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Answers TV Blog: Believe, Defend, Proclaim

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The Bible Is True: How We Can Know for Sure

The Bible is under attack now more than ever. Many are wondering if the Bible is true as skeptics try to undermine the validity of God’s Word. A Gallup poll in 2017 found that only 24% of Americans believe the Bible is the literal Word of God—the lowest in 40 years—it’s much worse in other parts of the Western World.

Over the last three decades, the view that the Bible is true has been declining while the view that the Bible is merely a collection of fables, myth, mixed with some real history is increasing.

A large portion of today’s U.S. population (47%) believe the Bible is merely inspired by God but shouldn’t be taken in its plain or straightforward sense.

Does it matter whether or not we take the Bible in its plain or straightforward manner? Some might believe it doesn’t, but doubt erodes faith little by little until there is nothing left. If we don’t believe we should take God’s Word literally (in a plain, straightforward sense), then who is to say we can’t pick and choose what we want to follow and believe? This is a dangerous position to take because man, being a sinner apart from Christ, is bound to pick and choose what is most convenient for him—even if it dishonors God and others. 

It further puts man in a position to judge God and His Word (e.g., John 12:48)—in other words man is elevating their own thoughts to be their own “god.” But God and His Word are supreme and the judge of all mankind regardless of what they believe. It is God’s Word that judges man in the end. 

The reason God gave us His Word was to be a beacon of light and truth in the darkness of the world’s lies and deception. He gave us the Bible so we can know Him, trust Him, and obey Him as we put our faith in Jesus Christ.

But don’t take our word for it. Let’s see what the Bible says about its own validity.

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We Expect the Scriptures to Affirm They Are From God Occasionally

There are over 3,000 instances in Scripture in which specific authors claim to be speaking on behalf of God. Oftentimes, they use phrases such as “the word of God” and the “word of the Lord” to show that their writings were of divine origin.

Here are just a few of those passages:

  • “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
  • “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
  • Jesus tells the Pharisees that “Scripture cannot be broken” in John 10:35.
  • “The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.”
  • “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
  • Peter equates some of Paul’s letters to other Scriptures in 2 Peter 3:16.
  • “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6).

Jesus also cited numerous passages from the Old Testament as truth when teaching and even when arguing with the Pharisees. When he referenced accounts and people in the Old Testament, He spoke of them as real people, not figurative characters.

Because the Bible is the Word of God we expect the Scriptures to say they come from God. 

Does the Bible Have Errors?

God is the Truth and the standard of truth and in Him there is no sin, no error, and no faults. So it is expected that God’s Word, which comes with the stamp of God on it will have no errors in the original autographs that were initially written. 

So does the Bible have errors? The simple answer to that question is no, but there is an answer that’s more complicated. You see, the Word of God has no errors in the sense that the message God gave to the men who wrote the biblical book was completely accurate and truthful. If you look at the passages we cited above, you will see this to be true.

So when we talk about God’s Word being infallible, we are referring to the original autographs of Scripture that God gave those men by the power of the Holy Spirit. But we don’t mean that the exact texts we have today are 100% error-free—since copyists are human and make mistakes occasionally. After all, we do not have any of the original manuscripts that these authors wrote.

Those original words of Scripture were passed down over thousands of years, allowing for some possible human error. But keep in mind that these Scriptures were passed down very carefully and meticulously. The ancient biblical manuscripts we still have today contain slight variations, but they are strikingly similar, indicating we can trust their validity. Even the Dead Sea Scrolls, which have been in caves since before the time of Christ, have been shown to be remarkably close to the texts we have today of the Old Testament. 

It should come as no surprise that the Bible has maintained its accuracy throughout generations of being passed down. God promised to preserve His Word throughout the ages in multiple passages. In Psalm 12:6-7, the psalmist says, “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.”

Keep in mind that when we say the Bible is true and inerrant, we don’t mean that everything every Bible characters says is true. The Bible records the stories of many people who lied, cheated, stole, and sinned—this in no way means those things are good or true. But the record of them is accurate.

