Have Scholars Discovered the Oldest Manuscript of the New Testament?

Have Scholars Discovered the Oldest Manuscript of the New Testament? February 21, 2012

Yes, according to Dr. Daniel Wallace. He has recently revealed what he believes to be a manuscript of the Gospel of Mark that comes from the first century A.D.

Wallace is a professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary and the founder of The Center for the Study of the New Testament Manuscripts, an institute that seeks to study and preserve the manuscripts of the New Testament. Wallace is an expert in biblical Greek and in textual criticism, the academic study of ancient manuscripts.

A couple of weeks ago, Wallace was debating Bart Ehrman, another biblical scholar known widely for his negative writings about historical Christianity. Their topic was whether or not we have the wording of the original New Testament today. In this debate, Wallace referred to the discovery of seven New Testament papyri (a primitive form of paper). Six of these are from the second century. One is probably from the first century. The alleged first-century manuscript is a fragment of the Gospel of Mark, though we don’t know what part of the text it contains.

p52, a portion of the Gospel of John that is dated to around 125 A.D.

According to Wallace, this manuscript “was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers,” who said he was “certain” that it was from the first century. If that paleographer is right, then this fragment would be the oldest existing manuscript of the New Testament. Until now, the oldest manuscript we have is p52 (Papyrus 52), a small portion of the Gospel of John that is dated to the first half of the second century.

Until now, the oldest existing manuscript of Mark’s Gospel is p45, which was copied around 200 A.D. Though scholars believe that this manuscript faithfully reproduces most of what was in the autograph (original copy) of Mark, the new fragment would offer fresh and powerful evidence for or against this thesis. According to Wallace, the newly discovered fragment confirms what text critical scholars believe to be the authentic text of Mark. In other words, the fragment supports scholarly confidence that we have access to almost everything originally written by the author of Mark.

Unfortunately, however, the new fragment has not been published. Apparently, it will be published by Brill in a year or so. Wallace is not free to discuss the details of the text. So we have no way to evaluate his claims, apart from our sense of Wallace’s own trustworthiness.

New Testament scholar Larry Hurtado adds a little more information about the source of the new manuscript in his blog:

The fragment in question seems to be part of a collection of papyri that are part of the Green Collection (http://explorepassages.com/collection).  The key figure listed as the guiding expert for the Greek Collection is Scott Carroll.  One of the recent postings lists putative early fragments of several NT writings (including copies of some Pauline letters allegedly dated to the second century CE).  According to Wallace, a formal scholarly publication of these items is in the works, scheduled to appear next year sometime.

How should we respond to the claims made by Daniel Wallace?

First of all, Daniel Wallace is a trustworthy NT scholar and an expert in text criticism. I trust what he says. So I believe there is a fragment of Mark that a highly-regarded paleographer has dated to the first-century A.D.

The dating of the fragment, however, will be controversial. Paleographical dating is imprecise. I guarantee that some scholars will date it to the second century or maybe later.

The discovery of this fragment of Mark could undermine significantly our confidence that we know what was in the original edition of Mark if it differs considerably from the texts we have now. According to Wallace, this is not the case. If he is correct, then this discovery will strengthen our confidence in the text of the New Testament. The manuscripts we have allow us to know, with a very high degree of probability, what the text of the New Testament originally contained.

Yet, even the most skeptical of scholars acknowledge the basic reliability of the text of the New Testament. Bart Ehrman, for example, who tries to argue that we should not have confidence in the text, has nevertheless written things like:

To be sure, of all the hundreds of thousands of textual changes found among our manuscripts, most of them are completely insignificant, immaterial, and of no real importance for anything other than showing that scribes could not spell or keep focused any better than the rest of us.

Ehrman also points out that no significant doctrine of Christianity depends on insecure manuscript evidence.

So, if we do have a first-century fragment of Mark, we will have a slightly stronger argument for the authenticity of the text of the New Testament. This will be helpful, but will not significantly impact our faith. It will make it harder for extreme skeptics, like Bart Ehrman, to defend their point of view.

