The only case that can diminish the reliability of the New Testament documents is a case based on "convenient" half-truths.
November 22, 2014
I finished reading Timothy Paul Jones' Misquoting Truth a while back, Jones is quite gracious in his comments concerning Bart Ehrman and even expresses gratitude to him for bringing issues of textual criticism to the forefront. Jones is obviously conversant with the scholarship of textual criticism, familiar with the manuscript evidence, and knowledgable on the formation of the canon. On top of that he communicates in a way that is quite understandable (even to readers who have little knowledge of these fields of study) and he also throws in quite a bit of humor throughout the book. Additionally the author also gives a personal note on his own struggle with these issues as a college student and his pursuit of suitable answers to his intellectual questions concerning the veracity of the Christian faith.
I will not give an overview of each aspects of the book but just give a few comments where I think the author made a compelling case. The author shows through numerous examples how that the textual variants do not change any doctrines of the Christian faith, in fact the overwhelming majority of variants are very insignificant. Also the author's case for the traditional authorship for the gospels being written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John was strong (as it should be because the historic evidence overwhelmingly points to that). I found helpful Jones' point that although Ehrham is correct in saying there are different wordings of attribution of authorship in various ancient manuscripts there was unanimity in those manuscripts (i.e. those which included information on authorship) that the gospel of Matthew was authored by Matthew, Mark by Mark, Luke by Luke, and John by John, that, along with the early Church fathers (starting from the first century) attributing the authorship of the gospels to these traditional authors is compelling historical evidence. There are indeed eye-witness testimonies to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ recorded in the New Testament. Also the author's handling of how the New Testament was formed was well done. The majority of the twenty-seven New Testament books were used by the early Christians (the Muratorian Canon - aprox. AD 160 makes this clear). Also the early Church scrutinized the books they accepted for use, making sure that only those that were apostolic (i.e. either written by an Apostle or an associate of an Apostle) and that were in keeping with doctrinal orthodoxy (i.e. what was already known from the Apostle's teachings) were accepted as canonical, the Church made sure they accepted books based on the Apostles' eye-witness testimony of Christ and rejected the gnostic "gospels" and books falsely attributed to the Apostles.
Overall the author counters the negative spin and half-truths imposed on the discipline of textual criticism and provides facts that are conveniently left out and draws a clearer picture to show that this field of study in no way hampers belief that we have reliable reproductions of the New Testament writings. As the author points out only a wrong, ill-informed faith of how we got our Bible (something akin to it being dropped out of the sky) can be hurt from the scholarship of textual criticism, in fact the more we know about this discipline and the more manuscripts that are discovered only reenforces the fact that the Bible is by far the best attested literature from antiquity and that we do in fact have a very reliable reproduction of the original.
A criticism I do have for the author is that he seemed quite hesitant in asserting the overwhelming case for the integrity of the New Testament documents (maybe being concerned to not overstate the case?), the evidence is disproportionally in favor that we have of a very reliable Bible (an accurate reproduction of the autographs), it is when only half the story is told and important facts left out that people can be convinced otherwise.
excellent book for the price. so much has been made of Ehrmans supposedly devastating arguments against the authenticity and trustworthiness of the Bible. This book takes each of his major arguments and clearly and convincingly reduces them to the biased, presumptuous arguments that they are. Great weapon for those witnessing to current or recent college graduates that ran into these claims while in school. Can't recommend it enough
This is about the 3-4th book I own that claims to refute Bart Ehrman's work. This book is the only one I have finish because the others were written by technical-minded textual critics. If you have ever taken an advanced accounting course, you are aware how CPA's like texual critics forget how to communicate in everyday terms. Not this book. It is a fast read and quite understandable.
-Concise, effective & informative
-Strong apologetics arguments
-Favorite part is that Author encourages that you open your Bible and follow the chapter that discusses Erhman's controversial passages. Needless to say, the ESV stood the test--not one point, let me repeat, not one contention causes any doctrinal concern.
-In dating the Gospels, the author concedes a later dating. Still effective, but most active and world renown apologists such was W.L. Craig, Norman Giesler, Frank Turek, Greg Koukl effectively argue for an early dating of the Gospels.
This was fabulous - a brilliantly presented debunking of Bart Ehrman's poorly thought-out MISQUOTING JESUS and Ehrman's basic apostasy regarding Jesus and His Word. Jones answers very specific and legitimate questions regarding the Book of all books! Well researched and extremely readable presentation. Thanks for a great book!