Is The Bible Reliable

Upon writing this post I wanted to deal with the uniqueness of the bible which I believe gives credence to the reality of the text which ultimately points towards divine authorship.

To study further on this subject I would recommend a book that I read a long time ago called “A Ready Defense” by Josh McDowell who was an atheist turned Christian. His quest was similar to that of Lee Strobel’s who is a well known author for his “case” series of books.

When closely examining the bible it is like a jewel that is multifaceted with a beauty that makes this gem unique among other literary “gem”res.

I know that this is the same claim that others have also made by advancing their various religious world views but in the final analysis the bible as compared to these other scripts sets a precedence which places it in a class of its own.

Every group wants to claim originality, uniqueness, genuineness, and authority as it relates to some supreme or divine origin regarding their sacred text and based on what I have seen so far in regard to these books seems to be questionable based upon the shortcomings and contradictions of their varied positions of belief.

Again I understand this is the same criticism that has been leveled against the biblical text as well and the skeptic is quick to point out all sorts of problems but some are not always able to be specific in their critique.

Also I know there are difficulties within the bible that are hard to decipher but that is not enough evidence to discard its content as rubbish and poppycock.

Some of these conflicts have resulted due to the vastness and complexity of the scriptures which encompasses 1500 years of writing with 40 different authors who wrote on 3 different continents in 3 different languages. This has led to various nuances which at times may be almost impossible at points to complete rectify or reconcile due to the diversity of language and  culture.

Some things in the bible are a paradigm shift to our concept of experience such as its miraculous and metaphysical contents but this does not disapprove the bible either but rather it just leaves us with a bit of a  mystery that is not normative to our sense perception.

As regarding biblical content there are other things that just lack a fuller view of explanation and insight of which the authors didn’t leave us with nor thought it necessary to answer. As we try to fill in the blanks this often times leaves us with a misunderstanding which attributes much to the seemingly contradictions and misapplications to the contextual view which can lead towards heretical forms of teaching or belief.

The bible isn’t always an easy piece of literature to handle or piece together and it is like an onion in that every time you read through it you find another layer of understanding that was overlooked in the first disclosure. Yet just because something cannot not be fully understood doesn’t mean that is can’t be trusted. Even science has these limitations as they are just now beginning to probe into the deeper mysteries of the universe and yet the universe to us is both real and believable.

Also we can’t treat the bible like an exhaustive manual which explains every last little detail and it appears to be the Almighty’s prerogative to avoid an extensive explanation of all the complexities that interest inquiring minds. From a biblical view point there tends to be a concentration on the relevant or central points and subjects rather than always answering the questions of “why”. It’s not like we could fully fathom or understand everything anyway and at points it might be like trying to teach the theorems of nuclear science to a new born. This reminds me of Job who questioned God in his finitude which in turn God answered Job back in His infinitude leaving Job speechless.

As humans we don’t even fully understand the ancient technologies or achievements of men such as the building of the pyramids which are undeniably monumental in their presence and yet now we expect to fully comprehend the complexities of an eternal and omnipotent God?

Also some of the difficulties in the bible apply more directly to that particular point in history which would have made it more significant in relevance towards the contemporaries of that particular generation.

So maybe our ability to discern fully is diminished through this aspect of time and space and one thing that has helped in narrowing the gap of biblical doctrine has been the technological advances of archaeology and their recovery of the evidence which has helped to clarify instead of contradict the biblical text. It’s just a matter of time for some things to come into a clearer view as we unearth the next pile of dirt.

Archaeologists have uncovered habitations that were once thought to be non existent such as the Hittite civilization and they also have found historical proof for the things in the bible that at one time were put in the categorical box of mythology.

Our limitations to discern or understand can also become distorted resulting in a corrupt understanding of the text and fallibility may be on behalf of the interpreter which results in a misapplication to the scriptures but one thing is certain is that these assertions may apply to peoples perception but that does not necessitate an application to the book that is under others scrutiny.

Anyway I really don’t have enough time in this one post to write on such a voluminous work that has copious amount of scholarship dedicated to this subject. Hopefully this will serve your interest in prompting a desire for you to more fully research these claims in unlocking this heavy but accessible door as you enter into the discovery of biblical truth.

