Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

Quotes: Faith–Reliability and Credibility of the Bible

Posted by Tony Listi on November 19, 2007

“There’s more evidence that the Bible is a reliable source than there is for any other book from the ancient world…. I could talk about the Bible’s unity-sixty-six books written in different literary styles by perhaps forty different authors with diverse backgrounds over fifteen hundred years, and yet the Bible amazingly unfolds one continuous drama with one central message. That points to the existence of the divine Mind that the writers claimed inspired them. And there’s the Bible’s transforming-from the beginning, it has renewed people; given them hope, courage, purpose, wisdom, guidance, and power; and formed an anchor for their lives. While early Islam was spread by the sword, early Christianity spread by the Spirit, even while Christians were being killed by Roman swords.”
-Dr. Norman L. Geisler
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“There have been thousands-not hundreds-of archeological finds in the Middle East that support the picture presented in the biblical record. There was a discovery not long ago confirming King David. The patriarchs-the narratives about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-were once considered legendary, but as more has become known these stories are increasingly corroborated. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was thought to be mythological until evidence was uncovered that all five of the cities mentioned in Genesis were, in fact, situated just as the Old Testament said. As far as their destruction goes, archaeologist Clifford Wilson said there is ‘permanent evidence of the great conflagration that took place in the long distant past.’ Furthermore, various aspects of the Jewish captivity have been confirmed. Also, every reference in the Old Testament to an Assyrian king has been proven correct; an excavation during the 1960s confirmed that the Israelites could, indeed, have entered Jerusalem by way of a tunnel during David’s reign; there is evidence the world did have a single language at one time, as the Bible says; the site of Solomon’s temple is now being excavated…. Samuel says that after Saul’s death his armor was put in the temple of Ashtoroth…while Chronicles reports that his head was put in the temple of a Philistine corn god named Dagon. Now, archaeologists thought that must have been an error and therefore the Bible was unreliable. They didn’t think enemies would have had temples in the same place at the same time…. [Archaeologists] confirmed through excavations that there two temples at that, one each for Dagon and Ashtoroth…. As it turned out, the Philistines had apparently adopted Ashtoroth as one of their own goddesses. The Bible was right after all…. The Bible makes about three dozen references to the Hittites, but critics used to charge that there was no evidence that such people ever existed. Now archaeologists digging in modern Turkey have discovered the records of the Hittites. As the great archaeologist William F. Albright declared, ‘There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament tradition. The noted Roman historian Colin J. Hemer, in The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, shows how archaeology has confirmed not dozens, but hundreds and hundreds of details from the biblical account of the early church. Even small details have been corroborated, like which way the wind blows, how deep the water is a certain distance from shore, what kind of disease a particular island had, the names of local officials, and so forth. Now, Acts was authored by the historian Luke. Hemer gives more than a dozen reasons for why Acts had to have been written before A.D. 62, or about thirty years after Jesus’ crucifixion…. So here you have an impeccable historian, who has been proven right in hundreds of details and never proven wrong, writing the whole history of Jesus and the early church. And it’s written within one generation while eyewitnesses were still alive and could have disputed it if it were exaggerated or false. You don’t have anything like that from any other religious book from the ancient world…. Prominent historian Sir William Ramsay started out as a skeptic, but after studying Acts he concluded that ‘in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.’ The great Oxford University classical historian A.N. Sherwin-White said, ‘For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming,’ and that ‘any attempt to reject its basic historicity must now appear absurd.”
-Dr. Norman L. Geisler
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“The only reason why anyone should accept the Bible as divinely authoritative is because it has miraculous confirmation…. First, the Bible is miraculously confirmed by the fulfillment of predictive prophecies, and second, it’s confirmed by the miracles performed by those who purported to be speaking for God. The Bible is the only book in the world that has precise, specific predictions that were made hundreds of years in advance and that were literally fulfilled. According to Barton Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, there are 191 predictions in the Old Testament about the coming of Christ, including his ancestry, the city in which he would be born, that he would be born of a virgin, precisely the time in history when he would die, and so on. In fact, Psalm 22:16 says his hands and feet would be pierced; verse 14 says his bones would be out of joint; verse 18 talks about the casting of lots for his garments; and Zechariah 12:10 says he would be pierced, as Jesus was with a lance. That’s obviously a picture of his crucifixion-however, it was written before crucifixion was even implemented as a method of execution by the Romans. The Jews stoned people to death back then. And, of course, Isaiah 53:2-12 has perhaps the most amazing predictions about Christ in the entire Old Testament. It foretells twelve aspects of his passion that were all fulfilled-he would be rejected, be a man of sorrow, live a life of suffering, be despised by others, carry our sorrow, be smitten and afflicted by God, be pierced for our transgressions, be wounded for our sins, would suffer like a lamb, would die with the wicked, would be sinless, and would pray for others. In Old Testament times, the Jewish rabbis did consider this to be a prophecy concerning the Messiah. That’s the opinion that’s really relevant. Only later, after Christians pointed out this was obviously referring to Jesus, did they begin saying it was really about the suffering Jewish nation. But clearly that’s wrong. Isaiah customarily refers to the Jewish people in the first-person plural, like ‘our’ or ‘we,’ but he always refers to the Messiah in the third-person singular, like ‘he’ and ‘him’-and that’s what he did in Isaiah 53. Plus, anyone who reads it for themselves will readily see it’s referring to Jesus. Maybe that’s why it’s usually skipped over in synagogues these days. So here you have incredible predictions that were literally fulfilled in the life of one man, even though he had no control over most of them. For instance, he couldn’t have arranged his ancestry, the timing of his birth, and so on. These prophecies were written two hundred to four hundred years in advance. No other book in the world has this. The Bible is only book that’s supernaturally confirmed this way.
In the Bible-which, remember, we’ve seen is historically reliable-we have prophets who were challenged but who then performed miracles to establish their credentials…. [Examples] Unlike Jesus, miracles were not a sign of Muhammad’s ministry. It wasn’t until a hundred and fifty or two hundred years after his life that his followers invented miracles and ascribed them to him….
When you add this up-the historical reliability of the Bible as authenticated by archaeology, the miraculous fulfillment of clear predictive prophecies, and the performance of documented miracles-you get a supernaturally confirmed book unlike any other in history.”
-Dr. Norman L. Geisler
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

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