Truth is reality--things as they really happened, not as they get remade or reinvented.
In our last Morning Briefing, I said we have one [written] source that speaks of the eternality of God--that he has always been and always will be, the Bible. But is the Bible reliable? It is the Truth. Our culture would like to have you believe it is not, so that is why each man must check it out for himself...must know a little about why it is absolutely reliable truth upon which he can base his life.
Before we go any further in our understanding of the person of Jesus Christ, we have got to establish why the biblical record is trustworthy. While entire books have been written on this subject, here is a brief synopsis worth your consideration and understanding, including links1 to read a little further:
There is no other book like the Bible - with its verifiability through fulfilled prophecy, more than 300 Messianic prophecies -- sixty literal prophecies about Jesus, fulfilled in one Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Then, there is archaeology - (more than 25,000 discoveries just within the region known as the Bible lands). [Click to read my writing on archaeology: https://conta.cc/36khTFF]
The archaeology piece is especially fascinating because as more excavation is done, the greater the corroboration of Scripture! Indeed in the past 150 years, archaeologists have been verifying the exact truthfulness of the Bible’s detailed records of various events, customs, persons, cities, nations and geographical locations.2 Visiting Magdala for the first time in February 2018, my eyes feasted on a live dig -- unearthing a first century synagogue, discovered in 2009. Magdala is a veritable feast for the person who wants to know more about the life of Jesus and his teaching, and that the gospel record is reliable. Prior to 2009, skeptics of the Bible scoffed as there was no proof that the gospel accounts were true that Jesus had actually taught on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. And now - in December, 2021, a second synagogue was unearthed at Magdala.3 Nothing short of amazing.
Another distinctive of the Bible: The Bible alone addresses the BIG questions of life, the most controversial questions of life: How did I get here? Why Am I Here? What happens when I die? Is there even an afterlife - a Heaven or a Hell? If there is a Heaven, how do I get there? [My most recent Morning Briefing on this topic: https://conta.cc/3txO91r]. The Bible handles these questions consistently in the 66 different documents, written by 40 different authors in three different languages, and three different continents. The Bible is internally consistent.
Then there are the extra biblical writings/those outside of the Bible itself - dozens of them - that verify people, places, events and details discussed in the Bible. Thirty nine sources outside of the Bible within 150 years of Jesus’ life that reveal to us more than a hundred facts about Jesus’ life, teachings, death and resurrection. First century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, is one such source, then there is the Jewish Talmud, (Jewish teachings passed down from generation to generation, organized between AD70 and 200).
More evidence for the veracity of Scripture is the manuscript evidence; a manuscript is any surviving hand-written copy of an ancient document that predates the invention of the printing press in 1455. There are 25,000 partial and complete, ancient handwritten manuscripts of the New Testament, as well as thousands of copies of the Old Testament--many of them predating the time of Christ. Many of those recovered Old Testament manuscripts that were written before Jesus were unearthed in the Qumran caves in 1947 … the Dead Sea Scrolls. (miraculously preserved)
How about the ‘realness’ factor of Scripture—it includes the bad, evil and the ugly along with the good, such as good King David, falling to the temptation of adultery, following it up with murder. How could God’s words then call him a ‘man after his [God’s] own heart’? The Bible tells it like it was, even though it seems like it would read better if its characters would have been more righteous and holy.
Finally, we will conclude our support for the reliability of the written Word of God by stating the fact that no other book in the world has transformed the hearts, minds and lives of people as has Scripture. The writer of Hebrews describes it as living and active;4 oh yes it is! Hmmm, I remember this psalm from my youth, set to a simple melody: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.”5
Listen to this, as I finish, from my heart to yours--There have been so many situations from the beaches to the high school…
From gymnasiums to people’s backyards to a boat on the Sea of Galilee…
Ah, there was the hillside where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. . . There have been living rooms, chapels, mortuaries, sanctuaries and then of course, a white Ford Raptor truck in a shopping center parking lot with an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean and accompanying YouTube messages. There have been Facebook livestreams from my living room and backyard in North Carolina, and oh yes, there was the intimate hall with the low ceiling where Pilate tried Jesus - why if those rocks could cry out!
There was the peaceful Garden of Gethsemane where Christ uttered his final agonizing prayer under the stately canopy of old olives trees ….. across the valley, the high-ceilinged Upper Room where the Holy Spirit came with tongues of fire, oh and Bethlehem! Looking down from the Shepherd’s Fields, with Jerusalem just across the opposite hillside … I could go on recalling each setting filled with memories of eyes, faces, expressions … all that I have had the privilege of sharing TRUTH from the precious Word of God. I would not trade these for anything.
This is to engender confidence in you as we study the words of God to unpack more about the Son of God, our Jesus. But I pray that this also renews your interest and love for the Bible or perhaps ignites a sincere curiosity, wonder and love that you have never possessed. Take a moment and ask God to give you such a love for his Word; it will radically change your life.
Carrie Underwood, CeCe Winans -
Great is Thy Faithfulness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT0HcAr9aeI
Make sure the Bible is your truth,
1 - www.pastorwoman.net archives hundreds of Morning Briefings, written and podcast, that can be accessed: Click on Morning Briefings, Archives, Bible teaching.
2 - “Evidence for the Bible” - Charlie Campbell, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCLoX97SJaQ
Also www.alwaysbeready.com an excellent resource**
3 - from the Jerusalem Post - https://www.jpost.com/archaeology/2nd-temple-period-synagogue-found-where-gospels-mary-magdalene-was-born-688519
4 - Hebrews 4.15
5 – Psalm 19.7--10