Biblical Evidences

Bibliographical Evidence

One of the stories central to The Lost Scrolls is the reliability of the New Testament records. It’s a story not told that often in either the mainstream press, nor in modern academia, which seems hell-bent on discrediting the Bible at every turn. The following chart is compiled from numerous sources, chief among them Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict, illustrating the difference between the manuscript evidence of the Bible and the manuscript evidence of other antiquarian writings.

Author
Date
Written
Earliest
Copy
Time  Span
Number
of Copies
Lucretius
died 55 or 53 B.C.
1100 yrs
2
Pliny
A.D. 61-113
A.D. 850
750 yrs
7
Plato
427-347 B.C.
A.D. 900
1200 yrs
7
Demosthenes
4th Cent. B.C.
A.D.1100
800 yrs
8
Herodotus
480-425 B.C.
A.D. 900
1300 yrs
8
Suetonius
A.D. 75-160
A.D. 950
800 yrs
8
Thucydides
460-400 B.C.
A.D. 900
1300 yrs
8
Euripides
480-406 B.C.
A.D. 1100
1300 yrs
9
Aristophanes
450-385 B.C.
A.D. 900
1200 yrs
10
Caesar
100-44 B.C.
A.D. 900
1000 yrs
10
Livy
59 BC-AD 17
—-
???
20
Tacitus
circa A.D.100
A.D. 1100
1000 yrs
20
Aristotle
384-322 B.C.
A.D. 1100
1400 yrs
49
Sophocles
496-406 B.C.
A.D. 1000
1400 yrs
193
Homer (Iliad)
900 B.C.
400 B.C.
500 yrs
643
New
Testament
1st Century (A.D. 50-100)
c. A.D. 130
<100 yrs
5,600

The 5,600 figure refers to Greek manuscripts, and does not take into account the vast array of Latin, Ethiopic, Slavic, Armenian, etc. manuscripts that are still extant. If these were included as well, the total number of manuscript copies and fragments of manuscripts is greater than 24,000!

Here are a pair of charts illustrating the differences between the age of ancient manuscripts, and the extant number of ancient manuscripts available today:

So you see, if we challenge the reliability of the New Testament manuscripts based on the notion that they’ve been corrupted over centuries of copying, we must allow all of classical antiquity to fall as well. And the simple fact is, we don’t have centuries as it is. We have decades, and we have thousands of manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts from which to compare and choose. Therefore, we can confidently assert that the New Testament we have today is a reliably accurate version of the original texts. But does this mean that what the authors wrote is true? For that, we must turn to…

Archaeological Evidence

It’s hard to know where to begin, if only because there is so much supporting evidence for the accuracy of the Bible–both the Old and the New Testaments. The noted Jewish archeologist Nelson Glueck put it this way:

It may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. (Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert, 1960, pg 31)

The Old Testament makes frequent references to a group of people called the Hittites.  But for years historians were never able to find any other references to the Hittites, so the Bible was called into question.  Then, in 1906 an archeological dig confirmed the existence of the Hittite Empire in Turkey.  Then they found its capital.  They even found 40 other cities that made up its empire.  The Biblical account was proven correct after all.

Another example. In Daniel 5, the Bible says a man named Belshazzar was king in Babylon.  But historians said that another man, Nabonidus, was king during this time. Then, in 1956, archaeologists unearthed three stones with an inscription.  The inscription stated that the king of Babylon, Nabonidus, had led his armies into battle far away, and so he temporarily installed his son, Belshazzar, on the throne until he returned.  This is the period of time Daniel was talking about.

Pontius Pilate was thought to be a myth as well, until 1961 when archaeologist Antonio Frova found an inscription which said, “Tiberium Pontius Pilate Prefect of Judea” while excavating Caesarea Maritima.

During the 1930 to 1936 excavations of Jericho, British archaeologist Dr. John Garstang said,

“As to the main fact, then, there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely that the attackers would be able to clamber up and over their ruins into the city. Why so unusual? Because walls of cities do not fall outwards, they fall inwards. And yet in Joshua 6:20 we read, ‘The wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.’ The walls were made to fall outward.”

In 1986, scholars identified an ancient seal belonging to Baruch, son of Neriah, a scribe who recorded the prophecies of Jeremiah (Jer. 45:11).

In 1990, Harvard researchers unearthed a silver-plated bronze calf figurine reminiscent of the huge golden calf mentioned in the book of Exodus.

In 1993, archaeologists uncovered a 9th century B.C. inscription at Tel Dan. The words carved into a chunk of basalt refer to the “House of David” and the “King of Israel.” And the Bible’s version of Israelite history after the reign of David’s son, Solomon, is also an historical fact because it is corroborated by independent account of Egyptian and Assyrian inscriptions.

I could go on, but since there are more than 25,000 archaeological discoveries which have only served to confirm the incredible accuracy of the Biblical text, I must pause. But the significance of these discoveries cannot be understated: if the Bible authors got so much right about history that has been confirmed archaeologically, why do we assume they got it wrong when it came to the miracles or teachings of Jesus, or of the resurrection itself? It is only sheer prejudice to do so.

What is more likely, especially if you apply Occam’s Razor, is that the Bible is accurate not only in the natural details it relates, but in the supernatural as well–therefore the question it poses is equally valid: will you accept the testimony and believe in Jesus for salvation, or will you refuse God’s gracious offer? The choice is yours.

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