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The Bible we have has a long history and has been passed down through many different manuscripts. Some skeptics of Christianity, in an attempt to discredit the reliability of the Bible, like to point out that there are more than 400,000 textual variants between the manuscript used to compile the New Testament, and therefore it cannot be trusted.
But here’s what the skeptics won’t tell you: more than 99% of the textual variants are not meaningful. How do we define meaningful? Spelling differences – different place names, because places had name changes or were known differently to people of different languages. Different word orders. Or the use of a different article – things that have grammatic implication, but no meaning implication. Less than 1% of the textual variants are considered meaningful and only half of those occur enough to be considered viable. The variants that we are left with are about a dozen or so phrases; about a dozen or so verses; and then two passages some manuscripts include and others do not. Most modern bibles are transparent with these too, and mention “some manuscripts do not have this.”
However, if we were to remove all these variants, we do not lose the gospel or any of the core doctrines of Christianity: nothing that we believe is challenged or changed in anyway. There is not a document in human history of this age that we could be MORE certain that it says now what it has always said.
I’m Rowan Locke from Thinking Matters, and this has been your Thought for Today for more reasons to believe visit www.thinkingmatters.org.nz