WHAT IS GOD’S WORD
Lesson No. 1
(INTRODUCTION TO STUDY)
Often times you will hear on “Christian” radio, popular preachers and teachers referring to – God’s word. Or on TV some well known Evangelist will declare – “the Bible says”. Or “Christian” books and magazines will emphasis the importance of the Holy Scriptures. And in churches around the country, pastors often proclaim: “the promises of God’s word”.
The Christian religion is based on the Bible. Christians should be a people of the Book. Because this is so – the first question that comes to the mind of a thinking person is: WHAT IS GOD’S WORD?
One of the most important issues amongst saved people today is – Do we have a Holy Bible? Or just a book that:
Contains God’s word.
We can “trust” and is “reliable” but – certainly NOT Holy!
#1. WHAT IS GOD’S WORD?
#2. DO WE HAVE GOD’S WORD TODAY?
#3. IF WE DO, WHERE IS IT?
These are some of the many questions we are going to deal with in our study of the Bible. Over the next few weeks we will be taking a brief look at:
A. The Bible’s Testimony About Itself
B. The History of the Bible
C. Church History
D. Manuscript Evidence
E. Textual Criticism
F. Comparison of Bible Versions
I first became aware of this issue in 1968 and have spent countless hours since then studying well over 50 books; numerous audiotapes; and many pamphlets on the subject. In my studies I’ve discovered some very interesting things:
#1. I found out that a person doesn’t have to be able to read, write, or
speak Hebrew or Greek in order to determine what is God’s word.
#2. You and I could spend our entire lives in the study of the “text” of the
Bible and not know half of what some men have already learned.
The following excerpts and quotes are from the book, Which Bible (compiled by David Otis Fuller) in regards to a brilliant believer and true ‘scholar’, Robert Dick Wilson.
Robert Dick Wilson, MA, Ph.D.,
Professor Wilson had this to say about ‘experts’: “If a man is called an expert, the first thing to be done is to establish the fact that he is such. One expert may be worth more than a million other witnesses that are not experts. Before a man has the right to speak about the history, the language, and the paleography of the Old Testament, the Christian church has the right to demand that such a man should establish his ability to do so.”
“For forty-five years continuously, since I left college, I have devoted myself to the one great study of the Old Testament, in all its languages, in all of its archeology, in all of its translations, and as far as possible in everything bearing upon its text and history. I tell you this so that you may see why I can and do speak as an expert. I may add that the result of my forty-five years of study of the Bible has led me all the time to a firmer faith that in the Old Testament we have a true historical account of the history of the Israelite people; and I have the right to commend this to some of those bright men and women who think that they can laugh at the old-time Christian and believer in the Word of God.”
He goes on to further say: “The evidence in our possession has convinced me that “at sundry times and in divers manners God spoke unto our fathers through the prophets,” and that the Old Testament in Hebrew, “being immediately inspired by God,” has “by His singular care and providence been kept pure in all ages.”
One of the stirring moments in the experience of his students occurred when, after a dissertation on the complete trustworthiness of Scripture, the renowned scholar said with tears: “Young men, there are many mysteries in this life I do not pretend to understand, many things hard to explain. But I can tell you this morning with fullest assurance that. ‘Jesus loves me this I know, For the Bible tells me so.’ ” (Which Bible – Pgs. 39-48)
there’s a man who loved the Lord and His word and knew where it was. But can
any reasonable person say that God calls all of us to spend 45 years in the
study of the history and text of the Bible? We may not be as brilliant as some
men, chances are most of us haven’t gone to
John I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into
all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall
hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
All born again Christians have the Holy Spirit living in them, and if we seek His guidance in these matters, He will guide us “into all truth”. And on the negative side, He will also show us what is FALSE! Personally, I’m glad that I don’t have to depend solely on my “intellect” to discern the truth. If I did, I’d never know it!
Do you know what the trouble with many so-called fundamental, pre-millennial, evangelical churches today? They’ve lost their Authority! (Matthew 7:29, Mark 1:22, 1 Timothy 2:15). Many Christian homes have no Authority. WHY? Well, where do we derive our Authority? You say - the Bible. Which Bible?
No Holy, Infallible Bible – No Absolute Authority! Which means you’ll have to go to men for their answers, interpretations, opinions, etc. Many Christians today have traded in their Swords for the worthless “opinions” of so-called Bible scholars. Today Christians and churches are divided over just exactly what is the word of God. I believe that Biblical Christianity will either stand or fall on this issue. What is our Final Authority?
