Continuing from the post below ...
I have huge confidence in the (right kind of) reliability of the Bible. Despite all the variations between manuscripts of New Testament gospels and epistles (most of which amount to tiny differences, with no impact on doctrine), and the wide variations between manuscripts of the Old Testament (especially between Hebrew and Greek manuscripts in places), my confidence is high. But we need to talk about the right kind of reliability.
The difficulty - having written the above paragraph yesterday - is that I am short of time to write an extensive explanation for the above assertion! However I am glad that Bowman Walton put in an extensive comment to yesterday's post which merits reading and reflection. (Thanks, Bowman!)
Perhaps I could briefly explain why talking about the reliability of the Bible, even the right kind of reliability, cannot be done concisely.
First, there are two quite different parts of the Bible to explain, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The composition of each testament took quite different pathways, the first being more dynamic around multiple writers, confluence of sources, successive editors, greater freedom to change things as copying and/or translating went along, the second also having multiple authors but fewer confluent sources and less freedom to change things in the copying process.
Secondly, there is a bit to say about "reliability" because it is a term which can lead to a wrong deductive conclusion. Thus "reliability of the Bible" could be taken to imply "we can know that we have a reliable record of what Jesus said (and what Moses and Isaiah said, etc)" but, in actuality, since there were no tape recorders and the like in those days, a quest for that kind of reliability is impossible to achieve. The reliability we are talking about is reliability of transmission of ancient manuscripts, including the question of the reliability of transmission from the original manuscripts, where there is much to be discussed about what "original" means in respect of books as diverse as Isaiah (likely composed over several centuries), John (was there a school of writers,working their way through successive drafts?) and Paul (perhaps the best candidate, in at least some letters, for there to have been one and only one "original" from which all other copies derive).
Must stop there. Work to be done "off blog."