1 Thessalonians 2:13 • March 19, 2023 • g1262
Author and speaker Charlie Campbell from Always Be Ready Ministries teaches a message titled, “Evidence For The Bible.”
2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
First Thessalonians chapter two, verse 13. Notice there in your Bibles, Paul writes this, he says, "For this reason, we also constantly thank God. That when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as the word of men, but for what it really is. The word of God which also performs its work in you who believe."
The Apostle Paul here commends the Christian believers in the city of Thessalonica for realizing that the scriptures were the very word of God. And I'm sure that most of you who are here this morning believe that to be the case when it comes to the Bible. You're convinced that it's the word of God. Written by men, yes, but men who were guided by God as they pen down its words. You're convinced of that as I am. But you probably have some friends, neighbors, coworkers, maybe family members who are not so convinced, are they?
Or perhaps they would be at church with you here this morning, they have questions and doubts about the Bible. Many of them believe that the Bible's just an ancient book of fiction and mythology. How could you take it seriously? Or they say the contents of the Bible have been changed and tampered with down through the centuries so it's not trustworthy now even if it used to be. Or they say the Bible is out of sync with modern scientific discoveries. Ever hear any of these objections? I'm sure you have. Well, then, why do we as Christians continue to believe the Bible is trustworthy? That's what I was asked to speak to you about this morning and I'm happy to do that.
In our time together this morning, I'd like to lay out for you a concise overview of seven reasons you can trust the Bible. Seven different lines of evidence for the Bible's reliability and my prayer is that it will be an encouragement. To those of you who already believe, that it'll strengthen and fortify your faith, that it'll help equip you to be better prepared to talk to people who have questions and doubts about the Bible. But I'm also prayerful that, if there are any skeptics among us this morning, that you might reassess your skepticism and your unbelief when it comes to the Bible.
The first line of evidence that I'd like to discuss for a few minutes, if you're a note taker, number one, fulfilled prophecies. Fulfilled prophecies. Of course, sports analysts, political pundits and astrologers today seem to enjoy making predictions about future events but their failure rate quickly reveals how inept humans are at rightly predicting future events even just a month or two in advance. Well, this is one of the reasons why the Bible's fulfilled prophecies are so astounding. Over and over, the authors of the Bible rightly foretold future events, often hundreds of years in advance. The Bible is filled with hundreds of specific detailed prophecies about people, places and events, many of which have already come to pass.
Consider a few of the prophecies made regarding Jesus. Of course, long before Jesus was born, Old Testament, Hebrew prophets told us a savior was coming who would make a way for sinful people to have their sins forgiven and be reconciled back into a right relationship with God. These Hebrew prophets said that this coming Savior or Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham, that he'd be born into the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David, they began giving those kinds of specific details all the way back in the Book of Genesis. But then they even got more specific in Micah chapter five, verse two, it is prophesied that he would be born in the little town of Bethlehem. That was written down 700 years before Jesus was born there.
Isaiah chapter seven, verse 14 said that he'd be born miraculously to a young virgin girl. "Behold," the prophet said, "The virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call His name Emmanuel," which in Hebrew means God with us. Jesus, God himself would be with us. Malachi chapter three, verse one declared that he would come while the Jewish temple was still standing. That's interesting. Flavius Josephus, that first century Jewish historian, tells us at the Romans marched into Jerusalem in AD 70 and destroyed the Jewish temple. Well, that would require then that this coming Messiah or Savior show up prior to that event because it was prophesied in Malachi chapter three that this coming savior would stand in that temple.
Well, of course, we know Jesus met this timing requirement. And shortly after His ministry was over here on the earth, the Romans showed up and destroyed the temple. No Messiah now could ever make the claim to be the Messiah, there's no temple to stand in. Isaiah chapter 35 foretold the kinds of miracles he would perform, look it up sometime. It says he's going to open the eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf and cause the lame to walk, the very kinds of miracles we read about in the New Testament accounts of Jesus's life. But in spite of His good works, in spite of His miracles, the Bible went on to say that this coming savior would then be despised and rejected by humanity.
