Page 1 - Scriptural Authenticity
The modern secular outlook can be an assumption, like the recent editorial I read in my local newspaper during the public school board elections:
"...We would like to see more change come about from these people who cannot see past the Bible (which was written so many years ago and has been revised so many times, who really knows the real version)...(2)
Or it can be an outright attack. Some years ago, someone wrote to Anne Landers:
"Dear Anne: Please for heaven's sake, stop pushing religion! Anyone with half a brain knows that your readers are, for the most part, simple-minded, superstitious dimwits who can't face life without a crutch. But doesn't it bother you when you advise about the laws of God - a 2,000 year-old fairy tale? One day I hope you write a column denouncing the God myth and then quit! The ultimate limit of human foolishness, The most preposterous bit of irrational hokum ever dreamed up by mankind is the baloney found in the scriptures. Such nonsense is for weaklings and idiots who are unable to think for themselves or accept responsibility for their own actions. (3)
The same attitudes and assumptions are often expressed in many information outlets, from news media to educational sources and, more recently, on the Internet World Wide Web, such as the less-than-politically-correct web site "Why Christians Suck" at the University of Missouri. There is a consistent appeal in our culture to think of scripture as irrelevant because it is unauthentic, and unauthentic because it is so old.
NEW TESTAMENT AUTHENTICITY
The Bible is one of many ancient literary works that have come down to us from antiquity. Since no original copies of any of these works exist, how do we know about them? Only because all down through the ages, copies were meticulously made by hand (of course, the printing press wasn't invented until the 1450's AD). This introduced the possibility for errors and omissions.
To study and make decisions about the validity of ancient writings, historians and literary scholars have developed the scientific discipline of textual criticism. Among the tools of the trade are a set of principles known as the principles of Historiography to test such literature.
Four main questions are asked when evaluating ancient works:
1. How many manuscripts have been found?
2. How early were the manuscripts written?
3. How well do all the manuscripts agree with each other?
4. Are there quotations from the original or from ancient copies in other ancient works?
All literature and history are evaluated based on these or similar principles - just like a modern court case, the evidence is examined and a decision rendered.
When we consider how the New Testament scores in this universally accepted system, the results are amazing. You probably never heard about it in public school or on 60 minutes, but here is the truth: Go to Page 2 --->