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New Testament ReliabilityThe Original Language

The New Testament consists of 2 separate books, most of which were initially penned as letters to the early Christian churches. All of them were written in Greek, which was the international language throughout the eastern half of the Roman empire, even in Rome itself. Greek was used as a second language even by ordinary people in Palestine, once part of the empire of Alexander the Great.

It is significant that all of the early writings are in Greek, particularly when we consider that nearly all of the writings from the Dead Sea caves, produced by the Qumram community at about the same time, are in Hebrew. Neither of these was the language of the people, which was Aramaic, of the same family of languages as Hebrew. Jesus spoke Aramaic, but of course He did not personally write any of the books of the Bible.


The New Testament, therefore, was originally composed in the Greek language. Before the invention of the printing press, books were copied by hand, and a handwritten book was known as a manuscript. There are more than 5,000 manuscripts still in existence that contain all or part of the New Testament. Although none of the originals are known to exist, there are some very early copies. The New Testament was written from about A.D. 50 to A.D. 90, and the earliest fragment dates to about A.D. 120.

This may seem like a long time, but it isn't really. The earliest copy of Caesar's The Gallic Wars was made a thousand years after the author penned the work, and the earliest copy of the Odyssey by Homer was made 2,200 years after it was written.

F.F. Bruce observes, The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning.

He also states that, if the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.













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