The early church leaders recorded events in the early church’s history, which included such esteemed historians like Irenaeus, Tertullian, Julius Africanus, and Clement of Rome, all of which wrote before A.D. 250. Again, they parallel what is in the New Testament with astounding historical accuracy. Even the more cynical of Historians agree that the New Testament is a remarkable historical document. The conclusion is that there is clearly, strong external evidence to support the Bible’s manuscript reliability. Not only with Historians, but with archeologists and anthropologists and others. But what about the Old Testament?
For years critics had dismissed the Book of Daniel, partly because there was no evidence that a king named Belshazzar ruled in Babylon during that time period or that a great city like Babylonia existed. However, later archaeological research confirmed that the reigning monarch, Nabonidus, appointed Belshazzar as his co-regent while he was away from Babylon. Forty-five thousand digs at over twenty-five thousand different locations later, each dig has supported evidence of the Bible’s historical record: Balshazzar is mentioned by name, King’s Darius and Cyrus, discovering remains of the Hittite’s and Babylonian’s civilizations, etc. But the archeological evidence, as overwhelming as it is, will have to wait until chapter two.
For the Old Testament, any translation or copying differences were inconsequential. Of the thousands of manuscripts, and pieces of manuscripts, the only discrepancies that existed were vowel related (spelling difference), leaving out one consonant or rearranging certain names or words.  One such example had “Jesus Christ”, while the other version had it “Christ Jesus”. Historically speaking, the number seventy was especially symbolic to the Jew. Moses appointed seventy elders, and there were the seventy scribes whose sole purpose in life was to copy the original manuscript so close as to be identical.
One such practice was that each of these seventy scribes had the other sixty-nine scribes check their writings for error. Each of these seventy scribes reviewed the others writings as well as having the other sixty-nine check their own. Their methods resulted in such an accurate reproduction of scripture that their was only one error for every fifteen hundred words. This leaves absolutely no room for private interpretation or mistranslation that would effect the context. By modern standards, the accuracy rate is superior to Microsoft’s Spelling and Grammar Check (no, it is not perfect since it came by humans). Under these strict guidelines and conditions, no one can dispute that the translation differences has no effect on the message of the Bible or it’s general context.
Hard evidence verifies the dating of Matthew’s Gospel as far back as A.D. 60 and he uses lineages found in the Old Testament. Some of these same scholars argue that Mark wrote the first Gospel, this discovery would push the composition of Mark to within 20 years, at most, of the events his Gospel describes. Taken together, the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and Luke’s second volume, Acts, would give us a record of the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection indisputably written within the lifetimes of those who were eyewitnesses. And their reference to the Old Testament proves that not only did they believe it was the Living Word of God but that it exsited at the time of the writing of the New Testament, for many of the quotes in the New Testament came directly from the Old Testament.
People can be wrong, but how could thousands of people in Jesus’ own lifetime all get it wrong and about the exact same thing!? Wouldn’t the religious leaders have taken Jesus to task, as well as Paul and Peter, if they were quoting the Old Testament as scripture? Otherwise, we must conclude that this is the greatest mass-hypnosis of people, in history. Plus the testimonies about Jesus must have been true, otherwise, the hundreds of eye witnesses all must have had an optical illusion, and all at the same time, and all about the same exact thing.! It’s easy to deceive a few people, but to have deceived so many thousands into seeing and hearing exactly same thing? Thousands have died for belief in Him. Now people might live for a lie, but how many would die for one?
The Bible’s authenticity stands firm, empirically, in archeology, anthropology, and (in the next chapter) historically. Archeology and history has only now confirmed, what the pages of the Bible recorded long ago. The Bible we have today was providentially preserved in the past. The rigorous canonization that the church used in protecting and preserving the Bible, was likewise the motivation for the written Creed, which is like the churches universal Statement of Beliefs. This preservation of the Word (Old Testament and New) serves as sufficient proof for it’s reliability, it’s remaining true to the text and context, and to it’s truthfulness in what is written.
In the truest sense, the redemptive plan of God’s reconciliation of humans to Himself, starts in the first chapter of the Gospel of John and not in Genesis, although the plan of salvation runs through the entire Bible, beginning in Genesis. The first chapter of John is actually closer to the beginning of God’s plan of salvation and the beginning since it began before anything was yet created. John wrote in chapter one that the Word existed even before the earth’s foundation was laid; in fact before the creation. The “In the beginning” of Genesis one is preceded by John One. Before anything was, the Word was.
The agreement of a redemptive plan was decided upon before the creation, with the Word (Jesus) agreeing to become a man. Fully God and fully man. How could Jesus have been 100% God and 100% man at the same time? Look at it this way: All Kansans are Americans. But not all Americans are Kansans. But the Kansans are 100% Kansan and are also 100% American. In John One it’s says that, “The Word was with God and the Word was God”. He became a man as a means to rescue humans (vv. 1-3) and in order to save humans (John 3:16) He died. Jesus Christ is the literal Word of God: The Logos. The Bible is His Word, and His Word is the Bible. It is an expression of Who He is, How He is, What He is, Why He is and Where He is and When He is (without beginning or end). His certainty is the church’s chief cornerstone. I hope that in you knowing that He exists, and that He is an historical fact, you might understand that He is as sure as tomorrow’s sunrise. And the Old Testament is full of those things that pertain to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
[This is an excerpt from Chapter One of “Blind Chance or Intelligent Design?, Empirical Methodologies and the Bible”]