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IS THE ORIGIN OF THE BIBLE: DIVINE OR HUMAN

Updated: Jun 6



The Bible is one of the means of grace that God has bestowed upon mankind.  Regarding the means of grace Theologian Charles Hodge said, “The phrase is intended to indicate those institutions which God has ordained to be the ordinary channels of grace, i.e., of the supernatural influences of the Holy Spirit, to the souls of men. The means of grace, according to the standards of our Church, are the word, sacraments, and prayer.”[1]

    The Bible is probably, by far, the most sold book of all times. One website puts the figure to be more than 6 billion.  In fact, you will probably find a Bible in the household of most adults.  According to a 2017 study from Barna Group (an evangelical Christian polling firm) called “The State of the Bible 2017”, a clear majority of households (87%) own at least one Bible. Also, a majority of Hostile and Skeptic households (62%) own a bible.

   Since it appears that most households have a Bible, we might assume that the majority of persons believe that the Bible is divine in its origin. However, according to a 2017 Gallup Pole, only a minority believed that the Bible is divine in its origin.  The Gallup pole reveals:

1. Fewer than one in four Americans (24%) now believe the Bible is "the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word

2. 26% of people view the Bible as "a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man."

3. This is the first time in Gallup's four-decade trend that biblical literalism has not surpassed biblical skepticism.

4. About half of Americans -- a proportion largely unchanged over the years -- fall in the middle, saying the Bible is the inspired word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally.

5. The percentage of Americans who say the Bible is the literal  word of God and who believe in creationism are at record lows

6. Over the past three decades, Americans' view of the Bible as the literal word of God has been declining, while their view that the Bible is a collection of fables, myths and history recorded by man has been increasing. The shift is most pronounced among young adults, indicating the trend is likely to accelerate in the years ahead.


    The Bible is the most sold book of all times but only 24% of Americans believe the Bible is the actual word of God, should the Bible be:

  • believed and accepted or doubted and rejected?

  • endorsed and followed or disallowed and fought against?

  • ignored or noted?

  • viewed as a guiding light or as a lie that beguiles?

  • considered a great force which contains directions or a great farce that contains deceptions?

  • considered to contain errors and contradictions or accuracy and harmony?

    When God opens our eyes to see, opens our ears to hear, opens our heart to feel, and opens our minds to think, we will abandon our preconceived and bias ideas about the Bible and see the truth. Then we will accept that the Bible is divine in its origin and not merely human in its origin.  

    The Bible’s message surpasses all works of antiquity in its power, truth, and ​evidence.  The Bible is God’s means to reveal to mankind who He is, what His will is, and to document the prophecies of the arrival and ministry of Jesus Christ His only begotten Son.  Also, the Bible conveys the account of God's work from the beginning of creation in Genesis to the end (Judgment Day) in Revelation.  Finally, Hank Hanegraaff of the Christian Research Institute says that the Bible is the infallible repository of redemptive revelation.  


Please consider the following:

  •   The Bible has stronger manuscript support than any other work of classical history including Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, and Tacitus.[2] 

  •   The Bible has been virtually unaltered since the original writing, as is attested by scholars who have compared the earliest extant manuscripts with manuscripts written centuries later.[3]

  •   The reliability of the Bible is affirmed by the testimony of its authors, who were eyewitnesses—or close associates of eyewitnesses—to the recorded events, and by secular historians who confirm the many events, people, places, and customs chronicled in Scripture.[4]

  •    “The several books of which the Scriptures are composed were written by some fifty different authors living in the course of fifteen hundred years and yet they are found to be an organic whole, the product of one Mind.”[5]

  •   The Bible is a closely integrated whole, each part supporting and being supported by every other part. It is characteristic of the writers to refer to one another, as well as themselves, as giving forth the authoritative Word of God.[6]

  •   Almost all biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the First Century.  If Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30., then that means the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. This is important because it means there were plenty of people around when the New Testament documents were penned--people who could have contested the writings.  In other words, those who wrote the documents knew that if they were inaccurate, plenty of people would have pointed it out.  But, we have absolutely no ancient documents contemporary with the First Century that contest the New Testament texts. [7]

  •   God bears witness to the divine authority of the Scriptures by signs and wonders, and diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The leading events in the New Testament were predicted in the Old. Of this, any man may satisfy himself by comparison of the two. The coincidence between the prophecies and the fulfillment admits of no rationale solution, except that the Bible is the work of God…[8]     

  •   The Bible records predictions of events that could not be known nor predicted by chance or common sense. It is statistically preposterous that any or all the Bible’s specific, detailed prophecies could have been fulfilled through chance, good guessing, or deliberate deceit.[9]

  •   It (the Bible) makes known the person, work, the acts, and words of Christ, who is the clearest revelation of God ever made to man. He is the manifested God. His words were the words of God. His acts were the acts of God. His voice is the voice of God….[10]

  •   There are also some 86,000 quotations from the early church fathers and several thousand Lectionaries (church-service books containing Scripture quotations used in the early centuries of Christianity)[11]

  •   The Westminster Confession declares: "The Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, being immediately inspired by God and, by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them."[13]

Let’s begin! Note: I am using, in part, the format from Josh McDowell’s – Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Chapter 4.


