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