How reliable is the New Testament?

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How reliable is the New Testament?


By Sami Zaatari


Part one






Christians often like to boast about the textual integrity and preservation of the Bible, they like to claim that the Bible has thousands upon thousands of manuscripts that are identical to today’s text. They like to boast that they have at least 95%-99.9% of the Bible intact. They also like to boast that they knew who wrote the Gospels, when and where etc. However are all these claims true or are they just made up stories? Well let us take a journey and see if these claims are true, and by the end of this article you can judge for yourselves whether you believe that the NT is reliable or not.


What I will basically be doing in this article is to simply quote sources and see what they have to say, all sources can be accessed online making it all the better and easier.


We first start with the book of Matthew.


The authorship of this Gospel is traditionally ascribed to St Matthew, a tax-collector who became an apostle of Jesus. However, most modern scholars are content to let it remain anonymous.

The relation of the gospels to one another is the subject of some debate. Most modern scholars believe that Matthew borrowed from Mark and the hypothetical Q document, but some scholars believe that Matthew was written first and that Mark borrowed from Matthew (see: Augustinian hypothesis). Out of a total of 1071 verses, Matthew has 387 in common with Mark and the Gospel of Luke, 130 with Mark, 184 with Luke; only 387 being peculiar to itself.

Like the authors of the other gospels, the author of Matthew wrote this book according to his own plans and aims and from HIS OWN POINT OF VIEW, while at the same time borrowing from other sources. According to the two-source hypothesis (the most commonly accepted solution to the synoptic problem), Matthew borrowed from both Mark and a hypothetical sayings collection, known by scholars as Q (for the German Quelle, meaning "source").

There are numerous testimonies, starting from Papias and Irenaeus, that Matthew originally wrote in the Hebrew tongue, which could also refer to Aramaic. The sixteenth century Erasmus was the first to express doubts on the subject of an original Hebrew version of the Gospel of Matthew: "It does not seem probable to me that Matthew wrote in Hebrew, since no one testifies that he has seen any trace of such a volume." Here Erasmus distinguishes between a Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew and the lost apocryphal Gospel of the Hebrews and Gospel of the Nazoraeans, from which patristic writers do quote. The vast majority of contemporary scholars, based on analysis of the Greek of canonical Gospel of Matthew and use of sources such as the Greek Gospel of Mark, conclude that the book we have today was written originally in Greek and is not a translation from Hebrew or Aramaic (per Rev. Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to the New Testament, p. 210). If they are correct, then writers such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Jerome referred to a document or documents distinct from the present Gospel of Matthew, as confirmed by the fact that Nicephorus lists the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of the Hebrews separately in his Stichometry. All of the aforementioned texts are distinct from the Gospel of the Ebionites, Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, and Shem-Tov Matthew.


It is also the consensus position that the evangelist was not the apostle Matthew. Such an idea is based on the second century statements of Papias and Irenaeus. As quoted by Eusebius in Hist. Eccl. 3.39, Papias states: "Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could." In Adv. Haer. 3.1.1, Irenaeus says: "Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome and laying the foundations of the church." We know that Irenaeus had read Papias, and it is most likely that Irenaeus was guided by the statement he found there. That statement in Papias itself is considered to be unfounded because the Gospel of Matthew was written in Greek and relied largely upon Mark, not the author's first-hand experience.

Herman N. Ridderbos writes (Matthew, p. 7):

This means, however, that we can no longer accept the traditional view of Matthew's authorship. At least two things forbid us to do so. First, the tradition maintains that Matthew authored an Aramaic writing, while the standpoint I have adopted does not allow us to regard our Greek text as a translation of an Aramaic original. Second, it is extremely doubtful that an eyewitness like the apostle Matthew would have made such extensive use of material as a comparison of the two Gospels indicates. Mark, after all, did not even belong to the circle of the apostles. Indeed Matthew's Gospel surpasses those of the other synoptic writers neither in vividness of presentation nor in detail, as we would expect in an eyewitness report, yet neither Mark nor Luke had been among those who had followed Jesus from the beginning of His public ministry.

Francis Write Beare notes (The Gospel according to Matthew, p. 7):

But the dependence of the book upon documentary sources is so great as to forbid us to look upon it as the work of any immediate disciple of Jesus. Apart from that, there are clear indications that it is a product of the second or third Christian generation. The traditional name of Matthew is retained in modern discussion only for convenience.


So just note the problems the Christians faced just on dealing with what language Matthew wrote in! Hebrew-Aramaic, or Greek. Also note the other problem they face, many did not believe that Matthew even authored the entire account but some other third party did so.




