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Old 05-02-2013, 06:17 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
25,934 posts, read 19,136,651 times
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To the best of our knowledge the original autographs are not extant. In response to those who say that because we do not have the original autographs we therefore cannot know if our Bible is accurate, I am providing a few comments from some highly regarded Bible scholars. The topic of this thread is not about whether the Bible is infallible, but rather concerns the textual reliability of the Bible with regard to the original autographs.


F. F. Bruce (1910-1990) was Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England. He stated...
Fortunately, if the great number of MSS increases the number of scribal errors, it increases proportionately the means of correcting such errors, so that the margin of doubt left in the process of recovering the exact original wording is not so large as might be feared; it is in truth remarkably small. The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the New Testament affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice. [The New Testament Documents; Are They Reliable?, F.F. Bruce, pgs. 14-15.]

Bruce Metzger (1914-2007) was one of the most highly regarded scholars of Greek, New Testament, and New Testament Textual Criticism. He served on the board of the American Bible Society and United Bible Societies and was a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. He commented...
But the amount of evidence for the text of the New Testament , whether derived from manuscripts, early versions, or patristic quotations is so much greater than that available for any ancient classical author that the necessity of resorting to emendation is reduced to the smallest dimensions. [The Text of the New Testament, Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, Fourth Edition, Bruce M. Metzger and Bart D. Ehrman, pg. 230]

Daniel B. Wallace (PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is professor of New Testament Studies. He is a member of the Society of New Testament Studies, the Institute for Biblical Research, and has consulted on several Bible translations. He made these comments...
To sum up the evidence on the number of variants, there are a lot of variants because there are a lot of manuscripts. Even in the early centuries, the text of the NT is found in a sufficient number of MSS, versions, and writings of the church fathers to give us the essentials of the original text. [Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament, Daniel B. Wallace, pg. 40]

Even Bart D. Ehrman who puts a skeptical spin on things when writing for the general public made the following statement in a college textbook as quoted by Dan Wallace in 'Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament' on pg. 24...
"In spite of these remarkable differences, scholars are convinced that we can reconstruct the original words of the New Testament with reasonable (although probably not 100 percent) accuracy."
Ehrman wrote that in a college textbook called 'The New Testament: A Historical Introduction To the Early Christian Writings', 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), pg. 481.


In an article by Dan Wallace, he wrote...
'Though textual criticism cannot yet produce certainty about the exact wording of the original, this uncertainty affects only about two percent of the text. And in that two percent support always exists for what the original said--never is one left with mere conjecture. In other words it is not that only 90 percent of the original text exists in the extant Greek manuscripts--rather, 110 percent exists. Textual criticism is not involved in reinventing the original; it is involved in discarding the spurious, in burning the dross to get to the gold.' [The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are They Identical?
Study By: Daniel B. Wallace The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are They Identical? | Bible.org - Worlds Largest Bible Study Site

Last edited by Michael Way; 05-02-2013 at 07:02 PM..
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:28 PM
 
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Outstanding post, Mike. I'm going to make some popcorn and sit back to watch this one.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:30 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
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Originally Posted by Vizio View Post
Outstanding post, Mike. I'm going to make some popcorn and sit back to watch this one.
Thanks Vizio. I hope that these quotes from experts in Biblical Textual Criticism will provide assurance to those who might wonder if the Bible accurately reflects the original autographs. Unfortunately however, the topic will likely bring about the usual comments and reactions from the usual people who wish only to attack and discredit the Bible.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:39 PM
 
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Bart Ehrman?! LOL! Well, that means you used a non-Christian Scholar too. That's adds some balance at least (Grabs popcorn too)
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:42 PM
 
Location: USA
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Originally Posted by Vizio View Post
Outstanding post, Mike. I'm going to make some popcorn and sit back to watch this one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrhockney View Post
Bart Ehrman?! LOL! Well, that means you used a non-Christian Scholar too. That's adds some balance at least (Grabs popcorn too)
You guys planning to share? It's the Christian thing to do.

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Old 05-02-2013, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
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Outstanding post and unquestionable authorities are quoted. I had forgotten about Dr. Wallace's comments about the 110% and like refining gold. We are blessed to have such a reliable account of what God has chosen to reveal about Himself to Man in God's written word.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:06 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
25,934 posts, read 19,136,651 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrhockney View Post
Bart Ehrman?! LOL! Well, that means you used a non-Christian Scholar too. That's adds some balance at least (Grabs popcorn too)
Keep in mind that in evaluating the historical reliability of the New Testament documents the same rules of Textual Criticism must be applied to the Biblical manuscript copies as to any manuscript copy of some ancient secular work. Therefore, in this regard it does not matter if one is a Christian or not. One need only objectively look at the evidence. And the simple fact of the matter is that there is vastly more New Testament manuscript attestation than for any secular work of antiquity, both in terms of number of manuscripts and in closeness in time of at least some of those manuscripts to the original autographs. And so, in using the same rules of Textual Criticism for the Biblical manuscripts as for any secular work, the only objective conclusion is that a comparison of all available manuscript copies provides a very accurate account of the original autographs.

Last edited by Michael Way; 05-02-2013 at 09:03 PM..
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:09 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
25,934 posts, read 19,136,651 times
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Originally Posted by Nathan Jones View Post
Outstanding post and unquestionable authorities are quoted. I had forgotten about Dr. Wallace's comments about the 110% and like refining gold. We are blessed to have such a reliable account of what God has chosen to reveal about Himself to Man in God's written word.
Thanks Nathan. Indeed we are blessed.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Arizona
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Textual criticism is not applied to the original autographs; but to the copies of copies.

Can someone, pass the popcorn! LOL
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:45 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
25,934 posts, read 19,136,651 times
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Originally Posted by Jerwade View Post
Textual criticism is not applied to the original autographs; but to the copies of copies.

Can someone, pass the popcorn! LOL
Of course Textual Criticism is applied to the copies. The entire point of Textual Criticism is to compare all available manuscript copies in order to arrive as closely as possible to what the original autographs said.
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