Answers to Skeptics Part III: Is the Bible Reliable?
by Frank Viola
Those who know me are aware that I firmly hold that the Bible is fully reliable, fully inspired, and fully authoritative. This is why my books are packed to the gills with references to Scripture to buttress the points I seek to make.
As would be expected, I’ve received a good deal of push back on my belief in the truthfulness of Scripture from skeptics. But I’ve also received criticism from some fellow Christians, most of whom hold to a “canon within a canon” perspective or who hold to the idea that the Bible is only the Word of God when it’s accompanied by personal “revelation.” I reject both views and for that reason I’ve garnered some unpleasant mail.
That said, most of those whom I’ve had conversations with on the issue of the Bible’s reliability are people who presently reject Jesus. In this post, I’ll list their key objections along with my responses.
Suffice to say that in my experience, the majority of those who insist that the Bible is unreliable and untrustworthy have never investigated the evidence for themselves. They’ve just heard arguments put forth by others and repeated them without examining the subject for themselves.
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The most notable are . . .
1. The Bible has been copied so many times throughout the centuries that it cannot possibly be trustworthy. Surely the original meaning has changed over the many years of being copied and re‑copied.
According to literary scholars, the genuineness of a written document is determined by the number of copies made from the original manuscripts (the original handwritten documents of the New Testament), the time interval between the original and the copies, and the number of discrepancies among those copies.
Using those metrics, the New Testament is the most reliable historical document in existence of comparable age.
Presently, there are over 20,000 copies of New Testament manuscripts (early copies) in existence. Homer’s Iliad, which only has 643 manuscript copies, ranks second to the New Testament in manuscript authority (numbers of copies).
But that’s not all…
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