In the name of Almighty God
It is our intent here to introduce the reader to the history of the New Testament. We have already established in part one of this series that the Old Testament is not the authentic Divine Revelation given to the Israelite Prophets. Instead, it is the product of the manipulations of many unknown men down through the ages. God-willing, we will now look at the New Testament.
It is understood by many people that the New Testament is the Divine Book given to Jesus. In reality this is not the case. Instead, the New Testament is simply a book reporting what Jesus allegedly said and did. Let us first look at some facts of history. Jesus was an Israelite Prophet who walked the earth some 2,000 years ago. Jesus spoke and taught his disciplines in the Syriac language (a dialect of Aramaic)—a Semitic language, like that of Hebrew and Arabic. The oldest versions of the New Testament are in the Greek language. Greek is in a totally different language family from Aramaic. The Encyclopedia American says:
“The New Testament is from the beginning to end a Greek book. Although the earliest oral traditions of Jesus’ deeds and sayings undoubtedly circulated in Aramaic….” (vol. 3, page 694)
Not only is the New Testament in a language other than what Jesus conveyed his Divine Message, there is no where in the New Testament that claims that Jesus actually wrote or dictated it to his disciples. In short, the New Testament is not authorized by Jesus.
Now regarding the books of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John—who are allegedly disciples or students of the disciples of Jesus–these early so-called “gospels” originally were circulated anonymously and were given their names later by the Church—they don’t bear the names of the actual authors. The Encyclopedia Britannica says:
“Though the author of Mark is probably unknown, authority is traditionally derived from a supposed connection with the Apostle Peter….” (vol. 14, page 973) Of the Gospel of Matthew, it says: “…but that the writer of Matthew is probably anonymous.” (vol. 14, page 975) Of the Book of Luke, it says: “In short, the author of this gospel remains unknown.” (vol. 14, page 976) And of the Book of John, the Encyclopedia Britannica says: “From internal evidence the Gospel was written by a beloved disciple whose name is unknown.” (vol. 14, page 977)
By the way, one should ask himself exactly what does “probably unknown—or probably anonymous” exactly mean?
Consequently, each one of the four so-called gospels that are suppose to be reports about the life and teachings of Jesus is of a doubtful-unknown origin—yet, this is the book that hundreds of millions of people on Earth call the unchanged word of God.
In addition to the dubious authorship and the fact that the oldest New Testaments are not in Aramaic (the language of Jesus), the oldest existing so-called gospels are not complete. The very oldest so-called gospels are fragments of pages! The Biblical scholars cannot produce a single complete collection of the earliest so-called gospel manuscripts! What are available of the very oldest manuscripts are a few pages and fragments of pages—but no complete so-called “gospel”. Furthermore, of the NUMEROUS early Greek texts that are available, the Biblical authorities admit that none of them are in complete agreement. And even if there were a few that were in agreement (which is not the case), there still would be no way to prove that the text that do agree would actually contain the genuine Message of Jesus.
The well known Biblical scholar, Bruce M. Metzger, author of: The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration, mentions in the preface of his book the need for textual criticism of the Bible. He says:
“The necessity of applying textual criticism to the books of the New Testament arises from two circumstances: (a) none of the original documents is extant [that is, existing], and (b) the existing copies differ from one another. The textual critic seeks to ascertain from the divergent copies which form of the text should be regarded as most nearly conforming to the original.”
Bruce Metzger is just one among many Biblical scholars who admits that the Bible has been corrupted (a fact that the author confesses in the very title of his book!). There is more. The Encyclopedia Americana (vol. 3. page 694) confirms the position of other Biblical scholars. It says:
“The contents of the New Testament as we have it today were not fully compiled until the fourth century [that is, 300 hundred years after Jesus was on Earth]…. But alas, we do not have the autographs [handwritten originals], or any of the very earliest copies. Of the New Testament writings, the greatest period of textual change and alteration was in the second century.…”
In summary, the New Testament is historically problematic because: the authors of the so-called gospels are unknown. The oldest so-called gospels are not in the language that Jesus instructed his disciples (that is, Syriac–a dialect of Aramaic). The Greek translators are unknown. There is not a single complete authoritative version of the earliest so-called gospel writings available. Instead, the earliest manuscripts conflict with each other—even when they are said to be written by the same author. And lastly, the books that are accepted among the so-called gospels were not compiled until the fourth century. By this time, there were dozens and dozens of other so-called gospels also in circulation.
There were also many conflicting ideas about who Jesus was by the time the canonization (that is, made official) of the Bible took place in 325 C.E. Some people were claiming that Jesus is God. Others said that he is the Son of God, and others said, and rightfully so, that Jesus is a human being and a Prophet of God.
Muslims believe that Jesus is a great Prophet of God. Jesus taught the same Message about God as did the earlier Prophets: God is One without partners. God is One without parts—that is, God is not a body composed of particles or pieces. God is Eternal and doesn’t change. God knows everything and has power over all the creations. God absolutely does not need or resemble any of the creations—whatever one imagines, the Creator is other than that.
Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad is the last of the Prophets. God supported him with hundreds of miracles. Prophet Muhammad clarified the misconceptions regarding Jesus caused by the corrupted books and confused blasphemous man-made doctrines. Prophet Muhammad called the people to prepare for death by being sincerely obedient to God. This is what the Muslims believe.
A person becomes Muslim by saying:
“I bear witnesses nothing is worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
After becoming Muslim one should seek to learn about Islam from qualified teachers who can instruct one about the various acts of worship so that one can fulfill his or her obligations to God.