Is the Bible True?
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Is the Bible True?
The Bible is the most influential book of all time. It’s been translated into virtually every language on earth. Millions of copies have been printed. You probably have a copy somewhere in your home right now.
The Bible is debated, discussed and all too often dismissed. It is revered and respected—but also reviled by some.
But perhaps the most important question about the Bible is one that is often taken for granted: Is the Bible true? Is it what it claims to be—the inspired, divine, holy revelation of God, the Creator of the universe?
If the Bible is true, and it is what it claims to be, then it is a book where you can find the deepest truths of life. If the Bible is true, it’s the source of ultimate truth about the Creator God and His plan for mankind and for your life.
The Bible is a book that has to be understood and accepted by faith. But this faith is not to be ignorant or unreasoning.
We at Beyond Today hold this book in high regard as the ultimate source of truth for life. Every topic we cover is rooted firmly in the teachings of the Bible, and we want to help you see that you can have confidence in the Bible as the guide and authority for how to live a good life of following God’s lead.
Right now you may be seeking a source of reliable knowledge to support your belief in the Bible. We know there are many challenges by skeptics and scoffers. These questions have been around ever since the first words were written down. But here is our stand: We take the Bible as true—not blindly, but based on many documented proofs and a developed trust. In fact, no credible effort has been made and succeeded in undermining the validity of this book.
How have we come to the position where we trust the Bible to be true? There are many reasons supporting what the Bible itself tells us. Let’s take a look at a few.
Proof 1: Fulfilled prophecy
The Bible records many events that took place in the past. But most extraordinary is its record of events that have yet to take place.
The word “prophecy” in our modern day brings with it baggage. It’s a word used in fantasy novels or movies where some aged religious guru calls out some future event. To be honest, when we hear about prophecies today, it’s often in the context of unbalanced people proclaiming kooky, unbiblical ideas about the end time.
But prophecy is real, and it’s a major part of the Word of God. It takes a balanced approach to look into the study of biblical prophecy. God is the God of history and the future. He knows what has happened and what will happen.
Look at what God said through the prophet Isaiah: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please’” (Isaiah 46:10, New International Version 1984, emphasis added throughout).
A proper understanding of prophecy can build faith. When we see prophesied events come to pass, we know that God is in charge, and we can be confident in trusting and obeying Him.
The Bible records many prophecies, then shows how they were fulfilled. The most important ones describe the first and second comings of Jesus Christ. Prophecies spanning thousands of years from Genesis to Isaiah to Micah described Christ’s first coming—even down to naming the town where He would be born, Bethlehem. The Bible contains more prophecies about Christ’s coming than about any other event. And there are many more that describe what His return will be like. Studying these is an awe-inspiring exercise that builds faith and helps make sense of the world.
After all, look around—events are happening all over the world that you may not fully understand but that are already affecting your life. Bible prophecy tells us where events like these will ultimately lead.
Prophecy should motivate us to change
Another impactful reason for prophecy is to change who you are. There is an essential scripture we should read to keep a balanced approach to prophecy:
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness . . . ?” (2 Peter 3:10-12).
We can trust that God is working in our lives, and we need to do our part in overcoming sin and becoming more like Him. The Bible makes claims like no other book. God reveals future events. Some of the events revealed in advance have already come to pass.
We could examine many additional fulfilled prophecies to help prove that this book is true, but we don’t have room in this article to cover them in enough detail to do them justice. If you want to know more, I encourage you to search our website ucg.org/learnmore for Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams, the prophecy of Daniel 11 and prophecies of the Messiah.
Proof 2: Archaeological evidence
Biblical archeology is a field that supports prophecy and the biblical record. Let’s consider a specific example—the story of Cyrus, king of Persia.
In 539 B.C., Cyrus captured and took over the kingdom of Babylon. It was Babylon that had captured Jerusalem and deported its people less than 100 years earlier, ending the Kingdom of Judah. Babylon’s policy was to remove conquered people from their homeland and resettle them elsewhere. Most of the Jews had been resettled in the area of Babylon. When you read the story of Daniel, you see a man caught in this web.
Cyrus’ policy was different. He allowed peoples he defeated to remain in their homeland. As he took power from Babylon, he let those peoples already conquered go back to their homelands. Ezra 1 records that Cyrus made a proclamation allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city.
That decree was a fulfillment of a prophecy made more than 100 years before by the prophet Isaiah. God had said through him, “I am the Lord . . . who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid’” (Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 44:28, NIV 1984).
Not only did God foretell what Cyrus would do more than a century before it happened, but He even called him out by name!
Archaeology substantiates the biblical record
Now this is where it gets interesting. In 1879, a clay cylinder was discovered in modern-day Iraq, with the story of Cyrus’ conquest of Babylon. Clay tablets were the notebook or text file of the ancient world, recording events and important details to be remembered later.
The Cyrus cylinder, which can be seen at the British Museum, has been studied and verified by top scholars. This fascinating ancient historical document corroborates the biblical account in Ezra of Jews returning to Jerusalem along with treasures taken from God’s temple. More than that, it supports Isaiah’s amazing prophecy from more than 100 years prior to Cyrus.
Some Bible critics say that it was someone who lived long after Isaiah’s death and the fall of Babylon who wrote that prophecy. They argue that referring to Cyrus by name more than a century in advance is impossible. A modern secular mind cannot admit that the revelation of God to a prophet could be legitimate. But the facts speak otherwise.
