The Holy Bible - Is it the Word of God? What makes the Bible so special? One reason the Bible is different from other books is its unity. Although this book was composed by men, its unity betrays the hand of the Almighty. The Bible was written over a period of about 1,500 years by more than 40 different human authors. These authors came from a variety of backgrounds, including Joshua - a military general, Daniel- a prime minister, Peter - a fisherman, and Nehemiah - a cupbearer, to name a few. The authors of the various books wrote in different places, such as the wilderness (Moses), prison (Paul), and even exile (John). The biblical writings were composed on three different continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe) and in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). The contents of the Bible deal with many controversial subjects. Yet, the Bible is a unity. There is complete harmony, which cannot be explained by coincidence or collusion. Answers - Josh McDowell and Don Stewart Isn't the Bible full of contradictions? What constitutes a contradiction? The law of non-contradiction, which is the basis of all logical thinking, states that a thing cannot be both a- and non- a at the same time. When facing contradictions, it is of the highest importance to remember that two statements may be different from each other without being contradictory. Some fail to make the distinction between a contradiction and a difference. Example: You tell your spouse, "I talked to Joe and Bob today." Later you tell your neighbor, "I talked to Bob today." This is not a contradiction. Both statements are true. This is the case with many supposed Bible "contradictions." Answers - Josh McDowell and Don Stewart Why is fulfilled prophecy a testimony to the reliability of the Bible? The Bible itself gives the purpose of prophecy, "Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things which have not yet been done... (Isaiah 46:9, 10). Answers - Josh McDowell and Don Stewart Jesus Christ fulfilled more than 300 prophecies during His life and ministry. These predictions about the Messiah included: His place of birth, His family descent, the time and place of His death, the mode of His execution, details of events during His execution, and so on. The odds any one man could have fulfilled all of the Old Testament predictions about the Messiah are estimated as high as one chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000. All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible - Lockyear It Couldn't Just Happen - Lawrence Richards A few Old Testament prophecies: Ezekiel's predictions about the great city of Tyre: Nebuchadnezzar will destroy the mainland city (fulfilled 573 B.C.); Tyre will be made a bear rock and the city's ruins will be thrown into the water (fulfilled by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.). Nahum's predictions about Ninevah, the capitol of the great Assyrian Empire - Ninevah will be destroyed in an overwhelming flood (Rivers that fed a 150-foot mote around the city overflowed and washed away some of the city wall). The Bible prophet Isaiah mentioned by name Persian king Cyrus 150 years before he was born (Isaiah 44:28, 45:1). The Bible also predicts the last day reemergence of national Israel. And predictions made in the book of Revelation, such as the two witnesses being viewed by all on the earth and the existence of a world government and monetary system were not possible at the time of their writing, but have become so with the advancements in technology. Of course a simple “Google” search or trip to any Christian bookstore will produce resources explaining many, many more fulfilled Bible prophecies. How can we believe the New Testament's claims about Jesus? Statements about Jesus' miracles, virgin birth, resurrection, and so on, trouble some people. Were these things just made up? How can we trust the gospels? The authors of the New Testament, and early Christian believers, were often martyred for their faith and testimony about Jesus. Peter was crucified upside down, John was dipped in boiling oil and exiled, Andrew was crucified, Mark was killed with a pick axe, Paul was beheaded, and average Christians were fed to lions and even impaled and lit as candles in Nero's gardens. Not only this, but history records that first century Christians often lost all their possession at the hands of persecutors. Would you suffer beatings, poverty and then crucifixion upside down for something you knew to be a lie? Common sense tells us "No." In addition, the dating of the New Testament places it at the time of the apostles and therefore a time when Jesus' enemies were still alive. There are no recorded documents from the period written by people claiming the accounts of Jesus were false. When was the New Testament written? Some say the New Testament was written hundreds of years after the life of Christ. Evidence does not support that claim, but rather, points to a very early date of writing. The book of Acts records the missionary activity of the early Church and was written as a sequel by the same person who wrote the Gospel according to Luke. The book of Acts ends with the Apostle Paul being alive at Rome, his death not recorded. This would lead us to believe that it was written before he died. We have reason to believe that Paul was put to death in the Neronian persecution of A.D. 64, which means the book was written before then. The death of Christ took place at A.D. 30, which would make the composition of Luke, at the latest, within 30 years of the events. Evidence