We studied the canon and the books that were rejected from the canon.
Now the question is: Are the books we have reliable? Are they accurate to the original work of Paul or Peter? Would Luke recognize the books that bear his name?
What about the variant readings? What about the amount of documents discovered and the variations between them?
There is a historical reliability for the Scriptures
Scripture should be tested as any other document
If one chooses to throw out the Bible, there must be a violation of the standard by which other documents are accepted or rejected.
Documents from Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington
Plato, Aristotle, Josephus or other writers from this period of history
Art work, antiqued, archeological finds, or other objects
Fewer than 400 out of 150,000 documents have any problem
None of these variants include an article of faith or a precept of duty which is not abundantly sustained by other and undoubted passages.
Geisler and Nix If one word is misspelled in 3,000 different manuscripts, this is counted as 3,000 variants or readings.
F. F. Bruce the wealth of attestation is such that the true reading is almost invariable bound to be preserved by at least one of the thousands of witnesses.
Sir Fredric Kenyon No fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith rest on a disputed reading. It cannot be too strongly asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain. Especially is this the case with the New Testament. The number of manuscripts of the NT, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the Church, is so large that it is practically certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities.
Howard Vos From the standpoint of literary
evidence the only logical conclusion is that the case for the reliability of
the New Testament is infinitely stronger that that for any other record of
Manuscript evidence in the NT
A. T. Roberson
There are 8,000 MSS of the Latin vulgate
1,000 for other early versions
Over 5,000 MSS in Greek
More than 13,000 copies of portions of the NT
This does not include the church fathers who quoted much of the NT writings
Kenyon The interval then between the dates
of the original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so
small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt
that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written
has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the
books of the NT may be regarded as finally established.
Manuscript evidence compared with other authors and works of antiquity
F. F. Bruce give the following data:
This does not include the tens of thousands of partials, or fragments.
This does not include the many extended quotations from the NT by the early church fathers of the 1st to 3rd centuries.
This chart does not include the 76 complete
papyri of the NT.
Chronology of NT manuscripts authority
Dating procedures for documents include:
Letter size and form
Color of ink
Texture and color of the parchment
John Ryland 2.5 X 3.5 inches contains John 18:31-33 from 117-138 AD
Chester Beatty Papyri 200 a book of more than 220 pages, 10 X 8 inches
Bodmer Papyrus 150-200 Earliest know copy of Luke and John, printed in uncils and date 175-225 AD
Codex Sinaiticus (350)
Codex Vaticanus (325-350)
Manuscript authority supported by early church fathers
Origen (185-253) more than 6,000 writings
Ignatius (70-110) student of Polycarp
Polycarp (65-155) student of John
Not as many manuscripts as the NT
The Talmudists (100-500 AD)
Jews who spent time cataloging civil and religious law
They had intricate system for transcribing scrolls for the synagogues
Only written on skins of clean animals
Fastened together with strings from clean animals
Prepared for the use of a synagogue
Every skin must contain a certain number of columns, equal throughout the codex
Each column must be at least 48 letters not more than 60 lines
Ink should be black not red, green or other color
The original must an authentic copy
Space between every consonant a hairs breadth
The name of God must be written with a pen newly dipped in ink
Never allow an interruption during the writing of a name of God
If any rules are broken the scroll was
The Massoretic period (500-990)
Word means tradition
They added vowel markings to insure proper pronunciation
They also added the calculations to insure accuracy
Letters per line; words per line
Lines per page; letters per page; words per
New Testament Evidence
Luke 1:1-3 some who followed Christ wrote of his life
2 Peter 1:16 we were eyewitnesses of his majesty
1 John 1:3 that which we have seen and heard
Acts 2:22 miracles God did in your midst
John 20:30-31 signs in the presence of his disciples
Luke 3:1-2 All the current leaders are listed by name and title
Acts 26:24-26 not hidden, not done in a corner
F. F. Bruce Indeed, the evidence is that the early Christians were careful to distinguish between the sayings of Jesus and their own inferences or judgments. Paul, for example, when discussing the vexed questions of marriage and divorce in 1 Corinthains 7, is careful to make this distinction between his own advice on the subject and the Lords decisive ruling: I, not the Lord; and again, Not I, but the Lord.
The New Testament stands as a 1st century document
External Evidence for the Reliability of Scripture
Testimony of early church fathers
Eusebius (130) Mark, having been the interpreter of Peter wrote down accurately all that he (Peter) mentioned, whether saying or doings of Christ, not, however, in order. For he was neither a hearer nor a companion of the Lord; but afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who adapted his teachings as necessity required, not as though he were making a compilation of the sayings of the Lord.
Iraneaus (180) He was a student of Polycarp, who was a student of John. Irenaus became the bishop of Lyons (now part of France). He converted almost the entire population of Lyons and sent other missionaries to other parts of pagan Europe.
Polycarp (70-156) He was a disciple of John at Ephesus. He was burned at the stake at 86 years of age.
Josephus (37-100) Speaking about John
the Baptist, he wrote, For Herod had killed him though he was a good man,
who bade the Jews practice virtue, be just one to another and pious toward
God, and come together in baptism. He taught that baptism was acceptable to
Archaeology finding for the Old Testament
Walls of Jericho (1930-1936) Garstand says, As to the main fact, then, there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely that the attackers would be able to clamber over their ruins into the city.
Sodom and Gomorrah W. F. Albright and M. G. Kyle found at the southeast corner of the Dead Sea five oases made by fresh water streams, and centrally located high place for religious festivals. The pottery found in that area dated between 2500 and 2000 BC.
Thousands of examples could be cited. More
continue to be discovered.
Quotes from scholars on the reliability of the OT
Robert Dick Wilson In 144 cases of
transliteration from Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Moabite into Hebrew
and in 40 cases of the opposite, or 184 in all, the evidence shows that for
the 2300 to 3900 years the text of the proper names in the Hebrew Bible has
been transmitted with the most minute accuracy.
The Hebrew text
Cairo Codex 895 AD This book is a Massorectic text of the Old Testament. It is kept in the British Museum.
Codex Babylonicus earliest complete OT 1008 AD This codex is on a museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Aleppo Codex 900 AD It was discovered in 1958.
British Museum Codex 950 AD This
book contains Genesis through Deuteronomy.
Dead Sea Scrolls
Every book of the Old Testament was found except Esther.
There are commentaries on almost every OT book.
Discovered in 1947
Leather scrolls preserved in clay jars, sealed tops
Value of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Isaiah scroll around 150 BC
1,000 years older than we had up to this time
No significant change in the text.