Is the Bible really the inspired word of God? Was it accurately preserved for thousands of years as a unique revelation from the Creator of the universe? Or is it just a collection of humanly devised myths and fables? Do we even have the right books in the Bible, or are important sources missing that would change our view of God, Jesus Christ and Christianity? Can we trust Scripture? Is the Bible vital and relevant today?
Discovering the truth about the Bible could prove to be one of the most important and exciting adventures you have ever embarked upon. Although critics attack the Bible, and preachers ignore or gloss over many of its teachings, the Bible contains a dimension of knowledge that is almost totally missing from our modern world. The Bible reveals the true purpose of life. Bible prophecies not only foretold the rise and fall of ancient nations; they also explain the real significance of world events making headlines today and where those events are heading. In spite of what millions have been led to believe, the Bible is much more than a pious devotional book or an incense-shrouded source of comfort for the troubled and bereaved!
Today, many educated people assume that science and modern scholarship have thoroughly discredited the Bible. This assumption thrives because so many know so little about the Bible. Many people today are simply unaware of discoveries that continue to confirm the historical accuracy of Scripture. Instead, people are encouraged to believe that all religions are equally credible—or equally fanciful—without ever comparing the sourcebooks of those religions. As a result, millions are unaware of how the Bible is unique, and what amazing features distinguish it from all other religious books.
Before you accept the idea that the Bible is "just like any other book," you need to examine the evidence for yourself. That evidence is eye-opening and extremely informative, and it could change your life! You need to understand why so many today doubt the Bible's credibility, and what the truth about the Bible can mean to your future.
A Change in Attitude
For thousands of years, Jews and Christians believed, and died for believing, that the Bible was the inspired word of an Almighty God. Down through the ages, antagonists and skeptics have challenged, attacked and ridiculed the Bible. Popes and pagan Roman emperors attempted to destroy Scripture, and even altered its words. Yet, during these same turbulent centuries, the Bible was carefully preserved and its message spread in remarkable ways!
The Bible is surely the most influential book ever written. It has been translated into more languages than any other piece of literature. More than two billion people alive today embrace, at least nominally, its teachings. Even so, many do not realize how profoundly the Bible has influenced the course of all Western civilization. Millions do not understand that biblical laws and teachings provided the basis for social values and legal systems throughout the Western world for centuries. Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most brilliant minds of his century, remarked, "There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history." Britain's Queen Victoria said of the Bible, "That book accounts for the supremacy of England." U.S. president Andrew Jackson stated, "That book, sir, is the rock on which our republic stands." U.S. president George Washington commented, "It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible." France's Napoleon observed, "The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all who oppose it" (Halley's Bible Handbook, pp. 18–19).
Yet much has changed since these statements were made. Today, Bibles can be found in far-flung corners of the globe. But in Western nations founded on biblical principles, there has been a steep decline in respect for the Bible. There is a pervading notion that the Bible is just another book, and that its teachings are archaic, outdated and irrelevant to our modern lives. Many seriously doubt that God inspired Scripture. Millions who live in nations that once learned to read from the Bible, and sent Bible-toting missionaries around the world, cannot even name books in the Bible or explain basic biblical doctrines. Surveys done in recent decades show that even many professing Christians have little real knowledge about the Bible. Coinage in the U.S. proclaims, "In God We Trust." Yet recent legislation and judicial decisions have made it illegal in the U.S. to display the Ten Commandments in public buildings, or for students to pray in school!
What has produced such a profound shift in attitudes toward the Bible in the very nations that once professed strong belief in Scripture? Why do millions now doubt that God inspired the Bible? Why are billions searching everywhere else for answers found clearly in the Bible? Why do people fail to recognize that the Bible contains prophecies clearly revealing the course of world history, and even the future of specific nations? Why have modern generations chosen to ignore a book that reveals essential details about the future and explains the way to peace and the ultimate purpose for human existence? Why has such vital information remained hidden from so many today?
The answers to these important questions read like a novel laced with danger, intrigue and adventure. You will be surprised by information about the Bible that is readily available, yet has largely gone unappreciated or been ignored. You will be shocked to learn how power-seeking religious leaders have twisted Scripture to support misguided and anti-biblical doctrines.
The more you learn about Scripture, the more you will realize that you can believe the Bible, because it has been inspired and preserved by a real God who is alive today! The Bible is firmly based on the facts of history, not on myth and fiction. The evidence presented in this booklet will make this clear.
The Challenge of Scripture
Many today assume that to believe the Bible, you must ignore the facts of science and history and just proceed on "blind faith." Some believers relish the old saying, "God said it. I believe it. That settles it"—but this does not fit well with the skepticism that dominates our age. Others want to ignore what Scripture plainly states, and invent ways to "harmonize" the Bible with modern preferences. Many theologians teach that the Bible is only authoritative when it speaks of broad spiritual principles, and suggest that details of science or history in Scripture are merely the untrustworthy additions of human writers.
This desire to accommodate the Bible to the modern world is reflected in an October 2005 document issued by Roman Catholic bishops from England, Scotland and Wales. In "The Gift of Scripture," the bishops warned that while they consider the Bible true in passages regarding salvation, "we should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other matters… We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical accuracy." Even so, the bishops profess respect for Scripture, telling their flock: "We have rediscovered the Bible as a precious treasure, both ancient and ever new." These double-minded statements reflect the mindset of many theologians today, who say they respect the Bible but deny its authority. When religious leaders urge people to believe in a book that cannot be trusted on many topics, it is not surprising that church attendance in many countries has fallen off dramatically in recent decades.
The plain teachings of the Bible, however, stand in striking contrast to what many religious leaders preach today. The Apostle Paul did not encourage first century Christians to "just believe" in Jesus and merely accept the teachings of the Bible and Christianity "on faith." Instead, he told his audiences, "Test all things; hold fast what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Paul urged people to check into the facts and believe what they could prove to be true! His admonition reflects Old Testament passages where God challenged the ancient Israelites to "prove Me now… if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:8–10, KJV). God urged Israel to put His promises to the test, and promised that He would bless them, to prove that He was real and that His promises were true! Paul knew that true religious belief involves evidence, assurance and certainty, not "blind faith." He wrote that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). According to the Bible, faith should rest on solid evidence, not just warm, fuzzy, emotional feelings in your heart. You should never believe something in spite of the facts, and that includes believing in the authenticity and authority of the Bible!
The Apostle Peter emphasized the credibility of Scripture and of the Christian message when he wrote: "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16). Peter also warned his readers to "be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets" because "scoffers will come in the last days" questioning and ridiculing Scripture, "saying, 'where is the promise of His coming?'" (2 Peter 3:1–9). Peter challenged prevailing misconceptions about Scripture; he did not try to water down fundamental scriptural teaching.
The Bible clearly reveals that the apostolic writers were advocates of Scripture, and of the teachings of the Christian faith! They knew that they were preaching the truth! Their approach followed the example of their teacher, Jesus Christ. The New Testament shows that Christ's manner of preaching surprised His audiences. "And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matthew 7:28–29).
The contents of Scripture can be verified by the facts of history and the discoveries of modern science and archaeology. What is more, the Bible provides answers to life's big questions. Not only do the hundreds of detailed Bible prophecies accurately reveal the future course of world events; they set the Bible apart from all other religious books! The Bible provides a dimension of knowledge that is simply not available from any other source.
With so much evidence available, the real question that we face today is simply whether or not we can believe the Bible. As you read this booklet, you will see that the answer is, "Yes, we can!"