Since the Bible claims to be the only inspired Word of God, it has become the focus of many attacks. The critics of the Bible have tried to discredit it by chipping away at its authority and credibility.

The Bible is not without its difficulties. After all, some of its older books were written 3,000 years ago in a radically different culture than our own. There are cultural barriers to overcome as well as contextual issues to consider when delving into the Bible. Nevertheless, there are those who sit in judgment of God's Word.

The first major attack against the Bible began with what is known as "higher criticism." It arose in Germany around the end of the 17th century. The promoter of "higher criticism" insisted that the Bible was a human product, brought about by the church to express what individual men had to say about God.

The folks who pioneered the "higher criticism" of the Bible did not believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the incarnate Son of God. To transmit their unbelief to their intellectual peers, and from them to the general public, the higher critics did their best to remove people's faith in the Bible.

In the past few decades, the enemies of God have declared open warfare on the Bible. Anyone who doesn't believe in the authenticity of Scripture is given an open forum to launch an attack. It is very important to defend the Word of God against these critics. If a falsehood is allowed to stand, it can become regarded as truth by default.

The Test of Time

One of the easiest ways to defend the Bible is to point out how it has withstood years of attack. If the Word of God had a fatal flaw, somebody would have found it by now--after nearly 2000 years of scrutiny. Despite the critics, the Bible remains the world's best-seller of all time. The Bible is reliable; it has earned that status.

No book has been more intensely scrutinized or hotly debated. The Bible has outlasted many governments that sought to ban or destroy it. Scholars, intellectuals and even theologians have pored over every verse, seeking a way to disprove its divine inspiration.

Voltaire, a French Enlightenment writer and deist, once said that within 100 years of his time, Christianity would be swept away from existence and pass into the obscurity of history. Yet 50 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society used his house and printing press to produce stacks of Bibles. It is now nearly 120 years past his deadline and the Word of God is still going strong.

Any book that wishes to challenge the Bible needs to first prove its worthiness. Dan Brown's novel, The Da Vinci Code, claims the Bible is full of error, but it only took investigators a few weeks to show that Brown's writings are totally based on collection of fraudulent views of history. Most of these more recent attacks on the Bible are more of a sign of the times than they are a test of time.

Famous Testimonies

Many legendary world leaders have testified to the Bible's special nature. No other book can claim to have such a comprehensive record of personal endorsement. Here is what a few have said about God's Word:

Sir Walter Scott, the British poet, on his deathbed, said, "Bring me the Book!" When asked, "What book?" he replied, "There is but one Book."

Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, said, "That Book is the rock on which this republic rests."

Queen Victoria gave the Bible credit for the British Empire's global supremacy.

Prime Minister William E. Gladstone once commented: "The Bible is stamped with a Specialty of Origin, and an immeasurable distance separates it from all competitors."

Thomas Jefferson, our third president, said, "I have always said, and will always say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better homes, better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands."

John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, said, "The first and almost only book deserving of universal distinction is the Bible. I speak as a man of the world to the men of the world and I say to you, 'Search the Scriptures.'"

Daniel Webster, a distinguished American who served as a congressman, senator, and Secretary of State, said, "The Bible fits man for life and prepares him for death."

Isaac Newton, English mathematician and scientist: "We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever."

Robert Dick Wilson, fluent in more than 45 languages and dialects, said, "I may add that the result of my 45 years of study of the Bible has led me all the time to a firmer faith that in the Old Testament, we have a true historical account of the history of the Israelite people."

The Bible Had No Editors

It is often claimed that the Bible was edited by men who decided what books should be included. The Roman Catholic Churchis often cited as be the authority that decided what books would become part of the Bible.

The truth is that there was no lengthy period when the contents of the Bible was in limbo. The church accepted the New Testament books almost as soon as they were written. Once a book was produced by someone like Paul, his book was copied and widely distributed among believers. Because no Church had an exclusive hold any one book, there would be no opportunity for someone to edit Paul's writings.

The books that didn't make it into the canon of Scripture, such as the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Thomas, were not included because they were written long after both of those men died. The book credited to Judas was written by the Gnostic sect around 130-170 AD. These and other Gnostic gospels conflicted with the known teachings of Jesus and the Old Testament, and often contained numerous historical and geographical errors.

