Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
Originally posted by just me 2
We also have proof of God's existance~ The Bible says He does! That is all the proof I need.
How do you think that the earth and all of it's millions of life forms got here?
first, i don't take a book, call it fact, and use it as proof. the bible has NOTHING to back itself up besides itself. why do you take the bible as
proof? it's a mix of fictional stories (like the story of jonah), adapted stories from other religions (the flood story is an adaptation of part of
the epic of gilgamesh) and nonfiction (lineages, the letters were really philosophical letters written to people).
i think the earth got here because a cloud of dust compacted
i think it's lifeforms evolved from earlier lifeforms, and said earlier lifeforms did the same, and at some point complex organic molecules came
together in such a way that the formed a living organism.
now just me 2:
how would god have gotten here?
WHY is the bible true?
WHAT proves its truth?
IF the bible is true, WHY is it the only true word of god?
Here is an excerpt from an excellent article that explains how and why we should trust in the Bible.
If you want to read it in it's entirity, click here:
" target="_blank" class="postlink">www.leaderu.com...
Are the Biblical Documents Reliable?
How do we know that the Bible we have today is even close to the original? Haven't copiers down through the centuries inserted and deleted and
embellished the documents so that the original message of the Bible has been obscured? These questions are frequently asked to discredit the sources
of information from which the Christian faith has come to us.
Three Errors To Avoid
Do not assume inspiration or infallibility of the documents, with the intent of attempting to prove the inspiration or infallibility of the documents.
Do not say the bible is inspired or infallible simply because it claims to be. This is circular reasoning.
When considering the original documents, forget about the present form of your Bible and regard them as the collection of ancient source documents
that they are.
Do not start with modern "authorities" and then move to the documents to see if the authorities were right. Begin with the documents themselves.
Procedure for Testing a Document's Validity
In his book, Introduction in Research in English Literary History, C. Sanders sets forth three tests of reliability employed in general historiography
and literary criticism. These tests are:
Bibliographical (i.e., the textual tradition from the original document to the copies and manuscripts of that document we possess today)
Internal evidence (what the document claims for itself)
External evidence (how the document squares or aligns itself with facts, dates, persons from its own contemporary world).
It might be noteworthy to mention that Sanders is a professor of military history, not a theologian. He uses these three tests of reliability in his
own study of historical military events.
We will look now at the bibliographical, or textual evidence for the Bible's reliability.
The Old Testament
For both Old and New Testaments, the crucial question is: "Not having any original copies or scraps of the Bible, can we reconstruct them well enough
from the oldest manuscript evidence we do have so they give us a true, undistorted view of actual people, places and events?"
The scribe was considered a professional person in antiquity. No printing presses existed, so people were trained to copy documents. The task was
usually undertaken by a devout Jew. The Scribes believed they were dealing with the very Word of God and were therefore extremely careful in copying.
They did not just hastily write things down. The earliest complete copy of the Hebrew Old Testament dates from c. 900 A.D.
The Massoretic Text
During the early part of the tenth century (916 A.D.), there was a group of Jews called the Massoretes. These Jews were meticulous in their copying.
The texts they had were all in capital letters, and there was no punctuation or paragraphs. The Massoretes would copy Isaiah, for example, and when
they were through, they would total up the number of letters. Then they would find the middle letter of the book. If it was not the same, they made a
new copy. All of the present copies of the Hebrew text which come from this period are in remarkable agreement. Comparisons of the Massoretic text
with earlier Latin and Greek versions have also revealed careful copying and little deviation during the thousand years from 100 B.C. to 900 A.D. But
until this century, there was scant material written in Hebrew from antiquity which could be compared to the Masoretic texts of the tenth century A.D.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
In 1947, a young Bedouin goat herdsman found some strange clay jars in caves near the valley of the Dead Sea. Inside the jars were some leather
scrolls. The discovery of these "Dead Sea Scrolls" at Qumran has been hailed as the outstanding archeological discovery of the twentieth century.
The scrolls have revealed that a commune of monastic farmers flourished in the valley from 150 B.C. to 70 A.D. It is believed that when they saw the
Romans invade the land they put their cherished leather scrolls in the jars and hid them in the caves on the cliffs northwest of the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea Scrolls include a complete copy of the Book of Isaiah, a fragmented copy of Isaiah, containing much of Isaiah 38-6, and fragments of
almost every book in the Old Testament. The majority of the fragments are from Isaiah and the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and
Deuteronomy). The books of Samuel, in a tattered copy, were also found and also two complete chapters of the book of Habakkuk. In addition, there were
a number of nonbiblical scrolls related to the commune found.
