Have you considered stepping out of faith or religion because God doesn’t seem real? You may not be an atheist but many somewhat hold on to an impersonal God. Carrie Fischer, Princess Leia of Star Wars was raised protestant but described herself as an “enthusiastic agnostic who would be happy to be shown that there is a God.”
Between “The Force” and Jesus, the latter actually walked on earth and left a strong message. Jesus, also called Emmanuel which means “God with us”, is the Judeo-Christian God who the Apostle John tells us that “All things were created through Him, and apart from Him, not one thing was created that has been created.”
Personal pain, ignorance, and the abuse of organized religion have prevented many from knowing a loving God. If you want to know someone, you spend time with them. It’s the same thing with the personal God of the Bible, whose words have been written so we may know Him.
Three Logical and Simple Reasons
Reason #1. Written by various witnesses.
The Old Testament was written between 1500 BC (Moses) to 450 BC (Malachi) or about 1,000 years span. The New Testament was written from 1 AD (Matthew) to 95 AD (John). The Apostle Paul contributed about half of the NT. To maintain the accuracy of a written work for more than a thousand year is impossible, yet only this book has withstood the test of time.
The Bible was the only known book written by disparate characters. The authors had different job descriptions like Moses who was a shepherd, Isaiah a prophet, Ezra a priest, Matthew a tax collector, John a fisherman, Paul a tentmaker, and Luke a physician. The Apostles and those entrusted with the gospel held on as witnesses to God’s redemptive plan, even to the point of painful death.
So what if it is?
Given the time span and diverse characters of those who wrote God’s message, it is impossible to collaborate on a story and knit them to create a consistent and solid written work. The Bible has been handed down through hundreds of years, yet when the modern Bible was compared to the earliest copies found in the Dead Sea Scroll, they differ in the minor details, mostly typographical errors.
Who wrote it?
The Bible was written and transcribed by scribes and did not come in one complete set as we have it today. It is technically a compilation of historical manuscripts such as the Pentateuch* and apostolic letters. Godly men wrote the Bible through God’s divine and direct word. (Historical timeline of Bible translation)
* Pentateuch contains the first 5 books of the Old Testament. It is a Jewish scroll or Torah containing God’s old covenant, instructions, and laws.
There were 40 authors of the Bible over a period of 1,500 years. Bible manuscripts have been passed on through oral tradition and centuries of copying and rewriting available copies. The original manuscripts or autographs has been lost.
One of the ancient sources of the Bible is the Septuagint (Latin for 70), which was written by the legendary seventy Jewish scholars who solely translated the Five Books of Moses (Old Testament) into Koine Greek as early as the 3rd century BCE. The earliest complete copy of the New Testament is the Codex Sinaiticus, written in Greek.
* Koine Greek became a common language when Christianity began to spread outside Rome (the Romans spoke Latin).
In the book of 2 Timothy 3:16-17, he tells us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” There are many Christian testimonies to show that indeed, it has changed lives for the better.
Are the copies we have today corrupted?
Although the autographs were lost (or one day may be found), one measure we can use is to compare the modern 21st Bible with one of the earliest copy available – which is the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls.’ Their difference is insignificant and mostly typographical errors, considering they were written about 2,000 years ago.
Does the lack of autographs mean such affirmations of biblical authority are meaningless?
No, because the authority does not reside in a physical object (autograph), but in the original text. And the original text has been preserved in another way, namely through the multiplicity of manuscripts. (Michael J. Kruger, NT professor)
The original text has been preserved in another way, namely through the multiplicity of manuscripts.
The Bible’s exceptional time-span
The time span of the New Testament from when it was first written to the earliest manuscript copy found is exceptional. The manuscripts written on papyrus came from the second and third centuries AD while the John Rylands Fragment (P52) of the Gospel of John is dated at 117-38 AD, which is only a few decades after the original manuscript was written. The Bodmer Papyri are dated from 175-225 AD and the Chester Beatty Papyri 250 AD, accounts to less than 200 years (other manuscripts found were within a 100-years gap) from the date of authorship.
