TUESDAY — How Did We Get the Bible?
Big Point: It’s okay to have questions about the Bible, but we must take the time to understand and evaluate the evidence.
Before addressing any other controversies in scripture, it is vital to determine who wrote the Bible. Was it merely a group of men—albeit brilliant individuals—who authored the scriptures or did God orchestrate the Bible through the Holy Spirit?
In an article about this topic, author Robert Verlarde addresses some of the critics’ questions about how and why the Bible came to be:
– Some critics believe that the Bible was created by a select few to consolidate, gain or maintain power and prestige. Yet, both Hebrews and New Testament Christians were greatly persecuted, so rather than having power and prestige, they were oppressed.
– Other critics question whether or not there are many different “Bibles” and how can we be sure that the Christian version is the “right one”? They ask questions such as: which “gospels” are right because there are many writings outside of the New Testament that claim to be gospels, such as the Gospel of Thomas. However, these additional gospels appeared long after the New Testament manuscripts (copies of original writings) and so these “lost” gospels are suspect in their content and in their reliability.
– Skeptics propose that the Bible has errors as a result of centuries of copying scripture over and over again. “Transmission” has to do with how the contents of the Bible have been communicated through history. In tomorrow’s LIO study, you will study this in detail, but here is a tidbit that addresses this controversy: “The transmission of the documents through history is astounding. Not only do we have thousands of manuscript copies, as well as thousands more fragments or portions of the New Testament…errors or changes are slight, known as variants, and do not change any central belief of Christianity. When it comes to transmission and translation, we can indeed trust the documents.”
READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
One of the most commonly used arguments against the validity of the scriptures is that the Bible was written by a bunch of old men. Read 2 Peter 1:20-21. How was the Bible actually written?
2 Peter 1:20-21 (New Living Translation)
20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, 21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
Although Luke acknowledged that many others have written about Jesus’ life, he used his own personal investigation and testimony of eyewitnesses. What did Luke do to assure Theophilus that what he wrote was true in Luke 1:3-4?
Luke 1:3-4 (New Living Translation)
3 Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, 4 so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.
LIVE…What will you do now?
When people say, “Oh, you can’t trust the Bible because it was written by a bunch of old men” what do you think they are really saying?
- If the Bible was written by a bunch of old men then it must have mistakes.
- The Bible can’t be relevant if it was written by men centuries ago.
- We don’t really need to stake our lives or eternity on the Bible because it was written by flawed people just like us.
- All of the above. (By the way, this is the correct answer)
Perhaps you have some questions about how the Bible was written or questions about the Bible’s accuracy. List some of your questions below.
How is your ability to explain how you know the Bible is true related to Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19-20 when he tells Christians to share the Bible and make disciples around the world?
2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us that the Bible was written by prophets who were moved by the Holy Spirit. How have you experienced the Holy Spirit’s power by applying God’s Word in your life?
PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Whether you are completely confident in the scriptures or you have difficulty truly believing that the Bible is true, the fact remains: The Bible is the Word of God. If you are struggling, take time today to ask God to help you understand. If you aren’t struggling, then ask God to give you opportunities to share what you know with others.