Part 2: Facts You Didn’t Know About the Accuracy of the NEW Testament

THE NEW TESTAMENT

The writers of the New Testament finished their work in the first century A.D.  Today we have many fragments of the New Testament text from as early as the second century A.D.  Originally written down in Greek, there are perhaps 15,000 complete manuscripts and fragments available today to help scholars put together the final 27 books of the Bible.  In addition, scholars have available several early translations of the New Testament.  There are also New Testament quotations in the writings of the early church fathers.  With all this information, scholars have had to be cautious in selecting and preserving the most accurate texts of the original writings.

By the fifth century A.D., the text of the New Testament was standardized from a common text found in many Greek manuscripts.  The first printed edition of the standard Greek text came in 1516, prepared and published by the Dutch scholar Erasmus.  Up to this point, there had been no thought to examine the accuracy of this text.  During the next two centuries, however, some Bibles noted certain alterations from the standardized version, including the text of Stephanus used in translating the King James Version in England (1611), and the edition of Elzevir (1633), which became the model for New Testament translations in Europe.  They had discovered older texts that were quite different from the fifth-century standard text.

As scholars continued their work of translation, they became more involved in the history and accuracy of texts.  It became clear that certain texts were more reliable than others. Manuscripts were then grouped together according to their similarities.  We now know that certain families of older texts (such as the Alexandrian and the Western texts) are closer to the original writings than the standard fifth-century text.

HOW THE NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS WERE COLLECTED 

When the first Christians met together to worship, they probably read from the Old Testament, following the Jewish synagogue tradition.  Since the focus of their worship was Jesus Christ, they likely added to their meetings an account of some part of his life and ministry.  At first, the reports might have been first-hand accounts from people who knew Jesus.  But as the church grew in numbers (and eye-witnesses began to die), it became important to write these stories down.  This was how Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John came into being.  These four Gospels became an important part in the worship and life of the early church.

As the Christian movement expanded, the apostles wrote letters to the young churches and various key individuals, giving guidance on Christian beliefs.  These letters were useful to the church as a whole, and so they were preserved.  This also occurred with the Book of Acts, which was accepted because it continued Luke’s Gospel account and provided the only full record of the beginnings of Christianity.  

By 200 A.D., the church was officially using the four Gospels as their authority for the life and teaching of Jesus.  By this time also, Paul’s letters were accepted as equally important. Then, during the third and fourth centuries, the remaining books of the New Testament were generally approved by the church.

This process was formally established when church leaders compiled a list of books similar to our New Testament at the Council of Laodicea (363 A.D.) and the Council of Carthage (397 A.D.)

Now we have the entire Bible in our hands, Old and New Testaments, all 66 books.  Many scholars and critics believe that the world’s best-seller (often referred to as the “Holy Writ” or the “Word of God”) is an accurate record of the authors’ words, handed down without significant loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries.

TRANSLATING THE SCRIPTURES

Before printing began, all copies of the Bible had to be written by hand–first by scribes, then later by monks.  After the New Testament was written and Christianity began spreading, the work of translation started.  The Bible appeared in Latin, Armenian, Gothic, Coptic, and other languages.  People wanted to read the Bible in their own tongue.  These translations were not produced on scrolls but in codex form.  This was a step forward in Bible making and the growing work of translation.  Today, the Bible has been translated in more than 1,700 languages.  The history of this work is both fascinating and far-reaching.

MANUSCRIPT MAKING–DID YOU KNOW?

In ancient days, the art of making books was very different from printing and publishing as we know it.  Back then, scribes used a quill pen and ink to write on parchment or vellum scrolls (made from animal skins) to make individual copies of the Bible.  In Egypt, a writing surface was made from papyrus reeds.  Scrolls were usually attached to two wooden handles and could be as long as 40 feet!  When scrolls became tattered or old, copies were made and the old ones were buried in special ceremonies.

Although we do not have original scrolls of any Bible book today, we believe that we have reliable copies of the earliest texts.  Scribes took painstaking care to copy out the sacred writings by hand generation after generation.  Copyists usually worked together, writing at the dictation of the chief scribe.  Seldom did they make mistakes, and when errors were found, the copy was corrected.  These expensive handwritten manuscripts were generally owned and used by churches or groups.  Few individuals could afford to purchase such costly writings.  The well-known Masoretes (a group of European Jewish scribes), working from the  sixth century and into the tenth century A.D., produced several Old Testament manuscripts that still exist.  The Masoretic texts are highly regarded and still widely used today.

