Both read the Bible day and night,
(Both READ the Bible day and night)
But thou read’st black where I read white.
(But where you read black I read.)
—William Blake, The Everlasting Gospel
Of course, William Blake’s feeling in the quote above is nothing new. The New Testament contains enough inconsistencies to create a dizzying variety of interpretations, beliefs, and religions, all of which are believed to be true to the Bible. And so we find a writer who made the amusing observation:
You can and you can’t,
(You can and you can’t,)
You shall and you shan’t,
(You should and you shouldn’t,)
You will and you won’t,
(You will and you won’t,)
And you will be damned if you do,
( And you will be damned if you do ,) And you will be damned if you don’t.
(And you’ll be damned if you don’t.)
 Why such divergent views? To begin with: different theological camps disagree about which books the Bible should contain. The apocrypha of one is the scripture of the other. Second, even those books that have been canonized lack consistency due to the variety of text sources. This lack of uniformity is so pervasive that The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible states: “It can be said with certainty that there is not one sentence in the New Testament in which the tradition of the MS (manuscript) is completely the same.”
[2 ] Not a single sentence? Can’t trust a single sentence in the Bible? Hard to believe!
The fact is that there are over 5700 Greek manuscripts from all parts of the New Testament.  „Not two of these manuscripts are exactly the same in every detail … and some of these differences are significant.  In addition there are roughly an estimated ten thousand manuscripts of the Larean Vulgate, supplemented by numerous ancient versions (Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian, Ethiopian, Nubian, Gothic, Slavic) – and what do we have?
There are many manuscripts that do not match in the appropriate places and often contradict each other. Scholars estimate the number of manuscript variations to be hundreds of thousands, some even estimate it to be 400,000.  Bart D. Ehrman’s now famous statement about it: „It may be the simplest to express things in a comparison: there are more differences in our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.“
 How could this happen?
Poor reporting. Dishonesty. Incompetence. Prejudice in the doctrine. Take your spit
None of the original manuscripts have survived since the early days of Christianity.  /  The oldest complete manuscripts (Vatican MS. No. 1209 and the Sinaitic Syrian Codex) date from the fourth century, three hundred years after the call of Jesus. But the originals? Lost. And the copies of the originals? Also lost. In other words, our oldest manuscripts are copies of the copies of the copies of none-knows-how-many copies of the originals.
No wonder they are different
In the best hands, copy errors would come as no surprise. However, the New Testament manuscripts were not in the best of hands. During the period of the Christian originals, the writers were inexperienced, unreliable, incompetent and in some cases uneducated.  Those who have poor eyesight may have made mistakes with similar-looking letters or words, whereas those with hearing impairments may have made mistakes in rendering the script when it was read aloud. The writers were often overworked and tended to make mistakes because of their tiredness.
In the words of Metzger and Ehrmann:
„Since most, if not all, of them [the writers] were inexperienced in the art of copying, a relatively large amount of errors crept into their texts when they reproduced them.“ [ Worse still, some writers allowed prejudices in the doctrine to be incorporated into their transmission of the scriptures.  As Ehrmann states: „The writers who copied the texts changed them.“  Even more precisely: „The number of changes that were made in the interest of the doctrine is difficult to determine.“  And even more precisely : “In the technical expression of textual criticism – which I retain for its significant ironies – these writers have falsified their texts for theological reasons.”  Errors have been added in the form of additions, omissions, additions and changes, usually words or lines, but occasionally whole verses.   Indeed, „numerous changes to the text“ came , with the result that „all known New Testament testimonies are mixed texts to a greater or lesser extent, and even some of the earliest manuscripts are not free from hair-raising errors ”.
 In Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman presents convincing evidence that the story of the woman accused of adultery (John 7: 53-8: 12) and the last twelve verses of the Gospel of Mark were not included in the original gospels, but by later writers have been inserted.  Furthermore, these examples represent “only two out of thousands of places where the New Testament manuscripts have been changed by the writers.”
