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Manuscript Evidence for the Bible
Transcript of Manuscript Evidence for the Bible
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Proverbs 30:5-6
Do you believe the Bible we have today is the same Bible that was first written?
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Dead Sea Scrolls - Found in 1947
by Bedouin of the Ta’amra tribe,
in a cave near Khirbet Qumran
on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea
dates some manuscripts to AD 33, give or take 200 years.
dates fragments from 225 BC to AD 50. Carbon dating later dated the same fragments to 385 BC to AD 82.
The Great Isaiah Scroll
7.34 m long
All 66 chapters of Isaiah
Dates from c. 125 BC
(Isaiah written c. 700-681 BC)
Commentary on Habakkuk
1.48 m long
Interprets first 2 chapters of Habakkuk
Dates from 1st century BC
(Habakkuk written c. 615-605 BC)
Dr. Gleason Archer on the Dead Sea Scrolls: “Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were 1,000 years older than the oldest dated manuscripts previously known, they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more that 95% of the text. The 5% of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.”
Written about the 4th century
Just over 400 large sheets of prepared animal skin, each 38 cm high by 34.5 cm wide
Includes about half the Old Testament and Apocrypha, the entire New Testament, and two early Christian texts
The Masoretes were scholars and scribes whose goal was to uphold the traditions of the Jewish people by creating a single text of the Torah, deciphering the authentic word of God and eliminating dissimilarities.
The Masoretic Texts were written in the 7th to 10th centuries, with the oldest manuscript dating to the 10th century.
Fragment of John 18:31-33 (John written c. AD 80-90)
Dated c. AD 130
Found in Egypt, 1920
Matthew 17:20-18:22 in Coptic (Matthew written AD 50-60)
Dated to AD 800-899
Parchment codex leaf from Egypt
21.2 x 13.0 cm
How the Scribes Copied Manuscripts
The Talmudists – AD 100-500
Every skin must contain a certain number of columns, equal throughout the entire codex.
Dates of Death
the son of Zebedee, AD 44.
crucified AD 54.
the brother of James, commonly called Thaddeus, crucified AD 72.
surnamed Zelotes, crucified AD 74.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
is a handwritten copy
of a portion of text from the Bible.
comes from Latin
Before the invention of the printing press,
documents had to be written by hand
and preserved as scrolls or books called codices,
on papyrus or parchment made of animal skins.
The oldest manuscripts have been preserved
by the dryness of the Middle East, while most of the
carefully preserved manuscripts in the ancient libraries
of Italy or Greece have been lost, because papyrus has
a life of a century or two at most in the humid climates.
is used to
determine the accuracy of a manuscript.
Questions include, “What is the length of time
between the original and the earliest existing copy?”
and “How many copies are available and
what differences exist between the copies?”
The Dead Sea Scrolls contain parts of all
the books of the Old Testament except for Esther,
which may have been left out because
Esther’s marriage to a Persian king
may have been looked down upon
by the inhabitants of Qumran.
Biblical texts make up 220 of the
972 Dead Sea Scroll documents.
The whole copy must be first lined; and if three words be written without a line, it is worthless.
The ink should be black, neither red, nor green, nor any other color, and be prepared according to a definite recipe.
An authentic copy must be exemplar, from which the transcriber ought not in the least deviate.
No word, letter, or even a yod, must be written from memory, the scribe not having looked at the codex before him...
A Survey of Old Testament Introduction
. Chicago: Moody Press, 1985.
Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Vol 1.
Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 1979.
Grossman, Maxine. "Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls." pgs. 48–51. 2010.
Doudna, G. "Carbon-14 Dating", in
Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls
, Schiffman, Lawrence, Tov, Emanuel, & VanderKam, James, eds., Vol.1 (Oxford: 2000)
Also see: "Radiometric analysis." http://www.provethebible.net/T2-Verac/C-0903.htm#rca
Fox's Book of Martyrs. <http://www.ccel.org/f/foxe/martyrs/home.html>.
The disciples claimed to be eyewitnesses and died violent deaths rather than say it was all a lie. Still, many were alive while the New Testament was being written, so they would have been able to refute false teachings in their names.
Why does it matter?
Jesus according to sources outside the Bible: http://www.provethebible.net/T2-Divin/D-0201.htm
At a time when Christians faced death if they were caught with a manuscript, they weren’t going to take chances with anything that didn't seem genuine. The events we consider history would have been more recent for them, and if they recognized that a manuscript contained any real inaccuracies, they likely would have destroyed it at once.
One last thought:
Portrait of Jean Miélot by Jean Le Tavernier,
Qumran in the West Bank, Middle East,
Photograph of the Aleppo Codex,
Portion fron the Codex Sinaiticus,
The recto of Rylands Library Papyrus P52 from the Gospel of John,