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How Is the Bible Without Error?
What exactly is meant by the confession: "The Bible is without error in the original manuscripts?"
The doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture is foundational to evangelical faith, yet there is some diversity in the opinion of what inerrancy entails. Back in 1976, John Piper sought to bring clarity to this issue in a short paper, "How Are the Synoptics 'Without Error'?"
This paper was recently transcribed as another new-old resource to feature in the Resource Library under The Life of the Mind column. Coming from Pastor John's professor days, these resources are mostly academic in nature, though this particular work concludes with a pastoral word of application:
From history and from my own experience, I can say that it is almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of the Bible. We humans are incapable of finding out what we need so much to know: how to overcome sin, to escape the wrath of God, to become new creatures, to walk pleasing to the Lord. God must reveal this to us or we perish. This he has done and continues to do by means of a written Word, the Bible. When a man has understood the Bible he has understood the revelation of God infallibly, inerrantly and verbally.
Read the entire paper.
________
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[Thumb jonathan parnell]
Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is the lead pastor of Cities Church in Minneapolis/St. Paul, where he lives with his wife, Melissa, and their five children. He is co-editor of Designed for Joy: How the Gospel Impacts Men and Women, Identity and Practice.
 
3 Good Reasons to Believe the Bible Has Not Been Corrupted
by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.
 
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The image on the front cover of this month’s R&R is St. Catherine’s Monastery where Codex Sinaiticus was discovered by Constantin von Tischendorf in 1844.]
Many are those who insist that the Bible has been corrupted over time, that we do not really know which verses belong in the Bible, and that translation errors are so plentiful that we do not have the original message. Yet these allegations have been confronted and refuted time and time again. Apart from the Old Testament (which has been fully verified), a myriad of books over the years have masterfully demonstrated the integrity of the New Testament text, including such volumes as J.W. McGarvey’s Evidences of Christianity, Kurt and Barbara Aland’s The Text of the New Testament, F.F. Bruce’s The Canon of Scripture, Bruce Metzger’s The Text of the New Testament, F.H.A. Scrivener’s A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, Sir Frederic Kenyon’s Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, Benjamin Warfield’s An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, and many others. Those who cast aspersions upon the integrity of the biblical text manifest either abysmal, inexcusable ignorance of the long established facts of the matter or deliberate bias. If the reader desires the truth regarding the authenticity and integrity of the Bible, the evidence is available—if the individual is willing to spend the time and effort to weigh that evidence and arrive at the proper conclusion (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). Do we have the message that the original authors penned? The fact is that the books of the New Testament are the most extensively verified books of ancient history. The facts completely undermine and discredit any attack on the integrity and transmission of the Bible.
REASON #1: THE NEW TESTAMENT GREEK TEXT HAS BEEN AUTHENTICATED
We know how the original New Testament books read because we have three surviving classes of evidence by which to reconstruct the original New Testament: Greek manuscripts, ancient versions, and patristic citations. The current number of Greek manuscript copies containing all or part of the New Testament now stands at 5,795. This amount of manuscript evidence for the text of the New Testament is far greater than that available for any ancient classical author. The time between the writing of the original books of the New Testament and the earliest surviving copies is relatively brief. Although no two manuscript copies agree in every detail, the degree of accuracy achieved by most scribes was remarkably high. The vast majority of textual variants involve minor matters that do not alter any basic teaching of the New Testament. No feature of Christian doctrine is at stake. Suitable solutions to these differences are detectable. Even if they weren’t, manuscript evidence is so prolific that the original reading is one of the extant options. Even those variants that some might deem “doctrinally significant” (e.g., Mark 16:9-20; John 7:53-8:11) pertain to matters that are treated elsewhere in the Bible where the question of genuineness/certainty is unquestioned. We can confidently affirm that we have 999/1000thsof the original Greek New Testament intact. The remaining 1/1000th pertains to inconsequential details.
Additionally, a wealth of ancient versions provides further verification of the purity of the biblical text, including Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Gothic, Armenian, Georgian, Ethiopic, Old Slavonic, and others. Textual critics through history have steadfastly affirmed the value of these ancient versions in reconstructing the New Testament text. For example, Vaganay observed: “After the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the versions constitute the most valuable source for writing the history of this text” (1934, p. 28; cf. Vogels, 1923, p. 84—“The versions are very valuable for establishing the original text of the Bible.”). Though noting the limitations, the Alands admitted: “[T]he importance of the versions is substantial” (1987, p. 182).
