You Can Trust The New Testament


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Listen to the sermon here and track along with the slides. If you come at the New Testament with doubts over its historical accuracy or the reliability of the manuscripts then maybe this will help you. You can trust the New Testament to tell you the truth about Jesus. Early Christians and the writers of the New Testament were neither part of an elaborate conspiracy or dumb; they were real people who saw and recorded what actually happened.

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  • Have you come with doubts?Do you need equipped with evidence to do battle for truth?Pragmatism - because it works for you, it does something for you.Authority - somebody told you so and you take it to be so on their authority without checking. e.g. boiling the kettle to reach boiling point differs depending on altitude. Have you performed this for yourself to check if it is so? More than likely not.Tradition - because you were taught it and received it from church or family. Intuition - insight, a sense within yourself that it is so. Draws from a sense not from the mind.Mystical - someone who claim they have met or seen an angel who has told them about something. For example, a person who sees an angel who confirms the Bible.Evidential - broad sense, logic and evidence you get through experience i.e. picking up the Bible, listening to the arguments. This is the Biblical path for coming to a decision. See Mittelberg’s reason around 140 mins.
  • PerspectiveGod made the world and mankind with his eyes, ears and brain. He inspired the Old Testament.He sent Christ Jesus into the world to save sinners.Do you think he can successfully use faithful men through which to send a message and have it recorded?
  • Koine Greek: the language of the NTRapid SpreadGod chose this time in history to send His Son into the world and have the New Testament written as it was a time of relative political stability, with one major language, KoineGreek, used throughout the Roman Empire, thus facilitating the rapid spread of the Gospel.
  • Koine Greek: the spread of the Greek NT across the Roman Empire.
  • All 8 writers, were devout, sincere baptised Jews who had been with Jesus for at least 3 years.Special mention: Paul, who saw the risen Jesus and went from being a persecutor of the early Christians, to being an Apostle.James and Jude were half brothers of Jesus.
  • Shows when they wrote the books of the NT.Why would you believe later accounts written 200 AD – 700 AD? i.e. Gnostic gospels or Islam?You wouldn’t!How did Christians get by for the first without the complete New Testament?Scripture – They relied on the Old Testament especially the Major Prophets + PsalmsSongs – 1 Tim 3:16, Phil 2:5-11 and Col 1:15-10Schooling - Little memory verses doctrinal summaries containing core theology: Mark 14:22-25, 1 Cor 15:3+4, 1 Tim 3:16, 1 Cor 8:5+6, Romans 1Sacrament – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.These four things transmitted core theologyTo everyone, not just an elite.Every week when they met together.
  • If they got the details right on the minor things then we should trust them that they got the details right on the major things.Botany - sycamore trees spoken of in Luke 19 are found growing in the land at Jericho. They got it right.Personal names – the names of Jews living in ancient Palestine were different to those in Egypt. They got it right.How else would the writer know these things unless they were they and were eyewitnesses.
  • Comes from Jeremiah and Ezekiel's prophecy of how and why God would make a new covenant with the Jews through the coming Messiah …Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:25-27There is a transition from the OT to the NT which is a change of covenants.  Hebrews 10:9,15-20
  • Scholars call this “an embarrassment of riches”
  • the Younger, a Roman lawyer, author and magistrate from Ancient Rome. (61 – 112 AD). We have to wait 700 years before we get a copy of his work.The average classical ancient work has a 500 year span between the original writing and the earliest copies.From these works sampled on the graph there’s an average of 1000 years between the original writing and the earliest copies.Historians trust the works of Aristotle and Pliny etc even with their low # of copies and long span between writing and 1st copy.
  • Codex Alexandrinus Ad mid-400’s
  • Codex Vaticanus Ad 325 – 350
  • Bodmer Papyri II collection AD 200 or earlier
  • Chester Beattie Library Collection mid 200’s
  • Show Ryland’s P45 fragment Ad 117 – 138And another timeline with links back to 2nd century.
  • Muratorian ListAnd another timeline with links back to 2nd century.
  • From 96 AD to 325 AD the early church fathers like Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Polycarp (a pupil of the Apostle John), Ignatius, Tertullian, Origen, Clement of Rome, Mathetes, Barnabas, Papias and many others quoted the the NT 32,000+ times which means the NT can be reassembled from their quotes.Only 11 verses of the NT cannot be reconstructed through the writings of the Church Fathers.By as early as 110 AD Clement of Rome, Ignatius and Polycarp quote from or allude to 25 of the 27 documents of the NT in their writings.BTW: All their works are available online.
  • The person of Jesus of Nazareth towers over everything else in the New Testament.Thanks to the Holy Spirit inspiring the NT we know about Jesus’: birth, early life, teaching miracles, betrayal, trial, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, post-resurrection appearances, ascension,current session at the right hand of the Father watching over the world praying for the churchHis coming again
  • Most popular verse in the NT.PREACH IT.
  • The Last Supper, with John the "Beloved Disciple" leaning on Jesus. Detail of the Passion Window, the left lancet window (as seen from the inside) beneath the west rose. One of only four windows dating from before 1150, it depicts scenes from the end of Christ's life, his passion and his resurrection.
  • You Can Trust The New Testament

