Saturday, March 1, 2014

Can I REALLY trust the Bible?

     One comment frequently heard these days is that "You can't really trust the Bible. Despite it's claims to be God's word, it's really just a collection of myths and stories written centuries after the events it supposedly reports actually happened." While it is a fact that not every name, place, or event can be positively traced through history or archaeology, it is also a fact that none of the names, places, or events have ever been dis-proven by science or archaeology, either. There have been numerous claims by supposed experts that refute a claim made by the Bible. When new evidence has come to light, however, that evidence proves that the Bible had it correct all along.
     Take, for example, the story found in Daniel chapter 5 where Belshazzar is referred to as king on the night Babylon was overthrown by the Medes and Persians. The Hebrew word used there for king is melek, meaning king or royal. For many years critics had great delight in pointing out that even the Babylonians own king lists had Nabonidus as the final king of Babylon. The Bible is in error and cannot be trusted, they crowed. Until....... " in the 20th century archaeologists found a cuneiform table, called the "Persian Verse Account of Nabonidus". Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus. After ruling Babylon for three years (553 B.C.), Nabonidus departed the great city and spent ten years in Tema in Arabia, during this time Nabonidus appointed Belshazzar as the ruler of Babylon. Significantly, when the Persians conquered Babylon, Nabonidus was not there, but Belshazzar was!"
     Thus, Belshazzar was ruling in Babylon the night it fell. This also explains why Belshazzar promised to make Daniel 3rd ruler in the kingdom and not the 2nd ruler in the kingdom as his reward for interpreting the handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5:16). He could not make Daniel 2nd ruler in the kingdom because he, Belshazzar, occupied that position. 3rd ruler was the best he could do, and the Biblical account is proven correct.
      King David was, according to critics, simply a mythical figure made up out of thin air. He never really existed, they said. The Bible is in error and cannot be trusted, they crowed. Until.......In 1949, at Tel Dan in Israel, a stele (inscribed stone) was discovered that is a recount of a victory by a Syrian king over the king of Israel (the northern kingdom at that time) and his ally the king of the "House of David," or the southern kingdom. You will recall that David's grandson caused a split of the kingdom into two parts. Thus the historical existence of King David has been confirmed, and the Biblical account is proven correct.
     The word Hittite is found 46 times in the Bible, and the words Hittites is found 22 times, so these people are referred to 48 times in the Bible. The critics, however, used to belittle and denigrate these references. "There was never any such people or culture as the Hittites. They are just an imaginary race of people!" The Bible is in error and cannot be trusted, they crowed. Until.......In the 19th century, archaeologists uncovered the remains of Hittite cities and culture. There is a museum of Hittite artifacts today in Ankara, Turkey. For more information on the Hittite culture visit Thus the existence of the Hittite culture has been confirmed, and the Biblical account is proven correct.
     Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea who sentenced Jesus to crucifixion, was once thought to be an imaginary figure who never really existed. The Biblical critics trumpeted that outside the Bible, no historical mention of him could be found. The Bible is in error and cannot be trusted, they crowed. Until.......In 1961, at Caesarea Maritima a limestone inscription was found which not only confirms his role as Judean procurator, but also links him to Roman emperor Tiberius, who is known to have been emperor at the time of Jesus Christ. Thus the historical existence of Pilate has been confirmed,  and the Biblical account is proven correct.
    Another tactic critics like to use is to take a mistranslation from the original language into English, debunk the English translation, and then claim the the original is in error. A case in point is in Acts 28:13, where Paul is recounting his journey on a ship headed to Rome. The text in English (KJV) reads; "And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:" Critics have taken great delight in pointing out that the compass, while having been known in China since 200BC,  was unknown in Europe in Paul's day, not being used there until the 12th century. The Greek word translated as compass is perierchomai. The word means to come all around, that is, stroll, vacillate, veer: - fetch a compass, vagabond, wandering about. When considering that the second sentence in the verse states that "after one day the south wind blew" it implies that the sailors were sailing aimlessly waiting for that south wind. The ASV translates the passage as "And from thence we made a circuit,". Young's Literal translation reads "thence having gone round." The English Standard Version reads " And from there we made a circuit." The New International Version reads "From there we set sail." So we can see that the original does not, as the critics contend, imply that the sailors used a navigational instrument which was unknown to them, but that the best way to read the passage is "we sailed in a circle (or circuit)." The critics argument is reduced to nothing.
    Job 26:7 reads " Job_26:7  He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." It wasn't until men orbited the Earth that undeniable confirmation was obtained that the sphere of the Earth did in fact hang upon nothing, but Job recorded it 4000 years ago. The first clause in this verse is also interesting because "In recent years, there has been much speculation as to what exactly is behind the North Star, Polaris. Polaris, as described by NASA, is actually three close stars. 3 is an important number, mind you. NASA has also discovered that unlike any other star, there is an Empty Space behind the North Star. There is the Star, then behind it, empty space, more so than with any other heavenly body."
     I wonder how Job knew about that 4000 years ago, long before Robert Edwin Peary reached the pole on April 6 1909. Maybe the one who created it in the first place told Job about it? Hmmmm.........
     As I said previously, while not every name, place, or event can be proven historically or archaeologically,
hose that can be verified have been shown to correspond with the Biblical account. The same is true for scientific statements made in the Bible.When the Bible makes a historical, archaeological, or scientific claim the evidence uncovered proves the statement correct. If the Bible is correct in those respects, we can have a great deal of confidence and trust in its spiritual and theological claims as well.
    So, yes. You really CAN trust the Bible. It is God's love letter to you. In it, he reveals his plan of redemption for you so that you may enjoy everlasting life in his presence. It is his records of all that he has done for you to overcome and tear down the barrier of sin and unrighteousness that separates a sinful humanity from a holy and righteous God. He came to Earth as a man, Jesus of Nazareth, and laid down his life as payment for an eternal debt that YOU and I owed! He died not for his own sins, but for ours. Why he would do that is a mystery of the ages, but do it he did. All we need to do is accept that payment and it will be credited to our account, forever cancelling out the debt of sin that we owed. If you have never done that, I encourage you to do it right now. You don't have to clean up your life first, and you don't have to stop engaging in a particular behavior you know is unpleasing to God before you come to him. He will accept you just as you are, and then he will empower you to stop sinning, and he will conform you to the image of his Son. As one writer put it "He loves you just the way you are today, but much too much to let you stay that way."
    To receive God's gift of pardon, and the eternal life in Heaven that will accompany it, simply pray something like this in humble faith "Dear Lord Jesus, I accept you as my Savior. I receive that gift of pardon that you purchased for me. I acknowledge my sins, and repent and turn from them. Please come into my heart and life and make me the person you want me to be. I give myself to you, and thank you for what you did for me. In Jesus name, Amen."
     If you prayed that prayer in faith, believing that God will keep his word, then you have just passed from bondage into liberty, from darkness into light, and from death into life. I encourage you to find a good Bible believing church where God's word is proclaimed. Get involved, and study God's word to find his direction for your life. I look forward to meeting you someday in Heaven!