Is our New Testament text reliable? Some critics doubt that we even have the original New Testament. This issue can only be settled by using bibliographical tests for reliability, similar to what would be used to judge the Iliad or Caesar’s writings. The NT was completely written by baptized Jews1 in the 1st century AD. We have at least 24,000 manuscripts of NT, the earliest of which are dated within 100 years or so of its actual composition. The earliest known manuscript is the John Rylands papyrus fragment of John Rylands known as P52, containing John 18:31-33,37-38, dated to c. AD 125. Compare this to other great works (MSS = Manuscripts):
Does truth really exist? How can we know? Who is capable of defining truth? In answer to these questions perhaps we could ask, “Does the sun shine? Can water freeze? Is life real?” The answers to these questions demonstrate that truth does in fact exist. These are things that can be verified by scientific testing.
Since the beginning of time, people have pondered the question of what the truth really is about a number of subjects. Do convincing answers exist for questions about where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going when we die? If there are such answers, is it possible for us to know them? Or rather, must each of us create our own “realities” by formulating our own opinions about these matters?
If you are hungry at heart, read the Bread Chapter. If your feet are slipping, read the Rock Chapter. If you find yourself getting cross, read the Charity Chapter. Have you many defeats at the hands of Satan? Read the Victory Chapter. Do you lack faith? Read Hebrews 11. Make up your own chapter names. Don’t stop until you have named every chapter in the Bible. You will find this a most interesting and profitable means of Bible study. Feed on God’s Word like the Patriarch Job, who said, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).