HOW ACCURATELY HAS THE BIBLE BEEN COPIED THROUGH THE CENTURIES

 

 

The Bible is the most accurately transmitted book from the ancient world.

 

 

The reliability of Old Testament manuscript is based on three factors:

  1. their abundance
  2. dating
  3. accuracy

 

Most works from antiquity survive on only a handful of manuscripts:  only seven (7) for Plato, eight (8) for Thucydides, eight (8) for Herodotus, ten (10) for Caesar’s Gallic Wars, and twenty (20) for Tacitus.  Only the works of Demosthenes and Homer number into the hundreds.  Before 1890 a scholar named Giovanni de Rossi published 731 Old Testament manuscripts.  Some ten thousand Old Testament manuscripts has been found since that time in the Cairo Geniza, and in 1947 the Dead Sea caves at Qumran produced over 600 Old Testament manuscripts.

The manuscripts’ accuracy is known from internal and external evidence:

  1. It is well known that Jewish scribal reverence for Scripture led to its careful transmission.
  2. Examination of duplicate passages (e.g., Psalm 14 and 53) show parallel transmission.
  3. The early Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, substantially agrees with the Hebrew manuscripts.
  4. Comparison of the Samaritan Pentateuch with the same biblical books preserved within the Jewish tradition shows close similarity.
  5. The Dead Sea Scrolls provide manuscripts dating a thousand years earlier than most used to establish the Hebrew text.

 

The reliability of the New Testament is established because the number, date, and accuracy of its manuscripts enable reconstruction of the original text with more precision than any other ancient text.  The number of New Testament manuscripts is overwhelming (almost 5,700 Greek manuscripts) compared with the typical book from antiquity (about 7 to 10 manuscripts; Homer’s Iliad has the most with 643 manuscripts).  The New Testament is the best textually supported book from the ancient world.

 

To Sum it up, the vast number, early dates, and unmatched accuracy of the Old and New Testament manuscript copies establish the Bible’s reliability well beyond that of any other ancient book.  Its substantial message has been undiminished through the centuries, and its accuracy on even minor details has been confirmed.  The Bible that we have today is a highly trustworthy copy of the original that came from the prophets and apostles.

More by this Author

  • BLOOD DON'T MAKE FAMILY
    5

        “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35 CSB Of all the institutions in the earth, ‘Family’ is among the most misunderstood....


Comments 29 comments

coffeesnob 7 years ago

Very concise and good hub. Thanks. I will likely use this one as I point people to Christ.


Wehzo profile image

Wehzo 7 years ago from Detroit, MI Author

Thank you coffeesnob, feel free to use all or, whatever parts you deem appropriate. I appreciate your comments.

God bless you


coffeesnob 7 years ago

Thanks! I am sure that it will help start some conversations. I guess I am full tonight of the joy of the Lord -just have to say isn't it awesome to find Christ everywhere you turn -love it that I can find Him here on HP


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Thank you, Wehzo. Your certainly know your Bible history. I agree, no other ancient Book has been so meticulously, lovingly translated. I appreciate your service.


Carrie Bradshaw profile image

Carrie Bradshaw 7 years ago from Manhattan

The Bible and its complete inherency is a miracle in itself! With proper dividing, the Bible indeed is consistent no matter what one is studying! We can bank our LIFE on it! Thank you for this wonderful information! We love our LORD and we LOVE His WORD!


Wehzo profile image

Wehzo 7 years ago from Detroit, MI Author

Thanks again coffeesnob, and yes, it is awesome that Christ can be found everywhere, including here on HP. I appreciate your service as well James, after all, we are brothers by different mothers :). Yes Carrie, we do love our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Bible is the inerrant word of God without a doubt, and it's truths and principles can be found in many other writings. Amen!

God bless you all


no body profile image

no body 7 years ago from Rochester, New York

God said, "Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." The reason that the Bible is inerrant is because God is faithful and superhumanly preserved it. It itself is the biggest reason that one should believe it because man has tried to stamp it out all through history. And failed. Great hub because it shows the methods that God used to preserve it. Good job.


