Is the New Testament Reliable? ©


By Brachah Rivkah R.

Classmate Of Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk


One of my first questions was to the validity of the New Testament.

I have read many of the recent books published saying that the New Testament is true and valid but what does not come across and where my questions remained was to the autographs and as I understand it, it is these that are supposed to be the original documents.  If the autographs are extant – unavailable then what am I basing my belief on?  Could I continue to believe in a text that cannot be substantiated?


The term canon comes from a Greek word that means measuring rod or straight edge.  It came to refer to a standard and then to a standard collection of writings.

So on this basis the New Testament is referred to as the Canon.

The following reference reveals the evolution of this Canon.


The creation of the New Testament did not occur until the late 4th century.

Around 100 there were different parts being passed around but no clear definition existed.  By 200 the Muratorian Canon was used by the church at Rome.  By 250 the canon used was put together by Origen.  By 300 the canon used was put together by Eusebius.  Finally by 400 the New Testament was fixed for the West by the Council of Carthage.[1]


Jerome (340 – 420) was one of the early church fathers. He is remembered as the great Roman Catholic biblical scholar and translator of the Latin Vulgate.

He was heavily influenced by Origen and copied many of his works.  We find the first mention of Jerome and his work in


JeromeŐs work was written at Bethlehem in 492 of what is commonly known as the common era.  He compiled a list of 135 Ecclesiastical writers – those who had published any memorable writing on the holy scriptures, from the time of our lordŐs passion until the fourteenth year of the Emperor Theodosius.


The list begins with Simon Peter and ends with himself and is a chronological rendering of texts both orthodox and heretical.  He later went on to write a commentary on the whole Christian bible.[2]


Pioneers in the early Church.  The first of these is Marcion ( circa 150 ), a heretic who repudiated the OT and Judaism and produced a truncated NT canon to conform to his teaching.  By so doing, he moved the Church to counter his teaching by producing an orthodox NT canon.[3]


Is the New Testament reliable?


Augustine ( 354-430 ), the great theologian of the Western Church, laid down in his De consensu evangelistarum ( 400 ) the principles that affected the treatment of Syntactic differences for over a millennium; he was aware that the order of the gospel narratives sometimes reflects general recollection rather than strict chronological history and that the words of Jesus are often reported with an accuracy that preserves only their sense, rather than being given verbatim.


How can the New Testament be seen as reliable and considered

the Spoken W-rd of G-d if only a sense of the original was preserved?


According to the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics

Bible, Evidence for:

The Bible claims to be and proves to be the W-rd of G-d.  It was written by Prophets of G-d, under the Inspiration of G-d.  The references given are:

1 Kings 12.22, 14.18,

Isaiah    42.19, 30.9-10

Hosea      9.7

Ezekiel     3.17[4]


So can one prove that the New Testament is reliable from these texts?


Deuteronomy 18.18 G-d Said to Moses of a Prophet, I will Put My Words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I Command him.

He added, You shall not Add to the Word which I Command you, nor Take Away from It. Deuteronomy 4.2


A Prophet was someone who said what G-d Told him to Say.


All of the above proofs are from what Christians call the Old Testament but are in reality the Jewish Tenach.  All of the above proofs are speaking only of what Christians call the Pentateuch which is the Torah, the first five books in the Christian Bible.  So these texts cannot refer to what had not yet been written.  If one applies logical thinking to their analysis of what is purported to be proof of the validity and reliability of the New Testament one comes away confused and uncertain as to whether or not what you have believed to be true really is.  At least that is where I started.


How can I continue to consider that the New Testament is reliable if one cannot find proof that what now exists is what was taught at the time Jesus lived?


In Mr. GeislerŐs book:  Bible, Alleged Error in. He says, Critics claim the Bible is filled with errors.  Some even speak of thousand of mistakes.  However, orthodox Christians through the ages have claimed that the Bible is without error in the original text.  [5]


Note that none of the original texts exist so there is no way to prove the validity of the texts we do have.


Take for instance the book of Matthew.


No one really knows who Matthew is, at least not the one who claims to have written the New Testament book of Matthew.  This name is like a pen name used during that period of history, one would write under an assumed name.  History shows that this was a common practice during the time that Matthew was written.  There is no way of finding out who this person really was because there are no documents that provide this information.  So there is no way of proving who this person really was.  This information can be found in a college course on DVD called Lost Christianities: Christian Scriptures and the Battles over Authentication[6]


Dr. Ehrman states:

The issue of pseudepigraphy, where works are not actually written by the person whose name has been signed to them—what we might call forgery—plays a large role in the development of the New Testament.


