Aiden asked:

How do we know the Bible is real?

Tim Staples replied:

"Basically what we do, Aiden is we approach the Bible just like we would any other ancient writing. What you do is you find out, okay how do we know that, let's say that the Gospel of Matthew, how do we know that's real?

Well there's a couple of things. One is you look at the manuscripts you have right now. And remember this, Aiden the original text of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John - all the books of the New Testament, don't exist any more. But the early Christians made lots of copies of them because they knew back then that when you wrote things down the stuff you were writing on would eventually deteriorate and fall apart. And so they very carefully copied, made copies in fact, thousands and thousands of copies of the New Testament books. So what you do, Aiden is you find, where are the oldest copies of the original manuscripts? Where are they, and how old are they? How close are they to the original? And we have incredibly old manuscripts that date way way back to within, in fact with the Gospel of John, to within a few decades of the original book itself...and when it comes to the Bible there is no other book of its time that even comes close. Most of the ancient books that we have, the closest manuscript is like 1,000 years apart from the actual penning of the text in question...

Number two you also look at how widely disseminated is this book? How many different languages is it written in? Do we have corroboration, or in other words do we have lots of people in different areas of the world with different languages that all agree with - we're looking at Matthew or John's gospel for example, and what we find with the Bible we have manuscripts in many different languages from all over the world, different continents...and all of them, when we gather them together, generally agree with each other.

And so when you put all of this together you find wow, we've got thousands and thousands, in fact there's over 24,000 manuscripts from all over the world. And they all substantially agree, there'll be minor disagreements here and there over minor things... but over 24,000 manuscripts, Aiden that is amazing...and so with that we can say that the Bible is the most accurate, and we're just talking about history here, the most accurate and authoritative book of its time by far..."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2014)

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Show air date: December 16, 2014

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Tim Staples

Question appeared in show: 27:25

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