The same may be said for the wealth of textual materials available via the so-called “Church Fathers,” i.e., early Christian writers who quoted, paraphrased, and otherwise alluded to passages from Scripture in their letters, commentaries, and correspondence. This latter source of information is so prolific that Metzger affirmed: “Indeed, so extensive are these citations that if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, they would be sufficient alone for the reconstruction of practically the entire New Testament” (1968, p. 86).
These contentions have been verified by the greatest textual critics and linguistic scholars of the past two centuries. Their conclusions have not become outdated, but remain as valid today as when first formulated. If the integrity of the text of the Bible was fully authenticated in their day, it remains so today. Consider the following statements by some of these world class authorities.
Scholarly Verification of the Purity of the New Testament Text
F.F. Bruce (1910-1990) was a biblical scholar who taught Greek at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Leeds, chaired the Department of Biblical History and Literature at the University of Sheffield, received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Aberdeen University, and served as the Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester. He wrote over 40 books and served as Editor of The Evangelical Quarterly and Palestine Exploration Quarterly. Bruce declared: “The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the N.T. affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice” (1975, pp. 19-20, emp. added). He also stated:
In view of the inevitable accumulation of such errors over so many centuries, it may be thought that the original texts of the New Testament documents have been corrupted beyond restoration. Some writers, indeed, insist on the likelihood of this to such a degree that one sometimes suspects they would be glad if it were so. But they are mistaken. There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament (1963, p. 178, emp. added).
Bruce further insisted:
Something more ought to be said, and said with emphasis. We have been discussing various textual types, and reviewing their comparative claims to be regarded as best representatives of the original New Testament. But there are not wide divergencies between these types, of a kind that could make any difference to the Church’s responsibility to be a witness and guardian of Holy Writ…. If the variant readings are so numerous, it is because the witnesses are so numerous. But all the witnesses, and all the types which they represent, agree on every article of Christian belief and practice (1963, p. 189, emp. added).
Bruce Metzger (1914-2007) was also a scholar of Greek, the New Testament, and New Testament Textual Criticism, serving as professor at Princeton Theological Seminary for 46 years. Described by prominent biblical scholar Raymond Brown as “probably the greatest textual specialist that America has produced” (as quoted in Ehrman and Holmes, 1995, p. xi), Metzger was a recognized authority on the Greek text of the New Testament. He served on the board of the American Bible Society, was the driving force of the United Bible Societies’ series of Greek Texts, and served as Chairperson of the NRSV Bible Committee. He is widely considered one of the most influential New Testament scholars of the 20th century. Concerning ancient versions, Metzger stated:
…even if we had no Greek manuscripts today, by piecing together the information from these translations from a relatively early date, we could actually reproduce the contents of the New Testament. In addition to that, even if we lost all the Greek manuscripts and the early translations, we could still reproduce the contents of the New Testament from the multiplicity of quotations in commentaries, sermons, letters, and so forth of the early church fathers (as quoted in Strobel, 1998, p. 59).
Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) was a British bishop, biblical scholar and theologian, serving as Bishop of Durham and holding the Regius Professorship of Divinity at Cambridge. His colleague, Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892), was an Irish theologian who served as a Professor at Cambridge. Together, they pioneered the widely recognized Greek text The New Testament in the Original Greek in 1881. They are still considered to be renowned textual critics. They forthrightly asserted:
With regard to the great bulk of the words of the New Testament…there is no variation or other ground of doubt…. [T]he amount of what can in any sense be called substantial variation is but a small fraction of the whole residuary variation, and can hardly form more than a thousandth part of the entire text. Since there is reason to suspect that an exaggerated impression prevails as to the extent of possible textual corruption in the New Testament…we desire to make it clearly understood beforehand how much of the New Testament stands in no need of a textual critic’s labours (1882, pp. 2-3, emp. added).
