Today Christians read various translations of the Bible, some completed recently and others like the classic King James Version dating back to the1600’s. Admittedly these translations are based on copies of manuscripts – not the original manuscripts. So are Christians vulnerable on this point?
- The Bible has stronger manuscript support than any other work of classical literature including Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Caesar and Tacitus. Over 5600 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament are in existence today and they were copied within 100 years of the original with an amazing 99.5% textual consistency and accuracy. In contrast, other ancient classical works fully accepted by academics today were copied between 500 –1300 years after the original. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000, more than all major ancient works combined!
- Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible have human writers who were actual eye witnesses of the events they are writing about.
- Secular, non-christian historians including Josephus (before A.D.100), the Roman Tacitus (around A.D. 120), the Roman Suetonius (A.D. 110) and the Roman governor Pliny the Younger (A.D. 110) confirm in their ancient writings the many events, places, people and customs that are mentioned in the New Testament of the Bible. Even skeptics who have studied history are amazed at the historical accuracy of the New Testament.
- Archaeological finds over the last century affirm the reliability of the Bible. No archaeological discovery has ever contradicted anything in the Bible.
- The Bible records predictions of events that could not be known or predicted by chance or by the accumulation of knowledge. Of striking relevance are the many prophecies regarding the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. Where He would be born (Micah 5:2); who He would die with (Isaiah 53:12); a graphic description written c.1000BC of how He would die including the piercing of His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16); that the soldiers would gamble for His clothing (Psalm 22:18); that His side would be pierced and none of His bones would be broken (Zechariah 12:10; Psalm 34:20). Jesus even predicted how He would die as well as His resurrection (John 2:19-22).
Even the avowed skeptic is awed by these fulfilled prophecies. And I have cited only a few. There are actually more than 300 such prophesies regarding the Christ – a number that silences those who would claim the apparent fulfillment of prophecies is merely coincidental. There are too many to ignore.
- Finally, the statistical probability of the development of such a book must be considered. Forty different writers, over 1600 years, in three different languages on three continents, wrote on hundreds of subjects. Few, if any of these writers ever had an opportunity to get together and to conspire to write a consistent, non-contradictory theme about a coming Saviour and the redemption of mankind. But such a theme is developed and woven throughout the entire Bible. Jesus Christ is the central theme of the Bible.
You can do more in-depth research on any of the six points briefly high lighted above. The evidence overwhelmingly supports the Bible is the Word of God – Divine in its origins – not human.