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  • Sean Brotherson

    Thank you for your explanation of this fragment and its potential contribution to our understanding of New Testament texts.  With the limited information available, it seems difficult to make any precise judgments about the contribution of the material until further information that is verifiable comes forward.  I would suggest it is “unknowable” whether we “have access to almost everything originally written by the author of Mark.”  There are certainly indications that additional apostolic epistles exist or were authored which have never been found, although there is textual evidence in the scriptures of their existence, as well as other scriptural materials in the Old Testament that have not made their way either into the scriptural canon or the hands of archaeologists.   

  • Anonymous

    Ah, thanks for allowing me to clarify my meaning. Surely, the author of Mark’s Gospel wrote other things we don’t have. That seems highly likely. My point is that it is also highly likely that the words in the critical Greek text of Mark are, in most cases, the ones in the original autograph of Mark. I didn’t say that very clearly.

  • Sentient

    “Re-Dating the New Testament” by John T Robinson is acknowledged as a masterpiece. Many contextual facts place most ofthe New TEstament as having been written before 70 AD.

  • Anonymous

    Well, as much as I wish Robinson’s work was acknowledged as a masterpiece, it failed to convince almost all New Testament scholars. Believe me, I wish more had been persuaded by Robinson, at least with respect to some of the New Testament writings. Robinson had many valuable things to say, but he’s mostly been forgotten today.

  • Artman1746

    Paul claimed he had ” finished his course” which gave us the completed word of God. And if we are to believe, as scripture teaches us, that The Word (truth)will always be available to us and that the King James bible is the inspired Word then I don’t believe that over 2000 years later God has some new revelations for us.

    The resilience of the King James bible tells me it is the word protected by God and is the truth we should seek. Other translations are simply the attempt to smother truth. It is error free when “rightly divided”; as we are instructed (II Tim 2:15) to do.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Godcamdown

    Thanks Mark!
    We need all the proof we can get from these sources and all others.
    And we should never stop looking for more.
    God Bless. http://www.godcamedown.com

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your contribution.

  • Jesus performed miracles in his day and people who saw Him still didn’t believe. Unfortunately , older documents won’t awaken people to the divinity of Christ. A great find nonetheless. 

  • samdav7

    I wonder where about they were discovered, and what’s the language used in these manuscripts ! especially the one from the first-century !

  • dch047

    Cool. This article makes my soul happy. We have the exact words spoken by our Lord, Jesus Christ.

  • Timothy Guy

    actually a discovery like this does not mean we have the exact words spoken. In fact it is obvious from reading the gospels that we don’t have anything even close to the exact words spoken. Being that all 4 “gospels” have Jesus saying different things in contradictory ways is different places and even with completely different personality traits and speaking styles. (the jesus in john is a completely different person).

    What you have are collections of supposed sayings, in many places clearly hacked together into a narrative that was never a real event. sayings and phrases completely unrelated and tied together into a single “saying”. I can demonstrate this in many places.

    The entire gospel of john is a near if not complete fabrication. What you have are people decades later using the jesus character as a sock puppet to give authority to what they were teaching largely uneducated poor people and slaves.

  • Timothy Guy

    actually you have stories in a book that claim that people didn’t believe even though there were miracles. There is no proof that any of those events ever happened.

    furthermore.. There are no examples of miracles today that you can site as a possible example or proof of concept. There is no one being raised from the dead. all the sick, mentally disabled and paralyzed children in all the churches go home every Sunday unhealed.

    Religious faith is about psychology and social dynamics not actual spiritual truth or actual divine power.

    Why don’t you demonstrate the “divinity of Christ” by doing what he promised you would be able to do. Demonstrate the down payment of the holy spirit. If jesus is the same yesterday today and forever whats the big deal?

    Everything you think Jesus did.. what he actually did is exactly the opposite. The only thing you can actually claim he did can only be observed after you die or in some far off future.

    if you stopped to actually look at the facts you would realize that the only thing Jesus has actually done are in stories made up about him.

