Responses to "Islamic Information"

Confessions of the New American Bible

or

Fables As History

Shabir:

The New American Bible is an official Christian Bible. Yet it contains many points of interest and value to the Muslim caller to Islam. Every caller who intends to use the Bible for Dawah should get a copy of this Bible. Get especially (if you can) the St. Joseph Medium Size Edition.

Response:

We also recommend the following Quranic translations for Christians interested in witnessing to Muslims:

Muhammad Asad
The Message of the Qur'an
Dar Al-Andalus Limited, rpt. 1993
3 Library Ramp, Gibraltar

Rashad Khalifa, Ph.D.
Quran The Final Testament Revised Edition
ISBN 0-9623622-2-0

These translators are honest enough to admit that the Quran has suffered textual tampering (Khalifa) and presents fables as actual history (Asad).

Shabir:

The introduction to this Bible includes an article entitled: How to Read Your Bible. This article makes a lot of valuable points. I reproduce for your edification some of the main points offered in that introduction. Everything listed in the points below is directly asserted in the article itself or implied therein. I have only summarized. I did not improvise. Where I use my own words I still represent the ideas of the authors. Often, you will notice the presence of quotations marks. These mark off the included words as the words actually used by the editors of the New American Bible, St. Joseph Medium Size Edition. The article from which the points are drawn is found on pages 17 to 35 of the introduction. Consider these points; use them politely and wisely.

Response:

The problem with Shabir's source is that it is based primarily on assumptions that have no basis in fact. Assertions are made that often go against the clear biblical and archaeological evidence. Furthermore, Shabir applies a critical approach to the scriptures that can be used more forcefully against the Quran. Yet, Shabir fails to use this method against the Quran since to do so would debunk his belief that it is God's well preserved word.

Shabir:

What the Scholars Confess About the Bible in General

The Bible is not necessarily the most read book or the best understood book.

The Bible was inspired by God. But "This does not mean that God dictated His message as a businessman dictates a letter to a secretary. God takes the author as he is and leaves him free to choose his own means of communication."

Response:

Correction. Although it is true that God did not override the individual author's method of writing, God sovereignly chose these men whom he equipped with the spiritual gifts and unique personalities to record the Bible. God employed these unique individuals to record his word by using their personalities in the process to give us the different literary styles of writing found in the Holy Bible.

The Holy Bible itself testifies that God both chooses and equips all men for his sovereign purposes:

"The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.' 'Ah, Sovereign LORD,' I said, 'I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.' But the LORD said to me, 'Do not say, "I am only a child." You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,' declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, 'Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.'" Jeremiah 1:4-10

"Paul, an apostle-sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead... But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus." Galatians 1:1, 15-17

"To this John replied, 'A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.'" John 3:27

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines." 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

Shabir:

"Some authors chose existing folk tales and even beast fables to bring out their point."

Response:

First, the authors of the Holy Bible clearly denied that they were using folktales or beast fables when reporting historical events. In fact, the inspired authors actually warned against believing in myths and fables:

"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 eyewitnesses 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, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Luke 1:1-4

"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work-which is by faith." 1Timothy 1:3-4

"Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly." 1 Timothy 4:7

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4

"This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth." Titus 1:13-14

"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor 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." 2 Peter 1:16-18

"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." 1 John 1:1-3

Second, those who have studied myths agree that the Holy Bible is completely unlike these mythical fables. J. B. Philips comments on the alleged mythological elements contained within the Holy Bible, specifically the Gospels:

"I have read, in Greek and Latin, scores of myths, but I did not find the slightest flavour of myth here. There is no hysteria, no careful working for effect, and no attempt at collusion. These are not embroidered tales. The material is cut to the bone." (Philips, The Ring of Truth [New York: The Macmillian Company, 1967], p. 77)

C. S. Lewis, former Professor of Renaissance Literature at Cambridge and Oxford and a modern myth writer himself stated:

"First, then, whatever these men may be as Biblical critics, I distrust them as critics. They seem to me to lack literary judgement, to be imperceptive about the very quality of the texts they are reading... If he tells me that something in a Gospel is legend or romance, I want to know how many legends and romances he has read, how well his palate is trained in detecting them by the flavour; not how many years he has spent on that Gospel... I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this." (Lewis, Christian Reflections [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967], pp. 154-155)

World-renowned archaeologist Merril F. Unger comments on the historical nature of the OT, specifically the Pentateuch, and its alleged mythical elements:

"Before the advance of research in Biblical lands, especially in the last half century, reams of what has been subsequently proved by archaeology to be sheer nonsense were written by scholars who viewed the Bible as legend, myth, or at best unreliable history. Acting as a corrective and a purge, archaeology has exploded many of these erratic theories and false assumptions that used to be paraded in scholarly circles as settled facts. No longer can higher critics, for example, dismiss the Hebrew patriarchs as mere legendary figures or deny that Moses could write. Archaeology has shown the falsity of both these and numerous other extreme contentions." (Unger, Archaeology and the Old Testament [Zondervan Publishing House; Grand Rapids, MI 1954], p. 15)

And,

"In the greatest possible contrast to the confusion and contradiction of these polytheistic narratives the Genesis account with chaste beauty and simplicity, which are eloquent evidences of its divine inspiration, presents the one Eternal God as Creator and Sustainer of all things. He creates all things out of nothing. By His omnipotent word He speaks worlds into being. As Creator He exerts control over all the elements of the universe." (Ibid., p. 34)

The Israeli biblical scholar Gaalyah Cornfeld continues:

"The historicity of the Exodus is undeniable, though it is not possible to establish from any outside source the name of the disparate elements or 'mixed multitude' (12:38), nor the size of the group that gathered eventually at Kadesh-Barnea before the invasion of Transjordan. But we do have contemporary documents which establish the historical background of the period of bondage and escape." (Cornfeld, Archaeology of the Bible: Book by Book [Harper & Row Publishers; New York, 107], pp. 35-36)

Third, it is the Quran that actually contains fables as history, a fact even admitted by Muslims!

According to the Quran, Solomon had animals under his control and actually would have conversations with them much like the way humans do:

"And there were gathered together unto Solomon his armies of the jinn and humankind, and of the birds, and they were set in battle order; Till, when they reached the Valley of the Ants, an ant exclaimed: O ants! Enter your dwellings lest Solomon and his armies crush you, unperceiving. And (Solomon) smiled, laughing at her speech, and said: My Lord, arouse me to be thankful for Thy favour wherewith Thou hast favoured me and my parents, and to do good that shall be pleasing unto Thee, and include me in (the number of) Thy righteous slaves. And he sought among the birds and said: How is it that I see not the hoopoe, or is he among the absent? I verily will punish him with hard punishment or I verily will slay him, or he verily shall bring me a plain excuse. But he was not long in coming, and he said: I have found out (a thing) that thou apprehendest not, and I come unto thee from Sheba with sure tidings. Lo! I found a woman ruling over them, and she hath been given (abundance) of all things, and hers is a mighty throne. I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah; and Satan maketh their works fairseeming unto them, and debarreth them from the way (of Truth), so that they go not aright; So that they worship not Allah, Who bringeth forth the hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knoweth what ye hide and what ye proclaim..." S. 27:17-25

Muslim Muhammad Asad must allegorize this passage since he was seemingly aware of the difficulty in viewing this historically:

"In this instance, Solomon evidently refers to his own understanding and admiration of nature (cf. 38:31-33 and the corresponding notes) as well as to his loving compassion for the humblest of God's creatures, as a great divine blessing: and this is the Qur'anic moral of the LEGENDARY story of the ant." (Asad, p. 578, f. 17)

Now compare this fable with the credible historical version of the Holy Bible:

"God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other man, including Ethan the Ezrahite-wiser than Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom." 1 Kings 4:29-34

The Quran even claims that both the winds and jinns (demons) were subservient to Solomon:

"And to Solomon (We subjected) the wind strongly raging, running by his command towards the land which We had blessed. And of everything We are the All-Knower. And of the Shayâtin (devils) (from the jinns) were some who dived for him, and did other work besides that; and it was We Who guarded them." S. 21:81-82

"So, We subjected to him the wind, it blew gently to his order whithersoever he willed, And also the Shayâtin (devils) from the jinns (including) every kind of builder and diver, And also others bound in fetters. [Saying of Allâh to Solomon]: 'This is Our gift, so spend you or withhold, no account will be asked'." S. 38:36-39

Ibn Kathir in his commentary on Solomon 's control over the winds states that Solomon was using the wind to travel by a flying carpet!

Muslim Alhassan Albasri claimed:

Solomon was traveling on his carpet from Damascus to have lunch in "Istcher", then he moved from there to Kabel to spend the night. Between Damascus and Istcher a month traveling for the one that is traveling fast. And between Istcher and Kabel a month traveling for the one who is traveling fast.

Muhammad Asad:

"In this as well as in several other passages relating to Solomon, the Qur'an alludes to many POETIC LEGENDS which were associated with his name since early antiquity and had become part and parcel of Judeo-Christian and Arabian lore long before the advent of Islam. Although it is undoubtedly possible to interpret such passages in a 'rationalistic' manner, I do not think that this is really necessary. Because they were so deeply ingrained in the imagination of the people to whom the Qur'an addressed itself in the first instance, these legendary accounts of Solomon's wisdom and magic powers had acquired a cultural reality of their own and were, therefore, eminently suited to serve as a medium for the parabolic exposition of certain ethical truths with which this book is concerned: and so, without denying or confirming their MYTHICAL character, the Qur'an uses them as a foil for the idea that God is the ultimate source of all human power and glory, and that all achievements of human ingenuity, even though they may sometimes border on the miraculous, are but an expression of His transcendental creativity." (Asad, p. 498, f. 77)

Another Quranic fable includes S. 18:9-23, 25-26 and the Story of the Sleepers of the Cave. According to this tale, several youths and their dog fled to a cave where according to one version of the story they slept for 309 years.

Once again, here is Asad:

"... We may, therefore, safely assume that the LEGEND of the Men of the Cave- stripped of its Christian garb and the superimposed Christian background- is, substantially, of Jewish origin... But whatever the source of this LEGEND, and irrespective of whether it is of Jewish or Christian origin, the fact remains that it is used in the Qur'an IN A PURELY PARABOLIC SENSE: namely, as an illustration of God's power to bring about death (or 'sleep') and resurrection (or 'awakening'); and, secondly, as an ALLEGORY of the piety that induces men to abandon a wicked or frivolous world in order to keep their faith unsullied, and of God's recognition of that faith by His bestowal of a spiritual awakening which transcends time and death." (Ibid., p. 439, f. 7)

And,

"The future tense in sayaqulun points once again to the LEGENDARY character of the story as such, and implies that all speculation about its details is irrelevant to its parabolic, ethical purport." (Ibid., p. 442, f. 31)

Need we say more?

Shabir:

There is a difference between INSPIRATION and REVELATION. The entire Bible is inspiration but not the whole Bible is revelation. The authors of the Bible were inspired to search for meaning in life and in the events of history. The search for answers was inspired, but the answers found were not necessary revealed by God. But some of those answers are written in the Bible by the human authors. Some of what they wrote clearly cannot be attributed to God. "Think of the 'holy wars' of total destruction, fought by the Hebrews when they invaded Palestine. The search for meaning in those wars centuries later was inspired, but the conclusions which attributed all those atrocities to the command of God were imperfect and provisional."

An example of such atrocities is in Judges1:1-18. Read it for yourself.