These peerless scholars also insisted: “[I]n the variety and fullness of the evidence on which it rests the text of the New Testament stands absolutely and unapproachably aloneamong ancient prose writing” (p. 278, emp. added). They add: “The books of the New Testament as preserved in extant documents assuredly speak to us in every important respect in language identical with that in which they spoke to those for whom they were originally written” (p. 284).
Benjamin Warfield (1851-1921) was a Professor of Theology at Princeton Seminary from 1887 to 1921. He is considered to be the last of the great Princeton theologians. In hisIntroduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, Warfield insightfully observed:
[S]uch has been the providence of God in preserving for His Church in each and every age a competently exact text of the Scriptures, that not only is the New Testament unrivalled among ancient writings in the purity of its text as actually transmitted and kept in use, but also in the abundance of testimony which has come down to us for castigating its comparatively infrequent blemishes…. The great mass of the New Testament, in other words, has been transmitted to us withno, or next to no, variation (1886, pp. 12-13,14, emp. added).
Richard Bentley (1662-1742) was an English classical scholar, critic, and theologian who served as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and was the first Englishman to be ranked with the great heroes of classical learning. He was well-known for his literary and textual criticism, even called the “Founder of Historical Philology,” and credited with the creation of the English school of Hellenism. Here are his comments on the integrity of the New Testament text:
[T]he real text of the sacred writers does not now (since the originals have been so long lost) lie in any single manuscript or edition, but is dispersed in them all. ‘Tis competently exact indeed even in the worst manuscript now extant; nor is one article of faith or moral precept either perverted or lost in them (1725, pp. 68-69, emp. added).
Marvin Vincent (1834-1922) graduated from Columbia University and became professor of New Testament Exegesis and Criticism at Union Theological Seminary in New York City in the late 19th century. He is best known for his Greek analysis of the words of the New Testament in his Word Studies in the New Testament. Regarding the integrity of the text, he observed:
The vast number of variations furnishes no cause for alarm to the devout reader of the New Testament. It is the natural result of the great number of documentary sources. A very small proportion of the variations materially affects the sense, a much smaller proportion is really important, and no variation affects an article of faith or a moral precept (1899, p. 7, emp. added).
Sir Frederic George Kenyon (1863-1952) was a widely respected, eminent British paleographer and biblical and classical scholar who occupied a series of posts at the British Museum. He served as President of the British Academy from 1917 to 1921 and President of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. He made a lifelong study of the Bible as an historical text. In his masterful Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, Kenyon affirmed:
One word of warning…must be emphasized in conclusion. No fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith rests on a disputed reading. Constant references to mistakes and divergencies of reading…might give rise to the doubt whether the substance, as well as the language, of the Bible is not open to question. It cannot be too strongly asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain. Especially is this the case with the New Testament. The number of manuscripts of the New Testament, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the Church is so large, that it is practically certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities. This can be said of no other ancient book in the world (1895, pp. 10-11, emp. added).
In his monumental The Bible and Archaeology, Kenyon further stated:
The interval then between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established(1940, pp. 288-289, emp. added).
Indeed, “the Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear of hesitation that he holds in it the true Word of God, faithfully handed down from generation to generation throughout the centuries” (1895, pp. 10-11).
Samuel Davidson (1806-1898) was an Irish biblical scholar who served as Professor of Biblical Criticism at Royal College of Belfast and Professor of Biblical Criticism in the Lancashire Independent College at Manchester. He authored many books on the text of the Bible. Referring to the work of textual criticism, Davidson concluded:
The effect of it has been to establish the genuineness of the New Testament text in all important particulars. No new doctrines have been elicited by its aid; nor have any historical facts been summoned by it from their obscurity. All the doctrines and duties of Christianity remain unaffected.… [I]n the records of inspiration there is no material corruption.... [D]uring the lapse of many centuriesthe text of Scripture has been preserved with great care…. Empowered by the fruits of criticism, we may well say that the Scriptures continue essentially the same as when they proceeded from the writers themselves (1853, 2:147, emp. added).