The question of authenticity assumes an altogether special aspect in regard to the First Gospel. The early Christian writers assert that St. Matthew wrote a Gospel in Hebrew; this Hebrew Gospel has, however, entirely disappeared, and the Gospel which we have, and from which ecclesiastical writers borrow quotations as coming from the Gospel of Matthew, is in Greek.

3) Finally, were the Logia of Matthew and the Gospel to which ecclesiastical writers refer written in Hebrew or Aramaic? Both hypotheses are held. Papias says that Matthew wrote the Logia in the Hebrew (Hebraidi) language; St. IrenŠus and Eusebius maintain that he wrote his gospel for the Hebrews in their national language, and the same assertion is found in several writers. Matthew would, therefore, seem to have written in modernized Hebrew, the language then used by the scribes for teaching. But, in the time of Christ, the national language of the Jews was Aramaic, and when, in the New Testament, there is mention of the Hebrew language (Hebrais dialektos), it is Aramaic that is implied. Hence, the aforesaid writers may allude to the Aramaic and not to the Hebrew. Besides, as they assert, the Apostle Matthew wrote his Gospel to help popular teaching. To be understood by his readers who spoke Aramaic, he would have had to reproduce the original catechesis in this language, and it cannot be imagined why, or for whom, he should have taken the trouble to write it in Hebrew, when it would have had to be translated thence into Aramaic for use in religious services. Moreover, Eusebius (Hist. eccl., III, xxiv, 6) tells us that the Gospel of Matthew was a reproduction of his preaching, and this we know, was in Aramaic. An investigation of the Semitic idioms observed in the Gospel does not permit us to conclude as to whether the original was in Hebrew or Aramaic, as the two languages are so closely related. Besides, it must be home in mind that the greater part of these Semitisms simply reproduce colloquial Greek and are not of Hebrew or Aramaic origin. However, we believe the second hypothesis to be the more probable, viz., that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Aramaic.

Let us now recall the testimony of the other ecclesiastical writers on the Gospel of St. Matthew. St. IrenŠus (Adv. Haer., III, i, 2) affirms that Matthew published among the Hebrews a Gospel which he wrote in their own language. Eusebius (Hist. eccl., V, x, 3) says that, in India, PantŠnus found the Gospel according to St. Matthew written in the Hebrew language, the Apostle Bartholomew having left it there. Again, in his "Hist. eccl." (VI xxv, 3, 4), Eusebius tells us that Origen, in his first book on the Gospel of St. Matthew, states that he has learned from tradition that the First Gospel was written by Matthew, who, having composed it in Hebrew, published it for the converts from Judaism. According to Eusebius (Hist. eccl., III, xxiv, 6), Matthew preached first to the Hebrews and, when obliged to go to other countries, gave them his Gospel written in his native tongue. St. Jerome has repeatedly declared that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew ("Ad Damasum", xx; "Ad Hedib.", iv), but says that it is not known with certainty who translated it into Greek. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. Epiphanius, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, etc., and all the commentators of the Middle Ages repeat that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew. Erasmus was the first to express doubts on this subject: "It does not seem probable to me that Matthew wrote in Hebrew, since no one testifies that he has seen any trace of such a volume." This is not accurate, as St. Jerome uses Matthew's Hebrew text several times to solve difficulties of interpretation, which proves that he had it at hand. PantŠnus also had it, as, according to St. Jerome ("De Viris Ill.", xxxvi), he brought it back to Alexandria. However, the testimony of PantŠnus is only second-hand, and that of Jerome remains rather ambiguous, since in neither case is it positively known that the writer did not mistake the Gospel according to the Hebrews (written of course in Hebrew) for the Hebrew Gospel of St. Matthew. However all ecclesiastical writers assert that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew, and, by quoting the Greek Gospel and ascribing it to Matthew, thereby affirm it to be a translation of the Hebrew Gospel


So note the major problems the Christians face just on establishing what language Matthew wrote his Gospel in. The early Christians as we see had a different version of Matthew than we have today!


Matthew extenuates or omits everything which, in Mark, might be construed in a sense derogatory to the Person of Christ or unfavourable to the disciples. Thus, in speaking of Jesus, he suppresses the following phrases: "And looking round about on them with anger" (Mark 3:5); "And when his friends had heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him. For they said: He is beside himself" (Mark 3:21), etc. Speaking of the disciples, he does not say, like Mark, that "they understood not the word, and they were afraid to ask him" (ix, 3 1; cf. viii, 17, 18); or that the disciples were in a state of profound amazement, because "they understood not concerning the loaves; for their heart was blinded" (vi, 52), etc. He likewise omits whatever might shock his readers, as the saying of the Lord recorded by Mark: "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath" (ii, 27). Omissions or alterations of this kind are very numerous.