    1. 1. When did they write the books of the NT?
    2. 2. How many manuscripts are there? That’s 2.6 million pages of writing… enough to stack a 1.6km high
    3. 3. # of Manuscript Copies600050004000300020001000 0
    4. 4. * Not exhaustive location list
    5. 5. Dates of the earliest known manuscripts extant Codex Alexandrinus AD mid-400’s Showing the end of 2 Peter and start of 1 John
    6. 6. Dates of the earliest known manuscripts extant Codex Vaticanus AD 325 - 350 Showing the end of 2 Thessalonians and start of Hebrews
    7. 7. Dates of the earliest known manuscripts extant Bodmer Papyri 75 AD 200 or earlier Showing end of Luke and start of John
    8. 8. Dates of the earliest known manuscripts extant Chester Beattie Library (Dublin Castle) AD 150 – 200 Showing the John 19:25-28
    9. 9. Dates of the earliest known manuscripts extant St. John at Ryland’s Library AD 117 - 138 Showing fragment P52 of John’s Gospel 18:31-33 This papyrus plus others were acquired in 1920’s Egypt by Bernard Grenfell from Oxford.
    10. 10. Dates of the earliest known manuscripts extant Muratorian List AD 150 - 200 Showing the last page of the Canon Muratori, a Latin list of New Testament writings then regarded as canonical (scripturally authoritative). It was named after its discoverer, Lodovico Antonio Muratori, an Italian scholar from Milan who published the manuscript in 1740.
    11. 11. Textual variants in the manuscripts There are 400,000 variations in New Testament copies: • spelling differences, • a skipped line, • inverted words “Jesus Christ” becomes “Christ Jesus” • synonyms, • conjunction of words, • placement of comma (textually meaningful, though non-variable variants) • variants that are both meaningful and viable
    12. 12. Textual variants in the manuscripts • Doesn’t affect the inerrancy of Scripture because this deals with copies, not the autographs. • The main reason there are so many textual variants is because there are so many manuscripts! • However, even with all those variations theres 99.5% agreement of the texts. • Only 40 lines out of 20,000 lines of the text are in question. • No core doctrines of the New Testament are in question and its message is unchanged.
    13. 13. “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative ofthe things that have been accomplished among us, just as thosewho from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of theword have delivered them to us, it seemed good to mealso, having followed all things closely for some time past, towrite an orderly account for you, most excellentTheophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the thingsyou have been taught.”Luke 1:1-4
    14. 14. “That which was from the beginning, which we haveheard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we lookedupon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word oflife the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testifyto it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with theFather and was made manifest to us.”1 John 1:1-3
    15. 15. “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comesfrom someones own interpretation. For no prophecy was everproduced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as theywere carried along by the Holy Spirit.”2 Peter 1:20-21
    16. 16. “…the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise forsalvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathedout by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, forcorrection, and for training in righteousness, that the man ofGod may be complete, equipped for every good work.”2 Tim 3:15-17
    17. 17. “as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of thesematters. There are some things in them that are hard tounderstand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their owndestruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”2 Peter 3:16
    18. 18. “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”John 17:17
    19. 19. “Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, someof whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in yoursynagogues and persecute from town to town,”Matt 23:34And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has beentrained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of ahouse, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what isold.”Matt 13:52
    20. 20. • Fears and doubts about the trustworthiness of the New Testament are unfounded.• You can trust the New Testament for its: – Historical accuracy … eyewitnesses – Reliable + pure transmission down the centuries. – Tells the truth about God.• Read it for yourself and let it convince you.
    21. 21. Stay & Talk
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