What does a Christian say to a non-believer who refuses to believe the Bible because it was written hundreds of years after the events occurred?


Clarify Share Report Asked December 12 2013 1385569673 r u

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Mini Shanna Duck "Let a search be made in the royal archives..." Ezra 5:17 NIV
Even many Christians don’t know the history of the Bible and think that it suddenly “appeared” somehow. The truth is MUCH more wonderful. We have SO MANY early documents relating to the New Testament and, if you know Koine Greek really well, you can read them yourself!

Unfortunately your non-believing friend is laboring under the common misconception that the books of the New Testament were written long after Jesus' life, and thus myths may have crept into the stories. According to language scholars, some of the New Testament books MAY have been originally written as early as A.D. 40s, which would have been only a decade or so after Jesus’ death if we consider that He died between 30 and 33 A.D. Certainly by the 70s A.D. some books had been written (remember, some of these books began as letters to early churches, and many of the books contain historical information that can help date them.) \

While we do not have the original manuscripts of any of these books, we have LOTS and LOTS of copies of New Testament books and fragments of books. This is amazing because all early books of the Bible had to be hand-written! We also have verses of scripture from what we call the New Testament quoted in letters from the early Church Fathers. These documents number in the thousands and can be dated by the paper/papyrus/vellum as well as the style of writing. You can find translations of some of these early letters at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library online. Some of the letters are almost like reading an Epistle; you can tell that the author was very familiar with Paul’s writings. 

According to one authority, the earliest EXTANT COPY of a verse is a fragment of the Gospel of John, dating to around 125 A.D. As this author points out, this shows that the Gospel was obviously written BEFORE the time this copy was made. (http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/scriptorium/papyrus/texts/manuscripts.html).

My husband had a professor in college who actually worked on some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This was an incredible discovery and might be good to share with your friend. 

Another thing that that you can show your friend is the Codex Sinaiticus online. Http://www.codex-sinaiticus.net/en/codex/ This Bible is an early “codex” or book-form rather than a scroll and dates from the 4th century, I believe. While later than many of the individual manuscripts, it’s still interesting to really be able to see the pages of such an early version of the Bible. 

One note: do NOT let the information that the early Biblical manuscript-copies differ slightly confuse you or disturb you. Most of the “differences” involve the spelling or placement of a word, NOT a major doctrinal discrepancy. The New Testament was never “changed” as some groups believe…other than the addition of chapter and verse-numbers and punctuation. The different manuscript-families do have some slight differences, but nothing that changes the essential & foundational doctrines of Christianity. 

 As Christians, God has truly blessed us with Scriptures that not only contain the power to convict and convert, but that can stand up to a great deal of historical scrutiny. Your friend may not be converted by the history of the Bible, but this knowledge will at least remove one “straw man” argument or intellectual problem that he may have with becoming a Christian. God bless you and may your friend's heart be opened.

December 13 2013 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

1385267697 Jimmy De Los Santos Evangelize to the world one person at a time.
I have heard this question many times. (Sometimes it comes in a type of dubious statement). There are many good responses, but my favorite works like this: I normally ask the questioner to listen to these few verses:

3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

(These are from Isaiah 53, of course.) I will then ask the questioner this question: "Who does this describe?" Most people will give the correct response and say, "Jesus." Then I simply tell them that these passages were written about 800 to 850 years before Jesus came on the scene. It's called prophecy. The Bible is the only religious text in the world that uses it and has been accurate in doing so. That is why when you read through the gospels, so many times the author will have written words similar to "This happened that it might be fulfilled what the prophet said." 

The Bible proves itself and doesn't need us to defend it.

December 15 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Isabella earrings Dan Rivers Christian, Husband, Grandfather, Son, AT&T retiree
Anyone who "refuses" to believe has not had their heart touched by the Holy Spirit and will not believe anything about Christ until that happens.

[Act 16:14 KJV] 14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose HEART THE LORD OPENED that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

The person without the Spirit won't believe because they can't understand
the things of God...

1Co 2:14 NIV - {14} The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

Let them be is what I would do. Don't waste your time with them...

[Mat 7:6 NIV] 6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Evangelize to those that want to hear more of the Word of God, they are the ones that WILL ask you for more of it. They are the ones that the Lord has opened their hearts and they hunger for more...

[1Pe 3:15 NIV] But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who ASKS you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

Praise the Lord!

December 12 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Emilio 1992 Emo Tenorio Shomer
Have a very nice day and shake the dust off your shoes. Time is short. There are many more precious souls dying to hear the good news you bring into the darkness.

Consider that when our Lord stood in their very presence speaking He was still rejected by the Pharisees and Sadducees. Such is the way of the hard of heart, foolish, who rush to their death.

You could lay out the perfect apologetic evidence with convincing graphs, charts and time lines to an unbeliever or agnostic and they would still reject it, with one excuse after another, blah blah, their hard heart not ready, unwilling!