  • Timothy Guy

    don’t you find it a little odd that Jesus picked 12 apostles and spent between 1 and 3 years training them…. and yet all of Christianity is based on a completely separate person who had a vision of a light in a desert?

    Also your information about the king James bible is completely inaccurate. Religion poisons peoples minds and makes it impossible for them to see the world as it really is.

  • dch047

    Good point. I suppose if 4 people witnessed the same car accudent, they would all describe it the same way. Jesus’ message was hijacked by the Roman Empire. Jesus’ words are too wise not to be from a messenger of God. Maybe the Muslims have it right. Lol. Jesus is whatever you define Jesus as. He will always be my saviour.

  • Timothy Guy

    i made some tough comments here and i thought i would share for the record. I am not someone who has always been an “unbeliever”. I would not qualify myself as that now. I was in the ministry and loved jesus for nearly 30 years. I was a youth pastor and adult assistant pastor/bible teacher for several years. Ive attended bible college and spent countless hours studying scripture, I have a whole wall full of expensive study materials. I have personally spent entire nights praying for the baptism of the holy spirit. Ive debated atheists and people of other religions during street evangelism. Ive been convinced countless times that god had showed me something in the bible no one else had seen.

    but here is the thing. the moment you actually take the time to openly and honestly evaluate your faith belief against reality things begin to change. once you start taking the time to think, reason and observe the christian church and the world around you the same way you judge other people you simply can not continue going on in the simplistic ignorance of fundamentalist christian faith.

    I could go into many details but that would take up to much space here. I am fully willing to have the truth of Christianity demonstrated to me in the real world. If Someone walked up to Stephen Hawking and said “silver and gold have i none” and healed him completely by the might power of Jesus I would believe again as i once did.

    But as for me… there is to much of nothing but stories words and hot air in Christianity for me anymore. More than that i see the numerous huge gaping holes that are in the bible now. old and new testament. That in of itself would take a miracle to fix.

  • IsPeeu

    Dead skeptics like you will always find it difficult to believe even the miracles that take place right before their eyes; and just as you’ve already dismissed the religious faith as psychology and social dynamics, I believe that even if a fire should come down from heaven in front of you, you would look for one scientific theory or name to append to it. You are no different than the Jews of Jesus’ day who, with astounding miracles before them, would go any length to prove that it just didn’t happen or perhaps it was some kind of a mirage; and their skepticism would lead them to publicly damn Him as casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub. The only sign that skeptics and educated fools of your class need is that of the French 18th century self-acclaimed atheist who died in the midst a fiery torture acknowledging that he was going to hell because of his blasphemous publications.

  • Cerbaz

    Do you not think that god could have made sure there were original copies of his word without errors.

  • Jason M

    It is very simple really. Even my 8 year old daughter can spot the many contradictions in the NT. As stated many of the mistakes are minor but some very important claims..are exposed as lies with a little basic study. How can the same alleged accounts ( story’s ) be so different and contradict each other about places dates times and even method of death ( madness ) Furthermore nobody knows who wrote the Gospels the names were added to them many many years later plus most of
    the writings are later copies of copies of copes changing language 3 times.

    Interestingly earlier Gospels than what is currently in the NT, which are signed by an author. Completely change the nature of the Yoshua Ben Yoseph ( Jesus ) and what he was about. The church fathers did not like this as it did not fit into there replacementTheology so it was classed as Heresy. Sorry it is a load of Crap.

  • Charitas

    If this discovery is authentic and the dating is validated it could greatly help in settling the question of whether the Alexandrian texts are acceptable.

    Nearly all modern Bible translations presuppose that they are the oldest therefore the best.
    If this discovery proves otherwise, millions of copyrighted Bibles may need replacing.

  • deadlock

    In my view, miracles are just made-up stories to promote a particular theological agenda, particularly among gentiles. Jesus taught about spiritual rebirth within one’s lifetime and his Kingdom is the same world we live in but seen through different eyes. Not experiencing death meant living fully the eternal moment, basically in a sort of mystical bliss. This way it’s simple and it makes sense. If you tell me that 1 + 1 = 2, I will believe you even without miracles. If you tell me that 1 + 1 = 3, you might want to add some miracle to support this idea but my bullshit meter will be on alarm.

