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Are the Scriptures Corrupted?

A Muslim wrote,

Introduction: We must first of all know that the entire Bible is corrupted and unreliable and is mostly filled with man-made laws and corruption! GOD Almighty Said: "'How can you say, "We [the Jews] are wise, for we have the law of the LORD," when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?' (From the NIV Bible, Jeremiah 8:8)"

See Also Deuteronomy 31:25-29 where Moses peace be upon him predicted the corruption/tampering of the Law (Bible) after his death.

The Book of Moses predicted that the Law (Bible) will get corrupted. The Book of Jeremiah which came approximately 826 years after did indeed confirm this corruption.


The prophet Jeremiah was complaining about the scribes and what they had written about the law of the LORD. The scribes were devoted to the study and interpretation of the Law of the LORD.  They were its commentators and teachers for the rulers and the common people of the nation of Israel. The scribes were not the prophets of God whom God had used to author the Holy Scriptures. The scribes were merely specialists in the interpretation and teaching of the law of God. The prophet Jeremiah's contention was that the scribes were not faithful to the true meaning and application of the law of the LORD for the congregation of Israel. So, this reference in Jeremiah has nothing to do with textual alterations of the Law of the LORD. It deals with the scribes and their writings about the law of the LORD.  For example, a Muslim may complain about a Muslim scholar without the complaint being lodged against the Qur'an itself.  The Qur'an and the Qur'anic commentators belong to two different categories.  Likewise, the scribes and the text of the Holy Scriptures are two distinct categories.

SCRIBES: (skribz): The existence of law leads necessarily to a profession whose business is the study and knowledge of the law; at any rate, if the law is extensive and complicated. At the time of Ezra and probably for some time after, this was chiefly the business of the priests. Ezra was both priest and scholar (copher). It was chiefly in the interest of the priestly cult that the most important part of the Pentateuch was written. The priests were therefore also in the first instance the scholars and the guardians of the Law; but in the course of time this was changed. The more highly esteemed the Law became in the eyes of the people, the more its study and interpretation became a lifework by itself, and thus there developed a class of scholars who, though not priests, devoted themselves assiduously to the Law. These became known as the scribes, that is, the professional students of the Law. (International Standard Bible Encylopaedia)

The Muslim writer claims that "The Book of Moses predicted that the Law (Bible) will get corrupted." The biblical reference that is given is Deuteronomy 31:25-29. However, the biblical reference does not give the slightest hint to support the Muslim's claim. Moses wrote, "Take this Book of the Law and place it besides the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you." Moses predicted that the Book of the Law would remain and be a witness against the people of Israel. So, the reference proves the exact opposite of what the Muslim claims. The reference proves that the scripture would remain and be a reliable witness against the people of Israel! If the Book of the Law were not to remain or were to become totally corrupted, it could not be an abiding witness against the nation of Israel.

"he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD: "Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the LORD while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to testify against them. For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall upon you because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD and provoke him to anger by what your hands have made." Deuteronomy 31:25-29 (NIV)

Secondly, Moses stated, "For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you." Notice, Moses does not claim that Book of Moses will become utterly corrupted. Moses wrote that the people of Israel would become corrupted, not the scriptures. So again, the scriptural references given by the Muslim author contradicts directly his assertion. He claims that the scriptures would be corrupted, but his reference states that the people would become corrupted.

The people of Israel carefully safe-guarded the commandments of the LORD. And, after the temple of Sulaiman (Solomon) was built, Moses' two stone tablets were still in existence. They were in the ark of the covenant that was the innermost court of the temple called, the Holy of Holies. So, to have the original stone tablets of the Law in the temple, the people of Israel had to have guarded the original stone text for hundreds of years.

There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt. 1 King 8:9 (NIV)

The people of Israel carefully protected and guarded their scriptures. The Jews were not like Caliph Uthman who commanded that all the copies of the Qur'an, except for his version, be destroyed by fire. He destroyed all the variant versions of the Qur'an, so there would be only one version for the Muslim world. Since the ancient textual evidence of the Qur'an was burnt by fire, no one knows for sure what variations (corruptions) of the Qur'an existed prior to Caliph Uthman. It is hypocritical to fault the Jews for corrupting their Scriptures when the Muslims openly admit that they burnt their own ancient source documents!

Logically, it is irrational to claim, "We must first of all know that the entire Bible is corrupted and unreliable," and then proceed to use the allegedly corrupt text to prove an assertion. It is like claiming that a person is always a liar and then using the liar as your source of information to prove a point. The Muslim author engaged in irrational self-refutation. He assumes the reliability of the Bible (he quotes approvingly from Jeremiah and Deuteronomy) while arguing that the entire Bible (including Jeremiah and Deuteronomy) is unreliable.

Finally, the Muslim writer directly contradicts the Qur'an when he asserts, "the entire Bible is corrupted and unreliable." The testimony of the Qur'an is that Allah confirms the scriptures that came before the Qur'an (that is, the Old and New Testaments). In response, the Muslim writer might then argue that the Qur'an only confirms the prior scriptures as they were originally given. The Muslim writer might then continue and claim that these original documents no longer exist. However, the text of the Old and New Testament were finalized long before the time of Muhammad. And, Muhammad confirmed the integrity of the Old and New Testament by stating that Allah had guarded or protected these prior scriptures in safety.

The Qur'an states,

"To thee We sent the Scripture [Qur'an] in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it [Bible], and guarding it in safety." Al-Ma'idah 5:48 (Yusufali's translation)

So, if the Muslim writer is to maintain his assertion that the entire Bible is corrupted and unreliable, he would have to asset that 1) Allah failed to guard it in safety or 2) the Qur'an is mistaken about the textual integrity of the Bible.

Last edited 02/27/2001

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