Islamic Allegations against the Bible

We had a good look at the reasons which should persuade Muslims, based on their own foundation, the Qur'an, that the Bible must be considered the Word of God. In addition we can confidently claim that the Bible has not been corrupted. So here the argument should end.

Even so, we should expose ourselves to their critique of our Bible for two reasons. It helps us to understand their frame of mind and shows their hang-ups. Based on what they hear about the Bible, it would be insane for them to pay any attention to it. If we don't know this, we are unable to rectify it. Secondly, we should not endeavour to live on an 'island of the ignorant'. Let us face genuine difficulties and come to grips with these ourselves. Then we are able to help those who are caught in Satan's spider web.

While Muslims have carried together a number of texts which may justify a critique, we will deal here only with those which are somewhat substantiated or may be viewed with some concern. Before this, we ought to look at:

How the Bible was Transmitted

With all this in mind: what are the chances of a book surviving unchanged 2500 years until the printing press was invented (as is the case of the Psalms)? Let us assume that it will have to be replaced after a 25 year use, it would have to be copied 100 times, not from the same original, mind you. Each time there is a very real chance of certain letters to have become illegible - a tragedy if it cannot be reconstructed from the context, or even more when it represents a number (that cannot be reconstructed).

Despite all this we have the Bible! It survived! When 1948 a wealth of scrolls was found near Qumran (= Dead Sea Scrolls), which were put into a cave appr. 200 BC (about 2100 years earlier! ), i.e. a complete copy of the prophet Isaiah was found. It is exactly like the one in our Bibles today!

Yet - some problems have arisen. Though most are of a very insignificant nature, which has no bearings on the meaning of the text, some appear to be more serious.

Over the last couple of hundred years the Bible was subjected to severe textual criticism, not by Muslims but by Christian scholars!

We must distinguish between two types of Bible criticism:

  1. Text criticism. Linguists, historians and other specialists scrutinize all available ancient manuscripts with the aim to establish the form and content closest to the original meaning.
  2. Higher criticism. This goes beyond this and is based on a liberal premise. Assumptions are made which go beyond reasonable limits. Instead of seeking to establish the original meaning, the message of the text is judged and subjected to critique.

Unfortunately a textual critique has not been attempted of the Qur'an and the Hadith. We believe with good reason that this would produce very severe problems, even though they are very much younger than the Bible and should by that merit show much less cause for concern. Nevertheless, Muslims delight in picking on the Bible and its "corruption". During the last 20 years in particular the market has been flooded with booklets like Is the Bible the Word of God? - with the aim to make unaware Christians insecure and to convert them to put their trust in the allegedly unchanged and faultlessly preserved Qur'an.

Before going into detail, we must take a look at the reasons for the difficulties in the Bible.

Reasons for Difficulties in the Bible

Problems that Arise from the Manuscripts from which the Bible was Translated

  1. At the time of early translations, many of the now known manuscripts had not been discovered.
  2. The method of Text Criticism was not known or applied.
  3. Hence, copy errors and glossary comments had occasionally been incorporated into the text.

Discrepancies regarding numbers in different reports of the same event are likely to have arisen because the letters (representing these figures) had become unintelligible and were subsequently copied wrongly. (tau), for instance, denotes 400 and the very similar (chet) stands for 8. (aleph) stands for 1 and with a dot over it for 1000, etc.

Problems that Arise from Inaccurate Translations

Jonah was not in the belly of a "whale", but of a "sea-monster" (Matth.12:40). The "don't touch me" of John 20:17 may well mean "why don't you touch me". "Lead us not into temptation" could well be understood in the passive, "let us not fall into temptation", etc.

Problems that Arise from False Interpretation of the Bible

There is often a difference of what the Bible teaches and how theologians or church leaders interpret this: forms of eucharist (Holy Communion), modes of baptism, convictions for salvation, creation theories etc.

Problems that Arise from a Wrong Conception of the Bible

Idioms and the meaning of certain words, particularly in the OLD TESTAMENT, got lost (e.g. "Selah"). Sayings in the Aramaic language are recorded in Greek, Babylonian, in Hebrew etc. ("Do you love me more than these?" There is one word for love in Aramaic and three in Greek (agapao, phileo and eros).

There is "poetic language", like "the trees clap their hands", which may well be misinterpreted.

Concepts were said and written by and for ordinary people, not for theologians or linguists, who were largely non-existent then. We must beware not to read something into the Bible, which is not meant to be there.

Problems that Arise from Our Defective Knowledge of History, Geography and Usage of Language in Bible Times

Moses has often been pictured with horns (e.g. Michelangelo). This was the result of the misunderstanding, that the Hebrew word for "shining" meant "horn". Jesus was to be for "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth", but was seemingly only two.

Problems that Arise from the Ignorance of Conditions Under which Revelation was Given and Written Down

Example: God commanded to exterminate the Canaanites; Deut. 20:10-15 gives the reason.

Problems that Arise from the Limitations of Our Minds to Comprehend Divine Thought

Why pray when God knows it anyway? "Once saved - always saved" over against "fallen from grace" etc. We cannot understand the divine and human nature of Christ, eternity, miracles, trinity, God's love and eternal punishment. We cannot understand God's reasoning and purpose at times.

Problems that Arise from the Dullness of Our Spiritual Perception

"...seeing they do not see, hearing they do not hear"


"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God..."

1. Cor. 2:14

All these difficulties arise from human imperfection.

The New Testament Documents

There are about 5000 manuscripts of the New Testament in various museums and libraries. These are all copies of copies of copies. We do not have an original manuscript of the New Testament. But there is also no original copy of the Qur'an.

If we look at manuscripts of the same text, we will find minor differences.

In order to establish the original text, scientists have resorted to a kind of "pedigree" system to order these documents. One may discover various strands of copies. Some may have been found in Syria, others in Alexandria (Egypt) etc. Scholars search for the oldest copy of a respective strain. Once this is established, the closest to the original is found. Consequently, by each discovery of a yet older document, more errors were corrected.

The following sketch may illustrate a model of such "pedigree". (Taken from "Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism" by J.H. Greenlee):

Today we can safely say, that apart from some insignificant problems, we have a totally reliable Bible.

The Canon of Scripture

On what basis is a 'holy Book' considered to be of divine origin? There may be variations, but the general acceptance of such a book or books is called canonization. This needs consensus among the adherents of a specific group.

The forming of the Old Testament canon (= rule, standard) began with the revelation of the first part of it to Moses and 'books' were then added until its completion at the end of the 4th century BC. The respective books were received and added by common consent over a period of appr. 1000 years. Since a great deal of the Qur'an loosely corresponds with many a story of the Old Testament, Islam has not seriously questioned this canon.

This is not so with the New Testament canon. Although it was inspired and written within a relatively short time (50 years, from 45-96 AD), the general acceptance of all books did not happen until about 250 years later (326 AD). This was, at least partly, because of a number of sectarian heresies which developed in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and complicated a uniform development. Furthermore the Church was already widely spread and had split into the Eastern (Byzantine) and Western (Roman) Churches, which were developing in their respective ways.

