Daily Devotional – April 26
One criterion for determining the reliability of any ancient manuscript is the time which elapsed from the original manuscript to its later copies; the more time that has passed between the original and the copy, the more chance for errors to develop.
So what have manuscript studies found when comparing ancient documents? Caesar’s War Commentaries were written about 50 B.C.; we do not have the original. The only copies date from the 9th century - a 900 year gap! Aristotle’s works have a 1450 year gap. Plato’s works have a 1,250 year gap. Tacitus’s writings have a 1,000 year gap from the original manuscript, and Virgil’s works have a 300 year gap.
Now, let’s compare these ancient manuscripts (whose authenticity is not questioned) with the New Testament. Major copies of every book in the New Testament are within 100 years of the original. What a short time span! The closer to the original, the more accurate it will be. If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would be beyond ANY REASONABLEDOUBT. The New Testament stands in a league of its own, far more trustworthy than any other ancient writing!
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
~ Isaiah 40:8
Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett
References for this devotional.