Biblical Inerrancy

Is the Bible, the Christian Holy Scriptures, infallible?  That is, is the Bible we take to church, read, and study free from all error?  Some claim it isn’t.

From my perspective, I believe that all Scripture is “God-breathed” [2 Tim 3:16] and is, hence, inerrant.  My Statement of Faith expounds on this:

The Holy Bible, in its original form, is the Holy Spirit-inspired [2 Tim 3:16], inerrant, and infallible Word of God [Prov 30:5; 2 Peter 1:20-21], complete unto itself. The Bible will never be superseded or supplemented by any other teaching [Prov 30:6] and nothing should be subtracted from it [Deut 4:2; Matt 5:17; Rev 22:18-19]. Its full counsel provides the way to live a complete Christian life [2 Tim 3:16-17]. [Emphasis added.]

However, I submit the following for consideration. Craig A. Evans’ book Fabricating Jesus [2006, InterVarsity, Downers Grove, IL] is an apologetic against those who would claim the Gnostic “Gospels” (so-called) are a (or THE) form of authentic Christianity. Evans notes that Bart Ehrman, a ‘former Christian’, became an agnostic and somewhat amenable to the Gnostic position, thinking Christianity merely won out over Gnosticism by political wrangling, in part because Ehrman lost faith in the inerrancy of Scripture by studying the text of Mark 2:25-26 (among others).

Here’s the passage in the NASB:

25 And He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; 26 how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?”

While each translation/version of the Bible differs a bit (naturally, as some are more literal, such as the NASB and ESV, while others are more dynamic, such as the NIV), each one contains the essence of the above.  Evans comments:

Jesus has alluded to the story of David’s receiving consecrated bread…from Ahimelech the priest (1 Sam 21:1-10). David was fleeing from Saul, and when Saul learned that Ahimelech had assisted David and his men, he murdered Ahimelech and most of his family. Abiathar escaped and eventually succeeded his father as priest (1 Sam 22:1-10). Because Ahimelech – not his son Abiathar – was the priest when David and his men ate the consecrated bread, we have a mistake, technically speaking, either made by Jesus himself or by Mark (or perhaps by someone who passed on the story). [p 31]

Now let me state quite clearly that I don’t think for a nanosecond that Jesus made a mistake! And, I don’t think Evans does either. Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe [Making Sense of Bible Difficulties 2009 (1992), Baker, Grand Rapids, MI] explain how to understand this passage in the following:

First Samuel is correct in stating that the high priest was Ahimelech. On the other hand, neither was Jesus wrong. When we take a close look at Christ’s words, we notice that He used the phrase “in the days of Abiathar” (v. 26), which does not necessarily imply that Abiathar was high priest at the time David ate the bread. After David met Ahimelech and at the bread, King Saul had Ahimelech killed…Abiathar escaped and went to David (v. 20) and later took the place of high priest. So even though Abiathar was made high priest after David ate the bread, it is still correct to speak in this manner. After all, Abiathar was alive when David did this, and soon following he became the high priest after his father’s death. Thus, it was during the time of Abiathar, but not during his tenure in office. [Pp 175-176.  All emphasis in original.]

I don’t know about you dear reader, but this explanation does not seem satisfactory to me. This would be akin to saying “in the days of Herod Antipas” while referring to a particular time, say 10BC, which was actually during the reign of his father Herod the Great. Sure Antipas was alive, but he was not yet Herod.

In any case, this does not destroy my faith in Holy Writ as my faith is in Jesus Christ and His Atoning death, burial and Resurrection, which are verifiable historical facts (just ask former skeptic Lee Strobel). I can only guess why the Markan account is written as such. Perhaps it is a scribal error which was replicated in both the Textus Receptus (Latin for “received text”, the Greek text undergirding the KJV and the NKJV) and the Critical Text (the Greek text from which most, if not all, other modern Bible versions are largely based), which has been carried forth to this day?

We do not have any of the original NT documents.  We do not have any of Paul’s original letters from his pen (or the pen of any of those who acted as a scribe for Paul from his dictation) or any of the original Gospels from the Gospel writer’s own hand.  Consequently, we have copies – hand-scribed copies – of these precious documents.  Most likely we have copies of copies, thus increasing the likelihood of changes from the original texts due to copyist error or even by a scribe’s misguided attempts at “correcting” the original.  It is for all these reasons that my Statement of Faith has the qualifying phrase “…in its original form…” in the selected portion used above, referring to the inerrancy of Scripture.

However, rest assured; we have more copies and fragments of the New Testament than any other literary work from this period.  In fact, many more.  This is where the importance of the ongoing research known as NT Textual Criticism1 – an art as much as a science – comes into play.  These multitudes of NT documents enable the textual critic to arrive at what is most likely the original text in the large majority of cases.  However, there are differences of opinions as to just what is the original text among textual critics on some Biblical passages.  A basic overview of the process of textual criticism and its ramifications will be discussed in future articles here on CrossWise.

1 J. Harold Greenlee [Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism (Revised Edition). 2010, sixth prtng (© 1964 Eerdmans; © 1995 Hendrickson), Hendrickson Publishing, Peabody, MA] defines textual criticism as, “the study of copies of any written work of which the autograph (the original) is unknown, with the purpose of ascertaining the original text” [p 1].  An easier read as an introduction to NT Textual Criticism is Greenlee’s The Text of the New Testament: From Manuscript to Modern Edition [2008, Hendrickson Publishing, Peabody, MA].

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121 Responses to Biblical Inerrancy

  1. bobbystuff says:

    I read that when King James was written the word ‘followers’ was change to ‘Church’ so the leaders of the church could control the people which makes sense there were sure other words that was changed also but who cares? Its our responsibility to study the Word and believe the basic salvation message, thats the truth that holds up the universe and allows me to enter the final rest.
    Many times I wrestle with certain scripture like giants,how David killed a lion and a bear with a sling shot and various other stuff my mind can’t grasp but I just say well it’s scripture and leave it like that.One day it will be crystal clear to us,so many mysteries of the Bible.

  2. Craig says:

    You must be referring to the Greek word (transliterated) ekklesia, which means basically “an assembly, or gathering, of called-out ones” or “congregation of individuals with shared beliefs”. In context, the term usually refers to Christians, which are “Christ followers”. Some have turned this word to mean a physical building, as you say, but the “Church” is really made up of all Christians past, present, and yet future. WE are the ekklesia, the Church!

  3. Craig says:

    I had previously reviewed a book which is helpful for the understanding of why NT textual critics chose a certain passage over another (or omitted a portion entirely) among the choices provided by extant Biblical Greek manuscripts:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/book-review-roger-omansons-a-textual-guide-to-the-greek-new-testament/

    And, here’s the website to the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts for some insight into the process of TC. The Executive Director is Daniel B. Wallace (author of Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics among other works):

    http://www.csntm.org/

  4. Carolyn says:

    I do have a little trouble wrapping my mind around some of these (almost nit picky) kinds of arguments. If you don’t know the author, then it’s almost like some of these guys are looking for a reason to believe something different…ie Emergent ideology.

    I’m beginning to understand the saying, (I think)… “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”. There aren’t too many willing to give up their lives for orthodoxy anymore. They are obsessed with the supernatural and the temporal (“Your Best Life Now”) or academic confusion leading to distrust and liberalism. There doesn’t seem to be any truth worth dying for.

    *shock and dismay*

    If there is no truth worth dying for, the seed stands alone, the Power and Life remain dormant and everyone is bored with Christianity. But the martyrs knew about the life, and power of the gospel and had their minds focused on their heavenly hope. They would pay with their lives for holding to solid Biblical doctrine.

    I think we have it backwards…let the Word prove Himself to us and then the text will come to life. We want the text to make sense and then we will believe. For some reason, God has humbled us to “believe” first and then “see”.

    And if that sounds confusing…that’s what talking about Textus Receptus does for me. :-) I might as well be reading Greek. Sorry…I know I’m being unscholarly…but I’ll leave TR for the brighter minds. My mind is illuminated by the Living Word and how we got here with regards to texts and manuscripts is for the smarter intellectuals to debate.

    I am however, interested in bits of scholarliness as it relates to how the new versions alter the deity of Christ such as has been recently brought to my attention about the NIV. I spent a lot of time in the NIV and so it was a surprise to find out that it is so diabolically distorted.

    http://www.biblebelievers.com/williams_d1.html

    If you can make TR simple and relevant to the deity of Christ and the importance of the gospel, then I might be interested. Hopefully that didn’t sound arrogant….

  5. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    I’ll address your comment by way of analogy then, come back to it more specifically. As noted in the Ted Turner post, many have taken one of his comments and distorted it beyond its original intent, even going so far as attributing the original source to other sources. The actual text, from a 1991 Audubon magazine follows:

    …If we had a much smaller population, and over time we could have an ethic where we had only one child, and over maybe 300 or 400 years we could cut back to 250 million – 350 million people…

    This amounts to about a 95% decline from then-current population. However, a quick check on the internet will find others adding “a 95% decline from current levels” as part of the quote. Yet, this is not correct. Certainly, it would be wrong to then translate, say, to Russian using this distorted quote.

    A similar thing has happened to the original Koine Greek text as it was hand-copied from copies and then translated into various languages including English. The key is to find the original Koine Greek text; however, it appears all copies of the autographs, i.e. originals, have been destroyed. Therefore, the task of the textual critic is to ascertain what is most likely the original texts.

    The so-called Textus Receptus, latin for “received text”, is the Greek text underlying the KJV and NKJV. Unfortunately, there were relatively few Greek texts used for this translation. The earlier Alexandrian manuscripts had not yet been unearthed (whatever one thinks of these particular manuscripts) and many other NT Greek texts were not available to the translators. Yet, one must bear in mind that even these Greek texts used for the TR did not agree 100% with each other. Those who put the KJV together had to make a decision as what most likely constituted the original text and what was some sort of error, addendum, etc.

    The modern Bible translations are largely based on what is known as the Critical Text. Initially, these newer versions used the Westcott-Hort thesis that the earlier Alexandrian texts were superior to later texts, and, consequently, in ANY place the Alexandrian texts differed, the other texts were supplanted. Today, this is not the case (although the Alexandrian texts are largely maintained for other textual reasons). The stated objective of the CT is to make individual decisions on the likelihood of the original text by an eclectic method using a number of criteria. Yet, the results can come from somewhat subjective input. Overall, however, it seems this is the best method – even though there are some things I disagree with. Points (God willing as the flesh is weak) I plan to bring forth in future articles.

    There’s one more way to approach this task – by majority. The Majority Text does just that. All known texts are taken and the resulting text is simply what the majority of manuscripts state. The problem with this method is that an early mistake can be faithfully replicated ad infinitum resulting in an overwhelming majority of incorrect texts.

    Now, going back to the link you provided. The author is obviously a KJV-only adherent thinking that all newer Bible versions are the result of grand demonic conspiracy. While I am not one to denounce conspiracy theories out of hand – as is obvious by reading some of the context on CrossWise – I don’t believe this is the case here. The problem with KJVOs is that they base their assumptions that the KJV is the correct text and any deviation is distorting God’s Word. They cannot fathom the fact that there are indeed some mistakes in the KJV as a result of both the limited amount and (some) faulty manuscripts used.

    Taking one of the most common ones, I’ll use 1 John 5:7-8 as an example. The text “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth.” was obviously added. According to Bruce Metzger’s A Textual Commentary of the Greek New Testament, there are a grand total of eight manuscripts bearing these words, all of them late manuscripts. I’d like to the see the sources the author in the link uses to arrive at his assertions.

    This particular example cited above is known as the Johannine comma and can be researched by using any search engine. A similar mistake is found in Acts 8:37 – modern versions omit this entire verse. It needs to be understood that chapter/verse designations predate modern versions, therefore, when texts such as this are found not to be original NT texts, it may seem as though the relevant verses were deleted from modern versions/translations of the Bible. Of course, it’s merely that the KJV had actually added this verbiage using faulty manuscripts and the modern versions merely corrected this error.

  6. Carolyn says:

    Well, now you made my head hurt. When I start thinking, that always happens.

    I suppose theology is like swimming. If you jump in as an adult, you’ll probably just sink to the bottom and drown. I am speaking from common knowledge of real events in which this tragic phenomenon has occurred.

    And here’s my problem. I learned to fly (charismania), now I’m learning to swim (study the Word) and I don’t know if I’ll get around to learning how the structure of the pool came into being, the molecules that make up the water and the technical apparatus that went into keeping the pool clean and disinfected, etc.

    It’s all very interesting to learn new things. But it takes time and patience and brain power. I think I am lacking in all three areas. But even with this post and comments, you have given us some things to think about and broadened our perspective. With thanks!

    On a different but similar note: You have a unique gift of hunting down the source to get your information and of discovering the roots and fruits to prove all things. By inspecting things a little closer on your site, I have learned a little more about critical thinking and about the importance of small errors making big alterations in the final analysis. It is indeed the small seemingly insignificant lies that infect the whole body. In Christ’s day he said, “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”. Today, he would be saying, “Beware of Apostasy…it’s not limited to just the Pharisees…it’s rampant. Expect it. Expose it. Exit from it.”

    As the Spirit leads, keep up the good work…

  7. Carolyn says:

    Correction. I meant to say when you jump into the study of the “origins” of theology as an adult….

    That aside, I do have something to ask that is related to the study of theological origins. What are your thoughts on the Hebrew Roots/Sacred Name heresy that we need to return to the Hebrew culture and the Kabbalist Name of God in order to worship him properly?

    I was listening to Mike Hoggard’s latest video comparing it to witchcraft. Quite interesting and informative.

    http://watchmanvideobroadcast.com/video/wvb130113_sacred-name-or-witchcraft-01.html

    We were talking about something similar on DTW, another site where they were discussing Jacob Prasch and his illusion that Midrash is not just strongly recommended but a requirement in finding true faith….which of course set off a force of defensive resistance.

    What do you think…is Greek the best way to go or do we need to go back further?

  8. Craig says:

    I don’t know enough about the Hebrew Roots movement; but, what I do know does not sound good. I know more about Kabbalah which is an esoteric, mystic Jewish set of doctrines (with variations). In terms of heresy, I’d say its equivalent as regards its fallacy as Gnosticism. Lurian Kabbalists, those adhering to Isaac Luria’s brand of Kabbalah, believe that “God” (ein sof) had suffused himself in all of creation leaving a “divine spark”. That’s basically the same idea as Gnosticism.

    As to which name/s to use, taking the example of Jesus the Christ – do we call Him Christ (English), Christos (transliterated Koine Greek), Mashiach [Messiah] (transliterated Hebrew), or Meshicha [Messias] (transliterated Aramaic)? One is not better than another. However, English speakers commonly use “Christ”. To claim that one must use a certain name to “worship Him correctly” is error. Is it witchcraft? I dunno.

  9. just1ofhis says:

    It helps me to always remember that Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith; and the Holy Spirit of God, the true anointing we have received being of Him, brings us into a knowledge of the truth.

    While there are great translations and so-so translations (and heretical translations, which shouldn’t be used at all—thinking “the message” here–with the exception of exposing heresies); there is one Holy Spirit of God bringing us into the truth in all things. God has had His Hand in how men translated His Holy Word, at least where it is translated with a heart for the truth. If men were carried along when they wrote the Word of God as the Holy Spirit gave them understanding; then men have been carried along as they have translated it also. My children understand better using the NIV or NKJV. I like to use a number of Bible’s and cross reference them; especially a word study KJV that I am blessed to have. But we are all studying the Word of God in truth.

    I was also blessed to read the story of William Tyndale, his desire to present an accurate reading of the Word of God and get it into the hands of the English speaking masses and everything he went through to do it. His translation makes up around 90% of what went into the KJV.

    I also have a modern day reading of the Tyndale translation of the NT. What AMAZES me is that through the slight variations in language, the truth contained in those words is consistent. God indeed carries His own through all their labors of love.

    Books like “the message” have been written with an wrong heart and motive. So the truth is distorted, and the Holy Spirit makes that apparent to us as we hear it. When I unknowingly picked up a used copy of “the message” and read it to my kids, they HATED it and asked me not to read from it again. We read the Bible daily. The Holy Spirit indeed leads us in all these things. How awesome the God we serve!

