-The Bible-

Below is a youtube link to a great series of videos by Dr. Michael J. Kruger about why we can trust the bible.  I highly recommend it!

Below is a series of lectures on the topic of the Canon

http://michaeljkruger.com/lectures/

THE RELIABILITY OF THE BIBLE

Obviously, a vast amount of time has passed since the Bible was first penned. So, how do we know that the Bible is reliable?  The Bible is a historical document. Interestingly enough, if you subject it to the same tests that you subject other historical documents to, you’ll discover that the Bible proves itself to be far superior to any other ancient writing. First, let’s look at the New Testament which, incidentally, was originally written in the Greek language between 50 and 100 A.D. Although we don’t have the original autographs, there are presently some 5,000 Greek manuscripts in existence, with as many as 25,000 more copies. Just as amazing is the fact that the earliest manuscripts can be dated back as far as 120 A.D. This is tremendous when you consider that only seven of Plato’s manuscripts are in existence today — and there’s a 1,300-year gap which separates the earliest copy from the original writing! Equally amazing is another fact; and that is, that the New Testament has been virtually unaltered. This has been demonstrated by scholars who have compared the earliest written manuscripts with manuscripts written centuries later. And remember, the accounts in the New Testament were recorded directly by eyewitnesses, (or by those who were associated with them) and in fact had close contact with the events themselves.  But what about the Old Testament? Let’s take a quick look at one of the most incredible finds of the century — theDead SeaScrolls. With the discovery of these manuscripts atQumranin 1946, texts were found that were about 1,000 years older than any previously-known Old Testament manuscript. And when compared with the later texts, these writings proved to be virtually identical.  With every turn of the archaeologist’s spade, we see further evidence of Scripture’s trustworthiness. Such renowned and historical scholars as William Albright and Sir Frederick Kenyon have clearly testified that the findings of archaeology have served to underscore the authenticity of the Bible. Well, is the Bible reliable? I believe the evidence speaks for itself. And with that, I rest my case.

Perspective by Hank Hanegraaff—www.equip.org

HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD?

 If I’ve heard it once I’ve probably heard it a 1000 times!  Some Christian comes up to me and says, “The Bible says!!…. So what?!… Who says what the Bible says is true in the first place?”  First, we know that the Bible is God’s Word because no less an authority than Jesus Christ Himself says it is.  Sounds like circular reasoning, right?  Not so fast, the New Testament documents are actually very reliable historically. The authors of the New Testament were either eyewitnesses to the life of Christ, or were close associates of eyewitnesses.  And so they give a clear testimony as to the deity of Jesus Christ.  Jesus not only claimed to be God, but He proved His claim through [1] the fulfillment of messianic prophecy, [2] the performance of miracles, and ultimately and most succinctly through His historically verifiable resurrection from the dead.  If you can prove that Jesus is God in human flesh, whatever He says is truth.  And what does Jesus say concerning the bible?  He says that it is the very Word of God!  As to the Old Testament, Jesus said that the “Scriptures cannot be broken,” and therefore they are sufficient, authoritative, and inspired.  In fact, he went on to promise that the Bible will guide not only his apostles, but all of us in the truth — the truth he was talking about is not subjective truth, but objective verifiable truth.  Now as I’ve shown inductively, Jesus Christ Himself, God incarnate, testifies not only to Scripture’s authority (Matt.22:43), but to its reliability (Matt. 26:54), to its sufficiency (Luke16:31), and finally to its finality (Matt. 4:4,7,10).  Bottom line: The living Word (Jesus) bears testimony to the Written Word (the Bible).  The truth is, demonstrating that the Bible is the Word of God is not all that difficult.  Of course you have to be dealing with someone who is an open minded person. If someone has already made up his mind and doesn’t want to be confused with the facts, you’re never going to be able to talk him into the kingdom.  Only the Holy Spirit can truly open the heart.