Frederick H.A. Scrivener (1813-1891) was a prominent and important New Testament textual critic of the 19th century. Having graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, he taught classics at several schools in southern England. His expertise in textual criticism is self-evident in that he served as a member of the English New Testament Revision Committee (Revised Version), edited the Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis and several editions of the Greek New Testament, collated the Codex Sinaiticus with the Textus Receptus, and was the first to distinguish the Textus Receptus from the Byzantine text. In his A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, Scrivener admitted:
[O]ne great truth is admitted on all hands—the almost complete freedom of Holy Scripture from the bare suspicion of wilful [sic] corruption; the absolute identity of the testimony of every known copy in respect to doctrine, and spirit, and the main drift of every argument and every narrative through the entire volume of Inspiration…. Thus hath God’s Providence kept from harm the treasure of His written word, so far as is needful for the quiet assurance of His church and people (1861, pp. 6-7, emp. added).
J.W. McGarvey (1829-1911) was a minister, author, educator, and biblical scholar. He taught 46 years in the College of the Bible in Lexington, Kentucky, serving as President from 1895 to 1911. He summarized the point: “All the authority and value possessed by these books when they were first written belong to them still” (1974, p. 17).
Elias Boudinot (1740-1821) was a prominent Founding Father of America. He served in the Continental Congress (1778-1779, 1781-1784), as its President in 1782-1783, and was the founding president of the American Bible Society. In his refutation of Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason, Boudinot explained: “[T]he facts upon which the Christian religion is founded, have a stronger proof, than any facts at such a distance of time; and that the books which convey them down to us, may be proved to be uncorrupted and authentic, with greater strength than any other writings of equal antiquity” (1801, p. 239, emp. added). This Founding Father’s view of the purity of the text of the New Testament was the view of the vast majority of the Founders.
With all the kindness one can muster, these eminent, well-studied, competent, peerless scholars, whose expertise in the field of Textual Criticism is unsurpassed, are far more qualified and accurate in their assessment of the credibility, integrity, and authenticity of the biblical text than any alleged scholar or skeptic living today. Truthfully, God knew that the original autographs would not survive, and that His Word would have to be transmitted through the centuries via copies. The transmission process is sufficiently flexible for God’s Word to be conveyed adequately by uninspired, imperfect copyists. Indeed, the original text of the New Testament has been thoroughly and sufficiently authenticated.
REASON #2: THE TRANSLATION PROCESS WORKS
God knew that the vast majority of the human race could not learn Greek or Hebrew. He knew that His Word would have to be read in translation in the language of the common people. The translation process is sufficiently flexible for God’s Word to be conveyed adequately by uninspired, imperfect translators. While some English translations may well seek to advance a theological agenda, generally speaking, most translations do not differ on the essentials. Most English versions convey these essentials: (1) what one must do to be saved and (2) what one must do to stay saved. As imperfect as translations might be, most still convey this basic information. This fact is verified by Jesus and the apostles’ own use of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew text en vogue in first-century Palestine. Some think this translation was achieved by 72 Jewish scholars who were invited to Alexandria, Egypt roughly two and a half centuries before Christ. Though considered by scholars as an imperfect translation of the Hebrew, most of the direct quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament are taken from the Septuagint. Hence, the Bible gives implicit divine endorsement to the use of imperfect, manmade translations, further implying that God’s Word has been adequately transmitted down through the centuries via translation.
A host of books have been published over the years that discuss principles of Bible translation (e.g., Nida, 1964; Beekman and Callow, 1974; Ryken, 2009; Grant, 1961; et al.). All human languages share in common a variety of linguistic features that may be suitably utilized to transmit God’s meanings. The United Nations stands as an indisputable testimony to the fact that meaning can be conveyed from one language to another. Indeed, messages all over the world are effectively translated into different languages every day. Likewise, the meanings of the words, grammar, and syntax of the biblical (parent) languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek have been amply transferred to English Bible translations. Even when English translations differ with each other on any given passage, further study will enable the Bible student to ascertain the meaning(s) intended. As with the transmission of the Greek text, the translation process provides the individual with the possibilities when more than one meaning is possible. When all is said and done, one may confidently say that God’s message has been suitably transferred from the original biblical languages into English.
