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But how accurate is that statement? Is the Bible really full of contradictions?
Is it outdated, inauthentic, and full of scientific How real is the bible historical errors as so many assert? In short. Here, we will consider some objections to the accuracy and reliability of the Bible to help you make a more informed decision about whether or not the Bible is trustworthy. Boa and Larry Moody. How many of the above statements do you think are true? The answer is none ; all of them are false. Yet these false impressions persist in the minds of many, and misinformation like this produces a skeptical attitude toward the Bible.
The fact is that, with few exceptions, many have reached their conclusions about the Bible through second- and third-hand sources rather than through firsthand investigation. For example, it is a rare person who has personally examined the text to see if an alleged contradiction is really there. Someone who asserts that the Bible is full of contradictions should be able to name at least one, if not several; challenging them to do so can be a helpful initial response.
We can break How real is the bible the question of whether the Bible is reliable into four sub or questions:. Authenticity textual reliability : Is what we have now a fair representation of what was first written? Accuracy factual reliability : Is what we have now a fair representation of what actually happened? Authority doctrinal reliability : Is what we have now a fair representation of what God wanted to communicate to us?
Accumulation : How do we know the right books were chosen to be in the Bible? There are three lines of evidence that support the claim that the biblical documents are reliable:. The first test examines the biblical manuscripts, the second deals with the claims made by the biblical authors, and the third looks to outside confirmation of the biblical content. The first test examines the quantity, quality, and time span between oldest copy and original writing of the text. This test examines the question. When we read the books of the Bible, are we reading what those books originally said?
In the case of the Old Testamentthere is a small of Hebrew manuscripts, because the Jewish scribes ceremonially buried imperfect and worn manuscripts. Additionally, the Old Testament text was standardized by the Masoretic Jews by the sixth century AD, and all manuscripts that deviated from the Masoretic Text were evidently eliminated. But the existing Hebrew manuscripts are supplemented by the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint a third-century BC Greek translation of the Old Testamentthe Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Targums ancient paraphrases of the Old Testamentas well as the Talmud teachings and commentaries related to the Hebrew Scriptures.
The quantity of New Testament manuscripts is unparalleled in ancient literature. There are over 5, Greek manuscripts, about 8, Latin manuscripts, and another 1, manuscripts in other languages Syriac and Coptic, How real is the bible others. In addition to this extraordinarythere are tens of thousands of citations of New Testament passages by the early church fathers. In contrast, the typical of existing manuscript copies for any of the works of the Greek and Latin authors, such as Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, or Tacitus, is much smaller.
Because of the great reverence the Jewish scribes held toward the Scriptures, they exercised extreme care in making new copies of the Hebrew Bible. The entire scribal process was specified in meticulous detail to minimize the possibility of even the slightest error. The of letters, words, and lines were counted, and the middle letters of the Pentateuch and the Old Testament were determined.
If a single mistake was discovered, the entire manuscript would be destroyed. As a result of this extreme care, the quality of the manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible surpasses all other ancient manuscripts. How real is the bible discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls provided a ificant check on this, because these Hebrew scrolls predate the earliest Masoretic Old Testament manuscripts by about 1, years. But in spite of this time span, the of variant readings between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic Text is quite small, and most of these are variations in spelling and style.
While the quality of the Old Testament manuscripts is excellent, that of the New Testament is very good—considerably better than the manuscript quality of other ancient documents. Because of the thousands of New Testament manuscripts, How real is the bible are many variant readings, but these variants are actually used by scholars to reconstruct the original readings by determining which variant best explains the others in any given passage.
Some of these variant readings crept into the manuscripts because of visual errors in copying or because of auditory errors when a group of scribes copied manuscripts that were read aloud. Other errors resulted from faulty writing, memory, and judgment, and still others from well-meaning scribes who thought they were correcting the text. Nevertheless, only a small of these differences affect the sense of the passages, and only a fraction of these have any real consequences.