leads us to believe that the first three gospels were all composed within 30 years from the time these events occurred. With the exclusion of the gospel of John, "there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament past A.D. 80..." W.F. Albright, biblical archeologist. Answers - Josh McDowell and Don Stewart Doesn't science disprove the Bible? One example of how it does not: Dr. Hugh Ross, of Reasons to Believe, claims that the creation account recorded in Genesis agrees perfectly with known scientific fact. He also contends that that accuracy is a miracle. Ross notes: "Moses lived some 3,500 years ago... The odds that Moses could have guessed the correct order (of creation events), even if he were given the events, are one chance in 11x10x9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1, or one chance in roughly 40 million. In addition, Moses scored three for three in describing the initial conditions... Clearly Moses must have been inspired by God to write as he did." The Fingerprint of God - Dr. Hugh Ross Hasn’t the Bible been changed over time? There are approximately 5,500 copies of in existence that contain all or part of the New Testament. Although we do not possess the originals, copies exist from a very early date. The New Testament was written from about A.D. 50 to A.D. 90. The earliest fragment dates about A.D. 120, with about 50 other fragments dating within 150 to 200 years from the time of composition. Two major manuscripts, Codex Vaticanus (A.D. 325) and Codex Sanaiticus (A.D. 350), a complete copy, date within 250 years of the time of composition. This may seem like a long time span, but it is minimal in comparison to most ancient works. The earliest copy of Caesar’s “The Gallic Wars” dates 1,000 years after it was written. Many ancient writings have been transmitted to us by only a handful of manuscripts (Catullus – three copies; earliest one is 1,600 years after he wrote; Herodotus – eight copies and 1,300 years). The 5,500 copies are far and way the most we have of any ancient work. Not only do the New Testament documents have more manuscript evidence and close time interval between the writing and earliest copy, but they were also translated into several other languages at an early date. The number of copes of the versions is in excess of 18,000 with possibly as many as 25,000. John Burgon has catalogued more than 86,000 citations by the early Church fathers who cite different parts of the New Testament. Answers - Josh McDowell and Don Stewart Wasn’t there a conspiracy behind what books got included in the Bible? F.F. Bruce, trained at the University of Aberdeen and Cambridge, noted Bible scholar, writes in “The Canon of Scripture” regarding the Criteria of Canonicity (recognizing books as divinely inspired and including them in the Bible). He writes: “The earliest Christians did not trouble themselves about criteria of canonicity … They accepted the Old Testament scriptures as they had received them: the teaching of those scriptures was sufficiently ratified by the teaching and example of the Lord and his apostles.” Bruce continues by listing the following regarding the New Testament: “Apostolic Authority – Since Jesus himself left nothing in writing, the most authoritative writings available to the church were those which came from his apostles.” In other words, was the book written by an apostle to Jesus’ ministry or by a person who had access to an apostle (Mark, Luke)? “Antiquity – If a writing was the work of an apostle or someone closely associated with an apostle, it must belong to the apostolic age. Writings of later date, whatever their merit, could not be included among the apostolic or canonical books.” “Orthodoxy – In other words, they had recourse to the criterion of orthodoxy. By orthodoxy they meant the apostolic faith – the faith as set forth in the undoubted apostolic writings and maintained in the churches which had been founded by apostles.” This is to say that for a book to be considered it had to agree with the already established teaching of the Lord and apostles. “Catholicity – A work which enjoyed only local recognition was not likely to be acknowledged as part of the canon of the catholic (universal – not “Roman Catholic”) church. On the other hand, a work which was acknowledged by the greater part of the catholic church would probably receive universal recognition sooner or later.” “Traditional use – If any church leader came along in the third or fourth century with a previously unknown book, recommending it as genuinely apostolic, he would have found great difficulty in gaining acceptance for it: his fellow Christians would have said, ‘But no one has ever heard of it!’ “Inspiration – For many centuries inspiration and canonicity have been closely bound up together in Christian thinking: books were included in the canon, it is believed, because they were inspired; a book is known to be inspired because it is in the canon. By inspiration is meant that operation of the Holy Spirit by which the prophets of Israel were enabled to utter the word of God. The vocabulary was theirs; the message was his.” The idea that the Bible we have in our hands today came to us because of some backroom, ecclesiastical conspiracy is not borne out by common sense or the facts. Summary This compilation by no means exhausts all there is to know about the reliability of the Bible. And, from time to time we believers still have questions about some passages, but the preponderance of the evidence is so strong that we are confident in the face of these miniscule questions.