FAQ'S ABOUT RELIGION
IS THE BIBLE AUTHENTIC?
What is it?
The Bible is actually a library of literature with sixty six books inspired by the Creator God who made us and wants a real relationship with us. It is divided into two main parts. The first is called “The Old Testament” (sometimes called “The First Testament”). It has thirty nine books and was written in Hebrew, the original language of the Jews. The second part called “The New Testament” or “Second Testament” has twenty seven books, including letters, written in conversational Greek, the commonly accepted world language then, somewhat similar to how English is commonly accepted in our time.
Who wrote it?
Some forty authors contributed. These were humans that wrote down oral stories and personal experiences which were the inspired word of God. The first five books called the Torah by Jews and the Pentateuch (five) by Greeks were ascribed to Moses, the highly esteemed leader of the enslaved Jews in Egypt, who God used to free them and take them to a new land called Canaan (Palestine). These are named Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Some are named for authors and special people as Esther, Job, Joshua, Ruth and Samuel plus others as the Prophets (Speakers for God). Additional books are named for their content as Psalms (songs) and Proverbs. The New Testament was written by some nine authors, three of which were Jesus’ Disciples (Matthew, John and Peter). Three writers, the Apostle Paul, John and Luke (a Physician and close associate of Paul) contributed about two-thirds of the work.
When was it written?
The whole Bible was written from a predated time plus 1600 dated years with about a 400 year gap between the last book of the Old Testament, to the first book of the New Testament. The gap has mystified many Researchers and Theologians (studiers of God) but still remains puzzling. However, there are several books found in the Roman Catholic Bible called the Apocrypha (hidden writings) that are thought to have been written during the gap in the second to third century BC. These books are absent in the Protestant Bible because the Protestant Reformers in the middle-ages could not satisfactorily determine they were inspired by God.
Is the Bible reliable?
The New Testament is backed by about 5,000 copies of the original manuscripts plus many thousands of fragments which support the accuracy of present translations. Those remnants are substantially more than any other historical book such as Homer’s The Iliad. In addition, the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written while many people remained alive who had witnessed the things written of and could have exposed obvious errors, which did not happen. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 supports and certifies the incredible accuracy of Old Testament writings compared with today’s Bible. The New Testament testifies to the accuracy of the Old Testament via references made by Jesus Christ and His followers.
Does science support reliability?
The findings above are supported by archaeological discoveries such as named places and features in the Bible that coincide with actual findings of unearthed sites by scientific teams. Also, researchers of nonreligious writings of the same period have mentioned similar dates, times and places as Biblical stories. More detail is available at www.answersingenesis.org/archaeology then click “Archaeology and the Bible.”
What does the Bible say?
It expresses God’s love for all of us. So much so that His greatest gift was offering Himself up, in the manifestation (appeared as) of Jesus Christ, as the ultimate sacrifice (payment) for our sins, NOT HIS. God chooses to show or reveal Himself as the Trinity (three in one), i.e., God-Father Creator, God-Son Redeemer (Jesus), God-Holy Spirit-Guide and Counselor. The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 3 verses 23-24 says …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified (made right) freely by his grace through the redemption (payment) that came by Christ Jesus (New International Version, NIV). Thus, Christ died on the cross taking on Himself OUR sins so that we would become worthy of God. There is NO OTHER WAY than through Jesus. God’s standard is perfection. God cannot abide (tolerate) ANY sin. So, we either pass (perfection) or fail. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and admit our sins, then God will look at Jesus’ record, not ours, so we too become perfect in God’s sight (adapted from a sermon by Pastor Bill Foote).
What kind of stories are in the Bible?
It is full of adventure, intrigue, battles, love stories and guidelines for living. Readers find situations similar to those of today. It has an uncanny ability to reflect present day life and we can sometimes “see” ourselves in those stories. Some parts are initially confusing. However, some of the greatest minds have experienced similar confusion. Be assured that God will give us understanding when we are ready to absorb it.
How strong is the Bible?
Throughout history, many have tried to “Kill” the Bible. W. Michael McCormack says “This sinful behavior (that is, rejecting God and running after false gods and adding to the gospel to feed our lusts) kills the Bible and its message of salvation for those lost from God.” Killing the Bible: The Historic Characters Who Tried, printed in the USA, 2015. The Bible is the best-selling book world-wide of all time and continues to thrive while being assailed by those who would try to kill it or alter it to fit what they would like it to say. Praise Almighty God. For additional information about individual books in the Bible, their authors, dates of writings and places of writings go to www.amazingbibletimeline.com, then click on “Bible Questions” at the top bar, then click “Who wrote the Bible”, then scroll down to the table containing the above facts. Another great site is www.bible.com/ that has a downloadable Application and includes devotional and study materials. God loves us and wants us to love Him. God bless you and your readings of His Holy Word. Amen (so be it).
Additions and interpolations (insertions):
The Bible has more ancient manuscripts that are in our possession than any literature known to humankind. That enables scholarly Bible experts to meticulously determine if present translations are the same as the original manuscripts. As a result, there have been findings of certain additions made and some insertions. As these are found, present Bible printings, especially study Bibles, e.g., NIV Study Bible or the Holman Study Bible, take note of these and advise the reader that certain verses were not found in the original manuscripts. For example, Mark 16:9-20 were found to have been added. The Rev. John MacArthur studied this in detail, made a recorded sermon and concluded those verses were not needed since the writing style was different and that there was no need to add them. He also concluded that what was added was true and could be found in other New Testament writings. So, no erroneous information was added. Still, it was not necessary. There are other indications of additions and insertions with which we should be aware. The ability to check the authenticity of the Bible gives present readers great confidence that what they read is truth and any variation can be checked against some 5,000 New Testament manuscripts and some 20,000 Old Testament manuscripts.