As some of my readers may know, there are public websites out there which allow subscribers to ask questions on various subject to which other subscribers can then post answers to. I joined on a lark, but found there are a lot of people seeking answers to deep spiritual questions out there. I’ve decided that some of these bear repeating to my readers, so this series will show you a question that a real person has asked on the Internet and my response. Enjoy.
As an historical document? Very.
First, you’ve got to realize the Bible is a collection of 66 separate documents, or slightly less if you consider the books that are two-parters.
Most of the documents are written by different people from vastly different walks of life. It’s authors include kings, shepherds, poets, fishermen, and others. They are all separated by vast spans of time as well. Some are hundreds and even thousands of years apart.
So, from a historical point of view, it’s not really fair to judge “the Bible” as a single document or work, because it’s not.
Nevertheless, each of those 66 books has the same or more authenticity than any manuscript of its age. We have thousands and thousands of manuscripts backing it up with only minor variations that are usually nothing more than spelling or grammatical errors.
There is a host of archaeological evidence that also supports the Biblical narrative as well as other contemporary historians and their works, such as Josephus.
If it is held to the same standard as similar documents of its age, each of the books of the Bible holds firm as authentic, or at least as authentic as anything else we consider authentic from that period.
The only reason people dismiss it isn’t because of a lack of evidence or authenticity, but because the Bible goes on to make some pretty audacious claims about humanity and God and sin and redemption.
Unlike, for example, Homer’s Odyssey or Plato’s Republic, the Bible makes claims that demand a response from the reader. Either you believe it and therefore must follow it or you disbelieve it and therefore must somehow discredit it to justify your unbelief.
Since humans don’t want to believe in a God who owns them and holds them accountable for their misdeeds, many humans choose to disbelieve the Bible and therefore will do anything at all to discredit it, even if that means abandoning any sense of integrity and holding the Bible to unrealistic standards that no historian would impose upon any other document.