“I’m happy your faith works for you, but I don’t understand how anyone today can still believe the Bible.”
“The Bible has been translated and copied so many times that we can’t possibly know what the original text said.”
"The Bible is always contradicting itself, just read the different Gospels!"
These are just some of the many questions and doubts people have about the Bible. Not only do they come from non-believers, but many Christian children and teens are curious as well. Rather than respond with “you just need to have faith”, the Bible calls us to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV) It’s important that we take these questions seriously and that we understand *why* we believe what we believe.
Christians need not be afraid to critically examine their faith. In 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Paul encourages us to “test everything; hold fast what is good.” Truth is on our side! So with that, I’d like to share 8 different reasons why you can trust the Bible.
1. The Gospels were written by eyewitnesses of Jesus’ ministry.
Throughout the New Testament, we see the authors repeatedly refer to themselves as eyewitnesses (2 Peter 1:16, Luke 1:1-2, 1 John 1:1-3). Were they lying? When you read each of the Gospel accounts, you’ll notice they describe many of the same events, but that each account is slightly different. This is a hallmark of sincere eyewitness testimony. Additionally, we often see unintentional eyewitness support between the Gospels, in which one author’s description of an event in one book supports another author’s description of an entirely separate event in another book! How can this be? The best explanation is that the authors really were eyewitnesses and were truthfully reporting what they saw.
2. The New Testament documents were written early.
The closer a document was written to the events it is describing, the more trustworthy historians consider that document. We have good reasons to believe that most, if not all of the New Testament was written prior to 70 AD. By historical standards, this is VERY early. This means they were written within the lifetime of people who were alive when Jesus was.
3. Non-Christian writers corroborate the New Testament.
There exist a number of non-christian writings that confirm different aspects of the New Testament. For example, Thallus, writing in the mid 50’s AD, mentions the darkness that befell the land during Jesus’ crucifixion (Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44). Roman historian Tacitus, when writing about the persecution of Christians under Nero, explains that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate. These are just two of many examples of non-christian sources confirming New Testament claims.
4. Archaeology supports both the Old and New Testaments.
Archaeological discoveries have continually confirmed the claims of the Bible. To this date, not one discovery has been made that contradicts or falsifies a Biblical event, person, or place. In the last 16 chapters of the book of Acts alone, historian Colin Hemer has identified 84 facts that have been confirmed by historical research!
5. The Gospels contain embarrassing testimony.
When we lie or exaggerate, especially when it pertains to us, we tend to omit embarrassing details. In the Gospels, however, we find numerous passages containing embarrassing details about the disciples and even Jesus. The disciples are oftentimes dim-witted, boastful, uncaring, doubting, and cowardly. Jesus is even described in the garden of Gethsemane as being so scared that he sweat blood! Is this what you would write if you were making up a story? The best explanation for these embarrassing details is that they really happened.
6. The abundance of manuscripts.
A manuscript is simply a copy of an ancient text, and the more manuscripts historians have at their disposal, the better. Scholars then compare these manuscripts to identify errors. This way, they can discern what the original text likely said. How does the Bible compare to other ancient texts? Simply put, it's the most well-attested book in history, with well over 5,000 Greek New Testament manuscripts having been discovered. The next closest work is Homer’s “The Iliad” with less than 2,000 manuscripts. Scholars can, therefore, recreate the original New Testament text with a high degree of certainty. This means your Bible today is the same as it was 2,000 years ago!
7. The apostles weren't biased.
Did the disciples have any motive to lie or embellish their accounts? It doesn't seem likely. Throughout the New Testament, we read about the suffering endured by Jesus’ followers. They were stoned, imprisoned, and even killed for proclaiming their message. Not exactly a list of perks. If people lie, they typically do so for money, sex, or power, but we don't see the disciples benefit from any of that.
8. The Bible is Truly Unique.
The Bible is unique in many ways. It is unique in authorship, written by roughly 40 people, all with different backgrounds. It is unique in its impact, having shaped Western civilization more than any other book. In fact, Christian theology was at the heart of the scientific revolution! It is unique in its circulation, with tens of billions of copies having been printed throughout history. I could keep going but the point is that the uniqueness of the Bible speaks to its status as God-breathed revelation.
We have excellent reasons for believing in the Bible as the Word of God. At the very least, it's a book that people should take very seriously. I’ve laid out 8 reasons you can trust your Bible, but perhaps the most powerful reason is how it has touched people's hearts. Billions of people throughout history could tell you how the Bible has changed their lives. It is my prayer that by having full confidence in God’s Word, it can change your life too.
You may also be interested in the following post by Matt (Bio below)
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Matt has studied Christian theology, philosophy, and apologetics on his own for several years now. He is passionate about sharing the evidence for the truth of Christianity and answering the objections of today's post-Christian culture. He hopes to someday earn a formal education in ministry and/or apologetics. Matt lives in Wyoming, Michigan with his wife Sara and Son Ezekiel!