About Our Cover ...
This Hieroglyphic writing on the wall of the temple of Rameses III in Egypt commemorates events of earlier days when Israel's King Hoshea allied with So, King of Egypt, against the Assyrians. The FACTS related on this wall about King So, or Shoshenk, agree PERFECTLY with the Biblical account. But because the Bible has been rejected as mere fable and myth, men have been UNABLE to successfully reconstruct world history.
HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY PROVE THE BIBLE TRUE
IS THERE proof OUTSIDE the Bible that the events described in Scripture really happened — that its great characters actually lived?
Where is the PROOF that Joseph was in Egypt? — that Abraham and his ancestors really existed? — that David was actually king of Israel? — and, above all, that Christ and the apostles were known by their Jewish and Gentile contemporaries?
And where is the PROOF that the inspired Word of God has been accurately preserved for us today — especially since there are so many different modern translations?
Yes, WHERE IS THE PROOF?
It's time we studied the proof of HISTORY and ARCHAEOLOGY to further prove the Bible is FACT, and not fable.
Ministers Deny Divine Origin
It will probably SHOCK YOU to know what many religious leaders personally think and publicly say about the Bible! Here is what Harry Emerson Fosdick, a noted American minister, wrote in his book, "The Modern Use of the Bible":
"We know now that every idea in the Bible started from primitive and childlike origins ..." and that it is an "impossible attempt to harmonize the Bible with itself, to make it speak with unanimous voice, to resolve its conflicts and contradictions ..." (pages 11, 24).
Why did Dr. Fosdick write this? Was he convinced that there was no proof of the inspiration of the Bible? OR WAS HE OVERLOOKING THE PROOF — AND NEGLECTING THE TRUTH?
Of the earlier writings in the Bible, he further says: "But we do not need to apologize for their crudities .... Their lack is a lack of maturity ...."
Today it is shocking to realize that the religious leaders believe the Bible is primitive, childlike, crude, immature — a book of fables and myths instead of the inspired TRUTH of GOD!
Bible Scholars Skeptical Too
Dr. James Moffatt, who produced a famous English rendering of the Bible, says in his introduction to the Bible that many of its books are "notes by disciples, worked up into literary papers which have been repeatedly edited, sometimes by pious collectors."
To this learned man the earlier portions of the Bible stemmed from "the natural desire to gather up the primitive traditions of the people."
Yes, here is one of the foremost biblical scholars declaring that the Bible has a natural origin in human TRADITIONS! — implying that it is NOT backed by FACT! What made him believe such an idea? Was he without proof of the inspiration of Scripture? Surely, if there were proof for the inspiration of the Bible, these learned men would not have overlooked it — would they? ... OR DID THEY FACE THE EVIDENCE AND REJECT IT?
PHOTO CAPTION: This clay cylinder, with three columns of text, each containing 96 lines, was inscribed shortly after Jerusalem's fall in 585 B.C. by order of King Nebuchadnezzar. It was buried in the foundation of a Babylonian temple.
Now read what Dr. Edgar J. Goodspeed, who also translated the Bible, says about the Scriptures in his book, "How to Read the Bible". He says you should remember this about the first twelve books: "It is man's first attempt to organize his knowledge of his past into what we would call an outline of history." He disregards even the POSSIBILITY that God could have INSPIRED the men who wrote the Bible!
When we read Genesis, Dr. Goodspeed would remind us that "Genesis is a great encyclopedia of HEBREW thought, and its solutions of the great problems that confront the human mind. Its great achievement was that it unified it all as the work of one supreme being ...." (p. 39).
Do you catch what this means? The Bible is the work of MAN only — MAN'S attempt to organize historical knowledge, the Hebrew MAN'S solution to the world's moral problems — MASQUERADING as though it were from a supreme being!
This is exactly the view of most educated people! The Bible is, according to this misguided philosophy, the inspiring record of MAN'S search for a concept of God — not the INSPIRED record of GOD'S revelation to man of essential knowledge man needs to know, but would not otherwise be able to obtain!
Concerning God's law, Dr. Goodspeed says that it "perpetuates the old legal practices taken over from the Canaanites after the conquest ..." and represents "... various stages of primitive legislation...." In other words, Dr. Goodspeed believes mortal, carnal human beings formulated the Ten Commandments and all of God's statutes and judgments!
As for the remainder of the Bible, he believes "The Book of Joshua is the LEGENDARY story of the conquest of Canaan" and that the Book of Ruth "belongs to Israel's FICTION, rather than to its history, and should be among its TALES and STORIES" (p. 51).
Sincere, but Ignorant?
SHOCKING UTTERANCES SUCH AS THESE ARE THE PRODUCT OF HUMAN REASON! To the natural mind the Bible is merely a book of tales and stories, and fabulous solutions to the question of human origin and destiny.
But what PROOF do these men have for propounding the concept that the Bible was fraudulently written by Hebrews who only "claimed" divine authority for their merely human utterances?
Have these men been able to DISPROVE the Bible? — to disprove the existence of its great characters — to disprove the occurrence of its outstanding historic events?
NO! FOR HAD THEY BEEN ABLE TO DISPROVE THE BIBLE, THEY WOULD HAVE DEMONSTRATED THEIR "PROOF" LONG AGO!
The RELIGIOUS LEADERS of this world are responsible for souring the average man-on-the-street against the Bible. What else can the average person believe when religious leaders, who are SUPPOSED to know the Bible, declare the Bible a pious fraud! The religious leaders are the Bible's WORST ENEMIES!
Of course the Bible is read from the pulpits. It is continually being translated anew, but ITS TEACHINGS HAVE BEEN REJECTED! ITS solutions to the world's ills have been repudiated WITHOUT BEING TESTED!
People are being persuaded to TAKE FOR GRANTED WHAT THE CHURCHES SAY ABOUT THE BIBLE. THEY HAVE ASSUMED THAT THE BIBLE TEACHES HUNDREDS OF CONFLICTING IDEAS, just as Dr. Fosdick wrote, and that the BIBLE IS the cause for the hundreds of disputing sects and denominations. But they have NOT BEEN WILLING TO EXAMINE THE BIBLE FOR THEMSELVES to learn what it actually does say! If they did, they would be mightily surprised!
The reason people have willingly believed fables about the Bible is that they sincerely do NOT WANT TO DO WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS! They WANT to believe fables! "THEY WILL NOT ENDURE SOUND TEACHING; BUT, HAVING ITCHING EARS, WILL HEAP TO THEMSELVES TEACHERS AFTER THEIR OWN LUSTS; AND WILL TURN AWAY THEIR EARS FROM THE TRUTH, AND TURN ASIDE UNTO FABLES" (II Timothy 4:3). Note well that people AS A WHOLE will just naturally not ENDURE the truth!
