Documents forming the New Testament

Brian Kuehmichel
July 28, 2003, Updated Dec. 2010

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Evidence for God — Documents forming the New Testament

XIII.   Documents forming the New Testament

[, See References: link]

A. Written by Apostles, eyewitnesses and contemporaries 1Cor 14:36-37; Eph 2:29-20; 1Jo 4:6

B. Documents were verified by Apostles, eyewitnesses and contemporaries in 2 Peter 3:16

C. Early written works shared with other churches at other cities — (See: D. 4. & E. 1. below)

1. Authenticates text by open review and criticism of disputed information

2. Establishes common textual base of accepted material

3. Texts available for quotation by early church fathers [See: link]

D. Documents forming the New Testament


1. There are more than 4000 pieces of Greek manuscripts extant with the best dating back to the 4th century.

2. Early preservation of history of events and careful duplication by many of these documents

a. Early translations such as the Old Latin Version (170 AD) and the Old Syriac Version (200 AD) support our present text.

b. More than 15,000 documents of early new testament texts survive in Greek and Latin

c. Over 9,300 other early manuscript versions remain in Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Gothic, and Ethiopic.

3. Verified by historical references by other contemporaries


4. Text was written and dispersed through many local churches during the lifetime of the authors. This prevented any possible collusion at a later date to alter, change, deface, disparage, limit, modify or remove any early written text since it was already faithfully copied and re-copied and widely dispersed. [See a paper by Ben Stevens on the Resurrection of Jesus at: (in Word format), and dates of writing at: Books of the Bible]

a. 1 Peter 1:1 tells us that Peter wrote to the dispersed Jews, "strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,".

b. In I Thessalonians 5:27 Paul said, "I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren."

c. Col. 4:16 reads, "And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea."

d. 2 Peter 3:15 speaks of the dispersed Jews receiving letters from Paul, "even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;"

e. Acts 15:23 states: "And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia."

f. 2 Timothy 4:13 refers to a group of written materials, "The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments."


5. Quoted by numerous early church fathers (proving these were written and dispersed through many local churches during the lifetime of the authors)

"The belief that large gaps of time passed between the time of Christ and the writing of the New Testament is no longer tenable, and all conclusions based on such speculation must be rejected. ... Keep in mind that these dates reflect copies rather than the original manuscripts. So we can safely assume that the originals had a much earlier dating." by Chuck (?),, Accessed before July 28, 2003

a. Magdalean Papyrus (P64) contains Matthew 26:7-8, 10, 14-15, 22-23 and 31 — Dated before 66 ad. (Eyewitness to Jesus, by Dr. Carsten Thiede & Matthew D'Ancona)

b. Dead Sea Scroll MSS 7Q4 contains Mark 6:52-53 — Dated before 68ad. (ibid)

c. Dead Sea Scroll MSS 7Q4 contains 1 Timothy 3:16-4:3 — Dated before 68ad. (ibid)

d. Barcelona papyrus (P67) contains Matthew 3:9, 15; Matthew 5:20-22, 25-28 — Dated before 66ad. (ibid)

e. Paris Papyrus (P4) contains Luke 3:23, 5:36 — Dated 66ad. (ibid)

f. Pauline Codex (P46) contains Paul's epistles — Dated 85ad. (ibid)

g. Bodmer Papyrus(II) (Johannine Codex P66) contains almost complete Gospel of John — Dated 125ad. (ibid)

6. The four New Testament gospels were composed in the first century.

"In any case, there is nowadays no dispute among Biblical scholars that all the four New Testament gospels were composed in the first century although the precise dates and relative sequence of the compositions are open questions." by J.K. Elliott, Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism, Department of Theology, The University of Leeds at:; [see also:]

Short videos to answer questions:

Fragments of Truth (2018), Short clip at: Fragments of Truth, clip

How big are the differences in the hand-written copies of the gospels?

The earliest handwritten copy of a Gospel

Jesus, the Gospels, and the Telephone Game

Who wrote the Gospels?

The main witnesses in the Bible's accounts of Jesus

Did the Gospel writers spin their accounts of Jesus?

Real places in the Bible's accounts of Jesus

Real people in the Bible's accounts of Jesus

Eyewitness testimony in the Bible's accounts of Jesus

E. Early preservation of history of events

1. There are about 86,000 quotes by early church writers during first 300 years which cover all but 11 verses of the New Testament.

2. Nearly every word of the New Testament can be assembled from the various documents referencing the original documents or early copies of those documents

F. Careful duplication of early documents

[, See section titled: The NT: Putting It Together at:]

G. Agreement of documents in existence today with early documents


H. Assembly of New Testament text at the Council at Carthage

1. Agreed upon by two consecutive church councils, and

2. Re-affirmed by other councils and churches. [Biblical canon;;]

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