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(I misspelled reliability in the title of this post on purpose, in order to make a point.)

Here are two links that I wanted to share on the reliability of the Bible, specifically in regards to “textual variants” – the fact that there are variations in wording in New Testament manuscripts. With all that scribal copying, how do we know the New Testament wasn’t changed and altered over the years? Can we trust it, or is it hopelessly filled with variations?

  • This is a chapel message by Dr. Dan Wallace that you can watch. I’d only read Dr. Wallace, and not heard him speak until now. He is a great and funny speaker! Note that the powerpoints from his message are also available. Dr. Wallace is a Professor of New Testament studies and is known for his work with ancient Bible manuscripts. In this 35 minute message he takes a complex issue and makes it understandable to your everyday person. There are many “textual variants” (differences in wording) in New Testament  manuscripts. Uh-oh. Does this make our Bible non-trustworthy? Actually, it makes the Bible more trustworthy. The fact that we have so many manuscripts of the Bible available to study means we are better able to determine what the originals actually said. Other ancient books don’t have near as many manuscripts available for comparison, which means it is more difficult to determine the reliability of these books. But not so for the Bible. One reason there are so many variants with New Testament manuscripts is precisely because there are so many copies available to study. This is a good thing! Naturally there will be more variants if you are dealing with 5,000 copies vs 50 copies. And 99% of the variants in New Testament manuscripts make virtually no difference – most are things such as speling (oops! spelling) differences.

Hope these links might be helpful or educational to someone out there.