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How do we know that the bible is true?

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  • How do we know that the bible is true?

    What are the claims that prove the bible is true?

    Were there any real physical archaeological evidence discovered that support some of the stories in the bible?

  • #2
    Originally posted by baka View Post
    What are the claims that prove the bible is true?

    Were there any real physical archaeological evidence discovered that support some of the stories in the bible?

    It's a good question, because no-one can REASONABLY believe the claims of ANY ancient historical documents which were written nearly 2,000 years ago, and which contain a history of ANY human personality (such as, for example, a Roman governor) – UNLESS there was at least SOME evidence as to (a) the historicity of the person to whom the documents refer; and (b) the historical reliability of the documents.

    In other words, there MUST BE at least more than one documentary reference to any ancient personality, name, place, or event in order for us to satisfy ourselves that the first document is not a fabrication – or what we would today call a novel.

    How many non–New Testament references to Jesus Christ have been found, or have been preserved?

    1 Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, who was born around 55 A.D and died sometime after 117 A.D, writes of Jesus in his “Annales” (annals), which he wrote between 115 and 117 A.D, mentioning that Jesus was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberias.

    Tacitus's annals covers the history of the Julian emperors of the Roman Empire from Tiberius to Nero, covering the years 14 A.D to 68 A.D (Jesus of Nazareth was crucified somewhere between 29A.D and 34 A.D).

    2 Thallus, a Samaritan historian, wrote around 52 A.D attempting to give a natural explanation for the darkness which occurred at the crucifixion of Jesus. (This document suggests that this phenomenon must have been well-known in 52 A.D – between 19 and 22 years after the crucifixion). Thallus did not deny the existence of Jesus – he only tried to explain away the phenomenon which occurred when Jesus was crucified.

    3 The Jewish Talmud, written from 100 A.D to 500 A.D, speaks frequently of Jesus of Nazareth in unfriendly terms (most of the Jews rejected Jesus' claim to be their Messiah).

    4 The famous historian Flavius Jospehus, a Jewish general turned Roman historian who was born in 37 A.D, makes several references to Jesus in his “History of the Jews”, for example, “... and brought before it the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ, whose name was James.”

    5 A letter by a man named Mara-Serapion, written to his son at around 73 A.D – in this letter, Mara-Serapion compares the rejection by men of the teaching of famous people throughout history: Socrates, Pythagoras, and Jesus of Nazareth.

    6 Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor, wrote at around 112 A.D to the Roman emperor, Trajan, about Christians and their devotion to Christ.

    The New Testament, of course, is all about Jesus Christ, and the New Testament shows how He fulfilled all the Old Testament (the Jewish Tanach's) prophecies about the coming of the Messiah of Israel, who would also be the Savior of the world (the coming of a Messiah is a key theme throughout the pages of the Old Testament).


    1 According to the New Testament, the land of the Jews (Judea) was under Roman rule at the time of Jesus Christ's birth. Was this the case?

    This is 100% correct. We know a great deal about the history of the Roman Empire, through the many historical documents which were written. The coinage, customs and many other things mentioned in the New Testament are also 100% factually correct with regard to the historical time-period.

    2 The New Testament states that when Jesus Christ was born, “Herod the Great” held the office of “king of Israel” under the Emperor of the Roman Empire. Is this true?

    This is 100% true. Herod the Great ruled from 37 B.C to 4 B.C – which means that Jesus Christ could not have been born AFTER the year 4 B.C (nobody knows the exact year of Jesus Christ's birth, and there is debate about it among Christians).

    3 The New Testament states that when Jesus Christ was born, “... it happened in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus (emperor of the Roman Empire) that all the world should be taxed”, and that “... This taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) (Luke 2: 1-2). (Cyrenius is also known as Quirinius).

    Gleefully, and for a long time, all those whose chief aim is to prove the New Testament to be historically incorrect at some point, claimed that Quirinius was not governor of (the Roman Empire's province of) Syria; and they also gleefully argued that there was no such census, and that people did not have to return to their ancestral home for such a census –

    UNTIL archaeologists uncovered documentary evidence proving that:-

    1 The Romans had a REGULAR enrollment of taxpayers.

    2 Held a census every 14 years (begun by Augustus Caesar).

    3 Concerning the conducting of a census, a papyrus found IN EGYPT (which was also a province of the Roman Empire) says:

    "Because of the approaching census it is necessary that all those residing for any cause away from their home should at once prepare to return to their own governments in order that they may complete the family registration of the enrollment..."

