Updated: Jul 31, 2020
Talkin Turkey 01 September 2012
I’ve heard people say that the Bible was outdated, contradictory, and full of scientific and historical errors. With few exceptions, they have reached these conclusions through second and third-hand sources rather than their own study of the Bible. Consider the following statements:
The Bible says the God helps those who help themselves.
The books of the New Testament were written centuries after the events they describe.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness is in the Bible.
The earliest New Testament manuscripts go back only 4thor 5th centuries A.D.
The English Bible is a translation of a translation of a translation (etc.) of the original, and fresh errors were made in every stage of the process.
How many of those statements do you think are true? The answer is all of them are completely FALSE. Yet these false impressions persist in the minds of many, and misinformation like this produces a skeptic attitude toward the Bible.
Here’s the facts, folks. There are 5000 original Greek manuscripts, 8000 original Latin manuscripts, 1000 in other languages of the Old Testament, and there are tens of thousands of the New Testament passages by early Church fathers. In contrast, the typical number of the manuscript copies for any of the works of the Greek & Latin authors such as Plato, Aristotle, and Caesar are 1 to 20.
Because of the great reverence the Jewish scribes held for the Scriptures, they exercised extreme care in making new copies of the Hebrew Bible. The entire scribal process was specified in meticulous detail to minimize the possibility of even the slightest error. The number of letters, words, and lines were counted, and the middle letters of the Pentateuch and the Old Testament were determined. If ever a single mistake were discovered the entire manuscript was destroyed.
As a result of this extreme care, the quality of the manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible surpasses all other manuscripts. The discovery of the 1947 Dead Sea scrolls provided a significant check on this, because the Hebrew scrolls predates the earliest Masoretic Old Testament manuscripts by about 1000 yrs. In spite of this, the number of the variant readings between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic Text is quite small and most of the variants are in spelling and style.
While the quality of the Old Testament is excellent, the New Testament is very good – considerably better than other ancient documents. Because of the thousands of New Testament manuscripts, there are many variant readings, but these variants are actually used by scholars to reconstruct the original, by determining which variant best explains the others in any given passage. Upon comparison to ancient documents, the New Testament is regarded as 99.5 percent pure.
Now that we’ve determined the doctrine is accurate, let’s discuss the historical and archaeological proof. The Bible continually refers to historical events. They can be verified. The history of Jesus Christ is well-established by early Roman, Greek, and Jewish sources. The Old and New Testament make abundant references to nations, kings, battles, cities, mountains, rivers, buildings, treaties, customs, economics, politics, dates, and so on. The historical narratives of the Bible are so specific that many of the details are open to archaeological investigation. Archaeological evidence has provided external confirmation of hundreds of Biblical statements.
To summarize, the Bible has been looked at, read, compared, checked, inspected, documented, copied, memorized, counted, discovered, used, gifted, sold, attacked, defended, questioned, trusted, and above all…loved.
Divinely inspired, historically accurate, Archaeologically proven…how can you argue with that? I, for one, can not.