textual criticism

Autocorrect

Thursday, April 27, 2017

“I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:59 KJV).

When we approach Scripture, may we be willing to let it automatically correct us!

In this age of computers, especially smartphones and other personal electronic devices, we have become more associated, for better or worse, with a feature called “autocorrect.” If you have typed a word or letter by mistake, special software automatically corrects your error. This is very handy—especially if you are a poor speller. However, the downside is that the computer may misinterpret you. Perhaps you wish to spell someone’s name, a location, or a specialized term—something probably not found in the average dictionary. Or, maybe you are quoting words that were originally misspelled. Perhaps you are using a foreign word. Whatever the case, the automatic “correction” is damaging rather than helpful. “Autocorrect” would be incorrect!

Sadly, people, even professing Christians, function just like autocorrect software and “correct” the Bible. They mean well—hopefully—but they are better off not commenting about matters in which they are unskilled. They have an overestimation of their Bible understanding: they believe they are qualified to change Scripture at will. Just as the software would “think” a unique word is misspelled, so people assume they can adjust God’s words to make them fit human reasoning. This flawed approach to Scripture drives textual criticism—the “scholarly” science of “reconstructing” the Bible text that was supposedly “lost” in the centuries since the Apostles. These “restorations” are a series of critical works surviving even to this present hour—namely, Greek New Testaments (about 30 different ones) and their resulting English translations (100-plus different ones)!

It is silly to point out, but it must be said. Computer software, since it is not living, cannot approach the Bible in faith. We, however, can and should use spiritual understanding to see why the King James Bible text says what it does, before we mindlessly change what it says. Whenever we alter the Bible, we cannot fathom the depths of ignorance in which we have just placed ourselves. Friends, we do not correct the Bible; it is perfect (Proverbs 30:5,6). Brethren, we let the Bible correct us; we are imperfect (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Believe the Translation!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

…And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying, (Acts 21:40b KJV).

What does the Bible say about manuscript translations?

One charge frequently leveled against the King James Bible is that it is a “mere translation.” We all know the complaint—“Language limitations prevent perfect translations from one tongue to another.” Friend, you talk about being a King James Bible believer long enough, and you will find yourself in a strange predicament. You will discover that Christians—even preachers and teachers—will denounce you for being a “translation fanatic.” Yes, as dumb as it sounds, professing Christians will criticize you for believing the Bible you can read in your own language and understand! Why?

They contend that you must appeal to the original Bible languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek—to get the Bible’s “full” meaning. (This is carried over from Roman Catholicism: you must come to the priest and his “Latin” if you want to hear from God. The “Latin” is also a translation, by the way!) Ironically, the same “scholarly” people who fault you for using a Bible translation actually advertise their own pet translation. The “LXX” (“70”), commonly called the Septuagint, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. Scholars often quote, not the Hebrew Old Testament, but rather the Greek Old Testament. They resort to the receptor language (Greek), when they, according to their rule, should be using the source language (Hebrew)! (After all, they tell us not to use the English Bible but rather the original Greek New Testament and the original Hebrew-Aramaic Old Testament!)

Friend, let me tell you something that you will almost never hear in any church or other Bible institution. Never, ever forget it! The Holy Bible, even in the original languages and original manuscripts, had translations within it. (Horrors!) Just look at today’s Scripture. The Bible says Paul spoke the next 21 verses in Hebrew; scholars know that Luke wrote Acts in Greek. There is no manuscript of Paul speaking in Hebrew. Evidently, God the Holy Spirit thought that that Greek translation of Paul’s sermon in Hebrew was sufficient for us to believe! Do we?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘If God peradventure will give them repentance…?’

An Eternal Word, To Be Preached Forever

Sunday, March 19, 2017

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:1,2 KJV).

In light of the abounding error (3:13), and considering the Scriptures can equip Christians to do God’s will (3:14-17), we are to never cease “preach[ing] [that] word!”

Two older friends of mine, a pastor and his wife, are celebrating their 30th year of ministry. I sent them a brief note voicing my appreciation of their faithfulness to upholding God’s Word rightly divided. The lady wrote back that they were thankful to Father God that younger men such as I would continue the work of the ministry once they graduated to Heaven. (Amen!)

No matter the point in human history, God has always had a testimony on Earth. Whether Noah, Elijah, or John the Baptist—all conducting ministries when so precious few believers were around—someone, somewhere, has always been preaching Almighty God’s Holy Word. They did not have a completed, written Bible, but they were faithful in sharing what divine revelation they had. How much more (!) should we—who do have a completed Bible—be faithful in declaring its truths to this lost and dying world?

Today’s Scripture makes an assumption. By commanding Timothy to “preach the word,” he would have to have the “Word” in the first place! As someone said, “There are many Bible agnostics today.” This is especially true of people in the ministry. They often do not believe they have a perfect Bible, just a “mere translation of flawed manuscripts.” While they in secret tell you that you do not have the Apostles’ original Bible in any language or version today, they publicly declare, “I believe, love, and defend the Bible.” As they privately discourage belief in Scripture, they preach from the pulpit, “The Bible is our final authority.” What foolishness!

Beloved, let us preach the “Word,” for we have the “Word” (King James Bible). Just as God’s words will last forever (Matthew 24:35), those words will always have a testimony in a human somewhere. If not us, God will have someone else do it! 🙂

A Book That Will Teach

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone we can trust to teach us God’s truth!

Once, I heard a minister give his self-proclaimed “prophetic” message about top headlines that would appear in the coming year. While he reassured his audience that he received this information directly from “the Lord” (?), he gave a disclaimer: “I do not know, but at the end of this year, we will see if what I say came to pass.” Unlike the inner impressions and hunches of this “Christian” preacher, the Holy Bible is infallible, and we can trust its information completely.

Long, long ago, God Almighty wrote a Book, and He preserved it through history through a multiplicity of manuscript copies, so that it could eventually be translated into English, so we could read it even today! (Of course, Satan, the master counterfeiter that he is, most certainly had his own manuscripts—they still circulate today as corrupt Bible translations.) God promised to preserve His words forever (Psalm 12:6,7; Isaiah 30:8; Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25). Consequently, every person will stand before Him one day to give account as to what he or she did with that Bible. Did we reject it in favor of counterfeits? Did we re-translate it to fit our denominational beliefs? Did we apply it to life by faith? Did we even read it at all?

As English-speaking people, we understand—or, at least, we should understand—that we can trust the 400-year-old King James Bible. Sadly, even in many church circles, we are often cautioned not to trust God’s preserved Word. Unfortunately, footnotes, study notes, and seminarians usually attempt to claim that authority by offering “better” readings or “better” manuscripts. Beloved, we can do without unbelieving textual critics and their “scholarship.” God does not need lost people to explain His Word to His children; He never did and He never will (1 Corinthians 2:14). Never forget that!

The Holy Spirit will teach us the King James Bible if we “read” (Ephesians 3:4), “study” (2 Timothy 2:15), and “consider” it (2 Timothy 2:7)!

The Virgin Conception of Christ

Monday, December 19, 2016

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 KJV).

While Christendom speaks of the “virgin birth of Christ,” according to today’s Scripture, a more accurate term would be the “virgin conception of Christ.” There was nothing unusual about Christ’s birth; it was His conception that was unique because there was no human father!

Interestingly, today’s Scripture has been the point of controversy for over a century (to Satan’s delight!). Some modern Bibles (RSV, NRSV, et al.) translate the Hebrew word here translated “virgin” as the vague “young woman,” thereby leaving room for the heretical idea that Joseph was Jesus’ biological father (and denying Christ’s deity)! If someone ever tells you almah (the Hebrew word translated “virgin”) can mean “young woman” or “virgin,” they are right, but point out that the key to choosing the right translation is not up to a translator, but rather the Holy Ghost!

The author of Matthew’s Gospel, filled with the Holy Ghost, knew which translation—“young woman” or “virgin”—was what God had intended in Isaiah 7:14. If we want to know what God meant in Isaiah 7:14, why not ask God?