One thing that biblical literature has going for itself is that there is more manuscript evidence for the bible than any other piece of ancient literature. There are about 25,000 manuscripts in various languages that date back as early as 125 A.D for the New Testament and as far back as 200 B.C for the Old. This massive amount of manuscript helps when trying to reconstruct authenticity by analyzing possible discrepancies due to scribal fluctuations and these reconstructive efforts of scholars and linguists have resulted in more of a purified text. Most of these variances that are found are minor such as spelling errors and therefore are non consequential towards the integrity of the text.

Unfortunately we do not have the originals or the autographs but still there is only about a 100 year old time lapse between the New Testament autograph and the oldest surviving copies which is quite small considering that most of the other literature that we have from antiquity is between 400 to 1000 years removed from its original source.

Also regarding the preservation and authentication of the New Testament text is that much of it can be completely reconstructed from the quotes of the early church fathers between 97 AD to 180 AD except for 11 verses. In addition to this the lectionaries between 300-1100 AD also confirm the content for the entire New Testament.

Another thing to consider is that when there is a longer period of time between the sources there tends to be a better possibility to embellish the literature content of a document which can evolve into mythical proportions due to the inclusion of oral traditions. We discovered this when we played the game of telephone as kids. So I believe given the relatively short period of time between these manuscript sources helps to authenticate the reliability of the biblical text.

One of the main reasons why there was difficulty in the preservation and survival of these original autographs was due to the inferiority of the parchment which was largely papyrus. Animal skins were not widely used until centuries after the completion of the New Testament so in conclusion this trail of vast manuscripts has turned out to be a blessing in piecing together the textual evidence of this script without the benefits of Gutenberg’s Press.

In moving on to the Old Testament text it was passed down to us by the Massoretes. These copyists or scribes were meticulous on how they counted the number of letters, words, and lines in keeping with the accuracy of the sacred text. This kind of detail can be attributed to the consistency we see with the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947 which were written about 1000 years before this Masoretic text (895AD). When I was in Jerusalem I was able to see the Isaiah scroll on display at the Shrine of the Book museum.

Anyway in addition to this there is yet another copy of the Old Testament called the Septuagint which is written in Greek with the oldest copy dating back to about the second century AD which is still another piece of the puzzle to this ancient work of literature.

Now regarding the New Testament the original manuscripts were written between 45 and 95 A.D. Fortunately these documents can be ascribed to there various times based on the historical significance of well know people, places, and events. In addition to this I think one key element in determining the age of these documents is the fact that the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.  and since this is such a catastrophic event of which is not even mentioned in such significant historical books  as Acts or the gospel narratives then it becomes understandable why these books predate this particular event in history.

Also before the New Testament could be accepted as canon it had to be validated and  proven to have  an origin that would require it to be of either a first hand witness or someone closely associated with these witnesses in order to find acceptance within the  New Testament community of believers.

Nearly all the New Testament was written by the Apostles with the bulk of literature being attributed to the Apostle Paul. Others that had written books were closely associated with the Apostles such as John Mark who was a close associate with the Apostle Peter and Luke who was under the influence of Paul and there was also Jacob(James) and Judah(Jude) who were the half brother’s of Jesus. We have no reason to question the authenticity of these apostolic authors based on the dates and the acceptance of these scriptures by the followers of the early church.

Even Polycarp in 108 AD, who was a disciple of the Apostle John, mentions 15 of these NT books, not to say that the others didn’t exist, but finally through various church councils leading up to the council of Carthage in 397 AD the canon of the New Testament was determined to be closed and was fully affirmed and accepted officially even though it had already been approved within the community of saints prior to these councilor meetings. In addition to this the Jewish council of Jamnia had already determined their canon of scripture prior to this in 90 A.D by officially codifying the Old Testament text.

One of the reasons for the council was due to a reactionary response as a need to preserve biblical orthodoxy which was under attack by the various cults and heresies that were being circulated at this juncture in history. Also within these councils, which would include Jamnia, the various apocryphal literature’s were rejected as inspirational even though it was allowed within the Septuagint and later included within various Orthodox and Catholic bibles.

The early church was hypersensitive towards authentication and was very narrow concerning the inclusion of circulated texts. The church wanted to avoid the synchronization of controversial texts which is unlike some religions like Hinduism which have incorporated a synthesis of various contradictory tribal traditions as a unified text.

