In view of the large number of ancient New Testament Greek texts and fragments – roughly 5800 – it is inevitable that there would be many textual variants or differences among them. Bible skeptics insinuate that, because of the many variants, that the teachings of the New Testament are uncertain.
However, New Testament scholar, Daniel Wallace, is undaunted by the variants:
· “On the contrary, it [scholarship] has built it [my faith]. I’ve asked questions all my life, I’ve dug into the text, I’ve studied this thoroughly, and today I know with confidence that my trust in Jesus has been well placed…very well placed.”
Atheist/agnostic and head of the Religion Department of the University of North Carolina, Bart Ehrman, may be the leading New Testament critic today. He has made so much of the textual variants that he has become very popular among his fellow atheists who proudly cite his many books. However, even Ehrman admits:
· “Even though we [the late New Testament scholar and Princeton icon, Bruce Metzger, who had been Ehrman’s beloved mentor] may disagree on important religious questions – he is a formerly committed Christian and I am not – we are in complete agreement on a number of very important historical and textual questions. If he and I were put in a room and asked to hammer out a consensus statement on what we think the original text of the New Testament probably looked like, there would be very few points of disagreement…The position I argue for in Misquoting Jesus does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by the textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.” (Misquoting Jesus, 252)
Metzger had stated:
· “The modern New Testament is 99.5% free from textual discrepancies, with no major Christian doctrines in doubt.”
However, Ehrman had wrongly named his book Misquoting Jesus, suggesting that the Gospels must have misquoted Him. However, his above confession contradicts his chosen title.