Psalm 118, verse 22 even prophesied that he would be rejected by His own people. Think of that, hundreds of years before Jesus was born, Jewish prophets foretold that the Jewish people would reject their own Messiah. And that's precisely what happened when the Jewish religious leaders handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate to be put to death, they were fulfilling Old Testament prophecy whether they realized it or not. And not only did Jewish prophets foretell Jesus's death, Daniel chapter nine prophesied the precise year in history that He would die for the sins of the world.
Get out a good Bible commentary sometime if you'd like and do a little in-depth study on Daniel chapter nine, one of my favorite prophecies in the entire Bible. This is an amazing one. Daniel nails the year of Jesus's crucifixion 600 years before He was born. How do you do that without God's help? You don't. Of course, we know Daniel had God's help. Psalm 22 prophesied how He would die. David, writing a thousand years before Jesus was born, says that His hands and His feet are going to be pierced during his death. That might have been somewhat confusing to people back in David's day. Why's that? Well, because this was 300 years before the Persians had even invented the art of crucifixion. Yet, with God's help, David was able to accurately describe the details surrounding Jesus's death a thousand years before it happens.
And they didn't stop there. Psalm 16, verse 10 and Isaiah 53 prophesied that this coming savior would then rise from the dead. Friends, this is just a tiny sampling of some of the prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus's life and there are hundreds of other prophecies in the Bible about the rise and fall of different nations and other matters. But the fulfillment of these prophecies is compelling evidence that these men spoke with the aid of the all-knowing, all-powerful God written about in the Bible. The God who declared in Isaiah chapter 46, verse 9 and 10, "I am God and there is none like Me declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things that are not yet done." In other words, God says here there's no one else in the universe who can accurately tell you what's going to happen centuries in advance and that has certainly proven to be the case.
No other book in the world today is able to substantiate its claims with this kind of supernatural ability to rightly foretell future events. There are no fulfilled prophecies in the Quran, the Hindu Vedas or the Book of Mormon, not one. Fulfilled prophecy is something that sets the Bible apart from every other book in the world today. So, if you're taking notes, that is the first reason you can be confident that the Bible is what it claims to be, fulfilled prophecies. But we can strengthen our case with number two, archeological discoveries.
Archeological discoveries. Many people today who think that the Bible is just a compilation of folklore and mythology overlook the fact that, over the past century or two, thousands of archeological discoveries have, again and again, verified the historical reliability of the Bible. Take for example the 1993 discovery mentioning David, the King of Israel. And by the way, these aren't actual portraits. Someone asked me that once. But up until 1993, the critic's verdict regarding David was that he was nothing more than a figure of religious and political mythology. Well, their skepticism regarding David collapsed overnight when this nearly 3,000-year-old inscription was discovered in the ancient ruins of Dan mentioning David, the King of Israel.
It's on display today at the museum in Jerusalem. But this was an amazing discovery that helped verify, for the first time outside of the Bible, that David was a real historical figure. Time magazine rightly acknowledge that, in light of this discovery, the skeptics claim that King David never existed is now hard to defend. Indeed, it is. Another fascinating discovery has to do with Pontius Pilate. The New Testament authors tell us that Pilate was the Roman governor who oversaw Jesus's trial and then sentenced Him to death by crucifixion. Was he a legendary person perhaps? No.
In 1961, archeologists were digging at Caesarea on the shore of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea there in Israel. While clearing away the sand and overgrowth from the jumbled ruins of this ancient Roman theater, these archeologists made a fascinating discovery. They found this limestone block about three feet tall with an inscription in Latin dating to the early part of the first century mentioning Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea. So, this inscription verified for us that Pontius Pilate was a real person, that he reigned in the very position ascribed to him in the gospels and, as prefect or governor, he would've indeed had the authority to pardon or condemn Jesus just as the gospel accounts report.
