We don't have any of the original writings of any of the books of the New Testament (the original writings are called autographs). What do do have is many, many copies. Textual criticism is the science of determining the original words by looking at the numerous manuscripts. Here are few of the important facts:
1. We have about 5,600 Greek manuscripts.
2. There are over 400,000 textual variants in these Greek manuscripts.
3. 99% of these variants are either not meaningful or not viable… and therefore inconsequential.
4. The fewer than 1% of the variants that are meaningful and viable do not affect or call into question a single Biblical doctrine.
If you want to learn more about textual criticism, here are some short videos below.
Are there contradictions in the Gospels? J. Warner Wallace writes, "Reliable eye witnesses never agree on every detail." In fact, he asserts that if they did agree in every detail they would not be considered reliable but instead guilty of collusion.
The Gospels complement each other, and their differences authenticate them as legitimate eye witness testimony.
Check out the short video below with J. Warner Wallace.
There's also a short video with RC Sproul on Bible contradictions in general - see below.
Want to dig deeper?
Check out J. Warner Wallace's website: coldcasechristianity.com/
And if you'd like to read an article about errors in the whole Bible, Norm Geisler has a great article online here.
Another great resource is a book by Gleason Archer called Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. You can find it on Amazon here.
Is Christianity based on a made-up Jesus? Or a historical Jesus?
The early Christian Church actually existed (and was thriving!) well before ANY of the New Testament was written. The Christian faith exists not because of the Bible, but because of the resurrection of Jesus.
Want to dig into the historical evidence for Jesus outside of the New Testament? Here are a few videos below. And if you'd like to read an article by J. Warner Wallace, you can do so here.
Did Jesus really rise from the dead?
Is the resurrection of Jesus an historical event?
What is the evidence?
William Lane Craig writes:
“There are four facts agreed upon by the majority of scholars who have written on these subjects which any adequate historical hypothesis must account for: Jesus’ entombment by Joseph of Arimathea, the discovery of his empty tomb, his post-mortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples’ belief in his resurrection.
Now the question is: what is the best explanation of these four facts? Most sholars probably remain agnostic about this question. But the Christian can maintain that the hypothesis that best explains these facts is “God raised Jesus from the dead.”
The Apostle Paul wrote:
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
-1 Corinthians 15:14
The historicity of the resurrection of Jesus is absolutely essential to the Christian faith. If Jesus was raised from the dead, all the promises of God are true, for Jesus has proven Himself to be the none other than God in the flesh.
If you’d like to read a fascinating article by William Lane Craig, you can find it here.
A few days ago my son emailed me an article titled “The Walls of Jericho did Tumble Down, New Study Finds”.
I’m always encouraged to hear about new archaeological evidence that supports the Biblical account of history.
And one quote from the article:
''When we compare the archeological evidence at Jericho with the biblical narrative describing the Israelite destruction of Jericho, we find a quite remarkable agreement,''
-Dr. Bryant G. Wood, an archeologist at the University of Toronto
One more reason why the Christian faith is intellectually reasonable? Archeological finds continue to provide evidence that the Bible is historically accurate.
If you’d like to watch a short (10-minute) video on archeology and the Bible, you’ll find it below.
Reason #11: Are the Gospels really eyewitness accounts that can be trusted? - Apologetics from Pastor steve
J Warner Wallace was a cold case homicide detective in Los Angeles. And he was not a Christian. His Christian friend told him to use his detective skills to read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to find out if they are reliable eyewitness accounts.
What happened? J Warner Wallace became a Christ-follower!
He summarizes four tests that he was trained to apply to eyewitnesses. He applied these tests to the Gospels and realized that they are trustworthy accounts, and therefore Jesus really is God in the flesh who died and rose again. Here are the four tests:
Following Jesus is intellectually satisfying because the Gospels are reliable eyewitness accounts of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Check out the short video below with J Warner Wallace!
Is the Bible a reliable source of information about historical events?
Many people would say “no” simply because the Bible records miracles: Walking on water, turning a few fish and loaves of bread into a feast to feed thousands, turning water into wine, and the list goes on.
But as we already established, miracles are possible if God exists. And the evidence is overwhelming that God does exist!
So if miracles are possible, are the miracles written about in the Bible historically accurate?
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
-2 Timothy 3:16
Below is a short video that answer the question “Is the Bible reliable?” I hope you enjoy it!
If God is real and my eternal destiny depends on believing in Him, why doesn’t he prove Himself to me and to more people?
This is not a new question. People have asked this question for centuries.
The 17th-century philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote regrading this question:
"God so regulates the knowledge of Himself that He has given indications of himself, which are visible to those who seek Him and not to those who do not seek Him. There is enough light for those to see what only desire to see, and enough obscurity for those who have a contrary disposition." -Blaise Pascal
And more recently, C.S. Lewis answered this question in his book Screwtape Letters. In order to wrap your mind around this quote, it is essential to remember that this is written from the perspective of a demon giving advice to a younger demon:
"You might have wondered why the Enemy (God) does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to over-ride human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo."
-C.S. Lewis (Screwtape Letters)
The Bible says that God had already done more than enough to reveal Himself to us, but we choose to reject such knowledge as we are afraid of what the truth might mean for our own lives.
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. -John 1:18
If you want to watch a short video on today's topic, see below.
Many people dismiss the accuracy of the Bible because in its pages we read of miracles. The skeptic thinks, “Miracles aren’t possible; therefore the Bible isn’t true.”
The mistake many make is that they think that supernatural events are impossible. As I wrote about several weeks ago, the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God shows that it is reasonable to believe that the supernatural does indeed exist. Why? Because the scientific and philosophical evidence is overwhelming that the material universe is NOT all that there is, and that there must be a spaceless, timeless, immaterial cause of the material universe.
And if God exists, then miracles are at least possible.
And if miracles are possible, then the miracles we read about in the Bible are also possible.
The parting of the Red Sea.
Jesus walking on water.
These are all at least possible if God does indeed exist.
In the coming weeks I’ll be writing more about why it is reasonable to believe that miracles are not only possible, but actual.
And of course the central miracle in the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus.
If Jesus did indeed rise from the dead, it is most certainly intellectually satisfying to follow Jesus.
If you want to watch a short video on miracles, see below.
I am not a trained philosopher or scientist, but those who are say that one of the most foundational questions is this: Why does anything exist at all?
Philosophers speak of contingent existence and necessary existence. Things that exist contingently are things that don’t have to exist. Things that exist necessarily are things that cannot not exist. There are very few things that necessarily exist. Most of the things we are familiar with are things that exist contingently: cars, houses, people, and even the universe itself. It is possible to conceive of any of these things simply not existing.
All of these things that exist contingently are caused by something else. So there must be something that exists necessarily (and is uncaused) in order for anything to exist at all.
To me, this is strong evidence that God exists.
In the Bible we see that God calls himself “I am.” And Jesus repeats this claim, saying “before Abraham was born, I am.”
The Gospel of John also opens up with the famous prologue:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. -John 1:1-5
So why does anything exist? Because God exists.
If God does not exist, we are hard pressed to explain why anything exists at all. Believing in the existence of God is a very reasonable belief.
If you want to watch a short video on the Contingency Argument for the existence of God, you'll find it below.
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