I am twelve years old. I am studying the Bible, because the subject of the end of the world scares me and I think I have found some answers as I read it. But my relatives and friends tell me that I shouldn’t believe everything that is written in the Bible. They say that over time many people have manipulated the Bible, have taken out parts, and have put in other parts based on their own opinions. According to them, the Bible has lost credibility because of this….
I don’t know what to do. I hope that you can help me and that your answer can make my friends see that the Bible is the Word of God.
We congratulate you for your interest in the Bible! It contains principles and lessons that can help make your life better, and can help you have a personal relationship with God.
You bring up a very important subject. Unfortunately, in the short space we have, we can’t give you many details, but we can assure you that the Bible can be trusted.
The books of the Bible were originally written on scrolls of papyrus, which is the kind of paper that was available to the authors. We believe that God inspired those authors to write down the words that He put into their minds. Then, as it was done for other books, men called scribes carefully copied each character or letter by hand. They made those copies in different centuries and in different countries, and today you can find parts of them in museums around the world.
Bible scholars carefully compare the copies to find any differences. Since they have many copies of each book, found in different places and in different centuries, they can see if anything has been changed, added or deleted. If fifty copies exist, and forty‑five of them have exactly the same sentence, then the scholars assume that the other five copies have mistakes and that the original sentence is the one that is found in the forty‑five copies that are the same.
Since hardly any of us speak the languages of the Bible, which are Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, the original books have to be translated. Some translators prefer to translate those books of the Bible the way their language is written today, while others prefer to translate them the way their language was written a few decades or even centuries ago. That is why Bible bookstores have so many different translations. One translation may say, “A man reaps what he sows”, while another may say: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”1 But both expressions have the same meaning. And what is important is the meaning, not the exact words that are used by the translators of those versions.
When you read the Bible, remember to pray and ask God to help you understand the meaning of the lessons and of the stories. That way you will learn what God wants to say to you, and it won’t matter as much whether your friends or family agree with you, for you will know for yourself that God has communicated with you. They can’t understand that unless they have experienced it for themselves.
May God speak to you through His Word!
Linda and Charles
1 Gal 6:7