Evidence for the Bible You Shouldn't Ignore

April 8, 2006

Introduction: [Adapted from God Wrote a Book, by James MacDonald]
1. We’re starting a NEW ABF series this morning: God Wrote a Book – this will be an 8-week study on various aspects of God’s Word – examples:
 Evidence for the Bible You Shouldn’t Ignore [study for TODAY]
 Where Did the Bible Come From?
 What Can God’s Word Accomplish?
 How to Benefit from God’s Word!
 Jesus, the Message of the Bible
2.  The focus of this study is the Bible as our source of truth – the very foundation upon which our faith is based!
- we want to answer some very important questions:
 How to understand the Bible and how to apply it to our everyday lives?
 How to use it in our relationships w/others (marriage, parenting, coworkers, neighbors, friends – especially among the Body of Christ, and even with unbelievers!)
-  the Bible is more than just a bunch of ‘stories’ of things that happened a long time ago – we view it as TRUTH – God’s truth
> we want to LEARN from it the things God intended for us to know/learn when He wrote it. 
Example: Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
3.  We believe God’s Word is alive and powerful – it’s no ordinary book – a key verses to focus on:
 Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
4. Obviously, not everybody really believes that about the Bible – some are even hostile to the Bible and blatantly REJECT it as truth – so we have to ask these questions:
 But what about other sources that differ with the Bible? 
 Why are words that Paul wrote more important than words written by non-Biblical authors? 
- Let’s all take some steps of growth in understanding and applying the truth of God’s Word – He WROTE it, we need to KNOW it!
5.  Let’s begin our time with this question:
Input:  What are common cultural views of the Bible? [What does the average person on the street think about or would say about the Bible?]
[various answers]
[READ Psalm 19:7-11 – discuss the Memory Verse of the Week:  Ps. 19:7, next week v. 7-8….]
6.  Let’s consider the evidence that the bible really is God’s Word – therefore, His will for our lives!

