How Do We Know We Can Trust the Bible?

Recent research has revealed a serious epidemic with today’s Christian youth. So many are caught up in an unfortunate pattern that goes something like this:

  1. They grow up in a Christian home and attend church regularly, but they don’t receive solid biblical teaching or training regarding various worldviews.
  2. Their faith is challenged by evolutionary teaching when they attend public high school or college.
  3. Their questions and doubts go unanswered because of their complacency, lack of interest, or the failure of parents and/or church leadership to equip them with biblical grounding and a solid awareness of various worldviews.
  4. They fall away from their faith, and their generational Christian line is lost.

Many teens today are in Step 1 above, some are in Steps 2–3. Some may even be recovering from Step 4. Fortunately, some have not entered the cycle above because of their biblical grounding. Whatever your or your child’s current position, we encourage you to slowly and steadily read the following section about the most important book in history—the Bible.

Overview

So many people ask: Who wrote the Bible? How was the Bible put together? How do we know the Bible stories actually happened? How do we know that it has been accurately translated over the years? These are all fair questions. To start answering some of these questions, we will begin by looking at the big picture, then follow with closer look.

The big picture begins with the Bible’s 66 books (39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament) which were written by over 40 different authors from various walks of life, including scholars, kings, priests, shepherds, farmers, physicians, tent-makers, fishermen, and philosophers. The first books of the Bible were compiled around 1450 B.C. and the last books before A.D. 90—a timespan of about 1,500 years. It was written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The most important characteristic of the Bible—and one that makes it different than every other book ever published—is that it is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16–17 and 2 Peter 1:19–21).

Despite such a diverse background, the Bible is unlike any other book written in history in its historical accuracy, agreement with demonstrable science and archaeology, and consistency—both internally and externally. The Bible has been translated into over 2,000 languages, and ranks highest among the most widely printed and studied books in the world.

Let’s take a closer look into how the Bible it was put together. The first 39 books of the Bible (the Old Testament) were solidified and used authoritatively in its complete form by the Hebrews well before Christ. The books of the New Testament were written between about A.D. 30 and A.D. 90 and were formally “canonized” into the set of 27 books we have today sometime before the year A.D. 375 The word “canon” comes from the Greek word “kanon,” which means measuring rod. This word was used by those who officially verified an assembled set of 27 books because they stood up to the measuring tests of “divine inspiration and authority.”

What led to this final “canonization” process? Theology and history books have thousands of pages on this topic. So we’ll consider just a few highlights between the time the New Testament was inspired by God through original manuscripts men wrote and assembled into the “final canon”:(2)

  • Paul regarded Luke’s writings to be as authoritative as the Old Testament (1 Timothy 5:18; see also Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7).
  • Peter recognized Paul’s writings as Scripture (2 Peter 3:15–16).
  • Some of the books of the New Testament were being circulated among the churches (Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27).
  • Clement of Rome mentioned at least eight New Testament books (A.D. 95).
  • The writings of Ignatius of Antioch acknowledged about seven New Testament books (A.D. 115).
  • The writings of Polycarp, a disciple of John the apostle, acknowledged 15 of the books (A.D. 108). Later, Irenaeus mentioned 21 New Testament books (A.D. 185).
  • Hippolytus of Rome recognized 22 of them (A.D. 170–235).

Before the final set of 27 books was formally recognized, an earlier “canon” was compiled in A.D. 170. This Canon, called the Muratorian Canon, included all of the New Testament books except Hebrews, James, and 3 John. These three books were already God-inspired even though the members of the Muratorian Canon may not have recognized them as so. In A.D. 363, the Council of Laodicea stated that only the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament were to be read in the churches. The Council of Hippo (A.D. 393) and the Council of Carthage (A.D. 397) also affirmed the same 27 books as authoritative.

We owe these ancient councilmen. They sifted through false gospels and other writings that early deceivers claimed were God-inspired so that later generations of Christians could trust, study, know, teach and believe in the Scriptures. Some of the features they recognized in the canon were:

  • Did the text describe mythological or pointless miracles, or genuine miracles which always accompanied and authorized a message—the Gospel?
  • Did the people who lived through the events that the text describes reject those texts as being false, or accept them as having occurred as described?
  • Did the text contain any logical or biblical contradictions? If so, it must not have come from the same Divine co-author, Who is not a God of confusion, but of order—and Who is passionate about clearly revealing who He is to as many as will listen.
  • Was the text written by an apostle or one authorized by an apostle?