To establish that the Bible is divine and not merely human in origin, we will establish authenticity (real or genuine: not copied or false: true and accurate) and attribution (the action of ascribing a work or remark to an author, artist, or person) as our methods of research.

    Though problems of authenticity are not altogether the same as those of attribution, the two overlap to such an extent that it will be most convenient to deal with them together. We must keep in mind, however, the fact that a problem of attribution is solved if we can answer the question "Who wrote this work?" But authenticity demands an affirmative answer to three questions: "Was this work written by the person who is purported to have written it? Was it written at the time alleged to be the date of composition? Was it written under the circumstances and for the purpose alleged?"[14]

The evidence upon which we must rely in attempting to solve problems of authenticity and attribution may be classified as External,Internal, and bibliographical.[15]


Bibliographical Test– examines manuscript reliability

New Testament:


1. Scholars Testify of the Manuscript Authority

  •    Benjamin Warfield said, "If we compare the present state of the New Testament text with that of any other ancient writing, we must render the opposite verdict, and declare it to be marvelously correct. Such has been the care with which the New Testament has been copied,—a care which has doubtless grown out of true reverence for its holy words,—such has been the providence of God in preserving for His Church in each and every age a competently exact text of the Scriptures, that not only is the New Testament unrivaled among ancient writings in the purity of its text as actually transmitted and kept in use, but also in the abundance of testimony which has come down to us for castigating its comparatively infrequent blemishes. The divergence of its current text from the autograph may shock a modern printer of modern books; its wonderful approximation to its autograph is the undisguised envy of every modern reader of ancient books."[16]

  •     Frederic G. Kenyon continues in The Story of the Bible (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.): It is reassuring at the end to find that the general result of all these discoveries (of manuscripts) and all this study is to strengthen the proof of the authenticity of the Scriptures, and our conviction that we have in our hands, in substantial integrity, the veritable Word of God.[17]

  • The editors of the Revised Standard Version say that: It will be obvious to the careful reader that still in 1946, as in 1881 and 1901, no doctrine of the Christian faith has been affected by the revision, for the simple reason that, out of the thousands of variant readings in the manuscripts, none has turned up thus far that requires a revision of Christian doctrine.[18]                                                                                    

2Manuscript Evidence of the New Testament

  •     The original manuscripts no longer exist. However, having the original manuscripts would present some problems such as whose control would they be under and would we be confident that they were the original manuscripts.  Fortunately for us, we have many extant copies of the original manuscripts.

  •      The New Testament text we read in our English Bibles is based on the original Greek text. We know this text, albeit imperfectly, through a large number of ancient manuscripts. All these manuscripts are mere copies, and the great majority of them are copies of copies, yet ultimately, they all derive from the originals. In the process of copying, however, scribal errors are bound to occur. There is not a single copy wholly free from mistakes. A science called textual criticism deals systematically with these mistakes to eliminate as many of them as possible. The most important tools for textual critics are the manuscripts themselves.[19]

  •        The New Testament manuscripts are extremely reliable. “First, NT textual authorities Westcott and Hort estimated that only about one-sixtieth rise above “trivialities” and can be called “substantial variations.” In short, the NT is 98.33 percent pure. Second, Greek expert Ezra Abbott said about 19/20 (95 percent) of the readings are “various” rather than “rival” readings, and about 19/20 (95 percent) of the rest make no appreciable difference in the sense of the passage. Thus the text in this regard is 99.75 percent accurate. Third, noted NT Greek scholar A. T. Robertson said the real concern is with about a “thousandth part of the entire text.” So, the reconstructed text of the New Testament is 99.9% free from real concern.”[20]

  •      In the many thousands of manuscript copies we possess of the New Testament, scholars have discovered that there are some 150,000 "variants." To begin, we must emphasize that out of these 150,000 variants, 99 percent hold virtually no significance whatsoever. Many of these variants simply involve a missing letter in a word; some involve reversing the order of two words (such as "Christ Jesus" instead of "Jesus Christ"); some may involve the absence of one or more insignificant words. Really, when all the facts are put on the table, only about 50 of the variants have any real significance - and even then, no doctrine of the Christian faith or any moral commandment is affected by them. For more than ninety-nine percent of the cases the original text can be reconstructed to a practical certainty. Even in the few cases where some perplexity remains, this does not impinge on the meaning of Scripture to the point of clouding a tenet of the faith or a mandate of life.[21]

