This spring, the group charged with overseeing school textbooks in Texas were in the process of reconsidering some of the historical events recorded and printed in past textbooks. Several events were chosen to be eliminated from the new textbooks coming out next year.
It seems that in the past, we could always go to a history book and accept the printed material to be accurate and historically acceptable without wondering if certain events were left out to give a certain slant on history. We believed that we could read these books and have an accurate objective overview of history. Now, with the decision made by this board in Texas, maybe we should have been more skeptical and critical of the textbooks used in the past.
I know that the Bible has been questioned concerning whether it can be trusted or not. The Bible, of course, is regarded by many as a religious book with moral and theological assertions.
Many have tried to push the Bible into the category of mythology because of the ethical commitment that the Bible expects from us. I would like to assert the Bible is a historical reliable book that we all can trust. I base this assertion on a basic test that is used on literary material to prove if it is reliable or not.
The Bible is a unique book in that over 40 different people from every socio-economic background (poverty to extreme wealth), in many different walks of life (kings, statesmen, fishermen, poets, physicians, etc), from Asia, Africa, and Europe, written in three languages, written in several forms (history, law, ethics, parables, biography, prophecy, etc) and written over a period of over a 1,000 years. Yet, there is the same recognizable theme throughout the whole Bible.
Manuscripts are a basis on which many prove or disprove the historical reliability of a text.
If you were to take the time to compare the Bible with any other ancient writings, the Bible has more manuscripts than any other text today or in history. Just with the New Testament alone, there are almost 30,000 full or partial manuscripts of the New Testament. The next closest text of any kind is Iliad by Homer with only 634 manuscripts.
William F. Albright, one of the world's most re-nowned archaeologist, wrote: "There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament tradition." Also, Millar Burrows (now deceased), Professor of Archaeology at Yale University wrote: "The excessive skeptism of many liberal theologians stems not from a careful evaluation of the available data, but from an enormous predisposition against the supernatural."
There are historical outside sources that also validate many of the Biblical stories such as Noah and the flood. There have been Babylonian historical documents that mention the great flood and the Sumarian King List (tablets that give the history of Sumaria) gives details the kings of Sumaria in the Middle East. The eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic (Sumarian King List tablets) speak of an ark, animals taken on the ark, birds released during the voyage of the ark, the landing of the ark on a mountain, and the sacrifice made after the landing of the ark. The existence of Jesus Christ has also been recorded by Josephus, Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, the Talmud, and Lucian.
Historically, the Bible can be proven from many different sources to be totally reliable for us today.
That won't change.