There are some unique and significant
facts about the Bible that contribute to its reliability. Together, these
facts are true ONLY of the Bible. No other book, ancient or modern, can
compare to the Bible. The Bible
Is Unique: 1. In Its continuity. 2. In its circulation. 3. In its translation.
4. In its survival. A book of this stature deserves the careful consideration
of every thoughtful and intelligent person. It does not prove that the
Bible is true; it proves it is UNIQUE. This is the first step in considering
the reliability of our Biblical testimony.
WHY THE BIBLE IS UNIQUE:
A. - Unique in its continuity.
B. - Unique in its circulation.
1 copy every 3 seconds
That's enough pages of Scripture to circle the earth end to end over 1,000 times. That's girding the globe! From the Bible societies alone, as of 1974, 2 billion, 582 million Bibles, New Testaments or individual Scripture portions have been printed.
C. - Unique in its language distribution.
D - Unique in survival through time.
E. - Unique in the number of early
Work of Antiquity
Number of Surviving
Pliny the Younger (History)
|Homer's Iliad is second among works of antiquity in manuscript
authority with 643 manuscripts that still survive. The New Testament alone
The following is a breakdown of the numbers of surviving manuscripts for the New Testament:
|GREEK||No. Of Manuscripts|
|Uncials (capital letters)
Minuscules (small letters with no break between words)
Lectionaries (selected portions of Scripture)
Total Extant Greek MSS
|F. Unique Through Persecution.
The Bible has withstood the vicious attacks of its enemies as no other
book. Seeking to destroy any vestige of its truth, faithful men and women
have been tortured, homes and villages burned and churches pillaged by
godless skeptics consumed with bitter hatred for God's book.
In A.D. 303 Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict to destroy both the Christians and their sacred book. In response to the edict, Roman soldiers went throughout the empire, razing churches to the ground, burning the Scriptures, freeing the empire from the hated curse of Christianity and the Bible. Twenty five years later, Constantine, the emperor following Diocletian, commissioned Eusebius to prepare 50 copies of the Scriptures at the government's expense!
Voltaire, the noted French skeptic and infidel who died in 1778, predicted that in one hundred years from his time Christianity would be swept from existence and passed into history. But what has happened? Fifty years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society moved into his house and used his printing press to produce thousands of Bibles to be distributed worldwide! Voltaire has passed into history; not the Bible!
G. - Unique Through Criticism.
A more subtle attempt in destroying the Bible is the undermining of the Bible's veracity and trustworthiness. Through destructive textual criticism many theologians and critics relegate the Bible's content and message to authors and times completely outside the setting of the reputed events. They have gone so far as to divide one verse into three authorships! By casting aspersions upon its integrity, critics have attempted to annul the Bible's influence through "the assured results of higher criticism".
The "assured results" are no longer so assured. Interestingly enough, the original basis for the "Documentary Hypothesis" (dividing the authorship of the Pentateuch among four anonymous writers) and other higher critical schemes have been conclusively disproved by archaeology. This does not seem to dissuade the higher critic. He still teaches the "assured results" as factual.
Kingdom of Ebla
A significant archaeological find that relates to Biblical criticism is the recently discovered Kingdom of Ebla discovered in Northern Syria by two professors from the University of Rome. Archaeologists, since 1974, have unearthed more than 17,000 tablets from the Ebla Kingdom era which offers solid evidence in support of Biblical truth.
Proponents of the "Documentary Hypothesis have taught that the period described in the Mosaic narrative was a time prior to all knowledge of writing. Therefore, the Pentateuch, of alleged Mosaic authorship, was compiled around 400 B.C., or 1,000 years after Moses. (More Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Arrowhead Springs, Calif.: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1975; pp. 67-70)
The Kingdom of Ebla tablets show that not only did writing exist in Moses' day, but that 1,000 years before Moses laws, customs, and events were recorded in writing,
Critics have held that the various use of the names for God (i.e. Jehovah, El Shaddai, Elohim, etc.) indicates more than one author. Genesis would then be a compilation of the memoirs of two or three authors, each of which gave different names to God. According to the critics, no author would be so inconsistent as to use differing names for God in the same narrative! (More Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Arrowhead Springs, Calif.: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1975; pp. 117-131)
At the Kingdom of Ebla site, a Cannanitish text was discovered dated at the same time in which Moses and the patriarchs lived. This text used 5 different names for God in a single narrative.
The higher critics have taught that the Priestly code and moral legislation recorded in the Pentateuch were far too developed to have been written by Moses. The Israelites were considered too primitive at that time to have written them. It wasn't until the first half of the Persian period (538 - 331 B.C.) or some 1,500 years after Moses, that such detailed legislation was recorded. (More Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Arrowhead Springs, Calif.: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1975; pp. 62-67)
At Ebla, tablets containing law codes were discovered, demonstrating that other civilizations at the time of Moses possessed elaborate judicial proceedings and case law. Many were very similar to the Deuteronomic law code which critics have claimed as originating at a very late date.
Critics have claimed that the 5 cities of the plains as recorded in Genesis 14 did not exist, and the kings and events listed were fictitious and historically unreliable. (More Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Arrowhead Springs, Calif.: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1975; pp. 79-83)
The Ebla archives refer to all five cities of the plains and on one tablet the cities are listed in the exact same sequence as Genesis 14:8 with the exact same spelling (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar). Furthermore, these five cities and their kings were made to pay tribute to the Kingdom of Ebla.
States leading scholar Bernard Ramm:
"No other book has been so chopped, knived, sifted, scrutinized, and vilified. What book on philosophy or religion or psychology or belles lettres of classical or modern times has been subject to such a mass attack as the Bible? with such venom and skepticism? with such thoroughness and erudition? upon every chapter, line and tenet?"
For all these centuries of relentless attacks on the Bible, it is still loved by millions, and studied by millions.
Protestant Christian Evidences. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1957), pp.
|The Bible is unique: Having no like
Admittedly, this does not prove that the Bible is the Word of God but
it does factually show the Bible is unique. It takes us one giant step
forward in considering its reliability and trustworthiness. Any person
honestly seeking for truth would certainly consider a book with these
astounding qualifications. Particularly as the weight of evidence of all
other factors continually mounts, to the point where the possibility of
these unique manuscripts being the source of special divine "Revelation"
is compelling, and beyond all probability.