The Best Book Ever Written … and Preserved
The Bible is the only perfect book ever written. It was inspired by God, written about God, and given to people, in order to know God. No translation is perfect, but the original text is. However, the original manuscripts no longer exist. All of them have been lost, disintegrated, or destroyed. This has caused many people to believe that we no longer have the same scripture that was written long ago. If we don’t have the original documents, how can we know that we’re reading what the authors wrote? How can we know that parts aren’t missing, were added later, or are completely accurate? Have people been fooling with it and changing it over the years? Can we really trust it at all? The answer, and the good news is, that the Bible is completely reliable. History, archaeology, and the words written in the Bible affirm that we still have an authoritative Bible.
Before addressing how the Bible has not changed, it’s worth mentioning that it has changed – but only in one way. It took over a thousand years for the Bible to be written, so books had to be added slowly over time. Practically this means Moses wrote Genesis long before Isaiah wrote his prophetic account. Malachi wrote his book and then no scripture was written for 400 years until Jesus’ birth. Then the Epistles (letters), the Gospel accounts, and Revelation were all written over a relatively short span of time. Revelation, the last book of the Bible that was written, issues a warning against adding to it. By implication, we should no longer add to any scripture or try to write more books of the Bible. The canon (officially recognized list of books that make up the Bible) is now complete.
This is called Progressive Revelation, meaning that God revealed Himself over time through different authors. This doesn’t mean that there is an inconsistent message. The fact that it was written by over 40 different authors, over the course of 1,600 years, with the same message, actually verifies that God is the ultimate author.
 Josh McDowell, Evidence that demands a verdict (San Bernardino, 1972), 18.
Stay tuned for part 2