  10. Craig says:

    I probably should have specifically mentioned Eugene Peterson’s The Message here. I had written about this “paraphrase” in the following:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/misplaced-trust-part-ii/

  11. Carolyn says:

    Just1of His and Craig:

    If I was to send someone a written message it would not have the same impact as if I was to bring the message in person. The Bible can be just a book, a written message written by 40 different authors or it can be a message brought to you in person by the Holy Spirit. One is a dead letter, one is a Living Word. Interestingly, it is but a dead letter to some and to others, it infuses them with Life. So what makes the difference? Well, the Bible says that faith (belief in God) makes the difference. When we read the Word with faith, the Holy Spirit enlightens the truth to our mind.

    For instance, when we communicate, sometimes we try several times, particularly if writing, and still fail to actually say what we meant to say. Whereas, if we are in person, we can discuss what we really meant until the full meaning is understood. This is the quality that I believe the Holy Spirit has in being the Living Word. He is always present to communicate his word and if we don’t understand it, he enlightens the meaning to our hearts….proving our faith to be genuine.

    Which brings me back to my comment about the seed of the martyrs. What I was trying to convey was that because someone was willing to die in order to keep a pure gospel, their death brought many more to a pure faith. Today there is little genuine faith in a pure gospel that is not corrupted by confusing doctrine. Our allegiance has become to men and has exceeded our allegiance to God. Who would die for the mixed, diluted and polluted gospel that is being pumped out to our world today? The less truth we live out, the less truth we all end up with. The only hope of keeping our faith pure is to keep ourselves prayerfully in the Word.

    And I agree with you Just1ofHis, that if we have genuine faith, the Lord will surely communicate to us his truth in spite of the imperfect versions (not meaning NA or cult infected versions like The Message, the JW Bible, etc.) Since I’ve spent a lot of time in both the KJV and the NIV, He uses words from both translations to get my attention when he wants to communicate something important to me. And then I can cross reference them with other translations. He is ALIVE! and so are we!

    Just 1 of HIs – interesting that your kids hated the message. That’s Holy Spirit discernment in operation!

    Craig…this is not to take away from TR and CT…which, of course, is all part of the process in keeping the gospel pure. I’m just saying that it’s more than just that, and I think you were saying the same, since men of corrupt minds can still corrupt even the best translations.

  12. Carolyn says:

    Craig…You said, “Is it witchcraft? I dunno.”

    Well, the point is, that it is comparable to witchcraft because it’s making you believe that you have to say “words” or invoke certain names or mantras (think casting spells) in order to get God to do something for you. They say the power that you have comes from the words that you say…if you don’t say the name of God correctly, God won’t hear you. It’s a step beyond WOF…which is of course, “the words that you say will change your life”. They are saying, “the Sacred name, pronounced the right way, will change your life”.

    Whereas, in pure Christianity, it’s WHO you believe, not what YOU say that makes your faith genuine. These Sacred Name people are shifting the focus… How devious!

  13. Craig says:

    All,

    I’ve stated my opinion in the article which is in opposition to the Norman Geisler/Thomas Howe explanation of Mark 2:25-26; but, I’m open to others’ opinions. Comparatively, I’m just a no-name blogger, while Geisler is a published author. On the other hand, Craig A. Evans is a published author and he seems to believe this particular verse has some sort of error. Does anyone else wish to opine?

    Am I making myself clear in the article that it’s the original Holy Spirit-inspired Scripture that is without any sort of error, but that subsequent copies have apparently deviated from this? This is not meant to imply that our Bibles are full of errors. Hardly so. But, there are variations among some of the versions and sometimes this is based upon different Greek manuscripts underlying the texts.

    As an example: Going back to the link that Carolyn supplied at Jan 19, 11:09am, I find it interesting that the author omits John 1:18 in his analysis. Here’s the KJV:

    No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

    Now here’s the NIV [1984]:

    No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only,[a][b] who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

    Footnotes:
    a.John 1:18 Or ‘the Only Begotten’ (Greek – monogenes)
    b.John 1:18 Some manuscripts ‘but the only (or only begotten) Son’

    Based on stronger manuscript evidence (including the ‘dreaded’ Alexandrian), the NIV [1984] explicitly declares Jesus Christ (see v 17) as God, not just Son as the KJV does. However, the NIV – being more of a dynamic equivalent – adds the word “but” in an attempt to make it more readable in English. However, if we retain the semi-colon, as in the KJV, after “at any time”, it works just as well, in my opinion:

    No one has ever seen God; God the One and Only [Only begotten], who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

    In the Greek, it is literally translated:

    God no one has seen never; the One and Only/Only begotten God, the one being in the bosom of the Father, that One explained/declared ([him]).

    The NASB renders this:

    No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

    I think the NASB is the best translation of the three.

  14. Carolyn says:

    Craig: I don’t think the average person would ever pick up on that mistake. Since you asked for an opinion, I will say that I believe as you do, that Jesus did not make a mistake. He knew it was Ahimelech and not Abiathar. And since we have learned a little about the process of how the Bible has been put together, it is very possible in my opinion, that a Scribe made the mistake. In fact there are many possibilities. Perhaps it was a Freudian slip, in which he was thinking about Abiathar and so he wrote Abiathar when he actually meant Ahimelech. As far as I’m concerned, Norman Geisler is a man with an opinion on ONE possibility even if he makes it sound like he knows what he’s talking about. He should state it as an opinion…like the rest of us, because we cannot know for sure. And whoever might make the man into a guru who is unable to make mistakes is most at fault….but I digress.

    But is it relevant to our faith? I feel like it is to some who do not know Jesus Christ for themselves. They are looking for a reason to doubt. I’m looking for a reason to believe. And thank you for helping us understand that we are never sure what the original stated only that it was true because God is true and cannot lie.

    I’m slow to get something, but when I get it, I’ve got it.

  15. Carolyn says:

    And now, since I’m giving my opinion on things, I also have an opinion on what I think John 1:18 should say. I personally don’t like the word He has “explained” Him. I prefer “declared” him or “made him known”. How do you explain God….? But you can declare him or make him known.

    To me the NIV 1984 is a truer rendition/translation/interpretation of this verse. But the KJV is good too. (now I’ll duck as the stones may be flying from the KJVO folks)

  16. Carolyn says:

    Here she comes again…

    Craig: Don’t know why I’m here talking about Textual Criticism. It is obviously not my forte as you can tell by the contrary path I led you through in my previous posts. And in my contrariness, I proposed that studying the origins of the Bible fit more into the anecdotal response of the man who jumps into deep waters for the first time and drops to the bottom like a stone.

    *Now that I’ve got the contrariness out of my system*

    Basically, that’s what I’d like to do with Textual Criticism…drop outta sight and let everyone else discuss it. And maybe one day I will. But for now, I believe the Holy Spirit has me here in this very spot for a reason. Fact is…it may not have as much to do with TC as just the fact that even in something that I don’t understand (or have an affinity for), the Holy Spirit is showing me that he is able to make it alive and relevant to me because HE is in it. This is where he wants me, right here, right now and he CAN help me to understand it.

    So…the Lord has brought us all here, talking about things as the Spirit enables, even TC. And I am beginning to see some relevance…where I couldn’t before. I much prefer conceptual thinking. In fact I can trot around the conceptual track with my blinders on because I’ve been around those tracks so many times. That’s where I’m most comfortable. The fact is, however, that the Spirit can show me how much I need him when I’m on a track that is foreign to me.

    I like this verse because no matter what we discuss, the Lord is present with those who love him:
    Malachi 3:The Faithful Remnant
    16 Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.

  17. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    You’ve illustrated some of the pitfalls of translation. By which method does one translate a given language? The NASB is, by design, a literal translation. That is the intent of the translators – to keep all the words as close to original as possible. The problem with this is that the result can seem a bit choppy.

    On the other hand, the NIV is a dynamic equivalency. Some complain that these types deviate from the original, that they’re not direct translations. Well, they’re not intended to be direct translations! They’re meant to be more readable in the translated language yet keep the intended meaning.

    Think about a how to translate to a poor, uneducated Arabic woman in a small village the phrase “She knocked it out of the park!” in the context of a sales proposal to a prospective client. Here’s a colloquialism which is dependent upon understanding culture. Her understanding hinges on whether or not she even knows what baseball is. Dynamic equivalency translations attempt to bridge these gaps.

    My main point for bringing up John 1:18 is to dispell the myth that the Alexandrian manuscripts are inherently ‘evil’ by KJVO adherents. Before two important early manuscripts were discovered (P66 and P75), it was found that the manuscript evidence was somewhat split between “Son” and “God”. With the discovery is these earlier papyri, evidence was tilted back to “God” as being original and not “Son”.

    A large problem with translating this verse is the Greek monogenes. Obviously, we can see that mono is ‘one’ and genes looks just like the English word ‘genes’. It was long thought to be ‘only begotten’, as in one offspring. However, a study on this particular word’s usage in the NT and contemporaneous writings shows that ‘unique’ may be a better translation. Isaac is referred to as monogenes, yet, of course, Abraham fathered Ishmael as well. Therefore, Isaac is not his ONLY son; however, certainly Isaac is the only son of Abraham and Sarah. Consequently, “one and only” or “unique” is used.

    The newest NIV could be argued to be the best translation, even though it necessarily adds words in order to be more descriptive:

    No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

    One cannot use BOTH Greek manuscripts – the one containing God (theos) and the one containing Son (huios) – however, the [new, not 1984] NIV translators apparently thought that “one and only God”, the literal translation, was confusing; therefore, this more descriptive compromise was reached. We see also that “in the bosom of the Father” is replaced with “in closest relationship with the Father”.

  18. just1ofhis says:

    Carolyn said: “But is it relevant to our faith? I feel like it is to some who do not know Jesus Christ for themselves. They are looking for a reason to doubt. I’m looking for a reason to believe. And thank you for helping us understand that we are never sure what the original stated only that it was true because God is true and cannot lie.”

    I like that.

    I also remember that NO man is infallable. Peter refused to sit with the Gentiles until Paul publically rebuked him; and yet Peter and Paul were both being carried along by the Holy Spirit of God. As were those who worked to translate the Bible with a desire to undergo that most difficult task in a manner worthy of God; of whom I believe there have been manye in the course of several thousand years.

    We benefit today from using multiple translations of God’s Holy Word. In Craig’s example above, my belief is that the Holy Spirit would be able to communicate the true meaning through any of those translations to someone seeking out the truth. Also, I find the slight variations between translations become more slight when taken in the full scope of the Bible. In our home, we listen to the NKJV at the same time that we study from the NIV and sometimes the KJV. When one of us hears something that sounds different, we check it against the full counsel of scripture. Sometimes I cross reference with other translations also, and I believe that it is the Holy Spirit who is leading even in this.

    The emergents, in particular, are having a grand old time looking at what appear to be “discrepencies” in the different Bibles and translations to trying to paint the Bible as a humanly flawed document. I think that is what Carolyn was driving at in part. Just like the Pharisees diligently studied the scriptures, yet didn’t recognize Jesus at His coming; the emergents study the letter apart from the Spirit of God. I am convinced that even the most perfect translation of the original scriptures would not convince them of the truth, because the truth is not what they are seeking.

    I am convinced that someone with a heart earnestly seeking the truth, can be taught it by the Holy Spirit of God with a less than perfect translation. For example, the Ethiopian (Acts 8) had a scroll of the book of Isaiah. That, coupled with Philip’s testimony, was enough to work faith in the man’s heart; because it was God’s power that was acting in all.

    When I say that I believe the tranlators of the Bible have been carried along by the Holy Spirit of God in similar fashion to the original writers, I certainly don’t mean that He gave them any new revelation. Wherever you see “new revelation” added to scripture (or things taken away), you will see an AC spirit. The book of Revelation makes clear what will become of those people. I just mean, as He guides us all, the Holy Spirit was also working with each of them. We make mistakes as they likely did, but He keeps us on track for the long haul; and more amazingly, He works to bring others to Himself through us, in spite of ourselves sometimes. How amazing He is!

    Either way, this is an interesting conversation, and I believe it serves to sharpen us all.

  19. Craig says:

    I had to run out the door this AM, and did not finish some of my thoughts. So, briefly, one of the primary reasons I’m doing this series (God willing) is so that we CAN defend our beliefs. Rather than being caught blind-sided by those ‘liberal Christians’ and those who are enemies of the faith who try to discredit the Bible in any way they can, my hope is that through this sort of knowledge Christians will not be stumped and embarrassed without an adequate answer.

    Until one comes across a KJV-Only adherent, one may initially think the modern versions are all demonically infected or something of the sort.

  20. just1ofhis says:

    And Craig,

    I sincerely believe that efforts to dispel the KJVO movement are well placed and needed. This is yet another man-imposed “rule” that has no Biblical basis. Where we find one “rule”, we will soon find many more; they multiply like mold in a damp basement. All those “rules” forget the power of God Almighty working in us. Our test is set out for us clearly enough:

    Is there a denial of Jesus Christ in the flesh?

    Is there a refusal in truth to recognize Jesus as LORD (YHWH)?

    Is there an introduction of an idea that clearly goes against time tested truths of scripture, especially where it glosses over immorality and paints those things as acceptable to a Holy God which are clearly not?

    Short of those things, or any other true test I may have missed, it becomes nothing more than “arguing over words”. That’s where I see many of the KJVO adherents falling into a trap, in and of itself a form of “spiritual arrogance”. And we know that doesn’t please God.

  21. Craig says:

    I think their “spiritual arrogance” stems from ignorance. Both sides need to be educated. And, while neither side is necessarily wrong (it depends on the extent of one’s stance on this), neither side is absolutely correct.

  22. just1ofhis says:

    I also believe that there are many sincere people who fall into the KJVO thinking as they do with many other “rules”. I have a dear Christian friend who I know to be a believer who is convinced that you must take communion regularly from the hands of a pastor in order to receive forgiveness for your sins. Her belief is based on the church she attends and her background in it. I love her as a sister, but I refuse to subscribe to the “rule” on how to “properly” take communion to receive forgiveness.

    It becomes a “works” based righteousness so very quickly. I see the same thread with the KJVO move; where I see the “work” as adhering to a single translation and thinking all others inferior or even dangerous, therefore looking “down” on those who read other translations. It becomes a man-created “rule” that works against our command to love each other.

    Where I see the “spiritual arrogance” is in the men who teach such doctrines and refuse to be corrected by the truth of scripture. It causes unnecessary division in the Body and distracts from the real battle at hand, imo.

  23. Craig says:

    I have a dear Christian friend who I know to be a believer who is convinced that you must take communion regularly from the hands of a pastor in order to receive forgiveness for your sins. Her belief is based on the church she attends and her background in it. I love her as a sister, but I refuse to subscribe to the “rule” on how to “properly” take communion to receive forgiveness.

    Your friend may have a background in Catholicism, as that is what their beliefs amount to.

    It becomes a “works” based righteousness so very quickly. I see the same thread with the KJVO move; where I see the “work” as adhering to a single translation and thinking all others inferior or even dangerous, therefore looking “down” on those who read other translations. It becomes a man-created “rule” that works against our command to love each other.

    Where I see the “spiritual arrogance” is in the men who teach such doctrines and refuse to be corrected by the truth of scripture. It causes unnecessary division in the Body and distracts from the real battle at hand, imo.

    Yes, I agree. All of us have to be willing to be corrected

  24. Carolyn says:

    Everyone: I am learning, by the grace of God, that we must test everything. There are so many articulate, well educated teachers in Christian circles these days, it’s hard to resist their slants on the truth. We may feel a twinge telling us, “that doesn’t sound right” but instead of listening to the Holy Spirit, we go with the radiant personality telling us what our itching ears want to hear. That’s how we get into deception. Whereas, if we test all things, we can glean some truth, hold to that and discern/judge that the extra biblical thing being said that doesn’t match up with the Word.

    It’s so easy to trust the experts. If the man behind the pulpit says he’s studied it out, we believe him. But Christ said, beware of deceivers…they come to you in sheep’s clothing. It’s a warning that we ignore at our own peril.

    What it boils down to with me is “focus”. Midrash and Hebrew Roots are just two of the newest “law” people referred to in Galatians. They add to the Word, making people dependent on them for their expertise and knowledge. Simply put, they lead away from the Word to a different gospel which ends up being “no gospel at all”. They go beyond the Word.

    Then there are those who have to put out the formula for us all to live by. I’ve just had some discussions with regards to the agenda of Free Grace and the TULIP of Calvinism. They are formulas that take precedence over the whole counsel of God and end up distorting the character of God and confusing the simple gospel in the process.

