We Evangelical Christians hold to the infallibility and inerrancy of the Scriptures. This means that we believe that the Bible as it was originally penned (the first copy) was perfect in every way, being the unaltered Word of God. Many correctly observe that none of the original manuscripts exist today. Therefore, the obvious question is, "Can we consider today's Bible translations to be the reliable and true Word of God?"
I believe we can. First, Bible Scholars are able to determine with a high degree of accuracy what the original manuscripts were like by studying the copies of them from various parts of the world. It is obvious if something has been added, deleted, or changed in the text because it will only appear in the early manuscripts of a certain area of the world and not in the others. Also, the copyists were extremely careful about the process of duplicating their manuscripts. They devised a system of checks where the number of letters across and down were actually counted to ensure accuracy.
Over time copiers have made minor errors such as misspellings, transpositions of letters, missing conjunctions or prepositions and the like, but none of the errors affect doctrine at all. In fact, in the entire Bible there is less than 1% of error anywhere and nothing is serious enough to challenge the Bible's reliability or authority. There is no other ancient or near ancient document even remotely as free from error as the Holy Bible. Personal experience, the testimony of science, archaeological evidence, fulfilled prophecy and the testimony of the Holy Spirit in our hearts are proofs of the truthfulness and authority of the Scriptures.
I would suggest downloading the file Why We Can Trust the Bible from Bible Bulletin Board, which discusses additional reasons why the Bible has to be true. Basically, since God holds man accountable for his sin, then God is responsible to provide us with His "standard" for man. This "standard" must be readable, easy to understand, readily available, and accurate, or else God could not hold us accountable.
One Sabbath day Jesus went into the synagogue, and as was the custom He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He read Isaiah 61:1,2 and then said, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." The scroll Jesus read was a copy of the original, just as our Bibles are copies. By Jesus' time the original manuscript would have been gone, but Jesus treated the copy in the same way as the original: He treated it as the true Word of God. We can and should do the same.
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