What believers

should know

What believers should know about their Christian walk

Information in this section provides a general overview of the principles and guidelines I have found helpful in my many years in ministry. Remember, Satan is an expert at attacking our mind (2 Cor. 10:5). Keeping the right perspective, and focusing on the right things, will serve you well as you strive to live for Him

God will help you to do what He calls you to do. No matter what it is, if God is prompting or leading you to do it, then He will help you accomplish it. Success is never about our abilities, resources or plans—it is about sincere believers allowing God to work through them.

The best thing you can do is pray. Jesus prayed constantly. He did this because it was helpful, and to present an example of how we should live (John 13:15). The Apostle Paul encouraged believers to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). A wise pastor said, “The more we need, the more we need to pray.” Through prayer, you will find peace, gain insight, and will strengthen your relationship with God. Remember, God does not require eloquence; just share from your heart. Balance your thank yous with your requests. Ask for guidance, pray for others, and pray that God will help you be all He wants you to be. For additional information on prayer please access this I Am A Watchman article here: https://iamawatchman.com/how-to-pray-10-principles-of-a-powerful-prayer-life/

Know that it’s not about your strength, wisdom, experience, training, or resources. If God were considering hiring you, that kind of questions would not be on His job application form. God looks at the heart. The question is, do you have a heart that yearns to live for Him? Be encouraged by this: God delights in using the unlikely to accomplish the incredible. That is why, at least in part, God chose a young David to defeat Goliath, the elderly Abraham to become Father of a nation, Amos the tender of sycamore trees to become a great prophet, and Peter the fisherman to become an Apostle and leader in the New Testament Church. When you are a part of spiritual work, the logic of the world does not always apply. Does God choose the best? Sometimes. But often He chooses to use the small, broken, wayward, and humble so that His glory can be magnified in and through us.

Measure success correctly. Again, when you are involved in spiritual work, the logic of the world does not always apply. In the world, one tends to measure success by what they can see—profit margins, numerical growth, tangible assets, etc. In the spirit, the opposite is true. In the world, your degree of success is determined by how much you reap. In the faith, success is determined by how well you plant. In fact, you may never reap, or see the fruit of your labor. Noah preached while he worked on the ark—no one believed. Jeremiah the prophet preached, and no one listened. There were times when thousands cheered Jesus, but in the end, there were few true followers at the cross, and less than 120 believers shortly after the resurrection. But Jesus was a success, and so were the others I mentioned, not because they accumulated fame and fortune, but they were faithful. Being faithful is the primary determinate for success. If you are faithful to do what God calls you to do, no matter what it is (big or small, public or private), you are a success in His eyes.

Live for an audience of One. Many leaders are tempted to either try to please everyone or like a dictator, live only to please themselves. Neither approach is the mark of good Christian leadership. Certainly, a selfish, me-focused approach is not God-honoring. And though you may be naturally gifted, trained to lead, and like a General feel comfortable barking orders, that is not the best approach either. Trying to please everyone may seem like the loving approach, but the leader who tries to please all will soon find it impossible and will be prone to discouragement. The answer then is to live for an audience of One—not self, but God. You can’t please everyone so don’t expect to. You should not live just to please yourself because Christ desires we have a profound love for others (Mark 12:30-31). The answer is to strive to live for God. Discern what He wants you to do and do that. Live to please Him and you will have His blessing, and inner peace.

If you are a believer, you’re wearing a target, and that’s OK. It has long been this way, but now especially so—Satan hates those who love God and is on a mission to discourage and destroy (1 Peter 5:8, Luke 22:31). When you became a Christian, you put a target on your back. Satan and his minions will seek to tempt, trick, and trap you. But remember, the victory is promised, and God stands with you (Heb. 13:5b; Psalm 28:7). As a pastor, I have seen good Christians become very discouraged when difficulties came their way—some even turned their back on God and rather gave up trying to live for Him. What a victory for the enemy. Friend, challenges are coming. There will be setbacks. You will suffer loss. But try to think of your spiritual walk like a football game. The coach (Jesus) has called you to be on His team, to suit-up, go out on the field and play in the big game. It is an honor. And when you are on the football field and the game is in play and you have the ball, the opposing team is going to try to tackle you. They will chase you, grab you, push you, and throw you to the ground. That’s how the game is played. And in football, when one is tackled, they do not immediately call foul, or cry to the coach, or ask to be taken out of the game. No, the hit is expected, and so is perseverance. Know that the ball is in play. For the next seven or so years, the enemy will be on the field, and he will play dirty. Expect the hit. Pray that God will provide courage and the ability to play well.

