Saturday, January 06, 2007

Manuscript Evidence

"The New Testament text …is far better attested than that of any other work of ancient literature. It’s problems and difficulties arise not from the deficiency of evidence, but from an excess of it. In the case of no work of Greek or Latin literature, do we possess manuscripts so plentiful in number, or so near the date of composition,”

- Sir Frederick George Kenyon, Director and Head Librarian of the British Museum and appointed president of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. Quote taken from his book, The Bible and Archaeology

Again, why would the Enemy’s book of history, commands, and foretellings be of value to us? As I have mentioned in the last post, if this book is reliable it is not only of value to humans but also to us. If the Enemy is going to be so careless as to release information about Himself as well has His plans for the future; then we will be sure to read it and study its contents. My dear brothers of the great darkness below, do you know what this means? The Enemy has allowed Himself an Achilles heel! His plans to defeat us can be found gathering dust in Christian homes and sitting in hotel rooms. But the question is, is it reliable? Some of you new to the Ghosts of Fire detachment have expressed your doubts in the Bible. Who in damnation have you been listening to? Have you been watching the History Channel or reading the latest Bart Ehrman book? My weak minded minions, their public education is seeping into you. To rest your minds once and for all we will review the reasons why both Heaven and Hell hold the Bible as trustworthy.

The Evidence

As you well know, the New Testament is constantly under attack and its reliability and accuracy are often contested by some human critics. Ah, such hypocrisy! Think it my dear brothers; if the critics want to disregard the New Testament, then they must also disregard other ancient writings by Plato, Aristotle, and Homer. This is because the New Testament documents are better preserved and more numerous than any other ancient writing. Because the copies are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy. Even though the original documents (known as the “autographs”) written by the Apostles have deteriorated over time, the thousands of copies that were made from them lived on and were circulating all around the Mediterranean churches for hundreds of years. Reviewing those copies now, gives us a process to determine that the biblical documents are extremely consistent and accurate.

Lord Hubris has reported that there are presently 5,686 Greek manuscripts in existence today for the New Testament. If the humans were to actually compare the number of New Testament manuscripts to other ancient writings, they would find that the New Testament manuscripts far outweigh the others in quantity.

As any devil can see, there are thousands more New Testament Greek manuscripts than any other ancient writing. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure, which is an amazing accuracy. In addition there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages, and the total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000.

Almost all the human biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the first century. (Not that we need any information from humans.) But think about it, if Jesus was crucified in 30 A.D., then that means that the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. This is important because it means there were plenty of people around when the New Testament documents were penned who could have contested the writings.

In other words, those who wrote the documents knew that if they were inaccurate, plenty of people would have pointed it out. But, we have absolutely no ancient documents contemporary with the first century that contest the New Testament texts. If the critics of the Bible dismiss the New Testament as reliable information, then they must also dismiss the reliability of the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Homer, and the other authors mentioned in the chart. On the other hand, if the critics acknowledge the historicity and writings of those other individuals, then they must also retain the historicity and writings of the New Testament authors; after all, the evidence for the New Testament's reliability is far greater than the others.

Next: Evidence from Archaeology

-Lord Grimthorn

Hubris’ sources:
1. Norman Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakeable Foundations, (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2001) p. 256.
2. This chart was adapted from three sources: 1) Christian Apologetics, by Norman Geisler, 1976, p. 307; 2) the article "Archaeology and History attest to the Reliability of the Bible," by Richard M. Fales, Ph.D., in The Evidence Bible, Compiled by Ray Comfort, Bridge-Logos Publishers, Gainesville, FL, 2001, p. 163; and 3) A Ready Defense, by Josh Mcdowell, 1993, p. 45.
3."Deissmann was convinced that p52 was written well within the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 117-38) and perhaps even during the time of Trajan (A.D. 98-117)" (Footnote #2 found on pg. 39 of The Text of the New Testament, by Bruce M. Metzger, 2nd Ed. 1968, Oxford University Press, NY, NY). Bruce Metzger has authored more than 50 books. He holds two Masters Degrees, a Ph.D. and has been awarded several honorary doctorates. "He is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, the International Society fo New Testament Studies, an the North American Patristic Society." -- From, The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel, Zondervan Publishers, 1998, Grand Rapids, MI: pg. 57.