Response:

Shabir and his source impose their definition of inspiration upon the Bible writers since the authors of the Holy Scriptures do not define inspiration in this manner. Here is how the Bible views its own inspiration:

The Old Testament View of Inspiration

"The LORD said to Moses, 'Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction.'" Exodus 24:12

"Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you... See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, 'Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.' You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets. And the LORD directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess." Deuteronomy 4:2, 5-14

"So Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel." Deuteronomy 31:9

"After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD: 'Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you.'" Deuteronomy 31:24-26

"After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: 'Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates-all the Hittite country-to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.'" Joshua 1:1-8

"And the people said to Joshua, 'We will serve the LORD our God and obey him.' On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he drew up for them decrees and laws. And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD." Joshua 24:24-26

"These are the last words of David: 'The oracle of David son of Jesse, the oracle of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel's singer of songs: "The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: 'When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God'"'..." 2 Samuel 23:1-3

"They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the LORD their God... You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses." Nehemiah 9:3,14

"You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. ... For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples." Nehemiah 9:20,30

"Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD:" Psalm 102:18

"The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah." Isaiah 1:1

"The LORD said to me, 'Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. And I will call in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me.'" Isaiah 8:1-2

"And now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever." Isaiah 30:8

"Look in the scroll of the LORD and read: None of these will be missing, not one will lack her mate. For it is his mouth that has given the order, and his Spirit will gather them together." Isaiah 34:16

"I will bring upon that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations." Jeremiah 25:13

"This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.'" Jeremiah 30:2

"In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 'Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now...' So Jeremiah called Baruch son of Neriah, and while Jeremiah dictated all the words the LORD had spoken to him, Baruch wrote them on the scroll... Baruch son of Neriah did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to do; at the LORD's temple he read the words of the LORD from the scroll." Jeremiah 36:1-2,4,8

"After the king burned the scroll containing the words that Baruch had written at Jeremiah's dictation, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 'Take another scroll and write on it all the words that were on the first scroll, which Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up. Also tell Jehoiakim king of Judah, "This is what the LORD says: You burned that scroll and said, 'Why did you write on it that the king of Babylon would certainly come and destroy this land and cut off both men and animals from it?' Therefore, this is what the LORD says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night. i will punish him and his children and his attendants for their wickedness; I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them, because they have not listened."' So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them." Jeremiah 36:27-32

"This is what Jeremiah the prophet told Baruch son of Neriah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, after Baruch had written on a scroll the words Jeremiah was then dictating: 'This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch:'" Jeremiah 45:1-2

"In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. On the fifth of the month - it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin - the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the LORD was upon him." Ezekiel 1:1-3

"The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel: When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.'" Hosea 1:1-2

"The word of the LORD that came to Joel son of Pethuel." Joel 1:1

"The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Sovereign LORD says about Edom- We have heard a message from the LORD: An envoy was sent to the nations to say, "Rise, and let us go against her for battle'" Obadiah 1

"The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai:" Jonah 1:1

"The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah-the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem." Micah 1:1

"An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite." Nahum 1:1

"The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received." Habakkuk 1:1

"Then the LORD replied: 'Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.'" Habakkuk 2:2

"The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah:" Zephaniah 1:1

"In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest:" Haggai 1:1

"In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo:" Zechariah 1:1

"An oracle: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi." Malachi 1:1

 

Jesus' view of the OT Text

Jesus quotes the Old Testament as the inspired, revealed Word of God:

"Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 'Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!' Jesus replied, 'And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? FOR GOD SAID, "Honor your father and mother" and "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death." But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God," he is not to "honor his father" with it. Thus you nullify THE WORD OF GOD for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."'" Matthew 15:1-9

Jesus alludes to and quotes Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16, Exodus 21:17, Leviticus 20:9 and Isaiah 29:13 as the authoritative word of God. Again,

"Jesus replied, 'You are in error BECAUSE YOU DO NOT KNOW THE SCRIPTURES OR THE POWER OF GOD. At the resurrection people will n either marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead - have you not read WHAT GOD SAID TO YOU, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.'" Matthew 22:29-32

In this passage, Jesus cites Exodus 3:6 as God's Word. Once more,

"The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.' Jesus answered, 'IT IS WRITTEN: "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."' Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 'If you are the Son of God,' he said, 'throw yourself down. For it is written: "He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."' Jesus answered him, 'IT IS ALSO WRITTEN: "Do not put the Lord your God to the test."' Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 'All this I will give you,' he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me.' Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! FOR IT IS WRITTEN: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."'" Matthew 4:3-10

Jesus cites Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:16 and 6:13 with authority in combating the Devil. In fact, Satan himself quotes Psalm 91:11-12 as authoritative!

"Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them. Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' 'What did Moses command you?' he replied. They said, 'Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.' 'It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,' Jesus replied. 'But at the beginning of creation God "made them male and female." "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.'" Mark 10:1-9

"While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, 'How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: "The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.'" David himself calls him `Lord.' How then can he be his son?' The large crowd listened to him with delight."

The Lord affirms that David wrote Psalm 110:1 by the Holy Spirit that was speaking through him.

"But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me." John 5:45-46

The Lord Jesus affirms Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch as well as quoting Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 as being historically true events that were later revealed and written down.

Again,

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." Matthew 5:17-18

"Jesus answered them, 'Is it not written in your Law, "I have said you are gods"? If he called them `gods,' to whom the word of God came - and the Scripture cannot be broken -'" John 10:34-35

In these two passages, the Lord Jesus affirms the binding authority and infallibility of the OT text. Although we can quote much more from the Gospels on Jesus' view of the OT, these examples sufficiently demonstrate that the Lord Jesus viewed the Old Testament of his day, which is virtually identical to what we have in our possession now, as the inspired, revealed word of God. Not once did he ever assume that the scribes had corrupted the text of the OT.

Interestingly, Jesus implicitly points to the inscripturation of the Gospel by his followers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit:

"Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. 'But not during the Feast,' they said, 'or the people may riot.' While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, 'Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor.' And they rebuked her harshly. 'Leave her alone,' said Jesus. 'Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.'" Mark 14:1-9

Jesus affirms that the gospel will be proclaimed throughout the world, which demonstrates that the Good News of Christ is for all flesh. Secondly, the manner in which the gospel has been proclaimed throughout the world is through it being written down and translated in almost every language known to man.

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26

This leads us to the NT writers' view of the Holy Bible and their writings:

"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words." 1 Corinthians 2:13

"If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command." 1 Corinthians 14:37

"And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe." 1 Thessalonians 2:13

"But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us." 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15 NASB

"and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:15-17

Paul is not limiting inspiration to the OT text, since elsewhere to Timothy he includes Luke as part of God-breathed revelation:

"For the Scripture says, 'Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,' and 'The worker deserves his wages.'" 1 Timothy 5:18

Paul mentions Deuteronomy 25:4 along with Luke 10:7, classifying both on the same level of authority as inspired Scripture:

"Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house." Luke 10:7

The Apostle Peter claims:

"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 1:20-21

The apostle Peter then proceeds to classify Paul's letter as scripture:

"Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2 Peter 3:15-16

"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw - that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." Revelation 1:1-3

"I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: 'Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.'" Revelation 1:9-11

"I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book." Revelation 22:18-19

All these writers believed that they were not simply writing their own words, but God's word, which was revealed through them by the Holy Spirit. These writers also believed in the revelatory nature of the OT as the few select passages below clearly demonstrate:

"In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, 'Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus - he was one of our number and shared in this ministry... For,' said Peter, 'it is written in the book of Psalms, "May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it," and, "May another take his place of leadership."'" Acts 1:16-17,20

Here Peter alludes to two passages, Psalm 69:25 and 109:8.

"When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. 'Sovereign Lord,' they said, 'you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: "Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One."'" Acts 4:24-26

This is a quote from Psalm 2:1-2.

"Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, 'So I declared on oath in my anger, "They shall never enter my rest."' And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: 'And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.' And again in the passage above he says, 'They shall never enter my rest.' It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.'" Hebrews 4:3-7

The author sites Psalm 95:11, Gen. 2:2, and Psalm 95:7-8 as God speaking.

"The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 'This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.' Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.'" Hebrews 10:15-17

In this passage, the author attributes the authorship of Jeremiah 31:33 and 34 to the Holy Spirit of God.

 

Islamic View of the Inspiration of the Holy Bible

It is interesting to discover that the Quran never attacks the integrity of the biblical text, but affirms its authority and preservation, a fact which we document in this article.

Here are a select handful of passages from the Quran affirming this point:

"Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as We imparted unto David the Psalms; And messengers We have mentioned unto thee before and messengers We have not mentioned unto thee; and Allah spake directly unto Moses; Messengers of good cheer and of warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise." S. 4:163-165

According to this passage Muhammad was inspired like the prophets before him. This means that it is the Quran that must resemble the Holy Bible in its structure and definition of inspiration, not the other way around.

"But why do they (the Jews) come to thee for decision, when they have the Torah in which IS the command of God." S. 5:46

"And let the People of the Gospel judge by what God has revealed in it. If any fail to judge by what God has revealed, they are licentious." S. 5:50

"Say, O People of the Book! You are not (founded) on anything UNTIL you PERFORM the TORAH and the GOSPEL, and what was revealed to you from your Lord." S. 5:71

"Say, who sent down the Book that Moses brought as a light and a guidance to people? YOU PUT IT INTO SHEETS OF PAPER showing some of them and concealing much." S. 6:91

The Jews had the Book of Moses yet concealed much of what was written in it by refusing to show it to others. The Quran never once claims that the revelation given to the prophets before Muhammad had been corrupted. This is not just the opinion of Christians, but of some of the Sahabah such as Ibn Abbas:

"From Kitaab (the book of) Al-Tawheed, Baab (chapter) Qawlu Allah Ta'ala, 'Bal Huwa Qur'aanun Majeed, fi lawhin Mahfooth - Or, the Book of the Oneness of God, the Chapter of Surat Al-Borooj (no. 85), Verses 21, 22 which says, `Nay this is a Glorious Qur'an, (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved': `They corrupt the word' means 'THEY ALTER OR CHANGE ITS MEANING,' YET NO ONE IS ABLE TO CHANGE EVEN A SINGLE WORD FROM ANY BOOK OF GOD. THE MEANING IS THAT THEY INTERPRET THE WORD WRONGLY.'" (Please read this article for more information.)

Ibn Ishaq quotes the Gospel of John as THAT Gospel that was given to Jesus and that also mentions Muhammad. Yet, Ishaq never even hints that this particular Gospel is inauthentic or corrupt:

"Among the things which have reached me about what Jesus the Son of Mary stated in the Gospel which he received from God for the followers of the Gospel, in applying a term to describe the apostle of God, is the following. It is extracted FROM WHAT JOHN THE APOSTLE SET DOWN FOR THEM WHEN HE WROTE THE GOSPEL FOR THEM FROM THE TESTAMENT OF JESUS SON OF MARY: 'He that hateth me hateth the Lord. And if I had not done in their presence works which none other before me did, they had not sin: but from now they are puffed up with pride and think that they will overcome me and also the Lord. But the word that is in the law must be fulfilled, 'They hated me without a cause' (i.e. without reason). But when the Comforter has come whom God will send to you from the Lord's presence, and the spirit of truth which will have gone forth from the Lord's presence he (shall bear) witness of me and ye also, because ye have been with me from the beginning. I have spoken unto you about this that ye should not be in doubt.

