How Do We Know the Bible Is True?

Is the Bible true? Can we trust it? If you’re a Christian, these are questions that will come up at some point during your journey of faith. If you’re not a Christian, answering these questions is the first step in deciding for yourself whether Jesus is who He said He is or whether God should be a significant part of your life.

The reliability of Scripture is a huge subject that should not be taken lightly. This article is a brief introduction on how to go about exploring the issue.

The first step is to look at what the Bible is and how it came to look the way it does today.

The Bible

The Bible is a compendium of books written over a huge span of time by many different authors. It’s a collection of stories, poetry, laws, prophecies, and exhortations that enable followers of Christ to understand who God is and what His purpose is for creation.
In order to determine that these historic documents have maintained their validity until today, one might first look at the Gospels. These are the four books that chronicle Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension. If we determine that these books are true, it sheds light on the rest of Scripture.
Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and author of The Reason For God, offers a good response when asked about the reliability of Scripture.

Is it Reliable?

F.F. Bruce was a scholar who began writing about the reliability of Scripture in the 1940’s. At that time, he wrote one of his greatest works, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, in which he defends the validity of the New Testament. It’s been updated several times since its original publication in 1943 and it continues to be a solid foundation for anyone wanting to study why we can trust the authenticity of Scripture.
Here, Bruce explains why it is important that the New Testament must be true:

That Christianity has its roots in history is emphasized in the Church’s earliest creeds, which fix the supreme revelation of God at a particular point in time, when ‘Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord . . . suffered under Pontius Pilate’. This historical “onceforallness” of Christianity, which distinguishes it from those religious and philosophical systems which are not specially related to any particular time, makes the reliability of the writings which purport to record this revelation a question of firstrate importance.

Bruce goes on to point out the original dates that the New Testament documents were written. All four gospels were written and widely circulated approximately 40 years after the crucifixion, a time period when hundreds of eye-witnesses to Christ’s life and miracles would have still been alive. In fact, many of Paul’s writings to the early church were being passed around 20 years after Christ’s death and resurrection.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then those who lived in that generation would have easily been able to debunk the early writings. New Testament Scholar N.T. Wright (who also wrote the forward for Bruce’s book) offers one of the most compelling cases for the historical resurrection of Christ.

This subject is too broad and complicated to be covered in this short amount of space, but you can get a more complete understanding of why we can trust that the Bible is true when you listen to the radio series we produced called Is the Bible Reliable?
You can also Click Here to make a gift of any amount to Haven, and we will send you Bruce’s classic book The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
As you look further into this subject, I would like to conclude with one final thought from F.F. Bruce himself:

It is, perhaps, not superfluous to remark that before going on to consider the trustworthiness of the New Testament writings, it would be a good idea to read them!

Corum Hughes works on the production team for HAVEN Today and is the managing editor of the All About Jesus blog. His passions include running, reading, watching movies, and seeking Jesus in places He is seldom sought. Corum lives with his wife in Idaho.


  • Phillip Malone says:

    You the sad thing that learned over the last year or maybe longer? Now THE HOLY BIBLE has been around for thousands of years and please forgive me some genius comes along, who probably isn’t even 40 R 50 yrs old and decides that he don’t believe what the BIBLE is saying and writes a book telling people that the BIBLE isn’t true, accurate and will believe him instead of believing GOD’S WORDS, that’s why it good to know that GOD doesn’t force himself on none of us

  • Betsy Okresik says:

    My cousin is Catholic and thinks I should return to the Catholic faith. I am born again and living for Jesus in a Reformed body of believers. I can’t convince him, I just want to know he is saved. I am praying for God to show him the way.
    Betsy Okresik

  • Nan says:

    If the bible is true, how do you reconcile the fact that in the first 3 gospels, Jesus does not say that he is God. He talks about the “Son of Man” but in the 3rd person only. “Son of Man ” has many interpretations (not surprising as Jesus never defines the term and holy writings of every religion tend to be written in gobble-de-gook.) To suppose that son of man is equivalent to son of God is bizarre indeed! If Jesus was travelling about saying he was God, no doubt he would have been stoned and you guys would be worshipping a rock instead of a cross.
    Jesus was probably preaching the same appopoletic message as John the Baptist (see Bart Ehram.) Jesus is not recorded as claiming Godhood until John’s gospel which is written well after the crucifiction. About the same time span as that between JFK and 9-11.
    Right wing Christians should give up their fantasies (hopefully left wing loonies will do the same.) Then the world can be a better place and reason can be our lodestone.

    • Corum Hughes says:

      Hi Nan. Thanks for leaving a comment with your thoughts on the Bible’s veracity and accounts of Jesus’ divinity. I don’t believe the comment section is ever a good place for debate, but I would like to point you to a series we did with New Testament scholar Mark Strauss in relation to his book Four Portraits, One Jesus. It is an old series, so please forgive us for not having all of the text and images updated since we made changes to our website a few years back. I don’t expect this audio/radio series to change your mind, but I hope it can at least be a helpful resource for you as you consider the perspectives of Christians who hold to church tradition and scriptural authority.

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