skeptics card

If you take the time to read this blog post, your attitude towards New Testament Manuscripts will change, unless you are already familiar with modern scholarship.

Watch, read and listen to their arguments and scholarship. Your view of the New Testament will be changed forever.

You will be able to answer critics with informed and reliable information. If you have had no faith in the New Testament, that may change, if you have faith already, that will increase as you learn of the reasonable and reliable documentation of ancient writers.

Typical and errant views of the New Testament

  1. Jesus never existed
  2. so many copy errors beliefs unreliable
  3. copied so many times original text can’t be known
  4. the empty tomb is a myth

Is this what you have been told, or believe? It does not require much investigation at all to dispel these errant statements, usually propagated by laymen and those hostile to Christianity.

Would it surprise you that those scholars who study ancient biblical text don’t say those things? You will not hear or read the above statements made even by skeptical atheist scholars, so why do you believe them?

I am going to cite three world class scholars who know what they are talking about, and know the prevailing consensus in modern scholarship today.

  • Daniel Wallace PhD
    • Senior Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
    • Specializing in textual criticism
    • Senior editor of the New English Translation [NET] New Testament
    • Consultant of for other translations
    • Teaches PhD level courses in Greek [over 25 years] and his Greek textbook is required reading in most English speaking schools teaching Greek.
    • Executive Director of The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts [CSNTM]
  • Bart Ehrman PhD – Skeptic
    • Agnostic/atheist biblical scholar of textual criticism
    • Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
    • author of five New York Times bestsellers including “Misquoting Jesus”.
  • Gary Habermas PhD
    • Distinguished Professor and chairman of the department of philosophy and theology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia
    • specialized in cataloging trends among scholars in the field of historical Jesus and New Testament studies.
    • World’s leading scholar on the empty tomb narrative of New Testament manuscripts.
    • Authored or co-author of 35 books on religious and philosophical subjects
    • Over 100 articles and reviews published in peer-reviewed journals

These men have spent their careers studying the New Testament manuscripts and are obviously qualified in their fields of expertise.

Jesus Never Existed

Jesus actually did exist and the two skeptical PhD’s in the video below confirm that the existence of Jesus is not in dispute among serious scholarly historians. There are plenty making money on books to the contrary, but the scholarship says otherwise.

So Many Errors, Beliefs Unreliable

Subsequent printings of Dr. Ehrman’s book have had the question and answer removed.

  • 400,000 variants in the New Testament
  • 99% spelling/grammar errors that are not translatable
  • 1/4 of 1% of variants may affect the text but none impact essential doctrine and none call into question general practices. The variants that have been found that are relevant, are attested to in other passages, and parallel passages.

Copied So Many Times

400 years ago, the King James Bible was based on 7 Greek manuscripts. The earliest manuscript was from the 11th century. Today, there are over 5,600 manuscripts.

  • 18 from the 2nd century
  • 1 maybe 2 from the 1st century
  • 5,600 hand written Greek N.T. manuscripts and growing
  • avg size is 450 pages
  • over 10,000 manuscripts in Latin
  • over 1,000,000 scriptural quotes by early church leaders could reproduce the entire New Testament many times over
  • Avg number of other classical Greek works is fewer than 20 copies

More manuscripts are being discovered every year, bringing the New Testament closer and closer to its original text. In the last 130 years of discovery, there has not been a single writing that has changed Christian understanding and practice.

The Empty Tomb

The evidence for the empty tomb is strong. So strong that even skeptical secular scholars accept that the empty tomb fits the data, and refutes naturalistic theories for Jesus not being there.

Skeptical Conclusion

  • Jesus is a historical figure
  • Paul is a scholar who is a reliable source of historical data
  • Manuscript evidence is reliable in its accounts of Jesus life, crucifixion by Pilot, burial and the empty tomb.
  • Two unbelievers, Paul and Jesus brother James completely turned around their lives after Jesus death [reporting that they saw Jesus risen from the dead]
  • Those who once did not believe, died for their new belief Jesus rose
  • The narrative of the deity of Jesus and his resurrection began right after the events and were not the result of legend over time

On this evidence alone, and there is much more, it is reasonable to at least investigate the claims of Jesus more thoroughly. Faith is not a blind, mindless acceptance. Faith is not just a personal experience devoid of evidence.

1 Peter 3:15

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have

Acts 17:2-3

As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,”

Please visit the Resources page for much more in depth information

Robert J.