“Since the Bible is the singular Word of the living God – we must not only study and teach it; we must live it, too. It is not enough to give lip service. If we genuinely believe the Bible is divine truth, we must allow it to permeate our life and ministry. To live otherwise is tantamount to denying the truth.”
Pastor John MacArthur Jr.
How do we know who God is and what he is like? No one is born with a clear comprehension of who God is. So, in an effort to know about God, various philosophers and religious leaders have presented their speculations and opinions about God with seemingly endless and contradictory theories.
God has chosen to lift the fog of human speculations with divine revelation. Revelation is God’s communication to humanity with clarity that is otherwise impossible. That revelation to us is the sixty-six books of the Bible. At Calvary we teach the Bible as God’s Word. It is the verbally inspired word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible, and God-breathed.
Some Reasons to Believe the Bible Is Unique & True
The Bible has Supernatural Fulfilled prophecy
- The Bible contains hundreds of fulfilled prophecies. Consider just the prophecies concerning Christ (see also Isaiah 53)
- Virgin Born Isa 7:14 / Luk 1:26-35
- Birth in Bethlehem Mic 5:2 / Matt 2:1
- Called Immanuel Isa 7:14 / Matt 1:23
- Ministry in Galilee Isa 9:1-2 / Matt 4:12-16
- Triumphal entry Zech 9:9 / Matt 21:1-11
- Betrayed by a Friend Psa 41:9 / Matt 26:20-25
- Falsely Accused Psa 35:11 / Matt 26:59-68
- Silent before Accusers Isa 53:7 / Matt 27:12-14
- Hands and Feet Pierced Psa 22:16 / John 20:25
- Crucified with Robbers Isa 53:12 / Matt 27:38
- Lots Cast for Clothes Psa 22:18 / John 19:23-24
- Bones not Broken Psa 34:20 / John 19:33
- Thirsted on the Cross Psa 22:15 / John 19:28
- Buried in the tomb of Rich Isa 53:9 / Matt 27:57-61
The Bible has Supernatural Unity
- Diverse Authorship: over 40 authors, from every walk of life including kings (David), fishermen (Peter), military generals (Joshua), prime ministers (Daniel), cupbearers (Nehemiah), doctors (Luke), rabbi’s (Paul), tax collectors (Matthew).
- Diverse Writing Conditions: written over a 1,500 year span, over 40 generations; written in different places: the wilderness (Moses), prison (Paul), in exile (John on Patmos), on 3 different continents (Africa, Asia, Europe); written in different times and situations, in times of war (David), times of peace (Solomon), some writing from the heights of joy, others from the depths of despair.
- Diversity of Controversial Subjects: The Bible discusses very controversial topics, yet all its teaching are in harmony with one another and united in its answers to lifes most diverse issues.
- Profound Unity: Even though the bible speaks on many subjects, from many cultures, and situations, and authors, still it speaks as one cohesive unified book always in agreement with itself. The bible contains one plan woven through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
The Bible has Supernatural Insight
- The Bible answers the “big” questions of life in a way that makes sense.
- Examples: The nature of God, the origin of mankind, purpose of life, the problem of good & evil, the problem of sin, the solution to sin, etc. Knowing God’s intentions regarding relationship with Him, family, finance, career, day to day life, relationships, etc.
The Bible is Consistently Historically Accurate
- Recent evidence of Belshazaar – Dan 5
- Recent evidence shows this tax – Luk 2:1-3.
- Archeology agrees with the Bible over and over
- Recently discovered the biblical city of Ur – Exo 1:11
- Additional cities – Exo 5:7,18,19
- The Bible has more and earlier manuscript copies than any other ancient literature. Well over 10,000 manuscript copies, some as early as 125 AD (within 30 years of being written!). In comparison…
|Text||Written||Earliest Copy||# Copies|
|Caesars Gallic Wars||50 BC||900 AD||10|
|Livys History of Rome||21 AD||400 AD||20|
|Plato||387 BC||900 AD||7|
|Aristotle||353 BC||1100 AD||49|
|Thucydides History||430 BC||900 AD||7|
|Sophocles||451 BC||1000 AD||193|
|Demosthenes||352 BC||1100 AD||200|
|Tacitus (Annals)||100 AD||1100 AD||20|
|Pliny the Younger||87 AD||850 AD||7|
The Bible Supernaturally Changes Lives
- When we obey the scriptures God changes us in a ways that we could never do ourselves.
- This experience of change is universal. It transcends all economic, ethnic, and geographic boundaries.
- When people consistently obey the teachings of this book, something radically good happens, both to individuals and to whole cultures.
The Bible has Demonstrated Supernatural Survival through Time and Persecution
- There have been many powerful, concerted attempts to destroy this book – through physical destruction, persecution of those who owned one, and through criticism, all to know avail. The Bible remains the best selling book of all time.
- Voltaire, noted French philosopher (1779) said “in 100 years Christianity will be swept from existence, and passed into history”… 50 years after his death the Geneva Bible Society used Voltaire’s house and printing press to print stacks of Bibles!
