Testament books, as far as is known, have been lost. Copies began to be made for other churches and copies of copies, generation after generation, as the older ones wore out. Papyrus, the common writing material in use, was made of slices of the water plant that grew in Egypt. Two slices, one vertical, the other horizontal, were pressed together and polished. Ink was made of charcoal, gum and water. Single sheets were used for short compostions and for longer sheets, they were fastened, side to side, to form rolls (30 ft. long by 9 or 10 inches high).

In the 2nd century the books began to be made up in "Codex" form, that is modern book form, in which any number of leaves could be put into one volume, with numbered pages.

Papyrus was not very durable and became brittle with age or rotted with dampness, and soon wore out; except in Egypt, where the dry climate and shifting sands have preserved for the discovery in our own times an amazing collection of ancient documents.

In the 4th century Papyrus was replaced with Vellum, parchment made from skins, which was much more durable and made up in book form. Until recent discovery of the Egyptian Papyri, all known extant manuscripts of the Bible were on Vellum.

With the invention of Printing in the 15th century the making of manuscript Bibles ceased. There are now in existence about 4,000 known manuscripts of the Bible, or parts of the Bible, made between the 2nd and 15th centuries. This seems few to us, but it is far more than the manuscripts of any other ancient writings. There is not a complete known copy of Homer earlier than A.D. 1300; nor of Herodotus earlier than A.D. 1000. Here is an update from the "John Hagee Prophecy Study Bible": Over 5,000 Greek, 8,000 Latin, and many more manuscripts in other languages attest the integrity of the New Testament.

The Vellum manuscripts now known are called "Uncials" and "Cursives." The Uncials, numbering about 160 and made between the 4th and 10th centuries, were written in large captial letters. The Cursives, made between the 10th and 15th centuries, were written in small running letters linked together. The Uncials, being more ancient, are far more valuable.

The three oldest, completest, best known and most valuable manuscripts are: the Sinaitic, Vatican and Alexandrian, which were originally complete Bibles.

The Sinaitic Manuscript (Codex Sinaiticus) was found by the German Scholar, Tischendorf (1844), at thet Monastery of St. Catherined on Mt. Sinai. He found 43 leaves of vellum pages with Greek writing, on one trip in a trash can ready to be burned. On a third trip in 1853, he discovered the rest of the manuscript. It was secured by the Imperial Library in St. Peterburg, where it remained until 1933, when it was sold to the British Museum for $ 500,000. Containing 199 leaves of the Old Testament and the entire New Testament (the only ancient manuscript) and was made in the first half of the 4th century.

The Vatican Manuscript, from the 4th century, was in the Vatican Library since 1481 and has some fragments of the New Testament missing.

The Alexandrian Manuscript, from the 5th century, was in the British Museum since 1627. It contains the entire Bible with some fragments missing.

And from the "John Hagee Prophecy Study Bible": There is only 1 basic New Testament used by Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox, by conservatives and liberals. Minor variations in hand copying have appeared through the centuries, before mechanical printing began about A.D. 1450.

Some variations exist in the spelling of Greek words, in word order, and in similar details. These ordinarily do not show up in translation and do not affect the sense of the text in any way. Other manuscript differences, regarding the omission or inclusion of a word or a clause, as well as two paragraphs in the Gospels, should not overshadow the overwhelming degree of agreement which exists among the ancient records. Bible readers may be assured that the most important differences in the English New Testament of today are due, not to manuscript divergence, but to the way in which translators view the task of translation: How literally should the text be rendered? How does the translator view the matter of bibilical inspiration? Does the tranlator adopt a paraphrase when a litreal rendering would be quite clear and more to the point? The New King James Version follows the historic precedent of the Authorized Version in maintaining a literal approach to translation, except where the idiom of the original language occasionally cannot be translated directly into our tongue.