  •      If we limit ourselves to only the original language manuscripts, we have over 5,300 copies, including fragments.[22]

  • Here is what we have:

          267 Greek Manuscripts of New Testament texts

                    2,764 Uncials

                    2,143 Miniscules

                    88 Lectionaries:

                    47 Papyri

         That is a total of 5,309 extant Greek Manuscripts that contain all or parts that make up the whole of the NT.[23]

  • Then you need to consider that we have copies of those manuscripts translated in a number of languages. Here is what we have for copies of those:

                   Latin Vulgate 10,000+

                   Ethiopic 2,000+

                   Slavic 4,101

                   Armenian 2,587

                   Syriac Pashetta 350+

                   Bohairic 100

                  Arabic 75

                  Old Latin 50

                  Anglo Saxon 7

                  Gothic 6

                  Sogdian 3

                  Old Syriac 2

                  Persian 2

                  Frankish 1  [24]

  •      Most of these 5,300 copies were found in monastery libraries around the Mediterranean and more continue to be discovered. The oldest complete New Testament, which also contains about half the Old testament, was found in a Monastery on Mount S’nai. Codex Sinaiticus as it is known dates from AD 350.  Codex Sinaiticus as it is known dates from AD 350. Codex Vaticanus – (from AD 325 – 350) contains almost the entire New Testament. The Chester Beatty Papyrus dates to 180. It comprises the complete writing of Paul. The Bodmer Papyrus is a copy of most of John’s Gospel from AD 150 -200.[25]

  •     Almost 800 were copied before A.D. 1000. The time between the original composition and our earliest copies is an unbelievably short 60 years or so.[26]

  •      For about sixty years now a tiny papyrus fragment of the Gospel of John has been the oldest "manuscript" of the New Testament. This manuscript (P52) has generally been dated to ca. A.D. 125. This fact alone proved that the original Gospel of John was written earlier, viz. in the first century A.D., as had always been upheld by conservative scholars.[27]

  •      Around 8,000 Latin Vulgate were translated in the 4th Century

  •      9,300 others in Coptic, Syriac Armenian, & Nubian

  •      Citations of scripture from the writings of the early church fathers – we can almost reconstruct the whole NT from these alone.  

  •      Over 20,000 in such languages as Armenian, Coptic, Georgian, Gothic, Ethiopian, Latin, Slavic, & Syriac

  •      Original languages manuscripts are compared:                                                    a. 200,000 variants (disagreements between texts) or errors in 10,000 places. Most are unintentional (misspellings, interpolations, orthrographical example theater & theatre).  Intentional – to improve the text in some way                                             b. Can cover about 97 – 99% of the original context of the NT with certainty

  •      Metzger and Ehrman – (The Text of the New Testament 126) point out “Besides textual evidence derived from New Testament Greek manuscripts and from early versions, the textual critic has available the numerous scriptural quotations included in the commentaries, sermons, and other treatises written by the early Church fathers. Indeed, so extensive are these citations that if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, they would be sufficient alone for the reconstruction of practically the entire New Testament)   

  3.  Manuscript Evidence Of The New Testament In Comparison To Other Authors And Works

  •    Homer’s Illiad – Next greatest manuscript authority compared to the New Testament written by Homer around 800 BC – oldest copy we have 400 BC – total # of manuscripts are 1,800+[28]

  •    Plato’s Tetralogies: His works were written between 380 and 360 B.C. That means Plato’ s works were around at the same time the Hebrew Scriptures were completed and canonized, and around four centuries before Jesus even stepped on the face of the earth. Every college student in every college has to read, at one time or another, something written by the philosopher Plato. How many manuscripts exist in the entire world concerning Plato’ s writings? 7 Yes, the number 7. And the earliest manuscript for Plato’ s writings that we have is from 900 A.D.[29]

  •    Caesar wrote around 100-44 B.C. and the first manuscript we have of his is from 900 AD.  We have 10 manuscripts total of his works.[30]

  •    Tacitus wrote at 100 A.D. His earliest manuscript is from 1100 A.D. and we have less than 20 manuscripts of his works.[31]

  •   Pliny the Younger wrote around 61-114 AD and the earliest manuscripts we have from him are from 850 A.D. We have 7 complete copies from him.[32]

  •    Aristotle wrote around 384 [ 322 B.C. and our earliest manuscripts come from 1100 AD, and we have 49 partial pieces of his manuscript total.[33]

