Look it up here, thanks to BibleGateway.com! It's quick and easy to use. You can type in:
- A reference to any chapter in a book of the Bible,
e.g. Proverbs 31,or just pro 31.
- A specific verse, e.g. 1 Jo 1:6 for 1st John, [chapter] 1, [verse] 6.
- A multi-verse passage,
e.g. Isaiah 55:6-9.
- A word or phrase,
e.g. "born again".(Including the quotes) Click Search BibleGateway.com and Bible Gateway will search for it. Once there, you can choose from numerous translations.*
If you find the language of the traditional bibles, such as the King James or the New International Version, difficult, try switching to one of the other versions available through their site. The New Living Translation, the Contemporary English Version and The Message, while not necessarily spot-on word-for-word accurate for doctrinal issues, are among those that are particularly easy to read. Personally, I like to use the Amplified Bible, which uses extra adjectives and adverbs to better describe the nuances of the original language.
* Why so many translations? Translating from one language to another is seldom as simple as replacing one word with another. The meanings of a word can change from time to time, from place to place, and even from person to person. Having more than one translation available allows you to examine a verse from more than one point of view.
Just as having two eyes gives us depth perception, having more than one translation allows us to compare the language in different translations and from that work out a meaning.
Given this history, many people assume the Bible must by now contain so many copyists' mistakes and overzealous additions as to be completely untrustworthy. A reasonable assumption, even considering the reverence and deadly seriousness of those involved in the copying process, but let's examine some of the evidence.
The best evidence we have supporting the accuracy of today's Bible are the careful comparisons of the present-day Bible with thousands of the oldest known existing copies of books and portions of books, some of which are over 2000 years old.
Part of the significance of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was the chance to check the accuracy of today's Old Testament texts with these newly-discovered early copies, dating from around 125 BC. As an example, the copy of the book of Isaiah found there (all 66 chapters of it!) was found to be word-for-word identical with over 95% of today's standard Hebrew Bible. The other 5%, the differences, included obvious clerical errors and minor spelling changes.
But the differences found do not affect Christian doctrine, nor do Christians try to cover up the fact that there are differences. Most modern study Bibles contain footnotes to note passages which appear to have changed from the original. Believe me, Christians are concerned about the accuracy of Biblical text as well as its correct interpretation from the original languages.
When the accuracy of the Bible is compared with the accuracy of other documents of similar antiquity, the Bible is head and shoulders above the rest. Even the writings of Josephus and Tasitis, commonly accepted as accurate historical records of their times, do not have comparible evidence as to the accuracy of their contents.
Rather than try to repeat all the evidence here, I defer to the experts. There are many sites out there that explain the reasons Christians believe what they do.