In the last article we discovered that the Bible is unique in its survival. We learned there are fragments of the new testament dating to within 25 years of when it was originally written. This article is the third in a series exploring some of the ways the Bible is not only unique, but also how we can rely on it for its accuracy and trust that it is indeed God’s Holy and Divine Word!
In this article we will again discuss how the Bible is unique in its survival! In addition to investigating how much time has lapsed between a copy of ancient text and when it was first authored, it is also important to note how many copies exist. The more copies you have of an ancient work, the easier it is to determine if the copies are accurate or not. One can compare the copies with each other to see if there are any differences. Of course there will always be some differences, but if the majority of the copies agree we can be reasonably assured that those copies are correct. We have many more copies of the New Testament than any other work of antiquity. Look at the table below.
This information comes from Josh McDowell’s book The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. This table compares the number of copies we have of the New Testament compared with various other works of antiquity. Notice that by 130 AD we already have over 5,000 partial copies of the New Testament. This is Amazing! No other text comes close! When we extend the time frame to approximately 400 years after the New Testament was completed we have over 26,000 copies and more are being found all the time. The diligent student can be certain that the New Testament we have today is the same as the one the Apostles and Prophets originally wrote.
One more thing I want to mention briefly is the writing of early Christians known as Church Fathers. Look at this table.
Some of these men are contemporaries of the Apostles, and while their writing is not inspired, they quoted from the New Testament so much, that we could generate a copy of the scriptures from their letters.
We have ample evidence that the New Testament remains unchanged from its origin until now, however this does not prove the Bible is the word of God, otherwise we would not need Faith. We can show that the Christian’s Faith is objective and evidence based, not blind and ignorant.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (KJV)
Thank you for reading. I hope to explore this topic further in future articles.
Philip Permenter, Evangelist