B.A, B.Ed., MA in Counselling, Theology and Education. Lives in South Africa with an interest in life.
Lessons for Today from the Old Testament: The Truth of the Bible
In reading the Old Testament one is stuck by the realness of the accounts. It records the facts “warts and all”. This is not typical of other ancient writings where they have been sanitized by the recorders, telling only what the King/Leader wants to make known and at the very least leaving out campaign losses and defeats while expounding victories. This remains the way history is written, even today. The account of the history of an event is written through the mindset of the writer and that often clouds that person’s view and so then their account is often prejudiced. Not so with the Bible!
While the truth is told about people and events in the Bible, there are also differences in information recorded by different writers. So in the account of David’s life as recorded in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, it is noticeable that the sin with Bathsheba is given a prominent place in Samuel but is left out in Chronicles. So also Solomon’s many wives are not mentioned. This is obviously because the writers of Chronicles had a different emphasis and aim to the writer of Samuel. Chronicles is a historical account of the Jewish people from the beginning of time to the return from captivity in Babylon and so leaves out much of the historical detail that is recorded elsewhere.
As we go on to the New Testament, we find that the three “synoptic” gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell the same story but approach it from different viewpoints depending on the intended audience/readership. So Matthew gives more Old Testament quotes. Mark appeals to the Roman readers because of how Jesus is portrayed as a man of action. Luke the physician, gives us more information about disease and healing than the other writers and introduces us to many of the interactions Jesus had with women.
There is a lot of “fake news” about the Bible. Often the accusation is made that it is full of contradictions and even false information. When one asks these critics, they usually have nothing specific but are simply quoting others who are equally misinformed.
In his interesting book “The Bible as History,” the German journalist, Werner Keller, testifies to approaching a careful study of the Old Testament with the specificaim of disproving its truth. After spending several years in careful study of especially archaeological evidence, he makes the astounding statement “The Bible is right after all”.
One of the many discoveries that lends itself to the belief in the truth of the Bible is the information about the Hittites. For many years there was no information about these people except in the Bible where they are mentioned on several occasions (Genesis 26:34; 2 Samuel 11:3 –just two examples). So the naysayers exclaimed: “just another proof that the Bible is not true”. But then in 1905 several expeditions into the Near East discovered evidence of an empire that existed along the Mediterranean Sea where present day Turkey is found. In 1907 an expedition set out from Berlin and under the leadership of Otto Puchstein. The remains of a great city were discovered with a lot of effigies and writings from the lost nation of the Hittites.
So we could go on and on with example after example of history and the Bible being in step. Keller in his book details information that substantiates Biblical information dating back to ancient Egypt and continues throughout the Old Testament.
Archaeological discoveries have lent much evidence to the truth of the Bible and as more and more discoveries are made, even in modern times, we can safely echo the words of Werner: “The Bible is true after all.
So the Old Testament and the science of archaeology gives added weight to the believer’s faith that God in times past communicated with humanity and continues to do so through the word that is found in the Bible. Romans 10:17 states that: “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”.
What is important is to understand that the Bible has a variety of types of literature. It contains history, poetry, prophecy, law, parables and symbolism. Writings need to be understood in the form that they were written. Often Christianity has been its own worst enemy when false interpretations have been forced on the text resulting in ridiculous interpretations that are confusing and of disservice to the truth.
NKJV Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Werner Keller. The Bible as History
The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary