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Why Believe What the Bible Says?


Why Believe What the Bible Says? Exploring the Reliability of the Bible Trusting the Bible Use the same standards of evidence for the Bible as are used for other ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Why Believe What the Bible Says?

Why Believe What the Bible Says?
  • Exploring the Reliability of the Bible

Trusting the Bible
  • Use the same standards of evidence for the Bible
    as are used for other ancient literature.

Three Types of Evidence
  • Bibliographical evidence number of manuscripts
    and time interval between the originals and the
    existing copies
  • External evidence whether other historical
    material confirms or denies what is in the Bible
  • Internal evidence whether the Bible is credible
    and to what extent

Bibliographic Evidence
Bibliographic Evidence
  • Football Stats

Bibliographic EvidenceNew Testament Stats
  • Two types of bibliographic evidence
  • Number of manuscripts
  • Time interval between the original and the
    earliest existing copies

Bibliographic EvidenceNew Testament Stats
  • Number of New Testament Manuscripts
  • Over 5,500 partial or complete manuscript portion
    of the N.T. in Greek alone
  • Over 10,000 Latin Vulgate manuscripts (early 5th
  • Over 9,300 other early manuscripts
  • Close to 25,000 early manuscripts of partial or
    complete New Testament

Bibliographic EvidenceNew Testament Stats
  • Number of other ancient manuscripts
  • Homers Iliad 643
  • Plato 7
  • Herodotus History 8
  • Thucydides History 8
  • Demosthenes 200
  • Caesars Gallic Wars 10
  • Livys History of Rome 20 (1 partial)
  • Tacitus Annals 20

Bibliographic EvidenceNew Testament Stats
  • Time interval between the writing of the original
    N.T. and the existing copies
  • The New Testament was written between A.D. 50 and
    A.D. 100
  • The oldest extant fragment of the New Testament
    (a portion of the Gospel of John) is from A.D.
  • Portions of the N.T. exist from the mid-2nd
    century through the early 3rd century

Bibliographic EvidenceNew Testament Stats
  • Complete New Testament from A.D. 325, a
    difference of 275 years from when the writing of
    the N.T. began, and only 225 years from when it
    was completed

Bibliographic EvidenceNew Testament Stats
  • Compare the time interval in the N.T. manuscripts
    to the time gap in other ancient manuscripts
  • Author Book Written Copies Time Gap
  • Homers Iliad 800 B.C. c. 400 B.C. 400 years
  • Plato 400 B.C. c. A.D. 900 1,300 years
  • Herodotus History 480-425 B.C. c. A.D. 900 1,350
  • Thucydides History 460-400 B.C. c. A.D.
    900 1,300 years
  • Demosthenes 300 B.C. c. A.D. 1100 1,400 years
  • Tacitus Annals 100 A.D. c. A.D. 1100 1,000 years

Bibliographic EvidenceOld Testament Stats
  • Many fewer Old Testament manuscripts than New
    Testament manuscripts
  • Bibliographic evidence concerning the Old
    Testament relies on the accuracy and consistency
    of the manuscripts over time.
  • With the recent discovery of the Dead Sea Scroll,
    there are still over 10,000 Old Testament

Bibliographic EvidenceOld Testament Stats
  • Until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the
    earliest complete extant O.T. manuscript was from
    A.D. 900, a time gap of 1,300 years (the O.T. was
    completed c. 400 B.C.).
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls contain O.T. manuscripts
    that increase the bibliographic reliability of
    the Old Testament.

Bibliographic EvidenceCopying Manuscripts
  • Intricate Talmudic system for transcribing
    synagogue scrolls.
  • According to Samuel Davidson, there were 17
    criteria scribes followed for transcribing an Old
    Testament Scroll.
  • Of these 17, 12 had to do with the actual
    transcribing process.

Bibliographic EvidenceCopying Manuscripts
  • Every skin must contain a certain number of
    columns, equal throughout the entire codex.
  • The length of each column must not extend over
    less than 48 or more than 60 lines and the
    breadth must consist of thirty letters.
  • The whole copy must be first-lined and if three
    words be written without a line, it is worthless.
  • The ink should be black, neither red, green, nor
    any other colour, and be prepared according to a
    definite recipe.

Bibliographic EvidenceCopying Manuscripts
  • An authentic copy must be the exemplar, from
    which the transcriber ought not in the least
  • No word or letter, not even a yod, must be
    written from memory, the scribe not having looked
    at the codex before him.
  • Between every consonant the space of a hair or
    thread must intervene.
  • Between every new parashah, or section, the
    breadth of nine consonants

Bibliographic EvidenceCopying Manuscripts
  • Between every book, three lines must intervene.
  • The fifth book of Moses must terminate exactly
    with a line but the rest need not do so.
  • The copyist must not begin to write the name of
    God with a pen newly dipped in ink,
  • And should a king address him while writing that
    name he must take no notice of him.

