Is the Bible the Word of God?
(January 06, 2019 A.D.)
Golden Texts: All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2nd Timothy 3:16
the serpent [devil] ... said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, ... Genesis 3:1
For God is not the author of confusion, ... 1ST Corinthians 14:33
Is the Bible the Word of God? YES! Then, what is the debate all about? Is it simply which is more readable? NO! Which has the best English? NO! It is not about the English. It has nothing to do with the ENGLISH. Instead it is about GOD! Which one best represents the Original Words of God? THIS IS CRUCIAL TO YOUR UNDERSTANDING. We are trying to get back to the Word of God as Originally written by holy men of God [who] spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost. 1st Peter 1:21. We will never be saved from hell by the word of man.
And if you do not believe in hell, then you are calling Jesus a liar. Jesus speaking of the rich man who had died said: And in hell he lift up his eyes being in torments, ... Luke 16:23 (will explain why hades does not work, later on)
So, If You Do Not Want to Find the True Actual Words of God You Are Not a Bible Christian. Do I need to repeat that? If You Do Not Want to Find the True Actual Words of God You Are Not a Bible Christian. God and His Word is what life is all about, this one and everlasting life in heaven (or the alternative-your choice). We should never settle for what some man believed God really meant. We Need the Actual Word of the Almighty, Ever Living, Creator and Redeemer God.
Is the Bible the Word of God is not a silly question, or one to be taken lightly. THIS IS A SERIOUS QUESTION. Why? There are more than one hundred (many more) so-called translations of the English Bible. They say different things. Many of the differences are NOT minor. They cannot all be correct. We must have the real Word of God. How do we find it?
Which Bible or Bibles contain the Words of God? How can we know?
Controversy? IF there were genuine matters of controversy, should not all of the controversial things have been settled in the first three or four, new translations; or perhaps the first dozen of the so-called translations? Now, We Have More than One Hundred English Translations!
Why? ... Yea hath God said... Genesis 3:1
Do You Think the Devil Is Involved? YES, friend. I believe in Jesus. I believe in heaven and hell. I believe there is a real devil, who was in the garden, then much later tempted Jesus and now wants you DEAD and all in your church DEAD and in Hell, RIGHT NOW! And I believe he would pervert the Word of God. And the devil does not want you to believe he is involved. If he can, the devil will sift you like wheat. That is unless you KNOW the Way of Escape. If you do not believe in the devil and his involvement in perverting the Truth of God, you are deceived.
You Will Never Be an Effective Christian, or a Soldier for God, until You Understand How to Determine What Is the Real Word of God and How We Can Know That and When the Devil Is or May Well Be Involved!
Where does one start? At the beginning.
All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2nd Timothy 3:16
This means that we are to believe that ALL of the Bible was originally given by God. ALL OF IT! And if we want to be one of His soldiers, we must know what our real Commander in Chief (GOD) says. We must know the Voice of our Master. His Voice, His Words will be found in the Original, also called the autograph.
Original Inspiration: All Christian believers should agree that the Bible was originally inspired by God the Holy Ghost. The original had no mistakes, no deviations, no discontented scribe, trying to protect or push his personal position. THAT ORIGINAL WORD (The BIBLE) IS THE WORD OF GOD. But, we know that the original manuscript does NOT exist any longer. It was long ago worn out from use.
So Can Someone Say That Is What the Original Says? NO! Many claim that what they say is that which is closest to the Original. Yet, today we know that no one has the originals. They do not exist anywhere in the world, that we presently know about. The best we have are copies of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. And those copies of copies, of copies are not in one continuous manuscript. It is a piece here, a book there, a partial series of some books, at best. So, when someone tells you that is what the original says, they are either ignorant, repeating a false statement made by another or they, themselves are knowingly departing from the truth (prevaricator)!
The True Word of God. But how can we find out what is the true Word of God and what is the erroneous or corrupted Word? If you believe those men of God of the early years are to be trusted, then which one did they copy the most? THINK. They would want to copy only what they thought was the original autograph.
And When Did This Corruption Start? So, as early as the third or fourth century they could not find any original texts, and so they began to assemble the best evidence of the originals, from the pieces they had and the older writings. They found what the early church fathers had copied out. They looked and found that one set had more than 5000 manuscripts, and the other set had only about 45 copies. So they reasoned that the Majority of the Church fathers, such as Polycarp, (who ministered with John the Beloved) Irenaeus, Clement, and those who followed them, were honest and copied and taught what they knew were the original words. They began to compile these sources to find the ones that agreed with each other.
What Is the Majority Text? The majority is the name given to the majority of the texts that agree with each other, as opposed to those, the early church considered errors. You have a great many that agree (more than 5000) and a relative few (45) that disagree with the Majority. And you should know that those in the minority texts often disagree with each other. The ones who all agree and are in the majority and became compiled as the Majority Text. These Majority Texts are the texts that the early Church fathers recognized to be the originals or as close to the originals as they could find. You would copy those and not the others. Thus we have more than 5000 of early texts that all agree. (Majority Text)
How Did We Arrive at the Majority Text? In an attempt to get back to what the Original states, they looked at all the evidence. The way that they decided what was closest to: what the Original said was that they found more than 5000 that agreed with each other and these became the Majority Text. These clearly vastly outnumbered the relative few that disagreed. Early Church fathers reasoned that the ones copying were trying to copy properly and duplicate the originals. Thus, the ones that were most copied and agreed with each other were named the Majority
Suppose they had 100 texts. 80 stated the same thing. 20 texts were different. IF 80% of the Texts said one thing and 20% did not agree, the 80% was the reading included in the Majority Text. The other 20% often disagreed with each other, but they were lumped together and called the minority text.
