“It isn’t inerrant and not likely even in the “original manuscripts.” But then, I cannot say that with absolute certainty, anymore than anyone else can either, writes Steve McSwain in the Huffington Post regarding the Bible.
McSwain, who is billed as a “Thought Leader, author, speaker and spiritual teacher,” posted this under the title “Six Things Christians should just stop Saying.” Why does McSwain make this charge? His answer?
“Because no such “original” manuscripts even exists.”
He further argues, “As we have it, no matter what translation you favor, the Bible is replete with errors. To pretend otherwise is your right. To say otherwise is a lie. You are entitled to your opinions, your assumptions, even your beliefs. What you are not entitled to is a misrepresentation of the facts.”
Well here are the facts.
The Claim of Scripture
The Scripture claims to originate from God. Paul affirmed, “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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17) The word “inspired” means “God breathed.” It denotes divine activity.
Peter penned that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:20-21). And John claimed that his Revelation came from God through the messenger of an angel (Rev. 1:1-3).
Over 4,000 times the Old Testament writers affirm that their message was from Jehovah God. Over 800 times the Pentateuch uses such expressions as “the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” The prophet Jeremiah confirms over 100 times that his prophesy was “the word of the Lord.” And 25 times in the little book of Malachi the prophet says his writing originated from “the Lord of hosts.”
Indeed as Batsell Barrett Baxter states, “There is ‘an air of infallibility’ about the writings that make up the Bible.”
Although there are no original autographs of Scripture, the amount of manuscript evidence is overwhelming as to the accuracy and authenticity of the Bible. If we must reject the Bible because there are no original manuscripts, then we must also reject the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and Homer.
We have 7 copies of Plato’s writings, 49 of Aristotle’s and 643 of Homer’s Illiad. But compare this with the manuscripts of Bible books. We currently have unearthed 5,668 Greek manuscripts. In addition there more than 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages of Scripture. The supporting manuscript evidence for Scripture exceeds 24,000 documents!
The extent of these manuscripts allow for comparison of accuracy.
Nelson Glueck, a renowned archaeologist and late President of Hebrew College in Cincinnati said, “It is worth emphasizing that in all this work no archeological discovery has ever controverted a single properly understood Biblical statement.”
One of the most famous was the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd boy who was searching for a lost goat. His “accidental” discovery has blessed the world.
One of the scrolls was a complete manuscript of Isaiah which was confirmed to be 1,000 years more recent than any other manuscript of that book. The importance of this discovery was the exactness upon comparing the two manuscripts. There was essentially no change in 1,000 years of copying and recopying the manuscript as it was handed down from generation to generation.
Indeed, God has kept His Word free from error!
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away.” I believe the all-powerful God who created the cosmos, has the power to providentially preserve his Word.
My faith in the accuracy of the Bible is undeterred by the attacks of critics, doubts of unbelievers and the assaults of infidels. Indeed, “..we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place…” (2 Pet 1:19).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman