Can We Trust the Bible?*
O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken… Luke 24:25
This question is crucial. If we cannot trust the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, we are wasting our time. But we can trust the Bible and we are most definitely not wasting our time.
The Bible is God’s library, which He has graciously given to mankind so that we can know about Him. It is a collection of 66 books written over about 1500 years by 40 authors, each of them inspired by the Holy Spirit. God warns us at the end of the Book of Revelation not to tamper with His great book, because in the original languages it is absolutely perfect, each word inspired by the Holy Spirit. We are not to add anything or take anything away. It is complete. Genesis and the Book of Revelation stand as two great pillars at either end, the strong bookends, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, absolutely solid and totally trustworthy.
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city and from the things which are written in this book. Rev 22:18-19
The best proof of all that the Bible is true and trustworthy is prophecy. The Bible is full of prophecy, and this subject would take volumes to examine. No other book can tell you the future. Only God knows what is going to happen, because He is outside time. He knows the end of all things. He knew you before you were born. He can see all of human history at once, from the beginning to the years stretching ahead. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the all in all. We, His creatures, are limited by time and we struggle to comprehend Him and His ways because we live in just this moment, the present. He operates in another dimension; indeed He created all the dimensions, the ones we know about and probably some we can barely imagine.
Looking at the prophecies regarding the first coming of the Lord Jesus, we see that each one was literally fulfilled. For example, centuries before He was born it was foretold by the ancient prophets of Israel that the Messiah would be of the tribe of Judah, of the line of David, born of a virgin, born in Bethlehem, but in some way known as a Nazarene, but also somehow would come out of Egypt (where Joseph and Mary took Him to escape Herod). All those things were true of Jesus. Had He not fulfilled each one of those predictions (and many more), He would not have been the true Messiah.
The time of the Messiah’s death is pinpointed in Daniel 9:25,26. It was to occur 483 years after the decree of Artaxerxes in 445 BC (Neh 2:1-8) to rebuild Jerusalem. That should have given the Jewish leaders of the day the timeframe. They should have realised that if the Messiah was to be killed in a certain year, He would have been revealed to Israel in the years previous to that, and would have been born in that generation. They should have known when Messiah would come, and should have had the red carpet all ready to unroll as soon as John the Baptist pointed out exactly Who it was. When John the Baptist spoke the words: “Behold the Lamb of God,” their knees should have hit the dirt (John 1:36). If only they had!
Go back further in time from Daniel. Go back to the prophet Isaiah, written over 700 years before Jesus came. There we find the famous Chapter 53. This tells us that Israel’s Messiah would be – not walking down that red carpet in majesty, but would be despised, rejected, wounded, bruised, chastised, whipped, stricken for our iniquities, “cut off” (killed). We learn that the holy and longed-for Messiah would die with criminals, and yet would be buried in the grave of a rich man.
Go back even further to the time of David, shepherd-king of Israel, living at about 1000 BC. In David’s Psalm 22 we learn the horrible details of Messiah’s suffering, the humiliation and torture of the Holy One, while wicked people actually laughed at Him. They are not laughing now. This Psalm tells us His hands and feet would be pierced, His garments divided and that people would cast lots for one particular garment. All these prophecies and many more had to be fulfilled to the letter by the Messiah.
Some scholars have found over 300 prophecies dealing with the Lord’s first coming, all precisely fulfilled during His time on earth. If any one had not been fulfilled, Jesus would have been an impostor. In recent years some people have claimed to be the Messiah; I wish their followers would check their hands and feet, and look up their birth certificate to see if they were born in Bethlehem.
Chuck Missler has a marvellous teaching on the mathematical probabilities of one person fulfilling even a few of those prophecies, made hundreds of years earlier by different writers, some of whom lived hundreds of years apart. For anyone who has taken maths and learned to work out probabilities, the number crunching here is awesome. There is no chance, no way, not the remotest possibility that one man could fulfill even a handful of those prophecies – no way unless the Bible is God’s book.
No one could know hundreds of precise future events unless they were outside time, unless they were Someone to whom the future is as clear as the present, Someone who could inspire men over centuries to set down specific predictions with perfect assurance that those events would occur exactly as described.
The prophecies, inspired by the Holy Spirit, were all carefully written down and the true Israelites, who cherished these holy scriptures, watched and waited and prayed. Then the great day dawned; the prophetic time line began to unroll. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of this world, the King of Glory, the Holy One of Israel, was born of a virgin in Bethlehem.
The prophecies started coming true, one by one, with the conception and birth of our Savior. This verifies the Bible completely. It is God’s stamp on His book, the stamp only He can apply, because no one else knows the future. It is like a divine watermark running through the pages of the Bible, a watermark that can never be faked or copied. You might be able to ponder on the future and guess a few things right now and then, but hundreds of specific events, prophesied by dozens of different men over centuries? It is impossible, dear friends. No man or group of men could have planned the Bible. It is God’s book. By the way, if the 300 plus prophecies relating to the first coming were all literally fulfilled, do you not think the 2,400 plus prophecies of Jesus’ Second Coming will also be literally fulfilled? I am quite sure they will be, down to the last jot and tittle.