  •    The Koran: The first Qur’anic revelation came to Muhammad around the year 610. Muhammad delivered many more verses to his scribes and companions for memorization and recording over the next two decades. There was no complete manuscript of the Qur’an during this time. Shortly after Muhammad’s death, Caliph Abu Bakr needed to suppress a rebellion, and he sent many huffaz (people who had memorized portions of the Qur’an) to fight at the Battle of Yamama. Many of these huffaz died, and Muslim sources tell us that portions of the Qur’an were lost. Abu Bakr decided that it was time to gather what remained of the Qur’an in order to prevent more from being lost. Zaid completed his codex around 634 AD - it was passed on to Caliph Umar - it was given to Hafsa, a widow of Muhammad. (For a fuller account see Sahih al-Bukhari 4986.) During Caliph Uthman’s reign, approximately 19 years after the death of Muhammad, disputes arose concerning the correct recitation of the Qur’an. Uthman ordered that Hafsa’s copy of the Qur’an, along with all known textual materials, should be gathered together so that an official version might be compiled. When it was finished, “Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt” (Sahih al-Bukhari 4987). The Qur’an we have today is descended from the Uthmanic codex.[34]

  •      The chart below is taken from The Bibliographical Test:

          Dr. Josh D. McDowell & Dr. Clay Jones Updated 8/13/14

*Any of these numbers may be obsolete by publication date

**The traditional listings of Old Testament manuscripts normally leave out all the abundant scroll evidence

It is not easy to determine the exact number of extant scrolls. The following are intelligent estimates:

                Green Collection                  5,000

                Synagogues                        20,000

                Museums                              1,000

                Private family collections     5,000

                Codices                                  3,000

                Jewish Seminaries                5,000

                Individuals                            3,000


                TOTAL                                   42,000**


**Estimates by Dr. Scott Carroll, correspondence with Josh McDowell, November 15, 2013. Of the 42,000 scrolls and codices, approximately 25,000 are from the 19th-20th centuries, while 17,000 are earlier.


​4. Chronology of New Testament Manuscript Authority

  • The chart below is taken from: carm.org - Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability and shows some of the oldest extant New Testament manuscripts. Compare these time spans with Homers Illad where the oldest closet copy is about 500 years later.


5.  Conclusions of New Testament manuscript authority

  •    F. F. Bruce – “There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament. The evidence for the original text of the New Testament is provided mainly by (1) early manuscripts of the New Testament in its original language (Greek), (2) early translations or ‘versions’ of the New Testament in other languages, from the readings of which we can often infer the underlying Greek, (3) quotations from the New Testament in the works of ancient authors (principally Greek, Latin, and Syriac, but also Coptic and Armenian), (4) lectionaries, both in Greek and in the other languages mentioned, in which passages of Scriptures were arranged for systematic reading in church services. [36]

  •     F. J. A. Hort rightfully adds that "in the variety and fullness of the evidence on which it rests the text of the New Testament stands absolutely and unapproachably alone among ancient prose writings."[37]                                     


6.  Manuscript Reliability Supported by Early Church Scholars [38]


EARLY PATRISTIC QUOTATIONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT*


Bibliographical Test – examines manuscript reliability

Old Testament:

1. Manuscript Evidence of the Old Testament

a. “We have more than 14,000 manuscripts and fragments of the Old Testament of three main types:[39]                                                                        (1) approximately 10,000 from the Cairo Geniza (storeroom) find of 1897, dating back as far as about AD. 800;                                              (2) about 190 from the Dead Sea Scrolls find of 1947-1955, the oldest dating back to 250-200 B.C.; and                                                          (3) at least 4,314 assorted other copies. The short time between the original Old Testament manuscripts (completed around 400 B.C.) and the first extensive copies (about 250 B.C.) — coupled with the more than 14,000 copies that have been discovered — ensures the trustworthiness of the Old Testament text. The earliest quoted verses (Num. 6:24-26) date from 800-700 B.C.” s                  b. The Dead Sea Scrolls prove the accuracy of the transmission of the Bible. In these scrolls discovered at Qumran in 1947, we have Old Testament manuscripts that date about a thousand years earlier (150 B.C.) than the other Old Testament manuscripts then in our possession (which dated to A.D. 900). The significant thing is that when one compares the two sets of manuscripts, it is clear, that they are essentially the same, with very few changes.[40]

2. The Talmudists (A.D. 100-500)

  • A Talmudist is one of the writers or compilers of the Talmud. Samuel Davidson says that, "The rolls in which these regulations are not observed are condemned to be buried in the ground or burned; or they are banished to the schools, to be used as reading-books." Why don't we have more old MSS? The very absence of ancient MSS, when the rules and accuracies of the copyists are considered, confirms the reliability of the copies we have today. The Talmudists were so convinced that when they finished transcribing a MSS they had an exact duplicate, that they would give the new copy equal authority.[41]                                           

3. The Massoretic Period (A.D. 500-900)

  •    Theologian Robert D. Wilson stated that, “In the remainder of this chapter and in the immediately following pages, I shall confine myself to the text, and shall endeavor to show that in view of the evidence bearing upon its origin and transmission the Hebrew text of the Massoritic Bible now in our possession is substantially reliable.”[42]       

