Scripture has faced 2,000 to 3,000 years of violent opposition, persecution and martyrdom; in addition to the same fires, wars, floods and natural deterioration that have destroyed other ancient manuscripts. Over 70 millionmartyrs have died, and 100,000 die each year rather than renounce God,Christ and God’s inspired Word, the Bible. Yet, 2.5 billion professing Christians and six billion Bibles thrive today.
- The Bible has survived and thrived 2,000-years of violent opposition
- Scripture truth is a bottomless, inexhaustible well
- 70 million Christian martyrs died rather than renounce Christ or Scripture
- God writes and preserves His word in human hearts
The majority of Scripture-era manuscripts were destroyed by natural causes
“Because of the climate, papyrus documents from this period [the first millennium B.C.] are likely to be preserved only if they are in a dry desert and in a cave or shelter.”
Anchor Bible Dictionary
In spite of violent opposition, Scripture has proven indestructible
“The Bible- banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it ismore powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints. Pieced together scraps of Scripture have converted whole villages of pagan Indians.”
Charles W. Colson – Prison Fellowship International
No part of Scripture will be changed or pass away
“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallestletter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from thelaw until everything is accomplished” (Jesus – Matthew 5:18 NIV)“The very words that I have spoken will judge you in the last day”
Jesus – John 12:48
Like its author, the Bible is indestructible
“the very fact of the Bible’s continued existence is an indication that, like its Author, it is indestructible. No other book has provoked such fierce opposition as the Bible, and its preservation is perhaps the most startling miracle connected with it. Just as an earthly parent treasures and lays by the letters received from his child, so our Heavenly Father has protected and preserved the Epistles of love written to His children.”
Arthur W. Pink – 1886-1952
Scripture, is God’s unchanging Truth and man’s compass for this life.
“Sink the Bible to the bottom of the ocean, and still man’s obligations to God would be unchanged. He would have the same path to tread, only his lamp and guide would be gone; the same voyage to make, but his chart and compass would be overboard”
Henry Ward Beecher —Author, 1813-1887; Social reformer;
People and this world will pass away, but God’s Word remains forever
“All people are like grass, and all their gloryis like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,25but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word thatwas preached to you.”
1 Peter 1:24-25 (NIV)-
A wise man values permanent, not temporary things
“A man is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gainwhat he cannot lose”
Jim Elliott, (Missionary martyred in the Amazon)
The survival of America is tied to the survival of Scripture in America
“The strength of our country is the strength of its religious convictions. The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country”
Calvin Coolidge – 30th President
The Bible never stays destroyed
“A thousand times over, the death knell of the Bible has been sounded, the funeral procession formed, the inscription cut on the tombstone, and committal read. But somehow the corpse never stays put.”
Bernard Ramm Theologian and author
Like Christ, believers never die!
“For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in yoursins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only forthis life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. ButChrist has indeed been raised from the dead”
1 Corinthians 15:16-20 NIV
Men would have destroyed the Bible if it hadn’t been God’s Book
“If this Book had not been the Book of God, men would have destroyedit long ago. Emperors and popes, princes and rulers have all tried their hand at it; they die and he Book still lives.”
H. L. Hastings 19th Century clergyman
In spite of persecution, Bible is still loved, read and studied by millions
“No other book has been so chopped, knifed, sifted, scrutinized, and vilified. What book on philosophy or religion or psychology or belles letters of classical or modern times has been subject to such a mass attack as the Bible? With such venom and skepticism? With such thoroughness and erudition? Upon every chapter, line and tenet?” “Yet,the Bible is still loved by millions, read by millions, and studied by millions.”
Arthur W. Pink – 1886-1952 ‘
The indestructibility of Scripture is amazing and inexplicable
Given the destruction of ancient manuscripts, the survival of 24,000 Scripture manuscript copies (5,600 in Greek, and 19,000 in Syriac, Latin, Coptic and Aramaic languages) is unparalleled. — The number of other non-Scripture manuscripts surviving from the Scripture-era, is comparatively insignificant. Still, the inspiration and power of Scripture does not rest in the papyrus and ink any more than it rested in the first (destroyed) tablets upon which Godwrote the Ten Commandments. However, the connection between God’s divine inspiration and preservation of His word and the amazing ‘indestructibility’ of Scripture is inescapable.)