    Just1of His…Mike Hoggard is a KJVO straight arrow. He is a very good teacher of the Word…but he is adamant on this KJO. Sometimes, he almost convinces me. And arrogance really does divide the body…that’s the biggest issue I have with it…of course he doesn’t see it as arrogance…but when everyone else is wrong, is that not arrogance? And when someone has to spend a great amount of time defending one certain doctrine, it’s a red flag for me, as I experienced this in my brief but intense indoctrination in the 7th Day Adventism cult and also the WOF doctrine and Pentecostalism.

    So this discussion is good for me…I come back to some balance. I tell you…we can get tied up so easily these days if we are like a “good sounding argument”. The wolves are out there…but even Christians can easily get over balanced in their thinkingm taking true doctrines to the extreme.

    The Truth is simple. That’s probably what stumbles many people. They enjoy something more complex. This is the arrogance that gets people into Bible Codes, Numerology, Gnosticism, Kabbalist teachings and anything and everything that replaces/supersedes the Word in your life.

    Beware or Be square. (If you don’t get that saying, you aren’t old enough).

  25. just1ofhis says:

    I would add…the Truth is simple and FREE. Complexity puts money in the pockets of the complex.

  26. Craig says:

    Complexity puts money in the pockets of the complex [ED buildings, etc].

    I LIKE that quote!

  27. Carolyn says:

    Ya, me too…that was a good quote. Here’s another one I like…”don’t confuse me with the truth”.

  28. IWTT says:

    Matthew Henry’s commentary is:

    “You have read that David, the man after God’s own heart, when he was hungry, made no difficulty of eating the show-bread, which by the law none might eat of but the priests and their families.’’ Note, Ritual observances must give way to moral obligations; and that may be done in a case of necessity, which otherwise may not be done. This, it is said, David did in the days of Abiathar the High-Priest; or just before the days of Abiathar, who immediately succeeded Abimelech his father in the pontificate, and, it is probable, was at that time his father’s deputy, or assistant, in the office; and he it was that escaped the massacre, and brought the ephod to David.

  29. IWTT says:

    And then this from Dr. Daniel Wallace bible.org site

    52 tn A decision about the proper translation of this Greek phrase (ἐπὶ ᾿Αβιαθὰρ ἀρχιερέως, ejpi Abiaqar ajrcierew”) is very difficult for a number of reasons. The most natural translation of the phrase is “when Abiathar was high priest,” but this is problematic because Abiathar was not the high priest when David entered the temple and ate the sacred bread; Ahimelech is the priest mentioned in 1 Sam 21:1-7. Three main solutions have been suggested to resolve this difficulty. (1) There are alternate readings in various manuscripts, but these are not likely to be original: D W {271} it sys [ED: these are all designations for manuscripts] and a few others omit ἐπὶ ᾿Αβιαθὰρ ἀρχιερέως, no doubt in conformity to the parallels in Matt 12:4 and Luke 6:4; {A C Θ Π Σ Φ 074 Ë13 and many others} add τοῦ before ἀρχιερέως, giving the meaning “in the days of Abiathar the high priest,” suggesting a more general time frame. Neither reading has significant external support and both most likely are motivated by the difficulty of the original reading. (2) Many scholars have hypothesized that one of the three individuals who would have been involved in the transmission of the statement (Jesus who uttered it originally, Mark who wrote it down in the Gospel, or Peter who served as Mark’s source) was either wrong about Abiathar or intentionally loose with the biblical data in order to make a point. (3) It is possible that what is currently understood to be the most natural reading of the text is in fact not correct. (a) There are very few biblical parallels to this grammatical construction (ἐπί + genitive proper noun, followed by an anarthrous common noun), so it is possible that an extensive search for this construction in nonbiblical literature would prove that the meaning does involve a wide time frame. If this is so, “in the days of Abiathar the high priest” would be a viable option. (b) It is also possible that this phrasing serves as a loose way to cite a scripture passage. There is a parallel to this construction in Mark 12:26: “Have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush?” Here the final phrase is simply ἐπὶ τοῦ βάτου (ejpi tou batou), but the obvious function of the phrase is to point to a specific passage within the larger section of scripture. Deciding upon a translation here is difficult. The translation above has followed the current consensus on the most natural and probable meaning of the phrase ἐπὶ ᾿Αβιαθὰρ ἀρχιερέως: “when Abiathar was high priest.” It should be recognized, however, that this translation is tentative because the current state of knowledge about the meaning of this grammatical construction is incomplete, and any decision about the meaning of this text is open to future revision.

  30. Craig says:

    …David did in the days of Abiathar the High-Priest; or just before the days of Abiathar, who immediately succeeded Abimelech his father in the pontificate, and, it is probable, was at that time his father’s deputy, or assistant, in the office; and he it was that escaped the massacre…

    Henry explains the context, but leaves us with the “or just before the days of Abiathar” – so, was it IN the days of Abiathar the High Priest, or JUST BEFORE the days of Abiathar the High Priest? I’d say BEFORE, which, to my way of thinking, shows this verse to be in error. Henry doesn’t come right out and say it, but it seems he’s hinting at it.

    To use another example: I surely wouldn’t refer to 2007, at the time I started posting blog comments, and say “in the days when I was blogging on CrossWise” since the CrossWise blog wasn’t begun until 2010.

  31. Craig says:

    I’m glad Wallace has weighed in on this. (I’m sure there are other Greek scholars who’ve done likewise.) His explanation of the prefix/preposition epi in #3 could well be (epi means on, near, at, before, toward, in direction of, etc.). So, does it mean “around the time when Abiathar was High Priest”? It could be; but, it begs the question of why Ahimelech’s name was not used instead. Is there an overriding reason to use Abiathar rather than Ahimelech given the context of Mark 2:25-26? I don’t see one. Perhaps there is; I just don’t see it.

    But, in any case, as he notes, we apparently don’t have enough info to make a definitive statement. Given that this is a rare example of its usage in Scripture (see 3a), we cannot be sure.

    There are other things in regards to Koine/NT Greek translation that are not completely ironed out – and may never be – namely, how to properly understand verb forms/tenses.

  32. Carolyn says:

    Craig, you said: “The newest NIV could be argued to be the best translation, even though it necessarily adds words in order to be more descriptive:

    No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

    One cannot use BOTH Greek manuscripts – the one containing God (theos) and the one containing Son (huios) – however, the [new, not 1984] NIV translators apparently thought that “one and only God”, the literal translation, was confusing; therefore, this more descriptive compromise was reached. We see also that “in the bosom of the Father” is replaced with “in closest relationship with the Father”.”

    I actually like that…”but the one and only Son, who is himself God”…it agrees with the rest of Scripture as to the the Son’s true dentity

    “and is in closest relationship with the Father”…at least I understand this phrase, whereas, I’m totally guessing at the phrase “in the bosom of the Father”…who talks like that today?

    I had the kids in a ACE church school for one year. It was a KJO curriculum. I didn’t mind the fact that they used one version so that everyone could study as a unit. However, it was a a cult mentality for them as I discovered when my daughter had to memorize Isaiah 53. She had it down perfectly from the NIV and they insisted that she re-memorize it in the KJV. I almost lost my sanctification over that episode because she’s so confused that she can no longer separate the two different versions of Isaiah 53! It’s one big conglomeration of words in her mind to this day. I do realize that the Spirit will be able to separate them for her as needed, but it was a little heart breaking to see such fanaticism.

  33. Craig says:

    Yes, you’re right that not many today would use the phrase “in the bosom of the Father”. It would be totally foreign to non-Christians.

    Your account of Isaiah 53 is disappointing and illustrates how some have been brainwashed.

    I wanted to add some clarity: In my statement about the new NIV, I was only referring to that particular verse.

  34. IWTT says:

    I’m just thinking here, and I haven’t really read a lot or done a lot of research, but what comes to my mind is this. Just as Jesus earthly father was a carpenter, so was Jesus by trade, just like some of the Apostles were fishermen so were their fathers by trade. Could it be that just as Ahimelech was a high priest so was his son, Abiathar, to become. So essence he was recognized as a high priest as well, so (simply) he was.

    THe other thought is that maybe to those he was answering, this is what the history was taught to the people and Jesus just went along with their error so that they knew what time period He was talking about. David was a very famous man to the Isrealites and Abiathar was the high priest when David was King? Maybe that’s all that mattered and Jesus just spoke to them in what they knew.

    Interesting how many try to show the errancy of scripture to prove that Jesus wasn’t/isn’t who He says he is. The point is in the context of the story in scripture not in Ahimelech or Abiathar.

  35. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    Your line of thinking seems right; but, the High Priest could only be one person. So, it wasn’t until Ahimelech was slaughtered that this was even a possibility for Abiathar to become the High Priest. However, prior to attaining his position as High Priest he was a priest. Conversely, Jesus could (and was) a carpenter at the very same time his earthly father was a carpeenter.

    Of course, it would be supposition, but I’d be more inclined to think Jesus would correct their error rather than continue with it. I’d think He’d do this by citing the appropriate OT passages.

    Yes, you’re right that there are folks out there just looking for ways to discredit the Bible. But, that’s the way of the enemy. On the other hand, I do think it important for the average lay Christian to understand some of these issues so they would not potentially have their faith shaken.

  36. IWTT says:

    Agreed… I found this and like the explanation best..

    https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=1830

  37. Craig says:

    IWTT,

    It seems Apologetics Press agrees with Geisler/Howe, which is fine. I have no problems with anyone agreeing with this. However, I’m more in line with Daniel Wallace’s position.

  38. just1ofhis says:

    Carolyn said, “I had the kids in a ACE church school for one year. It was a KJO curriculum. I didn’t mind the fact that they used one version so that everyone could study as a unit. However, it was a a cult mentality for them as I discovered when my daughter had to memorize Isaiah 53. She had it down perfectly from the NIV and they insisted that she re-memorize it in the KJV. I almost lost my sanctification over that episode because she’s so confused that she can no longer separate the two different versions of Isaiah 53! It’s one big conglomeration of words in her mind to this day. I do realize that the Spirit will be able to separate them for her as needed, but it was a little heart breaking to see such fanaticism.”

    My family was attending a strict “Bible-teaching” church where the Pastor made a huge deal about my oldest son’s handwriting (both to him, in front of his class, and to us). My son, who loves Jesus and His Word but has so-so handwriting, was so discouraged by the whole event (and embarrased in front of the other kids).

    I would expect my son to receive that treatment out in the world (in fact, he did, in a public kindergarten class); but to receive it in the church, means that the church is looking far too much like the world for me.

    Neat handwriting, beautiful clothes, pretty hair, a nice car, a good job, a lovely voice, brilliant mind, blah, blah, blah…none of those things matter even the smallest amount to a Holy God who chooses the simple things of this world to humble the “complex”. I believe that it is a matter of cold hearts that leads people to make a big deal about such things. While God is rejoicing that these children are studying His Word and learning to seek Him out, their teachers are getting caught up in the deception of their own biases. I’m convinced that it has NO place in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    How about those pastors merely jumping for joy that your daughter was sitting in those classes instead of all the other things she may have been doing?

    Then there is the story I know of a 12 year old boy who went to confession (Catholic), confessed that his family didn’t attend church, and faced a verbal lynching from the priest who told him he would go to hell if he didn’t. I know the woman who taught the boy when it happened.

    You know, a good tree cannot bear bad fruit!

  39. Craig says:

    Well, I would have been scolded too, for my handwriting is atrocious. Thank God for word processors!

    Then there is the story I know of a 12 year old boy who went to confession (Catholic), confessed that his family didn’t attend church, and faced a verbal lynching from the priest who told him he would go to hell if he didn’t. I know the woman who taught the boy when it happened.

    This is because the Catholic “Church” is of the opinion the she is the one true “Church” AND that one must receive communion (the Eucharist) at least once yearly as a condition of salvation.

  40. Carolyn says:

    Craig:

    I was listening to Ken Hovind yesterday on why he believes in the KJV only. It is because the translators of the KJV used the Textus Recepticus (majority text) to translate from and most of the other versions used the Alexandrian texts. He says that the Alexandrian texts were copied by a cult led by Origen in the late 2nd Century. They made over 6000 changes in the Alexandrian texts. Ken Hovind also has many examples of how the KJV is completely different from some of the other versions.

    If everything he says is true, I just may convert to KJO after all…how can you trust something that is translated from the Alexandrian texts?

    Here is just one passage that is very different…..keep what safe?…people or the words of God? ……that’s a big difference.

    Psalm 12:6-7
    King James Version (KJV)
    6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

    7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

    Psalm 12:6-7
    New International Version (NIV)
    6 And the words of the Lord are flawless,
    like silver purified in a crucible,
    like gold[a] refined seven times.
    7 You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
    and will protect us forever from the wicked,

  41. Craig says:

    Carolyn, you wrote:

    I was listening to Ken Hovind yesterday on why he believes in the KJV only. It is because the translators of the KJV used the Textus Recepticus (majority text) to translate from and most of the other versions used the Alexandrian texts. He says that the Alexandrian texts were copied by a cult led by Origen in the late 2nd Century. They made over 6000 changes in the Alexandrian texts. Ken Hovind also has many examples of how the KJV is completely different from some of the other versions.

    Not true. First of all, the Textus Receptus is NOT the same as the Majority Text. From this error apparently flows the rest. The TR was primarily from what are late-period manuscripts of what is called the Byzantine text type (and some do call it the Majority Text). However, the TR is not based on the majority of that particular text type. A book by Zane Hodges and Arthur Fastad titled The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text illustrates that there are many texts chosen by the TR which are proven to be in minority when compared to the actual majority of the Byzantine manuscripts AND the majority of extant NT manuscripts. [ED this paragraph amended for correction and clarity @ 1:39] These include:

    The omission of Acts 8:37; i.e. Acts 8:37 is present in the TR but not in in the majority of the MT

    The omission of a portion of 1 John 5:7-8; i.e. this portion is not in the majority of the MT

    The Alexandrian Texts do not always differ from the Byzantine. However, it DOES seem the newer translations by and large favor the Alexandrian texts, as if they’ve given the Alexandrian preeminence – a hold-over perhaps from the Westcott-Hort thesis. Bottom line: while I’ve barely scratched the surface, upon looking at the evidence, I do not always agree with the decisions made in the Critical Text; however, on others I would agree. There are other factors involved in choosing which is mostly the original text other than which is the oldest (the Alexandrian texts are older than the others).

  42. Craig says:

    I’ve never heard of the ‘Origen cult of Alexandrian text type’ theory. Where did Hovind get this info?

    Oh, and how would he know that this ‘cult’ had made “over 6000 changes” when 1) we don’t have any original autographs to compare with; and, 2) none of the Byzantine texts predate the Alexandrian? That is, how do we know the Byzantine texts didn’t amend the earlier Alexandrian texts?

  43. IWTT says:

    2Ki 2:21 Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it, and said, “Thus says the LORD, I have made this water wholesome; henceforth neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.”

    You know in my teen years the bible that was most used it seems was the RSV. I remember at an early time in my marriage we were trying to start a family and having a terrible time of conceiving. One day I cried out to the Lord while I was on a walk and I had this come to my mind 2 kings.

    So I went to my RSV and the verse above was in the chapter. Notice it says miscarriage…

    But notice KJV = more death or barren [land].
    But Notice NIV = death or make the land unproductive.'”
    But Notice ESV = death nor miscarriage
    Other versions use miscarry, barreness, unproductive, miscarriage – interesting how same verse is interpreted with different english word for the hebrew word.

    Seems like same hebew word has many meaning and get used however the translator, transcriber will use as their knowledge of the language allows them

  44. Craig says:

    I should add more: all newer versions are from a Greek text made up after considering ALL text types including Byzantine, Alexandrian, Western, Caesarean, as well as NT writings translated into Old Latin, Coptic, Ethiopian, in addition to writings from early Church “fathers” which quote from the NT. All evidence is accumulated and decisions are based from there. The majority of any given text type or ‘family’ (ones that are so much alike that they are virtually identical except with very minor alterations) is not necessarily what is considered original. This is because a mistake can be faithfully replicated on down the line. Sometimes the shortest version/variant is chosen because it is assumed that a copyist had added verbiage for what he considered to be clarity. Sometimes the longer reading is chosen for the opposite reason. The Alexandrian is said to be ‘shorter’ than the other texts; however, there are cases in which the Byzantine – which is usually the ‘longest’ – has a ‘shorter’ reading. It is NOT an easy process as there are over 5000 different manuscripts; that is not including the other than Greek language versions (IIRC) and not the writings of the early Church.

  45. Carolyn says:

    Craig…I am finding in this series called, “The Real Bible Version Issue Exposed”, an expanded
    study of the origins of the Bible. Very interesting and not hard to listen to (especially as I am cutting up vegetables and I need a distraction from the drudgery of the mundane).

    As I was listening to this Episode #6, I was surprised to find a name that you have mentioned, Bruce Metzger being portrayed with a very ecumenical bias. Take a listen and tell me what you think.

  46. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    First of all, the NIV doesn’t reject the TR outright as it uses the same manuscripts of the TR PLUS all other extant manuscripts available. Moreover, the Nestle’s text – which is essentially the same as the UBS text – has been in constant flux as new manuscripts have been found.

    The photo of Aland with the Pope proves nothing except that Aland apparently shook the Pope’s hand. We can only guess Metzger’s motives in presenting the NRSV, Catholic Edition (which I’ve not seen so cannot comment on) to the Pope. Perhaps it was solely to ‘update’ the Deuterocanonical books (what Protestants call the Apocrypha). These books, which Protestants do not recognize as Scripture, are important books in their own right, shedding both historical data and also illustrating how some have commented on the OT texts. The word “ecumenical” is not necessarily negative, though this particular narrator would have us believe it is.

    Rather than listening to others who sit in presumption that those who’ve put together the NIV and other newer NT versions have some sort of agenda, perhaps you would be better served by reading material on what actually goes into the this particular discipline. My suggestion for an introduction is this book:

    I DO NOT wish to turn this into a KJV-only debate or into a thread in which I have to continually try to defend those behind the newer translations against individuals with a KJVO agenda or conspiracy theorists thinking all modern versions are inherently evil. Let’s let textual criticism speak for itself rather than judge the motives behind those who are within this discipline. I’m sure there are those who are in it with some sort of agenda; but, I don’t profess to know who those individuals are or what agenda they may be promoting. That is, with one exception: Bart Ehrman is dead set on ‘proving’ the errancy of the Scriptures.

  47. Craig says:

    I should rephrase the first sentence above. The NIV, and all other newer NTs, considers ALL existing manuscripts which necessarily includes ALL the texts which make up the TR.

  48. Craig says:

    I did a quick search on Kent Hovind and found this on wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_Hovind

    Hovind is currently incarcerated: “Since January 2007, Hovind has been serving a ten-year prison sentence after being convicted of 58 federal counts, including 12 tax offenses, one count of obstructing federal agents, and 45 counts of structuring cash transactions.” In addition

    In 1988 and 1991 respectively, Hovind was awarded a master’s degree and doctorate in Christian Education through correspondence from the non-accredited Patriot University in Colorado Springs, Colorado (now Patriot Bible University in Del Norte, Colorado, which no longer offers this program).[9] Having a website called “Dr. Dino” has provoked some academics to look closely at how Hovind presents his education and credentials. Chemistry professor Karen Bartelt has said that it is “very unusual for a person with a Ph.D., even a real one, to list oneself in the phonebook as “Dr Hovind”, as Hovind has done.”[10] [emphasis in original]. Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy, expert on the history of creationism and activist in the creation-evolution controversy, wrote that Hovind’s lack of academic training makes it impossible to engage him on a professional level.[11]

    It seems “Dr.” Hovind is a less than credible source.

  49. Craig says:

    OK, this is interesting. I just now decided to do a quick check on “alexandrian manuscripts part of origen cult” and this was on the first page:

    http://www.kjvonly.org/other/demystify.htm

    Here’s a partial quote, which is essentially what I wrote above including my citing of Acts 8:37 and 1 John 5:7-8!:

    The primary problem with this argument [ED: #2 in his list] is that the KJV does not totally follow the majority text. When the TR underlying the KJV is compared with the majority readings of the 5,000 known Greek manuscripts, many differences are found to occur. This may be seen by examining the textual notes in the recent Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text by Zane Hodges and Arthur Farstad (1982) or the New King James Version (1982). Since textual errors in the TR are allowed in this argument, these differences are to be expected and the NT text changed accordingly. However, a close comparison of the TR with the majority text reveals that some well-known and widely-quoted verses in the KJV either are not found or are significantly different in the majority text. For example, I John 5:7 and Acts 8:37 are found only in the smallest minority of manuscripts. In Colossians 1:14, the words “through his blood” are also not found in the vast majority of manuscripts. Most of these well-known non-majority text differences in the KJV can be traced directly to the edition of the Latin Vulgate of the Roman Catholic Church which was in general use when the TR was first printed.

  50. Craig says:

    Since Psalm 12:6-7 was mentioned perhaps I should make a comment, even though this is a bit beyond the scope of New Testament textual criticism. Yes, it is true there are two different variances, with the KJV/TR following the less popular variant (with 7 referring to the Word of God to keep us safe) instead of the predominate one (with 7 stating that it’s the LORD Himself who will keep us safe). The Greek Septuagint (known as the LXX), which is the OT Hebrew translated into Greek 200BC, uses the more popular variant.

    It needs to be understood that the NT writers, when quoting from the OT, most often quoted from the LXX rather than the Masoretic Text (Hebrew). That is, instead of taking the Masoretic Text and mentally translating to Greek, the NT writers quoted from the LXX. It is even possible that Jesus Himself, as quoted by John, alluded to Psalm 12:7 as per the LXX reading in John 17:12.

    By looking at the full context of this short Psalm, one can see that either variant could work. However, in my mind, by taking the entire context, it seems that the more popular variant seems right, as the main subject is the ungodly men employing double-speak in order to deceive and David is asking the LORD to “preserve us from this generation”. The Word of God provides solace [v 6]; but, it’s the LORD Himself who will preserve the faithful from these ungodly men.

  51. Carolyn says:

    Craig, Thanks for your thoughts. I have started working my way through the paper you linked to above, in order to demystify myself. So far I like what I’m reading.

    If that wasn’t enough, I am also working my way through another paper at: http://www.studytoanswer.net/bibleversions/gnostic.html

    There are so many opinions out there..from Catholic and Jesuit apologists to James White aka Dr. Oakley and his claim to being the Informed, I mean the Reformed Greek scholar, I’m wary of possible denominational slants…

    Interesting, your take on Psalm 12:6-7

  52. Craig says:

    The other paper you reference seems better than most as it at least lists the manuscript evidence. However, just taking Matthew 19:17 as one example, it hardly goes forth ‘proving’ some sort of Gnostic corruption. Given that this passage is a parallel of Mark 10:17-30 and Luke 18:18-30, why didn’t these supposed ‘Gnostic corruptors’ change these passages as well? I’m not denying some potential problems, but I don’t see this passage as one of them; and, I don’t see Gnostic corruption in this text. If the resulting texts were really from a Gnostic source, they could sure do much better than that in changing the texts! Moreover, the Gnostic texts from the 2nd century were largely destroyed by the Church; however, of course with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts, we’ve found a sizable stash.

    I have White’s book The King James Only Controversy which I see as answering the snarkiness of KJV-only adherents with similar snarkiness. That’s not very helpful, in my opinion. And, I don’t think White is always right.

    But, I think we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. I’ve got more articles to post on the procedures of NT textual criticism which will shed more light and may bring more specific discussions.

  53. Craig says:

    In reading the link further, this guy takes things out of context. Looking at 1 John 4:3, we see that “Jesus Christ” was used in verse 2; so, some manuscripts do not have it repeated in verse 3 (where lies the author’s complaint). It would be quite alarming if the Alexandrinus and Vaticanus had deleted “Jesus Christ” from verse 2 AND verse 3, leaving only “Jesus” in both, yet they did not. This is the sort of thing where the author loses credibility in my book. He’s trying much too hard to ‘prove’ Gnostic corruption.

  54. Carolyn says:

    Like I always say…leave your agendas behind when you come to the Word. You can prove anything including Gnostic corruption if that’s your intent. But who doesn’t have an agenda?

    Here’s praying that God will give us an honest heart to hear what the Spirit is saying. Hopefully, through the process of learning, love will triumph. It’s a dog eat dog world when it comes to being right about anything including the dogmas about manuscripts.

  55. Craig says:

    Actually, the two texts I cited can be used to point out to very similar examples of trying to harmonize texts; i.e. making them more equal. First we’ll use Matthew 19:17 in which we’ll list the two parallel passages first in the King James Version:

    Mark 10:18 – And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

    Luke 18:19 – And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

    Matthew 19:17 – And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    Now here’s the NIV [1984] of the Matthew – “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

    The word order is a bit different in the NIV, but the basic thrust of the passage is evident EXCEPT the words “that is, God” are not in the NIV verse [compare verse 16 as well]. However, note how closely the KJV of the Matthew verse mirrors the other two parallel texts in the KJV. This may well be an example of the attempts of the copyists of the Byzantine text at harmonizing all three passages. NT textual critics note that this is a pattern found in the Byzantine texts [see here for but one source explaining this].

    Now, let’s look at 1 John 4:2-3, first the KJV:

    2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

    3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

    Now the NIV 1984:

    2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

    It is quite possible that the copyist/s added “Christ is come in the flesh” in the KJV [TR] in order to clarify the Apostle John’s intent by harmonizing verse 3 with verse 2. While I agree 100% that adding the words “Christ…” makes it clearer, if it truly was not in John’s original text, then we should not add it. Interestingly, it’s the KJVO folks who claim that the newer translations are in violation of Revelation 22:18-19 [and Deut 4:2, Proverbs 30:5-6] by ‘adding’ or ‘subtracting’ from “God’s Word”, when this same charge could be leveled back at the KJV using this criterion. This points to either the ignorance or the duplicity of those making these charges against the Critical Text.

  56. M. Rodriguez says:

    hello,

    I am an athiest, (former christian, seven months and counting), In my de-conversion I spent alot of time reading, studying, and blogging about the issue of inerrancy and the inspiration of scripture. For me, once I lost the inerrancy of scripture, I found the rest of the bible to be subjective and fallible.

    I reserached the different meanings of inerrancy and infallibality, The history of the bible, and the history of inerrancy. And yes I did read some things on ehrmans work. For me once I found that the foundation of christianity to be man-made (the bible) the rest to me seemed to be man-made also.

    If you would like a study tool on inerrancy, I also have a link page with a collection of my post, studies, and reserach on my blog. Its called a Complete Study on Inerrancy, Infalliablity and the inspiration of scripture.

  57. Craig says:

    M. Rodriguez,

    First, let me state that, as an atheist, you certainly have much more faith than I, for how can one look around oneself and think that all we experience with our five senses came about by happenstance?

    Sadly, you misunderstand the basis for the Christian faith. Christianity is based upon the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ – the incarnate Son of God, the Word made flesh – and the resulting Atonement which effects salvation for all who believe.

    But, it seems you formerly put faith in the wrong thing by misunderstanding just what it means by the ‘inerrancy’ of the Christian Scriptures. Contrary to what (perhaps) some within the Church may have thought (and some apparently still do), the Scriptures did not come about by some sort of ‘automatic writing'; i.e., it’s not as though God Himself dictated His very words and each writer of the OT and NT texts automatically wrote “God’s Words” as mere puppets on a string with God as the puppetmaster. The Scriptures are inspired, not dictated. Each writer used his own words and the vernacular of the time period and locale. To exalt the Bible as if it were the very words of God Himself is to be guilty of Bibliolatry – the Bible as idol.

    We do not have the original autographs to know definitively just what was written in the OT and NT texts with 100% certainty. But, it seems to me that even this was by divine design; for if we had all the original texts, undoubtedly, there would be fighting as to who would be privileged to house the texts. Again, Bibliolatry. Therefore, it just makes sense that we would have copies of copies. It’s not the exact wording with which we must concern ourselves, it’s the basic meaning behind the texts. Yet, this does not in any way diminish the importance of the Scriptures, nor does it mean the Bible we have is ‘in error’.

    Christians are to worship the Triune Godhead consisting of Father God, His Son and the Holy Spirit. We are not to ‘worship’ the Bible. For sure, the Bible is God’s Word to us, given to us through those men He selected. The Bible is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” [2 Tim 3:16-17; NIV 1984]. The Scriptures are inspired by God, yet written by men under Holy Spirit influence. However, fallible man has imperfectly copied the original manuscripts resulting in a Bible, as we have it, which is not perfect. However, the original autographs, the Scriptures in their original form, are absolutely the infallible Word of God.

    In Craig A. Evans’ book Fabricating Jesus, he opines that it may have been what he terms “brittle fundamentalism”, with the type of attitude of ‘show me any mistake in the Scriptures and I’ll discard it in toto‘, which caused Bart Ehrman to ‘lose faith’ [p 31]. I pray you’ll see the fallacy of this position and come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

  58. Craig says:

    I need to add a bit for clarity. I do believe there are sections in Scripture which are the very words of God (translated) such as:

    Exodus 3:14 (NIV) – God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

    And, Jesus’ words echoing this in John 8:58 (NIV) – “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

    However, there are places in which, for example, the Gospel writers do not record Jesus’ words in exactly the same order or manner. The Olivet discourse in Matthew 24 is an example, as Luke records these same texts in different places throughout his Gospel. It seems that Matthew wanted to put eschatology in one place in his own Gospel, or that Luke divided up some the text for other stylistic reasons.

  59. just1ofhis says:

    M. Rodriguez said: “For me, once I lost the inerrancy of scripture, I found the rest of the bible to be subjective and fallible.”

    Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. There is no inerrancy in Him. If a person comes to Holy Word of God with a desire to find error, or a desire to prove their own misgivings, they have come with an impure heart. They will find EXACTLY what they have sought to find. It is their own hearts which mislead them.

    Here, I disagree with Craig (though I say this with great love, brother). All scripture is God breathed. I believe that God spoke it through all His prophets as He willed to speak it. Where there seems to be disagreement (and I am not speaking to false “bibles” like “the message” here); that too serves God’s purpose. In part, I believe for those of us who love Him, that it drives us to seeking out God through the full counsel of His Word. In part, for those who do not love Him, it becomes a path that takes them away from him (as it did for M. Rodriguez…and we pray that God will show mercy and turn your heart).

    When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness:

    Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on EVERY WORD THAT COMES FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD’.” (Matt 4:4)

    Paul emphasized:

    “ALL SCRIPTURE IS GOD-BREATHED, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting,and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (3 Tim 16)

    Not only did Jesus speak to the inerrancy of scripture, He went further, plainly stating that scripture could not be taken apart or undone in any way:

    Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came–AND THE SCRIPTURE CANNOT BE BROKEN–what about the one whom the Father set apart as His very own and sent into the world?” (John 10:35)

    It is the very power of God Almighty that protects the scriptures and keeps them intact and infallable. All else is rubbish.

    We can no more idolize the bible than we can love Jesus too much. M. Rodriguez testimony should be a cautionary tale for all of us.

  60. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    I think we’re not that far apart, if at all. Perhaps I’ve not articulated my thoughts well enough. One thing I’m trying to do is draw a distinction between the satanic/demonic channeled writings which are done by these demonic forces moving a human vessel’s pen and the way in which Scripture was written. See here:

    http://www.theopedia.com/Inspiration_of_the_Bible

    My view is Plenary verbal inspiration:

    The word plenary means “full” or “complete”. Therefore, plenary verbal inspiration asserts that God inspired the complete text(s) of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, including both historical and doctrinal details. The word verbal affirms the idea that inspiration extends to the very words the writers chose. For example, in Acts 1:16 the Apostle Peter says “the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake” (KJV). Paul calls all scripture “God-breathed” in 2 Timothy 3:16 (referring to the Old Testament). Thus, the Holy Spirit guided the writers along (cf. 2 Peter 1:20-21) while allowing their own personalities and freedom to produce the Bible we have today. This view recognizes and asserts both the human and divine element within Scripture. This understanding has sometimes been compared and contrasted to the understanding of the two natures of Jesus.

    Just using the example from earlier of Matthew 19:17 and its parallel passages, even in the KJV, these three are not 100% identical. Did one of these (Luke) misquote Jesus, even if ever so slightly? Or, did the other two misquote Jesus and Luke get it exactly right? I think neither of these are the case and the plenary verbal inspiration view reconciles this.

    It is for this reason that it is presumed that some copyists had changed/”corrected” some passages in order that the words written by the different Gospel writers be absolutely identical – or at least closer than what the copyist had in his hand.