People sincerely WANT to serve their OWN lusts. They want to be in ignorance of God's law and way of life! They do not want the astounding proof that the Bible is true, that it is inspired — that it can be proved right!
As Jeremiah the prophet was inspired to write: "An appalling and horrible thing is come to pass in the land: the prophets prophesy in the service of FALSEHOOD, and the priests bear rule at their beck and call; and My people love to have it so" (Jer. 5:30-31, Moffatt Trans.).
No wonder so many are deceived today. Most religious leaders just won't preach the truth! So let us now understand what the Bible REALLY IS.
WHAT the Bible Really IS
The Bible is the written revelation of the Creator God for mankind. IT CONTAINS THE ABSOLUTELY VITAL KNOWLEDGE THAT EVERYONE NEEDS DESPERATELY TO UNDERSTAND — but which would be inaccessible by any NATURAL means.
In the Bible, God speaks with authority to us through its writers. THE BIBLE, THEN, POSSESSES SUPREME AUTHORITY OVER OUR LIVES SINCE IT COMES FROM OUR OWN SUPREME CREATOR. The Bible repeats hundreds of times: "Thus saith the Lord." In Scripture, God speaks in the first person — "I" — and challenges us to test Him to PROVE whether He speaks the truth. (Isa. 44:6-9.)
Without the Bible we can NEVER UNDERSTAND THE LESSONS OF THE PAST, THE MEANING OF THE PRESENT, AND THE GOAL OF THE FUTURE.
Scripture, when rightly understood, GIVES A RATIONAL MEANING for man's existence and the causes of our world's ills. It explains exactly why this world experiences wars, sicknesses and suffering.
There are hundreds of religious, political and economic "cures" in the world, but none of them reaches the cause of earth's problems. Only GOD'S MIND IS great enough to know the TRUE answers. No book BUT HIS BIBLE can explain the laws that eternally regulate human life and human affairs — LAWS which, when violated, bring the penalties of sickness, war and death.
Only the Bible is able to point the way out of impending chaos!
Yet men reject its solutions as out of date in this space age. Its truth they do not want to know. That's WHY "THE LORD HATH A CONTROVERSY WITH THE NATIONS" (Jer. 25:31). EVER SINCE THE BEGINNING OF HUMAN LIFE, GOD HAS HAD A CONTROVERSY WITH HUMANITY. HUMAN BEINGS BY NATURE REFUSE TO FOLLOW HIS WAY OF LIFE. Humans think their ways are better. Man assumes that he knows more than God.
Yes, "there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of DEATH" (Proverbs 14:12). Humanity avoids acknowledging God as Supreme Ruler. People hide their eyes from plain evidence, and label Scripture falsely as myth and tradition.
Where Is the Proof?
Everyone today demands proof! People have a chip on their shoulders, so to speak. They want someone to prove whether the Bible REALLY is true. Christ said this challenging attitude would reach its climax in these last days of human civilization — just before man with his scientific ingenuity could blast all human life out of existence (Luke 18:8)
Of course it is right that we should prove it! And there is proof — proof of the most amazing kind — proof that would astound the public if the theologians were to publicly confess it! But the world is wilfully ignorant of it.
Believe it or not, the world ALREADY KNOWS OF THE PROOF but, having been deceived, is unwilling to accept it. It has SEEN the proof, FELT it, DUG it up, READ it and even PUBLISHED it! But humanity, deceived by superstition and vain religious traditions, has REJECTED the proof because it does not want to believe and SURRENDER ITS WILL to the Bible.
This lesson of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course is the fourth in a series demonstrating the proof of God's existence and the inspiration of His revelation. We have already studied the proof of creation, with the astounding confirmation of a pre-Adamic catastrophe and the tangible evidence of the flood in Noah's day. This is visible proof for those who have eyes to see. But the world as a whole has closed its eyes to truth and wilfully "abides in darkness" (John 12:46). We have also covered the proof of prophecy — the supreme evidence that only a living, active God could have written the Bible and brought about the present fulfillment of its prophecies.
Only the wilfully ignorant would reject the evidence of creation and prophecy. But, sadly, the world is filled with them! It has rejected both.
The mass of evidence is overwhelming. It is so great the Correspondence Course cannot begin to contain it all. But this mass of evidence has created a paradox. Just as the world publishes and sells the Bible, but does not believe it, so it also discovers, publishes and sells the evidences of biblical inspiration WITHOUT BELIEVING THEM!
The world has not only turned the truth upside down, but it has also turned the PROOF upside down — making right SEEM wrong and true proof SEEM disproof.
To help you see and understand this amazing evidence, make sure your Bible is in front of you. Also have several sheets of paper, and a pen or pencil so you can WRITE DOWN THE ANSWERS and your own comments. There are not many questions asked you in this lesson because we are giving you the proof of God's inspiration of the Bible directly from the HISTORICAL RECORDS themselves.
You need to summarize these NEW PROOFS for yourself, in your own words. That is the best way to REMEMBER them!
These proofs confound the atheist. These proofs demonstrate once and for all time that the biblical record is inspired of God and true!
Are you ready to begin?
History Records the FLOOD
Heretofore, we have presented the evidence of creation and of science. Now we come to the most important test of biblical inspiration.
The Bible contains a record of HISTORICAL EVENTS that cover a period of over 4,000 years of human experiences. LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF STATEMENTS, FOR WHICH HISTORICAL EVIDENCE REMAINS, PERMIT US TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE BIBLE IS THE TRUTH — or whether it is a record of myths and fables that were inaccurately gathered centuries after their occurrence and "made to appear" as the work of a Supreme Being, as Drs. Moffatt and Goodspeed declare.
Is Bible history true? Let's REALLY PROVE whether we can depend on the Bible for the TRUTH!
1. Does the Bible record that a great flood occurred in Noah's day which destroyed almost all life from the earth? Gen. 7:1, 6, 21, 22.
COMMENT: If the nations stem from one family, as the Bible teaches, we ought to expect all nations to have ancient TRADITIONS about the flood.
In the previous lesson we proved the GEOLOGICAL evidence of a flood in the days of Noah. Critics may dispute the time (because they reject Bible chronology), but they know the RECORD IS there for everyone to see. That they cannot deny! But if Noah and his family escaped the flood's destructive forces, it is not demanding too much if we seek for confirmation among all nations that the flood preceded the founding of present nations.
