"A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth
is not worth many regrets." - Arthur C. Clarke
An Example of Textual Criticism --(Comparing copies of an original text)
Suppose we have 50 copies of an original manuscript sentence --with the original manuscript now lost. Consider the copies below:
1. "Be no doubt of the Bible's truth and acuracy."
So, the question is: Could you --by comparing all 50 copies-- reproduce what the original text said? --Yes. Of course you could.
The situation above is very close to what occurs in determining the Bible's accurate text ...except we now have not just 50, but thousands of copies (of various letters) of the New Testament available. By comparing them all, the elimination of the relatively small number of textual variants is highly assured, as in the above example.
. . . Very few spots in the Bible are in any doubt; and the little spots that even raise a small question, do not affect ANY doctrine. --No Bible teaching is at all in question, because we basically know the exact text of the original manuscripts.
Therefore, all Muslims (and everyone else) should know for sure that the Bible is not corrupted. The text that we have is true and correct, and God has left many layers of insurance to know the correct text --in the form of thousands of copies. People must know that the Qur'an is correct in saying the Bible truly is the revealed and inerrant Word of God. Also, the Qur'an is correct in saying that God will not allow the Bible to be corrupted. These things were true for Muhammad in the year 630 AD, and they are no different now. There is no excuse for anyone to claim that the Bible is corrupt. --Also, the Qur'an itself does not say anywhere that the Bible (or any part of it) is corrupted ...nor even that it can be corrupted. Please take note of that. --In addition, Muslims have never before said the Bible was corrupted --until recent years. This is a recent innovation, and a hollow excuse to ignore the Bible's truth. -- Muslims who now say the Bible is corrupted, are standing in opposition to their ancestors and also in opposition to Muhammad and the Qur'an itself.
The clear and logical conclusion is: Reasonable, faithful, informed Muslims must regard the Bible (in its original languages) to be genuine, trustworthy and uncorrupted revelation and Scripture from God. This is Muhammad's view (expressed in the Qur'an). And remember: the Bible has essentially one Greek/Hebrew version, which has not changed --and it existed for hundreds of years before the writing of the Qur'an.
Concern About "Too Many Bible Versions":
Although the Bible's pure and accurate form is in the original languages of Hebrew (for OT) and Greek (for NT), it is generally quite acceptable (for basic personal study) to read a good Bible-translation ("version") in English or Arabic or many other languages. --Some people complain that there are so many different translations ("versions") of the Bible, but actually I think this is a good thing --in fact, I wish that every student of the Bible understood the original Hebrew and Greek well enough to make his own personal translation of the Bible; ...but as it is, most of us will need to rely on a team of expert scholars to do our translating in an excellent fashion.
. . . An excellent English translation of the Bible (made by a top team of scholars) is called the "N.I.V." (New International Version). --Another excellent translation is the E.S.V. (English Standard Version).
To read an online translation of the Bible, go to https://www.biblegateway.com/
. . . Translations in Arabic and many other languages are also available at this site ...and in book form.
Additional Books Added to the Bible?
Some people suggest that (besides the 66 real books) there should be another "Gospel" in the Bible, beyond the genuine 4. --That is:
The "Gospel of Thomas"
However, this is clearly a fake "gospel," because it was written in about the year 180 A.D. --about 80 years after all of the apostles of Jesus were already dead, so, the real Thomas could not possibly have been the author. Therefore, the source of this "gospel" is a lie.
We know this "gospel" was written much later than the apostles, since this fake Thomas quotes from half of the N.T. books (which were gathered together after the deaths of the apostles), including extensive quotes from the book of Revelation (the last book written in the N.T.), which was written in about the year 95 A.D., and circulated after that.
Also, the teachings in the fake Thomas are heretical teachings --Gnostic teachings-- which are contradictory to teachings of the real New Testament, and fake Thomas is false in that way as well.
