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 historical basis for knowledge of Jesus at all. Without a reliable historical witness to Jesus the Christian faith would be reduced to an esoteric-gnostic religion" (Sproul, 249). It would be reduce Jesus to simply personal opinion. There are several tests of bibliographic data that can be performed to verify if a document is trustworthy. One of these is called the internal evidence test.

The Internal Evidence Test

Perhaps the strongest argument that the Bible is the Word of God is the testimony of Jesus. Even non-Christians believe he was a good teacher. Jesus affirmed the Old Testament to be the Word of God and promised to guide his disciples to know all truth. Jesus accepted the Bible as not only authoritative, but as the very words of God. We also have abundance of scripture that bears testimony of itself as the word of God and as such, being reliable.

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty (2 Peter 1:16, NKJV). That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3, NKJV).

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus (Luke 1:1-3, NKJV).

While the record of scripture bears a unity within itself, that does not mean that the events that transpired really happened. What it does say is that they all have the same story. The question could be posed, "Could not there have been a conspiracy to makeup a story?" Don Bierle's response to this is very interesting. The early dating of the New Testament documents within 20-30 years after Jesus' death made the theory of legends untenable.

As [F.F.] Bruce says, The disciples could not afford to risk inaccuracies (not to speak of willful manipulation of the facts), which would at once be exposed by those who would be only too glad to do so." No legend is known to have developed within the same generation as the events and persons themselves (Bierle, 42). Bierle further adds the incredible obstacles in fabricating a history during the lifetime of the original witnesses.

The gospel accounts of the words and deeds of Jesus were being preached within fifty days and had limited circulation in written form within twenty-five years after his death and resurrection. Imagine the difficulties today of trying to publish a totally fabricated biography of former president John F. Kennedy.

In this account JFK is depicted as walking on water, healing the sick in front of crowds, raising the dead, and feeding 5000 people with five barley loaves and two fish. Following his death he was said to be resurrected as he ascended to heaven before over 500 eyewitnesses. As a result, a massive religious movement has begun with which JFK is worshipped (Bierle, 41-42).

The only way that this fabricated biography would come close to being accepted would be by none of the people living at the time to see or hear about the biography or that the people who knew JFK were all dead. The same situation is true for Peter's proclamation of Jesus on Pentecost. 3,000 responded in faith and repentance.

Hardly a showing of skeptical doubts just 50 days after his crucifixion and resurrection. The very place where all of the events happened to Jesus was the very place that he was first declared risen from the dead.