Searching the Bible

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If you find the language of the traditional bibles, such as the King James or the New International Version, difficult, try one of the other versions available through this 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 meaning of the original language.

Can the Bible Be Trusted?

The Bible is a collection of 66 books, written by 40 human authors, over 1,500 years, in three languages.  Prior to the invention of the printing press and modern archival materials, as old copies began to deteriorate, new copies were made by hand.  The original documents are long gone.

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.