    Using just the Gospels as an example, we have to keep in mind that the Gospel writers did not actually put pen to paper until 30+ years after Christ’s Ascension. Certainly, these men wrote their respective Gospels under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, yet not every single quotation of Jesus’ words are identical in the Gospels. The basic contexts are correct, of course, but not every word. To be clear, I’m speaking of the original Koine Greek as taken from the multitudes of manuscripts available, not the texts translated into any other language or version.

    This view does not diminish the authenticity of the Scriptures, yet it accounts for some of the differences in words and style.

  61. Craig says:

    From the Theopedia link is the following, which I really like:

    \3) Inspiredness is not a quality attaching to corruptions that intrude in the course of the transmission of the text, but only to the text as originally produced by the inspired writers. The acknowledgement of biblical inspiration thus makes more urgent the task of meticulous textual criticism, in order to eliminate such corruptions and ascertain what the original text was.

    This was taken from J.I. Packer’s The Origin of the Bible.

  62. just1ofhis says:

    I actually learn a lot from reading your analysis, Craig. I appreciate all the hard work that you put into it, and I believe that is also a gift from the Holy Spirit and a part of how He is using you. It is so evident from the “fruit” of what you do. Saying that I disagreed with you was bit of an overstatement….sorry. It’s probably a good illustration of what I’m thinking in regards to how God uses the differences in how we state things to His glory.

    I really do believe that God intentionally uses those “differences” in words and style as a test of men’s hearts. If we love Him, He shows us the truth through them. If we don’t, all we see are the “differences”.

    Luke 4:4 (NIV) Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone’.”

    Matt 4:4 (NIV) Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.”

    So, someone like M. Rodriguez may call this an error in scripture. Which one did Jesus actually say? Or did he say “proceedeth out of the mouth of God” as the KJV puts it? As He was speaking in Aramaic, it was neither. The point, for those who love the Word, is that BOTH Luke 4:4 and Matt 4:4 point directly back to Deut 8:3; so there is no real “disagreement” in the scripture.

    “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deut 8:3)

    The context Jesus uses the scripture is to counter satan who is tempting Him to act apart from the will of God the Father and perform a “miracle” to satisfy the hunger of his belly. One of the great lessons from the scripture is that power of the Word of God to counter the lies of the enemy.

    We don’t need the orginal and exact statement of Jesus in Aramaic to understand it, but we do need the Holy Spirit of God.

  63. Craig says:

    I have struggled with the exact phrasing of the past few comments (not that I don’t carefully consider others), and I think these and other things could have been worded a bit better. It’s not easy to fully express one’s thoughts on such delicate matters!

  64. just1ofhis says:

    Craig,
    Men like Bill Johnson are so slippery that men like you are greatly needed to counter them. And there are many like him and few like you.

    The way I phrase things often stems from the fact that most of my time is spent teaching children, so I am usually trying to boil everything down to the basic. That’s why I believe that if you really want to get to the heart of someone’s teaching on the gospel, look at the material they use to teach children.

    BUT, the way that I teach my children probably falls short when dealing with people who follow men like Bill Johnson. It is not sophisticated enough, in general. So that’s where your writings become so critical. Somehow, God uses us in all the variations He has worked through us to keep the truth going forward into a dark world; hands, feet, elbows, heart, lungs, knees etc….all needed and working together.

    I’m not sure why, but this passage from Isaiah comes to mind when talking about how God uses those “differences” especially in languages, to test the hearts of men:

    Isaiah 28:

    7 And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions.

    (that passage alone should strike terror into the heart of the “drunk in the spirit” camp)

    8 All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth.

    9 “Who is he trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast?

    10 For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there.

    (verse 9 and 10 gives a picture of the Pharisees and religious “works based” system of rules they had put into place)

    11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people,

    12 to whom he said, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”; and, “This is the place of repose”–but they would not listen.

    (different, by design. The truth is presented and the way of rest laid out, but in a language foreign to the listeners; thereby, only becoming understandable through the gift of the Holy Spirit.)

    13 So then, the word of the LORD to them will become: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there—so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured.

    (and here, a vew of the Christian “works based” perversions of scripture, from the RCC on down to the word-faith “do this” and “God will do this” lies)

    Again, it is just my simple take on it the way that I would teach it to my children. But, God used that scripture to really help me understand the falling away in the church.

  65. Carolyn says:

    Good thoughts guys….

    Here’s mine. I think that the paper which you linked me to yesterday, Craig, is something everyone should read. http://www.kjvonly.org/other/demystify.htm

    It is the other side of the argument of the KJO crowd and tries to bring a more tempered evaluation of how the origins of Scripture should be judged. It focuses on methodology vs mystical assessment of the inerrancy of Scripture, which is worthy of consideration when you think about how the cults arrive at their “twisted truth”. The burning in the bosom of the Mormons, for instance is not a credible reason to support the Mormon doctrine. Neither is the “knowing” of the hyper-charismatics.

    This is an excerpt from the paper which got my attention and made me read on:

    “For those who are not familiar with the Greek manuscripts, significant differences in manuscripts (i.e., more than variations in spelling or word order) affect only about 10% of the NT text at most. About 90% of the NT text is the same in all manuscripts. Thus, the controversy is over the importance and implications of a NT which has varying amounts of certainty in at most 10% of its text. In any case, there is enough redundancy of the fundamental doctrines in any text to firmly establish what we fundamentalists have historically held.

    Many reasons have been advanced by the KJV faction to justify the splitting of fundamental churches over the TR-KJV issue. However, to some of us who are not KJV-only supporters, the reasons stated by various pro-KJV people are very often contradictory. It appears that the KJV supporters all agree on what the conclusions should be though they cannot agree with one another on what the foundations of their position are.

    We fundamentalists are perhaps too familiar with people leaving our churches for various reasons. Often, the people who do will give many different reasons for their leaving the church. What causes the church to be totally mystified is that often they will attend another church which has the same supposed faults. When this occurs, the situation should be demystified by determining the real reasons for their departing. In the same manner, this paper attempts to demystify the position of the pro-KJV faction.

    In reading this paper, my faith was not shaken, on the contrary…so I encourage everyone to read it.

    I do agree that careful scholarship has done much to preserve the Scripture but I also believe that the Scriptures have been preserved more in spite of man than because of him. When you read what went on back there, it’s a miracle that we still have the truth. I’m still considering what they have to say in this paper and comparing it with other articles because we SHOULD be resistant to change if it’s not based on/in the Truth. And I don’t like the idea of minimizing errors if they make a big difference to the overall theology, such as what went on with the agenda of Jerome and the Catholic Church in the Latin Vulgate (outlined in the following excerpt):

    Berean Call:

    http://www.thebereancall.org/content/july-2012-classic

    Here is an excerpt:
    “Fisk reminds us:

    Well-known examples of far-reaching errors include the whole system of Catholic “penance,” drawn from the Vulgate’s “do penance”…when the Latin should have followed the Greek— repent .

    Likewise the word “sacrament” was a mis-reading from the Vulgate of the original word for mystery . Even more significant, perhaps, was the rendering of the word presbyter (elder) as “priest.” 64

    Augustine described the problem that led to the production of the Vulgate: “In the earliest days of the faith, when a Greek manuscript came into anyone’s hands, and he thought he possessed a little facility in both languages, he ventured to make a translation [into Latin].” 65 As a consequence of such individual endeavor, Bruce says, “The time came, however, when the multiplicity of [Latin] texts [of Scripture] became too inconvenient to be tolerated any longer, and Pope Damasus…commissioned his secretary, Jerome, to undertake the work” of revision to produce one authorized Latin version.

    Bruce continues:

    “He [Jerome] was told to be cautious for the sake of ‘weaker brethren’ who did not like to see their favorite texts tampered with, even in the interests of greater accuracy. Even so, he went much too far for the taste of many, while he himself knew that he was not going far enough.” 66

    Unger’s Bible Dictionary comments:

    For many centuries it [Vulgate] was the only Bible generally used…. In the age of the Reformation the Vulgate [influenced] popular versions. That of Luther (N. T. in 1523) was the most important and in this the Vulgate had great weight. From Luther the influence of the Latin passed to our own Authorized Version [KJV]…. 67″

    Since I have been fooled before in the realms of Christendom, I have misgivings about the misrepresentations and plots of extremists, cults and the Roman Catholic Church, to deceive those who would blindly follow them.

    Is the Catholic Church putting down the resistance today through a Counter Reformation? Yes, they are. Does it help to be ignorant of the devices used in the past? No, it does not. I found the article by Dave Hunt to be especially revealing as to the use of Hegelian Dialectic Process in the use of Calvinism to divert attention from the Catholic Church but in reality they were in control of both systems. They both had their basis in the teachings of Augustine.

    I am interested in Truth…ignorance is no excuse. Neither is our claim that it’s all too confusing. I aways come back to Jesus’ words to Pilate…”anyone on the side of truth listens to me.” I am on the side of truth.
    Here’s another verse that has proved itself true to me:
    Jeremiah 29:13
    You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

  66. just1ofhis says:

    William Tyndale wrote a bit about Latin and its use in translating scripture. From my recollection, he found that English proved to be a much easier language to translate Greek and even Hebrew into than Latin; which at its very best provided for clunky translation. That certainly isn’t excusing the RCC and their many games they have played in the name of power. William Tyndale, as Martin Luther, believed the pope to be the anti-christ. It makes it all the harder to understand formerly protestant churches that are now embracing Rome (Roam?) and all her falsehoods.

    In Luther and Tyndale’s days, the RCC was using “Latin only” in the “mass”. The great irony is that many of the RCC priests themselves didn’t have more than a fleeting understanding of the Latin they were “preaching” in. Latin became a tool for the RCC to control the scriptures and to keep the public at large from understanding what was really contained in the Word of God.

    Now that the Word of God is available to even Catholics in the vernacular, the RCC has had to “control” people by claiming that it is “dangerous” for the common man to “interpret” scripture (their doctrines on this are mind-numbing); which again, completely undermines the power of the Holy Spirit working in person’s life to “bring them to the truth in all things”. (1 John 2:26-27 ATT…any true translation)

    They reduce Jesus Christ to a loaf of bread on an altar. (Prov 6:26)

    These conversations serve to sharpen us all; and I get a lot out of them….thanks to all!

  67. Craig says:

    (1 John 2:26-27 ATT…any true translation) “Any true translation” – I like that!

    They reduce Jesus Christ to a loaf of bread on an altar. (Prov 6:26) You mean Jesus wasn’t the manna or bread made flesh?

    On a very tangential note: Your comment about the Greek being more difficult to translate into Latin than English may be part of the reason why in the early Church there were some disagreements over the deity of Christ. I think a lot had to do with a language gap.

  68. just1ofhis says:

    I should add, I’m not an expert on Luther by any stretch of the imagination; but William Tyndale, whose translations had incredible influence in the original KJV translation, wrote about the shortcomings of Latin in translating scripture.

    He was fluent in Greek and Hebrew; and, I believe, most of his translation originated with Greek and Hebrew scriptures.

    “From Luther the influence of the Latin passed to our own Authorized Version [KJV]…. 67″

    I question Unger Bible dictionary in this. If you cross the KJV with William Tyndale’s translations, you will find about 90% of the KJV being a direct copy of Tyndale (although Tyndale received no recognition in the KJV). Tyndale published his NT translation into English (from Greek) in 1534. I’ll have to dig out my Tyndale books, but he was highly critical of the Latin translation.

    In 1499, Erasmus of Rotterdam actually started the process translating the Bible from the original Greek of the NT into the vernacular. In 1516, Erasmus published a GREEK New Testament with a parallel version of the Latin version of the Greek in a column alongside it. This NT challenged, as it was intended to do, the infallibility of the Vulgate. Luther and Tyndale BOTH used the Greek translation of Erasmus to publish their bibles in the vernacular. As Erasmus was posing a challenge to the Catholic church, and his writing greatly influenced Luther and Tyndale; I think it is safe to question those who point to the Latin Vulgate as the source for much of the work of the church reformers.

    David Daneil published both a biography of William Tyndale and a modern-spelling edition of the 1534 translation of Tyndale’s New Testament. Daniell’s introduction to Tyndale in the NT translation are amazing.

    Matthew 4:3-4 (modern day spelling of Tyndale’s 1534 NT)

    Then came to him the tempter, and said: if thou be the son of God, command that these stones be made bread. He answered and said: it is written, man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

    Matthew 4:3-4 (KJV, first published 1611)

    And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

  69. Craig says:

    There may be some truth in Unger’s assertion. The Johannine comma (the 1 John 5:7-8 insertion) may be a hold-over from the Vulgate due to a sort of ‘tradition’. There may have been pressure to add it to his version since it was not in the original Erasmus Bible and was subsequently added later. And, of course, this was also in Textus Receptus, the Greek behind the KJV.

  70. just1ofhis says:

    “They reduce Jesus Christ to a loaf of bread on an altar. (Prov 6:26) You mean Jesus wasn’t the manna or bread made flesh?”

    I mean the Catholic church, among others, reduces the work of Jesus Christ to nothing more than a Eucharist meal and a loaf of bread on a altar to be “adored”. I have a Catholic friend who believes he is only in the presence of Jesus when he attends “Eucharistic adoration” once a month or when he “eats the flesh of Jesus” at communion. All else in his life stems from the working of the RCC, not from the power of God through Jesus Christ. This comes from direct teaching of the RCC. It fills the prophecy of Proverbs (and Revelation) about the “prostitute” church. She is sweet as honey in the mouth, but bitter in the stomach. (Proverbs 5:3-6) (Rev 10)

    The truth of who she is was hidden up until the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet. (again Rev 10)

    Just cross Rev 10 and Proverbs 5 and 6 (and pray, as always).

    As far as I know, sweet as honey in the mouth and bitter in the stomach ONLY occurs in these two places in the Bible.

    The trumpet of the seventh angel signifies the Day of the LORD,,,,judgment day. “Come out of her, my people…” is taking on great urgency. Her days, and the days of all that cling to her in any manner or form, are coming to a very fast and violent end. If they do not come out, they will share in her punishments.

    Charismatics embrace of the “desert fathers” and mysticism falls into this.

  71. Craig says:

    Sorry, I was being facetious. I shoulda put a smiley or something to denote this. Yes, I’m aware of the RCC belief in the “real presence” in the Eucharist.

  72. just1ofhis says:

    I was kind of wondering about that…

    But due to the number of distractions around here, I didn’t stop to think about it long enough to get the “joke”, Craig.

    I just looked up the Tyndale translation:

    “This Jesus Christ is he that came by water and blood, not by water only: but by water and blood. And it is the spirit that beareth witness, because the spirit is truth. (For there are three which bear record in heaven: the father, the word, and the holy ghost. And these three are one). For there are three which bear record (in earth:) the spirit, and water, and blood: and these three are one.”

    Interesting to see how he handled it.

  73. just1ofhis says:

    This is interesting, also. In Tyndale’s last note to the reader, he discusses a man named George Joye who had made changes to Tyndale’s NT without putting his own name on them, passing them off as Tyndale translations, all while Tyndale was making final corrections to his NT before publishing.

    One of Joye’s changes was to replace the word “resurrection” with “life after this life”, aparently throughout the entire NT. Tyndale discusses both the change and addressed the problem of Joye passing it off as Tyndale’s work. At the heart of it though, is this little description:

    “Moreover, ye shall understand that George Joye hath had of a long time marvellous imaginations about this word resurrection, that it should be taken for the state of the souls after their departing from their bodies, and hath also (though he hath been reasoned with thereof and desired to cease) yet sown his doctrine by secret letters on that side the sea, and caused great division among the brethren.”

    Truly, there is nothing new under the sun…(smiley face denotation!)

  74. just1ofhis says:

    Daniell provided a brief glossary of some of the terms that Tyndale used in 1534 which would give difficulty to readers today. As I was reading it, it occurred to me that it isn’t just the language which colors the way we see things, but the very times we walk in. Just a brief sampling:

    cavillations legal quibbles to defraud
    charger platter
    clave split
    cods husks or pods
    compass circle
    complextion temperament
    conclude convince

    Technically, all of those words are English, but only one list would be understandable to the reader today. This doesn’t even take into account differing spellings of words.

    The cavillations of the KJVonly adherents would seem to be putting a clave into the body of Christ. (one last smiley face denotation!)

    btw, if I understand it correctly; wouldn’t the KJVonly adherent discredit the Tyndale translation also. The irony there is that 90% of Tyndale is in the KJV; and, yes, there were a few slight translation errors in Tyndale that eventually received proof correction. Tyndale, himself, worked diligently on proof correction. I don’t think any honest translator would ever view his own work as perfect; but every true translator should view the Word of God as perfect. And there is the glue that binds us.

