Why I Believe – The Bible (Part 2)

If the Bible is from God, then one should be able to find unity and accuracy in the message. This is exactly what one does find. The unity and accuracy of the Bible is amazing.

Unity

“The Bible was written by more than forty different men from practically every walk of life. Nehemiah was a royal cupbearer. Peter was a fisherman. Luke was a physician. Matthew was a tax collector. Solomon was a king. Moses was a shepherd. Paul was a tent maker….They wrote in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), from at least two continents (Europe and Asia), over a period of time that spanned approximately sixteen centuries (1500 B.C. to A.D. 100). And they covered topics as diverse as eschatology, soteriology, theology, psychology, geography, history, medicine, and many others. All of this being true, one might expect that so diverse a group of men, writing on so varied a group of subjects, over such a lengthy span of time would have produced a book that would be a tangled mishmash of subject more often than not marred by an incredible number of inconsistencies, errors, and incongruities. Yet, this hardly is the case. In fact, quite the opposite is true” (Bert Thompson, in defense of the Bible’s inspiration, pp. 26-27)

1. There is unity in the core message. “The book of Genesis tells of man’s fall into a sinful state. In Exodus through Deuteronomy, by the giving of the law, sin is defined and vividly characterized. The historical books of the Old Testament portray man’s inability to justify himself on the basis of law-keeping, hence they underscore the need of a justifier. The Prophets herald the coming of that illustrious justifier…The Gospel writers inform us that Christ has come bringing justification. The Book of Acts demonstrates how first-century men and women appropriated Jehovah’s justifying grace unto themselves through loving obedience. The various Epistles to churches and individuals instruct saints how to grow toward spiritual maturity, and finally, the Revelation pictures the ultimate and complete triumph of our great God over all his enemies.” (Wayne Jackson, Fortify Your Faith, pp. 58-59).

2. There is unity in incidentals.

A. The eighth plague on Egypt destroyed the barley, which was “in head” and the flax, which was “in bud” (Exodus 9:31). Forty years later, when the Israelites entered Canaan it was harvest time (Joshua 2:6; 3:15; 4:19 cf Exodus 12:1-3). A large amount of charred grain was found by Bryant Wood in Jericho (see Joshua 2:6, 3:15; 5:10 cf 6:24)

B. Mark speaks of “green grass” in recording the feeding of the five-thousand (Mark 6:39). John indicates that it was near the Passover feast, which is in the spring, that this feeding occurred (John 6:4).

The Bible is consistent even in incidental details.

Accuracy

1. The Hittites: The Bible mentions the Hittites over forty times. Yet, critics said that there was no evidence of these people. A. H. Sayce and Hugo Winckler confirmed the Hittites existence. Archaeology has now found the Hittites Capital in Turkey.

2. David: He is mentioned over a thousand times in the Bible. Yet, where was the tangible proof of his historicity? A Syrian record of David was found in 1993 by Avraham Biran.

3. Jehu: He was found in an Assyrian inscription by the archaeologist Henry Layard. A black limestone block pictures a man bowing before the Assyrian King. The inscription reads “Tribute of Jehu Son of Omri.”

4. Hezekiah: British Colonel R. Taylor discovered the Sennacherib annals. In this the Assyrian king boasts conquering forty-six Judean cities and having Hezekiah “Shut up in Jerusalem…like a bird in a cage.” However, he never speaks of actually conquering Jerusalem. I wonder why not? (cf. 2 Kings 19; 2 Chr. 32).

5. Jehoiachin: King Nebuchadnezzar took him captive to Babylon (2 Kings 24:8-16). A Babylonian record of food rations was found and translated by Robert Koldeway and Ernest Weidner. Jehciachin, King of Judah, is mentioned.

6. Proconsul (Acts 13:4-7): Some critics said that the proper title was Propraetor. “Augustus Ceaser had divided the Roman provinces into two great classes – Senatorial and Imperial. The Senatorial provinces were governed by Proconsuls and the Imperial provinces were governed by Propraetors or consular legates. The claim was thus made that Cyprus was Imperial, so Luke had mistakenly employed the wrong title. It is now known…that whereas Cyprus was made and Imperial province in 27 B.C., five years later Augustus gave it to the Senate, in exchange for Dalmatia…from that date it was…governed by Proconsul…A coin from Cyprus mentions Proculus the successor of Sergius Paulus, and calls him Proconsul of Cyprians” (Wayne Jackson, Biblical studies in Light of Archaeology, pp. 46-47).

7. Politarchs (Acts 17:4-6): This is the original term which is typically rendered “Rulers of the City”. The Thompson Chain Reference Bible said “For many years modern critical scholars pointed out that this term or title was not found in all Greek literature, and therefore Luke had made a mistake…Later, however the title was found inscribed on various ruins in Thessalonica.” Thessalonica was a free city. It called its city-board members “Politarchs”. Luke was correct.

8. Proconsul (Acts 18:12): Luke, once more, is accurate. “Early, under Tiberias, Achaia had been on Imperial province (Tacitus 1. 76), administered by a ‘legate,’ but in A.D. 44, Claudius conferred ‘senate’ status upon the province (Suetonius, Claudius 23), and these were governed by ‘Proconsuls’” (Wayne Jackson, The Acts of The Apostles). F.F. Bruce points out “Luke…one of the most remarkable tokens of his accuracy is his sure familiarity with proper titles…This was by no means such an easy feat in his days as it is in ours, when it is so simply to consult convenient backs of reference (or internet B.H.) The accuracy of Luke’s use of the various titles in the Roman Empire has been compared to the easy and confident way in which an Oxford man in ordinary conversation will refer to the heads of Oxford colleges by their proper title – the Provost of Oriel, the Master of Balliol the Rector of Exeter, the President of Magdalen, and so on. A non-oxonian…never feels quite at home with the multiplicity of these offered titles. But Luke had a further difficulty in that the titles sometimes did not remain the same for any great length of time; a province might pass from Senatorial government to administration by a direct representative of the emperor” (The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable, p.82).

Comparison to Others

1. The accuracy of the Bible is amazing. Nelson Glueck “No archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference” (Randall Price, The Stones Cry Out, p. 323). William Albright – “Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought about increased recognition of the Bible as a source of history” (ibid, p. 325).

2. Adam Clark speculated that the moon was inhabited by intelligent beings (Commentary on Gen. 1:16).

3. Samuel Johnson in his Grammar of the English Tongue Said “ ‘H’ seldom, perhaps never, begins any but the first syllable.” (Wayne Jackson, Fortifying Your Faith, p. 62).

4. Tacitus in his History and Description of Germany “Made so many errors concerning the geography of Germany that modern scholars are shocked” (ibid).

5. Encyclopedia Britannica when first published “Contained so many mistakes regarding places in America, that the publishers of the New American Cyclopedia issued a special booklet listing the blunders” (ibid).

6. Herodotus is considered an important ancient source. Yet, relying on second-hand information he wrote of ants as large as foxes that bring up gold in India (3:102), and sheep, in Arabia, whose tails were so large that shepherds made wooden carts for them lest they drag the ground (3:113).

7. Archaeology has not in any way verified things found in The Book of Mormon. In truth, the Smithsonian Institute issued a statement saying “The Smithsonian Institute has never used The Book of Mormon as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archeologist see no direct connection between archeology of the New World and the subject matter in the book” (godscience.org)

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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