Though you can accomplish the impossible (in Christ), you are not invincible. Over the years there have been well-intentioned individuals who put themselves in danger or denied themselves (or worse, their children) medical attention claiming that God would protect them. Unfortunately, this approach often yielded terrible and devastating results. Yes, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood in the fire and were kept safe—but that is because they were doing exactly what God had led them to do. It is wrong to think of God as our Genie—a magical being that can be summoned at will and lives to serve as our protector. God protects but does not exist to save us from every foolish choice. In Luke 4, Jesus was tempted by Satan and told to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the Temple. Though He knew it was written that angels would protect Him, He refused to throw Himself down saying, “It is not right to put the Lord God to the test” (Luke 4:12). Have faith. Be bold. Attempt great things, but do not put God to the test. Do not step in front of His leading, or outside of His will, for it is there you will find the fullness of His blessing.

Set boundaries—God first, family second and ministry third. Church leaders are vulnerable to burn-out because of the emotional, spiritual, and physical demands of ministry. Yes, a good leader will be available to respond to crisis situations 24/7, but a good leader will also know how to discern what situations require immediate attention, what work can wait, and what work can be delegated. Over the years, too many ministers have neglected their health, and their families, in the pursuit of ‘doing God’s work.’ It is not pleasing to God, or honorable, to neglect family or marriage vows due to non-priority acts of Christian service. Honor God. Keep the Lord first in your life, and don’t let good but non-priority work supersede the commitments to your family God wants you to keep. Remember, God first, family second and service third.

Most will not listen. It will not matter how eloquent or clever you are, the truth is, most will not want to hear what you have to say about God, Jesus, the coming Tribulation or the judgment. Remember, Christ-followers are to gauge success differently than the world does. I challenge you to gauge success not by how many listen, but by how faithful you are to share God’s message. Consider this: Ezekiel was one of the great prophets of the Old Testament. Early in his ministry, God told him, “You will speak my words to them [my people] whether they listen or not, for they are a stiff-necked and rebellious people…” (Ezek.2:5). In case Ezekiel somehow missed the message, God repeated the directive two verses later (2:7). Your calling is to communicate God’s message. Do you best, be bold but speak in truth and love, and trust that God will take care of the rest.

Be transparent. No one is perfect. It’s OK to strive to be, but don’t pretend to be. When you falter, be quick to acknowledge it humbly, and as appropriate, ask for forgiveness. Don’t give up. You’re on a learning curve, and some missteps are expected. God’s love for you is sure. He does not love some imaginary version of you—He loves you. No masks are required. Be real. Be transparent. Share with others how they can pray for you, what you are learning, and your struggles. Christ-followers are made to be at their best when they learn together, share together, grow together, and work together. Being transparent will help you garner trust and good-will, better your witness, and be a better leader.

Be accountable. Bottom line—there is a direct correlation between limited accountability and maximum vulnerability to sin. Many, many greats have fallen into the trap of thinking that they do not need an accountability structure, and spectacular were their falls. Satan is smarter then we are, and he knows how to prey on our vulnerabilities. It is foolish to give him more than he struggles to take. Accountability partners serve as a hedge of protection against Satan’s efforts to discourage and destroy. Lines of accountability are not binding, they are a safety net, and a God-honoring structure that good leaders embrace.

Speak the truth but speak it in love. There is power in love. I was astounded to find that it is the compassion of Jesus—not the power of Jesus or the wisdom of Jesus, but it is the compassion of Jesus, that is one of the leading descriptors of the Messiah in the Gospels. The individuals He ministered to saw it in His eyes, in His countenance, and in His actions. Jesus communicated a strong message, but many listened because it was spoken in love. Speak the truth, but be gentle, wise, encouraging, and lead with love. The words of those who come across as condescending or judgmental tend to be quickly discarded. Those who use truth as a club will not be effective at communicating God’s message (which is a message of love). Criticism is not a spiritual gift, nor is it an admirable quality. An effective communicator will lead with humility and speak with love as they share the truth of God.

