Faithlife Sermons


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            The accumulation of manuscript evidence has been so vast and the work of the scientific textual critic has been so precise, that we may express complete confidence in the reliability of the New Testament text.  While it is true that some minor manuscript variations exist, they are negligible.  Westcott and Hort felt that the debatable portions of the NT text could hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the whole.

            Let me emphasize how impressive this fact really is.  The NT documents have been in existence almost 1,900 years.  And for fifteen of these centuries, they were copied by hand.  In spite of this, there are only some twelve to twenty significant textual variations in the entire NT, and none of the affects an important doctrinal matter.  On the other hand, consider the works of William Shakespeare.  These writings have existed less than four centuries (and since the invention of the printing press) and yet, “in every one of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays there are probably a hundred readings still in dispute, a large number of which materially affect the meaning of the passages in which they occur.” (Hastings, op.cit., p.13.)

Fortify Your Faith, Wayne Jackson, page 74

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