Monday, November 21, 2011

How Accurate is the Bible?



Mountain View - Stealing Your Breath with Views of the Heart of God




During the reformation, the church placed itself in authority above the scriptures of the Bible. The church was intently focused on power and used religion to gain and keep control. They established traditions that were not in harmony with scripture. Reformers of that day worked to move the church away from heresy. Martin Luther (as seen in this video) was one of those reformers. Scripture held authority in Martin Luther's life. I wonder how many people today would take such a strong stance? How many would take that stance with such confidence and conviction?


How do you view scripture? What place does it have in your life? Does it guide your actions? Does it form the foundation for the choices you make in daily life? Do you view it as truth from God - a revelation of his heart? Do you see its relevance in your life today?


Here are some important things to know about the Bible:


1) The Bible was formulated in response to the rise of heresy (deviating from the truth/doctrine of scripture) within the Church body.


2) Have you ever heard of the "Canon" and wondered what that is? No it isn't a "cannon".  :) The official and authoritative books inspired by God for inclusion in the Bible are called the Canon.


3) Overall the writers of all the books of the Bible were confirmed by acts of God, the message conveyed the truth of God, and came with the power of God.


4) Scribes were scholars of Jewish law and specialized in the writing and copying of Biblical text. They were extremely committed to the utmost accuracy.


5) The claims a document makes about itself have all been thoroughly examined.


6) Documents were checked to see how correctly they aligned themselves with facts, dates,  and people from its own time in history.


7) Books were all compared to other books for harmony of meaning.


8) The Bible is 98.6% accurate to original texts. It increases in accuracy everyday.


9) There were 26,000 copies of the Bible before 916 AD - plenty to refer to for accuracy, examination, and comparison. 


10) 10,000 potential errors have been found. Only 400 could change the meaning of a word. (Others are minor - in relation to punctuation, etc.) Only 50 of those could change the meaning of a scripture verse.  Not one of those 50 is in an area that is not corroborated theologically in other areas of the Bible.


10) The original texts of scripture are inerrant. Today we have a trustworthy copy of the inerrant original.


11) The Bible is used more than any other source for archaeological digs. There has never been an archaeological dig that has contradicted scripture.


12) The Bible texts were written over a 1500 year period of time by 40 authors on three different continents in three languages. All of their writings are in harmony theologically! God made sure the men who wrote down his revelations did so without error. (2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is God-breathed.")


13) The Bible predicts the future 3,500 times. Over 3,000 predictions have already come true. The rest are about future times. They are yet to be.


14) The Bible speaks about the "circle" of the earth long before scientists even believed the earth to be round. (Isaiah 40:22)


15) The Masoretic Text from 916 AD shows remarkable accuracy when compared to Latin and Greek manuscripts that pre-date Christ through to the 900's after Christ's death and resurrection. "Masoretic Text" refers to the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. The Masoretes (Jewish scholars/rabbis) made it their mission to correct the faults that had crept into the text of the Old Testament during the time the Jews were in captivity in Babylonia, and to prevent the texts from being corrupted by alterations in the future. They arranged the texts into chapter and verse.


16) When Dead Sea Scrolls (dated about 1st or 2nd century before the arrival of Christ) were discovered in Qumran by the Dead Sea in 1947, the Masoretic Text was compared to them and incredible accuracy was found. The Dead Sea Scrolls have a complete copy of the book of Isaiah and a partial copy or fragments of most every book in the Old Testament.


17) The Masoretic Text was also compared to the Septuagint (dated around 200-150 B.C). Again, amazing consistency was discovered giving us great assurance that God was divinely protecting the integrity and accuracy of his word through thousands of years of translating and copying. The "Septuagint" is the translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek during the period between the Old and New Testaments when Greece was the dominant world power and Greek became the common language.


In our study of church history last week, one thing that really stood out to me was the fact that many people in our world today are following religions and cults that are based on heresy. That heresy isn't clear to them because they have not read the Bible in its entirety. There is great danger in that because their future is at stake. This causes me great concern.


In 2 Timothy 3:1-7, we find a letter the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy. The content of his letter is very relevant to life today. 


"You should also know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control; they will be cruel and have no interest in what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that. 


They are the kind who work their way into people's homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by many desires. Such women are forever following new teachings but they never understand the truth."


You can read every self-help book on the market, listen to those who teach you there are many ways to God and salvation, watch celebrity talk shows, read blogs, download podcasts, read Facebook posts, and follow people on Twitter - but the Holy Bible is the one source that provides true power for living; sound guidance for your decisions; safety, security, and protection through its teachings; unconditional love, mercy, and grace; real hope for the future; and the keys to life



Someone once said that if you read the Bible through in its entirety, it will change your life. I did - and it did. As I read, I was struck by the teachings of Christ in particular. The nature of some of his teachings proved to me that the Bible was clearly inspired by God. Man would never be able to conjure up some of the things he said - things like loving your enemy, forgiving those who hurt you, and more.


A challenge for you:

1) The Bible is intended for our good. I challenge you to commit yourself to reading it through in its entirety. It will change your life. Get a chronological reading plan - or get involved in a Bible study at your church. Unlock the treasures available to you in scripture. 


2) There are books in this world that are beneficial to us, but begin making it a practice to check everything you read or hear (including the content of my blog) against scripture. The Word of God is truth. Every teaching in this world should be measured against it. Get to know your Bible so that you gain discernment that can safeguard you against false teachings that are so rampant in the world today.

Know that I write these things to you from a place of great love and concern.


I fully realize the Bible is big, intimidating, and sometimes confusing. I have recently put together a presentation that helps break down its "bigness" through a complete overview of eras of the Bible from beginning to end. It helps eliminate some confusion by showing how the Bible fits together, reveals its underlying themes, and helps us see the heart of God through it all. And finally, it proves the relevancy of the Bible for life today. The treasures of the Bible are rich. Because I want to help people find those treasures, I will make myself available to share this presentation with your group or at your church event. If you're interested in this presentation, you can contact me at thewarminghouse@gmail.com.

With confidence in the character of God and his teachings in the Bible . . .
Lisa~