I want to share some facts with my readers on the Bible. It is the one book that is the most attacked, most vilified and most ignored. Critics attempt to undermine its historicity, continuity, and reliability. Lets take a look at the facts, and hopefully equip you to defend scripture.
1. Scripture is unique in its continuity.- It was written over a 1,500 year span of time, by over 40 authors from various backgrounds, in different places, at different times, while the authors were in different moods and situations, on three continents, in three languages, and covers literally hundreds of subjects, some of them controversial. And yet, with all of this diversity, the authors of the Biblical books speak with absolute harmony from Genesis to Revelation.
2. Scripture is unique in its circulation.- It is the #1 best seller of all time, translated into over 2,650 languages.
3. Scripture is unique in its survival.- Despite the claims of the critics, we have at least 5,700 manuscripts of the scriptures, and 25,000 manuscript fragments. Compared to other ancient writings, the Bible has more manuscript evidence than all of the other classical literature combined. It has also survived attempts to extinguish it from human history. Diocletian (303 A.D.) ordered every Bible in the Roman Empire destroyed, and yet it has lasted longer than that empire. The infamous revolutionary philosopher Voltaire stated that within 100 years of his life, Christianity would be extinct. Christian influence over the societies that are the inheritors of Voltaire's worldview may have waned, but it is far from extinct.
It should also be noted that the canon of scripture was not created by the church at the Nicene Council, as some fringe theorists like to say. The Nicene Council did not even discuss the issue of canon. The church did, however, recognize those books we know as Sacred Scripture today. These books met the church's criteria for canonical authority. That is:
1. They were universally accepted.- The books had to be accepted by the whole church.
2. They had to be part of the church's tradition.- That is, the books had to be accepted as inspired from the time they were written and circulated among the various churches.
3. They had to possess apostolicity.- They had to reflect a true apostolic witness of Christ and His message. They had to be written by someone with apostolic authority.
4. They had to possess antiquity.- The books had to be written at the time of the apostles.
5. It had to possess orthodoxy.- The books had to conform to the "rule of faith"- the core teachings handed down by the apostles.
The truth is, the canon was officially declared closed at the Council of Carthage (397 A.D.), as a mere formal recognition of an already recognized fact.
So, don't be misled by the claims of the critics. The Bible stands strong against all of the onslaughts of a sinful generation.