Insights through Illusion for Daily Living

Apologetics Tuesday:Trusting The New Testament Part 2

Background

Critics try to discredit the NT based simply on the information behind its writing and the amount of manuscripts we still have. One of the most popular criticisms is that the NT was changed over the years. People willingly believe this too even though the background information clearly shows this to be not true. For instance the same people who discredit the NT will gladly put stock in Caesar’s writings or the manuscripts of Homer, Tacitus, Plato, and the great Greek historian Herodotus.

They don’t really give a reason for why they are not nearly as harsh on these other sources than on the NT. I can tell you though, what it boils down to. The fact that these are secular sources automatically gives them more credibility in the minds of critics. The funny thing is though, there is no merit for this view. The only reason for this is because it fits closer to their world view. You’ll always find that “Free Thinkers” and “Open Minded” people are always the first to try to shut down opposing voices….not too tolerant eh?

How does the New Testament stack up with these other ancient sources?

We need to look at two things to determine how much we can tell about our current version of the NT is from the original manuscripts. First is time, and then number of manuscripts.

Here is the time gap between the original writing and the surviving copies.

Homer—500 Years

Herodotus–1400 Years

Plato–1200 Years

Tacitus–1000 Years

Caesar–1000 Years

Pliny–750 Years

Pretty big gaps right? These are our most reliable historical sources right? So a gap that big is not that big of a deal right? Wrong.

The New Testament–25 Years. Yep that’s it. 25 years. Less than the amount of time that it takes for legends to form.

What about number of Manuscipts

Homer–643

Herodotus–8

Plato–7

Tacitus–20

Caesar–10

Pliny–7

Not very much right? So you see how few copies we have for our favorite ancient sources.

The New Testament?

5,686 Copies. Yup you read that right. 5,000 copies more than the next source.

That’s a huge amount! What does that do for you though? Think about it this way. With that many surviving copies, you can sit them side by side and look at where they are the same and where they differ. This helps you realize what the original manuscripts said. So not only is the New Testament a reliable historical source, but it is the most reliable historical source in antiquity.

How does that affect us?

Think about why people reject the New Testament now. Not on its historical merits, but because they realize the implications of what it means for the NT to be true, and how it changes everything.

The God of the Bible is real and loves us, and that our sin separates us from God, that we are not good in our nature, but need redemption from our savior.

That’s what the world is afraid of, but what we have to convey to everyone.

What do people tell you about the NT?

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One response

  1. Pingback: Apologetics Tuesday: Trusting the New Testament Part 4 « Step into the Mind of Bryan Drake

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