January 28, 2021

How Can We Trust the Bible, since It’s Thousands of Years Old?

Nathan W. Bingham & Stephen Nichols
How Can We Trust the Bible, since It’s Thousands of Years Old?

The truth claims of the Christian faith depend ultimately upon the teaching of Scripture. Can we really trust a book that is thousands of years old? Today, Stephen Nichols states four reasons why the Bible is absolutely reliable.


NATHAN W. BINGHAM: I'm on the Ligonier campus joined by our chief academic officer as well as one of our teaching fellows, Dr. Stephen Nichols. Dr. Nichols, how can we trust the Bible when it was written thousands of years ago?

DR. STEPHEN NICHOLS: Yeah. Because it is such a compelling book, and because the evidence for the Bible's uniqueness and the Bible's authority is utterly overwhelming. So, first let's just consider this: the Bible has a remarkable inner consistency. It was written over twelve hundred years. It was written by thirty-nine different authors. And these authors are stemming the whole social strata, from kings to commoners. It's written in three languages. It's written on three continents. It's written in a multiplicity of political and socioeconomic cultures and contexts. And yet, it is one book. There is no other book even remotely like the Bible.

Secondly, the Bible has withstood scrutiny. The Bible takes place in real place and in real time. It's set alongside of historical events. And when we look to historical data or we look to archeological evidence, we see corroborative evidence for the text of the Bible. One archeological find in particular is the Moabite Stone. This stone, discovered in the 1860s, records the deeds of the king of Moab. And it is in perfect concert with the biblical text of 2 Kings 3. I was just reading an article the other day about ten archeological discoveries in 2019 that corroborate the Bible, one of them being Philistine DNA. So, we have a whole history of textual and archeological witness that corroborates the events to the Bible.

So, the Bible has a unique inner consistency. It has external verification and corroboration. And then thirdly, the Bible is utterly unique when we compare it to other religious texts. If you take the Book of Mormon, here you have a text that is in some ancient language. And this individual is given essentially a decoder ring to be able to interpret this text and to be able to give the Book of Mormon. That's not at all like the Bible. Or even take the Qur'an. Here we have Muhammad in trance-like states and these ecstatic visions, and then he dictates those visions and that's the Qur'an. This is not the Bible. The Bible was written by real authors in real places talking about real events. In fact, there's an ordinariness to the Bible that confounds us. Of course, we know that the Bible is not just the book of human authors.

And the ultimate reason why we should trust this ancient book is because the Bible declares to be the Word of God. We look at these external evidences or these historical data. This gives us reason to say: "You should pay attention to the Bible. You should read it. This is worth paying attention to." And, when you do, here's what you're going to find. You'll find that the Bible declares to be the Word of God. Not just once or not just twice, but all over the pages of the Bible is flooded this declaration that the Bible is God's Word. So, yes, yes, yes. We can trust the Bible. In fact, we must trust the Bible because the Bible alone is the Word of God. It is the very Word of God to us.