Is There Any Proof That the Bible Was Corrupted?

Is There Any Proof That the Bible Was Corrupted?

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar

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Question:

As we are arguing that the Bible is corrupted and not in its original form, what are the proofs we have to confirm that the Bible is corrupted?

Christians are quoting the Quran verses 3:3,4 that Allah said that it is true scripture.

Answer:

Yes, the original message of the New Testament has been lost through the ages, due to missing, damaged, destroyed, or intentionally changed manuscripts.

It comes up very often in one form or another. I will confine my answer to the New Testament.

New Testament: Not Jesus’ Actual Words, and Not in His Language

It is important that we understand what we mean when we use the word “corrupted”.

Do we mean to ask if the Bible is a corruption of God’s Word? If so, where can we find God’s Word?

Nothing Jesus (on whom be peace) said exists in the language Jesus spoke, with the exception of a handful of words.

The oldest manuscripts—which are very few and (with the exception of four) less than a Chapter each—are not older than the third century CE and are all in Greek.

Jesus (on whom be peace) spoke Aramaic or Chaldean (sister languages to Hebrew and Arabic).

If we knew what the actual words were that Jesus (on whom be peace) said, perhaps then we could tell if the Bible was corrupted.

Since the Bible is not in the language that Jesus spoke, there has been human intervention in the writing/translation/transcribing.

Islamic view on the nature of the corruption occured to the Bible, is that some of the wording had been changed over centuries and also what has not be changed in words was twisted in clarifications.

Limitations of Translation of The New Testament

The Bible has been translated from Greek manuscripts.

While the translation may be excellent, there is a problem: what are the limits of interpretation or interpolation of the translation compared to the limitations in the Greek, then to Aramaic?

Many words can have very many shades of meaning and to choose one meaning over another may limit or expand the range of meaning originally meant.

There is no way to check this. However, we cannot say this is corruption, it is a limitation.

This, in general, applies to the translations from Greek.

But what of the translation from the language Jesus spoke? Again, we have no idea.

How can we say the translations from the Greek are the Words of God when even the scholars and the revising committees are reduced to voting which version is more correct?

Bible Prefaces Speak for Themselves

See for example the discussions in the Prefaces to any Bible.

Take, for example, the 1885 Revision of the Old Testament Bible, the English Standard Version (ESV).

Among the Rules laid down by the Revision Committee of Convocation for the guidance of the Revisers was one that no change should be finally made in the text of the Authorized Version except by the vote of two-thirds of the Company present and voting.

“… All points of ultimate difference between them and the English Revisers should be placed on record, and they will accordingly be found fully stated at the end of the Old Testament, or at the end of the several portions, according as the Revised Version appears in one or more volumes.

Many of them will be found to be of language which are involved in the essentially different circumstances of American and English readers; others express a preference for the marginal rendering over that given in the text; others again involve a real difference of opinion; but all show that they have been dictated by the same leading principle, the sincere desire to give to modern readers a faithful representation of the meaning of the original documents.”

JERUSALEM CHAMBER,
WESTMINSTER ABBEY,
10 July 1884.

Now let us look at a different version:

“PREFACE TO THE EDITION OF A.D. 1881

…Thus, the form in which the English New Testament has now been read for 270 years was the result of various revisions made between 1525 and 1611; and the present Revision is an attempt, after a long interval, to follow the example set by a succession of honoured predecessors.

Of the many points of interest connected with the Translation of 1611, two require special notice; first, the Greek Text which it appears to have represented; and secondly, the character of the Translation itself.

“With regard to the Greek Text, it would appear that, if to some extent the Translators exercised an independent judgement, it was mainly in choosing amongst readings contained in the principal editions of the Greek Text that had appeared in the sixteenth century.

Wherever they seem to have followed a reading which is not found in any of those editions, their rendering may probably be traced to the Latin Vulgate. Their chief guides appear to have been the later editions of Stephanus and of Beza, and also, to a certain extent, the Complutensian Polyglott.

All these were founded for the most part on manuscripts of late date, few in number, and used with little critical skill. But in those days, it could hardly have been otherwise. Nearly all the more ancient of the documentary authorities have become known only within the last two centuries: some of the most important of them, indeed, with the last few years.

Their publication has called forth not only improved editions of the Greek Text, but a succession of instructive discussions on the variations which have been brought to light, and on the best modes of distinguishing original readings from changes introduced in the course of transcription.

