Is What We Have Now What They Wrote?
As time progresses in the field of Textual Criticism, we continue to get razor-thin closer to the original manuscripts. The good news is that with all the known variants, no essential doctrine of the Christian faith is jeopardized by any viable variant, so we can have great confidence in the text of our Bibles to provide us all we need for life and godliness.
A. No evidence ancient mss were burned
B. In 1611, there were 7 mss with the earliest being 11th century
C. In 2013, we have 5,800 mss with the earliest being 2nd century
D. As time goes on, we are getting closer to the original text
II. WHAT KINDS OF VARIANTS ARE THERE?
A. 99% make virtually no differences at all (99.75%)
70% are differences in spelling
B. Meaningful and viable
1. Smallest group of variants
2. Less than 1% of all textual variants fit this group (.25 of 1%)
3. Not always significant (John 4:1)
4. Illustration (Mark 9:29; Rev 13:18)
III. NO THEOLOGICAL BELIEFS DEPEND ON TEXTUALLY SUSPECT PASSAGES
A. Dan Brown and P66 (c. AD 175) on John 1:1
B. No essential doctrine of the Christian Faith is jeopardized by any viable variant.
C. “Essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament” (Misquoting Jesus [paperback edition], Bart Ehrman).
IV. IS WHAT WE HAVE NOW WHAT THEY WROTE THEN?
A. In all particulars, probably not
B. In all essentials, absolutely yes
C. No essential doctrine of the Christian Faith is jeopardized by any viable variant.