This is the third week in a 5 week series on one of the most important questions asked throughout history. That question is this: “Is the Bible Really True?” That is to say, “Is the Bible we read today the same as what was written by those people “way back when.” This question is a fair question and requires a reliable response. Although we are dealing with limited space in these articles I will provide some of the resources in my research.
So many “postmodern” Christians have demythologized the Bible. That is to say, they contend the Bible is full of errors and untruths concerning history and events. I have had conversation with seminary professors, pastors, scholars, and lay people. I ask them if they have ever read any of the scholars and professors who have written thousands of books and articles on the reliability and validity of the Bible. Not one of them I talked to have read any of these scholars. The scholars I refer to are all reputable and mainline. Some of these scholars are William F. Albright; Lee Strobel;
Philip E. Johnson; F.F. Bruce; Stephen J. Gould; Del Tackett; Josh McDowell; Michael J. Behe; and J.P. Moreland, among hundreds of other scholars. Once you begin your quest for truth the evidence is overwhelming for the reliability of our Holy Scriptures.
In this third article we examine one final prophecy then go on to the unity of the Bible. Let us consider just one of the hundreds of prophecies in the Bible. Consider the prophecies concerning Tyre and Sidon. These two great cities were in the ancient nation of Phoenicia, much of modern day Lebanon. Tyre was the New York of the day with a great seaport that boasted trade from all over the known world. In Ezekiel 26:4-5;12-14 God said, “And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus and break her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea; for I have spoken it, says the Lord God…And they shall lay her stones and timber and dust in the midst of the water…And I will make her like the top of a rock…you shall be built on more; for I the Lord have spoken it.”
A few years later Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon brought his army to Tyre and laid siege to the city for thirteen years. Finally the walls crumbled and the prophecy was fulfilled in only part. Many of the residents retreated to an island ½ mile out in the Mediterranean Sea.
In 332 B.C. Alexander the Great set out to conquer this strategic coastal base in the war between the Greeks and the Persians. Unable to storm the city, he blockaded Tyre for seven months. Again Tyre held on. But the conqueror used the debris of the abandoned mainland city to build a causeway and once within reach of the city walls, Alexander used his siege engines to batter and finally breach the fortifications. Today the fishermen dry their nets on the original site of the massive city of Tyre as God said they would. Is prophecy an indicator of the reliability and validity of the Bible? If there were just one or two then maybe we could cry “circumstance,” but there are about 700 fulfilled prophecies in the Bible. “Circumstance” will not explain away these validations of the Bible.
Unity of the Bible
The Bible is actually a library of 66 books. The 39 books Old Testament was written between 1450 B.C. and 400 A.D. The 27 books of the New Testament were written between 50 A.D. and 100 A.D.
The 40 writers of the Bible lived at different times separated by hundreds of years. In most cases they did not know of each other. Some were traders, businessmen, doctors, nurserymen, soldiers, fishermen, kings, etc. They served under different governments and lived within in contrasting cultures and philosophies. Scholar F.F. Bruce noted, “The Bible is not simply an anthology; there is a unity which binds the whole book together.”
Bruce also writes, “Suppose a man knocks at your door and places an odd shaped piece of marble in the middle of your floor then leaves without a word. In succession 39 others do the exact same thing and you end up with a beautiful statue. These people did not know each other. These people would be from all the different countries of their birth. You would conclude that some one other than these men had a plan; a design.
Jesus said in John 10:35, “…Scripture cannot be broken...” The basic unity and principles of Scripture cannot be broken. We have 40 different writers; different places; different times; different backgrounds and nationalities, yet the unity of thought and theme is unmistakable.
Next week we will examine how archaeology affirms the reliability and validity of the Bible.
Sources: Johnson, Philip E. Reason in the Balance. Intervarsity Press.; Kennedy, D. James. Why I Believe. Word Publishing. 1980; McDowell, Josh. Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Here’s Life Publishers. 1979; Wilson, Bill and Josh McDowell. He Walked Among Us. Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1993.; Bruce, F.F. Are the New Testament Documents Reliable. Eerdmans Publishing. 1968