How many times have I heard that statement or some version of it. And it would be a valid one if . . . if the Bible was not accurate in what it said.
But it is.
The defense (apologetics) of the Bible will take longer than this blog has room for, so I will provide the initial rationale and then give you two links to more detailed accounts so you can get a much fuller picture.
First, all ancient documents are evaluated through a Bibliographic Test to determine their reliability and authenticity. This test looks at the number of manuscripts currently available, the quality of those manuscripts (accuracy of the copies), and the span of time between when the original was written and an existing copy (since the original is not with us any more.)
If you look at the chart supplied (Ancient Manuscript Comparison Chart), you will see that the Bible leads the field in all these areas — by miles. It has over 5600 extant copies, the time between an original and one of the copies is less than 100 years, and the differences between those copies is .5%, most of which deal with spelling variants and other non-doctrine related words.
The text that comes closest to the Bible’s reliability is Homer’s Iliad, which has 643 existing copies, the closest of which is 500 years from the original, and has a 5% difference among the current copies. After that (as you can see) things fall away quickly. Therefore, if you are to accept Homer’s Iliad as being reliable, or a work of Sophocles or Aristotle, then logically, you can not dismiss the Bible just because you want to.
However, the Bible’s proof of reliability goes two steps further than other ancient documents.
The second test is the Internal Test: What does the Bible say about itself? Not only do a number of the New Testament authors claim to be eye witnesses, intimately acquainted with Christ, and willing to die for their testimony, but the 66 books of the entire Bible, written by 40 different people over the course of 1500 years, never contradict each other but rather create a unified whole, proclaiming one message—God’s love for and redemption of man.
The third test is the External Test: Since the Bible refers to historical events, other documents and archeological discoveries should prove it. They do. The historical presence of Jesus is “well-established” by Roman, Greek, and Jewish sources, and archeology finds continue to support the places and people of the Bible. (How Accurate is the Bible?)
I encourage you to click on the links provided to get a more complete explanation. The articles are not long at all, but well worth the time you give them.