Neither does biblical inerrancy mean that there aren’t seeming contradictions between accounts of the same narrative. For instance, the four Gospels often tell the same account but from a different perspective, focusing on their own details to emphasize their teaching point. They are actually complimentary but not contradictory. 

Keep in mind another significant aspect of the Bible here. Because the Bible is true, errors and contradictions are bad—this is a biblical concept. If the Bible were not true, then contradictions, error and so on could not be “wrong” because it is God the of the Bible who determines “right” and “wrong” in the first place.

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Fulfilled Prophecy Is Expected Since the Bible Is True

It’s amazing how many biblical prophecies have been fulfilled over the ages. No other religion has seen as many of their prophecies fulfilled. The Bible is 100% on fulfilled prophecy with the exception of those yet in the future. Scriptural prophecies often provide incredible detail, forthright clarity, and impeccable accuracy, confirming that previous Scripture regarding that prophecy is true.

Historical Prophecies

The Bible contains historical prophecies that time has proved to be true. For instance, the prophet Daniel had a vision that exactly describes the ebb and flow of four empires from Babylon to Medo-Persia to Greece to Rome. He even foretold the meteoric rise to power of Alexander the Great and how his four surviving generals divided his Greek empire. (See Daniel 7:6, 8:5-8, and 11:2-4.)

There isn’t enough room in this article to go through each historical prophecy in the Bible that has come to pass so far. But one example is Ezekiel’s prophecy of the Phoenician city Tyre’s destruction in Ezekiel 36. And in Isaiah 44:28, Isaiah foretold the coming reign of the Persian King Cyrus and how he would help Israel return to their homeland after years of captivity.

Messianic Prophecies

Some of the most amazing fulfilled prophecies point to Jesus as the promised Messiah. The Old Testament contains dozens of specific messianic prophecies that occurred in Jesus’ life and lifetime.

For instance, Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be born of a virgin in Isaiah 7:14 and that He would die to take on the sins of the world in Isaiah 53. Micah 5:2 even contains a prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Scripture also foretold how Jesus would die. King David prophesied that none of the Messiah’s bones would be broken (Psalm 34:20), and Zechariah said He would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10). While on the cross, the soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves who died alongside Jesus, but they didn’t break Jesus’ legs. Instead, they thrust a spear into His side.

Again, there are too many Messianic prophecies to recount here, but you can download this sheet containing all the messianic prophecies Jesus has already fulfilled. Because the Bible is true, we expect the prophecy to be true. 

Science Confirms Aspects of the Bible 

Secular researchers have always been behind when it comes to science—at least compared to the Bible. As scientists continue to make discoveries, they learn that the Bible’s descriptions of scientific processes are true.

When it comes to anthropology, the Bible makes it clear that all human beings on earth came from one man and one woman: Adam and Eve. Evolutionists would have us believe that ape-like creatures evolved over time into humans and modern apes, which would allow for various races to arise. But now, genetics verifies that there is only one human race and missing links are missing

Consider biology in the Bible—Scripture claims God created animals “according to their kind” in Genesis 1. Evolutionists have argued that organisms can evolve into completely different animals. But modern-day biology confirms that animals reproduce within limited boundaries called kinds. 

Also in biology, the Law of Biogenesis says life comes from life, not non-life.  In other words, life cannot arise from matter and random processes on its own. Yet evolutionists often contradict this law repeated by appealing to “abiogenesis” to get the supposed first life.  

Geology is also an excellent confirmation of the Bible. Genesis 6-7 describes how God destroyed the earth and all its inhabitants with a global Flood. Geologists who believe in evolution have claimed that layers upon layers of sediment were deposited slowly over millions and billions of years of slow gradual processes. But today, we observe many rock layers were formed at the same time due to local and regional catastrophes. The Flood explains the vast strata we see across the earth.

The Bible continuously comes out the victor in various fields of science. And when science has seemed to disagree with the Bible throughout history, it repeatedly comes to light that the secular scientists were wrong and the Bible was right.

Because the Bible is true, we expects its statements on science aspects to be true.