- If this book had not been the work of God, men would have destroyed it long ago.
The Bible Has Proven to be Scientifically Accurate
- All the universe consists of matter, energy, & space-time = Gen 1:1
- 1st Law of Thermodynamics (conservation of mass & energy) = Ecc 1:9; Ecc 3:14; Neh 9:6
- 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (Entropy) = Rom 8:20; Gen 3:17-18
- Hydrology (The cycle of water was “discovered” in the 17th century) = Isa 55:10; Ecc 1:6-7; Job 36:27-28; Psa 135:7; Job 26:8 (condensation); Job 28:10 (runoff); Psa 33:7 (ocean reservoirs); Job 38:22 (water stored in clouds).
- Astronomy (Modern astronomy didn’t displace old mythical beliefs until around the 17th century) = Vast & Innumerable – Jer 31:37; 33:22; Job 22:12; Variety of Stars – 1 Cor 15:41 (they’re not all the same); Orbits – Jer 31:35-36 (fixed order/ordinance); Psa 19:6 (sun/and our entire solar system orbits in our galaxy 72,000 mph); In the past it was taught that the moon was a luminous body, but Job truthfully says that it is not (it only reflects) – Job 25:5
- Geology The study of the balance of the earth, mountains, oceans – Isa 40:12; Psa 104; study of the shape of the Earth – Isa 40:22 (sphere); Job 38:14 (rotates on an axis); gravity (Newton/17th century) – Job 26:7
- Meteorology (the principle of the circulation of the atmosphere) = Galileo discovered wind moved in circuits 17th century – Ecc 1:6 ; air has weight, Galileo – Job 28:25
- Physiology/Health 1628 William Harvey discovered the body’s circulatory system – Lev 17:11; 1953 book on Psychosomatic illnesses and the nervous system – Prov 16:24; 17:22; Cleanliness to prevent disease – Lev 14:8; Quarantine to prevent illness – Lev 13:46; Luk 14
The Bible is Supported by Powerful Testimony
- The Testimony of Jesus Christ
- Matt 23:35 Outlines the OT by listing the 1st and last martyr (in the Hebrew Bible 2 Chronicles is last book). Similar to saying from Genesis to Malachi
- Luk 24:44 Outlines the OT by listing all 3 sections of the Hebrew Bible
- Matt 22:32 Jesus uses one word from the OT to prove His point (am instead of was)
- Matt 5:18 Heaven and earth will pass away before God’s word will pass away (see also Matt 24:35).
- Matt 22: 43 Jesus states that when David wrote the Psalms that the Spirit of God wrote through him.
- John 14:26 The Holy Spirit will remind and instruct the writers in ALL things.
- John 16:13-14 The Holy Spirit will give the writers knowledge of ALL things and things to come (Revelation).
- John 17:17,20 Jesus predicts people will believe because of the writings of His disciples.
- Jesus believes the… account of creation – Matt 19:4-6; account of Noah and the flood – Matt 24:37; account of Jonah – Matt 12:39-41; account of Sodom – Matt 11:23-24.
- The Testimony of the Apostles:
- 2 Pet 3:15-16 Peter sanctions the writings of Paul
- 1 Tim 5:18 Paul sanctions the writings of Luke
- Rev 22:18-19 No one else is given authority to write Scripture
- Other Passages to Consider: 2 Tim 3:16-17; Heb 4:12; 2 Pet 1:20-21; 1 Pet 1:24-25; 1 Cor 15:1,3-4
Considering Some Objections
Has the Bible been changed through all the translations and copying over the centuries?
- As a point of fact, the current translations go directly from the Greek to English. Your copy of the Bible, whether NASB, ESV or NKJV, has only been translated ONCE, there are no multiple steps of translation in between.
- The science of textual criticism is a whole field of study that examines ancient manuscript to accurately reproduce the original. The Bible has more and earlier manuscript copies than ANY other ancient manuscript. We can be confident that our Bibles accurately represent the original. Only 2 percent of the words in the New Testament have ANY discrepancy in the manuscripts and the vast majority of those differences are spelling deviations. Our NT is 99.99% textually pure. Basically the Bible has NOT been changed, period. This issue is no longer contested, even by non-Christian scholars.
The Bible was written by men. Don’t men make mistakes?
- Just because human error is possible does not mean it is necessary.
- More importantly, God is not limited by the writer…. We have already established that the Bible is inspired… If the Bible is inspired then it doesn’t matter if men or monkeys wrote the Bible, they still write exactly what God intends.
Isn’t the Bible just a matter of your own interpretation?
- Response: “Do you mean that I can read the Bible and make up my own meaning, and you can read the same text and make up your own meaning?… this is an interesting approach, do you read all your mail or history books that way?”
- The goal of all interpretation is to try and figure out what the author is trying to say, his intention, not mine.
- Some verses that are easy to interpret:
- John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
- John 8:24 “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins.”
John 10:7-9 “Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture”