Just what is the Bible? The Bible is a compilation of 66 love letters (books) from God (our Lord Jesus Christ). These books were written by over 40 authors in a period of about 1600 years. These authors did not collaborate on the content of the books, yet, all of the books flow together as if written by one person. Well, that is what happened, the content of all of the books was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

For 2,000 years the Bible has been under attack by many groups including, The Council of World Religions, The Jesus Seminar, most if not all non-Christian religions, however, it has been said:
        Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself,
        but because it contradicts them.
So it is, that we come to our topic, "Is the Bible Inerrant?"

These are the areas we will discuss concerning the Bible's inerrancy:
   1. Archeology
   2. Translations without error.
   3. The history.
   4. Bible stories-hard to believe, duplicated in "modern" times.
   5. The Dead Sea Scrolls.
   6. Scientific discoveries covered by the Bible.
   7. Number of manuscripts compared to other historical writings.
   8. Internal and external principles in determining historical reliability.
   9. Historical secular writers with the same story as the Bible
 10. Apocrypha information.
 11. Bible Prophecies that have been fulfilled, mostly by Jesus Christ.
 12. What Bible Prophecies have not yet been fulfilled; what are the signs?

We are fortunate to live in a time of history that is so very rich in archeological discoveries. Since the middle of the 19th century, the number of "digs" have increased dramatically. This is a marked contrast from previous centuries when there was little evidence. Much of the work, or digs, have been in the area mentioned in the Bible.

There have been uncountable locations, names and treasures indicated in the Bible that have been verified with archeological digs. More than 25,000 sites showing some connection with the Old Testament period have been located. Not one of the archeological findings have shown the Bible to be wrong. On the contrary, when a dig involved an area of the Bible, it verified in detail, the description in the Bible.

Dr. W. F. Albright, late professor emeritus of John Hopkins University, could declare, "There can be no doubt that archeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition."(a) Millar Burrows of Yale stated: "......archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the scriptural record.......This is a real contribution and not to be minimized." For example: The discovery of the Ebla archive in northern Syria in the 1970s has shown the Biblical writings concerning the Patriarchs to be viable.

Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. demonstrate that personal and place names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. A dig in 1923 discovered, without doubt, Ur of the Chaldees. Also found were clay tablets with Biblical names of that era. A few miles from Ur an inscribed foundation stone was found, laid by a king of unknown name, of the first Dynasty of Ur, which the scribes speak of as the third dynasty after the Flood.

Another find: Even though the Hittites are mentioned 47 times in the Bible, scholars doubted that they existed because no historical evidence of such people had been found. Then in 1876, Hugo Winckler uncovered 5 temples and 10,000 clay tablets. They were deciphered and shown that the Hittits did really exist in the area described in the Bible.

Also, the location of Christ's trial, the "Pool of Bathesda" and the fact that there was a "census" at the time of Christ and that Quirinus was governor have all been verified with archeological discoveries.

An excavation, by Avraham Biram and his team of archeologists in early 1990 at Tel Dan, near the foot of Mt. Hermon, found a remarkable inscription from the ninth century B.C. The inscription refers to both the "House of David" and the "King of Israel". During excavations from 1956 to 1962 James Pritchard found jars inscribed with the word Gibeon, a town north of Jerusalem. This find verifies the Bible account that the town actually existed.

In 1902, John Peters found a tomb with an inscription "Maresha", a town mentioned in Joshua 15:44.. It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Isaiah 20:1, because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon's palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq.

The very event mentioned in Isaiah 20, his capture of Ashdod, was recorded on the palace walls. What is more, fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself. (A stela is an upright pillar bearing an inscription)

Undoubtedly, the most important mention of Israel outside the Bible is that in the Merneptah, or "Israel," Stela. Discovered in 1896 in Merneptah's mortuary temple in Thebes by Flinders Petrie, the stela is a poetic eulogy to pharaoh Merneptah, who ruled Egypt after Rameses the Great,
1212-1202 BC.

Of significance to Biblical studies is a short section at the end of the poem describing a campaign to Canaan by Merneptah in the first few years of his reign, ca. 1210 BC. One line mentions Israel: "Israel is laid waste, its seed is not." Here we have the earliest mention of Israel outside the Bible and the only mention of Israel in Egyptian records.

Cyrus the Great ruled the Persian empire from 559-530 B.C. He is best known for his capture of Babylon in 539 B.C. Already in the 8th century B.C. Isaiah predicted this defeat (Isaiah 45:1-3), and went on to say that Cyrus would "set my exiles free' (Isaiah 45:13). That Cyrus released the Jewish exiles from Babylon is not only documented in the Bible (2Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:2-4), but also implied in the contemporary Cyrus Cylinder.

This ancient record states, "I (Cyrus) gathered all their former inhabitants and returned to them their habitations." Cyrus was buried in a simple gabled stone tomb outside his capital of Pasargadae in modern Iran. According to the historian Strabo, this inscription once graced the structure, "Oh man, I am Cyrus, the son of Cambyses, who founded the empire of Persia, and was king of Asia. Grudge me not therefore this monument".

In an unprecedented discovery, an ancient text found at Deir Alla, Jordan, in 1967 tells about the activities of a prophet named Balaam. Could this be the Balaam of the Old Testament? The text makes it clear that it is. Three times in the first four lines he is referred to as "Balaam son of Beor," exactly as in the Bible.

This represents the first Old Testament prophet to be dug up in Bible lands - not his tomb or his skeleton, but a text about him. The text also represents the first prophecy of any scope from the ancient West Semitic world to be found outside the Old Testament, and the first extra-Biblical example of a prophet proclaiming doom to his own people.

Balaam was not an Israelite. He was hired by Balak, king of Moab, to curse the Israelites. They were camped on the east side of the Jordan river, about to make their historic entry into the promised land. Through God's intervention Balaam was obliged to bless the Israelites rather than curse them (Num 22-24). Afterwards, Balaam seems to have been the cause of the Israelites' sin in Numbers 25 when they took Moabite and Midianite women and worshipped the Moabite god Baal-Peor (Num 31:16).

Balaam was eventually killed when Moses sent the Israelites against the Midianites (Num 31). He is further condemned in Scripture in 2 Peter 2:15 (he loved the wages of unrighteousness), Jude 11 (ungodly men ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward) and Revelation 2:14 (he taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication).

The remarkable text found at Deir Alla consists of 119 fragments of plaster inscribed with black and red ink. It was among the rubble of a building destroyed in an earthquake. It seems to have been one long column with at least 50 lines, displayed on a plastered wall. According to the excavators' dating, the disaster was most likely the severe earthquake which occurred in the time of King Uzziah (Azariah) and the prophet Amos in about 760 BC (Amos 1:1; Zec 14:5).

The lower part of the text shows signs of wear, indicating that it had been on the wall for some time prior to the earthquake. Written in Aramaic, the text begins with the title "Warnings from the Book of Balaam the son of Beor. He was a seer of the gods." It is in red ink, as are other portions of the text where emphasis is desired. The reference to the "Book of Balaam" indicates that the text was part of a pre-existing document and therefore the original date of the material is much earlier than the plaster text itself. Balaam goes on to relate a vision concerning impending judgment from the gods, and enters into a dispute with his listeners.

Below are additional items worthy of mention:
1.  Most of the major cities of the Bible can be identified.
2.  In 1975 a dig discovered 20,000 tablets at the city of Ebla, preserved by a fire, which indicated details of their culture.
3. In 1868 an inscribed stone was excavated at Dibon.  The stone mentions Mesha, king of Moab and his overthrow of Israel, King Omri and the God of Israel (Yahweh)
4. Sumerian tablets record the confusion of language as we have in the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).
5. Campaign into Israel by Pharaoh Shishak (1 Kings 14:25-26), recorded on the walls of the Temple of Amun in Thebes, Egypt.
6. Revolt of Moab against Israel (2 Kings 1:1; 3:4-27), recorded on the Mesha Inscription.
7.   Fall of Samaria (2 Kings 17:3-6, 24; 18:9-11) to Sargon II, king of Assyria, as recorded on his palace walls.
8.   Defeat of Ashdod by Sargon II (Isaiah 20:1), as recorded on his palace walls.
9.  Campaign of the Assyrian king Sennacherib against Judah (2 Kings 18:13-16), as recorded on the Taylor Prism.
10.  Siege of Lachish by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:14, 17), as recorded on the Lachish reliefs.
11. Assassination of Sennacherib by his own sons (2 Kings 19:37), as recorded in the annals of his son Esarhaddon.
12. Fall of Nineveh as predicted by the prophets Nahum and Zephaniah (2:13-15), recorded on the Tablet of Nabopolasar.
13.  Fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-14), as recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles.
14. Captivity of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, in Babylon (2 Kings 24:15-16), as recorded on the Babylonian Ration Records.
15. Fall of Babylon to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:30-31), as recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder
16. Freeing of captives in Babylon by Cyrus the Great (Ezra 1:1-4; 6:3-4), as recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder.
17. The existence of Jesus as recorded by Josephus, Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, the Talmud, and Lucian.
18. Forcing Jews to leave Rome during the reign of Claudius (A.D. 41-54) (Acts 18:2), as recorded by Suetonius.
19. Peter Thiede states that the Magdalen Fragments date  to 70 A.D.
20. In Caesarea in 1961 two Italian archaeologists excavated an inscription, in Latin, that read "Pontius Pilate, Perfect of Judea, has presented the Tiberium to the Caesareans" This was the first non-Biblical reference to Pilate.
21. The remains of a crucified man, a contempoary of Jesus, was discovered buried in a family grave. It was believed all crucified bodies were put in a common grave.  This discovery indicates that Jesus burial described in the gospels is possible.
Many more areas of discoveries could be listed.  This study of Archeology may be sufficient evidence to show the truth and reliability of the Bible.  However, much more evidence is to come.
22. Many more areas of discoveries could be listed. This study of Archeology may be sufficient evidence to show the truth and reliability of the Bible. However, much more evidence is to come.

