The Gospels provide an account describing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (PBUH) which were written by a number of people based on what they had heard about him or on information which was available to them about him. While there is no conclusive evidence, Rumours have always circulated that the Canonical Gospel of Matthew, Mark , Luke and John which came to be accepted as part of the New Testament were written between 70CE and 125CE and biblical scholars are not generally agreed regarding this.
It is obvious that the authors of Matthew and Luke had Mark’s work open in front of them when they wrote their versions, a fact easily established by comparing the text. Matthew incorporates about 90% of Mark and Luke retains over 50%.
It is worth mentioning that the four Gospels were not the only documents written in the centuries following the departure of Jesus. There were many others, which were recognised by some fathers of the Church, such as the Gospels of Jacob, Peter, Thomas, Philip and Barnabas, in addition to the Gospel of the Hebrews, a syncretic Jewish-Christian gospel which survives only as a brief quotations by the early Church Fathers.
The largest part of the New Testament is composed of the writings of Paul and his students. Paul, who never saw or heard Jesus speak, was initially one of the most prominent enemies of Jesus’ ministry. He killed many followers of the Messiah and imprisoned them (Acts 8:3, Acts 9:1-2). He afterward forced them to confess to lies against Jesus (Acts 26:11). However, when Saul (later called Paul) supposedly converted, “he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles” (Acts 9:26-27).
This Paul event occurred after Paul claimed that Jesus appeared to him and spoke to him on the way to Damascus. He bore witness for himself without presenting any evidence establishing the truth of his claim (Acts 9:3-8). Suprisingly, he suddenly became the chief spokesman in the name of Jesus, claiming that he was appointed by Jesus to preach to the world (Acts 9:3-6). Paul also cursed those who “believed not that he was a disciple” of erring concerning the Faith (1 Timothy 6:20-21). He described Barnabas, who had been good to him, as “carried away with their hypocrisy.” (Galatians 2:13). Paul even gave himself the right to propagate teachings that were contradictory to those taught by Jesus Christ and went against the law which Jesus came to fulfill (Acts 21:20, Romans 7:6).
Thus, we find “And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciple would not allow him” (Acts 19:30). He also declared “All those in Asia have turned away from me” (2 Timothy 1:15) and “No one stood with me, but all forsook me” (2 Timothy 4:16).
Some of the changes that are now being implemented are so fundamental that they strike at the very foundations of Christianity. For example, the only two references to the ascension of Jesus that were found in the Gospels of Mark and Luke have been deleted and unceremoniously expunged from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) 1952.
“So then after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19)
“Now it came to pass, while he blessed them that he was parted from them and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:51)
The aforementioned mentioned verse from Mark 16:19 has been removed along with a number of other verses that immediately preceded and succeeded it. As for Luke 24:51, the words “carried up into heaven” were removed.
In Matthew 16:27-28, we read ” For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with his angels and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom”.
As this prophecy (Matthew 16:27-28) never came true, it can only be concluded that it was a fabrication ascribed to Jesus Christ who was a true prophet of God and whose prophecy cannot be mistaken.
Concerning the alleged crucifixion events, Matthew 27:44 says “Even the robbers who were crucified with him reviled him with the same thing.” Here the two thieves are mentioned as acting together.
However, Luke 23:39-40 states “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed him saying If you are the Christ, save yourself and us. But the other answering rebuked him saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you under the same condemnation?”
In the latter example, the two thieves are not acting together rather they are in opposition to each other.
Changes, alterations and contradictions are found not only in New Testament but also in the Old Testament. For examples;
*Ahaziah was twenty two years old when be became king (2 Kings 8:26)
*Ahaziah was fourty two years when he becane king (2 Chronicle 22:2).
**Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king and reigned in Jerusalem three months (2 King 24:8)
**Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days (2 Chronicles 36:9)
***Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death (2 Samuel 6:23)
***So the King took Amoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah whom she bore to Saul whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathithe. (2 Samuel 21:8)
In the New Standard American Version of 1973, the name Michal as in 2 Samuel 21:8 which appears in both KJV and NWT was replaced by Mirab to conceal the contradiction.
Addressing the issue of seeing God as stated in both the Old and New Testaments;
John 1:18 tells us “No one has seen God at any time”. This is also confirmed by 1 John 4:12.
However, Genesis 32:30 tells a different story “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: For I have seen God FACE to FACE and my life is preserved”.
Strangely enough, this is also confirmed by Exodus 33:11, which says “So the Lord spoke to Moses FACE to FACE as as a man speaks to his friend.
Islam’s position relative to the Bible is one of fairness and unbiased judgement. It views the Bible as clearly a book that contains some truth and that some falsehood has tainted it’s noble origin.
The Islamic criteria for distinguishing truth from falsehood are the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
In simple terms, whatever contents of the Bible that are in agreement with the Quran and the Sunnah are acceptable and whatever statements contradicts them is rejected.
As for the original scriptures that God revealed to his prophets, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus (Peace be upon them) among others, a Muslim must have firm belief in them as doing so is among the pillars of faith; otherwise, He is not considered a Muslim.
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