Bible Supporting Documents

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How Authentic is the Bible?

Task 1: Bible Supporting Documents

Task 2: Bible events and key people

Task 3: The word of God?

Dead Sea Scrolls

Messianic Prophecies

Who Wrote The Bible?







Bible Supporting Documents

Task 1 is important because many people claim that the Bible has been significantly modified throughtout the ages. That the original message has been obscured due to the many insertions and deletions as the original stories were passed on both orally and transcribed from manuscript to manuscript. The natural tendency it was thought (and probably correctly thought) was to make the stories more interesting, to embellish them and make them more appealing to the masses. However there is much evidence to disprove this.

The Bible has many documents to support its authenticity and reinforce the accuracy of the events described at the time the Bible was written. We should also remember that the people who copied the earliest manuscripts, so-called scribes, were devout and professional people at the time, and were copying the word of God and therefore took extreme care with their accuracy.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, regarded by some as the greatest archaelogical treasure ever to be discovered. They are a 2000 year old record of the Old Testament, written down around the time of Jesus!

The Septuagint, the Greek translation from Hebrew of the Jewish scripture of the Old Testament around 250 BC. Its main purpose was to enable the migrating Jews that began to use Greek instead of Hebrew as their first and only language, remain in touch with Jewish scriptures. The Greek empire had colonised much of the surrounding countries so it also allowed non-Jews with a command of Greek an opportunity to read and study these Old Testament scriptures.

Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus are two other ancient manuscripts, believed to be from the 4th century AD. The Codex Sinaiticus was discovered by a German Bible scholar named Tischendorf in 1859. So-named as it was discovered in St Catherine's Monastery at the foot of Mt Sinai in Egypt. They contain almost complete copies of the Old and New Testament in Greek. But there is much debate about their authenticity.

The Bodmer and Chester Beatty Papyri: A set of manuscripts discovered in Egypt in the 1950s which included biblical manuscripts from the New Testament dated from the 2nd to 4th century AD. They contained the Gospels of Luke and John. It is thought they were copied from the actual original Gospels. What a discovery it would be to find the original Gospels! But probably most unlikely, as they too were most likely written on papyrus, which is a very perishable material

St John's Fragment: A fragment of papyrus from the Gospel of John dated to around 100 AD

We know that the 4 Gospels were been written towards the middle of the first century AD. Christians felt there was a need to record these memoirs of the eyewitnesses to the amazing events in the life of Jesus. See Luke 1:1-5. Written in different places and circumstances they were at some point brought together to form the first glimmerings of the New Testament.

Josephus mentions Jesus twice in his works, the Antiquities of the Jews in 93AD (fraudulent interpolations aside)

Tacitus was a Roman historian who wrote in the early 2nd century AD. He is considered to be a very trustworthy, accurate historian who widely read from numerous sources while compiling is Annals. In which he includes one clear reference to Jesus. "Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius......"

Suetonius another Roman historian makes reference to Jesus in his writings, "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."

John 7:12. And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.

........ and other similar passages.

This strongly suggests that the people were divided in opinion about Jesus, there was debate about his authenticity. But why would the bible writers mention or include passages like this if the whole story was fabricated? Wouldn't these passages put seeds of doubt in the readers minds? Surely (a) if fabricated you would never include them and (b) you would exclude them if they actually happened and describe accurate events if the objective was to convince the readers. Is this not suggesting that the bible is describing actual events?