Your Christian Cowboy Resource

Bible Bootcamp

Part 3

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

By Jesse Horton/Cowboys of the Cross

We left last time in part one of this discussion having completed 3 of 7 arguments in favor of the reliability of the Bible.  Part 1 was a look at the “brass tacks” concepts to show why, in regards to integrity, archeology, and literature it is completely trustworthy.  I’ll summarize these first three items and then continue with the last four.

1. Integrity of Transmission – How can a copy of a copy of a copy over thousands of years be the same as the original?

Answer: Copies separated by over 1,000 years are over 95% identical and the 5% that is different is mostly spelling errors and differences. Also, the books of the New Testament were written during a time when the people in the stories you read were still alive.  You could talk to people and confirm or refute the text and no one during that time refuted the New Testament writings!  NO ONE!

2. Archeology – Is the Bible historically accurate, or are the stories made up or embellished?

Answer: It is historically accurate.  Even in times when archeology had no examples to support Biblical references (and used this as a basis to ridicule believers) in due time the Bible was proved to be the accurate forerunner to archeological discoveries.  Sir Walter Ramsey, a renowned archeologist spent 14 years in Israel to discredit the history of the gospel of Luke, only to come out of the experience saying that the accuracy of Luke’s history was “impeccable”.  There are over 25,000 sites, people, and places that are recorded and verified by archeology in the Old Testament alone.  Dr. Nelson Glueck, an authority on Israeli archeology says, “No archeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.  Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements.”

*It is important to distinguish between books of the Bible that are historical and those that are intended to be allegorical.  Obviously, you don’t read Daniel’s prophecy about end times literally!

 3. Continuity in spite of origin – The Bible’s unity of concept, continuity of topic and structure, and brutal honesty indicate divine authorship.

The Bible is so coherent and unified in subject matter despite being authored by 40 very different people over the course of 3,000 years it simply insists that there must be a single, supernatural author.  All other religions romanticize their heroic characters, but the Bible is full of heroes he are obviously sinners just like us…but when they function in faith in the grace of God, look out!

4. Fulfilled prophecy - There are literally thousands of prophecies in the Bible, mostly in the Old Testament.  I could choose from any number of these including the judgement of Tyre where still to this day fishermen dry their nets on what used to be the city of Tyre, or the succession of world Empires outlined in the book of Daniel (even mentioning specific names of people who were not yet born), but I think the most powerful evidence, and certainly the most pertinent to the Christian faith, are those that involve the Messiah.

There are approximately 300 prophecies regarding the Messiah.  A few of those include being born of a virgin, born in Bethlehem, born in a stable, of the lineage of king David, called from Egypt, called a Nazarene, betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, silent before His accusers, lifted up in death, counted among the wicked, and buried in a rich man’s unused tomb.  Statisticians examined the probability of just 8 of the 300 prophecies about the Messiah being fulfilled in a single person and found the chances to be 1 in 1 x 1017; that’s 100,000,000,000,000,000. Your chances of winning the lottery are typically 1 in 1,700,000.  To put that in perspective, it’s akin to filling the state of Texas two feet deep with silver dollars, marking one with an “X”, mixing them up, and then having a blind-folded seeker pick it up on the first try.  Since the beginning of time, there have yet to be 100,000,000,000,000,000 on the earth…ever.  Again I remind you, this is the probability of one man fulfilling only 8 of the 300 Messianic prophecies, and Jesus fulfilled every single one.

The Bible sets itself apart from all other religious documents or teachings in this respect.  In Isaiah 46:10, God speaking through the prophet says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.”  He certainly has, and history proves it!

5. Revelation – The Bible claims about itself that it reveals the words, mind, and character of God.  (Don’t worry, I won’t let it stand alone as a witness of itself…the 6th reason is yet to come!)

a. 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed…”

b. In the Old Testament, there are hundreds of instances of a derivative of the phrase, “I, the LORD your God,…” in which God declares his character, faithfulness, and mind to the prophets.

c. 2 Peter 3:16 gives the New Testament the same weight of declaration saying, “…Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.”

6. Jesus’ view of the Bible – The guy who we’ve already proven surpassed unfathomable odds in fulfilling Old Testament prophecies about himself viewed the Old Testament as the literal words of God…not just concepts or portions, but the very individual words.

a. Matthew 22:29-32 – “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.  At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.  But about the resurrection of the dead – have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living” (emphasis added).  You see, Jesus’ argument for the resurrection of the dead was based on the tense of the verb from the Old Testament passage he quoted.  God said, “I AM,” not “I was”, insisting that he continued to be the God of people who are living at this very moment.

b. In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus told the Pharisees that he did not come to abolish the law of Moses, but to fulfill it.  He went on to say that not the least stroke of a pen would pass away from the law, but the word he used there was for the smallest, simplest character of the Hebrew language.  In other words, he sees every letter of the Old Testament as God-ordained.

*Understand that Jesus referred to the original texts in Hebrew, not to any modern translation, including the KJV.  To insist that anyone who wants to know the heart of God must be able to read a specific translation of the Bible is ludicrous!  Jesus never spoke a word of “the king’s English” during His ministry!

7. Impact – the Bible and the story it tells has transformed lives, nations, and even the way we perceive time.

         a.a. AD vs BC – all time is divided by the life of Jesus.

 a.b. Israel’s defiance or adherence to God’s word is documented and directly related to the blessing (or lack thereof) they experienced.

 a.b.i. The Jewish nation has been the target of genocide numerous times, from the Egyptians to the Babylonians to Hitler and Nazi Germany, and now Palestine, Iran, & ISIS…yet, somehow this nation that is hardly the size of New Jersey has persisted.

 a.c. The Roman Empire’s turn from paganism beginning with the profession of Christ by Constantine, which led to the creation of the Roman Catholic Church which later derived the Protestant movement and “We the People…”

 a.d. Individual impact – People may question the legitimacy of the Bible, the existence and deity of Jesus or God, or creation and life after death, but they cannot question the impact Christianity has had on your life.  That is your testimony that cannot be argued against, and is the primary way God gives us to bring people to Christ.

        As you see, the Bible is a reliable document validated by archeology, fulfilled prophecy, and world impact to name only a few reasons.  It is the single most influential document on the face of the planet and certainly the most accurately prophetic.  One only has to examine the available evidence to see that our Bible is the very word of God, just as it claims to be, just as Jesus himself viewed it.

      Jesus fulfilled all those 300 or so prophecies about the Messiah, but what of it?  What does it mean?  Why should we follow him and believe in him for salvation?  Stay tuned for part 3 to find out!

The research noted in this analysis is largely the initial work of pastor Chip Ingram of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California.  I have merely verified his research and rearranged it in an order I feel is more conducive to the thought process.

Why we believe the Bible is trustworthy

Part Nine