Are There Forgeries in the Bible?

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: (A version of this article has also been posted on WatchtowerWatch.com. I suggest that you check it out there as well. You will also note on the site that I have posted other articles as well.)

  • 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 version of theology to promote their own beliefs while trying to give them authenticity by claiming they were actually “the words of the apostles.”

Ancient Bible translators often made changes based on the theology of their time

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 fiftyyears 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 is that there are forged—or pseudepigrapha—books and verses that did make it into the Bible.

Maybe we should ask: With all of the evidence provided by scholars over the past 500 years, and especially over the past two centuries, why are well-educated Christian theologians reluctant to share this information? Or is it possible for sincere seekers of “the truth”—the whole truth and nothing but the truth about God and life after death—to ever find it?

(For more info about forgeries in the Bible, read Forged by Bart D. Ehrman.)

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 be asking 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.

 

Comments

  1. I don’t usually do this….i.e. plug my husbands book to another writer…but I am an ex-JW, ex Pioneer, and now married to someone who’s obviously been doing the same research over the years on the Bible as you have. In 2005 we were retired and on vacation and I suggested to my husband that he write a book of fiction that might wake people up to the fact that the Bible is not what people think it is…but do it in an entertaining way…
    The book is called The Psalter by Galen Watson. I think you’d really like it. It’s beautifully written and well edited. The next book will be even more controversial. You can find reviews on Amazon and Good Reads.
    http://www.galenwatson.com
    When I left the organization in 1978 at the age of 26 I no longer believed it was in any way “the truth”. My eyes were opened and I could no longer swallow all the hogwash. It was because I began reading and researching on my own as you obviously have done. Of course this is why they didn’t want us to go to university.
    I am also a survivor of the kind of cover-ups that are all coming to light now that Courageous Candace Conti and Barbara Anderson have exposed the organization’s history of hiding their criminals in order not to bring a bad light on JW’s. All of these websites, blogs and stories are new for me. I had really just buried all of my past or perhaps even “stuffed” it. Now I am reading everyone’s stories and see that I am not alone. I look forward to reading your books.
    thank you…to ALL of you.
    Susan

  2. Eric says:

    Richard I appreciate your writing and your opinions very much. I have been delving into some of the assertions you make, and do wish that you had more references or quotes to back up what your saying. Just because you state that there were forgeries and then list them, does not mean that’s what they are/were. After leaving WT I can no longer take ANYTHING prima facie and not have facts to back them up.

    Please don’t take this small piece of constructive criticism as an attack, for it is most certainly not! Thank you again for your work.




Leave a Reply to Susan Terry Watson Cancel reply

*