Finally, all of the legitimate gospels and N.T. books were written in the first century and were written either (1) by an apostle --e.g. Peter, or (2) by an associate of an apostle, with the apostle nearby --e.g. Luke. This must be the case, because Jesus told the apostles: "the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:26). This promise produced N.T. Scripture through the apostles (or associates who interviewed them), and not some writer in the year 180 A.D. --The fake Thomas also fails in this regard.
The above points also apply to a number of other fake books of "scripture", which people have attempted to add to the Bible, such as: The "Gospel of Judas," the "Gospel of Peter," the "Gospel of Barnabas," and other spurious, apocryphal writings. --Such attempted additions to Scripture are forbidden by God (Revelation 22:18-19), and their condemnation and judgment will be just.
So, ...back to the main issue of this article:
Salvation Through Christ
In the beginning of this article, we were talking about the fact that Jesus Christ promises salvation and eternal life to all who rely and trust in him. --And how is Christ able to make such a promise?
Well, firstly, we are all sinners in God's eyes (Romans 3:9,10,23), and Jesus has the power and authority to save many people from sin-guilt. He can do this because Jesus Christ is not just human.
-- The Bible teaches that Christ is not just a mere human, but is also a divine "person" who has two natures; ...that is, He is a divine "personality" who has both a human-nature (with a human body and mind), ...and he also has an infinite, almighty, eternal (with no beginning) and holy God-nature (which is spirit). Neither of these two natures are intermixed with each other, nor is either nature diminished, confused or altered by being attached to the same divine "personalty" (God the Son). The one unchanging God (Mal.3:6; Heb.13:8; Jas. 1:17) is not altered in any way by this. Christ is not half God and half man. --Rather, the Bible teaches that God "the Son" is fully and truly eternal, infinite God, ...and in Christ he is also fully and truly finite man at the same time ...because he is one "person" (the "Son of God") which has these two different natures. This is why some Christians call him the "God-man." --- We see in Scripture that Christ is directly called and revered as God (see John 1:1,14,18; John 20:28; Acts 20:28; Romans 9:5; 2Thess. 1:12; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:6,8,10; 2Peter 1:1), and Christ is also clearly called a "man" ( John 1:14; 1Timothy 2:5; Romans 1:3; Romans 9:5). Both are true descriptions because the two natures are never confused or inter-mixed.
- - Christ's God-nature (the "Son of God") was infinite, eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, invisible and immortal (etc.). -- But Christ's human-nature (Jesus) was finite and temporal; it had a beginning in time (about 2000 years ago); he had a real body that was weak, got tired, needed sleep, etc.; his human mind (brain) didn't know everything, and had to learn things, such as language, etc.; his human body was mortal, and when it died, the "person" of Christ experienced death, but his God-nature did not die, because it is immortal.
-- Please refer to links, for more biblical references and explanation for this teaching of Christ's two natures: ... http://carm.org/christian-doctrine-part-2
. . . and: http://answering-islam.org/Who/index.html
-- (Important NOTE: The Bible does not teach that God had sexual relations with a woman when Christ was conceived --which would be not only an abomination but doesn't make sense because the being of God "is spirit" (John 4:24) and he does not have a body, and God is invisible (1 Timothy 1:17). Rather, Scripture says that God's Holy Spirit caused the baby Jesus to simply be conceived in his mother (Matthew 1:20). It is only Christ's human nature that had a body and a beginning.
-- Note also: The Bible clearly teaches that there is one and only one God (Deut. 6:4; Isaiah 44:6; Mark 12:29; Romans 3:30; 1Timothy 2:5), but that single being of God has three eternal spirit-personalities or "persons" in that one being; and those three personalities are: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). All three "persons" eternally and fully comprise the one infinite being of Almighty God; no one of the three persons is less God than the other two. --The three "persons" in one God are together called "The Tri-unity." --This is the one true God.)