What is the history of testimony — testimony which men have dug up, translated, printed and circulated for public consumption?
Here are the facts which anyone can know: The AMERICAN INDIANS in both North and South America preserved legends of the Flood in which a few escaped by means of a boat and repeopled the earth.
The NATIVES of GREENLAND maintained that all men were once drowned and that a man and woman became the ancestors of all now living.
The POLYNESIANS from the South Pacific contend that a flood overwhelmed all but eight people.
CHINESE traditions speak of their civilization as having been founded by a man, together with his three sons and daughters, who escaped a devastating flood.
EGYPTIAN and other AFRICAN traditions preserve similar accounts.
The GREEKS pictured their "Noah" as building an Ark to escape the waters, after which he sent out a dove twice before setting foot on earth again.
The ancient BABYLONIANS and ASSYRIANS have preserved for us on clay tablets word-for-word accounts of the same traditions among them — traditions which are exact in many details!
Think for a moment — IF the Flood had not occurred, would all these peoples have preserved these records of the Flood? Certainly all people would not have been deceived into believing the Flood had happened if it had not happened! You may find this unanimous testimony of ancient nations in the International Standard Encyclopaedia, article "Deluge," and in summary form in Halley's Bible Handbook.
Thus, for the Flood of Noah we have the actual geological evidence AND the testimony of many ancient peoples who remembered the catastrophic results. The only reason the testimony is not believed today is that man is unwilling to believe what God says! He would rather believe the evolutionary fairy tale that everything has continued the same since the beginning of time.
Knowing these facts, some skeptics assert that the biblical record came from Babylonian tradition rather than fact. The EVIDENCE IS JUST THE OPPOSITE! The Babylonian record we have was nearly all found in the Library of Ashurbanipal (around 650 B.C.), long AFTER Moses' record of Noah's Flood. The sane explanation is many peoples preserved their OWN accounts. Of these accounts only the biblical record is without contradiction and filled with rational simplicity.
So the Book of books is right after all. The SCRIPTURE STANDS VINDICATED. It is INSPIRED. IT IS TRUE ON EVERY COUNT!
PROOF the Bible Patriarchs REALLY LIVED
Did Abraham and his ancestors REALLY live or are their lives fables?
What PROOF have we that Abraham's relatives — Terah and Nahor, Haran, Serug, Reu, and Peleg — were actually HISTORICAL FIGURES? YOU will find them named in Genesis 11.
Do you know what the "conservative" teaching in public schools is today? Here is an exact quotation that will amaze you if you have understanding:
"The patriarchs of the sagas in GENESIS are LEGENDARY heroes artificially connected with Israel." And again: "Through Moses, Jehovah (Hebrew: YAHWEH) became the god of Israel ... Jehovah was originally the god of a sacred mountain (Sinai or Horeb)." (From Langer's Encyclopedia of World History.)
So let us examine more proof: Is God a superstition and the Bible a legend? — or is God the Creator and the Scriptural record historically true? One or the other of these ideas is TOTALLY UNTRUE! Which is it?
1. First look in your BIBLE and see that for hundreds of years it has revealed that these people really existed. Read Gen. 11:25 back through verse 18.
COMMENT: The PROOF has shocked thousands! Here are the facts:
During the years 1934 to 1939, excavations were methodically conducted at ancient Mari on the southwestern bank of the Euphrates River near ancient Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE THEY FOUND?
ANCIENT TOWNS AND CITIES IN MESOPOTAMIA WERE NAMED AFTER EVERY ONE OF THE PATRIARCHS!
Recently unearthed records of 3,000 years ago speak of the "city of Nahor" (named after the Old Testament patriarch Nahor) mentioned in Genesis 24:10. It was located near the city of Haran which still exists to this very day! Who said those men are legendary?
"Beside the definite location of the patriarchal cities of HARAN and NAHOR in northwestern Mesopotamia, hardly less clear indications of Hebrew residence in this region appears in the names of Abraham's forefathers, which correspond to the names of towns near Haran: SERUG (Assyrian SARUGI), TERAH (TIL TURAKHI, 'Mound of Terah,' in Assyrian times) ... REU also corresponds to later names of towns in the Middle-Euphrates valley. PELEG, for example, recalled later Paliga on the Euphrates just above the mouth of the Habur." (From Unger's "Archeology and the Old Testament".)
Let the scoffers laugh at these records. Let them call the Bible a book of legends. Their time of RECKONING IS around the corner and fast approaching! The Bible does not lie.
Proof Joseph Really Was Pharaoh's Right-hand Man!
For decades doubters have laughed at the "romance" of Joseph. What PROOF IS there that Joseph was raised to be second in command in Egypt? Certainly if there were seven long years of terrible famine and Joseph was the only one who forewarned them of it — there ought to be a record somewhere!
1. Doesn't your Bible clearly say Pharaoh placed Joseph over all Egypt? Gen. 41:41.
COMMENT: Is there such a HISTORICAL record? — or is the Bible a myth, a product of Jewish folklore?
THE ANSWER is found in the reign of Amenemhet III of Egypt's so-called Twelfth Dynasty. Amenemhet took great trouble to study the level of the Nile and carried out a great many irrigation works. He greatly enlarged the capacity of Lake Moeris in the Fayum. To the lake he CAUSED a new canal to be made. This canal is called the BAHR YUSUF by the Egyptians to this day. The meaning of BAHR YUSUF IS "THE CANAL OF JOSEPH" — of course it is, for JOSEPH supervised the construction of it for this king! Seven years of terrible famine were soon to arrive!
Near Lake Moeris the King had a great "Labyrinth" built. It was an immense structure spreading over many acres. It served as general headquarters for the government and as a center of administration for the distribution of government provisions — the 20% that was collected during the years of plenty to be used in the years of famine.
But what about the record of a FAMINE for 7 long years? "My heart is in great anxiety," said King Zoser of so-called Dynasty III, "for in my time the Nile has not overflowed for a period of SEVEN YEARS. There is scarcely any produce of the field; herbage fails; eatables are wanting. Every man robs his neighbor ... the children cry, the young people creep along ... the people of the courts are at their wits' end. The store-houses were built, but ... all that was in them has been consumed," he laments (from Barton's "Archaeology and the Bible", pp. 370-371). Compare this with Genesis 41:29-32 and 47:13-27. Here is the plain record. Scoffers cannot deny it, so they get around the proof of biblical inspiration by twisting the chronology — the time of these contemporary rulers!
