by Rev Dr Lynmarie Burg
CATEGORY: About Christianity
The Bible is the #1 bestseller of all the books ever written and has been translated into over 200 languages, but these days it’s taking a beating! I hear all kinds of wild accusations about it… particularly that it is not credible. Let’s touch on that.
We have over 6,000 early manuscript (written before the 3rd century) copies or portions of the Greek New Testament in existence today.
On top of that, there are over 10,000 early manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate (Catholic manuscripts).
Additionally, there are over 30,000 early manuscripts of writings and correspondence from early church fathers quoting the NT.
• Therefore, we know with absolute certainty the exact words of the original manuscripts of the Bible in 99% of its text. And the other 1% of words are pointed out individually as they appear in virtually every study Bible.
All existing documents─ other than the 66 books of the Bible─ that had any possibility of inclusion in the canon either explicitly disclaimed being scripture or contained doctrinal aberrations that clearly make them unworthy of inclusion in the Bible.
Criteria for acceptance into the official Bible includes:
1. Written by a recognized prophet or apostle
2. Written by those associated with a recognized prophet or apostle
3. Confirmed by Jesus
4. Confirmed by a prophet or apostle
5. Doctrinal and Historical Consistency and Accuracy
6. Faithfulness to previously accepted canonical writings
7. Church Usage and Recognition
In all known literature, there are no candidates that even come close to Scripture when consideration is given both to their doctrinal consistency with the rest of Scripture and to the type of authority which they claimed for themselves.
The canon of scripture was officially determined when the eastern and western centers of Christianity agreed on the books to be included.
• EASTERN CENTER OF CHRISTIANITY- Alexandria. In A.D. 367, the 39th Paschal Letter of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, contained an exact list of the 27 New Testament books we have today.
• WESTERN CENTER OF CHRISTIANITY- Carthage. In A.D. 397, the Council of Carthage, agreed with the eastern churches on the same list. Hence the canon.
In addition to manuscripts, amazing amounts of confirmation has been found through archaeological finds which verify biblical people, places and things.
For example, there is a clay cylinder from the 6th century BC that verifies that Cyrus, king of Persia, permitted subject peoples TO RESETTLE in their homelands.
You may know of his decree in Ezra 1:1-2─ “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:”
“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”
For further information on archaeology, order a copy of Etched in Stone: Archaeological Discoveries that Prove the Bible, Lisette Bassett-Brody, 2018, 252 pages, Paperback, Amazon Prime, $15.71
ANSWERING CLAIMS OF ERRORS IN THE BIBLE
1. Ask where such errors are. In which specific verses do these errors occur? It is surprising how frequently one finds that this objection is made by people who have little or no idea where the specific errors are, but who believe there are errors because others have told them so.
2. If they point to a verse, look at it because close inspection will most likely show there to be no error at all.
3. If no solution to the difficulty is immediately apparent from reading the English text, tell them you will get back to them. Both Saint Augustine (A.D. 354–430) and John Calvin (1509–64), along with many more recent commentators, have taken time to deal with most of the alleged “problem texts” and to suggest plausible solutions to them.
Books to consult:
• Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982)
• William Arndt, Does the Bible Contradict Itself? (St. Louis: Concordia, 1955)
• Bible Difficulties (St. Louis: Concordia, 1932)
• John W. Haley, Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible (1874; reprinted Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977)
• Almost all of the difficult texts have also received helpful analysis in the extensive notes to The NIV Study Bible
*If you know of any accusations about the Scripture and what the truth is (and where to find it), please comment for the sake of our community!