The Reliability of the Bible

Maghreb Christians

Isn’t the Bible full of contradictions and errors?

The Bible has been copied and translated so many times–hasn’t this process led to errors?

How can you be sure that the Bible is the same now as when it was written?

Didn’t the church arbitrarily decide which books should be included in the Bible and which books should be rejected?

So many people have different interpretations of the Bible–what makes you think that yours is correct?

How can you place your faith in a book that condones genocide and slavery?

Doesn’t the Bible make a number of claims that are scientifically inaccurate?

In most cases, those who reject the reliability of the Bible do so because of false impressions they have gained from sources other than the Bible. Most people’s knowledge about the Bible is derived almost completely from second-, third-, and fourth-hand sources. It is not surprising, then, that so many people think that the Bible says, “God helps those who help themselves,” or, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Many are also convinced that the Scriptures teach that the earth is flat or that it is the center of the universe. Another common misconception is that the books of the New Testament were written centuries after the events they describe or that our

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earliest New Testament manuscripts go back only to the fourth or fifth centuries A.D. Also, most people have somehow been given the impression that the English Bible is a translation of a translation of a translation (etc.) of the original, and that fresh errors were introduced in each stage of the process. College courses often undermine the authority of the Bible by falsely claiming that the Old Testament is merely a derivative of earlier Babylonian and Assyrian myths and law codes. People frequently say that the Bible is loaded with contradictions, but very few can think of any when asked. The few who can will usually mention the stock objections they were taught, like the two “contradictory” creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2. It is a rare person who has personally examined the text to see if the alleged contradiction is really there.

In many cases, when someone says, “I don’t believe the Bible,” it is helpful to ask, “Do you understand the message of the Bible? Many will acknowledge that they do not, and those who think they do will almost invariably present a distorted picture. You can graciously point this out and say, “I think that you owe it to yourself to have a correct picture of the basic message of the Bible before you decide to accept or reject it.” This can open the door to a clear presentation of the Gospel, and the discussion can go from there. This approach is most appropriate when the objection to the Bible is vague or being used as a smokescreen. If a person has honest intellectual difficulties about the Bible, give direct answers whenever possible. The information in this section is designed to help you do this…


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