I have heard it said that if all the New Testament manuscripts were lost, the entire NT could still be replaced merely by the quotes from the church fathers…except for a scant few verses. My questions:
1. Who all has done a study to verify this?
2. How accurate were the quotations by the church fathers?
3. Which verses would not be replaced since they weren’t quoted? I’d like an itemized list of those.

Can you assist with this? Thanks.


1. Here is a list, which proves the claim to be true:    If you look at the list, “a scant few verses” is perhaps a bit of an overstatement. For example, only a minority of 3 John is found, but if one says that a large majority of the verses can be found, that would be accurate.


2. Often these quotes are word-for-word and often they are paraphrased.  The same is true with the Old Testament.  Often the early church fathers quoted freely, from memory and often they were very careful in their quotes.  Generally it was the latter (free paraphrasing).

3. If you use the list at the source above, you can prepare your own list.  Have at it!  Personally, I feel that this would be busy work and not worth the effort, but if you want to know if a particular verse in the New Testament was quoted, you could use the source above and answer the question.

John Oakes

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