How do we know we can trust the Bible? Dr. Zachary Cole points believers to history, archaeology, and the text itself to confirm the trustworthiness of Scripture.
We know we can trust the Bible from a variety of perspectives. One of the amazing things about the Bible is that for all the centuries that have passed, and all of the developments and progress that we’ve made in science and technology and mathematics, Christians are more than ever confident in the trustworthiness of Scripture. There hasn’t been any major discovery, any “gotcha moment” where we discovered that the Bible was irrelevant or inaccurate. In fact, the opposite is the case. There are Christians at the top of all of these different fields in science and technology who really do truly believe in the inspiration inerrancy of Scripture.
Testing the Bible
Where we can test the Bible, it proves itself to be trustworthy.Why is that the case? Well, that’s true because where we can test the Bible, it proves itself to be trustworthy. So, for example, in the area of archeology, when scholars go out and excavate things and discover new things, that confirms what we read in the Bible. When we look at the text through time as it’s transmitted and translated and copied, that enables scholars to see that we have a reliable text. Yes, they can spot errors in copying here and there, but when we can spot those, we can fix them. And in the area of history, when we look outside the Bible to nonbiblical writers in the ancient Near East or the Greco Roman sources, they correspond with and fit with what we find in the Bible. Of course, there are questions here and there, and that’s what keeps us busy as scholars trying to figure out the details of how everything fits together. But the overwhelming picture is one of trustworthiness and reliability.
But what about the places where we can’t test it? You can’t dig up an artifact for everything in the Bible. You can’t find an extra-biblical source for everything in the Bible. And this is what theologians refer to as Scripture’s self-authentication. And the fact that Scripture is self-authenticating doesn’t mean that it says it’s the Word of God; therefore, it is the Word of God. Scripture’s self-authentication means that its inherent qualities demonstrate it to be inspired.Scripture’s self-authentication means that its inherent qualities demonstrate it to be inspired. So just for one example, if you consider how the Bible is a wonderfully complex document written over so many different centuries by so many different writers and different languages from different perspectives, with different purposes in different genres, and you have this panoply of different people, this array of voices saying different things. Isn’t it amazing that they all come together and they sing one harmonious song about one God, one plan of redemption for people to save them, to bring him to himself through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit? How is it possible that all these many books tell that one story? So that’s one aspect of what we call self-authentication. Scripture shows itself to be inspired by God, by its very qualities. And for those various reasons, scholars, academics, and everyday Christians can have rock-solid confidence in the reliability of Scripture.