Oldest Known Bible Doesn't Match the One We Use Today?

I recently got an email asking about  the online publication of the Sinaticus. It presents an important reminder as to why you can be confindent in the scriptures you have today despite the questions thrown out in this article about the Sinaiticus.

The Codex Sinaiticus is a legitimate copy of the scriptures.

For the most part the article and the website itself seems pretty legitimate.  However there are a few statements in the article that show it’s writtne from a liberal or even non-Christian viewpoint.  I just want to comment on a couple.

The first is, “And some familiar — very important — passages are missing, including verses dealing with the resurrection of Jesus, they said.”

First of all, notice it didn’t say all of the passages about the resurrection are mising.   In the Sinaiticus the text has most of what the Gospels we have today say about the resurrection,  just not every verse.   Their statment about mising resurrection passages make some kind of allusion here that the resurrection idea was added later.  They allude to the idea that the resurrection is a hoax created by the church later on to give more credibility to their whole story. The answers to that simply are, “If it’s a hox, then where is His body? Why didn’t Jesus’ enemies of the day find the body and put it on display? Why did his followers allow themselves to be persecuted and killed over a lie?  Why are lives continually changed today if Jesus is not alive?”

Now back to the article.  This quote comes from the article  “The manuscript contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. (A copy held at the Vatican dates from about the same period.) Older copies of individual portions of the Christian Bible exist, but not as part of a complete text.”

That is a legitimate statement.  Older portions are more accurate so modern translators have used the Sinaticus and older portions for come up with their final copies.

Here’s another false allusion from the article.  “Juan Garces, the British Library project curator, said it should be no surprise that the ancient text is not quite the same as the modern one, since the Bible has developed and changed over the years.”

This is based on the idea that Christians change the Bible over the years to fit their needs.  Not so.  There are differences in the Sinaticus and modern Bibles because when needed the modern ones went to the older manuscripts instead of the Sinaticus for accuracy. The Sinaiticus is the oldest entirely intact Bible we have found so far, but not the oldest manuscript from individual books.  In the realm of Ancient Literature, the older is the better.

Eslewhere in the article it says . . .the handwritten Codex Sinaiticus includes two books that are not part of the official New Testament and at least seven books that are not in the Old Testament. . . That portion includes books not found in the Hebrew Bible and regarded in the Protestant tradition as apocryphal, such as 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, 1 & 4 Maccabees, Wisdom and Sirach. . . . .The New Testament portion includes the Epistle of Barnabas and The Shepherd of Hermas.

That’s true, we don’t include these books. Apocryphal means doubtful authenticity.  Pretty much explains why those OT books were left out.  As for the two NT books. They didn’t meet the final criteria set when it was determined what would oficially be considered part of the NT.  That criteria was

· Authority of the writer – Was he an aposlte of close associate of an apostle.

· Test of Content – Was there an awareness of blessing and guidance when the book was read?

· Test of wiedespread acceptance – Did the early church as a whole accept it?

The people who put together  the Sinaticus liked the extra books, but the church as a whole did not.

These are just a few quick thoughts based on the article.  Intentional or not, articiles like this one are fiery darts to cuase us to doubt our faith.  However simple examination and reconsideration often proves the truth and authenticty of God’s word.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. (Psalms 18:30 NIV)

Standing on the Word of the Lord,

Pastor Jim