Earlier on, I was sharing with everyone how we can be sure that the Old testaments in the bible is indeed unadulterated as well as the various evidence to prove its authenticity.

As I was reviewing that article, i believe I have not talked about, how we can prove the bible’s Divine authorship. To Christians, the although the bible was pen down by many people, ranging for Prince of Egypt (Moses), Shepherd Boy Turn King (David), Kings (Solomon) , Prophets , Fisherman (Peter, John), Pharisees (Paul) , Tax collector (Matthew) & Doctor (Luke). Despite their differing backgrounds, they all spoke unanimously on the salvation of God and there was no contradiction.

Hence, to Christians, these people are merely pens-man and the author is non other than God. the bible took thousand of years complete, and spans across major periods in the time line, yet the message is never contradictory.

We covered the Old testament the previous entry. Now I would like to discuss the authenticity of the new testaments.

How Is The New Testament Canon Done?

There are some people who claimed brazenly in their books that the Christian churches began canonising the bible because they wanted to hide the truth about Jesus. In fact, the canonisation of the New Testament is more or less completed around the 3rd to 4th century AD, with the first canon completed at synod of hippo 393 AD)

The reason of this canonisations is because, then there were many heretics who wrote their own books supporting their teachings, claiming it to be from the apostles. One of the most notable groups of people are the Gnostic’s. The books written by them are known as the Gnostic Gospel, which found limelight recently as it was used by frictional writers in The Da Vinci Code and the gospel of Judas.

It is precisely because many fake gospels has flooded the world. In order to preserve the original writing of the apostles, the church started its duty to canonised the scriptures, this is definitely not a plot to silence the truth, but to preserve the truth.

Personally I would believe that God being the author of both the Old Testament and New Testament will want to preserve the words of God so that people in the end days could read it. Hence his hands must have guided the people to preserve his gospel.

The new testament Canon is based on the following summary principles.

1. The books must be an written by an Eye-Witness of Jesus. (Writing by the early apostles)
2. The books must be commonly known and used by numerous churches (Many churches use it to be read during services)
3. The books must not be self contradictory and contains heretical teachings.

Interesting Early Translation Of The New Testaments and Early Manuscript.

As Christianity is spreading within the Roman Empire, it is not hard to imagine that the first few translation are from Greek to Latin, So There were 2 versions Vetus Latina and Vulgate. While other Christians churches had their first few translation done to common languages. Syriac (known as Aramaic, mainly use in Mesopotamia) and Coptic, which are found in Ethiopia and Egypt.

As Christianity spread, the gospels are so commonly copied and translated, that many manuscripts survived. Some of the most notable ones are

The Chester Beatty Papyri (Greek; the New Testament portions of which were copied in the 3rd century)
The Bodmer Papyri (Greek and Coptic; the New Testament portions of which were copied in the 3rd and 4th centuries)
Codex Bobiensis (Latin; copied in the 4th century, but containing at least a 3rd-century form of text)
Uncial 0171 (Greek; copied in the late-third or early 4th century)
Syriac Sinaiticus (Syriac; copied in the 4th century)
Schøyen Manuscript 2560 (Coptic; copied in the 4th century)
Codex Vaticanus (Greek; copied in the 4th century)
Codex Sinaiticus (Greek; copied in the 4th century)
Codex Vercellensis (Latin; copied in the 4th century)
Curetonian Gospels (Syriac; copied in the 5th century

Can The New Testament Be Easily Altered?

Personally, I think it is hard to make changes to the new testament. The main reason behind this view is because, by the grace of God, Christianity literally spread from the upper room of the house of John Mark in Jerusalem,, to Samaria as well as to parts of Africa, Mesopotamia and Europe in a very short span of time.

It is because of the speed of growth, and the lack of printing press, many New Testament Manuscripts are quickly copied and distributed to many  churches. Therefore, in order to “alter” the new testament, a massive recall of all manuscripts is necessary. This tasj will be at the scale that even modern technology would find it difficult to accomplish.

Therefore, we can be rest assured that the new testament we have held in our hands cannot be too easily altered.

How can we be sure that the Apostolic Authorship Of New Testament ?

Actually as I was pondering over this, the gospels are written sometimes after the death of Jesus, Approx AD 33-30, and the last book of Revelations is written somewhere before AD 70. Although there wasn’t a complete manuscript of the new testaments, the earlier scrolls ever found of the new testaments is dated AD 150. This would mean that the copies we had is approximately 80 years apart from the actual completions.

In fact, there were so many manuscripts found that historians need a 5 category classification of the manuscript found.

The Categories are done separated base on the type of language found on the manuscript. The more ancient the language, the higher the categories. The Categories are

I: Base on Alexandrian type text type
2. Byzantine Text Type
3. Mixed or Eclectic text type
4. Western Text Type
5. For classifying text from Byzantine Periods

In fact, if we would like to combine all the manuscripts ever collected and compare them with many other famous historical documents, the New Testament is voted the most copied as well as the documents which had copies that dates very close to the completion period of the New Testament

The Comparison results of the historical books are in this table

Ancient Books

No of Copy (Manuscripts)

Span of years
from authorship

Errors

New Testament

25000 Fragments copied
5600 Fragments in Original Greek

125 years from the original (complete)

40 disputable lines

Homers Iliad

643 Manuscripts

500 Years

764 disputable lines

Julius Caesar’s The Gallic Wars

10 Manuscripts

1000 Years

 

Pliny the Younger’s Natural History

7 Manuscripts

750 Years

 

Thucydides’ History

8 Manuscripts

1300 years

 

Herodotus’ History

8 Manuscripts

1350 Years

 

Plato

7 Manuscripts

1300 Years

 

Tacitus’ Annals

20 Manuscripts

1000 years

 

Therefore my friends, if you can trust that Homers wrote his Iliad, and Gallic Wars is written by Julius Caesar, you should not have reasons to doubt that the New Testament is indeed the works of the Apostles.

I hope that, through these 2 blog entries, I would be able to help everyone to be strong in their conviction, of the authenticity of the scriptures.

Finally, I would like to remind everyone the real purpose of the scriptures and his author with this verse wrote by Apostle Paul

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – Paul 2 Tim 3:16-17

May all of us learn to treasure, to read, and to understand our scriptures well.

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