2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
There is much widespread misinformation and misunderstanding about the New Testament and the Bible as a whole. I have written the following material on Facebook to answer some very good questions posed by those who do not believe the Bible.
Jerome Smith, can you tell me how you regard the New Testament? For example, is it 100% the inspired words of God? In other words, is it holy or not?
The New Testament, all 27 books, all 260 chapters, is the divinely inspired word of God.
This is what the New Testament itself teaches.
The New Testament has been found to be reliable in its historical references. The researches and studies and articles and books of Sir William Ramsey confirm this in detail.
Sir William Paley wrote an unanswerable defense of the authenticity of the New Testament titled Horae Paulinae. He shows that there are many undesigned coincidences between the events described in the book of Acts and things mentioned in Paul’s letters that prove the authenticity of both.
I have demonstrated by means of cross references the absolute unity of the New Testament in its doctrine or teaching.
Most of all, the New Testament authenticates itself to the careful and sincere reader by bringing each such reader to a personal knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and to an assurance of salvation based on the promises of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is what Jesus said:
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
The Muslim reply:
You hardly convince me with such things for many reasons. For example:
(1) Until the fourth century the NT was 21 or 22 books only. It was later in one of the councils they decided to ADD extra books such as Hebrews and Revelation.
(2) You have, for example, Codex Sinaiticus manuscripts which is most complete scriptures contains 29 books in NT plus some fragments.
(3) Around 50% of the NT books are from unknown authors and even unknown number of authors and when or where they were written is also unknown.
(4) Paul’s letters contain personal messages like sending greetings and asking his friend to bring his jacket that he forgot, etc. Doesn’t look like inspiration from God.
(5) Inspired words of God should be HOLY which means no errors, no contradictions, which is not the case. There are contradictions between the four gospels, between Paul’s words and James’ words, etc.
For me, each of those points are a disaster by itself and there is no excuse that can justify those problems.
Sherif Abdel Bary, your objections have no weight with me because I have studied these issues thoroughly and I believe I am better informed about them than you may be.
(1) The number of books in the New Testament has been 27 books from the beginning. See the note in the appendix in volume 2 of Townsend’s Analysis about this issue. There are many other more modern scholarly sources besides Townsend. The Church Councils did not decide the Canon of the New Testament. They only affirmed it. Hebrews and Revelation were already well received since apostolic times.
(2) Codex Sinaiticus does indeed include additional books, the genuine epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas, as I recall without looking up the information. These were well-regarded devotional and spiritual writings but were not fully received as canonical Scripture. This does not change the correct number of books to be included in the New Testament. No one today of scholarly stature is suggesting that we add any other books to the authentic original 27 primary source documents we call the New Testament.
(3) It is nonsensical to suggest the New Testament contains books written by unknown authors. The only book with any serious question as to its authorship today is the book of Hebrews. No one doubts its authenticity or its divine inspiration.
People who make such claims about the supposed anonymity of the authors of the New Testament books simply demonstrate their unacquaintance with the relevant historical and cultural facts involved.
It is not possible to foist upon all Christians a claim to the authorship or anonymity of a work regarded by them as Holy Scripture the name of a supposed apostolic witness such as Mark, Matthew, Luke, or John if the name assigned to the document has always been the writer attributed to that document. If someone were to come along at a later date and decide arbitrarily to give the name “Matthew” to the opening Gospel record of the New Testament, those alive at the time such an imposture were attempted would know that the document had not been so identified with Matthew if that had been the case in their own time. And so for the other Gospel accounts in the New Testament. This answers the relevant historical issues.
The cultural facts connected with the writers of the New Testament Gospels concerns their reticence to name themselves in the document. Internal evidence within the document itself identifies who the author was. That internal evidence includes the grammar, vocabulary, and style of the writer. It also includes incidental mentions of facts that required or is evidence of the writer being an eye-witness to the events the writer recorded.
I have seen claims of a number of individuals who state that since Matthew was a tax collector he was illiterate and could not have written the book ascribed to him. Since when are tax collectors illiterate? The claim is false on its face.
We have a body of literature written by Christian authors immediately after the completion of the New Testament. These authors cite the New Testament books exactly as we have them today. They attribute the quotations they make to the authors we regard as the authors of those documents even today. There is no record of any disputation among these early Christian writers about who were the original authors of the New Testament books they quote.
(4) The fact that Paul’s letters contain incidental reference to a number of personal requests and mentions of incidental items does not detract from their validity but proves their authenticity. See William Paley’s work titled Horae Paulinae for the full and unanswerable proof of this.
(5) There are no contradictions to be found within the pages of the New Testament. Some people find “contradictions” where they really do not exist because they are not as informed about the Bible as they should be. Most supposed “contradictions” are the result of misreading the text of Scripture. When anyone tries to interpret the Bible without carefully following the rules of interpretation they may well find contradictions, but their findings are not valid.
[I wrote the following comment about alleged contradictions in the Bible on another thread of discussion in another forum:]
The Bible, of course, is not full of contradictions. As it is the very word of God, divinely inspired Scripture, it is without error, though some manuscript copies may contain scribal errors which can usually be corrected from other manuscripts not containing the scribal mistake.
Some apparent errors are seen as such by those who are not reading the text and its context carefully enough.
Some bring their preconceived notions of what ought to be so and when they find those notions not supported by the Bible, they blame the Bible and claim there is a contradiction when there is none.
Many people misread the Bible one way or another or violate the rules of interpretation when they try to explain it.