Here's a Bird Dropping
I am currently enrolled in New Testament Introduction taught by Prof. David Farnell. In this class we take an indepth look at the origins of the christian New Testament. The 27 books, commonly refered to as the New Testament didn't just drop out of the sky (like the Mormon Golden Tablets). Nor are they a supersitious text in the way the Ancient Hebrews look that their Torah. They are a cognitive, rational set of books that contain propositional truth upon which the Christian bases is understanding of Spiritual things. This to say that the New Testament is a very human book full of names, dates, places and events. It records everything from weddings to funerals without so much as ever hinting that it is recording nothing other than historical fact. Amongst such narrative are the raw and true to life records of people- both in their nobles and highest expression as well as in their darked and most debased behavior. Again the texts of the New Testament do this without so much as batting an eyelash at the idea of being unhistorical. Then we also read of amazing acts, like men being raised from the dead, healings of ill persons, the uniquivical forgiving of sin and much more. Again all of this is done with the pure essence of integrity from the writers point of view- they produce narrative that is in place like reading a New York Times article.
These records have been passed through the ages on reed paper, shards pottery, crude writing surfaces, and the such. Amazingly today there are literally thousands of ancient documents that have survived the ravages of time and point back to the original text as it was written over 2000 years ago. Amazingly it is possible for you or I to purchase a Greek New Testament and read in the footnotes where all the information came from to put the text together. A book that is that old had the potential to undergo a lot of changes but one thing is consistent- what the text said in 2nd century AD was discovered to be accurate to the ancient text as more and more manuscripts were dug up from the past.
So what's the point? The New Testament you hold in you hand- if it's translation team determined to stick to what the original Greek meant- is in essence the same text that believers read from 2000 years ago. In a day and age when everyone questions the historicity of the New Testament this give us pause for thought. Esspecially when you consider that some of the most widely circulated poems of antiquity- the works of Homer- are only backed by a couple of ancient manuscripts and these were written well after the time of Homer. If were keeping score Homer 2 the New Testament 2000+. Even if I set my Christian prejudice aside, you have to consider the objective facts and those facts seem to plainly speak that the New Testament is a very historical book with roots and literature incomparable to any other ancient writings. At least this might cause those who have glibly cast aside the 27 books to look anew at the New Testament. If you'll let the evidence and the text speak plainly for itself you will find things much more amazing than the history of antiquity.
A historical text with historical roots records historical events- the greatest of which is that a man sent by God, who was also fully God came to live with us that he might know us and love us- and die for us- so that the guilt of sin could be taken from us. I'd be the first to admit that it's a crazy thought but Jesus came to earth for me and you to do something amazing to make those who follow him right with God. Now if the events are historical and the text is historical isn't it plausible that the message it contains is true and historical as well? Pray that God will open your eyes to this simple truth that if you will humbly come to Christ and renounce your sin- you will be made right with God. This is nothing that works can accomplish and this is something no other religion can promise. It is God's love that he invites us to approach him through Jesus for forgiveness of our sins. We can argue about what this means but you can't argue that this is the message contained in the historical books of the New Testament.
Here's a Bird Dropping