    4 An inscription found in Antioch tells of Quirinius being governor of Syria around 7 B.C – three years before the death of Herod the Great.

    This last fact is very interesting, because (a) Herod the Great died in 4 B.C, therefore Jesus Christ could not have been born AFTER 4 B.C; and

    (b) The New Testament says that in an attempt to have Jesus Christ killed when He was an infant, Herod the Great (because he did not know exactly where, in the town of Bethlehem, the baby was to be found – only that he had been born in Bethlehem) – sent and had all the boys in Bethlehem of TWO YEARS OLD AND UNDER killed; and

    ( c ) An ancient Jewish sage by the name of Abarbanel, whose writings are contained in the Jewish encyclopaedia, the Hebraica, taught that the Messiah would appear at a time when there would be a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn (the largest and second-largest planets in our solar-system) in the constellation of Pisces, which, from the point of view of the Middle-East, would be seen in the sky in the east, at day-break; and

    (d) It is a fact of astronomy that there WAS such a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn THREE TIMES in the year 7 B.C, and each time, it would have been seen in the east (from the point of view of the Middle East), at day-break; and

    (e) According to the New Testament, when Jesus had already been born, “Magi” from the east came to king Herod, saying, “Where is He who is born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2: 2).

    It was precisely because Herod the Great was “the king of the Jews” and the “Magi” had called JESUS “He who has been born king of the Jews” that Herod regarded Jesus as such a threat.


    1 Luke 3: 1 says, “And in the fifteenth year of the government of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the Trachonitus country, and LYSANIAS the tetrarch of Abilene...” (Luke 3: 1).

    The only Lysanias mentioned by non-Christian ancient historians, was one who was killed in 36 B.C – before the time of Jesus.

    However, not too long ago, archaeologists found and inscription near Damascus which is dated between 14 and 29 A.D, and which speaks of “Freedman of Lysanias the tetrach”.

    2 “The pavement” (Hebrew: Gabbatha) mentioned in John 19: 13 was recently discovered by archaeologists – it was in the court of the Tower of Antonia which was destroyed by the Roman armies somewhere between 66-70 A.D. “The pavement” was left buried when the city was rebuilt in the time of Hadrian.

    Before its discovery, the New Testament's reference to “the pavement” was considered “proof” of the New Testament's historical unreliability.

    3 The Roman historian Cicero indicated that the town of ICONIUM was in the area or Roman province known as LYCAONIA – yet the book of Acts implied that while the towns of Lystra and Derbe were in Lycaonia, the town called Iconium WAS NOT (Acts 14: 6).

    Therefore for a long time the Bible's critics used this as an example of the New Testament's historical “unreliability”. But in 1910, Sir William Ramsay found a monument which showed that Iconium was actually a PHRYGIAN city, NOT a city of Lycaonia – and later discoveries continued to confirm this.

    4 It was always assumed that Luke must have invented the Greek word “Politarchs” (“rulers of the city”), which he used in Acts 17: 6 in reference to Thessalonica – because the term had not been seen anywhere in the classical literature of the ancient Greeks.

    However, some 19 inscriptions which use of this title have now been discovered by archaeologists; and five of these are in reference to the city of Thessalonica.

    The list of historical “discrepancies” cited by the critics of the Bible which have subsequently been proved to be NO “discrepancies” at all goes on and on – but what is the bottom line of all this?

    As far as historical reliability goes, the New Testament is a remarkably reliable book. At the end of the day, the historical setting, and the names of people (such as Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who ordered Jesus Christ's crucifixion), and the names of places, towns, provinces, and the references to coins, customs, etc – are all historically 100% correct.


    The first book of the Old Testament was written around 1,500 years before the first book of the New Testament; and the last book of the Old Testament was written well over two hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

    Well over 1,700 years AFTER the time of Christ (from the 1800's onward), archaeological excavations at various places in the Middle-East began to discover many Biblical names, towns and cities which, until then, were regarded as "fabled", because these names, people and places appeared only in the Bible.

    At a number of archaeological excavation-sites, great numbers of clay tablets were found in the royal libraries of ancient kings, which contained many references to events, people and places written about in the Old Testament, for example:-

    1 The now-famous hexagonal clay Prism recording the campaigns of the ancient Assyrian king, Sennacherib, on which his siege of Jerusalem is recorded; and which even records the name of the man who was the king of Judah at the time, namely, Hezekiah.

    (Of course, as far as the Bible's critics are concerned, because the details on “Sennacherib's Prism” of Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem differs in some minor details with the corresponding account in the Bible, the Assyrian records are accurate, and the Bible's are inaccurate!).

    2 The thousands of clay tablets discovered in libraries at places like ancient Babylon CONFIRM the Bible's account of the Jews' exile and captivity in Babylon, after the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

    In fact, it is only BECAUSE OF these hundreds of clay tablets that we are today able to ACCURATELY DATE many key events recorded in the Old Testament – such as THE YEAR (597 B.C) king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took the Jewish king, Jehoiachin, captive to Babylon; and THE YEAR (586 B.C) Nebuchadnezzar's armies razed Jerusalem and destroyed its temple.

    For thousands of years, many references to names, people, places and events in the Bible were to be found ONLY in the Bible, and therefore seemed to be mere fables – until archaeologists began excavations all over the Middle-East from the 1800's onwards.

    The examples which have been given above, regarding the historical reliability of both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible, are only a few examples of MANY where the findings of archaeology CONFIRM things that are written about in the Bible.

    Nevertheless, a number of discrepancies between the Bible and ancient historical documents, or the findings of Archaeology still exist; and as long as there are people who do not believe the Bible, there will always be a never-ending list of attacks against the Bible's historical reliability – and perhaps it's a good thing – for whenever archaeology makes new discoveries which flatten the “proofs” of the critics, the Bible is strengthened.

    "But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and you are all brothers.

    And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in Heaven.

    Nor be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, even Christ."
    (Mat.23: 8-10)


    "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another.

    By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another."
    (Joh.13: 34-35)


    • #3
      Great Post ananias!

      Here are a couple other links with some great info. They explain how the continuing archeoligical findings validate & solidify the Bible's claims.
      Also- they show how reliable the text of the Bible really is, & that it HAS NOT changed over the years... it still says what it said 2000 + years ago.

      Anyway, enjoy. Here are the links:
      Last edited by markdrums; Oct 14th 2008, 03:25 PM. Reason: spelling
      Hebrews 11:1 Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
      There was a time when I used to think Macro-evolution might be a possibility..... but then I GREW UP!

      Meike & I have the same birthday! Na-na na, na-na!!!


      • #4
        ... Norman Geisler spent better than forty years compiling the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics and, IMO, this is the single most useful source I've ever come across. I own a copy and use it extensively because it gives the source for every extra-Biblical source used. Mine cost me fifty dollars and it is priceless in value.


        • #5
          Besides, there are some things that you just know. I understand that this is not a scientific answer, but I simply know that the Bible is true!


          • #6
            Originally posted by baka View Post
            What are the claims that prove the bible is true?

            Were there any real physical archaeological evidence discovered that support some of the stories in the bible?
            Taking a different approach, to me the Bible is first and foremost a book of faith.

            One can have faith that it is the divinely inspired inerrant word of God and is to be interpreted literally unless the text indicates otherwise by using the words "like" or "as".

            One can have faith it is a collection of writings written by a number of people (very few who are known for certain) over many centuries all trying to explain what it is like to know / experience God.

            Neither view can be proven or disproven.

            Yes, the archaeological and historical evidence is nice but only up to a point. In the end, one must have faith that God exists and have faith that Jesus exists. That is a decision which comes from the heart rather than the head.

            Enough preaching.



            • #7
              Originally posted by th1bill View Post
              ... Norman Geisler spent better than forty years compiling the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics and, IMO, this is the single most useful source I've ever come across. I own a copy and use it extensively because it gives the source for every extra-Biblical source used. Mine cost me fifty dollars and it is priceless in value.

              Bil....just wanted to say, that I love the new avatar!!!!


              • #8
                Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
                (Joh 7:16-17)
                ♪ Each day may Christ become clearer, His Cross dearer, Our Hope nearer. ♫


                • #9
                  In Numbers/Joshua, with the story of Rahab, when the text says, 'Rahab's house was in the city wall' we used to this it was a mistake, and that Rahab's house was within the city walls, but then we dug up Jericho, and found that there was actually a dwelling built IN the outer wall. Futhermore, it appears that this dwelling was some kind of hotel or place of entertainment, possibly a brothel as the Bible suggests.

                  Furthermore, this is one of the few sections of wall from this time period that has not been destoryed, just like the Bible says that when Jericho's wall feel miraculously, Rahab was saved.

                  So yes, there are examples where archaeology or some other science supports the Bible.
                  "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." -Mahatma Gandhi