And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
— 2 Peter 1:19-21
The reliability of Scripture is the beginning point upon which a sure foundation of faith is established and built up. Everything we know about the person of God has been divinely communicated to its human authors so that, while using their own writing styles and personalities, they still recorded exactly what God intended — nothing more, nothing less. Thus, it is said to be inspired (God-breathed) and without error (inerrant), which has been the overwhelming position of the Christian church throughout history.
Speaking to the idea of inspiration (2 Peter 1:21), Peter gives clarity to our understanding, likening the writings of the Bible’s human agents to ships without rudders, moved about at the mercy of the wind. In like manner, every word written was done so at the mercy of the Holy Spirit, who was in control of every jot and tittle.
There are many who don’t like the Bible or anything it represents. Such men and women claim it to be filled with error, and thusly unreliable and not to be trusted. I disagree. Rather, I think Billy Sunday characterized such people best when he wrote, “The reason you don’t like the Bible, you old sinner, is because it knows all about you.”
One reason I believe the Bible to be true and reliable is its unparalleled track record. In an article written by Dr. David R. Reagan, titled Applying the Science of Probability to the Scriptures, he writes concerning the work of Peter Stoner, who selects eight of the best-known prophecies about the Messiah and calculates the odds of their accidental fulfillment in one person as being one in 1017, or one in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (one hundred quadrillion).
As pointed out in Sunday’s sermon, Stoner illustrated the significance of this number, asking the reader to imagine filling the state of Texas knee-deep in silver dollars. Include in this huge number one silver dollar with a black check mark on it. Then, turn a blindfolded person loose in this sea of silver dollars. The odds that the first coin he picked up would be the one with the black check mark are the same odds as eight prophecies being fulfilled accidentally in the life of Jesus.
The point, of course, is that when people say that the fulfillment of prophecy in the life of Jesus was accidental, they do not know what they are talking about. Keep in mind that Jesus did not just fulfill eight prophecies, He fulfilled 108. The chances of fulfilling 16 is one in 1045 (or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). When you get to a total of 48 prophecies, the odds increase to 1 in 10157 (or 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). Accidental fulfillment of these prophecies is simply beyond the realm of possibility” (Read Reagan’s complete article at http://christinprophecy.org/articles/applying-the-science-of-probability-to-the-scriptures.
Is the Bible reliable? Is it trustworthy? Can you safely invest eternity in it? Yes, you can.