Yet other books are pseudonymous – forgeries by people who explicitly claim to be someone else.  Included in this group is almost certainly 2 Peter, probably the pastoral Epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, quite likely the deutero-Pauline Epistles of 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, and Ephesians, and possibly 1 Peter and Jude.  [7]


If you read through the New Testament with an open mind you really do find inconsistencies that cannot be resolved from the text. 

For instance – from the Net Bible:[8]


Ephesians 2.8

For by grace are you saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the Gift of G-d.


Philippians 2.12

So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence.


Galatians 3.6-7

Just as Abraham Believed G-d and it was credited to him as righteousness, so then, understand that those who believe are the sons of Abraham.


Genesis 15.6

Abram Believed the L-rd, and the L-rd Considered his response of faith as proof of genuine loyalty.


So is one saved by faith alone?  By grace alone?  By loyalty to G-dŐs Torah?


If you are Catholic you resolve this issue by accepting the churchŐs interpretation of these verses.  If you are among the Protestant faith you resolve these inconsistencies that say you are saved by grace through faith and then are able to be loyal to G-d, to follow G-dŐs Way but never follow G-dŐs Torah.  I am still left wondering if the text of the New Testament can be relied upon because of these inconsistencies.  How can the New Testament be considered reliable when it says that you are not to follow G-dŐs Torah, G-dŐs Teachings as did Abraham?


Mark 2.23-28

23 Jesus was going through the grain fields on a Sabbath, and his disciples began to pick some heads of wheat as they made their way.

24 So the Pharisees said to him, Look, why are they doing what is against the law on the Sabbath?

25 He said to them, Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry

26 how he entered the house of God when Abiathar was high priest52 and ate the sacred bread, which is against the law for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to his companions?

27 Then he said to them, The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.

28 For this reason the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.


Footnote 52

1 Samuel 21.1-6


Then David got up and left, while Jonathan went back to the city.

1 David went to Ahimelech the priest in Nob. Ahimelech was shaking with fear when he met David, and said to him, Why are you by yourself with no one accompanying you?

2 David replied to Ahimelech the priest, The king instructed me to do something, but he said to me, DonŐt let anyone know the reason I am sending you or the instructions I have given you. I have told my soldiers to wait at a certain place.

3 Now what do you have at your disposal?  Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.

4 The priest replied to David, I donŐt have any ordinary bread at my disposal. Only holy bread is available, and then only if your soldiers have abstained from sexual relations with women.

5 David said to the priest, Certainly women have been kept away from us, just as on previous occasions when I have set out. The soldiersŐ equipment is holy, even on an ordinary journey. How much more so will they be holy today, along with their equipment!

6 So the priest gave him holy bread, for there was no bread there other than the Bread of the Presence. It had been removed from before the L-rd in order to replace it with hot bread on the day it had been taken away.


The book of Mark says Abiathar was high priest but the quote is from 1 Samuel 21.1-6 and we find that Ahimelech the priest in Nob.


Did Mark make a mistake?  Can we still believe that the New Testament is reliable if even one mistake is found?  Many more inconsistencies can be brought out like the geneologies in Mathew and Luke. 


Why would G-d Make so many inconsistent statements and leave one wondering what to believe?  Research with an open mind led me to search out and find where and what the real Truth is.  My search is not over.  I continue challenging everything I read.  I continue to seek out answers to my questions but I have found that what is Written in the Torah is Truth.


So Is the New Testament reliable?  Can I base my eternal salvation on a document riddled with errors and inconsistencies?  Can I continue to believe the New Testament is as reliable and the Christian church says it is?





Would you like to learn at B'nai Noach Torah Institute?

Would you like to communicate with one of our Teachers?

Would you like to ask some questions?

Here's how: Write to the address below. Do NOT use upper case letters

[1] Church History in Plain Language

Bruce L. Shelley

Thomas Nelson Publishers

Nashville Tennessee

Page 67


[2] Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers

Second Series Volume 3

Hendrickson Publishers

Peabody, Massachusetts

Second Printing 1995

Page 353


[3] The Jerome Biblical Commentary

Prentice Hall

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 1968

Chapter 41 page 8


[4] Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics

by Norman L. Geisler

Baker Books Grand Rapids Michigan

Page 91


[5] Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics

page 74


[6] Lost Christianities: Christian Scriptures and the Battles over Authentication

Taught by Bart D. Ehrman

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Masters in Divinity, Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary


[7] Lost Christianities: Christian Scriptures and the Battles over Authentication

Bart D. Ehrman

Published by Oxford University Press

New York, NY

page 235


[8] Net Bible

Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. 2005