How do we know which book - The Bible, the Apocrypha, the Qur'an, the Book of Mormon, etc. - is the Word of God?
Many books have claimed to be the Word of God or divine. In addition to the Bible, various groups have claimed divine inspiration for the Apocrypha, Book of Mormon, Qur'an, and other works. How do we know the Bible is the Word of God?
First, we must read it to determine if its facts are accurate. For example, the Book of Mormon claims people were called Christians in about 73 BC (Alma 46:15), nearly 70 years before Jesus Christ was even born in Bethlehem! This is a clear historical and factual error. Baruch 6:2 in the Apocrypha claimed the Jews would live in Babylon for seven generations. It was actually only 70 years. The Qur'an claims that Abraham and his son Ishmael built the Ka'ba in Mecca in Saudi Arabia (Sura 2:125-127) despite no historical evidence to support this claim.
In contrast, the Bible has been found accurate in numerous places, with no direct proven mistakes. Though there are some places that may be difficult to understand, it is a historically reliable book that is confirmed in many places by history and archaeology. The New Testament in particular claims to be written by eyewitnesses or their contemporaries (Luke 1:1-4).
Second, the external evidence for the Bible argues for a high degree of accuracy. The first copies from parts of the New Testament date to within one generation of the originals (parts of John's Gospel exist from the first half of the second century). In addition to early manuscripts, there are also numerous manuscripts, with well over 5,000 copies of the New Testament manuscripts available in Greek, in addition to numerous copies in Latin and other languages, including Arabic (7th Century). This affirms that the teachings of the Bible have not been changed or corrupted.
Third, fulfilled prophecy strengthens the Bible's claim as the Word of God. It makes more than 300 accurate predictions related to Jesus as the Messiah, in addition to numerous other fulfilled prophecies. It has been noted that approximately 27 percent of the Bible is prophetic in nature, yet not a single prophecy in the Bible has been proven wrong.
If one book written by approximately 40 people over a 1,400-year period in a variety of locations can speak accurately and authoritatively and has stood the test of time and persecution for nearly 2,000 years, would you consider that it might be the Word of God? This is the story of the Bible, the world's best-selling and most translated book. As Hebrews 4:12 teaches, "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." Second Timothy 3:16-17 adds, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
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