Bibliographic EvidenceDead Sea Scrolls
  • Found in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd boy
  • Found in 11 caves west of the Dead Sea, south of

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Bibliographic EvidenceDead Sea Scrolls
  • Copies of Old Testament texts (all the books
    except Esther) dating from more than a century
    before the birth of Christ
  • Before the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Hebrew
    manuscripts from the OT were from 900 A.D,
    creating a 1,300 year gap.
  • In the Dead Sea Scrolls, there is a complete
    manuscript of Isaiah from 125 B.C., 1,000 years
    earlier than before.

Bibliographic EvidenceDead Sea Scrolls
  • Accuracy of Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The manuscripts were identical to the modern
    Hebrew Bible in 95 of the text.
  • The 5 of variation consists of obvious slips of
    the pen and variations in spelling.
  • In Isaiah 53, only 17 letters are in question.
  • 10 are only a matter of spelling
  • 4 more are minor stylistic changes
  • 3 letters are the word light which are added to
    v.11, and does not change the meaning greatly.

Bibliographic EvidenceDead Sea Scrolls
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls shorten the time interval
    between the originals and the earliest extant
  • They also provide more manuscripts of the books
    of the OT than previously were known.

Bibliographic EvidenceOld Testament Stats
  • The Septuagint (LXX) Greek translation of O.T.,
    begun in 250 B.C.
  • Differs from Hebrew Bible in quality of
    translation and its arrangement
  • Popular among the New Testament writers and early
  • The LXX is very close to the Masoretic text (A.D.
    916) that was the earliest extant text before the
    discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls

External EvidenceNew Testament
  • Early Christians outside of the Bible
  • Papias (A.D. 130) quoted the apostle John as
    saying that Mark wrote down the teachings of
  • Irenaeus (A.D. 180), a student of Polycarp (a
    disciple of John), wrote that even non-believers
    bore witness to the accuracy of the Gospels.
  • Clement of Rome (A.D. 95) uses Scripture as
    reliable and accurate source

External EvidenceNew Testament
  • Early Christians outside of the Bible (cont)
  • Ignatius (A.D. 70-110) knew all the apostles and
    was a disciple of Polycarp. He based his faith
    on the accuracy of the Bible.
  • Polycarp (A.D. 70-156) was a disciple of John.

External EvidenceNew Testament
  • Early non-Christian writers
  • Tacitus, a first-century Roman historian, wrote
    about Christs death at the hands of Pontius
    Pilate and about a superstition thought to be the
  • Suetonius, chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian
    (reigned from A.D. 117-138) wrote about the
    persecution of Christians after the fire at Rome.

External EvidenceNew Testament
  • Early non-Christian writers
  • Josephus (c. A.D. 37- c. A.D. 100), Pharisee of
    the priestly line and a Jewish historian working
    under Roman authority, confirmed the Protestant
    O.T. canon and wrote about the death of James,
    brother of Jesus, the ministry and death of John
    the Baptist, and about Jesus Himself.

External EvidenceNew Testament
  • Early non-Christian writers
  • Pliny the Younger, a Roman author and
    administrator, wrote about Christian gatherings
    (c. A.D. 112).
  • Talmudic writings speak about Jesus death.
  • Lucian of Samosata, a 2nd century Greek writer,
    spoke of Christians worship of Jesus.
  • Mara Bar-Serapion, between late 1st and early 3rd
    centuries, wrote about the Jews killing of Jesus
    and their eventual dispersion.

External EvidenceNew Testament
  • Archaeological Evidence
  • Luke as a historian
  • Archaeology has confirmed the existence and
    location of the cities and countries mentioned in
    the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles.
  • Archaeology has also confirmed the rulers and
    their positions mentioned by Luke in his two
  • Quirinius and his earlier governorship of Syria
  • Pontius Pilates title of governor
  • The politarchs of Thessalonica
  • Gallios proconsulship in Corinth

Archaeological EvidenceNew Testament
  • The Pavement (Gr. Gabbatha) the court where
    Jesus was tried in Jerusalem
  • The Pool of Bethesda mentioned only in the N.T.
    was discovered in 1888.
  • The Nazareth Decree (found in 1878)
  • Stone in Nazareth with a decree from Emperor
  • Forbade that graves be disturbed nor that bodies
    be extracted or removed
  • May have been a reaction to the Christian
    doctrine of resurrection and the accusation of
    removing Jesus body

Pool of Bethesda
Gabbatha The Pavement
Archaeological EvidenceNew Testament
  • Yohanan Ben Hagalgol a crucifixion victim
  • 7 nail driven through both his feet and into a
    wooden beam
  • Evidence that similar spikes had been put between
    the two bones of his lower arms
  • Legs had been crushed, as mentioned in the
    crucifixion account in John 1931-32

