For Episode 005...
Brandon D. Smith joins us to talk about all the internal and external evidence that points to the truthfulness of the Bible. How do we know the Bible is true? How has the Bible been preserved for generations? Do we read the same text that the early church read? The Bible is the cornerstone of our faith, as it is where we learn about God and His plan to deliver His people through the work of Jesus on the cross, so knowing His Word and its reliability is so important. Brandon will help us sort through all of those questions.
You can listen to the Questions Kids Ask episode answering How Do We Know The Bible is True? on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.
We started off by asking Brandon to share with us what the best part of being a dad is. Here's what he said:
Learning the Father’s love and how our rebellion and affection feels
The opportunity to make disciples in the messiness of everyday life -- they see sin, repentance, flaws, etc., which makes it easy to point to a perfect God
Parenting is such an opportunity for sanctification, right?
Our tough question is:
How do we know the Bible is true?
Here's a summary of what Brandon shared with us about the internal and external evidence that supports the reliability of the Bible. We also talked about how miraculous it is that the Bible has be preserved through rulers requiring that all manuscripts be burned within their empire, through generations of people, and through all sorts of other challenges pre-printing press. As Brandon says, If God gave us a book so that we might know Him, of course He is going to preserve it. Isn't it so good of God to do that for us? Here's that evidence:
Internal evidence, or what the Bible says about itself
2 TIm. 3:16-17 says that the Scriptures are inspired by or breathed out by God
Often, Jesus says, "Haven't you read the Scriptures,” pointing to their importance.
Ultimately, as Christians, there comes a point where we must believe it on faith and walk in obedience. There will always be mysteries or things we cannot completely explain because God is bigger than our comprehension and He didn't give us the answer to every little thing, but He gave us what we need to know Him and to know the message of the Gospel - that Jesus was sent so that He could pay the penalty for sin so that all who trust Him could have eternal life.
External evidence, or evidence outside of the Biblical text
- There are 5,600 ancient manuscripts of the NT (the next closest number of manuscripts of a specific text is Homer’s Iliad at 650, which is no comparison)
- The earliest manuscript copies are dated within 100 years of Jesus’s resurrection, so those who held them to be true were probably within one generation of those who walked alongside Jesus and his disciples. Those taught directly by Jesus' disciples would still be leading in the church and would be able to determine if what Scripture said was actually what Jesus had also said. This is much closer than most ancient works. (Homer’s earliest copy is 500 years from the time of original writing)
- An interesting note is that when the KJV was translated in 1611, translators only had access to 7 manuscripts (earliest 11th century / 1,000 years from writings), but in 2013 translation committees had access to 5600 manuscripts. This tells us that we’re getting closer than ever to what the originals said, not further away like some would like to believe.
So, why are translations updated and why are there new translations?
This is why we continue to translate and revise: We know more now than we knew in 1611, and obviously our knowledge of ancient languages and culture is continuing to improve, therefore improving the translation. Often, there is no direct English word for what was intended in the Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic, so that is why you will see differing translations of the same verse. Different translators may come at the text with different philosophies, but all are seeking to be true to the original text. We must remember, though, that God’s Word is perfect even if our translation can continue to improve, but we trust that God preserves his Word since he chose it as the primary way to communicate to us.
Last question for Brandon, and it was this one:
What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever received?
Be on the same page with your spouse (we fight for this because it’s difficult)
Consistency is key, and is also so difficult! Anybody with an amen? It's hard to send our sweet littles to time out for the same thing all day. It'd be so easy to just let it go, but they desperately need consistency, and then as they get older, too. As parents, our discipline is a reminder of the discipline that God does for His children. It's not always fun, but it is always out of love and for our benefit.
Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play.