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filename : MSSHSTRY.TXT added : ? Christian Information Exchange 714-531-3834 Fountain Valley, CA Sysop : Mike Wallace "P" = PAUSE, SPACEBAR = EXIT IS SCRIPTURE LESS ACCURATE BECAUSE OF IT'S AGE? If one were wanting to investigate the validity of an event in past history, how would he do it? Obviously one would want to look at all forms of evidence. A user here has said that researchers go "study the artifacts, the art, the LITERATURE, the architecture, etc." Why is it, though, that many who come to Christianity reject this type of research? Some say that this "OLD" literature is unreliable because of it's age, but where do researchers get their information from? OLDER literature! They don't just make up history. In fact historians rely on OLD literature to find answers to historical questions. Age is not a determining factor in discounting the authenticity of a historical work. In fact, age is one of the historian's tools to validate the authenticity of a work. Authenticity and reliability is what historians are looking for, not the latest manuscript written, but the manuscript that is closest to the actual event. In this manner, a researcher comes to consider a document to be a reliable source of information, if it is dated as closely to the actual event as possible. Also, correllation between mssg. found to be within the similar time frames, adds to the authenticity and reliability of an historical document. Would you agree, Mr. Reader, that the age of a document is an enhancement in the research of history, rather than a detriment? Answer here with an X: Yes _____ No _____ IS THE BIBLE ONLY ONE SOURCE? A common fallacy concerning Scripture is that it was written by a few sources in corroboration with each other. This could not be more unfounded, yet many swallow it wholesale. The word "Bible" means 'book of books' or 'collection of books'. The books of the Old and New Testaments were written by over 40 different people over a span of approx. 4000 years. The Hebrew writings antedate the mystery religions by thousands of years. The books were written at different periods in history,and by people ranging from shepherds to Kings. It is not the work of a few men in a single time period. So the Bible is not one source, but many, and it is incorrect to say it is only one source, in and of itself. This fact makes the fulfillment of prophecies astounding, as it is impossible that there was collusion, or inscription of these events after the fact. Would you agree, Mr. Reader, that the scripture was written by many different people over a time span of hundreds of years? Answer here with an X : Yes _____ No _____ HAVE THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS BEEN ACCURATELY TRANSMITTED? In examining the reliability of the Scripture, a few well established facts will help in our evaluation of it. FACT. We have over 27,000 complete manuscripts of the New Testament dated to within one hundred years, or so, of Christ's death. FACT If embellishments did occur during the TRANSCRIPTION of the texts (either by mistake or intentionally), they would be glaring. FACT These manuscripts, written in Greek, have no contradictions between them either in phraseology or punctuation (punctuation was not used in these Greek writings). Rare misspelling is found, and scholars know where these are, but there is no such occurrence in passages relating to major doctrine. As one can see, we do have an abundance of copies of the Greek New Testament mss. (27,000) dated to the first century (the last book was written around 90 A.D.). Because we have these, AND because they all are word for word identical to each other (accept in a very few places, which do not relate to doctrine. We know where they are and exactly what the problem is, i.e. misspelling, etc.), we can state, without reservation, that we have today in the Greek mss. what was written by the original authors. The unbiased researcher can only conclude that we have today, what was written by the original authors. In short, we have in essence, identical facsimiles of the original signatures. Will you agree, Mr. Reader, that there is enough evidence to substantiate the fact that the Greek mss we have today, reflect word for word the original writings? That's 27,000 word for word copies. Would you concede that? Answer here with an X: Yes ____ No ____ IS IT IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW WHICH TRANSLATIONS ARE ACCURATE? Another often repeated statement used to debunk the Scripture is : "Since there are so many translations of the Bible, how can one know which one is right?" Keep in mind that TRANSLATION and INTERPRETATION are two different things, and should not be confused as even close to being the same thing. A TRANSLATION is a word for word rendering from one language to another. An INTERPRETATION is taking the final rendering and explaining, or expounding upon, what it means. Since we have in essence the original manuscripts (hereafter referred to as simply "mssg."), the real question becomes "Which translation is the most accurate?" The question of accuracy includes two areas: 1) Which books do we include in the New Testament? 2) What is the most accurate translation of each Greek word? We will cover each question individually, and at length. FIRST : Which books do we include in the New Testament? Example One ~~~~~~~~~~~ One user on this system stated that Orange Coast Community College, in Southern California, had taught in their Comparative Religions class that St. Augustine, more or less, put together the Bible. This is totally erroneous. I hope that this isn't indicative of what they have been teaching at OCC. If it is they are incorrect. From Christianity Through the Centuries, by Earle E. Cairns, Ph. D. : "People often err by thinking of the canon as a list of authoritative books coming directly from heaven or by thinking that the canon was set by church councils. Such was not the case, for the various church councils that pronounced upon the subject of the canon of the NT were merely stating publicly, as we shall see later, what had been widely accepted by the consciousness of the Church for sometime. The development of the canon was a slow process substantially completed by 175 except for a few books whose authorship was disputed. In persecution men were not willing to risk their lives for a book unless they were sure it was an integral part of the canon of Scripture. The major test of the right of a book to be in the canon was whether it had the marks of apostolicity. Was it written by an apostle or one who was closely associated with the apostles, such as Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark, with the aid of the Apostle Peter? Later, councils, such as that at Chalcedon in 451, merely approved and gave uniform expression to what was already an accomplished fact generally accepted by the Church for a long period of time." St. Augustine was born in 354. He was a theologian and writer, but he did not serve as compiler of the scripture that we have today. In fact, Athanasius, in his Easter letter of 367 to the churches under his jurisdiction as the Bishop of Alexandria, listed the same twenty- seven books