How True is the Bible?
Can you think of another ancient book that is accused and questioned as much as the Bible? Many critics claim there was a long span between the time the events in the New Testament occurred and the time they were recorded. They also claim another gap exists between the time the first writings were made, and when the copies that are now in existence were made. Based on these assumptions, critics claim there are inaccuracies between the original writings and what we have today. Aside from this being untrue, what would happen if we held other writings to the same standard?
Aristotle's Ode to Poetics was written between 384 and 322 BC. The earliest copy of this work is actually dated 1100 AD, and there are only forty-nine existing manuscripts. That means 1,400 years passed between the time the original was written, and the time of the earliest copy in existence. Plato's Tetralogies were written between 427 and 347 BC and there are only seven manuscripts. The earliest copy of those manuscripts is from 900 AD. That means at least 1,200years passed between the time the original was written and the time of our earliest copy. Now lets look at the New Testament. Jesus was crucified in 30 AD. The New Testament was written between 48 and 95 AD. The oldest copies are from the last twenty-five years of the first century, and the second oldest is from 125 AD. So the New Testament gap is 35 to 40 years, while Plato and Aristotle cover 1,200 to 1,400 years. Are both sets of works held to the same standard, or am I just unaware of the hoards of people who repeatedly cast doubts as to the veracity of the works of Aristotle and Plato?
As for the writings that we have being inaccurate, there are some 5,300 Greek copies of the New Testament. If we include the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic, there are 24,633 texts of the ancient New Testament to confirm the wording of the current Scriptures. There was no great lapse between the events of the New Testament and the New Testament writings. Neither was there a great lapse of time between the original writings and the oldest copies. Lastly, with almost 25,000 copies of texts that are all in agreement with one another, how can anyone doubt that the New Testament says exactly the same things today as it originally did over 1900 years ago?
Some critics also say that outside of the New Testament writings, Jesus is absent from the historical record. This is absolute rubbish. The birth, life, death AND RESSURECTION of Jesus are recorded in the Babylonian Talmud by Flavius Josephus, Pliny the Younger's letter to the Roman Emperor Trajan, Mara Bar-Serapion's first century letter (which is currently in the British Museum), and Suetonius' books; Life of Claudius and Life of Nero.
Flavius Josephus' full name was Joseph Ben Matthias. Josephus was a first century Jewish historian, who was also a Pharisee. Pliny the Younger's full name was Gaius Plinius Caecilius. He was a first century Roman governor of Bithynia, who regularly communicated with the Roman Emperor Trajan. Mara Bar-Serapion was simply writing a letter to his son a letter. In this letter he referred to Jesus as the King of the Jews, stating that they (the Jews) had crucified him. Suetonius' full name was Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus. He was a first century Roman biographer and historian of culture. Suetonius' writings are a primary source of information about the lives of the first 12 Caesars and of Roman men of letters. I have supplied the full names of these people so that you can research them for yourself. You will find that they were learned individuals in positions of authority. We have a Pharisee, a Roman governor, a person writing a simple letter, and a Roman biographer. Who among them has a reason to write about someone who doesn't exist? Considering this logically, they would only do so if they believed He really did exist.
Many people have decided that they will not believe the Bible. Evidence is not an issue. They have made up their minds and no amount of proof that you or I can supply will lead them to believe otherwise. I feel very sorry for these people because at some point they will admit to the truthfulness of the Bible. Unfortunately for many of these people, they will not do so in this lifetime. At that point, it will be too late.