Some other fascinating archeological discoveries include ancient extra biblical accounts of a catastrophic flood, accounts that were written down after the flood as Noah's descendants spread out to different parts of the ancient world. The ruins of Jericho and the collapsed walls spoken about in the book of Joshua chapter six have now been identified by archeologists. The ruins of Nineveh where Jonah went and preached have been unearthed. On the left, there is a relief of King Sargon mentioned in Isaiah chapter 20. One of the fascinating discoveries at Nineveh, and there were hundreds, was this six-sided clay prism known as the Sennacherib prism.
It speaks of the Assyrian King Sennacherib's invasion of Judah, the one you've read about in Second Kings and the book of Isaiah, during the reign of Hezekiah, and it corroborates many of the details in the biblical account. It's on display today at the British Museum in London. King Hezekiah's tunnel built to secretly channel water into the city of Jerusalem around 700 BC has been unearthed. You can go to Jerusalem today and walk through that very tunnel. The ancient ruins of Babylon written about in Daniel chapter one have been unearthed in modern day Iraq. Archeologists have identified the ruins of Nebuchadnezzar's palaces and his temples, the very buildings that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would've been so familiar with.
The ruins of King Herod's palace just south of Jerusalem as well as coins with his name inscribed on them have been found. Of course, he was the one who sought to have Jesus killed shortly after he was born in Matthew chapter two. The Pool of Siloam was recently unearthed, mentioned in John chapter nine. This is the pool where Jesus sent the man with the mud on his eyes to wash and where his eyes were opened up. Fox News just had a feature story on this about a month ago, it'll be open to the public soon. Another one of Herod's palaces on top of that hill overlooking the Dead Sea, this is the palace known as Macaris. We'll talk a little bit more about it later on but this is where John the Baptist was imprisoned and put to death in Mark chapter six.
This synagogue in Capernaum, another fascinating discovery, it was completely buried by sediment. They had no idea it was there until they started excavating. They found the very synagogue that Mark and other gospels tell us Jesus Himself often taught at on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. You can go to Israel today and see these and hundreds of other discoveries with your own eyes, they're an amazing testimony to the Bible's historical reliability. If you'd like to learn more about how archeology has confirmed details in the Bible, I have written a book on the topic, it features more than a hundred color photographs in it of these kinds of artifacts and finds. We also have an hour long DVD on that topic as well if that might interest you.
All right, so first we have hundreds of fulfilled prophecies. To strengthen our case, we can add to that thousands of archeological discoveries. I think these first two lines of evidence alone should be enough for any skeptic here today to reconsider your skepticism regarding the Bible. I think these just, on their own, are sufficient to build a compelling case that someone should reconsider any unbelief they have regarding the Bible. But let's continue to strengthen our case with number three, the Bible's internal consistency. What am I talking about?
Well, I'm talking about the Bible's internal harmony. From the first book of the Bible to the last, from Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is absolutely consistent in what it teaches. This is astounding when you consider that the Bible is a collection of 66 different documents. It might be easy to have internal harmony within a book if it was a single book but the Bible's actually a compilation of more than five dozen different Holy Spirit inspired writings. The Bible's internal consistency seems even more astounding when you learn that the Bible was written by approximately 40 different authors who wrote in three different languages.
Contrast this with the Quran, I think it would be easy to have internal harmony in the Quran. Why is that? Because it contains the teachings of one man, a man by the name of Muhammad who was born about 600 years after Jesus. Well, the Bible's entirely different than the Quran in this regard, it contains the teachings, the writings of approximately 40 different people and the Bible was written over a period of approximately 1,500 years. Many of the authors did not even know one another so it's not like they could have all gotten together and decided to collude or harmonize their writings. And not only were many of them separated by hundreds of years in time, many of the authors were separated by hundreds of miles geographically.
