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Finished John! Now on to Acts!

I hope you noticed that you had the day off today from the reading. Also, I hope you had a fun Valentines Day this past Wednesday.

I had some dear friends that went to a party I wasn’t able to attend. The five of us went to coffee afterward and I asked for details about the party. I wanted to know what I missed out on by not going to the event. Each told me, in detail, about the party from their perspective. By the end of the conversation, I had a pretty good idea what occurred at the party. It felt like I was there!

That is the feeling that I have now that we have finished reading the four gospel accounts. I have a pretty good idea what happened during the last three years of the life of Jesus. I nodded with understanding when I read John saying, at the end of his book, that he wrote it so that, “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (20: 31)

What also stood out to me near the end of his book was the prayer Jesus said for himself, his disciples and for us. He prayed, “Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.” (John 17:8)

So, the disciples heard words from God given to Jesus. They wrote them down so that we too could hear (read) words from God and believe the same thing that Jesus wanted his disciples to believe.

And what was that vital message? That we may know God, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom (He) sent. (17:3)

So, how do we know that we have the right words written down from the disciples to be deemed “God’s Word?”. There seems to be debate on that subject by those who don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God.

Both Muslims and Mormons say their books are God’s true words and the Christian Bible has been corrupted. Meaning, the words the disciples wrote down have been twisted over time from what they originally wrote.

Is that true?

Well, it is true that there are no original writings penned by the original authors. Yet, the originals were meticulously and copiously copied. Scholars have painstakingly, over the centuries, studied ever bit and piece of old fragments and documents that are copies in order to piece together the original words.

• How old are they? Well, some of those bits and piece date anywhere from as early as 50AD (found in the Dead Sea scrolls) to 130-200 AD (found in Egypt and elsewhere).

• How many pieces, bits and wholes are there? There is an overwhelming amount of ancient New Testament manuscripts! There are 5,000 Greek writings, 10,000 Latin and 9,000 other copies in many different languages. That equals 24,000 copies!

• To give some perspective, the runner up on the most amount of copies to an original work that no longer exists is Homer’s, Iliad. There are 1900 copies that exist. The earliest copy dating to around 450 years after the original. In contrast, the complete N. T. dates within 300 years.

It's notable that no one puts the Iliad text under the scrutiny that has been placed on the New Testament for accuracy, but that is understandable. The New Testament is unique in that it is claims to be the word of God. So scholars want to make sure it is a close to the original as possible.

With all those N.T. copies, scholars with great scrutiny, have reconstructed the text with an accuracy of 99.5% to the original. One scholar, William F. Albright writes, “Thanks to the

Qumran discoveries, the New Testament proves to be in fact what it was formerly believed to be: the teaching of Christ and his immediate followers circ. 25 and circa. 80 AD.”

So, if a Mormon or Muslim ever says to you that the N.T. has been corrupted, you can answer with a resounding, “No it hasn’t!”

We can be confident that we have in our hand is what Jesus said, according to the eyewitnesses, so that we could “know God, the only true God, and Jesus whom he sent.”

Yay!! I love that!!

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You did it!!!

You got through the whole New Testament in 4 ½ months!! Congratulations!  Now, don’t lose the good habit you developed of reading every day.  Get into a new plan! I plan on reading Psalms and Proverbs


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