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History tells us that the early Jewish historians were extremely careful in copying existing documents (i.e. the Torah etc.). In the early centuries after Christ's Resurrection, the rapidly growing number of churches and home groups required an increased supply of copies of the Old and New Testament books.

The Gospels and Letters in the New Testament, which were written from
50 A.D. to 95 A.D., were transcribed with every bit the same accuracy as the Old Testament books by the early Jewish historians.

The oldest Greek version of the Old Testament is called the Septuagint. It was completed at the end of the 2nd century B.C. This Greek Manuscript contains 39 Old Testament and 14 Apocrypha books.

See the HISTORY Section for information and dates on the acceptance of the "canon".

From 382 to 405 A.D., Jerome translated the Bible into Latin (common languages were prohibited) which was called the Vulgate.
In 600 A.D. Latin is still the only language allowed for Scripture.
From 1360 to 1382 A.D., John Wycliff used the Vulgate to translate, in hand writing, the Bible into English (all 80 books).
In 1414 A.D. People were warned against reading Scripture in English.
In 1456 A.D., Gutenberg, who invented the printing press, printed the Bible in Latin.
In 1516 A.D., Erasmus produced a Greek/Latin parallel New Testament.
IN 1517 A.D., Martin Luther posted his 95 theses (The Reformation).
In 1522 A.D., Martin Luther wrote the German New Testament.
From 1520 to 1530 A.D., Tyndale studied Greek and Hebrew for a translation into English.
The first New Testament to be printed in the English language. The Bibles were burned.
In 1535 A.D. The Cloverdale Bible was the first complete Bible printed in English.
In 1536 A.D. Tyndale was executed. He was tied to a stake, hung by the neck and set on fire.
In 1539 A.D., The "Great Bible" was printed.
In 1543 A.D. King Henry VIII ordered no Bible reading in private or public.
In 1547 A.D. King EdwardVI allowed the circulation and reading of the Bible.
In 1553 A.D. Queen Mary disallowed reading the Bible: had reformers burned at the stake.
In 1560 A.D., The Geneva Bible added numbered verses to each chapter.
In 1611 A.D., The "King James" Bible was printed; The Apocrypha was removed in 1885.
In 1885 A.D., The "Revised Version" , the first major revision of the King James Bible. In 1901, the American Standard edition changed England's dialect to American dialect.
In 1971, the New American Standard Bible (NASB) was published.
In 1973, the New International Version (NIV) was published.
In 1982, the New King James (NKJV) was published.

There have been many more translations than those listed: i.e. Cloverdale's, Matthews', Bishops, Douay, Aitkins, Collins, Thomas, Webster, Hexapla, Illuminated, The Living, The Message etc.

Through the years, there were translations into many languages as well as the various English/American versions. With all the translations and writers, one would think that there would be errors in the Bible. However, the Bible is the same today as it was 2000 years ago.

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The books of the Bible are said to be in the canon of the Bible. This simply means that over time, scholars have come to accept certain books as authentic, inspired books that contain the Word of God, while rejecting other books as uninspired.

There are several books that people have tried to move into the biblical canon that never made it. For example, the Gospel of Thomas claims to be an inspired book about the childhood of Jesus. However, when this book is compared with the four Gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the Gospel of Thomas is clearly inferior.

The books that we have in the Old Testament today were accepted by the Jews as inspired before Jesus came to the earth. These scriptures were extremely important to the Jews (and us) even after the New Testament church was established. As the canon of the New Testament was established, the Bible came to include all of the books that we have in it today.

Establishing the canon of the Bible involves careful comparisons of text that we know were written by inspired men. The letters of Paul, the Gospel of Luke as well as the book of Acts, both written by Luke who accompanied Paul on his journeys were accepted into the canon. When we compared these writings to the texts that may or may not have been written by inspired men i.e. the Apocrypha, they were not accepted into the canon.

For example, we do not know who wrote the book of Hebrews. However, we can compare the teachings of the book of Hebrews to other texts that we know were inspired (the writings of Paul, for example). If, like the Gospel of Thomas, Hebrews were not able to withstand this kind of scrutiny, it would not be included in the canon.

The oldest copies of the Old Testament that we have were written in Aramaic and Hebrew. Before Christ was born, the Greeks translated the Old Testament into the Greek language. That translation is called the Septuagint and is one of the most valuable contributions of the Hellenistic period.

The work was done at Alexandria and completed by the end of the 2nd century B.C. The name Septuagint means "seventy," from the tradition that there were 72 scholars who did the work. Since the language of the early Christian community was Greek, the Septuagint became its Bible. Other books not in the Hebrew Bible were also written in Greek and included what is called the Apocrypha.

By 338 B.C. all of the Greek city-states except Sparta had been conquered by Philip II of Macedon. Greece was not independent again until the early 19th century, a period of more than 2,000 years. Philip's son, Alexander the Great, extended his father's conquests greatly. In so doing he inaugurated what is called the Age of Hellenism.

The Greek word for Greece was Hellas. Hellenism, therefore, signifies the spread of Greek language, literature, and culture throughout the Mediterranean world.

Alexander's conquests were in the East, and Greek culture shifted first in that direction. Athens lost its preeminent status as the leader of Greek culture, and it was replaced temporarily by Alexandria, Egypt.

After the rise of Rome, all the Mediterranean area was brought within one far-flung empire. Greek civilization then spread westward as well. Educated Romans learned to speak and write Greek, and they looked to Greece's golden age for inspiration in philosophy, poetry, and drama. So dependent did Roman writers become, in fact, that they produced very little that was not based upon Greek works, especially in drama and philosophy.

Several translations of the Old Testament that we use today were translated from copies of the Aramaic and Hebrew versions of the Old Testament and the Septuagint. The Dead Sea Scrolls, copies of portions of the Old Testament which were written hundreds of years before Christ was born, validate the Old Testament translations that we use today because they (our current versions) are virtually identical to the text contained in the Scrolls.

There was intense persecution against Christians for over 200 years after the death of Jesus the Christ. This persecution came at the hands of various Roman leaders and others.
CONSTANTINE THE GREAT (AD 280?-337). Two important events marked the reign of Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor of Rome. He made Christianity a lawful religion in Roman society, and he founded the city of Constantinople, the brilliant capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. After five years Constantine entered Rome as sole master of the Western half of the empire. In 313 A.D. he issued the Edict of Milan, which gave the Christians the right to practice their religion openly. By 323 A.D.

Constantine had brought the entire Roman world under his own rule. At that time a quarrel threatened to split the Christian church into two camps. Arius, a priest of Alexandria, Egypt, maintained that Christ was not the equal of the Father but was created by Him.

Athanasius, leader of the bishops in the West, claimed that the Father and Son, though distinct, were equal, and of the same substance. To settle the matter, Constantine called together an ecumenical, or worldwide, council of bishops at Nicaea, in Asia Minor, in 325. He himself ran the meeting. An overwhelming majority condemned the Arian view as heresy. The Council drew up the Nicene Creed, which is still accepted as the basic doctrine of most Christian churches.

The books that are in our present Old Testament were universally accepted at the time of Christ and endorsed by Him. In fact, there are nearly 300 quotations from the Old Testament books in the New Testament.

A number of books that are considered valuable but not inspired are found in the Roman Catholic and Anglican Bibles. These books are called the Apocrypha. But the Apocrypha were never recognized by either the Jews or the early church as being inspired.

Additional information on Canonicity of the Old Testament:
1. Every extant book of an acknowledged messenger of God, who was commissioned by God to make His will known, was immediately accepted as the Word of God.
2. The internal evidence of the books themselves bore witness to the genuineness of the books. See Deut. 31:24-26; Josh. 1:8; Judges 3:4; Neh. 8:1-8; Dan. 9:2,5,6; Zech. 7:12; Jer. 36.
3. The law of cause and effect. The books are not called canonical because Israel recognized them as such, but because all evidence showed them to be from God. II Kings 22: 23:1,2.

The completion of the canon of the Old Testament took place after the Babylonian captivity. The writings were collected after the people moved back into the land under Ezra and Nehemiah, because the Scriptures were needed. By 425 B.C., all the books of the Old Testament were written and collected. (Don Closson---The Christian Canon)

Although the New Testament Canon was officially confirmed in its present and final form by the third council of Carthage in 397, the 27 documents it contains were accepted as authoritative from the very beginning (From the time of Christ). First-century Christians circulated documents either written or approved by the apostles which contained an authoritative explanation of the accounts concerning Jesus' life and teaching.

