Is the Bible Reliable?

2 Timothy 3:14–17 – Explore God
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany  – February 17, 2019 (am)


Many of you come here every week to study a Bible – perhaps you read it every day.

But is it reliable?

What makes it any better than then book of Mormon, or the Koran, or the ancient texts of eastern religions

What if it were all made up? 

 How can a book this old be relevant today?

 Doesn’t it need to be updated?

 They didn’t have internet, or all the tools of science, the knowledge of man we have through sociological and psychological research.

 Isn’t it dangerous to have something so outdated function as your authority?

  • §  Intellectual doubt

  • §  Emotional doubt

  • §  Functional doubt

What if you were talking to a friend – what would you say? 

Erica from Milwaukie in the Denver airport waiting area

2 Tim 3:14-17

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

God breathed


           Not like a song or a performance is inspired

            Doesn’t say “dictated” – each book has it’s own character

            Revelation – God watched over it so the final result was what he wanted

ALL – this is important, because there are 66 books.  Some you will like more than others 

It carries his authority

Without error in the original text

Often find people taking it apart – this was written by this guy

One project – The Jesus Seminar – an attempt to discover what words were really written by him

“Eighty-two percent of the words ascribed to Jesus in the gospels were not actually spoken by him, according to the Jesus Seminar. How do scholars account for this pronounced discrepancy?”

  • Red (likely authentic)

  • Pink (somewhat likely)

  • Gray (somewhat unlikely)

  • Black (unlikely)

            Is this claim a reliable one? 

1.     Is the inspiration of the Bible reliable?

                        You can’t scientifically prove the Bible

                                    The scientific method requires repeatability

                        But many things can’t be proven scientifically

                                    Like love

                                    Or historical events

                        But there are signs of error and signs of truth

                        I could say I just came from the north pole and I have a polar bear in my car

                                    You could

                                                 Check facebook

                                                Ask me about the north pole

                                                Go check my car

                        What would be the fingerprints of a God-breathed text?

            I gave Erica these four:  

1.     Unity

  • §  66 books

  • §  1500 years

  • §  3 languages

  • §  3 continents


2.     Fulfilled prophecy                      


Psalm 22:16-18 – John 19:23-28

1000 BC


Micah 5:2

700 BC


200 prophecies fulfilled in Christ


Daniel 7

500 BC


3.     Historicity

Thousands of dates, names, places, events.  These can be confirmed historically.


4.     Relevance

                                    100 million sold every year

                                    20% of those are in the US

                                    Average in a US household is 3

                                    5 Billion printed


            Bestseller for 2018 in Becoming by Michelle Obama – 3.4 million copies


As of October 2017 the full Bible has been translated into 670 languages, the New Testament has been translated into 1,521 languages and Bible portions or stories into 1,121 other languages. Thus at least some portion of the Bible has been translated into 3,312 languages.

Second most translated book – Pinocchio – 260 languages


2.     Is the usefulness of the Bible reliable?

It is useful today?

This is under attack – even in evangelical circles

Many churches these is little of the Word and much of pop psychology, or clever story telling

A prominent evangelical pastor – “unhitch from the Old Testament”

We can be apologetic about the word

            Living and active – Heb


Heb 4:12 ESV - 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.


            Story of Ermal 

                        Don’t be afraid to get people into Gods Word

            All kinds of promises in Psalm 119


·      Psa 119:9, How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. ...  

·      28 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! ...

·      98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.

·      99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.

·      100 I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. ... 

·      103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! ...

·      105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.


176 verses in this Psalm

            Daily Bible Reading

            Don and his program

3.     Is the sufficiency of the Bible reliable?

Sola scriptura

            Three other authorities




Sola does not mean Solo 

            God is revealing himself in many ways

            All must be tested by the Scripture

            We have the word even more certain

                        2 Peter 1:16-21

Fully equipped

            In conversations

            In your family

My Dad and Josh – If you are rooted in revelation you will be the most relevant person in the room. 

4.     Reliability and the self-authenticating Word of God

My challenge to Erica – read it for yourself

I’ve been afraid of the Bible – it doesn’t look that long

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.