The liberals are not at all happy with Bible prophecy. They huff and they puff and they try to blow it down, and I will be interested to see what sort of defence they try to stammer out when they stand at eternity’s bar, face to face with the Lord God Almighty, the One they said couldn’t possibly exist and Whose prophecies they tried to explain away.
The liberals really stubbed their toes on the book of Daniel. It so flummoxed them that they decided it had to be written after the events it predicts. Unfortunately for them, Daniel is in the Septuagint, also called the LXX, written about 300 BC. The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. No one can argue with the Septuagint. They know when it was written, and the book of Daniel is right there in it, containing the prophecies of many then-future events. No argument will dent my Father’s book. Sorry, guys. God knew what was coming, and in that book of Daniel He has given us an overview of human history. Dr. Noah Hutchings’ book “Daniel The Prophet” (Hearthstone Publishing, Oklahoma) explains the important revelations in that book which are so relevant for today.
The liberals also dispute the book of the prophet Isaiah and say that because of changes in the style of writing and vocabulary, it must be the work of two or even three “Isaiahs”. These mythical Isaiahs are “deutero-Isaiah” and “trito-Isaiah”. I don’t think so! A single writer can write differently at different times, using different terminology; it is not hard to do. Mark Twain wrote both “Tom Sawyer” (in ordinary prose) and “Huckleberry Finn” (in dialect). No one would claim there were two Mark Twains. My husband Alan used to freelance for the British newspapers, selling stories every day to the whole range of papers. For papers like The Times he would write serious, straight prose. For the tabloids, the same story would be written in a shorter, snappier, wittier format. Same writer. “Trito-Isaiah?” No, there is one Isaiah the prophet in Heaven and he is worshipping the One he wrote about, the One who was wounded for our transgressions.
Oh, but surely the Bible is full of errors and contradictions? No, it is not. Not a single error and the Bible never, ever contradicts itself. The so-called contradictions are seeming contradictions which become clear when you begin digging in and studying with the first rate Bible teachers God has provided for these end times.
As Dr Larry Spargimino once said to us: “The liberals will always take a pop at the Bible, but there is always an answer.” God’s Word is unassailable, a strong tower, and the fiery arrows of the liberals cannot dent it. The problem is that our inadequate Bible knowledge often leaves us trying to stammer out a defence of the truth of scripture. We should just say, “Well, I don’t know the answer to that, but I am going to find out, because I know without any doubt that the Bible is true.”
For example, in Britain I heard an Easter radio program in which a panel of highly intelligent men, some ministers and some academics, discussed the resurrection of Jesus and all seemed to agree that you could not trust the Bible when it came to history. After all, didn’t one gospel say that Jesus, when He rose, instructed Mary to tell his disciples to meet Him in Galilee? Then, next thing you know, He was appearing to them instead in Jerusalem. It didn’t seem to follow, therefore the erudite men on the panel concluded that the Bible wasn’t historical.
Another apparent contradiction, I thought. I have a mental shelf where I put these seeming discrepancies. I know that the Bible can be trusted, in historical matters as well as every other matter, but I pray for the answer when I encounter things I don’t understand. Then I wait. The answer may come soon, or it may take years, but it will eventually be resolved, because those who seek really will find. The Galilee-Jerusalem problem was on that mental shelf until one day I heard a teaching saying that yes, Jesus instructed Mary to tell the disciples to meet Him in Galilee – but they did not go! They hung around Jerusalem and Jesus, as always, dealt so graciously and patiently with them that He appeared to them there. Eventually they got their act together and did go to Galilee.
We can rest assured that the gospels are true history. The apparent discrepancies have answers for those who truly seek them. The resurrection is a historic reality and on it our faith rests secure, on a Rock more solid than the Rock of Gibraltar. Give me the Rock of Ages any day! Stand on that Rock and you will not be moved. The ascension too is true history. By the way, I have never heard of even one investigation on the alleged ascension of Mohammed. Why does no one delve into that? Why are there no learned panels of academics on the radio commenting on the historicity of that? Because it never happened and they know it, but they don’t dare say it.
Also, none of the brilliant scholars of Oxford and Cambridge are raking through the Book of Mormon. No one puts that under the electron microscope. Why? Because the claims are ludicrous. The events described in it are not history; they never happened and the academics know that very well.
Only the Bible is subjected to the most minute critical examination. Why? Because it is true, but the world does not want it and will not believe it. The liberal academics are like termites wasting their lives trying to undermine the Bible. They nibble away here and there, awarding each other doctorates and honors, but their mental labor is in vain, because termites can’t damage a stone structure. They would be gnashing their teeth! Our faith is reasonable and provable, and we are secure forever on our Rock. I was a termite once, but the Lord Jesus changed me and now I am a living stone, built into His structure, the church.
Another way we know that the Bible is true is that God Himself says so and He should know! I am sure you can find many other scriptures to confirm this, but here are a few verses which settle the matter entirely.