  I.  External Evidence


- to use only the Bible to PROVE the bible is, to some degree, circular reasoning, so we’re not afraid to look at evidence OUTSIDE of the Bible itself to verify it’s validity
- but I must also be honest and say that everyone’s epistemology (the study of truth, or one’s source of truth) is an issue of FAITH
> some put their faith in the Bible, others in the Koran [Muslim bible], others in the Gita (pronounced: Gee-tah) [Hindu bible], others in Human Reasoning or nature itself
> but everybody has a source of truth . . . and here’s the point:
Point:  * Two opposing views cannot both be true! – either the Bible is right or it is WRONG
- AND, I think we need to make it clear that we are pre-suppositional in our approach:
1)  We presuppose there is a God
2)  He has revealed Himself to us through His written Word (special revelation) and to some degree, through creation (general revelation)
[Note: Psalm 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.]
* External evidence = proofs that exist outside the Bible
A.  The Bible’s Preeminence Among Literature
- Basically, it’s #1 on the list of all the books ever written
1.  The Bible is preeminent in its circulation.
- the entire bible is now translated in more than 400 languages and portions translated in nearly 2,500 languages
- think about these stats:
 The United Bible Societies reports that their network of organization distributed 633 million portions of the Scripture throughout the world in 2000 (i.e. that 1 year alone!!)
 In 2001, the Gideons International put over 56 million complete copies of God’s Word worldwide
Point: That averages about one million copies per week or 107 copies per minute of the Word of God being distributed in various situations.
- not only is it first on the list of being read by more people in m ore languages than any other book in human history, but . . .
2.  The Bible is preeminent in its influence.
- not only for the good it has accomplished in the lives of people, but the attention it has drawn for both sides:
 More books have been written about the Bible than another other subject
 More authors quote the Bible than any other source!
3.  The Bible is preeminent among religious writings.
- Yes, that includes the Koran, the Book of Mormon, etc.
“The Bible is preeminent.  There is no book on the face of the earth that comes anywhere close.  Saying that any book, anywhere, written by anyone, could on any level compare to the Bible would be a statement of ignorance.  A knowing person, a studied person, a person who has examined the subject objectively and carefully could never say that; the proof is so overwhelming” (MacDonald p. 16).
B.  The Bible’s Preservation Under Attack
- God’s Word has been under attack since Gen. 3 where Satan attacked God’s Word – ‘you shall not surely die’ – that’s NOT what God said!
- so it shouldn’t surprise us that the Deceiver continues that attack today through various means/avenues
1.  The attack of man
- there are many examples in history of man’s hatred/antagonism toward the bible
> from piling them up and burning them, to burning people at the stake who would dare to proclaim it’s truth and superior to the ideas/words of man!
> that would include Roman emperors, Communist leaders, to college professors who attack and degrade the Scriptures!
Illustration: Voltaire – the French infidel – he predicted that Christianity would be destroyed w/in a 100 years after his death
- Voltaire died and within 50 years of his death in 1778, the Geneva Bible Society bought his home and used his own printing press to print Bibles!
“The Bible has been uniquely preserved through human history because God wrote it, and God is one hundred percent committed to taking care of it.  Those who set themselves to destroy the Bible are not going against man.  They are going against almighty God, and that is why they always fail” MacDonald pp. 17-18
- Voltaire on his deathbed cried out most desperately:
“I am abandoned by God and man!  I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months’ life.  Then I shall go to hell; you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!” – Last Words of Saints and Sinners, by Herbert Lockyer, Kregel Publications, 1969, p. 133
2.  The attack of time
- some think the Bible is too old – How can we now for sure what was originally written?
- remember what God said about His word:
 Matthew 5:18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
 Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”
- formally, this is called the * Doctrine of Preservation – i.e. that God has preserved His Word for us through time and it will never pass away – you can’t destroy it
- there are a couple of key answers to that question about the time factor:
a.  Number of manuscripts = the ancient documents on which Scripture was written & first copied
- the Greek NT has over 5,300 manuscripts – add to that, over 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 other early versions – that’s over 25,000 early manuscripts!
Note:  No one q’s the reliability of Homer’s Iliad – it only has 643 manuscripts (those are only partial!)
- Another Q(s) that get’s asked is: What if they didn’t copy it accurately?  How do we know the individuals transcribing the original documents were accurate? 
b.  Number of variants
- the attention to details among scribes is incredible – for example:
- At the end of every page, they would count the words and the letters of the original and the count the words/letters of what they had just written to ensure accuracy!
- those numbers were usually recorded at the bottom of the page – then proof readers would check the copies to make sure the scribe was accurate
- differences in any of these areas (# of words, spelling, punctuation) affect NO MAJOR DOCTRINE of the Word!
c.  Consider the time gap between the original writing and the earliest copies
- the NT was completed around A.D. 100 – our earliest NT manuscripts date from around A.D. 125
- the bible has an average of 475 years in time between its writings and the 1st existing copies
Example: Homer’s Iliad was written about 900 B.C. – the earliest copy we have is from 400 B.C. – that’s 500 years!
Example: The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 provided a complete copy of Isaiah – a 1,000 years older than any known manuscript
“Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only seventeen letters in question.  Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense.  Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions.  The remaining three letters comprise the word “light,” which is added in verse 11, and does not affect the meaning greatly.  Furthermore, this word is supported by the LXX (Septuagint). . . . Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission – and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage” (MacDonald 22 – quoted from Geisler and Nix, General Introduction, 263).
C.  Proof from Archaeology – this fits into the category of Sgt. Friday, from the police show in the 1970, Dragnet:  “Give me the facts, mamn, just the facts.”
William Albright: “There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament.”
1.  Critics of the Bible used to say that Moses was not the author of the Pentateuch.
- but that was proven wrong in 1975 when the Ebla Tablets were discovered – nearly 20,000 written records dating 1,000 years BEFORE Moses – when translated, they found out that many of the laws, customs, and sacrificial systems existed long before Moses
- as MacDonald wrote: “Oops. Maybe Moses did write the Pentateuch” (= 1st 5 books)
2.  People used to laugh at O.T. references to the Hittites (a nation/people)
- recent archaeological digs have found 100’s of ref to the Hittite people living over a 1,200 year period in the Middle East!
[if time – ref the story of Laban – Rachael stealing the family idols – Gen. 31; in 1925 over 1,000 clay tablets found revealed that a person who possessed the family idols could make a legal claim to all the family property; now that account makes sense!]
- that’s just the EXTERNAL evidence, now let’s consider the


II.  Internal Evidence


A.  Amazing Agreement
- the Bible has 1 divine author: The Holy Spirit, but 39 to 40 human authors (depending on who wrote the book of Hebrews – some think Paul, but the style is quite different, probably NOT Paul, so 40 authors)
- in reference to the quality of these men, Peter said this:
 2 Peter 1:21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
> these men were very diverse people – different occupations, backgrounds, personality, and even different experiences in their lives, and different circumstances in which God worked in their lives
- and these men proclaim the same central message of the nature/character of God and His glory down through the ages, along with His plan of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ!
- they were able to do this because they were writing the things that God Himself led them to write
B.  Total Consistency
* Among ‘supposed’ contradictions of message, numbers, stories, history, and science
- for each of these, it’s just that – ‘supposed’ contradictions and each one of these can be answered with a consistent hermeneutic (art and science of bible interpretation)
> along with a look at the examples of what man thought about the bible, and then was proven wrong w/a simple discovery
Example: Liberals argued there was no place as Jericho – until it was found!
-  when you believer there is a God who is all powerful, He can do things like making the earth stand still (Josh. 10:13) – the Lord can stop the rotation of earth any time He wants – He made it, and He knows how it works and “by Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17)
C.  Fulfilled Prophecy
- 61 major prophecies concerning the life of Christ, written 100’s of yrs before His birth
- the chances of 8 of those prophecies being fulfilled is 1017 m
- how were all these fulfilled – God had a plan, and He worked His plan!
- God wrote a book, and His Word is “true and righteous altogether”!


