The Question/Argument: How can the Bible be historically accurate? It was written so long ago, and many years after the actual life of Jesus, by so many different people and translated multiple times, etc. It’s just impossible for it to contain accurate information. How can you base your faith off of that book?
This is a very common question/argument and there seems to be a significant amount of misinformation regarding this topic.
For example I’ve had several people tell me the accounts in the New Testament of the life of Jesus were written ‘hundreds’ or ‘thousands’ of years after the actual events took place by people who weren’t there… I’m not sure where this information came from, but historians (both Christian and non-Christian) have verified through other (non-Biblical) historical documentation and recordings and various other methods that the books and letters of the New Testament were written around 30-90 years after the events of Jesus’s life.
Some of the letters and books were indeed written by people who were not present during Jesus’s life, for example Paul wrote a chunk of the letters in the New Testament and he had never met Jesus. Other books of the New Testament were written by disciples who were there, and some by disciples who were not there but were recounting the events that were told to them by the people who were there.
But, that’s getting off topic. If you do a simple google search for ‘how can the Bible be historically accurate’ you will find a plethora of information from a historical and scientific perspective that explains the process of finding, verifying and translating Biblical texts. This page has a brief but well rounded explanation to some of these questions.
So in regards to the Bible being inaccurate because it has been ‘translated’ so many times, that is easily refuted as all translations are made directly from the original manuscripts which are recorded in Greek. So the translation of the actual documents is a non-issue. Both Christian and non-Christian historians or any that have studied how the original letters and books were translated can attest to the fact the actual translations of the original documents are very accurate.
Then the question still remains however as to the truthfulness and accuracy of the writers as to the accounts that transpired. That’s a difficult thing to argue either for or against, as it obviously happened in the past and none of us were there personally to witness any of it.
The bottom line here is that, in a similar way to the ‘It cannot be proven that God exists or doesn’t exist‘ argument, it really cannot be proven the events of the Bible are true either. Is there historical and archaeological evidence that supports the Bible? Absolutely. But that evidence cannot force someone to accept the accounts and writings as true.
Another thing to think about in terms of the Bible being accurate and valid is that, while it may seem impossible from a human perspective, God is God and all powerful. It certainly wouldn’t be a problem for Him to orchestrate an accurate and valid recording of everything he wished us as humans to know through various people on earth if he wanted to do so.
At the end of the day there is a certain amount of faith you need to have in the Bible and in God, despite evidence of God and evidence that supports the Bible.
As for me I believe the Bible is true and historically accurate, despite what I may perceive as discrepancies in the Bible or things I don’t yet understand. More importantly, I believe it shows us how to live according to the principles God designed and have a fulfilled and meaningful life.