A common misconception among the common individual is to view the present New Testament scripture to be the result of centuries of scribal errors, caused by continuous trends of scribal weakness, which consequently changed its text and meaning, rendering the original text as completely lost.
However, the common reader might reach this conclusion by misunderstanding the common terms and wording within the field of textual criticism and hence they misrepresent the actual of view of textual scholars such as Bruce Metzger, Bart Ehrman and F.F. Bruce among others.
Yet has the New Testament text undergone any serious changes due to centuries of scribal copying? And have scribal errors caused the original text and meaning to vanish; lets consider the wording of the popular textual critic Bart Ehrman:
‘Most changes are careless errors that are easily recognised and corrected. Christian scribes often made mistakes simply because they were tired or inattentive...In spite of the remarkable differences among our manuscripts, scholars are convinced that we can reconstruct the oldest form of the words of the New Testament with a reasonable (though not 100 percent accuracy) (Barth Ehrman, Lost Christianities: The Battle for the Scripture and Faith We Never Knew, pp. 220-21).
Ehrman agrees in his later book Misquoting Jesus:
‘For my part however, I continue to think that even if we cannot be 100 percent certain...that it is at least possible to get back to the oldest and earliest stage of the manuscript tradition...This oldest form of the text is no doubt closely (very closely) related to what the author originally wrote’ (Barth Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus, p. 62)