Friday, May 23, 2008

Is the Bible True?

Today's Evidence

Origin of the Bible - The Reliability of Ancient Manuscripts, Part II

We are continuing to take a look at the evidence of God by taking a closer look at the Bible. Some dismiss its relevance altogether, others in parts. But why? Is there another dimension to the Bible? Is there a dimension that some enter and then believe?

We will be taking a look at these questions later in the "Today's Evidence" series. Today, we look at the New Testament with help from Happy day fellow bloggers! - Alexander

Part II

The manuscript evidence for the New Testament is also dramatic, with over 5,300 known copies and fragments in the original Greek, nearly 800 of which were copied before 1000 AD. Some manuscript texts date to the early second and third centuries, with the time between the original autographs and our earliest existing copies being a remarkably short 60 years. Interestingly, this manuscript evidence far surpasses the manuscript reliability of other ancient writings that we trust as authentic every day. Look at these comparisons: Julius Caesar's "The Gallic Wars" (10 manuscripts remain, with the earliest one dating to 1,000 years after the original autograph); Pliny the Younger's "History" (7 manuscripts; 750 years elapsed); Thucydides' "History" (8 manuscripts; 1,300 years elapsed); Herodotus' "History" (8 manuscripts; 1,300 years elapsed); Sophocles (193 manuscripts; 1,400 years); Euripides (9 manuscripts; 1,500 years); and Aristotle (49 manuscripts; 1,400 years).

Homer's "Iliad", the most renowned book of ancient Greece, has 643 copies of manuscript support. In those copies, there are 764 disputed lines of text, as compared to 40 lines in all the New Testament manuscripts (Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, Moody, Chicago, Revised and Expanded 1986, p. 367). In fact, many people are unaware that each of William Shakespeare's 37 plays (written in the 1600's) have gaps in the surviving manuscripts, forcing scholars to "fill in the blanks." This pales in textual comparison with the over 5,300 copies and fragments of the New Testament that, together, assure us that nothing's been lost. In fact, all of the New Testament except eleven verses can be reconstructed from the writings of the early church fathers in the second and third centuries. (A General Introduction to the Bible, Ch. 24.)



Anonymous said...

Spirituality can never be explained by concrete studies. It is an emotional and sentimental relationship between God and Men/Women. It is not a theory like Evolution which is made for men to study and believe in concrete terms. You don't study the bible to be a scientist. You study the bible to know who you are spiritually and to develop a relationship with God. If you are an atheist, just get comfort with your God evolution. Peace be with you.

Alexander said...

Suprisingly, some do come to know God by "concrete studies." However, in the final analysis, yes, it is about a personal relationship with God, who we get to know through Jesus.