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How Faithfully Has the Bible Been Transmitted to Us?

Many cultures have a version of the game Telephone, in which a message becomes garbled by sharing it from person to person multiple times. Critics maintain that a similar process was at work when the stories of the gospel were propagated, first orally, allowing for exaggerations, myths, and errors to creep in. The original stories would be further corrupted by repeated copying, and the same would have happened to the other books of the Bible. There are, however, very solid reasons to believe that the content of the Bible’s teachings has not been altered over time.

The Old Testament was transmitted by Jewish scribes who undertook the task of copying Scripture with extreme care: the whole process was set out in great detail to minimize any possibility of error. Second, tattered or unusable scrolls were ceremonially buried. Consequently, at the turn of the 20th century, the earliest complete copy

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  1. G. L. Archer, A Survey of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974), p. 25.


  2. B. J. Wright and C. Lindgren, “Reading Together, Early Church Style,” Christianity Today, April 20, 2018.


  3. F. G. Kenyon, The Story of the Bible, (Grand Rapids, MI: W. B. Eerdmans, 1967), p. 113.