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Bible Origin and Reliability
Transcript of Bible Origin and Reliability
Origins and Reliability of the Old and New Testament
Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37
Reflect on "Top Five Hit List"
Historically how did the Old and New Testament get to its current accepted state?
Can the Bible be trusted as reliable?
Conversion of Paul
Acts 18:12-17 - Gallio as procounsul, Paul brought to the judges bench. Delphi Inscription dates AD 52
Acts 15:6-30 - Jerusalem council in AD 48 just precedes Paul's 2nd missionary journey
Acts 11:27-30 - Paul visits Jerusalem prior to Jerusalem council for the purpose of famine relief
Josephus (1st cent. historian puts this at AD 45-46)
Galatians 2:1 - Paul says he goes up to Jerusalem after 14 years after his first visit AD 45-47, which was 3 years after his conversion AD 32-35
Death and resurrection of Jesus is thought to be between AD 30-33
1 Corinthians 15:3-7
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures
He was buried
He was raised on the 3rd day
He appeared to Cephas and then the twelve
He appeared to more than 500 of the brothers and sisters
He appeard to James, then all the apostles
Questions to be answered
Clement (leader in Rome) writes a letter to the Corinthians and quotes 10 NT books. Also confirms Peter's blessing on Mark's Gospel writing
Paul's writings are collected ~AD 100
Polycarp letter quotes 16 NT books
Quotes by church fathers attest to the authority and reliability of the apostles writings
Gospels are collected
Marcion changes the Canon
His canon included only Luke and ten of Paul's letters. Rejects OT in it's entirety, creating a disassociation between the Hebrews and God
Muratorian canon established (oldest discovered list)
Pauls letters excluding Hebrews
1 and 2 John
Eusebius records history of NT books
Categorizes them - comes up with 27 total
4 gospels, Acts
14 Letters of Paul
1 John, 1 Peter, Revelation
Disputed (widely accepted):
James, Jude, 2 Peter
2 and 3 John
Acts of Paul
Shepherd of Hermas
The Apocalypse of Peter
Athanasius lists all 27 NT books - first credited for doing this prior to the formal canonization
Council of Hippo fixes all the 27 books
Council of Carthage also confirms all 27 books
Spurious books written AD 50-200
How were the NT books chosen?
1. Apostolic in Origin
(exceptions: James and Jude)
2. Written while apostles were alive
3. Generally accepted by the early church and in constant use
4. Cohere and agree with accepted and undisputed scripture
5. Must be inspired word of God
Books became known as the canon
Canon = standard, measure, rule
"Matthew published his Gospel among Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome. After their departure Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing those things which Peter had preached; and Luke, the attendant of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel which Paul had declared. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also reclined on his bosom, published his Gospel, while staying at Ephesus in Asia." AD 180
Attributing Authorship to Books
1. Closeness to Christ (i.e. John)
2. Authoritative despite lack of narrative focus on the author (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
- speaks more to tradition, no marketing needed, but immediately their writings held weight
3. Names of authors in the gospels are nowhere noted
- Contrast this to the apocryphal writings
Dating the NT writings
Landmarks (i.e. sheep gate in John)
Luke: Paul's death
John: Destruction of Jerusalem
3. Death of author (Paul)
4. Rulers mentioned in scripture
Acts 18:12 - Gallio, procounsel of Achaia & Delphi Inscription AD 62
5. Other events
Acts 11:27-30 - Pauls 1st journey to Jerusalem for famine relief. Dated AD 45 by historians. Puts his conversion around AD 35
NT books appear to have been written between 40s AD and 90s AD
Mark - AD 40-60
Luke - AD 60-62
Acts - AD 62-65
John - AD 60s-85
Matthew - AD 60s-100
Galatians - AD 40-52
1 and 2 Thess. - AD 50-52
This challenged the church fathers to think deeply about the known books and more sharply define which of the writings actually belong
The process of creating the NT made it much more likely to exclude authentic scripture than to include false writings
In the basic sense, neither individuals nor councils created the canon, rather than came to perceive the self-authenticating quality of these writings which imposed themselves as canonical upon the church. - Bruce Metzger
Movable type not invented until 1450s by Gutenberg, leaving the biblical text vulnerable to corruption.
To recover the ancient texts we must use Textual Criticism
All the extant copies of a manuscript are compared to one another and through methodology, the earlier ones are determined
- Earliest copies are preferred
- Shorter ones are given more weight
- The reading of the majority (similarities)
Copying of the Books
Used an exemplar (edition) they wished to copy
The scribe then copied word for word
Lector would read one word at a time while a group of scribes copied
(risk: "to" vs "too")
Transmission of the Text
Col 4:16 - Paul suggests letters be copied and read to other churches
When a letter was received, multiple copies were made and distributed
The more the better!
- 5,300 copies and fragments exist
- Many come from monastery libraries in the Mediterranean
- Oldest complete NT and partial OT is from a monastery on Mt. Sinai from AD 350
- Next best is Codex Vanaticus which contains most of the NT dated AD 325
- Beatty Papyrus contains all of Pauls writings and dates AD 180
- Badmer Papyrus contains nearly all of the gospel of John and dates AD 150
- oldest fragment - Johns gospel dated AD 125-130
- Magdelen Papyri - 5 fragments from Matthew dating AD 70
- Scripture can nearly be fully recovered from the quotations of scripture from the early church fathers
- 2nd greatest authoritative piece of literature
- Written ~ 900 BC
- Oldest copy ~ 400 BC = 500 year span
- Total # manuscripts = 643
- Readings agree ~ 95% of the time
Aristotle - writings between 384-322 BC
- Oldest copy written 1100-1400 years later
Plato - wrote Tetralogies between 427-347 BC
- Oldest copy is 900-1300 years later
- There are only 7 manuscripts available
When original language manuscripts are compared with one another, there are 200,000 variations/errors in 10,000 places in the Bible
- misspellings - # applies to all copies
- interpolations - word was added
- orthographical - theater vs theatre
Effort made to date errors
Dating of errors led to classification of Biblical texts both based on date of error and location
Western text - found near Rome
Byzantine text - Turkey, Greece and Middle East
- contains the most copies
Alexandrian text - North Africa
- oldest text type
Intentional errors exist
Mark 1:1-2 (HCSB) - Alexandrian text
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You who will prepare Your way.