While therefore it has long been the opinion of all scholars that the commonly received text needed thorough revision, it is but recently that materials have been acquired for executing such a work with even approximate completeness.”

We should draw the same distinction between the Bible only existing as a Greek translation (and not in the language that Jesus spoke) and translations made from it leading to many versions in English at least. You may argue that verses have been changed or even removed but what is the point when the original doesn’t exist. We already know there has been human interference, this just becomes nitpicking.

it comes up very often in one form or another.

There have been other revisions with the latest being 2001 CE.

The Bible does not exist in the language it was revealed

Personally, I believe all these versions are acceptable. Why? Because we have translations of the Quran but NONE of the translations are the Quran as that only exists in Arabic. This is what we should be arguing that the Bible does not exist in the language in which it was revealed.

Therefore, as we know, no translation of the Quran can be considered a standard as there are many versions. For the Quran we have Yusuf Ali and Marmaduke Pickthall as the early translations, but there are many more. Do we say these are corrupt? No! We draw a distinction between the original and the translations.

We should draw the same distinction between the Bible only existing as a Greek translation (and not in the language that Jesus spoke) and translations made from it leading to many versions in English at least.

You may argue that verses have been changed or even removed but what is the point when the original doesn’t exist. We already know there has been human interference, this just becomes nitpicking.

A better question perhaps: Why is the longer ending of the Gospel according to Mark still retained in Bibles, when it is admitted that this longer ending is not in the most ancient manuscripts. (Hint: the field workers require it.)

The Christians believe that the Bible was written by men inspired by God

The Christians believe that the Bible was written by men inspired by God. In a red-letter Bible (NT) the words attributed to Jesus (peace be upon him) and which offer good teachings are in red. Nearly all the words in red are found in the four Gospels.

For further reference: You can search the Internet for Preface to the ESV Bible 1880, 1885, 2001, the Preface to the AV Bible 1611, and the Preface to the RSV Bible 1952, 1971.

Or, presumably, you could search for the Preface to the Bible of your choice.

You ask about the “Quran verses 3:3-4 that Allah Himself saying that it is a true scripture”.

{Step by step has He bestowed upon thee from on high this divine writ, setting forth the truth which confirms whatever there still remains [of earlier revelations] for it is He Who has bestowed from on high the Torah and the Injil aforetime, as a guidance unto mankind, and it is He Who has bestowed [upon man] the standard by which to discern the truth from the false.

Behold! As for those who are bent on denying God’s messages – grievous suffering awaits them; for God is almighty, an avenger of evil.} [The Message of the Quran translated by Muhammad Asad Surah al-Imran 3:3 – 4]

This refers to the actual revelation given to the prophets (in their own language) which we would accept if we knew it. Where the Bible agrees with the Quran we accept it, but we cannot say where it doesn’t agree that it is from God.

That’s why I prefer to use “Injil” for the revelation to Jesus (peace be upon him) that was in his own language and Bible for the Greek and the translations derived from it.

Quran confirms the Corruption of the Torah and Gospels

Chapter the Cow

“O Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfil your covenant with Me as I fulfil My Covenant with you, and fear none but Me. And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is)” Quran (2:40-42)


“Do you (faithful believers) covet that they will belive in your religion in spite of the fact that a party of them (Jewish rabbis) used to hear the Word of Allah (the Tawraat=Torwah), then they used to change it knowingly after they understood it?”

Quran [2:75]


“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say:” This is from Allah,” to traffic with it for miserable price! – Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby. And they say: “The Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days:” Say: “Have ye taken a promise from Allah, for He never breaks His promise? or is it that ye say of Allah what ye do not know?” Nay, those who seek gain in evil, and are girt round by their sins, – they are companions of the Fire: Therein shall they abide (Forever).” Quran (2:79-81)


“Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the Symbols of Allah. So, if those who visit the House in the Season or at other times, should compass them round, it is no sin in them. And if anyone obeyeth his own impulse to good, – be sure that Allah is He Who recogniseth and knoweth. Those who conceal the clear (Signs) We have sent down, and the Guidance, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, -on them shall be Allah’s curse, and the curse of those entitled to curse,- Except those who repent and make amends and openly declare (the Truth): To them I turn; for I am Oft-returning, Most Merciful.  

