Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Can we trust the bible to be accurate

The question proposed deserves a full size book as an answer. I desire to present a few seed thoughts that will encourage faith in the Bible and maybe inspire deeper study.
          Any reader of the Bible will observe much of it is written as history. Included in the records are the good things that people did and also the bad things. Fiction books and hero books are written differently. It is very much a book that ' tells it as it is '. So then we ask is it historically accurate ?  There are so many stories that are referenced to times or rulers or places etc.

         The book 'The Bible and Archaeology' by Thompson has many recent findings to verify historical data. I give one example: The story of Sennacherib, king of Assyria besieging King Hezekiah in Jerusalem (686BC). Some questioned the historical accuracy until in 1880 the tunnel under the Jerusalem wall was discovered. The tunnel, cut through solid rock for 600 metres to the Gihon spring, had inscriptions on the tunnel wall of how it was built. This was built to enable the people to survive the siege of the city by the Assyrian king. Then was unearthed a clay prism in the old city of Nineveh, which described the same siege of Jerusalem !

         The New Testament is likewise full of time and location data. The Bible reference to the pavement (John19.13) appears to link to the unearthed stonework in Jerusalem today. The external evidence for Jesus and his death comes from the writings of Josephus (Jewish historian) and Tacitus (Roman historian 115AD). Both refer to Jesus the Christ, and that he was executed by Pontious Pilate the governor.

         Some one will interject that the Bible has been corrupted or copied erroneously. Sure, it still is corrupted by some, but 99% of the original text  is verifiable by various means. One convincing method is by the comparing of the more than 5000 copies held in museums etc. People committed to this cause do find variations, but by checkng the age, the language, the context of the copy etc, a very accurate text is possible Some of the copy fragments are very close to the time of writing ( 150 AD ), Hand copying has room for error, but copying and constant use of the copies has an inbuilt correction mechanism. Any changes will come to light and be exposed, just as we today are inclined to compare translations.

        Why did God not preserve the originals? I suggest, for the same reason that He hid the 'ark' of the Old Testament tabernacle  ---   lest the people worship it instead of HIM.

          Let us with confidence read the Bible as accurate and take the promises as solid rock for our faith  - for now and for the great hereafter.

J M (which translation - tell you later)

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