REASON #3: THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH TRANSLATION DEMONSTRATES PRESERVATION
All languages are in a constant state of flux. Thus new translations are inevitable and necessary. But though the Greek text has been verified, and though we know that translation can be done accurately, how do we know that today we have God’s Word available since the translating has been done by many different people over several centuries? Answer: Because the history of English translation has been traced and verified. We know that the Hebrew and Greek texts were translated into Latin early on, and eventually began to be transferred to English in the 14th century. The hall of fame of great Bible translators in the English-speaking world verifies the accomplishment of this transference of God’s Word to the present: John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Miles Coverdale, John Rogers (the Matthew’s Bible), Richard Taverner, the Great Bible, the Geneva Bible, Matthew Parker (the Bishop’s Bible), the King James Bible (1611), the English Revised Version (ERV—1888) and its American counterpart, the American Standard Version (ASV—1901), and the host of English translations that have appeared in the 20th and now 21st centuries (cf. Lewis, 1991). We know the Bible has not been corrupted because we have the English translations generated through the centuries that enable us to examine and verify the text of the Bible. Coincidentally, even if we did not know English translation history, we can take the authenticated Greek text and make a completely new translation in English.
CONCLUSION
The evidence is available and it is decisive. Currently circulating copies of the Bible do not differ substantially from the original. Those who reject the Bible’s divine authority must do so for reasons other than their ability to know what God intended to communicate to the human race.
All human beings can know the truth and be saved. All can know that God exists and that the Bible is His Word. All can know that Christianity is the only true religion and that all must obey the Gospel of Christ in order to be forgiven of sin and saved. All can know that we must live the Christian life, worshipping God correctly, and living faithfully to God in daily behavior.
REFERENCES
Aland, Kurt and Barbara Aland (1987), The Text of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Beekman, John and John Callow (1974), Translating the Word of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Bentley, Richard (1725), Remarks Upon a Late Discourse of Free Thinking (Cambridge: Cornelius Crownfield).
Boudinot, Elias (1801), The Age of Revelation (Philadelphia, PA: Asbury Dickins),http://www.google.com/books?id=XpcPAAAAIAAJ.
Bruce, F.F. (1963), The Books and the Parchments (Westwood, NJ: Fleming H. Revell).
Bruce, F.F. (1975 reprint), The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Bruce, F.F. (1988), The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Davidson, Samuel (1853), A Treatise on Biblical Criticism (Boston: Gould & Lincoln).
Ehrman, Bart and Michael Holmes (1995), The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Grant, Frederick (1961), Translating the Bible (New York: Seabury Press).
Kenyon, Sir Frederic (1895), Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode).
Kenyon, Sir Frederic (1940), The Bible and Archaeology (New York: Harper & Row).
Lewis, Jack (1991), The English Bible from KJV to NIV (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), second edition.
McGarvey, J.W. (1974 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Metzger, Bruce (1968), The Text of the New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press).
Nida, Eugene (1964), Toward a Science of Translating (Leiden: E.J. Brill).
Ryken, Leland (2009), Understanding English Bible Translations (Wheaton, IL: Crossway).
Scrivener, F.H.A. (1861), A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament(Cambridge: Deighton, Bell, & Co.).
Strobel, Lee (1998), The Case for Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Vaganay, Léon (1934), Initiation à la critique textuelle néotestamentaire (Paris: Blond & Gay).
Vincent, Marvin (1899), A History of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament (New York: MacMillan).
Vogels, H.J. (1923), Handbuch der neutestamentlichen Textkritik (Munster: Aschendorff).
Warfield, Benjamin B. (1886), An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament(London: Hodder & Stoughton).
Westcott, B.F. and F.J.A. Hort (1882), The New Testament in the Original Greek (New York: Harper & Brothers).

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10 Reasons Why I Am Thankful for the God-Breathed Bible
Article by John Piper
 
Topic: Inspiration & Inerrancy of the Bible
 
Series: Taste & See Articles
1. The Bible awakens faith, the source of all obedience.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
2. The Bible frees from sin.
You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:32)
3. The Bible frees from Satan.
The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
4. The Bible sanctifies.
Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)
5. The Bible frees from corruption and empowers godliness.
His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificentpromises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
6. The Bible serves love.
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledgeand all discernment. (Philippians 1:9)
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)
7. The Bible saves.
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:16)
Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. (Acts 20:26)
[They will] perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:10)
8. The Bible gives joy.
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11)
9. The Bible reveals the Lord.
And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. (1 Samuel 3:21)
10. Therefore, the Bible is the foundation of my happy home and life and ministry and hope of eternity with God.
[Thumb john piper]
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.
