The Bible: A Consistent, Reliable Story
"Anyone who examines this evidence will come to stake his life on this: that God himself is the truth." (John 3:33 MSG)
As you examine the Bible, you will learn that there is both external evidence and internal evidence that the Bible is true.
External evidence includes things like the number of copies of the Bible from around the time that it was written. That's what historians look for to see if a book is accurate and true to dismiss any possibility that a book was changed as it was passed down from generation to generation. There are 5,366 copies of the Bible from when it was written to just 70 years afterward. That's external evidence.
External evidence also includes archeology. There was a long period of time when historians said there was so such thing as a tribe called the Hittites like the Bible talks about in the Old Testament. Then, about 100 years ago, a man by the name of Hugo Winkler discovered a place with 10,000 clay tables at the Hittite capital. Now everybody accepts it as a part of history.
There is also internal evidence that the Bible is true, such as eyewitness accounts. If I receive information that is second or third-hand, I might not be able to trust it. But if it's an eyewitness account, I can trust that it happened as he or she says it did. In the courtroom, if a prosecutor has two or three eyewitness accounts of something, he has a pretty good chance of making his case.
The Bible is filled with eyewitness accounts. Moses was there when the Red Sea split. Joshua was there to watch Jericho fall. The disciples stood in the Upper Room and saw the resurrected Jesus.
The Bible also tells one story with consistency. It was written over a 1,500-year time span, on three continents, and by 40 authors - people from every walk of life, like kings, shepherds, fishermen, and tax collectors. Yet the Bible tells one story from beginning to end: God's love and salvation for man and how he came into this world through Jesus Christ. It's an amazing example of the power of God to write that story for our lives.
As true as this book is, it doesn't make much of a difference if it stays on your shelf. You've got to pull it down off the shelf so it can get it in your life and change your life. John 3:33 says, "Anyone who examines this evidence will come to stake his life on this: that God himself is the truth" (MSG).
Talk About It
What are some of the questions you have about the Bible? What are you going to do today to work toward finding your answers?
- Where do you normally put your Bible when you get home from small group or church? How could the simple habit of placing it in a different spot help you "take it off the shelf" more often?