Bible- Reliability?


#1

Hello, I am having some doubts.

  1. How can we verify that the Bible is inspired by the Spirit?
  2. How can we verify that the Bible (which was arranged at the Councils of Constantinople and Hippo) was not arranged to support a particular message (ie. Christ’s divinity).
  3. Why don’t Catholics/Christians support that the Bible was handed directly from God like Muslims believe of the Qu’ran?
  4. Why is there no recent version of the Bible?

#2

By checking with the Church that Christ founded.

  1. How can we verify that the Bible (which was arranged at the Councils of Constantinople and Hippo) was not arranged to support a particular message (ie. Christ’s divinity).

See answer to #1.

  1. Why don’t Catholics/Christians support that the Bible was handed directly from God like Muslims believe of the Qu’ran?

Because it is not true.

  1. Why is there no recent version of the Bible?

Are you sure there haven’t been? What about translations into languages other than english?


#3

I suppose this also begs the question- who’s to say that Christ wasn’t just made up in the eyes of some writer who wanted to portray a moral message?


#4

The people who died proclaiming His message? People won’t die for a fiction.


#5
  1. Read it :slight_smile: If it makes logical errors according to reasoning or science it invalidates itself. Ultimately, we will have to decide whether or not to rest upon God and His promises as presented in the Bible. We will each have to decide whether He and His promises are trustworthy.

  2. The Bible wasn’t arranged at any councils. As Josh McDowell in “A Quest For Answers: The DaVinci Code” points out, the Hebrew Scriptures had been canonized no later than 150 B.C., and most of what we consider the New Testament canon was widely acknowledged over a century before the councils, as evidenced by Emperor Diocletian declaring 20 years before the first council that the sacred books of the Christians were to be destroyed.

  3. Very few instances are given where God literally writes Himself. One would be the 10 commandments when given to Moses. However, in a sense it was not necessary. Unlike Mohammed, God did not transmit in a dark cave where there were no witnesses. The Bible’s human authors proclaimed their truths out in the open often first in the form of preaching or prophesying, often testifying to the truth of what they spoke by oft-violent deaths. Furthermore, the Bible was presented as factually accurate at times when what it said could be verified or disputed. For example, New Testament writers like Luke pointed to hundreds of eyewitnesses who could verify their claims, and even challenged Roman rulers to knowing of what they spoke as Paul did, saying “these things were not done in a corner.” Why God chose to do things this way I’m not sure honestly, but He did things openly in a way that could be verified unlike with the later Quran, and as evidenced by Acts 17:11, He expects us to question His Word and even calls “noble” those who do, so long as we do so with an open mind and giving the Bible a chance to prove itself.

  4. Because really there is only one version of the Bible, and always has been. There might be different translations out of the original, but we still have translations from the original Greek and Aramaic languages, some written less than a century after the original manuscripts. There’s a great Bible software program out there called PowerBible CD which can be downloaded at www.powerBible.com that allows you to see the original text via the interlinear option, as well as the definitions for each word according to Strong’s Greek and Hebrew dictionaries.


#6

Read Catholic Answers tract on Proving Inspiration.

I hope it was arranged that way, because Jesus is divine! :wink: Seriously, though, it’s not as if those Councils just went through a stack of books and said, “This one looks good. This one doesn’t. Oooh, this one supports my agenda, so let’s make sure to get that one in there!” The canon was largely agreed upon before the Councils. They were just confirming it. I’m sure there are others here who could give you more historical info on the subject. I know there’s a good book on the development of the canon, but I can’t think of it right now.

Because it wasn’t. It didn’t fall down from the sky in its complete form. It was written by human beings under the inspiration of God. Dei Verbum is a good place to go to see what the Church believes about inspiration and the cooperation between the human and divine authors (particularly paragraphs 11 & 12).

I’m not sure what this question is asking? There are recent translations of Scripture and it seems there are new ones coming out all the time. Or are you asking why there aren’t more books being added? The answer to that is that the canon is closed. Jesus already came to earth and died for our sins to save us and open the gates of heaven. What more can be added to that?


#7

Well, there are hundreds of Messianic prophecies that came hundreds of years before He was ever born involving what He would say, what others would say about Him, how He would be born, how He would die, how many pieces of silver He would be betrayed for, what animal He would ride into Jerusalem on, the exact number of years before He would come, etc. (and no, I’m not exaggerating)

You can see a list of them here:

teachinghearts.org/dre17hdan09b.html

Furthermore, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls provide us with manuscripts of about 99% of the Old Testament from a good 150 years before Jesus ever lived, as preserved by a strict Jewish sect called the Essenes.

Therefore, the prophecies are valid, and dozens of prophets clearly believed in Jesus the Messiah long before He ever physically dwelt on this earth!