III.  Experiential Evidence


A.  Four evidences to experience if you would come to the Bible w/an open heart & mind:
1.  The Bible is gripping.
 Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
2.  The Bible is comforting.
 Ps. 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.
3.  The Bible is convicting.
 1 Thess. 1:5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
4.  The Bible is freeing.
 John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
B.  Personal examples of how the Word impacts your life.
[get input from ABF]
Conclusion:
Next Week: Chp. 2: Where Did the Bible Come From?  [Inspiration & Authority of the Bible]


ABF Series: God Wrote a Book
Part 1: Evidence for the Bible You Shouldn’t Ignore

Introduction:
 Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Input:  What are common cultural views of the Bible?


Key Passage:  Psalm 19:7-11
Memory Verse: Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the  LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
  I.  External Evidence
* Two opposing views cannot both be true!
* External evidence = proofs that exist outside the Bible
A.  The Bible’s Preeminence Among Literature
1.  The Bible is preeminent in its ______________.

2.  The Bible is preeminent in its ______________.

3.  The Bible is preeminent among ___________ ______________.
“The Bible is preeminent.  There is no book on the face of the earth that comes anywhere close.  Saying that any book, anywhere, written by anyone, could on any level compare to the Bible would be a statement of ignorance.  A knowing person, a studied person, a person who has examined the subject objectively and carefully could never say that; the proof is so overwhelming” (MacDonald p. 16).

B.  The Bible’s Preservation Under Attack
1.  The attack of _____
“The Bible has been uniquely preserved through human history because God wrote it, and God is one hundred percent committed to taking care of it.  Those who set themselves to destroy the Bible are not going against man.  They are going against almighty God, and that is why they always fail” MacDonald pp. 17-18
2.  The attack of ________

* Doctrine of Preservation = God has preserved His Word for us through time and it will never pass away
a.  Number of _________________ = ancient documents on which Scripture was written & first copied
b.  Number of ___________

c.  Consider the time gap between the original writing and the earliest copies
“Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only seventeen letters in question.  Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense.  Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions.  The remaining three letters comprise the word “light,” which is added in verse 11, and does not affect the meaning greatly.  Furthermore, this word is supported by the LXX (Septuagint). . . . Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission – and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage” (MacDonald 22 – quoted from Geisler and Nix, General Introduction, 263).
C.  Proof from _________________
William Albright: “There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament.”
1.  Critics of the Bible used to say that Moses was not the author of the Pentateuch.

2.  People used to laugh at O.T. references to the Hittites (a nation/people)
II.  Internal Evidence
A.  Amazing _______________

B.  Total _________________

C.  _____________ _____________
Example: 
III.  Experiential Evidence
A.  Four evidences to experience if you would come to the Bible w/an open heart & mind:
1.  The Bible is _____________.
 Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
2.  The Bible is _____________.
 Ps. 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.
3.  The Bible is _____________.
 1 Thess. 1:5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
4.  The Bible is _____________.
 John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
B.  Personal examples of how the Word impacts your life.

 

Conclusion:
Next Week: Chp. 2: Where Did the Bible Come From?  [Inspiration & Authority of the Bible]

ABF Series: God Wrote a Book
Part 1: Evidence for the Bible You Shouldn’t Ignore

Introduction:
 Hebrews 4:12
Input:  What are common cultural views of the Bible?
Key Passage:  Psalm 19:7-11
Memory Verse of the Week:  Psalm 19:7
I.  External Evidence
* Two opposing views cannot both be true!
* External evidence = proofs that exist outside the Bible
A. The Bible’s Preeminence Among Literature
1.  The Bible is preeminent in its circulation.
2.  The Bible is preeminent in its influence.
3.  The Bible is preeminent among religious writings.
Quote

B.  The Bible’s Preservation Under Attack
1.  The attack of man
Quote - pp. 17-18
2.  The attack of time
 Matthew 5:18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
 Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”
* Doctrine of Preservation = God has preserved His Word for us through time and it will never pass away
a.  Number of manuscripts = ancient documents on which Scripture was written & first copied
b.  Number of variants
c.  Consider the time gap between the original writing and the earliest copies
Quote – p. 22

C.  Proof from Archaeology
William Albright: “There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament.”
1.  Critics of the Bible used to say that Moses was not the author of the Pentateuch.
2.  People used to laugh at O.T. references to the Hittites (a nation/people)
II.  Internal Evidence
A.  Amazing Agreement
 2 Peter 1:21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
B.  Total Consistency
C.  Fulfilled Prophecy
Example:  61 major prophecies concerning the life of Christ, written 100’s of years before His birth
III.  Experiential Evidence
A.  Four evidences to experience if you would come to the Bible w/an open heart & mind:
1.  The Bible is gripping.
 Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
2.  The Bible is comforting.
 Ps. 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.
3.  The Bible is convicting.
 1 Thess. 1:5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
4.  The Bible is freeing.
 John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

B.  Personal examples of how the Word impacts your life.
Conclusion:
Next Week: Chp. 2: Where Did the Bible Come From?  [Inspiration & Authority of the Bible]