Friday, March 9, 2012



We know the Bible is a “lamp unto our feet.”  It shows us God’s way.  Ps. 119:105  We know that to be approved of God, we must study the Bible.  2 Tim. 2:15  There are those that doubt the Word of God and there may be times we don’t really understand how it came to us as complete, perfect, and inspired.  We want to satisfy our questions as well as to be able to answer the questions of those who doubt.  1 Pet. 3:15

Even in New Testament times some men were devising fables or myths or stories that were inaccurate.  2 Pet. 1:16  This happens today as men make up their own religion or follow a man-made religion of the past.  Luke wrote of those things “most surely believed among us.”  Lk. 1:1,2  Eyewitnesses are important to any witness.

If 40 people were put in their own hotel room and asked to write upon the same subject, there would not be the unity that 40 men in 5 continents ranging in almost 1500 years had in writing the Bible.  The Bible does not contradict itself in any way that cannot be explained.  It was definitely inspired by God.  Heb. 1:1,2  The poetic and prophetic books are consistent with the writings of Moses.  The books of history correspond to each other in complete unity.  The four books that tell of life of Christ are united in message.

Today there are many so-called prophets.  How many times has the end of the world been predicted and yet it did not come to pass.  We know it will but no man knows when.  Mk.13:32  Bible prophecies contain many predictions that have come to pass.  Some were long-range.  Isaiah predicted that Jerusalem and its temple would be rebuilt when at the time neither one had been destroyed.  Isa. 44:28  Daniel predicted the succession of empires from his time on for several centuries—Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman.  These were all represented by the large figure described.  Daniel 2:31-35  

Predictions that we know came to pass:
·        Abram – offspring strangers in foreign land (Egypt) – Gen. 15:13-16
·        Israelites put into bondage 400 yrs. – Ex. 12:40
·        Judgment (10 plagues) would come on that nation and they would exit with great wealth.  Ex. 12:35,36
·        Abram would die before this happened.  Gen. 25:7,8
·        They would come out of Egypt in 4th generation-Levi – 1st; Kohath-2nd; Amram-3rd; Moses, Aaron, and Miriam – 4th.

There are many others that could be given in the O.T. 

God coming to the Gentiles.  Mal. 1:11  The church was predicted and that all nations would come into it.  Isa. 2:2  Many detailed facts of Christ’s life were predicted.  Some are:
  • Isa. 9:6 – Born as a baby—not come as a full grown man
  • Isa. 7:14 – Born of a virgin
  • Micah 5:2 – Born in Bethlehem
  • Mal. 3:1 – a forerunner would precede Him to prepare the way
  • Psa. 22:18 – cast lots for pieces of clothing at Christ’s death
  • Isa. 53:6 – Christ would bear the sins of the world.  This chapter gives many details of Christ’s life.
  • Ps. 22:1 – Gives some of the words said by Jesus on the cross.

The Bible contains many scientific facts written long before man discovered them.
  • Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) declared 5 components that make up the world.  Time, force, action, space, matter.  They are all contained in Gen. 1:1  “In the beginning” – time;  “God” – force;  “created” – action;  “heavens” – space;  “earth” – matter.
  • Long before Christ people thought stars could be counted.  Strong telescopes now declare the stars to be innumerable.  Gen. 15:5
  • Until the time of Columbus, the earth was considered flat.  Isa. 40:22; Prov. 8:27
  • Wm. Harvey (1578-1657) thought he had discovered the importance of blood.  Lev.17:14
  • Matthew F. Maury was founder of the science of oceanography and is called the “pathfinder of the seas.”  He received the idea from Ps. 8:8.

Another testimony of the truth of the Bible is archaeology.  Many discoveries have been made that at first were thought false.  Nothing has been found that would come to the conclusion that something in the Bible is false.  Everything substantiates Scripture.
  • Nineveh was thought to be non-existent.  It has been found through archaeological diggings.
  • Nobody could read early clay tablets that were a key to so many things.  Sir Henry Rawlinson found an inscription high on the face of a tall rock 400 ft. above the road.  (Behistum Rock)  It was made of Persian conqueror Darius’s conquests.  It had writing in 3 languages.  By knowing Persian, Rawlinson was able to decipher the key to the Babylonian writings.  The Rosetta Stone was found in mud near the Nile delta town Rosetta.  It also had parallel writing in 3 languages.  This unlocked the hieroglyphics of Egypt.

There are many books on Archaeology telling of hundreds of sites that are cited in the Bible.  One of the books that tells a lot with pictures accompanying the articles is “Halley’s Bible Handbook.”

