Words of a Skeptic
“Especially when you consider that the Bible itself wasn’t written by Jesus, but by men who say they were inspired by him and lived 500 years after he lived.
People often assume I’m anti-Christian, but I still have a relationship with Christ in my own way. What I don’t have a relationship with is The Bible, which was written by fallible men and edited several times by even more fallible men and then translated by equally fallible men into the contradictory tome it is today. Unless you never eat pig or wear clothing made of two different types of fabric, then you too have recognized that not every rule spelled out in the Bible is relevant to today.”
This is typical of comments I get at times from those who have rejected Biblical Christianity. I am not going to go into great detail on these subjects. I would recommend an excellent book titled “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell. It is a classic and one of the best written books defending the Christian faith and the Bible. I will point out some things but focus on the thinking behind such words.
It’s true the Bible wasn’t written by Jesus (by his hand) but it’s not true it was written by men who lived 500 years after Jesus. Jesus died around 33 AD. The last book of the NT was written around 90 AD or shortly after. All the books of the NT were written by men who knew Jesus or disciples of those men. Most of the authors of the NT were apostles. I don’t know where this person got the idea it was written 500 years later.
According to Got Questions:
For the New Testament, the process of the recognition and collection began in the first centuries of the Christian church. Very early on, some of the New Testament books were being recognized. Paul considered Luke’s writings to be as authoritative as the Old Testament (1 Timothy 5:18; see also Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7). Peter recognized Paul’s writings as Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). Some of the books of the New Testament were being circulated among the churches (Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27). Clement of Rome mentioned at least eight New Testament books (A.D. 95). Ignatius of Antioch acknowledged about seven books (A.D. 115). Polycarp, a disciple of John the apostle, acknowledged 15 books (A.D. 108). Later, Irenaeus mentioned 21 books (A.D. 185). Hippolytus recognized 22 books (A.D. 170-235). The New Testament books receiving the most controversy were Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 John, and 3 John.
The first “canon” was the Muratorian Canon, which was compiled in AD 170. The Muratorian Canon included all of the New Testament books except Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and 3 John. In AD 363, the Council of Laodicea stated that only the Old Testament (along with one book of the Apocrypha) and 26 books of the New Testament (everything but Revelation) were canonical and to be read in the churches. The Council of Hippo (AD 393) and the Council of Carthage (AD 397) also affirmed the same 27 books as authoritative. (https://www.gotquestions.org/canon-Bible.html)
As you can see, the completion of the NT happened hundreds of years earlier than “500 years after Jesus.”
While Jesus did not write the NT, the writers of the NT were inspired by the Holy Spirit. God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God in three persons. It was the person of the Holy Spirit that inspired the writers of the NT. So it was divinely inspired whether it was written by Jesus or His followers.
To say the Bible today is a “contradictory tome” is misleading. Yes, there are passages that are debated but the core of the Christian faith is solid. It is not debated. Often those who claim contradictions read that on some website. Rarely have they even looked into the contradictions themselves. They are simply repeating something they read. Many scholarly books have been written about these so-called contradictions explaining them. There are people just looking for excuses to write-off the Bible. They don’t like the message of the Bible so they look for any reason to dismiss it. They find some website that claims contradictions and that’s good enough for them. That’s not examining the evidence. The truth is, there are no legitimate contradictions.
The implication was made that the Bible was edited by fallible men, and translated by fallible men therefore introducing error. She cited no evidence for the alleged edits. What we do know is that over 26,000 full or partial manuscripts exist of the NT. These range from the 100’s AD on. They have been studied and compared. Amazingly few discrepancies have been found. Less than 1% of the text has been found to at all changed and most of those changes were mere spelling changes. Nothing has been found that calls into question any of the essential teachings of the Bible.
People love to imply the Bible has been changed yet seldom is any evidence cited. For those looking to discredit the Bible, evidence is not needed. They are willing to take anyone’s word that changes have been made. Instead of the burden of proof being on them as it should be, they use silence as their argument. If we can’t prove no changes have been made, they take that as evidence changes have been made. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. When the Bible is compared to other works of antiquity, the preservation from change is amazing. The people who made copies took great care knowing they were copying the very words of God.
The final comment suggests we have no idea what commands in the Bible are relevant today. This too is false. Much of the OT was written for the nation of Israel. The requirements around which foods to eat, or the sacrificial system, have been done away with. This is clear from a reading of the NT.
What they suggest is that we are free to choose which parts of the Bible to believe in and which to reject. It makes us God deciding what is right and what is wrong. Instead of God revealing His will to us, we are deciding for ourselves what is God’s will. If you are going to reject any of the Bible then we should reject all of it. How can we decide what is correct and what is in error?
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12)
Can our finite minds discern the truth? The evidence is that the Bible was written by men who knew Jesus or close associates of those men. The evidence is that the Bible has not been edited or corrupted. The evidence is that the Bible has changed countless lives and the face of history. Usually those who question the Bible do so not because they have seen evidence suggesting the Bible has been corrupted but rather are looking for reasons to reject it because they don’t like what it says. If they doubt the authenticity of the Bible they can justify and departure from it. They are free to fashion their own beliefs which naturally accommodate their own morality. They set themselves up as God deciding what is right and what is wrong. Why they claim any belief in Jesus, as some do, is illogical. Based on what evidence? The evidence they claim is corrupted? She said she had a relationship with Jesus but not the Bible. How, then, does she know anything of Jesus if not from the Bible?