  75. Craig says:

    I believe KJV-onlys would claim they ‘improved’ the Tyndale.

  76. M. Rodriguez says:

    @Craig

    you certainly have much more faith than I, It’s funny how many times I have heard the comment from christians, including those close to me (my wife, the elders at the church). Really it took no faith to come to the conclusion that the bible and Christianity are man-made.

    inerrancy by itself did not cause me to lose faith or come to the conclusion the christianity is man-made. but it was a driving catalyst. Really it was christianity itself as a whole that caused me come the realization, that its all lie.

    During my-deconversion, when reading the bible, or William Lane Craig, or JP Moreland, CS Lewis, or anyother apologist, I would investigate any claim that gave support for Christianity.

    For me the way inerrancy played a part in the de-conversion, is once God’s Word -the bible, was no longer gods word, because it was filled inerrancy, what support was their for believing in the bible.

    Now the problem with inerrancy, as some christians apologist put it, is that it is a high maintenance doctrine and it causes more questions than it answers.

    If you really do believe inerrancy, than here is alist of bible contradictions. And if you do think that there is answer for all them, your wrong there is not. I’ve looked.

    http://1001biblecontradictions.com/

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html

  77. Craig says:

    M.,

    I’m sure neither of us are going to convince the other; that is, I’m not going to convince you that the Christian faith is real and you’re not going to convince me that it isn’t. So, let’s just leave it at that. However, whether or not you ‘believe’ in the Christian faith, to deny that there is a deity of some sort begs the question of just how we experience the things we do with our five senses. I’d like to know how something – that is, the world we live in, to include we ourselves – can come about from absolutely no external impetus. It becomes the chicken and egg question.

  78. M. Rodriguez says:

    I do have some questions for both Craig and Just1ofhis about inerrancy. These are to get you thinking.
    1. If you think that only the originals were inerrant, and none of current copies are, why do you think god would inspire an entire book, but not take the care to make sure to translate and preserve his word accurately?
    2. If the bible is inerrant, which version is the most accurate and Why?
    3. And which edition of that version is most accurate? because most versions have several editions (IE: NIV, and KJV)
    4. Which NT family of manuscripts would be the inspired inerrant version of God’s word? The Byzantine or the Alexandrian?
    5. Which OT family of manuscripts? (Septugaint, Dead Sea Scrolls, targrum,peshitta) there are more this, I just listed the ones I am most familar with.

  79. M. Rodriguez says:

    U know if that is a question you really have then go and search it out. Really for me the unanswered question, is not proof of God, it’s just another unanswered question.

    I call my atheist, but really I’m more of a non-theist. Because I don’t deny/reject the existence of any generic God or Gods. but typically when people get into the conversations about God, they are talking about the God of the bible. The god of abraham Isaac and jacob. And I have studied christianity and the bible enough to be able to come the conclusion I have.

    For me this a life or death question. The existence of God is a life or death question. And I wish more people would take it as serious as I have.

    Because if I am wrong, I spend an eternity in hell?

    but if you are wrong, you just wasted the one most precious gift—your life?

    So at what point does the question of (the Christian) God’s existence become a question of faith; and at what point does it become a question of reason and evidence and proof.

  80. Craig says:

    M.,

    I’m not going to turn this into a debate with you; however, I’ll answer your questions. Now, answer mine from earlier re: how did the world come about with no external impetus.

    1) The Bible we have is accurate with respect to important doctrine. All the copyists errors are of no doctrinal importance. The Bible that we have is not the same as the perfect document it was (the original autographs) because man is imperfect. And, man is imperfect because of sin as a result of the Fall.
    2) I’ve no idea which exact version is the most accurate as each one has strengths and weaknesses. But, that’s the wrong question. The right question is which text when considering all of the manuscripts are representative of the original. At best, it’s a very educated guess. However, this does not diminish the essential truths of Scripture.
    3) Again, wrong question.
    4) I believe no manuscript family is perfect and all are representative of the inerrant Word of God; however, copyists have made errors and “corrections”. Once again, man is imperfect, which means no family/type, etc. of manuscript is without error.
    5) Septuagint is a good representative of the OT; DSS, Targum and Peshitta are not inspired. However, the DSS have helped in illustrating the Masoretic Text as we have it is faithful – though not perfect.

  81. Craig says:

    M.,

    Thanks for answering my question. OK then, you’re not an atheist, but perhaps a theist who is unsure of what to believe or perhaps an agnostic.

    My worldview is based on my Christian faith. Since you’ve an idea of the Christian faith, then you well know my answers to the question on eternity. The belief in the existence of God IS a life and death question.

    The Christian faith is not faith in the unreasonable; it’s faith in an historic figure, namely Jesus Christ, with a concurrent belief that He is Deity as evidenced by the empty tomb.

    Now, I’m not going to debate the Christian faith with you. This blog is Christian-based and assumes readers are Christian, seeking Christianity, or at least quasi-Christian.

    In thinking further about your 5 questions, I’m wondering if you really understand the discipline of textual criticism. You should look into the number and vintage of extant manuscripts of Homer’s Illiad and Plato’s Republic (as but two examples) and compare these to the numbers of extant NT manuscripts and their vintage.

  82. M. Rodriguez says:

    I understand I’ll stop I won’t turn this into an online debate. I understand that is site for christians.

    Yes I have research much on textual criticism, And I did my research on textual criticism well Long before my deconversion. So I familar with the number of manuscripts vs. the 2nd which is the Iliad. I also familar with the timeframe of manuscripts as it dates to the originals.

    However I am also familar with our very first manuscript P52, and the first complete bible codex sinaticus and the history of the bible and how the bible was put together. And the different non-biblical sources. like I said, I’ve always considered this a life or death question..So I have researched it extensively. I even have a post on textual criticism

    http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/the-issue-of-translation/

  83. Craig says:

    I was wondering because it seems you’ve done as some others have – posited a false dichotomy between the Byzantine and Alexandrian manuscripts. In addition, all the modern versions (NIV, NASB, RSV, ESV, etc.) use the Critical Text, i.e. Greek texts considering modern manuscript evidence – such as the Alexandrian, Byzantine and what some have called the Western as well as Ethiopian, Coptic and other languages translated from the Greek, as well as evidence from the early church – as a basis for their translations. My point is that they are all derived from essentially the same Greek texts (with some exceptions). This is as opposed to the Textus Receptus which is derived solely from a portion of the Byzantine which underlies the KJV and NKJV. The Byzantine is also known as the Majority Text since there are more extant copies within this text type, which causes a bit of confusion. The TR is based only on a portion of the Byzantine/Majority Text; consequently, when the entirety of this text type is taken into consideration, the TR is found to include texts which are actually a minority of the extant Byzantine/Majority text – a minority of the Majority, if you will.

    While it helps to start learning a bit of Greek, one does not have to know any Greek in order to study textual criticism, of course. The single best source I’ve found for the layperson is J. Harold Greenlee’s The Text of the New Testament: From Manuscript to Modern Edition:

  84. Craig says:

    M.,

    In addition, I recently wrote a review on a book which I find helpful for textual criticism. It’s also geared more to the layperson:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/book-review-roger-omansons-a-textual-guide-to-the-greek-new-testament/

  85. M. Rodriguez says:

    thats a book I’ve never heard of but it seems like a good read. because I wish not to turn this into a debate, If you ever want to chat it up on textual criticism or anything else, you can leave a comment on my blog or the issue of translation post.

    I enjoy these type of conversations, because when I was a christian, I spent alot of time studying textual criticism and the history of the bible. So the knowledge and information is still there, but I no longer have any use or need for it anymore, because I no longer a christian and I no longer do ministry work at my church.

    thanks for the conversation.

  86. Craig says:

    You’re welcome. I don’t know if I’d have time to devote to your blog; however, I will be continuing this series here. If you read on, you’ll see that I’m somewhat critical of the methods currently in use.

  87. just1ofhis says:

    M. Rodriguez says,

    “but if you are wrong, you just wasted the one most precious gift—your life?”

    The ONLY life that the born-again Christian have is our life with Christ Jesus; because life on earth outside of Him is death.

    Of course, that statement is ridiculous to those who are outside of Christ as yourself. We, who preach the cross of Jesus, sound like fools; something we are painfully aware of.

    Your life on earth is a mere breath. It will end before you know it. Those years that are a gift (from whom, do you think?) are fleeting.

    Our lives with Christ Jesus are eternal; of that, we are certain; and joy and peace are ours in abundance. In Him, we have forgiveness for our sins, new life, and the promise of something that cannot be explained in words.

    I have a relative whose favorite book is “The God Delusion”. She is certain of nothing, save for uncertainty. Outside of fleeting temporal things, she has never experienced real joy or peace in all her life. Her sins are not forgiven; and if she does not repent through the name of Jesus Christ and come to Him in the truth of His Word, she will be cut off in misery and despair for all eternity. I ache for her.

    If you have chosen to turn away from the Word of God; you either never were really convicted as to the truth of God’s Word in the first place (in which, I have hope that He will have mercy on you and convict you of that truth), or you knew the joy of forgiveness in Jesus Christ and chose to reject it.

    The ears of those who are truly saved will only listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd who is Jesus Christ. They know His voice and will follow no other.

  88. Carolyn says:

    A few thoughts on the relevance of this study of Textual Criticism for me:

    What is the ultimate purpose of all this learning, I ask myself? Is it for the sake of winning an argument? superior knowledge of a subject? the conquest of a new field of study?

    Personally, I don’t have the time or energy to learn something new for the sake of learning something new. So why would I be learning the language of Original Autographs and Textual Criticism???? In my humble opinion, it is all about communication and dependence on the Holy Spirit….stay with me….

    For example: when I was led by the Holy Spirit to homeschool, I was thrown into the world of homeschooling trade shows and had to learn a new language involving curriculums, teaching aids and personal adjustments according to learning styles. And all for the purpose of communicating education to my children and learning to depend on the H.S. one day at a time.

    Now, I am learning Mandarin Chinese with my 2 year old grandson. Not because I want to learn a new language, (last thing on my list of fun things to do), but because if I want to communicate with him, I need to first understand what he’s saying. And the Holy Spirit is proving to me that He CAN teach old dogs, new tricks. And even through this simple exercise, he is teaching me the art of patient endurance.

    Just so with this study of the different manuscripts. Lately I have been troubled by the cult-like, separatist mentality of the KJO agenda. I seem to be on a circular path where one minute I’m believing them that the KJV is the only version that is not corrupted. But then the uneasy feeling returns that something isn’t right. Still basing my evaluation of which version is correct on the value system that I was raised with, I lacked the tools to connect the dots, solve the mystery and be able to express some sort of factual evidence to the contrary.

    So…knowledge of the facts is key to communication in this field of study as well. It probably wouldn’t matter if the truth about original autographs remained a mystery to me until I passed to the other side, but instead, the Holy Spirit decided to clear up the mystery for me in the present time period and knock a few obstinate, rough edges off my belief system in the process.

    Once again.. a practical communication success story. The Holy Spirit saw that I wanted to know the truth, knew I had no idea how to go about finding it……(Greek manuscripts would have been the last place I would have thought to look) and made it happen. Thanks be to God. His mercies endure forever! He delights to do great things for us, above what we would even ask or think.

    Ephesians 3:20
    Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

  89. Carolyn says:

    M. Rodriguez…what precious life? Come back to Jesus. He is the giver of life. This is such a short walk compared to eternity. All is emptiness without the God’s love. You merely followed a mental, heady pathway that led to nowhere. Christ is the Narrow Pathway that leads to life…Repent and return to Him. God loves you and so do we!

  90. Carolyn says:

    Craig: In my referencing the article by Dave Hunt above, I commented about the Hegelian Dialectic as though it had been part of the article. Actually it was an insight by someone else commenting (first comment) on the article re-posted at DTW.

    http://www.discerningtheworld.com/2013/01/29/calvinisms-roman-catholic-connection

    Sometimes after I read so much, everything runs together…my apologies.
    FYI – Norman Geisler is mentioned a couple of times in the article…

  91. Craig says:

    All,

    In fairness to M. Rodriguez, let’s not engage further with his/her earlier comments as s/he and I have agreed not to turn this into a back and forth debate in which ‘our side’ defends Christianity and ‘his/her side’ explains why s/he thinks Christianity is “man-made”. My only comment is that there is a reason M. has landed here as I don’t believe in “coincidences”. Let’s leave it at that.

  92. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    I don’t know why, but your last comment, which I see you’ve attempted to post 3 times, ended up going to spam. I unspammed them, then deleted two (for redundancy, of course).

    I had wondered about the Hegelian Dialectic as being applicable in that article (I only skimmed it). Though I admittedly skimmed it, I’m not so sure that Calvinism is, in essence, a part of RCC-ism just because each one cites Augustine. Just like all the other great theologians, I read Calvin but reject some things I don’t see as fully lining up with God’s Word. While I’m not on board with Calvinism, for example, I don’t outright reject Calvin. (I’ve even quoted Calvin in an article or two.) Similarly, while I self-identify mostly with Protestantism, I don’t subscribe 100% to the views of any one denomination. And, given that Luther is the ‘founder’ of Protestantism, I will say that I definitely depart from many things in Lutheranism including the belief in communio naturarum, or “communion of natures”, in which Jesus’ human and divine natures ‘commune’ with one another, and their belief in consubstantiation, which I see as the same as the RCC transubstantiation. Bottom line: I don’t follow a man-made system.

  93. just1ofhis says:

    As I was waking up this morning, I was reminded of this little story:

    A relative of mine had passed away, and his non-believing family selected a very apostate church for his funeral. Many of the friends and family in attendance were also not saved. That morning I was on my knees asking God to speak the Gospel through this badly fallen pastor (I heard this man defend homosexuality publically). Unknown to me at the time, my mom was doing the same thing elsewhere. God is so faithful! That pastor preached Gospel and only-Gospel at the service. I actually believe this happens often, even in RCC churches, light shines through the dark because God makes it shine.

    My point is that God can speak through anyone, even through the mouth of a donkey, something which should humble anyone getting “words” they believe to be from the LORD.

    So the greatest problem with the KJVO adherents, in my view, is that they forget the power of God in preserving His Holy Word. If there are corrupted scriptures, they are only there because He has allowed it as a part of judgment passing on those who desire them.

    ATT’s (all true translation’s) may not be “perfect” literal translations; but they are absolutely “perfect” Spiritual translations, simply on the merits of being the Word of God relayed through the power of God. I believe that has been your point all along, Craig, or at least close to it.

  94. Craig says:

    just1ofhis,

    Thanks for sharing your story. God is faithful!

    I’d say you understand my point on legitimate translations. And, while the KJV/NKJV is flawed because of the Greek text underlying it, it is not fatally flawed. Just taking the two common problems of Acts 8:37 and 1 John 5:7-8, neither of these are doctrinal aberrations; they are additions which obviously attempt, misguidedly, to clarify or bolster the context.

  95. just1ofhis says:

    Craig,
    Do you know where the perversion of the 10 commandments began? I know it is with the RCC, but is that how the Vulgate reads, or was it the way that the church was choosing to teach it? Luther continued the teaching, leaving off the 2nd command regarding crafting of idols and breaking the 10th command into 2 separate “do no covets” to make up for it.

    I have a Catholic “Jerusalem Bible” which maintains the 10 commandments with the 2nd “idols” in place and the 10th alone as “do not covet”. But, I know that is not how the RCC teaches this. The most conservative Lutheran churches still adhere to the RCC version, which may explain why they have no problem with statues of Martin Luther on their campuses. It interests me, because I believe that is a “fatal” flaw; whether in scripture or in teaching.

    My suspicion with much of the problems both in the RCC historically and throughout the church today is that the larger problem is less translation error than ungodly interpretation and deceitful teaching.

    I was actually expecting to see the 10 commandments perverted in the Jerusalem Bible and was surprised to find them intact. The omission of the “idol” commandment from Catholic teaching has had such horrible results for that church.

    I’m no expert in Catholic Bibles or the Latin Vulgate, but I am very familiar with Catholic teaching. It isn’t the first time I have been surprised to pick up that Jerusalem Bible and find the scriptures basically intact.

