Reliability of the New Testament

One of the questions I have been asked several different times is, “Is the Bible we have today what the authors originally wrote?” or “Is the Bible historically reliable?”. My answer to both versions of this questions is “Yes” and “Yes.” Consider the New Testament (I will deal with the Old Testament in a future blog):

The New Testament has been confirmed by secular historians such as Josephus (before 100 AD), Roman Governor Pliny (110 AD), Roman Historian Tacitus (120 AD), and others.

There are more ancient manuscripts of the New Testament than any other document of antiquity. There are 5,300 known Greek manuscripts, over 10,000 Latin Vulgate manuscripts, and at least 9,300 other early versions in various languages, of the New Testament that still survive. That is more than 24,000 copies of portions of the New Testament! Compare these numbers with the 643 manuscripts (second in number to the New Testament) in existence of the Iliad by Homer … no other historical book even comes close to the New Testament. [See chart above]

Theologian Rene Pache wrote of the New Testament, “The [other] historical books of antiquity have a documentation infinitely less solid.”

Theologian Dr. Benjamin Warfield said, “If we compare the present state of the text of the New Testament with that of no matter what other ancient work, we must…declare it marvelously exact.”

F.E. Peters ( Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and History at New York University) stated, ” … on the basis of manuscript tradition alone, the works that made up the Christians’ New Testament were the most frequently copied and widely circulated books of antiquity.”

“Is the Bible we have today what the authors originally wrote?” or “Is the Bible historically reliable?” Absolutely!


Lanny Johnson

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