Reliability of the Bible – April 2022

The following Bible presentation can be read as standing on its own, or, as a continuation in a series that sets out how you can avoid the terrible consequences of sin which are ruining our world.

Introduction

This presentation relates to a series of regular messages in The Rugby Register magazine which can be read by visitors to our website. It is written in response to the increasing troubles in our world, where there is so much suffering, poverty, killing and several billion people starving that now grows worse with Russia attacking Ukraine. This overshadows the continuing destruction of the environment that is so bad that the Secretary General of the United Nations recently said, “We are on a catastrophic path. We can either save our world or condemn humanity to a hellish future,” with the Guardian newspaper adding to that report, that the majority of scientists consider “the world’s governments are currently failing to avert a grim fate.”

Therefore, we, as a community of Christians, want to spread the ‘Good News’ that the rot that seems to have set in will be reversed by the Creator for those who trust Him and follow His son. The presentation you are about to read will refer to things covered earlier in the series and a link is provided to that article by its month in case you want to refer to it. God has extensive, amazing plans for the earth and will not allow it to become uninhabitable by men and women.

18  For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.                                     Isaiah 45

29  The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. Psalm 37

We started with the common criticism often thrown at Christians, “Why does God allow suffering?” and, “If God is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving, why do bad things happen to people?” Our series of monthly Bible presentations show that present events are an inevitable part of God’s amazing, wonderful purpose with the earth. You can go to the Articles INDEX🡸 to find any of the presentations in “The way to Salvation”🡸 series. The link on the left takes you to the first, published in October 2021, and the one above it to a list that allows you to choose any of the presentations, or work through them in chronological order at your leisure. And now we offer this month’s Bible presentation.

The reliability of the Bible.

This subject is fundamental to Christianity and is regularly referred to and demonstrated by our community of true believers, Bible students, and this website. The greatest proof of the truth of the Bible is prophecy.

Jesus knew that he was going to be crucified because he had come to serveJanuary his Heavenly Father and that he would be rejected by the Jews religious leaders. When he prepared his disciples for his departure he told them … … …

28  Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. 29  And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. John 14

That is the purpose of prophecy – that the hearers and the readers of the prophecy will believe the prophet’s message – especially if it is for their benefit. The reassurance of that promise of Jesus is only of value if the hearer and the reader believe in the truth of his words spoken and recorded in the scriptures. Therefore God, the author of the scriptures, has provided a number of ways to show His word – the Bible – is true.

19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1

Our great and wise, all-powerful God and creator, says, such are the wonders and intricacies of the smallest organism to the most complicated known galaxy He has made, that it is obvious there is a Creator God who is in control. This is not the time or place to discuss evolution beyond saying that an interesting article published by the New York Times in 2019 is very compelling.

The author described several dazzlingly beautiful creatures in nature saying,

“This extravagance is also an affront to the rules of natural selection. Adaptations are meant to be useful — that’s the whole point — and the most successful creatures should be the ones best adapted to their particular environments.”

God, however, filled the world with beauty for His own enjoyment and for the pleasure of those that believed in Him and His word of truth.  Sadly, man has ruined many of the areas of beauty in the earth, but fortunately these will be restored to their full glory when Jesus comes back to the earth as we’ve told you before.November 2021

21  But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. Numbers 14

Beauty is for men and women who can appreciate, especially in the natural world; it is a demonstration of God’s desire for beauty in all of His creation as the psalms quote,

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19

But the beauty he particularly wishes to see is in the character, desires and conduct of men and women.

4  For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. 5  He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. Psalm 33

It is wonderful that such a great and powerful God of Wisdom, righteousness and justice can be so compassionate toward mankind,

8  The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9  He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. … … 11  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13  Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14  For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103

What does God looks for in us? We have the answer in 1 Samuel 16. The prophet Samuel was given the task of anointing one of the sons of a man called Jesse to be the next king.

6  And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. 7  But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16

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Having said that prophecy is an important proof of ”The Truth’ of the Bible, we wish to show you a prophecy that can be proved to have been written before it happened. We are very fortunate that in 1947 some very old scrolls of the Old Testament were found in caves very near the Dead Sea.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient Jewish and Hebrew religious manuscripts first found in 1946/47 at the Qumran Caves in what was then Mandatory Palestine. … Dating back to between the 3rd century BCE and the 1st century CE, the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered one of the most important finds in the history of archaeology. … About 40% are copies of texts from the Hebrew Scriptures.”

Above left: Some of the scroll jars. Middle right: An Isaiah scroll (Old Testament)

Bottom right: some of the Qumran caves where scrolls were found

There is more detail about the Dead Sea Scrolls February 2021 in an earlier presentation, but the important thing for us is that the scrolls contained many prophecies concerning the coming of Jesus written at least 250 years before Jesus was born at the beginning of the 1st century AD.