-- For more references on this biblical and correct teaching on God, see: ... http://carm.org/christianity/christian-doctrine/christian-doctrine
. . . and: http://answering-islam.org/Trinity/index.html
In addition, Jesus Christ is able to promise and give eternal life, because he (the "God-man") lived a perfectly sinless life (1Peter 1:19; Hebrews 4:15). No other human has ever done this --or ever will. --But God requires perfect holiness and righteousness to be in good standing before God, and to go to heaven (Paradise). The problem: man is sinful and not holy. -- But Christ paid God's death penalty for human sin-guilt (Romans 5:8; 6:23); and then Christ rose physically from the dead (Luke 18:33) as a demonstration and proof that he is God "the Son" (Romans 1:4). Christ's sinless life and his resurrection also proves he has the power and authority to save us (Hebr. 7:25), and to guarantee eternal life to those who truly believe and trust in him. Christ's resurrection shows that God accepts him as a sinless and perfect sacrifice which is acceptable to pay the death-penalty God requires (Romans 6:23) for the sin-guilt of those who trust in Christ. Jesus is the only man who assuredly has real power over death, since Christ is the only man who has ever risen permanently from the dead, and now he remains forever alive (Hebrews 7:25).
For a deeper discussion that Christ rose from the dead go to: http://www.testingworldviews.com/resurrectjesus.html
And then, if a sinner (which is all of us) admits to God they are a sinner, and turns in sorrow away from their sin (and toward Christ for help), while sincerely confessing that they truly trust and rely on the God-man Christ (who died and rose to gain their salvation), God promises and guarantees eternal life, resurrection and heaven to that person. (1John 1:9; Romans 10:9,10). This is what the Bible teaches. -- You who are reading this, can come to Christ on these terms, right now!
But then, many Muslims don't accept the idea that Jesus died on the cross. - However, this objection must be rejected and overthrown by the historical records in the incorruptible Bible, which were written by people who lived with Christ, and actually saw it all happen --and records of these historical events are found in the writings of the New Testament (in the "Injil," the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) of the Bible. --Peter specifically and directly said that he and the others with him were themselves witnesses of the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Acts 2:23-32; and John 20:27; 1John 1:1-2). The same thing is stated elsewhere as well (in the Gospels), and --as we have seen-- those who believe and respect the Qur'an must accept this biblical testimony. (And secular historians confirm this execution of Christ). --Indeed, Jesus did die to pay the death penalty for our sin (Romans 5:8-10)... and it is a wonderful thing that he did, because either he pays the death penalty for your (and my) sin, or you will pay it yourself, and end up eternally separated from God (in hell).
Man's Need for Salvation
The Bible teaches that all humans need to be saved from facing God's eternal judgment, because all of us have sinned; Romans 3:23 says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," which includes you, me, and every naturally-born human with a human father (Jesus had no human father). The very best we sinful humans can do, seems filthy and totally unacceptable to the sinless and perfectly pure God (Isaiah 64:6 says: "our 'righteous' acts are like filthy rags" to God.) The sinless God is too pure and holy to allow any evil and sinful beings into his glorious, sinless presence (Habak. 1:13). So, in our present sinful condition, none of us can end up in heaven.
The result of our sin-condition is death, as Romans 6:23 says, "the wages of sin is death." Death involves separation: Physical death is a separation of the person's soul from the body; while spiritual death is the separation of the person's soul (or spirit) from God, resulting in eternal, spiritual death. The iniquities of people cause a wide gulf of separation between sinful people (all of us) and God (Isaiah 59:2), which leads to eternal death of the soul (if not remedied).
Now, some people will say, "Wait a minute. I'm not a horrible person and a sinner." --However, you don't have to be a mass-murderer to be a condemned sinner in God's eyes; you only must be a sinner by nature (which we all are --except Jesus), who has broken God's holy law and commands, spelled out briefly in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). --And no sinner will be allowed to spend eternity with God in heaven... unless his sin problem is paid for, and his sin-nature cleansed and (ultimately) removed; Christ does this when he saves people.