  • deadlock

    It is amusing to base your belief on a person who admits in his own writings that he never met Jesus in person and even persecuted his followers. This makes you Paulian rather than Christian. Paul was not welcome among “true” communities, e.g. around James the Just in Jerusalem or Thomas in Syria. But his writings survived and that counts. King James Bible, although poetic, would never stand up to scholarship standards we have today.

  • Frederick Jacob Kohn

    The comment about not believing is ironic. No matter how many times the contradictions within and between the gospels is pointed out, Christians will not accept that these are human documents. People believe what they want to believe, no matter what side of the fence they are on.

    The discovery of a first century fragment is interesting to academics of course, but why should the hoi polloi care? Nobody disputes that Mark was written in the first century. Now if somebody discovered a complete gospel written on golden plates from the first century, that would be something!

  • michael

    I read these posts and worry about the world my children have to grow up in. A world that describes Jesus as simply a book. Jesus was a miracle in himself, the Bible itself is also miracle. There are miracles that take place today but because the seas do not split right when somebody thinks they should, they automatically assume “there is no God.” I personally know a girl that was born without corneal discs, her parents did not realize their daughter was blind until she was about 2 and they were furious with God. They took their daughter to a hospital for children and came to realize there were much worse things their daughter could be suffering from. They saw children with major deformities, and serious diseases. There daughter was normal, just couldn’t see. After being taken into an exam and consulting with a doctor, the doctor left for a short period to see another patient. The parents of this fell to their knees, crying, weeping and praying. They asked to lords forgiveness and it was granted. The doctor returned with test results and was furious with the little girls parents and accused them of playing a joke. The little girl is now a young lady and has 20/20 vision. So just because you do not know of any miracles, does not mean they don’t happen. It’s all about having faith. BTW the world has faith in its self and is failing. Try God and I guarantee your life will be changed.

  • Peter Ungar

    You can add one more to your list of miracles: parents who take 2 years to notice their daughter can not see.

  • life5678

    While you may have ‘loved’ Jesus for nearly 30 years, you never really got to know Him. You serve yourself and your ego. Your eyes have never been open and still are not. What you fail to understand is that it is not about YOU.

  • life5678

    You get it. hellbindercda does not.

  • life5678

    No, he would never do anything so foolish, that would defeat the purpose of us being here in the first place. You obviously don’t get it.

  • life5678

    Everyday I read about new discoveries in Israel of ancient buildings and artifacts. It’s all very interesting and exciting. I have no doubt that there are more texts to be found, perhaps even some written by His disciples. God works in mysterious ways, and His timing is always perfect.

  • Gary J Parker

    and you are a self righteous sanctimonious twit who just committed the No True Scotsman fallacy, proving the emptiness of your delusion. Your type is partly what also drove me out of the faith after thirty years. Anyone who leaves never had it in the first place? You disgust me. What you just wrote is beneath contempt.

  • Contradictions is too strong of a word for minor, non-theological differences. Using that type of over exaggerated wording usually reveals that you have a biased agenda. In this case, the conversion of Christians to the religion of Atheism.

    Christians have no problem believing that the gospels are documents written by humans. The problem here lies with your issue of not accepting the possibility of the gospels being the written account of a real man who was the Son of God.

    What does this say about you more than believers?

  • I love how Atheist put labels on arguments in order to bolster their credibility. The fact is that if Christianity is true, and we will know soon enough, then life5678’s comment is dead on. Why can’t Atheist’s comment with real facts to support their thesis? Could it be that there is no more facts to support your religion than ours? It’s all about faith, yours and mine.

  • Gary J Parker

    works both ways christard. D’you have any facts to support your deluded belief in your skydaddy? didn’t think so. ciao.

  • jon tolbert

    Jesus said the rocks would cry out!