These documents often quoted from each other and presented the same gospel message from different perspectives and in different styles. Hundreds of other documents were written and circulated, but the church quickly rejected spurious documents and established the authority of those that were genuine.

To gain canonical recognition, a book was expected to pass two basic tests. First, it had to have a history of "continuous and widespread approval amongst Christians". Second, it was expected to demonstrate that it had either been written by an apostle or specifically approved by the apostles.

The fact that the Muratorian Canon (approximately 170 A.D.) listed all of the books presently in the New Testament except for Hebrews, James, and the two epistles of Peter, is another demonstration of the early, broad-based support for the Canon.

Another example (and many others could be given) is provided by the brilliant theologian Irenaeus who also wrote in the second century. He quoted the four gospels extensively and included quotations from all of the New Testament books except Philemon and 3 John. Actually, the fact that a few books were received officially by the church at a later date is more a demonstration of the church's discretion and caution than it is an indication that these books are in some way unreliable.

A well-known theologian once said that the church no more created the New Testament Canon than Newton created the basic principles of physics. The earliest writings of the church fathers demonstrate their confidence in the authority of the New Testament Scriptures.

In about A.D. 400, when St. Jerome made a Latin translation of the Hebrew Bibl (The Vulgate), he included the Apocryphal books (somewhat against his better judgment). These books found acceptance in both the Latin (Roman) and Greek churches.

In Bible history there is a period of about 1000 years before John Wycliff comes on to the scene. The first hand-written English language manuscripts of the Bible were produced in 1380's AD by Oxford theologian John Wycliff.

Curiously, he was also the inventor of bifocal eyeglasses. Wycliff spent many of his years arguing against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. Though he died a nonviolent death, the Pope was so infuriated by his teachings that 44 years after Wycliff had died, he ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river.

Gutenburg invented the printing press in the 1450's, and the first book to ever be printed was the Bible. It was, however, in Latin rather than English. With the onset of the Reformation in the early 1500's, the first printings of the Bible in the English language were produced...illegally and at great personal risk of those involved.

William Tyndale was the Captain of the Army of reformers, and was their spiritual leader. He worked most of his translating years alone, but had help from time to time as God discerned he needed it. Indirectly, he had the help of Erasmus in the publication of his Greek/Latin New Testament printed in 1516.

Erasmus and the great printer, scholar, and reformer John Froben published the first non-Latin Vulgate text of the Bible in a millennium. Latin was the language for centuries of scholarship and it was understood by virtually every European who could read or write. Erasmus' Latin was not the Vulgate translation of Jerome, but his own fresh rendering of the Greek New Testament text that he had collated from six or seven partial New Testament manuscripts into a complete Greek New Testament.

With Erasmus' work in 1516, the die was cast. Martin Luther declared his intolerance with the Roman Church's corruption on Halloween in 1517, by nailing 95 Theses of Contention to the Wittenberg Door. Luther, who would be exiled in the months following the Diet of Worms Council in 1521 that was designed to martyr him, would translate the New Testament into German from Erasmus' Greek/Latin New Testament and publish it in September of 1522.

Simultaneously, William Tyndale would become burdened to translate that same Erasmus text into English. It could not, however, be done in England. Tyndale showed up on Luther's doorstep in 1525, and by year' end had translated the New Testament into English.

Tyndale was fluent in eight languages and is considered by many to be the primary architect of today's English language. Already hunted because of the rumor spread abroad that such a project was underway, inquisitors and bounty hunters were on Tyndale's trail to abort the effort.

God foiled their plans, and in 1525/6 Tyndale printed the first English New Testament. They were burned as soon as the Bishop could confiscate them, but copies trickled through and actually ended up in the bedroom of King Henry VIII. The more the King and Bishop resisted its distribution, the more fascinated the public at large became.

The church declared it contained thousands of errors as they torched hundreds of New Testaments confiscated by the clergy, while in fact, they burned them because they could find no errors at all. One risked death by burning if caught in mere possession of Tyndale's forbidden books.

Having God's Word available to the public in the language of the common man, English, would have meant disaster to the church. No longer would they control access to the scriptures. If people were able to read the Bible in their own tongue, the church's income and power would crumble.

They could not possibly continue to get away with selling indulgences (the forgiveness of sins) or selling the release of loved ones from a church-manufactured "Purgatory".

People would begin to challenge the church's authority if the church were exposed as frauds and thieves. The contradictions between what God's Word said, and what the priests taught, would open the public's eyes and the truth would set them free from the grip of fear that the institutional church held.

Salvation through faith, not works or donations, would be understood. The need for priests would vanish through the priesthood of all believers. The veneration of church-cannonized Saints and Mary would be called into question. The availablity of the scriptures in English was the biggest threat imaginable to the wicked church. Neither side would give up without a fight.

The Tyndale New Testament was the first ever printed in the English language. Its first printing occurred in 1525/6, but only one complete copy of the first printing exists. Any Edition printed before 1570 is very rare and valuable, particularly pre-1540 editions and fragments. Tyndale's flight was an inspiration to freedom-loving Englishmen who drew courage from the 11 years that he was hunted.

Books and Bibles flowed into England in bales of cotton and sacks of flour. In the end, Tyndale was caught: betrayed by an Englishman that he had befriended. Tyndale was incarcerated for 500 days before he was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536. His last words were, "Lord, open the eyes of the King of England".

Myles Coverdale and John Rogers were loyal disciples the last six years of Tyndale's life, and they carried the project forward and even accelerated it. Coverdale finished translating the Old Testament, and in 1535 he printed the first complete Bible in the English language, making use of Luther's German text and the Latin as sources.

Thus, the first complete English Bible was printed on October 4, 1535, and is known as the Coverdale Bible.

John Rogers went on to print the second complete English Bible in1537. He printed it under the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew", as a considerable part of this Bible was the translation of Tyndale whose writings had been condemned by the English authorities.

It is a composite made up of Tyndale's Pentateuch and New Testament (1534-1535 edition) and Coverdale's Bible and a small amount of Roger's own translation of the text. It remains known most commonly as the Matthews Bible.

In 1539, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canturbury, hired Myles Coverdale at the bequest of King Henry VIII to publish the "Great Bible". It became the first English Bible authorized for public use, as it was distributed to every church, chained to the pulpit, and a reader was even provided so that the illiterate could hear the Word of God in plain English.

It would seem that William Tyndale's last wish had been granted...just three years after his martyrdom. Cranmer's Bible, published by Coverdale, was known as the Great Bible due to its great size: a large pulpit folio measuring over 14 inches tall. Seven editions of this version were printed between April of 1539 and December of 1541. The ebb and flow of freedom continued through the 1540's...and into the 1550's.

The reign of Queen Mary (a.k.a. "Bloody Mary" was the next obstacle to the printing of the Bible in English. She was possessed in her quest to return England to the Roman Church. In 1555, John Rogers ("Thomas Matthew") and Thomas Cranmer were both burned at the stake.

Mary went on to burn reformers at the stake by the hundreds for the "crime" of being a Protestant. This era was known as the Marian Exile, and the refugees fled from England with little hope of ever seeing their home or friends again.

In the 1550's, the Church at Geneva, Switzerland, was very sympathetic to the reformer refugees and was one of only a few safe havens for a desperate people.

Many of them met in Geneva, led by Myles Coverdale and John Foxe (publisher of the famous Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which is to this day the only exhaustive reference work on the persecution and martyrdom of Early Christians and Protestants from the first century up to the mid-16th century), as well as Thomas Sampson and William Whittingham.

There, with the protection of John Calvin and John Knox, the Church of Geneva determined to produce a Bible that would educate their families while they continued in exile.

The New Testament was completed in 1557, and the complete Bible was first published in 1560. It became known as the Geneva Bible. Due to a passage in Genesis describing the clothing that God fashioned for Adam and Eve upon expulsion from the Garden of Eden as "Breeches" (an antiquated form of "Britches"), some people referred to the Geneva Bible as the Breeches Bible.

The Geneva Bible was the first Bible to add verses to the chapters, so that referencing specific passages would be easier. Every chapter was also accompanied by extensive marginal notes and references so thorough and complete that the Geneva Bible is also considered the first English "Study Bible".

William Shakespeare quotes thousands of times in his plays from the Geneva translation of the Bible. The Geneva Bible became the Bible of choice for over 100 years of English speaking Christians. Between 1560 and 1644 at least 144 editions of this Bible were published.

Examination of the 1611 King James Bible shows clearly that its translators were influenced much more by the Geneva Bible, than by any other source. The Geneva Bible itself retains over 90% of William Tyndale's original English translation.

The Geneva in fact, remained more popular than the King James Version until decades after its original release in 1611! The Geneva holds the honor of being the first Bible taken to America, and the Bible of the Puritans and Pilgrims.

With the end of Queen Mary's bloody rein, the reformers could safely return to England. The Anglican Church, under Queen Elizabeth I, reluctantly tolerated the printing and distribution of Geneva version Bibles in England. The marginal notes, which were vehemently against the institutional Church of the day, did not rest well with the rulers of the day, however.

Another version, one with a less inflammatory tone was desired. In 1568, the Bishop's Bible was introduced. Despite 19 editions being printed between 1568 and 1606, the version never gained much of a foothold of popularity among the people.