For example: Have you ever stolen anything, however small? --Yes, you (and I) have. And that makes you (and me) a thief at that point, which is the breaking of God's holy law. Unforgiven thieves will not enter God's kingdom (1 Cor. 6:10). -- Or, have you ever told a lie (however small) to proper authority, such as parents, elders, teachers or officials? --Yes, you (and I) have... and that makes you (and me) a liar, which is the breaking of God's holy law. Unforgiven liars will not go to heaven. --Or, have you ever looked (and then looked again) at someone of the opposite sex (who was not your spouse) with sexual lust, and imagined possibly "having" that person sexually (Matthew 5:28), even if you did not act out on that desire? --Yes, you (and I) have, ...and Jesus said that makes you (and me) an adulterer and/or fornicator, which is a breaking of God's holy law (Exodus 20:14). Unforgiven sex-violators will not go to heaven. --And, worst of all, we love, respect, honor and serve money, power, sex, pleasure and especially ourselves and other 'gods' more than we do the one true God, and this violation breaks the first two commandments against idolatry (Exodus 20:3,4). --Need I go on? --I could, but I'm sure I don't need to. -- You (and I) have broken God's law, which makes us law-breakers who would be justly condemned under God's law, ...and the true and holy God cannot just "waive off" our evil and sinfulness and "sweep it under the rug" just because we say a few prayers and fast and do a few other "religious" activities, ...because God is a just and righteous judge who must, therefore, condemn the violation and require the just punishment (eternal death in hell).
This is why the Scripture is right in saying that "there is no one righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10); and "all have sinned and fall short of God's glory" (Rom. 3:23). That includes all people --even those who are born into religious families-- whether with Muslim, or Christian parents; no matter what nationality or ethnicity. --And guilty sinners who have fallen short of God's pure and sinless glory do not end up in God's holy presence in his heaven when they die. The holy God won't stand for it. Rather, the result and "the wages of sin is death" (Rom.6:23) as well as eternal separation from God, because God is too pure and holy to allow a sinner in his perfect presence. --That is, unless something is done to remedy the situation and to totally cleanse the guilty sinner. (And a religious sinner dying as a martyr for his/her faith will not clear them of sin-guilt.) --So, all of us humans are born in need of salvation from our sin and condemnation.
But what can be done, and is there any hope of remedy? --Yes, there is.
God's Provision: Christ The Savior
So, how can a person be saved from being condemned to hell because of their sin? --Well, in a nutshell, the Bible teaches: "Believe (trust and rely) in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved --you and your household" (Acts 16:31). Trusting in Christ is God's only way he provides for salvation, because God's Word says, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name [than Jesus] under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Trusting and receiving Christ into one's life is God's only provision (for all mankind) to deal with your sin --and to gain eternal life. This is not optional, as John writes: "Whoever has [Christ] the Son has [eternal] life; whoever does not have [Jesus] the Son of God does not have [eternal] life" (1John 5:12). -- All people in the world need the salvation of Christ. --He is the only sinless man who ever lived (and lived a life perfectly pleasing to God), and therefore, he is the only Savior available to the whole world (Jude 1:25).
The Bible says: "For there is only one God, and there is one mediator between God and men: the man Christ Jesus" (1Timothy 2:5). --Only Christ is adequate as such a mediator (a satisfactory go-between to communicate and represent both sides), because he is a divine "person" with a God-nature to properly represent things from God's sinless and holy point of view, and he also has a sinless and acceptable human-nature to represent us humans before the holy God.
Some Muslims object to the death-for-sin issue, and suppose that perhaps Allah will just forgive the believer (without a death payment) who does the best he can (without Christ's sacrifice). But this is inadequate. Read: "The Holiness of God". - If God is absolutely holy and a just judge, he can't merely "wave off" sin and simply "forgive" it.
