Scholarolatry vs. Faith

God's promise of preservation

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by Samer Adra
September 2004


This is admittedly a strange way to start out an article about the Bible, but check out this link ("History Proves and Christian Scholars Recognize Doubtful Authenticity of the Bible"). This lost Muslim has some surprising insights into the Bible.

Skim the above article, and, although it was written by a Muslim, you will see what has become of modern Christianity--sadly, he understands it better than most neo-evangelicals. The Muslims will use the multiplicity of Bible versions out there as evidence that the Bible is false. They claim the Bible used to be God's Word but was corrupted. Sadly, that will soon be the case if we do not hold on tight to the Authorized Version.

The Muslim author takes so much of what professing (and oftentimes sincere) "Christian scholars" (quotes because a "Christian scholar" is often neither) say, and he shows what it obviously implies. The "scholars" in Christendom use the "oldest and best" argument, and the lost author of the linked article agrees. The "scholars" in Christendom (but not necessarily in the body of Christ) disagree on what the true reading of Scripture is, and the lost Muslim understands that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:24). The "Christian scholars" preach textual criticism, and the Muslim author takes it to its logical conclusion, showing that, if textual criticism is true, then the Bible is false, at least in all the forms we have it in today. Although they would deny it, the "Christian scholars" would agree with him; they may argue that the Bible is inerrant, but since they only believe the lost "original manuscripts" were inspired, they therefore have no inerrant Bible.

The Muslim correctly cites some of the more common verse deletions as evidence that scholars today are finally figuring it out and realizing that things like the trinity (1 John 5:7--deleted by modern Bible versions) and the resurrection (Mark 16:9-20--deleted by modern Bible versions) were later additions.

And, indeed, these modern versions attest to this, often saying "Not found in the earliest and best manuscripts." How ludicrous, to claim that 2 incomplete manuscripts out of the ungodly Alexandrian line of manuscripts, one found tucked away in the Vatican library, the other in a monastery trashcan, hold the keys to the verbally plenary inspired, 100% pure word of God. (Of course, you'll be hard-pressed these days to find a church that actually believes the Bible is verbally plenary inspired; the prevalence of all these different modern versions has meant that the Word of God is something fluid, that we can't know 100% sure what it was originally, but scholars are constantly working to find out which verses are really in the Bible and constantly revising it (latest being the Holman Christian Standard, thanks to the Southern Baptist Convention, sadly); despite the fact that most churches and organizations now soften their stance and say the Bible is the perfect, infallible word of God, but only in the original manuscripts, the fact remains that the Bible itself says it is verbally plenary inspired: (Psalm 12:6, 7;119:111,160; Luke 21:33, et al); this brings up a very important question: do we have the word of God today? What is it? I mean to say, something that is inspired and true to every last word, every last verse, with no doubt. Modern version proponents cannot believe such a thing, for the NIV and NKJV, NASB and NRSV, HCSB, and all the others are in states of continual revision, as the word of God is getting purer and purer, which is, of course, quite a silly marketing ploy (all of these modern versions of the "word of God" are under COPYRIGHT--so suddenly the word of God cannot be distributed freely? KJV apologist Will Kinney notes in his KJV debate with Dr. Jason Gastrich on www.baptistboard,com, in rounds 1 and 4, "The explosion of modern versions has encouraged the student to pick and choose his own preferred readings and has created a tendency to treat every Bible lightly and to look upon none as the final words of God.")

The truth is, if we cannot say with absolute certainty that every last character in our Bible is given by inspiration of God, the entire thing falls. For, who, in their right mind, would dare suggest that God, in His manifold providence and infinite wisdom, would inspire a Bible, inspire the writers to pen those perfect original manuscripts, and then, after inspiring a work, abandon it? Bible revisionists (few of whom have any semblance of a zeal for God, following in the footsteps of their leaders, the unbelieving Westcott and Hort) would have us believe that the oldest and best manuscripts, discovered in the 19th century and used for most all major translations thereafter, comprise the best representation of the word of God as it appeared in the original manuscripts. And, of course, they use these 2 manuscripts, which represent the minority readings of all the manuscript evidence, to delete verses and words at a whim...But they disagree with each other a lot, so they must figure out for each verse which reading to take, and there is no scientific basis for how they do it; this has evolved into the "science" of textual criticism, where they criticize God's word and say "well, this wasn't Paul's type of language, so it probably wasn't in there...we'll delete it." It leads to all of the doubt we have. It leads to such junk as "Q theory," which groups Matthew, Mark, and Luke as "Synoptic Gospels" and says they copied off each other and deleted things they didn't like or agree with from each other's texts, and that they all initially got their stuff from one main "sayings" document, which they call Q (of course, all of this with no real evidence, and they have never found any Q). These are the same people who say John might have copied some of his stuff from the heretical gnostic-inspired Gospel of Thomas (although I don't know why they would call it a gospel since it doesn't present the good news of Christ, but rather shows Him as a teacher, a philosopher, with new-age garbage mixed in). To all this, I say rubbish, and more importantly, the Word of God says rubbish. It's pure foolishness.

