A book that claims to be divinely inspired is bound to have critics. Here are a few of the more common criticisms of the Bible, and some answers that show it is trustworthy.
What the critics say: “The Bible is a mixture of facts, fiction and folklore.”
Answer: Archaeological discoveries and secular history have shown the accuracy of the Bible record. Towns and cities that the critics once said never existed have now been found and unearthed. For example, the ruins of Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 11v28) were found in 1854, located at the site of modern Tell el-Mukayyar in Iraq (above).
Historical documents have also confirmed what the Bible said. For example, the Taylor Prism (above; now in the British Museum), gives an account of the Assyrian war against Judah in the days of King Hezekiah in 701 BC. This event is recorded in several books of the Bible (Isaiah 36 and 37, 2 Kings 18v17, 2 Chronicles 32v9). The Cyrus Cylinder (also in the British Museum) celebrates the victory of Cyrus, King of Persia, over Babylon in 539 BC (see Ezra 1v1).
What the critics say: “The Bible is not inspired by God, but certain predictions have come true by chance or coincidence.”
Answer: Bible prophecy has been fulfilled in the most remarkable detail. For example, much of the recent history of Israel was plainly written beforehand in the Bible. Nations dispersed from their land normally integrate and disappear, but the Jews, scattered over so long a period, have remained a separate people and are now a nation again, just as the Bible predicted (see Ezekiel 36v19-24).
What the critics say: “The Bible has been copied and re-copied. Isn’t it therefore subject to error and unreliable?”
Answer: Archaeological discoveries have shown that the Bible we read today has been accurately copied. The Dead Sea Scrolls (above) were discovered in caves at Qumran between 1947 and 1956. They had belonged to a religious sect called the Essenes, and were hidden prior to the Roman conquest of 70 AD. Previously, the oldest Old Testament manuscripts in existence were from the 9th century AD. The importance of the Dead Sea scrolls is that they contained manuscripts of parts of every book in the Old Testament (except the book of Esther). These were nearly 1000 years older than previously known manuscripts. Yet when they were compared with existing documents, there were no differences of any great significance between them. This shows how reliable and accurate the work of the copyists had been, and it means that the message of the Bibles we can read today is substantially the same as in those of thousands of years ago.
(Pictures from Wikipedia.org)