Who knows what else Matthew omitted and took out? If all the Gospels are God-breathed why would Matthew delete things from it? It is clear that these Gospels are not God breathed but are eye witness accounts based on what they thought. They never received any revelations as we clearly see, they wrote the Gospels to how they saw fit.



Ancient ecclesiastical writers are at variance as to the date of the composition of the First Gospel. Eusebius (in his Chronicle), Theophylact, and Euthymius Zigabenus are of opinion that the Gospel of Matthew was written eight years, and Nicephorus Callistus fifteen years, after Christ's Ascension--i. e. about A.D. 38-45. According to Eusebius, Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew when he left Palestine. Now, following a certain tradition (admittedly not too reliable), the Apostles separated twelve years after the Ascension, hence the Gospel would have been written about the year 40-42, but following Eusebius (Hist. eccl., III, v, 2), it is possible to fix the definitive departure of the Apostles about the year 60, in which event the writing of the Gospel would have taken place about the year 60-68. St IrenŠus is somewhat more exact concerning the date of the First Gospel, as he says: "Matthew produced his Gospel when Peter and Paul were evangelizing and founding the Church of Rome, consequently about the years 64-67." However, this text presents difficulties of interpretation which render its meaning uncertain and prevent us from deducing any positive conclusion.

In our day opinion is rather divided. Catholic critics, in general, favour the years 40-45, although some (e.g. Patrizi) go back to 36-39 or (e.g. Aberle) to 37. Belser assigns 41-42; ConÚly, 40-50; Schafer, 50-51; Hug, Reuschl, Schanz, and Rose, 60-67. This last opinion is founded on the combined testimonies of St. IrenŠus and Eusebius, and on the remark inserted parenthetically in the discourse of Jesus in chapter xxiv, 15: "When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place": here the author interrupts the sentence and invites the reader to take heed of what follows, viz.: "Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains." As there would have been no occasion for a like warning had the destruction of Jerusalem already taken place, Matthew must have written his Gospel before the year 70 (about 65-70 according to Batiffol). Protestant and Liberalistic critics also are greatly at variance as regards the time of the composition of the First Gospel. Zahn sets the date about 61-66, and Godet about 60-66; Keim, Meyer, Holtzmann (in his earlier writings), Beyschlag, and Maclean, before 70, Bartiet about 68-69; W. Allen and Plummer, about 65-75; Hilgenfeld and Holtzmann (in his later writings), soon after 70; B. Weiss and Harnack, about 70-75; Renan, later than 85, RÚville, between 69 and 96, JŘlicher, in 81-96, Montefiore, about 90-100, Volkmar, in 110; Baur, about 130-34.

So note Christians can’t even get the time and date composition of Matthew! What makes this even funnier is that Christians always ask us Muslims when did the Bible get corrupted? Well I ask you the Christian, when did the book of Matthew get compiled and composed? We have no such problems with the Quran, we know when and where it was composed, and how it was done as well.


It is easy to see how Matthew, with his disposition to organize and assemble his material, should have omitted this, for it would hardly fit in with his teaching against public giving. We may say there is really no fundamental conflict between them, and yet we would hot want to record them together, no matter how much we prize them both. In fact, there is hardly a detail given by Mark which Matthew has omitted which we cannot understand his omitting. The demonic recognitions of Jesus, the difficulty Jesus sometimes seems to have in effecting a cure. Mark 8:23-25, his apparent use of means in healing. Mark 7:33; 8:23—these may have deterred Matthew from using some accounts when he had what he may well have considered better ones with which to fill his gospel.

This Marcan material, which can be seen displayed in any Greek or English harmony of the gospels, [1] Matthew somewhat rearranged, yet in using it he followed the order of Mark's phrases to an extraordinary degree. We can form a very fair idea of the way in which Matthew used his sources by the way he used Mark, and while he rearranged blocks and items of material with some freedom, in detail he was singularly

So Matthew took out what he didn’t like, put in what he did like and re-arranged things. How convenient.


To most moderns it seems an act of sheer plagiarism to use another man's book so freely and say nothing about it. But we must always remember that both Matthew and Mark were anonymous; neither writer gave his name to his gospel or claimed it as his own;

So note the Christian does show that what Matthew did is plagiarism, but he tries to clear this up by saying the writers were anonymous and didn’t giver their names or claimed the Gospel to be of his own, if so, then how do you know Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark? Ah yes, you ASSUME.