So the bible didn’t just come together haphazardly by the mixing and matching of mythological narratives such as what you might find in some of the ancient pagan cultures that ascribe the  events of the creation and the flood accounts as the work of  the polytheistic gods. Nor does it lend itself to the mishandling of information but rather the authors had a preoccupation for accuracy. Just read the account of the gospel of Dr. Luke who writes with the intent of precision as outlined in the introductory statement of his gospel account in Luke 1:1-4 which is described as being prepared in an orderly and precise fashion.

Though the bible may contain super-nature material it is written with the backdrop of historical narrative which is unique and separate from other mythological literature. If God is who the bible claims Him to be then the variables of His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence are clearly within the range of the data that the biblical account supports.

There have also been challenges raised against the gospel accounts which can be seen by the discrepancies of inclusion and exclusion. The bible teaches inspiration with a confluence of both a divine and human element unlike Islam which teaches that the Quran was originated as a divine copy that was communicated by dictation like a stenographer.

The writers of the gospels were individuals who wrote based on their guided perceptions of the same events as it related to their distinct personalities and experience much like interviewing a spectator at a sporting event to get their reaction to the game. Not everybody is going to say the same thing because of a different vantage point in their communication of factual information and even if there is corroboration like you have in the Synoptic gospels there are still allowances for individuality. Of course this is only acceptable as long as it is not contradictory in nature.

If the church wanted to remove any perceived inconsistencies as a means to help eliminate the supposed contradictions then they would have had plenty of time to do this by now but because these somewhat controversial scriptures remain helps to prove is originality.

If we question the biblical literature then we must likewise question the historical literature of antiquity as well as all other literature even from the contemporary sources. We can’t just simply rank or categorize religion under the titles of superstition, fiction, and myth just because it pertains to religious ideologies.

We must also scrutinize what is to be considered as the standardized text book materials such as what is found in the scientific (philosophical) realms which base much of their conclusive evidence on the theory and hypothesis of their scientific methods. Yet are we religiously treating these books as sacred without challenging them by accepting the science fiction notion of such things as macroevolution which has never been proven.

Religion has been attributed as the opiate of the masses but what about the cyanide of the sciences and philosophies in spite of the teleological and cosmological arguments of which science has stumbled over in resolving and has had to shift their position from time to time in order to accommodate there faith which remains in a continued state of flux. Upon closer observation if the skeptic would remove the shutter over their instruments they may come to discover the Creator staring back at them through the lens of the microscope and telescope.

The bible was meant to be complimentary to the texts of human academia and is not to be antithetical to the precepts of life as it appears within the libraries of knowledge. However some want to create a special section that separates it from the rest of the collection of library books by attributing it to a form of  mysticism or some type of the pre-scientific beliefs of ancient tribal civilizations who were ignorant and misinformed.

Lastly this post does not answer every question to all the objections but it does show at this point that the bible is a reliable source of ancient literature. Yet what really makes this piece of work unique is the content which has it origins in a divine being.

I believe that requires something of the nature which is considered special revelation such as the fulfillment of prophecy or scientific facts that were unknown to these ancient civilizations.

A person could give the criticism that biblical prophecy is like an arrow that has been shot with the bible serving as the target which we have conveniently moved in order to achieve the bulls eye of fulfillment.

Yet there are some things of which can not be adequately refuted because of the historical nature of secondary or non biblical sources which are independent of the biblical sources.

One of these sources comes to us through the historical and archeological finds that have helped to substantiate and give credibility to the biblical text.

The scriptures themselves have made some wise towards the receiving of salvation and we see this as a response to some Jews who have come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah just from reading the Tanakh or the Old Testament scriptures. To most Jews the New Testament is an inferior secondary text but when they see an alignment between the historical crucifixion and the New Testament record then sometimes the light of revelation illuminates their mind to connect to Jesus as the supreme messianic figure in fulfillment of the Old Testament.

The Jewish community is not sympathetic towards Jesus even though we share a common belief in God and a holy book. One of the chapters that some of the religious Jews avoid is Isaiah 53 due to its prophetic significance as related to Jesus. Many times when uninformed Jews hear this segment of the scripture for the first time some immediately associate this passage with Jesus and their initial response is that we don’t believe in the New Testament without realizing that they have just heard a passage from their Hebrew scriptures.

Another prophecy, which is found in Psalms 22, depicts the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus which describes this form of capital punishment that was non existent at this point in history and wasn’t developed until later by the Persians before finally being adopted by the Romans.

Again this is another one of those scriptures that some Jews upon hearing for the first time have immediately seen as a correlation between Jesus and His death. Actually this was one of the key scriptures in which my Jewish wife came to believe in Jesus herself.