Furthermore, no variant readings are ificant enough to call into question any of the doctrines of the New Testament. The New Testament can be regarded as Apart from some fragments, the earliest Masoretic manuscript of the Old Testament is dated at AD This is due to the systematic destruction of worn manuscripts by the Masoretic scribes. However, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls dating from BC to AD 68 drastically reduced the time span from the writing of the Old Testament books to our earliest copies of them.
The time span of the New Testament manuscripts is exceptional. The manuscripts written on papyrus came from the second and third centuries AD. The time span for most of the New Testament is less than years and some books are within years from the date of authorship to the date of our earliest manuscripts. This can be sharply contrasted with the average gap of over 1, years between the composition and the earliest copy of the writings of other ancient authors. To summarize the bibliographic test, the Old and New Testaments enjoy far greater manuscript attestation in terms of quantity, quality, and time span than any other ancient documents.
The Old and New Testaments enjoy far greater manuscript attestation in terms of quantity, quality, and time span than any other ancient documents.
This may appear to be circular reasoning. It sounds like we are using the testimony of the Bible to prove that the Bible is true. But we are really examining the truth claims of the various authors of the Bible and allowing them to speak for themselves. Remember that the Bible is not one book but many books woven together. This provides ificant evidence that must not be ignored. A of biblical authors claim that their s are primary, not secondary.
That is, the bulk of the Bible was written by people How real is the bible were eyewitnesses of the events they recorded. The independent eyewitness s in the New Testament of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ were written by people who were intimately acquainted with Jesus Christ. How real is the bible Gospels and epistles reveal their integrity and complete commitment to the truth, and they maintained their testimony even through persecution and martyrdom.
All the evidence inside and outside the New Testament runs contrary to the claim made by form criticism that the early church distorted the life and teachings of Christ. Most of the New Testament was written between AD 47 and 70, and all of it was complete before the end of the first century. There simply was not enough time for myths about Christ to be created and propagated.
And the multitudes of eyewitnesses who were alive when the New Testament books began to be circulated would have challenged blatant historical fabrications about the life of Christ. Here is the prologue to the first of these:.
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
Luke —4. Because the Scriptures continually refer to historical events, they are verifiable; their accuracy can be checked by external evidence. The chronological details in the prologue to Jeremiah — 3 and in Luke — 2 are two illustrations of this. The historicity of Jesus Christ is well-established by early Roman, Greek, and Jewish sources, and these extrabiblical writings affirm the major details of the New Testament portrait of the Lord.
In this work, Josephus gives many background How real is the bible the Herods, the Sadducees and Pharisees Jewish religious leadersthe high priests like Annas and Caiaphas, and the Roman emperors, for example—that are mentioned in the four Gospels and the book of Acts. We find another early secular reference to Jesus in a letter written a little after AD 73 by an imprisoned Syrian named Mara bar Serapion.
This letter, written to his son, compares the deaths of Socrates, Pythagoras, and Christ. Other first- and second-century writers who mention Christ include:. The Old and New Testaments make abundant references to nations, kings, battles, cities, mountains, rivers, buildings, treaties, customs, economics, politics, dates, and the like.
Because the historical narratives of the Bible are so specific, many of its details are open to archaeological investigation. While we cannot say that archaeology proves the authority of the Bible, it is fair to say that archaeological evidence has provided external confirmation of hundreds of biblical statements. Higher criticism in the 19th century made many damaging claims that would seem to completely overthrow the integrity of the Bible, but the explosion of archaeological knowledge in the 20th century reversed almost all of these claims Twitter.
Noted archaeologists such as William F. Albright, Nelson Glueck, and G. Ernest Wright developed a great respect for the historical accuracy of the Scriptures as a result of their work. Out of the multitude of archaeological discoveries related to the Bible, consider How real is the bible following examples illustrating the remarkable external substantiation of biblical claims.How real is the bible
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3 Evidences That Confirm the Bible Is Not Made Up