Research

Bible Origin #3

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Origin of the Bible Series Continues

 

If you’ve not yet read the introductory and succeeding posts on Bible Origin, I would urge you to do so that you may be up to speed on what we hope to accomplish. I believe this to be an important endeavor in the age we live. People need to know that they can trust the bible we have today.

 

Our next question to address focuses on the authors themselves.

 

 

  1. Were the authors of the bible trustworthy men?

 

 

This one should be quite easy. The biblical authors claimed they received their messages from God. Now, if the biblical writers were known perjurers, there would be no reason to accept their claim. But they were honest men of integrity, which lends support to the credibility of their claim of having been inspired by God. Their honesty and integrity is evident by the following things.

 

First, they taught the highest standard of ethics, including the obligation to always tell the truth: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor.” (Eph. 4:25; see also Ex. 20:16; Ps. 15:2; Rev. 22:15).

 

Second, the writers of the Bible paid a high price for their truthfulness. For example, Peter and the eleven apostles (Acts 5), as well as Paul (Acts 28), were all imprisoned. Most were eventually martyred for their witness for Christ (2 Timothy 4:6-8; 2 Peter 1:14). Indeed, being faithful, even to the point of death, was an earmark of early Christian conviction (Revelation 2:10).

People sometimes die for what they believe to be true, yet is not true. But how many would be willing to die for what they know to be false? Yet the biblical witnesses died for the truth they proclaimed, believing that their message had come from God. While not being proof, such evidence is an indication that the Bible is what the biblical writers claimed it to be: the Word of God.

 

 

  1. 3. The Amazing Unity of the Bible

 

The Bible is amazing in its unity amid vast diversity (see post #1 on Origin of the Bible). Even though the Bible was composed by many persons of vast diversity it displays mind boggling unity and has definitive continuity. The Bible, with even greater diversity in the topics it addresses, is the world’s perennial best seller and is sought by multiplied millions as the solution to humanity’s spiritual problems. It alone, of all books known to humankind, needs God, or Deity to account for its amazing unity in the face of such great diversity.

 

 

  1. We would have received accurate copies of the original manuscripts (God would preserve His book).

 scroll

The role of the Scribe in ancient times when transcribing scripture required perfection in their work. The lofty standard to which they were held demanded that a slight deviation, even such as accidentally misspelling a word, would require they discard the entire document no matter how far they’d gotten, and begin again from scratch.

It was in 1948 that, what are now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, were discovered by Bedouin shepherds in a cave near Qumran. That’s located 13 miles east Of Jerusalem and sits 1300 feet below sea level. Understandably, archaeologists and biblical treasure hunters swooped in, and further searches netted 10 more groups of scrolls hidden in ten other nearby caves. In all, they found between 825 to 870 separate scrolls, both biblical and non biblical records. These fragments of scripture, reassembled, contained huge portions of every single Old Testament book of the bible with the exception of the book of Esther. Now that more of the fragmented scrolls have been assembled there are 19 copies of the Book of Isaiah, 25 copies of Deuteronomy and 30 copies of the Psalms. The scrolls had been hidden and lost for 2000 years.

Meticulously, archaeologists, scientists, historians and theologians have studied these documents and took great care in comparing them to the bible we have today.  What did the scholars find when they compared the Qumran manuscripts with the present day copies? Millar Burrows, who wrote a book on the Dead Sea Scrolls, said, “It is a matter of wonder that through such a long period of time, the text underwent so little alteration.” (Geisler, 1986, 366-367).

Old Testament scholar Gleason Archer wrote concerning two copies of the book of Isaiah found in the caves, they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95% of the text. The 5% variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling. (Geisler, 1986, 367).

So we can say with assurance that those who copied the text of the books of the Old Testament did so with great care. As a bit of a theologian myself, I was keenly interested to learn that prophecies by Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel, which are not found in the Bible, are written in the Scrolls. I’m chomping at the bit to read them, though God chose to not preserve those prophesies in His book, deeming them unnecessary to complete His how-to of life for us.

 

There are a plethora of other evidences, all of which point to the fact that the bible has been carefully preserved, and I believe it was watched over by the same one who superintended its writing: God. But there is still much to discuss, and a ship load of other evidences that also show the bible as being the work of the Divine, and so for the sake of brevity we’ll leave off here. Until the next time, may you know the God of the bible, and experience His powerful presence in your life, through faith in His Son, Christ Jesus.

God bless You.