The Bible was written down in a variety of places on three different continents. Different places in Africa, Asia and Europe. And the Bible addresses life's most controversial questions. Questions like how did the universe come into existence? Does God exist and, if so, what is He like? Why do people exist? Why is there evil and suffering in the world? What happens to people after they die? These are the big controversial questions of life. These are the questions people tend to disagree about and yet these are the very questions the authors of the Bible tackle head on, chapter after chapter, book after book from beginning to end and they do so consistently.
Now, I don't know about you but, when I think of pulling together 40 people today who live on three different continents, who speak three different languages and ask them to write 66 books regarding life's most controversial questions, I'm thinking we're going to have some serious problems. That book's going to be a train wreck, it's going to be a mess. Yet, in spite of all these factors, the Bible is a perfectly harmonious, consistent account of how God is seeking to reconcile sinners like you and me back into relationship with Himself. Amazing. We believe that this internal consistency is evidence that the authors of the Bible were being guided by God as they pen down the different books of the Bible.
So, that's a third reason you can trust the Bible, the Bible's internal consistency. How about number four? Extra biblical writings. Extra biblical writings, what am I talking about? Well, I'm talking about the fact that there are writings that survive today outside of the Bible, in the ancient records of the Assyrians, Babylonians and Romans that verify the historical accuracy of the Bible's records of different people, places and events. As far as people are concerned, external sources have now verified that more than 80 people mentioned in the Bible were real historical figures. Think of that, more than 80 people you've read about in the Bible have now been identified in ancient text outside of the Bible.
When you pick up your Bible to read it, you're not reading about mythological characters that someone invented. In many cases, you're reading about people who've been identified to have actually existed outside of the pages of the Bible. In fact, right there on the screen for you are written references outside of the Bible to three people you've read about in the Bible, Hezekiah, Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus. The first century historian, Flavius Josephus, writes about more than a dozen people you've read about in the New Testament, including Herod The Great, Pontius Pilate, John the Baptist, Caiaphas the high priest and even Jesus.
As for biblical events that have corroboration outside of the Bible, the examples are plentiful, I'll just give you two quick ones. We're told in the Bible back in the Old Testament that Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians came against the southern kingdom of Judah, besieged the city of Jerusalem and took many of the Jews back to the city of Babylon in modern day Iraq. That's a pretty big event in Old Testament writings and it's been confirmed now outside of the Bible. Where so? In ancient Babylonian records. Hundreds of ancient Babylonian clay tablets containing a treasure trove of information about Babylon's history were unearthed in Babylon in the 19th century. They're known today to scholars as the Babylonian Chronicle tablets and, amazingly, these Babylonian records tell us of their siege against Jerusalem.
And that's not all, they also confirmed the fact that the Babylonians took the Jews captive back to Babylon. Of course, this just goes to show that the authors of the Bible were telling us the truth about these matters. Here's another example of how a historical source outside of the Bible confirms a biblical event. This one's from the New Testament, this concerns John the Baptist. The New Testament tells us that Herod the Great's son, Herod Antipas cast John the Baptist into prison for condemning Antipas' adulterous relationship with his brother's wife. You've read about that in Matthew chapter 14. Sometime later, an executioner was called in and John was beheaded. You're familiar with that.
Well, Flavius Josephus, the first century historian, confirms this. He writes about Herod Antipas, Herod's adulterous wife and the murder of John the Baptist in his book, Antiquities of the Jews. Here's a short excerpt on the screen for you. Notice who he mentions there in the top line. He says, "John, that was called the Baptist, was a good man and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue both as to righteousness towards one another and piety towards God and so to come to baptism. Herod who feared the great influence John had over the people, sent him a prisoner out of Herod's suspicious temper to Macaris," the castle I before mentioned, "And was there put to death."