"The Munahhemana (God bless and preserve him!) in Syriac is Muhammad; in Greek he is the paraclete." (Ishaq, Life Of Muhammad, trans. Alfred Guillaume, pp. 103-104)

The following is taken from John 15:23-16:1. Furthermore, Ishaq also affirms the legitimacy of Paul as an apostle of Christ' gospel message:

"God has sent me (Muhammad) to all men, so take a message from me, God have mercy on you. Do not hang back from me as the disciples hung back from Jesus son of Mary. They asked how they hung back and he said, 'He called them to a task similar to that which I have called you. Those who had to go a short journey were pleased and accepted. Those who had a long journey before them were displeased and refused to go, and Jesus complained of them to God. (T. From that very night) every one of them was able to speak the language of the people to whom he was sent.' (T. Jesus said, 'This is a thing that God has determined that you should do, so go.')

"Those whom Jesus son of Mary sent, both disciples and those who came after them, in the land were: Peter the disciple AND PAUL WITH HIM, (PAUL BELONGED TO THE FOLLOWERS AND WAS NOT A DISCIPLE) to Rome. Andrew and Matthew to the land of the cannibals; Thomas to the land of Babel, which is in the land of the east; Philip to Carthage and Africa; John to Ephesus the city of the young men of the cave; James to Jerusalem which is Aelia the city of the sanctuary; Bartholomew to Arabia which is the land of Hijaz; Simon to the land of Berbers; Judah who was not one of the disciples was put in place of Judas.'" (Ibid. p. 653)

Interestingly, other Muslim sources confirm the above statement from Ishaq:

"Among the apostles and those disciples around them, whom Jesus sent out, there were Peter and his companion Paul." (A history of the Christian Church, Thalabii Qisas al-Anbiyaa, pp. 389-390; Tabarii, Taarikh al-umam wa-l-muluuk II/II, 1560)

Amazingly, Bukhari even quotes one of Paul's letters and attributes the saying to God!:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "ALLAH SAID, 'I have prepared for My righteous slaves (such excellent things) as no eye has ever seen, nor an ear has ever heard nor a human heart can ever think of.'" (Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 589)

According to this Hadith, Muhammad purportedly claims that Allah is the author of the preceding quotation. Compare what Allah is supposed to have revealed to Muhammad with what Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians:

"However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.'" 1 Corinthians 2:9

Paul paraphrases the following citation from Isaiah:

"Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him." Isaiah 64:4

Hence, according to the Hadith the one who inspired Paul's saying, which Muhammad alludes to in virtually identical language, is none other than God!

This basically means that Muslims have no basis to object to Paul's writings since both Ishaq and Bukhari attribute Paul's work to God, implying that Paul was a legitimate representative of Christ's teachings. The only way for Shabir to avoid the significance of these early Islamic traditions is to deny the traditions completely, something he cannot do seeing that he is a Sunni Muslim.

All these passages from the Holy Bible and Islamic sources serve to discredit the liberal claims of both Shabir and the editors of the New American Bible and their unbiblical view of what inspiration means.

It should also be pointed out that the Quran does not always contain the words of God, but of others as well. The following examples demonstrate this point:

"In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, The Beneficent, the Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment, Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help. Show us the straight path, The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray." S. 1:1-7

Obviously, God would not be praying to himself and hence these cannot be his words.

"Such is Allah, your Lord. There is no God save Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He taketh care of all things. Vision comprehendeth Him not, but He comprehendeth (all) vision. He is the Subtile, the Aware. Proofs have come unto you from your Lord, so whoso seeth, it is for his own good, and whoso is blind is blind to his own hurt. And I am not a keeper over you." S. 6:102-104

Again, God cannot be the speaker here since he would never say that he was not the keeper over man.

"Shall I seek other than Allah for judge, when He it is Who hath revealed unto you (this) Scripture, fully explained? Those unto whom We gave the Scripture (aforetime) know that it is revealed from thy Lord in truth. So be not thou of the waverers." S. 6:114

Here we have a person (presumably Muhammad) asking a rhetorical question if whether he should seek some other judge besides God. Yet the same speaker shifts into the first person plural without any indication that there are two persons speaking in the passage. Hence, either God is asking the question or it is Muhammad who claims to have given inspired Scripture, or we have Muhammad's words and God's words mixed in together.

"Glorified be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far distant place of worship the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer." S. 17:1

We have God allegedly speaking in the third person where he is evidently praising himself. From there, God proceeds to speak in the first person plural and then proceeds again to third person usage!

"I am commanded only to serve the Lord of this land which He hath hallowed, and unto Whom all things belong. And I am commanded to be of those who surrender." S. 27:1

Again, either this is God saying he is commanded to worship the Lord of the land, or we have Muhammad's words mixed in with God's words (allegedly).

"We come not down save by commandment of thy Lord. Unto Him belongeth all that is before us and all that is behind us and all that is between those two, and thy Lord was never forgetful." S. 19:64

We either have angels speaking here or God claiming that he only comes down at the command of Muhammad's Lord. Either way, Shabir is left with problems.

"Lo! verily, ye and that which ye worship, Ye cannot excite (anyone) against Him. Save him who is to burn in hell. There is not one of us but hath his known position. Lo! we, even we are they who set the ranks, Lo! we, even we are they who hymn His praise." S. 37:161-166

Once more this passage clearly demonstrates the fallacy that the Quran contains nothing but the words of God.

In relation to the biblical wars, there are very good reasons why God allowed these wars and alleged atrocities. The reason God commanded Israel to fight and kill their enemies was due to the fact that these nations were living in rebellion and in disobedience to God. Hence, God's holiness demanded that justice be enacted upon these nations:

"After the LORD your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, 'The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.' No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you." Deuteronomy 9:4

Some of the wickedness of these nations included the following:

"The LORD said to Moses, 'Speak to the Israelites and say to them: "I am the LORD your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD. No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD. Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her. Do not have sexual relations with your father's wife; that would dishonor your father. Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere. Do not have sexual relations with your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter; that would dishonor you. Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father's wife, born to your father; she is your sister. Do not have sexual relations with your father's sister; she is your father's close relative. Do not have sexual relations with your mother's sister, because she is your mother's close relative. Do not dishonor your father's brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt. Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son's wife; do not have relations with her.Do not have sexual relations with your brother's wife; that would dishonor your brother. Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness. Do not take your wife's sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living. Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period. Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor's wife and defile yourself with her. Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion. Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you. Everyone who does any of these detestable things-such persons must be cut off from their people. Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the LORD your God."'" Leviticus 18:1-30

The Holy Bible also records actual events as they transpired without necessarily condoning such events. Hence, anytime one reads something that is contrary to the law of God this does not mean that the Bible writers condoned such actions. Rather, they are recording history as it transpired.

Finally, for Shabir to even adopt this method is simply dishonest since the Quran and the hadith report many atrocious and murderous acts committed by Muslims:

"When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying): I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger." S. 8:12

"Apostle! Rouse the believers to fight!" S. 8:65

"Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." S. 9:5

"Fight those who believe not in God nor the last day... Nor acknowledge the religion of truth (Islam), (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay Jizya (tribute tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." S. 9:29

"O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey's end." S. 9:73

"O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him)." S. 9:123

"Say to the desert Arabs behind: Ye shall be summond (to fight) against a people given to vehement war: then shall, ye fight, or they shall submit. Then if you show obedience, God will grant you a goodly reward, but if ye turn back as ye did before, He will punish you with a grievous penalty." S. 48:16

Some violent acts entailed the use of deception and murder on the part of Muslims. In Sahih al-Bukhari 5:369, we are told that Muhammad allowed Masalama to use outright deception to achieve his purpose of murdering Kab Ibn Ashraf. The tradition then goes on to record that Ashraf brutally killed and beheaded Kab, a thing pleasing to Muhammad.

Another treacherous murder took place when Muhammad sent Umar ibn Adai to kill Asma bint Marwan, a poetess who wrote poetry insulting Muhammad. According to Nisa Muhammad (Muhammad's Women), p.102, authored by Muslim Sania Qur'aa, Adai "came to her at night and put away her baby (editor: she was nursing her infant) and killed her by the sword; then he went to Mohammed and Mohammed said, 'you've revenged God and his Apostle, Omeir.'" (See also Haykal, The Life of Muhammad, p. 243)

Jesus tells us quite plainly that one who uses deception to achieve a goal, especially if that goal is to murder, cannot possibly be from God:

"You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44

Shabir:

The Bible is a collection of many books of different kinds. "A major disadvantage is that these books are not put together systematically as the books of a modern library."

Response:

Why should it be put together systematically as the books of a modern library? The fact is that the Holy Bible is vastly more coherent and systematic than the Quran with all its disjointed suras.

The following are quotations from Ali Dashti, Twenty-Three Years: A study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, Allen and Unwin, London, 1985.

"Among the Moslem scholars of the early period, before bigotry and hyperbole prevailed, were some such as Ebrahim on-Nazzam who openly acknowledged that the arrangement and syntax of the Qor'an are not miraculous and that work of equal or greater value could be produced by other God-fearing persons." (p. 48)

"It is widely held that the blind Syrian poet Abu'l-`Ala ol-Ma'arri (368/979-450/1058) wrote his Ketab ol-fosul wa' l-ghayat, of which a part survives, in imitation of the Qor'an." (p. 48)

"The Qor'an contains sentences which are incomplete and not fully intelligible without the aid of commentaries; foreign words, unfamiliar Arabic words, and words used with other than the normal meaning; adjectives and verbs inflected without observance of the concords of gender and number; illogically and ungrammatically applied pronouns which sometimes have no referent; and predicates which in rhymed passages are often remote from the subjects. These and other such aberrations in the language have given scope to critics who deny the Qor'an's eloquence. The problem also occupied the minds of devout Moslems. It forced the commentators to search for explanations and was probably one of the causes of disagreement over readings." (pp. 48-49)

"To sum up, more than one hundred Qor'anic aberrations from the normal rules and structure of Arabic have been noted. Needless to say, the commentators strove to find explanations and justifications of these irregularities. Among them was the great commentator and philologist Mahmud oz-Zamakhshari (467/1075-538/1144), of whom a Moorish author wrote: 'This grammar-obsessed pedant has committed a shocking error. Our task is not to make the readings conform to Arabic grammar, but to take the whole of the Qor'an as it is and make Arabic grammar conform to the Qor'an.'" (p. 50)

"In the field of moral teachings, however, the Qor'an cannot be considered miraculous. Mohammad reiterated principles which mankind had already conceived in earlier centuries and many places. Confucius, Buddha, Zoroaster, Socrates, Moses, and Jesus had said similar things." (p. 54)

"Neither the Qor'an's eloquence nor its moral and legal precepts are miraculous. The Qor'an is miraculous because it enabled Mohammad, single-handedly and despite poverty and illiteracy, to overcome his people's resistance and found a lasting religion because it moved wild men to obedience and imposed its bringer's will on them." (p. 57)

Thomas Carlyle, whose comments on Muhammad in Heroes and Hero Worship (1841) are often quoted with approval by Muslims, states in reference to the Quran:

"A wearisome confused jumble, crude, incondite, endless iterations, longwindedness, entanglement; most crude incondite-insupportable stupidity, in short! Nothing but a sense of duty could carry any European through the Koran." (Carlyle, Sartor Resartus: On Heroes and Hero Worship [London, 1973], p. 299)

"His Koran has become a stupid piece of prolix absurdity; we do not believe, like him, that God wrote that!"(Ibid, p. 344)

The great scholar Noldeke claims:

