If people applied the simplicity of verifying truth, the world would immensely change for the better. There is a simple method for finding the truth. Many do not always want the truth, the responsibility to examine evidence, or the change that truth would make in them. Whether you believe in the Bible or not, all position claiming the truth must bear the burden of proof. In the case of the Bible, this book claims all truth and presents the evidence for each person to decide.
The Standard of Evidence
Confirming events by two or three primary sources is still the legal maxim of proof. This maxim always holds true. Even when some collaborate sources to mislead, the deception always shines through in an honest and diligent investigation. See, by examining two or more eyewitness sources, false testimonies are found out by finding two or more essential discrepancies between these accounts. Likewise, two or three primary sources affirm an event when two or more essential points agree within the witnesses’ accounts. Rome adopted this principle of affirming truth into its ancient courts (cf. the Roman Corpus of Civil Law). Egypt, Greece, India, Crete also used this standard. The Law of Moses embedded this procedure into Israel’s commonwealth. This legal maxim was essential to the founding of English common law and the U.S. judicial system, and now continues. “No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court” (U.S. Constitution: Art. 3, Sect. 3). This legal maxim is so ancient and fundamental that the Bible attributes it to coming from God.
Facts are facts when verified. Verify means “to prove the truth of, as by evidence or testimony; confirm; substantiate.” Verifying the truth is one of the purposes of the Bible and something seen throughout its text. Few realize the effect that the Bible has had upon proving facts. The body of evidence in a court of law, verification of historical events, the sources of honest journalism, and reports of the scientific method rely on this principle as the foundation of discovering facts. The Bible carried this principle throughout the centuries unto modern civilization.
Evidence and the Bible
The Bible carries this principle from its beginning to end. The Bible showed the continual reliability and simple practicality of proving each fact by two or three primary sources. First, when the Bible speaks of “witnesses,” the Bible is referring to primary sources. These sources are witnesses including people (John 3:32; 1 John 1:1), actions (Mark 1:44; 6:11; Heb 2:4), writings (Deut 31:26), songs (Deut 19), monuments (Josh 4:22), and trace evidence (Exod 22:9–15; Deut 22:13–21). Second, even if two or three conspired to bear false witness, the Bible teaches to thoroughly examine these witnesses. Comparing the similarities and symmetry of the accounts of an event is the process for investigating sources and attaining every factual detail. Examining and recognizing the consistency and agreement of two or more essential details verifies every part of the actual event. While these details prove true, this process proves the truth of these testimonial accounts. The investigator can detect inconsistencies and disagreements upon two or three explicit contradictions. Thereby, the diligent observer can know the facts.
This standard of testimonial evidence is the foundation of jurisprudence and the basis of civility. The writers of the New Testament used this principle to prove its claims. When Jesus was openly accused of evil in the Gospel of John, He turned to this eternal truth for His innocence and proof of His identity. Jesus said in John 8:17, “It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true.” Jesus used this standard to prove who He said He was. In John 5, Jesus referred to witnesses proving that He is the Messiah. These witnesses were John the Baptist (5:33–35), God the Father via signs and wonders (5:36–38), and the scriptures (5:39), which include Jesus’s reference to Moses (5:45–47). Jesus was not confirming Himself to make light of a foolish Jewish principle that they used against Him. He was using the scriptural authority of proof. See, the writer of John wrote, “He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe” (John 19:35), “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31), and “This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24). John also used this principle to prove the truth in his epistle of 1 John (1:1–4; 5:6–13). This evidence is still the guiding method used to prove Jesus today as it was two thousand years ago. This is as Jesus commanded His Apostles to bear witness and thus prove Him in preaching throughout the world (Acts 10:36–43). Only prejudice opposes such eyewitnesses.
Israel’s Standard of Evidence
The judicial system of the Mosaical Law relied upon this standard of verification by two or three witnesses. Judges were essential to civil justice under the Mosaical Law (Deut 16:18–20), and these judges used this exact method (Deut 17:6–7; 19:15). God revealed to Israel that they can know the truth by two or three witnesses to the point that those found guilty would receive punishments even unto death. Therefore, God required that Israel’s judges conduct a careful and thorough investigation (Deut 19:18–20). Israel applied the wisdom of relying upon the proof of witnesses in everyday life. When Boaz bought land, he did so before witnesses and the elders at the gate of Bethlehem, who judged and confirmed Boaz’s trade by which he gave one of his sandals to bear witness (Ruth 4). Jeremiah also bought land with witnesses, signed a deed that bore witness, and sealed the deed as a prophecy of Judah’s coming captivity (Jer 32). This same affirmation is still used today on contracts, wills, and marriage licenses.
All of the Bible centers upon affirming the truth via testimony. Moses wrote in his Law, “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you” (Deut 31:26), hence references to “the two tablets of the testimony” (Exod 31:18), “the ark of the testimony” (Exod 31:7), and “the tabernacle of the testimony” (Exod 38:21). What testimony? This is the Law of Moses. Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy are the witnesses that form the Mosaical Law as a testimony against God’s people, who break His Law.
Evidence and the Gospels
Why are there four Gospels? Do they not bear witness? Besides the uniqueness of the four Gospels, Matthew and John testified of what they saw and heard. Mark and Luke wrote and verified testimonies of other eyewitnesses. Each Gospel affirmed the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus. The gospels verify the wonderful works that Jesus did proving that He was from God bringing the Truth of God, and God bore witness by these signs and wonders (John 20:30–31, Heb 2:1–4). The Apostles knew what they were doing. They were proving that Jesus is the predicted Messiah from God. Proof after proof fills each gospel for the world to cross-examine these eyewitness reports.
After Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection, His Apostles were willing to testify in court and willing to face the charge of perjury. The exact definition of “perjury” from par meaning “false” and jury meaning “witness.” The Apostles challenged the courts to find them guilty of false witness making them open to receive its due punishment. When the Apostles appeared before the Jewish court, the Sanhedrin, they said, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), and “we are His witnesses to these things” (Acts 5:32). The Apostles were never found guilty of perjury. Yet, the Jewish court did take their wrath out on Stephen by stoning him to death when they relied on false witnesses. This is clear corruption. When the unbelieving Jews rose up against the Apostle Paul in Jerusalem, he took the testimony of the Gospel with him to Caesarea and all the way to Rome (Acts 22:15, 23:11). Paul taught and relied upon this legal maxim (2 Cor 13:1). By these infallible proofs, the Gospel spread throughout the world.
As the Law of Moses was a testimony to Israel, Jesus said the Gospel is a witness to all the world (Matt 24:14), and Paul echoed the same that the Gospel is the testimony (2 Tim 1:8, cf. 1 Cor 2:1). Almost every house in the U.S. has the witness of the Bible. In each home, the Word of God bears witness. The proof of Jesus fulfilling predictive prophecies and truly doing miracles is more certain than anything else in history. There is no stronger evidence. Trace and forensic evidence can only suffice to prove the witnesses. Many witnesses recorded in writing confirm the Gospel. The New Testament Scriptures deliver the words of these testimonies to the world. What will the world do with these words? The goal of the Apostles to spread the testimony of the Gospel. Note the words of the apostle John who said in 1 John 1:1–4,
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life — the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us — that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”
My plea to everyone is to examine the Gospels and pursue a pure honesty to accept the truth.