The only editing the Bible had came in AD 367 when Athanasius formally listed the 27 New Testament books in the order we see today. Athanasius didn't bring in any new books. The whole church had recognized and used the same list of books since the first century after Christ.

Lost in Translation

Some people have the idea that the New Testament has been transcribed "so many times" that it has become corrupted through various stages of translation. It's like the children's game of "gossip" in which players pass along a common phrase until the words reach the ears of the player at the end of the line. The resulting phrase is often quite different from the original phrase.

The translation of the Bible cannot be compared to that child's game. If the translations were being made from other translations, critics would have an argument. But modern translations are actually made directly from original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic source texts based on thousands of ancient manuscripts.

The scribes who copied Hebrew manuscripts were keenly aware of the fact that they were handling a sacred and precious revelation. They were trained to exercise the greatest care. They counted not only the words but the letters, making note of how many times each particular word and letter occurred. If an error was detected, the entire sheet would be destroyed and the scribe would begin again. (1)

Many people seem to think there are only a handful of master copies of the biblical test. The truth is that there are more than 24,000 manuscripts of New Testament writings. We could destroy every modern translation of the Bible and perfectly reproduce their content from these manuscripts.

Dr. Ravi Zacharias at Oxford University made the following statement: "In real terms, the New Testament is easily the best attested ancient writing in terms of the sheer number of documents, the time span between the events and the documents, and the variety of documents available to sustain or contradict it. There is nothing in ancient manuscript evidence to match such textual availability and integrity."(2)

When one compares the text of one manuscript with another, the match is amazing. Sometimes the spelling may vary, or words may be transposed, but that is of little consequence. Concerning word order, Bruce M. Metzger, professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary, explains: "It makes a whale of a difference in English if you say, 'Dog bites man' or 'Man bites dog'--sequence matters in English. But in Greek it doesn't. One word functions as the subject of the sentence regardless of where it stands in the sequence."(3)

The Dead Sea Scrolls have proven to be an excellent resource for proving the accuracy of the Bible. They were written around the year 100 A.D and include a copy of every old Testament book minus the book of Esther. The text of each book has been found to be a mirror reflection of the translation we have to today.

Historical Witnesses

There has long been debate concerning the life of Jesus. Some people claim that Jesus never existed. One reason for their argument is fact that Jesus never wrote anything himself. There may not be a book of Jesus, but Matthew, Mark, Luke and John certainly offer detailed records about Him, His life and His activities.

We don't have archives of old newspapers to turn to, but several ancient historical records corroborate the Bible's account of Jesus. Because the first century was a time when the vast majority of these witness were indifferent to Christianity, there would be no reason for them or later Christians to fabricate their statements.

Flavius Josephus (AD 38-100+) wrote about Jesus in his Jewish Antiquities. From Josephus, "we learn that Jesus was a wise man who did surprising feats, taught many, won over followers from among Jews and Greeks, was believed to be the Messiah, was accused by the Jewish leaders, was condemned to be crucified by Pilate, and was considered to be resurrected." (4)

Lucian of Samosata (c. AD 120 - after 180)was born at Samosata in Commagene and calls himself a Syrian. In Lucian's book, The Passing Peregrinus, he wrote about a traveler named Proteus who met some followers of Jesus in the early Church.

"At which time he learned the wonderful doctrine of the Christians, by conversing with their priests and scribes near Palestine... they spoke of him as a god, and took him for a lawgiver, and honored him with the title of master... They still worship that great man who was crucified in Palestine, because he introduced into the world this new religion... Moreover their first lawgiver has taught them, that they are all brethren, when once they turned, and renounced the gods of the Greeks, and worship that master of theirs who was crucified, and engage to live according to his laws."

Tacitus (c. 56 c. 117) wrote on the subject of Christ and Christianity in 116 AD. He wrote about several events that match the New Testament writings. He states that "Christ" was put to death by "the procurator Pontius Pilate" in Judea in the reign of Tiberius, and this is where the mischief originated.

"But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular."