From the many writings of the early 'Church Fathers' we can follow the debate about the forming of the canon quite closely. The basis for being canonical was, 'is it apostolic?'. Eventually 27 'books' were canonized.

During this time and later a host of pseudo-Gospels, Acts and Epistles were composed, but not accepted into the canon. These are called the 'Apocrypha' (= hidden, veiled; books of doubtful authorship). In retrospect we can safely say that the acceptance of the New Testament books and the rejection of the Apocrypha was a decision where God's Spirit guided the early church fathers and to which we can ascribe to unhesitatingly today.

Even so, a question remains open-ended: How sure can we be that all the 27 New Testament books are divinely inspired and revealed and none of the others?

Ultimately we can accept - or reject - this by faith alone. This applies to all formulated canons including that of the Qur'an. In the case of the Bible we have very strong supportive evidence: Fulfilled prophecy. The chapter 'Evidences which support the Divine Origin of the Bible' (p. 31 ff.) deals with this in some detail.

As in a Court of Law we may add another factor: the trustworthiness and integrity of the witnesses. In particular we think of Jesus Christ, who could say to his hostile contemporaries: "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling you the truth, why don't you believe me?" (John 8:46). Even the Qur'an confirms Jesus' sinlessness (Surah 19:19), while it says of Muhammad: "Verily, we have granted thee a manifest victory, that Allah may forgive thee thy faults of the past and those to follow ..." (Surah 48:1-2). "Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah, and ask for forgiveness for thy [not 'the'!] fault, and for the men and women who believe ..." (Surah 47:19).

On the strength of these unique supporting evidences and the meticulous manner by which the biblical books were scrutinized to be accepted as the inspired and revealed Word of God, we do not find it difficult to accept the Old Testament and New Testament by faith, particularly so when comparing these evidences with what other faiths may produce in support of their respective scriptures.

Even so, the texts of the Old Testament and New Testament are not without difficulties. Due to the problems mentioned earlier ('Basic Considerations', 'Reasons for Difficulties in the Bible', and 'The New Testament Documents') we realized that certain circumstances had some bearing on the formulation of the text which is in our hands today. When we use the word 'Scripture', we mean something revealed by God before any other influence, however minute, could bear on it. On this basis we confidently confess to the flawlessness of the Bible.

Bible critics - and naturally among them Muslims - have majored on the problems and convey the impression that the Bible is not trustworthy because of these. Let us have a look at those which have been identified and used as an anti-Christian argument.

Interpolations and Omissions in the Bible

Interpolations are words or sentences which were added.

Omissions are portions which were left out.

If we find a specific text in one manuscript and not in another, the question naturally arises, whether or not it belongs there.

Here are the cases of significance in the New Testament:

"When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

Afterwards Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it".

Mark 16:9-20

This passage had been recorded in certain manuscripts but not in others.

The Codices named Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus and Bezae Cantabrigensis, which are generally considered reliable, include the end of the Gospel according to Mark.

Remarkable is the evidence of one ancient fragment. In the Curetonian manuscript the Gospel according to Mark got lost, except the last four verses - those in dispute. The disputed text is also found in the oldest manuscripts, like the Syriac and Peshito texts. The Memphitic, Sahidic and Thebaic texts of upper and lower Egypt contain it as well. The "church father" Irenaeus (2nd Century) testifies to this text. This gives us full assurance to accept it, particularly as it is fully supported by Matthew 28:19-29.

It is unfortunate that the NIV states in the text, "the two most reliable early manuscripts do not have Mark 16:9-20". This creates the impression that these are really the most dependable sources. Meant are the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus. But these are by no means the oldest.

"But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus: 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?' They were using this question as a trap in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her'. Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no-one condemned you?'

'No-one, sir', she said.

'Then neither do I condemn you', Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin'".

John 7:53 - 8:11

Internal and external evidence indicates that this passage may not be the writings of John. It could be an interpolation, possibly by Papias, Elder of the Church of Hierapolis and companion of Polycarp of Smyrna (born 69 AD), who was a disciple of John, the Evangelist. Although none of his writings have been preserved, quotations from him appear in the works of Eusebius. Thus we can safely assume that, despite the possibility of this passage being an interpolation, it is in the authentic Apostolic tradition and was canonized for that reason.

"Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting".

Matthew 17:21 (KJV)

In about half of the manuscripts, this text is included. Does it belong there? Firstly, it is clearly commanded to us in other parts of Scripture. But even from personal experience we know the reliability of this statement. As many others, the author of these notes has experienced that fasting with prayer in the case of exorcism is more effective. (This supports the truth of this statement and its inclusion in the Bible.)

"While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven".

Luke 24:51

Luke made an almost identical statement in Acts 1:19. We conclude therefore that no change in historical detail, or in doctrine has been brought about by the omission of the phrase. Besides, the Qur'an confirms this event (Surah 4:158).


None of the texts, and these are about all significant problem passages, alter any basic fact or teaching of the Bible, whether these would be in or out.

In the light of the circumstances mentioned before, and the abundance of available manuscripts and the minute portions to the whole of the New Testament, which are effected, we have hardly a problem on hand.

However at times Muslims even claim that Christians have taken out a full book of the Bible which originally was part of it. With this they mean the socalled "Gospel of Barnabas". We will present an extensive response to this argument at the end of this chapter.

Contradictions in the Bible

Are there any contradictions? Yes. Let us refer back to the basic considerations and reasons for difficulties in the Bible to help us understand the issues.

Some modern translations (like the NIV) have reconciled these differences by referring to the Septuagint and other pre-Christian translations, which know no different readings. One may question the legitimacy of this, but will do well to remember the conditions in which these texts were recorded and copied over and over again. (See 'How the Bible was Transmitted', p.21).

Two Differing Genealogies of Jesus

There are two genealogies ("pedigrees") of Jesus in the New Testament: one in the Gospel according to Matthew (ch.1) and one according to Luke (ch.3). These differ. Let us ask a Bible commentator for the answer:

"In the genealogy described by Luke, there are two sons improperly such: i.e., two sons-in-law instead of two sons. The two sons-in-law who are to be noticed in this genealogy are Joseph, the son-in-law of Heli, whose own father was Jacob, Mt. 1.16; and Salathiel, the son-in-law of Neri, whose own father was Jechonias, 1. Chron. 3.17 and Mt. 1.12. This remark alone is sufficient to remove every difficulty. Thus it appears that Joseph, son of Jacob, according to Matthew, was son-in-law of Heli, according to Luke. And Salathiel, son of Jechonias, according to the former, was son-in-law of Neri, according to the latter. Mary therefore appears to have been the daughter of Heli, so called by abbreviation for Heliachim, which is the same in Hebrew with Joachim, Joseph, son of Jacob, and Mary, daughter of Heli, were of the same family. Both came from Zerubbabel; Joseph from Abiud, his eldest son, Mt. 1.13; and Mary by Rhesa, the youngest. (See vs. 27). It is worthy of being remarked that Matthew, who wrote principally for the Jews, extends his genealogy to Abraham, through whom the promise of the Messiah was given to the Jews, but Luke, who wrote his history for the instruction of the Gentiles, extends his genealogy to Adam, to whom the promise of the Redeemer was given in behalf of himself and of all his posterity".

