Let's begin by looking at what 4 different verses say:
(Rom 10:17) Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God.
(Col 1:5-6) The Gospel changes lives when you hear it and understand the truth of grace.
(2 Tim 3:16) Bible inspired by God and for instruction in righteousness.
(2 Pet 1:21) Prophecy in the Bible came from men inspired by the Holy Spirit.
So, we have a question, does a person need to believe God's word is inerrant to be
Surprisingly, I say no. They may not need to believe every word of the Bible is true, but they certainly must believe the Gospel is God-inspired.
In my times of witnessing, I have never personally lead a person to the Lord by convincing them the Bible is God inspired and inerrant. However, some people HAVE come to the Lord by seeing the proof, and we should be prepared to give proof. How can we do this?
Let's start by answering two common questions that are often asked?
How can I know that the Bible is right and the Holy Books of other religions are wrong? And, even if the Bible IS right, how can I know which version is right?
Response: We are not going to attack the credibility of other religions Holy Books, but rather, what we hope to do is show that the Bible is inerrant and infallible. So, if other Holy Books do not match up with what the Bible says, obviously there is a problem with them.
First, let's look at the different versions or translations.
As Christians, we believe that the "autographa" or original manuscripts (no longer in existence today) were free from error. The versions of the Bible we have today are based on copies from these original manuscripts. When a version is written, it is generally done so using the best manuscript evidence available at the time. As these copies have come down from the originals over time, there have been mistakes here and there that have occurred because fallible man is involved in copying or translating what God originally stated. Problems can also occur because different translations translate a word from the Greek or Hebrew in a different way. In addition, there are some words in Hebrew or Greek that don't have a comparable word in a different language. For instance, the Greek language has two different words that it uses to express "love" (phileo and agapao) while the English language has only one word. As a result of this, we sometimes miss the full meaning of what was intended (See: Jn 21:15-17 for an example of how the word "love" in Greek is used in two different ways but only shown as one word in English).
(1 Pet 1:23,25)(Isa 40:8)(Mt 5:18) God promises: His word will be preserved forever.
We can rest assured He has done this.
There are 3 different types of translations:
Word for word translations These take all manuscript evidence and translate each word. Examples of this are the KJV and NASB.
Thought for thought translations These look at each verse in all the manuscript evidence and attempt to ascertain what thought was trying to be conveyed. An example of this is the NIV.
Paraphrases These look at a verse from existing Bibles and try and put it in a more understandable and contemporary way. Therefore it is the authors point of view on a verse. Examples of this the Living Bible or the Message Bible.
Obviously, the most accurate Bibles are those which are word for word translations, but sometimes these can be a little harder to understand. I personally find it pointless to try and read a Bible version if you aren't able to understand what it is saying. Isn't the point to gain an understanding of what it is saying?
When I first became saved (at age 32), I had such a hard time understanding the Bible that I had to start with a Children's Bible. From there, I went to a paraphrase (the Living Bible), then the NIV, and finally to a parallel Bible that I still use today (parallel Bibles have different versions side by side). I now love the KJV and NASB Bibles, and they are much more understandable now that I have a foundation of the basics that I learned from easier to understand Bibles.
This being said, I believe the important thing is to find a translation you CAN understand, and grow in your love and desire for God's Word!
OK, now let's look 4 categories that give us demonstrable proof that the Bible is inerrant and infallible.
#1. Manuscript Evidence
#2. Science And The Bible
#3. Biblical Prophecy
#4. Archaeological Evidence
#1. Manuscript Evidence:
The Bible has more verifiable, surviving manuscript evidence supporting it than any other book in history. No other book or Holy Book is even close, with the Bible having at least 10 times the surviving evidence than any other work.
At present, we have close to 5800 Greek manuscripts corroborating the New Testament apart from the Bible. Writers who confirm things found in the New Testament include: Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus, Eusebius, Lucian, Celsus, and Trajun, along with at least a dozen others. It is interesting to note that none of these writers ever denies the existence of Jesus as a historical figure.
In addition, in 1947, one of the most important finds in history was the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were found in caves along the western shore of the Dead Sea near Qumran. They are now housed in Jerusalem. They contain about 100,000 fragments of every book in the Old Testament but Esther. These fragments date from app. 250 B.C. to 65 A.D. There is amazingly little difference in what is contained in the scrolls and what we have as our Old Testament today. God has preserved His word just as He promised.
We also have fragments of copies of the New Testament that date back to before 100 A.D.
#2. Science And The Bible:
This is my top 10 list of the many scientific principles found in the Bible that could only have been known by God given inspiration. Many of these facts were not discovered until centuries later. Some of these seem incredibly obvious to us now, but in those days they were far beyond the knowledge of that time.
Let's look at these.
(Isa 40:22) The Earth is round.
(Gen 6:15) The dimensions of Noah's Ark were the ideal ratio for a ship of that kind.
(Lev 17:11) Blood is the source of life.
Health practices such as:
(Deut 23:12-14) Burying human waste
(Lev 15:13) Washing with running water
(Lev 11) Unclean Foods
(Jer 33:22) The stars are uncountable
(Job 26:7) The Earth hangs on nothing
(Heb 11:3) Matter is composed of unseen elements
(Lk 17:34-36) Day in one part of the world, night in another
#3. Biblical Prophecy:
We have at least 45 or more things that were prophesied about Jesus in the Old Testament (which nearly all scholars will concede was written 100's to 1000's of years before Jesus) that were later fulfilled in the New Testament when Jesus lived His 33 years of life on this Earth.
Let's look at a few of these.