So, notice that. Josephus verifies for us that John the Baptist was a real person in Israel in the first century with an incredible influence on the people and the culture, calling people to baptism before he was imprisoned by Herod Antipas and murdered just like the New Testament tells us. Other historical sources outside the Bible corroborate all kinds of details, we don't have time to discuss today. The flood, long lifespans prior to the flood, details surrounding the Exodus and on and on we could go. But critics of the Bible who seek to convince you that the Bibles is just a book of myths and fairy tales really only reveal that they haven't done any serious investigation into this subject.
All right, number five. How about this? The Bible's scientific accuracy and foresight. The Bible's scientific accuracy and foresight. When it comes to known, testable, verifiable facts about the earth and the universe, the Bible has been found to be in perfect harmony with the way things really are which is incredible when you think about it because, as you know, the Bible was written two to 4,000 years ago, long before the invention of microscopes, telescopes, satellites and other technologies that have finally allowed us to investigate the earth and the universe. Now, the fact that the Bible is written so long ago touches on a myriad of topics and yet does not contain any scientific errors might be considered evidence for divine inspiration all on its own. Why is that? Well, without exception, every ancient religious writing has certain unscientific views of astronomy, medicine, hygiene and so on.
For example, the Hindu Vedas teach that the earth is flat and triangular, they also teach that earthquakes are the result of elephants shaking their bodies underneath the ground. I wish that was what was happening. That sounds a lot safer to me than the San Andreas Fault is slipping and we might all die. But the Quran and the Book of Mormon have these kinds of errors in them as well which we document for you on our website. If you're unfamiliar with the website, you might take a picture of it or jot it down, alwaysbeready.com. Lots of free videos and articles and all kinds of research there on the website you might enjoy.
But I mentioned the Hindu Vedas and elephants shaking their bodies underneath the ground, the Bible steers free of these kinds of errors but, not only that, it makes known amazing facts about our world and the universe thousands of years before scientists discovered they were actually true. I did a 50-minute-long presentation on this subject here two or three years ago. You could probably find it on the church's website but let me just give you two quick examples this morning. This first one has to do with the shape of the earth. The ancient Egyptians and Babylonians are on the historical record for having believed that the earth was flat. Remarkably though, the Bible went against that prevailing view back in biblical times and indicated that the earth was a round sphere.
Where so? Well, in a book thought to be written about 2,000 BC, Job chapter 26, verse 10 says that God has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters at the boundary of light and darkness. Well, that's fascinating. Let me break it down for you what he's just indicated. Job says that God has drawn a circle on the surface of the waters, that's a reference to the oceans. At the boundary, he says, of light and darkness. This boundary between light and darkness, of course, is where evening and morning occur but notice that the boundary is not a square or a triangle, it's a circle. Why is that? Because the earth is round. Another verse that spoke of the circular shape of the earth can be found in Isaiah chapter 40, verse 22 where we're told that God sits above the circle of the earth. That was penned about 700 BC.
A second example of the Bible's amazing accuracy and foresight has to do with the suspension of the earth. Ancient Hindus believe that the earth rested on the backs of elephants who stood on the back of a turtle. That would be some turtle if that was really what was going on. But there were all kinds of theories in ancient times, people thought something has to hold the earth up. That might as well work for us, elephants and turtles. Well, what did the Bible say regarding the matter? Well, again, one of the oldest books of the Bible, Job 26 verse seven says that God stretches out the north over empty space, He hangs the earth on nothing. No turtles, no elephants, nothing. In other words, the earth hangs completely unattached in space. Well, this is astounding. Scientists were still trying to figure this out thousands of years later.
Well, how did the authors of the Bible living so long ago know these kinds of things? Might they have been taking wild guesses? No, men of God spoke, the Bible says, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The God who knows all there is to know about the earth and the universe that He created, He superintended the writing of scripture, He came alongside these men to make sure that what they penned accurately revealed the way things really are. And that's why the Bible can stand up to this kind of scrutiny thousands of years later because these men had God's help penning the things that they penned.
