“Telephone” Doesn’t = Bible Transmission

by Dean Meadows

One of the most common objections Christians hear to the viability of the Christian worldview focuses on the New Testament. Specifically, many skeptics will seek to compare the transmission of the New Testament manuscripts and the game “telephone.” Often it is phrased in something similar to, “You’ve got copies of copies of copies, how can you trust these documents? Have you ever played the game telephone? How often is the message in that game passed down correctly? What makes you think that happened 2,000 years ago?” Is the game “telephone” a good analogy for the transmission of the New Testament?

First, the goal of the “telephone” game is completely different than the goal of transmitting the New Testament. “Telephone” is designed to mess up the message and see how badly people can butcher the initial statement(s). However, the goal of the New Testament scribes, for the most part, was to accurately document what was passed down to them.

Second, in the game “telephone” you only get one chance to hear, remember and pass down what the person before you stated. In transmitting the New Testament scribes were not limited to how many times they could check and reference back to the manuscript they had in their possession…

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“Telephone” Doesn’t = Bible Transmission