|"The excessive skepticism shown toward the Bible has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of numerous details."
Is the text of the Bible a reliable historical document?
It is often believed that the text of today’s Bible could not possibly be authentic — many of the words and sentences must have been tampered with, or altered over time. After all, the events described date back thousands of years — plenty of time for error to creep in. Indeed, if the children’s game of “broken telephone” teaches anything, it is surely that the original story will become corrupted after being passed from one person to the next. Especially would this be the case if many generations of people were involved.
Amazingly, this has not been the case for the Bible’s Old
Testament. In 1947, young Arab shepherds, searching for a
stray goat in the Judean Desert, entered a long-untouched
cave in the ruins of Qumran and accidentally fumbled across
several jars filled with ancient biblical scrolls. This discovery
yielded seven scrolls and began a search that lasted nearly a
decade, eventually producing thousands of scroll fragments
from 11 caves. Historical, paleographic, and linguistic evidence,
as well as carbon-14 dating, established that the scrolls
dated from approximately 3 B.C. to A.D. 68. Originating at
the time when Jesus lived, they are older than any other surviving
biblical manuscripts by almost one thousand years.
These scrolls were first displayed in the United States at the
Library of Congress in 1949, but are housed today in the
Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.
Along with several other writings, all 39 books of the
Bible’s Old Testament were represented in the Dead Sea Scroll
collection (with the exception of the Book of Esther). With
few negligible variations, these ancient scrolls proved to be
“practically identical” in content to today’s version of the Old
Testament, demonstrating that even over a 2,000-year period,
the biblical text has managed to remain free from corruption.