The Integrity of the Bible Text

In recent years books and movies such as the "DaVinci Code" and others along with an increasingly skeptical culture, at least in the liberal media, have cast many doubts on the integrity of the Bible. We believe we can conclusively show that the text of the Bible is correct. Not only that the canon, 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament, are all that belong in the Bible itself. In fact, if there are reasons to believe the writings of the philosophers such as Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and others, then there are far more reasons to believe that the Bible is accurately preserved.

 The entire text of our New Testament today was completed before the end of the first century A.D., over 1900 years ago. To any rational person willing to examine the evidence there should be no doubt as to the authenticity and accuracy of the Bible. There are three basic types of evidences of our New Testament: (1) early Greek manuscripts; (2) lectionaries (these are select portions of scripture intended to be read in the public assemblies, usually of the gospels) and (3) ancient translations of the New Testament. Today we have about 5,000 manuscripts of these. The fact that so many of these are so near the time of the original is great assurance that we have the original text preserved for generations to come. We have three major manuscripts of the New Testament that date before the fifth century containing nearly all of the 27 books of our New Testament. There are many more manuscripts of individual books and fragments of our New Testament, some of which are dated within the generation following that of the inspired apostles themselves. In addition to all this, at least 99% of the text of the New Testament can be reproduced from the early writings of the church fathers (early Christians within five hundred years of the Lord Himself). In addition to the manuscripts of the New Testament, we have around 15,000 manuscripts of the Old Testament!

 In fact, the Bible is the best attested ancient book in history. Interestingly, William Shakespeare wrote most of his plays about 1600, only a little over 400 years ago, after the invention of the Gutenberg Press, and compared to the Bible, there are still many variations of the text of his plays! The vast number of biblical fragments and manuscripts insure not only that we have the Bible; but that since they go back in history so near the source we can be confident that we have the actual Word of God!

 The Bible itself testifies as to its authenticity. The apostle Paul wrote, "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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim 3:16-17). It is not a production of man, as God "breathed" the message. The apostle Peter added, "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you" (1 Peter 1:24-25). The Bible originated in the mind of God, and we have God's assurance that His Word will be accessible to man!


Ed Rodgers, Forney, TX