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Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus" Paperback – June 23, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


"This volume is well-written in an accessible tone and style." (Chris Keith, SCJ, Spring 2009)

". . .a strong defence against claims from a fellow textual criticism scholar, Bart Ehrman. Fills a deeply needed void, in that it continues on Ehrman's path in making textual criticism even more accessible to readers without formal theological schooling, while systematically addressing the allegations of textual fallacy raised by Ehrman. While succesfully meeting a large swathe of charges against the validity and trustworthiness of the NT, the book is also a wonderfully easy and concise introduction to the history, background and treatment of the Gospels." (Samuel Ciszuk, Chrisendom (www.christilling.de/blog), January 23, 2009)

"Good reply to Ehrman and gives direct corrections and clarifications of Ehrman's arguments against the Bible. I highly recommend the book." (Jason L. Reed, Christian Apologetics Journal,)

"Ehrman raises interesting questions in his book, Misquoting Jesus.Unfortunately, he provides the wrong answers. Jones offers a fairer, more accurate presentation of the facts about the New Testament's reliability. I strongly recommend this book to pastors and lay people alike." (Pastor George P. Wood, enrichment, Fall 2008)

"What we have here is a very short and readable treatment that basically echoes a lot of what Ehrman said and offers alternatives to a few of the conclusions that Ehrman reached." (Nick Norelli, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, June 21, 2008)

"[A]n excellent book." (Does God Exist? March/April 2008)

"Misquoting Truth is an even-handed and careful rebuttal. . . . Jones makes a detailed analysis and does not give simple answers." (Christopher J. Barden for Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, March 2008)

"Jones is a good writer and presents the views he opposes with clarity and respect." (R. O. for Libraries Alive, Winter 2008)

"In this absorbing and easy-to-follow work, Jones carefully and courteously exposes the faulty logic behind one man's attempt to discredit the New Testament. This book is a must-read for anyone who questions biblical authority." (Jennifer McCaman in Christian Single, November 2007)

"Handily addresses Ehrman's major complaints and criticisms in an approach that is unusually irenic and a style that is surprisingly breezy." (JoelMiller.com, August 5, 2007)

"Jones provides a wealth of information that will be helpful to anyone confused about the reliability of our evidence for Jesus' life." (HumanEvents.com, September 4, 2007)

"Jones has written a very layman friendly explanation of the reliability and trustworthiness of the Bible as we have it today. Jones deals well with explaining textual criticism, claims of inaccuracies and responses. He writes with a very grace-filled demeanor as he acknowledges the validity of criticisms and demonstrates the weaknesses of the criticism with sound reasons and evidence in defense of the reliability of Scripture." (Midwest Christian Outreach Blog, August 2, 2007)

"In recent years, Christians have been assailed by a book genre that is increasingly critical of Christian beliefs. Misquoting Truth reminds us that this critical alarm is often sounded in bombastic ways that seldom present the whole picture. Timothy Jones explains why there is no new information in Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus that threatens what Christians believe about the New Testament text. Further, he moves the discussion to a shelf where it is accessible to everyone. Numerous practical teaching pointers help the reader to digest the material. The result is a well-integrated volume that accomplishes what few books do: disarming the critics while at the same time connecting with a large range of readers. Bravo, InterVarsity, for publishing yet another excellent volume that communicates crucial truth to this generation!" (Gary R. Habermas, Distinguished Research Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy and Theology, Liberty University; author of The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus)

"It is an unfortunate thing when a scholar uses a technical discipline such as textual criticism to browbeat an unsuspecting public. Timothy Jones's evenhanded approach challenges the overblown claims of Ehrman's sensationalized account of the textual history of the New Testament. Jones agrees with Ehrman at many basic points, but repeatedly challenges his conclusion that the New Testament is untrustworthy, effectively countering each of Ehrman's revisionist claims. In a most readable treatment Jones presents anew the case for the trustworthiness of the New Testament.

"There was a time when F. F. Bruce's little book on the reliability of the New Testament documents was enough. Now new challenges to the integrity of the New Testament have arisen. Timothy Jones rises to meet these new challenges by combining this refutation of Bart Ehrman's book Misquoting Jesus with a thorough primer on New Testament textual criticism. Both authors work with the same evidence and share a good deal of common ground, but they arrive at surprisingly different conclusions. In the process of challenging the conclusions of Bart Ehrman's popular book, Jones investigates several alleged 'significant changes' in the text and finds that none of them requires readers to rethink an essential belief about Jesus or to doubt the historical integrity of the New Testament.

"This book is classic apologetics yet without any hint of rancor. Jones writes in a readable conversational style, combining pastoral concern with excellent activities for beginning students as well as entertaining anecdotes and illustrations. The book is autobiographical to a high degree, which increases its personal appeal.