They love the darkness, more than the light and the truth of the matter is not what they seek. Their purpose is to slow and to wear you out in your mission.

Really it matters not when the Bible was written or by whose hand; what really matters bottom line, is what was written TRUE and is it provable today.

Do the disciplines of modern unbelieving science prove these writings to be true, and what percentage of the time are they correct, by their standards?

Mathematically getting a 100% correct rate is almost impossible, but that's the score so far. Many were atheists trying to prove error, only to discover it in themselves. And yet there are some who will still reject it. We must continue the mission while there is time on the clock, woe oh foolish man.

In the Lord's freedom and grace......warrior on

December 12 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

After5 Judy Jentz Christian, Lay Person Who Studys God's Living Word
In addition to Dan's good answer. The Bible is the only book that has survived in translation of any book of it's antiquity.

There are no other manuscripts as old as those in the Bible which goes from generation to generation saying the same thing with no changes made to it. God's Word has stood the test of time, if you want to think of it that way. It remains the same.

Think od the Dead Sea Scrolls.

December 12 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

David goliath victory hg clr Jim Tumlinson One beggar leading others to where the bread is
Its okay for them to think that way, we as christians should not expect unbeleivers to believe the same as us until their transformation. Let's look at Paul the apostle when he was Saul. He was a Pharisee among Pharisee's. He knew the Old Testament, (Torah) inside and out. He knew God was sending a Messiah and he knew all the signs yet he did not believe Jesus was the Messiah until.............

Acts 9:3-6 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" 
5 "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6 "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." NIV

What this represents is that people won't believe until they receive the revelation of God and the Bible and Jesus. In Ephesians it says we are saved by grace through faith. A definition of grace is "A divine influence upon the heart and its reflection to the life". When Gods grace came to Saul (revelation) it was only then that he was transformed into Paul.

Our part is to share the gospel with people who will hear, disregard their unbelief, (we didn't believe the first time we heard either) and continue the relationship with them. Pray for Gods grace to impact their life. The goodness of God leads men to repentance. So continue to love them, give them the Word when you can and let the Holy Spirit do what He does best. We just need to follow the last two commandments Jesus gave; love God and love others, in doing this the gospel will spread and people will get saved. "Preach the gospel at all times and when absolutely necessary use words". Saint Francis Assisi.

December 14 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Screenshot 2024 06 12 214250 Casey Leonardo
When Jesus said that he will return to the remaining eleven apostles, they all believed He meant in a weeks time or so, and therefore it was not written down for a few years. The first Gospel was written about 60 AD by Mark, and the last Gospel about 100 AD by John.

If you were to read a book about the JFK assassination that was written in 2013 would your immediate reaction be, "this book was not written at the time of JFK. Instead it was written x years later. Therefore it is irrelevant and contains no historical truth". No of course not! Even atheists agree that would be a dumb idea. However those same people love to say, "the Gospels were not written at the time of Christ. Instead it was written x years later. Therefore it has no historical truth".

When you look at the problem from this perspective, it isn't something that is hard to counter argue.

December 12 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Raccoo Bob Johnson Layperson. Self Educated Theologically - see full bio
How do we know Plato existed, or especially any of his works? Or Aristotle? Does he dispute those writings? What we have of their writings are over a thousand years after what they supposedly wrote. 

Other posts on this topic are showing that the Bible was written so recently after Jesus' life that eyewitnesses would have still been alive to dispute any of the writings - but they never did. Additionally, Jewish oral tradition of the time was nearly perfect. If someone recounted a historical persons words and deeds inaccurately, they never did so again. 

As far as the Old Testament is concerned, a good example is this: Atheists used to dispute the Bible, for example, because it mentions a king David and a group of people called Hittites. Yet, in recent years archaeology has proven both. As time goes by, the Bible is being proven correct, when if it wasn't true, it would actually be the other way around.

July 29 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Brandon Hughes Regular Worker Guy
You could point out that they are mistaken in thinking the bible was written hundreds of years after the actual events occurred. This doesn't have anything to do with faith or revealed knowledge from the Holy Spirit, this is a cold, hard historical fact. If they want to deny this then it looks like the entirety of recorded history is up for grabs with this particular person. This argument is a common false belief tossed around by our culture and those seeking to instill doubt in believers or discredit the claims of Christianity. These arguments are easy to present to and accept by those unwilling to actually dig into the claims made by a 5 minute YouTube video or a Tweet/Facebook post. A little fact checking disintegrates the arguments put forth. 

Many books have been written on this subject presenting historical evidence. If this person still persists in their denial we only need to remind ourselves of the words the apostle Paul penned under the influence of the Holy Spirit in Romans 1:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

December 12 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Terry Galloway Christ follower, Bible lover, mission of sharing the gospel
What is happening in the very public arena is celebrity Catholics are saying on tv that the Bible is not historical. Killing Jesus is at the top of the charts but the author repeatedly says that the Bible is not a history book and that Old Testament events like Creation, the Flood and the Red Sea are not real but good stories. I have looked at the Catholic Bible that the local Catholic School uses and they have many commentaries written in saying that these things are just stories.