Correct in private, compliment in public.  Scripture notes that our every word should be useful for edification (Eph. 4:29). That means, our words should motivate others toward improvement. Sometimes it’s tempting to impulsively vent frustration, or want to win your point. But a wise leader will remember that the goal is not to win the point, it is to win the person. Complimenting in public builds good-will and strengthens the foundation of your relationships so they can better weather the tough times. Correcting in private guards against the enemy being able to use embarrassment or pride to inflame a situation. Remember, the strength of your relationships is a testimony for the Lord. In John 17 Jesus prayed, “Father I pray that they [His followers] will be one…so that the world may believe that God sent the Son.” The quality of your relationships correlates with the strength of your witness. Amazing but true.

When there’s a wrong, seek to make it right. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus spoke of the importance of being a peacemaker. Everyone appreciates peace—but God did not commend those who want peace, He commended those who do what needs to be done to facilitate peace. In general, that means, as you can, you are called to initiate the forgiveness/restoration process (even if you are not at fault). For the sake of your witness and the cause of Christ, you are to call the meeting, seek restoration, forgive first, speak first, hug first, as appropriate apologize first, etc. Those who hold on to the hurts of the past are likely to get stuck there and miss experiencing any joy in the present. Learn from the past but don’t get stuck there. Be a peace-maker. When you lead in the process of healing and restoration, your life is pleasing to God.

Always seek to know more. The Church in Berea (Acts 17:21) was commended because the people studied the Scriptures daily. The Apostle Paul spoke of running the good race (not, he ran a good race some years ago, but that his race/journey was ongoing). Believers are called to grow in the faith (1 Cor. 13), and to begin a spiritual walk—not to take some kind of spiritual pose or stand. Learn and don’t stop learning. Serve and don’t stop serving. “Pray without ceasing.” Know that there is always more to learn and more to do. Ask God for the strength and the hunger to mature in Christ in a way that is pleasing to Him.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  (Galatians 6:9)

What believers should know about the Bible

We live in a time when many have questions about God, faith, and Christianity—but we also live in a time when science and technology make gathering answers easier than ever before. Our world is in transition. After many centuries of numerical growth and significant influence on culture, the Christian Church has entered into a period of decline. There are more ministers than ever before—but a relatively small number hold conservative views consistent with the historic Christian faith. The number of churches is growing, but the percentage of ‘churched’ people is decreasing.

There are more Bibles in America than ever before—but the Bible literacy rate

is arguably lower than ever before. We live in a time in history when there is an increasing number of questions about church doctrine—but few are well prepared to present a strong defense for their faith. Now is the time for followers of Christ to be the strong witnesses God has called them to be (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:7-8).

There are good reasons that good people have questions about faith. The message of the church seems, at times, to be confused or inconsistent. Rules

and laws regarding morality seem subject to change. Many high-profile ministries and minister failings have led to a breach of trust. Satan capitalizes on every opportunity and area of weakness. With evil growing, there is an opportunity and need for the church to be the light God desires it to be. All believers are called to study (2 Timothy 2:15), to be prepared to provide answers (1 Peter 3:15) and to be a witness for the Lord (2 Timothy 4:2).

Skepticism and persecution are not new

  • Celsus wrote that Jesus was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier and introduced what has become known as the ‘Swoon Theory.’ The ‘Swoon Theory’ postulates that Jesus was put into a drug-induced coma and was later revived. He writes: “The teachings of the Scriptures are altogether absurd” (True Doctrine, 178 AD).
  • Roman Emperor Diocletian, wanting to eradicate Christianity from the imperial capital in 303 AD, ordered the burning of all collections of Scripture, and churches or houses in which they were found.
  • Episcopal Bishop John Spong’s 1992 book, ‘Born of a Woman’ presents the virgin birth as a myth and suggests that Jesus was born of a sexually violated girl.

