Is the Bible reliable?When we compare the reliability of the Bible with other historic documents of its time, utilizing the same criteria, we find that the Bible is not only reliable—it is more reliable than other comparable works. The primary aspects to look at when determining credibility are the accuracy of the copying, the frequency with which something was copied, and the truthfulness of the content. Writings that have been well-preserved, copied frequently, and that are historically verified are considered reliable. For all these factors, the Bible can be considered reliable.
Just as it is impossible to confirm every single detail within any ancient historical text, the Bible has details that cannot be confirmed. This does not mean it is unreliable. Rather, it has facts that have yet to be confirmed or are impossible to confirm. However, it is totally fair to expect the Bible to be accurate where it is able to be checked. In this aspect, the Bible's reliability truly shines. Many of the historical details within the Bible have been verified through other historical records as well as through archaeological discoveries. Even though there are things within the Bible that have yet to be proven, it is perhaps most important to note that it has never been proven factually wrong.
Archaeological discoveries have confirmed many biblical texts. Here are a few of them:
These examples are all from the book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. Throughout the rest of the Bible, its historical accuracy is similarly confirmed. In the New Testament, names of cities (Rome, Corinth, etc.), political leaders (Herod, Caesar, etc.), and historical events have consistently been confirmed by both archaeologists and historians. Luke is the writer of the Gospel by that name as well as the book of Acts, and his reputation still stands as that of a first-rate historian thanks to the accuracy and detail-oriented approach he took in his writing.
The accuracy of the copying of biblical texts is significantly better and has more supporting documents confirming the accuracy than other similar texts. The New Testament was written within decades of the events described, and there are enough early manuscripts remaining to prove that it was copied quickly and reliably for maximum distribution potential. The Old Testament's reliability of transmission also holds up well under scrutiny. During the 1940s, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. They were 800 years older than the other Old Testament manuscripts available, and upon comparison, the consistency between the two over the 800-year span was astounding. Seeing such consistently accurate copies over time can give us confidence when we read the Bible today, knowing that it still says what it did when it was originally written.
Finally, let's look at the numbers. The Bible has more factual confirmation, less time between the writing date and oldest available original copies, and more lasting source manuscripts than any other ancient work. Here are some facts on ancient texts:
We have excellent reasons and facts that enable us to objectively know that the Bible is reliable. If we were to call the Bible unreliable, we would also have to discard much of the ancient history that we consider factual with far less concrete data to back it up. The Bible is proven reliable thanks to its meticulous transmission and historical accuracy.
Why should I believe the Bible?
Is the Bible true?
How is the Bible inspired? What does it mean for the Bible to be inspired?
What proof do we have for the inspiration of the Bible?
The purpose of the Bible – What is it?
Truth about the Bible