4. Examining External Evidence – Considering the Historical Reliability of the Bible

In this session we examine historical evidences external to the Bible – historical writings of non-biblical authors from that era as well as archaeology – to assess not the textual reliability (which we did in Session 3) but whether what the Biblical writers record for us actually did happen.  We are not trying to assess here whether the Biblical writings are scripture in an inspired-by-God sense.  We are just seeing if there is evidence that supports whether the Bible can be taken seriously as history.


Blog Posts Related to this Session

  • December 7, 2012 - Jewish Testimony: Was Jesus the son of a virgin from the line of David?

  • May 29, 2015 - Did Moses write the Torah?

  • March 28, 2014 - The Noah Controversy: Could that Flood have happened?

  • September 12, 2013 - Was there a Noah? (Part 2) – Testimony of ‘weeks’ in Calendars

  • August 20, 2013 - Was there a Noah? Testimony from ancient Hindus & modern calendars … (Part 1)

  • May 2, 2013 - Ancient Rg Veda Account … but Parallel Promise

  • February 28, 2013 - Was there an Adam? Part 2 … Ancient Chinese & modern-day Google

  • February 17, 2013 - Was there an Adam? The Testimony of the Ancient Chinese

  • January 24, 2013 - Promise to an Ancient Man: Revealed in elections of a modern nation

  • December 13, 2012 - What’s so Merry about Christmas?

  • September 30, 2012 - Did Jesus have a wife?

  • January 14, 2012 - Addressing objections to the Signs of Abraham & Moses

  • January 7, 2012 - Religious Evidence: From Flying Spaghetti Monsters to Mormons and Miracles

  • December 27, 2011 - Archaeological Discovery of Ancient Temple Announced

  • December 23, 2011 - Hold the Eggnog Christmas is in trouble: Considering Dawkins’ claims against the Gospel story

  • December 21, 2011 - The Passing of Christopher Hitchens: Carrying misconception to the Grave

  • The Passing of Christopher Hitchens: Carrying misconception to the Grave

    Last week news outlets worldwide reported the passing of noted journalist and author Christopher Hitchens.  Hitchens, a preeminent controversialist, was a prominent critic of the Gospel, especially noted for his book: god is not Great – How religion poisons everything.  I had read his book quite carefully, hoping to find well-balanced reasons for his hostility to the Gospel.  I found that though he had very pithy and witty lines, and that he could deliver with withering sarcasm, his hostility crowded out a sense of balanced reason.  He was also poorly informed on the reliability of the Bible.  Here are some of things he said about the Bible that the BBC reported in its obituary:

    “(The New Testament) is a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right.”

    “Religion is man-made. Even the men who made it cannot agree on what their prophets or redeemers or gurus actually said or did.”

    I noted the following statements when I studied his book:

    … the case for biblical consistency or authenticity or ‘inspiration’ has been in tatters for some time, and the rents and tears only become more obvious with better research…” (p. 122)

    Though he had a reputation as an ‘intellectual’ these statements are simply that – sheer assertions without any supporting reasons – just as dogmatic and religiously held as the assertion ‘God is Great!’  Hitchens obviously never took the time familiarize himself with the information that are covered in Sessions 3, 4 & 5.  There are many reasons for a person to reject considering the gospel: atrocities have been committed in the name of Jesus, following the gospel is difficult, and a bewildering array of evil things continue marching on in this world, as if oblivious to the hand of a good God.  But the case for the reliability of the Bible is a solid one.  It is a pity that so few, Hitchens being a prime example, look into it.

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