Why it makes sense to trust the Bible -

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Why it makes Sense to Trust the Bible : 

Why it makes Sense to Trust the Bible 2. Documentary Evidence of New Testament

In this Study we will investigate the following: : 

In this Study we will investigate the following: How can we be sure that the New Testament (NT) was written when it says it was? How can we be sure that it was preserved accurately? Basically – can we trust it? The New Testament was written between AD50-100

The New Testament Evidence : 

The New Testament Evidence We will look at the evidence of manuscripts. In particular we will look at the following: The number of manuscripts The age and time gap between the events and the earliest written record The accuracy of the text Translations of the New Testament Testimony of the New Testament itself Quotations from Christian Quotations from Non-Christian Writings

1) The Number of Manuscripts : 

1) The Number of Manuscripts There are more manuscripts for the NT than any other ancient document The second most documented work is Homer’s Iliad. This is compared on the right. There are about 25000 NT documents compared to only 643 for Homer’s Iliad. There are no originals of any ancient document, so we always rely on manuscript copies

1. Number of Manuscripts (continued) : 

1. Number of Manuscripts (continued) There are 5686 New Testament manuscripts in Greek. There are 19284 manuscripts in 14 other old languages. No other writing in antiquity is so well supported by manuscripts, even though they are copies “No one questions the authenticity of the historical books of antiquity because we do not possess the original copies. Yet we have far fewer manuscripts of these works than we possess of the NT” Glenny

1. Number of Manuscripts (continued) : 

1. Number of Manuscripts (continued) The more manuscripts there are, the easier it is to identify any altered copies. And therefore the more sure we can be of the reliabity of the documents. When more manuscripts are available for inspection, one can easily spot the altered portion of a document. For example, if among 50 manuscripts from the fifth century, 5 of them read "James is a fish" while 45 others read "James is a fisherman". The reasonable conclusion is that the original text said, "James is a fisherman". But if there were only 9 manuscripts and 5 read "fish" while 4 read "fisherman", it would be harder to make a definite conclusion.

2) The Age and Time Gap of Manuscripts – Comparing the NT with other Writings : 

2) The Age and Time Gap of Manuscripts – Comparing the NT with other Writings

2) The Age and Time Gap of Manuscripts (continued) : 

2) The Age and Time Gap of Manuscripts (continued) In the case of most ancient manuscripts, a time gap exists of about 1000 years between the time the events were written down and the first known manuscript today. With the New Testament, the time gap is <300 years, with some fragments it is <100 years. The NT manuscripts are particularly old and close to when the original was written. No other ancient writing is any where near so well documented.

2) The Age and Time Gap of Manuscripts (continued) : 

2) The Age and Time Gap of Manuscripts (continued) A manuscript copied closer in time to the original is more reliable than one that is dated later.  A manuscript that is closer to the original should have less chance of scribal alternations and less possibility for errors to be introduced. For example, if the Gospel of Mark was first written in 50 AD, a second century manuscript will be more reliable than a fifth century manuscript because the latter has had an additional three hundred years for copying errors, intentional alterations and legend development to be introduced

2) Other Manuscripts (MS) - Magdalene MS : 

2) Other Manuscripts (MS) - Magdalene MS This contains part of Matthew 26 It was written in AD 50-60 Dated at AD 50-60 (not universally agreed) It was contemporary with the lives of many of the apostles.

John Ryland’ MS : 

John Ryland’ MS This is a small part of the Gospel of John In can be seen in the John Rylands library, Manchester, UK The gospel of John was thought to be written in AD 80. This fragment dates from AD 130 This is only 50 years difference from when it was first written.

Bodmer Papyrus II MS : 

Bodmer Papyrus II MS Part of John and Luke In Bodmer Library, Switzerland Probably written in AD 80 Dated at AD 150-200 Only 100 years difference from when it was first written to the date of the Manuscript

Chester Beatty Papyri : 

Chester Beatty Papyri It contains major parts of the NT It can be seen in the Chester Beatty Museum, Dublin Written in AD 50-90 The papyrus was dated at AD 200 Only 120 years difference from when it was first written

Diatessaron by Tatian : 

Diatessaron by Tatian This contains the Complete Gospels It can be found in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin The gospels were written in AD 50-90 The Diatessaron is dated from AD 160 Only 90 years difference

Codex Vaticanus : 

Codex Vaticanus This contains the complete New Testament It is in the Vatican Library, Rome, Italy The NT was written in AD 50-90 The codex was written in AD 340 This is only 270 years difference

Codex Siniaticus : 

