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CNN: “Oldest Known Bible Goes Online” The world’s oldest known Bible: should it disturb Christians?
CNN reports on the launch of an online version for the world’s oldest Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus, discovered in the nineteenth century in Egypt and including several Apocryphal books. The report also notes that “the New Testament books are in a different order, and include numerous handwritten corrections—some made as much as 800 years after the texts were written.” An older BBC News article on the codex explains:
Such a description suggests that this ancient manuscript shows our modern Bible to be a fraud.
The Codex—and other early manuscripts—omit some mentions of ascension of Jesus into heaven, and key references to the Resurrection, which the Archbishop of Canterbury has said is essential for Christian belief.
Other differences concern how Jesus behaved. In one passage of the Codex, Jesus is said to be “angry” as he healed a leper, whereas the modern text records him as healing with “compassion.”
Also missing is the story of the woman taken in adultery and about to be stoned—until Jesus rebuked the Pharisees (a Jewish sect), inviting anyone without sin to cast the first stone.
Nor are there words of forgiveness from the cross. Jesus does not say “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Such a description suggests that this ancient manuscript shows our modern Bible to be a fraud, with all the miracles of Jesus and His claims to be Messiah mysteriously missing. But consider the alternative view:
Ultimately, believers and unbelievers alike are faced with a key question, “Who would die for a lie?” And if all the supernatural doctrines of Christianity were introduced after the fact (as some skeptics believe), why do the earliest manuscripts not omit all references to Christ’s deity, the miracles, the Resurrection, etc.? The Codex Sinaiticus is an interesting insight into early church history, and while it reminds us of the important role copyists and others played in preserving God’s Word, its age and similarity to today’s translation confirm, rather than dispute, the Bible’s accuracy.
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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.