CG7 on Biblical Integrity


In a past (March-April 2017) edition of its Bible Advocate magazine, CG7’s David Ross wrote:

A defense

Defending the Christian world – view has biblical basis. First Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” The word defense in this passage is translated from the Greek apologia, which basically means “to give a rational defense of an opinion or belief” — that is, to provide reasons for how one thinks or believes. Christian apologetics , then, is the rational defense of Christianity as an accurate truth claim. Several other scriptures corroborate the biblical mandate to defend Christianity (Acts 17:2; Philippians 1:17; Titus 1:9; Jude 3).

Christianity’s legitimacy depends on the integrity of the Bible — specifically, the New Testament, the record of Jesus Christ’s miraculous birth, life, death, and resurrection. The New Testament assumes the reliability of the Old by referencing it often. In fact, Jesus quoted the Old Testament verbatim. If the New Testament is not historically reliable, our religion — contained in both Testaments — crumbles because Jesus Christ is the central figure of our faith. Therefore, one of the best ways to defend the Christian faith is to defend the reliability of the New Testament.

Manuscript accuracy

The primary lines of evidence supporting the trustworthiness of the New Testament are the accuracy of its surviving manuscripts and the reliability of it authors. To support this evidence, we must assert two facts: 1) The New Testament has earlier, more numerous, and more reliable surviving manuscripts than any other book from antiquity; 2) The people recording the events and teachings in these manu – scripts were reliable. This claim is validated by the number of concurring writers 1 ; the historical and archaeological confirmation of the people, culture, and places listed in the New Testament; and the critical examination of legal experts regarding its acceptability and credibility. …

Manuscript quantity, dating

The number of New Testament manuscripts is overwhelm – ing compared with other books from antiquity, which typically range from ten to twenty copies. By contrast, the New Testament has approximately 5,800 surviving Greek manuscripts. The most for any other ancient book is Homer’s Iliad , with 643, according to Norman L. Geisler in Christian Apologetics 2nd ed. (Baker Academic, 2013).

In addition, the lapse of time between the composition and the earliest copy of a book from the ancient world is roughly a thousand years. Contrast this with the earliest manuscript of a writing from the New Testament, the John Ryland Papyri ( ad 117- 138). This manuscript survived within a generation of the time scholars believe it was written (c. ad 95). Entire books (the Bodmer Papyri) are available from ad 200, only a little over a century after the New Testament was completed. The entire New Testament is actually available in the Codex Vaticanus, which dates from ad 325 to ad 350. Geisler says it was completed within 250 years of the original writing, still much less of a time lapse than any other book from antiquity.

No other book from the ancient world has as small a time gap between composition and earliest manuscript copies as the New Testament.

There are other ways to prove that the Bible has integrity, but the fact that no other ancient manuscript has as much proof is one that Christians should keep in mind when dealing with skeptics.

Let me also add that as far as ‘canonization’ goes, it is the position of the Continuing Church of God that all the books of the New Testament were known to the Apostle John and that he passed that knowledge on to people, like his successor, Polycarp of Smyrna.

The true Church of God has had confidence in the New Testament scriptures as soon as they were available.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading. Here is a link in Mandarin Chinese: 读圣经 Here is a link in the Spanish language: Lea la Biblia.
Church of God, (Seventh Day): History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace part of their history through some affiliation with this group. Loren Stacy is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
How to Study the Bible David Jon Hill wrote this initially and Dr. Thiel added scriptures, tips, and suggestions to it. A 2015 sermon is available and is also titled How to Study the Bible.
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
Is Matthew 28:19 in the Bible? Some have claimed that Matthew 28:19 has added words as part of a trinitarian plot. Is that true?
What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood? What do the writings of the Bible, Origen, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Augustine show?
Bible and Historical Resources on the Internet Electronic bibles, Two Babylons, early Christian literature, photos, and even links to old Herbert W. Armstrong materials.
Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter Polycarp was the successor of the Apostle John and a major leader in Asia Minor. Do you know much about what he taught? A YouTube video or related interesy may be: Polycarp of Smyrna: Why Christians should know more about him.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

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