Aesop's Fables

Do you ever tire of hearing people question the accuracy of the Biblical account?  All of my life I have heard people declare that the Bible is simply a book of fairytales concocted by people over the centuries which is now used to validate their particular religious viewpoint.  These same people believe that the Bible is not God-inspired but is rather a collection, if you will, of fables or stories much like “Aesop’s Fables” or “Grimm’s Fairytales.” 


There is a particular study of Biblical matters called “apologetics” which is basically a study of the proofs of the Bible.  It is used to validate the historicity of the Bible along with the truths contained therein.  Apologetics has taken on particular importance in contemporary society where people seem to question everything.  Cynicism is viewed as a virtue and faith has a diminished role in society.  There was once a day when the Bible was accepted without question; today that is no longer true. 

Contrary to expectation, science and particularly the study of archeology, has proven to be the friend of Christianity.  Discoveries, such as the “Dead Sea Scrolls”, have proven the accuracy of the Bible and its consistency throughout history.  The remains of Sodom and Gomorrah have apparently been located at the southern end of the Dead Sea.  There are accounts of the Ark of the Covenant being located under the Temple Mount.  The position of Solomon’s Stables has been established.  There are extra-Biblical writings which refer to Jesus as a man who was crucified and reported to have been brought back to life.  To date, there has been no archeological discovery that has disputed the Biblical account.

We are fortunate that the Bible is generally available for our use and study.  God’s Word was once used as teaching material in our school system.  Organizations exist, such as the Gideon’s, which make a practice of disseminating God’s Word.  Numerous versions of the Bible can be found including versions in most of the languages of the world today.  There was a time in America when you would find the family Bible proudly displayed on a table in the living room.  While other books have passed into the shadows of time, the Bible remains. 

As time goes by, which portion of God’s Word will last forever?  Will it be only the important parts about creation and salvation, the teachings of Jesus that tell has how to live a moral life, the great stories that get handed down from one generation to another, or will it be every single detail, from the smallest letter to the least stroke of the pen?

Jesus repeatedly stated that nothing contained in the law would pass away until everything had been accomplished.  When He made this statement, He was not referring to any particular edict or principle; instead, He meant that truly not even the smallest article (jot or tittle) would pass away.  All would remain in its complete entirety until everything was fulfilled.

Matthew 5:18

** New International Version

King James Version

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.


For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Similarly, in the Olivet Discourse, He foretold the longevity of His teachings and emphasized the eternal importance of His words.  It is the Olivet Discourse which contains Jesus’ description of the end times and the signs of His Second Coming.

Matthew 24:35

** New International Version

King James Version

Heaven and earth will disappear but my words will remain forever.


Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

This book we call the Bible is not just a book containing interesting stories, legal principles and moral teachings; it is also a history book just like any other history book that contains the original observations of those who were present at the time.  It is a history book containing original stories and observations written for one primary purpose, to provide the passageway to God. 

Today, just as they did then, we rely upon eyewitness accounts to provide information that can be used in our decision-making.  Whether it be a corporate report, a financial statement, an eyewitness account in court, a weather report or a news story, we rely upon the observations of those people who are present at the time.  We make decisions based upon the reports given and the credibility of the provider.  If the provider’s reputation suggests that he possesses a high degree of reliability, we give credence to the report, even if the report does not seem to be reasonable.  On the other hand, if the provider lacks credibility, we will dismiss the report even if it may be plausible.

Luke was a physician, a meticulous man who was devoted to accuracy in everything he did.  In the following passage he makes it clear that this was a rendition of the facts provided by eyewitness account which was thoroughly investigated and understood.  These facts were then written in an orderly manner so that the reader (Theophilus) would know with certainty what he was told.  It was a book of instruction and as such had to be absolutely correct and trustworthy.  Although we do not know Luke personally, we can ascribe great credibility to his writings because of his profession, the fact that he was an eyewitness to what he reported and most importantly, his life choices made in reliance upon his observations.  In other words, Luke died as a martyr for what he observed, wrote about and believed in.  It is his death that brings the highest degree of credibility to what he said. 


