The Bible is the #1 best-selling book of all time. People from different cultures and eras of history sacrificed much to bring it to others? What motivates them?
Why Believe the Bible? - Millions of lives have been changed.
According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the Bible has sold more than 5 billion copies and it has been translated into more than 350 languages; consequently, we are left with countless stories of people whose lives were transformed because they embraced the truth of God's Word. Read through the Bible, cover to cover, and you will find story after story of how God transformed the lives of sinful, cowardly, people and used them to perform great works for him. Here are just a few examples of transformation:
Gideon was a cowardly man who was touched by God and became a national hero)
Sampson had a lust problem but was used by God to defend Israel from the Philistines)
Peter denied Jesus three times but went on to spread the Gospel across the world), and
Paul persecuted Christians in the beginning, but later met Jesus in a vision and became the greatest of the apostles.)
In our modern day, the list goes on. Here's a sampling of some famous people who were opposed to Christ in the beginning, but became heroes of the faith in the end:
- William Wilberforce converted to Christ and launched a campaign to end slavery.
- George Mueller was a former thief and liar who came to Christ and was used by God in remarkable ways.
- John G. Patton was a former wicked infidel who converted to Christ and became a missionary to cannibals
- Keith Green was a converted hippie who called out compromise in the Church in the 70's.
- Brother Andrew was a converted Dutch soldier who gave his life to bring God's Word to communist countries.
- C.S. Lewis was a converted atheist who wrote more than 30 books about the Christian Faith, including the Chronicles of Narnia.
- William Murray,the son of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, converted to Christ at age 30 and became a Baptist minister.
- Dawson Trotman went from juvenile delinquent to founder of a large Christian ministry.
- John Bunyan , formerly a self-centered young man, converted to Christ and wrote the Christian classic,"Pilgrim's Progress".
- Nabeel Qureshi was a Muslim who converted to Christianity and now lectures and debates in public and private universities sharing his own path to faith in Christ through historical reasoning and spiritual encounter.
- Charles Colson was born again during legal proceedings and eventually founded "Prison Fellowship".
- Sundar Singh was born into Sikhism in northern India and persecuting Christians around him, until he had a vision of Jesus Christ as a young suicidal teen. He became a wandering Christian evangelist with many stories of miraculous experiences.
Archaeology confirms the historical context.
Why believe the Bible? While archeological digs cannot prove the Bible, they can confirm and support that Bible's historical context. The ESV Archaeology Study Bible lists 10 important finds: The Rosetta Stone, The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Tel Dan Inscription, the Ketef Hinnom Scrolls, the Moabite Stone, the Lachish Letters, the Epic of Gilgamesh, Hezekiah's Tunnel, the Crucified Man at Gibat Hamivtar, and Ugaritic Texts. To this day, archeological digs continue to unearth extinct cities that were mentioned in the Bible. In the 1990's an inscription was found that confirmed the existence of "the house of King David."
Why believe the Bible? According to Bibleevidences.com, "Archaeological discoveries ranging from evidence for the Tower of Babel, to Exodus to the fallen Walls of Jericho, all the way to the tombs of contemporaries of St. Paul, have greatly enhanced the Bible believability.
There is much talk today about the life and work of Scottish archeologist, Sir William Mitchell Ramsay,a former atheist who set out to prove through archeology that that the book of Acts could not possible be true. Nevertheless, "After a lifetime of study, he concluded: 'Further study … showed that the book could bear the most minute scrutiny as an authority for the facts of the Aegean world, and that it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement' (The Bearing of Recent Discovery, p. 85)." After 25 years or research, Sir William became a Christian, as have many other archeologist attempting to disprove the Bible.
Non-Christian historians wrote about Jesus
There are a number of non-Christian historians, who wrote accounts that agree with the New Testament, people such as Flavius Josephus (A.D. 37-100), Thallus (c. A.D. 52), The Letter Of Mara Bar-Serapion (After A.D. 73), Rabbi Eliezer (Around A.D. 90), Cornelius Tacitus (Early Second Century), Pliny The Younger (c. A.D. 112), Suetonius (c. A.D. 120), and Lucian (Second Century).
Overwhelming manuscript evidence
There are 25,000 partial and complete manuscript copies of the New Testament; if you counted only the Greek ones, there are 5,686 manuscripts that copy all or part of the New Testament. Compare this to Homer's Iliad, with 646 manuscripts, which considered pretty good for ancient manuscripts. Why believe the Bible? Norman Geisler states, "Most books do not survive with enough manuscripts that make comparison possible. From this documentary evidence, then, it is clear that the New Testament writings are superior to comparable ancient writings. The records for the New Testament are vastly more abundant, clearly more ancient, and considerably more accurate in their text."
Multiple writing styles, but the same message throughout
The Bible is a miraculously unified book, written by about 40 different people over a span of many years and a great number of people groups. Even so, its main message remains intact. Yes, there are different points of view about details, but that makes it even more credible. If the accounts were exactly the same, we could conclude that the whole thing was rigged; but this is not the case. Each writer brought to the table their own background, personality, and style, but never varied from the main message. That is a miracle in itself!
The Bible has survived persistent efforts to destroy it.
Only a small percentage of books survive more than 20 years, and only a tiny fraction have ever survived more than 1,000 years. Why believe the Bible? Even though every possible effort has been made through history to wipe it out, the Bible remains to this day. For a more in-depth look at the Bible's journey through history, read Nothing But the Truth, by Brian Edwards.
The Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy
God is outside of time, and so he knows every detail of the future. There are over 1,800 prophecies of various types mentioned in the Bible; each one is rooted in love. For example, God raised up Jonah to prophesy a warning over Nineveh so they would repent and escape judgement.
Why believe the Bible? There are 300 prophecies about Jesus that were written hundreds of years before he was born, and many of these were very specific: that he would be born in Bethlehem, live in Egypt, teach in Galilee using parables, work miracles, be preceded by a forerunner, be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, not have his bones broken, be crucified and resurrected. The Jesus Film Projects lists 55 prophecies about Jesus's birth, ministry, death and resurrection, and his role in the church. Everyone one of them was fulfilled! No other book in the world has done this.
The odds that anyone would satisfy even eight of those prophecies is just 1 in 1017. In Science Speaks, it's described like this: "Let us try to visualize this chance. If you mark one of ten tickets, and place all of the tickets in a hat, and thoroughly stir them, and then ask a blindfolded man to draw one, his chance of getting the right ticket is one in ten. Suppose that we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state."
God has not hidden from us the things he wants us to know about the future. He reveals just what we need to know so that we can be built up in our faith and encouraged to continue on. What should be our response? Study the scriptures daily. Pour your heart to God, listen to his voice, and receive prophetic words from approved ministries in the Body of Christ.
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