Can We Still Believe the Bible?. Greek scholar Daniel Wallace reviews chapter 1 of Craig Blomberg’s book, Can We Still Believe the Bible?, where Blomberg skillfully takes on Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus. Wallace blogs about the first chapter, “Aren’t the Copies of the Bible Hopelessly Corrupt?”
In this chapter, Blomberg rightfully shows the misrepresentations of the situation by Bart Ehrman, in his book, Misquoting Jesus. For example, of the approximately 400,000 textual variants among New Testament manuscripts, many who read Misquoting Jesus get the impression that this one datum is enough to destroy the Christian faith. But the reality is that less than one percent of all variants are both meaningful and viable. And even Ehrman himself has admitted that no cardinal doctrine is jeopardized by these variants.
Blomberg lays out a compelling argument, with much nuance, about the reliability of the NT and OT manuscripts. His chapter on the text of the Bible is organized as follows:
Misleading the Masses
The Truth about Variants (New Testament, Old Testament)
Did Originals Originally Exist?
Avoiding the Opposite Extreme
In the opening section, the author takes on Bart Ehrman’s wildly popular book, Misquoting Jesus. In characteristic fashion, Blomberg critiques both what Ehrman does and doesn’t say, doing all with wisdom and wit. He points out, for example, that virtually nothing in Misquoting Jesus is new to biblical scholars—both liberal and evangelical, and all stripes in between. Non-scholars, especially atheists and Muslim apologists, latched onto the book and made preposterous claims that lay Christians were unprepared for. Ignorance, in this case, is not bliss. Earlier in the chapter when Blomberg mentioned that there are as many as 400,000 textual variants among the manuscripts, he bemoans: “It is depressing to see how many people, believers and unbelievers alike, discover a statistic like this number of variants and ask no further questions. The skeptics sit back with smug satisfaction, while believers are aghast and wonder if they should give up their faith. Is the level of education and analytic thinking in our world today genuinely this low?” (13).