Plato and Aristotle’s huge gap from their original work
Plato’s works on Socrates was written between 427-347 B.C. The earliest copy of Plato’s work is 900 AD, which is a staggering 1,200-years time span of lost earlier versions. Only seven copies of this ancient manuscript remain. The earliest copy of Aristophanes’ work is from 900 AD, with a time span of 1,200 years from the original manuscript. Only ten copies have survived. The earliest copy of one of Aristotle’s manuscripts is from 1100 AD with a 1,400-years time span, with 49 copies existing.
Logic will tell you that with at least a thousand years gap, these manuscripts are likely full of errors, yet when compared to the Bible, which only has a 200-years old gap, is frowned upon and dismissed as nothing more than a fairy tale.
Jesus and the Philosphers
These Philosophers and Jesus have historical documents that prove they existed. Socrates is immortalized by the dozens of existing manuscripts by Plato, Xenophon, and Aristophanes. While Jesus is immortalized by the thousands (compared to less than a hundred) of existing manuscripts by his disciples.
Logic again will tell you that the historical documents on Jesus are authentic and accurately reflect what was originally written about him. Thus we can say that Jesus is indeed a historical figure, with historical evidence.
Religious fanatics or it really happened
Most of the Bible’s witnesses were tortured to recant before dying a horrible a death. Either these writers were lunatics, or they were willing to die for a worthy cause. However, most of those who died for their faith were intellectuals, kind-hearted, and loving people. Some of the martyrs of the 21st century were learned scholars. It is difficult to perpetuate a lie, yet even after 2,000 years, billions proclaim that the Bible and things of Jesus are real.
Either these writers were lunatics, or they were willing to die for a worthy cause.
Historical witnesses of the Bible
Several Roman Emperors and non-religious historians like Flavius Josephus corroborates Biblical Jewish accounts. The first-century Jewish historian Josephus made specific references to John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and James. He gives us many background details about the Herods, the Sadducees and Pharisees, the high priests like Annas and Caiaphas, and the Roman emperors mentioned in the gospels and book of Acts of the Bible.
The Bible also predicted the rise and fall of empires centuries in advanced. It can actually be used as a history book in a classroom setup, but to use it as such is to accept that is is also God’s words, which does not sit well with the academe who are mostly intellectual atheists. The words “thus saith the Lord” is written about 3,000 times in the Bible. These do not include the words of Jesus, who the Bible refers to as the savior of mankind.
Archaelogy & Philosophy
Historical places corroborate with Bible historicity. There are many but the following list provides the most significant archeological discoveries:
● The Nuzi Tablets.
● The Existence of Hittites.
● The Merneptah Stele.
● The Moabite Stone.
● Biblical Cities Jericho, Haran, Megiddo, Beersheba, Lachish,
● Obelisk of Shalmaneser III.
● Burial Plaque of King Uzziah.
● Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription.
● The Sennacherib Prism.
● The Cylinder of Cyrus the Great.
● Hieroglyphic carvings on the Temple of Amon at Thebes.
● Mesopotamians, Egyptians, and Greeks record a great flood.
Pre-Socratic philosophers believed that the world was flat: Thales (550 BC); Leucippus (440 BC); Democritus (460 – 370 BC); and Aristotle (384 – 322 BC). The book of Genesis tells us that the earth is round, with the earliest copies written hundreds of years earlier than when these Philosophers claimed it was flat.
Reason #2. The reality of demonic presence
Are you scared of the dark? Like someone is watching you or some invisible being is telling you depressing things like hate, sadness, or suicide. Clinical psychologists diagnose these as hallucination and at times as a result of being bipolar or schizophrenia. In ancient times, people who suffer from these so-called hallucinations are labeled demon-oppressed or was a living a very sinful life.
The Bible tells us that when we sin or dabble in the occult, it opens a foothold for Satan that when left unconfessed becomes a stronghold of demons. A person doesn’t have to look possessed with red eyes and turning heads but having frequent suicide thoughts are clear demonic influences. The Bible warns us that Satan comes to steal kill and destroy, but Jesus has come to save you, that is if you believe (John 10:10).