Question: The mistrust that people (saved and unsaved alike) have towards the Bible, where did it come from - God? Man? Satan? Show me in the Bible where God ever criticized His word (even one verse?). Or when did Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Peter, James, John, Luke or Paul ever point out ‘errors’ in the Old Testament. Can you imagine David saying: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart”, except for the contradictions, obscurities, interpolations, spurious passages, and a few scribal errors? Then why do modern day Christians say these things?
Let’s get down to brass tacks: Did God Inspire the Originals? Why, only atheists, infidels, and heretics would disagree with believers on this point. Can you see where we are going? The most important question today is NOT – Did God Inspire the Originals? All born again people believe that, or at least they should. THE QUESTION IS - Did God PRESERVE His Holy word as He promised (without error – Holy and Infallible) or not?
Do you think for a moment that He would go to the trouble of Inspiring His word and cause it to be written down and then just leave it up to us alone to keep it?
Could He preserve His word?
Would He preserve His word?
Did He preserve His word? (Psalms 12:6-7)
How did He preserve it?
If He did preserve it, where is it?
By now you can see that this subject is not going to be easy. Neither can we stick our heads in the sand and hope that the problem will just disappear. In these times you can’t avoid it. As blood bought children of God we are not to depend on our ‘feelings’; or ‘emotions’; or other people’s ‘opinions’; or religious leaders ‘preferences’; or especially – the ‘recommendations’ of the “scholars” (Christian or otherwise).
I believe that the Authorized Version of 1611, known as the King James Bible since 1901, is God’s perfect word preserved without proven error. And although the Textus Receptus (the Koine Greek text) is the basis of the AV 1611 New Testament, I believe that God intends for us to use the AV-KJB because Koine Greek is a ‘dead language’ and doesn’t have the flexibility or depth of English. Neither could a Koine Greek text reach nearly as many people since English is the universal language of the world.
There are Bible Versions in other languages (translated from the Textus Receptus) that are very good (Luther’s German Bible, the Spanish Valera, etc.), and in the world there are Christians who do not know English who use them. However, none of these Bibles have had the influence, acceptance, and wide spread distribution of the AV 1611.
If you believe that the AV is the word of God it would be a good thing to know why because more and more people (saved people) are going to attack it, and one of the duties of a Christian is to defend God’s word. Jeremiah 9:3 And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.
Who can know the mind of God? Romans O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
I know that I don’t have all the answers, but I know where to find them! 1 Corinthians For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
THE JEWS – The people chosen by God to write the Scriptures (Romans 3:1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.). The Jews: a peculiar people; called of God; prepared for God; trained and taught of God; a people that require signs and wonders (1 Corinthians ); a people with an instinctive fear of God and a holy reverence for His word. And yet so little faith!
The well known ancient Jewish historian Josephus testified about the Jews attitude towards God’s word [the Old Testament]: “And how firmly we have given credit to those books of our own nation, it is evident by what we do; 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 birth, to esteem those books to contain divine doctrines, and to persist in them and, if occasion be, willingly to die for them.” (Josephus - Biblical Introduction. pg. 104)
Some of the rules as prescribed by the Talmud regarding the copying and preservation of the text of the Old Testament:
1. The parchment must be made from the skin of clean animals; must be prepared by a Jew only, and the skins must be fastened together by strings taken from clean animals.
2. Each column must have no less than 48 nor more than 60 lines. The entire copy must be first lined, and if three words were written in it without the line, the copy was worthless.
3. The ink must be of no other color than black, and it must be prepared according to a special recipe.
4. No word nor letter could be written from memory; the scribe must have an authentic copy before him, and he must read and pronounce aloud each word before writing it.
5. He must reverently wipe his pen each time before writing the word for “God”, and he must wash his whole body before writing the word “Jehovah”, lest the holy name be contaminated.
6. Strict rules were given concerning the forms of the letters, spaces between letters, words, and sections, the use of the pen, the color of the parchment, etc.
7. The revision of a roll must be made within 30 days after the work was finished; otherwise it was worthless. One mistake on a sheet condemned the sheet; if three mistakes were found on any page, the entire manuscript was condemned.
8. Every word and letter was counted, and if a letter were omitted, an extra letter inserted, or if one letter touched another, the manuscript was condemned and destroyed at once.
( Biblical Introduction. pages 184-185)
THE GENTILES – A people with little or no background in the Scriptures: no training; no preparation; no teaching; unholy; unthankful; ungrateful; idolatrous; irreverent towards God and his Holy word; and yet some have believed and have been saved.
