How Does the Bible Stack Up With History?

| Time: 5 Minutes

The Bible Doesn’t Die with Time. Why?

You’re used to things breaking. Everything wears out eventually. There’s only one thing in the world that won’t die with time—the Bible.

Somehow, the words it contains have never been completely lost, destroyed, or forgotten. They’ve endured and even expanded through the rise and fall of many nations.

What began as words on stone became collections of scrolls, to which letters and memoirs were added. More than forty men wrote the Bible over a span of 1600 years, and their writings were united at last in a single book—one that weathered all the storms of history and still sails today. The Bible continues to be the best-selling book ever, every year.

Coincidence? Hardly.

The Bible Is Preserved by a Promise 

The Bible itself claims to be the Word of God. God says he authored it. And, he recorded promise after promise within the Bible’s pages that his Word would never pass away.

God speaks of his book’s invincibility like this: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8 ESV).

The binding may wear out, and many physical Bibles have been burned before, but God promises to preserve its contents. The Bible’s abundant existence testifies to God’s trustworthiness.

And Jesus, the hero of the Bible, says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33 NIV).

Layers of kingdoms lie buried in the dust, better technologies have left lesser inventions behind, and fires of war and persecution have extinguished many cultures. Still, the Author of the Bible eternally preserves and protects his Word. Time itself testifies to the reliability of the Bible.

The Bible remains—unscathed. How? Because God keeps his promises.

The Bible Gives Our History Purpose

As extraordinary as this is, God used ordinary ways to preserve his Word. He used real men to write about real events in the past, present, and future—many of which they personally experienced—in just the way he wanted.

These men recorded dynasties of kingdoms; genealogies of present-day nations; battle records of ancient soldiers; prophecies of the wrestling between world powers like Persia, Greece, and Rome; and detailed customs of Middle Eastern cultures.

Though skeptics thought the Bible authors got some of their facts wrong, archaeology ceaselessly advocates for the reliability of the Bible: kings that the Bible names have been discovered, events that the Bible records are carved into real city ruins, and Bible stories many thought belonged to fiction are told in historical records of other ancient nations.

The Bible is history—the story of reality from beginning to end. But, it tells you more than all the textbooks combined, because it answers our deepest question—Why?

The Bible Tells Us Our Story

God wrote a book through men and gave not only our reality, but also the reason for our history. From century to century, there’s meaning.

C.S. Lewis said, “History is a story written by the finger of God.” That means it’s got a design to it, a plot, a story arch, an ending, and characters.

That’s where we find ourselves. That’s why we like stories—we are a story. You’re part of God’s story.

But, you’re well aware that this story isn’t all happy-going.

C.S. Lewis also said, “All that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy” (Desiring God).

History is filled with muck, often leaving people wondering if the God who ordained it could be good—which is the wrong question to ask. Instead, we should wonder why God has put up with us humans who disregard him for so long.

The Bible Introduces Us to Our Author

 God tells us in the Bible that we exist for him, to know him and reflect his glory. And, our existence is not rightly ordered or understood unless we know our Author, the writer of our history. But we reject his clear revelation of himself and look for anything besides him to make us happy.

God didn’t make us because he needed us. He made us to enjoy him. That we forgot God is our loss, not his. For,

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for

‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ (Acts 17:24-28, ESV)

The Bible tells us God is here, and has been all along. It says he’s not only present, but speaking. And he speaks so you might know him. There’s a lot more that can be said, and this reality raises a lot of questions.

But for now, we just want you to see that the Bible explains both its own existence, and its endurance through time. God’s Word is eternal, because he is eternal. He started the clock; he started your heartbeat. And he’s got a plan for both.

The Bible Gives Us Hope

There’s a purpose to the mess of wars, and meaning in the mud of conquered kingdoms. But, we can’t find meaning apart from the Maker. In love, he tells us how all the muck got here, and what he’s done to deliver us from evil.

He wants you to know him, because when you know him, you’ll find the hope you’ve been looking for. “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4 ESV).

The Bible is history, records history, and in it we find God’s precious thoughts preserved through history so that you might have hope.

But, who wants to talk about a story when you can read it for yourself? Why don’t you start in Genesis, and meet the God who governs all of time?

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