Perspective by Hank Hanegraaff—www.equip.org

THE RELIABILITY OF THE BIBLE MANUSCRIPTS

Non-Christians, (skeptics like New Agers or Mormons) claim that in the process of copying Scripture the text of the Bible was corrupted. Is this really true?  Suppose you wrote an essay and asked five friends to copy it. Each of them in turn asked five more friends to do the same — kind of like a chain letter. By the fifth “generation,” you would have approximately four thousand copies.  Now, obviously, in the process, some people are going to make some copying errors.  The first five people to copy it would make mistakes, and then most of the people who copy from them will make some more mistakes.  Eventually you’d have thousands of copies and all of them flawed.  Sounds pretty bad, right?  But hold on.  Your five friends might make mistakes, but they wouldn’t all make the same mistakes.  If you compared all of the copies, you would find that one group contained the same mistake while the other four did not — which of course, would make it easy to tell the copies from the original.  Not only that, but most of the mistakes would be obvious — things like misspelled words or words that were accidentally omitted.  Anyone looking at all four thousand copies would have no trouble figuring out which was the original.  That’s essentially the same situation with the Bible.  We’ve got thousands of copies of the Bible in its original language, and scholars who have studied them have been able to classify them into groups and in most cases determine what the original documents actually said.  The few cases which are still debated by scholars really don’t affect the basic message of the Bible at all.  In fact, interestingly enough when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered at Qumran, they predated the earliest extant text — the Masoretic text by almost one thousand years — yet in spite of this vast span of time, there was no substantive difference at all…..In fact, in looking at Isaiah 53 there were only 17 changes between the Masoretic text and those found at Qumran — 10 involved spelling, 4 style and 3 involved the Hebrew letters for the word light in verse 11.  However, none of these differences were substantive — God has indeed preserved His Word.

Perspective by Hank Hanegraaff—www.equip.org

 DOES THE BIBLE CONTRADICT ITSELF?

 Well, if you’re like most people, I’m sure you’ve heard someone say “The Bible is full of contradictions.”  Well, is this true?  Is the Bible full of contradictions?  Speaking of contradictions, let me begin by saying that two statements are said to contradict if the truth of one of the statements negates the truth of the other.  Take for example the statements, “I have read the Bible,” and “I have never read the Bible.”  Obviously, if one statement is true the other statement would have to be false.  Let’s apply this to the Bible.  Only after you can demonstrate that the truth of one passage, rules out the truth of another passage, can you justify the claim that the Bible contradicts itself.  You see, many passages which seem to be in conflict are easily resolved by simply reading the text more carefully.  In addition, an understanding of Greek or Hebrew, as well as a knowledge of geography and customs would be extremely helpful.  Take for example the account of Paul’s conversion on the road toDamascus.  In Acts 9:7 we read that during Paul’s encounter with Christ the men who were with him heard a voice.  In Acts 22:9 we read that these men heard no voice.  Well, what appears to be a hopeless contradiction is easily resolved by looking at the original Greek.  Here we see a distinction between “hearing a sound as a noise” and “hearing a voice as a thought-conveying message.”  Gleason Archer, an accomplished biblical scholar points out, that while Paul’s companions heard the Voice as a sound, Paul alone heard what was being said.  (Kind of like the crowd who heard the sound of the Father talking to the Son in John 12:28, and thought they heard thunder.)  The point is that rather than taking a fearful attitude when faced with an alleged biblical contradiction, we should view these occasions as opportunities to search and explore the Scriptures.  One thing I can guarantee is this:  It will only serve to deepen your awe of the majesty of Scripture.  In fact, the more I personally read the Bible, the more I marvel at this awesome Book.  How is it possible for forty different authors to write over a span of 1,600 years, on three continents, in three languages, on hundreds of subjects — yet, without contradiction — and with one central storyline, God’s redemption of mankind.  Truly, it can be said without contradiction that the Bible must be divine, rather than human in origin.