Academia’s Asinine Assault on the Bible
by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.
 
The professor, age 50, wearing casual slacks and a sport coat over a sweater, arrived at the lecture auditorium to teach his afternoon class, as some 350 students streamed in for Religion 202—one of the most popular classes on the campus of the large state university. Exuding an energetic, intellectually sophisticated manner, and projecting an endearing personality, the professor proceeded to propound a “problem” pertaining to the Bible. Pacing back and forth across the stage, he launched a ruthless but passionately eloquent tirade against the Bible’s alleged “anomalies,” “contradictions,” and “discrepancies.” It went something like this:
Entire stories have been added that were not in the original gospels. The woman taken in adultery is nothing other than a bit of tradition added by the Catholics 300 years after the New Testament was written. In contrast with Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in the book of John Jesus wasn’t born in Bethlehem, he did not tell any parables, he never cast out a demon, and there’s no last supper. The crucifixion stories differ with each other. In Mark, Jesus was terrified on the cross, while in John, he was perfectly composed. Key dates are different. The resurrection stories are different. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you find no trace of Jesus being divine, while in John you do. It’s time for you to think for yourself. You need reasons. That applies to religion. That applies to politics. Just because your parents believe something—isn’t good enough.
So it goes, week after week, a relentless, rapid-fire barrage of bombastic barbs intended to overwhelm, intimidate, and bully their young, uninformed, ill-equipped victims. This scenario has been repeated thousands of times over the past half century in universities all across America. The result has been catastrophic. One heartbroken mother’s recent remarks are typical: “My 22-year-old son just graduated from ________ University where he lost his faith in God and His Word. My husband and I did the best we knew how to raise him to love the church and God’s Word. But he has allowed the world to sway his beliefs.” Like toxic waste, sinister propaganda has been dumped on the youth of the nation by biased, dishonest professors who have no interest in allowing the so-called “academic freedom” they tout in the form of equal time for reputable rebuttal. As a result of their decades’ long labor, a liberal, anti-Christian academic atmosphere now thoroughly permeates the university system of America.
Never mind the fact that these guys have nothing new to say that has not already been said by skeptics over the centuries. Their claims are merely a repackaged version quickly seized upon by a complicit liberal media that eagerly creates instant credibility by thrusting the new “prophet” before a larger audience—as if what he is saying is fresh and newly discovered. The fact of the matter is that all their points have been made and answered long ago. For those who have taken the time to examine the evidence, it is readily apparent that their accusations are slanted, overstated, exaggerated, and transparently biased.
Observe that the above professorial tirade issues two charges: (1) the text of the Bible is tenuous and uncertain, and (2) the gospel records contradict each other. The latter claim has been soundly refuted in detail by biblical scholars over the centuries. The Apologetics Press Web site is loaded with articles and books that defeat accusations of alleged discrepancy (see, for example, Eric Lyons’ Anvil Rings 1 & 2). Regarding the former claim, Textual Criticism is a longstanding discipline that long ago yielded abundant evidence for the trustworthiness of the text of the New Testament. Over the last two centuries, the manuscript evidence has been thoroughly examined, resulting in complete exoneration for the integrity, genuineness, and accuracy of the Bible. Prejudiced professors refrain from divulging to their students that the vast majority of textual variants involve minor matters that do not affect salvation nor alter any basic teaching of the New Testament. Even those variants that might be deemed doctrinally significant pertain to matters that are treated elsewhere in the Bible where the question of genuineness is unobscured. No feature of Christian doctrine is at stake. When all of the textual evidence is considered, the vast majority of discordant readings have been resolved (e.g., Metzger, 1978, p. 185). One is brought to the firm conviction that we have in our possession the Bible as God intended.
