The books of the Old Testament were written from approximately 1400 B.C. to 400 B.C. The books of the New Testament were written from approximately A.D. 40 to A.D. 90. So, anywhere between 3400 to 1900 years have passed since a book of the Bible was written. In this time, the original manuscripts have been lost. They very likely no longer exist. Also during this time, the books of the Bible have been copied again and again. Copies of copies of copies have been made. In view of all of this, can we still trust the Bible?
When God originally inspired men to write His Word, it was God-breathed and inerrant (2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 17:17). The Bible nowhere applies this to copies of the original manuscripts. As meticulous as scribes were with the replication of the Scriptures, no one is perfect. As a result, minor differences arose in the various copies of the Scriptures. Of all of the thousands of Greek and Hebrew manuscripts that are in existence, no two were identical until the printing press was invented in the 1500s A.D.
However, any unbiased document scholar will agree that the Bible has been remarkably preserved over the centuries. Copies of the Bible dating to the 14th century A.D. are nearly identical in content to copies from the 3rd century A.D. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, scholars were shocked to see how similar they were to other ancient copies of the Old Testament, even though the Dead Sea Scrolls were hundreds of years older than anything previously discovered. Even many hardened skeptics and critics of the Bible admit that the Bible has been transmitted over the centuries far more accurately than any other ancient document.
There is absolutely no evidence that the Bible has been revised, edited, or tampered with in any systematic manner. The sheer volume of Biblical manuscripts makes it simple to recognize any attempts to distort God’s Word. There is no major doctrine of the Bible that is put in doubt as a result of the minor differences that exist between manuscripts.
Again, the question, can we trust the Bible? Absolutely! God has preserved His Word despite the unintentional failings and intentional attacks of human beings. We can have utmost confidence that the Bible we have today is the same Bible that was originally written. The Bible is God’s Word, and we can trust it (2 Timothy 3:16; Matthew 5:18).
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