The Geneva may have simply been too much to compete with. By the 1580's, the Roman Catholic Church saw that it had lost the battle to suppress the will of God: that His Holy Word be available in the English language.

In 1582, the Church of Rome surrendered their fight for "Latin only" and decided that if the Bible was to be available in English, they would at least have an official Roman Catholic English translation.

And so, using the Latin Vulgate as a source text, they went on to publish an English Bible with all the distortions and corruptions that Erasmus had revealed and warned of 75 years earlier. Because it was translated at the Roman Catholic College in the city of Rheims, it was known as the Rheims ( or Rhemes) New Testament.

The Old Testament was translated by the Church of Rome in 1609 at the College in the city of Doway (also spelled Douay and Douai). The combined product is commonly refered to as the "Doway/Rheims" Version.

In 1589, Dr. Fulke of Cambridge published the "Fulke's Refutation", in which he printed in parallel columns the Bishops Version along side the Rheims Version, attempting to show the error and distortion of the Roman Church's corrupt compromise of an English version of the Bible. With the death of Queen Elizabeth I, Prince James VI of Scotland became King James I of England.

The Protestant clergy approached the new King in 1604 and announced their desire for a new translation to replace the Bishop's Bible first printed in 1568. They knew that the Geneva Version had won the hearts of the people because of its excellent scholarship, accuracy, and exhaustive commentary. However, they did not want the controversial marginal notes (proclaiming the Pope an Anti-Christ,etc.)

Essentially, the leaders of the church desired a Bible for the people, with scriptural references only for word clarification when multiple meanings were possible. This "translation to end all translations" (for a while at least) was the result of the combined effort of about fifty scholars. They took into consideration: The Tyndale New Testament, The Coverdale Bible, The Matthews Bible, The Great Bible, The Geneva Bible, and even the Rheims New Testament.

The great revision of the Bishop's Bible had begun. From 1605 to 1606 the scholars engaged in private research. From 1607 to 1609 the work was assembled. In 1610 the work went to press, and in 1611 the first of the huge (16 inch tall) pulpit folios known as "The King James Bible" came off the printing press.

It took many years for it to overtake the Geneva Bible in popularity with the people, but eventually the King James Version became the Bible of the English people. It became the most printed book in the history of the world. In fact, for around 250 years...until the appearance of the Revised Version in 1881 the King James Version reigned without a rival.

Although the first Bible printed in America was done in the native Algonquin Indian Language (by John Eliot in 1663), the first English language Bible to be printed in America (by Robert Aitken in 1782) was a King James Version.

In 1791, Isaac Collins vastly improved upon the quality and size of the typesetting of American Bibles and produced the first "Family Bible" printed in America...also a King James Version. Also in 1791, Isaiah Thomas published the first Illustrated Bible printed in the King James Version.

In 1841, the English Hexapla New Testament was printed. This wonderful textual comparison tool shows in parallel columns: The 1380 Wycliff, 1534 Tyndale, 1539 Great, 1557 Geneva, 1582 Rheims, and 1611 King James versions of the entire New Testament...with the original Greek at the top of the page. Consider the following textual comparison of John 3:16 as they appear in many of these famous printings of the English Bible:

                1st Ed. King James (1611): "For God so loued
                the world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne:
                that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not
                perish, but haue euerlasting life."
                Rheims (1582): "For so God loued the
                vvorld, that he gaue his only-begotten
                sonne: that euery one that beleeueth in
                him, perish not, but may haue life
                Geneva (1557): "For God so loueth the
                world, that he hath geuen his only
                begotten Sonne: that none that beleue
                in him, should peryshe, but haue
                euerlasting lyfe."
                Great Bible (1539): "For God so loued
                the worlde, that he gaue his only
                begotten sonne, that whosoeuer
                beleueth in him, shulde not perisshe, but haue euerlasting lyfe."
                Tyndale (1534): "For God so loveth the
                worlde, that he hath geven his only
                sonne, that none that beleve in him,
                shuld perisshe: but shuld have
                everlastinge lyfe."
                Wycliff (1380): "for god loued so the
                world; that he gaf his oon bigetun sone,
                that eche man that bileueth in him
                perisch not: but haue euerlastynge liif,"

It is possible to go back to manuscripts earlier than Wycliff, but the language found can only be described as the "Anglo-Saxon" roots of English, and would not be easily recognizable as similar to the English spoken today. For example, the Anglo-Saxon pre-English root language of the year 995 AD yields a manuscript that quotes John 3:16 as:
                "God lufode middan-eard swa, dat he
                seade his an-cennedan sunu, dat nan
                ne forweorde de on hine gely ac habbe
                dat ece lif."

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The Fiery Furnace:
Many people do not believe that the book of Daniel was written at the time of King Nebuchadnezzar in the 6th century B.C. Further, there is disbelief concerning the story of Shadrach, Mechach and Abednego, Daniel's friends, who were thrown into a fiery furnace for not worshiping the king. They were not harmed by the fire. That story is a little hard to believe, I'll admit.

Let us first go back to the authenticity of the book of Daniel. There are some that say the book of Daniel was not written until about 165 B.C. This is because of the mention of three Greek musical instruments that supposedly had not come to Babylon until the Greek army arrived in Babylon in 325 B.C. However, cuneiform tablets and the Dead Sea scrolls show that Greek traders were in Babylon 100 years before Daniel was in Babylon.

Through various circumstances, Daniel, Shadrach, Mechach and Abednego were appointed as ministers under the king. These positions of authority have been verified with the wording on a prisim unearthed in Babylon and is in the Istanbul Museum.

While Daniel was on a trip, Shadrach, Mechach and Abednego were accused of not obeying an order to worship the god Marduk. They were arrested and sentenced to the firery furnace. Tablets have verified the existence and size of the furnaces used in Babylon. As was stated earlier, Shadrach, Mechach and Abednego were not harmed in any way.

What further evidence could there be you may ask? In the year 168 A.D., Polycarp, the leader of the church in Smyrna, was ordered to be burned alive. He was tied to a stake and the fire was set. According to eyewitnesses, Polycarp did not burn.

Then the executioner, being angry that Polycarp did not die, stabbed Polycarp with his sword and his blood poured out and quenched the fire. Unlike Shadrach, Mechach and Abednego, Polycarp did die, but from the stab wound not the fire.

David and Goliath:
To Sling or Not to Sling -That Was Never The Question---Gary Byers "What is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings with a single bound?

While sling-stones do none of the above, they were, nonetheless, among the most important weapons in an ancient army's arsenal. So, what about the story of David and Goliath? Could it possibly happen that a young lad, David, could strike down a warrior the size and strength of Goliath? The answer is yes!

Consider the following information.
At Khirbet el-Maqatir an excavation 10 miles north of Jerusalem in Israel's West Bank, slingstones have been found in almost every area of the dig. These stones don't talk, but they do tell tales -- about the people who once lived there.

"After three seasons of excavation, there were found nearly three dozen slingstones," said Dr. Bryant Wood, the dig's director. "Most are roughly round and slightly over two inches in diameter, from the size of a billiard ball to a tennis ball." Not naturally rounded, they all have evidence of tooling.

Their size and shape suggest an early period in Palestine's history. Larger slingstones, such as these, were generally used in this region prior to the Greek period (late 4th century BC).

It is unclear when men first started slinging stones instead of throwing them. Yet, once known, it did not take long to learn that stones could be slung faster, farther, and more accurately, than they could be thrown. Early slingers also found smoother, rounded, stones were far more effective than any other shape.

Ancient hand slings generally consisted of a single long strip of leather or woven wool, with a central "pocket" for the stone. The longer the sling, the greater its range. Long-range slings were about 3 ft long.

"Slingers are often visualized as releasing overhead, yet the best way to utilize a sling is by an underhand motion, like a softball pitcher," said Grace Kellner, Artifacts Registrar of the Kh. el-Maqatir excavation.

"Elaborate wind-ups were wasted motion. One windup, like a good softball pitcher, was sufficient. One end of the sling was secured to the fingers of the throwing hand. The other end, held between thumb and forefinger, was released thus propelling the stone.

Before development of the modern compound bow, ancient slingers were as effective as archers and served as an important contingent of any military force.

Greek slingers were among the lightly armed troops (peltast), whose ranks also included archers and javelin throwers. The heavy infantryman (hoplite), armed for hand-to-hand combat, were considered most honorable by the ancients. Yet, the light infantry was critical to military success.

Peltasts initiated battles with their shower of arrows, javelins and sling-stones. They also provided cover for the heavy infantry's retreat. Surprisingly, a good slinger hurled a stone as far and accurately as a good archer. Roman military texts recommended archery target practice at about 200 yards.

Slingers are known to hurl their projectiles even farther, as much as 440 yards (quarter of a mile). As for accuracy, one ancient writer noted that the best slingers "would wound not merely the heads of their enemies but any part of the face at which they might have aimed."

Experiments demonstrate that missiles leave a sling in excess of 60 miles per hour.

One Roman writer noted that opponents in leather armor were in far greater danger from sling missiles than arrows. Even if the stone did not penetrate the armor, it was capable of inflicting a fatal internal injury. Unarmored bodies were easily penetrated by sling stones.

