Likewise, last week I mentioned that I knew with assurance that Tenny was now in heaven with the Lord. Peter says in 1 Peter 3:15 to “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you,” so I thought I would follow up my statement with a few of the reasons why I believe Tenny’s faith in Christ has secured her eternity. Since my assurance stems first from my belief in the Bible, I thought I should start there. My assurance begins with my belief that the Bible is the inspired word of God and is reliable and true.
First, it was written over a 1500 year time period by 40 different authors, from 3 different continents, and from completely different time periods and cultures, yet all the books are in complete agreement and unity.
Second, using the secular tests for determining the accuracy and reliability of ancient documents, secular historians have determined that the New Testament far surpasses any other ancient document as far as reliability:
- It has 24,630 copies still in existence. Its nearest rival, a work by Sophocles, has only 193 copies still in existence.
- For some partial books, there are only 25 years separating the original source and the actual copy. (For example, if the original document were written in 50 or 60 AD, then the copy we still have access to was written in 75 or 85 AD.) One complete book (“Mark” I believe) is separated by 80 years. Compare this again to its closest rival, Sophocles, and the difference between the original and the closest copy (not sure if this is partial or complete) in existence is 1400 years.
- In addition, all the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) were written close enough to Christ’s death and resurrection (A.D. 50 or 60; A.D. 64 or 65; after A.D. 70; A.D. 90 respectively) that people were still alive who could either refute or validate their claims. (They even mention names of people to go to in order to substantiate their claims.) There are no works written during this time period to refute any of their claims.
- Secular writers of the same time period support many of the claims (Josephus and Tacitus are two.)
- There is archeological support for the places and events which occurred in the Bible.
There is more support for the Bible than any other ancient document (by Homer, Julius Caesar, etc), yet many people claim not to believe the Bible while they do believe these other documents. I hope these individuals have a solid foundation for their disbelief and don’t choose not to believe just because they don’t want to or don’t like what it says. That would be tantamount to someone saying I don’t believe in the California Vehicle Code because I don’t want to or don’t like the rules. Unfortunately, if they (the Bible and the Vehicle Code) are true, it doesn’t matter if you believe them or not. You are still subject to what they say.