As for evidence that Jesus existed, it would be hard to explain the sudden existence of a movement in Israel of all places, consisting of thousands of Jews willing to die for a Messiah who goes against the commonly taught beliefs of their leaders that God is not triune, if a real Jesus did not in fact exist.

It would be hard to explain why they would accept as authentic documents (the Gospels) as authoritative at a time when the claims could be disputed or independently verified by eyewitnesses (especially since the Gospel writers challenged their readers to talk to said witnesses for proof).

The Jewish leaders themselves recognized at the time that Jesus was a real person, as evidenced by what the Talmudic writers at the time said about Jesus.

It would hard to explain why 12 unlearned men would undergo horrible hardship even to the death if their leader had not in fact ever existed.

As for documentary proof, Josh McDowell names many sources as confirmation for the New Testament writings immediately after they were written, such as the writings of Eusebius, Irenaeus, Tacitus, Tertullian, Josephus, Suetonius, Thallus, Mara Bar-Serapion, and Pliny the Younger.


#8

Yeah… but I bet your preachers didn’t bother to tell you that the Deuterocanonical books that are in Catholic Bibles (and edited out of yours) were in that Dead Sea Scroll discovery, now did they.

That should tell you something since you recognize that as an authoritative source. :smiley:


#9

Then what about the fact that so many Jews today state that the concept of a Messiah is not even Jewish? Many say this. Also, don’t some of the oldest scriptures contradict what is in our bible? I really want you to contradict me here, I am a faithful Christian going through doubts.


#10

I admit I’m not familiar with what the Jews say today, but simply because they say that today does not therefore mean it is what the ancient Jews believed. In the Gospels, it is quite clear that many of the Jews were expecting a Messiah.

It would help us if you could give us some examples. It is very difficult to respond to: “I heard there are contradictions in the Bible, prove me wrong.” How do you prove that there are no contradictions in Scripture if there are no contradictions? The only way would be to read all Scripture and say “See, there were no contradictions.”

Now, if you have something specific in mind, that’s different. There are many difficulties in Scripture, but no contradictions. If you give us an example, we can respond to why that particular example is only a perceived contradiction, but not an actual contradiction.


#11

I’d heard this but never understood how they could believe that Scripturally. I mean, in Daniel 9 it specifically stated the exact number of years before the Messiah would come (483 years of 360 days each from the rebuilding of Jerusalem in 445 B.C.):

Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

For a GREAT list of Messianic prophecies:

teachinghearts.org/dre17hdan09b.html


#12
  1. Why don’t Catholics/Christians support that the Bible was handed directly from God like Muslims believe of the Qu’ran?

What many Muslims tell you of the Quran is simply untrue mythology. The well educated Muslims don’t even believe what Muslims commonly say.

For instance you will here them say they have the original. Well that’s not true. The original was written on rock, leaves, whatever was handy. It was lost. Various Muslims memorized it. And that was how it was being transmitted. Well variences started and a powerful Muslim, got together with several others and they made a compiliation, much was evidently just dropped out. Then as many as they can of the disagreeing manuscripts that various people had written were destroyed. There are references of the time about things that are no longer in the Quran. Mohammeds wife if I remember right even mentions the goat eating some of it that is evidently forever lost. Anyway a compilation was made and this is what they have.

And then you will hear that every Arabic copy perfectly agrees, again a myth. Do a search of textual criticism of the Quran. You will find references to how different texts exist.

And if you want to put to rest the idea God dictated it. Well, read it. It’s all messed up. Not a wonderful history of God’s love for the world, but mostly just a bunch of quick little sayings. Somewhat like Proverbs. Pretty poor excuse for scripture.

So anyway, to sum it up, the reason that what Muslims often claim about the Quran sounds so amazing is it is simply fantasy a complete denial of the true history, just folk legends and mythology.

debate.org.uk/topics/history/quran.htm#G3

Gives a good general background.

JJ


#13

It is purely a matter of faith. Scholars can’t even determine whether Shakespeare wrote all the works attributed to him and yet some think they can “prove” divine inspiration which is totally outside the realm of human understanding…


#14

who is “we”?
We is the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ who as he promised sends the Holy Spirit to guide, protect and counsel her in handing on his teaching through sacred tradition and sacred scripture, both products of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. What the Church defines as divine revelation we can accept with confidence because she cannot err in this regard, having defined it through the Holy Spirit.

Catholics do not believe that the bible, as one book, was handed on in one moment of revelation because historically that is not how it happened. God revealed his Word over human time, in context and manner of his choosing, to prophets of his choosing, until in the fullness of time he sent his Son Jesus Christ, the Word, the complete revelation. We also do not believe God gave any Revelation beyond his Son, and specifically reject false claims of any revelation such as the Koran or Book of Mormon which contradict the Bible and which deny the divinity of the Son.

