March 04, 2009

Biblical Authority Unleashed--
Authenticity of the New Testament

I just read this outstanding defense of biblical authority and wanted to share it with you. This comes from The New Defender's Study Bible.

Biblical Authority Unleashed

Although none of the original manuscripts written by Moses or Paul or the other biblical writers have been preserved (no doubt providentially; otherwise they might have become objects of worship), we can have full confidence in the integrity and canonicity of the text as transmitted to us. Some of the considerations supporting this confidence are summarized below.

Authenticity of the New Testament Text

Logical Basis of Confidence in the Text

  • Over 20,000 hand-copied manuscripts of the Greek text are in existence, far more than for any other documents of comparable [age].
  • Some papyrus fragments, especially of John, are preserved from the middle of the second century.
  • Although there are some differences in the pre-served manuscripts, there is no doubt that at least 95% of the text is intact [whole and undamaged] from the [time the apostles lived]
  • The complete text of all New Testament books was available to those who lived at the same time as the apostles, and they were satisfied with it.
  • In particular, the portrait of Christ as given in the New Testament was accepted as authentic (accu-rate and true) by the earliest Christians.
  • The conclusion is that the New Testament as we now have it is substantially identical with the original writings.

Secondary Attestations of Authority

  • Hundreds of quotations are included in the writings of the early church fathers, probably adequate to construct the entire New Testament, if necessary.
  • Accuracy of most New Testament historical and geographical references has been confirmed by archaeological and historical research, and no such reference has been found in error.
  • The New Testament books were originally written in Koine Greek, the common language of the New Testament era, rather than classical Greek.
  • Consistency of church ordinances (baptism, Lord’s supper) as practiced by the early church prior to the circulation and collection of the New Testament books, with their initiation as described therein, can only be explained if the documents were authentic.

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