Below is a chart that compares popular ancient texts with the Bible in when it was written, the earliest copy we have, and the number of copies there are. This information is about a decade old so the number of NT manuscripts has most likely increased by now. This may serve as a simple illustration of a component to the textual reliability of the Bible.
|Author||Book||When Written||Earliest Copy||Time Gap||No. of Copies|
|Homer||Iliad||800 BC||400 BC||400 yrs||643|
|Herodotus||History||480-425 BC||AD 900||1,350 yrs||8|
|Thucydides||History||460-400 BC||AD 900||1,300 yrs||8|
|Plato||400 BC||AD 900||1,300 yrs||7|
|Demosthenes||300 BC||AD 1100||1,400 yrs||200|
|Caesar||Gallic Wars||100-44 BC||AD 900||1,000 yrs||10|
|Livy||History of Rome||59 BC – AD 17||4th Cent. (Partial)Mostly 10th Cent.||400 yrs1,000 yrs||1 Partial19 Copies|
|Tacitus||Annals||AD 100||AD 1100||1,000 yrs||20|
|Pliny Secundus||Natural History||AD 61-113||AD 850||750 yrs||7|
|New Testament||AD 50-100||AD 114 (fragment)AD 200 (books)
AD 250 (most of NT)
AD 325 (complete NT)
|+50 yrs100 yrs
Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, 1999.