In 1 Peter 3:15, we are exhorted to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”. In today’s world where knowledge is king, more people are seeking solutions to their questions through science and logic. Can we still be sure that our faith is grounded upon truth? Kallos digs deeper to investigate the foundation of Christianity’s truth claims – the Bible.
The Bible is the cornerstone of our faith, but how can we be so sure that this book is true and accurate? Far from being a mystical book filled with legends and superstitions, the Bible has been recognised by Christians and non-Christians alike as a historical book based on true events and people. Here are some fascinating facts that confirm the Bible’s historical accuracy!
A common criticism against the Bible is that since it is a book that has been translated and passed down for over a thousand years, it must have plenty of mistakes and is therefore inaccurate. However, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 proved otherwise. When translated and compared with modern versions of the Hebrew Bible, about 95% of the text proved to be identical, word for word! The remaining 5% was mostly spelling variations, which shows that even though the Bible has been handed to and handled by many throughout history, we can have confidence in its accuracy.
The Book of Luke is filled with historical details – names, places, times and titles! But many doubt the historical accuracy of his accounts, such as the case of the census taken when Jesus was still in Mary’s womb (Luke 2:1-3). They say, “Surely there was no census, as no governor named Quirinius existed, and citizens were not required to return to their ancestral homes to be counted!” A shocking find in 1912 silenced these doubts. An inscription was found on the base of a statue indicating that a man named Gaius Sergius served under a governor named Publius Sulpicius Quirinius. It proved that Quirinius did exist as governor of Syria in 7 BC. Further archaeological finds showed that the Romans did indeed return home for a census every 14 years!
To prove the accuracy of a source, we must be able to cross-reference it to other texts and find that the same claims are made. Did you know that this can be done with claims that are made throughout the Bible? For example, Suetonius (c. AD 69–c. AD 140), a Roman historian and chief secretary to the Roman Emperor Hadrian confirms the report in Acts 18:2 that Claudius commanded the Jews to leave Rome in AD 49. Tacitus, another Roman historian (c. AD 56–c. AD 117), writes about how “… a most mischievous superstition … broke out not only in Judaea … but even in Rome” as a result of “Christus, [who] suffered at the hands of … Pontius Pilatus.” He was referring to the result of the resurrection of Christ, thus acknowledging that Jesus was a real person in history!
For years, people have scoffed at the story of Balaam and the talking donkey (Numbers 22:2135). Surely donkeys can’t talk and so Balaam never existed! In 1967, an Aramaic inscription was found with the words “Warnings from the Book of Balaam the son of Beor. A divine seer is he”. This matches exactly the genealogy that is recorded in Numbers 22:5 and Joshua 24:9, proving through a source other than the Bible that Balaam was indeed a real person of history and adding credibility to this account!