This post grew out of a reply I made to comments by a certain marea to one of my posts – he/she claims that the Bible was changed to. It is also meant as a partial rebuttal to yet other comments made by menj to the previous post.
Some parts of these explanations will be applicable from a neutral, scientific approach. Others are deliberately meant as arguments from a specific faith viewpoint. Accept what parts you will… I just hope to do my best to satisfy any objections.
So, here the reasons/arguments why the Bible today is the same as the original, and not a changed forgery. (Perhaps not 100% th same word for word, dot for dot, line for line. But the meaning and truths in God’s word definitely cannot be nullified or removed.)
1. Historical documents
There are a great number of ancient documents that you can actually look at and compare to the modern Bible. Doing so will reveal that what’s in the modern Bible is by no means recent fiction. There may be some differences in chapters and verses, but NOT ONE important message or doctrine is affected by any such discrepencies.
For the Old Testament, there’s the Masoretic texts (between 300 to 900 AD), the Septuagint (between 200 to zero BC), and the Dead Sea Scrolls (up to 700 BC). The Codex Amiatinus (700 AD) has the entire Bible.
For the New Testament, there’s the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus (both around 300 AD), and over 24,000 New Testament manuscripts! The New Testament is found to be an amazing 99.95% textually pure.
As a Science graduate, natural skeptic, former debator and truth seeker, the above personally-checkable proofs are a very important reason why I believe the Bible to be the same as what God inspired His prophets and apostles to write. How about you?
2. The ancients didn’t change the texts
The books of the modern Bible is the result of careful selection, comtemplation and study of the various contenders. Athanasius already had a list of NT books identical to our modern NT in 367 AD.
Jesus Himself attests to the Old Testament canon in Matthew 23:25 – “And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” Abel is from Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Zechariah is the last book in the ancient Jewish arrangement of the Old Testament.
Contrary to what Dan Brown may write, the church leaders didn’t simply pick what they felt like keeping and threw out the rest. Rather, they agreed on what were the already commonly accepted books of the New Testament.
Could they have removed all the parts they didn’t agree with and covered it up? Such as, perhaps, to remove all references to a certain prophet? They wouldn’t have had reason to do so for the 6 centuries before said person appeared, so it must have been after.
But look at the whole picture: There were already hundreds or thousands of copies of the Scriptures, spread across three continents, in dozens of languages, hidden away in caves and buildings. And Holy Rome, Byzantine and the Jews were not exactly the best of friends to agree on changing things simultaneously.
In fact, the accuracy and similarity of the modern Scripture to ancient documents readily attests to the church’s fine job in preserving God’s word for so many ages.
3. The moderns didn’t change the texts
Marea said that the Bible was changed recently, back in the fifties. Quite frankly, this is extremely impossible to pull off. I’m including this so you can see how incredulous a charge it is.
The Bible is by far the best selling book in all of history. Literally BILLIONS of Bibles have been printed and sold! Let’s use a modest estimate of 6 billion.
That’s not counting free Bibles for gifts and evangelism; books about the Bible; references to the Bible (such as Daily Bread); handwritten Bibles over the centuries; Bibles hidden away in cupboards and drawers… And in more languages than any other text. Even some parts in Klingon, heh!
You tell me, how any organization in the world could change every single one of these countless Bibles.
4. The Bible as God’s eternal word
The Bible is considered to be God’s infallible, un-nullifiable and unchangeable Holy Word by Christians. In fact, one argument against the early Christians changing the Scriptures to suit their whims is that they considered these writings to be holy and not to be tampered with.
Jesus said Himself that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Luke 21:33)
In fact, even the Quran attests that the Bible is God’s very word: “He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind…” - part of Al E Imran 3, as taken from this site.
This ought to stop the believers among you from off-handedly making accusations. God is all powerful, fully capable and willing to ensure that His message is not blatantly distorted or lost from His Holy Word.
Skeptics pick apart and mock the Scriptures. The communists destroyed countless Bibles. Many nations ban the Bible even today. Naturalists control the science and education systems, labelling anything to do with God as fantasy and non-science.
But God’s Word marches on, never ceasing…
PS. For more on the Canon of the Bible, you can listen to Joshua Hooi’s words on the Old Testament Canon and the New Testament Canon.