Serving Jesus through discipleship

Can We hear the Voice of God? (Part 8)

Can I Trust That My Bible is God’s Word

If you have a good modern translation of the Bible, the you have almost exact what the ancient authors wrote. It is amazing that people try to argue that we cannot trust the Bible because we do not have the original copies. It would never occur to those people to question the writings of Plato, Sophocles, Homer or Caesar Augustus, when we only have fewer than ten copies of each book, and those copies were made at least one thousand years after the author wrote the original.

English: A scroll of the Book of Isaiah

English: A scroll of the Book of Isaiah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Until the middle of the twentieth century, the situation was similar with the Hebrew Old Testament. Our oldest copies dated from about AD 900. We knew the extreme care the rabbis used to copy the sacred text before they destroyed the worn one. But still the copies we had were historically distant from the original (called autographa). But then in 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered at Qumran. Suddenly we had copies of the Old Testament that were more than a thousand years older than the previous oldest copies.

A comparison of the Qumran manuscript of the Book of Isaiah with the Masoretic text from AD 900 showed the most minor variations, mostly spelling (like the American honor and the British honour) or stylistic changes like adding a conjunction. After comparing the texts that were a thousand years old and finding no significant differences, scholars came to the conclusion that the Old Testament books that we have are basically the same as the original manuscript.

In the case of the New Testament, we have 14,000 ancient copies, with fragments written no later than one hundred years after the original books and letters. This is so amazing because the books were copied onto such fragile materials as papyrus and those copies were not stored anywhere that would protect them from the elements, but in God’s providence they still survived.

Finally, Jesus Himself used copies and translations. He trusted them, so we should too. Because we have so many copies of scripture that are virtually the same, we have no reason not to trust that the texts we have are the same text that was originally authored.


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One thought on “Can We hear the Voice of God? (Part 8)

  1. Pingback: Can We Hear the Voice of God? (Part 9) « mcdministries

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