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Bible-The word of God

In any debate or discussion with Muslims, you will find that they either start with or end up by saying "your Bible has been changed"!

Muslims, surprisingly are called to believe in Allah's Books which include the Torah (Law of Moses), the Zaboor (Psalms of David) and the Injeel (the Gospel of Jesus) according to Sura 2:136 and Sura 4:136. But they are also told that previous scriptures were corrupted by their followers and the original message does not remain in this world. 

So here is a simple reply. 

But before that, we need to differentiate what Muslims and Christians believe about written Revelation. Muslims believe that their Holy Book, Qur'an, word by word came down from Heaven and their Prophet Mohammad narrated it as it was recited to him. So for them, God's word is Allah's dictation. 

But Christians have another concept of Revelation. We believe that God inspired His men who wrote The Message in their own language and their own cultural context. So we believe that message of God was conveyed through human language and experience. Hence any Christian scholar referring to a "human element" of the Bible is not saying that Bible was made up by humans, rather, he is affirming what I wrote above. The Bible itself testifies to this fact.

All Christians ascribe dual authorship to the Bible. God and and the writers themselves:

2 Timothy 3:16

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness"

2 Peter 1

20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets,  though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 

So we should keep this definition in mind when we study the Bible. 
To begin our discussion, let us look at what the Qur'an says about the Bible, because it is the followers of the same book who bring up the charge of corruption.

The Qur'an says that the Bible was revealed as a guide for mankind:
Sura 3:3-4

He hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture with truth, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, even as He revealed the Torah and the Gospel. 

Aforetime, for a guidance to mankind; and hath revealed the Criterion (of right and wrong). Lo! those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, theirs will be a heavy doom. Allah is Mighty, Able to Requite (the wrong). 

The Qur'an also uses the same words, "Al dhikr" (the reminder) and "Al furqan" (the distinction), for the previous revelation as it uses for itself

Sura 21:48
And We verily gave Moses and Aaron the Criterion (of right and wrong) and a light and a Reminder for those who keep from evil, 

Sura 16:43
And We sent not (as Our messengers) before thee other than men whom We inspired - Ask the followers of the Remembrance (Al Dikhr) if ye know not

The Qur'an goes as far as to say if anyone is in doubt concerning the Qur'an, he should ask the Christians & Jews:

Sura 16:43
And We sent not (as Our messengers) before thee other than men whom We inspired - Ask the followers of the Remembrance if ye know not

Sura 10:94
And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. 

Sura 21:7
And We sent not (as Our messengers) before thee other than men, whom We inspired.  Ask the followers of the Reminder if ye know not?
Why would God command the Prophet Mohammad to ask the people of the book if their Scriptures were changed? Furthermore, the Qur'an itself says that Jews and Christians should judge by their own scriptures (sura 5:44-47). Why would God state this if the previous Books were changed?

Moreover, the Qur'an says that itself is guarding the previous books in safety!

Sura 5:48
And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth,  confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it.  So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ. 

How can Muslims say that the Bible has been changed when the Qur'an itself is watching over it?

Some other translations (Yusuf Ali, Hilali Khan, Arberry etc) say that the Qur'an is a "guardian" over the previous scriptures. 

Secondly, the Qur'an has confirmed the previous Books. To confirm something by definition is to accept its authority. Therefore, the Qur'an accepts the authority of the Scriptures. 

Another word which the Qur'an uses in relation to Scriptures is the word believe (2:136). Again, what does it mean? To believe something means to accept it as true. The literal meaning of this verse should be enough to convince Muslims the authority of the Bible. 

Finally the Qur'an clearly states that no one can change the Words of God:

Sura 10:64
Theirs are good tidings in the life of the world and in the Hereafter - There is no changing the Words of Allah - that is the Supreme Triumph

So how can a Muslim, believing in the Bible as the Word of God, can actually say that It has been changed?. Even if the Muslims claim that this verse is only for the Qur'an, then what kind of God does it make Allah? One who guards His one Book and leaves three to be corrupted?

This does not make sense, for how can the Word of a God who, according to Muslims has been preserving a Book for 14 centuries, failed to guard His previous revelations?
In fact here is my open challenge to any Muslim. Show me a single explicit or direct statement in the complete Qur'an where it says:

"THE TEXT OF THE PREVIOUS BOOKS IS CORRUPTED AND THE ORIGINAL MESSAGE LOST". 

Till then, a Muslims should not say that the Bible is corrupted. 

Now I will give some strong arguments for the Authority of the Bible. 

Number 1 is the miraculous unity of the Holy Bible. 

The Bible is a collection of 66 books, written over a period of over 1500 hundred years by more than 40 different people with different backgrounds and most of the time they had no connection between themselves, in three languages and a variety of locations. 

Yet the Bible shows a continuing theme from start to finish, a story with a beginning, the middle and the ending from Genesis (the creation) to Revelation (the Prophecies of the End Times). Try reading it and you will notice a remarkable consistency throughout. All this proves that there was an intelligent mind behind the writing of the Bible, which is God himself. 

Number 2 is the overwhelming amount to fulfilled prophecies in the Bible. These include prophecies about individuals and nations. For example, Daniel chapters 2 and 7 predict the rise and fall of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome 100s of years before these kingdoms came into existence. 