The testimony of John Ramirez
John Ramirez grew up in the Bronx. His family was into witcraft and at age 9 was dedicated to a demon. Growing up, he had actual conversations with demonic spirits and he was taught how to conjure spells. John wielded supernatural powers and became a sorcerer who can cause really bad things to happen to people he disliked.
When John decided to walk away from witchcraft and into God’s family, the devil who he once regarded as his father would not let him go, but their power were no match for the one true God. John got saved and testifies that God is real and only through his son Jesus can we be able to see the truth.
John says that he wouldn’t trade anything for what he’s found in Christ. “For twenty-five years of my life, I was able to do anything to anybody, anywhere. I count that all to be foolish to gain Christ. He’s my Uno. He’s the breath that I breathe. He walks with me. I can hear the sound of His voice in my ear.”
Today, John shares the gospel with everyone he can. He has written a book about his experiences called Out of the Devil’s Cauldron.
The testimony of Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper, the shock-rock megastar who makes Marilyn Manson look like a choir boy, stopped his hard-partying ways and returned to his Bible Christian roots in the late 1980s and today, still hugely popular and touring, says he isn’t shy about discussing his faith, says his early songs always warned against choosing evil and contends that the world we live in “doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to Satan, we’re living with that, we’re bombarded with that every day.”
Alice represents what most non-practicing Satanist are. You may not be worshiping Lucifer, but could unknowingly be submitting your life to Satan, in order to get earthly rewards.
Alice Cooper was very popular in 1970s and 1980s. He was into sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll lifestyle. He was notorious for his demonic makeup and costumes and macabre theatrics on stage, which included simulated suicide and the decapitation of baby-dolls, among other dark antics.
He knew well that the devil is real. “I’m telling you, the Devil is very smart,” said Cooper. “He’s not going to come out with the horns and the tail. He’s going to come in as the slickest car salesman you ever saw – and I’ve seen some pretty slick pastors on TV”. Indeed, not everyone who calls themselves Christians is of God. The deception is all too real, as written in the last days before the return of Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
“I’m telling you, the Devil is very smart,” said Cooper.
The struggle between the “dark side” and that of “the force” is all too real in the Christian realm. Bible prophecy warns us that before the destruction of Satan, he will attempt to control and distort the truth so men will not be saved from the destruction that is to come. The Apostles John calls him “the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Reason #3. Changed lives
According to the Guinness book of records, the Bible is the world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book. Around 2.5 billion copies were printed between 1815 and 1975, but more recent estimates put it at more than 5 billion Bibles sold. It is the only book that has been translated into 349 languages; 2,123 languages have at least one book of the Bible in that language. The next best selling book is the red-covered booklet ‘Quotations from the Works of Mao Zedong’.
Although impressive, these do not really add value to the reason it was written for. God’s word is meant to change lives, and it has been doing so since it was first compiled. The Bible itself is filled with many stories of changed lives. Those who read, accept, and believed in God’s redemptive work testifies that their once sad lives have turned into gladness, joy, and hope.
Just like the changed lives of John Ramirez, Alice Cooper, and many others, it is difficult to understand how a historical narrative can turn someone vile into a gentle loving person, but it did.
The testimony of Paul
If the intent of Christians were to pursue fanaticism, the authors would have rewritten their testimonies by twisting stories in order to avoid confusing metaphors and contradictions as some views them. The Bible is filled with honest characters such as sinners and evil tax collectors whose lives were later transformed and became witnesses to God’s salvation.
Paul, considered as the great defender of the Christian faith is known as a Christian-hating (Acts 9:1), Christ-persecuting (Acts 9:5), zealot (Philippians 3:6; Galatians 1:14) before he was converted. He calls himself “the chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:9).
As a murderer, his background clearly does not qualify him as an ideal witness to Christ, yet the irony of God’s intent puts it to a test, that God seeks after the sinners to be saved and know the truth.