Opening Questions 1.Why is the Bible unique? Authorship perspective (2 Tim 3:16) Literary perspective Spiritual perspective (Rom 10:8-17)
Opening Questions 2.How did we get the Bible? Who Spoke? How did he speak? How was ‘what he spoke’ recognized?
Opening Questions 3.Can we trust the Bible? Do we have the Bible God intended us to have? Do our English translations faithfully convey God’s words?
Was it Constantine? Was it the church? Was it our own consciences? Was it the creator?
How did we get the Bible? It Was Through the Creator God spoke ‘to’ & ‘through’ the writers of Scripture God spoke ‘through’ the OT prophets, then ‘through’ Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-3)
How did we get the Bible? It Was Through the Creator 2 Timothy 3:16 – “given by inspiration” 2 Peter 1:21 – “holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”
How did we get the Bible? It Was Through the Creator John 14 & 16 – The Spirit ensures accuracy 1 Tim 5:18; 2 Pet 3:15-16 – Scripture recognizing Scripture as already present
How did we get the Bible? It Was Recognized as from God The ‘Fourfold Gospel’ and the Pauline Letter collection was almost instantly recognized as inspired Scripture The church ‘merely recognized’ the writings that bore the mark of divine inspiration
How did we get the Bible? It Was Recognized as from God By the 2d century AD, the shape of the NT canon was clear; Muratorian list (AD 197) Quotes of NT passages as Scripture in the writings of the Church Fathers
Summary God spoke through the OT prophets, Jesus, & NT apostles – thus creating a unique ‘dual authorship’ What God spoke was inspired, literally from his creative breath What God spoke was inerrant, the Holy Spirit ensured accuracy
Manuscript Evidences Manuscript Evidences to the Old and New Testaments Assurance & Confidence Assurance & Confidence of the Old and New Testaments Accuracy & Reliability Accuracy & Reliability of the Old and New Testaments in today’s translations
Can We Trust The Bible? YES: God gave us the Bible through inspiration Potential problems: The original manuscripts are no longer available & the existing manuscripts differ; and what about all those different translations?
Can We Trust The Bible? Question: If the original autographs are lost, and the existing manuscripts agree only 99% of the time, do we then have only 99% inspired Scriptures?
Can We Trust The Bible? Answer: What was inspired was not the autographs, but the text in the autographs; this text is still available to us today in many extant copies; therefore, even though the original autographs are lost, the original text is not; we have the 100% inspired text of Scripture.
Can We Trust The Bible? Yes we can, because: We have a large number of early manuscripts Where the manuscripts differ, NO major Christian doctrine is affected
Can We Trust The Bible? As a matter of fact: “[The] purity of text [is] of such a substantial nature that nothing we believe to be doctrinally true, and nothing we are commanded to do, is in any way jeopardized by the variants. … never is a doctrine affected.” D. A. Carson (Research Professor of NT, Trinity Evangelical Divinity)
Can We Trust The Bible? Manuscript Evidence (OT): The Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS), were found in thousands of fragments of scrolls: the remnants of 800 manuscripts
Can We Trust The Bible? Manuscript Evidence (OT): The manuscripts date from 200 BC to AD 68 These are strikingly close to the time at which they were written
Can We Trust The Bible? Manuscript Evidence (OT): The DSS preserve every OT book except Esther These manuscripts were found in clay jars
Can We Trust The Bible? Manuscript Evidence (OT): Samaritan Pentateuch (based only on the books Moses wrote, Pentateuch) Masoretic Text (based on the oldest complete manuscript, Lenigrad B19a (L)
Can We Trust The Bible? Manuscript Evidence (NT): We have a great abundance of manuscripts. With regard to the NT, for example, we have approx. 5,800 Greek NT manuscripts of parts or the entire NT (1,000 times as many manuscripts as for just about any other ancient document)
Can We Trust The Bible? Author DateEarliestTime # ofAccuracy Written Span Copiesof Copies Copy Plato 430 BCAD 9001200 yrs 7 --------- Herod- 480-AD 9001300 yrs 8 --------- utos 425 BC Caesar 100-44 BCAD 9001000 yrs 10 --------- Aristotle 384-AD 11001400 yrs 49 --------- 322 BC Homer 900 BC400 BC500 yrs 643 95% (Iliad) New AD 1 st CentAD 2d Centless than 5800 99.5% T estament AD 130100 yrs
Can We Trust The Bible? Manuscript Evidence (NT): We have very early papyrus manuscripts, such as the John Rylands papyrus (p 52 ) containing portions of John 18 (Jesus’ trial before Pilate) and dating to about AD 125
Can We Trust The Bible? Manuscript Evidence (NT): Chester Beatty Papyrus (p 46 ), dating to about AD 200 (Eph 4:2-14)
Can We Trust The Bible? Manuscript Evidence (NT): We have magnificent codices such as Codex Sinaiticus ), written about AD 350, the earliest extant copy of the entire NT (Eph 4:1-12)
Can We Trust The Bible? Assurance & Confidence of the OT and NT: Character of these writings Conformity of these writings Continuous use of these writings
Can We Trust The Bible? Accuracy & Reliability of the OT and NT in today’s translations: Can we trust our English Bibles? English translations differ, but all preserve the original message of the biblical writers to a high degree of fidelity. Most of the differences are related to audience & purpose.
Summary We have a large number of manuscripts in which their internal consistency is about 99.5% textually pure We have early dated manuscripts that are closely related to the originals
Summary We have God’s Word providentially preserved ‘in’ and ‘through’ a vast number of manuscripts attesting to the reliability and authority of the Old and New Testaments
Closing Thoughts! “We have not here a proof of mathematical precision, but we have evidence of weight and authority, more than sufficient to justify us in humbly taking up the books that God has put into our hands and receiving their teaching as his truth.” John Wenham, Christ and the Bible.