The apologetic endeavour of the Church comes in many varieties. One indispensable area of this is the Christian case-making for the reliability of Scripture. Is my Bible trustworthy? To answer this question, Andy and Terry invited Wesley Huff to the show. Come meet Wesley, and hear how his doctoral study of the New Testament has impacted his faith.
Is My Bible Reliable?: An Interview with Wesley Huff, PhD(c)
Links & Articles
Wesley's YouTube channel
The Apologetics Books You Should (Already) Have on Your Bookshelf
by Wesley Huff
The P66 Manuscript 5D tour by Martin Bodmer Foundation
The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart D. Ehrman and Daniel B. Wallace in Dialogue edited by Robert B. Stewart
The Question Of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate by Michael J. Kruger
Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Book by Michael J. Kruger
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity by Michael J. Kruger
by Josh Leake
by Ian Post
5 thoughts on “Is My Bible Reliable?: An Interview with Wesley Huff, PhD(c)”
My husband and I listen to your podcasts often. Roadtripping at the moment. With the 0.25% of errors in the translation of the bible that Wesley says, what would be some examples? Bart says that there were 400,000. After grammar errors and spelling, according to Wesley, that still leaves 1,000 errors.
Great question! Those .25% are the variants that are considered meaningful and viable (see my distinction of the different kinds of textual variants here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OGiTAF1OTM&t=2350). You could actually find some examples in the footnotes of your modern English translations in places like John 5:4 or John 8:1-11.
Let me give you a couple specific examples. There’s a textual variant at Mark 1:41, where it says that Jesus either “moved with compassion” or he “was angry.” This in English looks very different but in the Greek its the difference between the words σπλαγχνισθεὶς (splagnistheis – moved with compassion) or οργισθεις (orgistheis – was angry). The words are very similar and sound virtually the same, so it is easily understood where a mix up could happen. I believe the NIV takes the “angry” reading and all the other modern translations take the “compassion” reading. The example I give in the talk I give (that I linked earlier) is 1 Thess. 2:7 with the reading of either “we were like young children among you,” or, “we were gentle among you.” In Greek its the difference between ἤπιοι (eipioi – gentle) and νἤπιοι (neipioi – children). This one is even closer because it’s the difference between a single letter, the Greek letter n (ν). I believe the NIV and NET take the “children” reading where as the NASB and ESV take the “gentle” reading.
They key is this: it is always the difference between one or the other. It is never the case where we have no idea what the word(ing) is. It is always something to the effect of “children” verses “gentle,” and textual scholars and translation committees weigh whether they believe it is one or the other. The text in the case of that .25% is not lost or missing.
P.S. If you were to buy a Greek New Testament, say the United Bible Society’s and the Nestle Aland Greek publications, you would see the text on the top and then a list of all the variants that effect translation in the bottom. That bottom section is called the textual apparatus. But as I said before, translation committees who feel there are variants necessary for the modern reader will put a citation and have a note at the bottom of the page.
Andy, Terry, Steve:
Your podcast has been one of my weekly “go-tos” for the past couple years, after I learned about it while attending the AC Conference that headlined J. Warner Wallace. Consider me a faithful listener and appreciative of the importance of AC and its mission.
I loved the episode with Wesley Huff–his enthusiasm really comes through. Have him on again! Would you also consider having a guest that can speak to Old Testament reliability? Perhaps I’m incorrect, but I often feel that the OT gets attacked by atheists and agnostics more than the NT does. After all, if one can throw suspicion on the scripture that Jesus had, it would cast suspicion on the characters central to the NT. Even though I don’t hold this view, I would love to learn more from an expert apologist about OT reliability (transmission, dating, historicity, etc.).
Thank you for those kind words. We are always grateful for encouragement from our listeners.
You bring up a good point. When we talk about the reliability of Scripture, we often talk about the NT. We’ll look into some interview options for a future podcast episode. In the meantime, let me recommend some resources to you:
On the Reliability of the Old Testament by Kenneth Kitchen
Is the Old Testament Historically Reliable? by Steven Collins
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