Quran (2:158-160)


“Those who conceal Allah’s revelations in the Book, and purchase for them a miserable profit,- they swallow into themselves naught but Fire; Allah will not address them on the Day of Resurrection. Nor purify them: Grievous will be their penalty. They are the ones who buy Error in place of Guidance and Torment in place of Forgiveness. Ah! what boldness (They show) for the Fire! (Their doom is) because Allah sent down the Book in truth but those who seek causes of dispute in the Book are in a schism Far (from the purpose).  Quran (2:174-176)


Those messengers We endowed with gifts, some above others: To one of them Allah spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour); to Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. If Allah had so willed, succeeding generations would not have fought among each other, after clear (Signs) had come to them, but they (chose) to wrangle, some believing and others rejecting. If Allah had so willed, they would not have fought each other; but Allah Fulfilleth His plan.”  Quran (2:253)

Chapter Family of Imran:

“Ye People of the Book! Why dispute ye about Abraham, when the Law and the Gospel Were not revealed till after him? Have ye no understanding? Ah! Ye are those who fell to disputing (Even) in matters of which ye had some knowledge! but why dispute ye in matters of which ye have no knowledge?

It is Allah Who knows, and ye who know not! Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith and bowed his will to Allah’s (Which is Islam), and he joined not gods with Allah.

Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Abraham, are those who follow him, as are also this Prophet and those who believe: And Allah is the Protector of those who have faith. It is the wish of a section of the People of the Book to lead you astray. But they shall lead astray (Not you), but themselves, and they do not perceive!

Ye People of the Book! Why reject ye the Signs of Allah, of which ye are (Yourselves) witnesses? Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth, while ye have knowledge?

A section of the People of the Book say: “Believe in the morning what is revealed to the believers, but reject it at the end of the day; perchance they may (themselves) Turn back; “And believe no one unless he follows your religion.” Say: “True guidance is the Guidance of Allah:

(Fear ye) Lest a revelation be sent to someone (else) Like unto that which was sent unto you? or that those (Receiving such revelation) should engage you in argument before your Lord?” Say: “All bounties are in the hand of Allah: He granteth them to whom He pleaseth: And Allah careth for all, and He knoweth all things.”  For His Mercy He specially chooseth whom He pleaseth; for Allah is the Lord of bounties unbounded.

Among the People of the Book are some who, if entrusted with a hoard of gold, will (readily) pay it back; others, who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it unless thou constantly stoodest demanding, because, they say, “there is no call on us (to keep faith) with these ignorant (Pagans).” but they tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it.

Nay. – Those that keep their plighted faith and act aright, -verily Allah loves those who act aright. As for those who sell the faith they owe to Allah and their own plighted word for a small price, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter: Nor will Allah (Deign to) speak to them or look at them on the Day of Judgment, nor will He cleans them (of sin):

They shall have a grievous penalty. There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, “That is from Allah,” but it is not from Allah: It is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it!

It is not (possible) that a man, to whom is given the Book, and Wisdom, and the prophetic office, should say to people: “Be ye my worshippers rather than Allah’s”: on the contrary (He would say) “Be ye worshippers of Him Who is truly the Cherisher of all: For ye have taught the Book and ye have studied it earnestly.”  Quran (3:65-79)


All food was lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Israel Made unlawful for itself, before the Law (of Moses) was revealed. Say: “Bring ye the Law and study it, if ye be men of truth.” If any, after this, invent a lie and attribute it to Allah, they are indeed unjust wrong-doers. Say: “Allah speaketh the Truth: follow the religion of Abraham, the sane in faith; he was not of the Pagans.” The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka: Full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings: In it are Signs Manifest; (for example), the Station of Abraham; whoever enters it attains security; Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah,- those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures. Say: “O People of the Book! Why reject ye the Signs of Allah, when Allah is Himself witness to all ye do?” Say: “O ye People of the Book! Why obstruct ye those who believe, from the path of Allah, seeking to make it crooked, while ye were yourselves witnesses (to Allah’s Covenant)? but Allah is not unmindful of all that ye do.”  Quran (3:93-99)


And remember Allah took a covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made!” Quran (3:187)

Chapter the Women:

“Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their (right) places, and say: “We hear and we disobey”; and “Hear what is not Heard”; and “Ra’ina”; with a twist of their tongues and a slander to Faith. If only they had said: “What hear and we obey”; and “Do hear”; and “Do look at us”; it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah hath cursed them for their Unbelief; and but few of them will believe.” Quran (4:46)

Chapter the Table Spread:

Allah did aforetime take a covenant from the Children of Israel, and we appointed twelve captains among them. And Allah said: “I am with you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers, practise regular charity, believe in my messengers, honour and assist them, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit you to gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you, after this, resisteth faith, he hath truly wandered from the path or rectitude.

