Can you trust the Bible? We will look at the Biblical Evidence’s of the Resurrection of Jesus tomorrow so before we do that we need to add a basic trust of Scripture to our mounting evidence in the Risen Jesus. The scientific way to measure the reliability of historical documents is: 1) The number of available copies of ancient manuscripts and 2) the time span between the original version and the date of those copies still in existence today. When examined under this standard, the Bible shows great historicity and strength as a document.
Some of the earliest manuscript fragments of the New Testament are the John Rylands Fragment, Chester Beatty Papyrus and the Bodmer Papyrus which were written between 50-100AD. Copies of these papyri were reproduced in 125-200AD, meaning that the time span between the originals and the copies still in existence today is 29 years to 130 years, putting all these manuscripts being written anywhere from 50-100 years after the death of Jesus Christ. Now some may object and say “Hold on! These manuscripts were written years after Jesus died. There’s no way they could be reliable!” But any expert on ancient documents would disagree.
Let’s look at some of the more famous and universally accepted historical documents of famous men and see how they match up with the Bible:
Plato wrote his works over 400 years before Jesus but the earliest manuscript copies of his writings didn’t exist until 900 years after Jesus death (a 1,300 year span)…And there are only 2 copies of these manuscripts in existence. Did Plato exist?
Julius Caesar lived just decades before Jesus and the earliest manuscript copy of his writings dates back to 900 AD, putting our best evidence of Caesar ever existing 1,000 years after his death…and there are only 10 copies of ancient manuscripts of Caesar’s writings. So if you question the Jesus’ life based on when The Bible was written, being “translated so many times” (it was not – we still have the same Greek manuscripts today) and still question whether Jesus existed, then you must also be really sure that Julius Caesar and Plato were completely fictional characters and never really existed.
Lastly, Homer, who historians are not even sure ever really existed even today, is credited with writing the Iliad in 900 BC. The earliest manuscript copy of the Iliad dates to 400 BC. Meaning the only proof of Homer or the Iliad being accurate is from 500 years after the death of Homer. Additionally there are 643 copies of ancient manuscripts of the Iliad written over the centuries that when compared against each other by experts they have an impressive 95.3% consistency and accuracy, making it one of the most reliable and proven documents of antiquity…until you compare it to the New Testament. The New Testament manuscripts date to less than 100 years after the death of Christ. Additionally there are over 5,600 ancient manuscript copies of the New Testament giving it more copies to a degree that dwarfs any other figure of ancient history. Plus they have a 99% accuracy when compared to each other. The evidence is not even comparable and it all points to Jesus Christ. The record of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has more evidence and proof than any other person from history.
The historical proof is solid. Jesus lived a real life as ‘fully human’. I also submit to you that to believe in the resurrection of Jesus is to believe He lived a real life as ‘fully God’ too. Jesus wants you to believe in Him so you can be freely forgiven of the sins committed in this life. So now that it is established that you can trust The Bible that teaches of Him, why not take the time to get to know Jesus Christ and who He said He is from His historically-verifiable perspective? Your eternal life depends on it.