"On the whole, while many parts of the Koran undoubtedly have considerable rhetorical power, even over an unbelieving reader, the book aesthetically considered, is by no means a first rate performance... Let us look at some of the more extended narratives. It has already been noticed how vehement and abrupt they are where they ought to be characterised by epic repose. Indispensable links, both in expression and in the sequence of events, are often omitted, so that to understand these histories is sometimes far easier for us than for those who heard them first, because we know most of them from better sources. Along with this, there is a good deal of superfluous verbiage; and nowhere do we find a steady advance in the narration. Contrast in these respects the history of Joseph (xii) and its glaring improprieties with the admirably conceived and admirably executed story in Genesis. Similar faults are found in the non narrative portions of the Koran. The connexion of ideas is extremely loose, and even the syntax betrays great awkwardness. Anacolutha [want of syntactical sequence; when the latter part of the sentence does not grammatically fit the earlier] are of frequent occurrence, and cannot be explained as conscious literary devices. Many sentences begin with a 'when' or 'on the day when' which seems to hover in the air, so that commentators are driven to supply a 'think of this' or some such ellipsis. Again, there is no great literary skill evinced in the frequent and needless harping on the same words and phrases; in xviii, for example 'till that' occurs no fewer than eight times. Mahomet, in short, is not in any sense a master of style." (Ibn Warraq, Why I am not a Muslim [Prometheus Books; Amherst NY, 1995], pp. 110-111)

In fact, Richard Bell and W. M. Watt believe that the uneasiness of the Quranic structure strongly affirms that the text has been altered:

"There are indeed many roughness of this kind, and these, it is here claimed, are fundamental evidence for revision. Besides the points already noticed-hidden rhymes, and rhyme-phrases not woven into the texture of the passage - there are the following: abrupt changes of rhyme; repetition of the same rhyme word or rhyme phrase in adjoining verses; the intrusion of an extraneous subject into a passage otherwise homogeneous; a differing treatment of the same subject in neighboring verses, often with repetition of word and phrases; breaks in the length of verses; sudden changes of the dramatic situation, with changes of pronoun from singular to plural, from second to third person, and so on; the juxtaposition of apparently contradictory statements; the juxtaposition of passages of different date, with the intrusion of late phrases into early verses.

"In many cases a passage has alternative continuations which follow one another in the present text. The second of the alternatives is marked by a break in sense and by a break in grammatical construction, since the connection is not with what immediately precedes. But with what stands some distance back." (Bell & Watt, Introduction to the Quran [Edinburgh, 1977], p. 93; Warraq, pp. 112-113)

Shabir:

"Edifying interpretation of events" is "often intermingled" with history.

Response:

If by edifying interpretation Shabir's source means to imply that the writers were presenting their own understanding of history, then this is clearly wrong. The Bible writers were inspired to give God's interpretation of history, not their own.

Shabir:

"The Bible is God's word and man's word. One must understand man's word first in order to understand the word of God."

Response:

Obviously, since God employed human language and human literary devices to record his word. Hence, it becomes incumbent to study the biblical languages and word meanings as well as the literary methods that were in existence during the time these individual authors wrote. This helps us to better understand the truth of Scripture.

Shabir:

The Bible contains "Beast Fables." Examples: Genesis; Numbers 22, 22-35.

Response:

This is clearly false. It is the Quran that contains "Beast Fables", not the Holy Bible. See above.

Shabir:

Speeches of persons in the Bible are not necessarily what the persons said. "It is the inspired author who wants to state something by putting these words into the mouth of a person with authority."

The book known as Acts of the Apostles in the Bible often puts words into the mouths of its characters.

Response:

In order for this theory to work, the authors must have written their accounts long after the eyewitnesses were dead, otherwise it would not have been possible for them to get away with forged sayings of Jesus or the Apostles. Yet, the evidence supports that these were eyewitness accounts and could not contain forged speeches seeing that the eyewitnesses were still alive to prevent this from happening.

The following lines of evidence from archaeology, the Church fathers, as well as the internal witness support the early dating and authenticity of the Holy Bible, specifically the NT text.

First, the early Patristic writings solidify the case for the preservation of the NT text and its early composition, as well as the extensive usage of the New Testament, especially that of the four Gospels:

"Of the four gospels alone there are 19,368 citations by the church fathers from the late first century on. This includes 268 by Justin Martyr (100-165), 1038 by Ireneaus (active in the late second century), 1017 by Clement of Alexandria (ca. 155-ca. 220), 9231 by Origen (ca. 185-ca. 254), 3822 by Tertullian (ca. 160s-ca. 220), 734 by Hippolytus (d. ca. 236) and 325 by Eusebius (ca. 265-ca. 339...) Earlier, Clement of Rome cited Matthew, John, 1 Corinthians in 95 to 97. Ignatius referred to six Pauline Epistles in about 110, and between 110 and 150 Polycarp quoted from all four Gospels, Acts and most of Paul's Epistles. Shepherd of Hermas (115-140) cited Matthew, Mark, Acts, I Corinthians, and other books. Didache (120-150) referred to Matthew, Luke, 1 Corinthians, and other books. Papias, companion of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the apostle John, quoted John. This argues powerfully that the Gospels were in existence before the end of the first century, while some eyewitnesses (including John) were still alive." (Norm Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics [Baker Books, Grand Rapids; 1999], pp. 529-530)

Furthermore, we have MSS portions which push the dates of the NT books right into the the first century.

The John Ryland Papyri:

Manuscript portions of the Gospel of John, located in the John Ryland Library of Manchester, England and believed to be the oldest known fragment of the New Testament, dated AD 130, within 40 years of the original.

Lukan Papyrus:

"The Lukan papyrus, situated in a library in Paris has been dated to the late 1st century or early 2nd century, so it predates the John papyrus by 20-30 years (Time April 26, 1996, pg.8). But of more importance are the manuscript findings of Mark and Matthew! New research which has now been uncovered by Dr. Carsten Thiede, and is published in his newly released book on the subject, the Jesus Papyrus mentions a fragment from the book of Mark found among the Qumran scrolls (fragment 7Q5) showing that it was written sometime before 68 AD It is important to remember that Christ died in 33 AD, so this manuscript could have been written, at the latest, within 35 years of His death; possibly earlier, and thus during the time that the eyewitnesses to that event were still alive!"

Magdelene Manuscript:

"The most significant find, however, is a manuscript fragment from the book of Matthew (chapt.26) called the Magdalene Manuscript which has been analyzed by Dr. Carsten Thiede, and also written up in his book The Jesus Papyrus. Using a sophisticated analysis of the handwriting of the fragment by employing a special state-of-the-art microscope, he differentiated between 20 separate micrometer layers of the papyrus, measuring the height and depth of the ink as well as the angle of the stylus used by the scribe. After this analysis Thiede was able to compare it with other papyri from that period; notably manuscripts found at Qumran (dated to 58 AD), another at Herculaneum (dated prior to 79 AD), a further one from the fortress of Masada (dated to between 73/74 AD), and finally a papyrus from the Egyptian town of Oxyrynchus. The Magdalene Manuscript fragments matches all four, and in fact is almost a twin to the papyrus found in Oxyrynchus, which bears the date of 65/66 AD Thiede concludes that these pap yrus fragments of St. Matthew's Gospel were written no later than this date and probably earlier. That suggests that we either have a portion of the original gospel of Matthew, or an immediate copy, which was written while Matthew and the other disciples, and eyewitnesses to the events were still alive. This would be the oldest manuscript portion of our Bible in existence today, one which co-exists with the original writers!"

"What is of even more importance is what it says. The Matthew 26 fragment uses in its text nomina sacra (holy names) such as the diminutive "IS" for Jesus and "KE" for Kurie or Lord (The Times, Saturday, December 24, 1994). This is highly significant for our discussion today, because it suggests that the godhead of Jesus was recognized centuries before it was accepted as official church doctrine at the council of Nicea in 325 AD There is still ongoing discussion concerning the exact dating of this manuscript. However, if the dates prove to be correct then this document alone completely eradicates the criticism leveled against the gospel accounts (such as the 'Jesus Seminar') that the early disciples knew nothing about Christ's divinity, and that this concept was a later redaction imposed by the Christian community in the second century (AD)."

(NOTE- The preceding citations can be found at the following web site.

Other, more extensive, copies of the New Testament include the Chester Beatty Papyri, containing major portions of the New Testament and dated early 3rd century, the Bodmer Papyrus, dated late 2nd century, the Codex Sinaiticus, dated AD 350, and the Codex Vaticanus, dated AD 325 - AD 350. Some of the codices contain the entire New Testament. It can be seen that, as far as the time gap between the original writing of the New Testament and the earliest extant manuscripts, there is no work from the ancient world which can compare to the New Testament. As Sir Frederic Kenyon, former Curator of the British Museum, says

"The net result of this discovery [of the Chester Beatty Papyri] ... is, in fact, to reduce the gap between the earlier manuscripts and the traditional dates of the New Testament books so far that it becomes negligible in any discussion of their authenticity. No other ancient book has anything like such an early and plentiful testimony to its text." (Sir Frederic G. Kenyon, The Bible and Modern Scholarship [London: John Murray, 1948], 20, as cited in McDowell, Evidence That Demands A Verdict, p. 49)

Add to this list the possible discovery of several NT quotations found in Qumran:

"Jose O'Callahan, a Spanish Jesuit paleographer, made headlines around the world on March 18, 1972, when he identified a manuscript fragment from Qumran... as a piece of the Gospel of Mark. The piece was from Cave 7. Fragments from this cave had previously been dated between 50 B.C. and A.D. 50, hardly within the time frame established for New Testament writings. Using accepted methods of papyrology and paleography, O'Callahan compared sequences of letters with existing documents and eventually identified nine fragments as belonging to one Gospel, Acts, and a few Epistles. Some of these were dated slightly later than 50, but still extremely early...

Mark 4:28 7Q6 A.D. 50

Mark 6:48 7Q15 A.D?

Mark 6:52, 53 7Q5 A.D. 50

Mark 12:17 7Q7 A.D. 50

Acts 27:38 7Q6 A.D. 60+

Rom. 5:11, 12 7Q9 A.D 70+

1 Tim. 3:16; 4:1-3 7Q4 A.D. 70+

2 Peter 1:15 7Q10 A.D. 70+

James 1:23, 24 7Q8 A.D. 70+

"... Both friends and critics acknowledge that, if valid, O'Callahan's conclusions will revolutionize New Testament theories. If even some of these fragments are from New Testament, the implications for Christian apologetics are enormous. Mark and Acts must have been written within the lifetimes of the apostles and contemporaries of the events. There would be no time for mythological embellishment of the records... They must be accepted as historical... There would hardly be time for a predecessor series of Q manuscripts... And since these manuscripts are not originals but copies, parts of the New Testament would be shown to have been copied and disseminated during the lives of the writers. No first-century date allows time for myths or legends to creep into the stories about Jesus." (Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, p. 530) (please see this article for more information.)

Hence, if further research confirms O'Callahan's theories this would establish beyond any reasonable doubt the reliability of the New Testament. Even without these discoveries, the evidence from the Patristic writings and MSS overwhelmingly supports the authenticity and reliability of the biblical text.

Archaeology has also solidified the case for the eyewitness nature and accuracy of the Holy Bible. It should be first mentioned that most attacks on the Bible stem from arguments from silence, i.e. the fact that no independent archaeological research has been discovered in support of certain recorded biblical events. Yet, such arguments only prove that as of yet archaeology has failed to furnish evidence in regards to an event related in the Bible.