But because of their breach of their covenant, we cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard; they change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the message that was sent them, nor wilt thou cease to find them- barring a few – ever bent on (new) deceits: but forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who are kind.”  Quran (5:12-13)


O Messenger! let not those grieve thee, who race each other into unbelief: (whether it be) among those who say “We believe” with their lips but whose hearts have no faith; or it be among the Jews,- men who will listen to any lie,- will listen even to others who have never so much as come to thee.

They change the words from their (right) times and places: they say, “If ye are given this, take it, but if not, beware!” If any one’s trial is intended by Allah, thou hast no authority in the least for him against Allah. For such – it is not Allah’s will to purify their hearts. For them there is disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter a heavy punishment.” Quran (5:41)

Chapter the Cattle

“Those to whom We have given the Book know this as they know their own sons. Those who have lost their own souls refuse therefore to believe. Who doth more wrong than he who inventeth a lie against Allah or rejecteth His signs? But verily the wrong-doers never shall prosper. One day shall We gather them all together:

We shall say to those who ascribed partners (to Us): “Where are the partners whom ye (invented and) talked about?” There will then be (left) no subterfuge for them but to say: “By Allah our Lord, we were not those who joined gods with Allah. Behold! how they lie against their own souls! But the (lie) which they invented will leave them in the lurch.” Quran (6:20-24)


“No just estimate of Allah do they make when they say: “Nothing doth Allah send down to man (by way of revelation)” Say: “Who then sent down the Book which Moses brought?- a light and guidance to man: But ye make it into (separate) sheets for show, while ye conceal much (of its contents): therein were ye taught that which ye knew not- neither ye nor your fathers.” Say: “Allah (sent it down)”: Then leave them to plunge in vain discourse and trifling. And this is a Book which We have sent down, bringing blessings, and confirming (the revelations) which came before it: that thou mayest warn the mother of cities and all around her.

Those who believe in the Hereafter believe in this (Book), and they are constant in guarding their prayers. Who can be more wicked than one who inventeth a lie against Allah, or saith, “I have received inspiration,” when he hath received none, or (again) who saith, “I can reveal the like of what Allah hath revealed”? If thou couldst but see how the wicked (do fare) in the flood of confusion at death! – the angels stretch forth their hands, (saying),”Yield up your souls: this day shall ye receive your reward, – a penalty of shame, for that ye used to tell lies against Allah, and scornfully to reject of His signs!” 

Quran (6:91-93)

Chapter The Heights

“Those who follow the messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures),- in the law and the Gospel;- for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,- it is they who will prosper.”

“  Quran (7:157)


“And remember it was said to them: “Dwell in this town and eat therein as ye wish, but say the word of humility and enter the gate in a posture of humility: We shall forgive you your faults; We shall increase (the portion of) those who do good.

But the transgressors among them changed the word from that which had been given them, so we sent on them a plague from heaven. For that they repeatedly transgressed.” Quran (7:161-162)

Chapter the Repentance:

The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him). Fain would they extinguish Allah’s light with their mouths, but Allah will not allow but that His light should be perfected, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).

Quran (9:30-32)

Chapter Hud:

Who doth more wrong than those who invent a lie against Allah? They will be turned back to the presence of their Lord, and the witnesses will say, “These are the ones who lied against their Lord! Behold! the Curse of Allah is on those who do wrong!- “Those who would hinder (men) from the path of Allah and would seek in it something crooked: these were they who denied the Hereafter!” They will in no wise frustrate (His design) on earth, nor have they protectors besides Allah! Their penalty will be doubled! They lost the power to hear, and they did not see! They are the ones who have lost their own souls: and the (fancies) they invented have left them in the lurch! Without a doubt, these are the very ones who will lose most in the Hereafter!   Quran (11:18-22)


“We certainly gave the Book to Moses, but differences arose therein: had it not been that a word had gone forth before from thy Lord, the matter would have been decided between them, but they are in suspicious doubt concerning it.”

Quran (11:110)

Chapter the Poets:

Verily this is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds: With it came down the spirit of Faith and Truth- To thy heart and mind, that thou mayest admonish. In the perspicuous Arabic tongue. Without doubt it is (announced) in the mystic Books of former peoples. Is it not a Sign to them that the Learned of the Children of Israel knew it (as true)?