  • Hi Gary. Again, my friend. Your comment proves my point. 🙂 Thanks for clarifying that your comment is based on your ignorance of anything substantive and your faith in a religion that is based on anything that is anti-God. Anytime that you wish to discuss the facts without calling people names and belittling their beliefs, please come back. Also, if you come looking specifically for me, please come at one of the following links.


    I am always around.

    Also, I really can’t understand how someone that has so much anger can go around happy with his existence. Poor Man!

    I know that you will object to this, but I will pray for you my friend. May God open your eyes.

  • Gary J Parker

    evidence to support your claims? nah, I didn’t think so. when you come back with anything substantive to support your beliefs in jewish zombies and so on, we’ll talk, until then, for all your arrogance, you’re simply a little child who believes in the equivalent of santa claus because he’s afraid of the dark. roflmao. funny thing about you ignorant fundies is you parrot talking points till the cows come home, but never a scrap of evidence, Your faith is laughably archaic pal.

  • You are a riot! I can’t tell whether or not you are deliberately trying to offend or it’s just an act. 🙂 LOL Regardless, again, your comments keep proving my point. With that said, my invitation to debate is still open to you. What issue do you have with my beliefs? Is it about the existence of God or the initial comment between life5678 and hellbindercda? You got to help me out if you want to actually discuss the facts, unless you are happy with just going around insulting and calling people names.

  • Gary J Parker

    facts? what facts? you have no “facts’ pal. I have a lot of issues with christianity to be honest, I was an evangelical for thirty years, so I am more than familiar with its doctrines and structures thanks. Your dogged assertion that atheism is a faith is akin to the claim that not collecting stamps is a hobby or that being cancer free is a disease. Your insistence that your particular brand of diety exists is a claim, and you will require some evidence to support it. Thus far you have failed to do so therefore there is no possibility of debate. Capiche? I am not expecting any evidence from you, because if you were actually to provide any, you would be the very first fundie to ever do so. I am exceptionally happy at having left christianity behind, primarily because it isn’t true but also because of arrogant twats like you sir, who claim that anyone who was but no longer is in allegiance to your medieval religion was never a believer in the first place, the height of sanctimonious arrogance and hubris. To be honest, there pal, your religion is dying out because, quite frankly, it isn’t at all desirable, attractive or even morally consistent. Any half decently intelligent young person who hasn’t been exposed to indoctrination would run at top speed away from such a loathsome, ethically redundant and obsolete system of half truths, lies and pseudo history such as you hold up to be truth. It’s beyond pathetic to stand here in the modern age and claim the bible is to be interpreted as history at all. Ludicrous.

  • With all due respect, I have major doubts about your claim of being an evangelical for thirty years mainly due to your lack of civility, being quick to anger and name calling. However, if you were an evangelical, it’s sad that you have sunk so low.

    As for life5678’s assertion that ones who have fallen away from the faith really didn’t get to know God in the first place is a valid point from those who do know God on an intimate level. However, I am not a supporter of the once saved, always saved crowd. I believe in the scriptural supported free will concept. If you were saved, I do believe that you removed yourself from God’s protected hand.

    As for your comment:

    “Your dogged assertion that atheism is a faith is akin to the claim that not collecting stamps is a hobby or that being cancer free is a disease.”

    You are correct in claiming that not collecting stamps is not a hobby and cancer free is not a disease. However, your insertion of those statements within your main assertion lacks the “apples to apples” requirement of a logical conclusion.

    Both a belief in God and atheism are faith based belief systems for the same reason. The is no solid scientific proof that God exists or doesn’t exist, only evidences that point to something that is beyond our time-space dimension.

    Therefore, to believe or not to believe in a God requires the same amount of faith. I assert you have a greater faith in your religion than I do. I honestly still lack the no doubt level in my faith while you obviously are a top level believer in the religion of atheism.

    Also, you ramble on about your knowledge of my “particular brand of deity”, while you have no idea of who I am and what I believe. I am not an evangelical nor do I belong to any Christian denomination. But, I am a believer in the Messiah. However, I am also willing to bet that you were presented one of the false religions that fall into mainstream Christianity today.

