Summary: 2nd in a Da Vinci Code series; this message explores the historical reliability of the Bible with a goal to increase people’s trust in the Bible as God’s Word.

Looking at DVC

movie opened

blurs line b/t fact & fiction

conspiracy theory

Bible born from conspiracy

is it trustworthy?

we preach on weekly basis, urge you to live life by it

“The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven. . . . The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God…it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.” (DVC page 231).

we’ll address in some detail today

“Jesus Christ was a historical figure of staggering influence, perhaps the most enigmatic and inspirational leader the world has ever seen. . . .More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a relative few were chosen for inclusion. . . .” (231)

80 gospels?

“Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.” (235)

REALITY Dan Brown is false about Constantine Bible & Nicea

got date right: council in A.D. 325

key issue: Jesus’ divinity, much more next week on that

nothing to do with Bible

Dan Brown has stirred a good question:

why should I believe the Bible?

there are other holy books—what’s unique?

Brief TRUE history of the Bible

can get really technical

do the best we can in ½ hour

further resources available

watch for these things:

reliability—can we trust?

uniqueness—does it offer something no one else does?


last week talked about revisionist history & real events

Lee Strobel: former legal editor of Chicago Tribune


Historians: ways of testing reliability of ancient accounts

applies to Bible

Ask questions like:

• Are there multiple sources reporting on the same event?

• Are the accounts rooted in eyewitness testimony?

• Are the reports written soon after the event, before legend can contaminate it?

• How carefully have these accounts been transmitted through history?

• Is there confirmation from archaeology?

• Is there embarrassing material in the accounts that would have been edited out if the writer felt free to whitewash the record?

• Is the writer biased? Does he have an ulterior motive to lie or mislead?

3 Aspects to Bible’s history:

Transmitted by Dedicated Individuals

Affirmed by a Growing Community

Inspired by a Sovereign God


2 Peter 1:20-21:

20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

starting point: a man sat down to write

Greek, everyone knew

(inspiration of God through Holy Spirit; come back to that later)

we don’t have any originals--why?

probably written on papyrus, not durable


we are dependent on copies

earliest copies on papyrus--about 100 copies

constitute over ½ the NT

earliest dated to A.D. 125

beginning of 4th century (300’s) medium changed

parchment or vellum (animal skins)

much more durable

about 300

beginning of 9th C (800’s), changed lettering

about 2813

lectionaries, NT passages organized for daily reading, about 2200

Greek total manuscripts: over 5500

Besides Greek, other languages: 30,000 versional copies in Latin, Coptic, and Syriac

over 1 million references to the NT in the early church Fathers

Compare other ancient books:


Compare Shakespeare: died in 1616

recent compared to Bible, 2000 years ago

“With perhaps a dozen or twenty exceptions, the text of every verse in the New Testament may be said to be so far settled by general consent of scholars, that any dispute as to its readings must relate rather to the interpretation of the words than to any doubts respecting the words themselves. But in every one of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays there are probably a hundred readings still in dispute, a large portion of which materially affects the meaning of the passages in which the occur.” --from an 18th century author, just about 200 years removed from Shakespeare

Dan Brown: other gospels omitted—true why?

how was the Bible formed?


Community = Church

Church as institution did not exist yet

Introduce word: “Canon”

not weapon of war

measuring rod

defined list of books

multiple books out there

narrow down to the ones that reflect God’s truth

By A.D. 180 we have two lists of books for canon

both are clear on the 4 gospels and do not allow for any more

Synod of Hippo in A.D. 393 listed 27 books of NT

When it did so,

it did not confer upon them any authority which they did not already possess, but simply recorded their previously established canonicity. –F.F. Bruce

Why a defined list?

Teaching: Church needs to know which writings to listen to

Heresy: need to separate truth from false teachings

EX: how do we counter what Dan Brown says?

Persecution: need to define what books are worth dying for

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