Genesis also preserves the story of Jacob's entrance into Goshen in Egypt, and of Israel growing into a nation of 2 1/2 million men, women and children in a little over two centuries. Where is the RECORD that Israel actually lived in Egypt for this time? Doubters say there is no record — history says there is! Hear this:
We quote from Weigall's "History of the Pharaohs", Vol. 2, pp. 129-130: "The base of a figure ... inscribed with the king's name [that is, with Amenemhet III's name] has been found at Tell el-Yehudiyeh, 'The Jew's Mount,' a place some 20 miles northeast of Cairo, on the direct route to the 'Land of Goshen,' the Wady Tumilat .... It seems to have been founded in the reign of Amenemhet III, and may have been from the start an Asiatic settlement, where, possibly, Joseph's RELATIONS took up their residence."
Of course it was! The Bible says so! The vivid end of this story — the episode of Israel's escape from Egyptian bondage under Moses — has been recounted in Lesson 8 of the Correspondence Course. It is just one more link in the thrilling tangible proofs of history — proofs that the Bible means what it says.
King David Leaves His Mark
This is not the end of surprises. The next one involves King David.
Nearly all skeptics have doubted portions of the story of David's rise to fame under the Benjamite King Saul. What PROOF have we?
1. Does your Bible say that David gained an international reputation during the prominence of the tribe of Benjamin? I Samuel 18:7, 8 and 21:11.
COMMENT: Surely if David were so great a general, his reputation would have spread far and wide even to the Euphrates River which finally became the border of Israel. And if the tribe of Benjamin were PREDOMINANT among the Israelites in their struggle against the Philistines, it ought to be mentioned.
What is the historical evidence?
From the tablets found at Mari, we read these clear words: "The year in which Iahdulim went to Hen and laid hands upon the territory of the Benjamites," and "The year that Zimri-Lim killed the DAVIDUM of the Benjamites."
Here are Benjamites mentioned and their generals are called "DAVIDUM" or DAVIDS! Of course, just as the world's "great" Roman CAESARS gave their name to the KAISERS of Germany and the CZARS of Russia, so David's fame spread so far and wide that Gentiles called the officers and generals of Israel "Davids" — men like David! And Benjamin's fame spread so far that for a time that tribe gave its name to all of Israel as Ephraim and Judah later did.
How do the critics of the Bible get around this plain record of history in David's day? By saying that the Benjamites were in Palestine southwest of the Euphrates before Benjamin was even born — and 750 years before David lived there were leading generals who bore the title of "David." BUT THEIR MISINTERPRETATION OF HISTORY WILL NOT STAND, for the RECORDS of those times contain statements that "Yahweh is God." God REVEALED Himself by the name "YAHWEH" or "The Eternal" or "Lord" at the time of the Exodus (Exodus 6:3). The Gentiles could have known of God's name only through contact with Israel, and at a time when Israel was expanding to the Euphrates River toward Mari! And when was that? — IN THE DAYS OF SAUL AND DAVID! (See II Samuel 8:9-10 and I Kings 4:21.)
Always, scholars, in their human "wisdom," have reasoned around the clear, plain, simple evidence of history in order to destroy the authoritative record of the inspired Word of God!
Perhaps the most disputed book in the Bible is Daniel. Critics have placed its writing 400 years after the actual time of Daniel. The critics plainly declare it a forgery, masquerading under the name of Daniel (whose very existence they also question!). You need to know what falsification the learned men of this world have attributed to the Bible. Says Driver, a DISBELIEVER, in his book "Modern Research as Illustrating the Bible":
"There was NO SIEGE of Babylon by Cyrus ... he ... entered it without striking a blow ... the account of Herodotus ... of the waters of the Euphrates having been diverted by Cyrus, and his troops then entering it while the inhabitants were feasting, is a romance; ... Belshazzar also was never king of Babylon ... Nor is there any room for 'Darius the Mede,' as king of Babylon."
This is the intellectual nonsense being taught our children in school. The Bible tells the TRUTH about the fall of Babylon. Let's examine!
1. Does Dan. 5:24-30 say that the king of the Chaldeans — the Babylonians — would be slain and his kingdom taken? And wasn't this conquered kingdom later passed from Darius, the Mede, to Cyrus? Dan. 6:28.
COMMENT: Here are the facts, exactly in order as they occurred, preserved in the writing of Xenophon.
Xenophon, the Greek historian who wrote the "Cyropaedia" in the fourth century before Christ, says that "when Cyrus reached Babylon" in 539 B.C. he dug channels for the dispersal of the water in the river Euphrates which ran under the gates of Babylon. Then he and the Medo-Persian army secretly entered the river bed, climbed stealthily through the gates along the river and rushed to the palace "when he heard that there was a festival in Babylon, in which all the Babylonians drank and revelled the whole night." Upon reaching the palace where Belshazzar had seen the handwriting on the wall, they "burst in, and, pursuing those who fled, and dealing blows amongst them, came up to the king, and found him in a standing posture with his sword drawn ... [they] mastered him." SO BELSHAZZAR THE KING IN BABYLON WAS KILLED THAT NIGHT EXACTLY AS DANIEL SAID.
Then, when peace had been restored, Cyrus determined to see his father in Persia. "When," wrote Xenophon, "they came to Media, Cyrus turned aside to visit [his uncle] Cyaxares. When they had embraced each other, Cyrus first told Cyaxares that there was a private house, and palaces, set apart for him in Babylon; that when he came thither" — when Cyaxares would go to Babylon — "he might take up his abode in his own home."
Who was this Cyaxares? Josephus wrote that he was DARIUS the Mede! ("Antiquities of the Jews," x, 11:4.) DARIUS the Mede, the uncle of Cyrus, "received the kingdom" while Cyrus returned to Persia to see his own father.
PHOTO CAPTION: Ruins of ancient Babylon show the Ishtar Gate with animals embossed on brick wall. Greek historians verify that Babylon was captured and the king killed as the Book of Daniel relates.
History again proves the Bible true Darius the Mede DID receive the kingdom from Cyrus. It was while Cyrus was with his father in Persia that his uncle Darius WAS "made [TEMPORARY] King over the realm of the Chaldeans"! (Dan. 9:1)
PROOF Jesus of Nazareth LIVED!
Most people take the existence of Jesus of Nazareth for granted. They have never stopped to PROVE whether the New Testament gospel records of Jesus are REALLY true! Have you ever PROVED whether Jesus actually lived?