In his classic medical treatise, Celsus included instructions for extracting lead and stone sling missiles from the bodies of wounded soldiers. While typical sling stones used by the Greek and Roman armies were the size of golf balls, different cultures appreciated different sizes.

If fact, at some ancient Greek and Roman battle sites, archaeologists believe they can differentiate which sling stones were standard equipment for which army.

During all periods, it was important for an army's projectiles to be uniform in size and weight. Otherwise, a slinger would need to compensate with each toss. Each army standardized projectile size and shape for maximum accuracy, velocity and distance. Yet, many sling stones from the Greek and Roman periods were not stone.

Sun-dried pottery and lead both allowed maximum weight within minimum dimensions. Lead ballast from the Classic period were often manufactured with inscriptions on their surface.

Government-issued Greek and Roman munitions were frequently inscribed with the name of the slinger's military formation or commanding general. Other inscriptions were more creative. "Take this," "Ouch," and even "For Pompey's backside," added insult to injury.

All the Kh. el-Maqatir ballast were made of stone and none were inscribed. Naturally-rounded flint nodules were further tooled to finished form. Apparently from pre-classical periods, they average slightly over two inches in diameter and nine ounces in weight.

Only one was not a flint nodule. Although sling-stones are exciting artifacts, some possibly had other uses. "We can not assume that every stone we call a sling-stone was used for just that purpose," said Kellner. "This was especially true in the Bronze and Iron Ages (Canaanite and Israelite periods of the Old Testament).

Rounded stones were regularly used as common kitchen pounders and grinders for grinding grain and vegetables, crushing nuts, and even smashing bone marrow and roots in food preparation," sheadded. "Still, the widespread presence of so many sling-stones suggests a battle was fought here during the Bronze Age," said Wood. Interestingly, the site is located in the territory allotted to the tribe of Benjamin.

This tribe was known for an elite corps of slingers (Jgs 20:15-16; 1 Chr 12:2), many of whom were left-handed slingers. That was unusual in the ancient Near East, noted Kellner. "While David was the best-known slinger in the Bible, I suppose when you wanted a job done right, you gota left-handed Benjaminite."

Jonah and the whale has been told as a Bible story for thousands of years. But, is it true? In the first place is Jonah a real person? Let's look in a book other than the book of Jonah, the book of 2 Kings 14:23-25. These verses tell us that Jonah is the son of Amittai, the prophet a real person. Jesus Christ talked about Jonah as a real person, not as a story (Matt 12:38-41).

The book of Jonah tells us that Jonah was swallowed by a "large fish" and then spit up onto land. However the actual message is an account of how God dealt with a reluctant prophet who stubbornly refused to obey Him in taking His Word to Israel's enemy. We have evidence that Jonah lived during the reign of Amaziah son of Joash.

What about being swallow by a fish? A story dates back to the late 19th century and involves a whaling ship named the 'Star of the East', operating off the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.

According to most accounts, a whale was sighted, the harpoon boats were launched, and the whale was successfully speared. In the violence that followed, however, one of the smaller boats capsized, throwing two crew members into the sea. One of them drowned and the other, said to be a man named James Bartley, disappeared.

The whale was eventually subdued and its carcass hoisted onto the ship where the crew started carving it up for blubber. After a couple of days of work, they got down to the stomach, where some workers noticed something large inside, 'doubled up', and showing signs of life.

They cut the stomach open and there lay James Bartley, unconscious and somewhat digested, but alive. They doused him with sea water, put him in the captain's cabin and after a couple of weeks of recovery, he was back on the job.

Most accounts of the story also include a detailed description of what Bartley experienced and felt during his whale of a journey. He is quoted as saying that he remembered flying through the air when the whale struck the boat with its tail - and then suddenly being in darkness and slipping along a smooth passage of some sort.

He then came into a larger area marked by a slimy substance that seemed to shrink from his touch. He finally realized that he was in the whale. He said that he could breathe, but that it was very hot in there. At some point he lost consciousness and the next thing he remembered was being cared for by the crew.

Some versions of the story say his skin was permanently affected by the gastric juices in the whale, and that he had a bleached white appearance for the remainder of his life. Other versions describe his skin as having been left with a bluish color. This has been evidence for some Bible stories. However, Jesus has given us much evidence if we just look around us!

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Juma was beginning to get nervous. Some of his goats were climbing too high up the cliffs. He decided to climb the face of the cliff himself to bring them back. Little did Juma realize as he began his climb on that January day in 1947 that those straying goats would eventually involve him in "the greatest archaeological discovery in the twentieth century."

Such thoughts were far from his mind when he saw two small openings to one of the thousands of caves that dot those barren cliffs overlooking the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. He threw a rock into one of the openings. The unexpected cracking sound surprised him; what else could be in those remote caves but treasure?

He called to his cousins, Khalil and Muhammad, who climbed up and heard the exciting tale. But it was getting late, and the goats had to be gathered. Tomorrow they would return -- perhaps their days of following goats would come to an end once the treasure was uncovered!

The youngest of the three, Muhammad, rose the next day before his two fellow "treasure-seekers" and made his way to the cave. The cave floor was covered with debris, including broken pottery.

Along the wall stood a number of narrow jars, some with their bowl-shaped covers still in place. Frantically Muhammed began to explore the inside of each jar, but no treasure of gold was to be found... only a few bundles wrapped in clot and greenish with age. Returning to his cousins, he related the sad news no treasure.

No treasure indeed! The scrolls those Bedouin boys removed from that dark cave that day and the days following would come to be recognized as the greatest manuscript treasure ever found the first seven manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls!

John Trever photographed them in detail, and the great archaeologist William F. Albright soon announced that the scrolls were from the period between 200 BC and AD 200. The initial announcements were then made that the oldest manuscripts ever discovered had been found in the Judean desert!

All of the scrolls finally came together at Hebrew University under another strange set of circumstances. After touring the U.S. with his four scrolls and not being able to find an interested buyer, Metropolitan Samuel placed an ad in the Wall Street Journal. By coincidence (or divine providence?) Yigal Yadin happened to be lecturing in New York and saw the advertisement.

Through intermediaries, he was able to purchase these priceless scrolls for around $250,000. In February of 1955, the Prime Minister of Israel announced that the State of Israel had purchased the scrolls, and all seven (including the three purchased earlier by Professor Sukenik) were to be housed in a special museum at Hebrew University named the Shrine of the Book, where they can be seen today.

Needless to say, the initial announcement about the scrolls prompted feverish searches in the area of the original discoveries. An official archaeological expedition was begun in 1949 which eventually resulted in the discovery of ten additional caves in the surrounding area also containing scrolls.

The archaeologists then directed their attention to a small ruin nearby called "Khirbet (ruins of) Qumran," which had been thought of as the remains of an old Roman fortress.

After six seasons of intensive excavation, the scholars were sure beyond any reasonable doubt that the scrolls found their origin in this community which flourished between 125 BC and AD 68. The scrolls had been stored in haste in the caves as the community fled the encroaching Roman army, which was in Judea to put down the Jewish Revolt of AD 66-70.

The ruins of Qumran, which can be visited today, revealed that a substantial group of Jewish ascetics inhabited this community. Storehouses, aqueducts, ritual baths and an assembly hall were all uncovered.

One of the most interesting rooms uncovered was a scriptorium, identified by two inkwells discovered there along with some benches for scribes. It was in this room that many, if not all, of the discovered manuscripts were copied.

The seven original scrolls, from what came to be called "Cave One," comprised the following:
1) a well-preserved copy of the entire prophecy of Isaiah -- the oldest copy of an Old Testament book ever to be discovered;
2) another fragmentary scroll of Isaiah;
3) a commentary on the first two chapters of Habakkuk -- the commentator explained the book allegorically in terms of the Qumran brotherhood;
4) the "Manual of Discipline" or "Community Rule" -- the most important source of information about the religious sect at Qumran -- it described the requirements for those aspiring to join the brotherhood;
5) the "Thanksgiving Hymns," a collection of devotional "psalms" of thanksgiving and praise to God;
6) an Aramaic paraphrase of the Book of Genesis; and
7) the "Rule of War" which dealt with the battle between the "Sons of Light" (the men of Qumran) and the "Sons of Darkness" (the Romans?) yet to take place in the "last days," which days the men of Qumran believed were about to arrive.

Those seven original scrolls were just the beginning. Over six hundred scrolls and thousands of fragments have been discovered in the 11 caves of the Qumran area. Fragments of every Biblical book except Esther have been found, as well as many other non-Biblical texts.

One of the most fascinating of the finds was a copper scroll which had to be cut in strips to be opened and which contained a list of 60 treasures located in various parts of Judea (none of which have been found)!

Another scroll, which Israeli archaeologists recovered in 1967 underneath the floor of a Bethlehem antiquities dealer, describes in detail the community's view of an elaborate Temple ritual. This has been appropriately called the "Temple Scroll."

The contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that their authors were a group of priests and laymen pursuing a communal life of strict dedication to God. Their leader was called the "Righteous Teacher." They viewed themselves as the only true elect of Israel -- they alone were faithful to the Law.

Most scholars have identified the Qumran brotherhood with the Essenes, a Jewish sect of Jesus' day described by Josephus and Philo.
One of the most important contributions of the Dead Sea Scrolls is the numerous Biblical manuscripts which have been discovered.