The King James New Testament was based on the traditional text of the Greek-speaking churches first published in 1516, and later called the Textus Receptus or Received Text. Although based on relatively few available manuscripts, these were representative of many more which existed at the time but only became known later. In the late nineteenth century, B. Westcott and F. Hort taught that this text had been officially edited by the 4th century church, but a total lack of historical evidence for this event has forced a revision of the theory. It is now widely held that the Byzantine Text that largely supports the Textus Receptus has as much right as the Alexandrian or any other tradition to be weighed in determining the text of the New Testament. Those readings in the Textus Receptus which have weak support are indicated in the footnotes as being opposed by both critical and majority texts.

THE SUPERNATURAL ORIGIN OF BIBLICAL TEXTS
(Courtesy of Chuck Missler of
Koinonia House )

Why do we believe the Bible is accurate? Is it more than just a history book? What makes it different from all other religious books? Over the years we have been asked many questions concerning the accuracy of the Bible. Unfortunately many Christians do not know how to answer these commonly asked questions. So today we are going to examine how God authenticates His message.

In the 20th century we have witnessed one of the most remarkable discoveries in recorded history: the discovery that the universe is finite. The implications of this discovery are indeed staggering. Beginning with Albert Einstein in 1903, twentieth-century physicists have demonstrated that space-time and matter had a finite, simultaneous beginning.

Prior to this discovery, atheistic scientists and philosophers rested comfortably on the notion that the universe was eternal. Consequently, a universe without a beginning needed no cause, it just existed. However, a universe that has a beginning either created itself (a logical and scientific absurdity) or it was caused to exist by a Being who preceded it. By definition, that means a transcendent Creator, One who exists outside time and space.

A transcendent Creator presents some interesting possibilities. Because a transcendent Creator possesses the sufficient means to act in our space-time domain, He also has the capability to get a message to us. The Bible claims to be that message. The Bible authenticates that its text is an extraterrestrial, supernatural message system from a transcendent Creator in several ways. Not the least of which is its scientific accuracy.

The Bible declares that God is omniscient (all-knowing). He possesses a perfect understanding of the physical universe. Consequently, we would expect any book claiming to be the word of God to be without error or contradiction when it speaks on scientific issues. Well, not only is the Bible 100 percent accurate regarding scientific phenomenon, it revealed many scientific facts thousands of years before they were discovered by scientists (i.e. that time, space, and matter are finite, the universe is expanding, the spherical nature of the earth, the laws of thermodynamics, the oceanic currents, etc.)

Throughout the Bible’s text there are highly specific and accurate statements regarding the laws of physics, the nature of our solar system, the planet earth, and its life forms that were penned centuries before this scientific knowledge was discovered by the scientific community. This phenomenon, called scientific foreknowledge, is present throughout the text of the Bible and is a powerful hint of supernatural authorship.

Throughout the Bible we find the fingerprints of a supernatural message system. Numerous design features in the Biblical text defy coincidence and demonstrate that the Bible, which consists of sixty-six books, penned by forty authors over thousands of years, is an integrated message system. Because God exists outside our space-time domain, He is able to see, in effect, the beginning and the end of our time domain simultaneously. Consequently, the Bible authenticates that its message is of extra-dimensional origin through predictive prophecy (i.e. by writing history in advance).

Astonishing evidence has gradually accumulated in the fields of archaeology, astronomy, physics, and biology which confirm the scientific and historical accuracy of the Bible, the supernatural origin of its text and the fact that it has been preserved virtually unchanged for over two thousand years. No other holy book on planet earth authenticates its message in these ways. For more information on the accuracy of the Bible, and for more examples supporting these claims, check out our series titled The Creator Beyond Time and Space.

Related Links:

The Creator Beyond Time & Space - MP3 Download - Koinonia House Store
Technical Articles: Space-Time - Koinonia House Archives
How We Got Our Bible - MP3 Download - Koinonia House Store

Additional sites detailing the science in the Bible: http://www.myfortress.org/science.html

Science And The Bible

Skeptics tell us that science contradicts the Bible, but all the evidence of the last 200 years refutes that! The truth is: The only science that really contradicts the Bible is bad science. Students on college campuses today believe that science does, indeed, contradict the Bible because of the teaching of biased and uninformed professors. It is high time Christians learned the truth--that though the Bible is not a textbook on science, every one of its claims about the physical universe is true. Throughout history, whenever the Bible has contradicted science--the Bible is not the one that has had to change! In fact, if one looks at a science textbook from 50 or 100 years ago, it is truly amazing to consider the number of things that were stated as the assured results of science, which are now known to be untrue!