The question arises: What other sources had Matthew for the writing of his gospel? It is plain that one, at least, of these other sources was used by Luke also, since many things absent from Mark are present in both Luke and Matthew and in the same form of words. Luke is especially instructive here, for his method, unlike Matthew's, was to use his sources en bloc, not minutely interwoven. So it comes about that there are in Luke considerable areas where Mark has not been used at all; we may call them Mark-free areas. Since these alternate with solid extracts from Mark, which were evidently taken directly from that gospel with slight verbal changes, it seems very probable


that the non-Marcan passages were likewise taken from other written sources, which Matthew also used in his own peculiar way.

The longest of these Mark-free areas in Luke is 9:51-18:14. Then, after an excerpt from Mark, 19:1-28 is again Mark-free. These may be called the Perean Section, [1] since their scene is laid in Perea. They probably formed a separate document or documents; certainly they were used by Matthew.

Another of these Mark-free areas in Luke is 6:20-8:3, which may be called the Galilean Section, as its action takes place in Galilee. But with it we may naturally group scattered passages such as 3:7-18;

4:2-13, wanting in Mark and yet used also by Matthew. Whether these two sections, the Galilean and the Perean, were separate or are to be thought of as one (the so-called "Q" or "Quelle") has been much discussed; they are different in certain definite respects, and Luke in his preface, 1:1-4, leads us to expect him to show the use of a number of sources: "Many writers have undertaken to compose accounts, . ..." It is clear that Luke and Matthew used the material of these sections, in addition to Mark. There is no substantial reason for supposing that they were combined into one document, and Luke's statement, 1:1, is definitely against it. They had reached written form probably somewhere in the Greek world.

Papias of Hierapolis, in one of the fragments from

[1] Cf. D. R. Wickes, The Sources of Luke's Perean Section (Chicago, 1912), and E. W. Parsons, A Historical Examination of Some Non-Marcan Elements in Luke (Chicago, 1914).

So note, all the Gospel writers are just borrowing from other sources and just mixing it around to make their own Gospel.


Yet Matthew probably had other sources, chiefly traditions of sayings of Jesus, current in more or less developed forms in Christian preaching, which he wrought into fuller and more finished forms, e.g., in the finely rounded parables of chapter 25. These may have been combined into a document or they may have existed separately. They had been reduced to writing somewhere in Greek Christian circles, probably about Antioch. They would be of that "formless," that is, unorganized, type of sayings collection natural enough in the oral stage in Jewish Christian groups, since it was in this way that the Jews were wont to gather and transmit (of course orally) the sayings of the rabbis.[1]

Wasn’t Matthew an eye-witness? Why does he need traditions of sayings of Jesus to add in his Gospel? That’s like making a Quran out of Hadiths!


I think this is enough to cast reliability on the entire book of Matthew. The book as we see is very un-reliable. It seems all those thousands of manuscripts couldn’t even help the Christians figure out what language the Gospel of Matthew was written in!


We now turn our attention to the Gospel of Mark


The gospel itself is anonymous, but as early as Papias in the early 2nd century, a text was attributed to Mark, a disciple of Peter, who is said to have recorded the Apostle's discourses. Papias' authority in this was John the Presbyter. While the text of Papias is no longer extant, it was quoted by Eusebius of Caesarea:

And the presbyter would say this: Mark, who had indeed been Peter's interpreter, accurately wrote as much as he remembered, yet not in order, about that which was either said or did by the Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later, as I said, Peter, who would make the teachings anecdotally but not exactly an arrangement of the Lord's reports, so that Mark did not fail by writing certain things as he recalled. For he had one purpose, not to omit what he heard or falsify them.


So note, we do not really know that Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark. All we have is a text that claimed that Mark wrote it, however so the only problem we have here is that the text does not exist!

Secondly, the supposed text that is reffered to doesn’t help the Christians out neither. Note what it says:

, who had indeed been Peter's interpreter, accurately wrote as much as he remembered, yet not in order


So Mark wrote what he was able to remember, we can now safely say that Mark also may have and did forget to write and record a lot of things since he is human. So what did Mark forget? Or are the Christians going to claim that Mark had a perfect memory and wrote every single thing down, I don’t think any Christian can confidently state that at all. This very fact also proves that this Gospel is not from God or revealed by God, this Gospel is simply made up of a man’s writing of what he remembered and saw, so basically what you have are just the memory of what a man saw and heard and then saying this is a book of God. This would be like saying Sahih Al-Bukhari’s hadiths are the Quran.