Christians know that Jesus IS the Word and He and the Holy Spirit were there at the beginning of the Creation. Every word is useful for training. This is just people wanting to listen to what their itching ears want to hear and not listening to sound doctrine.

I had been in church all my life, but at 45 yes old, Jesus began a relationship with me that gave me a hunger for the Word and understanding. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding. Unfortunately if you can't believe that God is so powerful to create the world and universes, you can't " fear him. Understanding that He is the Author of Creation humbles a person to submit to His Authority to tell you what to do.

Keep praying for God to grow the Kingdom and His Kingdom come. 
To God be the glory! 

December 14 2013 6 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20150816 3767 1tn9rak mark wilkinson retired school teacher and missionary
If you read a novel written a century or more ago you will notice that the names of the characters are often unfamiliar to modern ears. How many Phyladelphus or Mauds do you know? Even names of children that were common only 50 years ago have now been surpassed by the names of the latest celebrities. When I was growing up Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, the names of Queen Elizabeth's children, were quite usual in England. Now it's the names of Holywood Stars that take first place. And in 50 years' time there will be a new set of common names.

Had the Gospels and New Testament been created a century or more after the events that they purport to record, then it is most unlikely that the authors would have known the correct names for Palestine and the Roman Provinces during the first decades of the first century AD. Yet comparison of names and places mentioned in known manuscripts with those of the New Testament reveal a startling knowledge of contemporary nomenclature. Mary/Miriam and Simon for example were a popular names amongst Palestinian Jews at the time of Jesus. Would this have been known by authors writing outside of that area at a time-distance of a century or more?

Even more amazing is the fact that the New Testament records the names of people who are attested in extra-Biblical records. For example in 2 Timothy 4:21 we read of Pudens, Linus and Claudia. These were members of the British royal household who had been captured in the second Roman invasion of Britain in AD 49 *. They had been brought to Rome - and were probably Christians before they left Britain (showing that the gospel was known there within a couple of decades after Jesus's death and resurrection). It is such details as this that authenticate the early date of the NT documents. A later writer would have been unaware of these people - or would have had to go to extraordinary lengths to research and include these names - and for what reason?

Interestingly this test of names of people and places and accurate descriptions of local geography has been used to prove that the so-called 'Gospel of Barnabas' (claimed by Muslims to be a lost gospel) is a fraud, written in Spain or Italy 1000 years after the events it claims to describe. The personal names given and the descriptions of their dress, armour, landscape do not match what is known about the lands and people of first century Palestine. It also does not agree with the genuine four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in many respects, especially concerning the character and saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

* Dr Bill Cooper, 'The Authenticity of the Book of Genesis', CSM, England, 2011, p156 footnote.

September 02 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Oyaka Benson
I think first of all the problem with a non-believer refusing to believe the bible by use of the claim above is simply a deliberate act and choice. This is due to the level of affection in his or her heart for the bible. The deeper the affection, the deeper the choice to revere its authenticity, as is the same with the reverse. This therefore leaves everyone, including both the believer and the non-believer, with bearing the sole responsibility for whichever choice is made. 

Most times Jesus makes this statement: "He who has ear to hear, let him hear"-Luke 8:8, Mathew 11:15 and Mark 4:9. 

One other thing I want to add is that we need to know that it is not within our prerogative to let people believe in the bible, but it's of the holy spirit. But we have a divine role to play as witnesses:

Acts 2:23 "Most assuredly I say to you, we speak what we know and... and you do not receieve our witness". 

Also Acts 5:32 "And we are His witnesses to these things". If we have played the role of witnessing, then it is the holy spirit to convict the person; but again, not imposing the choice to believe or not.

The challenge with the non-believer to be convicted by the holy spirit's intervention depends on how much he or she opens up to allow the holy spirit to play that divine role in the heart and not in the mind, which is full of reasons and not emotions. 

What the non-believer needs to know is that it is very difficult to ascertain spiritual truths using the mind alone other than both soul and mind. The mind should help us make sound reasoning while the heart is used for discerning eternal and comprehensive truths from the reasons, and this is when one makes a decision believe or not to believe in something.

July 31 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Hkp feature Angus MacKillop Author and Webmaster at "His Kingdom Prophecy" website.
This is a situation I have been in a number of times.... 
In each case I have brought along or offered a copy of two books by Josh McDowell for them to borrow if they wish - a small pocket book "More than a Carpenter" and his larger tome "Evidence that Demands a Verdict". Both these book explain the answer better than I.

However, whether or not the unbeliever borrowed a book or not was always immaterial, the result was always the same, a confession that this was only a ploy to say NO to Christ.... and delay the conversation...
In other words the question was an excuse for disbelief..... and when that excuse was confronted, it was abandoned and they moved on with another excuse.

As for believers, I suggest that they purchase a copy of the latter title for their personal reference library.

July 30 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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