The New Testament
Where did it come from and is it Authentic?
How do we know that the content in the “New Testament” is what the original authors wrote nearly 2,000 years ago?
There is a technique scholars use to authenticate historical documents or ancient manuscripts. It is a scientific methodology called “textural criticism.” This science proves or disproves the accuracy of historical documents by:
- Comparing them to other archived documents from the same time.
- Comparing the accuracy of the ancient copies and possible variances.
- Comparing their context to other copies.
- Comparing the number of ancient copies made.
- Comparing the time lapse from when the copies were written and the original events.
The chart of ancient writings below compares their authenticity proving without doubt that the authenticity of the New Testament is far more reliable than any other historical document. Secular scholars and historians do not dispute any of these comparisons.
|Written Works||When Written||Earliest Copy||Time Lapse||Copies|
|Greek Historian Herodotus||488-428 BC||900 AD||1300 Years||8|
|Thucydides||499-460 BC||900 AD||1300 Years||8|
|Tacitus (Roman Senator)||100 AD||1100 AD||1000 Years||20|
|Caesar's Gallic Wars||58-50 BC||900 AD||950 Years||9|
|Livy's Roman History||59 BC-17 AD||900 AD||900 Years||20|
|New Testament||40-100 AD||130 AD||30 Years||5309|
The four Gospels and Paul’s Epistles were written not long after the crucifixion: Mark AD70, Matthew AD80, Luke AD85, John AD95, Paul AD55. Even the best critics and skeptics trust this data within a small window plus or minus. These testimonies were written thousands of miles apart with little discrepancy or inconsistency and with no means of communication among the authors to corroborate their testimonies. These eye witness testimonies are the most legitimate of all ancient writings, especially if we compare these writings to the likes of what we know and accept about others such as Alexander the Great 330AD. The earliest biographic sources of Alexander are 300 to 400 years after his death and yet no one doubts what we know about his life.
“The authenticity of the New Testament manuscripts dramatically stands alone as the best preserved literary works of all antiquity.”
Nicky Gumbel Developer of The Alpha Course
Alpha Studies: Who is Jesus (https://www.alpha.org/)
The Resurrection Evidence that Changed a Generation of Scholars - Professor Gary Habermas