The most important part of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery is the similarity between those scrolls and the other copies already in existence.
The Dead Sea Scrolls conclusively and overwhelmingly demonstrate the extraordinary accuracy and precision of the Jewish scribes in their task of copying the Scriptures.
In comparing two copies of the same thing (the Scriptures) copied by two totally different groups of Jews a thousand years apart, we find no significant or important differences or contradictions. This gives us strong reason to be confident of the Bible’s accuracy.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
All the New Testament books – written between 40 AD and 95 AD – were written on a kind of paper. This paper was made from papyrus reeds and was used as individual sheets or glued together to make rolls.
The manuscript evidence supporting the New Testament is overwhelming. The Bible, in fact, has far more documentary evidence for its accuracy and reliability than any other ancient writing.
The Word Stands Forever
Virgil, the most celebrated poet of ancient Rome, lived and wrote around the time of Christ, when the Roman Empire dominated the known world.
We have no originals of Virgil’s work, and fewer than two dozen copies; scholars, in fact, will accept as few as ten copies to verify that an ancient literary work is genuine. The oldest copy we do have of Virgil’s work was not made until over three centuries after his death, when the sun was already setting on the glory days of Rome.
The earliest of the more than twenty-four thousand manuscript copies we have of the New Testament were made twenty or thirty years within one generation after the originals were written . . .within the lifetime of people who knew Jesus!
Over 5400 of these copies are in Greek – the language in which the original New Testament was written. And when these copies are compared with each other, each copy matches the rest with an accuracy rate of very nearly 100%!
The text of the New Testament is more substantiated and verified than any other ancient document in existence!
Praise God for His holy Word! “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.” (Is. 40:8)
THE BIBLE THROUGH THE AGES
Vulgate to Wycliffe
As stated earlier, the story of how we came to have our modern Bible is a long one. It is beyond the scope of this article to include all the details. However, the following is a brief overview of how we got the Bible we use today.
Up until 670 A.D. the only widely used Bible was in Latin; it was called the Vulgate. Jerome, in the 4th century, had translated it from the Hebrew and Greek texts.
After Jerome’s time, many portions of Scripture were translated from Latin into Old English. Then, in 1382, the whole Bible was translated into English by John Wycliffe. After the “Wycliffe Bible,” many new English translations were made.
This created a great deal of discussion and argument among the English Christians as they debated which translation was best.