For example, 100 years ago it was emphatically stated that the atom could not be split. Yet, we know all too well, as do the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that it can be split, and with powerful consequences! No, the Bible is not a science textbook--it is a narrative of God's reaching out to a lost world by redeeming it. However, whatever the Bible says about science, history, geography, or anything else, it is true--precisely because its Author is God. It is our job to be able to explain that to the skeptics who come our way.

THE INNUMERABLE STARS:

For centuries, scholars taught that the stars were very limited in number and could be counted without a great deal of trouble. Hiparchus, in 150 B.C., said that there were less than 3,000 stars. Ptolemy, the famed astronomer of Egypt in 150 A.D., said he had counted precisely 1,056 stars. Yet Jeremiah 33:22--which was written 2,600 years ago--told us that "the host of heaven cannot be numbered." It was not until Galileo invented the telescope that he realized the stars were innumerable (in 1608 A.D.)

A WATERY EARTH:

In 1000 B.C. Solomon said that the earth had at one time been under water, yet vast numbers of scientists believed that to be absolutely untrue until modern times. In 1885 geologists first found evidence that all land surfaces had been under water--and it is clear now that even the oldest and highest mountains show traces of sedimentary origin.

CHANNELS IN THE SEA:

In 2000 B.C. the Bible first said that there are channels in the oceans (Job 38:16), but science didn't know that for thousands of years. They thought the floor of the ocean was made up of flat sandy beds like the desert. It wasn't until 1873, when the British ship Challenger examined the sea bottom, that scientists discovered there were vast channels and recesses--some as much as 5 1/2 miles deep and greater than the Grand Canyon--at the bottom of the sea.

SPRINGS IN THE DEEP:

God asks Job (Job 38) if he had entered into the "springs of the sea." Why, such things were unheard of! Yet Moses confirms their existence 500 years later. Science didn't confirm it until 1930, when deepsea diving equipment allowed them to discover underground rivers and in 1945, when huge springs were discovered in the depths of the oceans.

WHAT CAUSES RAIN?:

Job 38:25-27 reveals that lightening causes rain! But science didn't agree until 4,000 years later when, in 1964, it was discovered that the discharge of lightening, particularly bolts that travel from the earth up to the clouds, changed the electrical polarity of rain droplets, causing them to coalesce as raindrops and fall to the earth. Tests show that without this electrical charge, these droplets simply ricochet off one another harmlessly.

THE LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS:

The Bible teaches that all creation ended after the 6th day (Genesis 2:1-2; Hebrews 4:3). That means there was no more matter, energy, heavens, or earth being created after that time. However, through the centuries various writers and scientists contradicted that concept until the 1840's, when Robert Mayer formulated the Law of Mass and Energy Conservation--known as the first Law of Thermodynamics. It states that the total of all mass and energy in the universe remains constant. One form of energy or mass may be changed into another, but the total cannot be increased or decreased. This was an incredible discovery that once and for all confirmed what the Bible said 1,450 years before Christ. Shortly after that, they realized that though mass and energy remain constant, they are constantly decaying. The Bible states this in Isaiah 51:6, Psalms 102:26, and Hebrews 1:1. But it was not until the 1800's that the Second Law of Thermodynamics--the Law of Entropy--confirmed it with science. It was found that there is a constant amount of energy in the universe, but in all kinds of energy transferences there is a loss of useful energy. For example, in creating heat, the sun is diminishing at the rate of 4,600,000 tons per second! And it is not just the sun; the Law of Entropy says all things are growing older, wearing out, running down, and decaying. The Bible knew that thousands of years ago.

WHAT IS THE UNIVERSE MADE OF?:

There are a number of theories, but the Bible says it was made out of nothing which appears. In other words, it was made out of things that are invisible (Hebrews 11:3). It wasn't until approximately 100 years ago that W.C. Roentgen discovered the X-ray and in the 1920's when the electron microscope came into existence, that science ascertained that the universe was literally made of invisible atoms.

WHAT HOLDS THE ATOM TOGETHER?:

The parts of the nucleus of the atom are so charged that they should repel each other--to the degree that every atom in the universe ought to be engaged in an atomic explosion! However, scientists have found something they call a "force" which holds atoms together and keeps them from exploding. Science can't even explain this force; they have merely given it a name. What is it? The Bible says it is Christ that is keeping the universe from flying apart (Colossians 1:17)

DIVISIONS OF CREATION:

The first chapter of Genesis tells us there are 3 divisions of created things; vv. 1-10 tell of the origin of minerals; vv. 11-13 tell of the origin of the vegetable kingdom; and vs. 20-31 tell of the origin of the animal kingdom. These were not known in any of the ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece, Asyria, or Babylonia but they were discovered by Carlous Linnaeus in modern times.

ONE BLOOD:

It is obvious today that all mankind is of one blood, because we can donate and help one another with our blood. The Bible stated it in Acts 17:26, but science didn't concur until thousands of years later. As recently as 1775, anthropology taught that there were five incompatible races of men with different kinds of blood. It was not until 1900 that Karl Landsteiner discovered plasma and helped science understand the Common Blood Theory--that all blood was the same.

(Does Science contradict the Bible? Dr. D. James Kennedy) Science And The Bible

The conflict between science and the Bible has been bitter, especially in the last 150 years. Most reasons for this hostility relate to what one perceives to be the nature and procedure of either domain. For many, the alleged conflict is resolved by separating the two spheres entirely. This is sometimes done by limiting the role of religion or the Bible to matters of faith and science to matters of fact. Specifically, some Christians in science argue that the Bible tells us “Who and Why” (God), and science deals with “How.” However, this neat separation of the domains of science and the Bible is unsatisfactory since the Bible does not so limit itself to questions of Who and Why. It often makes assertions of fact about the scientific world. Neither does science limit itself merely to questions of How.

It also deals with origins. From a Christian perspective the relation between the Bible and Nature is the relation between two revelations of God, special revelation and general revelation. The first is found in God’s revelation in Scripture and the latter in his revelation in Nature. Between these two, when properly understood, there are no conflicts, since God is the Author of both, and he cannot contradict himself. However, since scientific understanding is merely a fallible human understanding of Nature and since Bible scholars have only a fallible interpretation of infallible Scripture, it is understandable that there will be contradictions in these areas. The situation can be diagrammed as follows:

1. Scripture----no conflict
2. Theology----some conflict

Biblical theology involves human understanding of the biblical text. As such, it is subject to misunderstanding and error. Likewise, science is fallible human attempts at understanding the universe. So conflict is inevitable. For example, most scientists believe the universe is billions of years old. Some Bible scholars hold that it is only thousands of years old. Obviously, both cannot be right.

Principles of Reconciliation

Before areas of specific conflicts are noticed, several guidelines are useful to the nature and procedure of both disciplines. Either Group Is Subject to Error.

Informed persons from both sides, both Bible interpreters and scientists, have made mistakes. Many Bible scholars once believed the sun revolved around the earth (as did many scientists); some believed the earth to be square. But they were wrong.

Likewise, the model of an eternal cosmos has been discarded in favor of the big bang model. Evolutionary theories about inheriting acquired characteristics have been overthrown. Either Group Is Subject to Correction Another important principle is that both areas are subject to correction by the other. For example, scientific fact has refuted the flat-earth theory. Hence, any interpretation that takes verses about the “four corners of the earth” as literal depictions of geography are wrong. Science has proven them wrong. Likewise, scientists who insist that the universe is eternal hold a theory that has been proven false, both by science and in critiques by Christians.

Not all conflicts are so easily resolved. Very few things are proven with certainty in science. Some things are only probable or highly probable. For example, that the earth moves around the sun is not absolutely proven. This theory fits the facts as they are known and is a highly probable scientific interpretation of Nature that conflicts with a disputable interpretation of Scripture, then we should assume the latter is wrong. And vice versa.

For example, macro-evolution is disputable and the creation of the universe, first life, and new life forms is highly probable. Hence, creation should be accepted as true and macro-evolution rejected.

The Bible Is Not a Science Textbook.

One principle that some overzealous Christian apologists sometimes forget is that, while the Bible makes no scientific mistakes, neither is it a science textbook. It does not speak in technical scientific terms nor with precision. It uses round numbers. It employs observational, rather than astronomical, language. The Bible only affirms partial truths in the various areas of science. It does not teach much geometry, any algebra, or trigonometry. One cannot assume conflicts without taking these factors into consideration.

Science Is Constantly Changing

Science understandings change continually. That means an apologist of years ago who succeeded in reconciling the Bible to some view of science might have been absolutely wrong since there wasn’t a real conflict to reconcile. Perfect conformity may be wrong today as well, since science may change tomorrow. Given that science is a tentative and progressive discipline, never reaching a final conclusion on everything, it behooves us not to assume that there are scientific errors in the Bible unless:

1. Something is known for certain to be a scientific fact, and
2. It conflicts with an interpretation of Scripture that is beyond all doubt.

For example, it is beyond any reasonable doubt that the Bible teaches that a theistic God exists. Hence, one would have to prove that it was a scientific fact beyond all uncertainty that God did not exist in order to show a real conflict. It is unlikely that real conflicts between science and the Bible will ever be demonstrated. Some apparent conflicts deserve note, along with some probable and even highly probable views of modern science that find an amazing parallel in the Bible. It is to these that we first turn.

Bible and Science Converge

Given that not much scientific information was known in Bible times, the Bible speaks with considerable scientific credibility, an evidence of its supernatural nature.

Origins, Universe had a beginning

The very first verse of the Bible proclaims that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It was common in ancient views to consider the universe eternal, yet the Bible taught that it had a beginning. This is precisely what most scientists now believe in accepting the Big Bang theory. Agnostic astrophysicist Robert Jastrow wrote that “three lines of evidence—the motions of the galaxies, the laws of thermodynamics, and the life story of the stars—pointed to one conclusion: All indicated that the Universe had a beginning” (God and the Astronomers, 111).

Order of events

Genesis 1 also indicates a progressive creation, universe, followed by formless earth, followed by what happened to give form to the earth. This is a much more scientifically sophisticated conception than held by the common ancient creation story. The Bible affirms that God said in the beginning, “Let there be light. And there was light” (Gen. 1:3). Jastrow wrote of the parallel of this statement with modern science, “the details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commence suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy” (ibid., 14).

No new matter is being created

The Bible declared from the beginning that creation is complete. God rested from his work (Gen. 2:2) and is still at rest (Heb. 4:4f.). In short, no new matter (energy) is coming into existence. This is precisely what the First Law of Thermodynamics declares, namely, that the amount of actual energy in the universe remains constant.

Universe is running down

According to the second law of thermodynamics, the universe is running out of useable energy. It is literally growing old. This is precisely what the Psalmist said: “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded” (Ps. 102:25–27). Genesis declares that life first appeared in the sea (Gen. 1:21), and only later on land (1:26–27). This accords with the view that multicellular life teamed in the Cambrian waters before it multiplied on land. Life produces after its kind. In Genesis 1:24 God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” According to agnostic paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, “Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless” (Gould, “Evolution’s Erratic Pace,” 13–14). In that fossil record, as in Genesis, human beings were the last to appear.

Humans made from the earth

Unlike ancient myths or the Qur’an, which claims that humans were made from a “clot of congealed blood” (see Sura 23:14), the Bible states that “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). Further, it adds, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Gen. 3:19). According to science, the constituent elements of the human body are the same as those found in the earth.

Earth Sciences

Water returns to its source. Scripture affirms that “All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again” (Eccles. 1:7; cf. Job 37:16). While the author may not have been aware of the exact process of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation, his description is in perfect harmony with these processes.