Adam Clark Commentary, pp.861 + 862

Most of the Other Contradictions are Based on Numbers.

"Jehoi'achin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord".

2. Chronicles 36:9 (KJV)

"Jehio'achin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Nehush'to the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem".

2. Kings 24:8

"Ahazi'ah was forty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athali'ah, the granddaughter of Omri".

2. Chronicles 22:2 (KJV)

"Ahazi'ah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athaliah; she was a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel".

2. Kings 8:26

"Its thickness was a hand-breadth; and its brim was made like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily; it held over three thousand baths".

2. Chronicles 4:5 (KJV)

"Its thickness was a hand-breadth; and its brim was made like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily; it held two thousand baths".

1. Kings 7:26

"And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem".

2. Chronicles 9:25 (KJV)

"Solomon also had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen".

1. Kings 4:26

"But the king said to Arau'nah, 'No, but I will buy it of you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing'. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver".

2. Samuel 24:24 (KJV)

"But King David said to Araunah, 'No, but I will buy it for the full price; I will not take for the Lord what is yours ... which cost me nothing'. So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the site".

1. Chronicles 21:24-25

"And Jo'ab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to the king: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand".

2. Samuel 24:9 (KJV)

"And Jo'ab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and in Judah four hundred and seventy thousand who drew the sword".

1. Chronicles 21:5

"And David took from him a thousand and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand soldiers; and David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left enough for a hundred chariot".

2. Samuel 8:4 (KJV)

"And David took from him a thousand chariots, seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand foot soldiers; and David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left enough for a hundred chariots".

1. Chronicles 18:4

"And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians the men of seven hundred chariots, and forty thousand horsemen, and wounded Shobach, the commander of their army, so that he died there.

2. Samuel 10:18 (KJV)

"And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians the men of seven thousand chariots, and forty thousand foot soldiers and killed also Shophach the commander of their army".

1. Chronicles 19:18

All but one or two of these contradictions are found in the Old Testament.

Eight of these altogether eleven contradictions are disagreements of figures or numbers found in the books of Kings and Chronicles which record the same events, though viewed from a different angle.

It may be added here that the Jewish canon places the books of the Kings under the 'early prophets' and the books of Chronicles are classified as 'sacred writings', clearly rating the 'Kings' on a higher level.

Other Contradictions

Who incited David?

"Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel; and he incited David against them, saying, 'Go and count Israel and Judah'".

2. Samuel 24:1

"Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel".

1. Chronicles 21:1 (KJV)

A possible explanation can be drawn from a similar text in the book of Job:

"Then the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job? There is no-one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil'.

'Does Job fear God for nothing?', Satan replied. 'Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face'.

The Lord said to Satan, 'Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger'.

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord".

Job 1:8-12

Who smote Job? Satan - with the permission of God! It is really a question of formulation.

The removing of foreign altars

"He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles".

"His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah".

2. Chronicles 14:3 + 6

"Although he did not remove the high places, Asa's heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life".

1. Kings 15:14

Which is right?

Asa and Jehosphat removed the High Places They did not remove the High Places

We suggest that they attempted to do so, were successful for a time but could not hinder a relapse. This seems confirmed in 2. Chronicles 20:33:

"The high places, however, were not removed, and the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their fathers".

Can one see God?

"No-one has ever seen God, but God the only (Son), who is at the Father's side, has made him known".

John 1:18

"[God], who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no-one has seen or can see. To him be honour and might for ever. Amen".

1 Timothy 6:16

"The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend".

Exodus 33:11

For many centuries Christians have applied the basic principle that Scripture interprets Scripture. Does God have a face like we do? The obvious answer is that "face to face" is not a physical expression. An explanation is found in Hebrews 11:27:

"By faith ... he [Moses] saw Him who is invisible".


I do not think anyone should lose faith in the Bible because of these contradictions. None of these have any bearings on the message of God's word. All have a reasonable explanation. They do not originate from God, but have crept in because of human deficiency.

In the case of Muslims using these problems as anti-Christian arguments, we like to remind, that "someone living in a glass house should not throw with stones".

There is also another side of the argument. After having picked on the negative side, to be fair we also have to look at the other side, namely the evidence which supports the divine origin of the Bible.

Evidences which Support the Divine Origin of the Bible

Fulfilled Biblical Prophecy

This is undoubtedly the most powerful argument. When we refer to someone as a 'prophet', we mean that this person prophecies, i.e. foretells future events which are beyond human foresight. In contrast to this a fortune-teller predicts (mostly) personal fate and fortune for the immediate future. Unfortunately such a person is not disqualified once his or her predictions do not come true. Since anybody with some psychological skills and careful phrasing is able to predict a number of inevitable or likely happenings, and since there are always enough gullible people, they seem to be seldom out of business.

Biblical prophets, on the other hand, have to 'prove' their identity as speakers on behalf of God to the people:

"You may say to yourselves, 'How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?' If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

Deuteronomy 18:21-22

"'Present your case', says the Lord. 'Set forth your arguments', says Jacob's King. 'Bring in [your idols] to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future hold'".

Isaiah 41:21-23

"Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets".

Amos 3:7

(See also: Isa. 42:9; 44:7, 26; 48:3-5; Jer. 28:9; Zech. 4:9; Deut. 13:1-4; Ps. 105:17-19 and John 13:19.)

From this we may safely conclude that when prophecies were given by God, they would also be fulfilled. In the fulfillment he also provided the guarantee, that the message given by the prophet came from him. Only a select few out of the abundance of fulfilled prophecies can be mentioned here.

In each case we will have to ask the question whether this type of prophecy was predictable. The answer is a categorical no.

Could the prophecies have been added after their fulfillment as a forgery? Again the answer is no.

We look at some prophecies regarding Jesus and their fulfillment:

Jesus' Birthplace and Pre-existence (written appr. 700 BC)

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old from ancient times" (actually from eternity).

Micah 5:2


"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn".

Luke 2:4-7

The Virgin Birth, Divinity and Unique Sonship

(written appr. 700 BC)

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel".

Isaiah 7:14

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, . Prince of Peace".

Isaiah 9:6


"This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins'.

All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel - which means God with us'".

Matthew 1:18-23

He would Come to Save and to Heal

(written appr. 700 BC)

"Say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you'. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped".

Isaiah 35:4-5


"She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins".

