Summary: Research tells us that about 65% of protestant Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Depending how you look at that it may seem high or low to you. To me it’s cause for concern because a full 35% of professing Christians are not s
However it’s not surprising that the number is so low. It’s very hard to prove and most of us have just believed that it is God’s Word because we were told that it is. That’s very hard for a seeker or unbeliever to blindly accept. If I point a person to the Bible and it’s just a book of man made stories to them, it will not have much impact. And to tell them it is the word of God without evidence when there are numerous other religious holy books out there, will get you the label narrow minded.
So while I can’t prove to you that the Bible is the word of God outside of what the Bible says about itself, what I can do is show you why the Bible is valid and is by far the most substantiated ancient writing in history. This is called I. Internal Validity. For instance there are over 10,000 OT manuscripts that have been found and over 5700 Greek New Testament manuscripts, and when all of them are compared they are in 99.9 percent agreement.
This tells us that the earliest manuscripts have been very precisely copied throughout the ages. These manuscripts are as old as 1400 BC for the Old Testament, and no manuscripts for the New Testament have come from any later than 250 AD. Most of them come from before 150 AD meaning they were all written within one generation of Jesus life on earth.
When you think about that, 66 different books by over 40 authors over hundreds of years, copied over 15,000 times coming to over 99% agreement. That in itself is a miracle. The next closest is Homer’s Iliad which has about 670 manuscripts that come to about 95% agreement. So by sheer number, date and accuracy of these biblical manuscripts, we can say with certainty that they are genuine and have not been altered over all the time they have existed. They are the writings of these ancient people.
But that doesn’t really answer our question. So it’s accurate, but what is it? Is it the inspired word of God? Considering how many authors wrote it over so many years, and that they all come to agreement and never contradict each other, that is pretty good evidence itself. I think I heard this from Lee Strobel, that the chances of that happening are about the same as if a tornado ripped through a junkyard and out came a functioning 747 airliner.
Let’s look at what the Bible says about itself? Starting with 2 Peter 1:20-21 “First of all, you should know this; no prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”.
OK it’s fine for super Christian Peter to say that, but is it true. Think about it for a minute. If we look at most of the prophecy books in the Old Testament, which are the primary Scriptures Peter is talking about, we see that very few if any of the prophets chose that profession, and they had some pretty unpopular things to say.
If I was going to be a prophet just to be popular or get a following, I would probably make up more things people wanted to hear. Biblical prophets were never popular with the majority. In fact most were likely martyred. Again with the New Testament, those including Jesus who spoke about Christian doctrines and prophecies were heavily persecuted and killed; again if you were doing it to be popular you would have a more popular message.
Interestingly, none of the other major religious books that claim to be Scripture have much if any prophecy in them. The Old Testament has about 333 prophecies about the Messiah, all the ones about his first coming were fulfilled exactly. Overall we can see that the Bible has about 2000 prophecies that have been fulfilled many with stunning detail, often spoken or written hundreds of years before the event happened. So the II. Accuracy of prophecy may be the greatest evidence of the inspired nature of the Bible.
Let me demonstrate: What if I were to give you the following predictions:
1. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran) will destroy all but the island portion of New York City.
2. Many nations will fight against New York City.
3. The debris from the buildings in New York City will be thrown in the water to access Long Island.
4. New York City will be made bare and flat like the top of a rock.
5. Fishermen will spread their nets over the heap that was once New York City.
6. New York City will never be re-built.
7. New York City's glory will never be restored.