Object Lesson: Reliability of the New Testament

It’s been a long time since I posted anything here. I hope you didn’t feel neglected! I’ve just been crazy busy. I’m done with seminary for the time being, so I’ve got a bit more time. (Not much, but enough to at least do a quick post.)

I needed to come up with a way to help illustrate some of the evidence for the reliability of Scripture. I was brainstorming and came up with an idea for an object lesson. The video should give you the general idea.

If you want to do something similar, here are some of the facts from the presentation.

Author Time Span Between Original and Copy Number of Copies Accuracy
Plato 1,200 Years 7
Caesar 1,000 Years 10
Aristotle 1,400 Years 49
Homer (Iliad) 500 Years 643 95%
New Testament 30 Years 5,600 99.5%

The information for the New Testament in the table above is just for Greek manuscripts. There are another 19,000 or so manuscripts translated into other languages.

If you’d like to get more information on the manuscript evidence for the New Testament, here are a few links to get you started:

Manuscript Evidence for Superior New Testament Reliability

Manuscript Support for the Bible’s Reliability

The Bible’s Manuscript Evidence

“Begin,” A New Evangelism Resource

"Begin" Book

Many churches give away New Testaments as an evangelistic outreach. Of course, giving people the Word of God is a good thing, but there is a problem. We live in a culture that is, in many ways, post-Christian. Many people lack the the necessary foundation to understand the gospel message. They have questions that need to be addressed first. Questions like:

  • Which “God” are we talking about? Aren’t all religions the same?
  • What is “sin”? I’ve never done anything really wrong.
  • How can there be a loving God given how messed up this world is?

The answers to foundational questions like these are found in the Old Testament.

Well, I came across a resource I really like that provides a solution to this dilemma.  It’s a book that combines portions of both the Old and New Testaments to provide seekers and new believers with all the information they need to get started. It’s called Begin.

It starts, appropriatly enough, at the beginning with Genesis 1-11. This explains who God is, what he has done, and why this world is in its current condition. It then proceeds to Exodus 20, which contains God’s law. Having laid that foundation, it includes the entire Gospel of John, to present the gospel message. Next, it presents the book of Romans, which presents the gospel in more depth. Finally, it includes the last two chapters of Revelation.

It also includes commentary to bridge the gaps between Scripture segments and answer common questions.

So, if you give away New Testaments or other literature for evangelism, you should check out this resource.