Matthew 1:21

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost".

Luke 19:10

"No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven - the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God".

John 3:13-21

The Time of His Coming

(written appr. 520 BC)

"Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people (i.e. Daniel's people, the Jews) and your holy city (i.e. Jerusalem) to finish (or estrain) transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy (i.e. no more prophetic reve-lations added to the Bible after that) and to anoint (anoint = dedicate, exalt, crown) the most holy.

'Know and understand this: for the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and its inhabitants were captives in Babylon) until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens' and sixty-two 'sevens' . It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens', the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed".

Daniel 9:24-26


49 years (seventy 'sevens') were actually needed to rebuild Jerusalem after Nehemiah got the royal order by Artaxerxes (BC 465-425), which he gave in the 20th year of his reign (Neh.2:1, 8b), i.e. 445 BC. The book of Nehemiah states that Jerusalem was indeed rebuilt in troubled times, since many enemies were trying to hinder its restauration. The remaining 434 years bring us to the year AD 37. Although this is some years after the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem, we must consider the fact that historical dates of this time are not quite accurate as they are in more recent history, because a calendar like ours today was not existing then. This described event does not fit any other happening in history and we must consequently conclude that the error is more likely to be found in history than in the Bible.

The Name Jesus

(written appr. 700 BC)

"I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us - yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.

He said: 'Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me'; and so he became their saviour. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old".

Isaiah 63:7-9


"She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins".

Matthew 1:21

The word 'saviour' in Hebrew is 'Yeshua', the very name Jesus was given when He was born. Jesus is the English form thereof.

Jesus' Humble Entry into Jerusalem on a Donkey

(written appr. 480 BC)

"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey".

Zechariah 9:9


"As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them: 'Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away'.

This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet: 'Say to the Daughter of Zion, See, your king comes to you gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey'.

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted:

'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!".

Matthew 21:1-9

The Betrayal of Jesus

(written appr. 480 BC)

"Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me".

Psalm 41:9

"I told them, 'If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it'. So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, 'Throw it to the potter' - the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord to the potter".

Zechariah 11:12-13


"Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, 'I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me - one who is eating with me'. They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, 'Surely not I?'. 'It is one of the Twelve', he replied, 'one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to the man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born'.

Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: 'The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard'. Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, 'Rabbi!'and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him".

Mark 14:10, 17-21, 43-45

"When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 'I have sinned', he said, 'for I have betrayed innocent blood'. 'What is that to us?' they replied. 'That's your responsibility'. So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, 'It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money'. So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day".

Matthew 27:3-8

Jesus' Mishandling at His "Trial" (written appr. 700 BC)

"I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting".

Isaiah 50:8


"When Jesus said this, one of the officials near by struck him in the face. 'Is that any way to answer the high priest?' he demanded".

John 18:22

"What do you think?' 'He is worthy of death', they answered. Then they spat in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him".

Matthew 26:66-67

The Suffering and Death of Jesus by Crucifixion

(written appr. 700BC)

"He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not".

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth."

"He was assigned a grave with the wicked; and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand".

Isaiah 53:3.7.9-10

"Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing".

Psalm 22:16-18


"Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, 'Hail, O king of the Jews!' And they struck him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, 'Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him'. When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, 'Here is the man!'.

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, 'Crucify! Crucify!

But Pilate answered, 'You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him'".

John 19:1-6

"Jesus answered, 'You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin'. From then one, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, 'If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar'.

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to The Place of the Skull [which in Aramaic is called Golgotha]. Here they crucified him, and with him two others - one on each side and Jesus in the middle".

John 19:11-12.16-18

"When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, divided them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

'Let's not tear it', they said to one another. 'Let's decide by lot who will get it'.

This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled which said,

'They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing'.

So this is what the soldiers did.

These things happened so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled, 'Not one of his bones will be broken', and, as another Scripture says, 'They will look on the one they have pierced".

John 19:23-24.36-37

(For a comprehensive comparison read Isaiah 53:1-12 and Psalm 22:1-18 together with John 18 - 19.)
The Resurrection of Jesus

(written appr. BC 1000)

"I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay".

Psalm 16:8-10


"On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee. 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again' '. Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense".

Luke 24:1-11

The Ascension

(written appr. BC 1000)

"The Lord says to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet". (Psalm 110:1)


"So when they met together, they asked him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?

'He said to them: 'It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth'.

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 'Men of Galilee', they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven".

Acts 1:6-11


The Repentance of Israel and their Turning to Jesus (written appr. BC 480)

"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son".

Zechariah 12:10

No critic in the world can explain away the evidence of these fulfilled prophecies. It is unique in all history and to all religious books. It is God's seal, that is interwoven with His message to mankind so that any earnest and honest seeker can be totally assured of its origin and Truth.


Imagine the disciples would have invented their own version of Jesus' life, death and ressurection. When the Gospel was written down by the four recorders and the teaching of the Gospel defined in the Epistles, the whole of Israel would have stood up in protest against these, had they been untrue. The Apostles challenged the people to question the many eyewitnesses.

Paul referred to a "double security": it is 'in accordance with the Scriptures' [referring to fulfilled prophecy of the Old Testament] and evidenced by many witnesses of whom at that time most were still alive to be questioned.

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles ...".

1. Corinthians 15:3-7

This is supported by the Apostle Peter at a later stage, emphasizing the eyewitness report by pointing at the fulfilled prophecy as 'more sure'. A witness may lie. Even many witnesses may. But in prophecy and its fulfilment can be no flaw! After stating that his "body will soon be put aside" and referring to his imminent "departure" - and who will then lie! - Peter testifies:

"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye-witnesses of his majesty. For he received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased'. We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation.

For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit".

2. Peter 1:16-21

Equally striking is the statement Paul, as a prisoner, made in his defense before King Agrippa and Governor Festus:

"The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner".

Acts 26:26

Peter, on the Day of Pentecost shortly after the crucifixion, said to a great multitude of Jews in Jerusalem:

"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him".

Acts 2:22-24

Let us for a moment imagine that this was not true. Would not all the listeners have disregarded the sermon and what was written down in the Bible? Please note that the Jews never denied the execution of Jesus by crucifixion. They only denied that He was the Messiah.

Luke, the only 'academic' among the Gospel narrators, begins:

"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eye-witnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus".

Luke 1:1-3

With equal conviction the disciple John wrote:

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete".

1. John 1:1-4

Although any honest judge will find the prophetic and eye-witness evidence overwhelming, we still look for further support.


Archaeology Confirms the Accuracy of the Bible

In the magazine 'Commentary' of April, 1959 (vol. 27, no. 4), Prof. J. J. Finkelstein in a review of N. Glueck's book 'Rivers in the Desert',

"takes the occasion to administer a sound 'spanking' to all of us concerned with biblical archaeology for making claims that the facts do not really support [the claims]". He "expects such claims from popularizers and from those with some particular axe to grind", but he "does not think it right for those of us who are supposed to be scholars, who are able to handle the original data with critical understanding, to say the same things ...".