Wehzo profile image

Wehzo 7 years ago from Detroit, MI Author

Thank you no body, I really appreciate your contribution to this hub.

God bless you


carlislecallahan profile image

carlislecallahan 7 years ago

Excellent, thanks.


Charles Crosby 7 years ago

I make no apologies for stating that I have to burst your bubbles of trust in Biblical inerrancy. The KJV of the Holy Scriptures is stuffed with errors, corruptions, contaminations, additions and ommissions. Modern translations are often worse.

It's been through the hands of various Judaisers, pagan Hellenising Greek philosophers and Papists before there was even a single English translation.

Diocletian alone was responsible for despicable acts of destruction against the written Word of God when he had many Greek manuscripts destroyed by fire.

Jerome thoroughly contaminated the Word of God when he wrote the first Latin Vulgate Bible and incorporated Tertullian's false trinity doctrine into it.

I trust this will help you come to a better understanding.


Carrie Bradshaw profile image

Carrie Bradshaw 7 years ago from Manhattan

Charles ~ with as many translations available today for comparison, it seems only those who are unsaved and thus "blind" do not "see" the inerrancy of it's spiritual consistency. Those of a carnal mind will focus on the i's dotted and t's crossed. As long as the Bible's been around, and no matter how many re-writes to CORRECT there have been, it is more CORRECT than ever in its CONTENTS today because of it, and the Christian faith is not weakened. That is the TESTIMONY. AMEN.


Wehzo profile image

Wehzo 7 years ago from Detroit, MI Author

Thank you Carlislecalahan for your gracious contribution to this hub.

Charles Crosby, I do understand your point of view, though it does not bring any new revelation to the above hub. In my hub I am not addressing various translations. All people of good conscience know when any document is translated into another language some words are changed or merged with other words, that is expected. My hub above does not speak to that, per se, it rather speaks to the meaning of the original manuscripts. No matter how many times the Bible has been translated over the centuries it's meaning has never changed, and that is what the above hub addresses, and is confirmed by over 5,000 copies of manuscripts found in many countries around the world.

Now, Charles, if you can cite your source for disputing anything found in the above hub I will gladly address it appropriately, but if your complaint is concerning translations I will gladly engage that debate as well. But let's not confuse the two. I am looking forward to hearing from you again.

Thank you Carrie for your faithfulness and courage in defending the Gospel and all of scripture in it's entirety.

God Bless you all


Charles Crosby 7 years ago

Wehzo

If you are talking about Biblical inerrancy how can you leave out the corruptions and contaminations of men via their agenda based religious translations? This sounds like Roman Catholic style papering over the cracks to me, but then when we have people believing blindly what is written in Jerome's Bible what do we expect, a Church based on The Truth - only in your dreams?

No, all we end up with is the counterfeit deluded edifice known as mainstream Christianity or more accurately the Cainite-Judeo-Christian Religion.

PS. Please note that I do not debate, I only tell people The Truth and The Truth is either received gladly or rejected.


Wehzo profile image

Wehzo 7 years ago from Detroit, MI Author

Hi Charles, I see your point. Though I would like to point out that I am not Catholic, nor do I adhere to the translations, three of them, that Jerome rendered in the 4th century. There was clearly corruption and much infighting going on at this time. This was after the Nicea Council in 325 A.D., which Constantine effectively became head of the western (Catholic) Church. Jerome was commissioned by the pope of the western Chruch, which was clearly in opposition to the Eastern Church. You're talking about a period in Christian history when the Church was coming out of severe persecution. After reading some of Jeromes' writings, I too find myself disagreeing with him on some things. But how corrupt the Church was, and how the original manuscripts were burned and destroyed is not disputed. What I'm saying to you is Jerome didn't translate from the original manuscripts himself. He used copies of copies. Remember, this was the end of the fourth century. The Dead Sea Scrolls, uncovered in the 20th century, has proven to be more accurate than any of the translations by Jerome, and some of them are dated well before the birth of Christ. Recent discoveries have more than validated the accuracy of the Bible. Ancient documents in the libraries of Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq, India, Ethiopia, Libya, Jerusalem, etc., etc., tell of the very same historical events, wars, kings and, other persons by name. The complete works of Josephus, who lived in the first century, more than likely during Jesus life time, wasn't Christian, gives much credibility to the Bible as we know it. He was commissioned by the Roman Emperor, Vespasian, to go and collect all the known documents of the Jews and Christians to add to his world reknowned library. So, depending on what you read, and who you believe, two people can come to two very different view points.

