In the previous article How Did We Get the Bible? I addressed how the Bible came to be what it is today. But how do we know that what the Bible says is actually true? Is it possible that the gospel writers were wrong?
Christians are sometimes labeled as having blind faith for accepting the Bible as being true. However, here are the 5 best reasons why we know that the Bible is true.
1) Archaeology Has Confirmed the Bible
One of the most powerful tools we use to check to see if the biblical account is true is through archaeology. Currently, there is an important and ongoing dig in Shiloh, Israel where they have found several important artifacts. Many of these discoveries verify biblical events and places.
Among the most popular discoveries are The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 in the caves of Qumran, Israel. They provide conclusive evidence that the biblical record is accurate. The scrolls were written by the Essenes and are referred to by the Roman historian, Josephus.
Scholar and historian Colin Hemer who wrote The Books of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History describes 84 facts in Acts that have been confirmed by archaeological and historical research. The Bible is clear and full of specific details so that we can discover it’s validity.
Additionally, although I would like to include more evidence it would become likely become a book, we have that much. I do recommend you start reading here as well as Dr. Craig Evan’s book Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence.
“I know of no finding in archaeology that’s properly confirmed which is in opposition to the Scriptures. The Bible is the most accurate history textbook the world has ever seen.” -Dr. Clifford Wilson
2) The Bible Contains Embarrassing Details
If I were to create a religious book I would make sure its theology, details, and people were flawless. I wouldn’t leave questions unanswered that should be addressed. But this is not what we see in the Bible. In fact, no man in the ancient world would want to admit to certain details in the Bible, especially if it made men look weaker. We see examples of this in the gospels when women went to Jesus’ tomb and found it empty, (Matthew 28:1-10, John 20:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, and Mark 16:1-8). Such a major discovery (if fabricated) would include men making this discovery due to the fact that, in Jewish culture a woman needed 2 witness’ to validate her testimony.
Second, Joseph of Arimathea gave Jesus’ family a tomb which was typically reserved for well known or rich families. Normally people who were crucified were heinous criminals who didn’t have money or family to provide them with a tomb. Here we have Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin giving the Messiah a tomb.
The third embarrassing detail is that Jesus was conceived by immaculate conception. His mother, Mary was only betrothed to Joseph and as we read in the scripture, he and many others assumed that she was with another man and he was going to leave her. This was an unlikely beginning even for today’s standards for the Savior to be born into.
3) Lack of Testimony That Opposes Christianity
While a lack of evidence or testimony doesn’t make a statement true it does cause one to wonder why we don’t read about people claiming that Jesus wasn’t a real person. If Jesus or the Bible isn’t true we should see some evidence of this from historians such as Tacitus or Josephus. But that is not the case. They both wanted to make sure they were recording actual events, people, and places. Similar to the origins of the Swoon Theory people weren’t questioning Jesus’ existence until late in history.
“The Pauline letters abound in utterances which could easily be transferred to Jesus and presented to the world as oracles of the Lord. How many are? None. It seems a little odd that, if the story of Jesus was the creation of the Christian community, no one should have been made of the admirable materials offered by one of the most able, active, and influential members of the community.” -T.W. Manson, Studies in the Gospels & Epistles
Further, neither Tacitus or Josephus were not only unbelievers but they were against Christianity. Another Roman witness during this time was Pliny the Younger. He used to write to the emperor, Trajan to ask how to punish Christians and what gender and ages should these punishments be applied to.
”Having never been present at any trials of the Christians, I am unacquainted with the method and limits to be observed either in examining or punishing them.” (Epistles 10.96)
4) The Gospel Writers Motivation and Eye Witness Testimony
As we read the gospels we have to ask why did they write as they did, as specific as they did. Simon Peter answers this for us as he states: “We did not follow cleverly invented stories…but we were eye witnesses.” (2 Peter 1:16)
The New Testament has several mentions of first hand eye-witness accounts. These men wouldn’t of gone out of the way to write specific details about eye witness accounts and others who heard eye witness accounts if it wasn’t true. The gospels were written within a close amount of time of the events taking place and during the time these eye witnesses or their close family members were still living.
”Why would the Apostles lie?…If they lied what was their motive, what did they get out of it? What they got out of it was misunderstanding, rejection, persecution, torture, and martyrdom. Hardly a list of perks!”
5) Jesus’ Death and Resurrection
In addition to the reasons stated above we have extraordinary evidence to believe that Jesus was exactly who he said he was. Dr. Gary Habermas is on the forefront of studies on Jesus’ death and resurrection. He speaks regularly on The Minimal Facts that outlines 12 historical facts that most critical scholars accept as true. When I say scholars I mean experts in their field such as historians, theologians, philosophers, etc. These experts accept the facts because they are corroborated by evidence.
“Skeptics must provide more than alternative theories to the Resurrection; they must provide first-century evidence for those theories.”
Roman crucifixions were done in public places as it served as a deterrent for others to see what happens to people that break the law. Skeptics like to say that he switched places with another man such as Judas but it is unreasonable to assert that. Since Jesus was tortured and crucified In a public place no one would want to risk being caught in such a scheme. People could recognize Jesus and his disciples. We see evidence of this when Peter denies Jesus 3 times and is recognized each time by others in the area. There was no hiding who they were.
Further, Jesus was seen and heard by 500 people at one time in his resurrected form. These 500 people were not all Christians but I bet after this experience many of them were. It’s not likely that these people experienced some sort of mass hallucination since we know hallucinations (like dreams) are an individual experience. The only reasonable explanation is that these 500 people actually saw the risen Christ. He also appeared to his disciples and Mary Magdalene and spoke with them.
Scholars also conclude that just 7 weeks after Jesus’ crucifixion people began preaching about his resurrection.
There is too much evidence here to deny that the Bible is true and Jesus was exactly who he said he is.