"It may be stated categorically that

no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference".

"Archaeology confirms biblical history", was added by W.F. Albright, probably the best known biblical archaeologist. Neither of these writers can be called Christian.

  • "Nelson Glueck in archaeology has been a student of Albright and in matters of biblical history was educated in the same sceptical atmosphere toward biblical traditions prevailing both in this country and in Germany where he took his doctorate. In many ways his own archaeological achievements have kept him in constant contact with the Bible and in every case he has been led to the view that the biblical traditions derive from a real history and they can be fitted within the framework which archaeological, historical and topographical research provides.

    As for Glueck's reference about 'the almost incredible accurate historical memory of the Bible', he is there speaking of the date of Abraham, or 'of the period with which the biblical writers associate him'".

    The Biblical Archaeologist Reader (Anchor Books, N.Y., 1961)

  • Archaeology Confirms the Flood

    "As a preliminary consideration we should remind ourselves that the Hebrews were by no means the only ancient people who preserved a tradition of a great flood. Indeed, such a story is to be found in a hundred varying forms in countries as far separated as Greece, Mesopotamia, India, Malaysia, Polynesia, and the Western Hemisphere.

    The evidence from Ur: Between 1922 and 1934 Sir C. Leonard Woolley directed some twelve campaigns of excavation at the site of the ancient Ur of the Chaldees in southern Mesopotamia. In 1929, in order to establish the true sequence of the levels of occupation in the mound, a section was cleared down to virgin soil.

    At Ur Woolley found a continuous occupation from the Early Dynastic back through the Obeid Period. In the middle of the Obeid level he found a stratum of river mud or deposit some ten feet thick - conclusive proof that a deluge had interrupted the occupation of the place, at least temporarily, during the fourth millennium. Woolley is confident that he has here the evidence of Noah's flood".

    The Biblical Archaeologist Reader

    Archaeology Confirms the Fall of the Walls of Jericho

    "From 1907 to 1909 picks and spades carefully felt their way through layer after layer of this massive mound of ruins. When the two leaders of the German-Austrian expedition, Prof. Ernst Sellin and Prof. Karl Watzinger, made known what they had discovered, they caused genuine amazement. Two concentric rings of fortification were exposed, the inner ring surrounded the ridge of the hill. It is a masterpiece of military defence made of sun-dried bricks in the form of two parallel walls about 1- or 12 feet thick throughout. The outer ring of fortification runs along the foot of the hill and consists of a 6 foot thick wall, about 25-30 feet high, with strong foundations. These were the famous walls of Jericho.

    Prof. John Garstang as leader of the expedition noted every detail with the utmost precision. He described graphically the violence with which the inner circle of parallel fortification had been destroyed: 'The space between the two walls is filled with fragments and rubble. There are clear traces of a tremendous fire, compact masses of blackened bricks, cracked stones, charred wood and ashes. Along the walls the houses have been burned to the ground and their roofs have crashed on top of them'.

    But what was it that brought down the walls? 'And they blew with the trumpets', says the famous and frequently quoted passage, 'and the wall fell down flat'. As he was examining the ruined walls, Garstang made a remarkable discovery. The stones of the outer ring had fallen outward and downhill, but the inner wall along the crest of the hill had fallen the opposite way, namely inwards. It had buried the buildings which lay behind it".

    The Bible as History, by W. Keller

    May these few samples stand for many more.



    Josephus, an Jewish-Roman historian, who defended Jerusalem against the Romans in 70 AD, confirms the life, death and resurrection of Jesus

    "Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again on the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day".

    Antiquities of the Jews

    Cornelius Tacitus (born between 52-54 AD)

    "A Roman historian, in 112 AD, Governor of Asia, son-in-law of Julius Agricola who was Governor of Britain 80-84 AD. Writing of the reign of Nero, Tacitus alludes to the death of Christ and to the existence of Christians at Rome.

    'But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumour, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also". (Annals XV. 44)

    Tacitus has a further reference to Christianity in a fragment of his Histories, dealing with the burning of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD, preserved by Sulpicius Severus (Chron.ii.30.6).

    Evidences that Demand a Verdict by Josh McDowell


    We have seen both internal and external evidences for the trustworthiness and accuracy of the Biblical scriptures. This is no wishful thinking from the Christian side. No, Bible scholars will gladly open themselves up to new findings and test them in the light of the overall evidence.

    "Your word is truth", is the joyful confession of the Christian along with the writers of the Holy Scriptures.

    Recommended Literature for Chapter 2: The Bible

    Christian answer Muslims, Gerhard Nehls, LCA 1992, pp. 12-69.

    Christian Reply to Muslim Objections, W.St. Clair Tisdall, Call of Hope 1904, pp.29-99.

    False Charges against the Old Testament, The true Guidance, Part II, Call of Hope 1904, 347 pp.

    False Charges against the NewTestament, The true Guidance, Part III, Call of Hope 1904, 296 pp.

    Let the Bible speak for Itself, Walter Eric, LCA 1996, 34pp.

    No Distortion in the Torah and the Gospel, Balance of Truth, Part I, C.G.Pfander, The Good Way, 87 pp.

    The Christian Witness to the Muslim, John Gilchrist, MERCSA 1988, pp. 266-303.

    The Textual History of the Qur'an and the Bible, John Gilchrist, MERCSA 1985, 52 pp.


    The Gospel of Barnabas


    Muslims like to confront, challenge and bluff Christians with the so-called "Gospel of Barnabas". Mr. Adam Peerbhai of South Africa has published a booklet in which he considers the "discovery" of the "Gospel" to be one of the greatest finds of mankind. In a very eloquent way he states that the "Gospel of Barnabas" is the greatest of all truths (as though there is more than one Truth about God and Jesus), and that it was history's greatest tragedy that it was suppressed for 2000 years. To Mr. Peerbhai it appears fantastic that though Saint Barnabas was one of the disciples of Christ (which he actually was not!), yet his Gospel does not appear in the New Testament, whilst less important ones like those of Mark, Luke and St. Paul (?!) do.

    "The Gospel of Barnabas" is described as a document that the Church rejected and destroyed, because it did not agree with the rest of the body of Christian teaching on Jesus. According to this "Gospel" the coming of Muhammad was clearly foretold. One of the copies of this Gospel was rediscovered in a unique way and thus bears witness, so it is claimed, to the falsification of the Bible. We shall now investigate these claims objectively.


    The "Gospel of Barnabas" (G.o.B.) first appeared in Holland in 1709. This manuscript was written in Italian and supplied with footnotes in poor Arabic. The source of the "Gospel" is unknown. It is now preserved in the Imperial Museum in Vienna.

