There are two types of evidence that can be used to establish the credibility of the Old Testament. Internal evidence is looking within the text itself and external evidence looks at things outside of the text.
Internal Evidence of Authorship
The Old Testament book of Numbers (33:2) tells us that Moses recorded the journeys of the Israelites and he did so by the commandment of God. We read in the book of Exodus, after the battle against Amalek (17:14) that God told Moses to write for a memorial in a book.
In one of his last acts Moses finished writing the book of the law and then commanded the people to put it inside the ark of the covenant so that it would be a continued reminder to the people (Deuteronomy 31:24-26).
The Law is referred to throughout the remainder of the Old Testament. Judges 3:4, II Kings 21:8 and Malachi 4:4 are just a few places in the Old Testament that mention Moses' writings.
In addition several New Testament writers and Jesus himself support the authorship of Moses on the first five books of the bible – known as the Pentateuch. Matthew 19:7-8, Mark 12:19, Luke 20:28, Acts 3:22 and Romans 10:5 all support the authorship of Moses.
There is also internal evidence for the authenticity of the remainder of the Old Testament. In Matthew 24:15 Jesus validates the authorship of Daniel. He also gives validity of Jonah (Matthew 12:39-40) and Isaiah (Matthew 12:17-21).
External Evidence of Accuracy
Once the Old Testament had been complied it was translated into several various languages. As the years passed the original manuscripts of Moses, the various historians and prophets were used and copied so many times that they eventually disappeared.
Scribes would use ingenious means to guarantee the accuracy of the scroll they were copying. Each scroll contained a count of the number of letters, the number of words, the number of lines, even such significant facts as the middle word or letter. When a copy was made the letters, words, and lines would be counted and double checked against the original. If a difference existed, the entire copy would be checked until the error was located and immediately corrected. If a scroll contained more than the allowed minimum errors it would be destroyed.
In 1947, a revolutionary discovery was made. The Dead Sea scrolls, in the caves at Qumran, were discovered by a shepherd boy. This discovery would yield over 40,000 fragments representing hundreds of scrolls and included every book of the Old Testament except Esther. Some of the fragments represented scrolls that had been written 150 years before Christ, more than a thousand years older than any previously known manuscripts.
Careful examination and comparison of the Qumran scrolls with existing medieval manuscripts revealed a consistency in textual integrity which was unbelievable. There was little noticeable difference between the texts written in 150 B.C. and those written in A.D. 800-900. This evidence supports the accurate preservation of the text.
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