In the days of Westcott and Hort, the argument was that the Alexandrian scribes removed what we have in the Byzantine manuscripts, while the other argument was that the Byzantine scribes added and altered. How could we ever solve it once and for all?
As Christian apologetic evangelists who must reason, explain, prove, persuade, and defend, Christians show that Jesus Christ did live by using sources other than the Bible and the writing of the early Church Fathers. For those who question Christian the authority of the New Testament documents, examine carefully what the secular historians and other writers have written that, in fact, corroborates the testimony of the Bible.
WHAT DO WE KNOW? Some eminent papyrologists, H. Hunger and O. Montevecchi, have affirmed Marcan identification. Still the debate of positive Marcan identification goes on; Some papyrologists argue for it,6 some argue against it, and one scholar has come up with a new identification altogether, namely Zechariah 7:4-5. In addition to proposing Marcan identification for 7Q5, O’Callaghan proposed identification of 1 Timothy 3:16-4:1 for 7Q4.
The Double Standard from Skeptics When we are looking at secular history, historians come across balanced, fair, reasonable but when it comes to the gospels, there is a tremendous double standard. The Gospels, for example, are presumed to be guilty of being frauds, authors unknowable until they are proven innocent, and the bar is raised when it comes to the level of evidence needed. The normal way of investigating historical events, peoples, and places ostensibly are thrown out the window.
There is much in-depth information in this article: The Synoptic Gospels in the Ancient Church: The Testimony to the Priority of the Gospel of Matthew. We have a brief introduction to papyrus from Tyndale Bible Dictionary. We have a lengthy apologetic article on Papias and the arguments from higher critics by F. David Farnell. This is followed by Papias' writings from two leading scholars on the Apostolic Fathers, Michael W. Holmes, and J. B. Lightfoot.
Some have claimed that John chapter 21 of John’s Gospel was written by a different hand than the apostle John whom they claim only wrote John 1-20. They support this, in part, because the last verse of chapter 20, John 20:31 is in the form of a conclusion, and John 21:24-25 refers to the author of the gospel in the third person (“We know that his testimony is true”).
Why should every Christian buy THE P52 PROJECT book? There is a course of action in the dating and redating of the earliest Greek New Testament papyri that will lead inevitably from one action or result to the unintended consequence of undermining the actual trustworthiness of the New Testament. Christians need to be able to defend against this trend. Much effort was put into THE P52 PROJECT book so that we could understand it and the issues at hand.
The mode of operation by which the Holy Spirit worked with the authors in order to assure an infallible and inerrant product is a matter of much speculation among theologians. The mystery remains inscrutable, but the process is intelligible and the parameters are definable.