  96. Craig says:

    I’d not heard that about Luther regarding the 10 commandments; so, I cannot comment. As for the RCC, I’m not well versed in the Vulgate; however, I DO know that the RCC exalts its own “Tradition” as equal to Scripture. “Tradition” includes the Cathechism and the multitudes of Councils over the years. IIRC, one of them specifically affirms the use of idols/relics.

    I do need to say that the first seven councils are known as the “Seven Ecumenical Councils” which are affirmed in varying ways among Protestantism. Most Protestants affirm the first five. However, importantly, it’s mainly the resulting Creeds and not the entirety of the individual Councils which are affirmed in Protestantism. If I can ever get to it, I have a very lengthy post which discusses some aspects of the first Councils in one part, as I deem these very important. These first few set forth important doctrines, all codified from Scripture, such as the Trinity and the two natures (divine and human) of Jesus Christ.

  97. just1ofhis says:

    The ten commandments (from “Luther’s Little Instruction Book”):

    The Ten Commandments: The Simple Way a Father Should Present Them to His Household

    A. The First Commandment

    You must not have other gods.

    Q. What does this mean?

    A. We must fear, love, and trust God more than anything else.

    B. The Second Commandment

    You must not misuse your God’s name.

    Q. What does this mean?

    A. We must fear and love God, so that we will not use His name to curse, swear, cast a spell, lie or deceive, but will use it to call upon Him, pray to Him, praise Him and thank Him in all times of trouble.

    C. The Third Commandment

    You must keep the Sabbath holy.

    Q. What does this mean?

    A. We must fear and love God, so that we will not look down on preaching or God’s Word, but consider it holy, listen to it willingly, and learn it.

    D. The Fourth Commandment

    You must honor your father and mother. [So that things will go well for you and you will live long on earth].

    Q. What does this mean?

    A. We must fear and love God, so that we will neither look down on our parents or superiors nor irritate them, but will honor them, serve them, obey them, love them and value them.

    E. The Fifth Commandment

    You must not kill.

    Q. What does this mean?

    A. We must fear and love God, so that we will neither harm nor hurt our neighbor’s body, but help him and care for him when he is ill.

    F. The Sixth Commandment

    You must not commit adultery.

    Q. What does this mean?

    A. We must fear and love God, so that our words and actions will be clean and decent and so that everyone will love and honor their spouses.

    G. The Seventh Commandment

    You must not steal.

    Q. What does this mean?

    A. We must fear and love God, so that we will neither take our neighbor’s money or property, nor acquire it by fraud or by selling him poorly made products, but will help him improve and protect his property and career.

    H. The Eighth Commandment

    You must not tell lies about your neighbor.

    Q. What does this mean?

    A. We must fear and love God, so that we will not deceive by lying, betraying, slandering or ruining our neighbor’s reputation, but will defend him, say good things about him, and see the best side of everything he does.

    I. The Ninth Commandment

    You must not desire your neighbor’s house.

    Q. What does this mean?

    A. We must fear and love God, so that we will not attempt to trick our neighbor out of his inheritance or house, take it by pretending to have a right to it, etc. but help him to keep & improve it.

    J. The Tenth Commandment

    You must not desire your neighbor’s wife, servant, maid, animals or anything that belongs to him.

    Q. What does this mean?

    A. We must fear and love God, so that we will not release his cattle, take his employees from him or seduce his wife, but urge them to stay and do what they ought to do.

    As with the RCC, there is no mention of the second commandment; and the last commandment is split into two to make up the difference. Luther was attempting to reform the RCC and not split from it, which may explain the adherence to the RCC tradition. But, this reading of the ten commandments is certainly short of “sola scriptora”, imo.

  98. Craig says:

    I would agree that this falls well short of “sola scriptura”.

    As an aside: I don’t think this goes far enough on taking the LORD’s name in vain. To profane is to treat as ordinary something that is sacred. Therefore, to flippantly say “Oh my G__” is in violation of the 3rd commandment, as I see it.

  99. Carolyn says:

    Craig…sometimes, God calls us to get off the fence…in regards to Calvinism, I see it as an opposing gospel. And having been regarded by some as a non-Christian because I did not comply with Calvin’s beliefs, I take offence. Theirs is a false gospel, not mine. But this is not an argument with you…you are where you are, I am where I am.

    With regards to my comments to MR…I felt his being here was a divine appointment. And I know if I was in his shoes, I would appreciate someone caring about me…and being honest…I’m not sitting in judgment…just showing Christian charity. I will refrain from further comment.

    Re spam…as I was posting my comments, they just disappeared off the screen. So I backed up, hit post comment again and same thing. Fortunately for you, I gave up after only 3 tries. :-)

  100. just1ofhis says:

    Tyndale on translating into English, from C.II. 4 of his book, “The Obedience of a Christian Man” (quoted from David Daniell in “William Tyndale, A Biography” pg. 228 and 229):

    “The sermons which thou readest in the Acts of the apostles, and all that the apostles preached, were no doubt preached in the mother tongue. Why then might they not be written in the mother tongue? As if one of us preach a good sermon why may it not be written? Saint Jerome also translated the bible into his mother tongue. Why may not we also? They will say it cannot be translated into our tongue it is so rude. It is not so rude as they are false liars. For the Greek tongue agreeth more with the English than with the Latin. And the properties of the Hebrew tongue agreeth a thousand times more with the English than with the Latin. The manner of speaking is both one, so that in a thousand places thou needest not but to translate it into the English word for word, when thou must seek a compass in the Latin, and yet shall have much work to translate it well favouredly, so that it have the same grace and sweetness, sense and pure understanding with it in the Latin, and as it hath in the Hebrew. A thousand parts better may it be translated into the English, than into the Latin.”

    In C.II. of the same, Tyndale argued:

    “1. Christ and Paul deferred to Scripture. How can we similarly test what someone alleges of them without it?

    2. Christ warned of false prophets. Again the only test (in this vital matter) is Scripture.”

    Tydale made these points in 1528.

    In England, it was against the law to print the Bible in any language but Latin. Tyndale had to work abroad for a time, and his translations were smuggled, by some claims into the thousands, into England.

  101. Carolyn says:

    Just1ofhis – I agreeth with William Tyndale. Thanx, that’s good information.

  102. Craig says:

    …They will say it cannot be translated into our tongue it is so rude….

    OK, so it was translated from the original Greek into Latin for the Vulgate, yet it is “so rude” to translate into English? The Vulgate itself is not an entirely faithful translation of the original Koine Greek. This is why textual criticism is so very important: We must first determine, to the best of our abilities, just what IS the original Koine Greek NT texts, and from there do as faithful a translation into the desired language – whether English, French, etc. – as possible.

  103. just1ofhis says:

    I agreeth too!

    An interesting thing for me, and Phyllis would be much more knowledgeable here, is the development of language in Europe (England in particular, as our native tongue developed there).

    “Beowulf” was written between the mid 7th century to the end of the 10th:

    And yes, this is English (unfortunately, I don’t know how to put all the symbols in, but you’ll get the idea):

    “Gegrette oa gumena gehwylcne, hwate helm-berend hindeman side, swaese gesioas: ”

    (Then he addressed each dear companion one final time, those fighters in their helmets, resolute and high-born:)

    (don’t be impressed, I have a translation)

    While men and times and languages change, God is the same yesterday, today, and always. Where men were desiring to share the truth of the gospel with others, God faithfully provided a way and will continue to.

    The RCC’s greatest evil in the days of the Reformers was keeping the Holy Word of God out of the vernacular. Once men have the Bible in their native tongue, what they do with it is a matter of heart. Jesus told us that the Pharisees diligently studied the scriptures. He never questioned the validity of the scriptures they were studying. They were a pit of vipers, because they walked the earth with uncircumsized hearts and were always resisting the Holy Spirit of God.

    We see those same perversions across the church spectrum today, for the same reason. Kenneth Copeland, Bill Johnson, the Pope, Rick Warren, and all their kind HAVE the Word of God in front of them. They are a pit of vipers, because they resist the Holy Spirit of God and pursue their own agendas. In this way, they, like the RCC of Tyndale’s day, work to keep the truth of the Word of God out of the “vernacular”. They do this by muddying the waters with all their false teachings and pointing their followers to everything but the truth.

    “Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit, they refuse to return. I have listened attentively, but they do not do what is right. No one repents of his wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues his own course, like a horse charging into battle.

    Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration.

    But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD. How can you say, ‘We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,’ when actually THE LYING PEN OF THE SCRIBES HAS HANDLED IT FALSELY?” (Jer 8: 5-8)

  104. Carolyn says:

    Craig, I thought this was “pro” translating it into English. Jerome translated it into Latin because the Catholics were trying to say it was the easier, better language. And yet English is a easier language. The ordinary folks were responding against this move, wanting an English translation instead. I thought.

    I’m confused.

  105. Craig says:

    My understanding is that Jerome translated into Latin because Latin was spoken in certain areas; therefore, it was translated in order to make it understandable to those who didn’t speak Greek. Though I believe he may have had good intentions, it wasn’t a perfect translation. Later, when Latin was no longer common, some wanted to keep the Bible in the Latin as it was said (by current leadership) to be in ‘God’s language’ or something of the sort. This effectively, kept the Word of God away from the common person as it was unintelligible to them. This is where Tyndale came in.

    The Douay-Rheims is the English version of the Latin Vulgate, i.e., instead of going back to the Greek for an English translation, it was translated directly from the Vulgate. That’s not the way it should be done as any errors in translation from the Greek to the Latin are replicated into the Douay-Rheims. Some Catholics today still prefer the D-R instead of the newer RCC New American Bible.

  106. just1ofhis says:

    Carolyn,
    Jerome made his translation from “old Latin” into a “common Latin” in the 4th Century. Tyndale’s translations come in 1000 years later. In Tyndale’s day, the RCC was holding out the notions that Latin was a superior language and that English was too vulgar in an effort to keep the Bible under their control (and out of the vernacular). As Tyndale rightly stated, they were lies.

    In the 4th Century, “English” (anglo-saxon) was very much a developing language, completely unrecognizable to you and I. By Tyndale’s day, it was close to it’s current form.

    Not sure if that clears it up, but you are looking at two very different time periods.

  107. just1ofhis says:

    Craig said, “My understanding is that Jerome translated into Latin because Latin was spoken in certain areas; therefore, it was translated in order to make it understandable to those who didn’t speak Greek.”

    I’m no expert in this, but I also understand it that way also. There were “Old Latin” translations of scripture in Jerome’s day, and he was put to the task of translating a “common Latin” which would have been his spoken language (or at least one of them).

  108. Carolyn says:

    Thanks for the clarification guys. I think I got it now.

    Jeremiah 8:5-8 really makes sense in this context, Just1ofhis…

  109. ruckrover says:

    I just finished reading “Holy Enigma: Bible verses you’ll never hear in Sunday school.”

    It is a good read by author Steve Ward – http://books.google.com.au/books?id=agIDkpt3oYMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=holy+enigma&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UH0MUavhIIaKkwXL8IDYDA&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA

    The author is a committed Christian from an evangelical perspective, who spends 3 years in his retirement prayerfully reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, every verse – and takes copious notes of passages that are internally contradictory or portray God in an evil light.

    He finds that by and large he can stick with his belief that the Bible is the inspired word of God – overall. But he honestly and courageously gives away absolute Biblical Inerrancy in his prayerful journey – and he feels with God’s blessing too.

    For example – the biblical genocides – there’s around 40 of these as far as I can count, wherein the Hebrew tribes wipe out another nationality. Invariably they claim God’s command to do so, and even God’s participation in the battles and smiting and slaughter. The worst would seem to be the conquest of the Midianites – end of book of Samuel. The army of the Hebrews spares the civilians, Moses is very angry and says God commands the killing of all the Midianites – men, women and children – apart from virgin girls/young women – who are to be “used” by the Hebrew army. i.e. the typical sociology of genocide – kill all the males and older women and rape the young women and girls.

    This divinely approved of act (along with the 40 odd other genocides, strange and at times cruel laws in Leviticus etc, sexism of both OT and NT, strong support for slavery, a few weird stories e.g. God trying to kill Moses as he is walking along so Moses quickly gets circumcised, and internal contradictions – including Jeremiah 7 where God says to the prophet that he didn’t inspire the laws of Moses anyway and the weirdness of the Book of Revelation) – all lead Ward to abandon biblical inerrancy.

    What he realises is that the Bible is a combination of the dialogue between God and humanity and written by both parties, increasingly getting it right in the narratives about the real true Word of God – who is not a book but as pointed out in John ch. 1 – the eternal Word who dwelt among us, Jesus the Christ.

  110. Craig says:

    ruckrover,

    There are hyper-conservatives who will contend that the KJV – or more accurately the Textus Receptus (“received text”) as it is called, which is the Greek text underlying the KJV – is wholly without error. There are the hyper-liberals who contend that the whole thing is some grand conspiracy by men of old made up in order to control the masses. And there are views in between.

    My position is way on the conservative end (without the “hyper-” prefix) of this spectrum, with the view, similar to what Steve Ward states about Josh McDowell, that God didn’t want us to have the original autographs, as these would be idolized. I agree we should be asking the kinds of questions such as Ward’s on page 3: “Were the ancient Scriptures referred to by Jesus the very same words we read in our English translations? Would the New Testament, penned decades after the Resurrection, also be inerrant?”

    To the first of these, the answer is “no” because we do not have the original autographs; we have copies of copies which have man-made errors. To the second one, the answer is an absolutely unequivocal “YES!”. The original letters, the autographs, were Holy Spirit inspired and hence absolutely inerrant and infallible. The thing is, we don’t HAVE the autographs, as, once again, we have copies of copies.

    It seems Mr. Ward is a bit to the left of my position of the Bible as the absolute inerrant and infallible Word of God; it’s the copies of copies which make up our current Bibles which makes them less than perfect. This reality does not diminish the fact that the Bible we hold (generally, with The Message and others like it excepted) is the Word of God given to men such that

    16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    I hold to the view of plenary verbal inspiration [see here]:

    The word plenary means “full” or “complete”. Therefore, plenary verbal inspiration asserts that God inspired the complete text(s) of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, including both historical and doctrinal details. The word verbal affirms the idea that inspiration extends to the very words the writers chose. For example, in Acts 1:16 the Apostle Peter says “the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake” (KJV). Paul calls all scripture “God-breathed” in 2 Timothy 3:16 (referring to the Old Testament). Thus, the Holy Spirit guided the writers along (cf. 2 Peter 1:20-21) while allowing their own personalities and freedom to produce the Bible we have today. This view recognizes and asserts both the human and divine element within Scripture.

    But, I believe this is speaking strictly of the autographs, which we do not have. So, the real point of this blog post is to get the reader to see the importance of the ongoing discipline of NT textual criticism.

    I’m curious if Ward is aware of and understands textual criticism and its implications on Scripture.

  111. Craig says:

    Here’s an interesting discussion on textual criticism and inerrancy between Bart Ehrman and Daniel B. Wallace. OK, it IS two hours long; so, I’m not expecting all, if any to listen to the whole thing:

    http://www.ehrmanproject.com/

    I have Ehrman’s book Misquoting Jesus (a misnomer really, but it’s the publisher who changed Ehrman’s original “Lost in Transmission”), which I’ve mainly skimmed. Here’s Wallace’s review of the book:

    http://bible.org/article/gospel-according-bart

    Here’s a Wallace response to some insensitive blog comments in which the commenter apparently didn’t quite understand his stance on inerrancy, taking Wallace’s words beyond his intentions:

    http://bible.org/article/my-take-inerrancy

    It IS difficult at times to plainly state one’s meaning fully considering the potential for another’s possible misinterpretation of your words.

    I like this, “…I believe it is disrespectful to my Lord to not ask the Bible the tough questions that every thinking non-Christian is already asking it….” We HAVE to be ready “in season and out of season” to attempt to answer non-believers.

  112. Craig says:

    In doing some further research on the ‘net, I see that there are different interpretations of the words “infallible” and “inerrant” with respect to Scripture. Some put “infallible” over “inerrant” as anything with error would then be fallible, and anything infallible could not include any error. That appears to be the Reformed position. That is not my own definition. Following is a portion of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy which more closely follows my beliefs. It must be noted that this has become the current standard in Evangelical circles (bolding mine, except for section title):

    http://library.dts.edu/Pages/TL/Special/ICBI_1.pdf

    INFALLIBILITY, INERRANCY, INTERPRETATION

    Holy Scripture, as the inspired Word of God witnessing authoritatively to Jesus Christ, may properly be called infallible and inerrant. These negative terms have a special value, for they explicitly safeguard crucial positive truths.

