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Defending The Bible’s Reliability
Is the Bible Trustworthy in Its Historical Content?
Ancient books always have a strange feel about them. Created somewhere in a dark and distant past, the world they describe is often filled with strange dress, unusual customs, a different way of expressing things––and a foreign way of living. There are no telephones, cassette recorders, cameras, or airplanes. Instead there are letters, conversations, horses, or other beasts of burden. E-mail is either by word of mouth or recorded on scraps of leather or paper made from reeds. Reading a book from the past is like taking a journey to another land. For all its timelessness, the Bible also has that distant feel to it. After all, it was written over two millennia ago. Its roots do go back to a different time and place. All of that distance raises questions about whether or not what I read really belongs only to such a distant world. Does the Bible really reflect what that world was like, much less what my world is like? So it is natural to ask the question if the Bible is really trustworthy in its content. That question is what we shall consider in this booklet.
Matters are not as foggy as the distance of a few thousand years might suggest. We know a lot about the Bible and how it was produced. In fact, we know far more about it that any other ancient book. To say that does not mean we know everything about its production, nor does it mean that every question we can ask has an answer. However, if we can speak clearly about other areas of ancient history, then we certainly can speak about the Bible’s general trustworthiness. . .
Darrell Bock, New Testament Scholar, is Executive Director of Cultural Engagement and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Texas (B.A.), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.), and the University of Aberdeen (Ph.D.). Professor Bock is the author of over 40 books, including well-regarded commentaries on Luke and Acts and studies of the historical Jesus. He was president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) for 2000–2001, is a consulting editor for Christianity Today, and serves on the boards of Wheaton College and Chosen People Ministries.