As this lesson is being prepared, we are confronted with a daring book entitled "Jesus — God, Man or Myth?" by a professed atheist, Herbert Cutner. According to its publisher, this book is "the result of extensive research [and] proves that Jesus never lived. The non-historical character of the Bible Jesus is established," claims the publisher, "by carefully-sifted data that will surprise those who have given little thought to the subject.
"The cumulative evidence that Jesus is an INVENTED character," concludes the write-up, "is presented with telling force and the book shows also that the Jesus, the man who went around 'doing good,' was no ... flesh-and-blood man .... "
Bold statements, these! But what of the proof? How HONEST have atheists and critics been with the facts of history?
If the facts of history prove Jesus did live if His contemporaries and enemies give evidence of His message and of His miracles — then no atheist, no agnostic, no modernist doubter has any excuse!
What PROOF IS there, OUTSIDE THE BIBLE, that Jesus lived? that he performed miracles? that He brought Good News — the Gospel — to the world? that He was condemned to death under the Roman governor Pilate? and chose apostles? And what PROOF IS there that He was born of a young virgin?
The Bible, of course, states these as facts. But can we BELIEVE the Bible? What proof OUTSIDE of the Bible itself is there that Jesus was a historical figure? Certainly of all people the Jews ought to know! Let's see.
1. Does the Bible show us that Christ existed? Matt. 1:16, 18, 21; 2:1; 27:37.
COMMENT: If Jesus did not exist, the Jews would have had no reason to reject Him! ALTHOUGH THE JEWS DISLIKED CHRIST, THEY WERE FORCED BY THE VERY CIRCUMSTANCE OF HIS POWER TO TAKE RECOGNITION OF HIM IN THEIR RECORDS. What do the Jewish RECORDS admit? What do atheists purposely overlook when they pretend to deny the reality of Jesus the Christ?
Jesus is often mentioned in the Jewish Talmud! The Talmud is a record of Jewish debates, doctrines, stories and traditions covering a period from before the birth of Christ to the centuries immediately following. These references have been known in detail by many scholars. Jesus Christ is never mentioned by name, excepting perhaps once or twice, where He is said to have been an idolator who worshipped a brickbat (Sanh., 107B). He is scornfully called "that man" or "Son of Pandera," or "dead dog," and "the hanged one," "the sorcerer," "Balaam," and "Seducer."
The Jewish Encyclopedia tabulates the places where Jesus is mentioned in the Talmud. This encyclopedia terms as a mere "subterfuge" the attempt of atheists to run from these references which apply to Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus is called, in the Talmud, "Son of Pandera" at times to hide the fact that He was born of a young virgin! "Pandera" — a word meaning panther or leopard — is an anagram (a word made by transposing letters) for the Greek word "parthenos" meaning "virgin"! The Jews twisted Jesus' virgin birth to make it appear that He was figuratively the son of a panther or leopard! — for the Greek word "panther" is PANTHER which the Jews corrupted by Jewish idiom into PANDERA.
Here is PROOF of Jesus' virgin birth! But modern theologians, like agnostics and atheists, persist in rejecting it!
The miracles of Jesus were not denied by the Jews. INSTEAD, THE JEWS WHO SAW JESUS PERFORM THOSE MIRACLES SAID HE LEARNED SORCERY IN EGYPT — which is merely another way of stating what we read in Matthew 12:24: "But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This man cloth not cast out demons but by Beelzebub, prince of the demons."
The Talmud records Jesus' healing of the blind, the halt and the leprous. It also mentions His walking on the sea! There is also a full list of references to Jesus' mother, the virgin Mary. These events are therefore here PROVED to be historical FACT — they are recorded by Jesus' own enemies!
Jesus not only lived, but the Jews, in the Talmud, are witness to His miracles! Let the ignorant atheist deny that!
The Talmud subtly calls the gospel which Jesus preached an "avengil", meaning a "blank paper." They did not want to use the original word "evangel", meaning good news. They did not like the good news of the Kingdom which Jesus brought. They did not want the Kingdom of God to rule over them — to tell them what to do!
2. Does Scripture reveal Christ's apostles? Matt. 10:1-12.
COMMENT: JOSEPHUS, the non-Christian Jewish HISTORIAN of the first century, also admits the historicity of Jesus and His disciples, as he does also of John the Baptist. He calls John the Baptist "the good man" (Antiquities of the Jews, xviii:5, 2). Scholars recognize the genuineness of Josephus' account about the death of James, "the brother of Jesus who was called Christ" (Ant., xx:9, 1).
Did the Romans know that Pontius Pilate gave sentence for the crucifixion of Jesus? Says Tacitus around 115 A.D., in Annals, XV, 44: "Christus [the Latin spelling of "Christ"], from whom the name [Christians] had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty [crucifixion] during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate...."
There is the PROOF Jesus lived!
This was not a Christian writing, but a pagan Roman historian who hated everything Christian! Tacitus had access to the government records. He had the PROOF Christ was crucified!
HERE IS THE PROOF OUTSIDE OF THE BIBLE — PROOF THAT JESUS WAS BORN OF A VIRGIN — THAT HIS MIRACLES DID HAPPEN — THAT HE DID PREACH THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM — THAT HE DID CALL DISCIPLES — THAT HE DID HAVE BROTHERS!
These are actual facts OUTSIDE THE BIBLE proving the existence of Christ, Mary — Christ's mother — Christ's brothers, and John the Baptist. They have been recorded by contemporary non-Christian historians. It stands irrefutably proved that the person Jesus Christ is NOT a myth and that the New Testament record is TRUE!
Is God Able to Preserve His Book?
Critics today challenge the accuracy of copies of the Bible in their original Hebrew and Greek languages. Can we be sure that the Bible has not been corrupted? How can we know that it still is the REVELATION of God to man? Has it been so changed and corrupted by myth since the original writing as to be highly doubtful, if not altogether altered?
We must understand the answers to these questions before we can really acknowledge the Bible as the foundation of truth.
Here are the facts:
For years the critics claimed the Hebrew Bible was of no authority. "A late and altered form of earlier Hebrew writings," they claimed!
Then came the year 1947.
In the summer of '47 a sheer coincidence led to the discovery of the oldest manuscripts of the Bible so far known. Among a collection of literary works found in a cave in Wadi Qumran on the north side of the Dead Sea, a 23-foot leather scroll was found to contain the complete text of the book of Isaiah in Hebrew! Expert examination of the document revealed beyond doubt that this Isaiah text dated from about 100 B.C.