These materials are dated around 100 B.C. The significance of the find, and particularly the copy of Isaiah, was recognized by Merrill F. Unger when
he said, "This complete document of Isaiah quite understandably created a sensation since it was the first major Biblical manuscript of great
antiquity ever to be recovered. Interest in it was especially keen since it antedates by more than a thousand years the oldest Hebrew texts preserved
in the Massoretic tradition."
The supreme value of these Qumran documents lies in the ability of biblical scholars to compare them with the Massoretic Hebrew texts of the tenth
century A.D. If, upon examination, there were little or no textual changes in those Massoretic texts where comparisons were possible, an assumption
could then be made that the Massoretic Scribes had probably been just as faithful in their copying of the other biblical texts which could not be
compared with the Qumran material.
What was learned? A comparison of the Qumran manuscript of Isaiah with the Massoretic text revealed them to be extremely close in accuracy to each
other: "A comparison of Isaiah 53 shows that only 17 letters differ from the Massoretic text. Ten of these are mere differences in spelling (like our
"honor" and the English "honour") and produce no change in the meaning at all. Four more are very minor differences, such as the presence of a
conjunction (and) which are stylistic rather than substantive. The other three letters are the Hebrew word for "light." This word was added to the
text by someone after "they shall see" in verse 11. Out of 166 words in this chapter, only this one word is really in question, and it does not at
all change the meaning of the passage. We are told by biblical scholars that this is typical of the whole manuscript of Isaiah."
The Greek translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint, also confirms the accuracy of the copyists who ultimately gave us the Massoretic
text. The Septuagint is often referred to as the LXX because it was reputedly done by seventy Jewish scholars in Alexandria around 200 B.C. The LXX
appears to be a rather literal translation from the Hebrew, and the manuscripts we have are pretty good copies of the original translation.
In his book, Can I Trust My Bible, R. Laird Harris concluded, "We can now be sure that copyists worked with great care and accuracy on the Old
Testament, even back to 225 B.C. . . . indeed, it would be rash skepticism that would now deny that we have our Old Testament in a form very close to
that used by Ezra when he taught the word of the Lord to those who had returned from the Babylonian captivity."
The New Testament
The Greek Manuscript Evidence
There are more than 4,000 different ancient Greek manuscripts containing all or portions of the New Testament that have survived to our time. These
are written on different materials.
Papyrus and Parchment
During the early Christian era, the writing material most commonly used was papyrus. This highly durable reed from the Nile Valley was glued together
much like plywood and then allowed to dry in the sun. In the twentieth century many remains of documents (both biblical and non-biblical) on papyrus
have been discovered, especially in the dry, arid lands of North Africa and the Middle East.
Another material used was parchment. This was made from the skin of sheep or goats, and was in wide use until the late Middle Ages when paper began to
replace it. It was scarce and more expensive; hence, it was used almost exclusively for important documents.
1. Codex Vaticanus and Codex Siniaticus
These are two excellent parchment copies of the entire New Testament which date from the 4th century (325-450 A.D.).
2. Older Papyrii
Earlier still, fragments and papyrus copies of portions of the New Testament date from 100 to 200 years (180-225 A.D.) before Vaticanus and Sinaticus.
The outstanding ones are the Chester Beatty Papyrus (P45, P46, P47) and the Bodmer Papyrus II, XIV, XV (P46, P75).
From these five manuscripts alone, we can construct all of Luke, John, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1
and 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, and portions of Matthew, Mark, Acts, and Revelation. Only the Pastoral Epistles (Titus, 1 and 2 Timothy) and the General
Epistles (James, 1 and 2 Peter, and 1, 2, and 3 John) and Philemon are excluded.
3. Oldest Fragment
Perhaps the earliest piece of Scripture surviving is a fragment of a papyrus codex containing John 18:31-33 and 37. It is called the Rylands Papyrus
(P52) and dates from 130 A.D., having been found in Egypt. The Rylands Papyrus has forced the critics to place the fourth gospel back into the first
century, abandoning their earlier assertion that it could not have been written then by the Apostle John.
4. This manuscript evidence creates a bridge of extant papyrus and parchment fragments and copies of the New Testament stretching back to almost the
end of the first century.
In addition to the actual Greek manuscripts, there are more than 1,000 copies and fragments of the New Testament in Syria, Coptic, Armenian, Gothic,
and Ethiopic, as well as 8,000 copies of the Latin Vulgate, some of which date back almost to Jerome's original translation in 384 400 A.D.
A further witness to the New Testament text is sourced in the thousands of quotations found throughout the writings of the Church Fathers (the early
Christian clergy [100-450 A.D.] who followed the Apostles and gave leadership to the fledgling church, beginning with Clement of Rome (96 A.D.).
It has been observed that if all of the New Testament manuscripts and Versions mentioned above were to disappear overnight, it would still be possible
to reconstruct the entire New Testament with quotes from the Church Fathers, with the exception of fifteen to twenty verses!