How Has the Bible Changed Through the Millennia?

  Without providing much in the way of evidence, Muslim critics of the Bible claim that the Bible has undergone so many revisions over the last 19 centuries that we can no longer tell what it originally said. Is this true?

  Here is a screenshot of the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 16, in the Codex Sinaiticus, which is dated at around 330AD:


  Here is that same Koine Greek text:

John 3:16 οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸνμονογενῆ ἔδωκεν ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ’ ἔχῃζωὴν αἰώνιον. GNT (Greek New Testament)


  If we were to translate the above verse literally word for word, it would read this way:


  "thus for loves the God the world so that the Son of Him the only unique He gives that every the one believing into Him no should be perishing but may be having life eonian."


   
As we have explained in a previous post, this is why translation becomes necessary. This word soup results because, obviously, English grammar is different from Greek grammar. That is why we need scholars to do the translation for us into English or any other language. The Bible can be translated into any other language in the world and still be considered the Word of God. Unlike the Quran, which Muslims say is only the word of Allah when it is in its original classical Arabic, which only 16% of the world's Muslims can understand.

  So let's take a look and see how English Bible versions have changed over the last 5 centuries, even as the language itself has evolved into today's 21st century English. The names of the Bible versions are followed by their dates of publication:

Tyndale Bible (1526)
For God so loveth the worlde yt he hath geven his only sonne that none that beleve in him shuld perisshe: but shuld have everlastinge lyfe.

Geneva Bible (1557)
For God so loveth the world, that he hath given his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Douay-Rheims Bible (1582)

For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. 

King James Bible (1600s)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Webster's Bible Translation (1833)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.

English Revised Version (1881)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Darby Bible Translation (1890)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternally.

Young's Literal Translation (1898)
for God did so love the world, that His Son -- the only begotten -- He gave, that every one who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during.

American Standard Version (1901)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Weymouth New Testament (1903)

For so greatly did God love the world that He gave His only Son, that every one who trusts in Him may not perish but may have the Life of Ages.

New International Version (1973)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

New American Standard Bible (1995)

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

International Standard Version (1998)

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his unique Son so that everyone who believes in him might not be lost but have eternal life. 

Holman Christian Standard Bible (1999)

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 

English Standard Version (2001)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

New Living Translation (2004)
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

  So there is the evidence. The only major difference between the versions after 478 years of English translations (from 1526 to 2004) is in their translation of that one word "τὸνμονογενῆ" which, transliterated, is "monogenes."


  What does the Greek word "monogenes" mean? 


  It means "pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique in kind," which is how our first English translation, the Tyndale, and our modern translations are now rendering it. 

  While Muslims are quick to pounce on the word "begotten" in the older translations of this verse, they do so purely out of ignorance, as they take it to mean that Jesus was the product of sex between God and Mary, even the thought of which is blasphemous to Christians. The Bible teaches no such thing, and neither did the Early Church. Scripture is clear from beginning to end that the Son of God, Himself God, is eternal, not created.

  In response to our Muslim critics then, we can say that Bible translations have remained true to the original Hebrew and Greek texts, despite the passage of millennia.

  It is just as our Lord and Master, Jesus the Christ, said:

  "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away." Matthew 24:35

  See also:

  Comparing the Bible and Quranic Manuscripts

  http://apologika.blogspot.com/2014/04/comparing-bible-and-quranic-manuscripts.html

  Much of the Quran is Gone!

  http://apologika.blogspot.com/2014/07/is-yours-weakest-ink.html

  Lost in Transmission?

  http://apologika.blogspot.com/2014/10/lost-in-transmission.html



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