Papyri

Papyri Testify to the Authenticity of the New Testament

sword_icon2The earliest copies we have of portions of the New Testament are found onpapyrus. In ancient times, scribes would write on strips of plant stokes or reeds that were glued together – this would form papyrus. This is where we get our word ‘paper’.

Many of these date back to the first two centuries after Christ and are written in an“uncial” style (i.e., all capital letters, no punctuation marks, no spaces between words). A couple examples of such papyri are shown here:

The John Rylands Papyrus (125AD) was discovered in Egypt in 1935 and contains a portion of John 18. Note that John would have penned his Gospel less than 50 years earlier.

p52

Image provided courtesy of www.biblefacts.org

The Magdalen Papyrus (recently revised to date back to 70AD) was discovered in Luxor, Egypt in 1901. It contains a portion of Matthew 26. Note that Matthew penned his Gospel only 5 or so years earlier in 65AD.

magdalen-1

Image provided courtesy of www.biblefacts.org

With the Magdalen Papyrus, we have a copy of a portion of the New Testament dating back prior to its completion!

To date, 88 Papyri containing portions of the New Testament in Greek have been found that date within a few decades of the writing of the New Testament.

Early Century Papyri go back to within a few years of the writing of the New Testament. This greatly lessens the opportunity for error to creep into the text. The New Testament is Authentic!