For one, the cylinder uses language similar to Isaiah. Like Isaiah’s prophecy, Cyrus calls himself a shepherd. And instead of giving the Persian god credit for his victory over Babylon, Cyrus gives it to the Babylonian god Marduk—just as he gives credit to the God of the Jews in his proclamation for them recorded in Ezra, demonstrating in both cases a policy of cultural pluralism and promotion of the religions of the conquered. He would have allowed Jews to return and build the Jerusalem temple under this policy.
Here is evidence from archaeology that backs up Bible prophecy in a remarkable way. Archaeological discoveries in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and other lands where the Bible’s events occurred have unearthed mountains of information shedding light on the people, places and events recorded in the Bible. This is verified in many well-documented and reputable books, papers and museum exhibits.
Proof 3: scientific discoveries
If you hear the words “science” and “Bible” in the same sentence, it’s usually because someone is talking about a conflict between them. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The Bible is certainly a book that has to be understood and accepted by faith. But, as mentioned, this faith is not to be ignorant or unreasoning. God doesn’t want us to stop using our brains and intellects to be able to believe that the Bible is His Word. We don’t have to ignore the advances of science to still believe in God.
If we keep an open mind when looking at the Scriptures and understand how science works, it’s plain that the Bible is sensible, consistent and logical and that a proper reading doesn’t contradict what we see in the creation God made.
We need to keep two things in mind when talking about this subject. First, science is simply a process for learning about the observable universe. Second, the Bible is primarily a book for spiritual guidance.
Scientists are constantly studying, testing and reviewing their conclusions to ensure that what they’ve discovered is correct. The scientific method itself is the logical workflow of wondering about something, testing whether that something is true, and then retesting to double-check. In the modern world, the way we make scientific progress is by making a new discovery, forming a new conclusion, then having others review and test that conclusion to ensure its validity.
Very often, new discoveries are made that modify and in some cases overturn conclusions made before. In fact, that is a point that scientists take pride in: Science constantly revises its conclusions, each time getting closer and closer to the truth through observation and experimentation.
Something else to remember is that the Bible is primarily a book of spiritual guidance. It’s a book intended to give us meaning for life, to reveal God as our Creator and Heavenly Father, and to give us a road map for how to live. It isn’t meant as a science textbook.
That being said, it is an accurate description of nature from man’s perspective. In scriptures that comment on the physical nature of the universe, a proper reading shows that what is written does not attempt to contradict what we can prove through scientific observation.
I hope you can see how science and the Bible can work together. Science seeks to reveal the physical truths of what we can observe, and the Bible gives answers about the meaning of life and the spiritual mysteries that we as human beings have wondered about for all of history—as well as providing some factual information about the physical realm.
Bible authors were aware of medical and scientific principles
Let’s look at an example of how biblical authors had a sometimes-remarkable understanding of the physical world. It’s an example from the life and work of Moses, who lived about 3,500 years ago.
Moses was raised in an Egyptian home as an adopted son in the house of Pharaoh. Modern archaeologists have uncovered many artifacts from Egypt in Moses’ day, and one of those is an Egyptian medical document. What it describes about how Egyptian doctors treated illness and wounds would make us feel sick today.
Some examples include using statue dust, beetle shells, mouse tails, cat hair, pig eyes, dog toes, eel eyes and goose guts for medicinal purposes. If somebody had a splinter, they would treat it with a salve of worm blood and donkey dung. We know today that dung is full of tetanus spores, so somebody in ancient Egypt might have died from lockjaw simply due to the way a doctor would have tried to treat a splinter.
Yet the Bible doesn’t prescribe any of those disgusting things for treating disease or illness. If the law of Moses were simply something given by the man Moses, and not divinely revealed by God, no doubt Moses would have relied on his 40 years of growing up in Egyptian society in giving basic health advice. Instead, he gave sanitation principles that were thousands of years ahead of their time!
Major disease epidemics through history have been caused because people didn’t understand that good hygiene is essential to good health. In the early 1800s, a major cholera outbreak started in India and over the course of 20 years spread all the way to the United States, killing thousands of people along the way. Cholera breakouts are almost always linked to improper sewage disposal. In many places around the world, sewage would flow openly in the streets and contaminate the water supply.
In stark contrast with that principle, God clearly instructed Israel on how to dispose of waste: “Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement” (Deuteronomy 23:12-13, NIV 1984).
If mankind had listened to God’s instructions, recorded by Moses thousands of years before, countless lives could have been saved.
There are many more examples like this, where scientific discoveries of modern times have proven principles in the Bible that are plain for anybody to read.
The Bible is true—believe it and live it!
The Bible is true. It is what it claims to be—the inspired, divine, holy revelation of God. It is the source of truth and wisdom and the path to know the Creator of the universe. It is an accurate record of the history of the world, both in what has already happened, and in what will happen in the future.
As we study these things, we have to take a close look at the lives we lead. We have to analyze what changes we need to make.
God has given us an instruction book on life. Through His Word, He foretells the events that will lead up to the return of Jesus Christ. What are you going to do about it? It’s between you and God. We can only show you where to go to find truth—the Bible. It’s now in your hands.
Pick up your Bible today. Read its words and believe them. Pray to God and ask Him to open your mind and heart to understand what He’s saying to you in its pages. Ask Him to show you how you should respond to its message.
The Bible is true. When you believe it and put it into practice and live it, it will change your life!