Monday, June 7, 2010
Has the Bible been changed over time?
Short answer- No.
The earliest complete New Testament (Codex Sinaiticus) is from 350AD.
We have quotes from the early church fathers that quote all but eleven verses of the New Testament. The dates of these quotes go from Clemente in 96AD until the latest quote from Irenaeus in around 188AD.
By way of comparison, the book of Revelation is dated around 90AD.
In short, the Bible from AD188 to the Bible we have today says the exact same thing. There have not been changes or alterations. What you see, is what was written. These are the facts.
Yes, people have TRIED to add things to the Bible or alter the Bible to fit their theology (LDS, Jehovah's Witnesses, Gnostics, etc), but these alterations are NOT accepted. They are thrown out.
The Bible of today is the same Bible that the early church fathers read. You can fully trust that the Bible was preserved.
Even more detail-
1. I have studied the translation & copying process. It is very very thoruough. Plus, if you look at the ealiest manuscripts you will see for yourself how they stack up.
2. There are over 5,300 known ancient Greek manuscript copies (MSS) and fragments of the New Testament in Greek that have survived until today.
Counting an additional 10,000 Latin Vulgate and over 9,300 other early manuscript versions in Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Gothic, and Ethiopic, totaling over 24,000 surviving manuscripts of the New Testament.
Small changes and variations in manuscripts affect none of the central Christian doctrines, nor do they change the message.
3. Tertullian stated that by 150 A.D., the Church in Rome had compiled a list of the New Testament books matching our list of today.
4. We have 32,000 quotes from before 325 AD, from Irenaeus (182-188 AD), Justin Martyr (before 150 AD), Polycarp (107 AD), Ignatius (100), Clement (96 AD) and many other second and third century fathers. All but eleven verses of the New Testament could be reconstructed through their writings alone.
5. The Muratonian Canon Fragment dating from 170 AD lists the same New Testament that we have.
6. See the Ante-Nicean Fathers, a 32 volume Encyclopedia of the writings of the Early Church, by Eerdmans Publishing. Or on the Internet see the Early Church Fathers
So, NO the deity of Christ was not manipulated into the system at some council or through some Joe Sixpack. He always claimed to be God. The New Testament writers & those who met Him, believe that He is God & even died for those beliefs. It was not added to in 325AD as some suggest. Nor was it changed by Constantine in around 300AD. It says what it says, it is what it is.