Christian believers base a lot on the Bible being the trustworthy and authentic source of truth. So every believer should ask the question, “Can the Bible be trusted?” For some, this unanswered question is a barrier to genuine faith in Christ.
Let’s dig into this. First, let’s consider what the Bible itself claims, and second, what evidence is there to verify or support the claim.
The Truth in the Bible Can Transform Your Life (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
In writing to his young friend Timothy, Paul reveals something about the very nature of the scriptures contained within the pages of the Bible. Paul states: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful” (v. 16a). “God-breathed” means that the scripture is inspired directly from God, not people. This implies that the truth revealed in the Bible is universal truth. It is truth that is relevant and applicable to all people throughout time – from thousands of years ago to the present day. Why? Because it is “God-breathed” not man-invented.
Paul also states the truth from the Bible “is useful”. It is not filled with abstract philosophy or theology that has no merit in life. Quite the opposite. It is useful. The truth revealed in the Bible will transform life for those who see the Bible for what it claims to be — God-breathed.
Paul then lists (vv. 16b-17) five specific ways that the truth in scripture is useful or transformative: 1) The Bible teaches you what you need to know (“useful for teaching”); 2) it confronts you when you need to wake-up (“useful for… rebuking”); 3) it corrects you when you need to change course (“useful for… correcting”); 4) it encourages you when you are on the right course (“useful for… training in righteousness”); and 5) it prepares you to impact lives (“thoroughly equipped for every good work”).
One reason to trust the Bible is that the truth revealed in it has been transforming lives for thousands of years, since it was first God-breathed into existence. Writing that is thousands of years old, if an invention of man, would not likely be so relevant, much less so transformative in the present age. Yet the truth revealed in scripture keeps on changing lives.
The Truth in the Bible Comes from God Himself (2 Peter 1:20-21)
Peter, like Paul, makes the claim that scripture is inspired by God and not man, but with more direct language. Peter says, “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (v.21).
There is no middle ground. Either the Bible can be trusted as having been inspired by God or it cannot. It is either what it claims to be or not.
We see the evidence of the power of the Bible in that it continues to transform lives, and has for thousands of years. But let’s look at other evidence that points to the Bible being trustworthy.
Eye-witness accounts: Many ancient manuscripts have been accepted as trustworthy and accurate, even though the written or copied authors are separated from the original events by as much as 1,000 years. The Biblical authors were present and wrote their accounts as eye-witnesses. The Gospel writers, for instance, were even willing to die for the truth they wrote rather than deny Christ. Most did lose their lives, because they knew the truth they wrote about Christ was accurate. They were there.
Consistency of Scriptures: The Bible is made up of 66 books, written by 40 authors over a 1,500 year time period in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek). Yet it is in harmony and consistent. How do we know? We have over 6,000 manuscript fragments that reveal the versions we have translated today are consistent and not contradictory. This is a virtual statistical impossibility over thousands of years. In comparison, Homer’s Iliad (an ancient work) has 650 copies.
Ancient historians outside of the church: Josephus, Tacitus and Plinius the Younger documented the accuracy of the Scriptures.
Archaeology: Modern-day historians and academics have cast doubt on the Bible’s accuracy, but have been proven wrong over and over by archaeological discovery. Some examples:
- King David (Old Testament): The existence of King David was doubted, but then the big New York Times headline hit August 6, 1993: “News of the House of David”. Within the article it stated: “The skeptics’ claim that King David never existed is now hard to defend.”
- Dead Sea scrolls (Old Testament): In 1947, the fragments of copies from the Old Testament were discovered which were 1,900 years old. They did not contradict the modern translations we have as would be expected. They verified the accuracy and trustworthiness of the Bible.
- The Pool of Siloam (New Testament): The Gospel of John claimed Jesus healed a blind man at the Pool of Siloam. Skeptics considered this place a myth created in the gospel. That is until 2004 when workers in the Old City of Jerusalem discovered where Jesus healed the blind man. One professor wrote: “Now we have the Pool of Siloam.”
Can the Bible be trusted? The Bible makes a clear claim that it can be and the proof to verify it seems undeniable. But, you will have to decide for yourself.