Donald Hunt explains inspiration in his book, “Simple, Stimulating Studies about the Bible.”  He gives the function of inspiration as the special operation of the Holy Spirit on the minds of the inspired men prompting them as to what to speak or write.  2 Pet. 1:21;  Acts 2:4  

Matthew, Mark, and Luke were not present at the transfiguration yet they could write about it from inspiration.  Peter was present and he wrote from experience but guided by the Holy Spirit.  2 Pet. 1:17-21  Other scriptures indicate guidance by the Spirit: 
1 Cor.2:9,10;  Gal. 1:11,12  Paul was not present when the Lord’s Supper was instituted but see how he speaks of it in 1 Cor. 11:23,24  John  was directed by the Holy Spirit even though he was with the Lord during all His ministry.  1 Jhn.1:3    Jesus had told the apostles that the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance.  Jhn. 14:26  As they remembered, they felt compelled to speak.  Acts 4:20 

Prophets and apostles were inspired in their messages, but they were still human in their lives.  Solomon wrote 3 books of the Bible but that did not keep him from backsliding in old age.  1 Kgs. 11:4  Peter brought the Gentiles to the Lord in Acts 10, but in Gal. 2:11,12 he took the wrong attitude toward them.

There is no other book that has lasted like the Bible.  We live 3.500 years from when the first book was written and 1,900 years after the last book (Revelation) was written.  Jesus said His words would never pass away.  Matt. 24:35  Men have tried to destroy the Bible
The men that tried to destroy it have died but the Word still stands.  Isa. 40:8  Bonfires of Bibles have been made to burn them.  Men have died because they were caught in possession of a Bible.  Man has not been able to destroy the Bible even during the Dark Ages.

There seems to be no comparison with the early manuscripts of the Bible and those of other early authors.  The New Testament books were the most frequently copied and widely circulated books of antiquity.  There are now more than 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.  Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate (early Roman church translated N.T. into Latin) and at least 9,300 other early versions of manuscripts which make more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the N.T. in existence today.  The Iliad by Homer who wrote in 900 B.C. is 2nd with only 643 manuscripts that still survive.
Many other B.C. writers have earliest manuscripts dating as long as 1500 years later than when written. 

Men that want to destroy the inerrancy (total inspiration from God) of the Bible try to find mistakes in the manuscripts.  Upon further examination many are misspelled words.  There are not many of those considering the entirety of the Bible.  Philip Schaff notes that there are only few variant readings that caused any doubt about the textual meaning and those are made clear by other undoubted passages so that an article of faith or a precept of duty is not changed.

For the most part, ancient literature was rarely translated into another language.  Since Christianity is to be spread to the world, the Bible was translated into other languages to spread the gospel.  The Syriac (Armenian) was the first at 150-250 A.D.  Remember that the last book of the N.T. was written around 100 A.D. so this is not very long.  The Latin Vulgate is dated 300-400 A.D.

J. Harold Greenlee says that the quotations of the Scripture in the works of the early Christian writers “are so extensive that the N.T. could virtually be reconstructed from them without the use of N.T. manuscripts.”  Memory of early Christians was also used as a means of preserving in case the Bible would be taken away.

The history of the O.T. is very different from that of the N.T.  Until the recent discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest complete Hebrew manuscript was around 900 A.D.  The Hebrew O.T. was completed about 400 B.C. so this left a gap of 1300 years.  With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a number of O.T. manuscripts have been found which scholars date before the time of Christ.  There are many reasons why these early manuscripts of the O.T. were not found earlier.

First, the scribes took extreme care in copying the Scriptures.  There were many rules regarding the copied work.  1. It had to be written on skins of clean animals. 2. It must be done by a Jew. 3. The copies from the scrolls must be fastened together with strings taken from clean animals.  4.There must be an equal number of columns. 5.Each column must be between 48 and 60 lines and the breadth must consist of 30 letters.  6. Nothing—not even one letter—must be written by memory.  On and on the rules went.    If these regulations were not met, the copied work would be burned or buried or perhaps used as reading books, but not Scripture.  The copies were as near perfect as could be.

Because the copies were so perfect, they were considered as authentic as the work from which it was copied.  Therefore, the new copy became the authentic one and the old one could be stacked away.  As research became more prevalent, stacks of these older manuscripts have been found that date far back.  As they are studied, it is found that they are the same as the newer ones. 

In 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in Qumran Cave I.  These scrolls were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known.  They proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95% of the text.  The 5% of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling but no differences in doctrine or teaching.  They do not affect the message of revelation in the slightest.

The Massoretic Period (A.D. 500-900) brought exceptional editing of the text.  Their headquarters were in Tiberias.  Their work is called the Massoretic text.  They would count every thing that could be counted to make sure it was done correctly.  They added vowel points to insure proper pronunciation.  It became the standard text for today.

 Jesus quoted from many books of the O.T. which gives great weight to their authority.  Up until the 800’s the text of Bible books was in solid capital letters and without spaces or intervening punctuation.  We know they had no chapter or verse divisions.  Following is a sample of what you would have had to read or copy.
HAVINGTHEREFORETHESEPROMISESDEARLYBELOVEDLETUSCLEANSEOURSELVESFROMALLFILTHINESSOFTHEFLESHANDSPIRITPERFECTINGHOLINESSINTHEFEAROFGOD.  Difficult?  We can be so thankful for the work that has gone on before us and the watchcare of our great God who has overlooked the preservation of His Word for us to have—even in the personal possession of each one of us.

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