Perspective by Hank Hanegraaff—www.equip.org

ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BIBLE

Non-Christians sometimes claim that archaeology disproves the Bible. Christians on the contrary claim that archaeology has proven the bible to be the World of God.  Who’s right?  The historical reliability of the bible has been dramatically confirmed particularly in this century through archaeological discoveries.  All sorts of details have been confirmed through the discovery of ancient documents, through the examination of artifacts, and in some cases through excavations of entire ancient cities.  These finding have consistently supported the historicity of the Bible.  In fact it’s save to say that with every turn of the archaeologist’s spade, the historicity and accuracy of the Bible is further confirmed.  However, it would be somewhat of an overstatement to claim that archaeology has proven that everything the Bible says is true.  For one thing, there are some historical matters which are discussed in the bible that archaeologists still don’t quite know how to correlate with Scripture.  You see while archaeology has not produced any certain examples of error in the Bible, it has produced questions which are still debated by scholars.  To be sure, there are some things in the Bible which will never be confirmed through archaeology.  For example, archaeology has not found any evidence that Abraham lived — but, of course, that’s exactly what you would expect, since in terms of the politics of his day, Abraham was not exactly the most important historical figure.  And because they don’t exist, archaeologists are obviously not going to dig up tapes and transcripts of Abraham having a conversation with Sarah, or for that matter with anyone else.  All we can legitimately expect form archaeology in matters like this is to show that the events described in the Bible make sense in context.  And that, of course, has been done in a very spectacular manner.  In fact, the skeptics laughed at the bible for asserting that Ninevah was a real city that the Assyrians were, in fact, a real people.  Perhaps you know the story — someone discovered a brick on theTigrisRiver.  The brick had the name of “Sargon” on it which, of course, was one ofSyria’s great kings.  It was sent to aParismuseum and was forthwith declared a fraud.  Not long afterward, Laird, the great Assyriologist, had the temerity to dig up the entire city with its temples and palaces.  And once again, the critics were proved wrong and the Bible reliable.

Perspective by Hank Hanegraaff—www.equip.org

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Top Ten Reasons We Know the New Testament Writers Told the Truth

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

by Frank Turek

Chapter 11 Summary

                        Peter Kreeft said, “Why would the apostles lie? … If they lied, what was their motive, what did they get out of it?  What they got out of it was misunderstanding, rejection, persecution, torture, and martyrdom.  Hardly a list of perks!”  There is a lot of evidence that shows that the NT is true, but how do we really know that the NT writers didn’t exaggerate or embellish what they say they saw?  Lets look at the top 10 reasons.

  1. 1.        The NT Writers Included Embarrassing Details About Themselves

The “principle of embarrassment” (historical test #7) assumes any details embarrassing to the author are probably true, because authors tend to leave out anything that makes them look bad.  If you and your friends were creating a false religion would you make your selves out to look like a dim-witted, uncaring, rebuked, doubting, cowards? No way, but that is what the writers of the NT did.  A made-up story would make the writers look bold, fearless soldiers of Christ.

Dim-Witted—disciples fail to understand what Jesus is saying (Mark9:32; Luke18:34; John12:16)

Uncaring—disciples fall asleep on Jesus twice when they were asked to pray on the night Jesus was taken to be crucified.  Disciples fail to give Jesus proper burial out of fear for themselves.  Jesus was buried by a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin—a member of the same court that sentenced Jesus to die.

Rebuked—Peter is called Satan by Jesus (Mark8:33).  Paul corrects Peter on a theological issue (Galatians 2:11).  Keep in mind that Peter is      one of the pillars of the early church, and here’s Paul including in Scripture that he was wrong!

Cowards—all the disciples but one hide when Jesus goes to die on the cross.  Peter denies Jesus three times (Matt. 26:33).  While the brave men are hiding, the women discover the empty tomb of Jesus.

Doubters—despite being taught that Jesus would rise from the dead (John2:18;3:14; Matt.12:39; 17:9, 22-23), the disciples are doubtful when they hear of his resurrection.  Some even doubt when they see him risen (Matt 28:17).

