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The Reliability of the New Testament

Can we trust the Bible?


Is the Bible reliable? Can we trust what’s been handed down to us? Or has the message changed over time, like a two-thousand-year-long game of Chinese whispers?

F.F. Bruce, in The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? said:

“The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which no-one dreams of questioning. And if the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt. It is a curious fact that historians have often been much readier to trust the New Testament than have many theologians.”

Simply consider the following:

Author/TextExisting CopiesYears between original and earliest surviving copies
Plato71200
Pliny7750
Herodotus81300
Thucydides81300
Demosthenes8800
Suetonius8800
Euripides91300
Aristophanes101200
Caesar101000
Tacitus201000
Aristotle491400
Sophocles1931400
Homer/Iliad643500
New Testament24,00040-70

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