From the time of Clement of Alexandria, at the end of the 2nd century, to the mid 20th century, scholars have generally thought this gospel was first written at Rome, but Syria is also a viable candidate. The Rome-Peter theory has been questioned in recent decades. It is argued that the Latinisms in the Greek of Mark —once seen as an indication of Roman provenance—could have stemmed from many places throughout the Western Roman empire. Furthermore, Papias' comment does not make it clear that the Mark of whom he spoke is the author of the canonical gospel which bears that name. Neither does the comment in 1 Peter 5:13 "The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son" for Mark was a very common name in the first century. Several passages in the Gospel of Mark jumble Galilean topography, indicating that the author, or his sources, were unfamiliar with the actual geography of that area, unlike the historical Peter. Finally, some scholars dispute the connection of the gospel with persecution, identified with persecution at Rome, because persecution was widespread, albeit sporadic beyond the borders of the city of Rome.

As Morna D. Hooker, the Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity in The University of Cambridge, stated in her commentary on Mark (p. 8): "All we can say with certainty, therefore, is that the gospel was composed somewhere in the Roman Empire—a conclusion that scarsely narrows the field at all!"


So now the Christians don’t even know where the book of Mark was written! So my question to all Christians is why do you ask us the Muslims where the Gospels were corrupted when you don’t even know where you wrote them!

Continuing with the article.



There was some dispute among textual critics in the 19th century as to whether 16:9-20, describing some disciples' encounters with the resurrected Jesus, were actually part of the original Gospel, or if they were added later. The oldest extant manuscripts do not contain these verses and the style differs from the rest of Mark, suggesting that they were a later addition. A few manuscripts even include a different ending after verse 8. By the 5th century, at least 4 different endings have been attested. (See Mark 16 for a more comprehensive treatment of this topic.)

Mark 16 is the final chapter of the Gospel of Mark. There is much debate about the ending of Mark, and many textual problems—there are nine different endings known—but most of the debate focuses around the so-called ‘longer’ ending (16:9-20).

Possible Scenarios

  • The original ending of Mark was lost, and somebody else at a very early date completed the gospel. C. H. Turner has suggested that the original version of the gospel may have been a codex and the last pages may have been lost. However, it seems unlikely that Christian use of the codex form stretched as far back as the proposed date for the writing of Mark, though there is evidence for its adoption in the second century;
  • The author(s) of Mark intentionally ended the gospel at 16:8, and someone else at an early date completed the gospel;
  • More than one edition of Mark’s Gospel was made, so some Christian communities would have possessed the longer ending edition, and others would have possessed the edition that stopped at 16:8. ( SAM- MEANING PEOPLE HAD DIFFERENT BIBLES)
  • The original ending was inconvenient to the church, and it was replaced.


Verses 16:8-9 read as follows in the New Revised Standard Version:

(16:8) So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (16:9) Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from who he had cast out seven demons.

Note the way the narrative flow abruptly changes from "they were afraid" to "now after he rose". Also, Mary Magdalene, introduced at the beginning of the chapter (16:1), is re-introduced almost as though she had not already been mentioned.

The final sentence in v.8 is also regarded as strange by many scholars, because in the Greek text it finishes with the conjunction ?a? (gar, 'for'). It is contended by those who see 16:9-20 as originally Markan that ?a? literally means “because”, and this ending to v.8 is therefore not grammatically coherent (literally, it would read “they were afraid because”). However, this objection misunderstands the nature of the Greek language. Since Greek is an inflexive language as opposed to a syntactic language such as English, word order is not as important. (Compare Grammar in Greek language and Grammar in English language.) ?a? is never the first word of a sentence: there is no such rule that states it can never be the last word, though it is very rare for a book to end with ?a?.

Still, ?a? aside, the grammar of v.8 is still odd, as the verb f?▀e?Áa? (phobeomai, 'I fear') has no object. Gundry also mentions that only 10% of Mark’s ?a? clauses—6 out of 66—conclude pericopes (Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross, Chapters 9-16). As such, this statistic favours the view that, rather than concluding 16:1-8, v.8 begins a new pericope, the rest of which is now lost to us. Gundry therefore does not see v.8 as the intended ending; a resurrection narrative was either written, then lost, or planned but never actually written. Either way, the originality of vv.9-20 is denied by Gundry—and, indeed, the overwhelming majority of textual critics.