2.  The NT Writers Abandoned Their Long-Held Sacred Beliefs And Practices, Adopted New Ones, And Did Not Deny Their Testimony Under Persecution Or Threat Of Death— NT writers don’t just say that Jesus performed miracles and rose from the dead, they back it up with actions of their own.  Virtually overnight they abandoned many long held and sacred beliefs of Judaism.  For example, animal sacrifice was replaced with the sacrifice of Christ, the law of Moses no longer had power because of the sinless life of Christ,  they now worshiped Jesus as the God-Man considered by the Jews to be blasphemy and punishable by death, and belief in a sacrificial Messiah versus a conquering one (until 2nd coming).  Not only were Just the NT writers converted, but thousands of Jerusalem Jews, including Pharisee Priests, followed Christ.  History shows that within five weeks after the death and resurrection of Jesus more than ten thousand Jews converted to Christianity.  How can this be explained if the resurrection did not occur.  These converts also adopted new radical practices such as Sunday worship, Baptism, and Communion as a sign of Christ’s sacrifice.  NT writers had nothing to gain by trying to pull off a hoax.  The only worldly reward they received is persecution and death.  The NT writers could have saved themselves by confessing it was all a lie, but they never did.  If they had made up the resurrection story they certainly would have said so when they were about to be crucified (Peter), stoned (James), or beheaded (Paul).  But no one recanted—eleven out of the twelve apostles were martyred for their faith.  Why would any sane person die for a known lie? Don’t forget that all twelve claimed to be eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus.  They would have known if the resurrection was a reality or not.  The apostles knew for sure that Jesus had resurrected, and they demonstrated that knowledge with their own blood.  (people do die for lies [suicide bombers], but they whole heartedly believe the lie is truth)

3.  Enemies and Critics of Christianity Confirm the Same Basic Storyline as the New Testament Writers Present in the Bible

†      Josephus, a Jewish historian for the Roman government writes in A.D. 94, “At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified, and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day” (Josephus, Antiquities,  20:200 – Maier translation).

†      Josephus also writes, “Then James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ was stoned to death by the Sanhedrin (Jews) in the absence of the Roman governor.” (Josephus, Antiquities, 20.9.1)  Would you be willing to die for your brother if he claimed to be the sinless Son of God and Savior of the world?  James was willing to die in the name of Christ because he saw that Jesus lived a blameless life and he witnessed his resurrection from the dead!  You can trust a guy that rises from the dead.

†     Talmud—Is a Jewish history book written by the Jewish authorities between AD 70 and 200 that confirms when, how, and why the Jews killed Jesus.  Sanhedrin 43a states,“On the eve of Passover Yeshu (Jesus) was hanged … because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy.”   This tells us Jesus was killed on Passover, had supernatural powers, and he called people to follow him.

4.  The NT Writers Left In Demanding Sayings of Jesus

If the NT writers were making up a story, they should have made up a story that made life a little easier on them.  For example, the NT claims Jesus said, “…anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt5:28); “…do not resist a evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt5:39); “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matt5:44); “Do not store up treasures on earth…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt6:19);  “Do not judge, or you too will be judged…with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matt 7:1).  These are not commands the NT writers would impose on themselves because no mere human can live up to the standard set.  Only a perfect person could live according to the standard set in the NT.  Perhaps that is exactly the point.

 

5.  The NT Writers Carefully Distinguished Jesus’ Words From Their Own

Quotation marks did not exist in first century Greek, but NT writers very clearly distinguished Jesus’ words from their own.  Virtually all red-letter editions of the Bible attribute all of the same words to Jesus.  This is important evidence towards the credibility of the NT writers because it would have been easy for them to solve theological disputes by just adding to the sayings of Jesus.  It would have been easy to make up quotes in relation to circumcision, obeying the Law of Moses, speaking in tongues, and women in the church in order to end all debates.  Why were the NT writers so careful about distinguishing their own words form the words of Jesus unless they were telling the truth?

6.  The NT Writers Included Events Related To The Resurrection That They Would Not Have Invented

The Burial of Jesus– Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin, which was the Jewish ruling council that sentenced Jesus to die for blasphemy.  Followers of Jesus were very bitter towards Jewish authorities, so why would they put a member of the Sanhedrin in a favorable light if the story was made up?  Furthermore, if Jesus really wasn’t buried by Joseph of Arimathea, this detail could have easily have been exposed making the Luke out to be a liar and his Gospel a fake.  The Jews never denied this fact.

