Dr. Ehrman on the Historic Defense of Scripture
The following quote is taken from a text copy of Misquoting Jesus by Dr Bart D. Ehrman.
… Protestant biblical scholars were driven by the nature of their materials to reconsider and defend their understanding of the faith. They could not, of course, simply do away with the notion of sola scriptura. For them, the words of the Bible continued to convey the authority of the Word of God. But how does one deal with the circumstance that in many instances we don’t know what those words were? One solution was to develop methods of textual criticism that would enable modern scholars to reconstruct the original words, so that the foundation of faith might once again prove to be secure. It was this theological agenda that lay behind much of the effort, principally in England and Germany, to devise competent and reliable methods of reconstructing the original words of the New Testament from the numerous, error-ridden copies of it that happened to survive.
I conclude from these statements that textual criticism has saved the day. We can reconstruct the original words of the text with some few exceptions.