Quran (26:192-197)

Allah Exlated He said in the meaning:

Chapter Al Hijr

“Verily We: it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e., the Qur’aan) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” Quran [al-Hijr 15:9]

Allah says about the Jews (interpretation of the meaning): “Do you (faithful believers) covet that they will belive in your religion in spite of the fact that a party of them (Jewish rabbis) used to hear the Word of Allah (the Tawraat=Torwah), then they used to change it knowingly after they understood it?”

Quran [2:75]

Qutaadah said: “The phrase ‘then they used to change it knowingly after they understood it’ refers to the Jews, who used to hear the words of Allah, then they altered it after they had understood what it meant.”

Abu ‘Aaliyah said: “They took what Allah had revealed in their Book describing Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and changed its meaning.” Ibn Zayd said: “The phrase ‘[they] used to hear the Word of Allah (the Tawraat), then they used to change it’ refers to the Tawraat which Allah revealed to them; they changed it, making what it permitted forbidden, and what was forbidden allowed, changing the truth to falsehood and falsehood to truth…” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Allah also said (interpretation of the meaning): “Among those who are Jews, there are some who displace words from (their) right places and say: ‘We hear your word (O Muhammad) and disobey,’ and ‘Hear and let you (Muhammad) hear nothing.’ And Raa’ina [in Arabic this means,

Be careful, listen to us and we listen to you,’ whereas in Hebrew it means ‘an insult.’] with a twist of their tongues and as a mockery of the religion (Islam). And if only they had said, ‘We hear and obey,’ and ‘Do make us understand,’ it would have been better for them, and more proper, but Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not except for a few.” Quran [4:46]

The phrase “[they] displace words from (their) right places” means that they misinterpret them and understand them in a way that Allah did not intend, doing this deliberately and inventing lies against Allah. [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “So because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard. They change the words from their (right) places and have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them. And you will not cease to discover deceit in them, except a few of them. But forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds). Verily, Allah loves al-Muhsineen (good-doers).” Quran [5:13]

The phrase “because of their breach of their covenant, we cursed them” refers to the fact that they broke the Covenant which had been made with them, so Allah cursed them, i.e., He kept them away from following the True Guidance. “[We] made their hearts grow hard” means that they will not benefit from any preaching because their hearts are so hard.

 “They change the words from their (right) places” means that they play havoc with the words of Allah and misinterpret His Book, taking it to mean things that were never meant and attributing to Allah things that He never said; may Allah protect us from that.

“[They] have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them” means that they stopped following its teachings because they did not want to follow them. Al-Hasan said: “They did not adhere to their religion or keep their duties towards Allah, without which no deeds are acceptable to Him; their fitrah (innate nature) was not sound and their deeds were not righteous.” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

So, it becomes quite clear that the ways in which the Children of Israel tampered with the Tawraat=Torah and Injeel=Gospel include the following:

  1. Changing
  2. Omitting
  3. Adding things and attributing to Allah words that He did not say
  4. Misinterpreting the words of Allah.

When Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent, the original Tawraat and Injeel had already been altered and distorted. Allah revealed the Qur’an to His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and guaranteed that He Himself would preserve it, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily We: it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e., the Qur’an) and surely, we will guard it (from corruption).” Quran [al-Hijr 15:9]

This distinguishing feature was not found in any Book before the Qur’an. From the time of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) until the present (more than fourteen hundred years) the Qur’an has stayed the same, and not a single letter of it has been changed, as ancient manuscripts and the hearts of generation after generation of people who have memorized the entire text and earned the title of “haafiz” bear witness. We ask Allah to guide us to the true and straight path. And Allah knows best.

Allah knows Best

For more reading

Atheism

The Scientific Miracles of the Qur’an

Does Quran 10:94 order Muslims, to ask People of Book if they are in doubt ?

Corruption of the Tawraat (Torah) and Injeel(Gospel)

Claims that the Qur’an has been distorted

Wisdom Behind Distortion of the Gospel

Does the Original Gospel Exist Today?

The Gospels that are extant nowadays were written after the time of ‘Eesa (peace be upon him) and have been tampered with a great deal

Evidence that the Qur’an is the Word of Allah

Paul The False Apostle

Refuting The Argument That The Qur’an Orders The Prophet and Doubting Believers To Refer To The Christians and Jews For Consultation

The Noble Qur’an says, “Ask the people of the Book.” What and why?

Ask the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) – Qur’an 10:94 ?

The Torah, Gospel and Zaboor=Psalms are truly the words of Allah

Quran confirms the Corruption of the Torah and Gospels