- All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3: 16-17
- Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89
- Thy word is true from the beginning, and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever. Ps 119:160
- O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken… Jesus’ words to the two travellers on the Emmaus road, Luke 24:25.
- …thy word is truth…John 17:17
- Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:21
- Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Mat 24:35
Another way we know that the Bible is to be relied upon is the evidence from archaeology and I hope one day to have time to look into this more. Our faith is based on real happenings and the proof is there, on monuments, in ancient manuscripts like the Dead Sea Scrolls, in cities buried under sand. It is not like the Book of Mormon, describing fictitious populations and battles for which there is no evidence and never will be. Their archaeologists must suffer from terrible depression, because they never find any evidence in the ground, since it isn’t there.
God’s book, the Bible, is true; it is utterly reliable and we have no reason to fear any “experts” who take a potshot at it. If we don’t know the answer to their objections, we can study and find out, because the answer is surely there. Let’s not turn tail and slink off in defeat from debates. We are the ones on solid ground. The liberals are the ones on sinking sand.
At one time our daughter Annie used to get up early and listen to Jacob (Yacov) Prasch’s teaching tapes as she was getting ready for school. Then off she would go. More than once the tape provided her with the truth of a disputed point of scripture. Occasionally a teacher would say something like, “The Bible contradicts itself here.” But Annie, having just heard Jacob explain that very point, was able to raise her hand and say, “But that is because etc….” The answers are out there, folks. You may not have found the right teachers yet!
Another time, Annie was going for an interview at Cambridge University. A theology candidate hoping for a place at one of the renowned Cambridge colleges said to her: “Of course the Bible is full of contradictions; everyone knows that.” “Name one,” said Annie. Duhhhhh. He couldn’t name even one, but had swallowed the prevailing philosophy of unbelief. My question to him would be why in the world he wanted to spend years of his life studying a book he didn’t believe was truthful.
Another time, after Annie started studying at Cambridge, she had to read a book that listed “mistakes” in the Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. One “mistake” was that Rahab seemed to be listed as the mother of Boaz. The smart-aleck book pointed out that the prostitute Rahab lived about 200 years before Boaz, so she was unlikely to be his mother. Then there was a list of more “mistakes.” We emailed the list to our friend Dr Larry Spargimino at Southwest Radio Church in Oklahoma. Larry teaches at a Bible college as well as being a writer and broadcaster (log on to swrc.com). Back came a detailed email from Larry answering every objection. The best bit of all this is that Larry used this episode as the subject of a radio program, so all across America listeners heard (on Southwest Radio Church) a detailed look at the liberal objections to Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, with every argument refuted. Bible 10, liberals 0. That is the score and will always be the score. We who know the truth must just delve deeper to find the answers to tough questions.
By the way, let’s look at Rahab. Larry said that the liberals knew very well that the mention of Rahab included a figure of speech. Boaz was indeed “of Rahab” in that she was one of his ancestors, just as Jesus was the “son” of David and the Jews were “sons” of Abraham.
Personally, I just love the Lord all the more for making sure Rahab was listed among His ancestors. Most people would try to hide the fact that they had a dodgy ancestor. Not the Lord Jesus! He deliberately had Rahab the prostitute named in His family tree just so that we sinners today can be all the more certain of His mercy. No matter what we have done, His mercy can cover us. Rahab was saved. Her faith saved her. You too can be saved, dear reader, simply by putting your faith in the Lord Jesus. Or then again, you can go to hell, while a former prostitute like Rahab enjoys the bliss of heaven. It is entirely up to you. The door of heaven is still open now, but a day is coming when my Father will shut that door. Get right with God while there is still time by admitting that you are a sinner and accepting His beloved Son Jesus as your Savior. It is the best decision you will ever make. Obviously you have to know what you are agreeing to believe. You have to have an understanding of what it is God wants you to know. The best way to get that understanding that leads to saving faith is simply to read God’s Word, the Bible, asking Him to help you find the truth. All you have to do is believe what it says. It’s so simple, far too simple for anyone puffed up with intellectual pride. Ditch that stupid pride; read God’s Word and meet in the pages of the Bible the One who took all your punishment and who offers you a clean slate, a new beginning and an eternity of joy. A pretty good deal, wouldn’t you say?
Oddly enough, our wicked society even recognizes the truth of the Bible. Every witness in a courtroom is invited to swear on a Bible. Then, of course, many of them go on to lie on the witness stand. Christians will often refuse to swear on a Bible, since the Bible itself tells us not to swear by anything, but to let our “yes be yes and no be no.” Instead they “affirm”, which means they promise solemnly to speak the truth, and they get on the witness stand and tell the truth. But the very fact that our courts still use the Bible indicates to me that even secular men know in their hearts that it is all true, and that the Bible is like no other book.
So yes, dear friends. We can trust the Bible, which is the same thing as saying that we can trust God, because He is the author of the Book. Isn’t it time you trusted Him today?
*This is a chapter from our book 'Goodbye America Goodbye Britain.' Feel free to copy and hand out to your friends or relatives etc, but not for commercial purposes.