Has the Bible really been changed?

Josh and Sean McDowell

By Mark Ellis

Popular culture is awash in theories about alleged changes to the Bible that have corrupted its message and undermined its validity.

“That is one of the big objections that have grown in the past decade or two due to the work of Bart Ehrman, who is one of the leading critics today,” says Sean McDowell, co-author with his father, Josh McDowell, of the new edition of Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

The apologetics classic, Evidence, has been updated three times since 1972, but the last effort was 1999 — nearly two decades ago. The recent updating project involved several dozen grad students, at least 12 leading scholars from around the world, and a team from Thomas Nelson publishers.

“This book has been impactful and we wanted to get it right,” Sean notes.

Some new issues tackled in the book include the claim that Christianity derived from pagan mystery religions, disputes about the historicity of the exodus, an examination of the martyrdom of the apostles, and the textual criticism raised by Bart Ehrman.

“I hear Muslims, Mormons, and agnostics all cite Ehrman’s material,” Sean says. “He looks at the variants across the different manuscripts and says we can’t trust with confidence what was in the originals and the Bible was changed in a willy-nilly fashion.”

The way to know any ancient book is trustworthy is to go back and look at the number of ancient manuscripts and the time interval between the original and the existing copies, he explains.

“What is remarkable about the Bible and the Gospels in particular is that we have far more manuscripts than any ancient book and they are far earlier than any other ancient book.”


The Christian Post