Mark 16:9-20 is in most of the undamaged Greek copies of the Gospel of Mark. A copy of a manuscript, however, is only as good as the text being copied, so all of the texts with 16:9-20 may simply be copies of the same non-Markan addition. The verses are absent in the oldest manuscripts of Mark, including the vitally important Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, which both conclude the gospel at 16:8.

However, Mark 16:9-20 is absent in other early church fathers (e.g. Clement of Alexandria, Origen). At any rate, all that can be concluded from this use of the longer ending is that, rightly or wrongly, Mark 16:9-20 had become part of Church tradition and scripture much like other apocryphal writings such as The Shepherd of Hermas and the Didache, neither of which are now considered canonical.

 Some textual problems, however, still remain, e.g. whether Gerasenon or Gergesenon is to be read in v, 1, eporei or epoiei in vi, 20, and whether the difficult autou, attested by B, Aleph, A, L, or autes is to be read in vi, 20

the great textual problem of the Gospel concerns the genuineness of the last twelve verses. Three conclusions of the Gospel are known: the long conclusion, as in our Bibles, containing verses 9-20, the short one ending with verse 8 (ephoboumto gar), and an intermediate form which (with some slight variations) runs as follows: "And they immediately made known all that had been commanded to those about Peter. And after this, Jesus Himself appeared to them, and through them sent forth from East to West the holy and incorruptible proclamation of the eternal salvation." Now this third form may be dismissed at once. Four unical manuscripts, dating from the seventh to the ninth century, give it, indeed, after xvi, 9, but each of them also makes reference to the longer ending as an alternative (for particulars cf. Swete, op. cit., pp. cv-cvii). It stands also in the margin of the cursive Manuscript 274, in the margin of the Harclean Syriac and of two manuscripts of the Memphitic version; and in a few manuscripts of the Ethiopic it stands between verse 8 and the ordinary conclusion. Only one authority, the Old Latin k, gives it alone (in a very corrupt rendering), without any reference to the longer form. Such evidence, especially when compared with that for the other two endings, can have no weight, and in fact, no scholar regards this intermediate conclusion as having any titles to acceptance.

We may pass on, then, to consider how the case stands between the long conclusion and the short, i.e. between accepting xvi, 9-20, as a genuine portion of the original Gospel, or making the original end with xvi, 8. In favour of the short ending Eusebius ("Quaest. ad Marin.") is appealed to as saying that an apologist might get rid of any difficulty arising from a comparison of Matt. xxviii, 1, with Mark, xvi, 9, in regard to the hour of Christ's Resurrection, by pointing out that the passage in Mark beginning with verse 9 is not contained in all the manuscripts of the Gospel. The historian then goes on himself to say that in nearly all the manuscripts of Mark, at least, in the accurate ones (schedon en apasi tois antigraphois . . . ta goun akribe, the Gospel ends with xvi, 8. It is true, Eusebius gives a second reply which the apologist might make, and which supposes the genuineness of the disputed passage, and he says that this latter reply might be made by one "who did not dare to set aside anything whatever that was found in any way in the Gospel writing". But the whole passage shows clearly enough that Eusebius was inclined to reject everything after xvi, 8. It is commonly held, too, that he did not apply his canons to the disputed verses, thereby showing clearly that he did not regard them as a portion of the original text (see, however, Scriv., "Introd.", II, 1894, 339). St. Jerome also says in one place ("Ad. Hedib.") that the passage was wanting in nearly all Greek manuscripts (omnibus GrŠciŠ libris poene hoc capitulum in fine non habentibus), but he quotes it elsewhere ("Comment. on Matt."; "Ad Hedib."), and, as we know, he incorporated it in the Vulgate. It is quite clear that the whole passage, where Jerome makes the statement about the disputed verses being absent from Greek manuscripts, is borrowed almost verbatim from Eusebius, and it may be doubted whether his statement really adds any independent weight to the statement of Eusebius. It seems most likely also that Victor of Antioch, the first commentator of the Second Gospel, regarded xvi, 8, as the conclusion. If we add to this that the Gospel ends with xvi, 8, in the two oldest Greek manuscripts, B and Aleph, in the Sin. Syriac and in a few Ethiopic manuscripts, and that the cursive Manuscript 22 and some Armenian manuscripts indicate doubt as to whether the true ending is at verse 8 or verse 20,

The author of the Gospel of Mark does indeed seem to lack first-hand knowledge of the geography of Palestine. Randel Helms writes concerning Mark 11:1 (Who Wrote the Gospels?, p. 6): "Anyone approaching Jerusalem from Jericho would come first to Bethany and then Bethphage, not the reverse. This is one of several passages showing that Mark knew little about Palestine; we must assume, Dennis Nineham argues, that 'Mark did not know the relative positions of these two villages on the Jericho road' (1963, 294-295). Indeed, Mark knew so little about the area that he described Jesus going from Tyrian territory 'by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee through the territory of the Ten Towns' (Mark 7:31); this is similar to saying that one goes from London to Paris by way of Edinburgh and Rome. The simplist solution, says Nineham, is that 'the evangelist was not directly acquainted with Palestine' (40)."

