I thank Dr. John for submitting this question. The question goes to the very foundation of Scriptural studies. I mean a person who would study the Scriptures would first want to know that they were reliable.
WHAT THE SCRIPTURE SAYS ABOUT ITSELF
The first thing we should know about Scripture is by its own admission, “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God”. (2 Timothy 3:16)
Second, Scripture also tells us that God does not lie.
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)
Third, God’s Word will always continue to stand.
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
So therefore, what we are told in Scripture is that Scripture is inspired by God, the God Who does not lie, and will always endure. I, therefore, only see one of two alternatives when it comes to the Scripture: either it is truthful and must all be accepted or it is false and must all be rejected.
Now it is of important note here that the majority of Scripture deals with spiritual matters which means that there are some matters which can only be accepted by faith. As such, it takes God Himself to reveal these matters to the heart.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ (Isaiah 29:14)
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks (or Gentiles) foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
However, the Scripture also is factual in all matters that it addresses, which means that there are also things about the Scriptures in the natural world that can be investigated. The study of questions regarding the Christian faith is the very basis of a field all its own to which many good men and women dedicate their lives: apologetics. At first glance, the name, apologetics, might sounds like someone giving an apology for something. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth; in actuality, this word comes from the Greek word, apologia, which means defense. So apologetics is the study of the defense of the Christian faith, which makes the field quite expansive and diverse in its subject matter. Since volumes have been written on the subject, for the reader who is interested, I can recommend a few resources of study.
For those interested in science, Answers in Genesis
Answers in Genesis covers a vast array of scientific questions regarding the Bible and Creation; for the historical evidence for the Bible, I’ve read Josh McDowell’s book, More Than a Carpenter, was good. I’ve also heard that Lee Strobel is a good writer on the historical evidence of the Bible.
It is very important that we have answers for those who have questions, but I would close by reminding the reader what the Bible was written for. Though it does contain historical books and trace amounts of science, the Bible was not written as a science or history book; it was written so that we might know God and might come to Him.
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)