4.  Quotes and Observations on the Reliability of the Old Testament

  •     Theologian Robert D. Wilson says, “The Hebrew Scriptures contain the names of 26 or more foreign kings whose names have been found on documents contemporary with the kings. The names of most of these kings are found to be spelled on their own monuments, or in documents from the time in which they reigned in the same manner that they are spelled in the documents of the Old Testament.”[43]

  •      Theologian Robert D. Wilson says, “The names of these kings about forty in all are the names of men who lived from about 2000 to about 400 B. C., and yet they each and all appear in proper chronological order both with reference to the kings of the same country and with respect to the kings of other countries contemporary with them No stronger evidence for the substantial accuracy of the Old Testament records could possibly be imagined than this collection of names of kings.”[44]                                                 

5.  The Witness of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Reliability of the Hebrew Scriptures

  •     The Scrolls are made up of some 40,000 inscribed fragments. From these fragments more than 500 books have been reconstructed Many extra-biblical books and fragments were discovered that shed light on the religious community of Qumran. Such writings as the "Zadokite documents," a "Rule of the Community" and the "Manual of Discipline" help us to understand the purpose and daily Qumran life. In the various caves are some very helpful commentaries on the Scriptures.[45]         

6.  The Samaritan Pentateuch

  • The Samaritans are important to biblical studies for several reasons: (1) They claim to be the remnant of the kingdom of Israel, specifically of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, with priests of the line of Aaron/Levi. (2) They possess an ancient recension of the Pentateuch which is non-Masoretic and shows close relationship to a text type underlying both the LXX and some Hebrew manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and are therefore important both for textual criticism of the OT as well as the study of the history of Hebrew.[46]

    Eye Witness Accounts

  1. Internal - One of the strongest evidences possible for reliability is when early sources are derived from eyewitnesses who actually participated in some of the events. Historian David Hackett Fischer dubs this “the rule of immediacy” and terms it “the best relevant evidence.” Ancient sources that are both very early and based on eyewitness testimony are a combination that is very difficult to dismiss.[47]

  •       Luke 1:1-3 = Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us. It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable Theophilus,

  •       Acts 2:22 = “Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know.

  •      Acts 26:24-26 = As he was making his defense this way, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice, “You’re out of your mind, Paul! Too much study is driving you mad!” But Paul replied, “I’m not out of my mind, most excellent Festus. On the contrary, I’m speaking words of truth and good judgment. For the king knows about these matters. It is to him I am actually speaking boldly. For I am convinced that none of these things escapes his notice, since this was not done in a corner.

  •      I Corinthians 15:3-8 = For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me.

  •       II-Peter 1:16 = For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

  •      The New Testament must be regarded by scholars today as a competent primary source document from the first century.[48]                                                         

       2.  External (non-Christian writings) - The external evidence test looks outside the texts themselves to ascertain the historical reliability of the historical events, geographical locations, and cultural consistency of the biblical texts. Unlike writings from other world religions which make no historical references or which fabricate histories, the Bible refers to historical events and assumes its historical accuracy.[49]  

  •      Josephus (37 AD - 100 AD) – a Jewish historian in the employ of the Romans. “The first Christian Bishop of Jerusalem was clearly James, the half brother of Jesus (see Acts 15). One might assume that the New Testament would offer more information on so important figure., including the circumstances of his death. It does not. Josephus, on the other hand, provides the details about how the high priest, along with the Sanhedrin, had James stoned to death in A.D. 62 under circumstances that form a significant parallel to Jesus’ crucifixion twenty-nine years earlier. Jesus Himself is referred to in two famous passages in Josephus’s Antiquities (18.6.63 and 20.9.200), the former most probably interpolated but now restored to what was likely its original form.”[50]      

  •      Tacitus (56 AD - 120 AD) - a Roman historian who mentions Jesus & Christianity 55-117 AD

  •      The Roman historian Suetonius (AD 69 – AD 122) mentions early Christians and may refer to Jesus Christ in his work Lives of the Twelve Caesars.  Also Christians are explicitly mentioned in Suetonius' biography of the Emperor Nero (Nero 16) as among those punished during Nero's reign. These punishments are generally dated to around AD 64, the year of the Great Fire of Rome. In this passage Suetonius describes Christianity as excessive religiosity (superstition) as do his contemporaries, Tacitus and Pliny. – WIKIPEDIA

  •      Eusebius (AD 260 – AD 339) - was the bishop of Caesarea in Palestine during the early fourth century. He was a prominent personality during the period when Christianity was recognized by Constantine the Great, ending the persecutions, and he participated in the First Council of Nicea. (OrthodoxWiki)

  •      Pliny the Younger – Letter to Emperor Trajan mentioning how he handled Christians 109 – 111 AD[51]

