Can Trust the Bible?
Some people say the Bible is unreliable, and their opinions have gained wide acceptance. Therefore, many people, (Even though they have never read it for themselves) dismiss the Bible as untrustworthy.
Contrarywise, what Jesus Christ said in prayer to God promotes trust: “Thy word is truth.” —John 17:17. And the Bible itself is inspired by God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,”—2 Timothy 3:16
What do you think about this? Is there sound basis for trusting the Bible? Or is there really evidence that the Bible is unreliable, that it contradicts itself and is inconsistent?
Does It Contradict Itself?
While some may claim the Bible contradicts itself, has anyone ever shown you an actual example? We have never seen one that could withstand scrutiny. True, there may appear to be contradictions, but these only exist because people do not study the bible from the position of: The bible is truth, therefore any apparent contradictions exist only because my understanding is skewed, not the bible.
For example, some people get hung up on what they consider a discrepancy in the Bible, asking: ‘Where did Cain get his wife?’ The assumption is that Cain and Abel were the only children of Adam and Eve. But the assumption is based on a misunderstanding of what the Bible says. The Bible explains that Adam “begat sons and daughters.” (Genesis 5:4) Thus Cain married one of his sisters or possibly a niece.
Often critics are just looking for contradictions and so may declare: ‘The Bible writer Matthew says that an army officer came to ask Jesus a favor, while Luke says that representatives were sent to ask. Which one is correct?’ (Matthew 8:5, 6; Luke 7:2, 3) But is this really a contradiction?
When the activity or work of people is credited to the one who is actually responsible for it, a reasonable person does not claim a discrepancy. For example, do you consider a report to be in error that says a mayor built a road even though the actual building of the road was done by his engineers and laborers? Of course not! Similarly, it is not inconsistent for Matthew to say that the army officer made a request of Jesus but, as Luke writes, that such a request was made through certain representatives.
As more details are known, apparent discrepancies in the Bible disappear.
History and Science
The historical accuracy of the Bible was once widely doubted. Critics, for example, questioned the existence of such Bible characters as King Sargon of Assyria, Belshazzar of Babylon, and the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. But recent discoveries have verified one Bible account after another. The Israeli writer Moshe Pearlman wrote: “Suddenly, sceptics who had doubted the authenticity even of the historical parts of the Old Testament began to revise their views.”
If we are to trust the Bible, it must also be accurate in matters of science. Is it? Not long-ago scientists, in contradiction of the Bible, asserted that the universe had no beginning. However, astronomer Robert Jastrow (an American astronomer and planetary physicist) recently pointed to newer information that refutes this, explaining: “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same.” “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”—Genesis 1:1.
Men have also changed their views relative to the shape of the earth. “Voyages of discovery,” explains The World Book Encyclopedia, “showed that the world was round, not flat as most people had believed.” But the Bible was correct all along! More than 2,000 years before those voyages, the Bible said at Isaiah 40:22: “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth,”
Thus the more humans learn, the greater the evidence is that the Bible can be trusted. A former director of the British Museum, Sir Frederic Kenyon, wrote: “The results already achieved confirm what faith would suggest, that the Bible can do nothing but gain from an increase of knowledge.”
Foretelling the Future
But can we really trust the Bible’s forecasts for the future, including its promises of a ‘righteous new heavens and new earth’? (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:3, 4) Well, what has been the Bible’s record of reliability in the past? Time and time again prophecies given even hundreds of years in advance have been fulfilled in exact detail!
For example, the Bible foretold the overthrow of mighty Babylon nearly 200 years before it happened. In fact, the Medes, who became aligned with the Persians, were named as the conquerors. And although Cyrus, the Persian king, had not even been born as yet, the Bible foretold that he would be prominent in the conquest. It said that Babylon’s protecting waters, the river Euphrates, “must be dried up,” and that “the gates [of Babylon] will not be shut.”—Jeremiah 50:38; Isaiah 13:17-19; 44:27–45:1.
These specific details were fulfilled, as the historian Herodotus reported. Further, the Bible foretold that Babylon would eventually become uninhabited ruins. And that is just what happened. Today Babylon is a desolate heap of mounds. (Isaiah 13:20-22; Jeremiah 51:37, 41-43) And the Bible is full of other prophecies that have had dramatic fulfillment.
What then does the Bible foretell concerning the present world’s system of things? It says: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”—2 Timothy 3:1-5.
Surely, we are seeing the fulfillment of this now! But the Bible also foretells for “the final age of this world” these things: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and…” In addition, “…pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”—Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:11.
Indeed, Bible prophecies are undergoing fulfillment today! Well, then, what about yet-to-be-fulfilled promises, such as: “The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell therein for ever.”—Psalm 37:29; and, “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruninghooks: Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war any more.”— Isaiah 2:4.
‘That’s just too good to be true,’ some may say. But really, there is no reason for us to doubt anything that our Creator promises. His Word can be trusted! (Titus 1:2) By examining the evidence further, you will become ever more convinced of this.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible quotations are from the King James Authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures.