What is the most reliable and trustworthy book in the world?
The original documents of the Bible are no longer with us, so how do we know that the translations that have been handed down are correct? Manuscript studies is the field of knowledge that deals with these types of questions. First, experts date the copies to determine how long it has been from the original writing to the copies in hand. Second, researchers evaluate the total number of copies available. The greater the number of ancient copies we have, the more accurate the record.
Let’s compare the New Testament with some other works of antiquity. Caesar wrote a history of the Gallic wars around 50 B.C. There are only 10 good copies, the oldest being 900 years after Caesar died. There are seven manuscripts of Plato’s Tetralogies, with the earliest manuscript dating 1,250 years after the original. For the New Testament, there are over 24,633 manuscript copies, all within 100-150 years of the originals. The Bible is by far the best documented book in the history of mankind with more manuscripts and earlier manuscripts than any other classical work. There is not even a close second.
The scholar John Warwick Montgomery concludes, “To be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Testament books is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity, for no documents of the ancient period are as well attested as the New Testament.” There is absolutely no reason to believe we do not have an accurate and reliable copy of both Old and New Testament scriptures.
Have a blessed New Year in celebration of the Truth of God’s Word! We pray your desire for the scriptures will grow even more in 2022.
(Source: Inspired Evidence – David Noebel & Chuck Edwards, Thinking like a Christian, 1999 pp. 44)