I choose to believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God in it's entirety. Through much reading and research I have not found anything to come close to challenging that conclusion. While I appreciate all views, I have made my choice.

Note: I would not in anyway presume to impose my beliefs on anyone else. I simply share with anyone who has an ear to listen.

God Bless


yes2truth profile image

yes2truth 7 years ago from England

"Hi Charles, I see your point."

I do hope so.

"Though I would like to point out that I am not Catholic, nor do I adhere to the translations, three of them, that Jerome rendered in the 4th century."

Wehzo

All mainstream Christians are Roman Catholics in spirit by default, it's just that they like to deny it and at the same time refuse to purge it from their beliefs. As a man once said to me: "don't listen to what they say, watch what they do.

So how do we know this by watching what they do? Easy, Christmas; The Good Friday to Sunday Morning lie; Easter; The Sunday Sabbath; Saints Days, Christians going to heaven; Toronto Blessings; Tithing; Revivals; Bible Colleges, Seminaries; Getting close to or getting right with God; Accepting 'Jesus' as their saviour; Repetitive Confession of Sins; Bible Intellectualism, otherwise known as Religious Philosophy and/or Theology - I could go on forever, but I am sure you know what I mean, but then again, perhaps you won't.

The King James Bible IS pretty much Jerome's Bible it's just written in English, that's all.

"This was after the Nicea Council in 325 A.D., which Constantine effectively became head of the western (Catholic) Church. Jerome was commissioned by the pope of the western Chruch, which was clearly in opposition to the Eastern Church. You're talking about a period in Christian history when the Church was coming out of severe persecution."

What you are describing here isn't the church. By 37 AD the Church was planted in Israel by the apostles Peter, Andrew and James i.e. in  The British Isles, Northern Galatia (modern day northern Turkey) and the lands of the Medes and Persians (modern day Iran) where the Twelve Tribes were scattered. The 'church' you are describing is the counterfeit church started by Simon Magus in Rome and otherwise known as Simonry or scorcery. His statue sits in the building known as St Peters in Vatican; real name The VatiCain or house of divinations or demons. This false church also came out of Alexandria in Egypt with numerous Hellenising philosophers who were taught by the Canaanite Jew Philo, he and they were teaching a Judaisers false gospel. People like Polycarp, Ignatius, Origen, Martyr, (otherwise known as Justin the Philosopher) and Clement. Augustine of Hippo was another one. All were counterfeiters to a man and yet revered as 'church fathers' by the deluded followers of the Christian Religion.

"What I'm saying to you is Jerome didn't translate from the original manuscripts himself. He used copies of copies."

Whatever Jerome translated from is not the issue, for they were most likely excellent copies of copies. The issue here is what he did to those copies and how he corrupted, perverted, twisted and contaminated them in order to lay down the sandy foundations of modern day popery or fear based salvation by works at whatever price you can pay in order to satiate their insatiable love of filthy lucre. This is the spirit of Simon Magus who wanted to purchase the Holy Spirit from Peter.

I, too, use Josephus and I recently used the satanic Talmud. In fact I will use anything if it assists me in searching out the Truth. This Jerome made impossible by his corruptions which were transferred to English translations of the Holy Scriptures.


Wehzo profile image

Wehzo 7 years ago from Detroit, MI Author

Hello yes2truth, I see you are passionate about what you believe. There is nothing wrong with that. I of course disagree with you, and here is why:

1) All mainstream Christians are not Catholic by default. That's like saying all humans are 'saved' by default.