The world’s foremost textual critics have confirmed this conclusion. Sir Frederic Kenyon, longtime director and principal librarian at the British Museum, whose scholarship and expertise to make pronouncements on textual criticism was second to none, stated: “Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established” (Kenyon, 1940, p. 288). The late F.F. Bruce, longtime Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism at the University of Manchester, England, remarked: “The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the New Testament affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice” (1960, pp. 19-20). J.W. McGarvey, declared by the London Times to be “the ripest Bible scholar on earth” (Brigance, 1870, p. 4), conjoined: “All the authority and value possessed by these books when they were first written belong to them still” (1956, p. 17). And the eminent textual critics Westcott and Hort put the entire matter into perspective when they said:
Since textual criticism has various readings for its subject, and the discrimination of genuine readings from corruptions for its aim, discussions on textual criticism almost inevitably obscure the simple fact that variations are but secondary incidents of a fundamentally single and identical text. In the New Testament in particular it is difficult to escape an exaggerated impression as to the proportion which the words subject to variation bear to the whole text, and also, in most cases, as to their intrinsic importance. It is not superfluous therefore to state explicitly that the great bulk of the words of the New Testament stand out above all discriminative processes of criticism, because they are free from variation, and need only to be transcribed (1964, p. 564, emp. added).
Noting that the experience of two centuries of investigation and discussion had been achieved, these scholars concluded: “[T]he words in our opinion still subject to doubt can hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the whole of the New Testament” (p. 565, emp. added).
Think of it. Men who literally spent their lives poring over ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, devoting their lives to meticulous, tedious analysis of the evidence, conversant with the original languages, without peer in their expertise and qualifications, have concluded that the Bible has been transmitted accurately. Then a prejudiced professor of religion has the unmitigated gall to brush aside the facts and pummel students with a slanted, half-baked viewpoint that flies in the face of two centuries of scholarly investigation? It is nothing short of inexcusable and intellectually dishonest. It’s time for parents to rise up and make universities accountable, or else cease sacrificing their children on the altar of pseudo-education. [NOTE: Those who are fearful that the integrity of the text of the Bible is compromised by the reality of textual variants need to be reminded that the world’s foremost textual critics have demonstrated that currently circulating copies of the New Testament do not differ substantially from the original (see Miller, 2005a, “Is Mark...,” 25[12]:89-95; Miller, 2010).]
REFERENCES
Brigance, L.L. (1870), “J.W. McGarvey,” in A Treatise on the Eldership by J.W. McGarvey (Murfreesboro, TN: DeHoff Publications, 1962 reprint).
Bruce, F.F. (1960), The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), revised edition.
Kenyon, Sir Frederic (1940), The Bible and Archaeology (New York, NY: Harper).
McGarvey, J.W. (1956 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Metzger, Bruce M. (1978 reprint), The Text of the New Testament (New York, NY: Oxford University Press), second edition.
Westcott, B.A. and F.J.A. Hort (1964 reprint), The New Testament in the Original Greek (New York, NY: MacMillan).

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We are happy to grant permission for items in the "Inspiration of the Bible" section to be reproduced in their entirety, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) the author’s name must remain attached to the materials; (4) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (5) alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, quotations, etc. must be reproduced exactly as they appear in the original); (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken.

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David Has Been Found
by  Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.
 
Last summer, archaeologists excavating at Tel Dan (biblical Dan) found a fragment of a stela (inscribed stone) in the remains of a city wall that scholars acclaim as “one of the most important discoveries in the annals of Biblical archaeology” (Wood, 1993, 6[4]:121). The stone fragment seems to have been from a victory stela erected at Dan by a conquering Aramean (Syrian) army. When the Israelites eventually reclaimed the city, they destroyed the stela and used its fragments in various structures (Shanks, 1994, 20[2]:39). Professor Avraham Biran, the archaeologist heading the excavation, has dated the stela to the first half of the ninth century B.C. (Shanks, 1994, 20[2]:38).
Though only thirteen partial lines remain of this once-impressive monument, they contain an unparalleled literary jewel. Lines 8 and 9 explicitly mention the “king of Israel” and the “House of David,” which the conquering army defeated [The drawing on the left depicts the lower portion of the basalt stela from Tel Dan. The engraved inscription is written in paleo-Hebrew.  The two highlighted areas are translated “king of Isreal” and “House of David,” respectively.] These statements are important for several reasons. First, this is the only extant, extrabiblical document that unquestionably mentions the name David (perhaps it also appears in the Mesha stela, better known as the Moabite stone; see Lemaire, 1994). Even more remarkable is the fact that his name appears in the familiar phrase “House of David.” Given the date of the stela, this serves to confirm the biblical usage of this designation (cf. 1 Kings 12:19, 14:8, Isaiah 7:2, et al.).
