Is the Bible reliable? From “The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict”
A Closer Look
Among the many arguments skeptics make regarding the Bible, one is that it is supposedly not backed up by convincing historical data. To this, some believe that the Bible is like any other mythical writing. But Josh McDowell, in his book, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, examines the historical and archaeological evidence that supports events depicted in the Bible.
Chapter 3 begins with data regarding the amount of cohesive hand-copied manuscripts of the Bible, particularly The New Testament, that have been found. According to a chart on page 38, earliest (partial or whole) New Testament manuscripts found date between 114 and 325 A.D. McDowell refers to Sir Frederic Kenyon who states that when it comes to ancient manuscripts, “In no other case is the interval of time between the composition of the book and the date of the earliest extant manuscripts so short as in that of the New Testament.”
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In addition to the relatively short time span of existing documents to its original date, McDowell points out that there are some 25,000 copies of the New Testament in existence today—the greatest number by far of any other ancient text. The Iliad comes in second with a mere 643 manuscripts. All New Testament copies are nearly identical to each other, which cannot be said of other ancient writings. This accuracy is also seen in various translations.
But while evidence supports accuracy in the copies we have today, there are still skeptics who are quick to point out supposed contradictions among the varied books. McDowell states that, “The allegations of error in the Bible are usually based on a failure to recognize basic principles of interpreting ancient literature.” McDowell goes on to explain 15 such principles in concise detail…
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