  •      Early church leaders such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, Julius Africanus, and Clement of Rome — all writing before A.D. 250 — shed light on New Testament historical accuracy. Even skeptical historians agree that the New Testament is a remarkable historical document. Hence, it is clear that there is strong external evidence to support the Bible’s manuscript reliability.[52]

Archeological

  •     The Caiaphas Ossuary - In November of 1990, a work crew building a road south of Abu Tor in southeast Jerusalem found the family tomb of Caiaphas. In the tomb archaeologists found an ornate ossuary with the inscription "Joseph, son of Caiaphas" in Aramaic.  A few scholars question whether the inscription truly refers to Caiaphas the high priest but there is strong evidence that it does.[53]

  •      For years critics dismissed the Book of Daniel, partly because there was no evidence that a king named Belshazzar ruled in Babylon during that time period. However, “First, in 1854, four clay cylinders with identical inscriptions were excavated from Ur. These Nabonidus Cylinders contained Nabonidus’ prayer to the moon god for 'Belshazzar, the eldest son—my offspring.' Thus, Belshazzar’s existence was confirmed—as Nabonidus’ firstborn son and heir to his throne.”[54]  

  •      A biblical skeptic, Sir William Ramsay, trained as an archaeologist set out to disprove the historical reliability of a portion of the New Testament. However, through his painstaking Mediterranean archaeological trips, he became converted as — one after another — of the historical statements of Luke were proved accurate.[55]

  • The Pilate Stone (a damaged block of carved limestone) was discovered at an archeological site of Caesarea Maritima in 1961. The stone had a partially intact inscription attributed to, and mentioning, Pontius Pilate, a prefect of the Roman province of Judaea from AD 26–36. It was discovered at the archaeological site of Caesarea Maritima in 1961. The artifact is particularly significant because it is an archaeological find of an authentic 1st-century Roman inscription mentioning the name "Pontius Pilatus". – WIKIPEDIA

  •      Gallio or Delphi Inscription - The so-called Gallio Inscription is a collection of nine fragments of a letter written by the Roman emperor Claudius in 52 C.E. The fragments were found in Delphi, near the temple of Apollo, in Greece. In the Gallio Inscription, the emperor describes the sad situation in Delphi in the first century C.E., when there were no more citizens living in the city. Claudius writes of receiving advice on the subject from a procounsul named Gallio, the Roman senator who dismissed the charge brought by the Jews against Paul in Acts. Thus, the inscription serves as an important archaeological marker in reconstructing the chronology of Paul’s life.[56]

  •      Inscription – SERGIUS PAULUS (Acts 13:6-13) who became a convert to Christianity under Paul, visited this island on his first mission to the heathen. A remarkable memorial of this proconsul was recently (1887) discovered at Rome. On a boundary stone of Claudius his name is found, among others, as having been appointed (A.D. 47) one of the curators of the banks and the channel of the river Tiber. After serving his three years as proconsul at Cyprus, he returned to Rome, where he held the office referred to.[57]

  •      Pontius Pilate – All four Gospels mention Pontius Pilate but also other writers mention Pontius Pilate such as Josephus, Tertullian, Eusebius, Philo, Tacitus, and Agapius of Hierapolis.[58]

  •      The Pontius Pilate Inscription (stone) – In 1961, archaeologist Antonio Frova and other archaeologists discovered a stone dated from 26 AD to 37.[59]

  • Old Testament Persons Confirmed by Archaeology


  • William F. Albright, known for his reputation as one of the great archaeologists, states: "There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition."[61]

  •      Burrows exposes the cause of much excessive unbelief: "The excessive skepticism of many liberal theologians stems not from a careful evaluation of the available data, but from an enormous predisposition against the supernatural."[62]

  •      Among other historical references of Luke is that of "Lysanias the Tetrarch of Abilene" (Luke 3:1) at the beginning of John the Baptist's ministry in 27 A.D. The only Lysanias known to ancient historians was one who was killed in 36 B.C. However, an inscription found near Damascus speaks of "Freedman of Lysanias the Tetrarch" and is dated between 14 and 29 A.D.[63]

  •      The Pavement. For centuries there has been no record of the court where Jesus was tried by Pilate (named Gabbatha or the Pavement, John 19:13). Many said, "It's a myth. See, it [the Bible] is not historical. "William F. Albright in The Archaeology of Palestine, shows that this court was the court of the Tower of Antonia which was the Roman military headquarters of Rome in Jerusalem. The court was destroyed in A. D. 66-70 during the siege of Jerusalem. It was left buried when the city was rebuilt in the time of Hadrian and not discovered until recently.[64]

Prophesy (predictive ability) - Events that could not have happened by chance or common sense