    Finally, may ask you why you became an evangelical in the first place?

  • Gary J Parker

    “Both a belief in God and atheism are faith based belief systems for the same reason.” This is tripe, typical for a christian muddying the waters. The facts are clear. Atheism is SIMPLY the lack of belief in gods. Your religion is a claim, you need to present evidence to prove the ridiculous claim. I need no evidence, for I am trying to prove nothing, you however, are presenting a claim without evidence. It is up to you to prove the existence of your deity, I have nothing to prove but what is before my face, a distinct lack of any compelling evidence that your particular god, above all others, exists in the first place.
    i am no longer feeling at all interested in communicating any longer here, I gain no pleasure at debating with my former religionists, it is rather tiresome going round the same circles, again and again, so I will leave things here, claim victory if you wish, it means absolutely nothing to me. We are not going to get anywhere continuing this fruitless discussion. farewell.
    regarding my deconversion, I rejected christianity simply because I could no longer believe in either the source documents or the message. I didn’t adopt any new faith, i simply rejected the one I had.

  • All one has to do is look at the universe and realize that we don’t have all the answers. As a matter of fact, only approximately 5% of the universe is known. Couple that with the undefined and unidentified influences on the universe from what is called Black Energy and Black Matter, you base your atheistic faith or no faith in God on less than a 5% sampling rate. My friend, regardless of how you put it, that is a tremendous amount of faith. At least, I have a supernatural message from my God. My mind is open to all possibilities, while yours appear to be closed. As I said before, you know where I at if you change your mind.

    As for claiming victory, I will never claim victory over the loss of your soul. I know that you won’t believe this, but I am saddened of your situation. I will pray for you and I hope one day you will pray for me. God Bless you my friend.

  • Gary J Parker

    please don’t pray for me, it is the most condescending, arrogant aspect of your religion. It is immensely insulting to me, and to all freethinkers, that you would have the audacity to feel the need to label me inadequate, lost, incomplete and a sinner. Please keep those labels for yourself, I will not wear them, you will not pray for me, you will only pray against me, for the content of your prayers will not be to wish me well, happiness or a good life, but rather that I comply to your loathsome belief system, something which i would never do. keep your prayers for yourself, as you are commanded by your god, to work out YOUR OWN salvation with fear and trembling, as for me, I’ll head to the pub and enjoy a nice refreshing ale thanks. Cheerio.

  • I apologize if you think prayers for you and others are condescending. It is not meant that way. Since you spent “30 years” in the faith, then you know that I am not only commanded to pray for and work out my salvation, but also for yours.

    “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    But you knew that since you spent all that time as a learned evangelical.

    By the way, drink an ale for me too. Thanks!

  • For some reason, this didn’t come through on this page but did come through my email. I almost didn’t notice it.

    You said:

    “Obviously, whatever word is used reveals a bias. If we call them discrepancies, that biases us towards the stance that these “conflicting ideas” are minor rather than major.”

    Totally agree that any descriptive words, especially within this subject, shows some bias. That is normal during any conversation. However, you didn’t read it properly or you deliberately ignored the point. Either way, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and not accuse you of being misleading. I said that you had a biased agenda, which is evident with your comments and others you have made. All of your comments define you.

    You also wrote:

    “Funny how you discern in my brief comment that I am an atheist trying to convert others to my religion. Christianity and Atheism are not the only religious positions in town. How do you know I am not a Buddhist, Jewish, or even a Muslim? Actually I am not any of these things. Nor am I an atheist.”

    Interesting comment. It is obvious that you don’t realize how you come across in all of your comments, at least the ones I have read. Concerning this post, you do realize that the book of Mark is a Christian book? Therefore, when you make comments like:

    “No matter how many times the contradictions within and between the gospels is pointed out, Christians will not accept that these are human documents.”

    your biased agenda against Christian beliefs is revealed. Also, all of your comments have a anti-God flavor to them. How can the reader discern anything other than you being an atheist? If I am incorrect, I apologize. You’ll have to be more clear.