Now, we've covered five evidences, we're going to look at two more here momentarily. Let me pause though and point something out to you. I've purposely arranged these first five lines of evidence in the order that I have so that, if you can remember the acronym FACES, F-A-C-E-S, you'll have a bit of a memory aid to work from the next time you're looking into the faces of people who are questioning your confidence in the Bible. Rather than not knowing what to say to them, you've got at least five talking points. And you're not going to remember everything I said this morning but you can talk to them for 30 seconds, maybe, about fulfilled prophecies.
And then, if they're willing to hear a little bit more, you can add archeological discoveries. I sat next to a guy on a flight to Florida not too long ago who told me that the reason he did not believe the Bible is because there's never been a single archeological discovery to prove anything it says. I thought, "Well, this is a divine appointment. I've written a book on the topic and I'm flying to Florida to talk on this topic. I think God has you here for a reason." But he had never heard of a single discovery and I shared a few with him but I said, "You know there's actually been thousands?" He had never heard.
And so, I gave you one regarding David, one regarding Pontius Pilate and there's several others. But you could just maybe bring up those two and that might be more than your friend has ever heard. They don't know that archeology points in that direction. And then, if they want to hear more and you've got a little more time with them, you can talk about the Bible's internal consistency. The E is a reminder of extra biblical writings, the writings of Flavius Josephus, for example, or these Babylonian Chronicle tablets. The S is a reminder of the Bible's scientific accuracy and foresight. So, perhaps that'll be helpful to have tucked away in the back of your mind for future conversation.
All right, let's move along. Number six, the Bible's forthrightness about failures. The Bible's forthrightness about failures, what am I talking about? Well, have you ever gone to a website maybe for a company or charity and clicked the About Us button? There's nearly always a carefully crafted, glowing overview of what that company, political organization or religious group is about. If they have an Our History button or Our Founder button, again, you nearly always get a favorable overview of the founder. You never read that the founder is a murderer or an adulterer or has a criminal record. For obvious reasons, that's marketing 101, leave that stuff out. We want people to like us, we want people to send their donations in, we want people to support our cause.
Well, knowing human tendency to leave out those kinds of details, I find the Bible's forthrightness to be amazing. Over and over, the biblical writers tell us about the failures, weaknesses and sins of the fathers of the faith, their own people and even themselves. Does this forthrightness prove the Bible is divinely inspired? No, but I do think it strengthens our case that the Bible appears to be an honest work. Allow me to remind you of some of the transparent details we read about in the Bible. How about Noah's drunkenness and inappropriate nakedness shortly after the flood? We're only nine chapters in book one, that doesn't look good. Come on, Noah. What are you doing there, bro?
And then you get a little further to chapter 12, three chapters later, Abraham lying on more than one occasion about Sarah being his sister. Then you get a little further into the Old Testament and you read about Moses's murder of a man in Egypt, his outburst of anger in the wilderness, how he misrepresented God and, as a result, wasn't allowed to enter into the promised land. Question for you. Who wrote the books of Exodus and Numbers where all those details are laid out for us? Moses. Moses tells us about his own failures and sins in his writings. Then you get into the book of Judges and the nation of Israel's rejecting God over a two or three century long period on numerous occasions to bow down and to worship false gods.
Well, Israel was the nation God used to write the scriptures and they tell us in these same writings how unfaithful they were to the God who delivered them from their slavery in Egypt. It sounds like they're committed to just communicating the truth. Then you get a little further into the Old Testament, David's committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband murdered. The coming Messiah was going to be a descendant of David and yet we read about David's failures and sins right there in the Bible. Then you get into the New Testament and Peter was so far off in his advice to Jesus, Jesus said, "Get behind me, Satan," Mark chapter eight, verse 33. Then a short time later, Peter's denying that he even knew who Jesus was after promising he would never do such a thing.