Don’t know what you mean by “recent versions”. If you mean are there translations in modern languages, there are many. Some are composed through the Catholic Church under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, some are not.


#15

Yes, I just checked into the discovery and 1 Enoch and Jubilees were the only 2 books found with manuscripts in number similar to books of the Bible. On looking into the history of the book of 1 Enoch however, I find it interesting that it was quoted from by Jude and possibly Peter as well. I still don’t know that I think much of the other apocrypha, but I’m going to give serious consideration at least to 1 Enoch.

Because I am a firm believer in evidence for God’s Word being the state in which it is preserved, I will also have to look into the book of Jubilees as well. I have observed that the false gospels of philip, thomas, etc. are incomplete and knowledge of them consists of only a few incomplete manuscript fragments, while all 66 books of the Bible are VERY well attested to by manuscript evidence.

I have considered it a strong proof for God’s divine preservation of His Word. If you can show me proofs for any of the other apocrypha being close to well preserved in comparison to the books of the Bible, I will consider them too.


#16

Well, I’m reading 1 Enoch for the first time… it is a very odd book. It is almost like the first chapter is by a different author. Chapters 2-4 seem almost a sloppy attempt to imitate the book of Job, just as the Quran is a sloppy attempt to imitate the Old Testament.

Furthermore, it is particularly noticeable how the focus of the chapters is on the natural world rather than the Creator of it, as differing from the 1st and 5th chapters (or at least some of the 5th chapter). This strikes me as dissimilar to the Bible where the natural world’s wonders are so set forth only as a way of constantly showing God’s power, and thus a focus is constantly put and kept on Him.

Furthermore, chapter 3 especially seems to make a special effort at presenting information that at the time must have seemed impressive, but we can now recognize many more than 14 species of conifers (around 700). And even if trying to group into sub-species, I think there would be a problem. The 2-3 year age limit set for conifers losing their foliage is likely wrong in some instances as well.

Chapter 4 seems to exaggerate in saying the heat during summer is so great that one can’t walk on the ground or rocks.

Chapter 7 again seems to offer unlikely measurements, something I don’t see occur in the Bible. 3000 ells for each giant? They were all the same height? Unlikely. And the lack of the use of this measurement (ells) in the Old Testament seems suspicious at best.

Chapter 8 provides a direct contradiction with the Bible. Azazel is said to have taught men the art of metals, but in Genesis 4:22 Tubalcain is said to have done that.

Chapter 9 seems to differ from God’s writing style in the Old Testament in providing a long clumsy list of 4 short names of God back to back, when in the Old Testament I see no precedent for this occurring (it seems an attempt to use the 2 names mentioned in Deut. 10:17 but then adding 2 more on).

Again the writing style differs in naming the number of ages as 5. The use of numbers in a passage describing the natural world seems dissimilar from God’s writing style in the Old Testament.

Furthermore, the co-mingling of prophetic passages and passages about the natural world seems odd, when in the Bible they are clearly distinguished.

Also, the writing style seems dissimilar at the end of the chapter in providing so extensive a summation of material already mentioned as being told to God. The wording also strikes me as very different from that used by angels in the Bible.

I could go on, but all in all the writing style seems VERY dissimilar from that seen in the Bible. Perhaps the 1st chapter is original and inspired, but I suspect different parts were authored by different people and added later.

Overall, what most makes me not want to read it is that it just isn’t God’s writing style. I’ve read the Bible enough to notice He has a distinctive, consistent tone throughout, and works like the Quran and 1 Enoch have a noticeably different one.


#17

Wait wait wait…

I am not talking about Enoch, it is not a Deuterocanonical book.

The books I am referring to are 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, Tobit, and Judith as well as parts of Esther and Daniel.

[size=]When the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in the late 1950s

, parts of these deuterocanonical books were found among the other ancient manuscripts. This shows that many of them once existed in Hebrew. It is interesting that the text of the Catholic Old Testament, which was taken from the Septuagint, follows the text of the Dead Sea scrolls more closely than some other translations. This exhibits the care the Church has taken over the centuries to preserve the authenticity of Scripture. Some Jewish and Protestant Bible scholars have taken a renewed interest in the deuterocanonical books since their discovery among the Dead Sea scrolls.[/size]


#18

Maybe we should be more concered with inspried reading, rather than inspried writing.


#19

Oh… from what I saw, the only books found with more than 4 manuscripts not from the canon were 1 Enoch and Jubilees.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Scrolls#Frequency_of_books_found

I take it the Deuterocanonical books were found with 4 or less manuscripts then? I’d be interested in learning how many of each there were found, but am having trouble finding a count outside of that Wikipedia page.


#20

Catholic Analysis: The Dead Sea Scrolls And the Deuterocanonical Books of the Old Testament


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