After this “canonization” period, a definitive version of the Bible was recorded in Greek, called the Codex Vaticanus in about A.D. 350 The classic King James version, as well as the New King James, relied on the very important Textus Receptus copies of Scripture. The Codex is one of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Greek Bible (Old and New Testament), and has been kept in the Vatican Library since the 15th century. Another ancient Bible is the Aleppo Codex, which is a medieval bound manuscript of the Hebrew Bible written around A.D. 930. The first English translation of the Bible was made in A.D. 1382 by John Wycliffe was the first book ever mass-produced on the printing press in A.D. 1454 by Johannes Gutenberg.(3)

How Do We Know the Bible is Historically Accurate?

Given this brief history of the Bible, let’s put the Bible through some tests that historians use when analyzing the historical accuracy and reliability of ancient manuscripts. First, let’s evaluate whether what we have today matches what was written originally. In the Bible’s case, this was about 2,000 years ago and earlier. Second, we’ll analyze whether the recorded events actually described true events. Let’s see how the Bible holds up to each of these important questions.

Does the Bible We Have Today Match the Original?

One of the primary ways to answer this important question is to look at the time gap between the original writing (called the autograph) and the copies that still exist today. As a general rule, the closer the copy is to the original, the greater the accuracy and reliability. Ancient manuscripts like the Bible were written on fragile material such as papyrus, which is a thin paper-like material made from papyrus plants. Because papyrus eventually decays or gets worn out, ancient writers would continually make new copies using this material and others.(4)

Dating these ancient texts is done by a variety of methods, such as analyzing the material on which it was written, letter size and form, punctuation, text divisions, ornamentation, the color of the ink, and the texture and color of the parchment.(5) Table 2 shows the results of this “test of time” for the Biblical New Testament compared to several other historical documents.

Table 2: How the New Testament Compares to Other Ancient Writings(5)

Author/Work

Date Written

Earliest Copies

Time Gap

# Copies

Homer (Iliad) 800 B.C. 400 B.C. 400 yrs. 643
Herodotus (History) 480–425 B.C. A.D.900 1,350 yrs. 8
Thucydides (History) 460–400 B.C. A.D.900 1,300 yrs. 8
Plato 400 B.C. A.D. 900 1,300 yrs. 7
Demosthenes 300 B.C. A.D. 1100 1,400 yrs. 200
Caesar (Gallic Wars) 100–44 B.C. A.D. 900 1,000 yrs. 10
Tacitus (Annals) A.D 100. A.D. 1100 1,000 yrs. 20
Pliny (Natural) A.D. 61–113 A.D. 850 750 yrs. 7
Secundus (History) A.D. 61–113 A.D. 850 750 yrs. 7
New Testament (Fragment) A.D. 50–100 A.D. 114 50 yrs. 5,366
New Testament (Books) A.D. 50–100 A.D. 200 100 yrs. 5,366
New Testament (Most Content) A.D. 50–100 A.D. 250 150 yrs. 5,366
New Testament (Complete) A.D. 50–100 A.D. 325 225 yrs. 5,366

Table 2 reveals two important facts. First, the New Testament has many more original copies compared to several other famous pieces of literature (5,366 compared to only hundreds for other famous texts). Second, it reveals that the time span between the original and these copies is closer than almost any other work compared!

In addition to the time gap method, another way of answering the important question, “Is the Bible we have today what was written down originally?” is to evaluate the number of manuscript copies that were made of the original. Generally speaking, the greater number of copies of the original available, the easier it is to reproduce the original. Taking the 5,366 copies of the New Testament and adding the copies from other languages (such as Latin, Ethiopic, and Slavic) results in more than 25,000 total manuscripts (hand-written copies) that pre-date the printing press in the 15th century! By comparison, the runner-up historical text (Homer’s Iliad) has only 643.(7)

With this, the New Testament clearly passes both the time gap and the number of manuscript copies tests. And if the New Testament doesn’t pass this test, one must certainly disregard most other historical texts as inaccurate and/or unreliable! And there is more.