Luke 1:1-4

** New International Version

King James Version

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.


Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;

3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.


The rendition contained in the Biblical account is considered accurate for the reasons set forth above.  They are eyewitness accounts by those who were present at the time and by many who ultimately died for what they believed in. 

Another example of the eyewitness account is that of John who was also known as the disciple whom Jesus loved.  John did not die as a martyr but rather was exiled on the Isle of Patmos where he lived out his days until he was an old man.  Those days were days filled with physical and emotional suffering resulting from his belief in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

1 John 1:1-4

** New International Version

King James Version

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.


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, of the Word of life;2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.


This issue of reliability is not just a contemporary issue.  It was apparently present during the time of Christ immediately following His resurrection as it was specifically addressed by Peter in his writings.  Peter emphasized the significance of the eyewitness account and the fact that what was stated was factual and not fictitious.  Peter’s credibility also resides in the fact of his martyred death due to his refusal to recant his faith.

2 Peter 1:16

** New International Version

King James Version

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.


For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.


The Book of Acts records the growth and development of the first century church and contains several references to the fact that the attestation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ was due to eyewitness accounts.  The resurrection of Jesus was a fact; it was real; it was undeniable.

Acts 2:32, 3:15, 13:31

** New International Version

King James Version

Acts 2:32-33

32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.


Acts 3:15-16

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.


Acts 13:31

and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.


Acts 2:32

32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.


Acts 3:15

5 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.


Acts 13:31

31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.


Finally, Paul, formerly Saul who was the Pharisee amongst Pharisees, wrote about his experience and the eyewitness testimony of those of his day.  In his letter to the church at Corinth, he makes mention not only of his own eyewitness experience but also of the eyewitness experience of more than 500 other believers who could attest to the post-crucifixion appearances of Jesus Christ.  The importance of the recitation of the 500 appearances is that there is no such thing as a mass hallucination; moreover, there is no record disputing this particular recitation or any of the other passages cited above. 


1 Corinthians 15:3-8

** New International Version

King James Version

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.


3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.


Due to the fact that the Bible is a collection of eyewitness accounts handed down over time, many people contend that it is a writing copied by men and as a result, errors must have arisen with each new version.  What they do not understand is the process by which the Bible has been transcribed.


The Bible was originally recorded by the Sopherim (scribes) between the fifth and third centuries B.C.  These scribes were then eclipsed by the Talmudic scribes from A.D. 100-500 who were then followed by the Masoretic scribes (A.D. 500-900).  Their rules of transcription were so rigorous that when a new copy was complete, they would give the reproduction equal authority to that of its parent copy because they were thoroughly convinced that they had an exact duplicate. 

As it concerned the Old Testament text, the Masoretic guidelines for copying manuscripts required the following:

  • The scroll must be written on the skin of a clean animal.
  • Each skin must contain a specified number of columns, equal throughout the entire book.
  • The length of each column must extend no less than forty-eight lines or more than sixty lines.
  • The column breadth must consist of exactly thirty letters.
  • The space of a thread must appear between every consonant.
  • The breadth of nine consonants had to be inserted between each section.
  • A space of three lines had to appear between each book.
  • The fifth book of Moses (Deuteronomy) had to conclude exactly with a full line.
  • Nothing, not even the shortest word, could be copied from memory; it had to copied letter by letter.
  • The scribe must count the number of times each letter of the alphabet occurred in each book and compare it to the original.
  • If a manuscript was found to contain even one mistake, it was discarded.

The accuracy of the Scriptures was recently confirmed by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Before 1947, the oldest complete Hebrew manuscript dated to A.D. 900, but with the discovery of 223 manuscripts in caves on the west side of the Dead Sea, we now have Old Testament manuscripts that have been dated at around 125 B.C.