When Did They Begin the Work of Finding What the Original must Have Said? The collection of pieces of Texts may well have begun with Irenaeus in 156 A.D. He most likely began to gather Bible fragments because there were some who seemed to be departing from the faith. Or was it Eusebius of Caesarea; AD 260/265 - 339/340), also known as Eusebius Pamphili? During the Council of Antiochia (325) Eusebius was excommunicated for subscribing to the heresy of Arius. That heresy being: at one time Jesus did not exist. Thus, Jesus, (the minority reasoned) could not be God the Son; He thus could not be eternal God. And that would result in the abrogation (annulment, repeal) of the Trinity (Father-Son-Holy Ghost). This is the main differences between the two, but what major differences. So major as to whether or not Jesus is God the Son and is our God One Who manifests in Three Persons (Trinity) that you cannot have these two groups both claiming to be true Christians. (Remember The vast majority of all the texts found in fragments, books, writings of the Apostolic fathers and so forth were gathered together and became and are the Majority Text. And remember the Minority Texts do not agree with each other.
Minority Text Disagreement: For example, in an article in support of the Alexandrian manuscripts, with its two chief component parts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, the writer in Wikipedia states:
... Most critical editions of the Greek New Testament give precedence to these two chief UNCIAL manuscripts, [Sinaiticus and Vaticanus] and the majority of new so-called translations are based on their text. Nevertheless, there are many differences between these two manuscripts. According to Dean Burgon: "It is in fact easier to find two consecutive verses in which these two MSS differ the one from the other, than two consecutive verses in which they entirely agree. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_codices_Sinaiticus_and_Vaticanus
So, the minority texts are often in disagreement, one with the other.
Two Main Sources of Manuscripts: There were two lines of manuscripts and writings. They came from two primary source areas. There was the Antioch, Syria collection (where the first missionary outreach to the Gentiles took place by Barnabas and Paul [Saul] of Tarsus). These are called the Syrian or Antioch or Byzantine collection. The second source of manuscripts came from Origen, Arius and Eusebius in Alexandria, Egypt. These were the Alexandrian collection.
Wrong Objection: Some commentators raise the argument that you cannot trust anything out of Egypt. And therefore, we must trust the ones from Antioch, Syria. I find this to be an argument that never deals with the texts themselves and so reject it, as a basis for deciding on which text to rely. However, I do believe that generally there are two sources of texts, two trees:
43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Luke 6:43
Textus Receptus: Before we talk about the trees (persons producing the manuscripts) let us first ask: How Did We Receive the Textus Receptus?
After the Majority Text was established having come from more than 5000 sources, these texts were again looked upon by Erasmus who produced a New Testament that gave birth to the Textus Receptus (Received Text) of the New Testament.
At one time, both sides of this controversy revered Erasmus, but recently some minority text scholars have decided they need to attack Erasmus. So, a few words about him.
Erasmus (1466-1536) Desiderius Erasmus, born 1466 at Rotterdam, Holland, died 1536 at Basel, Switzerland. He was known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, he is called the greatest humanist (A humanist in those times was not an evolutionist who rejected Scripture, but rather a professor of grammar and rhetoric; a philologist; a term used in the universities of Scotland.) Erasmus lived, gathered materials and wrote in the 16th century. He was the son of a priest, a Roman Catholic priest and his housekeeper. Not only was his birth under unusual circumstances, he also held some beliefs which would shock the King James Version people. This writer is not a King James Only fanatic. [fn1]. Read of the beliefs of Erasmus. The internet states:
Desiderius Erasmus was one of the most celebrated scholars of his time. He corresponded with kings, popes, princes, and fellow scholars, and his works were translated into many languages. Erasmus became a Roman Catholic priest and monk. Erasmus served as an adviser to the prince who later became Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Erasmus was allowed to travel and have his travel and scholarship paid for by the Roman Catholic Church. His edition of the New Testament (1516) contained both a Greek text (the first available in print) and a Latin one, with notes on the revisions he had made to correct errors found in earlier Latin versions. (Did he get in trouble for correcting the Latin Vulgate, with the Roman Catholic church? YES!)
Only when he had mastered Latin did he begin to express himself on major contemporary themes in literature and religion. He felt called upon to use his learning in a purification of the doctrine by returning to the historic documents and original languages of sacred Scripture.
"But one thing the facts cry out, and it can be clear, as they say, even to a blind man, that often through the translator s clumsiness or inattention the Greek has been wrongly rendered; often the true and genuine reading has been corrupted by ignorant scribes, which we see happen every day, or altered by scribes who are half-taught and half-asleep. "Epistle 337" in Collected Works of Erasmus Vol. 3, 134.