Until those discoveries at Qumran, the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures were copies from the 9th and 10th centuries AD by a group of Jewish scribes called the Massoretes.

Now we have manuscripts around a thousand years older than those. The amazing truth is that these manuscripts are almost identical! Here is a strong example of the tender care, which the Jewish scribes down through the centuries, took in an effort to accurately copy the sacred Scriptures. We can have confidence that our Old Testament Scriptures faithfully represent the words given to Moses, David and the prophets.

In another document found in Cave Four and referred to as the "Testimonia," a number of Old Testament passages are brought together which formed the basis for their messianic expectations. The first is the citation from Deuteronomy 18:18-19 where God says to Moses: "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee."

Next comes a quotation from Numbers 24:15-17, where Balaam foresees the rise of a princely conqueror: "a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab," etc. The third passage is the blessing pronounced by Moses upon the tribe of Levi (the priestly tribe) in Deuteronomy 33:8-11.

The way in which these three quotations are brought together suggests that the writer looked forward to the advent of a great prophet, a great prince and a great priest.

One more manuscript that has come to light in recent years provides a fascinating background to the New Testament messianic hope. It has been reconstructed from twelve small fragments, furnishing less than two columns of writing; but this much can be ascertained from its brief contents.

It is a prediction of the birth of a Wonderful Child, possibly drawing on Isaiah 9:6-7: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given... and his name shall be called Wonderful." This child will bear special marks on His body and will be distinguished by wisdom and intelligence.

He will be able to probe the secrets of all living creatures, and He will inaugurate the new age for which the faithful fervently awaited.

Is it not striking that soon after this manuscript was composed, a child was born who fulfilled the hopes of Israel and inaugurated a new age?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Will Varner is Professor of Old Testament at The Master's College and Director of IBEX, the college's campus in Israel.

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1. We know that the earth is a ball. Many years ago people thought that the earth was flat. What does the Bible say? Isaiah 40:22 "...He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth."

2. We now know that there are trillions upon trillions of stars in the universe. The Bible says about the stars in Jer 33:20 "....countless as are the stars of the sky...".

3. In todays world we know of the ocean currents and the winds in the atmosphere. This information is because of the work by Matthew Maury. In 1841-1861, Maury discovered in the water and air currents by studying Psalms 8:8 and Eccl 1:6. After reading the Scripture passages, Maury plotted many of the wind and water currents. This enabled ships to reduce the time to cross the oceans by 3 weeks. Psalms 8:8 says "...all that swim the paths of the seas." And Eccl 1:6 reads "The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes ever returning on its course".

4. At one time in mans study of the stars, it was believed that all the stars are the same. Due to modern telescopes we now know that every star is different. We could have discovered this information about the stars from 1 cor 15:41, it reads, "....and star differs from star in splendor...".

5. What about gravity? Job 26:7 "...He suspends the earth over nothing."

6. Centuries ago people wondered what happened to the rain water that goes into the seas! The Bible tells us in Eccl 1:7 "All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from there they return again."

IS THE BIBLE RELIABLE? (The next few pages are taken directly from Josh McDowell's book "A Ready Defense",1993. An excellent book for your library). What we are establishing here is the historical reliability of the Scripture, not its inspiration.

When we talk with someone about the Bible they sarcastically reply that "you can't trust what the Bible says. Why, it was written almost two thousand years ago. It's full of errors and discrepancies."

There are more evidence for the reliability of the New Testament than for almost any ten pieces of classical literature put together. The historical reliability of the Scripture should be tested by the same criteria used on all historical documents. Military historian C. Sanders lists and explains the basic principles of historiography:
(1) The Bibliographical Test;
(2) The Internal Evidence Test; and
(3) The External Evidence Test.

Bibliographical Test for the Reliability of the New Testament
The bibliographical test is an examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us. In other words, since we do not have the original documents, how reliable are the copies we have in regard to the total number of manuscripts and the time interval between the original and the existing copies?

F.E. Peters points out that "on the basis of manuscript tradition alone, the works that made up the Christians' New Testament were the most frequently copied and widely circulated books of antiquity." This time frame in some cases is less than 50 years.

Manuscript Evidence of the New Testament
There are now more than 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions and we have more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence.

No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation. In comparison, The Iliad by Homer is second with only 643 manuscripts that still survive.

The first complete preserved text of Homer dates from the thirteenth century.

Sir Frederic G. Kenyon, who was the director and principal librarian of the British Museum, and second to none in authority for issuing statements about MSS, says,

"Besides number, the manuscripts of the New Testament differ from those of the classical authors, and this time the difference is clear gain. In no other case is the interval of time between composition of the book and the date of the earliest extant (existing) manuscripts so short as in that of the New Testament.

The books of the New Testament were written in the latter part of the first century; the earliest extant manuscripts (trifling scraps excepted) are of the fourth century--say from 250 to 300 years later.

This may sound a considerable interval, but it is nothing to that which parts most of the great classical authors from their earliest manuscripts. We believe that we have in all essentials an accurate test of the seven extant plays of Sophocles; yet the earliest substantial manuscript upon which it is based was written more than 1400 years after the poet's death."

Kenyon continues in The Bible and Archaeology:
The interval then between the dates of original composition and earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established.

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The New Testament Compared With Other Works of Antiquity
7.   The Manuscript Comparison
F.F. Bruce in The New Testament Documents vividly pictures the comparison between the New Testament and ancient historical writings:
"Perhaps we can appreciate how wealthy the New Testament is in manuscript attestation if we compare the textual material for other ancient historical works. For Caesar's Gallic Wars (composed between 58 and 50 B.C.).

There are several extant MSS, but only nine or ten are good, and the oldest is some 900 years later than Caesar's day. Of the 142 books of the Roman history of Livy (59 B.C.--A.D.17), only 35 survive; these are known to us from not more than 20 MSS of any consequence, only one of which, and that containing fragments pf Books III-VI, is as old as the fourth century.

Of the 14 books of the Histories of Tacitus (ca A.D. 100) only four and a half survive; of the 16 books of his Annals, 10 survive in full and two in part.

The test of these extant portions of his two great historical works depends entirely on two MSS, one of the ninth century and one of the eleventh."
Bruce also comments, "There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament."

When comparing the original manuscripts of the New Testament with those of ancient secular history you will see that he numbers of New Testament manuscripts are numerous. Let's take a look at these numbers:

Caesar 100-44 B.C. 900 A.D. 1000 years 10
Plato 427-347 B.C. 900 A.D. 1200 years 7
Aristotle 384-322 B.C. 1100 A.D. 1400 years 49
Tacitus 100 A.D. 1100 A.D. 1000 years 20
Pliny the Younger 61-112 A.D. 850 A.D. 750 years 7
Suetonius 75-160 A.D. 950 A.D. 800 years 8
Sophocles 496-406 A. D. 1000 A.D. 1400 years 193
Homer 900 B.C. 400 B.C. 500 years 643
New Testament 48-110 A.D. 125 A.D. 15-90 years 24,633

Greenlee states,
Since scholars accept as generally trustworthy the writings of the ancient classics even though the earliest MSS were written so long after the original writings and the number of extant MSS is in many instances so small, it is clear that the reliability of the text of the New Testament is likewise assured.

The Textual Comparison
Bruce Metzger observes:
In the entire range of ancient Greek and Latin literature, the Illiad ranks next to the New Testament in possessing the greatest amount of manuscript testimony.

Geisler and Nix make a comparison of the textual variations between the New Testament documents and ancient works:
Next to the new Testament, there are more extant manuscripts of the Illiad (643) than any other book. Both it and the Bible were considered "sacred," and both underwent textual changes and criticism of their Greek manuscripts.

They continue:
Only 40 lines (or 400 words) of the New Testament are in doubt whereas 764 lines of the Iliad are questioned. This five percent textual corruption compares with one-half of one percent of similar emendations in the New Testament.

Geisler and Nix make the following comment about how the textual variations are counted: There is an ambiguity in saying there are some 200,000 variants in the existing manuscripts of the New Testament, since these represent only 10,000 places in the New Testament. If one single word is misspelled in 3,000 different manuscripts, this is counted as 3,000 variants or readings.

That textual variations do not endanger doctrine is emphatically stated by Sir Frederic Kenyon (one of the great authorities in the field of New Testament textual criticism): One word of warning already referred to must be emphasized in conclusion. No fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith rests on a disputed reading...

It cannot be too strongly asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain: Especially is this the case with the New Testament.

The number of manuscripts of the New Testament, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the Church, is so large that it is practically certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities. This can be said of no other book in the world.

Scholars are satisfied that they possess substantially the true test of the principal Greek and Roman writers whose works have come down to us, of Sophocles, of Thucydides, of Cicero, of Virgil; yet our knowledge of their writings depends on a mere handful of manuscripts, whereas the manuscripts of the New Testament are counted by hundreds, and even thousands.

Gleason Archer, in answering the question about objective evidence, shows that variants or errors in transmission of the text do not affect God's revelation:
A careful study of the variants(different readings) of the various earliest manuscripts reveals that none of them affects a single doctrine of Scripture.

The system of spiritual truth contained in the standard Hebrew text of the Old Testament is not in the slightest altered or compromised by any of the variant readings found in the Hebrew manuscripts of earlier date found in the Dead Sea caves or anywhere else.

