How Do We Know the Bible is True?
“Our daughter knows that the Bible is the Word of God, but she asks who wrote it, when, and how do we know it is the truth?”
These are very important questions. You and your daughter are not alone in asking these things. In brief, the Bible is actually comprised of sixty six books written by 40 different authors over a period of about 1,500 years. The Bible is made up of two separate sections. The first 39 books are known to Christians as the Old Testament. And the second section contains 27 books which Christians call the New Testament. Keep in mind that even though the Bible was written over the centuries it is unbelievably consistent from cover to cover. It is the most influential group of writings in all of human history. Many of the authors of the Old Testament never even knew each other, making the consistency of the books nothing less than remarkable.
The Bible is also the most published, most quoted, and most circulated book of all time. Tradition tells us that the first five books of the Bible were written by Moses in about 1405 B.C. Each book in the Bible is attributed to a certain author. If you have a good study Bible, it will give you valuable information about the author of each book and a little bit of the history of that time. If you do not have a good study Bible, I would recommend an NIV (New International Version), ESV (English Standard Version), or an NAS (New American Standard) Bible. These are reliable Bibles which will provide you with sound information about the various authors, when they most likely wrote their contribution to the Scripture, and the times in which they lived.
Countless scholars have devoted their lives to the study of the accuracy of the Biblical writings. Since the Bible claims to be the actual Word of God, it is not surprising that many individuals (both theists and atheists) have dedicated the majority of their lives to researching the validity of the Bible. The Bible claims to be the very Word of God over 2000 times in the Old Testament and numerous times in the New Testament, even Jesus proclaimed the inerrancy of Scripture (John 17:1-18). Also, 2 Peter 1:20-21 is only one of the many places which shows that even the disciples (those closest to Jesus) considered the Scriptures to be the very Word of God:
"[K]nowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." (2Pet. 1:20-21, ESV)
There are many other factors which have gone into testing the Bible as Truth, but we do not have the space to discuss everything here. I will leave you with this to think about; The Bible is the only book in the world that promises to fulfill every single prophecy found within its pages. Many prophesies have already been fulfilled and I can assure you that God will see to it that everything which is prophesied in the Bible will be fulfilled before the end of time as we know it. Jesus fulfilled over one hundred prophecies about the coming Messiah during his time on earth and will fulfill the remainder of the prophecies concerning the Savior of the world at his second coming. Just to give you an idea of what a big deal this is that one person could possibly fulfill all that was prophesied about him I will break it down for you.
I will put the probability of this phenomenon into a scientific format for you. The probability of one man fulfilling just eight of the prophecies about him is 1 in 1017, or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. To put this in perspective; imagine taking 1017 silver dollars. Mark 1 of the silver dollars with an X, mix them up and dump them all on the state of Texas. The entire state of Texas will now be covered in two feet deep of silver dollars. Now imagine being blindfolded and being let down by helicopter somewhere in Texas and being allowed to pick up any silver dollar you wish (while blindfolded) and finding that it is the one with an X on it!
The chance of you being successful at this endeavor is the same as that of the prophets of the Old Testament would have had in writing these same eight prophecies which would later all be fulfilled by one man, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus not only fulfilled eight of the prophecies about himself, but over 100! Only something that was written by God through human agents could possibly produce such accuracy.
If you would like a good reference to add to your library about the Bible and its accuracy check out Can We Still Believe The Bible by Craig L. Blomberg.
As always, if you have more questions do not hesitate to ask. I firmly believe that everyone deserves an answer.