If the Bible was written thousands of years, and copied and re-copied again and again, how can we know for sure that what it says is what its original authors intended? This is an important question, and one we’ll explore together as we discuss the preservation of Scripture.
Christians believe that, just as God inspired His Word to be written, He has acted providentially throughout history to ensure the biblical text would be faithfully preserved for future generations.
This belief is based on the many examples of God’s providential acts in Scripture, such as in God’s preservation of His people in the book of Esther, and in His use of Jacob’s sons’ bitterness against their brother, Joseph, to send him to Egypt and ultimately preserve the family.
It’s also supported by investigation into the history of the Bible itself. From the earliest days of the church, there has been little disagreement about which books belong in in the Bible. There are more manuscripts, either in part or in whole, of the New Testament writings than any other ancient writings, and among those, scholars have found that they are almost completely in agreement. In fact, where disagreement exists, it does not affect any significant belief or doctrine.
What this means is that we have good reason to believe the Bible we read today contains the same message that its original authors wrote down, and is the same message that Christians have been reading for 2000 years: the story of God’s plan to rescue and redeem sinners through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.