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By Michael Hawkinson

Earliest known manuscripts: Qumran scroll Fragment (7Q5) of Mark written on or before 68AD; Magdalene Papyrus of Matthew 66ad; St. Luke fragment (Paris) late first century or early second century; John Ryland manuscript 120-130AD, Manchester England; Bodmer Papyrus II 150-200AD. In addition, there are a total of 5300+ known Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament, not to mention the early (150AD) Syriac & Latin translations. Over 15,000 manuscripts are in existence today. The many early manuscripts show that nothing was changed when christianity became a political entity under Constantine. The idea that Rome changed or rewrote any of the scriptures does not hold up under scholarly scrutiny. The most profound problems exist in the translations to modern languages where there have been a few well known “doctrinal” influenced translations. ----(One of my favorite cartoons shows two guys with Bibles arguing and the captions reads “It may say ‘yes’ in English, but it the Greek that means ‘No’!!)---- Even with those problems and realizing humans ability to argue, the reliability of the actual documents are the best in the ancient world of written literature/history. The Bible passes the tests of historical validity: The Biographical, Internal Evidence & External Evidence tests. Only 400 words are in doubt textually (none of which put any "doctrine in doubt) as compared to 7640 questionable words of the historian Homer (Illiad). The canon (standard) for which books were to be included in the bible are:
  • 1) Is it authoritative (did it come from God, i.e.. "thus saith the Lord)
  • 2) Is it prophetic? (was it written by a man of God)
  • 3)Is it authentic (As opposed to forgery or tampered with document. "If in doubt, throw it out")
  • 4) Is it dynamic? (Does it show the life -transforming power of God?)
  • 5) Was it received, collected, read and used (Was it accepted by the people of God)
I view ‘Scripture’ as a record of what and how God related to people and how they related to Him. Mistakes and sins of God’s people are not hidden, but: Who God is; What God has done; How God desires man to live; and, What are God’s present and future plans? -- are clearly revealed. The scripture clearly reveals that God desires a relationship with humans. Because of all the beliefs based on tradition, hearsay and extra biblical writings. It is important to be able to answer people who ask for one's source. Unfortunately many people rely on second hand information. These include writers which give no evidence for their theories. Many of these writers were considered heretics by the apostles. The Gnostics & Ebionites to name just two of many groups. The extra biblical books which were rejected are not to be used as scripture. I like to know what people believe so I can ask intelligent questions :) I am very "educated" about many faiths/philosophies, but one can always learn more from a true adherent who lives what they believe There are "reasons" why everyone thinks the way they do. But people are wrong. The best position is to believe what one finds to be true until it is reasonably proven false to the satisfaction of oneself.

2 Peter 1: (16) We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

1 John 1: (1) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life. (2) The life appeared and we have seen it and testify to it and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. (3) We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3: (16) He (Paul) writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort as they do the other scriptures, to their own destruction.


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