Has the Bible been changed?
Once a father knew he had to go on a long journey. He left a careful list of instructions and directions for his family and pinned it to the wall of their living room so they would see it every day. All these instructions were for their good. Now, when he returns, what will the father do to anyone who has changed these instructions?
Almighty God gave us his instructions for living in the Tawrat, the Zabour and the Injil. Unlike an earthly father who goes away, he has all power and authority at all times to make sure that no one changes his Word.
So, when we hear people say the Bible has been changed, the first question we ask them is: ‘Why and how would God allow this? Is man, God’s creature, stronger than him?’
This is not the only reason why we believe that God’s Word in the Bible has never been changed. Consider carefully the following proofs:
What did God’s prophets say about the words he inspired them to write?
In the Tawrat, Moses said to the children of Israel:
Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you – they are your life. (Deuteronomy 32:46-47)
In the Zabour, David said:
Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. (Psalm 119:89-91)
In the Injil, Sayedna Isa said:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Luke 21:33)
The great love of the Jews and the Christians for the Tawrat and the Injil
God commanded both Jews and Christians to preserve his Word with great care and complete accuracy. He warned them that anyone who corrupted his Word would be destroyed.
In the last book of the Injil, the apostle John gave this warning:
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19)
Through the generations, Christians became well known for their love of their book, and were called the ‘People of the Book’. Many of them were killed during times of persecution at the hands of the Roman authorities, because they refused to give up their faith and hand over their holy book.
How did the Injil come to be written down?
The crucifixion and resurrection of Isa took place around the year 30 AD. Isa’s apostles and followers then preached the message of the Injil, at first in the land of Palestine and then all over the known world. The word ‘Injil’ simply means ‘good news’ – the news of the love and forgiveness of God, based on Isa’s death and resurrection.
Twenty years later, Isa’s followers realised that it would be necessary to have a detailed record of his life and teachings in writing. God chose four men to record the life of Isa: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Matthew and John were both members of the group of twelve apostles whom Jesus chose, and who lived with him for three years. They saw all the events of his life, including his death and resurrection. Mark was the young companion of the apostle Peter. His gospel is based on Peter’s memories. Luke conducted careful research in order to write his account of Isa’s life with complete accuracy.
Matthew, Mark and Luke all finished their accounts before the year 70 AD at the latest – within 30 or 40 years of Christ’s death and resurrection. At that time many eyewitnesses to these events were still living – people who had known Isa personally and who were able to confirm the truth of everything that was written. Finally, John was ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’. He wrote his account of Jesus in his old age, around the year 100 AD. These four ‘gospels’ together make one ‘good news’.
The many ancient manuscripts that bear witness to the reliability of the Injil
In the ancient world, books were written on materials like papyrus (ancient paper), which could not normally last for many years. The process of making copies – or manuscripts – would begin immediately. For this reason, no original manuscripts of the works of any of the great writers of ancient times (Homer, Plato, Caesar, Virgil and all the others) have survived. The copies that we have of their works date from hundreds of years later. Yet, because these copies were so carefully made and preserved, we can be sure that we are reading what Homer and Plato and the others wrote.
In the case of the Injil, we have far older manuscripts and far more manuscripts than for any other ancient book. Some small parts of the Injil, written on papyrus, can be dated to the year 125 AD – that is about 500 years before the time of Muhammad. There are complete copies of the whole Injil from around 400 AD. Altogether, more than 5,000 ancient manuscripts of the Injil have survived. These were found in many different places and, apart from very minor differences, are all in agreement with each other. In addition, many translations of the Injil were made into other languages and many writers quoted from the Injil in their works. When all of this evidence is put together, Christians have no fear that the text of the Injil is fully reliable and has never been changed.
We encourage you to read the Bible for yourself. No one can make a judgement about a book they have not read! We are sure you will find that the Bible is worthy of trust, and that it contains the blessings of God Most High and guidance and light for every heart.
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