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The Bible: What Really Happened?

Tonight the Discovery Channel is running a three hour special on Jesus: The Complete Story. Consecutive hours will address The Early Years; The Mission; and The Last Days.

Advertising copy for the first segment reads: “Explore the strange fables that surround Jesus’ birth. Follow the childhood and early adult years of Jesus using a first century living museum newly opened in Nazareth. Find out why Jesus began his mission and why he chose to live his life the way he did.”

Expect this series to follow the pattern of other “mysteries of the Bible” and “mysteries of Jesus” specials aired on the Discovery and History Channels. It will most likely try to appeal to a broad audience of “spiritually interested” viewers by mixing quotes of those who believe the accounts of the Bible, with fanciful stories, and the kind of questions asked by those who begin with the assumption that, at best, the story of the Bible is about faith, and that anything it says about the miraculous must remain a mystery. (That is often the “public statement” hiding the real assumption that the one thing we know for sure is that the kind of miracles the Bible describes just don’t happen.)

As surfaced in the discussion of our last post, Matthew’s reference to Herod’s slaughter of Bethlehem’s sons, as recorded in 2:16, is one of those events that historical critics like to point to. If there is no corroborating evidence outside of the Bible they like to challenge the credibility of the Testaments by raising questions about “what really happened.”

This is of special interest to me because for the last few weeks our Day of Discovery television team (not related to the Discovery Channel), has been developing a series of 10 programs designed to answer the popular books and programs that regularly challenge the historical reliability of the Bible.

Admittedly, because the Bible tells the story of God’s involvement in history, its inspired authors leave many details to our imagination. In addition, historical critics love to point out that the Gospel accounts tell the stories of Jesus in ways that do not always match either in chronology or quoted words.

So, we’ve been working with scholars who have given their lives not only to the study of the Bible, but also to answering the kinds of “historical problems” that so often show up in the secular media.

Although I can’t begin to net out the whole series we are working on, what I can say is that I’ve found the project so reinforcing to my own confidence in Scripture and am so grateful for those men and women who are willing to face the tough issues long enough to show that it makes far more sense to believe the biblical accounts as they read, than to accept the idea that later generations rewrote the miraculous elements back into its history. (One or more of such scholars often show up in the kind of special that is airing tonight on the Discovery Channel. They do us a valuable service by representing the educated and reasoned conclusions of those who take the Bible seriously)

As the educators and researchers we’ve been working with have been so good in pointing out, there is so much in the Bible that “true believers” would never have written if it didn’t really happen. There are way too many embarrassing events in the lives of Abraham, David, and the disciples. There are way too many healthy differences of perspective in the Gospels to assume that the writers collaborated or conspired to tell a story that wasn’t true. The prophets and disciples of the Bible were way too willing to suffer and die for miraculous events rooted in historical and geographical detail, if they had known they were telling lies.

And what I find most compelling is not only that the Bible has stood the test of critics for hundreds of years, but that its over all story, from Genesis to Revelation, was written in such a way that it could not have been fabricated. As so many have pointed out, written over a period of 1500 years by at least 40 authors, it tells one story that combines prophecy with history, history with principle, and principle with consequence in ways that resonate so deeply with life as we know it.

Yet, having said that, the fact remains that the Bible leaves enough unsaid to give us a chance to personally trust the God and Savior of the Bible to show himself faithful to us in the yet unfinished story of our own lives.

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18 Responses to “The Bible: What Really Happened?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    During my walk with the Lord, my most rewarding moments in reading scripture have always been when I’ve been challenged. It always caused me to read deeper into the Word to fathom out the truth. Somewhere in that journey I always find a peace that causes me to remark to myself that, I know, I just know. The truth is also always followed by conformation from the Holy Spirit.

    RBC is to be congratulated for taking on this huge task of countering secular attacks on the Bible. I am looking forward to the finished product.

    I have found that the “Word” the “Bible” is a document written with the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit all over it. How indeed could 40 authors over 1600 years have collaborated to invent a scheme?

    The spirit of the anti-Christ doesn’t rest and we shouldn’t either. Time is short and the prize is no less than the souls of the lost.

    I am strengthened by every attack from the evil one.

    Christ being first in my life, I also enjoy history and science.
    In spite of scientist’s who try and disprove God. God is always proven by their feeble attempts to disprove his existence.
    History always proves man’s inability to govern himself. And his need for the Christ.

  2. macsisson22 says:

    A friend of mine likes to point out that if man had written the Bible apart from the guidence of the Holy Spirit he would have made it more difficult to attain eternal life.

    This fits well with what Paul wrote in Ephesians and Titus; “not of works …” and “Not by works>”

    Like Naaman of old we would rather wash in rivers closer to home or do some great thing to be cleansed from our leporsy of sin. If left to ouselves we create God in our own immage.