"Written with troubled believers in mind, Jones begins by borrowing a generous definition of inerrancy--inerrancy means simply that the Bible tells the truth--a definition which, he says, gives plenty of room for the many extant textual variants. In the end, Timothy Jones suggests that Ehrman lost his faith not because he 'peered so deeply into the origins of Christian faith,' but because he gained his understanding of Christian faith in a fundamentalist evangelical context that allowed little (if any) space for questions, variations or rough edges. Jones does not shy away from these 'rough edges,' but he presents a compelling case that the New Testament text as we have it is a reliable witness to the teachings of Jesus and of the first Christians." (T. Scott Caulley, D.Theol., Director of the Institute for the Study of Christian Origins, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany)

"The most radical wing of New Testament scholarship has gotten a disproportionate amount of press in recent years. As representative as any of this trend today is Bart Ehrman, whose books on textual criticism and noncanonical Gospels make it sound as if we have little idea what the New Testament authors originally wrote or little reason to believe that theirs was an accurate, and certainly the oldest, rendition of the life of Jesus and the gospel message. Timothy Jones sets the record straight in this courteous but direct critique of charges about misquoting Jesus and alternate or lost Christianities. Abreast of all the latest and best scholarship, he nevertheless writes in a straightforward, easy-to-read style that any thoughtful layperson can handle. An absolute must-read for anyone confused or taken in by the revisionist biblical historians of our day." (Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary)

"In Misquoting Truth, Timothy Paul Jones gives Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus and Lost Christianities the debunking they deserve. Jones exposes the bias and faulty logic that surface time and again in these highly publicized books. Misquoting Truth provides a much needed antidote and will serve students and Christian leaders very well. I recommend this book enthusiastically." (Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor, Acadia Divinity College, and author of Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels (InterVarsity Press))

"In Misquoting Truth, Timothy Paul Jones has written an informative, creative book that needs to be read by all serious, thinking Christians. It is as informative as it is entertaining, and it will provide a secure foundation for continuing to trust in the accuracy of God's Word. It answers the basic criticisms leveled at the New Testament by Dr. Bart Ehrman, while at the same time providing a proper understanding of the basics of textual criticism. Jones does not skirt the difficult issues, but deals with them head-on, providing careful and balanced answers. I highly recommend this book to those seeking to find answers to the question, 'Can the Word of God be trusted?' " (Paul D. Wegner, Ph.D., Phoenix Seminary)

"Timothy Paul Jones turns the tables on Bart Ehrman's overstated Misquoting Jesus. He applies to Ehrman the same probing logic that Ehrman claims to apply to the New Testament evidence. The evidence turns out to be more believable than Ehrman's strained interpretations of it. It is not the New Testament writers or copyists who depart from history, Jones shows, but a few scholars who invest too much faith in their skepticism. Jones not only checks that skepticism: along the way he equips readers to make their own informed choices about authorship, scribal transmission, and church selection (or rejection) of key New Testament passages and documents--and many writings from outside the New Testament as well. This is a valuable primer for orientation in a discussion that cannot be ignored." (Robert Yarbrough, Associate Professor of New Testament and New Testament Department Chair, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)

"Timothy Paul Jones's writings are always engaging, compelling and often humorous. He captivates me with everything he writes. When I read his writing, I have many 'Aha!' or 'I wish I'd thought of that' moments. This isn't the first great book that Timothy's written, and it won't be the last. Make certain you don't miss it!" (James L. Garlow, Ph.D., coauthor of the bestselling The Da Vinci Codebreaker and Cracking Da Vinci's Code)

"Jones clearly refutes in a Christlike manner the claims of Misquoting Jesus. A must-read for those who love to give an answer for the faith!" (Lief Moi, Mars Hill Church Campus Pastor, Seattle, Washington)

"Dr. Jones has written a first-rate book on an essential and timely subject. Both specialists and nonspecialists will benefit from his honest, polite and clearly explained treatment of issues concerning the reliability of the New Testament text and its authorship. In a day of confusion among non-Christians and Christians alike, this is a must-read." (Peter Jones, Scholar-in-Residence, Westminster Seminary California, and author of Stolen Identity: The Conspiracy to Reinvent Jesus)

"Dr. Jones reminds us that Christians should never be afraid of open debate. With tradition, experience, reason and Scripture as our final measure we can put all ideas on the table with confidence that in the end we will embrace what is true and discard what is false." (Everett Piper, Ph.D., President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University)

"Among many antifaith books you may find Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. This is a broadside attack upon the Scriptures, and Christians need to be able to rebut it. Thankfully, Dr. Timothy Paul Jones has written Misquoting Truth, a scholarly and gracious (but firm) rebuttal to Dr. Ehrman." (D. James Kennedy, Ph.D., Senior Minister, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church)

