By Jimmy Kinnaird
I think that every argument that we may have come at us who believe in Christ finds itself, in the end, attacking the reliability of the Bible. Other religions have their books of authority. How do they stack up to the Bible? I just had a conversation with a certain Elder Robinson. He is a Mormon missionary from Idaho Falls, Idaho. I was up in his hometown two years ago doing what he is trying to accomplish here in Oklahoma City. He believes that he is right. Why? He believes he is right because of revelation and experience. How can we know that the book of Mormon is true? How can we know that the Bible is true? One thing is for certain. They both cannot be true for they each teach quite a different view of God. Then there are those who claim that there is no God. They obviously have a problem with the credibility of the Bible. After all, what they say cannot be true and the Bible still be reliable. But if the Bible is reliable, then what the atheists or even agnostics say cannot be true. Webster gave a very simple definition of reliability. It simply means "dependable" or "trustworthy" (Webster, 385).
D. James Kennedy, Senior Pastor of the historic Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church has written on the unique nature of the Bible. He stated that: The Bible was written over a period of more than 1600 years by forty different human writers. There are sixty-six separate volumes contained in the Bible that are written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages. What is also amazing is that with such diversity, each of the sixty-six books contain structural, historical, prophetic, doctrinal, and spiritual unity and after more than 1900 years has not needed updating or correcting. The human writers of the Bible come from a variety of backgrounds. Moses was a well-educated political leader. Joshua was a military general. Solomon was a king. Daniel was a Prime Minister. Nehemiah was a cupbearer. Amos was a herdsman. Matthew was a tax collector. Simon Peter was a fisherman. Paul was a rabbi. What is amazing is that even though these people come from a variety of backgrounds, time spans cultures and languages they all agree on such important eternal issues. The only satisfactory explanation for this is that the Bible was penned by human writers but its author is God. (Kennedy, 23-24) This diversity yet unity is one of Kennedy's reasons for the unique nature of the Bible. Because a variety of people over a long period of time agree on issues that could be contested so easily is certainly impressive. Some may ask, "But did these people really write these words and did they mean them they way they are interpreted? This will be dealt with later in this paper. For now, the answer is an unqualified "yes."
This kind of unity in itself can be called a miracle. But there were other most unusual events surrounding the formation of the Scriptures we know today as the Bible. There are the authenticating miracles recorded in Scripture. These cannot be easily written off as the product of a prescientific era. There is a restrained character to biblical miracles that distinguishes them from other ancient sources. They occur, as C. S. Lewis reminds us in "Miracles", not randomly, but cluster around critical points in divine revelation. Where miracle is the order of the day, it loses any leverage as a means of verification. It is rather when the miraculous appears in some meaningful context or another that we are impressed by its relevance. Such is the persistent and obvious pattern of the biblical account" (Inch, 96-97) Thus the activity of the miraculous, which is presented at certain points in the formation of the scriptures points to the Bible as a most unusual book that deserves closer scrutiny.
Reliability of the New Testament
R. C. Sproul wrote of the importance of the reliability of the New Testament. "If the Biblical documents are not at least basically trustworthy then we have no...