At first, the New Testament books were written in the traditional manner–on papyrus or parchment scrolls.  However, by the late first century A.D. a new way of making copies of the Scriptures developed.  Sheets of papyrus or vellum were folded and sewn together at the spine to make a book, known as a codex.  This book form was a great improvement over the long, awkward scroll, and copyists could write on both sides of  each page.

Many important papyrus manuscripts of the New Testament exist today. In fact, the Revised Version of the Bible was based on Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, produced during the fourth century by profession scribes at Alexandria.  Over the past 250 years, scholars have worked hard to ensure that our New Testament today is as close as possible to the original words of the authors.

-Lyn Leahz

*Publications International, Ltd., Bible Almanac

 

 

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About Lyn Leahz

Lyn Leahz is a journalist, radio show producer and host, author, as well as contributor to numerous alternative media news and opinion sites including her own site, Freedom Nation News. Of particular note, Lyn’s YouTube channel reaches over 110,000 subscriptions, having become one of YouTube’s leading channels on the varied topics associated with “the last days”. For example: a recent interview with author and Christian radio personality, Benjamin Baruch, has garnered over 483,000 views! Her program covers a broad spectrum of subjects: End-times events, spiritual warfare, personal and national repentance, as well as breaking news that speaks to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Lyn’s ministry skyrocketed after completing her first Christian fiction end-times’ novel, Soul Deceiver, in 2011 (available through Thomas Nelson, Westbow Press Publishing Company). Aside from her YouTube channel, Lyn has two radio shows on Leading Edge Radio Network: (1) “Out of the Darkness”, co-hosted with Benjamin Baruch, and (2) “The Lyn and Lisa ‘When Conspiracy Becomes Reality Radio Show’” (with her co-host Lisa Haven). She has interviewed numerous famous personalities like Christian-political artist Jon McNaughton, Brent Baum and Bruce Hall, Producers of the Finding Noah Film, Brett Creamer (also featured on Rick Wiles’ TruNews radio broadcast), 
Michael Snyder, author of the Economic Collapse Blog and End of the American Dream Website (recently featured on “The Jim Bakker Show”); as well as John Shorey, best selling author of The Window of the Lord’s Return, who has also been a frequent special guest on “The Jim Bakker Show” and “It’s Supernatural” produced by Sid Roth. She also has been featured in Prophecy In the News and will be speaking at the 2016 Prophecy In the News Annual Pike’s Peak Conference, as well as interviewing live on her youtube channel other prominent speakers attending the event. My websites: http://LynLeahz.com, http://freedomnationnews.com https://www.youtube.com/user/LynLeahz
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37 Responses to Part 2: Facts You Didn’t Know About the Accuracy of the NEW Testament

  1. Lyn Leahz says:

    Part of picking up our cross and carrying it is letting go of our pride and moving forward in God..praying for those who oppose the truth when we tell them..and being able to shake that dust from off our feet. If we don’t shake off the dust, we get sand in our shoes..and sand in our shoes makes for an uncomfortable journey. God bless.

  2. Fascinating … however, this account leaves out the fact that there were many other gospels just as valid as the four gospels chosen after lots of bickering back in the fourth century, and the other gospels were suppressed. The Dead Sea Scrolls have given us an insight into the quality of some of these suppressed writings including the gospel of St Thomas.
    I have always wondered who was eavesdropping on Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane while his disciples were sleeping, so that the gospel writers were able to tell us about Jesus’ private conversation with God ” take this cup from me”…..

    • His Servant says:

      VALERIE, Who may have been eavesdropping as His desciples slept? Since the Bible are the Words of God, do you think perhaps it could have been God?

      • So who did God tell in order for a disciple ninety years or more later to write it down?

      • His Servant says:

        That is an easy one. ” All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 11 Tim 3:16
        God Himself told them what to write.

      • I wonder what language this God would have used, Aramaic. Greek, Latin????

      • His Servant says:

        The Old Teatament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, the New Testament in Greek, but I suspect you already knew that. Not sure why you asked the question.

      • I suppose because your answer seemed so far-fetched. People wrote the Bible, and inserted whatever bits would serve their purpose to convince people of what the church had decided people should believe..
        I believe the Divine Source speaks to us all, and we don’t need the archaic opinions of fallible people who lived nearly two thousand years ago to know how to live good lives dedicated to the truth.