Here are a couple of examples.

Soon after the birth of Jesus wise men came to see the child. When Herod heard Jesus was born to be king he saw him as competition and tried to kill him. But an Angel warned Joseph of the danger and sent him to safety In Egypt. [An interesting account to be found in Matthew 2]

Prophecy: Hosea 11 1  When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

Fulfilment: Matthew 2 14  When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15  And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Reading Matthew 2 leads us to another prophecy about the birth of Jesus.

Prophecy: Micah 5: 2  But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Fulfilment: Matthew 2 4  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5  And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6  And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

It is clear that even the priests, that turned out to be very hostile to Jesus, knew about this prophecy of the coming of the Messiah and were expecting him, but did not appreciate Jesus’ mission.

Many regular readers of the Bible find that the more they read it the more of its pages carry a ring of truth. Let us endeavour to give you a brief taste of its qualities under these seven pillars of truth.

1. The UNIQUE nature of its TEACHINGS:

Readers will find there is so much in the Bible that is unique in the sense that the knowledge it contains was first being given by the prophets, apostles or teachers of God’s message and later published in the Bible.

  1. There Is Only One God Who Exists.

10  Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11  I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. Isaiah 43

  1. The One God Is a Personal and Loving Father.

4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Ephesians 2

  1. The one God offers Life Beyond the Grave.

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. Act 2  

2. The Bible is INDESTRUCTIBLE: Another amazing fact about the Bible is that many have tried to destroy it. Thousands, may be millions of copies have been destroyed. Men who translated for readers to understand, who distributed it, and who printed it have been wickedly put to death, yet it remains the most widely circulated book in the world. Why? Because it is under the care of its author – the Almighty, all wise God.

3. It contains AMAZING EVIDENCE OF PROPHECY: Much of it indisputably written well before the event has been fulfilled in every detail. Cities, nations and individuals preserved or destroyed all as predicted by Almighty God – never once has the Bible been shown to be wrong.

4. It is a CREDIBLE record: Its teachings are unique. No non-Christian religion teaches anything like true Christianity. The record chronicles failings and achievements of nations and peoples without fear or favour, completely unlike the way human authors record the history of their nations.

There are not enough superlatives to describe the amazing proofs of the truth of the Bible.

5. It is HISTORICALLY ACCURATE. The accuracy of scripture is revealed whenever it is possible to compare the record with genuine archaeological findings and other ancient records. Sometimes events, people and places described in the Bible have at first been declared mythical because nowhere else is there evidence that it happened. This was claimed as evidence the Bible is a book of fiction, until the archaeologists spade discovered evidence of the contrary. Babylon is an example of this.

6. INTERNAL HARMONY stands out: It is a harmonious whole. Despite being written over a period of 1,500 years by at least 40 men from hugely varied backgrounds and in widely spread locations, it has stood firm against all efforts to undermine it’s integrity because its writers were inspired by God.

7. Finally, it is SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE. Whilst the Bible’s prime concern is to reveal God’s purpose with his people and the world, where matters of record relate to the workings of nature it is always accurate, in some cases long before men understood the matter. A few examples.

Natures water cycle

6  The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 7  All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. Ecclesiastes 1

The Earth hangs in Space

7  He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. Job 26 [The oldest book in the Bible]

The Earth is round

22  It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: Isaiah 40

All this is true because God created and controls all things. Anything He wants to happen will certainly happen because He has ensured His message is accurately recorded and unerringly preserved by putting the words and thoughts into the minds of men.

So we have every reason to believe what the Bible tells us because it enables us,

2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; … … 5  A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. Proverbs 1

There is a very helpful proverb in the 9th chapter of that book.

1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars. Proverbs 9.

It assures us that the wisdom of the Bible, supported on these seven pillars, provides the protection we need from the weaknesses and temptations that our nature brings upon us. And once again we come to the only solution available to us if you wish to escape from the inevitable end of life without God …

9  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. 10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Proverbs 9

The most important relationships we can have are with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for …

23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. John 14

6  Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. 7  How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. Psalm 36

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This presentation is one of a series.  The subjects included in it are listed below.  Please Ctrl+Click on any you wish to go to.

The Way to Salvation

  1. Why does God allow suffering – October 2021
  2. Remarkable changes are coming – November 2021
  3. He is risen (resurrection) – December 2021
  4. The Good Shepherd of his sheep – January 2022
  5. Following the Good Shepherd – February 2022
  6. Earth full of knowledge of God’s glory – March 2022

PLUS two reasons why we know THE BIBLE IS TRUE.

Who knows the future? – February 2021 
How can Israel be God’s witnesses? – April 2021