Mark 1:1-2 (NKJV) - Byzantine text
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophets,
Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepate thy way before thee.
At some point a scribe recognized this quote from scripture is not only from Is. 40:3 but also from Mal. 3:1 and sought to correct the attribution
When all is said and done, there are about 400 words that fall into the category of "intentional error"
The content of these verses contain no basis for any essential doctrine.
As a result, scholar can recover 97-99% of the original content of the NT with absolute certainty
Archeology Corroborates the Bible
- Pilate Stone
- Gallio Inscription
- Caiaphas Ossurary
- Sergius Paulus inscription
- Pool of Siloam
- Pool of Bethesda
- Inscriptions regarding Lysanius the tetrarch of Abilene
Non-Christian Writings Corroborate the Bible
- Josephus AD 37-100 - Jewish historian
- Tacitus AD 55-117 - Roman historian
- Pliny the Younger - governor of Asia Minor AD 109-111 in a writing to Emporer Trajan
- Lucian - second century satirist
From these four we can conclude:
1. Jesus was a real person
2. He lived in Palestine during the time of Tiberius and Pontius Pilate
3. He had a reputation for working wonders and teaching radical doctrine
4. He was worshiped as God
5. His followers met on a certain day of the week and had extreme devotion even to the point of death
6. There was a communal culture that cared about the believers
7. His followers were bound by an oath to adhere to a high ethical standard
Is the word of God inspired?
Both Quran and Bible claim to be inspired
The bible is
word of God
We know this
because it says
The reason we should
believe this is because
it is the inspired word
Is the Bible inspired word of God?
Jesus claimed to be God
- Provided resurrection as authentication
Jesus took OT as authoritative Word of God
- Spoke of historical acts/miracles of God that really happened, prophecy the same way
Jesus claimed the Holy Spirit would come and bring to remembrance all He had taught
1. The NT is real history
2. And there is good reason to believe the resurrection took place
3. And the OT is authoritative
Then we have a great case to make for the Bible's inspiration
Hebrew Bible is known as the Tanakh
It is an acronym for:
Torah = "the Law"
- first five books
- Gen, Ex, Lev, Num, Deut
Neviim = "the prophets"
- lives of prophets and their messages
- Josh, Judges, Sam, Ki, Is, Jer, Ez, 12 minor proph.
Ketuvim = "the writings"
- wisdom literature and songs, and misc.
- Ps, Prov, Job, five scrolls, Ez, Neh, Chron, Dan
Moses was literate and educated as a result of his upbringing.
Likely constructed the Torah from many manuscripts and texts available to him at the time.
Record keeping (business and communication) was important at that time, and Israel's history with God would have only motivated that more so
Where did the OT come from?
Moses's writing was considered authoritative because of his role in or directly a part of the many miracles that occurred during his life leading Israel and because of his open ministry.
Miracles were for the benefit of eye witnesses and not Moses.
Neviim - OT prophets had to meet certain criteria
Torah - Moses's writings
Prophets had to provide a sign (i.e. predictive prophecy) that they spoke for God.
Another reason to preserve their writings
Writings of prophets extended from Moses to Nehemiah
Ketuvim - The writings
Accepted likely on the basis that there were commentaries written about them, confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery
Jesus referred to the Tanakh in his teachings
18 of the 22 Tanakh books are quoted in NT
1st century Jews held Tanakh as de facto canon - Josephus confirms this
Tanakh- 22 or 24 books - Ruth/Judges, Lamentations/Jeremiah
OT - 39 books - named individually the "12 prophets" and "five scrolls"
Septuagint (LXX) - OT is translated to Greek (Hellenization of Egypt and Palestine)
- 6 scribes from each of the 12 tribes of Israel commissioned to translate to Greek
Ensuring proper translation of Tanakh
Talmudists - took on the job of copying the Tanakh in Hebrew following 70 AD. The rules for copying were extremely strict.
To the Jews, the most recent unblemished copy was considered the best. Blemished copies were burned
Massoretes - took over copying between 500-900 AD
Concern existed that proper Hebrew pronunciation was being lost
Solved the issue with the Hebrew alphabet which contains no vowels, to ensure proper translation
Today, these copies are used by Jews and Christians
How do we know the texts remained pure between Talmudist and Massorete copying?
Dead Sea Scrolls confirm the proper transmission of the ancient texts.
1947 - 7 manuscripts bought from a Bedouin shepherd found in a cave near Qumran on the Dead sea.
Led to discovery of 40,000 fragments of writings including all the OT except for Esther - dating 3rd century BC
Text of Isaiah for instance was found to be 95% in agreement with most errors being mispellings or copying errors.
Massoretic text copied 1000 years later was extremely consistent, and the Isaiah 53 text only contains 3 letters of variance, which does not change the context at all.
Apocrypha writings came after translation of Tanakh to Greek. They are respected but not included in the OT after AD 1825 because some of the dates of events didn't agree and Scriptural discrepencies were found
-Tel Dan Stele
The evidence builds for the existence of God and the probability that Jesus is who He said He is, and that our salvation rests in Him alone
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