How do we know that the words we read about Jesus in the New Testament are reliable? Can we actually trace the manuscript evidence back through the centuries and determine what the original writings said?
The answer from the science of textual criticism is, “Yes,” but only if there are enough ancient manuscripts dating to within a few generations of when the originals were composed. The Scholars studying ancient literature have devised a three-part test that looks at not only the faithfulness of the copy but also the credibility of the authors. The tests are these:
1. The bibliographical test
2. The internal evidence test
3. The external evidence test
Let’s see what happens when we apply the first of these tests to the early copies of New Testament manuscripts. [Read more…]