How Accurate Is the Bible?

by Ken Boa

“The Bible is full of contradictions and errors.”

“How can you be sure the Bible is the same now as when it was written, given that it’s been copied and translated so many times?”

These common charges against the Christian Scriptures are often followed with an assertion like, “Historians and scientists have long since proven that the Bible is inaccurate and unreliable.”

But how accurate is that statement? Is the Bible really full of contradictions? Is it outdated, inauthentic, and full of scientific and historical errors as so many assert? In short,

Can we trust the Bible?

Here, we will consider some objections to the accuracy and reliability of the Bible to help you make a more informed decision about whether or not the Bible is trustworthy.

False Impressions

Consider the following statements:

  • The Bible says that God helps those who help themselves.
  • The books of the New Testament were written centuries after the events they describe.
  • “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is in the Bible.
  • According to the Bible, the earth is flat.
  • The earliest New Testament manuscripts go back only to the fourth or fifth centuries AD.
  • The Bible teaches that the earth is the center of the universe.
  • The English Bible is a translation of a translation of a translation (etc.) of the original, and fresh errors were introduced in each stage of the process.

How many of the above statements do you think are true? The answer is none; all of them are false. Yet these false impressions persist in the minds of many, and misinformation like this produces a skeptical attitude toward the Bible.

The fact is that, with few exceptions, many have reached their conclusions about the Bible through second- and third-hand sources rather than through firsthand investigation. For example, it is a rare person who has personally examined the text to see if an alleged contradiction is really there. Someone who asserts that the Bible is full of contradictions should be able to name at least one, if not several; challenging them to do so can be a helpful initial response…
 

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