reply to post by Ralphy
There are hundreds of books written on this subject,
A library is a much better place to go to find answers to such questions, but I will give you a short answer;
The New Testament is constantly under attack and its reliability and accuracy are often contested by critics. But, if the critics want to disregard
the New Testament, then they must also disregard other ancient writings by Plato, Aristotle, and Homer. This is because the New Testament documents
are better-preserved and more numerous than any other ancient writings. Because they are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy... and
they are very consistent.
There are presently 5,686 Greek manuscripts in existence today for the New Testament.1 If we were to compare the number of New Testament manuscripts
to other ancient writings, we find that the New Testament manuscripts far outweigh the others in quantity.2
Written Earliest Copy Approximate Time Span between original & copy Number of Copies Accuracy of Copies
Lucretius died 55 or 53 B.C. 1100 yrs 2 ----
Pliny 61-113 A.D. 850 A.D. 750 yrs 7 ----
Plato 427-347 B.C. 900 A.D. 1200 yrs 7 ----
Demosthenes 4th Cent. B.C. 1100 A.D. 800 yrs 8 ----
Herodotus 480-425 B.C. 900 A.D. 1300 yrs 8 ----
Suetonius 75-160 A.D. 950 A.D. 800 yrs 8 ----
Thucydides 460-400 B.C. 900 A.D. 1300 yrs 8 ----
Euripides 480-406 B.C. 1100 A.D. 1300 yrs 9 ----
Aristophanes 450-385 B.C. 900 A.D. 1200 10 ----
Caesar 100-44 B.C. 900 A.D. 1000 10 ----
Livy 59 BC-AD 17 ---- ??? 20 ----
Tacitus circa 100 A.D. 1100 A.D. 1000 yrs 20 ----
Aristotle 384-322 B.C. 1100 A.D. 1400 49 ----
Sophocles 496-406 B.C. 1000 A.D. 1400 yrs 193 ----
Homer (Iliad) 900 B.C. 400 B.C. 500 yrs 643 95%
Testament 1st Cent. A.D. (50-100 A.D. 2nd Cent. A.D.
(c. 130 A.D. f.) less than 100 years 5600 99.5%
As you can see, there are thousands more New Testament Greek manuscripts than any other ancient writing. The internal consistency of the New
Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. That is an amazing accuracy. In addition there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin,
Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000.
Almost all biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the First Century. If Jesus was crucified in
30 A.D., then that means that the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. This is important because it means there were plenty of people
around when the New Testament documents were penned who could have contested the writings. In other words, those who wrote the documents knew that if
they were inaccurate, plenty of people would have pointed it out. But, we have absolutely no ancient documents contemporary with the First Century
that contest the New Testament texts.
Furthermore, another important aspect of this discussion is the fact that we have a fragment of the gospel of John that dates back to around 29 years
from the original writing (John Rylands Papyri 125 A.D.). This is extremely close to the original writing date. This is simply unheard of in any
other ancient writing and it demonstrates that the Gospel of John is a First Century document.
Below is a chart with some of the oldest extant New Testament manuscripts compared to when they were originally penned. Compare these time spans with
the next closest which is Homer's Iliad where the closest copy from the original is 500 years later. Undoubtedly, that period of time allows for
more textual corruption in its transmission. How much less so for the New Testament documents?
Information taken from this website, CARM, who's views I generally do not agree with (I am NOT a young earth creationist and I do NOT support the
view of YEC, I believe it is a false and antiquated Biblical Interpretation that is leading people away from faith), but they got this article down