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Wondering What to Believe?

  1. Does Nature Give Proof of God?
    8 Digging Deeper
  2. Can I Hear God's Voice?
    8 Digging Deeper
  3. Who is God?
    8 Digging Deeper
  4. Who Wrote the Bible?
    8 Digging Deeper
  5. Can I Trust the Bible?
    7 Digging Deeper
  6. Is there a Right and Wrong?
    7 Digging Deeper
  7. Why Does God Allow Evil?
    9 Digging Deeper
  8. Who Am I?
    7 Digging Deeper
  9. What is the Meaning of Life?
    7 Digging Deeper
  10. Does God Love Me?
    5 Digging Deeper
Lesson 5, Digging Deeper 4
In Progress

How large numbers of discovered manuscripts support the authenticity of the Bible.

More than five thousand complete manuscripts or fragments of manuscripts of the New Testament have been discovered. Scholars called “textual critics” carefully examine every letter of these manuscripts and compare them to the other manuscripts of the same Scripture. This cross-checking helps us know what appears to be the most accurate and reliable reading that would trace back to the original first-century authors. The large number of manuscripts from various places and times help assure readers as much as possible as to what was the original reading of the autographs (that is, the original document by the apostolic writer). This gives assurance to readers today that the message of their New Testament is the same message that was universally believed and taught in the first centuries of the Christian faith.

If we only had a few manuscripts, some might think that the original message was lost and that the copies we have are distorted aberrations. There are some slight differences in the manuscripts since they were all copied by non-inspired men who due to faulty hearing or seeing may have misspelled a word, left out a few words or even a line or, in some cases, elaborated with interpolations in the text. The cross-checking of manuscripts and the dating of them helps us get closer and closer to the original writing. The slight variations in the manuscripts affect no doctrine of the Christian faith. Textual critics say that we can be confident that we have 99.9% of the original message. Nothing has been lost in transmission. This assures the reader that the message that he or she reads in his or her standard translation (that is, a credible translation made by a committee of scholars) is apparently the same message that was originally written in Greek by apostolic men in the first century to the original readers.