    Infallible signifies the quality of neither misleading nor being misled and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters.

    Similarly, inerrant signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.

    We affirm that canonical Scripture should always be interpreted on the basis that it is infallible and inerrant. However, in determining what the God-taught writer is asserting in each passage, we must pay the most careful attention to its claims and character as a human production. In inspiration, God utilized the culture and conventions of his penman’s milieu, a milieu that God controls in His sovereign providence; it is misinterpretation to imagine otherwise.

    So history must be treated as history, poetry as poetry, hyperbole and metaphor as hyperbole and metaphor, generalization and approximation as what they are, and so forth. Differences between literary conventions in Bible times and in ours must also be observed: since, for instance, non-chronological narration and imprecise citation were conventional and acceptable and violated no expectations in those days, we must not regard these things as faults when we find them in Bible writers. When total precision of a particular kind was not expected nor aimed at, it is no error not to have achieved it. Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at which its authors aimed.

    So far, I agree with everything. Going a bit further is a section on Transmission and Translation:

    Since God has nowhere promised an inerrant transmission of Scripture, it is necessary to affirm that only the autographic text of the original documents was inspired and to maintain the need of textual criticism as a means of detecting any slips that may have crept into the text in the course of its transmission. The verdict of this science, however, is that the Hebrew and Greek text appear to be amazingly well preserved, so that we are amply justified in affirming, with the Westminster Confession, a singular providence of God in this matter and in declaring that the authority of Scripture is in no way jeopardized by the fact that the copies we possess are not entirely error-free.

    Similarly, no translation is or can be perfect, and all translations are an additional step away from the autographa. Yet the verdict of linguistic science is that English-speaking Christians, at least, are exceedingly well served in these days with a host of excellent translations and have no cause for hesitating to conclude that the true Word of God is within their reach. Indeed, in view of the frequent repetition in Scripture of the main matters with which it deals and also of the Holy Spirit’s constant witness to and through the Word, no serious translation of Holy Scripture will so destroy its meaning as to render it unable to make its reader “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2Tim.3:15).

    I wholeheartedly concur!

  113. Carolyn says:

    I will divide this into two parts as it is a bit lengthy

    From: http://bible.org/article/gospel-according-bart

    Daniel Wallace says, “Unfortunately, the average layperson will leave Misquoting Jesus with far greater doubts about the wording and teachings of the NT than any textual critic would ever entertain. A good teacher doesn’t hold back on telling his students what’s what, but he also knows how to package the material so they don’t let emotion get in the way of reason. The irony is that Misquoting Jesus is supposed to be all about reason and evidence, but it has been creating as much panic and alarm as The Da Vinci Code. Is that really the pedagogical effect Ehrman was seeking? I have to assume that he knew what kind of a reaction he would get from this book, for he does not change the impression at all in his interviews. Being provocative, even at the risk of being misunderstood, seems to be more important to him than being honest even at the risk of being boring. But a good teacher does not create Chicken Littles.74″

    How much do we value our faith? The precious faith that God gave us. It is opposite of our life on this earth. It is the hope, the promise of life after death…the seed for new life, not just transformation but actual, tangible, eternal life, peace with God, perfection, union with our Creator. God gave us this tiny planting of evidence in our heart that he is truth itself. I believe we have a sense that we must guard and protect that precious faith at all costs because if we lose that, we lose our connection with God.

    This is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, in my opinion,…showing irreverence and disregard for the precious faith that he has given us and instead esteeming our own life above the evidence of faith, whether it be through our thinking, our works(religion), cares of this life, pleasures or preferences. In this case it was pride…

    I disagree with Daniel Wallace that Bart lost faith because of a dependent belief to inerrancy rather than to Christ because the opposite position can also be proved lethal to our faith. If we send people back to the Catholic Church, for instance, thinking “no harm, no foul” as Billy Graham has done…faith gets choked out by tradition and the Church/Pope/Mariology trumps faith in Christ.

    Whether we remain faithful (full of faith) to the end, will depend on how highly we regard and esteem this precious gift of faith that God has put in our hearts. If we nurture it and fortify it with nutrients (prayer and the Word) then it will grow. For that reason, I declined to go and see The Da Vinci Code when it came out. My faith does not need to be choked out by doubt.

    I believe that going down the path of textual criticism is not the best idea for the average person…and in this I do agree with Daniel Wallace, because the average person does not have the need to know and a little knowledge in this area of study is probably worse than no knowledge. It is the same with the Da Vinci Code…if you have the knowledge and the grounding to resist the lies, to uncover the deception for the sake of exposing the error of it, fine, but to begin with that point of view and work backwards will probably never happen for the average person. Their faith, being still small will be trampled or devoured by the wolves.

    So I am back to my illustration of the person who has never learned to swim and gets tossed into the deep end of Textual Criticism. He will sink like a stone. I believe we should start with the tools that God has given us, the revealed Word and the Holy Spirit in us to bring knowledge, understanding and wisdom of the Creator to life. Once we get fully persuaded that nothing can separate us from the love of God, and the Truth rather than the Text becomes central…then we might be a candidate for the strong winds and inevitable tides of what comes with the whole study of Biblical “origins”.

  114. Carolyn says:

    Another paragraph from Daniel Wallace:
    “It strikes me that something like this may be what happened to Bart Ehrman. His testimony in Misquoting Jesus discussed inerrancy as the prime mover in his studies. But when a glib comment from one of his conservative professors at Princeton was scribbled on a term paper, to the effect that perhaps the Bible is not inerrant, Ehrman’s faith began to crumble. One domino crashed into another until eventually he became ‘a fairly happy agnostic.’ I may be wrong about Ehrman’s own spiritual journey, but I have known too many students who have gone in that direction. The irony is that those who frontload their critical investigation of the text of the Bible with bibliological presuppositions often speak of a ‘slippery slope’ on which all theological convictions are tied to inerrancy. Their view is that if inerrancy goes, everything else begins to erode. I would say rather that if inerrancy is elevated to the status of a prime doctrine, that’s when one gets on a slippery slope. But if a student views doctrines as concentric circles, with the cardinal doctrines occupying the center, then if the more peripheral doctrines are challenged, this does not have a significant impact on the core. In other words, the evangelical community will continue to produce liberal scholars until we learn to nuance our faith commitments a bit more, until we learn to see Christ as the center of our lives and scripture as that which points to him. If our starting point is embracing propositional truths about the nature of scripture rather than personally embracing Jesus Christ as our Lord and King, we’ll be on that slippery slope, and we’ll take a lot of folks down with us.

    Scary thought. He said in the above paragraph: “Their view is that if inerrancy goes, everything else begins to erode.” I don’t think that’s the real problem. People have believed in the inerrancy of the Bible from the beginning to the end of their lives and they have weathered the storms just fine. To believe in inerrancy is not the problem. To take our lives more seriously than our faith is the problem. To esteem our own learning, theology, study, knowledge apart from the Spirit of Truth, is our folly.

    I don’t agree with either of the positions presented here…inerrancy across the board or concentric circles with the most important doctrines at the centre, although if we are talking theory alone, I would take the second option, and having read the whole article, I know that Daniel Wallace esteems his relationship with the Lord as central to everything else. However, many do not. They want to think things through and their faith is too fragile to begin at the wrong end of the pool.

    Without the Spirit’s revelatory power, the Word is just a dead manuscript, a text open for criticism. There’s no power or relationship inherent in the text itself. It does not come to life or bring to life without the Holy Spirit’s living/abiding illumination. So without an proper regard for our living faith, we will end up with an empty faith and a hollow theology as has been demonstrated by Bart Erhmann. His faith in God is dead. But mine is not…nor ever shall be because errancy or inerrancy isn’t the thing.

    “Jude :21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
    22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
    23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
    24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
    25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

    And this Craig, is what I believe you is your heart through bringing this subject to light….to preserve genuine faith…

  115. Craig says:

    Carolyn,

    Very well put.

    I’d say we can’t definitively know Ehrman’s motivations as to how/why he lost faith – even if he himself expresses it, as the heart is deceptive.

    I know of more than one individual who start from the premise that the Bible is 100% infallible and as such cannot have any error whatsoever. With this view, even differences in translation, say the NASB to the NIV (let alone modern version to KJV), can become a BIG DEAL. Even if this ‘stumbling block’ is overcome, when presented with very difficult Scriptures, they will look frantically for ANY possible explanation even if said explanation doesn’t adequately answer the issue; because if one ‘error’ can be found then their entire faith in Christianity would crumble.

    Now, we should start from the premise that the Scriptures are error-free; so, that if an ‘error’ is found, all efforts should be made in order to find an answer to this ‘discrepancy’. Moreover, when an ‘error’ is found, we should not automatically assume that is as a result of copyists’ error. And, worse, using the example in this article, we shouldn’t assume that it’s the fault of the NT writer, or worse yet, that Jesus Himself made the mistake.

    Again, using the example in the article, I’ve no problem if someone wishes to accept Geisler’s answer. However, in all intellectual honesty, I cannot. The Chicago Statement above mentions that in Biblical times, speakers weren’t as precise with details. But, I don’t see how this would allow for an outright error (as I see it) as in Mark 2:25-26. Had the text NOT included “the high priest” I’d see no problem. Alternatively, if we can determine that epi could be understood to be akin to “around the time just before” – or something like that – Abiathar would be high priest, I’d accept it without hesitation.

    Therefore, I’m inclined to believe this particular Scripture is a scribe error; and, for me that’s no big deal at all. I’m 100% convinced the originals, the autographs are infallible and inerrant; therefore, given the limitations of the way the NT was handed down to us, it’s quite understandable that some erors may well be found AND that our manuscripts do not (yet) reflect the 100% inerrant Word of God. To clarify: Wallace has stated, if I understand him correctly, that the infallible and completely error-free Word of God is somewhere amongst all the manuscript evidence; however, using Mark 2:25-26, as but one example, I don’t see that as being true.

    But, again, to reiterate, this in no way lessens my faith, nor should it lessen the faith of another. In fact, I’d argue that this sort of thing is God-ordained such that He wants us to love Him by faith in HIM, rather than in a perfect copy of the Holy Word He gave us through His chosen vessels. Any ‘error’ is not of the type that would alter major, let alone minor doctrine.

  116. Carolyn says:

    Yes, I agree. Thanks for your input.

    For my part, this little side trip of exploration has only served to relax my textual concerns and see where the real emphasis of my faith needs to be placed.

    Happily agnostic is an oxymoron. Faithful unto death…now there’s a worthy bent….

  117. IWTT says:

    So I am back to my illustration of the person who has never learned to swim and gets tossed into the deep end of Textual Criticism.

    My only problem here is that this is exactly what was done to me. For real! I was thrown in the deep end and told to swim and I did out of preservation…. granted there was someone there to save me if I didn’t… but I did and I swam the whole length of the pool.

    My point…???? (I am giggling at my self) I’m not sure!

  118. Craig says:

    Well, I’d say there is an apt analogy there. For those who are already His, diving deeper into the waters of textual criticism will not result in a crisis of faith to the point the individual is ‘lost’. On the contrary, it is precisely because we believe in the Savior that we’ll not drown while going deeper into textual criticism.

    The mere fact that we have upwards of 6000 Greek NT manuscripts (from scraps to entire NTs) provides an astounding amount of evidence and material to get us very close to the autographs, especially when compared to the scanty amount of extant manuscripts, e.g., of works by Plato and Homer from near the same era. Moreover, these manuscripts of Plato and Homer are very late, nearly a thousand years beyond the initial writings; whereas, the NT is extant in about as many manuscripts within 200 years of initial writing as the TOTAL amounts of Plato’s Republic and Homer’s Illyiad. And, in rough figures, there are over a thousand NT manuscripts from 1000 years after intitial NT writings compared to less than 20 of Plato’s and Homer’s.

  119. Craig says:

    Stand to Reason blog has just posted an article titled “Investigating Bart Ehrman’s Top Ten Troublesome Bible Verses”:

    http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2013/02/investigating-bart-ehrmans-top-ten-troublesome-bible-verses.html

  120. WHAT DID THE FIRST CHRISTIANS BELIEVE?

    THE CHURCH OF CHRIST HAD ITS BEGINNING ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST 33 A.D.. WHAT BELIEFS AND ACTIONS DID THE THREE THOUSAND CONVERTS TO CHRIST HAVE IN COMMON? DID GOD APPROVE OF EVOLVING BELIEFS, DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS FOR SALVATION? IF THAT WERE TRUE, THEN WOULD IT NOT BE FOUND IN THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES?

    Acts 2:41 So then, those who received his word were baptized; and there were added about three thousand souls. Acts 2:47….And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    All three thousand believed the apostle Peter’s message and were baptized in water. Then they were added to the Lord’s church by the Lord Himself. The Lord did not add the unsaved to His church. They had to believe and be baptized in water prior to being added to the body of Christ.

    1. Acts 2:22 Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—

    All three thousand believed Jesus was a miracle worker.

    2. Acts 2:31-32 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

    All three thousand believed in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    3. Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

    All three thousand believed that Jesus was Lord and Christ.

    4. Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    All three thousand repented in order to have sins forgiven. (repentance meant that they made the commitment to turn from their unbelief and sinful lifestyle and turn toward God).

    All three thousand were baptized in water in order to have their sins forgiven.

    All three thousand received the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit after they believed, repented, and were baptized in water.

    5. Acts 2:40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”

    All three thousand were saved after they believed Peter’s message: They believed, repented, confessed, and were baptized in water. (Mark 16:16, John 3:16, Acts 3:19, Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:35-38) THEN THEY WERE ADDED TO THE LORD’S CHURCH! (Acts 2:47)

    WHAT THINGS DID PETER NOT PREACH AND WHAT THINGS DID THE THREE THOUSAND NOT BELIEVE.

    1.Peter did not preach that men were saved by grace alone.

    2.Peter did not preach that men were saved by faith only

    3.Peter did not preach that God had selected a few to be saved and that all others would go to hell.

    4. Peter did not preach that water baptism was not essential to salvation.

    5. Peter did not preach that Jesus was just one of many Saviors.

    6. Peter did not preach that once you were saved, that you could continue in a sinful lifestyle and still be saved.

    7. Peter did not preach that God did not have the power to give us an inerrant translation of the Scriptures.

    8. Peter did not preach that God would provide hundreds or thousands of different Christian denominations, and that they would teach different ways of being saved.

    9. Peter did NOT preach that you had to speak in tongues as evidence that you were saved.

    AS BELIEVERS IN CHRIST, MEN SHOULD USE THE BIBLE AS THEIR GUIDE FOR SALVATION. Looking to man-made creed books, Bible commentaries, denominational statements of faith, and church catechisms, is looking in all the wrong places for the absolute truth!

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

  121. Craig says:

    Steve,

    Your comment went to my spam filter. I nearly didn’t release it anyway, as I don’t care to get into the specifics of why your views are problematic. However, I’ll at least address # 7.: “Peter did not preach that God did not have the power to give us an inerrant translation of the Scriptures.”

    So then, I’m assuming you believe that our “translations” are inerrant. Which “translation”? I’m assuming you mean at least one English “translation”, since that is the language in which you communicate. Yet, let’s look at Acts 8:37. What?! It’s not in my NIV! Nor my ESV! Nor my NASB! – well, it’s bracketed in the NASB. Oh, here it is in the KJV and NKJV. Which of these is the correct, “inerrant translation”?

    In addition, I notice that in two of your recent blog posts you reference Mark 16:16. I suppose you’re not aware that the large majority of scholars recognize that Mark 16:9-20 are not actually part of Mark’s Gospel, as the vocabulary and style of writing are foreign to the rest of the Gospel, among other reasons. Also, the earliest Greek manuscripts do not include verses 9-20.

    However, if you wish to keep these verses in your own Bible, I’ll have to assume that you are a staunch continuationist, that is, you believe that all the gifts are fully in operation. The syntax of the Greek underlying verses 17 and 18 indicate that ALL believers will speak in new tongues, pick up snakes with their hands, drink deadly poison and not get harmed, and place their hands on the sick and heal them. There are no exceptions listed and there’s no temporal restriction, i.e., the listed signs WILL continue for ALL believers.

    As for me, I’m much more comfortable assuming some later scribe added these verses, and the writers of the KJV (and the Latin Vulgate) subsequently picked up these verses.

    Good luck on your island.

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