TEXTUAL VARIANTS AND THE RELIABILITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

Pastor John Samson

1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you..”

Acts 20:28 -31 “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.”

I admit straight away that this you tube video (below) is a very unusual one on an unusual subject. It deals with an issue seldom, if ever discussed in a Church setting. Yet I believe part of a good pastor/shepherd’s role is to prepare God’s people so that they are not devoured by the savage wolves out there.

Here is what I mean: Does the figure of approximately 400,000 textual variants in the New Testament bother you? (that works out to be around 3 variants per word!) In the light of this seemingly staggering number, how do you defend your faith in the inspiration and accurate transmission of the word of God? Can you do it? Can you defend your faith or will you be unprepared and embarassed when the mockers and sceptics quote this figure?

Actually the figure of 400,000 is VERY misleading, but unless a person knows some of the background issues involved in this field, they can be caught completely off guard by this in a conversation.

Just below you will find a very informative hour long youtube presentation by a friend of mine, Dr. James White on the subject of the reliability of the New Testament (in the light of textual variants). This may at one time have been something only scholars needed to be familiar with, but this is no longer the case. Now that the critics have such a voice in our day, each of us as Bible believing Christians need to know something about this matter so that we can defend our faith in Holy Scripture.