"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.
Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
"What is truth?" Pilate asked.
-- The book of John, verses 37 and 38
Muslims believe that the Old Testament (called the Torat) and the New Testament (called the Injeel) in their original forms were the word of God. However, they claim that the copies were now have were corrupted and are no longer reliable. The Quran is now the only reliable word of God on the Earth.
I do not believe this is true for two reasons, one spiritual and one logical. Let me start with the logical reasons.
Until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave by the Dead Sea, the earliest texts of the Hebrew Bible (which Judaism calls the Tanakh) were dated to approximately the fifth century C.E. (Dockery, 162).
The ravages of time, and the tendency of Hebrew scholars of the Law to destroy old copies of the Tanakh once new copies were created resulted in a lack of ancient witnesses. This changed in 1947, when a Bedouin shepherd boy discovered what are now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. These were all composed between the third century B.C.E. and the first century C.E. (Geisler, 549) These copies have been compared to later manuscripts and found to be extremely accurate. Any differences are in spelling or by omission or inclusion of a word that does not change the meaning of the text.
The New Testament is composed of 27 books, the latest of which has been dated to 90 C.E. This is the Gospel of John. it is generally believed that the Apostle John wrote this book while exiled to the Greek island of Patmos. He was the only Apostle to die a natural death, the others believed to have all been martyred by the time Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 C.E. We do not have an original copy of John's gospel. However, we do have the John Ryland Fragment, a part of John that dates as early as 117 C.E., a mere 27 years after the original writing. Considering that most extant manuscripts of ancient works were copied hundreds or even thousands of years after the original, this is impressive. The Ryland fragment is not the only early example. We have other fragments of John and Luke's Gospels, along with some of Paul's letters, dating to the first and second century. We also have complete or nearly complete codexes (books) from the fourth century. These match later transcripts in over 99% of the text, again with minor misspellings and word transpositions that do not change the meaning. In addition, we have thousands of citations by early church fathers - enough that we could nearly reproduce the New Testament from these works alone.
The Quran was not compiled until 633 C.E., after Mohammed's death. At that time, the caliph Abu Bakr feared that the Quran would be lost; as many of the men who had written down or memorized its parts had already been killed in the bloody holy wars Islam was bringing to the Middle East. Even so, it was decades before the Quran was finalized, as competing versions existed. What many don't know is that these versions varied enough that the third Caliph. 'Uthman, ordered all varying editions to be gathered and destroyed. It appears that some of the Quran was indeed lost, as Mohammed's favorite wife Aisha said, "During the time of the Prophet, the chapter of the Parties used to be two hundred verses when read. When 'Uthman edited the copies of the Quran, only the current (verses) were recorded."
My logical conclusion is this: Islam's claim that the Bible is corrupted cannot be true because
The Quran itself says that the Torat and the Injeel are from God. If the Quran is reliable, then they must be also.
There are copies of the Bible which precede the earliest copies of the Quran, and they match our current texts. Therefore, they have not been corrupted - at least not while Islam has been in existence.
My spiritual analysis of the situation is simple:
How could an all-powerful God allow his Word to be corrupted?
If the Quran is the perfect Word of God, why is it internally inconsistent? And why does it conflict with the Bible?
The latter point is why Muslims say the Bible is corrupt. Because its teachings conflict with the Quran, both cannot be the truth. In order for a Muslim to defend his belief, he must attack the Bible.
Islam is not the kindred religion of Judaism and Christianity. It is the enemy.
Dockery, David S., Kenneth A. Mathews, Robert B. Sloan. Foundations for Biblical Interpretation. Nashville:Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1994.
Geisler, Normal L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998.