 

 

 

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Bible Origin

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The author of these posts made a mistake in attempting to open the topic from a neutral stance, and the Lord has pointed out that fact.  Then, God used a comment left on this post as confirmation. Firstly, the author cannot be unbiased on this issue, as his life has often been occupied with studying all of these things, and the evidence is overwhelming. Secondly, objections from unbelievers can be so multitudinous that opening a forum for debate through blog posts would be foolhardy. There are nearly 2000 years worth of that sort of thing already. It’s not the first time and probably won’t be the last that this writer had an idea that was less than wonderful. He has no problem with admitting, accepting and proclaiming his fallibilities. Thirdly, he believes the bible when it states: The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 1st Corinthians 2:14

The tremendous gift of life afforded through FAITH in the message of the bible, which is consummated in Christ Jesus of Nazareth, cannot be believed by those without faith, no matter how much evidence is heaped upon them. Salvation is by grace through FAITH, and so is a correct understanding of God and His works. The Lord also led this author to read again Romans 1:17-32, further confirming that enough evidence has already been presented to expound the truth of the God of the Bible. But that does not preclude a Christian from doing his job of sowing the seed of the Gospel of Christ. So we will continue, only now, with the understanding that this study is slanted towards truth as it has been superlatively proven to the author of this post.

 

Let’s get right to it and tackle the first question of the previous post. In way of refreshing our memories we are attempting to discover if the bible holds up under certain things that would logically be true if the bible really is God’s word.

  1. Is it historically accurate?

International Students Inc. queried leading archaeologists, both secular and believing ones. They write the following.

“The history given in the Bible has been confirmed by archaeology to a remarkable degree,” reports noted archaeologist Nelson Glueck.

“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible.” (Emphasis mine) Glueck, Nelson. Rivers in the Desert: A History of the Negev. (New York: Farrar, Strauss & Cudahy, 1959).

There have been hundreds of people over the years that have set out to disprove the historicity of the bible. A few times it looked as though they had something, but then…

  1. There has been a better than good reason why a reference appeared to critics as not fitting the findings.
  2. They misunderstood the people group, the geological location, or the context of what the bible recorded.
  3. Better research by secular historians and archaeologists, as well as by proponents of the bible, disproved their claims of biblical error every time.

The Bible Is Historically Accurate.

The Bible is not merely a book containing theological teachings that are unrelated to history, but the theological statements of Scripture are closely linked to historical events. For example, Paul maintained that if Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead was not an historical fact, then our faith is futile (1 Cor. 15:17). Scriptural characters, like Paul, were not a group of gullible religious people who were ready to believe anything that came along.

Admittedly, there is such a plethora of false information out there that it can become an arduous task to disseminate the truth of what actually happened in history. Thankfully, we have extra biblical records that meticulous, secular historians have kept. Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Israel, Greece and more, all had good historians. Much of the rich and interesting Egyptian history was destroyed by Amenhotep (I think it was Amenhotep the 1st but my memory is a bit hazy there.) His reign as Pharaoh ended the “Shepherd Kings” era. The Shepherd kings weren’t even Egyptian, but had, never-the-less, come to reign as Pharaohs over Egypt. Amenhotep wanted to destroy all records of them, even striking their names from off obelisks and monuments. Much more of Egyptian history is currently being discovered today, and all of it matches up perfectly with bible history!

Archaeologist Millar Burrows notes that more than one archaeologist has found his respect for the Bible increased by the experience of excavation in Palestine.

William Ramsay is one such example of an archaeologist who went from believing that the Bible contained fabricated myths to believing that the Bible was not only accurate historically but that it was the Word of God.

From a collaborative publication by International Students Inc, we have this report:

Earlier in his life Ramsay had been influenced by a liberal theology, which taught that the writers of the Bible were more interested in promoting a biased theological perspective than in accurately recording history. In the course of his studies, however, Ramsay was surprised to find extensive archaeological evidence for the accuracy of the biblical narratives.

One thing that impressed Ramsay about Luke, the writer of Acts, was his accuracy with respect to ostensibly insignificant details. For example, Luke accurately names the rulers of Thessalonica politrarchs, Gallio the Proconsul of Achaea, the official in Ephesus, a temple warden, the governor of Cyprus a proconsul and the chief official in Malta: The first man of the island.. Such titles have since been confirmed in numerous Greek and Latin inscriptions.

What Ramsay began to realize was that the Bible was not mythical, but that it was a document that recorded history with extreme accuracy. He wrote, “Luke is an historian of the first rank.” (Wilson, 114) And if the Bible was accurate in its historical details, then he considered there to be a good chance that the biblical authors could be trusted to accurately relate the spiritual significance of the historical events as well. (End citation)

The author of this post is not a noted historian, and yet his research has proven beyond any shadow of doubt that the bible is pristine in its recording of historical events, from cover to cover. He has a lifetime collection of records and reports from professionals in the fields of history and archaeology. Further, he tried his best to find ANYTHING that might prove that his belief in the Bible was wrong. He has not yet found any objections to the historicity of the Bible that have stood up under testing.

 

Have a Supremely Blessed Day!

 

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Origin of the Bible

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It’s a fair question: “Can I trust my life to what the bible says?” Wasn’t it written by men? And yet, it, and Christians say it is God breathed. Let’s test the claims made about the bible.

Okay, so the bible is the bestselling book of all time. There’s no denying it has stood the test of nearly 2000 years, but what about the things Christians claim to be true about the bible? They say it is the inspired and the inerrant word of God, and that it is God’s special revelation of Himself to mankind. In fact, the bible itself makes these same claims about itself, but that certainly proves nothing.