The earth is round

Isaiah spoke of God who “sits enthroned above the circle of the earth” (40:22). This is a remarkably accurate description for an eighth-century b.c. prophet (see Isaiah, Deuteronomy). And Solomon had given the same truth in the tenth-century b.c. (Prov.8:27).

The earth hangs in space

In an era when it was common to believe the sky was a solid dome, the Bible accurately speaks of God spreading out the northern skies over empty space and suspending the earth over nothing (Job 26:7). The Bible is not only compatible with true scientific findings, but it anticipated many of them. Scientific knowledge is compatible with the truths of Scripture.

Other scientific findings

Many other things discovered by modern science were stated in the Bible hundreds and even thousands of years in advance. These include the fact that: (1) the sea has paths and channels (2 Sam. 22:16; Ps. 8:8; Prov. 8:28); (2) the sea has boundaries (Prov. 8:29); (3) life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11); (4) disease can be spread by physical contact (Lev. 13).

Geisler, N. L. 1999. Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics. Baker reference library .
Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Mich.

Can the Bible be Trusted in Science and History?

Some have suggested that Scripture can always be trusted on moral matters, but it is not always correct on historical matters. They rely on it in the spiritual domain, but not in the sphere of science. If true, however, this would render the Bible ineffective as a divine authority, since the spiritual is often inextricably interwoven with the historical and scientific. A close examination of Scripture reveals that the scientific (factual) and spiritual truths of Scripture are often inseparable. For example, one cannot separate the spiritual truth of Christ’s resurrection from the fact that His body permanently vacated the tomb and later physically appeared (Matt. 28:6; 1 Cor. 15:13–19). Likewise, if Jesus was not born of a biological virgin, then He is no different from the rest of the human race on whom the stigma of Adam’s sin rests (Rom. 5:12). Likewise, the death of Christ for our sins cannot be detached from His shedding literal blood on the cross, for “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). And Adam’s existence and fall cannot be a myth. If there were no literal Adam and no actual fall, then the spiritual teaching about inherited sin and eventual or physical death are wrong (Rom.5:12). Historical reality and the theological doctrine stand or fall together.

Also, the doctrine of the Incarnation is inseparable from the historical truth about Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:1, 14). Further, Jesus’ moral teaching about marriage was based on His teaching about God’s joining a literal Adam and Eve together in marriage (Matt. 19:4–5). In each of these cases the moral or theological teaching is devoid of its meaning apart from the historical or factual event. If one denies that the literal space-time event occurred, then there is no basis for believing the scriptural doctrine built upon it.

Jesus often directly compared OT events with important spiritual truths, such as His death and resurrection which were related to Jonah and the great fish (Matt. 12:40). Or, His second coming as compared to the days of Noah (Matt. 24:37–39). Both the occasion and the manner of that comparison make it clear that Jesus was affirming the historicity of those OT events. Indeed, Jesus asserted to Nicodemus, “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12) In short, if the Bible does not speak truthfully about the physical world, then it cannot be trusted when it speaks about the spiritual world. The two are intimately related. Inspiration includes not only all that the Bible explicitly teaches, but also everything the Bible touches. This is true whether the Bible is touching upon history, science, or mathematics. Whatever the Bible declares, is true—whether it is a major point or a minor point. The Bible is God’s Word, and God does not deviate from the truth in any point. All the parts are as true as the whole that they comprise.

(Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. 1992. When critics ask : A popular handbook on Bible difficulties . Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.)


Here is another evaluation of the early manuscripts by Ellis Skolfield. Provided by the site "Behold the Beast"

Some believe the Bible has been corrupted over time. It isn't true and here is how we know it isn't.

The last books of the New Testament were written by about 100 A.D. by the apostle John who was still alive at that time. We have over 5300 partial or complete manuscripts of the New Testament penned prior to fourth century A.D. Though not assembled into what we now know now as the New Testament until 300 A.D., those canonical writings of Jesus' apostles were being read all over the known world. Though it is disputed by some Messianic Jews, the New Testament manuscripts were originally written in Koine` Greek and then copied by early Christians into every language known to the world. Our major manuscripts are in Greek, yes, but we also have important early manuscripts in Latin, Syriac, Aramaic, Hebrew, and several other lesser-known languages. We have one small piece of the Gospel of John, found on the Egyptian island of Elephantine, that is early enough to be a piece of the original.