that we now have in the NT as canonical. Example Two ~~~~~~~~~~~ Another example of erroneous compilation of inspired scripture can be seen in one of the largest religious groups in existence, the Catholic Church. The Catholic Bible contains the Apocrypha. They are additional books that were added. These books are of Hebrew origin. From the Liberty Bible Almanac : "They were written between the time of the Exile and the birth of Christ. Collectively these books are also called the Apocrypha, a Greek term that properly means 'hidden' or 'secret things.' Many spurious sacred books were put forth in early times, often claiming a mystical or secret quality. Many Jewish and Christian writings came over the years to be called 'apocryphal.' The deuterocanon - which Protestants call 'the Apocrypha' - consists of books written at various times from about 300 BC to 30 BC. they include several valuable accounts of intertestamental history, along with didactic and devotional composition. In 1546 AD, the Council of Trent declared these books to be authoritative Scripture. However, Protestant churches have never accepted these books as part of the canon." "The Jews NEVER ADMITTED these books into their cannon, but Alexandrian Jews wrote them in the same rolls with the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament), and hence they found a degree of respect with some of the early Christian Fathers." - Liberty Bible Almanac, pg 582, (1980) Since the Jews, the very people of God, did not consider them inspired, neither has the protestant church. This is why you will not find them in most translations. Martin Luther did not consider them inspired either, but did include them in a separate section, for historical reference. Would you agree, Mr. Reader, that, since the Jews (the very people of God) did not consider these books inspired, they should not be included in the canon (canon is a term indicating 'genuine books'? Answer below with an X: Yes ____ No ____ SECOND : What is the most accurate translation of each Greek word? Here, there is no little dispute amongst the unlearned which rendering of Greek words is correct. Typically, Greek scholars, such as George Ladd and those of similar caliber, are usually time tested and respected amongst their peers. In each case we must look at the credibility of those doing the translation work, as well as correlate their renderings with others in their peer group. One would not want to learn French from a person who could hardly read, write or speak it, would he? Yet, such is the case with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society's "New World Translation". There is documentation to show that the translators of that version could not read, write or speak Greek. Therefore this translation should be dismissed outright. Likewise, the Book of Mormon (which is not a translation of the Bible, more so a plagiarism) has historical inaccuracies galore which render it unacceptable based on other contrary external evidences (the historical blunders here include claims that thousands of years ago, elephants walked the North American continent in abundance. Pure fallacy, as archeology points out). To avoid duplication of work concerning this subject, for a detailed outline of all the major translations and their relative accuracy, please read the Gfile Section BIBLE STUDIES AND ANALYSIS/Choosing a Bible (from Christian Research Institute, Dr. Walter Martin). For further reference, under the same section, read : Studying the Bible - Parts III & IV. Part III contains reviews of some of the finest reference books available today which are written in layman's terms, yet very detailed and well documented. Part IV contains an expanded examination of the most well known translations, as well as information about other types of helpful resources such as : Bible Handbooks and Surveys Bible Dictionaries and Encyclopedias Commentaries Concordances Manners and Customs Books Expository Dictionary Interlinear Bibles Hebrew and Greek Concordances Lexicons Topical Bibles DO THE ACCOUNTS IN SCRIPTURE MEET THE STANDARDS FOR FIRST HAND EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY AS OUTLINED IN OUR LEGAL SYSTEM? Because we have as many mssg as we do that are dated to the first century, we can say that we have EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS of the life of Jesus Christ. This is very important, since otherwise the accounts of Christ's life would be secondhand, and therefore inadmissable, even in a court of law. If you read the Gfile Legal Reasoning and Christian Apologetics, you will also find that WRITTEN eyewitness testimonies such as these, are admissable in a court of law as evidence of the occurrence of said events within the text. In short, our legal system would permit these documents to be examined, and would bear the same weight any other written eyewitness testimony would. This is a very KEY ITEM, since the credibility of the witnesses is the item that really is in question here. This is a fundamental question that is handled by the judicial system every day. It is rudimentary to the judicial process. Does the eyewitness hold credibility? You will see from the Gfile "Legal Reasoning...", that point #4 deals specifically with this area. Would you agree, Mr. Reader, that in establishing admissability as evidence, the Scripture is acceptable as FIRST HAND eyewitness testimony in our legal system? Answer here with an X : Yes _____ No _____ ARE THE ACCOUNTS OF THE EYEWITNESSES CREDIBLE? (This part of Gfile is being compiled) IN SUMMARY, WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS CORRECT? The first reason is this; I can find no evidence to discount the record as told by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These men walked, lived, and breathed with the person Jesus Christ for three solid years. I know that the accounts recorded by these men pretty air tight with history, and logical cross-examination, therefore I have little reason to doubt these men. The second reason is this, I met Jesus Christ. Deep down in my heart is the living God, the Holy Spirit. That is why I'm convinced, because the essence of God dwells within me, and He teaches me that these things are true. Therefore I am certain with my mind and my heart. I am related to God the Father, and God the Son, through the Holy Spirit. HOW IS ONE "BORN AGAIN"? A person isn't born with the Spirit of the Almighty God in them. They have to request that he come indwell them. He does this when one admits that they have sinned against him, and agrees with God, that Jesus, His Son, paid for their sins. This permits God to forgive them, based on one's confession, and the payment made by his Son (God will not deny His Son's work of redemption, He has to accept it). The Holy Spirit will then enter your being, and you will be related to God spiritually. This is being born of the Spirit, or BORN AGAIN (once physically, then once again as a new spiritual creature). No one can break this bond either, since it is one which God alone performs. Would you like to meet Jesus Christ? Do you want to know Him? Address Jesus personally, and ask Him to come into your life. He will!


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