 In fact, entire books in the Bible have been falsified.  That doesn’t mean that their content has to be wrong, but it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s right. So which books have been falsified? Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, Titus, 1 and 2 Peter, and Judas – stunning nine of the 27 New Testament books – are suspect in one way or another.
 Falsified books? In the bible?
Why are we not surprised?
In the end, even the authors of the gospels are unknown. They are actually anonymous.  Bible scholars rarely, if ever, attribute the authorship of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. As Ehrmann tells us: “Today most scholars have given up these identifications and acknowledge that the books were written by unknown but well-educated, Greek-speaking (and writing) Christians during the second half of the first century. [24 ] Graham Stanton confirms: “The Gospels, different mostly Greco-Roman scriptures, are anonymous. The well-known headings that give the name of an author (´The Gospel of … ´) were not part of the original manuscript, So what, if anything, did the disciples of Jesus have to do with the writers of the gospels? Little to nothing, as far as we know. But we have no reason to believe that they can have written any of the biblical books. Let’s start with Mark, who was a secretary of Peter and Luke a companion of Paul. The verses of Luke 6: 14-16 and Matthew 10: 2-4 list the twelve disciples, and although these lists differ in two names, Mark and Luke do not appear on any list. So only Matthew and John were true disciples. But far from it, for modern scholars they are also excluded as authors.
Good question. John is the better known of the two, why should we exclude him from the possibility of composing the Gospel of John?
Hmm … because he was dead?
Various sources note that there is no evidence other than questionable testimony from second-century writers to suggest that the disciple John was the author of the „John“ gospel.  Perhaps the most convincing refutation is that the disciple John probably died around 98 AD.  However, the gospel of John was written in 110 AD.  So whoever Luke (Paul’s companion), Markus (Peter’s secretary) and John (the unknown, but certainly not the long-dead one) were, we have no reason whatsoever to believe that the gospels are from the disciples of Jesus ´ was written ….
Copyright © 2007 Laurence B. Brown; with his consent.
The above excerpt comes from Dr. Brown’s upcoming book MisGod’ed, which will soon be published along with its sequel God’ed. Both books can be found on Dr. Browns website can be viewed :. www.LevelTruth.com. Dr. Brown can be contacted at: BrownL38@yahoo.com
 Dow, Lorenzo. Reflections on the Love of God.
 Buttrick, George Arthur (Ed.). 1962 (1996 print). The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. Volume 4. Nashville: Abingdon Press. Pp. 594-595 (Under Text, NT).
 Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus. P. 88.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities. P. 78.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus. P. 89.
 Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. P. 12.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities. S. 49.
 Metzger, Bruce M. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. Introduction, S. 1.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities and Misquoting Jesus.
 Metzger, Bruce M. and Ehrman, Bart D. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. S. 275.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities. S. 49, 217, 219-220.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities. S. 219.
 Metzger, Bruce M. and Ehrman, Bart D. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. S. 265. Siehe auch Ehrman, Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.
 Ehrman, Bart D. 1993. The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. Oxford University Press. S. xii.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities. S. 220.
 Metzger, Bruce M. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. Introduction, S. 3
 Metzger, Bruce M. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. Introduction, S. 10.
 Metzger, Bruce M. and Ehrman, Bart D. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. S. 343.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus. S. 62-69.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus. S. 68.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities. S. 9-11, 30, 235-6.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities. S. 235.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities. S. 3, 235. Siehe auch Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. S. 49.
 Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities. S. 235.
 Stanton, Graham N. S. 19.
 Kee, Howard Clark (Notes and References by). 1993. The Cambridge Annotated Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version. Cambridge University Press. Introduction to gospel of ‘John.’
 Butler, Trent C. (General Editor). Holman Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers. Under ‘John, the Gospel of’
 Easton, M. G., M.A., D.D. Easton’s Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers. Under ‘John the Apostle.’
 Goodspeed, Edgar J. 1946. How to Read the Bible. The John C. Winston Company. S. 227.