Why the Bible. Whatever your position towards the Bible is, everyone has to admit that this book is unique. No other book has caused similar sensation in the history of the world. The Bible was and is loved and hated, printed and destroyed, distributed and hidden. It also provides characteristics which make it unique and incomparable:
Constitution and unity: How is a book normally constituted? An author decides to write a book, he gathers material, makes an outline, writes, revises and prints. If a book has more than one author its already gets more complicated. Conversations become necessary, plans and drafts concerning the content are made, the topics are shared or split. In the writing of the Bible more than 40 authors were involved which with some exceptions did not even know each other. For many it was impossible to know other of the Bibles authors, for they have lived in different centuries and in total the writing of the Bible lasted over a period of approximately 1500 years (approx. 1400 B.C – 95 A.D). The authors derived from different cultures and social communities. They were soldiers, politicians, kings, fishermen, doctor, customs officer or jewish academic. One wrote in his palace, someone else in the desert, another from prison. Their writings arose from three parts of the earth (Africa, Asia and Europe) they were written in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek). Even more special: although it was impossible for most of the writers to get together to agree on their writing there is an indisputable red tape in the Bible from the beginning to the end. Where is this harmony and unity coming from?
Transcription: Many experts confirm the credibility of the biblical records and transcriptions. An ancient book having five or ten hand notes is considered as well documented. From the New Testament of the Bible alone there are more than 5000 greek manuscripts, additional many thousand hand notes from transcriptions and translations of thousands of quotes by authors of the early church history. The accuracy of these texts is exceptionally high: there are ten to twenty verses in the New Testament where the original terms and pronunciation are not precisely known today. Although in most instances this does not concern the meaning of the actual content.
Distribution: No other book in the history of mankind was distributed and translated as much as the Bible. Today the Bible and parts of it are available in more than 2000 languages and dialects and no other book can even roughly compare itself to the Bible when it comes to the sales volume. This is even more impressive due to the unpresedented persecution the Bible was exposed to in the last 2000 years of history. During the roman kings as well as the middle and modern age there were and are still bans of the Bible. In certain times the punishment for possessing a Bible was the death penalty. And still, the Bible was not eradicated and today its distributed more than ever before in history.
Timeliness: One could think that if a book is as “old” as the Bible, its content would not be applicable anymore to our time and lives. In fact millions of people today testify that their life was changed fundamentally after starting to deal with the Bible. Even the laws of many nations were measurably influenced by the Bible. The German constitution would be unimaginable without the Bible. Since centuries many people of different age and race find encouragement in the Bible.
Qualitative reliable witnesses: When it comes to the quality of the witnesses the Bible also deserves our trust. The writers of the New Testament are seen as trustworthy, because they either were eye witnesses of the events they wrote about or they were passed on at first hand. They can rightfully say: “and you are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48). They could not afford being inaccurate in their writings, since many of the first hand observers were still alive and Christianity faced many enemies among jews and romans.
Fulfilled prophecies: the Bible contains more than 3000 prophecies of various kind which were accurately fulfilled. Some in regard to the people of Israel, certain person or cities. A substantial amount of prophecies are related to the Messiah; Jesus Christ. Several verses provide details of his cruel death of crucifixion (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22) – centuries before this form of death penalty was even applied by the romans. Other prophecies regarding the Old Testament relate to the time and location of his birth, his genealogical tree and his resurrection. Fulfilled prophecies is something not existing in this form in other world literature. For Christians, this is a clear indicator that God himself is behind the Bible.
Verifiable truth: The strongest argument for the credibility of the Bible as Gods word is perhaps aside of all other levels: a real and experienceable relationship with the God. Until today there is an innumerable amount of people testifying that they got to know God and experience him through his word, the Bible.
As a result there is a strong case for the credibility of the Bible. It is only reasonable to have a closer look and start to deal with it with an open mind and hearth for what it has to say to us today.