In many ways, the enemy seeks to demean church doctrine and cast doubt on the integrity of Scripture. It was foretold that this would happen in the last days:

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall

away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and

doctrines of demons…” (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

Let us remember that God is good, and does provide answers to tough questions. If we seek them, we will find them (Jeremiah 29:11). Now is the time for believers to not just know what they believe—they must also know why they believe it, and be able to articulate their convictions. The material in the next sections supports that goal.

Archaeological and historical evidence validating the integrity of scripture

Some of the information in this section is adapted from Archer’s “Bible Difficulties.”

More than 100 significant archaeological finds in the last 125 years verify the accuracy of the biblical record. There has never been an archaeological find showing the biblical record to be in error. Presented below are a few examples of recent archaeological finds which validate the biblical record:

  • The Amarna Tablets, discovered in 1988, confirm the disputed biblical account of Joshua’s conquest of Gezer, Ashkelon, and Lachish.
  • The first (non-biblical) reference to Nebuchadnezzar (verifying that he was an actual historical figure) was found in 1899.
  • The biblical city of Bethel was found in 1919.
  • The biblical city of Jericho was found in 1930.
  • The Mari Tablets were found in 1933. These tablets confirm the existence of the disputed city, Nahor, as recorded in Genesis 24:10.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1947, confirm the accuracy of the Old Testament.
  • The only lithic (and non-biblical) reference to Pilate was found in 1961.
  • The biblical city of Nazareth was found in 1963.
  • The Elba Tablets were found in 1970. These verify the existence of the long disputed listing of cities Moses recorded in Genesis 14.
  • The burial chamber of the High Priest Caiaphas was found in 1990. Its contents verified several aspects of the crucifixion story.
  • The biblical city of Dan was found in 1993.
  • The biblical city of Hazor was found in 1996.
  • The first non-biblical reference to David was found in 1976.
  • The Roman Historian Tacitus wrote that Jesus was executed under Pilate during the reign of Tiberius, and was the head of the Christian movement known as The Way.
  • The Jewish Historian Josephus wrote that “Jesus was a wise man…who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher…of truth. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross…He appeared to them on the third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things…” [Jewish Antiquities, 18.3.3 §63]


The Dead Sea Scrolls also verify the integrity and accuracy of Scripture

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls are comprised of approximately 830 documents dating from 250BC—65AD. The documents were found in 1947, near the ancient village, Qumran, and are thought to have been written by an isolated Jewish community known as the Essenes. The documents were discovered in a complex of 11 caves. Of the more than 800 documents, 202 are biblical texts; the others are legal and historical documents, poetry, etc. The biblical scrolls include all Old Testament books in the Protestant canon of Scripture (except Esther).
  • The great question was: What would happen if the Dead Sea Scrolls Old Testament (Cir. 100 BC) was compared to the next oldest complete Hebrew Bible (Cir. 900 AD). The two Bibles were copied in different ways, by different people, more than 1000 years apart—would the text be similar? Careful comparison work was done, and the two Old Testaments were found to be 99+% identical—and the less than 1% variance did not pertain to matters of doctrine, but rather, variant spelling of proper nouns. This affirms the accuracy and integrity of Scripture.


