Written by Joe Eastman
We’re focusing on the spiritual discipline of biblical mediation this quarter, but how do we know that the Bible we have now is the Bible that was written back in Jesus’ day? Can we trust that the Bible is true so that we can meditate on it with confidence? These are very good questions and ones that are often asked by those who are considering the claims of Jesus. So, if we are going to hold the Bible to the be the Word of God, mediate on it, trust it to change us, and allow it to help us draw near to Him, we need to know that it can actually be trusted.
In that vein, this month I will be offering some help regarding these questions. I will be sending you an email soon with a link to an on-line video lesson featuring John Piper in which he talks about why we can trust the Scriptures. But until then, consider this…
There are over 5700 Greek ancient New Testament manuscripts and over 9000 in other ancient languages. These manuscripts are fragments of the New Testament. Some contain a few verses, and some contain complete copies of entire New Testament books. According to New Testament scholar Bruce Metzger, by comparing these manuscripts together we can be sure that our present text is 99.5% accurate and the .5% which we are not sure about doesn’t affect any Christian doctrine. Even more impressively, we have so many quotes from the church fathers (the first few generations of church leaders after the Apostles) that we can construct all but 11 verses of the entire New Testament just from their writings! If you are interested in learning more about the reliability of the New Testament here are a few resources which will go into much greater detail:
Reinventing Jesus by Ed Komoszewski
www.rightnow.org (Enter “Trusting the New Testament” for videos and other resources)