A Question I Was Asked:

Where are the Original Gospels, Who Translated Them, and is the Translation 'Word Perfect'?

Where are the original gospels, who translated them, and is the translation 'word perfect'? Just a few questions I would be grateful to have your advice on. Thank you.

UK Apologetics Reply:

The original gospels are available in huge number. So the documents are well-authenticated and considered highly reliable as such manuscripts go, moreover, this goes for the rest of the Bible too. This is conveniently ignored by atheists and Bible sceptics. For a start, just look at the following page:

As Mark D. Roberts has written:

The documents we know as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written sometime in the second half of the first century A.D..... They were written on scrolls of papyrus (a rough, paper-like substance). Papyrus was popular because it was readily available and relatively inexpensive. But, unfortunately for our purposes, it wasn't especially durable. Thus it's highly unlikely that any of the original gospel manuscripts, called by the technical term autographs, exists today. Probably, the biblical autographs were worn out through use, though perhaps they were misplaced by absentminded church leaders, destroyed by persecutors of the early Christians, or even eaten by critters.
Because ancient documents tended to have a relatively short shelf life, people who valued them had a way of preserving their contents: copying. Professional copyists, called scribes, would copy the words of one text into a fresh papyrus or parchment (a longer lasting material made from animal skins). Their training taught the scribes to minimize errors and maximize accuracy. (source:http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/can-we-know-what-the-original-gospel-manuscripts-really-said/).

Due to the painstaking work of these scribes, today we have the four Gospels, and the rest of the Bible, available in far more solid manuscriptural evidence than numerous historical documents which nobody doubts for one moment. These documents are well attested to and considered completely reliable. When the 'Dead Sea Scrolls' were discovered in 1947, we suddenly had a point of reference for some sections of the Bible which was possibly 1,000 years older than what we had. The accuracy astonished everybody, any differences were on a very minor level, affecting nothing of importance. This was overwhelming evidence of how our God can preserve His Word through many centuries.

Who translated our modern Bibles? Various bodies have translated the documents which make up our Bible into various languages. Normally a large body of language scholars are involved (rather than a single person). Just read the front of your own Bible to see its translation details, normally some information on this is clearly given.

No translation can ever be what you call "word perfect," I have studied Hebrew, Greek and French. You frequently cannot arrive at a place which is "word perfect," however, this does not need to worry anyone at all. The major translations are very reliable and stick as close as they possibly can to the original documents in the original Bible languages.

So I hope that some of this information helps, here are a few other articles which might help you. Please go through them carefully.


Read Mark D. Roberts' full (and excellent) article here.

Specifically on the historicity and reliability of the resurrection, look at this:

Robin A. Brace. October 22nd, 2014.