Have you ever had a computer crash, resulting in a total loss of all your data? I have—it’s definitely not fun! One of the most difficult challenges about computer crashes is losing the original copies of your important homework assignments or work reports. However, when I’ve experienced these situations, I’m usually able to completely reconstruct all of my important “final versions” through my email files because I sent copies of the final versions to friends and/or clients. This is the same situation with the original bible documents and the letter exchanges between the Church Fathers—we can completely reconstruct over 99% of the original Bible (New Testament) from just their letters!

Even if all of the copies of the Bible from A.D. 300 to today were destroyed, the complete New Testament (except for only 11 verses)8 could be reconstructed using only quotations by the Early Church Fathers in the first few hundred years after Christ! This is because the Church Fathers frequently quoted large sections of Scripture in their letters to each other. In addition, if these Church Fathers quoted from the entire New Testament, then the New Testament had to have been widely circulating before this time—long enough to be regarded as reliable by the early church. This shows that the entire New Testament was already assembled and considered reliable within 50 years from the disciples.(8)

Is What Was Written in the Bible True?

Three of the four Gospels, books that include the narrative of Jesus’ life, were written by direct eye witnesses of the events in Jesus’ life: Matthew, Mark, and John. Luke. When writing the story of Jesus’ life for Theophilus, a high-ranking official at the time(10) wrote: “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word” (Luke 1:1–2, emphasis added). Luke continues to state that he carefully vetted his account of Jesus’ life and ministry: “With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:3–4). Additional examples of this careful research and transcription include:

  • 1 John 1:3: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
  • 2 Peter 1:16: “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
  • John 20:30–31: “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

In addition, several of the writers of the New Testament did their writing and speaking among people who were present at the events of Jesus life. For example, in Acts 2:22, Peter stated while under interrogation, “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know” (emphasis added). Paul used this reference to his audience’s common knowledge of Christ when he defended himself against Festus: “What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:25–26, emphasis added).

Further, most of the writings of the New Testament were written during a time when the community knew about Jesus, Jesus’ followers, or knew of people who did, like parents. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than 500 of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:3–6, emphasis added).

Finally, consider the fact that 11 of the 12 disciples died terrible deaths—being killed for their unchanging testimony of who Christ was, and of His resurrection. They were so sure that Christ was who He claimed to be that they signed their testimony with their own blood!

Isaiah 53 and the Dead Sea Scrolls

In 1947, shepherds chasing a lost sheep in the caves above the Qumran Valley northwest of the Dead Sea made one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of our time—the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls were found in numerous clay jars, and numbered over 900, 200 of which include numerous sections and fragments of every book in the Old Testament except the book of Esther. Though few of its scholars dare admit it, they even contain fragments of several New Testament books.(11)

One of the most significant scrolls is called the “Great Isaiah Scroll,” which includes the same Book of Isaiah that we have today in modern Bibles, but dates to 125 B.C.12 The Great Isaiah Scroll is significant for two reasons. First, it was written before the Lord Jesus Christ was born and it includes a chapter (Chapter 53) which includes specific and clear prophecies about the torture, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Second, its discovery now allows us to test three versions of the Bible representing different time periods: Pre-Christ Dead Sea Scroll, A.D. 930, and today. We can even compare how the English translation of this important text survived or changed through the years!

Table 3 provides a word-by-word comparison of these three versions so you can see for yourself how reliable the translation process has been through the millennia:

Table 3. Comparison of Isaiah 53 between the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Aleppo Codex, and the Modern Bible13

Verse

Dead Sea “Great Isaiah” Scroll (125 B.C.)

Aleppo Codex (A.D. 930)

Modern Translation (NIV)

1

Who has believed our report and the arm of YHWH (1) to whom has it been revealed? Who would have believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the LORD been revealed? Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2

And he shall come up like a suckling before us and as a root from dry ground there is no form to him and no beauty to him and in his being seen and there is no appearance that we should desire him. For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him. He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3

He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and knowing grief and as though hiding faces from him he was despised and we did not esteem him. He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4

Surely our griefs he is bearing and our sorrows he carried them and we esteemed him beaten and struck by God and afflicted. Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

5

and he is wounded for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities, the correction of our peace was upon him and by his wounds he has healed us.(2) But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

