“All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight.”—2 Timothy 3:16.
WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE? Many maintain that the Bible is nothing more than a book of human wisdom. Some believe that it is historically inaccurate. Others claim that the Bible’s counsel is impractical or out-of-date.
HOW CAN YOU OVERCOME THE CHALLENGE? Often, those who question the reliability or usefulness of the Bible have not investigated the matter for themselves. They merely repeat what others say. However, the Bible warns: “Anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word, but the shrewd one considers his steps.”—Proverbs 14:15.
Instead of blindly accepting what others say, why not follow the example of the first-century Christians who lived in Beroea, in what is now northern Greece? They did not just accept what others told them. Rather, they had a reputation for “carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) Let us briefly consider two reasons why you can have confidence that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
The Bible is historically accurate. Over the years, skeptics have challenged—and continue to challenge—the Bible’s accuracy regarding the names of people and places it mentions. Time and again, though, evidence has proved the skepticism to be unfounded and the Bible record to be trustworthy.
For example, at one time scholars doubted the existence of Assyrian King Sargon, mentioned at Isaiah 20:1. However, in the 1840’s, archaeologists began unearthing the palace of this king. Now, Sargon is one of the best-known Assyrian kings.
Critics questioned the existence of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who ordered Jesus’ death. (Matthew 27:1, 22-24) But in 1961 a stone bearing Pilate’s name and rank was discovered near the city of Caesarea in Israel.
Regarding the historical accuracy of the Bible, the October 25, 1999, issue of U.S.News & World Report said: “In extraordinary ways, modern archaeology has affirmed the historical core of the Old and New Testaments—corroborating key portions of the stories of Israel’s patriarchs, the Exodus, the Davidic monarchy, and the life and times of Jesus.” While faith in the Bible does not hinge on archaeological discoveries, such historical accuracy is what you would expect of a book inspired by God.
The practical wisdom contained in the Bible benefits people of all backgrounds. Long before the discovery of microorganisms and their role in spreading disease, the Bible recommended hygienic practices that are still relevant today. (Leviticus 11:32-40; Deuteronomy 23:12, 13) Family members who apply the Bible’s advice about how to treat one another are happier. (Ephesians 5:28–6:4) A person who lives by Bible principles may become a more conscientious employee or a more reasonable employer. (Ephesians 4:28; 6:5-9) Applying Bible principles is beneficial for emotional health as well. (Proverbs 14:30; Ephesians 4:31, 32; Colossians 3:8-10) Such practical advice is what we would expect from our Creator.
WHAT IS THE REWARD? The wisdom found in the Bible can make even an inexperienced person wise. (Psalm 19:7) In addition, once we gain confidence in the Bible, it can help us as no other book can in taking the next step toward having stronger faith.