In considering the evidence of the prophetic I would like to refer to a couple of instances that would be recognized as unique outside of the resource of the bible and would be considered unmistakingly and undeniably valid without the influence of a religious text alone telling us what happened which would include the possibility of adding something after the fact.

To begin with we know that the Old Testament predates the New Testament and that is not in dispute here because of the dating of the Septuagint and the Dead Sea scrolls and therefore this text was not the invention of Christianity. The Jewish community had this text long before the advent of the new covenant era and the Jews wouldn’t even think about it as being an extension of the biblical narrative.

Yet the religious  Jews find some real problems with some of these Old Testament scriptures and they either avoid reading them or claim them to be closed or to difficult to understand especially when it comes to the possibility of seeing Jesus as the fulfillment of the text.

One thing I have discussed extensively in another blog is the seventy weeks of Daniel which deals with a historic timetable of dating which can not be fabricated or altered which specifically points to the time of Jesus followed by the destruction of the temple.

Also another bit of evidence and one of the greatest miracles of this modern era is the reestablishment of the State of Israel and the continued proliferation of the Jewish people against all the odds of a complete assimilation and annihilation which helps in confirming the prophetic significance of Genesis 13:14, 15 which was given as an ancient promise to Abraham concerning his offspring as inhabiting the land of Israel forever. This prophecy was given about 2000 BC and it still good for 2010 AD and beyond.

The historical rebirth of Israel in 1948 was a divine miracle which records the preservation of Israel amidst the oppositional forces of exile and the Diaspora which resulted in the inquisition, crusades, pogroms, and even the nazi Holocaust and yet they have still survived and retained their ethnic and national identity as a distinct people and therefore did not fully integrate unlike other people groups in the history of the world that had lost their homeland. The Jews may have been temporarily displaced but only to return. God was putting them on display as if to show the world his glory and greatness according to his promises which are without repentance.

In addition to this just to hear of the miraculous stories which took place among the Jewish people as they fought to retain their land is enough to make a believer out of you. To see God’s hand in protecting them from the invading armies of the surrounding Arab nations when they were out numbered and out armed was like a story right out of the bible much like David and Goliath.

There have been many great civilization come and go but Gods word will not fail. A good production to view concerning this reenactment is the movie “Against all Odds”.

In regards to science many have thought that the bible is incompatible with the advancements of the modern scientific age and yet we know that there are many well known scientists working in their respective disciplines which minimally have a theistic view as well as a portion of them clinging to the Judeo Christian faith. Here is a link that gives a partial list of these people

In conclusion this may not prove to you ever thing that you question regarding the biblical text or the God of the bible but it should cause you to hunger enough to want to investigate the buffet of God’s word as means to satisfy the hunger pangs of our human reality. Our problem is that we have a pallet that is not culinaried towards having an appetite towards our creator. Yet the bible calls to us to taste and see that the Lord is good.
How to know God

Atheist and Agnostic Resources

English Articles on Atheism and Agnosticism





AMG’s Encyclopedia of Bible Facts, AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Reprinted by permission. “Josh McDowell A Ready Defense, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Copyright 1993, Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved.”

9 Responses to “Is The Bible Reliable”

  1. Sarah Wilson says:

    Hi! Saw your blog and thought you might be interested in a brand-new pre-publication from Logos Bible Software:

  2. admin says:

    Thanks, I actually have Logos on my computer and now I am waiting on the Logos 3 program for my Mac

  3. admin says:

    Dear Bino,

    Thanks for your remarks. I don’t mind replying to your comment but I would first like to know what your religious persuasion is? The reason why I ask this is because I’m confused in that you claim to reject the sayings and the events of the gospel accounts yet you continually mention the use of the words “our” gospel writers which would indicate that you have some type of personal identity towards these individuals. I don’t mean this in an offensive way but would you mind telling me why you would even identify yourself with these gospel writers if you really thought that they were just liars and deceivers.

  4. quiet time says:

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  5. admin says:

    I’m not for sure why it would do that?

  6. admin says:

    How are you? Have read any of my posts on Hinduism yet?


  7. Heart Necklace : says:

    my father likes Hinduism coz he believes that this is a good religion~,’

  8. admin says:

    So what do you believe? Also I have written some posts on Hinduism which may be of interest to you.

  9. Pine Cupboard says:

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