What a contrast! Who is able to untangle such a mystery? If the text of the Bible could be determined on a “scientific” basis only, a man would have to master a dozen sciences before he could begin to unravel the text of the Bible. Notice I said begin! Here is just a sample:
PHILOLOGY – The study of written records, texts, etc. (especially to determine age and
LINGUISTICS – The study of languages. (Includes: Phonology, Morphology, syntax,
ETYMOLOGY – The study of the origin of words.
ANTHROPOLOGY – The study of people, races, etc.
ETHNOLOGY – The study of culture (a division of Anthropology).
ARCHEOLOGY – The study of the life and culture of ancient peoples by excavation of
ancient cities etc.
GEOLOGY – The study of the earth’s crust, rocks, minerals, etc.
GEOGRAPHY – The study of the surface of the earth, it’s divisions, continents,
HISTORY – The study of man’s past (governments, religions, and famous people). For
of this study – specifically the history of
(Emphasis on Bible and Church history).
METEOROLOGY – The study of the atmosphere, weather, climate, etc.
PHILOSOPHY – The study of knowledge, ethics, logic, metaphysics, and the ‘theories’
TEXTUAL CRITICISM – The study of the origin and history of the text of a book or
document in order to try to determine it’s authenticity and
Scholars and most Fundamentalists today would say that these are all the “sciences” involved in determining which Bible, if any, is God’s word. However, I would like to add two more critically important subjects to the list.
BIBLICIST – a. A person who believes that the Bible presents the only true religious faith.
b. A person who takes the words of the Bible literally.
c. A person who believes the words of the Bible.
d. A person who knows of and believes the Bible’s testimony about the
spiritual battle between the One True God and the god of this world – Satan.
BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN – A blood-bought child of God, who has the “mind of Christ”.
(1 Corinthians For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.)
I make no claim to being a scholar or an expert. I only qualify for the last two subjects, and firmly believe that is all that God requires of a believer.
Nowadays everyone, that is the ‘scholars’, are seeking to reconstruct the text of the Bible by the exclusive use of these so-called “sciences”. They say that they are trying to get “a text as close to the originals as possible”, while ignoring the last two subjects on my list.
I have a different approach. I figure if God wanted us to have the “originals” He would have preserved them intact. Since it is quite obvious that he didn’t choose to preserve the “originals”, and since no man (or group of men) can master all of the so-called “sciences” (and I don’t believe that God would expect or require us to) then what is the solution?
The way that I see it there are only two solutions for the believer:
#1. Either - The ‘scholars’ have the text as close to the originals as is possible and, by their own admission, “with some errors” and always room for “improvement”. That is: a “reliable” translation - though imperfect, unauthoritative, and unholy!
#2. Or – God has preserved the words of the originals as he promised, and is recorded in the AV–KJB (Psalms 12:6-7), in which case we had better seek out the text that God has witnessed to; the text that has brought real revival; the text that has changed millions of lives; the text that turned the world upside down; the text that transformed cities and countries; the text that God has blessed the usage of; the text that men, women, and children have died for; the text that every ‘great’ preacher since 1611 has used. If you know of such a text, you better read it, cherish it, defend it, and stick with it until he comes!
SOME OF THE GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NEW “BIBLE” TRANSLATIONS
#1. Almost all either low-rate, detract from, or slander the AV-KJB and the AV translators. (Please take some time to compare Introductions).
By the way. Have you ever read the introduction to the AV-KJB? Have you ever even seen the introduction to the AV-KJB? Aren’t you just a little bit curious why all the new “bibles” have page after page of introduction, and yet it is almost impossible to find a copy of the AV1611 translators introduction! Does this raise any questions in your mind? Does it make you wonder at all? It makes me wonder.
While the Introductions to the new “bibles’ go on and on about:
a. How smart the translators are . . . . .
b. How long and hard they labored . . . . .
c. How dedicated they are to finding the “truth” . . . . .
d. How today we have a better and more comprehensive understanding.
e. Due to “scientific” research we have the ‘best’ translations to date. . . . .
f. Adnauseam into infinity . . . . . . .
#2. Many of the new translations have come into existence in order to teach or prove a pet doctrine. That is, the new versions have a ‘doctrinal bias’ concerning:
a. Baptismal Regeneration
d. Justify “the traditions of men”.
e. Slander the Inspiration of Scripture
f. Slander the Deity of Christ
g. Slander the Virgin Birth
h. Remove or change references to Hell
i. Remove or change references to Heaven
j. Remove or change references to the Second Coming of Christ
k. Remove or change references to the Blood Atonement
#3. Nearly all the new versions have a “preference” for a few corrupt mss.
