The Bible gives irrefutable testimony that what is written within its pages is true

During the Panorama of the Bible workshop in 2015

During a three week workshop on the Panorama of the Bible I helped lead in 2015, in Spanish, in Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico, we decided to have morning devotionals where we focused on verses where the Bible itself gives a panorama, a summary of its own history. The first verses to come to mind, the most obvious ones, included Nehemiah 9:6-31 as the leaders read the law to the recently returned exiles, and proclaim that that is how they were going to live. In the New Testament, in Acts 7, Stephen gives an amazing summary of Old Testament history, as does the author of Hebrews in chapter 11. The Exodus is talked about so much in the book of Psalms, as well as in the New Testament, like Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:1-10, plus who can forget all of Jesus’ references to the Old Testament in the Gospels? The more passages we looked for, the more we found.

Then, while teaching an on-line Mexican seminary course in Spanish during the summer of 2021 on the history of the formation of the Bible, I shared an expanded version of how the Bible itself gives incredible testimony that the accounts it contains are true. While I continue to develop this theme, the three topics most relevant to this are:

  • What the Old Testament says about itself
  • What the New Testament says about the Old Testament
  • What the New Testament says about itself

The following are a list of verses from each of these three topics. There are many other verses I could add to each one, but these are the ones which I found very enlightening.

What the Old Testament says about itself

The Old Testament was written by many authors over a very long period of time. It is very significant when an author of the Old Testament refers to past events and history, and recounts it faithfully as it was originally recounted by the original author. How can they do that? This shows, proves that the more recent author had a very old manuscript which was very faithful in recounting the history of Israel.  Some people think that much of the Old Testament was only passed down orally, but there are many, many verses in the Old Testament which say that, not only was the law itself written down and copied, but many other historical facts were written down as well. Here are just a few references to all the writing going on in the Old Testament, keeping a record of their history: Deut. 17:18-19, Deut. 31:26, Joshua 24:26, 1 Sam. 10:25, 2 Cron. 17:9, Jer. 30:2, 36:2-4. All this writing was especially important since following generations sometimes tended to forget all that God had done and commanded, and when some leader found these written documents, and shared them with the people, they returned to following the one true God.

I will give a reference to the passage recounting previous Old Testament history, plus a brief summary of what the passage is about. The reader can look up and read the passage easily enough, so I will not add the whole passage here.

  • Nehemiah. 9:6 al 31 (Creation, Abraham, Moses, the exodus, entering the Promised land, the prophets) See also Nehemiah 1:8-9, 8:9, 14–18; 10:28–39; 13:1–3.
  • Psalm 78, 104, 105, 106, 136 (mostly recounting events from Exodus, entering promised land, or creation)
  • Daniel 9:2: (I was reading the prophet Jeremiah…)
  • Ezequiel 14:14, 20: (Makes references to Noah, Job and Daniel)
  • Judges 11 (Jephthah recounts from the Red Sea to the entrance into the promised land)
  • Deut. 26:5-10 (One of a number of passages where God tells the Israel people how to talk about the Exodus and all that He did to save them.)
  • 2 Sam. 7:22-24: (A quick praise for how God saved them from Egypt.)

The five Books are Moses are treated with great reverence in Joshua 1:7, 8:31; 23:6–8; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; 17:37; Hosea 8:12; Daniel 9:11, 13; Ezra 3:2, 4; 1 Chronicles 16:40; 2 Chronicles 17:9; 23:18; 30:5, 18; 31:3; 35:26. No matter how many years have passed from Mount Sinai, they always have copies of the Law of Moses.

Also see 2 Kings 22–23 (They find the law and read it and weep.) 2 Chronicles 34 relates the same story.

Many times the prophets proclaimed that what they are saying was coming directly from God. A few examples: Isaiah 51:16a, 59:21, Jeremiah.1:9, 30:2, 36:2-4, Ezequiel 3:10-11, Micah 3:8.

What the NT says about the OT

A significant question is, How did those who appear in the New Testament know so much about the Old Testament? It is evident that they had access to both Old Testament writings in Hebrew, as well as the Septuagint, the translation of the Old Testament Scriptures into Greek. Thus they had studied manuscripts which would now be way over two thousand years old. These authors and apostles not only quoted over and over from the Old Testament, but they proclaimed it to be God-breathed Holy Scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself makes it clear that what we read in the Old Testament in God’s word, so if we reject the Old Testament accounts, we are basically saying Jesus did not know what He was talking about. Also, it is calculated that there are more than 250 direct, and if we included partial and indirect quotes, close to a thousand quotes from the Old Testament in the New Testament. All books other than Obadiah, Nahum, Zephaniah, and Esther, and only one quote from Song of Solomon. New Testament authors also focused in on how many Old Testament prophesies Jesus fulfilled, Scriptures which pointed to Him as the promised Savior.

  • 2 Tim. 3:15-16:  (All Scripture {can only refer to the Old Testament} is God-breathed)
  • 2 Peter 1:21: (prophets inspired by the Holy Spirit)
  • Jesus refers to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the burning bush, David, Solomon, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Jonah, etc. He also quotes from Genesis in Mark 10:6-8: “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.”
  • Luke. 24:25-27: And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he (Jesus) explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Plus He quotes lots of Old Testament passages: Matthew 4:4, Mark 2:25-26, 7:6-8, 12:26-27, etc.)
  • Acts 7: (Stephen’s summary of the Old Testament)
  • 1 Cor. 10:1-11 (Paul referring to Israel in the wilderness.) (Plus Paul referring to Moses and also Adam (Rom. 5, 1 Cor. 15:22), plus Adam and Eve (1 Tim 2:13-14)
  • James 5:11, 17-18 (Job and Elijah)
  • 1 John 3:11-12 (Cain and Abel)
  • Hebrews 11 (Heroes of the faith)
  • Acts 17:2-3: Paul reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. Paul did this quite a bit in his preaching. Bereans (Acts 17:10-12) checked it out by examining the Scriptures, also in Acts 28:23.

What the NT says about itself

The New Testament writers are continually trying to make the point that what they are writing is true, that they are eye-witnesses to the facts they are conveying in writing.

  • Luke 1:1-4: (the faithful journalist)
  • Juan 20:30-31: Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
  • Juan 21: 24-25: This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
  • 1 John 1:1-3a: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard,
  • Peter: Acts 2: 22-24 and Acts 10:36-43 (Peter gives a summary of Jesus’ ministry)
  • 2 Pedro 3:16: His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (Here Peter calls Paul’s writings “Scripture”)
  • Paul: 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (not from man, but from God, 1 Thes. 5:27: Colossians 4:16: 1 Cor. 2:12-13, 1 Cor. 7:10-12ª, 1 Cor. 14:37, 1 Cor. 15:3-8

There are many other verses I could share, but this lists makes it abundantly clear that the Scripture itself gives irrefutable testimony that what is written within its pages is true. There are, of course, a multitude other evidences that the Bible is true, many of which I taught in my seminary course. Evidences from archeology, manuscripts which are thousands of years old, and the amazing consistency of these manuscripts, the testimony of non-Biblical historians of the time periods, etc., but I was especially moved by what I have shared here, what the Bible says about itself.