About the Author

Timothy Paul Jones (Ed.D.) is professor in the School of Leadership and Church Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Formerly senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Rolling Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he is the author of Finding God in a Galaxy Far, Far Away; Praying like the Jew, Jesus; Answers to The Da Vinci Code; Prayers Jesus Prayed; Christian History Made Easy and (with James Garlow and April Williams) the bestselling The Da Vinci Codebreaker.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books; annotated edition edition (June 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830834478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830834471
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Hrafnkell Haraldsson VINE VOICE on September 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
I suppose it had to be done. It seems that Professor Ehrman has reached those rarified literary heights previously attained by Celsus, Porphyry and Julian in that apologists feel the need to refute him. For this, kudos are due Professor Ehrman. However, no such congratulations are due Timothy Paul Jones, the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Rolling Hills, Tulsa, Oklahoma. While Professor Ehrman writes in a very scholarly fashion, exposing for the public what scholars have known for years about the myths that surround early Christianity's beginnings, Pastor Jones's book is merely an effort to minimalize the damage. As with any apologetic work, its aim is to assure the flock that there is really nothing to worry about.

Written in a very readable, conversational style, Jones still fails in his main effort, which is to prove Bart Ehrman wrong. In that sense, it is a typical apologetic. Yes, there are differences in the various New Testament manuscripts, we are told, but they don't really matter. The conflicting accounts in the four Gospels are not competing, Jones assures us, but somehow complimentary. The differences, he says, are trivial, without ever really explaining how this can be.

Efforts to prove that the Gospels were really written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are unconvincing. Jones cites Colossians as saying that Luke is Paul's "beloved physician" but Colossians is one of those Pauline letters not really written by Paul. So the testimony of a forger is made to assure us of the veracity of Luke's account. And that is entirely leaving aside the problem that if Luke was Paul's traveling companion, why is it that Luke is so at odds with Paul's own account of his mission?
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There are at least three separate issues that get lumped together when one is considering Biblical criticism: textual reliability, logical consistency, and inerrancy. Though these are separate (e.g., the text could be reliable without being factually correct), many people group these claims together. Dr. Jones' Misquoting Truth is one such book. In this review, I want to discuss the evidence for each of these claims and then argue that even if each one were correct (which they aren't), the argument is not correct. I am writing this review because I see Jones' book as dangerous. It's dangerous because after reading what they believe to be both sides in a debate, people actually become more polarized in their initial opinions. Thus, far from advancing dialog between different perspectives on the New Testament, Jones' book, having the appearance of answering many criticisms but not actually doing so, will actually polarize people hungry to know the truth about one of the most influential books on the planet. The clear truth is that there are many errors and contradictions in the Bible and for a biblical scholar to attempt to deny them openly reveals that their concern is not for the truth. An author concerned with truth would acknowledge these errors, as one would with any other work (e.g., Herodotus' Histories), and then evaluate the book as a whole.

First a note on style. Dr. Jones writes in a folksy persona. This persona seems to be an attempt to lure the reader into a false sense of security. "Surely," we think, "a normal guy like Jones wouldn't mislead us. This is an honest guy who just wants to set the record straight about the mistakes in Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus." This persona is annoying and infuriating (e.g.
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After having read Jones and his effort to debunk Ehrman's work, it has become clear to me that he really has no idea what a fallacy is. Formally, a fallacy is an error in reasoning, and Jones does not manage to show any such thing on Ehrman's part. Ehrman is engaged in a scholarly discussion of evidence that is commonly known and accepted among biblical scholars, and when Jones finally paints himself into a corner (which happens a number of times) he forces himself to admit that Ehrman's evidence is sound. As a result, Jones attempts to sidestep the fact that his case is weak by changing the subject.

In the opening pages of his book, Jones essentially stipulates that Ehrman's scholarship is unassailable from a technical standpoint, but, says Jones, Ehrman misses the point. While the actual text of the bible may have changed over the centuries, the "inspired" truth that God meant to communicate has been miraculously preserved. Jones offers no evidence of this fact beyond his own assurance. In taking the route of saying that the truth of the bible (if not the text) is what is inspired, Jones leaves open the question that Ehrman asks in the opening pages of his book--if we know that we do not have the original words of the bible then how can we know the truth those words are meant to communicate? In essence, Jones' decision to leave this question unaddressed sabotages his case in its entirety. You cannot refute an argument (and certainly not the evidence for that argument) without answering its central question. Jones tries to do so and, as any undergraduate logic student would predict, fails miserably.

I'm sure neither Jones nor his editor are in the least embarrassed by this book, but they should be. It's full of sloppy argumentation and, yes, fallacies. Irony thy name is Jones.
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