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Can we trust our Bibles?
Posted By Eric Sammons On March 15, 2010 @ 7:40 am In Scripture | Comments Disabled
In recent years, a former Evangelical named Bart Ehrman has been attacking the veracity of the Bible. One of his main lines of attacks is that we cannot trust that what we read in our Bibles today is what was actually written by the original authors of the Scriptural texts. The issue he is addressing is known as “textual criticism.”
The crux of the issue is this: we do not possess any of the original manuscripts of the Old or New Testaments (just like we don’t possess the original manuscripts of almost any ancient document). What we possess are copies of those texts. In the case of the New Testament, some of the copies we possess date all the way back to the 2nd century, but many others are from centuries later. In some cases, these manuscripts disagree – one will have a verse another does not, and some will even have entire passages that others do not (such as the story of the woman caught in adultery). Sometimes, if you are observant, you will notice that a Bible might “skip” a verse; this means that the editors of that Bible decided that the verse in question was not in the most reliable manuscripts and therefore was most likely not in the original.
So how big of deal is this? Evangelical Greek scholar Bill Mounce has a recent blog post  where he addresses this issue (read his whole post  for more details about textual criticism), and in it, he notes the following:
- About 5% of the Greek text is in question
- No major doctrine is brought into question by 5%.
Ehrman, in other words, is barking up the wrong tree.
Furthermore, as Catholics, we can trust the Bible because the Church which Christ founded has declared which books are in the canon, and our tradition (which is guided by the Holy Spirit) has included passages such as the woman caught in adultery in those books. Even if this story was added later, we can trust that it was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that this beautiful story (John 8:1-11) was included in the Gospel of John.
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URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/03/15/can-we-trust-our-bibles/
URLs in this post:
 recent blog post: http://www.billmounce.com/blog/03-14-2010/where-did-v-4-go-john-5-4
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