The trustworthiness of the Bible, and of the New Testament in particular, is a key element in apologetic arguments. One aspect of this is whether scribes changed the original documents over time - either deliberately or by accident - as they copied and re-copied the manuscripts.

Bart Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2005, Professor Ehrman's book on the New Testament Misquoting Jesus (published in the UK as Whose Word Is It?) hit the best-sellers lists. Professor Ehrman calls into question the authority of the New Testament as he argues that scribal changes over time have changed the original documents – both deliberately and through copying errors.

So can we trust the New Testament? Dr Peter J. Williams, Warden of Tyndale House and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Aberdeen, believes in the reliability of the New Testament and that Professor Ehrman's conclusions are far too pessimistic.

On 3rd January 2009, Justin Brierley brought the two together on his Premier Christian Radio programme Unbelievable? to discuss the question: 'Misquoting Jesus: Do we have the original writings of the New Testament?'.

Further information and links on this topic are available here.

The audio lasts for 1 hour 12 minutes and is a slightly edited version of the 'Unbelievable?' debate.
Listen to the full programme and to other 'Unbelievable?' debates.

© 2009 Premier Christian Radio