There are hundreds of thousands of variants in biblical manuscripts?
Muslims reject the authority of the Christian Scriptures for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is that the Qur’an teaches that Jesus was given a book from heaven (Injeel) and He gave that single book to His disciples. That Christians have four gospels is a reason Muslims believe the Injeel has been distorted.
The Qur’an also teaches that the Injeel given to Jesus and then His disciples mentions Muhammad,
Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful. (Sahih International)
Muslims assert that Christians and Jews distorted the Scriptures by wiping out descriptions of Muhammad. As proof they point to textual criticism and the manuscript tradition of the Bible.
There are at least two problems with this. The first is that the Injeel does not exist and has never existed. Jesus never gave a book to His disciples. The purpose of textual criticism is so we can learn what Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John originally wrote. Textual criticism does not exist so that we might know what the Injeel originally said. The Injeel is a fictitious book.
Dan Wallace and the Reliability of the Bible
If you are interested in learning more about the textual tradition of the Bible and the Bible’s reliability then here are some helpful videos to watch with Dr. Dan Wallace on the John Ankerberg show:
Are there any passages in the Bible that you sincerely struggle with? If so, share your question below or use the contact page to send me an email.
- Textual criticism of the Quran is a most controversial topic. Many Muslims believe that one of the miracles of the Quran is that the Quran has no textual history (e.g. manuscript variants). Muslims believe this is proof that the Quran is superior to the Christian Scriptures. However, the critical scholarship Muslims sometimes use against the Bible evidences more than one prototype that preceded the codified and canonized version of the Quran today. See for example, Gerd Puin, Querying the Quran
- See for example, Eric F.F. Bishop, “Form-Criticism and the Forty-two Traditions of al-Nawawi,” Muslim World, Vol. 30, No. 3, 1940, pp. 253-61; and “Academic scholarship in the Western tradition” in Wikipedia.