Then the disciples are arguing amongst themselves, pridefully, over which one of them was the greatest. Then they're falling asleep in the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus asked them to pray, then they all go running for their lives when Jesus is arrested. How cowardly does that look? And there it is in the gospels. But then you get into the New Testament epistles written by Paul and he confesses that he viewed himself as a wretched man and even considered himself the chief of sinners. This is just a small sampling of what I have in mind when I talk about the Bible's forthrightness, it's transparency. Do these sound like the words of men who were lying? I have a hard time believing that. It seems to me that they were just more interested in telling the truth than making themselves out to look good.
So, that is a sixth line of evidence for the trustworthiness of the Bible and let's head down the home stretch here with number seven, the manuscript evidence. Manuscript evidence. Critics of the Bible, including Muslims and Mormons today, commonly say the Bible has been translated and copied so many times down through the centuries, we can't trust what it says today even if the Bible was once trustworthy. Well, as popular as this belief has become today, it is a mistaken one and the manuscript evidence proves this to be the case.
Back in 1947, a shepherd boy tending his father's sheep in Qumran, north into the west of the Dead Sea, made an amazing discovery while looking for a lost goat. There in Qumran, in a hillside cave that had laid untouched for nearly 2,000 years, this 12-year-old boy discovered a collection of large clay jars containing carefully wrapped leather manuscripts. What this boy stumbled upon was an ancient collection of handwritten copies of the Old Testament that dated as far back as the third century before Christ. This was truly an amazing discovery. Archeologists were called in, they spent years searching the surrounding caves. By the time they were done, copies of every book of the Old Testament had been found with the exception of Esther. But in some cases, they found multiple copies of the same book.
For example, they found 19 copies of the book of Isaiah, 25 copies of Deuteronomy and 30 copies of the Psalms. What you're seeing on the screen is a photograph of one of the original clay jars and a close up of one of the scrolls of Isaiah. This particular scroll has been dated to 100 BC, about a century before Jesus's birth. They opened it up upon its discovery, it was 26 feet long, not a single chapter missing. The entire book of Isaiah if you were to compare it with the book of Isaiah in your Bible today.
Now, why do I mention the Dead Sea scrolls? Well, because the Dead Sea scrolls and thousands of other manuscripts dating back to the time of the early church have allowed biblical scholars, translators and textual experts to recover, with a very high degree of certainty, the text of the Bible Jesus quoted and that the early Christians used 2,000 years ago. Friends, none of you should be surprised that God has watched over and preserved His word. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 24, verse 35, "Heaven and earth will pass away but My words will by no means pass away." The grass withers," Isaiah said, "And the flower fades but the word of our God endures forever."
You can trust the Bible. You can read it today with the highest degree of confidence and what a blessing it is to know God and to have this book to guide us through this life and into everlasting life in His kingdom. Do you know the loving and merciful God revealed to us in the Bible? Will you be joining us in heaven? You can. That's why Jesus, God in the flesh, died on the cross. Because of His great love for you, the Bible says He died there in your place to suffer the judgment you deserve for your sins so that you could be forgiven, so that you could be rescued from spending eternity in hell and be brought back into a right relationship with Him.
But He rose from the grave three days later and today offers all humanity the forgiveness of sins, peace with God and the free gift of everlasting life. What a gracious offer God has made us. How do you lay hold of that offer? Jesus said, "Whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." That's it, God's done all the work. He just wants you to place your faith in Jesus and you can do that today, God is a prayer away. You can call unto Him this morning, just say something like, "God, thank you for loving me. Please forgive me for my sins. I renounce them and turn away from them and I trust in Jesus Christ to save me. Come into my life, be my Lord and Savior."
If you'll do that, the Bible says whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved, so don't put it off. For the rest of you who have already done that, as I know most of you have, I encourage you to continue in the faith, picking up and meditating on God's word on a regular basis knowing full well that this book is trustworthy from cover to cover. Amen?
Author and speaker Charlie Campbell from Always Be Ready Ministries teaches a message titled, “Evidence For The Bible.”