This is far different from archaeology providing evidence to show that certain events did not occur in the same manner in which the Bible says it did. In fact, not one archaeological discovery has ever proven the Bible wrong; discovery after discovery has demonstrated the amazing historical accuracy of scripture. The following quotations from the world's leading archaeologists affirms this fact:

"Nowhere has archeological discovery refuted the Bible as history." (John Elder, Prophets Idols and Diggers [New York; Bobs Merrill, 1960], p. 16)

"Near Eastern archeology has demonstrated the historical and geographical reliability of the Bible in many important areas. By clarifying the objectivity and factual accuracy of biblical authors, archaeology also helps correct the view that the Bible is avowedly partisan and subjective. It is now known, for instance, that, along with the Hittites, Hebrew scribes were the best historians in the entire ancient Near East, despite contrary propaganda that emerged from Assyria, Egypt, and elsewhere." (E. M. Blalklock, editor's preface, New International Dictionary of Biblical Archeology [Grand Rapids, MI; Regency Reference Library/ Zondervan, 1983], pp. vii-viii)

The late William F. Albright, one of the world's foremost archeologists, stated:

"There can be no doubt that archeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition." (J. A. Thompson, The Bible and Archeology [Grand Rapids, MI; Eerdmans, 1975], p. 5)

Nelson Glueck, world-renowned Jewish archeologist, concurs:

"As a matter of fact, however, it maybe clearly stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible." (Norman Geisler & Ron Brooks, When Skeptics Ask; A Handbook on Christian Evidences [Wheaton, IL; Victor, 1990], p. 179)

It should be noted that both Albright and Glueck were not conservative Christians and did not believe in the inspiration of scripture. Their conclusions were based strictly on the archaeological data, forcing them to make the above admissions. Earl Radmacher, former president of Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, notes:

"I listened to him [Glueck] when he was at Temple Emmanuel in Dallas, and he got rather red in the face and said, 'I've been accused of teaching the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scripture. I want it to be understood that I have never taught this. All I have ever said is that in all my archaeological investigation I have never found one artifact of antiquity that contradicts any statement of the Word of God.'" (Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands A Verdict, p. 22)

Sir Frederic Kenyon mentions, "The evidence of archaeology has been to re-establish the authority of the Old Testament, and likewise to augment its value by rendering it more intelligible through a fuller knowledge of its background and setting."

Millar Burrows of Yale states, "On the whole, archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the scriptural record."

Archaeologist Joseph P. Free confirms that while thumbing through the book of Genesis, he mentally noted that each of the 50 chapters are either illuminated or confirmed by some archaeological discovery. He also affirms that this would be true for most of the remaining chapters of the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament. John Ankerberg & John Weldon comment on Fee:

"As Joseph P. Fee (1910-1974), who did extensive excavations at the city of Dothan for ten years, observed, 'In my lifetime I have heard many messages or sermons that could have some point driven home by the effective use of some archaeological item.'17 He further points out that archaeology 'has confirmed countless passages that have been rejected by critics as unhistorical or contradictory to known facts.'18" (Ankerberg & Weldon, Ready With An Answer For the Tough Questions About God [Harvest House Publishers; Eugene, Oregon 97402 1997], p. 263)

Continuing further, the same authors note:

"In considering the Old Testament, archaeology has vindicated the biblical record time and again. The New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology, written by a score of experts in various fields, repeatedly shows that the biblical history is vindicated. To illustrate, the editor's preface remarks, 'Near Eastern archaeology has demonstrated the historical and geographical reliability of the Bible in many important areas. By clarifying the objectivity and factual accuracy of biblical authors, archaeology also helps correct the view that the Bible is avowedly partisan and subjective. It is now known, for instance, that, along with the Hittites, Hebrew scribes were the best historians in the entire ancient Near East, despite, contrary propaganda that emerged from Assyria, Egypt, and elsewhere.'36" (Ibid, p. 269- bold emphasis ours)

Sir William Ramsey, considered one of the world's greatest archaeologists believed that the New Testament, particularly the books of Luke and Acts, were second-century forgeries. He spent thirty years in Asia Minor, trying to dig up enough evidence to prove that Luke-Acts was nothing more than a lie. At the conclusion of his long journey however, he was compelled to admit that the New Testament was a first-century compilation and that the Bible is historically reliable. This fact led to his conversion and embracing of the very faith he once believed to be a hoax. Dr. Ramsey stated:

"Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy ... this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians."

Ramsey further said:

"Luke is unsurpassed in respects of its trustworthiness." (Josh McDowell, The Best of Josh Mcdowell: A Ready Defense, pp. 108-109)

Another one time skeptic was Dr. Clifford Wilson who, due to the discoveries made, concluded:

"It is the studied conviction of this writer that the Bible is ... the ancient world's most reliable history textbook..." (Wilson, Rocks, Relics And Biblical Reliability [Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan/Richardson, TX: Probe, 1977], p. 126)

Dr. Wilson, like Ramsey, goes on to hail Luke for his accuracy:

"Luke demonstrated a remarkably accurate knowledge of geographical and political ideas. He referred correctly to provinces that were established at that time, as indicated in Acts 15:6. He demonstrated a clear knowledge of local customs, such as those relating to the speech of the Lycaonians (Acts 14:11), some aspects relating to the foreign woman who was converted at Athens (Acts 17:34), and he even knew that the city of Ephesus was known as the 'temple-keeper of Artemis' (Acts 19:35) ... he refers to different local officers by their exact titles the proconsul (deputy) of Cyprus (Acts 13:7), the magistrates at Phillipi (Acts 16:20,35), the politarchs (another word for magistrates) at Thessalonica (Acts 17:6), the proconsul of Achaia (Acts 18:12), and the treasurer of Corinth (Aedile) which was the title of the man known as Erastus at Corinth (Acts 19:22; Romans 16:23 ...)

"Luke had accurate knowledge about various local events such as the famine in the days of Claudius Caesar (Acts 11:29); he was aware that Zeus and Hermes were worshiped together at Lystra, though this was unknown to modern historians (Acts 14:11,12). He knew that Diana or Artemis was especially the goddess of the Ephesians (Acts 19:28); and he was able to describe the trade at Ephesus in religious images." (Ibid, pp. 112-113)

Hence, Wilson's statement:

"Those who know the facts now recognize that the New Testament must be accepted as a remarkably accurate source book..." (Ibid, p. 120)

Wilson proceeds to furnish additional evidence for the accuracy of OT writers such as Daniel:

"There are other evidences of eyewitness recording by Daniel. That he knew Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt Babylon (Daniel 4:30) is a problem by those who argue for a later date for Daniel. This fact of history was recovered by excavation only in modern times, yet Daniel had recorded it correctly. One critic wrote that this was a difficulty, the answer of which 'we shall presumably never know'... Linguistic pointers from the Dead Sea Scrolls (e.g., a recent targum of Job) also suggest an early, not a late, date for Daniel... The overthrow of the nonhistorical Exile and the return of the Jews came with the finding of the famous Cyrus Cylinder... By this decree [of King Cyrus] the Hebrew people were given leave to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem... The same can be said about the style of writing in the Book of Ezra, for as Albright says, 'If we turn to the Book of Ezra, recent discoveries have indicated the authenticity of its official documents in the most striking way.' Albri ght shows that the language of Ezra had been seriously challenged, but that some of the very words that have been challenged have turned up in Egyptian, Aramaic, Babylonian cuneiform documents that date to the exact time of Ezra. Albright goes on: 'If it were practicable to quote from still unpublished Aramaic documents from the fifth century Egypt, the weight of factual evidence would crush all opposition'... Still another convincing evidence of the genuineness of the Bible records is in The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings by Edwin R. Thiele. Where once it seemed that the dates of the kings in the divided-kingdom period were inaccurate and vague, he has been able to show remarkable synchronisms... Once again, an area that many believed was total confusion has been shown to be staggeringly accurate recording, with fine chronological interweaving that cannot be claimed for any other book of ancient history. (Ibid, pp. 98-101; Ankerberg & Weldon, pp. 270-271)

This cannot be said of the Quran with all of its historical and scientific mistakes.

Internal Evidence for Early Dating

The following info is taken from my article, The New Testament Documents and the Historicity of the Resurrection, and highlights the evidence that points to the early composition of the NT books:

Mark

Mark mentions the high priest without naming him. (cf. Mark 14:60-63) According to the other writers, the high priest at the time of Jesus' public ministry was Caiaphas. (cf. Matthew 26:57) Caiaphas was high priest from A.D. 18-37. This presumes that Mark's audience would have automatically known to which high priest he was alluding to, affirming that the tradition underlying this gospel is very early possibly no later than A.D. 40.

Luke

The consensus of NT scholarship agrees that Luke-Acts was authored by the same person. A great portion of the book of Acts centers on Jerusalem, the Temple, Paul's conversion and his missionary activities. The author also mentions the deaths of Stephen (Acts 7:51-8:1) and James, the brother of John (Acts 12:2).

Interestingly, the author does not mention the deaths of James the brother of the Lord (A.D. 62), Peter (A.D. 65-68), and Paul (A.D. 67-68). He also does not mention the burning of Rome and the persecution of Christians there (A.D. 64) or the destruction of the Temple (A.D. 70) but ends at Paul's imprisonment at Rome (A.D. 63).

It seems rather strange that the author would choose to omit such information had he in fact been writing after these events had already taken place. This seems to strongly support the fact that the book must have been written no later than A.D. 63. In fact, the apostle Paul actually quotes from the Gospel of Luke:

"For the SCRIPTURE says, 'Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,' and 'The worker deserves his wages.'" 1 Timothy 5:18

Paul quotes Deuteronomy 25:4. The second quote is from Luke 10:7:

"Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for THE WORKER DESERVES HIS WAGES. Do not move around from house to house."

Paul quotes Luke and places it on the same level of authority as that of Moses' writings! The consensus of scholars agree that Luke was the last of the synoptic gospels to be written, implying that all three were in circulation at the time of Paul's writing, which some scholars date at approximately 61-65 AD. This argues the fact that Luke must have been written between 55-60 A.D. with Acts following shortly.

John

The Gospel of John provides several lines of evidence supporting its early dating. The first is John 5:2

"Now there IS in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades."

John doesn't say that there "was" a pool, but that there still "is." This suggests that John's Gospel was written before the destruction of the Temple, and hence the destruction of the pool itself.

John also records an incident, which seemingly has no historical value other than a recollection, which only an eyewitness would know:

"So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed." John 20:3-8

How would the author have known these pieces of incidental information had he not been an eyewitness or at least have been recording the testimony of an eyewitness?

The NIV Study Bible furnishes additional evidence for the early dating of the Gospel of John:

"The author is the apostle John...'the disciple whom Jesus loved' (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20, 24). He was prominent in the early church but is not mentioned by name in this Gospel- which would be natural if he wrote it, but hard to explain otherwise. The author knew Jewish life well, as seen from references to popular Messianic speculations (e.g., 1:20-21; 7:40-42), to the hostility between Jews and Samaritans (4:9), and to Jewish customs, such as the duty of circumcision on the eighth day taking precedence over the prohibition of working on the Sabbath... He knew the geography of Palestine, locating Bethany about 15 stadia (about two miles) from Jerusalem (11:18) and Cana, a village not referred to in any earlier writing known to us (2:1; 21:2). The gospel of John has many touches that were obviously based on the recollections of an eyewitness- such as the house at Bethany being filled with the fragrance of the broken perfume jar (12:3). Early writers such as Irenaeus and Tertullian say that John wrote this Gospel, and all the evidence agrees..."