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
(Psalms 12:6-7)

God Himself has promised to preserve His words forever. Historically, when a scribe copied a manuscript, the older, worn-out manuscript was discarded. This leads to the natural conclusion that the best, most-copied, legitimate early, original manuscripts were copied and preserved into the newer manuscripts, and finally into the present day, leaving the originals to be worn out by extensive use and copying, and eventually discarded, whereas, on the other hand, the known heretical manuscripts (especially, for example, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, I will argue) were ignored by any scribe with a shred of respect for the Lord and His word. Bibles wear out. Truly, a Bible that's falling apart reflects a life that isn't; the same can be said for the manuscripts: If they are falling apart, it is because they have been used, and they represent the word of God.

In fact, the bulk of modern textual theory rests on the assumed "facts" that codices aleph and B are the oldest (and therefore best) manuscripts. A modern translation which uses these corrupt manuscripts (although admittedly sparingly) is the NKJV. In its 1982 preface, a selection reads, on page vii,

"The manuscript preferences cited in many contemporary translations are due to recent reliance on a relatively few manuscripts discovered in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Dependence on these manuscripts, especially two, the Sinaitic and Vatican manuscripts, is due to the greater age of these documents."

While I have already shown why I believe the "oldest and best" point to be null and void, I would still like to confront this unfounded notion that they are the oldest, and thus, best representation of the originals.

First of all, a quote from our old friend, Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892), who along with his friend Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1903), began the modern attack on the Bible. (And if you don't believe it's an attack, first consider the wicked serpent in the garden, and that the very first sin was rooted in "Yea, hath God said...?" Truly, Satan would love to get his filthy paws on God's Word, for he could consequently alter the minds of God's people. Furthermore, some of these modern joke translations, from the Message, with its New Age language (e.g., 'as above, so below' in the Lord's prayer) and philosophy, to "Good as New," are being accepted as Holy Scripture, (see WorldNetDaily link) despite the fact that the latter, for example, adds the Gospel of Thomas (in which a woman must first become a man to enter the kingdom of Heaven) and simultaneously deletes 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude and Revelation. Where was I...ah yes, a quote from Hort:
"If you make a decided conviction of the absolute infallibility of the N.T. practically a sine qua non for co-operation, I fear I could not join you."
Wait a second, how is that related to the age of the manuscripts?
Oops, silly me...hehe, well, that's just a good quote from one of the founders of this movement, so you know whether its roots are Godly or demonic
Here's the relevant quote:
"The Textus Receptus is "beyond all question the text of the second half of the fourth century." This is despite the fact that his beloved "earliest and best manuscripts" are believed to be from around that time."

Here's another good one, this time by the chairman of the 1881 Revised Version, the first modern translation, found in pages 11-12 of his pamphlet, "The Revisers and the Greek text of the N.T. by two members of the N.T. Company":

"The manuscripts which Erasmus used differ, for the most part only in small and insignificant details from the great bulk of the cursive MSS. The general character of their text is the same. By this observation the pedigree of the Received Text (which underlies the King James Bible) is carried up beyond the individual manuscripts used by Erasmus...That pedigree stretches back to remote antiquity. The first ancestor of the Received Text was at least contemporary with the oldest of our extant MSS, if not older than any one of them."

Keep in mind that this man had an agenda against the King James (which his based on the Textus Receptus), and was by nooooo means a King-James Onlyist.

It has been counted that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus contradict each other in the four Gospels in at least 3,036 instances, and, in the very least, 7,000 contradictions in the New Testament between these two manuscripts. These are referring to significant differences, not a matter of a couple letters. Often, whole verses were omitted.

Mark 14:55-59: The Bible rejects witnesses that disagree with each other.

Textus Receptus agrees with the vast majority of the 86,000+ citations from scripture by the early church fathers, and, more importantly, they agree with each other. Of about 5,309 extant NT manuscripts, 95% of the text is in full agreement (I have read 99% from some sources, and 95% from others--either way, TR represents the vast, vast majority). The Textus Receptus (Received Text) used to be known as the Majority Text, and was agreed upon as representing the word of God in its original and eternal perfection, as God had promised. However, early heretics corrupted the Bible, especially in Alexandria, Egypt, and other places where Gnosticism was rampant, and there are essentially two lines of Bible texts, the Alexandrian, and the Byzantine/Syrian, which we have the city of Antioch in much part to thank.