It is impossible to support any kind of later corrupting when we have those 5300 early manuscripts that prove otherwise. In fact, because of this breadth of early manuscript support, textual scholars have concluded -- that for all practical purposes -- we have the original documents themselves. For a claim of tampering to be seriously considered, one would have to show that scribes from Syria, Babylonia, Galatia, Asia, India, Rome, India, Egypt, Greece, Carthage, Tarshish and Macedonia -- to name a few -- all made the same mistake, at the same time, for the same doctrinal purpose. An utterly ridiculous idea.

We have similar textual support for the authenticity of the Old Testament. Until a few years ago, the earliest documents we had for the Old Testament were later copies of a 70 B.C. Septuigent in Greek and a Massoretic Text in Hebrew that could be positively dated to the ninth century A.D.. However, with manuscript discoveries at Qumran made in the late 1940's (the Isaiah scroll, the book of Daniel, the book of Jubilees, the Temple scrolls, etc. etc.), some of which could be dated to the third century B.C.. Internal evidence within one Daniel scroll dates it at 350 B.C. As a result, we can now state with some certainty that there has been no tampering with the canonical Old Testament manuscripts between 300 B.C. and 900 A.D..

Despite the span of over a thousand years, the canonical manuscripts are virtually identical !!!!

To suggest there was tampering to the Old Testament documents prior to 300 B.C. shows a misunderstanding of Israelite scribal methodology and of their reverence for the Scriptures. First of all, biblical scrolls were written on the inside only to prevent any smudging or smearing that might lead to a misreading of the text. When being copied -- besides many parallel readings -- the copy was compared with the original in every way humanly possible.

The words in each column were counted and then the letters. The first, last, and middle letter and word in each column had to be identical to the original. If the number of words or the number of letters of the copy differed from the original, the copy was destroyed. Then they counted the words and letters in the whole document. They divided the document into quarters and into eighths. The first, last and middle letter in each section had to be the same. The number of words and the number of letters in each section had to be the same. The middle word and the middle letter in each section had to be the same, and they had to be the same for the whole document. If not, the copy was destroyed. Not corrected, but destroyed!

Since there is absolutely no textual or historic evidence that the Old Testament was ever corrupted, any claim of editing must have been made by those religious authorities who didn't like what the Old Testament taught. There are some who claim late-dating for Old Testament prophets, but that claim is unfounded, as well. The books of Moses, originally penned in the 15th century B.C. contain Egyptian words and idioms that fell out on the usage a few centuries later. When the Hebrews entered Canaan, Canaanite words appeared in Scripture, when in contact with the Assyrians, Assyrian words appeared in Scripture. During the Babylonian captivity, when Daniel and Ezekiel were written, Babylonian words and Babylonian idioms appeared in Scripture. So rest assured, these canonical books were contemporary books, written when the prophets claimed they were, and they remain unchanged to this day.

Ellis Skolfield http://www.ellisskolfield.com The bible spans a period from Moses in about 1446 BC, to the book of Revelation, written around the end of the first century. Over that period mankind developed from desert dwelling nomads, to advanced nations that could follow religious law, as well as secular laws of kings and emperors. It is important to note that parts of the Old Testament are purely historical record, that in no way imply God's tacit approval, of what was recorded of those events. These portions simply chronicle events that took place. In spite of it's near 1600 year history, and the large volume of prophets, and legions of witnesses, God's Word requires no abrogation. It should be apparent that the Quran’s voluminous abrogation, required for a record of recitations of an illiterate, that were collected over the brief span of just 23 years, demonstrates not divine revelation, but the changing whims of it's author. A good example is the convenient "revelation" that allowed Mohammed to take his stepson's wife (Sura 33:37), or allowed him all the wives he wanted, but only for him. The Al-Nasikh wal-Mansoukh - the abrogator and the abrogated - is the Arabic language book that details what is abrogated by what. More on abrogation.

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