6

All of us like sheep have wandered each man to his own way we have turned and YHWH has caused to light on him the iniquity of all of us. All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath made to light on him the iniquity of us all. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7

He was oppressed and he was afflicted and he did not open his mouth, as a lamb to the slaughter he is brought and as a ewe before her shearers is made dumb he did not open his mouth. He was oppressed, though he humbled himself and opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yea, he opened not his mouth. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

8

From prison and from judgment he was taken and his generation who shall discuss it because he was cut off from the land of the living. Because from the transgressions of his people a wound was to him By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and with his generation who did reason? for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

9

And they gave wicked ones to be his grave and (3) rich ones in his death although he worked no violence neither deceit in his mouth. And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich his tomb; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10

And YHWH was pleased to crush him and He has caused him grief. If you will appoint his soul a sin offering he will see his seed and he will lengthen his days and the pleasure of YHWH in his hand will advance. Yet it pleased the LORD to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of the LORD might prosper by his hand: Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

11

Of the toil of his soul he shall see {+light+} and he shall be satisfied and by his knowledge shall he make righteous even my righteous servant for many and their iniquities he will bear. Of the travail of his soul he shall see to the full, even My servant, who by his knowledge did justify the Righteous One to the many, and their iniquities he did bear. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

12

Therefore I will apportion to him among the great ones and with the mighty ones he shall divide the spoil because he laid bare to death his soul and with the transgressors he was numbered, and he, the sins of many, he bore, and for their transgressions he entreated. Therefore will I divide him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty; because he bared his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Notes: (1) The tetragrammaton (YHWH) is one of the names of the God of Israel used in the Hebrew Bible. (2) There is a scribal thumb print over lines 10 to 12 in the Dead Sea “Isaiah” Scroll (lines 10–12 include verses 5–7 in modern Bibles). However, while this obscures some letters, all letters are “reconstructible with certainty” (see: http://www.ao.net/~fmoeller/qum-44.htm); (3) a scribbled word probably accusative sign “eth.”

Reading the three columns in Table 3 shows an incredibly high degree of similarity. In fact, regarding this specific Chapter in Isaiah, renowned Christian philosopher and apologist Norman Geisler writes:

Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only 17 letters in question. Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions. The remaining three letters comprise the word “light” which is added in verse 11, and does not affect the meaning greatly. Furthermore, this word is supported by the Septuagint and IQ Is [first cave of Qumran, Isaiah scroll]. Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission—and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage.(14)

How is this possible? How can these three different documents being translated and transcribed over a 2,000 year timeframe with such exact similarity? One explanation is simply that God watched over the process. Practically speaking, he used many incredible scribes to do it. For example, the Talmudists (Hebrew scribes and scholars between A.D. 100 and A.D. 500) had an incredibly rigorous system for transcribing biblical scrolls. Samuel Davidson describes some of the disciplines of the Talmudists in regard to the Scriptures:(15)

A synagogue roll must be written on the skins of clean animals, prepared for the particular use of the synagogue by a Jew. These must be fastened together with strings taken from clean animals. Every skin must contain a certain number of columns, equal throughout the entire codex. The length of each column must not extend over less than 48 or more than 60 lines; And the breadth must consist of thirty letters. The whole copy must be first-lined; And if three words be written without a line, it is worthless. The ink should be black, neither red, green, nor any other color, and be prepared according to a definite recipe. An authentic copy must be the exemplar, from which the transcriber ought not in the least deviate. No word or letter, not even a yod, must be written from memory, the scribe not having looked at the codex before him… Between every consonant the space of a hair or thread must intervene; Between every new parashah, or section, the breadth of nine consonants; Between every book, three lines. The fifth book of Moses must terminate exactly with a line; But the rest need not do so. Besides this, the copyist must sit in full Jewish dress, wash his whole body, not begin to write the name of God with a pen newly dipped in ink, and should a king address him while writing that name, he must take no notice of him.