Other hands have attached additional endings after Mark 16:8; see the note on Mark 16:9-20.


 All this information is enough to cast doubt upon the entire book of Mark. We don’t know for sure on who wrote Mark, we don’t where it was exactly written, we don’t know exactly when it was written. Finally the fact that there is such a controversy on the ending of Mark throws the whole book into question just on this fact alone. The fact that additions have been made in the last chapter leaves us wondering what else has been added in Mark.


We now turn our attention to the Gospel of Luke.

The evangelist does not claim to have been an eyewitness of Jesus's life, but to have investigated everything carefully and to have written an orderly narrative of the facts (Luke 1:1-4).


So much for the Christian myth that the first 4 gospels of the NT were all written by eyewitnesses, as we can see all Luke did was study and investigate and then wrote his own Gospel, he never witnessed anything so therefore his Gospel is unreliable already.


Date of composition

The date of this gospel's composition is uncertain. Estimates range from ca 80 to ca 130 AD.


Traditional views of the date

Traditionally, Christians believe that Luke wrote under the direction, if not at the dictation, of Paul. This would place it as having been written before the Acts, the date of composition of which is generally fixed at about AD 63 or 64. Consequently the tradition is that this Gospel was written about 60 or 63, when Luke may have been at Caesarea in attendance on Paul, who was then a prisoner. If the alternate conjecture is correct, that it was written at Rome during Paul's imprisonment there, then it would date earlier, 4060. Evangelical Christians tend to favor this view, in keeping with the tradition to date the gospels very early.

Luke addressed his gospel to "most excellent Theophilus." Theophilus, which in Greek means "Friend of God", may just be a literary expression.

Unfortunately, nowhere in Luke or Acts does it say that the author is Luke, the companion of Paul; this ascription is late second century. Furthermore, the text itself reveals hints that it was not written as a dictation of a single author, but made use of multiple sources.


Critical views of the date

In contrast to the traditional view, many contemporary scholars regard Mark as a source text used by the author(s) of Luke. Since Mark was probably written after the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, around 70, Luke could not have been written before 70. The Sadducees are another point traditional scholars use to confirm a later date, contrasting Matthew's focus on the tax collecters and Jesus' rebuke of their actions against Luke's hardly mentioning them at all within his gospel, because after the destruction of the Temple, the Sadducees lost their power base. Based on this datum, scholars have suggested dates for Luke from 80 to as late as 150, and Acts shortly thereafter, also between 80 and 150. The de-emphasis of the Parousia and the universalization of the message strongly suggest a much later date than the 60–70 given by the traditional view.

Debate continues among non-traditionalists about whether Luke was written before or after the end of the first century. Those who would date it later argue that it was written in response to hetrodoxical movements of the early second century. Those who would date it earlier point out both that Luke lacks knowledge of the episcopal system, which had been developed in the second century, and that an earlier date preserves the traditional connection of the gospel with the Luke who was a follower of Paul

So again we do not know the date of when the book was composed and written. Now the reason why the date is very important is because it lets you know if things were added or deleted. For example let us say a book was written and finnished in 1900, if we saw any new information in this book by 1930-1940 we would be able to conclude that these are additions and not part of the original text If we find information missing and gone, then we can tell that things have been deleted and so on. So it is indeed very important to know the date to such as important book. The so called manuscripts do not help out in this case neither, because as we saw the manuscripts didn’t help Christians solve the mess of which language was the Gospel of Matthew written, nor did it help solve the problem surrounding the ending of the Gospel of Mark.

Continuing with the aritlce


Marcion rejected the first two chapters and some shorter passages of the gospel, and it was at one time maintained by rationalistic writers that his was the original Gospel of which ours is a later expansion.


The best information as to his sources is given by St. Luke, in the beginning of his Gospel. As many had written accounts as they heard them from "eyewitnesses and ministers of the word", it seemed good to him also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write an ordered narrative. He had two sources of information, then, eyewitnesses (including Apostles) and written documents taken down from the words of eyewitnesses. The accuracy of these documents he was in a position to test by his knowledge of the character of the writers, and by comparing them with the actual words of the Apostles and other eyewitnesses.

