“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
Undoubtedly, this concept is especially pertinent to Christianity and the Bible. Why believe the Bible over other holy books and texts? The Bible makes some very extraordinary claims about salvation and even the creation of the universe, but why should we believe it? When we read the Bible, can we trust it to be reliable, accurate, and credible?
The answers to these questions have profound implications. If you are a Christian, is your faith in something legitimate? To what extent should you trust in the Bible to direct your life? Is the Bible worth your time and careful consideration? An objective study of the Bible text leads to one extraordinary conclusion: the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is undeniably the inspired Word of God. How can we make that extraordinary claim? Here are a few examples of the extraordinary evidence.
Compared to Secular History?
Not many years ago, scholars created what is called the Documentary Hypothesis. This was a very elaborate system of criticisms designed to prove that there was no way that Moses could have written the first five books of the Bible as Christians believe to be true. The entire hypothesis was based on the premise that written language was not around when Moses would have lived (1400 BC). Further archeology proved the scholars wrong. It is now an established fact that written language existed centuries before Moses lived.
The existence of the Hittite civilization is another example of this dependability. The Old Testament speaks of the Hittites a great deal (Exodus 33:2; Joshua 11:3). Scholars mocked the Bible saying that this supposed civilization was just some fabrication of the authors of the Bible. Further archeology proved the critics wrong again. We now have over 1200 years worth of Hittites history discovered. There are numerous more examples such as these where historians, scholars, and archeologists questioned the Bible only to be proven wrong over and over again. In the 2000 year existence of the Bible, it has not been proved inaccurate on historical basis even once. Each time the Bible’s historical dependability is questioned the Bible prevails.
What about Jesus?
The life of Jesus Christ has also been antagonized by many opponents of the Bible. These gainsayers may be surprised to know that even some of the more supernatural events related to the life of Christ apparent in the Scriptures are further legitimized by non-Christian sources.
Around 95 A.D., a Jewish rabbi, Eliezer ben Hyraanus of Lydda mentions Jesus and his “magic arts.” We also have a 4th century quote from Julian the Apostate, a Roman Emperor and adversary of Christianity, sarcastically admitting the miraculous abilities of Jesus: “Jesus…has now been celebrated about three hundred years; having done nothing in his lifetime worthy of fame, unless anyone thinks it is a very great work to heal the lame and blind and exorcise demoniacs in the villages of Bethsaida and Bethany.”
Another remarkable quotation comes from Julius Africanus, a writer from 221 A.D. In some of his literature he makes a very interesting point concerning the writings of Thallus, a Gentile writer from the 1st century: “Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun – unreasonably, as it seems to me… because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was at the season of the Paschel full moon that Christ died.” Evidently, the strange darkness over the earth at Christ’s crucifixion as recorded in the gospels was an accepted fact for centuries (Matthew 27:45). It was so well accepted that unbelieving people like this man, Thallus, had to rationalize it. Again, the Bible is confirmed.
With all of these things considered, it is undeniable that our Bible should not be dismissed as just a fantastical creation of men. The Bible is reliable having survived attacks on its historical accuracy generation after generation. Even in the more supernatural accounts, the Bible has been proven infallible.
To this point we have established the dependability of the Bible as a work of literature, but what bearing does this have on your life? Even if the Bible is worth believing, is it worth obeying? Why should the instruction of the Bible mandate my lifestyle? And more importantly, why should I trust the Bible to provide the way to obtain eternal life? Here is some of the remarkable evidence demonstrating that the Bible was authored by the Spirit of God and has pervading authority in lives of all humanity.
Although there are numerous incredible examples of God’s undeniable role in the writing of the Scriptures, several points related to Jesus Christ himself are especially remarkable. These examples not only demonstrate that God is the omnipotent Lord of the universe, but also illustrate that he has intended for us to understand through the Scriptures that his Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior.
- Regarding the crucifixion, Psalms 22:16, referring to the coming Messiah, says, “They have pierced my hands and feet”. One Thousand years before the advent of Christ, King David, the writer of the Psalms, prophesied that the savior of the world would die with his hands and feet pierced – in other words, crucified. The fact that Jesus died in this way is confirmed even by secular history – something undeniable.
- Isaiah 53:12 says, “[He] was numbered with the transgressors.” Again, it is a universally accepted fact that Christ died being called a blasphemer and worker of witchcraft. Even on the cross the Bible records that he was crucified between two thieves (Matthew 27:38).
- Several passages in the Bible indicate clearly how the world would or would not receive the Christ when he came. Psalm 118:22: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” Isaiah 60:3: “The Gentiles shall come to your light…” Jesus himself makes this comment in Matthew 21:42-43: “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.” Each of these scriptures taken from the Bible is directed towards one central point: By and large, the Jews would reject Christ and the Gentiles would receive him. Incredibly, this is a prophecy continuing to be fulfilled even to this very day. How could Jesus have ever predicted that his own people would reject him while the idolatrous Gentiles would receive him? He knew because he was God.
In giving us the Bible, God has blessed us with a tremendous gift. He has given us insight into his will, evidence of his authorship, and a reason to have confidence in our faith. The Lord of the Universe proves himself to be the only true God and proves his son to be the only true Savior. Thus Paul rightly says, “The Holy Scriptures… are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
I am a member of the Riverside Road Church of Christ in Ozark, MO, where I share the responsibility of teaching and preaching with several other men. In my secular work, I am a professor at Cox College in Springfield, MO, in the department of radiologic sciences and imaging.