HOW CAN YOU BE SURE THAT THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD?
As you begin to share your faith with people and what Scripture declares, many will say, "I don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God." They declare that they have no confidence in the Bible because fallible men wrote it and that others have translated it incorrectly. Your response should be to take them to the evidence.
What is the evidence?
Internal evidence - What does the Bible reveal about itself?
The unity of teaching
The Bible has 66 different books written by more than 40 different authors over a 1600 years. These men were farmers and fishermen, a doctor, a Prime Minister and others from many different professions. Each of these books were written in different geographical locations, in several cultural settings, and in three different languages. The Bible speaks on hundreds of controversial subjects, however, each of its authors speaks with amazing unity and harmony in their teaching. They never contradict each other. This unity in their instruction is a powerful proof that they were divinely inspired. Ask the person you are witnessing to if they believe that even five men today, from different cultures and religious backgrounds, could all have the same opinion on just 10 controversial subjects?
The testimony of Jesus
Jesus called the Scriptures of the Old Testament the Word of God (Mark 7:13). He emphasized the importance that each word would be fulfilled to the letter (Luke 18:31) (Luke 24:44). Jesus declared that His words would surely come to pass (Matt. 24:35). In addition, He quoted Old Testament Scripture (Matt. 4:4) (Matt. 21:42). Jesus believed the historical accounts of creation, Adam and Eve, and the destruction of Sodom (Matt. 19:4-3) (Matt. 11: 23-24) (Matt. 22:29). Jesus made it clear that He believed that the source of all error came from not knowing the Scriptures (Matt. 22:29).
The Testimony of Peter and Paul
Peter equated his writings with the prophets of the Old Testament (2 Peter 3:2). In addition, Peter equated Paul’s epistles with the "other Scriptures" (2 Peter 3:16). Paul also believed that his teachings were the commandments of the Lord (1 Cor. 14:37).
External evidence - How do we know the words in the Bible we read today haven't been changed over the centuries by translators?
Today we have over 1400 Greek manuscripts or parts thereof, dating from 52 A.D.. We also have over 18,000 versions of the Scriptures, (a version of the Bible is a translation into another language). These versions include: Syriac, Latin, Egyptian, Armenian and Georgian versions dating as early as 150 A.D..
The Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls were found in 1947 by a shepherd boy in the Qumran Caves west of the Dead Sea. These scrolls have been dated from 150 B.C. to 70 A.D.. Within the scrolls they found the entire book of Isaiah, the books of Samuel, and fragments of almost every other book in the Old Testament. Before these scrolls were found, the earliest Old Testament manuscripts were dated from 900 A.D.. The Dead Sea Scrolls reveal the accuracy of the copyist in preserving the Word of God. Over a 1000 year period of time had passed with only minor spelling and grammatical differences in the text. You can be assured that the Bible you read is the accurate and authoritative Word of God.
Early church lectionaries
These lectionaries were the reading lessons used in the public worship services of the early church. These reading lessons contained the majority of the New Testament because the authors quoted lengthy portions of the Scripture. These lessons show the harmony between what they quoted and our Bible today.
The writings of the early church fathers
These men were appointed by apostles or followed soon after their death. Men such as: Ignatius (70-110 A.D.), Polycarp (70-156 A.D.), Clement of Rome (90 A.D,) and many others. John Burgon has cataloged over 86,000 quotations from the New Testament within their writings. Again, their quotations from the scrolls of their day are identical to what we read in our Bible, proving that the Scriptures have not been changed.
Prophecy is another powerful proof that God has authored the words found in Scripture. Only God knows the future (Isaiah 41:21-23). See these prophecies.
1. Prophecies relating to the total destruction of cities
a. God predicted that the city of Babylon would be destroyed and not rise again (Isaiah 13:19-22) (Jer. 51:26). Babylon is still in ruins today.
b. God predicted that Edom and its capital Petra, thought to be an impregnable city, would be destroyed (Isaiah 34: 6-18) (Ezek. 35:5-7). Today Petra stands in ruins.
2. Prophecies relating to the permanent decline of a nation
a. God declared that Egypt would be diminished and become a lowly nation, never rising again to world domination (Ezek. 29:15). Today Egypt is a third world country.
3. Prophecies concerning Israel's future
a. God predicted that the Jews would enter the Promised Land, they would become disobedient and rebel against God, they would decline, then go into captivity, and then be brought back to their land in the last days (Deut. 28-30) (Ezek. 37) (Hosea 3:4-5) (Joel 3:1-2). Jesus also predicted that the Jews would return to captivity after His death until the times of the Gentiles was fulfilled (Luke 21:24).
4. Prophecies concerning the entire history of the world
a. In Daniel chapter 2 and chapter 7, God described the world governing empires of the Babylonians, the Medo-Persian empire, and the Grecian and Roman empires. Scripture ends the history of man with 10 nations that will rule the world from the European continent during the tribulation period (Rev. 13 and 17).
Archaeology proves the Bible isn't full of myths and stories that never happened. Archaeology gives the hard proof that the Bible is a reliable and historical document.
a. The best example is the evidence of the flood. In 1929, Dr. C. L. Wooley found major flood deposits at the ancient city of Ur that proved conclusively that there had been a worldwide flood. He found several strata of human occupation, then a solid 8' water-laid clay layer without human relics; then another diverse culture and city beneath it. Similar finds were made at the cities of Kish in 1929 and Fara in 1920.
b. The proof that fosilized sea life is found at the highest elevations on our planet. We find marine fossils in most of the rock layers in Grand Canyon. This includes the topmost layer in the sequence, the Kaibab Limestone exposed at the rim of the canyon, which today is approximately 7,000–8,000 feet (2,130–2,440 m) above sea level. In addition, marine fossils are also found high in the Himalayas, the world’s tallest mountain range, reaching up to 29,029 feet (8,848 m) above sea level. For example, fossil ammonites (coiled marine cephalopods) are found in limestone beds in the Himalayas of Nepal.
c. The ancient city of Sodom was located at the North end of the Dead Sea in 2003 and has proven that just as the Bible declared this city was destroyed and remained uninhabited for more than 600 years. I personally have dug through the ash layers in Sodom in 2018, and can testify all that the Bible declares is absolutely confirmed by the archaeologist trowel.