Codex Siniaticus This contains almost all New Testament & half of the Old Testament It is in the British Museum Written in AD 50-90 The codex was written in AD 350 This is only 280 years difference

Codex Alexandrinus : 

Codex Alexandrinus This contains almost the entire Bible It is in the British Museum Written in AD 50-90 The codex was written in AD 400 This is only 330 years difference

3) The Accuracy of the Text : 

3) The Accuracy of the Text Homer’s Iliad is a good comparator with the Bible because: People memorised it It was considered sacred It was used to teach generations to read There are a variety of commentaries, glossaries, etc It was imitated and supplemented by apocryphal books They were illustrated, used to create mosaics and frescoes There are many manuscripts available

Comparison of the NT with the Iliad : 

Comparison of the NT with the Iliad New Testament 20,000 lines Only 40 lines are in doubt = 0.5% Very few differences are significant Homer’s Iliad 15,600 lines 764 lines are in doubt = 5% There are many significant differences This shows how accurate the NT is.

4) Translations from the NT : 

4) Translations from the NT “Ancient literature was rarely translated into another language” Yet because the NT was considered sacred, it was frequently translated. The Old Syriac (Peshitta) translation was produced around AD150. There are 350 manuscripts from about AD400. Old Latin translation was produced in second century. Documents from AD360. Coptic translation was produced in 3rd/4th century These translations can be used to compare with available manuscripts to check whether they are comparable. The translations of the NT into other languages are similar to one another and other manuscripts.

5) The Testimony of NT Itself : 

5) The Testimony of NT Itself “..as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses..to write to you an orderly account.” Luke 1v1-3 “but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” 2 Pet1v16 “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you.” 1 John 1v3 “Jesus…a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.” Acts 2v22 “And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true.” John 19v35 The NT itself claims to be an accurate record of Jesus. Not easy to declare this with so many witnesses unless true. If any alive were able to contradict the accuracy of the NT, then this would have been documented in contemporary literature.

6) Quotes from Early Christian Writers : 

6) Quotes from Early Christian Writers These confirm the 27 books of the NT as being undisputedly considered as inspired from God by early Christians Quotations are so numerous and widespread that if no manuscripts of the NT existed, the NT could be reproduced from the writings of the Early Christian Writers alone See next slide for the some of the writings from the early Christians who quoted from the NT -

Early Christians who Quoted the New Testament : 

Early Christians who Quoted the New Testament Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch (AD70-110). Martyred. Polycarp (AD70-156) Martyred. Bishop of Smyrna and disciple of John Clement of Rome (AD95). “A disciple of the apostles”

7. Quotes from non-Christian Writers : 

7. Quotes from non-Christian Writers “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre.” Tacitus, Roman Historian (AD56-117)

Slide 26: 

Suetonius (AD 69-122) Roman Secretary to Hadrian “As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome” “Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a body of people addicted to a novel and mischievous superstition.”

Slide 27: 

“Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was (the) Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him. For he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named after him, are not extinct to this day” Josephus (AD 37-100) Jewish Pharisee & Historian

Slide 28: 

“They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to do any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food – but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.” Pliny the Younger Roman administrator (quote from AD 112)

Slide 29: 

“On the eve of Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, ‘He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy. Any one who can say anything in his favour let him come forward and plead on his behalf’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!” Babylonian Talmud (Jewish Tradition) (AD 70-200)

Slide 30: 

“And the expression, ‘They pierced my hands and my feet,’ was used in reference to the nails of the cross which were fixed in his hands and feet. And after he was crucified, they cast lots upon his vesture, and they that crucified him parted it among them. And that these things did happen you can ascertain from the ‘Acts of Pontius Pilate’” Justin also claims that the miracles of Jesus can be confirmed in this document. Quote by Justin Martyr in cAD150 from the ‘Acts of Pontius Pilate

Summary of Evidence for the Reliability of the New Testament : 

Summary of Evidence for the Reliability of the New Testament The sheer number of NT manuscripts is much greater than for any other ancient writing The age of NT manuscripts and closeness to the time of writing is much closer than for any other ancient writing The text of the NT shows very little variation among the manuscripts and that it is very accurate Translations of the NT point to its antiquity and accuracy

Summary of Evidence of the Reliability of the New Testament (2) : 

Summary of Evidence of the Reliability of the New Testament (2) The NT itself claims to have recorded what they actually saw Quotations from early Christians are so numerous that the NT could be reproduced from their words. Their witness indicates the age and accuracy of the NT 7. Quotations from non-Christians are numerous and ancient that they support the NT content and age

Slide 33: 

“There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament.” FF Bruce The New Testament is so well documented that no-one can doubts its age and accuracy.

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