Reason For RELIABILITY
Del Potter, M.A.A.
October 26th, 2020
Reason For Reliability
“just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.” – Luke 1:2
Reason For Fairness
Hysterical vs. Historical
The other day I was playing around with different internet search engines such as google, to see if they were incorporating fairness into various topics of a controversial nature (i.e. Politics & religion). To my surprise and horror when I searched for the line “historical accuracy test” all I was given was information on whether the “New Testament was accurate” and was “The Bible Trustworthy.” This seemed a little hysterical to me since I didn’t mention the Bible at all in my search query, and yet the search results seemed to suggest (with the lack of other books mentioned) that the only book of antiquity that warrants a ‘test’ is the Bible. Seems a little unfair.
Most, if not all, legitimate historiographers would agree the easiest way to argue in favor of a source being accurate is to show that the information provided by the source is corroborated by a different source. The historical test commonly used is what is called a “Bibliographical test.” Now, you must be thinking “you see, the Bible is involved!” No, not really. On the contrary, a Bibliographical test asks if the manuscripts from the first century were accurately transmitted to us today.
Reason For Research
As you can see from the above chart, the New Testament manuscripts outstrip every other ancient manuscript in sheer number and proximity to the autographs. For example, Homer’s Iliad was written roughly 900 years before Christ, but not a single complete copy of these works exists, that is earlier than the thirteenth century A.D.; and there are no fragmented copies older than the sixth century A.D. This means our modern versions are, at the very least, fifteen centuries removed from the originals. So, the New Testament should be regarded as having been accurately transmitted, right? Unfortunately, the unbeliever does not hold other ancient texts to the same standards as the Bible. More research is needed. Take for example, the passage from John 18:36-37 that states
"My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. (NASB)."
The John Ryland’s fragment is an excerpt from John 18:31-37, which was found in a coffin in Egypt, and it is dates to AD 125! This fragment is only 3 inches in diameter, but it shows that John was written before this time. Moreover, if John was dated before this, then the Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) must be dated even earlier. This places all four gospels well within the NT. Additionally, the Codex Sinaiticus that dates to around the 4th century, and the St. Cuthbert gospel which is a complete copy of the book of John dating to the 7th century, corroborates almost word for word John 18:36-37. That is over 500 years of reliability!
Reason For Truth
Even if the passage from John 18:36-37 was the only piece of biblical extant evidence we had left on the authority and divinity of Jesus, this would be sufficient for reliability. Jesus was essentially saying to Pilate that My kingdom, that is, the power and authority which makes me a king, is not of this world, that is, does not have its origin in earthly causes and human choice, but from another source, from the Father. Jesus is not only claiming to have authority on earth but in heaven as well! "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” - Matthew 24:34 (see also Dan 7:14). Reason for reliability? Indubitably!
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