Archaeological EvidenceNew Testament
  • New Testament coins
  • The denarius, equal to one days wages for the
    average worker in Palestine
  • Silver shekels, like the kind paid to Judas
    Iscariot measured 2/5 of an ounce
  • The widows mite from Mark 12 and Luke 21
  • two very small copper coins, worth only a
    fraction of a penny
  • First words translate the Greek lepta, the
    smallest Greek copper coin
  • Second word translates the Greek word quadrans,
    the smallest Roman coin

Archaeological EvidenceNew Testament
  • For more details, look at The New Evidence that
    Demands a Verdict (Josh McDowell), pp.61-68

Archaeological EvidenceOld Testament
  • Sodom and Gomorrah
  • Evidence suggests they were commerce centers
  • Evidence of brimstone on the sites, consistent
    with the Biblical account of their destruction
  • Jericho
  • Excavations of the city show that the ancient
    walls fell outward, consistent with the account
    in Joshua

Archaeological EvidenceOld Testament
  • Sauls fortress at Gibeah
  • Slingshots found to be one of the primary weapons
    of the day, consistent with the account of David
    and Goliath
  • Excavations of Philistine temples
  • 1 Samuel says Sauls armor was placed in the
    temple of Ashtaroth (a Canaanite goddess) while 1
    Chronicles says that Sauls head was put in the
    temple of Dagon (a Philistine god)
  • Excavations found two temples, one to Ashtaroth
    and one to Dagon, at the same site.

Archaeological EvidenceOld Testament
  • Davids capture of Jerusalem
  • Excavations have shown evidence of the Jerusalem
    water system which confirms the account of the
    attack from 1 Chronicles
  • Inscription from 9th century B.C. oldest
    non-Biblical source that mentions David
  • Refers not only to David, but to the House of
    David, a dynasty of a great Israelite king

Documentary EvidenceOld Testament
  • Creation story in Genesis
  • Similar to other ancient Near East stories
  • Key differences
  • Babylonian and Sumerian tales show mythological
    embellishment and distortion
  • Creation is the result of a conflict between
    finite gods when one is defeated, the Tigris
    flows out of one of his eyes, the Euphrates from
    the other.
  • Humans are formed from the blood of an evil god
    mixed with clay

Documentary EvidenceOld Testament
  • In ancient Near East literature, simple stories
    give rise to elaborate legends, not the other way
  • It is more likely, then, that the Biblical
    account is the accurate story and that the other
    legends sprung from it.

Documentary EvidenceOld Testament
  • The Flood
  • Biblical narrative shows similar simplicity to
    the creation narrative
  • Gives the year of the flood
  • Gives practical dimensions for the ark and a
    practical time table for the length of the flood
  • Recounts Noahs sins after the flood

Documentary EvidenceOld Testament
  • The Flood (cont.)
  • Other accounts of the flood are more embellished
    and mythological
  • The length of rainfall doesnt make sense for
    such a great flood seven days in one story, only
    one day in another.
  • The Babylonian ship would not have survived,
    given its dimensions.
  • In non-biblical accounts, the hero is granted

Documentary EvidenceOld Testament
  • Discovery of Elba
  • Previously unknown city
  • In a palace were found over 15,000 tablets from
    the time of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and
  • Tablets provide background material for biblical
    place names, names of people, the paying of
    tribute, religious practices, and Hebrew words
    once thought to be late.

Documentary EvidenceOld Testament
  • Nuzi Tablets reveal traditions consistent with
  • Isaacs binding oral blessing on Jacob (Gen.
  • Esaus selling of his birthright (Gen. 25)
  • Labans giving of his daughter(s) to Jacob after
    he joins the household
  • Labans pursuing of Jacob when he realizes his
    family idols were missing

Documentary EvidenceOld Testament
  • Evidence of Semites rising to power in Egypt,
    similar to Josephs rise to power at the end of
  • Josephs Tomb
  • A tomb at Shechem (where the Bible says Josephs
    bones were placed) contained a body mummified in
    Egyptian fashion with a sword worn by Egyptian

Documentary EvidenceOld Testament
  • Assyrian Invasion
  • 26,000 tablets found in the palace of
    Ashurbanipal, son of the Esarhaddon, who captured
    the northern kingdoms in 722 B.C.
  • Several of these tablets confirm the Bibles
  • Sennacheribs account of the siege of Jerusalem

Documentary EvidenceOld Testament
  • Babylonian Captivity
  • Records in Babylons hanging gardens mention
    Jehoiachin, his five sons, and their monthly
    ration and dwelling place.
  • Confirmation that Belshazzar was left in charge
    during the absence of Nabodonius
  • Cyrus Cylinder, a clay cylinder with Cyrus
    account of his Babylonian conquest
  • Allows displaced people to return to their

Concluding Remarks
  • Bibliographic evidence, archaeology, and other
    non-biblical documents do not prove that the
    Bible is the word of God.
  • It does provide evidence for the names, places,
    chronology, and practices the Bible mentions,
    confirming its historical accuracy.
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