The Bible was written by honest men. After being with Jesus three years how could they be otherwise. Why would they lie. He was the truth so they told it like it was. They were very consistent in what they said. So much so that they can be cross checked among themselves (the gospel writers and even Paul) showing that they have very near the same facts in every instance in debate. There are no mistakes in the Bible, seriously!
Luke was a scrupulously detailed and accurate historian. In his mention of 32 countries, 54 cities and nine islands in his two books, he never made an error in this information. There are many ancient authors who made copies of the New Testament. In fact there are over 5000 complete manuscripts of the New Testament and over 24,000 fragments and whole copies of this document. This is unlike any other writing of antiquity.
The New Testament was written in the first century and people who were there during Christ’s life were still living. They would have kept the gospel writers from making mistakes in their transcribing Jesus’ life. And there is the John Rylands fragment written 29 years after John the Apostle wrote his gospel. It is very close to the ‘John’ we have today. This is unheard of in any other writing that a copy was made so soon after the original. Copies give evidence as to the accuracy of a document, the more the better.
The Chester Beatty Papyrus, just to mention a few early ones, was written 150 years after Paul wrote Romans, Hebrews and the Corinthian letters and more of them in the 50’s and 60’s AD. The p66 fragment of John was written 130 years after Jesus lived; and the p67 fragment of Matthew was written 130 years after Jesus lived. So some scientists are trying to dismiss the Bible as having too long between copies. Which is not true. But if they do they will have to dismiss Plato, Aristotle, Caesar and Homer because it was truly a thousand years and more for some, after the original, before a copy was made of them. Aristotle was written in 400BC approximately and it was not until 1000AD that a copy of him was made. They have no doubt what Aristotle said they should have no doubt about Jesus. But this is the type of run around that the Bible gets while not being accepted as true.
Moving on to the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found in 1949 in Qumran, Israel. They found a complete copy of Isaiah and fragments of all the other books of the Old Testament (OT) except Esther. The Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) have become an important witness for the origin and accuracy of the OT. They have also provided evidence against criticism of the Books of Daniel and Isaiah. Very important works of Messianic and other prophecies; they really do prove the supernatural origins of this Book. The Masoretic Text of the OT also has received support in both origins and accuracy by the DSS.
The Masoretic text was the previous oldest copy of the OT and was also written in 1000AD. But the DSS changed all that having received a 1917 years age from carbon-14 dating which is accurate in clean materials but not so much in rock or dirt. With a 200 year variant so Isaiah can be found to have been written in 100BC. With the age of the materials written on, the dating and the archaeological evidence there is not the slightest doubt about the age and origin of this Isaiah copy. It was written by the Essenes and their whole history concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls.
This has been the Paleographic evidence, but there is also archaeological evidence concerning dates for these documents. There were coins found in the same areas and levels of dig that by their inscriptions have been dated to 135BC to 135 AD. Pottery from that time period in the caves, the materials and style are from that time. Also the weave of the cloth written on has been dated because of other known finds to that time. So the DSS have been placed at 100 years before Christ to 100 years after. There is ‘no doubt’ in the scientist’s minds because of the evidence that this is true.
The significance of the DSS find is: Confirmation for the Hebrew OT text because it says the same thing. Support for the Masoretic text- no longer standing alone as the source we have of the text. There is also support for the Septuagint or Greek OT because it says very much the same now there is continuity. It has been considered very useful in the quest to prove the Bible’s authenticity, to say the least!
This has led to more studying of Biblical sites and a whole flurry of discoveries of archaeological conspicuities for other parts of the Old and New Testaments. Confirmation has been found for the use of crucifixion in Christ’s time. A body was found in a grave in Northern Jerusalem that had a sign on it Joseph of Caiaphas. They believe it to be the Caiaphas, the high priest that condemned Jesus to die. This man had a nail still through both heel bones and possibly others in his wrists. A slab was found with an inscription in mosaic by Pilate. That he donated a temple to the Jews in Caesarea- evidence that he indeed existed. He was the Roman governor who scourged and had Jesus crucified. And last: there were countless scriptures that were doubted because of the lack of evidence for them. These are now believed and confirmed by new archaeological evidence found in this century. An exciting time to be a Christian. The DSS might have cast a bright and positive outlook and future on the quest for the authenticity of the scriptures and belief in Jesus and the God of Israel.