A Test for Bible-Believing Christians

Why Should I Believe the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant, perfect word?

What evidence can you provide for me to believe the Bible is God’s word?

Typical answers given for evidence of inspiration:

  • The Bible claims to be the word of God:
    • Obviously, many people claim to speak for God and we deny it, so why do you believe it concerning the Bible?
      • Do you believe the Koran is the word of God? ____________ Why not? _______
      • Do you believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God? ___________ Why not? __________________________________
      • Do you believe the extra books in the Catholic Bible, Greek Orthodox Bible, Wesleyan Bible, Septuagint, etc. are the word of God? ________ Why not? ______________________________________________________
    • Where in the Bible does it claim that the 66 books of the modern version of the Protestant Bible is the word of God? ______________________________
    • Does the book of Matthew claim to be the inspired word of God? ___________
    • Does Jude claim to be the inspired word of God? _______________________
    • Does Luke claim to be the inspired word of God? ______________________
    • Does Acts claim to be the inspired word of God? _______________________
    • What “scriptures” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 was referring to as inspired?   Why do you believe this?_____________________________________________
  • The unity of the Bible:  
    • Does this really prove divine inspiration? ___________________________
    • Would you accept this “proof” if it was given by another religion in the world? ________
    • Are there parts of the Bible that suggest a lack of unity (i.e. inconsistencies, contradictions, such as contradictory teachings, inconsistent reports of biblical events)? ___________________
  • Prophetic Fulfillment:
    • What prophecies were fulfilled? _________________________________
    • How do you know prophecies were fulfilled? ________________________
    • How do you know when these prophecies were made and fulfilled? _________
    • Would you accept this as proof of inspiration if it was made by another religion? ____
  • Scientific Foreknowledge:
    • What verses in the Bible display scientific foreknowledge that the ancients couldn’t have logically figured out (like the more advanced civilizations of the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans)? _______________________
      • Do Bible verses used to support scientific foreknowledge seem vague? _______ If God inspired the Bible and provided evidence with scientific foreknowledge, then why He would be so vague in giving us scientific foreknowledge to help us out in life? __________________________
    • Are there any examples of scientific fallacies in the Bible? ______________
    • How do you know when the Bible is speaking literally and metaphorically when it comes to issues that can be proven or falsified by science? ______________
    • Would you accept similar scientific “proofs” as evidence of divine inspiration from the Koran or the Book of Mormon? ________________________
  • Archaeological/Historical Confirmation (i.e. its dates, places, people are confirmed by historical and archaeological findings):
    • Should archaeological accuracy really be considered “evidence of divine inspiration? ____________________
    • Are there any examples where the archaeology and history of the Bible are questionable or is it all rock solid evidence? _________________________
  • Miraculous Proof:
    • Where do we learn about the miracles of the Bible? ___________________
    • How do we know the miracles of the Bible actually happened the way they’re described to us in the Bible? ____________________________________
    • Do other cultures and religions claim to have witnessed and experienced miracles? _______________________ Do you believe the miracle claims of other cultures and religions? __________________________ Why not? ____________________________
  • Wisdom of the Bible:
    • Is there wisdom in the Bible that can’t be found anywhere else in antiquity? __________
    • Do wise sayings or teachings prove divine inspiration to you? _____________
      • Have you ever read The Words of Agur the Oracle?__________________
        • Do you believe it is God’s word because it is wise and some people have claimed it was from God?[1] ________________________
      • Are there any absurdities in the Bible? __________________________
        • Do you believe Deuteronomy 25:11-12 is absurd or wise? __________________  Should we practice this “divine wisdom” today? __________________________
        • Do you believe Exodus 21:20-21 is proof of divine inspiration or the uneducated culture of antiquity or some other option? ______________________________
      • Do you believe the N.T. is more advanced, educated, and civilized than the O.T.? ____________ If so, then why would this be the case since they have the same author in God? ________________________________

 

Are birth origins the biggest determining factors in whether or not a person is a Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, or Jew? ________________________________________  So why is your religion the correct one while all the others are wrong? ______________________________________

Here is one reason why I reject the claim that the Bible is the God’s word:

Extraordinary claims that make extraordinary demands require extraordinary evidence.  Do you believe this statement is true or false?

EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS IN THE BIBLE:

  • God speaks to only me: Numbers 12:6-8.  Was/is this an extraordinary claim?______________________
  • God secretly shows things only to us: Acts 10:40-42.  Was/is this an extraordinary claim?________________________
  • A serpent tricked Eve, Balaam’s donkey talked, Satan lost a bet with God about Job, Jesus healed a man with spit and mud, Peter’s shadow and Paul’s handkerchief cured people of diseases, Jesus was resurrected from the dead after three days in the grave, then forty days later he flew up to heaven. Was/is this an extraordinary claim?_________________________

EXTRAORDINARY DEMANDS IN THE BIBLE:

  • Kill your brother, friend, and neighbor who danced around a golden calf (Commanded by Moses, Yahweh’s spokesman—Num. 12:6-8, for idolatry in Exodus 32:27). Was this an extraordinary demand?____________________________Would you have killed your brother for this “sin”? ___________________
  • Kill your brother, son, daughter, wife, or friend, if they privately ask you to explore other religious options with them (Commanded by Yahweh, Deuteronomy 13:6-18). Was this an extraordinary demand?________________  Replace the words “brother, son, daughter, wife, or friend” in Deuteronomy 13:6 with the actual names of your brother, son, daughter, wife, or friend to really think about this extraordinary  Would you obey this command if it were given to you today?  _________________  If not, and I hope not, then why not? ____________
  • Jesus continues where Moses/Yahweh left off: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26, also Matt. 10:34-42).  Is this an extraordinary demand?____________________________ Did Jesus mean what he said here? _________  What did he mean? ____________________Why didn’t he just say it that way? __________.  Are you willing to obey this command and possibly ruin a close relationship with someone you know and love for what a book says about a person you’ve never even met? ________________
  • Faithfully obey the Bible even if someone threatens to kill you and leave your wife a widow and your children fatherless, then you will receive a crown of life in heaven (Revelation 2:10). Do you believe this is an extraordinary demand?_________________

So far I believe we have established that the authors of the books/epistles that are now in our Bibles make extraordinary claims followed by extraordinary demands of people. So what is the extraordinary evidence?

EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE OF THE BIBLE

  • A collection of books that we have called “The Bible”. Is this evidence extraordinary enough to convince you that it must be God’s word? _____________________________
    • First of all, it is circular reasoning to suggest, “We know the Bible is God’s word because the Bible says it is God’s word.”
    • We don’t know for certain when the Bible was written. Do you know when it was written? ______________________________________________
    • We don’t know for certain who wrote each book (e.g. Hebrews, Matthew, Mark, John, Ruth, Esther, Job, Proverbs 30-31, Judges, etc., etc., etc.). Do you know who wrote it for certain? _____________________________
    • We don’t know who determined which books would be in the Bible or what date it was determined. Do you know who and when the books of the Bible were determined? ____________________________________________________
    • Our earliest lists of books of the Bible don’t match.
      • Some Bibles have extra books (e.g. Apocrypha). Why don’t you accept these other books? _______________________________________________
    • We don’t have any of the original manuscripts of the books of the Bible, only copies of copies of copies.
    • The scientific foreknowledge is vague and highly questionable. The history and archaeology is problematic. There are inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible.  And there are many absurdities in the Bible.  This evidence is not extraordinary enough to warrant unquestioning faith.  Is there more?
  • The existence of “the church”.
    • There were various conflicting versions of Christianity (churches) in existence before the emperor Constantine: Marcionites, Ebionites, Docetics, Gnostics, Orthodox.
    • The Holy Roman Catholic Church claimed/claims to be the one true church.
    • The Greek Orthodox Churches and Roman Catholic Churches were splintered off from one another.
    • Protestant churches disagree with the Catholics and the Greek Orthodox churches.
    • Protestant churches disagree with one another.
    • Restoration Churches disagree with one another and everyone else.
    • Is the church united or fractioned? ___________________________Which church is correct? _____________________________ How do you know? _______________.  See point 3.A.i-viii again.
  • Changed lives:
    • Moslems claim the Koran changes their lives for the better.
    • Mormons claim the Book of Mormon changes their lives for the better.
    • Jews claim the Torah changes their lives for the better without the New Testament, which they don’t believe.
    • Buddhist and Hindus claim that their religious practices make their lives better.
    • Catholics claim that their faith helps them.
    • Protestant Christians claim that their faith helps them.
    • Why is your claim of changed lives better than the claims of others?
    • What happens when Christianity did not make some one’s life better? What’s the excuse then?  Could it be that determination, hard work, wise decisions, and a positive attitude along with good health and self discipline are what actually change lives for the better regardless of your religion?

