7 Amazing Facts About the Bible
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I use Biblical references in my writing a lot. I do that because I believe the Bible is the written revelation of God to humanity. It is God’s message to each of us and all of us. God wants you to know and trust the Word. These 7 amazing facts about the Bible will help build your trust in God’s Word.
Amazing Fact 1: The Bible isn’t just one book
Of course, when you read your Bible you are holding just one book in your hands. But the Bible is more than that.
It is without a doubt one book. But it is also a collection of smaller books. Some of these smaller books wouldn’t cover one sheet of paper. But others – like Isaiah or Psalms – could easily be a separate book all by themselves.
One reason why understanding this fact matters is this: you don’t have to read the Bible from cover to cover like a regular book. In fact, if you’re new to reading the Bible, it’s best not to start reading at the beginning! I’d suggest you start closer to the end with the Gospel of John.
Amazing Fact 2: The Bible was written by 40 human authors
The Bible is one book that is a collection of smaller books. And each of those smaller books was written by a human author guided by the Holy Spirit. Some of those human authors wrote only one book – like almost all of the minor prophets. But others, like the Apostle Paul, wrote several books. Paul wrote 13 books of the Bible! The most of any author.
Those 40 authors came from all backgrounds. Some were highly educated such as Moses and Daniel. Some were priests (Ezra) prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah) or kings (David, Solomon). Others were from what would be considered the ‘lower class.:’ shepherds (Amos), a tax collector (Matthew), and fishermen (Peter, & John).
Despite their different backgrounds, God used these human authors to write one book.
Amazing Fact #3: The Bible was written over 1,500 years!
The earliest books – the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy) were written around 1400 BC, and the last book, Revelation, was written in the last decade of the first century AD (around 90AD).
In part due to the years covered by the books of the Bible, it was also written in 3 different languages. That’s a bonus amazing fact for you!
But, as with the different backgrounds of the human authors, God used this long span of time and different languages to write exactly what He wanted humanity to know. All gathered in one book we call the Bible.
Amazing Fact #4: The Bible has one unified theme
One theme is contained in 66 books, written by 40 authors over 1,500 years in 3 languages. If we didn’t know it was God’s Word, we’d say it was impossible.
In fact, one of the popular attacks on the Bible is based on this common theme. Skeptics argue that it’s impossible for authors so spread out by time and geography (from Babylon to Israel to Greece) as well as language to have written such a unified book. They’re right, of course. But we know, “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27.
Now, back to the theme of the Bible.
The individual books of the Bible have many different themes. For example, the theme of Genesis is beginnings and the theme of John is Jesus, the Son of God. However, over and above all the individual book themes, the Bible has a single unifying theme: the Redemption of humanity.
So, Genesis is the beginning of creation, the covenant, nations, and sin, but also the beginning of redemption. Likewise, John is about the Son of God, but also the Son of God as Redeemer, the perfect God-Man who provides the way of salvation.
I should point out that other people have different ways of stating the overarching theme of the Bible. Some would say it is Jesus, while others would say it’s God’s relationship with humanity or the kingdom of God. The key idea, however, always relates to God’s relationship with humanity, which was fractured by sin and restored by Jesus.
The bottom line is this: Many men, over many centuries, from many different backgrounds, wrote many different books. But because God inspired each one, the result was one book: the Bible. These 66 different books written over 1500 years all proclaim the passion and message of God because God is the ultimate Author.
Amazing Fact #5: Archeology has shown the Bible to be true
Archeological finds consistently affirm that history occurred as the Bible says it happened. There isn’t space to cover all of these details – and I’m not nearly qualified. I’ll link to some resources where you can learn more below.
But first, I want to point out just one area that skeptics used for years: King David. David takes up a lot of print in the Bible, so it would seem logical that – if he was a historical person – there would be plenty of archeological support to prove that.
For years, there was none. Skeptics, critics, and atheists crowed with delight! Until recently, that is. The most significant artifact discovered is the Tel Dan Stela. There are other artifacts as well, and you can get a summary of the 10 most important ones here.