    This is why religions of “works” are so appealing to so many.

    The other thing that these “mystery specials” and the cults like to deny is the deity of Christ.

    When the cults come to my door I usually ask the question, “What must I DO to attain eternal life?” There responses almost always allow me to camp on the verses in Ephesians and Titus.

    I also set up a Bible with over 20 tabs in the Old Testamant with direct reference to God, and corresponding tabs in the New Testament showing Christ as the fulfilment or receiver of title. The tabs allows me to quickly turn from testament to testament.

  3. pegramsdell says:

    I heard a pastor this sunday say that being led by the
    Spirit of God is like pointing a flashlight in front of you. You can see some, but not too far ahead.
    The bible says we see in part and know in part.
    I mean, how much faith would it take if I knew everything? I want to be like a child in need of her Father.
    I want to believe everything I read in the bible. Not part. All of it.

  4. poohpity says:

    My boys asked me what I want for Christmas and I could never really answer but now I know, to sit at those tables with DOD team. I hope one day those discussions will not only be seen on DOD but on The Discovery Channel so that a large audience would be able to hear the truth.

    It reminds me of satan’s reasoning with Jesus in His tempting just enough of the truth to cause someone to doubt. It is also the reasoning that believers are put through when they do not have the foundation of the Word.

    Please keep my mom in prayers today her pain level is very high and she will not take pain meds.

  5. daisymarygoldr says:

    Personally, I am yet to notice a missing detail in the Bible. I believe that God has revealed everything about Himself…everything that He wants us to know. Just because I cannot see certain details, it does not mean that they are not revealed. Now, my human mind may not understand the divine mind of God…, hence the hidden mysteries. For now, I will just remain contented with whatever I know…because this is all I need to know…and what I need to know is- Jesus. Should I even worry about the secret things that God knows but I cannot understand? No! “The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions. (Deut 29:29)!

    Also, agree about trusting God and having faith…

  6. sitsathisfeet says:

    Ijust spent the day yesterday with my sisters,(two), my daughter, and two neices, and young nephew. We were celebrating my mother’s 89th birthday. We were discussing Christmas and the way our society or culture views it. I got the opportunity to share some scripture from Luke 2:36-38 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God, and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. My thought after our conversation was that God would accomplish his purposes, no matter what. And that is what assurance we have and know to be true. Praise God! My sister remarked that it had been 14 years since we had all been together to celebrate my mother’s birthday. Of course it is only a shadow of what is to come when we celebrate with our Lord as shown in the book of Revelation. We know the world does not accept Him, but we believers accept him, nor does the world know him or accept his truth, or can see him or accept his Kingship, but we do. I think it’s great what RBC is doing so that other’s might hear, and believe. But we already have our proof, through faith – for me it is more than enough.

  7. wretch-like-me says:

    How can I begin to share the whirlwind of thoughts that are triggered by all the comments?

    1. Marti, I wouldnt expect the media or the ‘world’ to create something positive about God, Jesus, the Bible, or Christianity. The World Hates Us. Satan Rules here.
    Having worked in the media for sometime, I have witnessed the ‘creative editing’ first hand and trust me when I say it is amazing what can be done by some technically proficient flunkies hoodwinked by Satan.
    It will be interesting to see how they handle the comments of those who truly believe.

    2.Hopefully, the team at RBC has an outlet that wont edit the summation of all their hard work. Please keep us informed of where and when we can view the broadcast. It will be our job to evangelize the lost by inviting those within our circle of influence to view with us the finished product.

    3. Poohpity, sorry to hear about your mom’s pain level. I pause now, to pray for her God’s comfort and peace that surpasses understanding. I invite all who read my post to join me and keep the prayer going.
    I am not comparing her pain to mine or my wife’s but we each suffer chronic pain and have learned to deal with it in our own special way. God opens that door for us and carries us thru to a place of comfort and peace.

    4. Sounds like we all agree in a Child-like faith. Not that it makes worldly sense. However, scripture is clear about worldly vs Godly wisdom. Read Psalms. Faith comes by hearing the Word. (Reading it counts,too!) Maturing in Christ comes by practicing the Faith. Love that word ‘practice’. We are not perfect but we are being perfected in Christ. I urge you brothers and sisters to practice your faith and become stronger by living out your faith. Share the most powerful witness you have and that is your story of failure without Christ and redemption in Christ and restoration because of Christ. Keeping growing in Christ and your witness will grow and bear fruit in the right season. We are only workers in the field, some plowing, some planting, some weeding, some watering, some propping up stems or vines, some pruning, and someday, harvesting.

    Be Careful givers of the Love of Christ. Be humble servants remembering that the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

    Marti, one final thought. Have you ever considered the role/personality of each of the Trinity? Father God, Son, and Holy Spirit each have different roles as told by Scripture? Would you please comment?

