Scholars are all agog over a new discovery. What is being heralded as the oldest known artefact of Homer’s “Odyssey” records 13 verses of the epic poem on a tablet. The tablet is dated to the 3rd century AD. The poem, along with the “Iliad,” is believed to have been written in the 8th century BC. That’s over a thousand-year interval, but it’s still considered a trustworthy witness to Homer’s work.
This discovery highlights the differences in attestation of the Bible and other ancient documents. Instead of a difference of centuries or millennia from the time of writing to the first recorded manuscript or plaque, as is common with many writings of antiquity, the Bible’s earliest copies come mere decades after the originals were penned.
Both in interval and in number, the Bible’s manuscripts leave no doubt as to the authenticity of the original text.
What we have in our hands today is a reliable copy (and translation) of the words of the original writers.
God has not left his written word without a sure and certain witness to its trustworthiness.
“Every word of God is purified; he is like a shield for those who take refuge in him” Prov 30.5.
“Moreover, we possess the prophetic word as an altogether reliable thing. You do well if you pay attention to this as you would to a light shining in a murky place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” 2 Pet 1.19.