Now, instead of skeptics crowing about the lack of evidence for King David, they have had to ‘eat crow.’ For non-native English speakers, basically, they choked on their own claims.
Because the truth is God’s Word is verified by thousands of archeological finds!
If you want to know more about the archeology of the Bible, I recommend Unearthing the Bible and the completely updated version of Evidence That Demands a Verdict.
Amazing Fact #6: There are LOTS of manuscripts
Thousands of ancient manuscripts exist containing portions of books from the Old and New Testaments. For some books, such as Isaiah, complete manuscripts exist. And for the New Testament books, each book has thousands of manuscripts.
Again, I’m not an expert in this area. But I learn from people who are. Compared to any other ancient text, the Bible – and especially the New Testament – has thousands more manuscripts with more than 99% internal consistency. That just means, more than 99% of the time the manuscripts agree with each other. Below are just a few comparisons. But first, please be aware that the numbers and dates I quote are subject to change becuase new discoveries are constantly being made.
- Aristotle and Plato are still studied in universities. Aristotle’s works are supported by more than 1000 manuscripts, the oldest dated approximately 1000 years after he lived. And Plato? His work has a few hundred manuscripts, again dated 1000 or more years after he lived.
- Tacitus’ Greek history – widely esteemed by historians – has less than 50 manuscripts dated 700 years after he first wrote. Interestingly, he lived and wrote at the same time as the authors of the New Testament – which has close to 25,000 manuscripts. Some of those are dated within 50 years of the initial writing.
- Finally, a more well-known and still-read story, The Iliad by Homer, has “far less than 2000” manuscripts with the closest being dated more than 700 years after it was written.
I’ll end this section with a comparison by Sean McDowell: A stack of existing manuscripts from the average classical writer would measure about four feet high. Yet the New Testament manuscripts would stack to more than one-mile high.
Evidence that Demands a Verdict is a great resource for this topic as well.
Amazing Fact #7: The Bible is the ONLY religious book that…
I saved the best for last. The Bible, unique among all religious books, presents salvation as a gift of grace alone. According to the Bible, salvation is something that cannot be earned by living a good life, being a good person, or sacrificing comfort or money.
Faith in the finished work of Jesus is the only means of salvation. And that is truly Good News because we all know ourselves too well. I know I am not a good person in so many ways. And you know the same thing about yourself. Knowing ourselves as we do, we also recognize that, if salvation depended on us, we would be without hope.
To put this another way, “How good is good enough?” Good enough for God, good enough for heaven? Because the Bible is clear that salvation isn’t a matter of being good enough, we can rest in the finished work of Jesus. I am saved by His death, His grace, His mercy.
No other religious book has such a message of hope. That message – from the Creator God who is above all – is the most amazing fact about the Bible. That message that He loves us so much that He provided a way of salvation when we were without hope – is the most amazing fact about the Bible.
What will you do with these amazing facts about the Bible?
The Bible is God’s gift to you. To me. To all of humanity. And like every gift, you must open it to get the full value of the gift. What a shame it would be if you had a present from a loved one that you just set on a shelf and said, “I’ll open it when I’m less busy or when I feel better.”
The Bible is that gift from God who loves you more than you can imagine. Take it down off that shelf and open it up. It is the best gift.
Everything God wanted you (and everyone else) to know, He included in the Bible. You have everything you need to live a godly, fulfilled, and joyful life. The Bible is a guide for our choices and a lighthouse to lead us through troubled times. It is a roadmap to heaven and wisdom for the road leading there.
The Bible is full of biographical, historical accounts of real people navigating a real faith and real relationship with a real God. These stories – such as Joshua conquering Jericho, Daniel in the lion’s den, Esther saving her people, and Paul and Silas singing in prison – teach us in the way we learn best: from the lives of others.
But they are not just stories – they are history! When we get to glory, we will meet the heroes of the faith whose stories are included in the Bible – those who led the way before us (Hebrews 12:1). What will those who’ve gone before us say about our faith?