A fresh reminder from Chas Carrin about how amazing the Bible is and how the Spirit speaks through it today.
Pentecost exploded onto the ancient world with such power that it forever altered the work of scribes and the production of books. The overwhelming demand for the written account of Jesus had no precedent in world history. As a result, the New Testament numerically eclipsed all the combined works of Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Euripides, Homer, and other ancient writers. Today, there are 5,686 ancient Greek New Testament manuscripts still surviving. In contrast, only 7 copies of Plato survive, 49 of Aristotle, 8 of Herodotus, 9 of Euripides, etc., and all of these were copied at least 1,000 years after the original. This is not true of the New Testament; we have portions of the gospels going back to the first century and a fragment of the Book of John that was written about 29 years after the original. None of the secular books can make such a claim.
But there is more to tell. Besides Greek copies, there are some 19,000 ancient New Testament transcripts in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. This support-base of 24,000 historic New Testament manuscripts gives scholars opportunity to compare them for accuracy. The result: These books are about 99.5% textually pure. No other ancient writing has such a record. Not only so, but these copies are better preserved than any other document from the past. Also, keep in mind that when the original documents were written there were numerous people still alive who had heard Jesus for themselves and would have protested loudly had the writing been inaccurate. No such complaints exist. None of Plato or Aristotle’s hearers were present to edit the copies we now accept as valid.
Questions: If thousands of New Testaments survived the ravages of time when secular ones did not, how many more must have originally been written?! What was the motivation behind such an explosion of gospel books?
Answer: Pentecost impacted the world of its day with such cataclysmic power that there was an almost frantic-copying of thousands of New Testaments to meet the demand. For example, only 30 years after the death of Jesus, Christians in the city of Rome had become so numerous that when Emperor Nero set fire to the city he blamed them for the destruction. In the frenzy that followed, thousands were slaughtered-many crucified – but instead of eliminating them, Roman Christians grew in unprecedented numbers. They too experienced the same baptismal-power the Holy Spirit put upon disciples in the Upper Room. With that anointing, some preached from their crosses and more unbelievers were saved. Bibles were desperately needed. Today, Pentecost is still bringing people into personal encounters with the Holy Spirit – and intensifying the need for more copies of the New Testament.
The Bible Edition Which Most Impacted The English-Speaking World Is The One Known As The “King James” Or “Authorized” Version.
King James came to the Throne in 1603 when England was gripped in the fiery contest between Puritan “renewal” and Anglican “resistance”. Of himself, the King had little to recommend him. By London’s standards, he was crude and untrustworthy. The French King referred to him as the “wisest fool in Christendom”. Upon his appointment to the English Crown, King James left Stirling Castle in Scotland and by horse-drawn carriage started toward London. But things did not go as planned. On reaching the English border, he was immediately stopped by a group of Puritan ministers who presented him with a list of grievances. The urgency of their cause would not allow them to wait until his Coronation. Puritans demanded change; they were God’s preaching voice in that day. The Church of England, of which King James was titular “Head”, adamantly held to ritual and tradition. Though he responded favorably to the Puritan encounter that day at the border, King James was far from being their friend. Soon after his arrival in England he said of them, “I will make them conform or I will harry them out of the land – or else do worse.” This was not a bluff. In that day, dissenters were still being burned alive at the stake, having their ears or noses cut off, imprisoned, and abused in other horrendous ways. But in spite of King James’ threats, the Puritans had a temporary reprieve and God used the opportunity to bless humanity.