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Can we trust what we read in the Bible ?

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Presentation on theme: "Can we trust what we read in the Bible ?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Can we trust what we read in the Bible ?
Are the stories in the Bible fairy tales - like “Lord of the Rings” ? Or are the stories in the Bible legends – like the Trojan war ? Or are the stories in the Bible real history – like World War II ?

2 Fantasy, Legend and History
Fairy tales: completely invented by men The Lord of the Rings Harry Potter Legends: historical facts with exaggerations King Arthur (there was probably some noble king, but Excalibur was probably legendary) Trojan War (the war was real, Troy is real, but the heroes and their deeds have been exaggerated) History: truthful accounts about the past Holocaust, World War II Nanjing Massacre

3 How to tell if some account is Historical ?
From Historical Evidence !!! Pictures Historical writings Ancient artifacts Archeological sites

4 Honest questions about the Bible
So, is the Bible a fairy tale (fiction) ? Stories in the Bible are made up by people ?? Or is the Bible a book of legends ? E.g., Jesus was real, but he was just a wise man but he was not the Son of God. After He died, his followers made up the story about His resurrection ?? Or is the Bible a historical book ? Jesus was real and He was really the Son of God Jesus really died and resurrected (and those that saw this freaked out completely) (And if it is a historical book and what it said is true, are you ready to face the consequences ?)

5 Are stories in the Bible pure fiction ?
How can you tell that a story (like “Lord of the Rings”) is a fiction ? There are no record for some people, places, events For example: you can’t find “Middle Earth” How can you tell that a story is not fiction: You can verify many people, places, and events in the story Are there any evidence that shows the Bible is not a book of fiction ?

6 Biblical places verified by archaeology
Capernaum Nazareth Rolling-stone tombs Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-15)

7 Biblical People verified by Archaeology
TIBERIEUM (PON)TIUS PILATUS (PRAEF)ECTUS IUDA(EAE) Proconsul Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:6-12)

8 Biblical People mentioned by Historians
Jewish Historian Josephus (100 AD) on James: So Albinus assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others…. he delivered them to be stoned Jewish Historian Josephus (100 AD) on Jesus: Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man…He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles…. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross…

9 Biblical Events confirmed by Historians
Strange way of taking census: Luke 2:3 - And all went to be registered, each to his own city. Confirm by an edict from C.Vibius Maximus, Prefect of Egypt dated around 104 A.D.: The enrollment by household being at hand, it is necessary to notify all who for any cause soever are outside their nomes (administrative divisions of Egypt) to return to their domestic hearths, that they may also accomplish the customary dispensation of enrollment and continue steadfastly in the husbandry that belongs to them.”

10 More Biblical Events confirmed
Jews expelled from Rome under Tiberius: Acts 18:2: “There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had been expelled from Italy as a result of Claudius Caesar's order to deport all Jews from Rome. Roman historian Suetonius (100 AD) wrote: As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (= Christ?), he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome. These are the only two historical records on the expulsion of Jews from Rome by Claudius !!!

11 More confirmed people, places & events
Lysanius, Nicodemus, Mary, Martha, Lazarus (burial boxes), Pilate, Sergius Paulus, Erastus (treasurer of Corinth), Gallio (governor of Corinth)… Places: Nazereth, Capernaum, Derbe, Lystra, etc (every city mentioned in Acts confirmed)… Events: Census in Jesus time, Expulsion of Jews under Claudius, Crucifixion, Jesus’ resurrection (by numerous testimonies)…

12 So are the stories in the Bible fictions ?
Many people, places, and events have been verified Bible reads like a history book ! One of the Gospel’s writer (Luke) told us that he was writing history: it seemed good to me also, following all things accurately from the very first, to write to you in order, so that you might know the certainty of those things in which you have been instructed The Bible is no fairy tale !

13 Are the stories of the Bible legends ?
We have established that the accounts in the Bible are not fairy tales Stories from the ancient times can come down to us distorted (exaggerated): legends The Iliad tells about a great battle for the city Troy The city of Troy did exist, the Trojans did exist But it is hard to imagine an invincible hero like Achilles (swords and arrows can’t penetrate his skin, except at his Achilles heel) Are stories of the Bible legends ? Is Jesus really the Son of God ??? Did Jesus really resurrect (came back to life) ???