Natural Causes and violent opposition have worked to destroy Scripture
In addition to natural causes, Christians and Scripture have additionally faced almost incessant persecution and violent opposition for 2,000 years, and have still proven virtually indestructible. From early Roman Emperors (Diocletian, Nero) through Nazi dictators, Communism and modern atheists, the Bible has withstood and outlasted all of its detractors and attackers. Throughout history, powerful rulers (and even church officials) have persistently attempted to destroy the Bible or deny it to the “common” people. Still, Thousands of years after God inspired Scripture, the Bible remains the most widely published and accept writing of all times. Billions of Christian believers in every modern generation is a testimony to God’s inspired power in Scripture and Christians.
1379 AD - Wycliffe Bible
John Wycliffe led scholars to translate the Latin Bible into English and by1383 thousands of copies were in the hands of the English people. The Archbishop described him as “that Pestilent wretch, John Wycliffe, the son of the old Serpent, forerunner of the anti-Christ who has completed his inequity by inventing a new translation of the scriptures.” People who owned Bibles were hunted down and persecuted or burned at the stake with the Scriptures hung around their neck. But the spread of the Wycliffe Bible could not be stopped. 40 years after Wycliffe’s death, his body was exhumed, burned and his ashes thrown into the turbulent Swift River. This futile act of revenge served as an unwitting symbol, as the influence of Wycliffe’s English Bible swept across Europe and the world.
1524 AD - William Tyndall English Bible
75 years after the invention of the printing press, William Tyndale translated the Bible into English. Against English law, it was later distributed throughout the nation. Priests and bishops burned thousands of copies of his translation as “a burnt offering most pleasing to the Almighty God.” Before printing began, Tyndale was forced to leave England for Europe. He was apprehended and imprisoned by theRoman church. In 1536, Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake. His last words were, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes!” Less than three years later, King Henry VIII authorized the publication of the Great Bible. This version was a combination of the Tyndale Bible andthat of Miles Coverdale. A copy was chained to every pulpit in England so that everyone could read it
Scripture is also Inexhaustible
In addition to being indestructible, Scripture is also inexhaustible. The mind of man can never fully explore or exhaust the ways and truths of God. Unlike the books of men, Scripture never becomes commonplace or loses its power or divine inspiration. Even the most familiar passages repeatedly yield unseen truths with each new visit.
Scripture/the Bible is the endless “bread of life” and the “bottomless well that will never run dry.” Great scholars have studiedand written entire libraries about Scripture, preached millions of sermons from Scripture and taught billions of Bible lessons — yet, its contents are never exhausted. The Bible/Scripture is inexhaustible because it depends on the inexhaustible resources of God, not the limited abilities, approval, agreement or even comprehension and belief of mankind.
70 million martyrs died rather than renounce Christ and Scripture
The persecution and murder of Jesus Christ in 33 AD was followed by the violent persecution and martyrdom of all of the original Apostles and thousands of Christian disciples. An estimated 70 million Christians have been violently persecuted and murdered for their faith and unwillingness to renounce Jesus Christ. Since 1950, an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 Christians have been martyred annually. According to the Open Doors Organization, Christian persecution today is perpetrated largely by Islamic radicals and Communist Atheists. [#108, 118]
300 AD Roman Emperor Valerius Diocletian attempted to eliminate Christians and Scripture
300 AD – Roman Emperor
Valerius Diocletian attempted to eliminate Christians and Scripture from the Roman empire, viciously persecuting and murdering Christians. Christianity was outlawed and any copy of Scripture was burned and the families who owned them were martyred. A “victory column” was erected over the burned ashes inscribed with the words ‘extinct nomine Christianorum ‘ “Extinct is the name of Christians!” In 320 AD – Emperor Constantine offered a reward for anyone who could deliver ‘the Holy Book’ to him. Within 24-hours, numerous copies were brought out of hiding and presented to him.