Throughout history, people from many backgrounds have considered the Bible to be a reliable source of truth. Today, millions follow its teachings. Yet others dismiss the Bible as being irrelevant or fictitious. What do you think? Can you find truth in the Bible?
WHY YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE
How can you determine if the Bible merits your trust? Consider an illustration: If a friend consistently told you the truth over many years, you would likely consider him trustworthy. Has the Bible, like a trustworthy friend, consistently told the truth? Note some examples.
Bible writers were very honest, often revealing their own mistakes and failings. For example, the prophet Jonah wrote about his own disobedience. (Jonah 1:1-3) In fact, he concluded his Bible book by revealing how God chastised him, yet he made no mention of how he corrected his own attitude. (Jonah 4:1, 4, 10, 11) The honesty of all the Bible writers indicates their sincere concern for truth.
Does the Bible always give sound advice about practical matters? It certainly does. For example, note what the Bible says about maintaining healthy relationships: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must do to them.” (Matthew 7:12) “A mild answer turns away rage, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) Yes, Bible truths remain as practical today as the day they were written.
Many archaeological discoveries over the years verify the existence of various peoples and places and the accuracy of events mentioned in the Bible. As an example, consider the evidence for one minor detail. The Bible states that in the time of Nehemiah, Tyrians (Phoenicians from Tyre) who lived in Jerusalem “were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise.”—Nehemiah 13:16.
Is there any evidence to support this Bible verse? Yes, there is. Archaeologists have discovered Phoenician goods in Israel, suggesting trade between the two ancient nations. Furthermore, in Jerusalem, the remains of Mediterranean fish have been unearthed. Archaeologists believe that the fish were brought from the distant coast by merchants. After analyzing the evidence, one scholar concluded: “The statement in Neh[emiah] 13:16 that the Tyrians sold fish in Jerusalem is quite plausible.”
The Bible is primarily a religious and historical book. But when it touches on scientific matters, it harmonizes with true science. Note one example.
About 3,500 years ago, the Bible stated that the earth is suspended “upon nothing.” (Job 26:7) This differed greatly from the myths that described the earth as floating on water or being carried by a giant tortoise. Some 1,100 years after the book of Job was written, people continued to believe that the earth could not just hang in midair; it had to have something to rest upon. Only three hundred years ago, in 1687, Isaac Newton published his work on gravity and explained that the earth is held in orbit by an invisible force. This scientific milestone confirmed what the Bible had stated more than 3,000 years earlier!
How accurate are the Bible’s many prophecies? Consider one example: Isaiah’s prophecy about the fall of Babylon.
The Prophecy: In the eighth century B.C.E., the Bible writer Isaiah declared that Babylon—which was only later to become the capital of a powerful empire—would be overthrown and eventually become uninhabited. (Isaiah 13:17-20) Isaiah even named the man who would carry this out—Cyrus. He also described Cyrus’ strategy, stating that rivers would “dry up.” And he foretold that the city gates would be left open.—Isaiah 44:27–45:1.
The Fulfillment: Some 200 years after Isaiah’s prophecy, a Persian king attacked Babylon. His name? Cyrus. Because Babylon was heavily fortified, Cyrus turned his attention to the Euphrates River, which ran through the city. His men dug a canal upstream to divert the river into a marshland. This dropped the river level enough to make it possible for Cyrus’ army to march through the thigh-deep water of the riverbed, which adjoined the city walls. Incredibly, the Babylonians had left the gates that faced the river open! Cyrus’ army entered Babylon through the open gates and overthrew it.
However, one detail remained: Did Babylon become uninhabited? For some centuries, people continued living there. But today, Babylon’s ruins—near Baghdad, Iraq—testify to the prophecy’s complete fulfillment. Yes, the Bible is reliable even when it discusses future events.