14 Forming of Legends Historical accounts (stories) are passed down through history by: Oral accounts (songs and poems sung from memory): Iliad (Troy) ! Written accounts Oral accounts usually get more “impressive” over time: legends Legendary material are added to oral accounts after more than 200 years (memory fades) When was the New testament written ?

15 When was the New Testament written
Gospel of Matthew: Magdalen papyrus - fragment (dated around 150 A.D) – we know for sure Matthew existed around 150 A.D. Bible scholars believe that the Gospel of Matthew is written before 80 A.D. (most like around 60 A.D.) Chester Beatty paparys P45 - fragment (dated A.D.)

16 When was the New Testament written
Gospel of Mark: Qumran cave 7 (7q5 may be Mark 6:52-53) – (dated around 50 A.D. !) Bible scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark is written before 70 A.D. (most like around 50 A.D.) Codex Vaticanus: c. 350 A.D.

17 When was the New Testament written
Gospel of Luke: Codex Vaticanus: c. 350 A.D. Codex Sinaiticus: c. 350 A.D. Bible scholars believe that the Gospel of Luke was written before 80 A.D. (most like around 60 A.D.)

18 When was the New Testament written
Gospel of John: Rylands papyrus: dated around 125 A.D. Bible scholars believe that the Gospel of John was written before 90 A.D. (most like around 70 A.D.) Brodmer papyrus: dated around 200 A.D.

19 Testimony to Gospel’s Dating
We can get clues on when the gospels were written from the Bible and historical writing about the Bible Gospel of Luke and Acts: Luke said in Acts that Acts was written after the Gospel of Luke Acts ends with Paul under house arrest Paul was executed by Nero in 62 A.D. Luke would surely have told us about Paul’s execution Acts probably written before 62 A.D. Gospel of Luke probably written before 60 A.D.

20 Testimonies on the Authorship of the gospels
Bishop Irenaeus ( AD) wrote: "Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome. After their departure Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing those things which Peter had preached; and Luke, the attendant of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel which Paul had declared. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also reclined on his bosom, published his Gospel, while staying at Ephesus in Asia." The gospels are first hand information

21 What do all these evidence tell us ?
Gospels were written years after Jesus’ death by people who knew Jesus very well 30-50 years is too short to form legendary stories in the gospel An even stronger reason: The gospels were in circulation within a single generation of people – people who witnessed Jesus’ miracles were still alive when these gospels were written; this include hostile witnesses If the gospels contained any lies or inaccuracies, the hostile witnesses will surely speak out !!! The Gospels contain accurate information

22 The Bible: Then and Now OK, so the original gospels was very accurate
But we do NOT have the original copy of the New Testament !!! The text of the Bible that we have today may or may not be the same as the original text – it depends on how accurate the original text is passed down So how was the Bible passed down to us ?

23 Passing on the New Testament
The New Testament (accounts of Jesus’ life) was written on papyrus (Printing was not invented until 1455 A.D.) Papyrus scrolls worn by use When worn, the content is copied by hand onto a new scroll

24 How careful was the Bible copied ?
The copiers of the Bible text use special care to make sure the text was accurately copied ! They count the number of words in each chapter and check if the count in the copy was correct They count the number of letters on each line and check if the count in the copy was correct A large number of copies of the New Testament have survived through history and we can use these copies to verify accuracy

25 Evidence of careful copying
Before the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, the earliest copy of the Book of Isaiah was from around 980 A.D. In 1947, a Dead Sea scroll was discovered that contained the entire book of Isaiah dated around 250 B.C. (over 1000 years earlier) The contents are virtually identical – except for a few minor copy errors

26 Testimonial to New Testament’s Accuracy
Norman L. Geisler & William E. Nix said: The New Testament has not only survived in more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity, but the New Testament has also survived in a purer form than any other book - a form that is 99.5% pure In other words: Scholars conclude that 99.5% of the New Testament that we read today is exactly the same as the original copy that was written almost 2000 years ago !!!