**The first verse(s) will be where something was prophesied in the Old Testament.
**The second verse(s) will be where the prophecy was fulfilled years later in the New Testament.
Born in Bethlehem
(Mic 5:2) / (Lk 2:4-5,7)
Born of a virgin (Isa 7:14) / (Lk 1:26-27,30-31)
Messiah called Immanuel
(Isa 7:14) / (Mt 1:23)
Preceded by a messenger
(Mal 3:1) / (Lk 7:27)(Mt 11:10)
Rejected by His own people
(Isa 53:3) / (Jn 1:11)(Lk 23:35)
Jesus would speak in parables
(Ps 78:2) / Mt 13:35)
Entry riding on a donkey
(Zech 9:9) / (Mk 11:7,9,11)
Sold for 30 pieces of silver
(Zech 11:12-13) / (Mt 26:15)
Spat upon and smitten
(Isa 50:6) / (Mt 27:30)
Pierced through hands and feet
(Zech 12:10)(Ps 22:16) / (Jn 20:27)
Given vinegar and gall
(Ps 69:21) / (Mt 27:34)
Soldiers gambled for clothes
(Ps 22:17-18) / (Mt 27:35-36)
No broken bones
(Ex 12:46)(Num 9:12)(Ps 34:20) / (Jn 19:32-33,36)
My God my God why hast thou forsaken me
(Ps 22:1) / (Mt 27:46)(Mk 15:34)
Into your hands I commit my spirit
(Ps 31:5) / (Lk 23:45)
In addition, we also have prophecy made in the New Testament that tells us the events that will lead up to Jesus return to the Earth. Many Christians believe we are living in the last days before Jesus return. These are taken from (Mt 24)(Mk 13) (1 Tim 4:1-5)(2 Tim 3:1-5)(2 Th 2:1-12)(1 Jn 2:18).
Do these sound like what is going on today??
There will be an increase in:
war and rumors of war
persecution of Christians
people saying they are Christ
People in the last days will be:
Covetous, proud, boasters, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, slanderers, without self control, brutal, haters of God, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure more than God, holding to a form of godliness
People will say it is wrong to:
Eat certain foods (an increase in vegetarianism today)
Be married (more and more people living together today)
The Gospel will be preached to the world.
In the parable of the fig tree (Mt 24:32-34)(Mk 13:28-30)(Lk 21:29-32) Jesus was saying the rebirth of Israel would proceed His return and the generation that saw it would not pass from the earth. Israel became a nation (rebirth) on May 14,1948. What is the length of a generation? That is up for debate.
Apart from spoken prophecy, it is also interesting to note how other things pointed to Jesus in the Old Testament. For example, three things that happened while the Israelites were in the desert: the Manna the Israelites ate, the rock they drank water from, and the Tabernacle and its furnishings.
#4. Archaeological Evidence:
Hundreds of people, places, and things mentioned in the Bible can still be seen today. Artifacts uncovered continue to reinforce more and more the truth contained in the Bible. There has never been any archaeological find that has ever contradicted the Bible.
Listed below is just a tiny portion of evidence supporting the Bible.
|TOMBS OF BIBLE PEOPLE||LOCATION|
|Joseph (Gen 37-50)(Ex 13:19)||Shechum in Caanan (Still revered today)|
|Rachel (Gen 26-48)(See 48:7)||1 Mi N of Jerusalem, 4 mi S of Jerusalem (Revered by Jews today)|
|Absalom (2 Sam 13-20) And Zechariah (1 Chr)||Located side by side in the Kidron Valley just outside Jerusalem|
|Darius I (Ezra 4-6) and Artaxeres I (Ezra 4-8)||Located side by side in the city of Persepolis in ancient Persia|
|Barnabas (Acts 11-15)||Cyprus|
|Lazarus (Jn 11:1-44)||Bethany (Revered by the people in that area)|
|John The Apostle||Ephesus|
|John The Baptist||Enclosed in a church bearing his name in Samaria-Sebaste|
** Many tombs and other historic sites in the Bible had churches built over or around them to commemorate the events that occurred at them, and they still survive today.
|ARTIFACTS AND RUINS UNCOVERED||LOCATION|
|The Moabite Stone||Parts in the Louvre in Paris (Mentions 15 places from the OT and the revolt of King Mesha: 2 Kin 3:4-27)|
|Amarna Tablets||Tell el-Amarna, Egypt (Confirms many things from the book of Joshua)|
|Prism of Sennacherib||Baghdad, Iraq (Speaks of King Sennachrrib's invasion of Jerusalem: Isa 36-37)|
|Ruins of King Nebuchadnezzar's palace (Dan 1-5)||Babylon in Iraq (His name is impressed on some of the bricks found there. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Iraq.)|
|Inscription in stone that mentions Pontius Pilate was the procurator of Judea.||In a theatre in Caesarea|
|Inscription in stone that says, "Erastus (Rom 16:23), the commissioner of public works, laid this pavement at his own expense."||In a theatre in Corinth|
|Stone carving of the Ark of the Covenant||Discovered in a synagogue in Capernaum|
|Ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah||South end of the Dead Sea|
|Stone carving of two boys undergoing the circumcision ritual||Egyptian National Museum|
** We also have busts of many rulers listed in the Bible such as:
Augustus Caesar (Lk 2:1)
Tiberious Caesar (Lk 3:1)
Claudius Caesar (Acts 18:1-2)(Acts 11:28)
Nero (the ruling emperor who persecuted Paul) (Acts 25:11-12)(Acts 26:32)(Phil 4:22)
In conclusion, it might interest you to know that many of the greatest scientists in history also believed in God. Many were Christians as well.
Leonardo da Vinci
Even Albert Einstein, although not a Christian, appeared to have a belief in God that came about as the result of his theory of relativity, which showed time had to have a beginning.