  • Slave Commerce: Genesis 37:28 notes that Joseph was sold into slavery for 20 silver shekels. Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen notes that this precisely matches the price of slaves in Joseph’s region during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries BC, as affirmed by documents recovered from ancient Mesopotamia and Mari (modern Syria). Move the story forward 100 years and the price moves to 60 shekels. Move the story forward 200 years, and the price becomes 120 shekels. The Genesis account is exactly right, and could not be a 5th century BC work as some suggest.
  • The Mari Tablets: This is a collection of legal documents found in Northern Syria, dated to the early second millennium BC. These documents note the particular pattern (and stipulations) for oaths, agreements, and treaties made in a particular region, at a particular point in history. This information matches perfectly with the form and structure of the treaties Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob entered into with their neighbors, as described in Gen. 21, 26 and 31. This nullifies the argument that Genesis was written more than a thousand years later than Bible Scholars contend as someone writing at in the 5th or so century BC would not be aware of these subtle but important cultural practices and customs.
  • Ancient Law: Genesis 49 provides instructions regarding inheritance law. A few hundred years later, Deut. 21:15-17 notes a change in the inheritance law. This matches perfectly with the time-line for changes in the law in the Mesopotamian region and validates the dates for Moses and Joseph and the Genesis record. It is true that Egyptian writings do not specifically mention the Hebrews, Moses or the exodus. However, Josephus, citing Egyptian sources, notes that a group of people known as the Hyksos (Egyptian for ‘captive shepherds’) were in Egypt as the biblical record notes. That Joseph could rise to power in Egypt is plausible as writings note that an ‘Asiatic’ named Irsu came to power in Egypt during a period of hardship about 1200 BC. A stele at the Karnak Temple in Luxor notes that in the middle of the sixteenth century BC, Egyptian rulers in Thebes waged war against ‘Asiatic interlopers.’ Following this conflict, the political environment in Egypt would have been decidedly unfriendly against Semitic people who remained in the eastern delta. This sudden turn of events lays a foundation for the biblical account of the events leading up to the exodus—a new king arose, who did not know Joseph and conscripted the Hebrew people into forced labor.
  • Leiden Papyrus 348: An ancient Egyptian document known as the Leiden Papyrus 348, which dates to the time of Moses, notes an order that food was to be distributed to the ‘Apiru who were dragging stones for the great project.’ Apiru = non-Egyptians.
  • The Merneptah Stele: (circa 1217 BC), commemorates Ramesses II, and references the Israelites’ servitude.
  • Hazor: Hebrew University Professor Amnon Ben Tor found the city of Hazor in 1996. The temple areas had been razed by fire, mud bricks had melted and turned into glass, and statues of Canaanite deities were decapitated and strewn about the Temple. This perfectly matches the Deut. 7:5 record.
  • Jericho: An Archaeological Review publication notes that “…evidence has shown that fiery destruction did occur at Jericho, in uncanny detail, just as the Bible describes it. The upper med-brick wall of the city collapsed outward, piling up at the base of a lower wall to form a narrow ramp of debris large enough to allow an invading army to clamber into the breach.”
  • Jesus: The Roman Historian Josephus wrote: “Jesus is widely known as a doer of amazing deeds and a teacher who won over many Jews and Greeks.” The Babylonian Talmud (a compendium of Jewish law and commentary) notes: “On the eve of Passover, Yesju was hanged… because he practiced sorcery and led Israel astray.”

Archeological evidence and ancient historical verify the accuracy of Scripture. Though many have tried, the Bible has not been proven to be in error. The next section presents information on how to understand and resolve apparent errors and contradictions in Scripture.

Dealing with Bible difficulties and apparent discrepancies

Most apparent discrepancies are easily resolved. Unraveling the mystery often begins by placing the apparent discrepancy into one of four broad categories.

A notation of the four categories, and examples of how apparent discrepancies can be resolved, are presented in this section:

  • Timing issues: Not every book in the Bible was written in Israel, or with the Hebrew people being the primary target audience. Writing to different target audiences accounts for there being a number of apparent discrepancies. For example, there seems to be a contradiction between John 19:14 and Mark 15:25. One Gospel writer notes that Jesus was crucified at the ‘sixth’ hour and another notes that it was the ‘third’ hour. This apparent contradiction is easily resolved when one understands that one Gospel writer is using a Roman system of timekeeping, while the other is referencing a Hebrew system. This is the same as noting Noon, 12:00 PM, or 1400 hours.
  • Weights and measures: The fact that the Bible was written over a period of 1500 years and over a wide geographic area contributes to the Bible referencing a number of different systems for weights and measures. This can be confusing. For example, 2 Chronicles 24:14 references 100,000 talents of gold. 1 Chronicles 29:4 (same story) notes that there were 3000 talents of gold. Is this a contradiction? No. One references a Royal Shekel and the other the Mosaic Shekel. Two different (but similarly named) measurement systems are being referenced – similar to 1 pound equals 454 grams.

