August 4, 2020


Research only confirms the reliability of the Bible (Dr Pieter J Lalleman,  04 August 2020, Christianity Today)

Gregory R Lanier has been surveying the printed editions of the Greek New Testament, from the publication of the first scholarly edition by Westcott and Hort in 1881, until today, and his latest research encourages us to have more confidence in the biblical text than the sceptics would allow.

Since 1881, many new manuscripts have been discovered and new text editions produced. In more recent years, the digitisation of the manuscripts of the Bible has been rapid, allowing more people to study the evidence.  Against this backdrop, you would expect the text of the New Testament to have been heavily revised as a result of all this work, but this is not the case at all.

What Lanier has found is that the similarity between the 1881 edition of the New Testament in Greek and the most recent editions is still over 98.5 per cent.  In other words, the newly discovered manuscripts, and the investment of thousands of hours of human labour, not to mention millions of pounds, have basically confirmed what many of us already knew - that we had a very reliable Bible text the whole time.

There is conformity in the quality of the main great manuscripts, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus, meaning that if we simply printed the Greek text of Codex Vaticanus (dating to the fourth century), we would still have the correct Greek text.

Lanier has done the same comparison with scholarly editions of the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, and here too he concludes that the many new discoveries and the efforts of scholars over the last 100 years have only served to confirm the accuracy of Alfred Rahlfs' 1935 edition. 

There may be ever more new material, but it is basically establishing that we know the text well enough to have confidence in its closeness to the original.

Posted by at August 4, 2020 12:00 AM