2) Celebrating holidays are not Christian doctrine, they are simply tradition. I am fully aware that these holidays, such as Christmas, Easter, and others, were once pagan holidays that were converted to Christian holidays, for the most part by the Catholic Church.

3) I don't believe 'Tithing' is mandatory for the Church. Obviously you haven't read my hub 'Is Tithing Mandatory For The Church'? I also have one addressing Christmas and it's origin, as well as other holidays.

4) None of those things in your response reflect Christian doctrine.

5) Jeromes' translation of the Bible was done before the KJV translation

6) Your history is not correct concerning the Church being planted in Israel in 37 A.D. by Peter, Andrew and James. Peter, John and, Paul was headquartered in Ephesus for 14 years before 'ALL' the apostles officially fled the area after the riot of 66 A.D. that was a pre-cursor to the destruction of the Temple by Nero. There was no Church building prior to the destruction of the Temple. Christians were meeting in homes.

7) There is no evidence that Simon the magician started a Church in Rome after his confrontation with Peter.

In my opinion, 'a man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still'. It is obvious to me that your mind is made up. We don't agree, and that's ok. I have no desire to try to convince anyone to believe what I believe. I appreciate the back and forth, but I choose to use my time on more constructive discussions.

You are in my prayers,

God Bless


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 7 years ago from USA- Florida

Wehzo:

Once again an excellent writing with practical and easy to understand application. You are an excellent swordsman. I found your responses to Charlie and Yes2truth perfect and on the mark.

I am grateful for our modern word for word translations, I was raised on the KJV it was all that was available to me. At 16 I received an NIV. I liked it but when I became serious about studying the bible, I found that it was not as accurate as I would like so I returned to the KJV.

I purchased my my first New King James Version the moment it hit the stores. I love and use it the most to this day. I am not a King James only guy, but it is what I am most familiar with. I also like the Amplified Bible.

More recently, I have been taking a look at the Holman Christian Standard Bible. I have not drawn a conclusion on that one yet but it seems to have a good reputation. I would love to hear your opinion.

I find it interesting that Charlie (I think it was Charlie)

attacked the deity of Christ. It is interesting because one of the first things I do when checking a new, "Translation" of the bible is check to see what they have done with the virgin birth and the deity of Christ. For example:

Isaiah 7:14

NKJ -Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel

RSV-Isaiah 7:14–"A young woman shall conceive.....

I check to see if they translate the Greek word "alma?h to virgin or young woman. This is only one example of the types of Changes I see in some of the more humanistic translations. Like Charlie they do not like Jesus being divine in nature.

Philippians 2:6

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.

I think we have to be very careful. Just as the Bereans received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.(Acts 17:11) We to must purpose to Know God's Word. To be able and ready to defend against false doctrine.

The best way to tell if you are being lied to is, know the truth

As for all Christians Being Catholic, I can understand this criticism from someone who is out side looking in. But I was disappointed in Yes2truths comparisons. I did not get the feeling he had done his homework

In Christ

ABR


Wehzo profile image

Wehzo 7 years ago from Detroit, MI Author

Thank you ABRUSHING1968, I appreciate your candor. As for the Holman Christian Standard Bible, I am familiar with it, but like you, I have drawn no conclusion about it, yet. I do have one, if you are talking about 'The Apologetics Study Bible. I must say I do like it so far. I appreciate you as my brother in Christ. I believe we have much in common, starting with our love for the Lord. Thank you again for your valuable contribution to this hub.

