Is the Bible legitimate?
One of the first challenges that came to me when beginning my renewed walk with Jesus was the Bible. Is it trustworthy? Is it true? Was the world created in 6 days? Was all of earth flooded? Did Jonah live three days in the belly of a whale? Etc.… etc. All of the stories of the Old Testament seem a bit farfetched. However, I also realized that the narrative of Jesus resurrection is no more tenable than Old Testament history. How could I trust Jesus as my Lord and Savior, as I do, if I couldn’t trust the Bible as a whole?
To pick and chose what I want to believe in the Bible weakens the credibility of the Bible, of Jesus, and of God. The accounts of Jesus life, as recorded in the Gospels of the New Testament, are replete with Jesus referencing and quoting the Old Testament. Am I only going to believe that Christ was hung on a cross, died, and was resurrected as reported in those same Gospels and yet dismiss the rest of Jesus testimony and ministry? I have to admit my logic momentarily made me doubt my belief. Momentarily! So I decided to do some research in to the Bible’s credibility.
I found that there are much older and far more documents supporting the Bible than any other document; let me repeat that – ANY other document. Homer’s Iliad, the second oldest written instrument, is far younger and has negligible supporting documents in comparison. What I found of particular interest is the Dead Sea Scrolls. These hand written papers were found 2,000 years after their concealment.
During those 2,000 years, the Bible had been translated into multiple languages and rerecorded by hand incalculable times. So think about this. I remember participating in a very common experiment in school. The experiment starts with a statement being whispered from one participant to a neighbor. The neighbor then shares that same statement with their neighbor. This process continues around a circle of numerous participants until it comes back to the originator. The result is always an almost unrecognizable distortion of the original statement.
During the 2,000 years the scrolls remained hidden, an endless number translations and rewrites of the Old Testament books occurred. Despite the tedious inspection of the translations and rewrites that occurred, human corruption of the original texts was inevitable. Yet when the Dead Sea Scrolls are compared with modern texts of the Old Testament, the accuracy is uncanny, matching nearly word for word. 2,000 years! Copious and diverse humans translating and copying! Yet negligible distortion exists between the documents! Miraculous!
Now I realize that the accuracy of the texts does not prove the claims of the documents. And no secular research can prove the stories of the Old Testament are factual. But can any research prove any historical claim? Sure the supporting documentation and evidence can be overwhelming, but our conclusion always has a level of faith involved. The final question for all of us is - can I believe that event occurred? So, to answer that question concerning the Bible, I definitely believe every word. God tells us that the Bible is His word; He guided the human author’s hand of every book (e.g. Hosea 12:10; John 1:1; 1 Thess. 2:13, 2 Tim. 3:16-17). If I believe that Jesus came into this world to be crucified, die, and be resurrected for me, for all of us as the Bible teaches; then I must believe the whole Bible. God says those events occurred, so they did.