Reasons to believe the Bible Refs
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The Bible was written so long ago. How can we be sure that it was really written by God? In fact, there is a lot of evidence that the Bible is divinely inspired. In this chapter we look at several lines of evidence which give us confidence that the Bible did come from God.

Debate: Why believe the Bible?
Divide into two groups. Select one group to argue in favour of the Bible being inspired, the other against. Each group should spend 5-10 minutes preparing their arguments. Then take turns in presenting the arguments.
After the “debate”, answer the following questions.

1. Was the case in favour of inspiration convincing?
2. Was the case against inspiration convincing?
3. Were there other arguments that could have been used?

PREACH: six reasons to believe
PREACH is a convenient word to help remember six convincing arguments for believing the Bible to be true.

Prophecy
Resurrection
Environment
Archaeology
Consistency
Health Laws

Prophecy
Fulfilled prophecy shows that the Bible must come from a powerful God who knows the future. In the next chapter, we consider prophecies about Israel.

There are also detailed prophecies about other places such as Babylon. Babylon was one of the leading superpowers of the world when Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied:

1. that Babylon would never be inhabited again; Isaiah 13:20
2. that desert creatures would infest the ruins of the city; Isaiah 13:21
3. that the stones would not be removed for other buildings; Jeremiah 51:26
4. that the ancient city would be visited rarely; Jeremiah 51:43
5. that the city would be swampland. Isaiah 14:23

Each of these prophecies has been fulfilled.

Nebuchadnezzar’s image (Daniel 2) is another extraordinary prophecy. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, dreamed about a large statue composed of different metals. It represented a series of four major empires that would dominate the Middle East. It was a dramatic, detailed vision given at a time when only the first of the empires existed. Because the empires have come and gone as predicted, we can be confident that the last part of the vision will be fulfilled and the kingdom of God will be set up replacing all human kingdoms.

The prophecies about Jesus are also important. Read Psalm 22 and compare it with Matthew 27 to see how many events at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion were prophesied. We know this Psalm was written before the crucifixion because copies of the book of Psalms dating before that time have been found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls. See page 3

Resurrection
Perhaps the most amazing claim in the whole Bible is that Jesus rose from the dead. There is very strong evidence that this event did happen.

For example, a large number of people claimed to see Jesus after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Many of them were initially skeptical and Jesus had to give “many convincing proofs that he was alive” (Acts 1:3). The fact that they all did believe, shows that there must have been compelling evidence.
How is this different from the martyrs of other religions?

After Jesus died, the disciples were demoralized and frightened. Within a few weeks they were motivated and courageous, publicly proclaiming their faith. Why did they change unless they had truly seen Jesus alive again? The disciples had every reason not to believe. When they acknowledged their faith in the resurrection, they were severely persecuted. They must have been absolutely convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead. Anybody with doubts would not have willingly suffered as they did.

Perhaps more than any other reason, the missing body is evidence of the resurrection. The Jews desperately wanted to stop the young Christian movement, and could have done so easily by simply producing the body. After all, the tomb had been under guard. Matthew 27:62-66; 28:11-15
Arguments such as these have convinced many skeptics that Jesus really did rise from the dead. And if Jesus rose, then there must be a powerful God and the Bible must be his word.

Environment
David looked up into the night sky and said “the heavens declare the glory of God”. Wherever we look amongst God’s creation, we see evidence for his almighty power and the remarkable design behind all he made.
Psalm 19:1

For example, the physical structure of the universe is extraordinarily finely tuned. If gravity was any stronger, the sun would have burnt up too quickly for life. On the other hand, if gravity was much weaker, elements heavier than helium could not be formed. There are more than fifty such physical constants that have obviously been finely tuned to allow the universe and life to exist.

Biology also provides evidence of extraordinary design. Take the eye as an example. It is a remarkably complex organ which has many parts all working harmoniously together. When Sir Isaac Newton considered the complexity of an eye he wrote (Optiks, 1704.)
“Was the eye contrived without skill in optics?”. No, it required the skill of the Almighty Creator.
Even Charles Darwin wrote (
Origin of the Species, 1859.) “to suppose that the eye . . . could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.” See Chapter 7. Creation.

God’s creation provides ample evidence of his power and existence.
Paul told the Romans that there was so much evidence that people had no excuse if they did not believe it. See Romans 1:20

Archaeology
Many archaeological finds demonstrate the historical accuracy of the Bible. For example, evidence for the existence of a number of Bible people has been found in the form of clay seals. When letters and official documents were sent to someone, they were normally sealed with a wax or clay seal bearing the writer’s name and title. Some of the clay seals have survived and been found (although the documents to which they were once attached have long since crumbled away). Some of the seals found have belonged to the following people.

Baruch, son of Neriah Jer 36:4 (Jeremiah’s scribe)
Jerahmeel, son of the king Jer 36:26 (near Baruch seal)
Gemariah, son of Shaphan Jer 36:10  
Seriah, son of Neriah Jer 51:59 (Baruch’s brother)
Azariah, son of Hilkiah 1 Chr 6:13 (son of high priest)
Azaliah, son of Meshullam 2 Kgs 22:3  

The seal of Baruch
Other archaeological finds show the Bible to be historically accurate about events, places, and people. (See the references at the end of this chapter.)

