There were also minor changes made by literate scribes centuries after the manuscripts were written because of what they decided were flaws in the accounts they were recopying.For example, an early version of Luke in the New Testament said, “John answered, saying to all of them.…” The problem was that no one had asked John anything, so a fifth century scribe fixed that by changing the words to “John, knowing what they were thinking, said.…” Today, most modern English Bibles have returned to the correct, yet confusing, “John answered.” Others, such as the New Life Version Bible, use other words that paper over the inconsistency.
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The Pharisees ask Jesus whether the woman should be released or killed, hoping to force him to choose between honoring Mosaic Law and his teachings of forgiveness.
Jesus replies, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.’’ The group leaves, and Jesus tells the woman to sin no more. It does not appear in any of the three other Gospels or in any of the early Greek versions of John.
They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals.
They fall on their knees, worshipping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school.
Climate change is said to be impossible because of promises God made to Noah; Mosaic law from the Old Testament directs American government; creationism should be taught in schools; helping Syrians resist chemical weapons attacks is a sign of the end times—all of these arguments have been advanced by modern evangelical politicians and their brethren, yet none of them are supported in the Scriptures as they were originally written.
The Bible is not the book many American fundamentalists and political opportunists think it is, or more precisely, what they want it to be.But in the past 100 years or so, tens of thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament have been discovered, dating back centuries.And what biblical scholars now know is that later versions of the books differ significantly from earlier ones—in fact, even copies from the same time periods differ from each other.This examination—based in large part on the works of scores of theologians and scholars, some of which dates back centuries—is a review of the Bible’s history and a recounting of its words. In other words, some 1,500 years passed between the day the first biblical author put stick to clay and when the books that would become the New Testament were chosen.It is only through accepting where the Bible comes from— and who put it together—that anyone can comprehend what history’s most important book says and, just as important, what it does not say. There were no printing presses beforehand or until 1,000 years later.Scribes added whole sections of the New Testament, and removed words and sentences that contradicted emerging orthodox beliefs.