Please don’t ask me…How can you trust the Bible when it is so full of myths and contradictions? Part 2

Tim BurganSermons

Please don’t ask me…How can you trust the Bible when it is so full of myths and contradictions? Part 2

 

Last week we talked about some of the seemingly contradictory statements in the scripture and this week we want to focus on the things people consider “myths” regarding the Bible

 

Gone are the days when people naturally trust people at their word, especially those in authority. The government, Business, and churches are all scandalized with that come to a natural distrust of all authority including the Bible.

 

Today I want to look at some objections to the Bible that may come up from your friends and how to respond to them.

 

– The Bible is very old and was written by gullible, illiterate people; therefore, we can’t trust it

 

The truth is there are both gullible and discerning people in any age, in every system from business to politics to science to the church…we always have both

 

The people from the era and region of the Bible had people who memorized large passages of scripture and then passed it on verbatim to disciples, the figured accurately the circumference of the earth, and managed to sail ship and travel through deserts using only the stars and the sun as their guide and we lose our phones and keys regularly and can’t remember how to get anywhere without our GPS.

 

The fact the Bible was written in ancient times has no bearing on the literacy or the naivety of the people who put it together.

 

Let’s look at several verses here, and you tell me how gullible the author was. 2 Peter 1:16-18

 

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice, which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

 

Do you think Peter was gullible believing folk tales or made up stories? Let’s look at another example from John

 

1 John 1: 1-4

 

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

 

Do you think this was something John made up or was it something he was accurately describing an experience?

 

When the early church was founded being a Christian in some cases was punishable by death. Confessing Jesus as Lord was being a traitor to Rome and many died for their faith. Yes, some die today for a lie but not something they have experienced, it would be futile to die for something you know was a lie.

 

– The Bible was written too far after the events actually happened to be considered reliable

 

The early creed that Paul proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15 was written by the Apostle Paul in AD 56, a little over two decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was a creed handed down to him, something that was developed not long after Jesus ascension. According to non-biblical sources, Paul was beheaded by Nero in 64AD, so all of his letters were written before then

 

1 Corinthians 15:3-9

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that, He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that, He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all, He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God.

 

Notice he states that many are still alive (verse 6) who could verify exactly what He is saying here.

 

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John were written by contemporaries of Jesus. Matthew and John were disciples and Mark a scribe to Peter. Luke was a scholarly investigative reporter and well educated as he was a physician and right hand to Paul. All four Gospel were written well within the contemporary life of those who saw Jesus.

 

There are also non-biblical references to Jesus which If you go to the website or look at the attached notes on the app you will find some of the references. Gary Habermas who wrote, “The Historical Jesus,” lists thirty-nine ancient sources outside of the Bible that provide over one hundred facts about Jesus’ life, teachings, death, and resurrection.

 

The archeological evidence too is outstanding from Ossuaries with prayers to Jesus from around 50AD to even graffiti on walls making fun of Christians to the discovery of Peter’s home. Science continues to support the truth of the Bible especially the life and times of Jesus.

 

– Even if it were accurate at first, the Bible has been translated and copied so many times it can’t be accurate now

 

Often when you ask people specifically what they are talking about here they either don’t know, or they think Greek to Latin-German- to modern English with changes all along the way, like the kids game of telephone if that were true it would be scary and they would have every right to question its accuracy.

 

All translations begin with the Greek Text for the New Testament and Hebrew text for the old. We still have these text to refer to, and every translation is done directly from them, and there are now more texts that have been discovered for the Bible than any other book hundreds of times more to compare the accuracy of each one to each one.

 

We can easily compare the earliest text of both to later text copied and see that there is no significant difference even from the earliest writings

 

– The New Testament consists of carefully chosen books, banning others that shed light on the real Jesus of history

As I have mentioned before movies and books like the DaVinci Code have postulated to modern audiences that Jesus is not who the Gospels say he is

 

In the 20th century a series of books was discovered called the Nag Hammadi, they are Gnostic “gospels” all written 100 – 400 years after the original gospels and none of them written by disciples, apostles, or anyone who had experienced the risen Christ.

 

Gnosticism is much more complicated than this but allow me to try to give a basic understanding

 

Christianity and Gnosticism are mutually exclusive; however, it is easy for a Gnostic mindset to seep into our thinking if we’re not careful.

– The Gnostic is pursuing goodness, but, instead of seeking to be regenerated by Christ, he grabs hold of a man-centered purpose for living.

– The Gnostic thought makes man “wise in [his] own eyes” (Isaiah 5:21), something Proverbs 3:7 pointedly advises against: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”

–  The Gnostic Jesus brings a message of self-redemption. Man only needs to examine his inner “spark” to find the knowledge needed to free himself from his material body and reach God.

– there is a Great God that is good and perfect, but impersonal and unknowable.

 

These are the books that are quoted as the Gospels of Thomas, Barnabas, Philip, Mary, Judas, Peter and others. Supposedly attributed to apostles or those close to Christ but each of these written at least 100 years too late. With thousands of contradictions to Jesus own words.

 

If you look at a table of contents of your Bible, you will see they were written by either a prophet or apostle or by someone with a direct relationship to one.

