Josh McDowell and Dave Strerrett hit the ball out of the park in their book, “Is the Bible True… Really?” The book is part of their Coffee House Chronicles which is a series that seeks to foster a dialogue on skepticism, evidence, and truth. I loved the fact that this book deals with the subject matter by way of introducing us to the typical struggles of a college student (Nick) with his faith. This made it EASY to read!
The book was relatively short (You can get through it in a single evening) and yet it dealt with some pretty important questions:
- Did Christianity borrow from pagan mythology?
- When was the Bible “put together”?
- When was the New Testament Written?
- Is the Bible Inerrant?
- Did the Disciples make it up?
- What about the “mistakes” in the Bible?
- How is the Bible different from other truth claims (Joseph Smith, Muhammad, etc.)?
- What about the other Gospels (the Gnostic Gospels)?
The chapter I got the most out of was chapter 14 that dealt with all the so called, “Mistakes,” in the Bible. Here are some of the notes I gleaned from the chapter:
Critics love to point out that there are anywhere from 300,000 to 400,000 variants among the New Testament manuscripts. A textual variant is any instance where the New Testament manuscripts have alternate wordings. What the critics don’t point out is that the large number of variants is a direct result of the extremely large number of New Testament manuscripts available. By far, the most significant category of variants is spelling differences (75% or between 225,000 and 300,000 of all the variants!) Another large category of variants consist of synonyms used across manuscripts. Such differences hardly call the meaning of the text into question. When all variations are honestly and objectively considered, only about one percent involves the meaning of the text, but not significantly.
What was eye opening to me was that even the process of comparing the discrepancies only served to reinforce the inerrancy of Scripture. For example suppose we have four different manuscripts that have four different errors in the same verse (Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.)
Here are the hypothetical copies of variant texts:
- I can do all t#ngs through Christ who gives me strength.
- I can do all th#ngs through Christ who gives me strength.
- I can do all thi#gs through Christ who gives me strength.
- I can do all thin#s through Christ who gives me strength.
McDowell/ Strerrett point out that there is no question as to what the original text said. By comparing and crosschecking, the original New Testament can be reconstructed with GREAT accuracy.
The book really served to strength my faith and appreciation for God’s Word. Thank you McDowell/ Strerrett for putting together such a book. I look forward to reading the other books in your series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.