Cultural issues

  • In Matthew 13:31-32 Jesus notes that the mustard seed is the smallest of seeds. However, scientists note that there are several seeds smaller than the mustard seed. Was Jesus’ teaching in error? No. Resolving this issue begins with realizing that Jesus was not speaking as a scientist or botanist. He was speaking to an agricultural community, in common language, in broad terms, to make a spiritual point.
  • The timing for Nebuchadnezzar’s first raid into Palestine: Daniel 1:1 notes that it was in the 3rd year of his reign. Jeremiah 46:2 notes that it was the 4th year. This discrepancy is reconciled by recognizing that in Babylonian culture, the first year of a new reign was not counted as it was considered an ‘ascension year.’ Daniel is writing in a Babylonian context, so he records the timing of the raid in the Babylonian system of recording time. Jeremiah, writing in a pure Hebrew context, references the more standard was of identifying the starting point of the king’s reign.
  • Was Jesus mistaken in John 12:25 and Matthew 13:31-32 in saying that a grain of wheat dies (rather than saying that it germinates)? No, Jesus as with the mustard seed illustration, Jesus was not making a scientific statement, He was making a spiritual point.

Perspective issues

  • Absalom’s sons: 1 Sam. 14:27 notes that Absalom had three sons. 2 Sam. 18:18 notes that Absalom did not have any sons and moves to erect a monument to maintain his name. The stories do not present contradictory accounts. The fact is, Absalom did have children, but his three sons died in infancy (hence the monument).
  • Was the commandment to ‘Love’ (John 13:34-35) a ‘new’ commandment? Isn’t the commandment to love found in the Old Testament? (see Lev. 19:18). The commandment to love in John 13 does have a new component in that the level and scope of love is new (we are to love others as Jesus loves us).

The Resurrection

  • There are differences in the Gospel accounts regarding who was at the tomb on the Sunday morning after the crucifixion. These differences do not indicate discrepancies, but rather add detail to, and substantiate the reliability of, the resurrection story. In a court of law, if multiple independent accounts are the same, the witnesses are likely to be discredited on the grounds of collusion.
  • The resurrection story is credible because the chief witnesses are women–in the first Jewish century women were not allowed to testify in court. If one were making up a story, one would not have the chief witnesses be women. Further, one of the witnesses (Mary Magdalene) had such a negative past that should would normally not be considered a credible witness even among women.
  • The resurrection story is cited by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian Church (a writing that predates the Gospels). Paul’s reference to the resurrection is part of a creedal statement, which indicates that within 20 years of the cross, the entire resurrection story was well-known and commemorated with formal creedal statements far outside of Israel.
  • The resurrection story is referenced by the first-century AD Jewish historian, Josephus.
  • The resurrection story is cited by the Roman historian Tacitus as being so meaningful to the followers of Christ that many willingly suffered a martyr’s death rather than deny what they believed to be the truth.

The Triumphal Entry

  • Matt. 21:2 notes that there was a donkey and a colt at the Triumphal Entry. Luke 19:30 notes only that there was a donkey. The stories do not present contradictory accounts—they note a difference in perspective. There were two animals. Mark’s focus is on Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem. Matthew, writing to a Jewish audience, focuses on how the Triumphal Entry is the fulfillment of the Zech. 9:9 prophecy (that prophecy notes that there would be two animals).


