Can We Still Believe the Bible?

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?”

Excerpt:

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?
Comparative Data
Avoiding the Opposite Extreme
Conclusion
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).

Advertisements

About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Bart Ehrman, Bible is not corrupted, Historical reliability of the Bible, Reliability of the Bible. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Can We Still Believe the Bible?

  1. Little Lamb says:

    If Muhammad himself believed wholeheartedly upon the Bible then how much more should we as Christians ?

    Abdullah bin Umar (Allah be pleased with Him said) as reported in Sunan Abu Dawud (4449) :

    A group of Jews came and invited the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless Him and give Him peace) to al-Quff [a valley of Madinah]. So He came to them in their place of study. They said: O Abu Qasim, a man amongst us fornicated with a woman so judge between them. They placed a cushion for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless Him and give Him peace) which He sat on. He then called for the Torah which was brought, and He removed the cushion from underneath Himself and placed the Torah on it, and said: I BELIEVE IN YOU and the One who revealed you

    This narration also is recorded in Tafsir Ibn Kathir Q. 5:41

    I’ve read Bassam’ & Bro.Sam’ debate concerning this matter where Bassam objects the authenticity of this Abu Dawud’ hadith, in that case if i may add some extra comment toward Bassam Zawadi.

    First, based on the consensus of general islamic jurisprudence on prohibition for using weak hadith in establishing islamic practice (aqidah) :

    “That acting upon it(the weak hadith) the person does not think that it is something established – in order that he does not attribute to the Prophet what he did not say.” (source : http://sunnahonline.com/library/beliefs-and-methodology/75-on-daif-weak-hadith-and-passing-rulings-based-on-them)

    Then the hadith of Muhammad’ believing the Torah can’t be weak because
    this particular hadith is used for establishing the FATWA & ruling in how to properly place the quran (source :http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=90801 and also another site http://www.daralhadith.org.uk/?p=182).

    Every muslim jurist knows very well it’s unacceptable to establish a fatwa or any ruling based on weak hadith.

    Although other hadiths also narrate the story but they don’t have the particular phrase ” He removed the cushion from underneath Himself and placed the Torah on it ” which is used as the sole based for the fatwa. Conclusively from all points this Abu Dawood’ hadith is definitely good&acceptable !

    Second, Torah has always been codified in a scroll form which is called Shefer, so it was the Shefer/Scroll and consequently everything in it that Muhammad believed in.

    So to say Muhammad was just believing some slight textual part of Torah should be deemed as ‘weak’ interpretation. How could a corrupted scroll was esteemed so highly by Muhammad ?

  2. θ says:

    Please compare 7th century Arabic Injil (which is lost) with the Greek Gospel of John:
    (i) The word “My Father” in Greek Gospel is replaced with “the Lord” in Injil.
    (ii) Passage “Whom I will send” is replaced with “Whom God will send” in Injil.
    (iii) Passage “From the Father” is replaced with “From the Lord’s presence” in Injil.
    (iv) “Even the Spirit” is replaced with “And the Spirit”.
    (v) “Proceedeth from the Father” is replaced with “will have gone forth from the Lord’s presence”.
    (vi) “Not be offended” is replaced with “not be in doubt”.

    Jn 15
    23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.26 . But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.1
    Jn.16
    1. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

    Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume.
    It is extracted from what John [Yuhannis] the apostle set down for them when he wrote the Gospel for them from the Testamant of Jesus Son of Mary: ‘He that hateth me hateth the Lord. And if I had not done in their presence works which none other before me did, they had not had sin: but from now they are puffed up with pride and think that they will overcome me and also the Lord. But the word that is in the Law must be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without a cause’ (ie. without reason). But when the Comforter [Munahhemana] has come whom God will send to you from the Lord’s presence, and the spirit of truth [ruhu`l-qist] which will have gone forth from the Lord’s presence he (shall bear) witness of me and ye also, because ye have been with me from the beginning. I have spoken unto you about this that you should not be in doubt.’
    “The Munahhemana (God bless and preserve him!) in Syriac is Muhammad; in Greek he is the Paraclete [Albaraqlitis ]”
    So Heraclius ordered the Roman generals [who were Christians] to assemble in a room and commanded that the doors should be fastened. Then he looked down on them from an upper chamber (for he was afraid of them) and said: “O Romans, I have brought you together for a good purpose. This man [i.e. Muhammad] has written me a letter summoning me to his religion. By God, he is truly the prophet whom we expect and find in our books, so come and let us follow him and believe in him that it may be well with us in this world and the next.”

  3. θ says:

    God in Trinitarian definition has 2 meanings:
    (i) He who fathered 2nd person, that is the 1st person, the Father.
    (ii) He who is not fathered nor has fathered anyone, that is the 3rd person.

    Allah for certain refuses to be equated with the Father because Allah has not fathered anyone.
    Hence Qur’an is correct if the Trinitarians prefer to equate Allah with the Spirit (the third person) who was not fathered and has not fathered. However Allah rejects the Trinity.
    Jn 4
    24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

    Q.5, v.73. Certainly, they become disbelievers who say: ‘Allah is the third of the three,’ whereas there is none worthy of worship except the One God.

