In “The Da Vinci Code”, Leigh Teabing condescendingly comments to Sophie “The Bible is the product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds” (dvc p.231). In this, he is partly correct: The Bible does not present itself as merely a product of God; the Bible presents itself as inspired by God and protected by God from error and yet written by humans. It is, therefore, both a product of God and humanity. In the words of the apostle Peter, “Men spoke”—there’s the human part— “from God”—there’s the divine part—”as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” It should not disturb us that humans were involved not only in the writing but 30 in the compiling of Scripture (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16).
Was the New Testament, as we know it, compiled and edited by ten who possessed “a political agenda… to solidify their own power base”? (dvc p.234)
No. The New Testament underwent a compilation process referred to as canonization, from the Greek word kanon (“measuring stick”). So, how were the canonical books selected? To be included in the Christian Scriptures, writings had to meet three requirements: Because the apostles were the trusted eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection, the writing had to be directly connected to an apostle.
The writing had to be “orthodox”—it could not contradict the teachings of the Jewish Scriptures or of the apostles. The writing had to be accepted in churches throughout the known world—it could not be accepted only by one group of Christians. These requirements specifically prevented the manipulation of the canon by any single group.
THE RELIABILITY OF SCRIPTURE
The interval between the dates of the original composition [of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John] and the earliest extant evidence [is] so small as to be negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed —Sir Frederic Kenyon, former director of the British Museum
Are the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea scrolls “the earliest Christian records”? (dvc P.245)
No, Dan Brown mistakenly groups the Nag Hammadi and the Dead Sea scrolls together when they’re actually two separate groups of documents. The Dead Sea Scrolls are not “Christian records” at all; they’re Jewish records, discovered near the Dead Sea in Israel. Most of them originated long before the birth of Jesus. They do not even mention Jesus Christ, let alone speak of His ministry “in very human terms” (dvc p.234).
The Nag Hammadi texts, discovered in 1945 near the village of Nag Hammadi in Egypt, were copied by a sect that had been influenced by Christianity, but differed greatly in doctrine. None of the Nag Hammadi scrolls was written before ad 150. Most of the Nag Hammadi scrolls are from the 200’s and 300’s.” Even scholars who deny the authority of the Christian Scriptures affirm that the books of the New Testament were completed by AD 100 — at least fifty years before the oldest Nag Hammadi text was written.
Were more than 80 gospels considered for inclusion in the New Testament? (dvc p.231)
No, the four canonical gospels— Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John— were recognized from the very beginning as the authoritative accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. By the mid-100’s— about the time the earliest texts found at Nag Hammadi were being written – a prominent church leader wrote: Since there are them are four Quarters of the earth, it is fitting that the church should have four pillars,… the four Gospels.”
Only five of the texts uncovered at Nag Hammadi claimed to be “gospels.” Three other texts that referred to themselves as “gospels” may have circulated among early Christians. Not one of these texts was ever considered by early Christians for inclusion in the New Testament.