  • Christ and the census: Until very recently, there were no non-biblical records of Caesar Augustus ordering non-Romans to be registered. There are records of Augustus ordering Roman citizens to be registered, but only in 28 BC, 8 BC and 14 AD. The only known census that Quirinius, governor of Syria ordered is in 6 AD, which is nearly a decade after the death of Herod, a key figure in the Matthew nativity story. New Testament Scholar Nigel Turner suggests that the Luke 2:2 passage: “This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was…” should read, “This was the census taken before the census taken while Quirinius was governor.” This is because the word for FIRST and BEFORE is the same word in Greek (Protos). PROTOS is always translated before in the Gospels when followed in the genitive case, as it is in this verse.
  • Christ and the slaughter of infants: There is no non-biblical record of Herod giving an order for infants in the region of Bethlehem to be killed. However, it is certainly plausible that an order like that could have been given. Herod is known to have had Torah scholars burned alive for removing Rome’s golden eagle from the Temple Gate in Jerusalem. He had his wife, and several sons murdered because he considered them a threat to his throne. To assure there would be great mourning associated with his death, he ordered thousands of men locked inside the Hippodrome, and ordered that they be massacred when he died. Caesar Augustus is quoted as saying, ‘I’d rather be Herod’s pig than his son.’ It is also important to note that some scholars suggest that the population of Bethlehem 2000 years ago would likely to have been in the 1000 range. This would have meant the number of infant males could be as few as 10-15. Killings of this magnitude could easily have gone unnoticed by historians of the day, particularly in a period of constant human suffering and slaughter.
  • Conquest cities: Archaeologist have found 16 cities that are said to have been destroyed by Joshua, yet only three show signs of being destroyed in the late Bronze Age (Hazor, Lachish, and Bethel). Joshua 10 can easily be understood to mean that Israel smote, laid siege to, or captured cities, and/or that the inhabitants were annihilated, but the actual cities were left standing. For example, Josh. 10:20 notes that the army ‘wiped out’ its enemy, but in the very next phrase Scripture notes what became of ‘the survivors.’ This is typical period writing. Note: A 15th century BC. Egyptian Stele commemorating the exploits of Thutmose III notes that ‘The heads of the Asiatics were severed, none escaped death.’ However, a few lines later the Stele references thousands of prisoners were captured. Further, Joshua 13:1 notes that when Joshua was ‘very old’ there were ‘still very large areas of the land to be taken.’
  • The Exodus time-line: 1 Kings 6:1 provides a historical marker for the time of the exodus (480 years between the exodus and the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, 962 BC). This does not seem to fit with Exodus 1:11, which notes that the Hebrews were ‘building the supply cities Pithom and Ramses,’ an event that took place 200 years after the exodus date (extrapolated from 1 Kings). The 1 Kings 6:1 time-line reference has symbolic value. It references 12 generations of 40 years, 40 being a number representing a long, God-ordained period of time (see 1 Sam. 4:18; Num. 14:33; Josh. 5:6; 2 Sam. 5:4; Judges 3:11, 5:31, 8:28, 13:1, etc.). Further, based on the date in the books of 1-2 Kings, another 480 years elapsed from the 4th year of Solomon’s reign (marking the building of the temple) and the end of Israel’s exile in Babylon. Hence, the Bible writer wanted to place the building of the temple as a central historical marker.
  • Did the disciples receive the Spirit right after the resurrection (John 20:22) or about 40 days later (Mark 15:25)? The answer is both. The disciples received a special anointing of the Holy Spirit in Mark 15 and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in John 20.
  • The voice from heaven: Acts 9:7 notes that those with Saul heard the voice from heaven—Acts 22:9 seems to suggest those with Saul did not hear the voice. This apparent contradiction is resolved by noting that there are two different words in the original Greek text translated as hear/hearing in our English text. One of the words means to hear with understanding (i.e., to hear a conversation). The other word means to hear without understanding (as in to hear an indiscernible noise). Therefore, the men with Saul did hear the voice but did not understand the conversation as the words were meant for Saul alone.

There are apparent errors and contradictions in Scripture. However, most  are resolved with a little research. Archeological evidence, ancient document, and the historical information presented in the Scripture verify the accuracy of the Bible. But the Bible is more than accurate—it is divinely inspired. The next section speaks to that point.

About Bible Prophecy, and how it proves the Bible to be divinely inspired

How many prophecies are in the Bible – How do we know?

Many are aware that there are prophecies in the Bible, but few realize that more than 27% of the 31,124 verses in the Bible are prophetic. The J. Barton Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy notes that there are 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament and 578 prophecies in the New Testament, for a total of 1,817. These encompass 8,352 verses. There are two schools of thought regarding how to count Bible prophecies.

General: Some record prophecies in a broad or general way – this is appropriate but does reduce the number of prophecies by about 50%.  

The Bible records that Jesus was a descendant of David, who was a descendant of Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham. A general way to view the fulfillment of this prophecy is to acknowledge that Jesus was a descendant of Abraham—hence, one prophecy was fulfilled.

Specific: Most Bible scholars record prophecies in a more precise way—counting each part of the fulfillment of a general prophecy as an independent prophecy fulfillment. For example, the Bible notes that Jesus was a descendant of David, who was a descendant of Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham. Therefore, four prophecies (not one) are fulfilled—Jesus was a descendant of Abraham (1), and Isaac (2), and Jacob (3) and David (4).  