Once translated, the scrolls proved to be virtually identical, word for word, in more than 95 percent of the text.  The five percent variation consisted mainly of spelling variations, e.g. of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, only 17 letters were in question.  Of those, 10 letters were a matter of spelling and 4 were stylistic changes; the remaining 3 letters comprised the word “light,” which was added in verse 11.  In other words, the greatest manuscript discovery of all time revealed that a thousand years of copying the Old Testament produced only excruciatingly minor variations, none of which altered the clear meaning of the text or brought the manuscript’s fundamental integrity into question.  Suffice it to say that each letter of each copy was extensively validated so that there was no question that the copy was exactly like the original.  The only possible way to make it more accurate would be to use a photocopy machine.

The importance of the law and its place in Hebrew society was emphasized to the point that the law of God held the foremost position in the land of Israel.  Moses made it clear that the fate of Israel and its people relied upon the law and their adherence to those commandments.

Deuteronomy 6:3-9

** New International Version

King James Version

3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.   5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.


3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.


Consequently, there was a price to pay if the people failed to follow the law laid down by their Creator.  These consequences dictated that the accuracy of the law was paramount in importance.  The following verses do not fully encompass the curses that would afflict the people should they fail to keep the law but are indicative of what would befall them.

Deuteronomy 28:15-20

** New International Version

King James Version

15 However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: 16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.

17 Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. 18 The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. 19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out. 20 The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.


15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 20 The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.


As it concerns the New Testament text, two standards are applied:

  1. What the time interval is between the original and the earliest copy; and,
  2. How many manuscripts are available.

In order to compare various ancient writings which remain unquestioned in their historical accuracy, we should consider the following:

  1. Caesar’s exploits in the Gallic Wars – 10 manuscript copies, the earliest of which dates to within 1,000 years of the time “The Gallic Wars” was written.
  1. Livy’s “History of Rome” relies on one partial manuscript and nineteen much later copies that are dated from 400 to 1,000 after the original writing.
  1. Homer’s “Iliad” is supported by 643 manuscript copies in existence today with a mere 400 year gap between the date of composition and the earliest copies available for examination today.

The New Testament, on the other hand, has 25,000 manuscripts in libraries and universities throughout the world.  The earliest of these is a fragment of John’s Gospel currently located in the John Rylands Library of Manchester, England; it has been dated to within 50 years of the date when the apostle John penned the original.

As for external confirmation of God’s Word, the Bible is the most widely referenced and quoted book in history.  The New Testament is so extensively quoted in the ancient manuscripts of nonbiblical authors that all 27 books from Matthew to Relevation could be reconstructed virtually word for word from those sources.

Additionally, the writings of early Christians confirm the Biblical account.  These writers include:

  1. Eusebius (A.D. 339) – Ecclesiastical History
  2. Irenaeus (A.D. 180) – Against Heresies
  3. Clement of Rome (A.D. 95), Ignatius (A.D. 70-110), Polycarp (A.D. 70-156) and Titian (A.D. 170).

Other non-Christian historians such as Tacitus (A.D. 55-117) and Josephus (A.D. 37-100) also give credence to the Biblical account.

In my personal library, I have volumes penned by Euripedes, Socrates, Plato, Livy, Homer, Aristophanes and Aristotle.  The academic world did not discard their works simply because we did not have abundant validation of the copies handed down from the original manuscripts.  To the contrary, these works are considered some of the greatest writings in history.

On the other hand, many so-called academics dismiss the writings set forth in the Bible as unreliable or worse yet, as fiction, despite the fact that Biblical writings have been validated far more than any other ancient manuscript.  Is the Bible merely a collection of tales and fables?  I think not.  Rather, it is a collection of writings thoroughly documented and validated upon which the fate of all mankind hinges.  It is the most important written work ever penned and should be treated as such.  It is the Holy Word of God.  If you haven’t read it, you might want to.  It might just change your life.

** A modern language quote is provided for readability, but every effort should be made to understand the accompanying KJV version believed by many to be a more accurate representation of the original scripture.


***The study of apologetics is extremely interesting and challenging.  There are a number of authors who study and write on this particular topic.  One of my favorite authors who has had a dramatic impact on my life is Josh McDowell.  I recommend several of his books including “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” and “A Ready Defense.”

Comments or questions may be directed to the author at