Q. I enjoyed your article “Who’s Laughing Now?” and your response to “disproving the bible”. I hear many different skepticism’s regarding the bible and its historical accuracy. Some include the idea that the bible has been translated many times, and that there wasn’t any paper “back then” so how could the text have been saved?
One book titled “Quoting Jesus”, claims original manuscripts have been lost, and what remains of the bible is just translations that people use for their own gain. Could you elaborate on what remains of the original manuscripts and how the bible has been proved to be an accurate replica of what was first written?
A. According to Christian Apologetics and Research Ministries (www.carm.org), New Testament documents are better preserved and more numerous than any other ancient writings. There are 5,686 Greek manuscripts in existence today for the New Testament, thousands more than for any other ancient text. Because the copies are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy. This process has determined that the internal consistency of New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. In addition there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000.
Almost all biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the first century. 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.