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by Craig Dunkley
The Codex Sinaiticus, a handwritten Greek manuscript written in the middle of the fourth century. It is the earliest existing complete copy of the New Testament.
“Don’t you know that the New Testament is full of errors? Over the years, scribes made copy after copy, and introduced so many alterations, errors, and variations that today we can’t even be sure what the original texts said! In fact, scholars have shown that the surviving manuscripts have around 400,000 variations. That’s a horrible number, especially considering that the entire New Testament only has about 138,000 words!”
The argument above is made repeatedly by those who want to tear down the New Testament. Recently, New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman boosted the argument in his book, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. It continues to be repeated, ad infinitum, by anti-Christian bloggers, professors, and others. So, what’s the truth about it?
First, it might be helpful to read an earlier article in Logic & Light on this topic, Has the New Testament Been Reliably Passed Down to Us? It provides some important background information regarding the New Testament and the number of ancient Greek manuscripts we currently have in our possession.
To make a long story short, we have more than 5,000, written at different times and in different places, which can be used to cross-check one another for accuracy. That is far more copies than we have for other great works of literature, often by many orders of magnitude. Having such a wealth of ancient copies available, even if many are fragmentary, provides a wealth of data for scholars to use as they determine the wording of the original texts…
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