The services rendered by Erasmus for the Reformation are very great, (1) In his work to improve the scholarly editions of the Greek and Latin New Testament he laid the foundation for the Bible translations of the Reformation. (2) His merciless mockery of stupidity undermined for a large part of the laity the authority of the clergy. It was due to his idea that I John 5:7 (the text on the Trinity) was spurious, that this verse was omitted from the older Anabaptist translations and was enclosed in parentheses in the later Biestkens Bible.
The Truth of I John 5:7: Erasmus had been unable to find those verses in the first manuscripts, upon which he relied. But remember the Roman and Greek Orthodox churches did rely in major part on the Vaticanus, the corrupted fruit. Then when Erasmus was given new evidence, Erasmus produced the third edition, the fourth and the fifth. All of these later ones contained I John 5:7. BEWARE: I have seen a debater for the new translations say, the first two editions of Erasmus did not contain, 1st John 5:7. Which is true, but he failed to mention that Erasmus, when presented with clear evidence, did include 1st John 5:7 in the third, fourth and fifth editions. AND NOTE how clever and subtle is that claim. IF HE IS CAUGHT, he can say, well, I just said the first two editions. IF NOT CAUGHT, he will have you believe that 1st John 5:7 is missing from all of the works of Erasmus. In the debate that I saw, the debater was not challenged and thus his audience was left with the false impression that Erasmus did not acknowledge 1st John 5:7 text. That of course is a total misrepresentation.
Erasmus may have learned of the inclusion of I John 5:7 in the work and writings of Ante Nicene father of the church: Cyprian (198-246) . If it existed in the days of Cyprian, then it must have been taken out after Cyprian, perhaps by Origen or one of his fellows who did not believe Jesus to be God the Son.
Textus Receptus: Textus Receptus or Received Text was just a bit later than Erasmus. But these later versions of the Greek New Testament by others, were based on the Greek New Testament of Erasmus. They became known as the Textus Receptus. Wikipedia reports:
In 1535 Erasmus published the fifth (and final) edition which dropped the Latin Vulgate column but was otherwise similar to the fourth edition. Later versions of the Greek New Testament by others, but based on Erasmus s Greek New Testament, became known as the Textus Receptus.
TWO TREES: As was pointed out earlier, there were two trees (sources of manuscripts). Some errors may well have crept in through mistake. However, some errors were not errors, but were intentional misrepresentations: changes to the Word of God! There are two major competing positions or manuscript sources in the argument as to which Bible is closest to or a replica of the Original Bible. These two major manuscripts cannot be both correct. And since both cannot be the correct, or the most reliable version, we must determine, which, if either, is The Word of God. NOTE: I do not intend to raise doubts. I believe we have the Word of God, the closest to the original in the Textus Receptus and its offspring: the German translation of Luther, the Tyndale translation into English, the Geneva and the King James Version and others that follow Textus Receptus.
So, we have seen the clay feet of Erasmus, the one who is most responsible for the Textus Receptus. But, we find from his writings that Erasmus was a good tree, a believer, he had disputes with his own church, the Roman Catholic church, but never left her, as did his fellow monk and priest, Martin Luther. Erasmus, with his Roman beliefs of tradition and Mary as a perpetual virgin, still believed in the Bible, the miracles, the Trinity and, of course the Deity of Jesus Christ, God the Son. So he (Erasmus) is a good tree and his Greek New Testament, the primary source of Textus Receptus produced the New Testament of Luther, Tyndale, the Geneva New Testament and the New Testament of the King James Version of the Bible. Wikipedia reports:
The Biblical Textus Receptus constituted the translation-base for the original German Luther Bible, the translation of the New Testament into English by William Tyndale, the King James Version, the Spanish Reina-Valera translation, and most Reformation-era New Testament translations throughout Western and Central Europe. (Emphasis added)
Okay, What about the Other Tree - Westcott and Hort? Of course we know that Westcott and Hort were considered by their secular colleagues to be fine Greek scholars. And this is what you have to be, if you want to deal with the Greek New Testament. However, their views on the Bible and its truth, would leave much to be desired. One pastor speaking about them said, you could never allow them to teach a Sunday School class at your church. Their views are that radically opposed to Biblical Christianity.
Next week we will see what this second tree is and what fruit it will bring forth. You will learn all about Mr. Westcott and Mr. Hort, not from others, but from quotes from themselves. We will endeavor to answer the question: can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit?
You will learn that the minority text comes primarily from two sources: Codex Vaticanus (from the Vatican) and Codex Siniaticus (and we will answer, do these two disagree with each other?) We will resolve the question about whether in fact the Codex Siniaticus was found in a waste basket from the words of the discoverer Tischendorf himself.
For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Luke 6:43
Can a Corrupt Tree Bring Forth Good Fruit?
1 I (the writer) read and study from King James, but have read from cover to cover the New American Standard, the New International Version twice, the Living Bible, The New Living, and parts of those more than once.
May God bless you in all
that you do for Him,
Brother J R Hughes
that you do for Him,
Brother J R Hughes