Is the Bible true? Many people say that the Bible we have today is not original and that it has been changed.

This is totally false. Indeed there is very good evidence that the Bible we have today is as it was originally written.

Many people say that the Bible has been changed or corrupted over the years as way to avoid having to deal with the claims of Christ on our lives. Similarly, since the Quran and Bible do not agree, Muslims often say that the Bible has been corrupted to avoid the implication that the Quran itself is wrong (for example, the Quran says that Jesus did not die (Surah 4:157), therefore since the Bible says he did, the Bible must have been corrupted). However, the evidence clearly does against any corruption of the Bible. We’ll consider the Old and New Testaments separately, since some of the issues involved are slightly different.

Old Testament

We have three main Old Testament manuscripts: the Masoretic text (a Hebrew text dating from about AD 1000), the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew dated 3rd century BC), and lastly the Dead Sea Scrolls (408-318 BC). All these are in significant agreement, although there are some minor differences. Therefore, we can be sure that the Old Testament we have today is the same as the one Jesus used (which Jesus freely quoted from) and is the same as Jews were using 400 years before Jesus came!

New Testament

The New Testament situation is slightly more complex. There are over 5,800 Greek manuscripts (the language the New Testament was originally written in). However, it was also translated into many other languages very early on like Latin, Coptic, Syriac and Armenian. The total number of manuscripts numbers in the tens of thousands. However, most of these manuscripts come from the 2nd century AD and most do not contain the whole New Testament. Some are collections of New Testament books, others, individual books, and others just a few verses.

The earliest manuscript contains John 18:31-33 on one side and John 18:37-38 on the other and has been dated between AD 100-150. More recently some new fragments have come to light, one of which is a fragment of Mark’s gospel which has been dated to 1st century AD. There are also more than 1 millions quotation of the New Testament by the early church fathers.

Since there are not any complete copies of the whole New Testament until Codex Sinaiticus (~AD 350), New Testament scholars have pieced the New Testament text back together using all of the available manuscripts (over 16,000 of them). Although, initially this might sound a bit like a game of “Chinese Whispers” (what did the person really say?), it is not like that at all because of the sheer number of manuscripts copied by different scribes over many centuries and in different languages. Indeed, New Testament scholars estimate that we can be 99.5% certain that the text we have today is original!

Yes, the Bible is true

Therefore, those who claim that the Bible has been corrupted really have no basis for that comment. Instead, read your Bible with confidence that what you are reading is what was originally written, and therefore that you can clearly hear what God has to say to us today in the Bible.

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