The Truth of the Word

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, December 15, 2016 0 comments

by Steve Risner

In my last blog post, I discussed some comments made by an atheist concerning when the Gospels were written—when the “oral legends” of Jesus were transcribed. He claimed it was hundreds of years after Jesus walked the earth when, in fact, it seems like it was literally just a couple of decades later at the latest. This is another example of how atheists frequently claim to be the rational superior in the discussion and that they base their arguments in facts. The truth is they seem to rarely employ facts and there is little rationality to their arguments.

This week, we will be discussing briefly the 3rd claim in this atheist's 5-point summary of Christianity. This week he states, “Clerics and kings translated these desert tales in order to manipulate the masses to do their bidding.” This is a statement with no basis at all—fact or otherwise. This is the sort of thing unbelievers will say to discredit the Bible, and therefore Christianity, that has no basis in reality and no credible factual foundation. They want this stuff to be true even though this isn't a shred of evidence for it. It's a want, not a fact.

Last week, we discussed how the Gospels and the Book of Acts were likely written within a couple of decades of the resurrection. We also mentioned how the Apostle Paul challenged his readers to ask those who were still living, who witnessed the events written about, to confirm or deny them. These are powerful arguments for the validity of the writings.

If we couple this with the results of accepting and/or believing these accounts, we have a very powerful argument for the authenticity of the Bible and specifically the Gospels. Christians were hunted down, tortured, and killed for their faith. This is a fact. They claimed they had seen the risen Lord and the He was the Son of God, and they were tortured and killed for saying these things. All that was necessary for them to escape this was to recant. They could renounce their faith in Christ and what they claimed, and they would have been spared. So what forced them to reject this salvation? What made these men and woman endure terrible crimes against their physical person when the freedom they could have enjoyed was a simple statement away? All that was necessary was to say, “Jesus is not the Son of God. He did not rise from the dead. I never saw Him after He was crucified.” They didn't do this. In fact, all the disciples were murdered for their faith, or it was attempted in some form. This is a remarkable testimony to the authenticity of the Gospel. You read more about that here.

So what of these claims that “clerics and kings translated” the Gospels to manipulate the masses? Total rubbish. My first question would be, “Why would they translate it at all if they wanted to manipulate the masses? Why not just tell them what it said and rule over them that way?” One could claim it said anything they wanted if they knew the peasants couldn't read it. Also, according to, “The quantity of New Testament manuscripts is unparalleled in ancient literature. There are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts, about 8,000 Latin manuscripts, and another 1,000 manuscripts in other languages (Syriac, Coptic, etc.). In addition to this extraordinary number, there are tens of thousands of citations of New Testament passages by the early church fathers. In contrast, the typical number of existing manuscript copies for any of the works of the Greek and Latin authors, such as Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, or Tacitus, ranges from one to 20.” There are thousands of copies of the New Testament dating to ages very close to the time of Christ. They are, as the above quote notes, the most accurate and well preserved of all ancient writings hundreds of times over.

Not only do we have a great deal of manuscripts that give us the story, but we have a great deal of credibility for those writings. The processes that the scribes went through to copy the words of the Bible were extraordinary. If any variation was found, the entire copy was destroyed. Letters and lines were counted and numerous checks were made to validate the accuracy of each copy. When we compare those copies to each other, we find a miraculous level of accuracy. We also have the Dead Sea scrolls, which are 1,000 years older the oldest manuscripts we had before their discovery. These very old manuscripts confirm that copies made hundreds of years later were exceptionally accurate. To suggest that the words of the Bible are anything but exactly what was written so long ago—thousands of years ago—is absurd. A person who suggests there are errors or contradictions for some sort of agenda in the translation of the Bible is not to be taken seriously. They are not interested in the truth at all. They only seek to puff up their pride and want to reaffirm their disbelief. They don't care that their disbelief is based on completely fabricated and easily refuted arguments. They only are content to wallow in their ignorance and/or skewed version of reality.

It's interesting to note that the Gospel has set people free all over the world. In fact, I've recently written about the Christian foundation of the United States of America (here, here, and here). All over the world where the Gospel is taken, women are elevated and racial barriers are brought down. Christianity knocks down the walls of sexism and racism because neither of these concepts Biblical. Freedom is the dominating theme of the Gospel. Freedom from sin, death, and tyranny from a variety of other sources. This atheist who's given me this list of complaints about Christianity is so far off of the truth it's disturbing.

Be encouraged that the Word of God is reliable, authentic, accurate, and the absolute truth. This isn't just a statement based on opinion or faith. It's based on all the available evidence on the subject. Research it for yourself. The Truth is obvious.

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