Imagine your child approached you and said something fantastical:
Mom, a bright white pegasus landed on our driveway. It stood there but a moment, let out a neigh, and then took for running down the street. Right as it approached the Miller’s house, it opened up it’s wings and began to fly away.
Would you believe this story? Probably not, but your child is so instant that it happened. He suggests you ask his little sister, who happened to be standing at the window with him.
Little Abbie affirms that your son is telling the truth. She describes the pegasus in great detail. But, of course this is the same child who sees garden gnomes frolicking through your garden each Easter… and is convinced that her toys come to life each night just like in the movie Toy Story.
You’re clearly doubting the story even more, but then your eldest daughter runs into the room from outside….
Mom, did you see that? I think I saw a flying horse! I was pulling into the driveway from work, and I saw horse running toward the Millers. I’ve never seen a horse around here, so I just stopped and watched it. Then two great big wings came off it’s side and it FLEW AWAY.
Suddenly, you are not quite so sure that this is a made up story. Not only is your eldest rarely in agreement with your son, but she wasn’t even in the house. There is no way they could be in cahoots. As you walk out the door, you see the Millers standing in their driveway staring up at the sky….
Did you see THAT? It was amazing! This big horse just took off flying! It ran toward our house and then just as I went outside to see the commotion it flew off over my head!
What you have here is four distinct stories about the event that happened. They are not identical, but they don’t contradict each other. While one uses the term pegasus specifically, all four stories are about a flying horse. The nuances of each store are unique to the person who is reporting the event, but these differences don’t contradict the overall story.
The youngest may note the horse as being pretty with long flowing manes. The son however may have described how muscular and massive the horse was, impressed by it’s strength and speed. Your teenager may have been more attentive to where it was going, behaviors, and the reactions of others around her. Again, these differences do not negate that they all saw the same thing, but indicate that there were different aspects of the sighting that caught their attention.
When the police begin to question eye witnesses to a crime scene, there is a benefit in multiple witnesses. All the witnesses may have seen the same man, the same get away car. However the mechanic is going to be able to give better details on the car. The gal who works at a local store will recognize his outfit from their selection. A teenage boy down the street may recognize his shoes because he has the same pair. The older woman across the way may recall seeing him in the neighborhood earlier that week with a bunch of other teens.
A police officer uses ALL of these stories pieced together in order to build the big picture. The additional details that one may have over another fill in the blanks. If nine out of ten people say the car was red, chances are they are correct and not the one person who said it was orange. Multiple accounts help weed out the less accurate information, confirm the accurate information, and fill in the gaps.
This is why I believe the Bible. It is an anthology of collected writings that all are pieced together to create a bigger picture. Sixty six different books, written by different authors, over a period of time. Despite their nuanced differences, they do no contradict each other but instead complete the narrative.
Just like our examples before, the pegasus and the police, The Gospels are an eyewitness account to the life, miracles, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ. These four different books, written by four different authors, from four different perspectives will vary in the details and yet still tell the same story.
I can use the Bible to prove itself, by looking at information in one section and comparing it to the information in another section.
I can trust the Old Testament’s accuracy because the Hebrews were incredible record keepers, listing out inventories, exact instructions, and specific genealogies. I can trust the accuracy in the fact that Old Testament Prophecies are not only fulfilled in the Old Testament (by the Hebrews/Jews) but also in the New Testament (by Christ’s followers). I can trust the accuracy of the scriptures because the overall story is consistent from beginning to end. I can trust the accuracy of the scriptures because archaeology and other historical documents confirm (and continue to confirm) locations and events in history.
If I trust the accuracy, I can trust the authors.