Doesn’t the Bible have many contradictions and errors? Wasn’t it written well after the events of Jesus’s life? How can we say that the Bible is the true religious text when there are other religious texts that claim to be true?
In this sermon Pastor Tim attempts to address this question about the exclusivity of the Christian Bible.
2 Peter 1:16-21
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
2 Timothy. 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
2 Peter 3:15-16
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
1 Clement 47:1-3
Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. 2 What did he write to you at the time when the Gospel first began to be preached? 3 Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because even then parties had been formed among you.
Ignatius to the Romans 4:3
I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man: they were free, while I am, even until now, a servant. But when I suffer, I shall be the freedman of Jesus, and shall rise again emancipated in Him. And now, being a prisoner, I learn not to desire anything worldly or vain.
New Testament Papyri
The oldest extant New Testament Papyrus is P52, which contains a snippet of John (John 18:31-33, 18:37-38) and is estimated by scholars to be dated to between 125 and 175 A. D. This papyrus is located at the John Rylands University Library in Manchester, England.
Some other very early papyri are P32, dated to around 200 A. D., which contains Titus 1:11-15, 2:3-8; P46, dated to around 200 A. D., which contains fragments of the Letters of Paul; P64, dated to around 200 A. D., which contains segments of the Gospel of Matthew; P66, dated to around 200 A. D., which contains nearly all of the Gospel of John; P77, dated to the 100s A. D., which contains a fragment of Matthew; P90, dated to the 100s A. D., which contains fragments of John; P98, which can be dated as early as 150 A. D., and contains some of Revelation; and P104, and dated to the 100s A. D., containing fragments of Matthew.
There are there are 69 known papyri containing parts of the New Testament that are dated from the year 100 A. D. to 300 A. D. In these early papyri, every book of the New Testament is attested to except for 2 Timothy and 2 and 3 John. There are 46 early papyri bearing witness to the four gospels.
See this link for more on the papyri: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_Testament_papyri
New Testament Uncials
After the year 300, Bibles began to be copied into the codex form (bound books) using vellum (animal skin) instead of brittle papyrus. This technology was far more durable and from the year 300 we have many copies of the entire Bible. These Bibles are called “Uncials” because they are written in all capital letters. Later biblical manuscripts are called “miniscules” because they use lower case letters.
The oldest complete copies of the Bible are the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus, both dated to around 325 A. D. These two codices contain the entirety of the Bible, Old and New Testaments.* Both of these Bibles testify to the entire 26 book New Testament Canon that we have today. They also have most of the Old Testament, including some of the books that Protestants consider to be apocryphal.
See this link for the list of Uncials: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_Testament_uncials
Thomas Tallis: If Ye Love Me
Mentioned in the sermon, a lovely anthem written by the English Renaissance master. Click here to listen on YouTube.
*The Codex Vaticanus contained the entirety of the Bible originally, but at some point some of the leaves were lost.
“How Can We Say That the Bible is God’s Only True Word?” a sermon preached by Rev. Dr. Timothy R. LeCroy, Senior Pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church in Ithaca, NY. New Life is located at 950 Danby Rd., Suite 195, Ithaca, NY 14850. Join us for worship every Sunday at 10:00 AM.