M is for Manuscript (Apologetics in Children's Ministry)

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Questions Asked

These are some of the questions that you may be asked in the course of your ministry.

  • How do we know that the Bible we read today is what they wrote so long ago?
  • Didn’t man decide what was going to be in the Bible?
  • The Bible is full of errors, how can we know if it is telling the truth?

Manuscript Evidence

The truth is, we do not have the actual original documents that were written by the apostles, prophets, kings, and others that comprise our Bible. Still, we can quickly and easily show in a tangible, scientific manner, that we can know that what we are reading today is, in fact, what was written long ago (yes, in another language).
In answering these charges, you can begin by asking the child if he questions any other “old” book. Ask him if he has heard of Plato or Aristotle or Homer (not Simpson!) from ancient Greek. If he has, ask him if he asks the same questions about their writings. If he has not, quickly explain that they were great philosophers and writers whose writings are still widely read and applied today.
Once you have introduced these three men from the past, you are now ready to show how the Bible compares to these books. Use the following “chart”:

Author, Date Written, Date of Earliest Extant Copy (not destroyed), # of copies
  • Plato, 400 B.C., 900 A.D. (1300 years from date written), 7
  • Aristotle, 350 B.C., 1100 A.D. (1450 years), 49
  • Homer (The Illiad), 900 B.C., 400 B.C. (500 years), 643

Where does the Bible stand in comparison to these numbers?

Old Testament
  • Written by many people over 1200 years.
  • Approximately written from 1600 BC to 400 BC.
  • We have extensive copies of the OT dated around 250 B.C. (150-1350 years)
  • Over 14,000 copies have been discovered to date.
New Testament
  • Written by many in the first century
  • Written from about 50 A.D. to no later than 95 A.D.
  • Many copies have been found that date around 130 A.D. with over 800 copies dating before 1000 A.D.  (35-900 years)
  • Over 5,600 copies have been discovered to date.

Obviously, this information is probably not going to mean anything to a 7 year old.  It will; however, start to show the children tangible evidence that the Bible can be trusted.  These numbers are a bit tough to understand at first.  You will probably have to do some explaining as to what “extant” means, but the sheer numbers and dates help to make the case for the authenticity of the Bible.
Again, this is not a lesson.  This information is meant to offer solid answers to some of the tougher questions we get in the Children’s ministry.  We pray this information helps you, the teacher, as well to “always be prepared.”

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