Why is Isaiah 53 so important to Christians? Because Isaiah 53 includes at least 12 highly specific prophecies regarding the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. The details in this chapter would not be nearly as important if they were written after Christ’s birth, but the fact that we can confirm that the chapter was in fact written before Christ proves beyond reasonable doubt both the accuracy and Divine authorship of the Bible. Consider these 12 prophecies, written by Isaiah about 700 years before Christ was even born, alongside references of their New Testament fulfilments:

  1. He would not be widely believed (John 1:10–12).
  2. He would not have the look of Majesty (Luke 2:7).
  3. He would be despised and suffer (Matthew 26:67–68; 27:39–43).
  4. He would be concerned about health needs (Matthew 8:17) and would die for our sins (1 Peter 2:24).
  5. His pain/punishment would be for us (Matthew 28:20; Romans 4:25).
  6. All of us have sinned (Romans 3:10–18).
  7. He would not respond to charges (Matthew 26:63).
  8. He was to be oppressed and killed (Matthew 26:65–68).
  9. He was associated with criminals during life and at death (Matthew 27:38; 27:57–60).
  10. He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9).
  11. He would be crushed, suffer and die, yet live (Luke 23:44–48; Luke 24:36–44).
  12. He would bear our sins (1 Peter 2:24).
  13. He would have a portion with the great (Philippians 2:8–11).

The very fact that it has now been confirmed that this was written before Christ is amazing. How could anyone fulfill each of these prophecies, many of which happened after Christ’s death and were clearly out of His control (i.e., if he wasn’t God)? Finally, consider these prophecies about Christ that were all penned before He was born, and their fulfilments:(16)

Table 4. Forty-Three (43) Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus

Prophecies About Jesus

Old Testament Scripture

New Testament Fulfillment

Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4–6
Messiah would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:22–23; Luke 1:26–31
Messiah would come from the line of Abraham. Gen. 12:3; Gen. 22:18 Matthew 1:1; Romans 9:5
Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac. Gen. 17:19; Gen. 21:12 Luke 3:34
Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob. Numbers 24:17 Matthew 1:2
Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Genesis 49:10 Luke 3:33; Hebrews 7:14
Messiah would be heir to King David’s throne. 2 Sam. 7:12-13; Isa. 9:7 Luke 1:32–33; Romans 1:3
Messiah’s throne will be anointed and eternal. Ps. 45:6-7; Daniel 2:44 Luke 1:33; Hebrews 1:8–12
Messiah would be called Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:23
Messiah would spend a season in Egypt. Hosea 11:1 Matthew 2:14–15
Children would be massacred at Messiah’s birthplace. Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew 2:16–18
A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah. Isaiah 40:3-5 Luke 3:3–6
Messiah would be rejected by his own people. Psalm 69:8; Isaiah 53:3 John 1:11; John 7:5
Messiah would be a prophet. Deuteronomy 18:15 Acts 3:20–22
Messiah would be preceded by Elijah. Malachi 4:5-6 Matthew 11:13–14
Messiah would be declared the Son of God. Psalm 2:7 Matthew 3:16–17
Messiah would be called a Nazarene. Isaiah 11:1 Matthew 2:23
Messiah would bring light to Galilee. Isaiah 9:1-2 Matthew 4:13–16
Messiah would speak in parables. Ps.78:2-4; Isaiah 6:9-10 Matthew 13:10-15,34–35
Messiah would be sent to heal the brokenhearted. Isaiah 61:1-2 Luke 4:18–19
Messiah would be a priest after Melchizedek order. Psalm 110:4 Hebrews 5:5–6
Messiah would be called King. Ps. 2:6; Zechariah 9:9 Matthew 27:37; Mark 11:7–11
Messiah would be praised by little children. Psalm 8:2 Matthew 21:16
Messiah would be betrayed. Ps. 41:9; Zech.11:12-13 Luke 22:47–48; Matt. 26:14–16
Messiah’s betrayal money used to buy a potter’s field. Zechariah 11:12-13 Matthew 27:9–10
Messiah would be falsely accused. Psalm 35:11 Mark 14:57–58
Messiah would be silent before his accusers. Isaiah 53:7 Mark 15:4–5
Messiah would be spat upon and struck. Isaiah 50:6 Matthew 26:67
Messiah would be hated without cause. Ps. 35:19; Psalm 69:4 John 15:24–25
Messiah would be crucified with criminals. Isaiah 53:12 Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27–28
Messiah would be given vinegar to drink. Psalm 69:21 Matthew 27:34; John 19:28–30
Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. Ps. 22:16; Zech. 12:10 John 20:25–27
Messiah would be mocked and ridiculed. Psalm 22:7-8 Luke 23:35
Soldiers would gamble for Messiah’s garments. Psalm 22:18 Luke 23:34; Matthew 27:35-36
Messiah’s bones would not be broken. Exodus 12:46; Ps.34:20 John 19:33-36
Messiah would be forsaken by God. Psalm 22:1 Matthew 27:46
Messiah would pray for his enemies. Psalm 109:4 Luke 23:34
Soldiers would pierce Messiah’s side. Zechariah 12:10 John 19:34
Messiah would be buried with the rich. Isaiah 53:9 Matthew 27:57-60
Messiah would resurrect from the dead. Ps.16:10; Ps. 49:15 Matthew 28:2-7; Acts 2:22–32
Messiah would ascend to heaven. Psalm 24:7–10 Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51
Messiah would be seated at God’s right hand. Ps. 68:18; Ps. 110:1 Mark 16:19; Matthew 22:44
Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin. Isaiah 53:5–12 Romans 5:6-8

