“The words of the Lord are pure words; they are silver tried in an earthen furnace refined seven times.”
— Psalm 12:6
Not only are there more manuscripts of the New Testament in existence than any other ancient writing, but the time lapse between the original writing and the oldest existing copy is shorter. Obviously, if that time span increases, there is more time for corruption to creep into the manuscripts.
For example, the time that elapsed between the time that Plato wrote and the earliest extant manuscript of his writings is 1,200 years. In the case of Aristotle, it is 1,400; Thucydides, 1,300; Herodotus, 1,300, and Aristophanes, 1,200.
Compare that with the earliest extant manuscripts of the New Testament. The earliest fragment of the New Testament that has been preserved is called the “John Rylands fragment,” written 35 years after the completion of the New Testament in about 95 A.D. These are names of manuscripts of the New Testament or portions thereof in a relatively short time (by ancient standards) after the completion of the New Testament: the Bodmer Papyrus II written 55 years after the completion of the New Testament; Tatian’s Diatessaron, 75 years; Codex Vaticanus, 230 years; Codex Sinaiticus, 255 years.
Compare these dates with the 1,200, 1,300, and 1,400 years which elapsed in the case of the other writings of antiquity. Do we actually have today what was inspired back then? The New Testament stands upon firmer historical and scientific grounds than any other writing of any kind ever written in antiquity.
Dear God, we thank You that Your Word has been preserved for us and that it was written down by eyewitnesses and the early Christians. Thank You that when all other writings disappear, Your Word will stand…
BY GOD’S STRENGTH, HE SPEAKS
TO US THROUGH HIS WORD.