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Behold a virgin shall be with child…” (Matthew 1:22,23a). The Greek word translated “virgin,” parthenos, can only mean “virgin,” not “young woman.” Isaiah was prophesying a virgin, indicated by the words “firstborn son” (Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7) and “Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son” (Matthew 1:25). Isaiah 7:14 meant “virgin,” as indicated by Luke 1:34, for Mary “knew not a man.” Again, the Bible is clear that Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father.

Matthew 1:23 indisputably proves that almah in Isaiah 7:14 did not simply mean a “young woman,” who may or may not be sexually pure, but “a virgin,” a woman who never had any sexual intercourse. The Holy Ghost, not Joseph, was the Father of Jesus’ body (Matthew 1:18-20).

For more information, see our archived Bible Q&A: “What is the real Immaculate Conception?

To Know the Holy Bible

Friday, November 25, 2016

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17 KJV).

Friend, may you come to know the Holy Bible as God wants you to know it!

Visiting a “Christian” bookstore or website, looking for a Bible, is a most daunting task. There are many translations from which to choose—NLT, Amplified, ESV, the Message, HCSB, the Voice, “God’s Word,” NRSV, NASB, NKJV, NIV, the Living Bible. Which to buy? Oh, but these are the more recent versions. Actually, during the last 135 years, 100 to 200 modern English translations have been published and marketed! Sadly, “scholars”—employing heathen, non-Christian viewpoints—have used their perversions of the Holy Bible to harass and divide the Christian public.

Satan is the master deceiver. Literally, the best counterfeiter there has ever been and ever will ever be! The Devil’s first words ever uttered in Scripture are found in Genesis 3:1: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan attacked God’s Word by questioning it. Even today, he uses the flesh of men who say, “A better translation is…. This passage is not found in the ‘oldest and best’ manuscripts… That word is wrong…. This verse is not inspired…. We need to publish another version with better readings….” Yet, these are often the “educated” people leading our seminaries, Bible colleges, and churches! They echo Satan’s damnable question, “Yea, hath God said…?”

Concerning the New Testament, there are over 5,500 Greek manuscripts (excluding other languages). About 90 to 95 percent agree with our King James Bible. Only a handful of manuscripts disagree with this majority, and that handful (which even disagree amongst themselves!) has been used in “scholarly” circles to cast doubt on God’s preserved Word in English. If the King James Bible has been used by Anglophone Christians for over 400 years, we should hold fast to it today… especially in this day of rampant false teaching!

You may click here for more information about Bible versions: https://333wordsofgrace.wordpress.com/bible-timeline-other-study-aids/.

Unity in Variety

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire (Matthew 3:11 KJV).

Let us consult Mark, Luke, and John.

Friend, the Bible is truly a remarkable Book—yea, rather, the world’s greatest Book! If you carefully read its words, looking for related phrases and words elsewhere, you begin to assemble a giant puzzle. What was mysterious is now somewhat understandable. While absolute clarity is impossible in this life—for our flesh limits us—we can appreciate a wide range of contexts and concepts by simply comparing Bible verses. Unfortunately, most have resorted to comparing verses with commentaries and dictionaries. Eventually, the commentaries and dictionaries become believable and the verses become doubtful.

It comes as no surprise that Bible detractors usually dismiss the writers of Scripture as “collaborators.” They say that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were from one written source. However, that argument does not hold up. While we can study and compare those Four Gospel Records, and see how they do oftentimes agree, in several places, these four books starkly depart from each other. John especially stands almost entirely alone. All the more reason to believe them as true! Why?

Consider today’s Scripture (Matthew): “[W]hose shoes I am not worthy to bear….” Mark’s version (1:7) says: “And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.” Finally, Luke’s version (3:16): “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose….” (John does not record this at all in his book!)

Notice how they do not read word-for-word. They are not supposed to read verbatim, either—that would certainly merit suspicion of collaboration! These accounts read differently… but, friend, fret not! They are four different men looking at the same John the Baptist (although, actually, the same Lord Jesus Christ) from four different perspectives. And, yet, the same Holy Spirit leading them all! Such unity in variety!