#4. Most of them attempt to bring out the “hidden meaning” of some passage. Or try to “clarify” so-called ‘obscure’ words by referring to Greek Lexicons and grammarians and “science” instead of referring to the Scriptures themselves.
Do you know what Bible knowledge,
discernment and understanding is based on? Or how a person learns and receives
spiritual truths? Bible knowledge is not just a matter of the intellect or matriculating at an
Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. (See also - 1 Corinthians 1:17-31; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-20)
#5. The newer versions are harder to memorize, because of clumsy construction and use of “scholarly” words. Also many of them insert theological and psychological terms – which only confuse the reader.
#6. Many of these versions have footnotes which are corrupt or heretical, and introduce unbelief in and distrust of Scripture. (Watch out for any footnotes that may be in your King James Bibles, many of them are not to be trusted.)
#7. Since 1881 over 100 English versions have hit the market and the Holy Spirit has yet to witness approval to any of them.
#8. After 100 years and over 100 English versions the main FRUIT of these “new” translations has proven to be confusion and lack of trust in the Bible. There has never been any real revival through the use of any of these versions.
As a matter of fact, real genuine geographically widespread revival has only been witnessed twice in church history. Once: following the writing and distribution of the original Greek manuscripts and copies of them and with the early versions or translations from them. And the second time: following the translation of the Byzantine Greek text (known as the Textus Receptus) into Martin Luther’s German Bible, the Bibles which were translated into many of the European languages, and finally the crowning achievement of the English Bibles – the AV 1611, now known as the King James Bible (AV-KJB).
Does any of the information above mean anything to you? Why do you suppose that true revival has been on the wane for the last 100 years? Or why is there no one left alive that has seen true revival? Could it be because of the rejection, on the part of Christians, of the word of God? Is it just a coincidence that with the introduction of the new versions true revival has practically disappeared? Could it be that God refuses to send revival, refuses to bless his people, because they refuse to believe and honor His Holy word as it is written and preserved in the AV-KJB?
Is it just a coincidence that the absence of true revival; the loss of the power and authority of churches; the gradual decline of individual born again believers leading Holy, separated, overcoming lives just “happened” at the same time the new translations came out (1881-1901)? Is it just “fate” that apostasy has set in and destroyed the testimony of church after church after church (Fundamental churches included)? Is there a possible connection between the present day apostasy and Christians and churches having rejected the AV-KJB as their final authority, and replacing it with the Devil’s perversions and man’s authority?
You can think and believe what you like; after all it’s a “free” country. But, if we don’t have God’s Holy and Infallible word in our hands – Where is it? The shame of it all is that so many so-called “fundamentalist” preachers today will stand and proclaim: “God’s word says” or “The Holy Bible reads” or words to that effect, and yet if you were to ask them – Which Bible is God’s word? They would tell you that practically all of them are OK. But if you were to ask them if they could show you a copy of God’s Holy Word, they would have to admit that they don’t know where it is. With the qualifying comment that “the New American Standard Version is the ‘best’ version for the serious Bible student”!
The Bible = Scriptures = A Book that people can read: NOT The “Original” Writings Only!
2 Timothy But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
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.
Please tell me: How is it that without the “benefit of modern scholarship” as we have seen in the last 100 years, men like Bob Jones Sr., Moody, Torrey, Sunday, Spurgeon, Wesley, Whitfield, Livingston, Goforth,, Judson, and all the other faithful men throughout the last 400 years (who thought they had the Holy words of God) saw real revival and we haven’t?
kidding who? God hasn’t kept His word hidden in some secret dusty
library in the
Then why do we have all of this confusion? I believe that the translators of the modern versions are either:
a. Naively ignorant
b. Willingly ignorant
d. Or guilty of “the pride of life” – seeking the praise of men rather
than God. (1 Timothy 6:5 & 10; Romans & 25; 2 Corinthians )
When it comes down to it, it all boils down to the question of Authority!! Do we subject ourselves; our opinions; our prejudices; and our biases to God’s Holy word? Or, do we seek out a bible that will be in subjection to us?
Do these ‘scholars’, revisers, translators, textual critics, etc., etc., seek a position of prominence and authority in Christian schools, colleges, and churches, in order to make us come to them, The Authorities, for the ‘truth’? With the horrible result that since they, in their long and laborious study and research do not know just exactly what God’s Holy word is or where to find it. Then neither can we!
Or, do we, as born again, blood bought believers (Bible believing Christians), seek out the guidance of the Holy Spirit on this matter and seek out what the Bible (AV-KJB) says, and just trust God for the preservation of His word. After all:
God wrote only one Bible and that Bible is TRUE!
Numbers God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent:
hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be
justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.