 

Here are five reasons to reject the claim that the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant, word:

The books of the Bible contain numerous contradictions:

CONTRADICTION: The genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1, Luke 3, 1 Chronicles 3:10-16, Titus 1:9, 1 Timothy 1:3-4.

  • Why do both genealogies trace Jesus’ lineage through Joseph since Jesus was allegedly born of the virgin Mary? Matthew 1:16, Luke 3:23.
  • Was Joseph’s father named Jacob (Matt. 1:15) or Eli (Luke 3:23)? These genealogies have MANY inconsistencies throughout. I challenge you to compare the two.
  • Was Jesus born through king David’s son Solomon (Matt. 1:6) or Nathan (Luke 3:31)?

CONTRADICTION: Where did Joseph and Mary go with Jesus after his birth?

  • They fled to Egypt because King Herod ordered that all the baby boys be executed in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:13-14), then they came back to Judea but Yahweh warned Joseph in a dream again so they settled in Nazareth (Matthew 2:22-23).
  • They took the infant Jesus to Jerusalem to dedicate him in the temple (Luke 2:22), then they returned to Nazareth (Luke 2:39).

CONTRADICTION: Has anyone ever seen God?

  • NO (Ex. 33:20, John 1:18, 1 John 4:12, 4:10, 1 Timothy 6:16).
  • YES (Jacob did–Genesis 32:30, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the 70 elders of Israel did—Exodus 24:9-10, *Exodus 33:11, Numbers 12:8). See also Deut. 5:4, 34:10, and many more!

These are just a few of MANY contradictions in the Bible.

The books of the Bible contain numerous inconsistencies:

Who did the women see at the tomb of Jesus when they first came to it on the day of the alleged resurrection?

  • An angel (Matt. 28:2-5).
  • A young man (Mark 16:5).
  • Two men (Luke 24:4).
  • No one at first (John 20:1-2), but later Mary Magdalene saw two angels (John 20:12).

What did Judas do with the 30 pieces of silver after he betrayed Jesus?

  • He returned the money to the chief priests (Matt. 27:3-9).
  • He bought a field with the money (Acts 1:16-20).

Who incited David to number Israel?

  • The Lord (2 Samuel 24:1)
  • Satan (1 Chronicles 21:1)
    • What was the number of Israel when David gave this order?
      • 1,570,000 (1 Chronicles 21:5).
      • 1,300,000 (2 Samuel 24:9).
      • One of these inspired accounts is off by 270,000 people!

The books of the Bible contain numerous absurdities:

Deuteronomy 25:11-12 – If you get in a fight with a man, and your wife comes to defend you by grabbing the attacker’s groin, then her hand is to be cut off.

  • If this was a law in the U.S.A. today, would it be considered absurd?

If you beat your slave to death, then you will be punished, but if he doesn’t die until two days after the beating, then you won’t be punished because he was your property (Exodus 21:20-21).

  • First of all, slavery was acceptable to the Bible God. Second of all, it was okay to beat your slave as long as he didn’t die.  Thirdly, if the slave didn’t die until after two days from the beating, you were off the hook.  And this book is from a God of love?

At the crucifixion of Jesus the tombs were opened and many dead people were raised and came out of the tombs and went into the city (Matt. 27:52-53)????

  • If this really happened, then did these people go back to their homes, their wives/husbands, take up their former jobs?
  • If this really happened, then there wouldn’t be a soul left in Jerusalem who didn’t convert to Christianity.
  • If this really happened, then what were their names? John the Baptist?  Moses?  Elijah?

The compilation of the books of the Bible is highly questionable:

The Bible never actually claims that the 66 books of the Bible are the inspired word of God.

We don’t know when the books were written with certainty.

We don’t know with certainty who wrote the books (e.g. Hebrews).

We don’t know when the books of the Bible were finally decided upon.

We don’t know who made the decision.

We actually don’t know much about the compilation of the Bible.

We know that there were conflicting opinions about which books were inspired and which ones were not (e.g. Shepherd of Hermes, Epistle of Barnabas, 1 Clement).

We do know that still today there are different versions of the Bible with different books in them (Apocrypha).

Writing, reading, copying, translating, interpreting, and spreading of the Bible is filled with difficulties. Surely God would have picked a better way. This method is too limited by people, time, place, and ability to share.

Unfortunately, we must conclude that the evidence often given for inerrancy and the divine inspiration of the Bible is too weak to for such an extraordinary claim.

[1] This is actually in the Bible (Proverbs 31), but Agur’s identity is unknown for certain, which is a problem for claims of inspiration.

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