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The Bible is No Work of Fiction

20 July 2021

5.7 MINS

It’s all too common to hear people today dismiss the Bible as a work of fiction. Many assume that the Bible’s authors were merely writing their subjective opinions about spiritual experiences they had.

But when we look more closely, we see that the various writers of Scripture were convinced about the events they documented. They saw their task as the recording of real, objective history.

Of course, this alone doesn’t prove their claims about Jesus, and about God’s interactions with the world. But it is good reason for us to take them seriously.

To put it in other words, the Bible isn’t true simply because its authors claim that it’s true. That would be circular reasoning. But what the statements below reveal is that the Bible stands or falls on the facts of history: its authors were more than willing to wage that bet.

  • “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus.”
    — Luke 1:1-3
  • “Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
    — Luke 7:22
  • “Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.’”
    — Luke 24:46-48
  • “And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”
    — John 1:35
  • “Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”
    — John 3:11-12
  • “Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.’”
    — John 6:14
  • “Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.”
    — John 11:45
  • “Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.”
    — John 19:32-35
  • “Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
    — John 20:24-29
  • “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
    — John 20:30-31
  • “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
    — Acts 1:1-3
  • “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”
    — Acts 1:9
  • “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know…”
    — Acts 2:22
  • “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.”
    — Acts 2:32
  • “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.”
    — Acts 3:14-15
  • “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’”
    — Acts 4:19-21
  • “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.”
    — Acts 10:38-41
  • “Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.’”
    — Acts 22:14-15
  • “Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!’ But he said, ‘I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.’ Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’”
    — Acts 26:24-28
  • “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”
    — 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
  • “I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ…”
    — 1 Peter 5:1
  • “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
    — 2 Peter 1:16
  • “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life — the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us — that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
    — 1 John 1:1-3
  • “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world.”
    — 1 John 4:14

As you can see, the writers of Scripture appealed to historical facts and personal testimony over and over again. They grounded their beliefs not merely in elusive feelings, but real events.

Does this inspire you to read the Bible with greater appreciation?

[Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash]

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