The Bible is regularly attacked as inaccurate or even fictitious. The evidence, however,
is that it contains an accurate record of the events it describes. There are several
different areas of evidence and these have different weights for different parts
of the Bible. Each of them is considered on a separate page in this website, and
there is a separate page for each area of the Bible. Various longer articles can
be viewed online or downloaded as pdf files from these pages.
The Bible contains descriptions of places, people, customs and events which have
left traces in the archaeological record. While there are still some puzzles, the
overwhelming correspondence of archaeology with the Bible accounts is a startling
testimony to their accuracy. Given that the parts of the narrative that can be checked
are accurate, often to tiny details, is good evidence that the rest of the narrative
is also accurate. This is particularly so as the original writers of the Bible could
not have been expected to know what elements of the accounts would be excavated by
archaeologists centuries later.
An undesigned coincidence can be said to have occurred where two or more independent
accounts of some event contain insignificant details which have no effect on the
main narrative but fit together to provide a consistent underlying picture. The underlying
picture is often insignificant in itself and often unconnected to the main narrative.
It would be very difficult for the writer of a fictional account to produce any detail
like this; it would be impossible for two independent writers to make up accounts
which contained undesigned coincidences. The existence of very many undesigned coincidences
within the Bible narratives shows that the accounts containing these coincidences
are accurate down to even tiny details.
The original manuscripts of the Bible are lost. What we have are copies of manuscripts
going back over a long period of time. However, in the case of the Old Testament
there is remarkably little difference between the many manuscripts available and
there is independent evidence that the text of the Old Testament remains effectively
unchanged since the time of Jesus and before. In the case of the New Testament there
is more variation but the large number of manuscripts available ensures that the
real text can be reconstructed with a high degree of confidence.
The origins of a document can often be seen in the language used in it. The existence
of Hebrew and Aramaic fragments in the Gospels, for instance, shows that events described
happened in an area where these were the normal languages. This culture was destroyed
in the war between Romans and Jews in 66-70AD. The church which followed spoke Greek.
The existence of Semitic fragments within the New Testament shows an early date and
a preserved text.
There is a general assumption that the Bible was written long after the events it
described had happened. The evidence indicates that this is not the case, and that
the books of the Bible were written down well within the lifetime of many eyewitnesses.
As this is the case it would be difficult for fictional events to be inserted into
the accounts; any inventions within the narrative would be challenged. The fact that
they were not shows that the accounts are accurate.