Recently, in our sermon series at City Bible Church, we discussed the trustworthiness of the Bible. Here are some links discussing a few of the illustrations and concepts mentioned in the sermon.
We talked about a few of the seeming contradictions or conflicts within Scripture. Our premise was that the Bible has no real contradictions within itself when it is thoroughly examined in its entire context. Here are a few books that deal specifically with some of these “problem areas” if you are interested in investigating them further.
- Hard Sayings of the Bible by Walter Kaiser Jr., et al.
- The Big Book of Bible Difficulties by Norman Geisler & Thomas Howe
- New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer Jr.
We also discussed some of the major archaeological finds that support the historical accuracy of Scripture. Here are a few links to some of the examples from the sermon.
- This is an article from the Oregonian showing the archaeological evidence for the Biblical account of the fall of Jericho, as mentioned in the sermon.
- Here is an article on a recent discovery of a seal impressed with King Hezekiah’s signet. It is significant because the Bible says that Hezekiah was miraculously healed of a deadly illness; and the divine sign of his healing was the shadow cast by the sun going back several steps on a sort-of sundial. The seal comes from the time of Hezekiah, was found in the royal precinct, and has the Egyptian symbol for life with a sun rising on wings, as if to commemorate the event of the healing. It proves that not only was Hezekiah real (an otherwise well attested historical fact), but that the story surrounding his healing was not a fable to evolve long after his death, but comes from his lifetime.
- Here is a link to the NIV Archaeological Study Bible, an illustrated resource focusing on historical and archaeological discoveries that confirm and illuminate the Biblical text.
In the message, we also briefly investigated the textual support for the Bible; that is, the manuscript evidence by which we trust that our English translations accurately represent the original writings.
- We considered the fact that we have thousands of very early New Testament manuscripts, produced astonishingly close to the writing of the original documents. If you are interested in how scholars weigh and compare these various manuscripts in order to come to a confident trust in the genuineness of the Bible as we have it today, Is My Bible the Inspired Word of God? by Edward Goodrick is a fascinating book. It is short and easy to read yet scholarly.
- We also mentioned a few recent discoveries that help confirm the trustworthiness of the Masoretic Text, the main manuscript we use to translate the Old Testament even though it is quite distant from the originals. Here is a link to a Christianity Today article on the Dead Sea Scrolls by Ed Stetzer. Although some significant differences are present (perhaps due to the separatist nature of the community responsible for them), these ancient manuscripts are quite early and are amazingly similar to the Masoretic Text, bolstering our trust in it.
- Here is an article on the En-Gedi Scroll, which was discussed in the sermon. This is a small charred scroll found in 1970 in a synagogue in Israel. It was an official scroll for reading on the Sabbath, meaning it was a respected and accurate copy. It dates to about 250 AD, which means it represents a very early tradition of the Hebrew Bible. In 2015, scholars made a CT scan of the scroll to discover its contents, since unrolling the charred remains would ruin it. Several paragraphs from the Leviticus have been deciphered so far, and every word is exactly identical to the Masoretic Text!
- Here is an article on the Silver Scrolls, which are two small silver amulets inscribed with a blessing from the book of Numbers. It dates to the 7th century BC, which is before the close of the Old Testament! Although the text from Numbers is abbreviated to fit on the scroll, the verbiage is identical to the Masoretic Text. The further back archaeology takes us, the more we end up trusting the reliable Old Testament manuscripts that have been preserved for us!