What is truth?
As a famous Roman governor once asked the unjustly accused miracle-worker, “What is truth?” Jesus might have chosen not to answer if Pilate had given him a chance to, but I suspect that the reason Pilate did not wait for an answer was because he really didn’t want to know. He wasn’t as concerned about truth as he was about his position, his comfort, his reputation, and his self-sufficient way of life. And I suspect the same is true of many people today.
Truth might be defined as that which accurately reflects reality. Now, much of what is real can be readily ascertained using our senses. But when it comes to determining the reality of events in the past, particularly the ancient past, we need to employ different methods of acquiring evidence. And without the benefit of personal experience of the events in question, interpretation of the evidence becomes a matter of personal opinion and faith, no matter what conclusion you draw.
So, for the non-Christian, the Bible as a reliable, historical document is a view they find difficult to accept. Let me ASAP (as succinctly as possible) outline why I believe it is truth.
- the bibliographic evidence: number of and high degree of similarity between the copies; length of time between original and earliest copies; internal consistency
- the supporting extra-biblical and archeological evidence
- all prophecies that should have been fulfilled have been
- the testimony to Jesus and His resurrection by the apostles even unto their deaths by martyrdom
- the God who is revealed there corresponds to the revelation from creation and from individual lives
Because of this evidence, I feel confident that the Bible is the standard for life and truth, and will use it unashamedly in assessing our world and our society. Those who reject it do so for various reasons, but rarely because they have examined it carefully and found it unreliable.
If you want to know the truth, you’ve got to want to know the truth. As the French mathematician, physicist, and theologian Blaise Pascal once said, “People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.”
If we sincerely desire to know what is true, even at the risk of upending our opinions and preferences, we can conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the Bible is a reliable historical document, and even that the claims of Jesus are true. There is objective evidence for it. We just have to be willing to see it.