Why I Trust My Bible - Lesson 0
Preview - Why I Trust My Bible
Preview - Why I Trust My Bible
2. Did Jesus Live?
3. Oral Tradition: Was Memory of the Writer Accurate?
4. Do We Know Who Wrote the Gospels?
5. Were the Authors Historically Accurate?
6. Are there Contradictions in the Gospels?
7. Did Paul Change the Gospel?
8. Canonicity: Why We Have the Books We Do
9. Textual Criticism: Are the Greek Texts Hopelessly Corrupt?
10. Can We Trust Our Translations?
11. Conclusion to Why I Trust My Bible
- Are you curious about the trustworthiness of the Bible? Are you looking for answers to common criticisms and questions about its reliability? "Why I Trust My Bible" is the class for you! Taught by renowned experts in the field, this class will help you understand and defend your belief in the Bible. Whether you're a freshman in college facing new challenges to your faith, or a parent concerned about your child's belief in the Bible, this class is designed to provide you with the tools you need to think critically about these issues and to be confident in your belief in the Bible. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from the world's leading authorities on the Bible and its trustworthiness.
Some people feel that it is wrong to ask fundamental questions such as whether or not they trust the Bible. But if you never seriously ask the question, you will never be convinced that it really is true and trustworthy.
As amazing as it sounds, some people question whether Jesus actually lived, often claiming that there is only one non-biblical reference to him. That simply is not true; there are many more. But it makes sense that he is not referenced a lot since biographies were written about the rich and powerful.
Since there was a period of time between when Jesus lived and when the gospels were written, how can we trust that the writers' memories weren't faulty? And didn't they change history to match their theology? Actually, the "informed controlled": understanding of orality assures us that the writers were accurate and trustworthy. The gospels were not written right away because we prefer the testimony of eyewitnesses.
While the gospels are anonymous, tradition is very strong as to who wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and all four authors were in a position to know the truth and we can trust their writings. If the church did not care about authorship traditions, they would not have picked these four.
If the biblical writers were not concerned about historical accuracy, we would expect more verses that would have answered the burning questions of the first century, and we certainly would not have the many embarrassing and difficult verses that we do have. The gospel is couched in historical fact, and if the events did not happen then the teaching is false.
How can we trust the Bible when it is so full of mistakes and internal contradictions? Really? Where are they? Doesn't harmonization help us see how the gospels can describe the same event but in different terms? If the Bible and science and history disagree, doesn't the Bible, properly interpreted, deserve the benefit of the doubt?
There is no question that Jesus and Paul sound different, but are their differences complementary or contradictory? What effect would their different contexts have on how they speak and what they write about?
Canonization is the process by which the church determined what books belonged in the Bible (and here we are focusing on the New Testament). Despite the frequent assertion to the opposite, the canon was not determined by a few individuals in a haphazard way. It appears that the three tests were authorship, harmony of doctrine and tone, and usage in the church as a whole. Did the church get it right?
Correction: Bill mentions "Dan Block." He means, "Dan Brown." (Dan Block is a friend of his.)
It does no good to talk about inspiration and canonization if the church altered the contents of the Bible through the centuries. And why are there differences among the Greek manuscripts? This is the topic of textual criticism. The current situation is that we are confident of 99% of the New Testament text, and the 1% we are unsure of contains no significant theological doctrine.
Unless you can read Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, you need a translation. But why are there so many, and why are they so often different? Can they be trusted? Bill Mounce, chair of the ESV translation for 10 years and currently on the Committee on Bible Translation that is responsible for the NIV, shares his answer to these questions.
We have looked at attacks on the trustworthiness of the Bible and given reasonable counter-arguments. it remains but to share personally why I trust my Bible.
We can no longer assume that people trust their Bible. The popular media has launched such an attack on the believability of Scripture that our people have serious questions about the Bible. Are you ready to answer them? Did Jesus actually live? (Bill Maher on Larry King Live says no.) Did the biblical writers get it right, or did they slant/create the message? The gospels were written so long after Jesus lived; how can you trust them? How can you believe a Bible that is full of internal contradictions with itself and external contradictions with science? Doesn’t archaeology disprove the Bible? Why should we believe the books that are in the Bible; many good ones were left out, like the Gospel of Thomas. Why trust the Bible when there are so many and contradictory translations? These questions and more are discussed and answered in this class.
The YouTube Videos and handouts that Dr. Mounce is referring to in lecture 1 are the links that you will find on the class page. The two handouts are a list of the books of the Apocrypha, and a chart showing translations of the Bible on a continuum from formal to dynamic equivalence. The two links are an article by Dr. Blomberg, and a YouTube video of a debate between Dan Wallace and Bart Ehrman.
The bibliography and footnotes in the book, Why I Trust the Bible, by Dr. Mounce, also provide a detailed list of the resources that are the basis for this online course and for the book.
Some additional resources that will give you a picture of what is going on in culture are interviews and debates with people like Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, Bill Maher, Ben Shapiro, Joe Rogan, Tim Keller and Steven Crowder (e.g. "Change my mind"). You will find many of these by searching on YouTube. Many of these people are not believers, and Harris and Maher, for example, think that religion is the underlying cause of all the problems in the world.
For biblical responses regarding issues raised outside of the trustworthiness of the Bible, you can see classes on BiblicalTraining.org like C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy, Advanced Worldview Analysis, and others. Other websites that you may find helpful are Apologetics 315 and Summit Ministries.
Do you trust the Bible? Do you really trust the Bible? Are you willing to bet your life that the Bible is true? Well, in this day and age, that is one of the dominant questions being asked. And there are a lot of people out there that are aggressively going after the Bible and claiming that you can't trust it. Some people actually said Jesus never existed. Some people say that the did who Jesus was was changed by the early church. Some people say I can't trust the Bible because it's full of contradictions. Others will say that we got the wrong books in the Bible, or that the Greek manuscripts got hopelessly corrupt or the translations are all wrong, and so forth and so on. There are a lot of charges against the Bible out there, aren't there? Well, I have a real heart for this as I speak around literally around the world. I find this is the question that people are asking. And either they're a freshman in the university and they're getting bombarded by ideas that they'd never heard before, or it's their parents watching their children walk away from the faith because of these issues. This is a dominating question today, and that's what this course is all about, Why I trust my Bible. The genesis behind it. I was just speaking and listening to people and what we decided to do is to go out and get the world's absolute leading authorities. And there is another class called in there. It's plural. Why we trust our Bible and its God. Darrell Bock is Craig Blomberg, Michael Kruger, Dan Wallace, and others that are who have spent their whole lives studying one of these questions. And so we had that class in our Academy program.
But I figured that this is such a dominating question that we really should have something at the foundational level. So basically I went through that class and simplified it a bit. Well, since then it's been interesting as I wrote the book, Why I Trust the Bible. It just came out and it's basically it's discussing some of the same things that are in this particular class. You know, some people feel that there are certain questions you shouldn't ask, like, well, if the is the Bible really full of contradictions, did we really get the wrong book? Should the Gospel of Thomas have been in the Bible? And people feel that if I'm a real Christian, I shouldn't ask these questions. And let me tell you, you have to ask these questions because until you ask them for yourselves and think through the issues for yourselves, you will not really trust the Bible. So I encourage you to attend this class to learn what's being talked about out there, the basic questions, and some of the basic answers so that you can still believe the Bible and be a Christian.