-- And what did Christ do to purchase and accomplish our salvation? -- "Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died [on the cross] for sinners to bring you safely home to God" (1Peter 3:18). -- "God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners" (Romans 5:8). -- "Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day" (1 Cor. 15:3,4). --So, Christ died in our place, and paid God's death penalty for our sins (Rom. 6:23), so that our account could be cleared of sin-guilt and we would then be credited with Christ's perfect righteousness (Philip.3:9; 2Cor.5:21; 1Cor.1:30), and so that we would then be given eternal life if we truly trust Jesus for salvation.
But just because Christ (the God-man) paid for sins, does this mean every human will be saved? -- No. -- You personally must make an intentional choice to accept, rely on, and trust in Christ and what he did; and you must surrender your life and submit your will to him, to obey him as the divine authority and "Lord" over your life.
The Bible says, "to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right (& power) to become children of God" (John 1:12). -- "And anyone who believes (trusts and relies) in God's Son (Jesus) has eternal life. Anyone who does not obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God's angry judgment" (John 3:36). -- So we must also resolve to surrender to Christ's divine authority and obey him, as Jesus says to some who do not submit to him: "why do you keep calling me 'Lord, Lord,' when you do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46). -- Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to [God] the Father except through me" (John 14:6). -- Without having Christ, and submitting to his divine authority, no one will have eternal life.
So, the question is: Are you ready to surrender your life to Christ? ...and to trust in him for forgiveness from sin, so that you may have eternal life and become a child of God, and so you will finally have peace with God and not be destined for God's judgment?
If you are ready to do this, all you need to do is pray (talk) to God and Jesus (the God-man), and tell him (essentially) that: -- 1.) You admit you are a sinner, and you are sorry for your sin, and that you need his forgiveness; -- 2.) You are sorry and willing to turn away from your sin, and turn away from trusting in anything else (such as religious activity, like prayer, fasting and good deeds) to gain merit with God to deserve salvation --that you are trusting only in Christ and his righteousness, that God will credit to you when you trust in Christ (Rom.4:3,6; 1Cor.1:30); -- 3.) that you believe that Christ died on the cross to pay the death penalty for your sin, and that he came back to life, and is your only way to heaven -- 4.) that you accept Jesus' offer to forgive your sins and to come into your life as your Savior (John 1:12; Rev.3:20); and -- 5.) that you surrender to his authority over your life as your God and divine Boss ...being resolved to obey him.
You may want to tell Jesus (pray to him) words something like this (though there are no certain magic words): "Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sin. I am willing to turn away from my life of sin, and I need your forgiveness. I know that I can never deserve salvation by doing good things, but I trust in you as the only one who can earn and gain salvation for me, because you lived a perfectly sinless life and then you died on the cross for my sin, and then you rose from the dead to gain eternal life for me. I now surrender my heart and will --my whole self-- to your authority, and receive you into my life to obey you as my Lord and God and divine Boss and Savior, so I will receive eternal life as a free and undeserved gift from God. Thank you for saving me, ...and please make me to be the kind of person you choose for me to be. - Amen."
If you sincerely prayed to God/Jesus in a way similar to this (and God knows if you are sincere), then Jesus has promised to save you forever (John 6:37-40). --Start reading the Bible (the true Scriptures), and praying to God/Jesus every day.
Therefore --in the end-- everyone will have to realize and admit that the Bible is the only true Scriptures that God has given to mankind. --And Christ is the only true way of salvation.
-- Please read about the fact that the Bible is God's Inspired Word.
-- Also, Does the Bible Claim to Be the Word of God?.
-- And: Is The Bible Truly God's Word?.
-- And finally, consider that "If the Qur'an is True, Then Islam is False.".
REMEMBER: ...You, dear reader, are valuable and loved by God, and that's why Jesus Christ came! May God bless you and enable you to come to know his great love and forgiveness through God who took on a human body (Jesus), and then died for our sins (Romans 5:8 and 1Peter 3:18) to pay the death penalty for sins which God requires (Romans 6:23), so that we could become honorary "adopted sons" of God, if we will only trust and believe in this wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus.
For many further discussions concerning Islam and Christianity
you may find help at: Answering-Islam.org
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Questions or Comments? :
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