The Bottom Line

Despite years of attacks the Bible has withstood the test of time and has proven over and over again to be reliable. The Bible tells us in the book of Genesis that we were created by a loving God who wants to have a close relationship with us. However, since we have all rebelled against God, our sins separate us from Him. Fortunately, God has revealed His love for us and sent His son Jesus to die for our sins. On the third day after He was crucified and buried, He rose from the dead and appeared to over 500 people! After spending around forty days with His disciples and giving them some final instructions, Jesus returned to Heaven. The Bible tells us of a day in the future when Jesus will return and gather all of the people who love Him and have accepted Him as their Savior to an amazing place called Heaven. On this day, those who have rejected Jesus will be judged and eternally separated from God. If you haven’t already asked Jesus to be your personal Savior, today would be a great day to do so!

Works Cited:

  1. Ken Ham & T. Hillard, Already Gone: Why your Kids will Quit Church and what you can do stop it (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2009).
  2. S. Michael Houdmann,“How and when was the Canon of the Bible put together?” Got Questions Online: http://www.gotquestions.org/canon-Bible.html (November 7, 2013).
  3. The reader is encouraged to review these additional resources: Henry Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1927, 1965); Arthur Maxwell, Your Bible and You (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1959); Merrill Unger, Unger’s Bible Handbook (Chicago: Moody Press, 1967).
  4. For example, in 1946 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, which included over 900 manuscripts dating from 408 B.C. to A.D. 318. These manuscripts were written mostly on parchment (made of animal hide) but with some written on papyrus. Because these materials are fragile, they have to be kept behind special glass in climate controlled areas.
  5. Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers).
  6. McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, p. 38.
  7. McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, p. 38.
  8. Most of the 11 verses come from 3 John. See: Norman Geisler & William Nix. A General Introduction to the Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 430.
  9. Geisler & Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, p. 430.
  10. Theophilus ben Ananus was the High Priest in Jerusalem from A.D. 37 to 41 and was one of the wealthiest and most influential Jewish families in Iudaea Province during the 1st century. He was also the brother-in-law of Joseph Caiaphas, the High Priest before whom Jesus appeared. See Wikipedia and B. Cooper, The Authenticity of the Book of Genesis (Portsmouth, UK: Creation Science Movement, 2012).
  11. B. Cooper, Authenticity of the New Testament, Vol. 1: The Gospels. Electronic book (2013).
  12. The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Online, Directory of Qumran Dead Sea Scroll: http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah (December 10, 2013).
  13. Source for DSS: Fred Mille, “Qumran Great Isaiah Scroll,” Great Isaiah Scroll: http://www.moellerhaus.com/qumdir.htm; Source for Aleppo Codes JPS: “Mechon Mamre” (Hebrew for Mamre Institute): http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1053.htm (December 10, 2013).
  14. Norman & Nix. A General Introduction to the Bible.
  15. Samuel Davidson, Hebrew Text of the Old Testament, 2d ed. (London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1859), 89.
  16. Mary Fairchild, “44 Prophecies of the Messiah Fulfilled in Jesus Christ,” About.com: http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefactsandlists/a/Prophecies-Jesus.htm (December 18, 2013).

Do you have questions regarding the validity of the Bible, the Old Testament or the New Testament? Contact Genesis Apologetics to learn more about why we believe in the validity of the gospel.