Pliny the Younger (c. 62 - c.113 AD) the provincial governor of Pontus and Bithynia, wrote to Emperor Trajan in 112 AD concerning how to deal with Christians, who refused to worship the emperor, and instead worshiped "Christus." The Emperor replied that it would be the right thing in executing them, but advised him not to seek out Christians for prosecution. Pliny mentioned Christ by name three times as the center of Christianity and described Christian practices, including the worship of Christ, "as to a god."

Even the Jewish Talmud, certainly not biased toward Jesus, concurs about the major events of His life. From the Talmud, "we learn that Jesus was conceived out of wedlock, gathered disciples, made blasphemous claims about himself, and worked miracles, but these miracles are attributed to sorcery and not to God." (5)

The Old Testament Supports the New Testament

The Old Testament contains more than 125 predictions about the Messiah. By fulfilling these prophecies, Jesus proved that He was the was indeed the Messiah. He also proved that the Bible was the result of a supernatural revelation. Here are 8 examples that show the prophetic bond between the Old and N.T.

1. The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem - O.T. (Mic. 5:2) - N.T. (Mat. 2:1)

2. The Messiah would be born of a virgin - O.T. (Isa. 7:14) - N.T. (Mat 1:18-23)

3. The Messiah would be a descendant of David - O.T. (Jer. 23:5) - N.T. (Rev. 22:16)

4. Herod would attempt to murder the Messiah - O.T. (Jer. 31:15) - N.T. (Mat. 2:16-18)

5. The Messiah would be betrayed by a friend - O.T. ( Psalm 41:9) - N.T. (John 13:18)

6. The Messiah would be sold for 30 silver coins - O.T. (Zec. 11:12) - N.T. (Mat. 26:15)

7. The Messiah would be crucified - O.T. (Zec. 12:10) - N.T. (John 19:16-18, 37)

8. Lots would be cast for His clothes - O.T. (Psalm 22:18) - N.T. (Mat. 27:35)

The Bible Is About True Human Experiences

One element that makes the Bible so believable is its determination to show the good and bad side of key biblical figures. No other book of its kind presents people who are heroes as fearful when they are facing battle, as having doubts about God, or as making huge moral mistakes.

If the Bible were the work of fictional writers, there wouldn't be reason for them to paint their subjects in such a negative light. David, one of the most amazing people we can find in the Old Testament, trusted God in many ways; in fact, he was called "a man after God's own heart. And yet David committed adultery and arranged for one of his faithful soldiers to be murdered so that he could escape his own guilt for impregnating the soldier's wife.

Peter is regarded as one of the most significant leaders of the early Church. He watched Jesus perform miracles, and his faith was so great that he stepped out of a boat and walked on water when Jesus invited him to do so. He also lopped off the ear of one of those who came to get Jesus to bring Him before Pilate. In reporting about such a hero, it would go totally against human nature to describe him denying his Lord three times. And to reveal that Peter was intimidated by a young girl's questioning about his association with Jesus when the Lord was about to undergo crucifixion would be unthinkable to any human author wanting to describe their hero.

Human logic would have Peter portrayed as having flawless bravery at a time when the Church was struggling for survival. Those who recorded things and who were part of the efforts to establish the church would have painted a word picture of a man who had no chinks in his armor.

God Is No Fool

My final defense of the Bible is the statement that God is no fool. If he is the Lord of the universe, there would be no reason why He would allow His Holy Word to be monkeyed with by common man.

God has spoken through prophets directly and indirectly through scribes and psalmists, and all were under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The message remains clear because the Lord has protected it at every step.

The Lord's protective hand is one reason some people see the Bible as a collection of random events. They don't see the invisible Creator guiding everything from Genesis to Revelation.

Paul, the Apostle and great hero of the faith, had this to say about those who see the Bible as anything other than the very Word of God:

"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:11-14).

God has given us all the evidence we need to find the truth. If we reject God's Holy Word without weighing the evidence, not only are we fools, but we are fools with no valid excuse.

(1) Strauss, Lehman. We Can Trust the Bible

{2} Zacharias, Ravi. Can Man Live Without God? (Word Publishing, 1994), p. 162.

{3} Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ (Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), p. 83.

{4} Wilkins, Michael J. & Moreland, J.P. Jesus Under Fire (Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), p. 40.

{5} Ibid.


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