Consistency
Despite being written by many different authors, from all walks of life, over a period of about 1600 years, the Bible is consistent, even in the apparently trivial details. There are many examples in the Bible where different passages support each other, providing “undesigned coincidences”. The following passages give an example.

Numbers 13:33 There we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants. And we were in our own sight as grasshoppers. (KJV)
Joshua 11:21-22 At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country . . . No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive.
1 Samuel 17:4 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall.

These passages were written by three different authors at three different periods of history, yet they harmonize with each other perfectly. The first passage shows that when Israel entered the promised land there were many giants there (the sons of Anak, or Anakites). The second passage shows that later Israel destroyed nearly all of these giants, but left a few in three towns: Gaza, Gath and Ashdod. The third passage then casually mentions that the giant Goliath’s home town was Gath. He must have been descended from one of the Anakites. There is a ring of truth about these three passages. They sound more like accurate history than contrived fiction.

Start looking for other examples. There are hundreds!

Health laws
In the Law of Moses, there are several laws about cleanliness and hygiene that are now known to be important to human health. The Israelites could not have known this at the time. So these provisions provide further evidence that the Bible comes from God.

For example, before the improved preparation and refrigeration of foods, eating seafood often led to intestinal problems and food poisoning. The Law of Moses prohibited these foods. Leviticus 11:4-8,10-12
Another example is the burying of toilet waste. Until relatively recently, it was common for excrement to be dumped into the streets. Flies bred in the filth and spread intestinal diseases that killed millions. Diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever took a heavy toll of lives. But none of these things were problems to the Israelites.
Deuteronomy 23:12-13

Only God could have written such laws thousands of years before their scientific basis was known.


1. Make a list of the arguments against the Bible being inspired, and discuss how you could answer each of them.
2. Why is it so important that we believe the whole Bible is inspired? What would be the effect of considering it a book written without God’s guidance?


1. Pick one of the six topics discussed in this chapter and write a brief essay of 500-1000 words explaining how it provides evidence that the Bible is inspired. In your essay, you should provide some examples that are not mentioned here.
2. One of the arguments people use against the Bible is that it contains some apparent contradictions. Some of them are listed below. Can you explain them?

(a) Sacrifice or not?
In Hosea 6:6, God says “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”.
But God had told them to sacrifice!

(b) Did Saul inquire of the Lord?
Compare 1 Samuel 28:6; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14.

(c) Which country?
Compare 2 Samuel 8:13 with 1 Chronicles 18:12.
(Some versions correct this apparent contradiction. But see the footnotes.)

(d) How did Judas die?
Compare Matthew 27:3-5 with Acts 1:18.


God’s truth, by Alan Hayward (Printland Publishers, revised ed., 1983). This is an excellent book considering the evidence for the Bible’s inspiration. It covers all the reasons covered in this chapter, and some others.
On prophecy: Wonders of prophecy by John Urquhart (revised edition, 1939, Pickering and Inglis: London). An old book, but it provides an excellent summary of fulfilled prophecies concerning various nations. Much shorter, but more easily obtained, is Bible prophecy by Fred Pearce
(published by the Christadelphian, 24 pages).
On the resurrection: Who moved the stone? by Frank Morison (1983, OM Publishing, Carlisle). The author set out to prove that Jesus could not have been raised from the dead and ended up convinced that the Bible was right after all.
On the environment: Does God exist? Science says yes, by Alan Hayward (2nd ed., Printland Publishers, 1998). Previously published as God is, this is a good source book for scientific evidence for God’s existence. 221 pages.
On archaeology: The stones cry out by Randall Price (published by Harvest House, 1997). This book provides a detailed survey of archaeological finds that shed light on Bible history and demonstrate Bible accuracy.
On consistency: Undesigned scriptural coincidences by J.J Blunt (19th ed., 1983, The Christadelphian: Birmingham).
A fascinating collection of examples where the Bible is consistent even in tiny details. First published in 1847.
On health laws: The Bible and medicine by John Hellawell (published by Christadelphian ALS, c.1998). 28 pages.
This booklet shows that the Bible demonstrates an understanding of health and hygiene thousands of years ahead of its time. Modern medicine and the Bible by Alan Fowler (Ortho Books, 2000). An orthopedic surgeon discusses the links between Bible teaching and medical science.
None of these diseases by S.I. McMillen and D.E. Stern (revised edition, Baker Book House, 2000). Two doctors show that living God’s way is healthy!
On apparent contradictions: Encyclopedia of Bible difficulties by Gleason L. Archer (published by Zondervan, 1982). Hard sayings of the Bible by W.C. Kaiser Jr, P.H. Davids, F.F. Bruce and M.T. Brauch (published by InterVarsity Press, 1996). Both of these books deal with apparent biblical contradictions as well as other passages that are hard to understand.


1. God’s inspired word
7. Creation
3. Prophecy concerning Israel
11. Faith
30. Old Testament prophecies of Jesus

 
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