The Dictionary of the Bible by John L. McKenzie continues to say in relation to the evidence furnished by the Dead Sea Scrolls and its effect on the dating of John:

The question is now affected by the relations of Jn with Qumran* documents; these have more affinities with Jn than any other NT book, and this seriously questions the authorship of Jn. Many critics have questioned the authorship of Jn because they thought the Gospel was the product of Hellenistic thought rather than Jewish thought; specifically, elements of Hellenistic-Oriental mysticism or mystery* religion, or Syrian or Iranian Gnosticism were proposed. Even before the discovery of the Qumran documents many studies had shown that the roots of the thought of Jn are satisfactorily shown in the OT; cf separate articles on theological topics. The affinities of Jn with Qumran go far to exclude anything but a Palestinian origin of the Gospel. If this be accepted, the question of the date becomes urgent once more.

If Jn is the most Jewish rather than the least Jewish of the Gospels, it becomes doubtful that it is the latest. If it is to be dated at the latest before 70. It is probably earlier than both Lk and Gk Mt, and possibly early as Mk..." (McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible [Touchstone Book; New York, NY 1995], p. 449) (see this article for more information).

Author Paul Barnett claims in relation to John's knowledge of the buildings and landscapes of ancient Palestine that, "the archaeological evidence is that the author had minute local knowledge which, however, he discloses in quite inconspicuous ways." (Barnett, Is The New Testament History? [Ann Arbor, MI; Servant 1986], p. 64)

Noted NT Scholar F. F. Bruce continues:

"The evangelist [John] was evidently a Palestinian. Although he may have been far from his native land when he wrote his Gospel, his accurate knowledge of places and distances in Palestine, a knowledge which appears spontaneously and naturally, strongly suggests one who was born and brought up in that land, not one whose knowledge of the country was derived from pilgrim-visits. He knows Jerusalem well; he fixes the location of certain places in the city with the accuracy of one who must have been acquainted with it before its destruction in AD 70.

"The author was also a Jew; he is thoroughly conversant with Jewish customs; he refers to their purification rites (ii. 6) and their manner of burial (xix. 40). Of their feasts, he mentions the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Feast of Dedication, held in winter, together with the unnamed feast of v. 1 which was probably the Feast of the New Year. He shows himself intimately acquainted with the Old Testament passages which the Palestinian Jewish lectionary prescribed for reading in the synagogue at the festivals and other periods of the year.1 He knows the Jewish law of evidence (viii. 17). He is familiar with the superior attitude of those who had received a rabbinical training towards those who had not enjoyed this advantage- 'These people who do not know the law are accursed' (vii.49)-an attitude expressed even by the liberal Rabbi Hillel: 'No ignorant person is pious.'2...

"John's accurate knowledge of Jewish customs, beliefs, and methods of arguments led a great rabbinical scholar, the late Israel Abrahams, to say: 'My own general impression, without asserting an early date for the Fourth Gospel, is that the Gospel enshrines a genuine tradition of an aspect of Jesus' teaching which has not found a place n the Synoptics.'3 Abrahams also emphasized 'the cumulative strength of the arguments adduced by Jewish writers favourable to the authenticity of the discourses in the Fourth Gospel, especially in relation to the circumstances under which they are reported to have been spoken.4"

"The internal evidence supports the claim that the author not only witnessed but understood the great events he records. The external evidence for the Gospel is as strong as for the Synoptics..." (Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? [InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove Ill 60515; Fifth ed. rpt. 1992], pp. 49-50)

All these preceding factors sufficiently debunk the belief that the Gospels were simply different strands of traditions laced together at a later period. Seeing that the Gospels were already in circulation during the first generation of eyewitnesses, it would have been highly improbable if not impossible for individuals to simply concoct traditions about Jesus and the Apostles that had no basis in fact and get away with it.

F. F. Bruce states:

"At any rate, the time elapsing between the evangelic events and the writing of most of the New Testament books was, from the standpoint of historical research, satisfactorily short." (Bruce, p. 14)

He continued to say:

"The evidence indicates that the written sources of our Synoptic Gospels are not later than c. AD 60; some of them have even been traced back to notes taken out of our Lord's teaching while His words were actually being uttered. The oral sources go back to the very beginning of Christian history. We are, in fact, practically all the way through in touch with evidence of eyewitnesses. The earliest preachers of the gospel knew the value of this first-hand testimony, and appealed to it time and again. 'We are witnesses of these things,' was their constant and confident assertion. And it can have been by no means so easy as some writers seem to think to invent words and deeds of Jesus in those early years, when so many of His disciples were about, who could remember what had and had not happened. Indeed, the evidence is that the early Christians were careful to distinguish between sayings of Jesus and their own inferences and judgments. Paul, for example, when discussing the vexed question of marriage and divorce in I Corinthians vii, is careful to make a distinction between his own advice on the subject and the Lord's decisive ruling: 'I, not the Lord,' and again, 'Not I, but the Lord.'" (Bruce, pp. 45-46)

Before leaving this point, we would like to address the issues of variant readings of the NT text. The reason being is that Shabir in his debates gives the misleading impression that the textual variants that exist throughout the NT MSS casts doubt upon their reliability. He even quotes scholars on this issue and gives the misleading impression that they are in agreement with his assertions. Yet, the fact is that these scholars are in complete disagreement with Shabir.

One such example is that of Cornelius Hagerty. In relation to the textual variant which exist amongst the thousands of MSS, Hagerty claims:

"The more manuscripts discovered the more error, but most of them are such things as omissions of lines, changes in spelling, and transpositions of words, due to carelessness of copyists. They do not affect the meaning of the text. Copyists do not make the same mistakes, and their errors may be corrected by comparing manuscripts." (Hagerty, The Authenticity of the Sacred Scriptures [Houston; Lumin Christi Press, 1969], p. 303)

Geisler responds:

"There is widespread misunderstanding among critics about 'errors' in the biblical manuscripts. Some have estimated there are about 200,000 of them. First of all, these are not 'errors' but variant readings, the vast majority of which are strictly grammatical. Second, these readings are spread throughout the more than 5300 manuscripts, so that a variant spelling of one letter in one verse in 2000 manuscripts is counted as 2000 'errors.' Textual scholars Westcott and Hort estimated that only one in sixty of these variants have significance. This would leave a text 98.33 percent pure. Philip Schaff calculated that, of the 150,000 variants known in his day, only 400 changed the meaning of the passage, only fifty were of real significance, and not even one affected 'an article of faith or a precept of duty which is not abundantly sustained by other and undoubted passages, or by the whole tenor of Scripture teaching' (Schaff, 177)

"Most other ancient books are not so well authenticated. New Testament scholar Bruce Metzger estimated that the Mahabharata of Hinduism is copied with only about 90 percent accuracy and Homer's Illiad with about 95 percent. By comparison, HE ESTIMATED THE NEW TESTAMENT IS ABOUT 99.5 PERCENT..." (Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, pp. 532-533)

Geisler continues to elaborate on Metzger's comments on the existing variants between the different writings of antiquity and the New Testament:

"... The forthgoing discussion cannot be fully appreciated unless it is contrasted with the textual integrity of other books from the ancient world. The first comparison to consider is that the number or quality of manuscripts. The Greek manuscripts of the New Testament alone total more than three thousand, and there are more than two thousand lectionaries and more then ten thousand copies of Jerome's Latin Vulgate, in addition to all the various versions;39 whereas some of the greatest writings of antiquity have survived in only a handful of manuscripts... Furthermore, a comparison of the nature and quality of the writings sets the fidelity of the biblical text in bold relief. Bruce M. Metzger' excellent study of Homer's Illiad and the Hindu Mahabharata demonstrates that their textual corruption is much greater than that of the New Testament.

    1. The Illiad is particularly appropriate because it has the most in common with the New Testament. Next to the New Testament there are more extant copies of the Illiad (643)40 than any other book. Both the Illiad and the Bible were considered 'sacred,' and both underwent textual changes and criticism of their Greek manuscripts. The New Testament has about 20,000 lines; the Illiad about 15,600. Only 40 lines (or about 400 words) of the New Testament are in doubt, whereas 764 lines of the Illiad are questioned. Thus, 5 percent textual corruption of the Illiad compares with one-half of 1 percent (or less) of similar emendations in the New Testament.
    2. The national epic of India, the Mahabharata, has suffered even more corruption. It is about eight times the size of the Illiad and the Odyssey together, roughly 250,000 lines. Of these, some 26,000 lines have textual corruption (10 percent).41 The New Testament, then, has not only survived in more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity, but it has survived in purer form than any other great book." (Geisler & William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible-Revised and Expanded [Moody Press: Chicago Ill, 1986], pp. 474-475)

The fact is that the Holy Bible is also vastly superior to the Quran in terms of MSS and in preservation:

"... Even the Koran, which did not originate until the seventh century A.D., has suffered from a large collection of variants that necessitated the Orthmanic (sic) revision. In fact, there are still seven ways to read the text (vocalization and punctuation), all based on Orthman's (sic) recension, which was made about twenty years after the death of Muhammad. Cf. Arthur Jeffrey (sic), Materials for the History of the Quran Text, and the more recent work of Richard Bell, Introduction to the Qu'ran. (Ibid, p. 475, f. 41)

B. F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort, the editors of The New Testament in Original Greek, also commented:

"If comparative trivialities such as changes of order, the insertion or omission of the article with proper names, and the like are set aside, the works in our opinion still subject to doubt can hardly mount to more than a thousandth part of the whole New Testament." (B.F. Westcott, and F.J.A. Hort, eds., New Testament in Original Greek, 1881, vol. II, 2.)

Sir Frederick Kenyon states:

"... no unbiased scholar would deny that the text that has come down to us is substantially sound." (Kenyon, The Bible, as cited in McDowell, Evidence, p. 49)

Kenyon continues:

"It cannot be too strongly asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain: Especially is this the case with the New Testament." (Sir Frederic G. Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts [New York: Harper and Brothers, 1941], 23 as cited in McDowell, Evidence, p. 45)

Kenyon concludes:

"The interval between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact 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. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established." (Kenyon, The Bible and Archaeology, pp. 288f)

F. F. Bruce comments:

"The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical author, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning. And if the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt. (Bruce, p. 15)

Stephen Neil and Tom Wright concur:

"Anyone who reads the New Testament in any one of half a dozen Greek editions, or in any modern translation, can feel confident, that, though there may be uncertainties in detail, in almost everything of importance he is close indeed to the text of the New Testament books as they were originally written." (Neil & Wright, The Interpretation of the New Testament 1861-1986 [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988], p. 86)

Hence, both Shabir and his sources are clearly in error over this issue.

Shabir:

The description of the heavens and the earth in Genesis, chapter 1, is not necessarily a true description. That description is conditioned by the time and culture in which it was written.

"Do not be shocked about this!"

Response:

First, how do these individuals know that the Genesis 1 account is not necessarily a true account of creation? Were they there to witness the origin of the universe? If not, then it is arrogant to say that Genesis is not true seeing that an event that happened only once in the past and cannot be repeated again simply cannot be disproved.

Since we assume that the NT is reliable and accurately reports the words of the historical Jesus and since Jesus believed in the Genesis account of creation, and since Jesus rose from the dead we believe that we are justified in agreeing with the risen Lord on this issue.

Finally, the Quran itself holds to a similar view on the creation of the universe and hence the time and culture in which Muhammad lived must have conditioned his thinking on creation. Thus, Shabir "should not be shocked about this!"

