“The reality is that we don’t have archaeological records for virtually anyone who lived in Jesus’s time and place,” says University of North Carolina religious studies professor Bart D. Ehrman, author of Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. “The lack of evidence does not mean a person at the time didn’t exist. It means that she or he, like 99.99% of the rest of the world at the time, made no impact on the archaeological record.” (Source: https://www.history.com/news/was-jesus-real-historical-evidence).
One of the many reasons people do not believe in God is due to a lack of evidence. As a believer, it’s clear that evidence is all around us. But I can understand how some people need something more concrete.
But here is a big question of mine: why do non-believers seek such hard evidence for Jesus’s existence, when so many other historical figures have just as little evidence for their existence?
Every story in history is passed down from generation to generation, from people to people. The stories are passed down by man, from man, to man. And we all seem to trust the validity of most historical stories taught to us by our teachers. Or believe in data shared with us through our most trusted news sources.
So why are so many other texts (also written by man) trusted and taken as plain-faced truth while the Bible is constantly questioned? What is it about those other texts that make them more reliable? Why is it so difficult to consider the existence of an all-knowing Creator when there is so much wonder around us?
If I am expected to read a textbook in school and trust the words flowing from the pages as truth, then why not the Bible?
THE BIBLE MAKES BIG CLAIMS
We should treat the Bible with the same respect we treat any other historical text, and then some, because it claims to hold a truth inside its pages that redeems. Even if it sounds too out-of-this-world to believe, it’s worth looking into.
C.S. Lewis said, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
These words mean so much. If Christianity is false, it changes little. If it is true, well, it changes everything.
If the Bible is true, it is the most important book you will ever read (or not read) in your life. Yes, that is a big claim. And because the claim is so huge, if I were a non-believer, I would be very curious.
I understand that you cannot believe everything you read or trust every source. Sources must pass a test. And especially ancient texts with questionable origins. It makes sense to do our due diligence to find out if the documents that we are reading is trustworthy.
And sure, this holds true for the Bible as well.
But do you want to know the great news? The great news is a lot of historians and scholars have done tons of work over many years to prove the authenticity of the Bible. The evidence is there, and countless hours have been invested into clearing the Bible as a valid historical text that can be trusted.
Below are 5 reasons you can, at the very least, trust that the bible is authentic.
ARCHEOLOGY: There have been numerous archeological findings that align with names and places in the Bible.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls: ancient religious writings found in 11 caves at the Qumran archaeological site. Amazingly, in these scrolls, there are copies of every book in the Hebrew Bible, except Esther. The scrolls were written sometime between the 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD.
HISTORICAL EVIDENCE OUTSIDE THE BIBLE: Yes, it does exist. See two examples below.
- The Tel Dan Inscription: this is considered the first historical evidence of King David from the Bible. It is a ninth-century stone slab with writing from an Aramean king who is proud that he defeated several Israel men from “the king of Israel” and “the house of David”. The name of the specific King David was not preserved, however. This Aramean king does not reference the Bible in any way. Read more here.
- Flavius Josephus: Flavius was a 1st-century historian who wrote a 20-volume text of Jewish history called the “Jewish Antiquities”. (Read more here.) Essentially, the text makes mention of Jesus on two separate occasions. In one instance, he identifies James as the brother of Jesus. And in the second instance, he talks about a man who did “surprising deeds” and was crucified by Pilate, who we can easily assume could be Jesus.
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES FULFILLED: The old testament writings were completed hundreds of years before Jesus’s birth. And yet, hundreds of verses foretell of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and how this impacts Christians. How can mere “stories” from hundreds of years ago accurately foretell future events?
Many say you cannot use the Bible to defend itself. But I beg to differ. The old testament is full of prophecies that are fulfilled in the new testament, which was written by various writers hundreds of years after the fact. A couple of examples:
- Deuteronomy 18:15 reads “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites, and you must listen to that prophet.” Moses foretold of Jesus in this passage, saying these words before the Israelites entered the promised land. You can read more here.
- Isaiah 7:14 reads “All right then, the Lord Himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel – ‘God is with us.’” Isaiah wrote these words somewhere between 700 and 600 BC (before Christ). This prophecy is was then fulfilled when the angel of the Lord comes upon the virgin Mary and she conceives a child, our Savior.
THE BIBLE’S MANY AUTHORS: The bible is not one big book written by one author. It is several books written by many authors across centuries of time. That alone says a lot! These are writers born of different times, but speaking about the same future events that are actually fulfilled. That is truly inspired by God.
THE BEST-SELLING BOOK IN THE WORLD: The Bible is the most printed, best-selling book in the world. According to the Guinness World Records, it’s no secret that it’s the most widely distributed book of all time. “A survey by the Bible Society concluded that around 2.5 billion copies were printed between 1815 and 1975, but more recent estimates put the number at more than 5 billion.”
That’s a big deal! Now, of course, being the most printed book in the world doesn’t automatically make it the truth by default. But, it is very telling. The Bible clearly has some vital information that everyone around the world is seeking. Read more here.
What reasons do you have for trusting the Bible’s authenticity?