Biblical Validity

This forum is for questions related to Herb's views, Bible prophecy and evidence for the truth of the Bible and our Christian faith (Christian apologetics). The questions are for Holly only. One poster per thread please.

Biblical Validity

Postby Peacebloom on Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:10 am

Holly,

Muslims claim that the Bible has been corrupted. What evidence refutes this claim. Many of our beliefs rely upon the authority of Scripture, so what could I say to back up Christianity on this one?

Thanks,
Peacebloom
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Postby Holly on Thu Sep 07, 2006 1:00 am

Hi Peacebloom,

I'm sorry for the slow reply. I have been very busy the past few days.

We know that the New Testament hasn't been corrupted because we can compare our modern New Testament to many ancient manuscripts. We have about 5,500 Greek manuscripts that contain all or part of the New Testament. These manuscripts are very close in date to the original New Testament manuscripts, which were completed between A.D. 50 to A.D. 90. The earliest fragments we have date from about A.D. 120. The earliest complete New Testament we have is from A.D. 325.

This is an abundance of very early manuscripts compared to other ancient writings. The average number of years from other ancient writings to the first surviving manuscript is 1,000. The most documented ancient writing is Homer's "Iliad," and we only have 643 surviving manuscripts. And we only 9 or 10 copies of Julius Caesar's "Gallic War."

Also, the process the scribes observed for copying manuscripts was very meticulous and precise. We are able to compare manuscripts and determine that New Testament we have is 99.5% the same as the originals. (The 0.5% differences don't address matters of doctrine, but are mostly "slips of the pen.")

Even if we didn't have any surviving Greek manuscripts of the New Testament we could reconstruct the entire New Testament, except for 11 verses, from quotations from the writings of the early church fathers, dated 150 to 200 years after Christ.

We also have strong manuscript evidence for the Old Testament from the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to 150 B.C. Before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, our earliest Old Testament manuscripts were from A.D. 900. We can compare the sets of manuscripts and see that they are almost identical. This shows how careful the scribes were in the copying process. The very minor differences, again, amount to "slips of the pen."

For more information, I recommend the "Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics" by Norman L. Geisler. This is a great resource that has entries on many apologetics issues.
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Postby Peacebloom on Thu Sep 07, 2006 7:11 am

David, to Holly: Thank you very much.

This has been a wonderful help. I'm going to look for that book now.

Much love. Amen.
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Postby Peacebloom on Mon Oct 09, 2006 12:11 am

This is really a silly question so do not place it on high priority or anything. How do we date the manuscripts? What I mean is, how can we tell that the manuscripts are close in age to the originals or what their age is at all? Just curious.

Thanks a bunch,
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Postby Holly on Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:14 am

Hi Peacebloom,

Some of the evidence used to date a New Testament manuscript includes:

1. The type of material the manuscript is written on, like papyrus (the oldest documents), parchment and vellum (newer ones)

2. The type of script that's used, like majuscules (the oldest script, composed entirely of capital letters) vs. minuscule (a cursive script)

3. The language the manuscript is written in (Greek is the oldest)

4. The geographical location of the manuscript (where it was discovered because it took longer for Christianity to reach certain areas)

5. The family of manuscripts the manuscript is related to, based on similar characteristics, like the wording of a particular Bible passage (families of manuscripts show similar characteristics and, among those, the Alexandrian family is generally accepted as the most reliable)

Hope this helps!
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Postby Peacebloom on Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:34 pm

Once again, you've been a huge help to me Holly! Thanks, thanks, and more thanks. I'm glad you're around to answer all the crazy questions that bug me. =D

Much love,
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