27 Comparing Bible/Ancient History: Alexander
Jesus (30AD) Earliest surviving copies: Codex Vaticanus Codex Sinaitus Gospels written 400 BC 400 800 1200 Plutarch (60 AD) Earliest surviving copy of Plutarch Alexander the Great (323BC) If you can believe the facts about Alexander, you can believe the facts about Jesus

28 Comparing Bible/Ancient History: Caesar
Jesus (30AD) Earliest surviving copies: Codex Vaticanus Codex Sinaitus Gospels written 400 BC 400 800 1200 Suetonius (100 AD) Earliest surviving copy of Suetonius Julius Caesar(44 BC) If you can believe the facts about Julius Caesar, you can believe the facts on Jesus

29 More on the reliability of the gospels
A number of characteristics of the gospels make them more reliable: They report the uglier side of the story – Example: Peter denied Jesus three times If you want to start a new “made-up” religion, would you portrait an important figure as a wimp ??? They include weaker (truthful) testimonies – Example: Women’s testimony were worthless in the ancient Jewish society – and yet, the first people that discovered the empty tomb were all women !!! If you want to start a new “made-up” religion, you want men to discover the empty tomb.

30 Can you believe the Bible ?
The Bible contains super-natural events (miracles) Can an intelligent person believe in miracles The Bible says that Jesus died and resurrected (came back to life !!!) Have you seen any person die and come back to life ? It’s sure hard to believe, isn’t it ? You would freak out if someone did… So did we see anyone freak out after seeing Jesus ??? – You bet, plenty !

31 Evidence that Jesus’ disciples freaked out
Before Jesus’ resurection: Peter denied Jesus 3 times (to save his neck) Peter went back to his old job (fisherman) -John 21:3: “Simon Peter said to them, I am going out to fish.” After Jesus’ resurrection: Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and Cappadocia, and Betania, and Italy, and Asia, and was afterwards crucified by Nero in Rome with his head downward, as he had himself desired to suffer in that manner.

32 More Testimony to Jesus’ resurrection
The disciples of Jesus did not only preach that Jesus had resurrected, they also testified to what they preached – with their own life Hippolytus of Rome (c. 200 AD) wrote “Catholic Encyclopedia” in which he mentioned the life of many disciples of Jesus Andrew preached to the Scythians [modern day Georgia] and Thracians [modern day Bulgaria], and was crucified, suspended on an olive tree, at Patrae, a town of Achaia [Greece]; and there too he was buried.

33 Yet More testimonies According to Hippolytus: The list goes on and on…
Bartholomew, preached to the Indians, to whom he also gave the Gospel according to Matthew, and was crucified with his head downward, and was buried in Allanum And James the son of Alphaeus, when preaching in Jerusalem, was stoned to death by the Jews, and was buried there beside the temple. James, brother of John, when preaching in Judea, was cut off with the sword by Herod the tetrarch, and was buried there. The list goes on and on…

34 Testimonies by early Christians
The Roman Governor Pliny (100 AD) seeks out Christians (for execution) this way: I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed.... (So, just deny Jesus and you go free !) Nero (62 A.D.) blamed the fire in Rome on the Christians: an immense multitude was convicted…they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt

35 Testimony from a former unbeliever
Luke wrote “Gospel of Luke” and “Acts” “Acts” is proven to be very accurate: many people and places, and all - except for a few - has been verified by archaeology Luke wrote about Paul’s own testimony: Paul said that he persecuted Christians at first Paul said in Acts that Jesus appeared to him Immediately, Paul preached that Jesus has resurrected – and he was executed by Nero in 62 A.D. for being a Christian Why the change in believe ? When you see God, you have no choice but to believe !

36 Testimony from another former unbeliever
James was one of Jesus’ brothers Jesus’ brothers did not believe Jesus was the Son of God: John 7:5: “For His brothers did not believe in Him” According to the Jewish historian Josephus, James died for preaching the gospel: They brought before them the brother of Jesus…whose name was James, …delivered them to be stoned... What cause James to believe in Jesus ? 1 Corinthian 15:8: “Afterward He (Jesus) was seen by James” – James saw the resurrected Jesus !!!

37 What can we learn from these testimonies?
The disciples of Jesus started the Christian faith and many of them died for this faith Nobody dies for a lie that he made up himself All these early Christians had to do to save their own life was the deny Christianity If Jesus’ resurrection was a lie, these disciples would never have die for it Some former unbelievers died preaching the gospels of Jesus Why would any of them rather die than deny Jesus ?

38 Matthew 10:32: Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Jesus’ disciples, many early Christians, James and Paul rather loose their life on earth than loose their soul in heaven !!!

39 The End


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