This week we are learning how to defend our faith from the accusations against it by Muslims. Today we are continuing on the subject of the Muslim claim that our Bible has been corrupted. Yesterday we saw that, not only does the Qur’an not teach such a thing, but it actually teaches that our Scriptures have been preserved. Muslims teach that the Old and New Testaments were given by Allah, and men corrupted them. We asked the question; If Allah could not keep his first two revelations pure, how are we to believe that he could keep the third one pure?
Before I get into the meat of the subject I want to remind you what the term apologetics means. It is giving a defense for what we believe. It comes from a Greek word found in the Bible, Apologia. It means a plea (“apology”) or an answer (for self), clearing of self, defence.
We were warned that there would be false teachers.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1)
Because of this we are commanded to earnestly contend for the faith.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 1:3)
The word contend in this verse comes from the Greek word where we get our English word agonize. Contending for the faith is not something we do passively, we are to agonize over it. There should be passion in our defense of our faith.
One of the false teachers that came on the scene about 600 years after Christ was Muhammad. He claimed to be getting revelations from the angel Gabriel. The actual word used in the Qur’an for angel is jin, which means spirit. It is the word from which we get our word genie. It could be an angel or a demon.
The earliest records of Muhammad’s are called the Sirah and are considered scripture to many Muslims. They are not considered inspired, but they are vitally important to understanding the doctrines of Allah.
In the Sirah we find a story where Muhammad was in a cave and the jin appears to him, squeezes him, and tells him to read and write. Muhammad was called the unlettered prophet because he could neither read nor write. At the time of Muhammad very few Arabs would read or write and there were no books yet written in Arabic. The Arabs were nomadic people and passed on their traditions orally through word of mouth. At that time the Arabic alphabet was just being formed. There were some scribes, but it was a new development at that time.
When Muhammad first started receiving his revelations, he thought he was demon possessed. He said:
I thought, woe is me, poet or possessed, never shall the Quraish say this of me. I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest.
He actually planed to commit suicide until his wife convinced him the jin was an angel. It is certain that there was demonic activity in his revelations.
Muhammad also thought that the revelations he was given were consistent with what the Bible says. He had traveled in to Syria, which at the time was a Christian nation, and he learned stories from the Christians. He would then tell the stories and pass them off as revelations from the jin. He didn’t know that many of the stories were not from the Bible, but were children’s stories made up by men and that they used Bible characters in them.
My favorite of these stories is a story of Solomon and his bird army. According to the story, Solomon had an army of birds that he had trained to pick up big rocks and drop them on the enemy. I guess this would have been the world’s first air force. The bird general was the Hoopa Bird, and one day he was missing from the inspection. The next day Solomon found him and asked him where he was during the inspection. The Hoopa Bird said he was down Sheba telling the queen of all Solomon’s splendor and glory. Solomon told the bird to go and invite here to come visit him. When she came to visit, there was a round mirror on the floor of the throne room which she had to walk across. She had never seen anything like this and thought it was a pool of water. When she lifted her skirt to walk across it, it showed her very hairy legs.
This story didn’t make it into the Qur’an, but I think it is an interesting story. It shows the gullibility of Muhammad.
Muhammad was a con-man, and he was giving these stories as if he was a prophet of God. The stories he told were not consistent with the Word of God, and that is how we know someone is a false prophet. If what the prophet says does not agree with what God has already given, he is a false prophet.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8)
The Greek word for accursed is anathema, which means banned or excommunicated. He is passing himself off as God’s man, and he is delivering a false message. How do we know if something a prophet says is right? We compare it with the truth that has already been revealed.
It is not always best to show a Muslim the errors in his religion. This will only lead to arguments and debates. If you really want to bring the Muslim out of darkness, show him the truth.
Let’s look at the things we can use to show him the truth.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
It is essential that we get Muslims into the Word of God, but they have been told that our Bible has been corrupted. They have been told this because it is not in agreement with the Qur’an. The easiest way for them to explain the differences is to tell Muslims that the Bible has been corrupted. They say that Allah gave the Qur’an to correct the corruptions.
Unlike Muslims, we can catalog the veracity and pedigree of our Scriptures. We have the manuscripts to prove that the Bible has not been corrupted. We don’t have the originals, but we have over 6,000 ancient New Testament manuscripts. There are variants because people do make mistakes when copying and because those who copied the New Testament were not professionals. We don’t have problems with variants with the Old Testament because it was copied by professional scribes that followed very strict rules when copying.
Even though there are copyist errors in the New Testament manuscripts, there are so many manuscripts that we can compare and discover the errors. In the late 1800’s there was a movement that started based upon two Greek texts which differed from the vast majority (95%) of the existing manuscripts. It is called the minority text. All of the new translations of the Bible, except one, have been translated from this minority text, which disagrees with the majority text in thousands of places. The claim was that these were the earliest, they were dated to the fourth century. We have found many manuscripts that date earlier, some to within 50 years of Christs death and resurrection, and they agree with the majority text from which the King James Bible was translated.
Not only do these two minority text not agree with the majority of manuscripts, they disagree with each other in thousands of places. There are portions that are missing, and certain doctrines are eliminated or weakened.
Which book in your library is in the best condition? It is the one you don’t use. These two fourth century manuscripts survived in great condition because they were not used. The reason they were not used was, they were full of corruptions and errors.
If you have one clock in the world, and it tells you the time, everyone is on the same time. Once you have two clocks, there is disagreement, and no one knows what time it actually is. If we have more than 6,000 clocks and 95% of them are in agreement, we are pretty sure what the right time is. Those that disagree with the vast majority are to be doubted.
Our King James Bible is based upon the Textus Receptus (Received Text), which is the majority text.
We can recreate the NT from early Syriac manuscripts which was the first translated version of the NT into a foreign language. It is in agreement with the Received Text.
We can reproduce nearly the whole New Testament through the teachings of the early Christian preachers. There are more than 36,000 such quotes.
Here is a chart showing New Testament quotes from the early church fathers;
Church Fathers Chart
They are in agreement with the majority text, not the minority text.
We have an important development that shows the accuracy of the transmission of the Old Testament Text. In 1946 there was the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were found in the caves of Qumran by a Muslim shepherd boy. These 981 scrolls of Hebrew Scriptures were penned in 400 BC and hidden for fifteen hundred years, yet they read just like our Old Testament reads today.
These facts show that although some corruptions did creep in through the errors of copyists, there is enough evidence to prove that our Bibles are the same as when originally given. Everything is so well documented that there is no doubt that our Bibles have not been corrupted.
Since the Garden of Eden, Satan and the world system has been trying to destroy the Bible. The Bible has stood strong against every attempt. When we put the same tests to the Qur’an, it sinks like a brick to the bottom of the ocean. Tomorrow we will look at the sinking Qur’an.
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