What do we mean by Credibility? It is when we can say that the Bible is believable i.e., the ability to inspire belief or trust in the Bible. A book is credible if it relates truthfully the matters which it treats.

A. The Credibility of the Books of the OT:

This is established by two great facts:

1. The proof from Christ’s recognition of the OT

a. Christ received the OT as relating truthfully the events and doctrines which it treats (Matt 5:17f; Luke 24:27, 44f; John 10:34-36).

b. He definitely endorsed a number of the main teachings of the OT as true:

1) The creation of the universe by God (Mark 13:19)

2) The direct creation of man (Matt 19:4f)

3) The personality of Satan and his malignant [evil] character (John 8:44)

4) The destruction of the world by a flood in the days of Noah (Luke 17:26f)

5) The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the rescue of Lot (Luke 17:28-30)

6) The revelation of God to Moses at the burning bush (Mark 12:26)

7) The Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch (Luke 24:27)

8) The giving of the manna in the wilderness (John 6:32)

9) The existence of the tabernacle (Luke 6:3f)

10) The experience of Jonah in the big fish (Matt 12:39f)

11) And the unity of Isaiah (Matt 8:17; Luke 4:17f).

Conclusion: If Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, he knew what were the facts, and if he knew them, he could not accommodate himself to any erroneous views of his day regarding matters of such fundamental importance, and be honest.

2. The proof derived from history and archaeology

Introductory Statement: History furnishes many proofs of the correctness of the biblical representations of life in Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Medo-Persia, and so forth.

a). A number of the rulers of these countries are mentioned by name in Scripture, and none of them is represented in a manner contradictory to what is known of him in history.

  • Sargon II (722-705 B.C.) is mentioned by name only once in the Bible (Isa 20:1)
  • Belshazzar (Dan 5:1-30)
  • Darius the Mede (Dan 5:31-6:28)

b) Archaeology likewise supplies many confirmations of the biblical accounts:

  1. The Babylonian “Epic of Creation,”-shows that the idea of a special creation was widespread in early times.
  2. The same can be said about the Babylonian legends of the fall
  3. More important is a tablet that has been found in Babylon containing an account of the flood which has marked similarities to the biblical account.
  4. The so-called battle of the kings (Gen 14) – found an inscriptions in the Valley of the Euphrates show that the four kings mentioned in the Bible as joining in this expedition are historical persons.
  5. The Nuzi tablets throw light on the action of Sarah and Rachel in giving their handmaids to their husbands.
  6. The Egyptian hieroglyphics[1] indicate that writing was known more than a thousand years before Abraham.
  7. Archaeology also confirms that Israel lived in Egypt, that the people were in bondage in that land, and that they finally left the country.
  8. The Hittites, whose very existence was questioned, have been shown to be a powerful people in Asia Minor and Palestine at the very time indicated in the Bible.
  9. The Tel el-Amarna tables give evidence of the trustworthiness of the book of Judges.

B. The Credibility of the Books of the NT

This can be established by four great facts:

1. The writers of the New Testament were competent (qualified)

  • We have eight NT writers
  • Matthew, John, and Peter where disciples of Christ and eyewitnesses of his works and teachings (2 Pet 1:18; 1 John 1:1-3)
  • Mark, according to Papias, was the interpreter of Peter and wrote down accurately what he remembered of the teaching of Peter.
  • Luke was a companion of Paul and, according to Irenaeus, recorded in a book the gospel preached by him.
  • Paul was definitely called and appointed by Christ and claimed that he received his gospel directly from God (Gal 1:11-17).
  • James and Jude were brothers of Christ, and their messages come to us with this background.

2. The writers of the NT were honest

3. Their writings harmonize with each other.

  • The Synoptics do not contradict but supplement each other
  • The details in the Gospel of John can be fitted together with the first three Gospels into a harmonious whole.
  • The Acts furnishes an historical background for ten of Paul’s Epistles.

4. Their accounts agree with history and experience.

The Canonicity of the Books of the Bible

A. The Canonicity of the Books of the OT:

  • Because the canonicity of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon was not settled until the Council of Jamnia (A.D. 90), some maintain that the canon of the OT was not closed until that time, or, since the discussion concerning them continued even after that date, not until about A.D. 200.
  • Two Jewish scholars: David Kimchi (1160-1232) and Elias Levita (1465-1549), held that the final collection of the OT canon was completed by Ezra and the members of the Great Synagogue in the fifth century before Christ. Why this is true?
  1. Josephus[2] (A.D. 37-100), who wrote near the end of the first century A.D., included the same three fold division as did the Masoretic Canon.
  2. He further indicated that the canon was completed in the reign of Artazerzes, which corresponds to the lifetime of Ezra.
  3. It seems likely that Ezra was the one who finally organized the sacred books of the OT, since he is called “the scribe” (Neh 8:1; 12:36), “a scribe skilled in the law of Moses” (Ezra 7:6), and “the scribe, learned in the words of the commandments of the Lord and His statutes to Israel” (Ezra 7:11).
  4. Further, no more canonical writings were composed since the days of Artaxerxes, son of Xerxes, until NT times. (The Apocrypha, though included in the Septuagint, was never accepted into the Hebrew canon).

B. The Canonicity of the Books of the New Testament

  • Criteria for NT canonicity: Five broad principles aided in the determination of which books should be accepted as canonical:
  1. Apostolicity: The author of a book had either to be an apostle of Christ or to sustain such a relation to an apostle as to raise his book to the level of the apostolic books.
  2. Suitability to public reading:
  3. Universality: Was the book universally received throughout the Christian community?
  4. The contents of the book: They had to be of such a spiritual character as to entitle them to this rank.
  5. Divine Inspiration: The book had to give evidence of having been inspired by the Holy Spirit.
  • By the end of the second century all but seven book, (Hebrews, 2 and 3 John, 2 Peter, Jude, James, and Revelation), the so-called antilegomena, were recognized as apostolic.
  • And by the fourth century all the twenty-seven books in our present canon were recognized by all the churches in the West.
  • After the Damasine Council of Rome (382) and the third Council of Carthage (397), the question of the canon was closed in the West.

[1]picture writing system: a writing system that uses symbols or pictures to denote objects, concepts, or sounds, originally and especially in the writing system of ancient Egypt

[2]was a first-century Jewish historian and apologist of priestly and royal ancestry who survived and recorded the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. His works give an important insight into first-century Judaism.

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