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August 11, 2014

Can the Bible be trusted as a reliable source?

by Dave Malnes

The Bible teaches that only through the power of God’s Word can a person receive saving faith. In His wisdom, God chooses to uses His vessels to proclaim, teach, and inspire those to record His message to the world.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

If I wanted to preserve a message and pass it on to the next generations of my lineage, a message of vital, eternal importance, I would take great pains to make that happen. On an immensely larger scale, I can both appreciate and understand that God would make absolutely certain His Word is preserved.

The eternity of His children is at stake.

Faith rests on the promises of God. It means believing that the words of the Bible are true and trusting those words to be reliable and timeless.

I came to understand this important point when talking to hundreds of Mormons in Provo. For the third year in a row, Truth in Love Ministry launched a media outreach campaign inviting Mormon to read a gospel message from beyeperfect.org. At the front door of a Mormon’s house, they consistently asked about the reliability of the Bible. This is also true when LDS missionaries visited my home.

Mormons have a deep respect for the King James Version of the Bible and consider it as Scripture along with the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. The LDS Church teaches that the Bible is the Word of God “as far as it is translated correctly.” They consider the Bible as unreliable by claiming that human error must have occurred when it was “compiled, organized, translated, and transcribed.” As a result, many “plain and precious truths” have been lost. Joseph Smith “restored” the gospel by providing the missing parts that were lost. As a result, the Bible is translated correctly only when LDS Scriptures back it up. (Scriptural Witnesses, by Russell M. Nelson, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, General Conference, October 2007)

When sharing God’s Word with Mormons, Christians ought to be ready to declare with confidence that the Bible is a reliable and absolute source of truth for several reasons:

1.         Because God says so

We can trust God’s promise that He has given us all we need for our salvation. The Word of God is “flawless” (Prov. 30:5) and “trustworthy” (Titus 1:9, Prov. 19:7). We are given enough information for us to be “wise for salvation” and thoroughly equipped to do good works (1 Timothy 3:15-16). The authority of God’s Word is so important, that Scriptures goes to great length to warn believers of false prophets.

2.         The Bible is a historically reliable document

Secular historians treat the Bible as a reliable source of history. It over qualifies itself in meeting all the standards necessary to be considered as such. Furthermore, there are literally thousands of ancient and authentic manuscripts. The study of textual criticism goes into extensive detail on determining transcribing errors from the Bible manuscripts to make sure there is an accurate record.

3.         Archaeological discoveries back up its claims

Important archaeological findings have given clear evidence that the Bible we have today is the same Bible during the time of the first century church. One of the most significant findings is the Dead Sea Scrolls. On the scrolls that predates the time of Christ, the exact words found on the ancient scrolls miraculously matches up with the current Bible.

A Mormon’s claim that human errors have caused the Bible to be an unreliable source is simply false. It is a claim that needs to be refuted with love and respect. For many Mormons, it will be the first time they have heard reasons why a person can trust the words of the Bible to be true.

Portions of this blog post first appeared on tilm.org on August 5, 2014.

For additional reading on this subject, click to read the following blog posts that briefly answers these questions:

Who really wrote the Gospels and when?  How can we be sure that the Bible today has not been tampered?

How can I trust the Bible stories about Jesus to be true?

How can you proclaim the Bible as being inspired by God?  Isn’t it full of contradictions?

How can anyone believe that the whole Bible is literally the “Word of God”?

 

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