the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
Confidence in the reliability of the Bible is supported by substantial extra-biblical evidence as well. For instance, the science of archeology has shown we can trust the scriptural record.
Before his death, Moses charged the Israelites to build an altar on mount Ebal, west of the Jordan. He told them to build it of whitewashed stones, upon which they were to inscribe the law. They were to offer sacrifices and then pronounce blessings and cursing, with half the people on mount Ebal and the other half on mount Gerizim. After the fall of Jericho and Ai, Joshua carried out the command. (Deut. 27:1-13, Josh. 8:30-35). As astounding as it may seem to the non-Christian, the remnants of that very alter were found in the early 1980's.
Another well known archaeological proof is the discovery of the water tunnel built at the command of Hezekiah, king of Judah in the seventh or eighth century BC (2 Kings 20:20). A tunnel corresponding to the shaft described in scripture was discovered in the late nineteenth century when an inscription relating to the building of the tunnel was found in the pool of Siloam.
There are also ample extra-biblical historical accounts that uphold the veracity of the Bible. For instance, the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius had this to say in regard to Jesus Christ: Now there was about this time Jesus a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works - a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him many of the Jews and many of the gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
Clearly, Josephus recognized Jesus Christ as an historical figure who did “unusual” things and was crucified by Pontius Pilate at the instigation of the Jewish leadership. Other historians of antiquity have made reference to Christ as well.
Nonetheless, it is neither archaeological evidence nor extra-biblical history that convinces one the Bible is God breathed and inerrant. In the final analysis it remains a matter of faith. Paul says the “natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). We who are born again accept what the Bible tells us on faith. Certainly our faith is based upon the trustworthy character of our Father in heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ. But it is true that outside of faith it is impossible to accept the Bible on its own terms (Eph. 2:8-10, Heb. 11:1f).
The Spirit of God inspired the writers of the Bible to write the very words of God (2 peter 1:19-21, 1 Cor. 2:13, Matt. 5:18, John 17:17), yet they were not merely stenographers. Rather, the men whom God used to pen the Scriptures were chosen from before the foundation of the world to write. They were created with specific personalities and abilities and wrote according to their God given character. Just as artists choose certain brushes to create a desired affect, God created and shaped certain individuals to cast the Scripture according to His desire. Each writer provided the texture and style appropriate to their task. As Gordon Clark has said: When God wished to make a revelation, at then time of the exodus or of the captivity, he did not suddenly look around, as if caught unprepared, and wonder what man he could use for the purpose. We cannot suppose that he advertised for help, and when Moses and Jeremiah applied, God constrained them to speak his words. And yet this derogatory view underlies the objection to verbal inspiration. The relation between God and the prophet is totally unlike that between a boss ands a stenographer.
The focus of the Bible is Jesus Christ. In the pages of Scripture we discover who He is and are lead to Him as the Holy Spirit illuminates our minds, allowing us to see and understand the truth (Luke 24:27, 44, John 5:39, Acts 17:2-3).