  •      The apostles throughout the New Testament appealed to two areas of Christ's life to establish His Messiahship. One was the resurrection and the other fulfilled messianic prophecy. The Old Testament written over a 1,500 year period contains several hundred references to the coming Messiah. All of these were fulfilled in Christ and they establish a solid confirmation of His credentials as the Messiah.[65]

  •      The many predictions of Christ’s birth, life and death were indisputably rendered more than a century before they occurred as proven by the Dead Sea Scrolls of Isaiah and other prophetic books as well as by the Septuagint translation, all dating from earlier than 100 B.C.[66]

Credentials of Jesus as the Messiah through fulfilled prophecy[67]​   


PROPHECY FULFILLMENT

Gen 3:15 Born of the Seed of the Woman Gal. 4:4

Isaiah 7:14 Born of a Virgin Luke 1:26-35

Psalms 2:7 Son of God Mark 9:7

Gen. 22:18 Seed of Abraham Matt. 1:1

Gen. 21:12 Son of Isaac Luke 3:23,24

Numb. 24:17 Son of Jacob Matt. 1:2

Micah 5:2 Tribe of Judah Heb. 7:14

Isaiah 11:1 Family line of Jesse Luke 3:23

Jer. 23:5 House of David Rev. 22:16

Psalms 72:10 Presented with Gifts Matt. 2:1,11

Micah 5:2 His Pre-Existence Col. 1:17

Psalms 110:1 He shall be called Lord Luke 2:11

Isiah 33:22 Judge II Tim. 4:1

Zech. 9:9 King Matt. 27:37

Isiah 11:2 Special Anointment of Holy Spirit Mark 1:10

Psalms 69:9 His Zeal for God John 2:15-17

Malachi 3:1 Preceded by Messenger Matt. 3:1,2

Isaiah 35:5, 6a Ministry of Miracles Mark 7:33-35

Psalms 118:22 Stone of Stumbling to Jews I Peter 2:7

Hosea 6:2 Resurrection Acts 2:31

Psalms 68:18a Ascention Acts 1:9

Psams 41:9 Betrayed by a friend John 13:21

Zesch. 11:12 Sold for 30 Pieces of Slver Matt. 26:15

Isaiah 53:5 Wounded and Bruised Matt 27:16

Psalms 22:16 Hands and Feet Pierced Luke 23:33

Psalms 34:20 Bones not Broken John 19:33


  SUMMARY

The message that the Bible declares surpasses all works of antiquity in its evidence.  This BLOG has considered extant copies of the original manuscripts, internal and external (non-Christian writers) eyewitness accounts, archaeology discoveries, and prophesy (predictive ability). We must always remember that the The Word of God is the direct means to salvation. Theologian Charles Hodge says the following:

  1. “The word of God is not only necessary to salvation, but it is also divinely efficacious to the accomplish of that end.”[68]

  2. “There can, therefore, be no doubt that the scriptures teach that the Word of God is the specially appointed means for the sanctification of men.”[69]

  3. “It is, therefore, the united testimony of Scripture and of history that the Bible, the Word of God, is the great means of promoting the sanctification and salvation of men, that is, of securing their temporal and eternal well being.”[70]

We conclude that the Bible is divine in its origin. However, it must be strongly stated that however convincing the information in this Blog seems to be, only the direct influence of the sovereign God can open our eyes to see, open our ears to ear, and change the human heart. Theologian Charles Hodge says the following:

  1. All the resources of moral power are exhausted in the Bible. Every consideration that can affect the intellect, the conscience, the feelings, and the hopes of man is therein presented: yet all in vain.[71]

  2. The minds of men since the fall are not in a condition to receive the transforming and saving power of the truths of the Bible; and therefore it is necessary, in order to render the Word of God an effectual means of salvation, that it should be attended by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.[72]

  3. No man is to be allowed to attribute his conversion or salvation to himself, to law, or to the efficiency of means. It is in the hands of God. It is of Him that any man is in Christ Jesus. (1 Cor. i. 30.)[73]

  4. In like manner He so gives or withholds the influences of the Spirit that every minister of the Gospel, as the Apostles themselves did, should feel and acknowledge that his success does not depend on his official dignity, or his fidelity, or his skill in argument, or his power of persuasion, but simply and solely on the demonstration of the Spirit, given or withheld as He sees fit.[74]

Lord use this Blog as a tool in your hands


Footnotes

[1] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. III Chapter XX, page 466

     [2] Equip.org – How do we know that the Bible is divine in its origin

     [3] Ibid.

     [4] Ibid.

