The Bible’s Reliability

1 Peter 3:15 In your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.

Over the next few months I thought it would be good to take time to consider what exactly the facts of our Christian hope is. We have seen in the news recently the uncertainty in the world, especially in the wake of the EU referendum, no party or country has any idea what might happen (at the time of writing). So, what can we rely on in all this? The Bible, as God’s word… but I would say that!

The main focus of the next few prayer diary front pages will be focussing around 1 Peter 3:13-17 please do give it a read! How do we know Jesus really said those things? Can we really hope that it is all true?

How many of you have heard of Plato, Aristotle or Homer (not Simpson)? I’m sure some of you may well have been forced to study classics at school but it is often a neglected subject nowadays.

However, those three names played a huge part in our Western world today. Plato has had a huge impact on how our economy and governments run, our thoughts and our writings. Philosophers throughout the world despise him or love him for his theories and he is spoken of and taught in Universities across the world until this day.

Have you ever wondered what the economy and politics of the west have been largely based upon, how reliable is the source of the ideas? I doubt many of us have. But a lot of it originates from Plato, although it has been continually developed. But between the earliest found copies of Plato’s work and when he was actually alive and wrote them, there are one thousand two hundred years (roughly). Now that is a long time, I think we can all admit. There is also only 7 of those copies that have ever been found. Yet science, economics and philosophy firmly put their faith in this.

So what about the Bible? The New Testament was written between 50-120AD (roughly),by various different authors, all saying the same thing about
Jesus. So when do you think the first copy was found, was it 1200 years after that? No, it was more than likely within 100 years, depending on the dating of the books of the Bible. How many copies of this text have been found over the years? Over 5600 in the local language of Greek. This is only 5593 more copies than Plato. Let alone if you add in various different languages of the time being Syriac, Latin, Coptic and Aramaic, if you add them in it is over 24000 copies with a 0.5% difference between them all. That amounts to a few full stops missing or in different places.

So, if you have ever had doubts about your hope the Bible is correct hopefully this might help. If people ever doubt your hope that what you read is correct,then this should help.

The decision we then have to make is, are the claims about Jesus true or not? Should we put our hope in him as Peter suggests in his letter. That is what we can look forward to in next month’s addition.