    “Jesus told an interesting story about those who notice other’s biases and not their own. It involves specks and planks.”

    Ah! Written by someone who obviously and deliberately wants to be antagonistic or is ignorant of the text. I will choose the first since you appear to be somewhat knowledgeable concerning the scriptures.

    I think that you know very well that Y’shua was talking about ones who accuse others of doing the same thing that they is doing. Otherwise, don’t be a hypocrite. I accused you of using over exaggerated wording, which I do not. Also, the scriptures are quite clear that we are to point out falsehoods, even within the Body. Therefore, your attempt, at being antagonistic, falls severely short.

    With all that said and getting back to your original comment, If you have actually read the texts, you know very well that the differences within the original Greek texts are minor grammatical differences and don’t warrant wording such as contradictions to describe them. However, I will agree with you that there has been some additions that were clearly not in the original texts. These are easily identifiable and dismissed as frauds.

    I look forward to discussing other things with you in the future. God Bless You, my friend.

  • Frederick Jacob Kohn

    So is over exaggeration of contradictions/discrepancies worse than underestimation of them? You call them “minor, non-theological differences.” To use such terminology is to gloss over problems that are much larger. Typically I use the word “conflict” to describe what goes on in the Bible, but in response to the particular comment that was made about the “blindness” of unbelievers, I used a somewhat stronger word. I am not at all opposed to a kind of Christianity which is in conformity to the truth. However at the beginning of the 20th century, an insidious form of Christianity known as fundamentalism began to take hold, and its rotten fruit is now becoming ever more evident.

    Anyone who is honest knows that there are glaring conflicts in the Bible. Rather than cite specific examples, I just ask that you consider the fact that there are literally thousands of different interpretations of various passages. These arise because honest people wrestle with conflicts (or, as you call them, minor, non-theological differences) and come to contradictory ways of reconciling them.

    Fortunately there are wonderful Christian theologians who not only recognize these conflicts, but embrace them as enriching our understanding of God. You probably wouldn’t count people such as John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong, or John Shelby Spong as Christian because they reject the God of fundamentalism, who in their view (and mine) is no God, but an idol.

  • “However at the beginning of the 20th century, an insidious form of Christianity known as fundamentalism began to take hold, and its rotten fruit is now becoming ever more evident.”

    That, my friend, I agree with wholeheartedly. As a Messianic Jew, I put it back further than that. Paganism has been creeping into Christianity since the 2nd century.

    One day, I would like to discuss the discrepancies that you feel are in the scriptures.

    Until then, Shalom Aleichem!

  • Franklin Trantham

    Dear sir… I to have experience much of what you have said. But deep in my heart I still believe and still feel the Spirit within. I cannot turn to apostate.. Without the Holy Spirit the words on paper will not become LIFE… No matter if you dig up the first letter written from the Apostles.

  • Franklin Trantham

    I’ve witnessed miracles with my own eyes and have heard his voice. When he called this dumb country boy to preach the good news. It took two months for me the first month was dreams, every night! Seeing myself doing the very same, watching myself deliver the Word of God like no other. I WAS IN REVIVAL! The day he spoke to me saten made me fear, I was alive and on fire with the Spirit before. I rebelled through that fear and and was robbed of the joy and peace I had and could not reveal what the Lord told me to do. The next day I became sick with crontic sinusitis. I was miserable, and God took me on a journey so I would be completely convinced. After 30 days of suffering, a faithful servant ask me what had happened to my spirit. After long discussion I revealed the words the Lord had spoke to me. As soon as revealed the Spirit of God rushed through me and awaken the life I once had with Jesus. Then I shared with others and announced to the Church. Now hear this when I sit down for dinner that day… I smelled my food!!! I was healed from my sickness. Praise his name forever, Amen..

  • Franklin Trantham

    Jesus said the world seeks a sign, but in that day no sign will be given, except the son of man coming in the clouds..

  • Shakespeare66

    Christ does not say he was divine in any of the Scriptures…someone else says that, but he never did. There is a lot of manufacturing going on about this man….