Shabir:

"The sacred writers attribute quite a number of human characteristics to God." This too is "conditioned by time and culture."

Response:

The only problem with this type of argumentation is that it can be used against the Quran since it also applies human qualities and characteristics to God. Using the logic employed by Shabir and his source, Muhammad's "time and culture" must also have conditioned him in attributing a number of human characteristics to God. For example,

The Quran gives God a face:

"Every one upon it will disappear while your Lord's face will remain full of majesty and splendor." S. 55:26-27 (T. B. Irving - The First American Version of the Quran).

The Quran gives God a hand:

"The ones who swear allegiance to you merely swear allegiance to God. God's hand rests above their hands..." S. 48:10

The Quran gives God an eye:

Allah said: "Granted is thy prayer, O Moses! And indeed We conferred a favour on thee another time [before]. Behold! We sent to thy mother, by inspiration, the message: 'Throw [the child] into the chest, and throw [the chest] into the river: The river will cast him up on the bank, and he will be taken up by one who is an enemy to Me and an enemy to him: But I endued thee with love from Me: And [this] in order that thou mayest be reared under Mine eye.'" S. 20:36-39 - King Fahd Holy Quran

The Quran seats God on the throne:

"He it is who created the heavens and the earth in six days; then He mounted the throne." S. 57:4 - M. M. Pickthall English Translation

The Quran also attributes forgetfulness and repentance to God:

"Then Adam received commandments from his Lord, and his Lord relented towards him; for He is Oft-Repenting (Huwat Tawwaab), Most Merciful." S. 2:37

"And remember Moses said to his people: 'O my people! ye have indeed wronged yourselves by your worship of the calf; so turn (in repentance) to your Maker, and slay yourselves (the wrong-doers); that will be better for you in the sight of your Maker.' Then He relented towards you: for He is Oft-Repenting (Huwat Tawwaab), Most Merciful." S. 2:54

"Such as took their religion To be more amusement And play, and were deceived By the life of the world. That day shall We forget them As they forgot the meeting Of this day of theirs, And as they were wont To reject Our Signs." S. 7:51

"The Hypocrites, men and women, are alike: they enjoin evil, and forbid what is just, and tighten their purse's strings. They have forgotten Allah: so He hath forgotten them. Verily the Hypocrites are rebellious and perverse." S. 9:67

Shabir:

The Psalms are a collection of poems full of feeling. Psalm 137, verses 8 and 9 pronounces a blessing on one who grabs a Babylonian baby and dashes it against a rock. In this psalm "The feeling, the thought, the total poem is inspired (guided) by God, though it is not necessarily revealed truth!" But this is not the only Psalm which is not necessarily revealed truth. To find out for yourself, "Read some psalms!"

Response:

Let us quote the Psalm in context to see what in fact the Psalmist meant:

"By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion! How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget [its skill]. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy. Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. 'Tear it down,' they cried, 'tear it down to its foundations!' O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, HAPPY IS HE WHO REPAYS YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO US-he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." Psalm 137

When the Psalm is read in context, we discover that Psalmist was asking that justice be served. The Psalmist was echoing the following Mosaic injunctions where the punishment of a criminal must match the crime that he/she committed, no more no less:

"Anyone who takes the life of someone's animal must make restitution-life for life. If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured. Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a man must be put to death." Leviticus 24:18-21

"Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." Deuteronomy 19:21

It was a common practice for invading armies to kill and dash children and women as the following OT citations show:

"Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus. He went in and stood before him, and said, 'Your son Ben-Hadad king of Aram has sent me to ask, "Will I recover from this illness?"' Elisha answered, 'Go and say to him, "You will certainly recover"; but the LORD has revealed to me that he will in fact die.' He stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael felt ashamed. Then the man of God began to weep. 'Why is my lord weeping?' asked Hazael. 'Because I know the harm you will do to the Israelites,' he answered. 'You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women.' Hazael said, 'How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?' 'The LORD has shown me that you will become king of Aram," answered Elisha.'" 2 Kings 8:9-13

"But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors, the roar of battle will rise against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated- as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children. Thus will it happen to you, O Bethel, because your wickedness is great. When that day dawns, the king of Israel will be completely destroyed." Hosea 10:13-15

"Yet she was taken captive and went into exile. Her infants were dashed to pieces at the head of every street. Lots were cast for her nobles, and all her great men were put in chains." Nahum 3:10

Interestingly, Isaiah even predicted that Babylon would also be ravaged and have their children dashed to pieces in the same way they had done to others:

"Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished. See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children. Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians' pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there. But desert creatures will lie there, jackals will fill her houses; there the owls will dwell, and there the wild goats will leap about. Hyenas will howl in her strongholds, jackals in her luxurious palaces. Her time is at hand, and her days will not be prolonged." Isaiah 13:15-22

Hence, the Psalmist was not being cruel in his request, but was demanding what God's Law required, "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" etc., something in which the Quran is in complete agreement:

"Lo! We did reveal the Torah, wherein is guidance and a light, by which the prophets who surrendered (unto Allah) judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of Allah's Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses. So fear not mankind, but fear Me. And My revelations for a little gain. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are disbelievers. And We prescribed for them therein: The life for the life, and the eye for the eye, and the nose for the nose, and the ear for the ear, and the tooth for the tooth, and for wounds retaliation. But whoso forgoeth it (in the way of charity) it shall be expiation for him. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are wrong-doers." S. 5:44-45

Furthermore, although the editors of the New American Bible might deny the revelatory nature of the Psalms, Shabir cannot if he truly believes in the Quran. The reason why he cannot is that the Quran affirms that God personally revealed the psalms to David and the rest of the writers:

"And if they deny thee, even so did they deny messengers who were before thee, who came with miracles and with the Psalms (Zuburi) and with the Scripture giving light." S. 3:184

"Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as We imparted unto David the Psalms (Zabuuraa);" S. 4:163

"And thy Lord is Best Aware of all who are in the heavens and the earth. And we preferred some of the prophets above others, and unto David We gave the Psalms (Zabuu-raa)." S. 17:55

"And if they deny thee, those before them also denied. Their messengers came unto them with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), and with the Psalms (Zuburi) and the Scripture giving light." S. 35:25

Finally, If Shabir is troubled by Psalm 139:8-9 then he should definitely have problems with the following Quranic passages:

"The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish. His wealth and gains will not exempt him. He will be plunged in flaming Fire, And his wife, the wood-carrier, Will have upon her neck a halter of palm-fibre." S. 111:1-5

Abu Lahab was Muhammad's uncle. Both he and his wife were bitter enemies of Muhammad. Hence, it is not surprising to find Muhammad cursing his uncle and his wife for giving him a hard time. Ali Dashti claimed that these words were uttered by Muhammad seeing that it would be unbefitting for a merciful God to utter such curses.

"And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them (qaatalahumu llahu anna yu'fakoona); how they are turned away! S. 9:30 Shakir

And the Jews say, 'Ezra is the son of ALLAH,' and the Christians say, 'the Messiah is the son of ALLAH;' that is what they say with their mouths. They only imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before them. ALLAH's curse be on them! How they are turned away. Sher Ali

The Jews said, "Ezra is the son of GOD," while the Christians said, "Jesus is the son of GOD!" These are blasphemies uttered by their mouths. They thus match the blasphemies of those who have disbelieved in the past. GOD condemns them. They have surely deviated. Rashad Khalifah

"Some of the Jews have said that Ezra is the son of God and Christians have said the same of Jesus. This is only what they say and it is similar to what the unbelievers who lived before them had said. May God destroy them wherever they exist!" Muhammad Sarwar

Interestingly the word for "destroy," "condemns," "curse" also appears in verse 29 where it says to kill or fight against the people of the Book, unless they pay the Jizya tax. Hence, we find Muhammad calling upon God to curse and destroy Christians and Jews who believe that Ezra and Jesus are the sons of God.

Shabir:

What the Scholars Confess About the Gospels in Particular

"What did the authors of the Gospels do? In the congregations, mainly in the cities around the

Mediterranean, they found scores of narratives about Jesus, the beloved Founder of the Christian faith. The writers took those narratives and frequently even remolded and refashioned them to bring out the lesson they wanted to teach."

Therefore the four Gospels are not really biographies of Jesus. They are "digests of Christian teaching concerning the risen Lord Jesus."

"A remarkable fact is that for a long time Christians misunderstood" this truth about the Gospels.

Response:

We have already demonstrated why these theories do not hold any weight, seeing that the evidence is overwhelmingly in support of the early dating and accuracy of the NT books. This is even admitted by the Quran!

Shabir:

The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew's Gospel chapter 1, verses 1-17, is not an absolutely true genealogy. First, Matthew took it perhaps from the family of Joseph. Second, "the sacred writer refashioned this document to a list of three times fourteen ancestors."

Response:

To summarize an account is not the same as falsifying a report. Matthew accurately summarized Jesus' genealogy to bring out his intended purpose of 14 generations, the precise numerical value of David's name in Hebrew! This is far different from falsifying the genealogy of Jesus.

Shabir:

"Reading the Gospels, one should distinguish historical facts from theological elaboration."

The Gospels often represent Jesus in controversy and conversation. "One may ask: Was Jesus involved in these conversations? Did He answer exactly as related in the Bible? It is not certain."

There may be some true events and "controversies which supplied the background materials for the conflict stories of the Gospels. But as these accounts now stand, they are literary forms used by the Gospel writers in their catechisms to bring out what they had to tell the opponents of early Christianity."

Response:

It is not certain to those who presuppose that Jesus did not say what the Gospels report he said. Yet, the evidence is in favor of the historical reliability of the Gospels in accurately reporting Jesus' words, albeit at times in a summarized fashion. So far, neither Shabir nor his source has given us any evidence for their claims apart from mere hypothetical assertions devoid of facts.

In relation to whether Jesus was in fact involved in these debates and controversies, here is Bruce again:

"John's accurate knowledge of Jewish customs, beliefs, and methods of arguments led a great rabbinical scholar, the late Israel Abrahams, to say: 'My own general impression, without asserting an early date for the Fourth Gospel, is that the Gospel enshrines a genuine tradition of an aspect of Jesus' teaching which has not found a place n the Synoptics.'3 Abrahams also emphasized 'the cumulative strength of the arguments adduced by Jewish writers favourable to the authenticity of the discourses in the Fourth Gospel, especially in relation to the circumstances under which they are reported to have been spoken.4" (Bruce, p. 50)

Shabir:

Matthew tells us that baby Jesus was taken to Egypt. This is not necessarily true. But since

Israel had been in Egypt, and since Israel was God's chosen one, Matthew placed Jesus in Egypt to convince his readers that Jesus was the real Israel. "This is a strange literary device, but the ancient writers loved to work with this kind of figurative speech."

Response:

It never dawned on Shabir that Matthew saw similarities in the event of Jesus' flight to and return from Egypt with what had happened with national Israel during the Exodus. Hence, Matthew was not fabricating this event, but highlighting the similar experiences shared by both national Israel and God's Messiah, who is the ideal and true Israelite.

In fact, one of Messiah's names is Israel!:

"Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, 'You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.' But I said, 'I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand, and my reward is with my God.' And now the LORD says- he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength- he says: 'It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.' This is what the LORD says- the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel-- to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: 'Kings will see you and rise up, princes willl see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.' This is what the LORD says: 'In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, "Come out," and to those in darkness, "Be free!" They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill.'" Isaiah 49:1-9

We find Isaiah making a distinction between national Israel and God's servant who himself is called Israel!