The First Witnesses– All four Gospels say women were the first witnesses to the empty tomb and the resurrected Jesus.  In that day women were not seen as credible witnesses and were not even allowed to testify in court.  One of those women was Mary Magdalene, who Luke admits (8:2) was once demon possessed.  These are not the kind of witnesses that would be made up if the NT writers were trying to fool the world.

The Conversion of Priests– Why didn’t the risen Jesus appear to the Pharisees?  Maybe they were too proud, and it wasn’t necessary.  It is often overlooked that “…a large number of priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).  This was written in Luke’s letter to Theophilus (Book of Acts).  This detail must have been true because this is a detail that could have easily been exposed as false if it were indeed false.  When people lie they usually try to cover their tracks, but obviously the writers of the NT didn’t try to do this.  Maybe they were telling the truth.

The Explanation of the Jews– The Jews want people to believe that the cowardly disciples stole the body and created a story of the resurrection, all in order to get themselves beaten, tortured, and martyred.   If it were true, how did the disciples get past the elite Roman guards who were trained to guard the tomb with their lives?  The Jews said the guards were sleeping when the disciples silently moved the 2-ton stone from the grave.  If the guards were sleeping how would they know that the disciples stole the body?  Furthermore, no Roman guard would admit to sleeping on the job because he would be killed for the offense.  Maybe the biblical story in Matt. is true; the Pharisees created this bad story, paid off the guards, and promised to keep them out of trouble.

7.   The NT Writers Include More Than Thirty Historically Confirmed People In their WritingsThe NT could not have been invented because it contains too many historically confirmed characters.  The NT writers would have blown their credibility with their audiences by implicating real people in a fictional story, especially people of great notoriety and power.  The NT writers would not have gotten away with publicly telling lies about Pilate, Caiaphas,  Festus, Felix, and the entire Herodian Bloodline. 

8.   The NT Writers Include Divergent Details- The four Gospel accounts are not exactly the same.  Critics say this proves it is a lie, but actually it strengthens the case for the biblical story of Christ.  How?  All four Gospels tell the same main story line (virgin birth, miralcle worker, Son of God, raised from the dead, ect.), but each account includes divergent details.  Think of it like this, if a judge hears four stories that are exactly the same word-for-word, he would probably assume that the witnesses got together beforehand to make their stories agree (collusion).  The Gospel accounts differ on small details like how many angels were in the tomb, or one account says an angel spoke and another account did not mention it.  Just because one account mentions one angel does not mean there were not more, maybe one was just more prominent. The NT shows the nature of  eyewitness testimony.  I challenge you to read two news articles about the same event.  It will usually be the same main story-line, with some differing minor details.

9.   New Testament Writers Challenge Their Readers To Check Out Verifiable Facts, Even About Miracles- For example, In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he  declares that he previously preformed miracles for them.  Paul was speaking of his own qualifications as an apostle—someone who speaks for God.  Paul told the Corinthians, “The things that mark an apostle—signs, wonders and miracles—were done among you with great perseverance” (2 Cor.12:12).  Paul would not have written this unless he had really done miracles for them.  Why would he have asked the Corinthians to remember miracles that he did not perform, thus destroying his credibility?  The only explanation is that Paul was an apostle of God, he confirmed it by performing miracles, and he openly displayed this to the Corinthians.

10.  NT Writers Describe Miracles Like Other Historical Events: With Simple, Unembellished Accounts—Embellished and extravagant details are strong signs that a historical account may be fraudulent.  For example, 100 years after the resurrection of Jesus a forgery known as the Gospel of Peter was written in a extravagant manner.  The Gospel of Peter speaks of long heads that reached up to Heaven and a cross that walked and talked at the time of Jesus’ resurrection.  In the four resurrection accounts found in the Bible there are no extravagant or embellished stories, just bland facts about the greatest miracle in history.  If the Gospels were fake, and they were trying to convince the skeptics, don’t you think that they would have claimed to have actually seen Jesus physically rising from the dead, and maybe have thrown a few extra adjectives in to help.  Thirty-five other miracles attributed to Jesus are described as if form reporters, not wild-eyed preachers.

 

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