      • His Servant says:

        It is far fetched that God could not use humans to record His Word? Is your god to small for such a thing?

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        All of us will be accountable before God very soon…solely on our own. Whoever is wrong will eventually find out as we kneel before Him in humility. So let’s not sweat the small stuff.

        I hate it when my children fight…but when I see my kids loving on one another, it makes me so happy and I feel wonderful. We are God’s children. What would make Him happy?

      • His Servant says:

        Everyone are God’s children? Plus Paul told Timothy; “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 nd Timothy 4:2

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        I agree one hundred percent. But then the Bible also says this: 2 Timothy 2:23-24 ESV

        Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

      • His Servant says:

        I certainly was not attempting to cause friction. It was not me who initiated the conversation. To me the Word of God is not a foolish subject and I am compelled to defend it vigorously. The Bible is Gods Word, without error.

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        Zeal is good. Paul was zealous. However, sometimes us people who are passionate (filled with zeal) might come across in our writing as though we are arguing when we’re not, we’re defending God’s Word, which is ‘very’ precious to us. I understand. But even Jesus told the disciples that if they were rejected, to leave the town and shake the dust from their sandals. And sometimes, this is what we must do. His Servant, I struggle with this myself…so don’t feel I am coming down on you…or on anyone. I’m not. I oftentimes have to remind myself of this very truth. God bless you, brother…and God bless you sister Valerie. May we all go forth as bold as lion, but as humble as a lamb. Love to you in Christ.

      • His Servant says:

        Thank you for your kindness. In your view, are all people God children?

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        Since the fall of man, we are born corrupt..evil..belonging to Satan. It is not until we truly repent and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior that we are God’s children. (unless we are below the age of accountability, which no one really knows for certain what ‘age’ that really is). And, according to the Bible, we will know by the fruit someone produces.

        Anyhow, this is why bad things happen to good people, and to innocent children… Jesus took the keys of spiritual death from Satan when He died and rose again…but not the keys of physical death..at least, not yet. Satan has a certain authority God has allowed Him to over the flesh… if Satan’s plan thwarts God’s plan, of course God will intervene..that one of the reasons why we see some healed, and some not healed…some saved from death, some not saved from death…

        Who comes for the flesh in the end? The spirit of death. Who comes for the spirit in the end? If you’re saved, an angel of the Lord…praise God!

        Amen! Some day very soon, even physical death will defeated and we will have a perfect and brand new body, and there shall be no more suffering!

      • His Servant says:

        Valerie says she does not believe the Bible to be God’s Word yet you call her a sister. A sister in Christ or is she actually your blood sister?

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        (sigh) His Servant..this is not my blog..it is PTL’s. And I have to respect her wishes and abide by the rules she has set forth. I can discuss this no further with you. Thanks for your comments and God bless you.

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        Most of the Old Testament, except for part of Daniel, (which was partly written in Aramaic) was written in Hebrew. The New Testament was recorded in Greek. God speaks in whatever language people hearing Him will understand. He is perfect. He is sovereign. His Word is final. He is All in All..so I can’t see God being confined to one language.

        As for THIS God…His name is YHVH…the Holy One of Israel…Jehovah..El Shaddai…Elohim…The Great I Am…Jehovah Nissi…the Alpha..the Omega..the Beginning and the End. Elohei Elohim. That is the God I worship.

        The apocrypha (I believe those are the books you are mentioning in your original statement) are considered by non-Catholics as history, but not the authoritative Word of God. Since I am not Catholic, and I do believe they are history, but not the inspired/authoritative Word of God, this would explain why the post does not include those books as authoritative/Holy Spirit inspired.

        However, this post is from a Bible Almanac…I copied it. I agree with it one hundred percent and find it very interesting. God bless you, and thanks for your comments.

      • Thank you very much for your long and detailed reply,
        I appreciate the effort you put into it.

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        You’re welcome. I hope it answered some of your questions. Since you had a few comments posted here, I was trying to address each one of them..that is the reason why it was so long. Plus, being a detail oriented person, I can’t seem to find it within myself how to be shorter…everyone who knows me in blogosphere can surely attest! LOL

      • Not sure if my reply got to you…
        Thank you for your long and detailed reply. I appreciate the effort you put into it…

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        Yes..I replied back…did you get it? If not, just look right beneath where you originally wrote that. I’ve actually made two or three comments since then. 🙂 Thanks for checking.