This COPY of Isaiah, now about 2000 years old, is unique proof of the reliability of the Holy Scriptures that have been handed down to us. The text in all fundamentals AGREES with what we have in our PRESENT-DAY BIBLES! The only differences are minor spelling changes and misplaced words, changes that represent the carelessness of unofficial scribes who copied that text of the book of Isaiah.
In other words, the present Masoretic Hebrew text, which is a continuation of the official Old Testament Hebrew, is far superior in preservation to the unofficial copy of Isaiah made 2000 years ago. Furthermore, we have the wonderful knowledge that the ancient scroll of Isaiah, just like the printed copies of Isaiah in any modern-day Bible, whether Hebrew, Greek, English or German, has the SAME 66 CHAPTERS of our present-day text.
PHOTO CAPTION: The 2000-year-old Isaiah Manuscript, the book of Habakkuk and other early manuscripts, were found in caves near the Dead Sea in 1947 and after. Several Biblical manuscripts offer added proof of the reliability of Holy Scripture. At left is an original roll, found in 1947, from which the page to its right was separated. Right, one of the Dead Sea caves during the search for "Dead Sea Scroll" fragments.
Until this find, the oldest and fullest Manuscript in Hebrew was the Codex Petropolitanus, dating from about 916 A.D. This proves how accurate the Jews have been in copying, generation after generation, the books of the Old Testament. HOW CAN ANYONE DENY THAT GOD IS GIVING DIVINE PROTECTION TO THE BOOK WHICH CONTAINS HIS COMMANDS AND REVELATIONS TO MAN!
Between 1949 and 1951 additional manuscripts were located in other caves near the Dead Sea. In these scrolls were 19 books of the Old Testament — all telling the same story as the Isaiah Manuscript!
Who Has Preserved the Bible?
Through whom has God preserved His authoritative written Word accurately?
Jesus said: "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18). Has this happened? Was Jesus right? Or has the Law — the Old Testament — been hopelessly lost and corrupted?
Luke quotes Jesus as saying: "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail" (Luke 16:17). Modern critics assume Jesus was wrong. They think the Old Testament has not been accurately preserved. But they are wrong!
1. Has the Bible been hopelessly corrupted? Can we ever be sure what the words of Jesus really were? Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33.
COMMENT: What words those! — "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY WORDS SHALL NOT PASS AWAY"!
Jesus' words — the very words recorded by the apostles in the New Testament — shall NOT pass away!
Of course the MODERN CRITICS prefer to quote Jesus as saying: "Heaven and earth CANNOT pass away, but my words SHALL PASS AWAY!" But these critics are wrong! Jesus is right. His words have not passed away. The critics have merely been unwilling to look for His words where He said they could be found! They have, instead, looked elsewhere so that they WOULD not find Jesus' words.
Notice where we ought to look for the authoritative text of the Old Testament. Read it from the Revised Standard Version which the modern critics have themselves translated: "Then what advantage has the Jew?"
Yes, what special duty did God give to the Jew? Notice:
"Much in every way. To begin with, THE JEWS ARE ENTRUSTED WITH THE ORACLES OF GOD. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every man be false, as it is written, 'That Thou mayest be justified in Thy WORDS ...'" (Romans 3:1-4).
2. To whom were the ORACLES of God, the written record of God's revelation delivered through Moses and the prophets — the Old Testament — committed? Rom. 3:1.
PHOTO CAPTION: Yemenite Orthodox Jewish scribe copying the Torah on parchment. God required the Jews to accurately copy the Old Testament for our day.
COMMENT: The JEWS have preserved the Old Testament. But what if the Jews did not believe and did not practice the things written in the law, the prophets and the psalms? What if the Jews became divided into Orthodox and other sects? Does their rejection of the truth nullify the faithfulness of the written Word of God which they are required to preserve from generation to generation?
"God forbid," declared the King James Version. "By no means," reiterates the Revised Standard Version.
So the Jews — by the very admission of these critics — HAVE preserved the Old Testament faithfully!
Now consider the New Testament. It was offered first to the Jews. But the Jews rejected the New Testament — refused even to accept its Author. What did God, in His wise foreknowledge, do? He revealed His New Testament message to the Gentiles and especially the Greeks for a very great purpose.
Greeks Preserve New Testament
Notice Paul's statement. The Jews ORIGINALLY had the advantage over the Greeks because the Jews received the oracles of God (Romans 3:1-4). NOW, however, declares Paul, "THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him" (Rom. 10:12). No difference? Why?
Continuing with verses 14 and 15: "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? ..."
1. To whom was the New Testament message sent? Romans 10:12.
COMMENT: SO the Greeks, too, received "the word of God." God sent to them a special apostle Paul. Though he spoke to Gentiles in general wherever he went, Paul went almost exclusively to Greeks. He spoke to others only as they were found in the Greek-speaking world. Paul wrote to Greek-speaking churches, not to Ethiopian-, Chinese-, German-, or Persian-speaking churches. There was a very special reason.
Let us read further — Romans 10:19-20: "But I say, 'Did not Israel know?' [That is, did not Israel recognize the New Testament message? But they refused it and were in part blinded spiritually.] First Moses saith, 'I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation [the Greeks were indeed a foolish nation, filled with vanity of mind] I will anger you.' But Esais is very bold, and saith, 'I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.' "
Notice that Paul applied these prophecies to his day — the New Testament period.
Why? Because the Jews refused the New Testament oracles which now were sent to the Greeks!
2. Did God manifest Himself — did He give His oracles, the New Testament message TO THE GREEKS through the preaching of the gospel? Isaiah 65:1 and Romans 10:20.
3. What does God say of the people of Israel? Romans 10:19, 21.
COMMENT: How plain! When the Jews rejected the message of Jesus Christ, GOD RAISED UP THE APOSTLE PAUL TO GO TO THE GREEK-SPEAKING WORLD. The Greeks would hear! They did hear! They received the oracles of Jesus Christ — the New Testament! And THEY have preserved it! Jesus declared: "My word shall NOT pass away" — and it has not passed away. The GREEKS ALONE of all peoples copied, generation after generation, the New Testament in the very language God inspired it to be written! No other people did it! The Samaritans corrupted it; the Latins and Egyptians translated and often corrupted it. Only the Greeks have accurately copied it in its original language.
Today about 4500 examined Greek manuscripts "all confirm the integrity and purity of the New Testament text," wrote Cobern in "The New Archeological Discoveries". In 1935 a fragment of John's Gospel in Greek, dating from the time of Emperor Trajan, 98-117 A.D., was discovered in Egypt. The fragment was part of a codex or book, indicating that the entire New Testament IN PROPER ORDER was circulating within a score of years following the death of the last apostle. This fragment confirms our present text. All these fragments and texts witness to the accuracy with which the New Testament has been preserved through fire and sword.
