The Old Testament is formed of the first 39 books of the Bible. They were mainly
written in Hebrew although there are elements of Aramaic, and they are rooted in
the history of Israel from before its establishment in the land of Canaan in about
2,000 BC to its status as a province of the Persian Empire in about 400BC.
As with the New Testament there is a considerable amount of evidence to show that
the Old Testament is a reliable record of the history of Israel and of the events
it describes. This evidence includes the following:-
Archaeology: The Old Testament contains records of the construction of buildings
and cities, of wars and battles, of people and of customs. Sometimes an inscription
was left behind by an important person and provides a description of events or people.
Undesigned Coincidences: The wide range of writers of Old Testament books leaves
a wealth of different and independent narratives. Insignificant details in these
can be compared with one another; this shows that the narratives are accurate and
Manuscript Evidence: The text of the Old Testament is guaranteed by the very careful
copying of the manuscripts by Jewish scribes over the ages. The reliability of this
copying process can be assessed by comparing modern texts with ancient translations
like the septuagint (from the third century BC) and the Dead Sea Scrolls (second
and first centuries BC).
This evidence is good enough on its own to show that the modern text of the Old Testament
gives an accurate account of the actions of men and the words of the prophets in
In addition to the evidence that shows that the Old Testament has a reliable account
of the words and actions of the prophets and of the history of Israel there is evidence
that the Old Testament contains words and ideas that could not have originated with
ordinary human beings. These are the words of God, written by men inspired by God
to write them. The evidence to support this includes:
Fulfilled Prophecy: The Old Testament contains large numbers of passages which predict
events that were in the future as far as the prophets were concerned. Many of these
refer to times which are now past. The predictions in these prophecies have been
fulfilled. It is impossible for human writers to produce predictions with this degree
of detail and accuracy.
Harmony of Message: The Old Testament covers a period of more than a thousand years
and the Bible (including the New Testament) a period of almost 1500 years. It was
written by people from widely different walks of life and different cultural backgrounds.
In spite of this it has a single uniform message. The project of the Bible would
need to be managed by someone with the power to span ages, classes and cultures.
Only God could do this.
Scientific Statements: The earliest elements of the Bible were written in the Middle
Bronze Age and the latest parts were written in the early Roman Empire. The scientific
understanding of these periods was poor by modern standards and there were many false
theories. In spite of this the Bible avoids scientific mistakes, and one major modern
scientific theory was directly derived from the Bible.
The Witness of Jesus Christ: Jesus was a person in a unique position to judge the
Old Testament. He gives a full endorsement to the idea that it was inspired by God.
The evidence for inspiration is strong. It is worth looking at. Click on the links
to the right of this page to look at specific kinds of evidence.