This preliminary post, introduces a topic of fiery debate that can bring human emotions to the brink, and is the first in a new series, Lord willing. Today we merely want to peel back the first of multitudinous layers of discovery. Throughout this series we shall attempt to either nullify or verify the claims made about the bible, and my hope is that we may set aside all bias on both sides of the table, and simply examine the facts.

A scholarly or scientific mind can either verify or nullify these claims simply by applying the principles of logic, research, testing and study in discovering whether or not the bible truly came from a personal, all-powerful, Creator God.

“That’s precisely what we intend to accomplish.”

 

Logically, there are definitive qualities and characteristics one would expect to find if God breathed out the message of the bible, and if inspired holy men of God really did record it at His command, as the bible indicates. We will be checking some historical documents and studying the bible’s history. The first order of business would be to delineate answers to the normal, simple queries of who, what, when, where and how.

 

  1. The bible, as we know is not a singular book, but a compilation of 66 books.
  2. It was written by 40 different authors.
  3. It was written over a period of 1500 years.
  4. Moses began recording the Torah (law) which is the Pentatuech (first five books) 3500 years ago. Most believe this was during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. The last book (Revelation) was written between 94 & 96 AD.

 

Some other easily verified facts are as follows.

 

  1. The bible was originally composed in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
  2. It addresses hundreds of various topics.
  3. It utilizes multiple genres, which include; historical, poetic, didactic, parabolic, allegorical, apocalyptic, and epic literary constructs.

 

It is interesting to note that the 40 men who did the physical writing were from a wide variety of backgrounds and stations in life, from royal monarchs to homeless vagabonds residing in the wilderness—from the formally educated, to those with only a rudimentary grasp of written language.

 

Sauer, in The Dawn of World & Redemption and The Triumph of the Crucified, writes: “In spite of all this vast diversity, the Bible reveals an amazing unity. First, it is one continuous unfolding drama of redemption from Genesis to Revelation; from paradise lost to paradise regained; from the creation of all things to the consummation of all things.”

 

Sauer was absolutely correct. Having read the bible through multiple times, I can attest to the accuracy of his statement. It is strange indeed that 40 different people who were vastly different from each other (most of them never met any of the other authors) that their writing would form a mosaic of one, single unfolding dramatic story. Most of them lived centuries apart. Some spoke different languages, and were of differing occupations. Not a single one of these 40 men ever received any form of monetary compensation for their contributions. Not one. It would be nigh onto impossible to perpetrate such an elaborate hoax spanning one and a half millenniums. The information they recorded was compartmentalized so as none of them had the complete story, and often did not have an inclination as to what significance the things they were writing would have in the overall storyline. That in itself is amazing.

 

Though it takes some correlating in our minds we will find that the bible has one centralized theme which centers around the person of Jesus Christ. He is referred to early on, yet this main character is not personally identified until we get to the New Testament. In the opening book of Genesis this redeemer of mankind: Savior, Messiah or Christ, though not directly identified, is spoken of as the seed (offspring) of the woman. Jesus of Nazareth is the only human person to be the offspring of a woman, and yet not the seed of a man. Speaking to the serpent the devil used to tempt Eve, God said:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15 This was God prophesying to Satan, alerting Him that a Champion would come from the woman’s womb and purchase people back to God.

 

Theologians confirm that this prophetic statement from God prefigures the virgin birth, or Immaculate Conception.  Further, it alludes to the defeat and overthrow of Satan (the serpent) and the redemption of mankind from the hand of death and sin through the Redeemer. He (the seed of woman) would inflict a head blow upon the devil, signifying complete victory over the enemy, who, at the time God spoke this, had just deceived mankind into rebellion against God’s rule over them. According to Christians and the bible, Christ’s work: His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, is the head shot that won the victory.

 

Approaching this study from a neutral perspective, however, let’s be fair. If God had a book written, there are certain things one would expect to be true of that book. Granted, some particular things could also be true of other books, but of a divinely ordained book, these things would be necessary.  Let’s look at the first ten items that would be true of a book from God.

 

  1. It would be historically accurate when it speaks on historical matters.
  2. Its authors would be trustworthy.
  3. It would be thematically unified and without contradictions.
  4. We would have received accurate copies of the original manuscripts (God would preserve His book).
  5. It would have unique characteristics which no other book has.
  6. The words of the book would have power to change people.
  7. It would predict future events with 100% accuracy.
  8. A book from God would reveal knowledge beyond that of the time it was written.
  9. Those whom God would use to record His word would be confirmed by miracles.
  10. Scholars agree that it definitely should claim to be God’s Word.

 

Now that we’ve identified the first layer of this research’s content, we’ll be putting the bible to the test with these and other essentials, as we seek the truth. For the sake of brevity, we’ll leave off here to ruminate until the next post, when we’ll see how many of these 10 things are true of the bible, and expose the second skin of study.

 

If all goes well, we will continue into increasingly deeper research with each post.

Have a productive and a peaceful day.

 

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