  8. DarleneJoy says:

    I’ve never quite understood the tough questions that people ask regarding the Bible – God has given me a simple faith that accepts His Word as it is and I believe it implicitly. As I’ve grown older, I have been challenged to ask some tough questions and to be able to articulate why I believe the Word of God is truth.

    I am so thankful for the wisdom and knowledge and understanding that God gives to us – in different measures – and for those who are committed to shining light into the Scriptures. May we never stop seeking a deeper understanding of God and His Word.

    Thank you, Lord, that You have given us Your Word and the Holy Spirit to continually guide us into a greater understanding of You. You ARE the truth. Please give us the faith to believe when we don’t understand everything. Thank You that You have already won the victory over the devil and that Your truth will prevail.

  9. Mart De Haan says:

    Checked with one of our video producers today and he said that “Jesus & the Gospels, Answers to Tough Questions,” will air January 18 & 25 – 7:30am, on Ion TV. The other 8 (Jesus: Man, Messiah, or More?) begin airing February 22 and run through Easter Sunday (8 weeks).

    Those of you who don’t get Ion cable network should be able to stream these videos from Dayofdiscovery.org once they air.

  10. poohpity says:

    Thank you for your prayers for my mom. I also understand bone pain because I have osteoarthritis through out my body. My mom’s is where her tumors from cancer are and she is having trouble breathing. I am sure many like Matt understand pain in the bone too. We all understand pain and our High Priest as well knows pain beyond description. So pain is nothing new and until the day we die we will experience sorrow, suffering and pain. Hopefully in those groaning we can come along side one another in comfort and support because we can empathize.

    I know I am not Mart but the book of Colossians gives pretty good description of the Trinity.

  11. SFDBWV says:

    You wonderful Saints heard here in this post are a credit to our faith.

    Some years ago i was working under a wonderful young man who was just too intelligent to believe. He liked and respected me very much and one day as we worked together he softly ask me ” Steve how can you believe all that stuff?” (I would constantly witness to him in word and deed). My only answer was “Because it’s true.”

    Later in life after I had to retire, we met again. His first remarks to me was that he now he understands. He and his family were in a good church and his concern now was for his children to understand as well.

    Paul made his famous speach on Mars Hill, But the intellectuals of his day were too intelegent to believe as well.

    Long time back, I bought Readers Digest books that were about Jesus and Biblical matters. I was offended at the language used to describe Jesus, the disiples or about every thing I found within the pages… I learned.

    I watched part of a couple Christian topics being presented on Discovery Channel, History Channel, ect… I learned

    They are presented as an afront against the accepted belief of most all of Christianity. And presented as if they were the last word on the subject…. They learned nothing.

    I too join with you all in prayer for Deborah’s mother.

  12. BruceC says:


    May the Lord richly bless you and all the others at Day of Discovery/Our Daily Bread for standing up for the Truth and presenting the Word of God as it should be. You will recieve a great reward for all your work. Just as those who tear down the Bible publically and get many to fall into their deception. But yours shall be pleasant and sweet, theirs not so. Amazed at times how some of those “Professors of Theology” have the gaul to call His Truth a fable. But this is the world we live in and this world will soon be in for its greatest shock when the King of Kings returns.
    How anyone can look to History/Discovery Channels for scriptural truth is beyond me; but the deception and lies of satan are everywhere. I just wish that Day of Discovery had the same prime time exposure that the other programs have! But again the deceiver does all he can to squash the truth.
    The greatest threat of deception is that it sometimes hides its lie under just enough truth to make it sound credible. Their day is coming.
    His Word says that without faith it is impossible to please God. I thank Him for the indescribable Truth that He has written upon my heart. God bless you Mart and your co-workers!

  13. poohpity says:

    Amen BruceC!

  14. poohpity says:

    How come there are no women at the table with the team in the above picture?

  15. plumbape says:

    Well I guess I’m being punished for not turning in my comments on time. I can’t seem to get back on the current topic for some reason. It does show the page and the topic Mart wrote down to #7 in the list he refers to but it is blank on down. I’ve made several different attempts but the same result. I can see on this page there has been additional comments since I last logged in but I guess it is my connection. I,ll try back later, don’t mark me absent yet…!

  16. Mart De Haan says:

    I’ve had that happen before too. Sometimes I think it might have to do with the computer’s memory cache. On occasion it may also be because of a problem on our end. Sometimes there’s a quirky thing that happens when I’m doing a post through a Mozilla Firefox browser. When I copy in comments they show up fine on Firefox, but when I use the Internet Explorer browser to see how it shows the post, everything is messed up. When I track down the problem, it’s that Firefox has thrown in a lot of “garbage code” that seems to be invisible to Firefox but messes up IE. Anyway, I just noticed that your comments came through on the next post. Thanks for your patience…

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