One of the most important questions asked by non-Christians as they look into Christianity is whether or not the Bible is trustworthy. Can the Bible be trusted? If it has been corrupted, then we cannot trust what is attributed to Jesus' words and deeds. So, is the Bible reliable or not?
Yes, the Bible is reliable. The original writings of the Bible have been lost. But before they were lost, they were copied. These copies were incredibly accurate, very meticulous, and very precise. The people who copied them were extremely dedicated to God and their copying tasks. They took great care when copying the original manuscripts. This copying method is so exact, and so precise, that the New Testament alone is considered to be 99.5% textually pure. This means that of the 6000 Greek copies (the New Testament was written in Greek), and the additional 21,000 copies in other languages, there is only one half of 1% variation. Of this very slight number, the great majority of the variants are easily corrected by comparing them to other copies that don't have the "typos" or by simply reading the context. You should know that copying mistakes occur in such ways as word repetition, spelling, or a single word omission due to the copyist missing something when moving his eyes from one line to another. The variants are very minor. Nothing affects doctrinal truth and the words and deeds of Christ are superbly reliably transmitted to us.
The science of studying ancient literature and its accuracy of transmission to is called historicity. The Bible is so exceedingly accurate in its transmission from the originals to the present copies, that if you compare it to any other ancient writing, the Bible is light years ahead in terms of number of manuscripts and accuracy. If the Bible were to be discredited as being unreliable, then it would be necessary to discard the writings of Homer, Plato, and Aristotle as also unreliable since they are far far less well preserved than the Bible.
The Bible was written by those who were inspired by God, so it is accurate and true, and represents historical occurrences. When we look at the New Testament, we realize that it was written by those who either knew Jesus personally or were under the direction of those who did. They wrote what they saw. They wrote about the resurrection of Christ. They recorded His miracles and His sayings. It comes down to whether or not you believe what it says about Christ. Do you?
For more information on the Bible and its reliability, please go to www.carm.org/bible.