Is the Bible true? Can we trust the texts we read today? Does archaeology confirm the Bible stories? Much as been written about the evidences for historical reliability of the Bible and/or to prove that it cannot be trusted. To help you find a path through the labyrinth of information, following an overview of the 12 most compelling evidences for the historical reliability and truthfulness of the Christian Holy Scriptures:
1. The Dead Sea Scrolls: These contain Old Testament manuscripts from 100 years before the birth of Christ, proving that over the centuries the scriptures were very carefully copied and our current texts are close to identical to the original texts.
2. The Septuagint: The first translation from the Hebrew Old Testament to the Greek language, dated from the 285-270 BC timeframe. The Septuagint proves the existence of all the Old books before 300 BC.
3. The canon of the Old Testament: The list of books that now makes up our Old Testament was never under serious dispute, showing these books were accepted, and treated as God's word almost immediately after they were written.
4. Authorship and dating of the Old Testament: Although most of the Old Testament books are technically anonymous, we have strong internal and external evidences to support the traditional authorship and date of writing for these books.
5. The manuscripts of the New Testament: The abundance (over 25,000 partial and complete texts) and early dating (the earliest papyrus is from 125 AD) of preserved manuscripts of the New Testament shows the reliable preservation of the original texts.
6. Testimony of the Early Church leaders: Additionally there exist over 86,000 quotations from the New Testament texts in the preserved writings of the leaders of the Early Christian church, testifying to the original texts.
7. The canon of the New Testament: The official canon of the New Testament was agreed upon by 397 AD, however, before the year 150 AD, all gospels, Acts and Paul's epistles were universally accepted as part of the list of Inspired writings. The disagreements in the 3rd and 4th century only centered around a few of the smaller New Testament books: James, 2 Peter, 2&3 John, Jude and Revelation.
8. Authorship and dating of the Gospels: Although technically anonymous, there are strong internal and external evidences that support the authorship of the gospels by the names we identify them by today. Mark is generally considered to be the oldest gospel; even liberal scholars will agree on a dating before 70 AD, although more realistic is in the 55-65 timeframe. Luke, Mark and Acts are generally dated in the 60-80 timeframe. The gospel of John is now universally accepted to be written in the 80-90 period.
9. Authorship and dating of Paul's letters: All substantial letters are universally accepted to be written by the apostle Paul in the 49-65 AD timeframe. That makes these letters likely the earliest written documents in the New Testament.
10. The 'lost' books of the Bible were never 'lost': Modern liberal scholars claim recently discovered 'lost' or 'deliberately misplaced' gospels that claim alternative views on Jesus and His teachings. Famous examples are the 'gospel of Thomas', the 'gospel of Judas' and the 'gospel of Mary Magdalene' (one of the 'sources' for the claims of the Da Vinci code). However evidence shows that these gospels were not only written generations after the apostles, but also that the preserved texts were subject to 'creative editing' (rewriting) by Gnostic heretic sources.
11. The historical reliability of the Bible: Archeology and historical analysis again and again show the accuracy of the events, locations and customs mentioned in the Bible accounts. Never has anybody been able to disprove any of the accounts.
12. The credibility of the eye-witnesses: The eye-witness accounts to Jesus prove to be honest and factual testimonies. The abundance of (irrelevant) detail, consistency of the accounts, as well as between the different gospels, lack of exaggeration and confirmations from extra-Biblical sources prove their credibility.
Rob VandeWeghe is a skeptic turned Christian by studying the evidence for Christianity. More articles like this by Rob are available at www.WindmillMinistries.org
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