The Bible was written by many authors over more than two thousand years, and yet it has a unity to it that is unlike any other religious collection of books. This unity exists because one divine author wrote it—God. The Old Testament anticipates the New Testament, and the New Testament recasts old metaphors and imagery, showing forth the organic unity of it all!
Are there any good reasons to believe the Bible is true? Can an old book like the Bible really be trusted? There are, of course, many good reasons to believe that the Bible is indeed a trustworthy document.
We can have confidence in the Bible as God’s true and trusted speech to us. Here are ten reasons to trust the Bible.
1. The Bible is historically accurate.
The field of archaeology demonstrates that the Bible is historically accurate. Now, this does not mean that it is inherently “true.” It does mean that it is reliable in its historical details—which gives some pretty good credibility to what else it has to say. If we can trust that the Bible accurately records for us geographical places (Israel, Egypt, Babylon, etc.) and historical people (Herod or Pontius Pilate, for example), it’s very likely it has many other true things to say. One reason I could never trust the Book of Mormon, in contrast, is that most of the places listed in its geography are make-believe. It’s very difficult for me to trust a book that is claiming to be nonfiction when its geography is clearly fiction.
2. Compared to other ancient documents, there is no comparison!
The New Testament has been preserved more than any other ancient work. There are over 5,800 Greek manuscripts. The runner-up for ancient texts is Homer’s Iliad, with less than 2,000 copies. After that, the works of Aristotle, Herodotus, Tacitus, and others are even more poorly represented with only two handfuls (or less!) for each.
Now having an abundance of manuscripts doesn’t tell us whether or not the original text is true—it only tells us that we accurately have a handle on what that original text was. We have to read the New Testament itself if we want to find out how trustworthy it is. Still, we do have good reason to trust that the English printed edition we have on our bookshelf or next to our nightstand is, in fact, the very Bible that was completed in the first century. That’s another great place to start in being able to trust the Bible, and it’s more than we can say for any other ancient text in the world.
3. The New Testament manuscripts were written by eyewitnesses.
These eyewitnesses were real people who saw (and touched, see 1 John 1) firsthand the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Luke does mention that he did historical research before writing his Gospel (Luke 1:1–4), but he went straight to other eyewitnesses in order to write these things down. The whole New Testament claims that Jesus Christ died on a cross and rose from the dead three days after dying.
He was seen risen from the dead by all of the original apostles (except Judas who hung himself) and by over five hundred different people (1 Cor. 15:6). There was nothing to gain but death by asserting this claim, but many of these disciples chose to die as martyrs rather than deny the truth of Christ’s resurrection. The fact that so many early disciples died as martyrs based on what they personally witnessed only bolsters the reality that it was true.
4. The Bible cared about what women thought at a time when no one else did.
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1–2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1) make it a point to tell us that the first people to report that the tomb of Jesus was empty were women. Not men. Women. In the first century, a woman’s opinion was not viewed as credible testimony in court. (Just read the Jewish historian, Josephus, or the Jewish Talmud to verify this fact.) A woman’s opinion didn’t matter. But the Bible says it does. The last group of people we would expect to find the empty tomb was the first group to whom God looked and used: women.
If first-century followers of Christ were going to fabricate a story about Jesus rising from the dead, they wouldn’t want to include this embarrassing detail about women finding the tomb first. They would have omitted it to make the strongest case possible for the resurrection. And yet, the Gospel writers did not omit this detail. They told the truth as it was. We can trust that the Bible is true because they included this small but magnificent detail. They recounted what happened truthfully, without bearing false witness. Other ancients might have pointed to its seeming absurdity: “You say women found the tomb? What a bunch of baloney! Never trust a woman’s testimony!” Yet, the Bible was way ahead of its time in giving honor and respect to women.