Transmission - Do we still have the Bible?
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?
You’ve heard that one, no doubt. But here’s another question like it, that’s even more important.
What if God spoke, but there was no one around to hear it? Or, what if He spoke, but that was so long ago and today no one can hear what He said?
If you’re a believer, you would answer, “That’s why we have the Bible.”
And therein is our question.
How do I know that the Bible I hold today, is a faithful representation of what God spoke thousands of years ago?
Today, we do not possess even a single original scroll of any of the writings of Scripture. Not even a scrap.
Should we despair?
No, not at all. Remember that the writings, as they were originally received, were seen as being from God. And so, they were cared for and guarded; they were copied and they were distributed.
So today, we have thousands and thousands of very, very, very close copies. And we can compare this body of manuscripts (copies) against those of any other ancient writing, to see how confident we should be about its preservation. If we do that, we will find that the manuscript evidence for Scripture is many times more voluminous, and many times closer in time to the original writing, than any other document from antiquity. We can be very confident that the original words of Scripture have been preserved with profound accuracy.
Books are written on this topic, but here is an excellent short resource. This article does a solid job in a very brief space. It has some of the relevant data points, and a couple of graphics that are very helpful. Skip over the first few lines, though - which were an ad for a separate book that was released a few years ago.
Our church also did a message some time back that gives more information on this topic. Click here to listen to “From God to Us - Part II”, from February of 2012.
Finally, if you would like an easily-accessible deep-dive into this fascinating topic, there is a great seminar coming soon to the Abq area. Check out https://www.signupforms.com/registrations/31631
May the Lord continue to enrich your love for His Word, and deepen your confidence in His faithfulness.
In Christ our great Savior,