So basically this is like what Bukhari and Muslim did with the Hadiths with slight differences. The only difference here is that Luke turned the information into a supposed book of God! How can any honest Christian trust the book of Luke as a book completely from God when we read such information? Luke was not inspired, he only studied and investigated and then made a narrative and now people claim it is from God. Every scholar could do that, get lots of information on specific events, then take out what he feels are not true and put in what he feels is true to make a narrative which is correct according to him.


We now turn our attention to the GOSPEL OF JOHN



The Church Fathers believed only The Gospel of John and The Gospel of Matthew to be written by apostles of Jesus. The Gospel of John is the most divergent of the four. While the "beloved disciple," who is traditionally identified as John the Apostle, has previously been regarded as the author, this is now disputed among scholars of the "Higher Criticism" based on historical context




Scholarly research since the 19th century has questioned the apostle John's authorship, however, and has presented internal evidence that the work was written many decades after the events it describes. The text provides strong evidence that it was written after the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 and after the break between Christian Jews and Pauline Christianity. F.C. Baur asserted a date as late as 160. Today, most critical scholars are of the opinion that John was composed in stages (probably two or three), beginning at an unknown time (50-70?) and culminating in the final edition (Gospel of John) around 95-100. This final date is assumed in large part because John 21, the so-called "appendix" to John, is largely concerned with explaining the death of the "beloved disciple," probably the leader of the Johannine community that produced the gospel. If this leader had been a follower of Jesus, or a disciple of one of Jesus' followers, then a death around 90-100 is expected


Robert Kysar writes the following on the authorship of the Gospel of John (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 3, pp. 919-920):

The supposition that the author was one and the same with the beloved disciple is often advanced as a means of insuring that the evangelist did witness Jesus' ministry. Two other passages are advanced as evidence of the same - 19:35 and 21:24. But both falter under close scrutiny. 19:35 does not claim that the author was the one who witnessed the scene but only that the scene is related on the sound basis of eyewitness. 21:24 is part of the appendix of the gospel and should not be assumed to have come from the same hand as that responsible for the body of the gospel. Neither of these passages, therefore, persuades many Johannine scholars that the author claims eyewitness status.

There is a case to be made that John, the son of Zebedee, had already died long before the Gospel of John came to be written.


John 5:3-4

The fifth chapter tells of the cure of the paralytic at the pool of Bethsaida in Jerusalem. According to the Vulgate the text of the second part of verse three and verse four runs as follows: " . . . waiting for the moving of the water. And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond, and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole, of whatsoever infirmity he lay under." But these words are wanting in the three oldest manuscripts, the Codex Vaticanus (B), Codex Sinaiticus (aleph), and Codex Bez (D), in the original text of the palimpsest of St. Ephraem (C), in the Syrian translation of Cureton, as well as in the Coptic and Sahidic translations, in some minuscules, in three manuscripts of the Itala, in four of the Vulgate, and in some Armenian manuscripts. Other copies append to the words a critical sign which indicates a doubt as to their authenticity. The passage is therefore regarded by the majority of modern critics, including the Catholic exegetes, Schegg, Schanz, Belser, etc., as a later addition by Papias or some other disciple of the Apostle.

John 7:53-8:11

This passage contains the story of the adulteress. The external critical evidence seems in this ease to give still clearer decision against the authenticity of this passage. It is wanting in the four earliest manuscripts (B, A, C, and aleph) and many others, while in many copies it is admitted only with the critical mark, indicative of doubtful authenticity. Nor is it found in the Syrian translation of Cureton, in the Sinaiticus, the Gothic translation, in most codices of the Peshito, or of the Coptic and Armenian translations, or finally in the oldest manuscripts of the Itala. None of the Greek Fathers have treated the incident in their commentaries, and, among Latin writers, Tertullian, Cyprian, and Hilary appear to have no knowledge of this pericope.


So now we have verses in the Gospel of John on which there is doubt, and are not authentic and not written by John. This itself is enough to throw this book away, but as we saw people aren’t even sure about who wrote this Gospel.

  1. Date and place of writing.
    1. The date of writing for the gospel has been variously estimated from 40AD to 140AD.

Why can’t they ever get the time? Especially with all the manuscripts.


This shall conclude part one of this article. As we clearly see, the first 4 Gospels of the NT are not reliable at all.

Part two to follow shortly, insha'Allah (if Allah Almighty is Willing).






Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.

Contradictions and History of Corruption in the Bible.

Sami Zaatari's Rebuttals section.

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