A comparison of Antioch and Alexandria in Scripture

If you look in the Bible, beginning at Acts 6, according to the above article, you will find very contrasting comparisons between Antioch, where believers were first called Christians, and Alexandria.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Proverbs 30:5 says Every word of God is pure. Are we to accept two works as equally inspired, perfectly, 100%, by the Almighty God of creation, when one omits dozens of entire verses, thousands of words, and changes a great deal of the existing words?

Clearly, only one can be true: Either Mark 16:9-20 is in the Bible or it isn't. If you say your Bible has it, look at the footnotes. Is there a note on the passage that says the oldest and best manuscripts omit it? Shame on them. We're dealing with the Word of God, and they pick and choose what to accept and what to throw out. Footnotes like that only serve to build doubt in one's mind about the accuracy of Scripture, and are a cheap way for the translators to say they kept the verses in while still trying to influence their readers otherwise. We must have discernment in such matters.

Then there is the issue of God's word existing before the discovery of these two manuscripts. Did God let His Word be found at that point in history, having been absent for over a millennium? Of course not! God had allowed His word to be spread throughout the centuries. To accept Sinaiticus and Vaticanus as God's word is to say that God's word didn't exist before them.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
I personally find it very hard to believe that all the great revivals which have taken place over the centuries were based on a false word of God. A good tree bears good fruit, and if something is not the absolute word of God, it could not be responsible for the great spiritual things which have happened thanks to the Authorized Version (KJV) and other forms of the Textus Receptus.
Note that I'm by no means saying the word of God didn't exist before the King James (1611); the Textus Receptus is the product of centuries of manuscript copying and preservation, and the KJV is its English form. I will not believe this Muslim rubbish that a Koran translated out of Arabic is no longer a Koran, for not one error has been proven in the KJV in almost 400 years, and it has shown itself beyond the shadow of a doubt to be God's word.

For just one of many errors in "God's word" in the form of the modern versions, check out, for example, the subtle heresy often found in Philippians 2:6. Jesus couldn't grasp equality with God? Look at this in the context. Verse 7 begins with the word "But," but in the newer versions, the linked statements do not contrast, making for a grammatical inconsistency. There is another grammatical error in the modern versions, in 1 John 5:7-8. When they delete the Johannine Comma, the resultant passage in the modern versions ends up with a gender/plurality disagreement in the Greek.

Does your version's Mark 1:2 say "Isaiah the prophet," or "the prophets" when it quotes both Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1? Thank Sinaiticus and Vaticanus if it's in error on this simple cross-reference.

The NIV is the best selling version today, with about 64,000 words missing, including whole verses. Here's just a sampling of the many: Matthew 17:21; 18:11; 23:14. Mark 7:16; 9:44,46; 11:26;15:28. Luke 17:36; 23:17. John 5:4. Acts 8:37; 24:7; 28:29. Romans 16:24.

Compare the KJV and NIV in 1 Samuel 6:19. Check the footnote on the NIV. Big difference. Which one puts more faith in God and His word?

Modern versions depart from the Hebrew Masoretic text as well, which was preserved meticulously by God's faithful Jews.

Here are some rules for Masoretic scribes, as given by the Talmud:

The skins of the parchments had to be prepared in a special way and dedicated to God so that they would be clean in order to have God’s words written on them.
The ink that was used was black and made in accordance to a special recipe used only for writing Scripture.
The words written could not be duplicated by memory but must be reproduced from an authentic copy that the scribe had before him. And, the scribe had to say each word aloud as he wrote it.
Each time the scribe came across the Hebrew word for God, he had to wipe his pen clean. And when he came across the name of God, Jehovah, he had to wash his whole body before he could write it.
If a sheet of parchment had one mistake on it, the sheet was condemned. If there were three mistakes found on any page, the whole manuscript was condemned. Each scroll had to be checked within thirty days of its writing, or it was considered unholy.
Every word and every letter was counted. If a letter or word was omitted, the manuscript was condemned.
There were explicit rules for how many letters and words were allowed on any given parchment. A column must have at least forty-eight lines and no more than sixty. Letters and words had to be spaced at a certain distance and no word could touch another.

In his book, The Text of the Old Testament, noted Old Testament textual scholar Dr. Ernst Wurthwein mentions that the scribes counted the verses, words, and letters of each part of the Scriptures they were copying. [Ernst Wurthwein, The Text of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), 19.] The Jewish historian Josephus (37-95 AD) comments on the preciseness of the Jewish scribes and their faithfulness in copying the Old Testament Scriptures:

". . . for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add anything to them, to take anything from them, or to make any change in them; but it becomes natural to all Jews, immediately and from their very birth, to esteem those books to contain divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be, willingly to die for them." [Flavius Josephus, "Flavius Josephus Against Apion," Book 1, The Works of Josephus, trans. William Whiston (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1987), 776.]