All that is needed to verify this is to check the register of well-attested variants in Rudolf Kittel's edition of the Hebrew Bible. It is very evident that the vast majority of them are so inconsequential as to leave the meaning of each clause doctrinally unaffected.

Frederic G. Kenyon continues in The Story of the Bible:
It is reassuring at the end to find that the general result of all these discoveries of the authenticity of the Scriptures, is our conviction that we have in our hands, in substantial integrity, the veritable Word of God.
I believe one can logically conclude, from the perspective of literacy evidence, that the New Testament's reliability is far greater than any other record of antiquity.

Another strong support for textual evidence and accuracy is the ancient versions. For the most part, "Ancient literature was rarely translated into another language.

Christianity from its inception has been a missionary faith. "The earliest versions of the New Testament were prepared by missionaries to assist in the propagation of the Christian faith among peoples whose native tongue was Syriac, Latin, or Coptic."

Syriac and Latin versions (translations) of the New Testament were made around A.D. 150. This brings us back very near to the time of the originals.
There are more than 15,000 existing copies of various versions.

Sir David Dalrymple was wondering about the preponderance of Scripture in early writing when someone asked him, "Suppose that the New Testament had been destroyed, and every copy of it lost by the end of the third century, could it have been collected together again from the writings of the Fathers of the second and third centuries?"

After a great deal of investigation Dalrymple concluded:
"That question roused my curiosity, and as I possessed all the existing works of the Fathers of the second and third centuries, I commenced to search, and up to this time I have found the entire New Testament, except eleven verses."

In the case of the Old Testament we do not have the abundance of close MS authority as in the New Testament. Until the recent discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest complete extant Hebrew MS was around A.D. 900. This made a time gap of 1,300 years (the Hebrew Old Testament was completed about 400 B.C.).

At first sight it would appear that the Old Testament is no more reliable than other ancient literature.
With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, a number of Old Testament manuscripts have been found which scholars date before the time of Christ.

When the facts are known and compared, there is an overwhelming abundance of reasons for believing that the MSS we possess are trustworthy. We shall see, as Sir Frederic Kenyon put it, that "the Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds in it the true Word of God, handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries."

In order to see the uniqueness of the Scripture in its reliability, one needs to examine the extreme care with which the copyists transcribed the Old Testament MSS.

During this period a great deal of time was spent in cataloging Hebrew civil and canonical law. The Talmudists had quite an intricate system for transcribing synagogue scrolls.

Samuel Davidson describes some of the disciplines of the Talmudists in regard to the Scriptures. These minute regulations (We will use the numbering incorporated by Geisler and Nix) are as follows:
(1) A synagogue roll must be written on the skins of clean animals
(2) Prepared for the particular use of the synagogue by a Jew.
(3) These must be fastened together with strings taken from clean animals
(4) Every skin must contain a certain number of columns, equal throughout the entire codex.
(5) The length of each column must not extend over less than 48 or more than 60 lines; and the breadth must consist of thirty letters.
(6) The whole copy must be first lined; and if three words be written without a line, it is worthless.
(7) The ink should be black, neither red, green, not any other color, and be prepared according to a definite recipe.
(8) An authentic copy must be the exemplar, from which the transcriber ought not in the least deviate.
(9) No word or letter, not even a yod, must be written from memory, the scribe not having looked at the codex before him
(10)Between every consonant the space of a hair or thread must intervene
(11) Between every new parashah, or section, the breadth of nine
(12) Between every book, three lines.
(13) The fifth book of Moses must terminate exactly with a line; but the rest
need not do so.
(14) Besides this, the copyist must sit in full Jewish dress
(15) Wash his whole body
(16) Not begin to write the name of God with a pen newly dipped in ink
(17) Should a king address him while writing that name, he must take no
notice of him.

Davidson adds that "the rolls in which these regulations are not observed are condemned to be buried in the ground or burned; or they are banished to the schools, to be used as reading-books."

Why don't we have more old MSS? The very absence of ancient MSS, when the rules and accuracy's of the copyists are considered, confirms the reliability of the copies we have today.

Gleason Archer, in comparing the manuscript variations of the Hebrew text with pre-Christian literature such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, states that it is amazing that the phenomenon of discrepancy and MS change of other literature of the same age.

He writes:
Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscripts previously known (A.D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.

Even those Dead Sea fragments of Deuteronomy and Samuel which point to a different manuscript family from that which underlies our received Hebrew text do not indicate any differences in doctrine or teaching. They do not affect the message of revelation in the slightest.

When the Talmudists finished transcribing a MS they were so convinced they had an exact duplicate that they would give the new copy equal authority.

Frederic Kenyon in Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts expands on the above and on the destruction of older copies:
"The same extreme care which was devoted to the transcription of manuscripts is also at the bottom of the disappearance of the earlier copies. When a manuscript had been copied with the exactitude prescribed by the Talmud, and had been duly verified, it was accepted as authentic and regarded as being of equal value with any other copy.

If all were equally correct, age gave no advantage to a manuscript; on the contrary, age was a positive disadvantage, since a manuscript was liable to become defaced or damaged in the lapse of time. A damaged or imperfect copy was at once condemned as unfit for use."

The Massoretes (from massora, "Tradition") were well disciplined, and they treated the text "With the greatest imaginable reverence, and devised a complicated system of safeguards against scribal slips.

Sir Frederic Kenyon says:
Besides recording varieties of reading, tradition, or conjecture, the Massoretes undertook a number of calculations which do not enter into the ordinary sphere of textual criticism.
They numbered the verses, words, and letters of every book. They calculated the middle word and the middle letter of each. They enumerated verses which contained all the letters of the alphabet, or a certain number of them; and so on.

These trivialities, as we may rightly consider them, had yet the effect of securing minute attention to the precise transmission of the text; and they are but an excessive manifestation of a respect for the sacred Scriptures which in itself deserves nothing but praise.

The Massoretes were indeed anxious that not one jot nor tittle, not one smallest letter nor one tiny part of a letter of the Law should pass away or be lost.

The big question was asked first by Sir Frederick Kenyon: "Does this Hebrew text, which we call Massoretic, and which we have shown to descend from a text drawn up about A.D. 100, faithfully represent the Hebrew Text as originally written by the authors of the Old Testament Books?"

The Dead Sea Scrolls give us an explicit and positive answer.
The problem before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was: How accurate are the copies we have today compared to the text of the first century? Since the text has been copied over many times, can we trust it?
What are the Dead Sea Scrolls?

The Scrolls are made up of some 40,000 inscribed fragments. From these fragments more than 500 books have been reconstructed.
Many extra-biblical books and fragments were discovered that shed light on the religious community of Qumran.

Such writings as the "Zadodite documents," a Rule of the Community" and the "Manual of Discipline" help us to understand the purpose of daily Qumran life. Some very helpful commentaries on the Scriptures also were found in the various caves.

The Value of the Scrolls
The oldest complete Hebrew MSS we possessed were from A.D. 900 on. How could we be sure of their accurate transmission since the time of Christ in A.D. 32? Thanks to archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls, we now know. One of the scrolls found was a complete MS of the Hebrew text of Isaiah. It is dated by paleographers around 125 B.C. This MS is more than 1,000 years older than any MS we previously possessed.

The impact of this discovery is in the exactness of the Isaiah scroll (125 B.C.) with the Massoretic text of Isaiah (A.D. 916) 1,000 years later.
Of the 166 words in Isaiah, there are only seventeen letters in question.

Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions. The remaining three letters comprise the word "light" which is added in verse 11, and does not affect the meaning greatly.

Furthermore, this word is supported by the LXX (Septuagint) and IQ Is (first cave of Qumran, Isaiah scroll). Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission--and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage.

F.F. Bruce says, "An incomplete scroll of Isaiah, found along with the other in the first Qumran cave, and conveniently distinguished as 'Isaiah B' agrees even more closely with the Massoretic text.".

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The bibliographical test has determined only that the test we have now is essentially what was originally recorded. One has still to determine whether that written record is credible and to what extent. This is the problem with internal criticism, which is the second test of historicity listed by C. Sanders.

At this point the literary critic continues to follow Aristotle's dictum: "The benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, and not arrogated by the critic to himself."

In other words, as John W. Montgomery summarizes: "One must listen to the claims of the document under analysis, and not assume fraud or error unless the author disqualified himself by contradictions or known factual inaccuracies."

Dr. Lewis Gottschalk, former professor of history at the University of Chicago, outlines his historical method in a guide used by many for historical investigation. Gottschalk points out that the ability of the writer or the witness to tell the truth is helpful to the historian to determine credibility.

This "ability to tell the truth" is closely related to the witness's nearness both geographically and chronologically to the events recorded. The New Testament accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus were recorded by men who had been either eyewitnesses themselves or who related the accounts of eyewitnesses of actual events or teachings of Jesus.

LUKE: Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word have handed them down to us, it seems fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus. Luke 1:1-3

PETER: For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 2Peter 1:16

JOHN: What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3

This closeness to the recorded accounts is extremely effective means of certifying the accuracy of what is retained as a witness. The historian, however, also has do deal with the eyewitness who consciously or unconsciously tells falsehoods even though he is near to the event and is competent to tell the truth.