 

The books chosen for our new testament had been used and verified as the truth by the church since the first century. Truth does not contradict itself.

 

Initial acceptance by people to whom the work was addressed was crucial. What was the original audience’s sense? Did they accept the book as an authoritative word from God? Here are some examples

– Daniel, who lived within a few years of Jeremiah, called Jeremiah’s book “Scripture” in Daniel 9:2.

 

– Paul called the Gospel of Luke “Scripture” in 1 Timothy 5:18.

 

– Peter affirmed that Paul’s letters were “Scripture” in 2 Peter 3:16.

 

I hope this helps

 

Our last supposed myth is

 

– How can one religious book be right and all the others wrong? Isn’t it more likely all contain some truth, and all contain some error?

 

The Buddha said “‘Do not do unto others what you would not have done to you.’

(the negative version) Jesus said Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”

 

There are some versions of truth in most religions because truth is truth

 

The clear differences of the Bible is

 

  • the way of salvation – every other religious book stresses salvation through works, Jesus stresses salvation through what He did on the cross and through Him, by grace alone through faith alone
  • We are all sinners in need of a Savior we can only be saved through God’s redemptive plan, Jesus Christ John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
  • Predictive prophecies about Jesus

– Isaiah 53 is an example predicting the suffering and death of the Messiah 700 years before his birth

Zechariah 12:10 “They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.”

 

It’s easy to look at the crucifixion of Jesus from our side of history and see clearly how his brutal death fulfilled these prophetic words. But what really shows the divine insight in the words of these prophets is that these words were written not only hundreds of years before the life and death of Christ but also centuries before the Roman practice of crucifixion, with its horrific piercing of the hands and feet with nails that were pounded into the wood of the cross, had even been invented.
There are a number of other predictive prophecies regarding Jesus’ life I have included them in the additional notes on the app and web site

 

I hope if your friends ask you about the Bible and its contradictions or myths about it that you now have enough to at least begin a discussion. If we can see the Bible to be real, then we can wrestle with some of the stories that may challenge us. The key is to not read into them things that are not there such as exact dates and times for some things, exactly how God did it.

 

Some of these things science will eventually prove but for now, if God’s word can be proven to be correct and viable in so many different ways, then it is easy to trust the stories to be accurate and true

 

 

 

 

Additional Information about the notes

Information that verifies the Bible was spoken of and recorded in the writings of non-Christian writers of the era

 

  1. Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?, a Jewish historian) mentions John the Baptist and Herod – Antiquities, Book 18, ch. 5, par. 2
    1. “Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness.”
  2. Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?) mentions Jesus – Antiquities, Book 18, ch. 3, par. 3.
    1. 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 both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles.  He was [the] Christ.  And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; (10) 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.
  3. Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?) mentions James, the brother of Jesus – Antiquities, Book 20, ch. 9.
  4. Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?) mentions Ananias the High Priest who was mentioned in Acts 23:2
  5. Tacitus (A.D. c.55-A.D. c.117, Roman historian) mentions “Christus” who is Jesus – Annals 15.44
    1. “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”
      1. from http://classics.mit.edu/Tacitus/annals.mb.txt
    2. Thallus (Circa AD 52, eclipse of the sun) Thallus wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean world from the Trojan War to his own time.  His writings are only found as citations by others.  Julius Africanus, who wrote about AD 221, mentioned Thallus’ account of an eclipse of the sun that had taken place at Jesus crucifixion.
      1. “On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down.  This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.”
        1. Is this a reference to the eclipse at the crucifixion? Luke 23:44-45, “And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 the sun being obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two.”
      2. The oddity is that Jesus’ crucifixion occurred at the Passover which was a full moon.  It is not possible for a solar eclipse to occur at a full moon.  Note that Julius Africanus draws the conclusion that Thallus’ mentioning of the eclipse was describing the one at Jesus’ crucifixion.
      3. Pliny the Younger mentioned Christ. Pliny was governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor.  Pliny wrote ten books.  The tenth around AD 112.
        1. They (the Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”
      4. The Talmud
        1. “On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged.  For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, “He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy.  Any one who can say anything in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.”  But since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!”
          1. 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
          2. Luke 22:1-2, “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching.  2And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people.”
  • This quotation was taken from the reading in The Babylonian Talmud, transl. by I. Epstein (London: Soncino, 1935), vol. III, Sanhedrin 43a, p. 281 as cited in Habermas, Gary R., The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company) 1996.

 

 

Some of the Predictive Prophesies about Jesus

 

– The place of the Messiah’s birth being in Bethlehem (see Mic. 5:2);

– His being of the lineage of King David (see 2 Sam. 7:12-16);

– His being born of a virgin (see Isa. 7:14);

– His claim of deity (see Isa. 9:6);

– His rejection by his own people (see Isa. 53:3);

– His betrayal for thirty pieces of silver (see Zech. 11:12);

– His extreme
suffering and disfigurement (see Isa. 52:14);

– His death on our behalf (see Isa. 53:5-6);

– His burial in a rich man’s tomb (see Isa. 53:9);

– His subsequent resurrection (see Psalm 16:10)