This weekend we are going to take a break from our verse memorization. Instead, let’s look at the authenticity of the Bible. A lot of people question if the words in the Bible are actually the words that were penned by the original 40 writers of the books of the Bible.
In his book Reliable Truth: The Validity of the Bible in an Age of Skepticism, author Richard E. Simmons does an exhaustive research of the origins of the Bible and the basis of its authenticity. Simmons writes, “Scholars who study ancient history will tell you that in order to test the validity of any ancient literary work you have to consider two criteria. First, is to look at how many manuscripts exist, hand-written, prior to the invention of the printing press. The second is determining the time span between the writing of the original manuscript and comparing it to the oldest copy that we have today.”
Here’s the conclusion: If you look at the most notable ancient writers, the short list would include Plato, Aristotle, and Homer. Plato’s most noted work is Plato’s Republic. No scholar today would question the validity of Plato’s Republic, yet all we have are 7 manuscripts. There are 49 manuscripts of Aristotle’s works, 643 manuscripts of Homer’s Iliad. But there are 24,ooo manuscripts of the New Testament!
Now that should be compelling to anyone, but there’s more. Scholars who have studied the 24,000 manuscripts have determined that the Bible we read today is 99.5% accurate to the original manuscripts! And the 0.5% in question do not affect a single doctrine. The words you read, the verses we memorize, although translated, are the same words that were penned two thousand years or longer ago.
There are a lot of people today who question the validity of the Bible, and you are likely to meet some of those people in the years ahead. Let me leave you with this:
James Agresti, was an engineer who designed jet engines for many years. He was also a staunch atheist. He spent a year carefully reading the Bible, studying for its accuracy. This is what he concluded: “In summary, the evidence for the textual accuracy of the New Testament books is overwhelming. With the exception of about two paragraphs in the entire New Testament, the manuscript evidence is so strong, there is no rational basis for any kind of uncertainty over the substance of the text.”
Agresti became a Christian as a result of his study.