Has the Bible been changed?

Has the Bible been changed?

Many Muslim are taught that the Christian Scriptures have been changed. But have you thought about how serious this claim is? Who changed it? When? Why? What did they change? These are important questions. No one has yet provided an answer, but people still say it has been changed. It is no good saying that wherever the Bible disagrees with something you believe it must have been changed. Did an individual Christian make changes? Was there a conspiracy that led to it being changed? The answer is “No!” Think it through. Consider the following reasons.

1. Christians are aware of God’s severe warning to anyone who adds or takes away from the Bible.

Christians love their Holy Scriptures and would never let anyone change them. The Bible warns that those who try to change God’s Word will be severely punished. A long time ago God spoke through Moses (in the Tawrat) commanding, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you”(Tawrat, Deuteronomy 4:2).

When the last book of the Bible was written, God said through the apostle John, “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. And If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the book of life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”(Revelation 22:18-19).

No believer would dare to change God’s Word.

2. The number of Bibles

The original manuscripts were reproduced very carefully. Whenever a new copy was made, it was strictly checked. Many reproductions of the original manuscripts existed. The Christians of the first and second centuries took or sent copies all over the Roman Empire. If someone had wanted to change the Bible they would have had to gather all those copies of the original and change every one. Even if one copy had been changed, people who owned the true copies would have noticed and condemned it.

3. Muslim scholars and the Qur’an

No one attacked or questioned the genuineness of the Bible until A.D. 1046 (over 400 years after Muhammad died). He said that the Bible had been corrupted and falsified. This accusation was made to defend Islam against Christianity because the Qur’an had a different message to the Bible. His argument was not based on any evidence.[1] He reasoned that “If we prove the falsehood of (the Christians) books, they lose the arguments they take from them.”[2] This led him to teach that, “the Christians lost the revealed Gospel except for a few traces which God has left intact as argument against them.”[3]

No evidence has ever been provided by anyone making this accusation. We are expected to accept it as true just because the Bible says one thing and the Qu’ran says another.

4. An impossible conspiracy

Christians and Jews have never met to agree to alter Holy Scripture. The truth is that the Jews safeguard the text of the Old Testament and they have major doctrinal differences with Christians, especially about who Jesus is and what happened when He died on the cross.

The Jews of 2000 years ago also would not want to add anything about Jesus to their Scriptures. They were waiting for the Messiah, but they wanted a great political leader who would deliver them from Roman domination. They forgot that their own Scriptures promised a Messiah who would sacrifice Himself to save them from the power of sin. Why would they allow anyone to add prophecies about a coming Saviour who would die for sinners?

One part of Scripture those Jews would have changed, (if they dared to do so) is the prophecy of Isaiah 53 for example. This was written nearly 800 years before the Messiah was born. Click here to read it.

5. The number of ancient manuscripts

Early Muslim scholars thought the Bible that existed in their time was genuine. Any document from before the 7th century must therefore be considered unchanged. Manuscripts of the Tawrat, Zabur and Injil, (the Old and New Testaments) dating back to several hundred years before the rise of Islam, are displayed in well-known museums across the world. Anyone can compare them with the Bible that we have today and see that it has not been corrupted. There are also thousands of other ancient manuscripts which contain quotations from the Bible, or part of the Bible. These all confirm the integrity of the text Christians use to this day.

6. The unity of the message

The Bible has one great story running from beginning to end. The Tawrat, the Zabur and the Injil are all about Christ and how God planned to sort out our problem of sin. All the prophets of the Old Testament talked about the Messiah, the Saviour who would come to offer Himself and save sinners. The New Testament talks about the fact that that promised Saviour has come. It shows that He was none other than Jesus.

If someone had changed part of the Bible it would contain contradictions, but it has none. We can trust the Bible to be what it says it is:  the Word of God.

7. God guards His Word.

Any accusation that the Bible has been changed raises serious questions which demand answers from any Muslim who makes this claim.

  • If the Bible is God’s Word, how can man change it?
  • Isn’t God able to protect His Word from being changed?
  • Since the Bible is God’s Word, who are we accusing when we say it has been changed? Are we not accusing God Himself by saying He was not able to protect it from being changed?
  • Who changed the Bible?
  • Which parts were changed, when was it changed, and for what reason?

The Bible is the Word of God. God who created everything, the Almighty, who knows everything, is the Author of the Bible. Because He is God, He is able to protect His Word from corruption and change. Here is what He says in the Psalms of David, “Forever O Lord, Your Word is settled in Heaven” (Psalm 119:89). The prophet Isaiah said, “The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. ” (Matthew 5:18) Later he also said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will by no means pass away.” (Matthew 24:35).

God’s Holy Word (Tawrat, Zabur, the writing of the Prophets and Injil) is eternal. God would never permit His everlasting Word to be changed. God has kept this promise throughout the centuries. It is unthinkable to imagine that man could change the very Word spoken by God. It is a blasphemy to say that the Bible has been changed because by saying this, you make two horrible accusations towards God – First that God is a liar for not keeping His promise; and secondly that God is not God since He was unable to keep His Holy Word. It would mean that man is greater than God. If God was not able to protect His Word, then He is not God!

8. What about different translations?

The original Bible was written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. Many manuscripts of the Holy Bible still exist in these languages. However, God wanted everyone in the world to be able to read His Word. The Bible has therefore been translated into different languages. As languages change those translations need updating but every translation must agree with the ancient manuscripts. If it does not, it is not accepted. The Jehovah’s witness’ translation, for example, is not an accurate translation of those documents. That is why Christians everywhere strictly condemn what they have done. One day God will judge them for it.

What is your answer?

The Bible is a message from God to sinful people. In it, God is calling us to have a relationship with Himself. But how is it possible for me, a sinner, to come close to the Holy God? In the Bible, God reveals to us His plan of salvation. That’s why Christians believe that there is no power that can change God’s Word.

Because the Bible we have today is true then we should not ignore it. We should read and obey God’s Holy Scriptures, accepting them as His pure Word, “which is able to save your soul” (James 1:21). The Bible’s message is that, though we are sinful in thought, word and action, God has provided a solution. He sent Jesus as our Substitute. Jesus our Saviour lived the perfect life that we should have lived, and then He died the death that we deserve to die. He died to bear the punishment for our wrongdoing. His death satisfied the justice and love of God. By trusting in what Jesus has done for us, we can know that our sins have been forgiven. Our relationship with our Creator will be restored. God will give us a new heart and help us to live increasingly as we ought to live.

=====================================================

(Amin: Please leave these footnotes as they are in English script)

[1] I. DI MATTEO, `Il “takhrif” od alterazione della Bibbia secondo i musulmani’, Bessarione 38 (1922) 64-111; 223-260; `Le preteze contradizzioni della S. Scrittura secondo Ibn-Hazm’, Bessarione 39 (1923) 77-127, E. FRITSCH, op. cit., p. 66.

[2] IBN HAZM, Kitab al-fasl fi’l-milah wa’l ahwa’l nikhal, II,6; E. FRITSCH, op cit., p.55.

[3] IBN HAZM, ibid.; E. FRITSCH, op. cit, p. 64.

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