The Qur’an teaches that God inspired the Law of Moses, the Writings, the Prophets, and the Gospel of Jesus. The Qur’an also states that anyone who rejects “the Book” will burn in hell, so why don’t Muslims study the Bible and do what God commands?
Muslims believe that the Christian Bible was corrupted long ago and that we do not have the true Word of God. They believe that the “Book” spoken of in the Qur’an – with its Tavrat (Law), Zabur (Psalms), and Injeel (Gospel) – no longer exists because the Church manipulated and corrupted it to say what Christians wanted it to say. Is that true?
Muslim history records that an angel of God began to reveal the Qur’an to Muhammad at the beginning of the 7th century AD. That was almost 600 years “after” God inspired the writers of the Gospel, about 1,600 years after God inspired King David to write many of the Psalms, and more than 2,000 years “after” God inspired Moses to write the Law. So, did the Christian Church manipulate (change) the original writings of Moses, David, and the Gospel writers and corrupt it?
For the sake of discussion, let’s look at this using some logical consideration. If the Christian Church had already corrupted the Bible during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd centuries AD, what “Book” did the angel have in mind when he gave Muhammad the Qur’an during the 7th century AD? Think about that for a moment. What Law, Psalms, and Gospel was the angel referring to when he told Muhammad that Muslims should read, respect and obey the Book? It seems logical from a Muslim perspective that the angel of God would have told Muhammad the truth about the Bible that existed during the 7th century AD. According to the words the angel gave Muhammad, the Law, Psalms, and Gospel used by Jews and Christians during the 7th century AD was inspired by God and true. Muhammad told his followers that they should respect “the Book” and obey it. To reject the Bible of the 7th century AD would mean hell fire for Muslims. So, logically speaking, the supposed corruption of the Bible by Christians had to occur sometime after Muhammad received the Qur’an from the angel of God. Does that make sense?
So, when did the Church corrupt the Bible? Was it later in the 7th century AD? Maybe sometime in the 8th or 9th centuries AD? When? The Qur’an states – “They shall have good news in this world’s life and in the hereafter; there is no changing the words of Allah; that is the mighty achievement.” (Sura 10:64) The Qur’an also says – “And We sent after them in their footsteps Isa, son of Marium, verifying what was before him of the Taurat and We gave him the Injeel in which was guidance and light, and verifying what was before it of Taurat and a guidance and an admonition for those who guard (against evil). And the followers of the Injeel should have judged by what Allah revealed in it; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the transgressors.” (Sura 5:46-47) The Qur’an of the 7th century AD states clearly that the Gospel of the Bible of the 7th century AD was inspired by God and given to Muslims and Christians and Jews for “guidance and light, and verifying what was before it of Taurat and a guidance and an admonition of those who guard (against evil).”
So, logically speaking, Muslims in the 7th century AD could trust what was written in the Bible that existed at that time. Plus, the Qur’an declares that “there is no changing the words of Allah; that is the mighty achievement.” If the Christian Church corrupted the Bible, as Muslims believe, it had to happen after Muhammad shared the Qur’an with them since the Qur’an ascribes total authenticity and authority to the Bible of the 7th century AD.
Christians and Muslims today should be able to agree that the Bible of the 7th century AD was the Word of God. That’s a good place to begin. The question then becomes, did the Church corrupt the authentic text of the Bible after the 7th century AD, and if so, how and when?
This is a huge problem for Muslims, and here’s why. The writing of the Hebrew Old Testament was completed at the end of the 5th century BC. It had been in existence for a thousand years by the time Muhammad received the Qur’an. By the 7th century AD, Jews had taken their Holy Book to scores of countries and had translated it into many languages. The writing of the Christian New Testament was completed by the end of the 1st century AD. It had been in existence for more than 500 years by the time Muhammad received the Qur’an. By the 7th century AD, Christians had taken their Holy Book (that included both Old and New Testament writings) to scores of countries and had translated it into many languages. Christians of the 1st – 6th centuries AD had also included most of the verses found in the New Testament in thousands of letters and sermons. If the Old and New Testaments were corrupted by the Church, how did the Church corrupt it in all of the copies in all of the languages of the world? Is that what Muslims are claiming? That every copy of every Bible and all of the letters and sermons in every language in every nation was somehow corrupted sometime after the 7th century AD? Does that sound improbable? or impossible?
If the Bible somehow went through a process of massive corruption throughout the world sometime during the latter part of the 7th century AD or later, where is the proof? The fact is that ancient copies of the Old and New Testament exist to this day – written long before the Qur’an. Many of them are on display in museums around the world. They’ve been authenticated by non-Christian as well as Christian experts. I’ve written extensively about those ancient copies in previous studies (e.g. Can I Trust The Bible? (Part 11), Can I Trust The Bible? (Part 7), Can I Trust The Bible? (Part 5)), so please refer to them for more information about ancient textual evidence to the accuracy of our English translations of the Bible.
It is obvious to me, a former atheist, and should be to Muslims, that the Bible of the 7th century AD is the same Bible the world has in its possession today. No corruption can be found before or after Muhammad received the Qur’an. In fact, just the opposite is true. God has “preserved” His Holy Word. The thousands of ancient Bible manuscripts, written centuries before the Qur’an, support the fact that the Bible of the 7th century AD and the Bible of the 21st century AD say the same thing. What Muslims should consider strongly is how well God preserved the Bible through centuries of attacks by non-believers. The Romans tried to destroy all copies of the Bible during the 4th century AD, but failed. God preserved His Word in the face of seemingly overwhelming opposition. The Bible today, in whole or part, can be found in 2,400 different languages. That includes Arabic and English. Those translations concur with the ancient copies of the Old Testament that date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries BC and copies of the New Testament that date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Where’s the corruption? It doesn’t exist. What does exist is God’s preservation of His Word.
The corruption that exists today is not the corruption of God’s Word, but the corruption of people’s hearts and minds. Muslims would be wise to take the advice of the Qur’an and obey the guidance and light of the Book. We, the people of the Book, submit ourselves to God and His Word. Muslims would be wise to do the same and submit themselves to the God of the Book.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserve