Yeah, well, the documents that we have are just late documents and we don’t know what there were in those earlier documents. Okay, um, all right, let’s look at that for a moment, shall we?
When we’re talking about the manuscripts themselves—because there are some issues that we have to talk about there—when it comes to the Bible, it’s true. We don’t have originals because of the material that these originals were written on. We don’t have originals, but let’s limit ourselves tonight just to the New Testament, shall we?
The Early Date of New Testament Manuscripts
Just when we’re talking about the New Testament, we don’t have any originals, but we do have documents that date back as early as AD 120, AD 100–AD 120. That’s within a couple of decades of the completion of the New Testament. We can go, we can put our hands on documents that were dated within a couple of decades of the completion of the New Testament.
The Number of New Testament Manuscripts
How many manuscripts do we have? The New Testament, we have over 6,000 manuscripts or portions of manuscripts of the New Testament. Over 6,000. Over 6,000 manuscripts or portions of manuscripts.
And we can go back to within a couple of decades of the last writings.
Other Ancient Texts
But, if if that doesn’t sound impressive to you, it’s because you don’t deal with ancient writings. For example, if we’re talking about Aristotle’s Poetics, we have less than a dozen manuscripts of Aristotle’s Poetics, and the earliest one that we can go back to is over a thousand years after the writing.
Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars, again, less than a dozen (~ 250 now), and it’s over a thousand years (~ 800 years now) between the last writing and the first manuscript.
We can put our hands on the best example that we have in terms of number of documents, is Homer’s Iliad. Homer’s Iliad. We have a few hundred (~ 1,800 now) manuscripts, but the earliest one we can put our hands on is written 2,100 years (~ 600 years now) after the original.
And people have the audacity to question the New Testament. That’s ridiculous. If it was a fight, they’d stop it. They wouldn’t even let it start. If the Bible is not considered reliable or trustworthy in an institution like this, there is no ancient document that should ever be considered trustworthy at an institution like this, because none comes close to the Bible.