In this regular feature of our program, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here is this week’s question: “You guys keep harping on the Bible as the most trustworthy resource for knowing what God wants His creatures to know and to do. But I haven’t heard you give any proof of its trustworthiness. And besides that, there are so many different Bible versions around, that doesn’t seem to help its credibility. Now, don’t think I’m against all of what you guys say. I would just like something I can get a grip on.”
Tom: Well, that’s good. I’m glad there are people out there who want us to hone in on something specific, although if they’ve been following the program, I hope we’ve given them lots of things to get a grip on. But, Dave, 2 Peter:1:20-21 says, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
Now, that’s a claim the Bible makes, and there are lots of proofs, lots of support, lots of evidence to make this guy confident.
Dave: Yeah, Tom, we can’t deal with it, of course, in a few minutes, but first of all, as to different translations—I’ve been translated in various languages while I’m speaking. And people in the audience often are not happy with what the translators translated for me because there are no exact equivalents. So, you would have different versions, just from that standpoint.
Now, as you and many of our listeners would know, there are two families of manuscripts: the thousands and thousands of manuscripts from which King James comes, and basically two from which the modern versions come. So there, it’s not just a matter of translation, but it’s two different families of manuscripts. We don’t have time to get into that.
But as far as the reliability of the Bible, my goodness! I can give you all kinds of proof.
Tom:But Dave, just with those two families of manuscripts—I know some people take some very…have very strong opinions about it. But of those particular families of manuscripts, with regard to major doctrine, are they that confusing? Are there discrepancies to the point where the foundational teachings of the church are erroneous in one…I mean, this guy’s looking for something to hang onto.
Dave: There would be if you would take just one verse. But when you take the overall picture…although there are thousands of differences, literally—thousands of differences. And I’m not happy with the modern versions and when you take two basic manuscripts—one that was found in a trash bin in a monastery at, you know, at St. Catherine’s monastery at the base of Mt. Sinai, and the other one was found back somewhere in a shelf in library in the Vatican—and then we’re going to base everything on those? I think it was a mistake, and there are some serious problems. But we don’t have time to deal with that.
But the Bible was written by about 40 different men over a period of 1,600 years, most of whom didn’t know one another—they lived in different cultures, at different times of history. But this is a coherent book! It doesn’t contradict itself. It builds—each one builds upon the other, although they didn’t have contact with one another. The Bible prophecy—I mean, you can’t find a writing…Go back and try to find a writing at that time that’s like that. And there is no such thing!
Furthermore, it doesn’t reflect the ignorance and the superstition of the time and culture of which it was written. Moses, for example, was schooled in the science of Egypt. He grew up in Pharaoh’s household. Well, go back and read some of the stuff that they said in those days—the superstitious nonsense! The unscientific stuff! You don’t find any of it reflected in what Moses said. And the Bible has a wisdom and an understanding far beyond….When they thought way back there that the world was on the back of an elephant, on the back of a tortoise floating on a, you know, a cosmic sea, and that was where earthquakes came from. Job says God hangs the world on nothing. You can’t improve upon that! Hebrews 11: “By faith we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God so that things [v. 3] which are seen were not made of things that do appear.” Somebody says that’s the first statement of the atomic theory—no, it’s not a theory. God is simply telling you. You don’t find any unscientific errors in the Bible. You find a wisdom. In Solomon, it says, “He binds up the clouds and makes a way for the rain by the lightning.” I mean, we only discovered that recently that water has a molecular bonding that is absolutely unique to all substances, and because of that, clouds can form, and raindrops can form, and so forth.
Then we have prophecy. We have prophecies thousands of years before they were fulfilled. These are not just cheap psychic predictions. These are world…
Tom: Or vague Nostradamus sayings…
Dave: Yeah, French Quatrains…no. These are world-shaping, world-shaking events. They are part of history, and yet this is prophesied: What would happen to Israel in detail. You can’t explain it away. The coming of the Messiah—where He would be born; even the very day He would ride into Jerusalem amazingly on a donkey—not on a white horse—but on a donkey, come in humility, hailed as the Messiah. That He would be crucified—foretold centuries before crucifixion…
Tom: Where He would be born. I mean, how are you going to control that?
Dave: Right. Centuries before crucifixion was known. Tom, I mean…and we’ve run out of time, but I can absolutely prove from the Bible—I wish I had few hours—I can prove that the Bible is God’s Word, it’s infallible, and there is no question about it, and I would just say, You don’t have time to read up and study and become an expert on all the world religions. Start with the Bible first. It’ll save you a lot of time, because it says all the others are wrong. And we can prove that the Bible is right.
Tom: Dave, that’s starting to sound a little bit intolerant on the one hand. On the other hand, this is what the Bible claims, and it says, “Check me out!” And that’s what we want to encourage everybody to do.
And thanks for that question. It was a good one!