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Archaeological Discoveries Are Consistent With the Bible 

Over the years, archaeologists have made numerous astounding discoveries that align with the Bible’s descriptions of locations, people groups, and events. These are excellent confirmations of the Bible’s text in several areas. Archaeologist Scott Lanser describes seven such finds that provide evidence for the Bible’s accuracy.

The Tel Dan Stele

A stele is an upright stone (not steel) that people use as a monument for an important achievement or event. Steles were common among Egyptians, Israelites, and many other people groups across Mesopotamia. The Tel Dan Stele, which was made around 900 to 850 B.C., has the phrase “House of David” inscribed on it.

This incredible discovery affirms that the United Monarchy under King David did exist. It also defies criticisms from those who had been ignoring the Bible and saying that the biblical King David wasn’t a historical figure.

The Meesha Stele

The Meesha Stele was created around 846 B.C. and is popularly known as the Moabite Stone. It contains an account of the revolt of Meesha, King of Moab, against Israel. The stele mentions Israelite King Omri and David of the United Monarchy. It even refers to Yahweh, the unique name for the God of Israel.

The Nabonidus Cylinder

King Nabonidus of Babylon left a magnificent cuneiform cylinder that mentioned his son, Belshazzar, by name in 550 B.C. Skeptics throughout the years have claimed that the book of Daniel is inaccurate. They said this because no historical texts mentioned Belshazzar as a king in Babylon—only his father, King Nabonidus.

But this cylinder affirms Daniel’s account of Belshazzar and proves those skeptics wrong. It explains why many historical texts didn’t mention Belshazzar as the king. Belshazzar had a coregency with his father, Nabonidus, which is why Daniel 5:16 says Belshazzar made Daniel the “third ruler in the kingdom.” He couldn’t make him second because that was his own role.

Caiaphas Ossuary

An ossuary is an ornate box crafted to hold the bones of the dead after their bodies have decomposed. In 1990, researchers discovered in the Peace Forest section of Jerusalem a burial cave containing 12 ossuaries. One of them was that of Caiaphas, the high priest who presided over Jesus’ trial. This amazing discovery affirms the Gospels’ accounts of Jesus’ trial and death.

All these various archaeological, scientific and prophetic examples are merely evidence confirming what God has already told us about His Word: The Bible is true and we can trust it. But how do we know that the Bible is true? I’ve given several confirmations from science or archaeology or prophecy but none of these prove the Bible to be true—although they are consistent with the fact that the Bible is true.  So how do we know? 

How Do We Know the Bible Is True? 

It is time to dive a little deeper. When asking this question, we are assuming certain things. We are assuming truth exists and assuming knowledge exists. We are also assuming that we are not made like rocks or earthworms and can understand the question and answer.  

In other words, we are made in a such a way that we can understand and use logic, knowledge, truth, and communication. The Bible actually accounts for using these things since we are made in the image of a logic and all-knowing God, who is the Truth. The Bible provides the necessary preconditions to make us intelligible. 

Other religions cannot do this, only the Bible. So the Bible must be true for us to be able to evaluate the question. This is called by the impossibility of the contrary, the Bible must be predicated as true, otherwise we can’t prove anything. If the Bible were not true, we cannot really know anything for sure and all things breaks down to meaninglessness. 

All other people, regardless of their religion and worldview must borrow from the Bible to account for truth, knowledge, logic and so on—whether they realize it or not. It doesn’t mean an unbeliever must believe the Bible is true, from a personal perspective, but that the Bible is true regardless of their personal beliefs. 

I know this is deep, but it is powerful. The Bible, God’s Word, is true and the absolute basis for all matters including the very existence of truth, knowledge, and logic.

Find Answers to Your Bible Questions at Answers.tv

There are many other incredible evidences for the accuracy and validity of the Word of God. And here at Answers in Genesis, we love to make those answers easily accessible to you.

So if you have more questions about the validity of the Bible, you may enjoy the following resources on Answers.tv:

Is the Bible True? featuring Bodie Hodge

How Do We Know the Bible Is True? (4-part collection)

The Bible vs. All Other Religions featuring Bodie Hodge

Science Confirms the Bible featuring Ken Ham

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