    Moreover, Allah rejects the belief of the Early Church’s fathers in the Binitarianism – when the Trinity was still in an infancy stage of development – who loosely equated the Holy Spirit (the third person) to Jesus the Christ (the second person).

    Q.5, v.17. They are unbelievers who say, ‘Allah is the Messiah, Mary’s son.’ Say: ‘Who then shall overrule God in any way if He desires to destroy the Messiah, Mary’s son, and his mother, and all those who are on earth?’ For to God belongs the kingdom of the heavens and of the earth, and all that is between them, creating what He will. God is powerful over everything.

    Q.5, v.72. They are unbelievers who say, ‘Allah is the Messiah, Mary’s son.’ For the Messiah said, ‘Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord. Verily whoso associates with God anything, God shall prohibit him entrance to Paradise, and his refuge shall be the Fire; and wrongdoers shall have no helpers.’

    Allah depicts all creations as His subordinates, including Jesus whom He takes up to Him.
    Q.19, v.93. There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.

    In both Qur’an’s verses Q.5, v17, v.72 it does not say “Allah is the Word” (it is matched with John 1:1 in Greek: Theos en Ho Logos, that is, God was the Word), because the Word is just one of so many divine attributes of Allah. No one ever worshiped the Word before.
    Angels (alongside John in conception) began to venerate Jesus only after he was brought into the world in Mary’s womb.

    The Early Church fathers were Binitarian (with a belief that Holy Spirit is Jesus), hence they just have 2 persons only:
    2 Clement (14.3.3).
    If we say that the flesh is the Church and the Spirit is Christ, then he who has abused the flesh has abused the Church.
    2 Clement (14.3.4).
    Such a one, accordingly, will not share in the Spirit, which is Christ.

    Athenagoras (Suppl. 24).
    The Son, the Mind, Word, Wisdom of the Father, and the Spirit an effluence from Him as light from fire.

    Shepherd of Hermas.
    The son is the Holy Spirit.

    Tertullian, the Apology.
    He [Christ] is the power of God, and the Spirit of God, and the Logos, and the Wisdom, and the Reason, and the Son of God.

  4. θ says:

    Allah depicts all creations as His subordinates, including Jesus whom He takes up to Him.
    Q.19, v.93. There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.

    1Cor 15
    28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

  5. θ says:

    John 4 :24 in the Greek manuscript actually proves that Spirit is the God. “Pneuma Ho Theos”
    Jn 4
    24 God is a Spirit (precisely: Spirit is the God, Pneuma Ho Theos) and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

  6. θ says:

    It is one of many proofs how Trinitarians are demonic:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divinization_(Christian)
    There were many varied references to divinization in the writings of the Church Fathers.

    In the second century, Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (c. 130–202) said that God “became what we are in order to make us what he is himself.”[2] Irenaeus also wrote, “If the Word became a man, It was so men may become gods.”[3] He added: “Do we cast blame on him [God] because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men, and then later as gods? Although God has adopted this course out of his pure benevolence, that no one may charge him with discrimination or stinginess, he declares, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.” … For it was necessary at first that nature be exhibited, then after that what was mortal would be conquered and swallowed up in immortality.”[4]

    At about the same time, Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–215), wrote: “Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god.”[5] Clement further stated that “[i]f one knows himself, he will know God, and knowing God will become like God. . . . His is beauty, true beauty, for it is God, and that man becomes a god, since God wills it. So Heraclitus was right when he said, ‘Men are gods, and gods are men.’”[6] Clement of Alexandria also stated that “he who obeys the Lord and follows the prophecy given through him … becomes a god while still moving about in the flesh.”[7]

    Justin Martyr c. 100–165) insisted that in the beginning men “were made like God, free from suffering and death,” and that they are thus “deemed worthy of becoming gods and of having power to become sons of the highest.”[8]

    Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria (c. 296–373), stated his belief in literal deification:”The Word was made flesh in order that we might be made gods. … Just as the Lord, putting on the body, became a man, so also we men are both deified through his flesh, and henceforth inherit everlasting life.”[9] Athanasius also observed: “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”[10][11]

    Augustine of Hippo (354–430) said: “But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. ‘For he has given them power to become the sons of God’ [referring to John 1:12]. If then we have been made sons of god, we have also been made gods.”[12] “To make human beings gods,” Augustine said, “He was made man who was God” (sermon 192.1.1). Augustine goes on to write that “[they] are not born of His Substance, that they should be the same as He, but that by favour they should come to Him… (Ibid)”.

