Pastor's Corner

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Answering Myths About the Bible Part 2

As a second myth to address about the Bible, I wanted to speak about what is called inerrancy. Inerrancy is the belief that the Bible has no errors in it. But this is a two-pronged myth we have to contend with when we speak of inerrancy. First, there is the myth of perfection in whatever Bible you carry – you read an English translation of the Bible that has no errors. Unfortunately many pastors speak of inerrancy in such a way that folks believe this to be the case, but this is not what inerrancy means.

In 1978 a group of notable scholars gathered together, created, and signed what is known as the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy to counter a movement away from belief in the reliability of the Bible. Those who signed the statement came from a variety of evangelical Christian denominations, and included noted scholars such as James Montgomery Boice, Carl F. H. Henry, J. I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, and R. C. Sproul. These men and women took an important stand. What they declared is; we believe as Christians that the writings contained in the Bible are without error, in the original writings. And further, not having those original manuscripts written by the apostles’ own hand, takes nothing away from inerrancy.

No translation is without error, this is not as reasonable idea. There are definitely some translations which are better than others, but none of them are perfect. Any time you are moving from one language to another, something is not going to easily translate well, and it will require explanation to correctly understand it. As a child growing up I would hear jokes told in Spanish, but when they tried to tell the same joke in English, it was not funny because the word meanings were lost in translation. While most modern English translations do extremely well communicating the truth being conveyed, they are not perfect. For example, in Psalm 139:5 we read, “You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.” The Hebrew words for “laid your hand” means something more like God has cupped us in His hand. You see, you read it and you get the idea of God covering us for protection, but to know the Hebrew reads “to cup us in His hands” adds something to the depth of meaning.

So if you want to grasp the full, beautiful, and deep meaning of a statement from something like the Hebrew used to write the Psalms, you have to take the time to study the Hebrew. There are idioms, phrases, or words in common use thousands of years ago that have changed through the years.

Now, the second issue related to this doctrine of inerrancy; involves accusations of errors in the copies of the manuscripts of the New Testament, so many in fact, we cannot reliably know what was intended to be said. People like Bart Ehrman, and agnostic and scholar, have made a lucrative living making this claim in print and lecturing. But what is behind their claims?

How accurate are our copies of the original Hebrew and Greek texts? We have thousands of manuscripts and fragments available to us to study, so there are literally thousands of errors as well. But within these manuscripts, despite the errors, we know they are about 99% accurate – and we have 100% of the truth we need. The main issues are disagreements about which words were the original ones. We don’t lack any of the original words – we just have some disputed extra ones. We have thousands of existing manuscripts – each containing a variety of copying errors. But the fact that we have so many copies actually enables us to decide very closely what the original was meant to say.

Example: If you would receive 3 telegrams, each containing an error.

#OU HAVE WON $1,000,000.

Y#U HAVE WON $1,000, 000.

YO# HAVE WON $1,000, 000.

The truth is clear, even if the telegrams disagree on their errors. This is what the errors commonly look like, and add to this there are literally hundreds of ways to state something in the Greek language at times – so a copy may not have the same words used, but the message remains the same. There is no room on Facebook to address the remaining less than one percent of errors, but they do not directly affect anything in regard to what we believe as Christians. You will have to do some homework – check out the work of Dr. Daniel Wallace, a New Testament scholar who has addressed these issues very well. Or, you can read some of my favorite old dead dudes like F. F. Bruce who spent his life working on the New Testament documents.

The message God intended for us to have is contained within the pages of your Bible, completely true, and containing no errors in the original autographs. Is your Bible reliable? Absolutely, there is nothing else like it!

Answering Myths About the Bible Part 3
Answering Myths About the Bible Part 1