By Rick Boxx
Recently, while interviewing a job candidate, I asked about the applicant’s view of the Bible. She told me, “I believe the Bible is inspired by God, but certainly not all true.” That was a deal breaker for me since the focus of my organization is to equip business leaders for modeling biblical principles in the marketplace.
The Bible itself stakes a strong claim to its authority and reliability, declaring, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Either every word of the Bible is true, or you make yourself a god by overruling some of the teachings in God’s Word.
Some time ago, Hank Hanegraaff of Christian Research Institute suggested the acronym, MAPS, to help explain the reliability of the Bible. The M stands for Manuscripts. When I visited the site of the Dead Sea Scrolls, I learned about the meticulous process the scribes used for copying the Holy Scriptures. If they made any mistake, they immediately burned the scroll.
Historians gauge the validity of a manuscript based on the number of manuscripts and the time span between the originals and earliest manuscripts. The Bible has stronger support than any other classical writings, including those of Greek writers and thinkers. “The rules of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9).Historical manuscript evidence overwhelmingly proves biblical reliability.
The second letter in Hanegraaff’s MAPS acronym, A, stands for Archaeology. Sir William Ramsay was trained as an archaeologist. A skeptic of the Bible, Ramsay set out to disprove the historical reliability of the book of Luke. However, he became a follower of Christ as he saw archaeology confirm the historical statements in the Gospel of Luke, one after another, to be accurate.
Recently, archaeologists discovered King Manasseh’s palace, proving his existence. Through the years, many skeptical archaeologists have been proven wrong when they have disputed the Bible. Psalm 18:30 teaches, “This God – his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true.” God’s Word is trustworthy and true, as archaeologists who have tried to prove otherwise has learned.
The third letter in the acronym, P, stands for Prophecy. Among the remarkable attributes about the Bible are the predictions made hundreds of years before they came true. Before Jesus’ birth, prophets made 55 predictions about the Messiah, including the Savior would be born to a virgin in Bethlehem and He would be crucified. God said, “I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name” (Deuteronomy 18:19), God’s Word has proven itself to be reliable.
The final letter in Hanegraaff’s series is S for Statistics. A professor, Peter Stoner, worked with 600 students to figure out what the probability would be of just eight prophecies of Jesus being fulfilled. The result is one in one hundred quadrillion. The probability of 55 predictions being true is beyond calculation.
Jesus said to Peter, “Go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours” (Matthew 17:27). Eyewitnesses watched Peter do what Jesus asked. The odds of catching a fish with a specific coin is impossible. Statistics prove that the Bible is reliable because it is God’s Word. We can trust its wisdom to lead us we carry out our daily work responsibilities as well.
Copyright 2023, Unconventional Business Network. Adapted with permission from “UBN Integrity Moments,” a commentary on faith at work issues. Visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. UBN is a faith at work ministry serving the international small business community.
- What are your views of the Bible as a resource for the everyday challenges of the business and professional world?
- How would you respond to someone who offered the opinion that the Bible is simply an old book whose teachings are outdated and irrelevant for life in the 21st century?
- Are the four points offered to demonstrate the reliability of the Bible, the Word of God, persuasive from your perspective? Why or why not?
- It is said the statistical probability of more than 50 prophecies about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah all being fulfilled is astronomical, virtually incalculable. Why is this significant? How does it influence how you perceive the reliability of the Scriptures?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 119:9-11,33-36,89-93,97-106,129-130; 2 Timothy 3:16