The Bible & History

The historical reliability of the scripture should be tested by the same criteria that all historical documents are tested.

Three Basic principles of Historiography

Bibliographical Test

This is an examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us. This takes into account the number of manuscripts and the time interval between the original and extant copy.

Work Date Written Earliest Copy Time Span No. of Copies
New Testament 40-100 A.D 125 A.D. 25 years over 24,000
Homer (Iliad) 900 B.C. 400 B.C. 500 years 643
Caesar’s Gallic Wars 100-44 B.C. 900 A.D 1,000 years 10
Plato (Tetralogies) 427-347 B.C 900 A.D 1,200 years 7
Aristotle 384-322 B.C. 1100 A.D. 1,400 years 49

John Warwick Montgomery states, “To be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Testament books is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity, for no documents of the ancient period are as well tested bibliographically as the New Testament.”

Internal Test

Aristotle’s dictum : “…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.” The Bible claims to be the word of God II Peter 1:16, 1 John 1:3, Luke 1:1-3

External Test

Substantiating Authenticity: What sources are there apart from literature under analysis that substantiate its accuracy, reliability and authenticity?

1. Extra- Biblical Authors

     A. Iraneus (Bishop of Lyons): “So firm is the ground upon which these Gospels rest, that the very heretics themselves bear witness to them, and, starting from these (documents), each one of them endeavors to establish his own particular doctrine.”

     B. Polycarp (A.D. 70-156) When asked to recant his faith and live stated this, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How can I speak evil of my king who saved me?” He was therefore burned at the stake.

2. Archeology

Over and over again, archeological finds corroborate the Bible’s narrative. In fact, the sheer amount of archeological and scientific corroboration is so overwhelming that it goes beyond the purposes of our website. Answers in Genesis is an excellent resource for those who want to see how a Biblical worldview actually solves so many seeming historical and scientific dilemmas.

3. Linguistics

Many modern day philologists attest that they believe the world originally had one l language. Alfredo Trombetti says he can trace and prove the common origin of all languages. Max Muellar concurs with Trombetti, while Otto Jespersen goes as far as saying that language was given to the first men by God. (see also Genesis 11:1-9 & Joshua 6:20)