The precision of prophecy

Most psychics today speak in very general terms and offer what I call ‘Fortune cookie-type counsel.’ It is important to note that Bible prophecies are specific and measurable. And though many have tried, no one has been able to prove a Bible prophecy to be in error. There are approximately 1000 general prophecies in the Bible; about 900 have come to pass, 895 have been verified to be true. 5 are unverifiable at this time, but as they are unverifiable they cannot be used to prove the prophecies are false. Jesus fulfilled more than 120 specific prophecies.

Scholars note the probability of Jesus fulfilling just eight prophecies picked at random is approximately 1 in 1017. These odds approximate the likelihood of  blindly picking the one marked silver dollar mixed in with coins two feet deep in an area the size of Texas. Scholars have noted that the probability of Jesus fulfilling just 48 prophecies is 1 in 10157 – that is one, followed by 157 zeros! Which is roughly the number of atoms in the universe.

It is not difficult to illustrate the precision of Bible prophecy. Ezekiel 4 provides  one example. The prophet Ezekiel wrote at a time in history when his nation, Israel, had fallen to invaders. Many were forced to serve as slaves in Babylon. Ezekiel chapter 4 notes how long it would be before Israel would again be a sovereign and independent nation. Let’s take a look at this prophecy.

Ezekiel chapter 4 records that the prophet was bound on his left and right sides for a certain number of days.   The number of days (430) prophetically point to the number of years it would take before Israel would be restored as a nation (Ezek. 4:4-6). To represent the duration of Israel’s and Judah’s judgment, respectively, Ezekiel was bound with cords and lay on his left side for 390 days, and on his right side for 40 days (Ezek. 4:4-8). Again, the 430 days (390 days for Israel plus 40 days for Judah) in Ezek. 4:6 represents 430 years. Jeremiah prophesied that the period of captivity would last exactly 70 years. Historians note that Babylon captured Israel (and took inhabitants away as slaves) in the spring of 606 B.C. and that exiles were allowed to return precisely 70 years later (just as foretold) in the spring of 536 BC.

The fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy of 70 years of exile (Israel not being an independent nation) took place in 536 BC when exiles returned to Jerusalem. However, that still left 360 years of judgment to be served  (430 – 70 years = 360 years). Though exiles were allowed to return to Israel, Israel would remain part of the Persian Empire for some years. One might ask: What happens 360 years later? Did Israel become an independent nation at that time (176 BC)? The answer is no. In fact, when Jesus ministered on the earth, Israel still had not re-established as a nation. At the turn of the 20th century, Israel still had not become an independent nation, and this is  why.

Leviticus 26:18 indicates that in the face of stubborn rebellion, the Lord “will punish you seven times more for your sins.” Many Hebrews returned to Israel, but most quickly fell away from true faith. Therefore, the 360 years noted were to be multiplied by seven, equaling a total of 2520 biblical years  [360 day years]. To convert the 2,520 prophetic years into solar [365.25 day] years, one must multiply 2,520 by the 360 days in the prophetic/biblical year (907,200 days). The next step is to divide 907,200 days by 365.25 (the length of a solar year). The answer is 2,483 calendar years, 9 months, 21 days. Therefore, Ezekiel’s prophecy indicates that the end of Israel’s displacement/judgment would occur 2,483 calendar years, 9 months, 21 days after the end of the Babylonian exile (which took place on July 23, 537 B.C.). When one adds 2,483 calendar years, 9 months, 21 days to July 23, 537 BC (the year in which the Babylonian captivity ended), they arrive at May 14, 1948 (the precise day Israel regained their independence under UN Charter).

In a similar way, the 69 week prophecy in Daniel 9:25-27 presents a prophetic clock—a countdown of 173,880 days from the day a Persian King presents a specific declaration until the Messiah is presented in Jerusalem (the Triumphal Entry) and shortly thereafter “cut off” (crucified).

The precision of Bible prophecy is astounding. The accuracy of Bible prophecy strongly supports the view that the Bible is a divinely inspired.