God Bless You


johnh 7 years ago

hello again whezo and blessings to you all by admission i`m going to dive in deep here, i seek the original ancient text because i want to know more jesus i am not a schollar or even a pastor but i find the more pure in understanding i am the more i move in the spirit of him..i have been led by spirit and found deeper truth everywhere..example


johnh 7 years ago

mat 21:41the vineyard parable, well in isiah 5:1-2 kjv,nkjv ect it reads nothing like the original text and they left jesus out,i want to reveal him,again i welcome all to test this, interlinear bible, and lexicon concordance, the concord numbers for this passage are, 7891,4992,3034,7891,1730,3754,3754,1961,3034,7161,1121,8081


johnh 7 years ago

the passage actually reads:i will sing now to my beloved a song of my beloved about his vineyard a vineyard there was to my beloved in a horn(container, rays of light) A SON( also firstborn,loyal) OF THE FATNESS OF A BULL ("the fat bullcasts off and breaks the yoke"). they left out the 1121 (son)for me this is important even profound,this reveals jesus to the jewish in thier own torah these things should be reflected back with love..every tounge shall confess and every knee shall bow,amen i wouldnt dare war the word with anyone on a pedestal of self righteousness with all these mistakes in all translations,..so lets just seek him and love...blessings


johnh 7 years ago

so winding it up now so sorry for the long windedness i know your bibles dont read anything like that there are sooo many examples of this all the way through, there is such power in hearing the full truth of the word that i feel it must be the enemys plan to dilute the word and water down the spirit of the lord,the church (us)went back into schollarly understanding, and performs more like a book club based business than jesus, my ways are not your ways, amen this is why the church isnt living like the time of pentecost not many are getting to the spirit of power and truth , bless


Wehzo profile image

Wehzo 7 years ago from Detroit, MI Author

Hello Johnh,

I share your concern, and, am deeply concerned about the study habits of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, there are many different bible translations and other helps that can seem tedious and confusing, but helpful. Our Lord Jesus has not left us helpless, but sent the Holy Spirit to help lead us into all truth. I find this most helpful when I am at a place where my studies and research are not bearing much fruit. He (Holy Spirit) has never failed to step in and guide me correctly, such as allowing me to meet brothers, and/or sisters, such as yourself and others on the hubpages, who push me to study more and broaden my perspective. For this, I am most grateful. None of us know, or have it all, but all of us can have, and know, what we need. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt concerns. Stay the course, in Christ Jesus.

God Bless You


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 7 years ago from United States of America

Great information - well researched. Thanks for sharing.


Wehzo profile image

Wehzo 7 years ago from Detroit, MI Author

Thank you jxb7076, for your gracious comment and heartfelt contribution to this hub.

God Bless You.