Hence, Matthew was being thoroughly biblical in applying a passage originally dealing with national Israel to God's true Israel, the Messiah Jesus.

In fact, certain Muslim historians such as at-Tabari quote this episode on Jesus' flight to and return from Egypt as being a genuine event in the life of Christ. Tabari even alludes to Hosea 11:1 as predicting this very event! At-Tabari writes:

"Some historians mentioned that Jesus was born forty-two years after Augustus had become emperor. Augustus continued to live on, and his reign lasted fifty-six years; some add a few days. The Jews assaulted Christ. The sovereign in Jerusalem at the time was Caesar, and it was on his behalf that Herod the Great reigned in Jerusalem. Messengers of the king of Persia came to him. Sent to Christ, they came to Herod by mistake. They informed Herod that the king of Persia had sent them to offer Christ the gifts they carried, gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. They told him that they had observed that Christ's star had risen- they had learned this from computation. They offered him the gifts at Bethlehem in Palestine. When Herod learned about them, he plotted against Christ, and looked for him in order to slay him. God commanded an angel to tell Joseph, who was with Mary at the sanctuary, that Herod intended to slay the child, and to instruct him to flee to Egypt with the child and its mother.

"When Herod died the angel told Joseph, who was in Egypt, that Herod was dead and that his son Archelaus reigned instead- the man who sought to slay the child was no longer alive. Joseph took the child to Nazareth in Palestine, to FULFILL the word of Isaiah the prophet, 'I called you out of Egypt'322..." (Tabari, The History of al-Tabari Volume IV- The Ancient Kingdom, Moshe Perlman trans. [The State University of New York Press; Albany, 1987], pp. 124-125)

The footnote reads:

"The reference ascribed here to Isaiah is in Hosea 11:1." (Ibid, p. 125)

Hence, one of Islam's premiere historians endorses Matthew's narrative on the flight to Egypt without ever hinting that this Gospel story is corrupt or inauthentic.

Shabir seemingly has chosen to discard the writings of early Muslim historians such as at-Tabari and their favorable view of the Gospel accounts such as Matthew. Instead, he seemingly has chosen to embrace the hypercritical approach of liberalism, an approach that serves to discredit both the Holy Bible and the Quran.

Shabir:

"It is difficult to know whether the words or sayings attributed to [Jesus] are written exactly as He spoke them."

"True, the Gospels are based on sound historical facts as related by eye-witnesses, but both deeds and words of Jesus are offered to us in the framework or theological interpretation."

Response:

Again, we have already shown the fallacy behind such assertions since we have demonstrated from the New Testament that the early Church clearly made a distinction between the words of the Lord Jesus and the words of others such as Paul.

Shabir:

Did Jesus say the things which the Gospels report? "The Church was so firmly convinced that the risen Lord who is the Jesus of history lived in her, and taught through her, that she expressed her teaching in the form of Jesus' sayings." The words are not Jesus but from the Church.

Response:

This is blatantly wrong. The early Church clearly made a distinction between what Jesus said and what others said. As F. F. Bruce noted:

"The evidence indicates that the written sources of our Synoptic Gospels are not later than c. AD 60; some of them have even been traced back to notes taken out of our Lord's teaching while His words were actually being uttered. The oral sources go back to the very beginning of Christian history. We are, in fact, practically all the way through in touch with evidence of eyewitnesses. The earliest preachers of the gospel knew the value of this first-hand testimony, and appealed to it time and again. 'We are witnesses of these things,' was their constant and confident assertion. And it can have been by no means so easy as some writers seem to think to invent words and deeds of Jesus in those early years, when so many of His disciples were about, who could remember what had and had not happened. Indeed, the evidence is that the early Christians were careful to distinguish between sayings of Jesus and their own inferences and judgments. Paul, for example, when discussing th e vexed question of marriage and divorce in I Corinthians vii, is careful to make a distinction between his own advice on the subject and the Lord's decisive ruling: 'I, not the Lord,' and again, 'Not I, but the Lord.'" (Bruce, pp. 45-46)

Geisler and Nix comment:

"... That a clear distinction was made between Jesus' words and those of the Gospel writers is evident from the ease by which a 'red letter' edition of the New Testament can be made. Indeed, the apostle Paul is clear to distinguish his own words from those of Jesus (see Acts 20:35; 1 Cor. 7:10, 12, 25). So is John the apostle in the Apocalypse (see Rev. 1:8, 11, 17b-20; 2:1f.; 3:1f.; 22:7, 12-16, 20b). In view of this the New Testament critic is unjustified in assuming that the Gospel record is not actually reporting what Jesus said and did." (Geisler & Nix, p. 441)

Shabir:

"Can we discover at least some words of Jesus that have escaped such elaboration? Bible scholars point to the very short sayings of Jesus, as for example those put together by Matthew in chapter 5, 1-12"

The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, chapters 5 to 7, was delivered by Jesus while he was on a mount or was he? Matthew only represented the matter such in order to show that Jesus was like Moses who received the law on Mount Sinai. Jesus was not really on a mountain. This is only a figurative device used by Matthew.

Response:

On what basis do these so-called scholars claim that Jesus only uttered short sayings as opposed to lengthy discourses? The evidence supports the accuracy and reliability of the Gospels, and affirms that Christ at times spoke at great length in regards to God's Kingdom and other related spiritual matters, as well as uttering short and concise statements or replies.

This is also the case with the Quran. Some chapters of the Quran have only three to four verses, whereas some other chapters contain well over a hundred verses. Will Shabir also assume that the shorter chapters are authentic, whereas the longer chapters were compiled by redactors who were combining different strands of traditions that had been circulating after Muhammad's death? He must if he is to remain consistent in his methodology.

Furthermore, Matthew did not concoct the Sermon on the Mount in order to make Jesus appear like Moses. Rather, Matthew accurately recorded Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and realized that Jesus was the Prophet like Moses who was predicted to come into the world. (cf. Deuteronomy 18:15-18)

Shabir:

"Walk into a modern library, you will find all the books neatly arranged under fiction and non-fiction. It is not that simple in the library called the Bible. How does one know whether one deals with history or some form of figurative speech?" To begin with you should always be disposed to follow the teaching authority of the Church."

Response:

One will know what kind of literature a certain book of the Bible is by reading its contents and interpreting it in light of its historical and cultural context. Wisdom literature is written using figurative language, hyperbole etc. Narration accurately records historical events that have transpired. Epistles are essentially didactic in nature, trying to elaborate and teach on essential doctrines etc.

Shabir:

"The signature of a bishop in your Bible assures you that opinions, expressed in footnotes and introductions, reflect what is generally accepted as sound doctrine in the Catholic tradition."

Response:

This might be acceptable to Catholics, but not necessarily with Protestants. It is the same as if a Christian demanded a Sunni Muslim to adhere to the Shiite interpretation of the Quran, or vice-versa.

All interpretations and opinions of men, especially that of clergy, must be examined in light of Scriptural truths, not the other way around.

Shabir:

"Knowing that early Christians mistakenly expected Christ's second coming during their own lifetime, helps you to understand 1 and 2 Thessalonians." The first of these two books in the

Bible is written under the said mistaken expectation.

Response:

Shabir and his source complains against the fact that certain Bible writers spoke of Christ as descending during their lifetime. Failing to appreciate the fact that Christ's return could transpire at any moment, Shabir seemingly presumes that this is an error in the Holy Bible.

The reason why the Christians believed that Christ would come in their lifetime is due to Christ warning them to be prepared since he could return at any moment like a thief in the night. 1 and 2 Thessalonians were written in response to some mistaken views on Jesus' second-coming.

Furthermore, Christ gave hints that despite his followers' belief that he was to return soon, Christ would in fact be delaying his second-coming:

"So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'MY MASTER IS STAYING AWAY A LONG TIME,' and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'" Matthew 24:44-51

Finally, Shabir conveniently forgets to mention the fact that Muhammad used similar language when speaking of Christ's return. Seeing that the Quran has little to say about the manner in which Christ will return, we turn to the Muslim traditions for the details:

"Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: By Him in Whose hand is my life, the son of Mary (may peace be upon him) WILL SOON DESCEND AMONG YOU AS A JUST JUDGE. He will break crosses, kill swine and abolish Jizya and the wealth will pour forth to such an extent that no one will accept it." (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0287)

Narrated Abu Hurayrah:

The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (peace_be_upon_him). He will descent (to the earth). When YOU see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 37, Number 4310)

Using Shabir's logic, we are forced to conclude that Muhammad is a false prophet since the latter claimed that Jesus would descend during the lifetime of his companions and they would be able to recognize him. Nearly 14 centuries has transpired since then and the companions have died and Christ still has not returned.

Shabir:

"The Hebrews [who wrote the Bible] were restless searchers for meaning in our human condition.

Reading their inspired literature should challenge you to go on with a faithful search for meaning in your own situation."

Response:

As both archaeology and archaeologists have demonstrated, the Hebrews along with the Hitties were the best historians of the Ancient Near East and accurately wrote down history as it transpired.

Shabir:

There you have it folks. A collection of confessions of the scholars who edited the New

American Bible. The words within quotation marks are their own. All the ideas are their own.

Some of the said ideas they have explicitly stated; others they clearly imply. Words within

square brackets were inserted where necessary to make the points clear. Use these points to

help convince Catholics.

Response:

What Shabir has demonstrated is that there are men who profess to be Christians but deny the essential truths of Christianity. They do so not because of any evidence they have mustered up, but because of certain presuppositions that are completely devoid of any substantial and verifiable facts.

The presuppositions held by these men would also negatively effect Shabir's view of revelation and the Quran, since most of these same scholars would also criticize the Quran and deny its inspiration and authenticity.

Shabir:

The title page of this Bible shows that the book is "authorized by the Board of Trustees of the

Confraternity of Christian Doctrine" and "approved by the Administrative Committee/Board of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops" and the "United States Catholic Conference." It is published by the Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, 1986. The Bible contains all the necessary Catholic certification: the Nihil Obstat, and the Imprimatur from the Archbishop of Washington. And, oh, yes! A letter from the Vatican, including the signature of the Pope, appears in the preface to guarantee the reliability of this Bible for Catholics.

Protestants and others may not be convinced by the confessions. They may object that these are not their own scholars. Yet many Protestant scholars have reached the very same conclusions.

But that is the subject for another article. Notice, however, that you can always argue that the points above are admitted by friends of the Bible. Even one who does not recognise the authority of Catholic Bishops will have to admit that they are nevertheless friends of the Bible. Their testimony above cannot be discounted so easily.

Response:

Their testimony has been discounted due to the overwhelming evidence in support of the conservative Christian view of the Holy Bible.

Furthermore, we also would like to point out to Christians interested in Muslim evangelism that the Quranic translations made by Khalifah and Asad also cannot be easily discounted. The reason is that these men professed to be God-fearing Muslims who were friends and lovers of the Quran.

Shabir:

Muslim callers to Allah will find it advantageous to obtain a copy of the said Bible and use it wisely. Always present your points with respect and love. Do not seek to defeat the other person with clever arguments, but seek to win him over with courtesy and persuasive speech.

Response:

Likewise, Christian followers of the risen Lord of Glory will find it advantageous to obtain a copy of the said Quranic translations and use it wisely. Christians should always present the truth in the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15, with gentleness and respect. Christians should heed Paul's advice at 2 Timothy 2:24-26 to not argue but respectfully correct and answer questions in the hope that God will grant all honest seekers repentance.

In the service of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

Sam Shamoun


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