But what about the minor variations in the Old and especially the New Testament? Why did God allow these slight variations in ancient Greek and Hebrew copies which in NO WAY ALTER the meaning of the Scriptures? (We are excluding spurious contradictory additions which no scholar accepts.)
PHOTO CAPTION: Modern Samaritan holding corrupted text of ancient Pentateuch — the Book of the law. The Samaritans were Gentiles who falsely posed as Jews. They altered the text of the Hebrew Bible to justify their religious customs. For centuries the Jews — to whom God had committed His oracles — had to be on guard against the wiles of the Samaritans.
Bible a LIVING Book!
The answer is that Scripture is a living book, using living languages. In English, for example, if we are to understand the Bible, we need new wordings from time to time as the old wording becomes difficult to understand. DO YOU REALIZE THAT MOST OF YOU WOULD BE UNABLE TO READ THE TRANSLATIONS INTO ENGLISH MADE 100 YEARS BEFORE THE KING JAMES VERSION? We have these versions in the libraries of the Ambassador Colleges. It would be useless to quote from them in the Correspondence Course — they are too difficult to understand. Old English almost seems to be a foreign language to those of us who live today.
In the same way slight changes were necessitated over the centuries in the Hebrew and Greek due to the gradual changes in wording and expression in those two divinely chosen languages. In order for His Word to be understandable in public reading, God permitted minor scribal variations in spelling and word order for clarity. That is why no two codices or complete manuscripts of either Old or New Testament agree 100% in every detail. GOD HAS PURPOSED IT! He intended His Word, even in the original languages to be LIVING, ACTIVE, INTELLIGENT CHANNELS through which His Will might be expressed.
These minor changes — contrary to the usual opinion — PROVE rather than disprove the inspiration of Scripture. Inspiration is not of any value whatsoever in a dead, unintelligible language!
Why Critics Reject Greeks' Text
Now let us see what has happened. We find that modern critics refuse to accept the valid manuscripts which the Greeks have preserved! They have done the same with the true text of the Old Testament! OVER 95% OF ALL NEW TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS HAVE BEEN PRESERVED BY THE GREEKS. These were the manuscripts basically used in the King James Version.
The modern critics in their OWN wisdom, turn away from these in their Revised Standard Version to the corrupted 5% of Greek copies found in Egypt and the Latin world. These spurious manuscripts originated under Samaritan, Egyptian and Roman influence at the hands of the conspirators who secretly followed Simon Magus (see Acts 8). They wanted to decide for themselves how the Bible should read. They did NOT want to come UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE.
The critics claim, in their pompous wisdom, that out of these contradictory and corrupted manuscripts — no two of which agree closely on many important verses — they can derive a New Testament text! All they have done is discover how the Greek New Testament had been corrupted in Egypt and Rome by the conspirators out of Samaria who followed Simon Magus.
It is time we have our eyes opened to what happened in the "Lost Century" of church history — between A.D. 70-170.
It is time we "come out of Egypt!" How many times God has had to call His people out of Egypt! And still, like the children of Israel, people want to "turn back again into Egypt" (Acts 7:39).
THE MODERN CRITICS ARE MERELY FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE EARLY CONSPIRATORS, like the "Church Father" Origen, who tried to "correct" the New Testament in their OWN "wisdom."
Text of Protestant Reformers
For centuries, during the Middle Ages, the only Bible accessible to Western Europe was the Latin Vulgate Bible. It was the work of the scholar Jerome, who prepared it from many old Latin translations — which differed among themselves. This Bible is the progeny of ROME.
1. What is modern Babylon — Rome called? Revelation 17:5. COMMENT: Rome has preserved the Latin translation of the Bible. She has not preserved the New Testament in its original Greek. Italy is not the homeland of the inspired Greek New Testament.
Rome is, however, the Mother of the corrupt "Western Text" of the Greek New Testament. This text is so perverted that even modern scholars will hardly use it. Yet from those corrupt Western Greek manuscripts originating from Rome came the Old Latin translations and eventually the Latin Vulgate!
Jerome attested to the corruption of the Latin translations of his day. Notice what Jerome reveals:
"If we are to glean the truth," Jerome said, "from a comparison of many, why not go back to the original Greek and CORRECT THE MISTAKES introduced by INACCURATE TRANSLATORS, and the BLUNDERING ALTERATIONS of confident but ignorant critics, ... all that has BEEN INSERTED OR CHANGED by copyists" in the Latin (Jerome, "Vulgate Preface", Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6).
There you have it!
The Latin and Greek texts that the Catholic Church preserved were the MOST CORRUPT. They DID NOT FOLLOW the true readings of the divinely preserved Greek manuscripts. Its revision was dependent on EGYPTIAN MANUSCRIPTS — again corrupt. The revised Vulgate also became corrupted.
For nearly 14 centuries the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible dominated the Western World. Then, in 1453 the Turks conquered Constantinople, the capital of the Greek world. Many Greek scholars fled west. They brought their manuscripts with them. Soon Erasmus and Ximemes, Stephen and Elzivir and Beza published texts of the New Testament in Greek. IN A FEW INSTANCES THESE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT TEXTS CONTAINED ADDITIONS FROM THE LATIN VULGATE WHICH THESE SCHOLARS TRANSLATED INTO GREEK. A striking example is I John 5:7 which occurs in no Greek manuscript preserved by the Greeks. It made its appearance in the King James Version ultimately from the Latin Vulgate.
The Greek texts of the early Reformation printers were vastly superior to the Latin versions previously circulated. From these Greek texts the early English translations came including the renowned King James Version of 1611 VERY FEW BASIC ERRORS APPEAR IN THE KING JAMES VERSION — though it is by no means a perfect or clear translation.
But the work of the early printers was not continued. Critics — English and German — gradually ceased to search out the official Greek text preserved in various parts of Greece, PARTICULARLY IN MOUNT ATHOS where the bulk of New Testament manuscripts are still located. Instead, they have turned away from the bulk of these accurate New Testament manuscripts of Greece to the corrupted texts of Rome and especially Egypt! These faulty texts have been used for nearly all modern translations of the Bible during the past 75 years — and especially in the Revised Standard Version and the New English Translation.
An Often-overlooked Principle
Do you realize that God sets the pattern for translations in His own Word?
