Why should I trust the Bible?
The Bible is sometimes thought of as the product of power-hungry, out-of-touch old men.
Did they gather in a dusty room 300 years after Jesus’ life to create the world’s biggest conspiracy, as The Da Vinci Code suggests? Or, is it simply the case that the past is too shrouded in mystery for us to ever know what actually happened?
Well fascinatingly, from a purely historical perspective there is very little mystery!
When it comes to ancient documents, the Bible is far and away the best attested book in ancient literature.
We have 5,795 Greek manuscripts dating from between 25-60 years after Jesus life, and an additional 15,000 manuscripts in other languages. As far as ancient sources go this is unmatched.
The text that comes closest to this is Homer’s Iliad, but of the 1,757 manuscripts we have, the earliest manuscripts are dated as late as 400 years after the text was originally written.
John Warwick Montgomery presented this information in a debate with atheist philosopher Avrum Scroll, who had claimed that the Bible was not historically trustworthy. Scroll, so committed to the idea that the Bible was not a trustworthy historical source, finally said, ‘All right. I’ll throw out my knowledge of the classical world.’ At which the chairman of the classics department cried: ‘Good Lord, Avrum, not that!’
We can be confident that the text we have in our hands today was faithfully transmitted and is an accurate copy of what was written about Jesus, but we also have very convincing reasons to believe the truth of its claims.
Jesus’ life and death are well documented by other secular historians of the time, so we know the Bible’s record is accurate.
But what about the resurrection? Jesus’ disciples had nothing to gain from claiming they had seen him resurrected. In fact, all except one of them was martyred for making this claim.
Something dramatic happened to cause them to go from being a group of terrified scattered followers of a small-town, disgraced leader, to all boldly and unwaveringly proclaiming they had seen Jesus risen from the dead – just as he had said he would be.
By Lara Buchanan