    Other references to divinization in the writings of the Church Fathers include the following:

    Irenaeus (c. 130-200)
    “[T]he Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.”[Primary 1]
    “‘For we cast blame upon [God], because we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods; although God has adopted this course out of His pure benevolence, that no one may impute to Him invidiousness or grudgingness he declares, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.” “[Primary 2]
    “For it was necessary, at first, that nature should be exhibited; then, after that, that what was mortal should be conquered and swallowed up by immortality, and the corruptible by incorruptibility, and that man should be made after the image and likeness of God.”[Primary 2]
    Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215)
    “[T]he Word of God became man, that thou mayest learn from man how man may become God.”[Primary 3]
    “For if one knows himself, he will know God; and knowing God, he will be made like God”[Primary 4]
    “[H]is is beauty, the true beauty, for it is God; and that man becomes God, since God so wills. Heraclitus, then, rightly said, “Men are gods, and gods are men.” For the Word Himself is the manifest mystery: God in man, and man God”[Primary 4]
    “[H]e who listens to the Lord, and follows the prophecy given by Him, will be formed perfectly in the likeness of the teacher—made a god going about in flesh.”[Primary 5]
    “And to be incorruptible is to participate in divinity…”[Primary 6]
    Justin Martyr (c. 100-165)
    “[Men] were made like God, free from suffering and death, provided that they kept His commandments, and were deemed deserving of the name of His sons, and yet they, becoming like Adam and Eve, work out death for themselves; let the interpretation of the Psalm be held just as you wish, yet thereby it is demonstrated that all men are deemed worthy of becoming “gods,” and of having power to become sons of the Highest.”[Primary 7]
    Theophilus of Antioch (c. 120-190)
    “For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God. Again, if He had made him mortal, God would seem to be the cause of his death. Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God…”[Primary 8]
    Hippolytus of Rome (c. 170-235)
    “And you shall be a companion of the Deity, and a co-heir with Christ, no longer enslaved by lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease. For you have become God: for whatever sufferings you underwent while being a man, these He gave to you, because you were of mortal mould, but whatever it is consistent with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon you, because you have been deified, and begotten unto immortality.”[Primary 9]
    “If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God. And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the laver he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ after the resurrection from the dead.”[Primary 10]
    Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296-373)
    “Therefore He was not man, and then became God, but He was God, and then became man, and that to deify us”[Primary 11]
    “for as the Lord, putting on the body, became man, so we men are deified by the Word as being taken to Him through His flesh.”[Primary 12]
    “For He was made man that we might be made God.”[Primary 13]
    Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335-395)
    “Since the God who was manifested infused Himself into perishable humanity for this purpose, viz. that by this communion with Deity mankind might at the same time be deified, for this end it is that, by dispensation of His grace, He disseminated Himself in every believer.”[Primary 14]
    “For just as He in Himself assimilated His own human nature to the power of the Godhead, being a part of the common nature, but not being subject to the inclination to sin which is in that nature (for it says: “He did no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth), so, also, will He lead each person to union with the Godhead if they do nothing unworthy of union with the Divine.”[Primary 15]
    Augustine of Hippo (c. 354-430)
    “‘For He hath given them power to become the sons of God.'[John 1:12] If we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.”[Primary 16]
    Maximus the Confessor
    “Nothing in theosis is the product of human nature, for nature cannot comprehend God. It is only the mercy of God that has the capacity to endow theosis unto the existing… In theosis, man (the image of God) becomes likened to God, he rejoices in all the plenitude that does not belong to him by nature, because the grace of the Spirit triumphs within him, and because God acts in him.”[13]
    Cyril of Alexandria
    “For we too are sons and gods by grace, and we have surely been brought to this wonderful and supernatural dignity since we have the Only Begotten Word of God dwelling within us.”[14]
    Gregory of Nazianzus
    implores humankind to “become gods for (God’s) sake, since (God) became man for our sake.”[citation needed].
    Likewise, he argues that the mediator “pleads even now as Man for my salvation; for He continues to wear the Body which He assumed, until He make me God by the power of His Incarnation.” [15]
    “Through the medium of the mind he had dealings with the flesh, being made that God on earth, which is Man: Man and God blended. They became a single whole, the stronger side predominating, in order that I might be made God to the same extent that he was made man.”[16]
    Basil of Caesarea stated that “becoming a god is the highest goal of all” [17]

    Isa 14
    12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

    Ezek 28
    2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:

    Moreover, Jesus infers he is not one of the gods, nor Jehovah publicly to Jewish crowds.
    Jn 10
    34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
    Read carefully the word *Them* Jesus used over there, not *Us* nor *Me* (hence Jesus is not one of the gods).
    Jn 10
    35 If he called *them* gods,
    And read the word “He” Jesus used there, not *I* nor *We* (hence Jesus is not Jehovah).
    Jn 10
    35 If *he* called them gods,

  7. θ says:

    Are Jesus and Christians the sons of God? No. How can the Spirit give birth to the flesh, that is human?
    Unless Jesus errs, it is impossible for the flesh (humans) to be born of the Spirit (the God).
    Jn 3
    6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

    John 4 :24 in the Greek manuscript actually proves that Spirit is the God. “Pneuma Ho Theos”
    Jn 4
    24 God is a Spirit (precisely: Spirit is the God, Pneuma Ho Theos) and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Comments are closed.