    George Sale translated the Qur'an from Arabic into English in 1734. In his preface, he mentions another copy of the same "Gospel" in Spanish. This document is lost and all we know about it is what Sale wrote down. It says in a statement on the title page that it was a translation from the Italian by a Spanish Muslim named Mustafa de Aranda (Aranda is a town in Spain).

    In 1907 the G.o.B. was translated into English by Laura and Lonsdale Ragg. In the introduction, they provide internal and external evidence to the effect that the G.o.B. was a Medieval forgery. However, this commentary has been removed in all copies printed by Muslims for their aim is to prove the opposite.


    1. It is alleged that the existence of the "Gospel of Barnabas" before the Middle Ages is confirmed by the "Gelasian Decree" (named after Pope Gelasius 492-495 AD. In this decree the G.o.B. is rejected by the Church as apocryphic with ten other writings under the names of Thaddaeus, Matthias, Peter, James (the younger), Thomas, Batholomew, Andrew etc. This G.o.B. was written in Greek.
    2. Muslims claim that the Decree of Pope Sixus I (465 AD) also mentions the above apocryphic writings. He was Pope from 402-417 AD. (There is, however, no mention of the G.o.B. in this decree).
    3. Muslims claim that the "Decree of the Western Church" likewise mentions the G.o.B. in 482 AD. This obviously refers to the "Council of Rome". All that we know of this Council comes from the Gelasian Decree, and by that it is the same source as (1).
    4. Muslims further claim that a copy of the G.o.B. was found in the arms of Barnabas when his tomb was discovered in Cyprus 478 AD. A legend has it, that Barnabas appeared in a vision to the Bishop of Salanus (Cyprus) and said: "You will find a cave and a coffin, because there my whole body has been preserved and a Gospel written in my own hand".


    It is impossible that a Gospel could be left out of the Bible without it having been carefully scrutinized.

    The books of the New Testament were selected by the early church leaders, only if they met the criterion of being apostolic, i.e. corresponding to the teaching of Christ as the Apostles knew them, and contemporary to them. The G.o.B. does not meet these requirements.

    The Historical Document

    A copy of part of the introduction of G. Sales translation of the Qur'an may give us some valuable information:

    "The Muhammadans have also a Gospel in Arabic, attributed to St. Barnabas, wherein the history of Jesus Christ is related in a manner very different from what we find in the true Gospels, and correspondent to those traditions which Muhammad has followed in his Kôran. Of this Gospel the Moriscoes in Africa have a translation in Spanish; and there is in the library of Prince Eugene of Savoy, a manuscript of some antiquity, containing an Italian translation of the same Gospel, made, it is to be supposed, for the use of renegades. This book appears to be no original forgery of the Muhammadans, though they have no doubt interpolated and altered it since, the better to serve their purpose; and in particular, instead of the Paraclete or Comforter, they have in this apocryphal gospel inserted the word Periclyte, that is, the famous or illustrious, by which they pretend their prophet was foretold by name, that being the signification of Muhammad in Arabic: and this they say to justify that passage of the Kôran, where Jesus Christ is formally asserted to have foretold his coming, under his other name of Ahmed;; which is derived from the same root as Muhammad, and of the same import. From these or some other forgeries of the same stamp it is that the Muhammadans quote several passages, of which there are not the least footsteps in the New Testament. But after all we must not hence infer that the Muhammadans, much less all of them, hold these copies of theirs to be the ancient and genuine scriptures themselves.

    Section IV, p.98

    "Of the Gospel of St. Barnabas (which I had not seen when the little I have said of it in the Preliminary Discourse, and the extract I had borrowed from la Monnoye and M. Toland, were printed off), I must beg leave to give some further account.

    The book is a moderate quarto, in Spanish, written in a very legible hand, but a little damaged towards the latter end. It contains two hundred and twenty-two chapters of unequal length, and four hundred and twenty pages; and is said, in the front, to be translated from the Italian, by an Arragonian Moslem, named Mostafa de Aranda. There is a preface prefixed to it, wherein the discoverer of the original MS., who was a Christian monk, called Fra Marino, tells us that having accidentally met with a writing of Irenaeus (among others), wherein he speaks against St. Paul, alleging, for his authority, the Gospel of St. Barnabas, he became exceeding desirous to find this gospel; and that God, of His mercy, having made him very intimate with Pope Sixtus V., one day, as they were together in that Pope's library, his Holiness fell asleep, and he, to employ himself, reaching down a book to read, the first he laid his hand on proved to be the very gospel he wanted: overjoyed at the discovery, he scrupled not to hide his prize in his sleeve, and on the Pope's awakening, took leave of him, carrying with him that celestial treasure, by reading of which he became a convert to Muhammadism.

    This G.o.B. contains a complete history of Jesus Christ from His birth to His ascension; and most of the circumstances in the four real Gospels are to be found therein, but many of them turned, and some artfully enough, to favour the Muhammadan system. From the design of the whole, and the frequent interpolations of stories and passages wherein Muhammad is spoken of and foretold by name, as the messenger of God, and the great prophet who was to perfect the dispensation of Jesus, it appears to be a most barefaced forgery. One particular I observed therein induced me to believe it to have been dressed up by a renegade Christian, slightly instructed in his new religion, and not educated a Muhammadan (unless the fault be imputed to the Spanish, or perhaps the Italian translator, and not to the original compiler); I mean to the giving to Muhammad the title of Messiah, and that not once or twice only, but in several places; whereas the title of the Messiah, or, as the Arabs write it, al Masíh, i.e., Christ, is appropriated to Jesus in the Kôran, and is constantly applied by the Muhammadans to Him, and never to their own prophet. The passages produced from the Italian MS. by la Monnoye are to be seen in this Spanish version almost word for word..


    External Evidence

    We define external evidence as proof of the existence of a book gathered from sources outside itself (V.H.T. Gairdner, p. 9). The only mention of a G.o.B. is in the Gelasian Decree which proves that it was rejected a considerable time after the canonization of the New Testament, because of its lack of Apostolic evidence and heretical content. The following facts show that there is no external evidence for the existence of the G.o.B.:

    1. Neither from the time of the Apostles to the Gelasian Decree, nor thereafter, was there any mention of a G.o.B. We do acknowledge that a G.o.B. was mentioned in the Gelasian Decree. It certainly was not written by Barnabas, else the Church would not have rejected it. We have no mention of the G.o.B. or any description apart from this. The above mentioned "Gospels" were banned as heretical books, because they were either forged or of a very late date and consequently not apostolic.
    2. Further there is abundant evidence that the G.o.B., which Muslims propagate today, is not related in any way to the rejected G.o.B. of the Gelasian Decree, because the now known copy can be dated to have been written appr. 1350 AD.
    3. The fact that certain Muslim scholars proved dishonest by removing the evidence in the Raggs' translation that proved the G.o.B. to be a forgery; that they omitted half of a sentence supposed to be about Barnabas' tomb and a Gospel in his arms; and that they promoted the G.o.B. as an anti-Christian argument, does not constitute external evidence either, but raises instead suspicion as to their honesty and motives.

