We Evangelical Christians hold to the infallibility and inerrancy of the
Scriptures. This means that we believe that the Bible as it was originally
penned (the first copy) was perfect in every way, being the unaltered Word of
God. Many correctly observe that none of the original manuscripts exist
today. Therefore, the obvious question is, “Can we consider today’s Bible
translations to be the reliable and true Word of God?”
I believe we can. First, Bible Scholars are able to determine with a high
degree of accuracy what the original manuscripts were like by studying the
copies of them from various parts of the world. It is obvious if something
has been added, deleted, or changed in the text because it will only appear in
the early manuscripts of a certain area of the world and not in the others.
Also, the copyists were extremely careful about the process of duplicating
their manuscripts. They devised a system of checks where the number of
letters across and down were actually counted to ensure accuracy.
Over time copiers have made minor errors such as misspellings, transpositions
of letters, missing conjunctions or prepositions and the like, but none of the
errors affect doctrine at all. In fact, in the entire Bible there is less
than 1% of error anywhere and nothing is serious enough to challenge the
Bible’s reliability or authority. There is no other ancient or near ancient
document even remotely as free from error as the Holy Bible. Personal
experience, the testimony of science, archaeological evidence, fulfilled
prophecy and the testimony of the Holy Spirit in our hearts are proofs of the
truthfulness and authority of the Scriptures.
I would suggest downloading the file BIBLE.TXT from Bible Bulletin Board,
which discusses additional reasons why the Bible has to be true. Basically,
since God holds man accountable for his sin, then God is responsible to
provide us with His “standard” for man. This “standard” must be readable,
easy to understand, readily available, and accurate, or else God could not
hold us accountable.
One Sabbath day Jesus went into the synagogue, and as was the custom He stood
up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He read
Isaiah 61:1,2 and then said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your
hearing.” The scroll Jesus read was a copy of the original, just as our
Bibles are copies. By Jesus’ time the original manuscript would have been
gone, but Jesus treated the copy in the same way as the original: He treated
it as the true Word of God. We can and should do the same.