How Trustworthy Is The Bible?

W. Terry Varner
June 4, 2017

Have you ever wondered about the accuracy of your Bible? Is it accurate? Would God judge man for eternity by a book that is not historically accurate and reliable? In comparison with other ancient materials, how much evidence exists for the books of the Old and New Testament?

The arrival in European history known as the Renaissance (1300-1600) produced a cultural bridge between the Middle Ages and modem history. Towards the close of the Renaissance, men began to question everything. This resulted in men questioning and rejecting the Bible as the ultimate authority in determining religious, moral, ethical, and philosophical matters.

With the rejection of the Bible as God’s authority, men argued that the highest authority rested in the reasoning of man. God was challenged. The existence of God was challenged as no man needed God since his own reasoning was the highest authority known. Miracles were rejected because science could not duplicate them empirically; i.e. using man’s five senses. It was reasoned that if God did not exist and was not needed in life, then miracles could not have occurred because they violated natural law. History involves, among other things, (1) actual events and (2) the recording and interpretation of these events. Men began to challenge the accuracy of ancient history. Recording of biblical history was challenged also.

The Claims of the New Testament. We must allow the New Testament to speak for itself. First, inspiration declares its actual events as having their origin from God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God which means: (1) God gave us Scripture and (2) God gave Scripture by inspiration. What is inspiration? Literally, the term means to “breathe out” and relates to how God delivered His Word (Scripture) to man. The Scripture was given to men “not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1 Cor. 2:13). “Holy men of God spoke [and wrote] as they were guided by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

Second, the recording of these events. Luke wrote his Gospel to declare: (1) the things (events, beliefs) believed among the early Christians (Luke 1:1), (2) these truths had been delivered to them by eyewitnesses (Luke 1:2),    (3) with perfect understanding of all things from the very first (Luke 1:3), and (4) this enabled Theophilus, and any reader, to “know the certainty of those things wherein thou has been instructed” (Luke 1:4). This was done by inspiration which gave the exact words from God to man; i.e. there is no error in the revelation of God. The Bible is perfect; i.e. without error.

The Evidence for the New Testament Manuscripts. In examining the New Testament, we have over 5,000 manuscripts and portions of manuscripts. By comparison, most classical works—Homer, Tacitus, Suetonius, Livy, etc.—have less than 20 manuscripts. The earliest New Testament fragment dates about 25 years after it was written. The fragment is of the Gospel of John dates about AD 125 and is known as the Ryland fragment. A collection of New Testament fragments known as the Chester Beatty Papyri date from 50-150 years after the original biblical writings. The classical books above are mostly dated from 700-1400 years after the original To our comfort, none of the New Testament is lost or missing. By comparison, only 107 of the 142 books of history written by Livy survive. Half of the writings of Tacitus’ 30 books known as the Annals and History are missing. The books of the New Testament are trustworthy. The Christian has nothing to fear about the trustworthiness of the New Testament.