    Unfortunately, the above (see 'The Islamic Challenge' no. 4) statement ends halfway through the sentence, which continues in the original:

    "... which I received from the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew".

    So he was supposed to have held in his arms a Gospel according to Matthew written by himself, and not, as is the aim of the omission, a Gospel of Barnabas.

    There is, in fact, no acceptable evidence for the existence of a genuine
    "Gospel of Barnabas".

    Fra Marino's account of his discovery of the G.o.B. in the library of Pope Sixtus V (1585-1589 AD) is not a story likely to be believed:

    "...having accidentally met with a writing of Irenaeus (a Church Father) wherein he speaks against Paul, alleging for his authority the Gospel of Barnabas, he became exceeding desirous to find this Gospel".

    We note that Irenaeus never mentioned a G.o.B., nor spoke negatively of Paul. He recognized Paul's writings as inspired and claimed that our known four Gospel narratives were the only ones ever given by God (Gairdner, p. 12). If we have a trustworthy piece of literature, this would be self-evident. It would not need any lies to substantiate its trustworthiness. Mr. Adam Peerbhai writes of Barnabas (in "Islamiscope"):

    "His name is omitted from the New Testament for obvious reason".

    Mr. Peerbhai has overlooked the fact, that Barnabas' name is mentioned 28 times in the New Testament, though not in the Gospels, because he was converted only after Pentecost. Lt.-Col. Rahim, in the foreword to the Islamic edition of the G.o.B., reports on Paul and Barnabas as follows:

    "They returned to Jerusalem and from then onwards they parted company and Barnabas mysteriously disappeared from the Bible's pages".

    This is once again incorrect, for nine years later he makes mention very positively of Barnabas in 1. Cor. 9:6. Paul also restored his relationship with Mark (Col. 4:10; 2. Tim. 4:11), the nephew of Barnabas. He had been the object of a dispute between Paul and Barnabas, which made them decide to part as associates on Paul's second missionary journey.

    Internal Evidence

    We find this supplied by the content of the book itself. Any writing is sure to bear the mark of a particular age. The style, language and subject matter of the book will betray it (Gairdner, p. 9). Also the knowledge of things which were not known at the time of writing gives a forger away.

    First we should like to observe that all quotations in the G.o.B. from the Old and New Testament are taken from the Vulgate translation (appr. 380 AD). This Latin Bible has been used in the Catholic Church ever since. The above is an example of an anachronism, because the G.o.B. is supposed to date from before the Vulgate was written.

    "If someone brought you a film which he claims to have been made in 1905 and started to screen it and it looked every bit like an old film, with old clothes and fashions, you might believe him. If, however, in the middle of a scene ... you saw a Concorde going across the sky, you would say ... 'This film is a fabrication'

    John Gilchrist

    This is an anachronism. How does the G.o.B. measure up to this and other tests?


    The Birth of Jesus was Painless

    This was believed in the Roman Catholic Church from appr. 1250 AD, but is mentioned in the Qur'an (Surah 19:23):

    "The virgin was surrounded by a light exceeding bright, and brought forth her son without pain, whom she took in her arms, and wrapped him in swaddling-clothes, laid him in the manger, because there was no room in the inn".

    G.o.B. 3

    The Gospel was Presented to Jesus by Gabriel, which is a Totally Islamic Concept

    "Jesus having come to the age of thirty years, as he himself said unto me, went up too Mount Olives with his mother to gather olives. Then at midday as he was praying, when he came to the words: 'Lord, with mercy ...', he was surrounded by an exceeding bright light and by an infinite multitude of angels, who were saying: 'Blessed be God'. The angel Gabriel presented to him as it were a shining mirror, a book, which descended into the heart of Jesus, in which he had knowledge of what God hath done and what hath said and what God willeth insomuch that everything was laid bare and open to him; as he said unto me: 'Believe, Barnabas, that I know every prophet with every prophecy, insomuch that whatever I say the whole hath come forth from that book".

    G.o.B. 10

    Jesus Went Up to the Possibly Lowest Lying Town on Earth, Capernaum (appr. 200m below sea level)

    "Jesus went up to Capernaum, and as he drew near to the city behold there came out of the tombs one that was possessed of the devil, and in such wise that no chain could hold him, and he did great harm to the man".

    G.o.B. 21

    Jesus Went by Boat to Nazareth (High in the Mountains!)

    "Jesus went to the sea of Galilee, and having embarked in a ship sailing to his city of Nazareth; whereupon there was a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was nigh unto sinking".

    G.o.B. 20

    Jesus Keeps the "Forty Days"

    i.e. lent (to remember the death of Christ). This was introduced only after the 4th Century AD.

    "At this time there was a great disturbance throughout Judea for the sake of Jesus: for that the Roman soldiery, through the operation of Satan, stirred up the Hebrews, saying that Jesus was God come to visit them. Whereupon so great sedition arose, that nigh upon the Forty days all Judea was in arms, insomuch that the son was found against the father, and the brother against the brother, for that some said that Jesus was God come to the world; others said: 'Nay, but he is a son of God'; and others said: 'Nay, for God hath no human similitude, and therefore begetteth not sons; but Jesus of Nazareth is a prophet of God".

    G.o.B. 91 + 92

    Wooden Casks (Barrels) are Mentioned which were Invented much Later in Gaul (today France)

    "Then said Jesus: 'Adonai Sabaoth!' Whereupon straightaway the soldiers were rolled out of the Temple as one rolleth casks of wood when they are washed to refill them with wine; insomuch that now their head and now their feet struck the ground, and that without any one touching them".

    G.o.B. 152

    Barnabas is Claimed to be an Apostle of Jesus, but was Not!

    "Barnabas, apostle of Jesus the Nazarene, called Christ, to all them that dwell upon the earth desireth peace and consolation".

    G.o.B. 1

    Three Magi are Mentioned

    There is no mention of three Magi in Scripture, but is a later assumption. (It was deduced from the 3 gifts mentioned in the Bible).

    "In the reign of Herod, king of Judaea, when Jesus was born, three magi in the parts of the east were observing the stars of heaven. Whereupon appeared to them a star of great brightness, wherefore having concluded among themselves, they came to Judaea, guided by the star".

    G.o.B. 6

    Adam and Eve did Not Eat an Apple, but Fruit

    The apple was introduced by European artists.

    "Then the serpent did so, and placed Satan near to Eve, for Adam, her husband, was sleeping. Satan presented himself before the woman like a beauteous angel, and said to her: 'Wherefore eat ye not of those apples and of corn?'".

    G.o.B. 40

    Ishmael was on the Altar of Abraham

    This is an Islamic concept that; not a biblical one.

    "Then spake God, saying to Abraham: 'Take thy son, thy firstborn Ishmael, and come up the mountain to sacrifice him'. How is Isaac firstborn, if when Isaac was born Ishmael was seven years old?".