Second, though critical scholars have tended to minimize the importance of Israel and Judah during this historical period, the inscription supports the significance that the Bible attaches to these two kingdoms. Third, the tentative date of this discovery corresponds historically with 1 Kings 15:9-20 in which Ben-Hadad, King of Syria (Aram), attacked several Israelite cities including Dan. Some scholars argue that the stela is an exact parallel to this sacred account.
However, there seem to be some differences between the details of 1 Kings 15:9-20 and the ancient stela fragment. Most conspicuously, the stela suggests (if accurately translated) that the Syrian army destroyed both Israel and Judah, but the biblical text indicates that Syria and Judah were allies against Israel. These discrepancies do not necessarily mean that either account is inaccurate. It may be that the stela refers to another battle not mentioned in the Bible, and it is very likely that there were several skirmishes involving Syria. But the stela does demonstrate that Syria (Aram) had military conflicts with Israel, lending corroborative testimony to the historical reliability of the biblical text.
No doubt, analysis of and debate over the stela will continue for some time. We can be certain, however, that the name “David” has been found in a ninth-century B.C. text other than the Bible. That incontrovertible fact is yet another ancient witness to biblical credibility.
REFERENCES
Lemaire, Andre (1994), “ ‘House of David’ Restored in Moabite Inscription,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 20[3]:30-37, May/June.
Shanks, Hershel (1994a), “ ‘David’ Found at Dan,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 20[2]:26-39, March/April.
Shanks, Hershel (1994b), “New Inscription May Illuminate Biblical Events,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 20[2]:38, March/April.
Wood, Bryant (1993), “New Inscription Mentions House of David,” Bible and Spade, 6[4]:119-121, Autumn.

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Fact—The New Testament is the Most Historically Accurate Book Ever Written
by  Kyle Butt, M.A.
 
Dismissing the miracles documented in the New Testament is a favorite pastime of many skeptics, and even some liberal-thinking religious leaders. However, this “dismissal” game gets extremely complicated because the miracles are so closely blended with historical facts that separating the two soon becomes like trying to separate two different colors of Play-Doh.® Take, for instance, the plight of Sir William Ramsay. His extensive education had engrained within him the keenest sense of scholarship. Along with that sense of scholarship came a built-in prejudice about the supposed inaccuracy of the Bible (especially the book of Acts). Ramsay noted: “…[A]bout 1880 to 1890 the book of the Acts was regarded as the weakest part of the New Testament. No one that had any regard for his reputation as a scholar cared to say a word in its defence [sic]. The most conservative of theological scholars, as a rule, thought the wisest plan of defence [sic] for the New Testament as a whole was to say as little as possible about the Acts” (1915, p. 38).
As could be expect of a person trained by such “scholars,” Ramsay held the same view—for a while. He held the view only for a brief time, however, because he did what few people of his time dared to do. He decided to explore the actual Bible lands with an open Bible—with the intention of proving the inaccuracy of Luke’s history as found in the book of Acts. However, much to his surprise, the book of Acts passed every test that any historical narrative could be asked to pass. After his investigation of the Bible lands, he was forced to conclude:
The more I have studied the narrative of the Acts, and the more I have learned year after year about Graeco-Roman society and thoughts and fashions, and organization in those provinces, the more I admire and the better I understand. I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and found it here [in the Book of Acts—KB]. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian’s, and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment, provided always that the critic knows the subject and does not go beyond the limits of science and of justice (1915, p. 89).
The renowned archaeologist Nelson Glueck put it like this:
It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which conform in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible (1959, p. 31).
Considering the fact that the land of Palestine in the days of the New Testament writers tossed and turned on a sea of political, economical, and social unrest, I would say that its historical accuracy is pretty amazing. Travel to the Holy Lands and see for yourself if you doubt New Testament accuracy. Carry with you an honest, open mind and a New Testament, and I assure you that you will respect the New Testament writers as accurate historians by the end of your journey.
REFERENCES
Glueck, Nelson (1959), Rivers in the Desert: A History of the Negev (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Cudahy).
Ramsay, William (1915), The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1975 reprint).

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