The New Testament accounts of Jesus began to circulate within the lifetimes of those alive at the time of His life. These people could certainly confirm or deny the accuracy of the accounts. In advocating their case for the gospel, the apostles had appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning Jesus.

They not only said, "Look, we saw this"; or "We heard that"; but in addition they turned the tables around and right in front of adverse critics said, "You also know about these things...You saw them; you yourselves know about it." One had better be careful when he says to his opposition, "You know this also," because if he isn't right in the details, it will be shoved right back down his throat.

Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus, the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know (Acts 2:22). Also read Acts 26:24-28.

Concerning the primary-source value of the New Testament records, F. F. Bruce, former Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, says: And it was not only friendly eyewitnesses that the early preachers had to reckon with; there were others less well disposed who were also conversant with the main facts of the ministry and death of Jesus.

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.

On the contrary, one of the strong points in the original apostolic preaching is the confident appeal to the knowledge of the hearers; they not only said, "We are witnesses of these things"; but also, "As you yourselves know"(Acts 2:22).

Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective.

Historian Will Durant, who has spent his life analyzing records of antiquity, says the literacy evidence indicates historical authenticity regarding the New Testament: Despite the prejudices and theological preconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed--the competition of the apostles for high places in the kingdom, their flight after Jesus' arrest, Peter's denial, the failure of Christ to work miracles in Galilee, the references of some auditors to His possible insanity, His early uncertainty as to His mission, His confessions of ignorance as to the future, His moments of bitterness, His despairing cry on the cross; no one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them.

That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic, and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the gospels.

After two centuries of higher criticism the outlines of the life, character, and teaching of Christ remain reasonably clear, and constitute the most fascinating feature in the history of Western man.

8b. External Evidence for the Reliability of the Bible:
What sources are there, apart from the Scriptures, that substantiate its accuracy, reliability, and authenticity?

Gottschalk argues that "conformity or agreement with other known historical or scientific facts is often the decisive test for evidence, whether of one or more witnesses.

Two friends of the apostle John confirm the internal evidence from John's accounts. The historian Eusebius preserves writings of Papias, bishop of Hierapolis (A.D. 130): The elder (Apostle John) used to say this also: Mark, having been the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately all that he (Peter) mentioned, whether sayings or doings of Christ, not, however, in order.

For he was neither a hearer or a companion of the Lord; but afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who adapted his teachings as necessity required, not as though he were making compilation of the sayings of the Lord.

Mark made no mistake, writing down in this way some things as he mentioned them; for he paid attention to this one thing, not to omit anything that he had heard, nor to include any false statement among them.

Iraneus, Bishop of Lyons in A.D.180, who was a student of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (who had been a Christian for 86 years and was a disciple of John the Apostle), wrote: Matthew published his gospel among the Hebrews (i.e. Jews) in their own tongue, when Peter and Paul were preaching the gospel in Rome and founding the church there.

After their death, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, himself handed down to us in writing the substance of Peter's preaching. Luke, the follower of Paul, set down in a book the gospel preached by his teacher.

Then John, the disciple of the Lord, who also leaned on His breast (John 13:25; 21:20), himself produced his gospel, while he was living at Ephesus in Asia.

Archaeology often provides some extremely powerful external evidence. It contributes to biblical criticism, not in the area of inspiration and revelation, but by providing evidence of accuracy about events that are recorded. Archaeologist Joseph Free writes: "Archaeology has confirmed countless passages which have been rejected by critics as unhistorical or contradictory to known facts.

A. N. Sherwin-White, a classical historian, writes that "for Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming." He continues by saying that "any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.

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6BC King Herod and the killing of the boys Then Herod......sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old and under.... Matthew 2:16 When (Augustus) heard that Herod king of the Jews had ordered all the boys in Syria under the age of two to be put to death and that the kingís son was among those killed, he said "Iíd rather be Herodís pig than Herodís son". 

(Macrobius, Saturnalia 2:4-11)

4BC Archelaus ruler of Judaea ...when he (Joseph) Heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in place of his father Herod.... Matthew 2:22 (Augustus) gave half the kingdom to Archelaus with the title of ethnarch. (Josephus Jewish War 2:94)
AD 6-7 Roman Annexation and Assessment the...enrolement, when Quirinius was govenor of Syria....

Luke 2:2

The territory subject to Archelaus was added to Syria, and Quirinius ...was sent by Caesar to take a census of property in Syria and to sell the Estate of Archelaus. (Josephus Jewish Antiquities 17:355)
AD 6-7 The revolt of Judas ....Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census..... Acts 5:37 The territory of Archelaus was now reduced to a province... a Galilian...Judas incited his countrymen to revolt...(over) paying tribute to the Romans. (Jewish war 2:118)
AD33 Execution of Jesus So Pilate...delivered Him (Jesus) to be crucified. Mark 15:15 Christus...suffered the extreme the hands of .... Pontius Pilate. (Tacitus, Annals 15:44)
Ad 45-46 Famin Agabus...fortold...a great famin over all the world; and this took place in the days of Claudius. Acts 18:12 It was in the administration of Tiberius Alexander that the great famin occured in Judaea. (Jewish Antiguities 20:101) 
AD 49 Cladiusí expulsion of Jews from Rome to Cornith... And he (Paul) found a jew named Aquila a native of Pontus, lately came from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all Jews to leave Rome. Acts 18:2 Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he (Claudius) expelled them from Rome.

(Suetonius, Life of Claudius 25:4)

AD 51 Gallio, proconsul of Achaia But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia....... Acts 18:12 The inscription at Delphi which fixed Gallioís appointment ay (July) A.D.51
AD 52 Felix, Roman procurator (AD 52-60) and Drusilla ...Felix ...with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess sent for Paul and heard him speak upon faith in Christ Jesus Acts 24:24 At the time that Felix was procurator of Judaea Drusilla married Felix. 

(Tacitus History 5:9;Annals 12:54)

AD 60 FestusRoman procurator But when two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus Acts 24:27 When Porcius Festus was sent by Nero as successor to Felix.

(Jewish Antiguities 20:182)

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Apocrypha-defined: In biblical literature, works outside an accepted canon or scripture.

In Judaism and Christianity the makeup of the Bible is not the same. The Christian Bible is divided into two major sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament.

For Judaism the Bible consists of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings--what Christians call the Old Testament. Some Christians, notably the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, include certain books that are not accepted as authoritative by Judaism or Protestant Christianity. These books, called by Jews and Protestants the Apocrypha, are commonly included in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox versions of the Bible but omitted from Protestant Bible.

Top Five Reasons for Rejecting the Apocrypha
a.They were written during a period (ca. 400-50 BC) in which Israel did not have inspired prophets declaring the word of the Lord as some of these books themselves say.
b.They contain doctrinal ideas, such as praying for the dead, which either contradict the undisputed books of the Bible or at best cannot be found anywhere in the Bible.
c.None of these books are ever quoted as Scripture in the New Testament or acknowledged by Jesus or any of the apostles as such.
d.At least some of the Fathers treated these books as less than Scripture, notably Jerome.
e.The Jews did not and still do not recognize them as Scripture.

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There is a list 37 prophecies compiled by Harold Willmington. In the book titled New Testament fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecies by Abram K. Abraham there are 60 topical prophecies which contain hundreds of Bible verses pertaining to the various prophecies. Herbert Lockyer's 528 page book "All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible" is an in-depth study of prophecy.

We have looked at the Bible through Archaeology, Transmission, History, Stories, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Scientific Discoveries, Internal and External Evidence Tests and Secular Writers. With all of this study, we have come to realize that the Bible is very reliable, it is inerrant. Now, by looking at the prophecies of the Bible, we can easily see where and how Jesus was to come and has come as our Savior and Messiah.

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We have discussed the fulfilled prophecies described in the Bible. Since it has been shown that the Bible is true in what has been prophecies, shouldn't we take a good look at what the Bible says will come in the future?

There are numerous verses in Scripture that discuss "future events".

Daniel 12:1; 9:24-27 Matthew 24 Also Luke
Joel 2:1 2 Timothy 3-4 and 2 Peter 3:3-13
Zechariah 12-14 1 John 2:18-19; 4:3
Isaiah 13:9-11; 24:3-6;  Revelation 6-16 and all chapters
Zephaniah 1:14-2:3 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Ezekiel 38-39 Acts 1:11
Jeremiah 50 and Psalms 2:1-9 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

There are many additional references in the Bible to future events. These future events are sometimes called "end times". These end time (future) events include, "peace" between Israel and it's enemies (negotiated by the "anti-christ), the tribulation, the seven seals, trumpets and bowls of God's wrath, the "rapture" of the "saints", the appearance of the anti-christ, the battle of "Armageddon" and the glorious return of Jesus the Christ.

The study of future prophecies including the tribulation is not to be looked upon as a difficult task or to be feared. Jesus told us to look for the signs. There are many study aides and books available to assist us in our study. One such book is "What you need to know about Bible Prophecy" by Max Anders.

If you have access to the internet, you might like to log onto (, click on publications, click on "Back to Genesis", click on number 132a. This web site has many interesting articles.

Added to faith, it is the Holy Spirit who ultimately confirms the truth of the Scripture to us.

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