    G.o.B. 44

    The Entire Roman Army at that Time was 300.000 Strong - (Seemingly Not so in the G.o.B.)

    "Whereupon, in Mizpeh assembled three armies, each on of two hundred thousand men that bare sword. Herod spake to them, but they were not quieted. Then spake the governor and the high priest, saying: 'Brethren, this war is aroused by the work of Satan, for Jesus is alive, and to him ought we to resort, and ask him that he give testimony of himself, and then believe in him, according to his word".

    G.o.B. 91

    Jesus Takes the Role of the Preparer for the Messiah; Muhammad is the Messiah!

    "Whereupon said the scribe: 'I have seen an old book written by the hand of Moses and Joshua (he who made the sun stand still as thou hast done), servants and prophets of God, which book is the true book of Moses. Therein is written that Ishmael is the father of Messiah, and Isaac the father of the messenger of the Messiah. And thus saith the book, that Moses said: 'Lord God of Israel, mighty and merciful, manifest to thy servant the splendour of thy glory'. Whereupon God showed him his messenger in the arms of Ishmael, and Ishmael in the arms of Abraham. Nigh to Ishmael stood Isaac, in whose arms was a child, who with his finger pointed to the messenger of God, saying: 'This is he for whom God hath created all things'.

    Whereupon Moses cried out with joy: 'O Ishmael, thou hast in thine arms all the world, and paradise! Be mindful of me, God's servant, that I may find grace in God's sight by means of thy son, for whom God hath made all".

    G.o.B. 191

    Muhammad is the Messiah!

    This is even anti-qur'anic!

    "Then said the priest: 'How shall the Messiah be called, and what sign shall reveal his coming?

    Jesus answered: 'The name of the Messiah is admirable, for God himself gave him the name when he had created his soul, and placed it in a celestial splendour. God said: 'Wait Muhammad; for thy sake I will to create paradise, the world, and a great multitude of creatures, whereof I make thee a present, insomuch that whoso shall bless thee shall be blessed, and whoso shall curse thee shall be accursed. When I shall send thee into the world I shall sent thee as my messenger of salvation, and thy word shall be true, insomuch that heaven and earth shall fail, but thy faith shall never fail'.

    Muhammad is his blessed name".

    G.o.B. 97

    Jesus - a Messenger of the Coming Messiah Muhammad

    for whom the world was made.

    "Jesus answered: 'I am indeed sent to the house of Israel as a prophet of salvation; but after me shall come the Messiah, sent of God to all the world; for whom God hath made the world. And then through all the world will God be worshipped, and mercy received, insomuch that the year of jubilee, which now cometh every hundred years, shall by the Messiah be reduced to every year in every place".

    G.o.B. 82

    The Original G.o.B. Mentioned a Denarius (= 60 Minuti)

    Minuti were coins used in Spain under Kalif Malik (685 AD):

    "For he who would get in change a piece of gold must have sixty mites; wherefore, if he have but one mite he cannot change it. But if the messenger of God shall fear, what shall the ungodly do who are full of wickedness?".

    G.o.B. 54

    Adam Saw the 'Kalima' in the Sky!

    "Adam, having sprung up upon his feet, saw in the air a writing that shone like the sun, which said: 'There is only one God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God'. Whereupon Adam opened his mouth and said: 'I thank thee, O Lord my God, that thou has designed to create me; but tell me, I pray thee, what meaneth the message of these words: Muhammad is messenger of God'. Have there been other men before me?".

    G.o.B. 39

    Predestination Is To Be Revealed To Muhammad

    (See chapter on 'Predestination'):

    "Then said Jesus: 'So secret is predestination, O brethren, that I say unto you, verily, only to one man shall it be clearly known. He it is whom the nations look for, to whom the secrets of God are so clear that, when he cometh into the world, blessed shall they be that shall listen to his words, because God shall overshadow them with his mercy even as this palm-tree overshadoweth us. Yea, even as this tree protecteth us from the burning heat of the sun, even so the mercy of God will protect from Satan them that believe in that man'.

    The disciples answered: 'O Master, who shall that man be of whom thou speakest, who shall come into the world?'.

    Jesus answered with joy of heart: 'He is Muhammad, messenger of God, and when he cometh into the world, even as the rain maketh the earth to bear fruit when for a long time it hath not rained, even so shall he be occasion of good works among men, through the abundant mercy which he shall bring. For he is a white cloud full of the mercy of God, which mercy God shall sprinkle upon the faithful like rain'".

    G.o.B. 163

    Jesus Worries Over the Impending Corruption of the Gospel

    "Then lifting up his hands to the Lord, he prayed, saying: 'Lord our God, God of Abraham, God of Ishmael and Isaac, God of our fathers, have mercy upon them that thou hast given me, and save them from the world. I say not, take them from the world, because it is necessary that they shall bear witness against them that shall corrupt my gospel. But I pray thee to keep them from evil, that on the day of thy judgment they may come with me to bear witness against the world and against the house of Israel that hath corrupted thy testament. Lord God, mighty and jealous, that takest vengeance upon idolatry against the sons of idolatrous fathers even unto the fourth generation, do thou curse eternally every one that shall corrupt my gospel that thou gavest me, when they write that I am thy son. For I, clay and dust, am servant of thy servants, and never have I thought myself to be thy good servant; for I cannot give thee aught in return for that which thou hast given me, for all things are thine".

    G.o.B. 212

    Certain Evil Men Spread the Rumour that Jesus was Crucified! Paul is a False Teacher

    "After Jesus had departed, the disciples scattered through the different parts of Israel and of the world, and the truth, hated of Satan, was persecuted, as it always is, by falsehood. For certain evil men, pretending to be disciples, preached that Jesus died and rose not again. Others preached that he really died, but rose again. Others preached, and yet preach, that Jesus is the Son of God, among whom is Paul deceived. But we, as much as I have written, that preach we to those who fear God, that they may be saved in the last day of God's Judgment. Amen". [sic]

    G.o.B. 222


    There can be no doubt whatever, that the "Gospel of Barnabas" is a forgery. We cannot accept that those Muslims who propagate it are ignorant of this fact. We have to conclude then that Muslim scholars use deception with insincerity in order to disqualify the Bible, which the Qur'an says is the Word of God which no man can change. The motive is clear. It is to protect the integrity of the Qur'an on the expense of the Bible. The judgment of such activity we are happy to leave with the reader.

    Recommended Literature for Chapter 2: The Gospel of Barnabas

    Christians answer Muslims, Gerhard Nehls, LCA 1992, pp. 119-129.

    Origins and Sources of the Gospel of Barnabas, John Gilchrist, MERCSA 1985, 32 pp.

    The Christian Witness to the Muslim, John Gilchrist, MERCSA 1988, pp. 378-391.

    The Gospel of Barnabas - A False Testimony, Iskander Jadeed, The Good Way, 22 pp.