It is probably no exaggeration to say that most Christians believe that the original texts of the Bible (the autographs) were inspired by God and contained no errors. The textual variations which currently exist result from the process of transmission and they do not change the meaning, and certainly not any major doctrine, in any substantive way. This belief is certainly held by most evangelicals.
Unfortunately, the fact that we do not possess the originals is often used as an argument against the accuracy of the text. In some cases the assertion may simply reveal the ignorance of the critics. They don’t seem to realize that there are far more ancient copies of the biblical texts than any other ancient literature. Even if we had no copies of the actual text itself, we could reconstruct all but about two verses of the New Testament from quotations of it in ancient commentaries and other sources. In other cases, critics apply a double standard. They accept the accuracy of other texts of which we have far fewer copies while questioning the far greater evidence for the New Testament.
I enjoy speculating about how things would change if we ever do find some of the original texts. Almost all scholars seem to think that the originals have long since perished. But have they? I can’t help but think that the first Christians would have understood the importance of the writings of the Apostles and taken pains to preserve them. It won’t surprise me if someday we stumble across a document cache that has been lost to history. What a sensation that would be! Not only would it settle, once for all, the problem of textual variations, it would also settle a lot of questions about when the New Testament books were first written. It might even shake up our understanding of the canon (that is, which books the early Christians regarded as inspired). My guess is that an awful lot of scholarship – particularly the so-called “higher criticism” would have to be jettisoned.
Finding the originals of the New Testament was one of the “what if” questions which gave me the idea for an adventure novel. How would people respond to the discovery? What difference would the discovery make? What would the impact be on faith? Throw in some physical danger and a love interest, and I think I have the basis for a fairly decent yarn.
The blurb on the back cover of the paperback reads, “Professor of Linguistics, Stacy Foster still grieves for her late husband. Preacher Keith Campbell suffers from ministry burnout. While on a tourist jaunt to Turkey, a natural disaster forces them to trust and depend on each other for survival. In the process they stumble upon an archaeological discovery which, if brought to light, will forever change biblical scholarship. However, powerful forces are arrayed against them. Many would like to suppress the truth. Will Stacy and Keith give in and compromise their integrity to preserve the status quo? Or, will they put their reputations, their careers and their relationship at risk to stand up for the truth?”
You can buy your copy at Amazon