What is the most foundational pursuit?

  • To love, seek, and do what is true.
  • John 3:16-21
  • John 4:1

Culture of truth

  • Context of truth is universal.
  • Truth is loved, sought, held to
  • Encourage honest discussions
  • Questions answered with truth in a spirit of love
  • Never settle
  • All levels of seekers welcome
  • Spread culture to all spheres of influence


  • How do you teach someone the gospel if they don’t believe there is a God or the Bible is His word?
  • What evidence convinces you the Bible is from God and that there is a God?
  • What evidence is there that the texts are the words of God and have been copied accurately?

How were the Bible texts originally composed?

  • Hebrews 1:1-2 – Transmission history of about 1000 years (1000 years for the Old Testament, 50 years for the New Testament).
  • How?
    • God speaking to us through prophets, Jesus, and apostles.

Composition of the Old Testament

  • Purpose of the New Testament
  • Ten commandments – Exodus 31:32, 34; Deuteronomy 10
  • Moses wrote the words of the law in a book.
  • The “law of Moses” became a formal law.
  • Torah (first 5 books)
  • Historical books – 1, 2 Samuel, 1, 2 Kings, 1, 2 Chronicles
  • The proverbs
  • The psalms
  • Writings of the prophets

Composition of the New Testament

  • Christians did not have a compiled New Testament for about 400 years after Jesus’ time.
  • At first, the gospel spread orally.
  • Move from oral to written transmission follows the needs of the church
  • Period of composition: 30s AD to just before the end of the first century
  • Authors: primarily apostles
  • Purpose of the writings

The “Original Bible”

  • Production of the autographs was recorded in the Bible.

  • The Old Testament and New Testament both state they were inspired by God

    • I Chronicles 28:19

    • Jeremiah 21:1; 36:1-2

    • II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 3:15-16

  • Why don’t we have the originals?

    • Original materials wore out.

Witnesses to the Old Testament text

Greater weight:

Primary sources; Copies of ancient Hebrew manuscripts

Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic text

Secondary sources; Versions: ancient translations into other languages

Septuagint; Latin vulgate

Tertiary sources: Paraphrase of the Hebrew text

Lesser weight:

Quaternary sources: Quotations of the Hebrew text in Greek

Dead Sea Scrolls

  • Probably produced in Hasmonean period (152-63 B.C.) and early Roman period (63 B.C. – 68 A.D.).

Witnesses to New Testament text

Greater weight


Written in Greek

To date, 5745 known manuscripts.

New Testament versions

Translations into other languages

15,000-20,000 such documents, ranging in date from 3rd to 16th centuries AD

Lesser weight


Citations of the New Testament in sermons, commentaries, letters, etc.

Over 1 million known citations, ranging in date from 1st to 13th centuries AD

Textual criticism

  • Process of diligent appraisal and comparison of texts.

Recovering the Old Testament text

  • Two basic steps:

    • Look at Masoretic text

    • Compare Dead Sea Scrolls

Recovering the New Testament text

  • Compare available manuscripts

Reference materials


  • III John 1:1-4