Most Christians do not realize is that there are indeed many variations of text in the 5,800 ancient Greek manuscripts translated into our modern New Testament bibles. But, 99.99% are meaningless variants.
Do these variants affect Christian practice or belief? No, and you will see why shortly. But what it does allow, is a multitude of laypeople hostile to the bible, to claim the bible is full of errors and not reliable. They say it is so full of errors, no one can know what the original text was. This scares many Christians who would rather just not think about it and avoid discussion. All the while, a seed of doubt germinates in their soul causing undue havoc.
The Bible Is Reliable
The bible is reliable, there is no dispute about the essential beliefs like the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the resurrection and the trinity are all unaffected by these variants. For example you will see a leading biblical scholar Dan Wallace remark that John 1:1 is the same in every manuscript historian have; In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God. As you read and watch, your faith will grow as you will learn what the scholars know about biblical text. There are many snake oil salesmen out there selling a false account so find out what the experts are saying.
- Are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John the actually authors (Video 5:18)
- Jesus Resurrection? contemporary scholarship (Video 2:38)
- Is the Bible historically reliable (Video 1:27)
- Resurrection Evidence that Changed a Generation of Scholars (Video 47:44)
- The Historical Reliability of the Gospels Dr Craig Blomberg (Video 47:34)
CHECK YOUR SOURCE
Variants Do Not Affect Beliefs
The video below is Professor Daniel B. Wallace, who is among the worlds leading biblical scholars. He has published two dozen papers in scholarly journals and has published several books. One of his books called, “Greek Grammar Beyond The Basics” is now used in 2/3 of the Schools in the United States who teach Greek. He is also the Executive Director of CSNTM & Senior Professor of NT Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Unlike many bloggers and popular anti-bible, anti-Jesus book writers, Wallace is an expert in his field and what he says carries weight.
Top Skeptical Scholar Agrees
Wallace is commenting on biblical scholar’s popular book, that was written to discredit the bible. The scholars name is Bart Ehrman, who is himself an expert in biblical textural criticism. Ehrman was an Evangelical Christian who is now an atheist/agnostic “Muddying the Water” of biblical understanding. Ehrman is arguably one of, if not the top skeptical biblical scholar in the world. Though he is now writing anti-God literature, he admits that there are no variants in New Testament text that jeopardizes the essential beliefs of Christianity.
Wallace has said that Ehrman has become so radical in his skepticism, that for him to believe the book of Mark, he would need to see ten full manuscripts written at the time of Mark, with no errors in them. With those criteria, Ehrman will have to throw out the entirety of ancient history.
The vast majority of variants are not related to interpretation. Variations such as spelling errors, nonsensical insertions that are easily seen such as, “The teachers onion [union] is going on strike”, and “non viable” insertions that are known to be just errors. These would include verses that are not in any other manuscripts, or few other manuscripts that are obvious errors.
<1% of Variants are Meaningful (To textual Critics only)
Scholars say that only about 1/4 of 1% of the variants found in the New Testament are of any consequence to critics, and no consequence to the essential beliefs of Christians. Not the deity of Christ, not the virgin birth, not the resurrection of Christ, not the Trinity, nothing that is essential to Christian faith is affected by variants in the New Testament manuscripts. As more are found each year adding to the already 26,000 historians have now, Wallace says, we are only getting to the original text, not further away.
- Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (Wallace Ph.D scholar)
- The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (Dr Craig Blomberg scholar) Video (47:34)
- Explain the Bible’s Errors (Dr. Michael Kruger scholar) Video (4:00)
The only touches the surface of the information available substantiating the authenticity of the New Testament scriptures. The Christian or anybody really shouldn’t be hesitant to dig into the bibles claims. In my experience over two decades, the bible has always come out on top when researched. It is the quality of the sources that make the difference. Everyone has an opinion, but are the opinions you are listening to weighty, experienced and educated? or are they a blogger, book writer and anti-God personality?
Test the word of God. Truth stands up to criticism and scrutiny.
Matthew 24:35; “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.” – Jesus
Who said that? The Word of God Himself – Jesus
John 1:1; “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”