Can we trust the Bible? (Notes and audio from last night's talk)

We've been talking a lot about trust here on the blog recently. As a follow-up to Becca's talk about building trust as an essential element of evangelism, we invited Wes Zell in to speak of the trustworthiness of the Bible.

Check out the audio from his talk (apologies for the sound, you might have to max the volume to hear him):



Notes from last night's talk:
Can the Bible be trusted historically?

One could ask, can the Bible be trusted morally, but that's another talk

Story #1 The Book of Acts and the Chester Beatty Papyrus
--- turn of the 20th century, common belief was that Acts was written several generations later and was only allegedly a history
--- William Ramsey was researching the history of Asia Minor
--- Found that Acts got a detail about Iconium right that history had wrong
--- Checked many specific details and found Acts held up

Story #2 The Book of Isaiah...transmission
--- until 1946 oldest known, surviving Hebrew manuscript dated to 1000 AD
--- Dead Sea Scrolls contained one dated to 300-0 BCE
--- Compare texts, basically unchanged

Two important questions:
Did the writes care about history?
Could real history have been recorded and preserved?

Opening of Luke
--- "fulfilled among us" - things really happened
--- "carefully" - important to get the story right
--- "from the beginning" - standard to be considered reliable
-------with Jesus from John the Baptist to ascension
-------report what he'd done and interpret what it meant
--- "handed on to us" - Luke needed to consult sources
-------taught in a way than ensured it was understood
-------see similar examples in Corinthians, Didache, Polycarp, Irenaeus

Not the rumor mill, place where a story gets adapted and inflated
--- Every culture has rumor mills
--- Oral cultures know how to preserve and protect important stories
--- Phillip Bailey example (researcher on oral transmission)

Evidences that people got the story right
--- Historical and political details in the Biblical texts
--- Cultural details in the Biblical texts
--- Preserve embarassing details (failures, associations)
--- Outside Jewish and Roman source collaboration
-------Jewish teacher who was crucified
-------Had followers who worshipped him post-crucifixion

1 John 1
--- The Bible offers itself to us not as evidence to be evaluated but as something to be lived
--- Not just looking to rattle off an argument
--- Our estrangement to God is not just intellectual, but relational as well
--- Need a relational restoration
--- History is important because it is the place where God has come to meet with us

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