New Testament Reliability
New Testament Reliability (based off Bean Video)
Many critics of the Christian faith attack the Bible as being made up or unreliable. If you’re able to prove that the Bible is not true, or that the original authors are not who they say they are, or that the text has been significantly changed over time, the Christian faith kind of crumbles, right? The Bible is the basis for all of our Christian beliefs.
It’s like if you built a house and put a major support beam underneath the roof to support all of the weight. If someone came along and struck that support beam such that it crumbled, the whole house would fall over.
But the Bible IS reliable. There is no hammer big enough to smash it and cause the house to come crumbling down.
Here’s a brief explanation as to why, particularly the New Testament is reliable:
Do you guys know who Plato is? He’s like… one of the earliest and most quoted Greek philosophers. He wrote something called the Plato Dialogues that’s used and quoted as his original writings all the time in philosophy classes. He originally wrote it in 350BC. As of right now, we have 7 manuscripts of Plato’s Dialogues. And the earliest manuscript we have is from the year 900AD. That means there’s a 1,200-year time gap between when it was written, and the earliest manuscript we have. But that book is looked at as RELIABLE. In fact, Historians don’t argue that it’s unreliable at all… even though we only have 7 copies from 1,200 years after it was written.
It’s similar for other historic works such as Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars, or Herodotus Histories. The fact is, historians look at classic works such as this, with few manuscripts and big time gaps between when it was written and the earliest manuscript we have, and they say it’s reliable.
Now compare that with the Bible.
The New Testament was written in the years 45-95AD. And guess what… the earliest manuscript of the Bible we have is from 125 AD, only 50 years after it was originally written. The other historical books have a gap of hundreds of years, and they’re considered reliable. The Bible has a gap of 50 years, y’all.
To top it off, guess how many manuscripts we have of the New Testament? I’ll give you a hint, it’s more than 7. We have 26,000+ copies of the original manuscript of the New Testament!
By all metrics, the New Testament is a reliable piece of book!
Some people also say that the Bible is full of errors – as in, different manuscripts have different words and were changed over time. They use this argument to say that the Bible is unreliable. But here’s the deal, when they say that, they’re shooting themselves in the foot, because they’re admitting that there’s TONS of copies of the original manuscript of the Bible.
If something gets copied 26,000 times, do you think there’s going to be little variations from one copy to the next. YEP! But the beautiful thing is, when we look at those variations, the vast majority of variances are small things like the omission of the words “the” or “and.” And the fact that we have so many copies leads us to believe that the original message has been preserved.
So if anyone tells you that the Bible is an unreliable source – you can stand confident in telling them that it is the most accurate historical book of all time. Historians and archeologists use the Bible all the time because it’s such a reliable source of history and geography.
The Bible is a major support beam for the Christian house that will never crumble.