Yesterday we examined Psalm 12:6-7 and translated it from the traditional Hebrew Masoretic Ben Chayyim text. We discovered that the King James Bible had the correct translation, which was used by several translations after that, including the RV.
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 (KJV)
What does this teach? Why the big deal?
And why did I spend so much time on a single verse?
Because this is one of the most important doctrines you’ve never hear of. When someone gives a statement of faith (You know, those things you never read on Christian websites? May I suggest you start reading them?), at some point, what they say or don’t say about the Bible is very telling. We’ll show you why in a minute.
This is the doctrine of Scriptural Preservation. The Bible has been protected and preserved for generations.
The Lord has promised to keep the Bible pure and free from error.
Let’s put it this way. Manuscript #71 may have a dropped word in Mark 3. Manuscript #72 has that word, as does #70. By reading and comparing 70, 71 and 72, we see that this word does indeed belong in the chapter (verse and chapter divisions came much later in history.)
In this way, you may see some minor errors in a few manuscripts, on the whole, over 5,240 manuscripts give us a complete picture of the New Testament. These are found in codexes, miniscules, majescules, uncials, and lectionaries.
This is going to get a little technical, but it’s very important.
the Bible has been preserved by God. We also know it is inspired.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35 (KJV)
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18 (KJV)
So, the Bible is inspired by God, word for word and even letter by letter inspired… and preserved. Preservation and inspiration go hand in hand, as Matt. 5:8 and 24:35 show. Most people are aware that “Jot” is the Greek for the smallest letter in the Hebrew Alephbet, the Yod. And tittle is thought to be the reference to the tagin, the crowns on top of some letters in the Hebrew Alephbet (only used in writing of the Hebrew Bible). If the smallest parts of the letters shall not pass – this verse teaches Bible preservation
It’s even logical. It doesn’t matter if the Bible is inspired… if it passes from the earth. It stands to reason that God would not only determine what the Bible says, but makes sure it endures until the last judgment.
How can there be a judgment day, if there’s nothing to judge us by? Yes, the lambs book of life for Christians. But for sinners who never came to repentence? What will determine their punishment?
yup. The Scriptures must be preserved. Bible doctrine demands this.
First probing question. Why would anyone oppose this? The Bible says it. Logic demands it. Doctrine depends upon it. Why would you oppose the preservation of God’s word?
But a great many Christians refuse to accept this, even though it’s not taught just in Psalms 12. I also showed it’s twice in Matthew.
Ever seen that line in Statements of Faith, “We believe the Bible is God’s word, inspired and inerrant in the original manuscripts.” Ever seen that?
Did you spot the lie?
They don’t believe the Bible is inspired and inerrant. They’re lying.
How can I possibly say that?
Can you show me the original manuscript of Genesis or Deuteronomy? How about Isaiah?
The originals of those manuscripts don’t exist on this earth. So by saying you believe that ONLY the original manuscripts are inspired, you’re saying none of them are inspired.
“Why are you mis-representing what I’m saying?”
Wall, it’s like this. If you believe only the original manuscripts are inspired, you’re not saying anything about the Bible in my hands. You’re not saying that’s inspired. And in effect, you’re saying it’s NOT inspired – allowing you to correct the Bible texts with impunity.
An old pastor of mine back in the word faith days used to constantly say, “That verse should say this.” And he never had a lesson in Greek or Hebrew. Not a clue. How can he possibly correct the Bible when he had not a clue what is written in the Greek manuscripts, or in the Hebrew?
He did it because he saw everyone else do it.
There was a guy who came to his pastor and said, “I can’t make heads or tails of this Bible!” So the pastor took the Bible and opened it, and saw words and entire verses cut out of the Bible. Some pages had to be taped together to keep them from failling out of the Bible.
“What did you do??” the pastor cried in horror.
“I just cut out all those things you said shouldn’t be in the Bible!” the guy explained.
okay, how about this?
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. John 5:4 (KJV)
Now, look at your Bible. Look at the footnotes. I’ll just bet there’s a footnote that says, “This verse is not found in the oldest and best manuscripts.” Am I right? If it’s a modern translation, it does.
look two verses later. I can prove that verse actually does belong there.
7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. John 5:7 (KJV)
When the water is troubled. An Angel troubled the water. Hm. Looks like it belongs there.
How about Acts 8:37?
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. Acts 8:36-38 (KJV)
Do you see anything funny about your Bible?
36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. Acts 8:36-38 (ESV)
Huh. Less words. It’s almost as if…
Verse 37 is missing.
Got your NIV? Look there. Do you see verse 37?
I bet theres a footnote saying “Verse not in oldest and best manuscripts.”
I looked in my Greek New Testament. It’s there. Huh.
What are these “Oldest and best manuscripts”? How old are the oldest and best manuscripts?
The more knowledgeable among you will start thinking, “sinaiticus.” Well, sort of.
The “Oldest and best” greek Manuscripts were written in 1881.
1881. Only 133 years old. Yup. That’s the “Oldest and best manuscripts.”
They were written by Wescott and Hort.
Philip Brooke Wescott and John Hort were Anglican ministers. They were both theologically liberal, denying the virgin birth of Christ, denying salvation by works, denying the Deity of Christ. They considered Genesis a myth. You won’t be meeting them in Heaven, by the way.
They despised the Greek texts of the New Testament, and even called them “villainous”.
They took the new Greek manuscript supposedly found by Count Tischendorf in St. Catherine’s Monastary on Mt. Sinai, and decided they would use that. They also got a copy of Codex Vaticanus, and agreed they would use that.
Their strategy was to compare the two manuscripts, and make a new Greek text out of the two. They rapidly found, to their dismay, that the two texts disagreed in thousands of places. Vaticanus was missing entire books of the Bible. When they contradicted, they always sided with Vaticanus.
THey just instinctively knew it was the correct manuscript. Read their words. The Wescott-Hort Foundation complains that KIng James only believers are constantly taking things Wescott and Hort said out of context. Okay, fine. I won’t tell you their exact words, then. Go read. Prove me.
Some verses they found in Sinaiticus they didn’t in Vaticanus. Well, they just didn’t agree with the doctrine in that verse, so they changed the words, or removed them altogether.
That’s what happened to Acts 8:37. THey didn’t like it so they took it out. Or the Catholic monks took it out.
Shortly after the controversy erupted, Constantinus Simonides….., a suspected forger of Biblical artifacts and texts, stepped forward and admitted his guilt. It’s true, he forged Biblical texts. Why did he step forward? Because he claimed Sinaiticus was one of his early works. “Clumsy” was the word he used.
I don’t know if Simonides really forged Sinaiticus. I do know it was the end of his selling Biblical artifacts. Not a private manuscript dealer in the world would buy from him ever again, which no doubt impacted him severely financially. He could have found the actual ten commandments written in stone, and not a dealer in the world would have risked five dollars for it.