There is little doubt among reputable Bible scholars that the Bible, a book purported to contain “eternal truths,” was actually authored by men who did not always tell the truth. Let me offer some examples:
- Scholars know that Moses did not write the first five books of the Bible, but that’s what is recorded in the Bible.
- We also know that Daniel didn’t write the book bearing his name. Nor was it written at the time and place the author claimed.
- Solomon didn’t write Ecclesiastes. In fact, whoever actually wrote the book did it 600 years after he claimed to have written it.
In the New Testament (the “Greek Scriptures”) we also know:
- The “three letters” known as 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus were credited as written by the Apostle Paul. Reviewing the evidence, we know that is not the case. Bible scholars also know that Paul did not write 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.
So why would the actual writer want us to think he was Paul? How do we know it wasn’t Paul?
Scholars know for sure that Paul wrote the “six letters” known as 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, Philippians and Philemon. From reading these letters (except for the two verses he did not write) Paul was very supportive of women and they had active roles in the early church. After Paul’s death, the ruling clergy decided to change that policy. The evidence shows that whoever forged the three letters (and the scribe who added the two verses) lived years after the Apostle’s death and wanted us to think the idea that “women should be silent in the church” was Paul’s idea.
Here are more examples:
- Bible scholars also report that Paul did not write 2 Thessalonians, Ephesians, or Colossians.
- Peter did not write 1 & 2 Peter.
- The books of Acts, Jude and James were not written by the people who claimed to have written them.
As one might expect, these eight books contradict events and teachings from other books in the New Testament. Why? Because the real authors were using their own version of current JW-like “new light” to promote their own beliefs, hoping to give them credibility by suggesting that they would have been “the words of an apostle.”
In fact, we also know that the Four Gospels were not written by Mark, Mathew, Luke and John. The real authors were anonymous and all wrote in the third person. It was over fifty years after the Gospels were written before church leaders decided to credit four of Jesus disciples with writing those books.
While the Gospels are definitely not forgeries, the books were altered by scribes. Many only made minor errors, as would be expected. But one audacious scribe actually forged and added the last fourteen verses of Mark. Apparently, he wanted this gospel book to match the church’s theology as it was understood during his lifetime. How do we know this? Inspections of the oldest manuscripts of Mark show that none include any of those fourteen forged verses.
While some theologians are comfortable using the word “forgery,” others prefer pseudepigrapha, which I find strange. The “Apocalypse of Peter” nearly made it into the Bible before it was discovered in the fourth century that Peter did not write that book. No modern theologian has a problem calling that book a “forgery.”
What we know for sure (but you’ll never find it in The Watchtower) is that there are actually forged—or pseudepigrapha—books and verses that did make it into the Bible.
Maybe we should ask: With all the evidence provided by scholars over the past 500 years, and especially over the past two centuries, why hasn’t the Watchtower Society announced these discoveries as “new light”? Or does this mean that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t have – or really care – about “TheTruth” after all?
(For more info about forgeries in the Bible, read Forged by Bart D. Ehrman. See carousel below.)
An afterthought: Christian theologies, albeit slow to change, will eventually change. Maybe not in our lifetime, but theological beliefs do change over time. So perhaps the ultimate question we should ask is, “What is the Truth?” And never stop as long as we live, avoiding like the plague any group that claims to have found it.
Bart Ehrman Interview: How the Bible was copied and changed…