Will newer Dead Sea Scroll-type discoveries prove that the Bible is unreliable?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture

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Question: I read about this, but can’t find much info. Is only a small part of these Dead Sea scrolls identical to the text we have today? And if this or discovery down the line was different from what we have today, would that be proof what we have today is not reliable? Please look at this article: https://www.foxnews.com/world/israeli-experts-announce-discovery-of-new-dead-sea-scrolls

Answer: Greetings friend. Thank you for touching down with us at Mainsail Ministries. It will be a pleasure to answer your question today. I always enjoy talking about the veracity of Scripture!

Your question confuses me, though. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm rather than challenge the veracity of Scripture. First, they contain some Bible text, and these texts agree with what we have in the Bible. Second, the Dead Sea Scrolls’ non-biblical texts confirm some things we know about the Ancient Near East in and around Jesus’ time. The scrolls did nothing to hurt the cause of biblical inerrancy. Instead, they did a lot to help it.

I am further confused because the link you sent me had nothing to say about your challenge. In fact, it did just the opposite. This new archaeological find contained Greek texts from the books of Zechariah and Nahum that have been radiocarbon-dated to the second century A.D. When we add these texts (what document specialists call “witnesses”) to the thousands we have already, the case for the veracity of Scripture strengthens. But you are worried that it weakens… so can you see why I am confused?

So, rather than attack your problem as a problem (that is, playing defense against some nebulous negative information), I will offer you some positive information about the Bible manuscripts. That’s the best way to proceed when there isn’t any problem. Christians have nothing to fear from archaeology or ancient manuscripts.

Now, although there are no problems with the manuscripts, we still have a problem: there is a lot of data... more than is typically transferred in a question-and-answer format. But that’s the job before us. So, I need to ask your indulgence: the best way to approach this is to give you some work that I’ve already done… but again… there’s a lot of material.

A person asked me years ago why we should believe the Bible as opposed to reports given by people who claim that they have gone to heaven and come back — like Alex Malarkey who in 2010 wrote a best-selling book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven: A True Story. I made a lengthy response to a question about that book... but this is the data you need.

You see, the case of a person purportedly traveling to heaven and back — and therein receiving direct revelation from God — is a challenge to the doctrine of Scripture. We believe that Scripture is complete, sufficient and inerrant. Malarkey’s book is a direct analogy to what you accuse these Dead Sea Scroll-type documents of doing — but which they are not. I hope that after you read my answer, you will be more confident about our biblical manuscripts. Click here to go to that question. I pray this helps.

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20210419 Will newer Dead Sea Scroll-type discoveries prove that the Bible is unreliable? ).

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