Few have recognized it, but the Bible gives us the principles of translation in the New Testament especially. Let us see how:
1. First, turn to the Ten Commandments which God Himself uttered and wrote. They are recorded in Exodus 20. Notice the command against adultery in Exodus 20:14: "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
PHOTO CAPTION: These Greek Monks, ignorant of the value of their treasure, stroll outside the Monastery of Ivirion on Mount Athos Peninsula. Here the bulk of accurately copied New Testament manuscripts are still located — far away from the corrupt influences of Western textual critics.
Now turn to Deuteronomy, the fifth chapter. Forty years had elapsed since God uttered the Ten Commandments. Moses is now repeating the Law of God, under inspiration, to the people. How is Moses inspired to WORD this command? Verse 18. Write both scriptures down for comparison.
COMMENT: DO YOU notice it? THE WORDING IS DIFFERENT, BUT THE MEANING IS THE SAME! The meaning would not have been the same, however, if Moses had said: "Thou shalt not commit adultery unless your mate is unfaithful"!
Here we have proof in scripture itself that it is not wrong to use different words, provided the MEANING IS not corrupted. That is one reason for slight changes in both Hebrew and Greek originals — changes which make the meaning equally CLEAR!
2. Now let us turn quickly to the NEW TESTAMENT for an example. How DID JESUS HIMSELF REWORD THE ORIGINAL INSPIRED HEBREW TEXT, BUT RETAIN THE SAME MEANING? Write in full the contrasting verses of Mark 7:6-7 and Isaiah 29:13.
COMMENT: Once again the inspired wording is different, but the MEANING remains identical. Jesus did not translate the Hebrew word for word, yet His meaning is the same. That is why you find the various writers of the Bible — particularly the gospel writers — expressing the same thoughts in different words.
The Bible is God's Revelation for man, delivered through inspired men for mankind to preserve INTELLIGIBLY!
Yet another example is worth our consideration. Open your Bibles to Romans 3:10-12 and compare these verses with Psalm 14:1-3. Write them down. Here again the meaning is not lost although different words are freely used.
No Translation Inspired
Apart from Hebrew translations into the Greek, there are no perfect translations. Many people, it seems, come to cherish one particular translation so much that they assume it must be inspired and without error. Every translation has its FLAWS, its provable mistranslations, and its misinterpretations. These faults are due to the fact that God has never used scholarly translators as inspired translators since the days of the apostles.
Here are two fundamental reasons for flaws which you need to remember about translations into any language from the original:
(1) SCHOLARS ARE NOT ALWAYS PERFECT IN THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES and (2) most scholars and ministers on translation committees DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE PLAN AND PURPOSE OF GOD. They have been taught that Scripture does not mean QUITE what it says. Hence they interpret and translate the Bible according to their OWN VIEWPOINT. INCORRECT MEANINGS ARE READ INTO the inspired original.
Nevertheless, EVERY VERSION IS ACCURATE ENOUGH to be a reasonably faithful rendering of the Word of God.
The skeptic will ask, of course, about the many doubtful readings especially those which have been put into the FOOTNOTES of the Revised Standard Version. The facts are that many INSPIRED verses have been put incorrectly into the footnotes of this version because the scholars who worked on this version followed the ancient Egyptian scribes and copyists who overlooked or carelessly left out these phrases and even whole sentences in the copies they were reproducing. This is the one great weakness of this version. But it remains a fact that 95% of the manuscripts are preserved by the Greeks and retain every one of the deleted sections! The deletions are preserved in the King James Version and often in the American and English Revised Versions.
Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53 through 8:11, which are put in the footnotes in the Revised Standard Version, ought to be in the text. Read these verses carefully. Also Matthew 27:49 ought to have added to it: "And another took a spear and pierced His side, and out came water and blood." This is left out of both the King James and the Revised Standard Versions. It is in the Moffatt Translation and in the original inspired Greek.
There is insufficient space in this lesson to proceed further, but these illustrations give us some indication of the OVERWHELMING ACCURACY of both Old and New Testaments. No other written work has ever been preserved as accurately as the Bible — and the marvel is that it has been preserved primarily by its enemies, those who do not really believe what the Bible says! The enemies of Christ have been made responsible for preserving the Book that is a witness against them!
Do We Have ALL the Bible?
One final question should be answered with regard to the preservation of Scripture. Do we have ALL the Bible?
The testimony of history itself is that NONE of the Old Testament has been lost since the days of Christ. For nearly two thousand years, through persecution and war, the Jews have PRESERVED THE OLD TESTAMENT EXACTLY as God intended! The same books composing the Bible in Jesus' day are used today in the synagogues and in the churches.
But what about the Catholics having seven more books (the Apocrypha) added to the Old Testament than do the Jews and Protestants? Are these added books part of the Bible — or are they spurious?
The official authority of God for the Old Testament was vested in the Priesthood and the officially appointed Scribes in Palestine (Matthew 23:2). This Priesthood never accepted the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha are uninspired books written by unconverted men. These books contain definite errors, plus a measure of truth — just as all HUMAN books do. The apostles never quoted from the Apocrypha. They never referred to these seven added books as inspired. Even the Catholic Church did not accept them until about 398 A.D., at the Council of Carthage 300 years after the Bible was completed in the days of the apostle John!
The Greek Bibles used by the inspired New Testament Church under the guidance of the apostles did not contain the Apocrypha. These uninspired books were not added until after 315 A.D. according to the admission of the Catholic bishop Cyril of Jerusalem. Here is proof that THE APOCRYPHA WAS NEVER APPROVED BY CHRIST OR THE APOSTLES. The Bible WAS COMPLETED in the days of the apostles!
The same may be said of the so-called "Lost Books of the Bible." These books were never lost because they were NEVER A PART OF THE BIBLE. They are outright FRAUDS! They are spurious — uninspired — and full of errors!
If you want the full story of the Apocrypha, write for the article "Do We Have the Complete Bible?"
But what about the New Testament? Is it complete? Here again the testimony is the same — THE NEW TESTAMENT HAS BEEN PRESERVED EXACTLY! The early Greeks recognized no other New Testament books than we have today. No New Testament book has been lost.
If you want an illustration of God's intervention to preserve His Word, turn to Jeremiah 36, beginning with verse 23. King Jehoiakim had an entire scroll of the Word of God cut with a penknife and consumed by a fire. Certainly burning the only copy of the Word of God would destroy it if anything would! — he thought. (Write down these verses.)
But what happened? Did it perish forever? No! Read the account in Jeremiah 36:32.
You can depend on the Bible. IT IS THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD IN PRINT! It carries absolute authority.