     [5] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. I Introduction #4, page 38    [6] A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion Vol, I, Page 202 by James Oliver Buswell

     [7] Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability by Matt Slick

     [8] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. I Introduction #5, page 38

     [9] Christian Research Institute - How do we know that the Bible is divine in origin

     [10] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. I Introduction #7, page 39

     [11] Manuscript Support for the Bible's Reliability by Ron Rhodes

     [12] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. I Introduction #4, page 38

     [13] Manuscript Support for the Bible's Reliability by Ron Rhodes

     [14] An Introduction to Research in English Literary History by Chauncey Sanders Pg. 143

     [15] Ibid

[16] An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament – By the Rev. Benjamin B. Warfield, D.D.,

      [17] Josh McDowell’s – Evidence that Demands a Verdict Pg. 46

      [18] Ibid

      [19] Dating the Oldest New Testament Manuscripts by Peter van Minnen – taken from the Duke University Papyrus Archive

      [20] A Note on the Percent of Accuracy of the New Testament Text by Norman L. Geisler

 [21] Manuscript Support for the Bible's Reliability by Ron Rhodes

      [22] Bruce Metzger - The New Testament: Its Background, Growth and Content, 1965, Pg. 280

     [23] The Reformed Apprentice – Vol 2: A Workbook on The Doctrine Of Scripture & Bible Interpretation by C. Mathew McMahon (Bible Manuscripts)

     [24] Manuscript Support for the Bible's Reliability by Ron Rhodes

     [25] Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics, 1976 Pg. 306

     [26] Christian Research Institute (CRI) Statement DB-011

     [27] Dating the Oldest New Testament Manuscripts by Peter van Minnen – taken from the Duke University Papyrus Archive

     [28] See the chart below The Bibliographical Test Dr. Josh D. McDowell & Dr. Clay Jones

     [29] The Reformed Apprentice Volume 2: A Workbook on the Doctrine of Scripture and Biblical Interpretation – C. Matthew McMahon

     [30] Ibid

     [31] Ibid

     [32] Ibid

     [33] Ibid

  [34] Answering Muslims (Quran) http://www.answeringmuslims.com/p/quran.html

     [35] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 4, Section 4-C by Josh McDowell

     [36] F. F. Bruce The Books and the Parchments, revised Edition 1963 Pages 178 & 179

     [37] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 4, Section 5-C by Josh McDowell

     [38] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 4, Section 7-C by Josh McDowell

     [39] Christian Research Institute (CRI) Statement DB-011

     [40] Manuscript Support for the Bible's Reliability by Ron Rhodes

     [41] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 4, Section 1C Pg. 56&57 by Josh McDowell

     [42] A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament by ROBERT DICK WILSON Pg. 65

     [43] A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament by ROBERT DICK WILSON Pg. 72&72

     [44] A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament by ROBERT DICK WILSON Pg. 86

     [45] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 4, Section 5-C Pg. 60 by Josh McDowell

     [46] Cf. Theodore H. Gaster, "Samaritans," IDB, 4.190; and James D. Purvis, The Samaritan Pentateuch and the Origin of the Samaritan Sect (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1968) 2-3

     [47] Christian Research Institute (CRI) StatementJAR-011

     [48] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 4, Section 2-C Pg. 65 by Josh McDowell

     [49] Christian Research Institute (CRI) Statement DB-011

     [50] The new complete works of Josephus Translated by William Whiston Commentary by Paul L. Maier Introduction, page 7

     [51] https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2811/2811-h/2811-h.htm

     [52] Christian Research Institute (CRI) StatementDB-011

     [53] The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible Joseph M. Holden & Norman Geisler

     [54] Creation.com (Belshazzar: The second most powerful man in Babylon)

     [55] See Wikipedia - William Mitchell Ramsay

     [56] Bible Odyssey Gallio Inscription

     [57] EASTONS BIBLE DICTIONARY by M. G. Easton - SERGIUS PAULUS

     [58] See - The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and The Bible Joseph M. Holden & Norman Geisler Part 7 #25 (Pontius Pilate)

     [59] See - The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and The Bible Joseph M. Holden & Norman Geisler Part 7 #25 (The Pontius Pilate Inscription)

     [60] See - The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and The Bible Joseph M. Holden & Norman Geisler Part 7 #21

     [61] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 4, Part 2 Section 3C Pg. 68 by Josh McDowell

     [62] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 4, Part 2 Section 3C Pg. 69 by Josh McDowell

     [63] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 4, Part 2 Section 3C Pg. 74 by Josh McDowell

     [64] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 4, Part 2 Section 3C Pg. 75 by Josh McDowell

     [65] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 9, Pg. 147 by Josh McDowell

     [66] Christian Research Institute (CRI) Statement DB-011

     [67] Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Chapter 9, Pg. 151 - 174 by Josh McDowell

     [68] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. III Chapter XX, page 466

     [69] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. III Chapter XX, page 468

     [70] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. III Chapter XX, page 470

     [71] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. III Chapter XX, page 472

     [72] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. III Chapter XX, page 472 - 473

     [73] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. III Chapter XX, page 476

     [74] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Vol. III Chapter XX, page 476

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