(Thanks to Dr. Thomas Holland for the above quotes, from his book Crowned With Glory: The Bible from Ancient Text to Authorized Version.)

While I'm on it, here were some rules carried forth by the King James translation committee.  These were among the most scholarly men to ever grace the face of the earth, and they loved the Lord, although the Anglican church is now sadly lacking with that fervor and has gone the way of Laodicea. Click the link and scroll down until you get to the list of rules they had to follow. This work was not thrown together.

Modern version proponents can only explain 2 Samuel 8:4 and 1 Chronicles 18:4 by saying there was a scribal error somewhere along the ways. In fact, many apologists these days brush off anything difficult as a scribal error. It would be a whole lot easier to simply trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-7) and in His word. Do you want to know which Bible is God's? You don't have to do what the modern "scholars" did, and rely upon their own foolish earthly "wisdom," checking the vocabulary, comparing writing styles, automatically decreeing anything supernatural as later addition, etc. Just ask God in prayer and in humbleness, and He will lead you.

James 1:5 says If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

How is one to figure out, with certainty, matters of biblical doctrine vs. man-made lies? Well, of course, by looking straight to God's word; however, if we're not careful, there are many cults who twist a couple verses of God's word to imply something that's not there. While in the Bible searching for answers, we need to be asking God for wisdom, that He may guide us in all our ways.

God is not the author of confusion, and these modern-version proponents bring about just that, as evidenced by Billy Graham's wife, as quoted by Billy in his book, The Holy Spirit:

"My wife has more than twenty different translations available at all times. By the time she has compared the various wordings of all these, she can be reasonably sure that she has a good idea of the meaning the Holy Spirit intended to convey in any passage of Scripture." (Collins, Fount Paperbacks, 1980, p.43)

Reasonably sure that we have a good idea of what God means? There are literally hundreds of versions, and they all conflict with each other, and it's not just word choice. There are flat-out contradictions between versions. What are we to make of it? Again, 1 Corinthians 14:33: God is not the author of confusion. This is exactly Satan's plan, to twist the word of God, so that we have no idea where to find it, and so we can't memorize it and put it in our hearts, that confusion may arise from the pulpit as people scramble to read along...Here's an interesting statistic that might shed some light on which is easiest to read:
Of people who read their Bible on a daily basis, "The King James Version is more likely to be the Bible read during the week than is the NIV by a 5:1 ratio." (Barna Research, The Bible survey, http://www.barna.org/cgi-bin/PageCategory.asp?CategoryID=7)

This argument I always hear..."Well, the KJV is just so hard to read!" First off, I would say, it doesn't matter. It's God's Word. We should conform to His Word; we shouldn't dumb His word down to our common street language.

But second, it is plenty simple once you learn the few base archaic words, which are really quite simple (-eth endings, ye, thou, you, thee, etc.) once you get the hang of them. If somebody has the know-how to learn a second language, that person should have no problem comprehending the word of God.

The average word length in the KJV is just over four letters, and would be under four if not for the proper names. The sentence construction is simple. The entire KJV Bible has a total of something like 6,000-8,000 unique words. I've recently read that almost half of Shakespeare's (about) 20,000 words are now obsolete, whereas for the KJV it's about 1% of the 6,000. I may have mangled these statistics, and I'm looking for it online...but can't find it. Needless to say, hehe, it's really not that bad. I can't even understand Shakespeare half the time, but the KJV's language makes for a smooth-flowing rhythm and easy memorization. Having memorized long passages of both Shakespeare and the KJV, I think the KJV is much easier, hands-down...and, as opposed to Shakespeare, I knew the vocabulary, which helps! In addition, Shakespeare uses some pretty nasty sentence ordering.

The Fleisch-Kincaid scale, through computerized analysis, reveals that the KJV's vocabulary has fewer syllables per word than either the NIV or the NASB, and the KJV has less complex sentences than the NIV or NASB.

Just for kicks, you can confirm any of this with Microsoft Word's readability statistics feature in the spelling and grammar check options.

Here is an amusing table of archaic words in the New International perVersion (Jeremiah 23:36), and a side-by-side comparison of the KJV equivalent. If I recall, the New "King James" perVersion is really bad at this as well, substituting long, fancy, unheard of words for simple, monosyllabic words from the KJV. (On a side note, what's up with that..."monosyllabic": 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 syllables--go figure.) What was the sin of Sodom? I've always thought sodomy, as my KJV says, but apparently, according to these new versions, male shrine prostitution (or replace shrine with cult or temple). Insanity.

Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.

Galatians 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever...

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

Psalms 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

I thank the Lord for His word, which reveals the light of salvation to me. Without it, I could know not the grace of my Savior, and without it perfectly preserved, I could hardly trust an omnipotent God. He is truly awesome.

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