Moreover, the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus Christ more than 300 times! It mentions his lineage, the place of His birth and various important events of His life. 

On these prophecies, Peter Stoner in his book "Science Speaks", states about the probability of one man fulfilling just 8 of these prophecies:

, ‘we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10^17. 

we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man. "

Wow! Further, on fulfillment of 48 prophecies, he states:

"We find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10^157. 

The estimated number of electrons in the universe is around 10^79! So this proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Bible is God's Word.  

Now let’s go the third argument, which is the influence of the Bible on the world. This Book has moved thousands of people throughout the world through its teachings such the 10 Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. Today the Bible has been translated in around 2500 languages and has reached to all corners of the world (as predicted by Jesus himself in Acts 1:8Matthew 8:11). 

Just about the Gospel of John, Bruce Milne in "The Message of John" writes:

"John's gospel has had an incalculable impact on human history. Its pages contain a moral and spiritual potency which, over the centuries, has transformed communities, brought about political change and remade human character on a scale without precedent"

John Stott while commenting on what the New Testament says about slavery in the context of the 1st century Roman rule says :

"The social effects of the Gospel were explosive" (Understanding the Bible pg 132)

The Bible still is the most read book in the world, the most criticized book and the Book that has been successful to change the most number of people in the world. 

The final argument to prove that God Inspired the Bible is that Bible itself claims to be Authoritative. This has to do more with Belief than with argumentation, but for Christians, the Bible gives itself Authority. 

For example, Moses said he had received the law from God. The prophets introduced their oracles with formulae like "Thus says the Lord" or "The word of the came to me, saying'. And the apostles could write such statements as this one from Paul. . . . (1 Thess 2:13)

(Understanding the Bible, John Stott pg 143-144). 

He further states:

The biblical authors also made similar claims for each other. We find in Scripture an elaborate pattern of cross-authorization (emphasis mine)For example, the
prophets endorsed the law, and the psalmists extolled its truth, beauty and sweetness (e. g Psalms 19, 119). Above all, the New Testament confirms the Old, the apostolic authors drawing from it a rich variety of quotations as divine warrant for what they were writing. 

He also mentions 2 Peter 3:15-16 where Peter states that Paul's writings equal to that of Scriptures. 

Lastly, for Christians as well for Muslims, it should be a strong reason to believe in the Bible that Jesus Himself believed in it (Matthew 5:17-20Matthew 24:35). 

Now I will give arguments as to why it is absurd to believe that the text may have been corrupted with the original message lost. 

  • There are more than 25000 manuscripts of the New Testament.  Almost 5300 in Greek, 10,000 in Latin and 15000 in other languages. The 2nd in number for manuscript authority in all of history is the Greek poet Homer's "Iliad" with about 630! Manuscripts are hand-written copies.
  • Many of these manuscripts date from between AD200 and AD300, and even earlier.
  • Julius Caesar wrote in first century BC, and less than a dozen manuscripts of his work now survive-the oldest of which was produced around AD800-900, almost a 1, 000 years after his time. Tacitus was a Latin author living towards the end of the first century AD, most of his work is completely lost, and only two manuscripts survive-copies made in the ninth and eleventh centuries AD! (Introducing the New Testament).
  • The time between the events and their recording is almost nil for the New Testament compared to other ancient writings which are considered authentic.  For example, the biography of Alexander the Great was written 400 after his death.
  • Compare this with the New Testament. Jesus left the earth about 33 A. D and the whole New Testament was written before A. D 100, only a 60 year gap!
  • There are quotations of the Church Father up to the 4th century A. D.
  • The New Testament, even with the presence of variants is 99. 5% authentic! Variants are differences between different manuscripts.
  • Till the last century, the oldest manuscript of the Hebrew Old Testament was the Masoretic text from 875 A. D. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 in the Qumran Cave near the Dead Sea. Among them was a scroll of Isaiah dated 100-150 years before Christ. It was 95% similar, with only a few spelling mistakes.


Moreover, when one reads the Bible, he can find a lot of embarrassing stuff which could have been easily removed had the Jews and Christians where tampering with text. For example, prophets were committing grave sins and the disciples of Jesus running from Him at the time of His arrest. 

Why would Jews themselves write that we made a calf to worship while Moses was gone? Does it make sense?

The very existence of statements such as Jesus, whom we consider to be God, not knowing the date of Judgment day (Matthew 24:36) shows there was no alteration being done in the Bible. 

Finally, Muslims don't have any evidence for the corruption of the Bible that can be displayed in a court of Law. For example, Muslims believe that the Qur'an was revealed and they can testify as to who revealed it, where was it revealed or when was it revealed. 

Same is true for most, if not all events in history. We can answer these questions of who, how, when, where et cetera? 

But . . . . . . . . . . do we know "who" corrupted the Bible? Do we know, "when" was it corrupted?. Or "where" was it corrupted? NO!

We don't have clear answers even after the countless arguments of contradictions, textual variants etc. All this adds up to prove that Muslims are actually wrong in believing that the Bible has been corrupted. 

Think about it,
God Bless You.

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