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Appendix 1. Authenticity of Biblical Text

by Dr. Henry M. Morris:

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Although none of the original manuscripts written by Moses or Paul or the other Biblical writers have been preserved (no doubt providentially; otherwise they might have become objects of worship), we can have full confidence in the integrity and canonicity of the text as transmitted to us: Some of the considerations supporting this confidence are summarized below.

Authenticity of the New Testament Text

Logical Basis of Confidence in the Text

  • Over 20,000 hand-copied manuscripts of the Greek text are in existence, far more than for any other documents of comparable antiquity.
  • Some papyrus fragments, especially of John, are preserved from the middle of the second century.
  • Although there are some differences in the preserved manuscripts, there is no doubt that at least 95% of the text is intact from the apostolic period.
  • The complete text of all New Testament books was available to those who had lived contemporaneously with the apostles, and they were satisfied with it.
  • In particular, the portrait of Christ as given in the New Testament was accepted as authentic by the earliest Christians.
  • The conclusion is that the New Testament as we now have it (in any version) is substantially identical with the original writings.

Logical Basis of Confidence in the Text

  • Hundreds of quotations are included in the writings of the early church fathers, probably adequate to construct the entire New Testament, if necessary.
  • Accuracy of most New Testament historical and geographical references has been confirmed by archaeological and historical research, and no such reference has been found in error.
  • Large numbers of undesigned correlations within the several New Testament books have been found, with no proved internal inconsistencies.
  • The New Testament books were originally written in Koine Greek, the common language of the New Testament era, rather than classical Greek.
  • Consistency of church ordinances (baptism, Lord's supper) as practiced by the early church prior to the circulation and collection of the New Testament books with their initiation as described therein can only be explained if the documents were authentic.

Authenticity of the Old Testament Text

New Testament Attestation

  • Traditional authorship accepted by Christ (Luke 24:27; John 5:46, 47; Matthew 24:15-21; etc.).
  • At least 320 direct quotations from the Old Testament, plus hundreds of allusions.
  • Confirmation in the New Testament of supernatural events recorded in the Old Testament (Matthew 19:4, 5; Luke 17:26; John 6:32; Matthew 12:39, 40; etc.).

Preservation of the Hebrew Text

  • Over 1,000 hand-copied manuscripts of the Masoretic Text available.
  • Meticulous study and compilation of all earlier texts by the Masoretes in a.d. 500.
  • Extremely careful copying and cross-checking of Old Testament text by the Hebrew scribes.
  • Completion of writing and editing about the time of Ezra, with probably the first Old Testament canon developed at that time.
  • Careful preservation and transmission from still earlier times.

Indirect Confirmation of Old Testament Text

  • Other ancient versions (Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, Samaritan, etc.).
  • Dead Sea Scrolls (containing most or all of Old Testament).
  • Acceptance by Jews and early Christians.
  • Old Testament quotations in pre-Christian writings.

Fallacious Documentary (JEPD) Hypothesis

  • Supposed basis (especially in relation to Pentateuch).
    Different styles and vocabularies.
    Inability of Moses, etc., to write.
    Assumed low stage of cultural evolution.
    Alleged derivation from Babylonian myths.
    Impossibility of miracles and fulfilled prophecies.
  • Refutation.
    Archaeological confirmations.
    High culture, writing skills, etc., long before Abraham.
    Geographical and historical accuracy.
    Superiority of Biblical records to the ethnic myths.
    Witness of Passover to Mosaic authorship.
    Claims of writers; universal acceptance by Jews.

Conclusion

The Biblical text as we have it is authentic, confirmed wherever it can be tested. Entirely apart from the question of divine inspiration, the text has been accurately transmitted from the original writings. Furthermore, the most difficult part to believe in the Old Testament (the Creation and the Flood) is supported by all true science, and the most difficult to believe in the New Testament (the bodily resurrection of Christ) is confirmed by all sound history.