    • Lyn Leahz says:

      I hope you listen to the video I posted..it’s beautiful. It’s taken from Psalms.

  3. ptl2010 says:

    Folks let us keep our cool and pray for discernment and wisdom…. “she said”, “he said” here, will not get us any wiser. Remember the devil wants to condemn us by using generalities. The Holy Spirit helps us understand by being specific for action. Lets keep to the points in love.
    We may discuss specific points then agree to disagree on subjects amicably and not fall into the trap of the enemy who wants us to push each other to lower ground. We are aiming for higher ground at ChristianBlessings.

    I am deleting the comments that do not draw us closer to The Lord and do not belong here. By the authority of Jesus our Saviour and Lord, Get thee behind us satan.

    ptl2010

    • Lyn Leahz says:

      Amen. Thank you for deleting all that mess. Strife, bickering, and the like take away from the message of salvation, and the blessings Christ has for us to receive. There is no place for it in the work of Christ.

      2 Timothy 2:23-24 ESV

      Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

  4. His Servant says:

    There are many errors in this post. I received this same post from a non KJB advocate and was shocked when I read it. It is full of critical errors.

    • Lyn Leahz says:

      I disagree. I got it out of a Bible Almanac…and I loved it, and agreed wholeheartedly with it. Everyone has different interpretations on things, and different opinions. But thanks just the same for your comment, Jim. God bless you.

  5. Pingback: Part 2: Facts You Didn’t Know About the Accuracy of the NEW Testament | dmarienthee

  6. rickroehm says:

    Holy men of God wrote their personal experience of the power of a resurrected Christ. The actual experience of the power of the resurrected Christ was expounded on by Paul who was separated from Law to Grace and from Israel to reveal the mystery of the Church. Unlike the 12 that Christ personally ordained…Paul was made an Apostle by a resurrected Christ. The power of a resurrected Christ liberated Paul from legalism and human works. The Holy Spirit took Paul over. Cleansed and inspired him so much that he wrote letters “testifying” to power of God’s Grace that comes into the human soul. So much Grace that sins can be forgiven…So much Grace that holiness can begin…and so much Grace that a new life and a new moral character is created. New Testamant Truth! New Testament power! A better covenant not based on human works but the finished work of Christ from Calvary…and and ongoing operation that flows from His Throne of Grace in Heaven. A mediator of a New Covenant! Christ who took away the old that He would bring in the New. New and better. The Law was a shadow of better things to come. Christ…His death…His burial…and His resurrection….made men holy. So holy they wrote the New Testament Epistles to share with us what Christ shared with them. Same today as we are so blessed to be members of His body, the Church…that He purchased with HIs own blood….We have the Spirit…the Spirit of holiness…who makes us new, clean, and holy. Truth…Accuracy…Evident…proven…Holy Brethren partakers of the Heavenly call…the Gospel…the power of New Testament Truth.

  7. Steven Sawyer says:

    Thanks for sharing, Lyn. Did I miss part 1? Where was it?

    • Lyn Leahz says:

      You are joking, Steve…right? LOL Part One shared the exact same title, except the world OLD where NEW is above here… remember I said I had one coming on the NEW? Is this an “I could’ve had a V8” moment? 😉 You just emailed me a while ago and asked me, “When is part 2 coming?” Ha ha ha ha! God bless you and big hugs to you!!!!!♥

  8. ptl2010 says:

    Thank you Lyn for your sharing. Thank God for faithful men writing down what they saw and heard. Like them, may we not be afraid or even lazy to note the things The Lord is doing among us and in us. For His mercies anew every morning in each of our lives; let us be thankful and acknowledge Him so others may know Him and be encouraged to trust Him and trust Him more. Praise The Lord,

    • Lyn Leahz says:

      You’re welcome, ptl. I am happy that you liked it! It always helps us to know the history. God bless you!

      • ptl2010 says:

        God bless you Lyn and family, as you offer yourself in ministry to His glory in 2013. May lives be touched, turned around from sin, proclaiming worthy is our Lord God almighty who loves us and gave Himself for us.

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        Amen, ptl! We are all one body, working together with our various talents and callings He has placed upon our lives..loving Him, serving Him, and glorifying Him as we nourish each other, the lost, and the unrepentant with His love and His truth! To God be the honor, the power and the glory forever! Amen!

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