Was the story of Jesus written to seemingly fulfill Old Testament prophecies?

By Maggie Peil

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It may help you to think of the Bible as a Library, not a book. It is a collection of letters, histories, poems, songs and essays. It was compiled gradually over about 1500 years, and it has over 40 different authors that we know of. The establishment of one specific group of texts to include in the Bible was a gradual process. Before the official "church" decided on which to include and how to arrange them, Christians had long considered certain letters and texts as true, others as false.

Early in my walk with God, I wondered whether I could trust that the bible was true. I did some research. At first I read books by Bruce M. Metzger (probably the most respected New Testament scholar of the 20th century). Dr. Metzger's books are well worth the effort to read them, but I'll warn you the material can be quite dry. I've also read books and watched videos by Daniel B. Wallace (one of, if not THE, current authority on NT manuscripts). Dr. Wallace's videos are far from dry — he is an enthusiastic speaker, so his videos might be a better choice for you depending on your interest level and available time to study. I will try to summarize both men's messages like this:

There is abundant evidence that the New Testament manuscripts are nearly 100% consistent, accurate, and well-preserved. The number of manuscripts and cross-references in other literature are "an embarrassment of riches" (as Dr. Wallace puts it) — there is way more to support the Bible than any other old document we have. There is plain (physical and textural) evidence that the apostles and others who knew them wrote the New Testament. Statements to the contrary are usually ignorant of the facts. Since we can believe that the texts are legitimate and accurate, we can believe that the authors were people who actually knew Jesus or interviewed people who did. Since we can trust the texts, and therefore trust the authors and the information they portrayed, it is reasonable and rational to believe that the New Testament is a reliable source of information about Jesus and his impact on the world. Yes, faith is required to believe anything. But the Bible has lots of physical evidence to support its authenticity.

After I felt confident that the NT was true, I did some reading on the history of the OT. I decided to accept that the Old Testament was also true. I based this in part on the quotations of the OT by Jesus and others. The Dead Sea Scrolls showed that the OT was practically unchanged for thousands of years. So it seems reasonable to me that the OT Jesus and his disciples quoted is the same OT we have today. In short, I learned to completely agree with 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that "Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work."

If you do the research and ask God to guide you, I believe you will come to the same conclusion. I encourage you to research this on your own. Many popular ideas (spoken by Christians and non-Christians) you hear about the bible's history are false or distorted truths. It is important to know that you can trust the bible to be true and accurate. Knowing the truth about the history of the bible should help you feel confident and dispel doubts. Eventually, we all need faith to strengthen our knowledge and we need love to help us learn and share with others. (Remember "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" from 1 Corinthians 8:1.)

Do not just Google your question and believe anything you watch or read. Find the experts and see what they say.

For More

a. A great overview by Daniel Wallace

b. Search YouTube for Wallace's: "Is What We Have Now What They Wrote Then? Part 1 — Biola Chapel". There is also a part 2, and combined the whole thing is under an hour.

c. If you want to do some reading on this subject, start with Chapters 6 and 7 of Reinventing Jesus, co-authored by Wallace.

d. If you have a lot of time to study this subject, I recommend The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, And Restoration, The Bible in Translation, and The Canon of the New Testament all by Metzger.

May God bless you as you continue your search for Truth!

Image Credit: Abelardo Gonzalez; "Final Proof of the NT in OpenDyslexic"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  |  Controversial-Issues  |  History-Apologetics  |  Jesus-Christ

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Published 8-27-14