Verlyn Davis 6 years ago

First,I would like to say, Hotep to all and, may God bless you all. I do not intend to offend so please, do not get offended but, it should be noted that ALL religious scriptures were copies from ancient Kemet or, Egyptian (as we know it to be called today)writings. Near it's end time as a society Kemet was invaded by different nations. The Ptolemaic period brought about Kemet's first European Pharaoh, Ptolemy I Soter (under Greek rule commissioned by Alexander the Greek ( we say the Greek, because there was nothing Great about this man fore, he murdered thousands). This man(Ptolemy) wanted the priest's of Egypt to consecrate him (to make him a Deity) the African priest's denied his request because he was not of African descent. This enraged Soter and he began to behead the priest's. Eventually, the Priest's gave in and, made him Deity. The Egyptian people honored others beliefs but, Soter knew that they would not extend to him the same honor as a Deity in his physical form so, Soter had a bust made in his likeness but added subtleties such as a beard and a covenant so that it would not be recognized by the people. He named this bust, Serapis Christus which means, Christ the Savior and produced this bust as a Deity recognized by the Greeks. I don't want to get long winded, but around this time (really, a little before this time), Christianity was being formed . and later, Constantine comes into the picture ( Rome invaded after the Greeks and then the Arabs which are the people you see there today). Constantine was a Sun worshiper and did not care for Christianity ( I must add, that before the most recent invasions of the time, ALL had come to Egypt to learn about mathematics, science, writing, astrology etc.Just read Plato or, Socrates. When the Greeks invaded, they burned down the Library of Alexandria and outlawed their teachings but, a lot of books were not destroyed they were taken and later used by Constantine and, the Roman Catholic church to construct what is called the Bible. The names of the characters and scenarios have been changed But, if you were to read them both, you will see the similarities ). As I began to state, Constantine was a Sun worshiper and did not care for Christianity but he saw that it was spreading like wildfire ( we have to remember, that Christianity was a CONCEPT, not a RELIGION at the time.)So, he decided to join them because he knew he could not beat them. So he had scribes use the stolen books, added a little Paganism,( Sun Worship ) changed the characters and had the Holy Scriptures written all to place the masses under a organized form of control ( The word Holy comes from the Greek word Helios which means Greek God of the Sun and the word Bible comes from the Greek word Biblio which means Book ) So in essence, they changed the S-U-N of GOD TO THE S-O-N of GOD. get it. The scriptures and church Doctrine became Law and the Serapis Christus image was renamed Jesus Christ at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD by order of Constantine after strong protests from a man named Arius. I did not intend to type so much but, the kicker here folk's is that the original and, copied writings were nothing more than Allegories ( stories )the characters did not exist. But, please do not be discouraged or angry or confused because, these original stories were written to give people encouragement, to teach life lessons, to give hope and to tell it in a way that we could identify with the character. In closing, I am not trying to convert anyone's way of thinking I am merely showing you thing's that we were not taught in our PUBLIC FOOL SYSTEM. We are so far into time now that, there are many Religions and different beliefs and if we were to look at the COMMON message that they convey, then maybe we would not be separated. After all, when we think of the Roman Catholic Church,some think of vast amounts of money. When we think of Islam, some think of Terrorism. When we think of Protestants, some think of Catholics who do not believe that tithing is necessary to get to Heaven. Do some people and Pastors use religion and pit religions and people against one another for profit and political gain, YES. But, we as people will someday have to put organized RELIGION aside and think of HUMANITY as a whole, as one and not respect one another simply because of something we have read or what we have been told, but to use naturally , what GOD has given us, A brain, eyes and a heart so we can THINK, SEE AND HEAL. Hotep and GOD bless.....I am a Historian and have done extensive research as well as travel around the world studying not only Religions but, other subjects as well. Again, this was not and ,is not an attempt to change anyone's mind but, only to put out information that might not have been known and to open eyes..... I condensed a lot.


Wehzo profile image

Wehzo 6 years ago from Detroit, MI Author

Hi Verlyn Davis,

I appreciate your comment, and am not offended at the least.

Your argument is well taken, and like you, I too have done extensive research. I guess it depends on whose writings you are relying on. I don't know if you read Josephus writings, or Tacitus. Josephus is a well respected Jewish historian (not christian) and Tacitus was a well respected Roman historian (not christian). The writings of both supports much of what the bible says. As far as Constantine, while it is true he was not christian, he did not commission the bible to be written. His ideal was to bring all religions under one rule, 'His'. As far as Ptolemy is concerned, his contribution was to build the worlds greatest library, with all the nations most valued literature and documents, thus, imploring 72 Jewish priests to translate the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament)into Greek. After much persuading they agreed, and this became the Septuagint.

While some of what you say is true, there is much that is arguably disputable. But like you, I don't want to offend. I think it is admirable that we can agree to disagree.

Thank you again for your gracious comment.

God Bless.


swordbearer 6 years ago

Hi I have just come across this. First off i would not listen to Charles Crosby- check out his website - seems give his approval (thinly veiled) approval to the teachings of David Icke who believes in the reptillian bloodline and declared himself to be the 'Son of God' on Terry wogans show a long time ago. Also Charles seems to overlook the fact that David Icke started on this quest after visiting a medium.Be wary of such men as these, wolves in sheeps clothing. This particular wolf and his beloved david Icke have more in common with the cultist beliefs of the Nazi party than anything in the word of God. He also denies that God is Triune, despite clear evidence in books such as genesis and John. This man is indeed encouraging people to read the writing's of a false Christ, a choice example of the spirit of the antichrist working in this world.


Wehzo profile image

Wehzo 6 years ago from Detroit, MI Author

Hi Swordbearer,

Sorry it took so long to respond, but my work schedule has been hectic, and I am finishing my second book. Thanks for the heads up on Charles Crosby, I don't know him though.

God Bless

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working