Monday, February 2, 2015

New Testament and Its Reliability

I am not a pastor nor a church elder nor an apologetic, but as a believer of Christ I find it fundamental to understand and be able to defend the reliability of the Bible which Christians consider as the Word of God. The bad news is I don't know how and where to start, the good news is there are already scholars and organizations who spent years of researching and studying about the Bible.

On my quest to learning the Bible, in its historical perspective, I find the following comparison from Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry where New Testament is correlated to other ancient writings of Plato, Aristotle, Homer etc. The results were outstanding!


Author Date
Written
Earliest Copy Approximate Time Span between original & copy Number of Copies Accuracy of Copies
Lucretius died 55 or 53 B.C. 1100 yrs 2 ----
Pliny A.D. 61-113 A.D. 850 750 yrs 7 ----
Plato 427-347 B.C. A.D. 900 1200 yrs 7 ----
Demosthenes 4th Cent. B.C. A.D. 1100 800 yrs 8 ----
Herodotus 480-425 B.C. A.D. 900 1300 yrs 8 ----
Suetonius A.D. 75-160 A.D. 950 800 yrs 8 ----
Thucydides 460-400 B.C. A.D. 900 1300 yrs 8 ----
Euripides 480-406 B.C. A.D. 1100 1300 yrs 9 ----
Aristophanes 450-385 B.C. A.D. 900 1200 10 ----
Caesar 100-44 B.C. A.D. 900 1000 10 ----
Livy 59 BC-AD 17 ---- ??? 20 ----
Tacitus circa A.D. 100 A.D. 1100 1000 yrs 20 ----
Aristotle 384-322 B.C. A.D. 1100 1400 49 ----
Sophocles 496-406 B.C. A.D. 1000 1400 yrs 193 ----
Homer (Iliad) 900 B.C. 400 B.C. 500 yrs 643 95.00%
New Testament 1st Cent. A.D. (A.D. 50-100) 2nd Cent. A.D.
(c. A.D. 130 f.)
less than 100 years 5600 99.50%

This research tells us that the Bible or the New Testament evidences are conclusive. It far outweighs other ancient books in terms of number of copies(5600) and accuracy of the copy which is almost perfect(99.50%). The higher the number of copies, tells us that it would be more difficult for people who wants to alter its content as there will be thousands of copies other people during first century that were accessible for comparison. Another conclusion this table tells us, is that the New Testament have the earliest approximate time span between the original manuscripts were written and the time manuscripts were copied. This all the more supports the credibility of the New Testament as there were greater number of people who can attest to the validity of its content, I bet some of the apostles or people who witness the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus could have been alive in less than 100 years, and they are the best witnesses who can affirm or refute the writings.

Aside from learning evidences about the authenticity of the Bible, it encourages me to read and reflect on it more, knowing it's one of the greatest gift God gave us, next to Jesus Christ.

For more details and questions you could always refer to this website which helped me tremendously https://carm.org/questions/about-bible

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