Over the years critics have tried to undermine or call into question the reliability of the New Testament manuscripts and the four Gospels. These three series show why the New Testament can be trusted.
First, here is a four-part series on the manuscripts themselves, on the nuts and bolts of how they came into existence.
- New Testament Manuscripts: Preliminary Questions and Answers
- Basic Facts on Producing New Testament Manuscripts
- Discovering and Classifying New Testament Manuscripts
- The Manuscripts Tell the Story: The New Testament Is Reliable
In Part Four I conclude:
After the arduous process of applying scientific methods to the New Testament to determine the best reading, where uncertainties remain, Christian doctrine is never overturned or negated. Where one verse may have a word or clause undergoing the arduous process of textual criticism, the entire sweep of the New Testament assures us that the doctrines stand on solid ground. The earliest church enjoyed high-level unanimity on such doctrines as the virgin birth and the deity of Christ.
We have come as close to the originals or autographs of the New Testament as is humanly possible, after textual critics have sifted through all of the evidence.
The Bible is the Word of God. We can put our confidence and trust in it.
And here is a fifteen-part series on why the four Gospels are reliable.
In the final part, I conclude:
In case this Summary and Conclusion has not been clear already, let me state it categorically:
Historically speaking, the four Gospels are highly reliable and credible and accurate accounts, particularly measured by the standards of their own Greco-Roman and Jewish literary contexts.
And finally let’s apply the conclusion to our daily life:
Confidence. The Church needs to be confident that the four Gospels are historically reliable. We do not need to be nervous about all the mud slinging on the national airwaves done by scholars who seem extra-gleeful to grab media attention in order to scare listeners who take the Gospels seriously, but who do not have a background in Biblical – Gospel – studies.
Simplicity. Despite the detailed analysis of the four Biblical Gospels done in this series, I strongly urge (for what my opinion is worth) the Church to read the sacred Gospels as written now, in their final form, as they are in our Bibles today. The vast majority of the Church does not need to concern itself with the background details, except for what a good and respectful commentary offers.
Please don’t get panicky the next time the critics appear on TV. The issues they bring up have been dealt with before–long before these articles were posted. I only hope they clarify and help without sacrificing scholarship for the public.
- Church Fathers and Matthew’s Gospel
- Church Fathers and Mark’s Gospel
- Church Fathers and Luke’s Gospel
- Church Fathers and John’s Gospel
The conclusion in the above four-part series is that the early church fathers were unanimous that Matthew wrote his Gospel, Mark wrote his, Luke wrote his, and John wrote his.
From the three series, you can completely trust the New Testament documents; they are reliable.