Inspiration, Canonicity, KJV

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OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Sarah,
Not to forget mentioning the weekly exhortation from all our pulpits when the call to worship is announced, ‘God is speaking’,. Every pastor is breaking the 9th commandment.

Well, Scott, maybe the pastors are not breaking the 9th Commandment after all. I mean who's to say there's even a 9th Commandment since the Bible is full of errors. Maybe some dude added the 9th Commandment when he translated the Bible.....wait there was no original text for him to translate from.....gosh, I keep forgetting that part. Ok, I'll start over. Maybe................ since no one had the original texts from which to translate the Bible everything is just made up. I mean how do you translate a book into another language when you've lost the source you want to translate? Goodness! I might as well make up my own translation. You can too, Scott, in your spare time. ugh!
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
1. We know that the inspired Word is profitable for doctrine, etc. Since Paul did not hand Timothy the autographa, whatever terminology we use should allow us to consider the scriptures we have today as inspired.

2. We know from NT example that translations are acceptable.

3. We know that though the transmission can contain errors that God providentially preserves His Word.

4. We know that the diversity in text families does not produce doctrinal disagreements between the families. Where something is unclear in one, it is clarified by another.

Conclusion:

Whether we call it mediate inspiration (I agree with this terminology) or something else, we have the inspired Word of God. We consider what we have to be inspired, infallible and inerrant. The possibility of error in transmission does not shake how we consider God's word as we have it. We trust that God has preserved His Word sufficiently and that it is therefore to be used as the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
"God promised to preserve his Word which is full of errors down through the ages". How do you say with a straight face is beyond me.

Yes, I'm being very cheeky. But I think it's beyond ridiculous that anyone in their right mind would believe in something that they feel is full of errors.

Your words between the quotation marks are not, in fact, a quotation from what I wrote. You made an error. Do you see how easily that can be done?

It is a fact that copyists have made errors down through the centuries - or the entire science of textual criticism would not exist.

I have not said, nor do I believe, that the Bible is "full of errors." Thanks to God's preservation of His Word through the centuries - but without guaranteeing that copyists would not make mistakes - we can be sure that we have a 99% certainty that we have His Word in our Bibles. And none of the errors that copyists have made concern any of the Word's major doctrines - another example of God's preservation.

Again, inspiration has to do with how the autographs came into being and to their contents. Preservation has to do with how what God has written has continued to come down to us through the centuries. The two are not the same, and inspiration does not apply to the products of the copyists in preservation.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Let me ask it another way: is the word ‘the’ in Hebrew and Greek accurate to the original autographs and if so, is that word inspired in the translation?

(1) wherever the Hebrew and Greek use the word "the" in the autographs, it is a word inspired by God to be used there.

(2) the translation of the word "the" is not inspired. It is an accurate human translation of an inspired word, but the translation is not inspired.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Your words between the quotation marks are not, in fact, a quotation from what I wrote. You made an error. Do you see how easily that can be done?

It is a fact that copyists have made errors down through the centuries - or the entire science of textual criticism would not exist.

I have not said, nor do I believe, that the Bible is "full of errors." Thanks to God's preservation of His Word through the centuries - but without guaranteeing that copyists would not make mistakes - we can be sure that we have a 99% certainty that we have His Word in our Bibles. And none of the errors that copyists have made concern any of the Word's major doctrines - another example of God's preservation.

Again, inspiration has to do with how the autographs came into being and to their contents. Preservation has to do with how what God has written has continued to come down to us through the centuries. The two are not the same, and inspiration does not apply to the products of the copyists in preservation.

Ok, Richard, let me lay out what yours and some others logic looks like:
1) God is inept because he couldn't even keep his Word which he gave to apostles from being lost in order to have it translated into other languages.
2) God is inept because he couldn't even find a translator (should we even be using this word since the original was lost before being translated?) who could translate ummmmm what are we translating again? Anyway, he couldn't find a translator to translate his Word without errors. I'm still confused about what we are now translating since the original texts were lost.
3) What we now have is a 99% accurate Bible. How we know 99% is accurate since the original text was lost I'm confused about. How do you know 99% is accurate you have nothing to compare it to.
4) From where did we get the 99% accurate translation of the Bible since the original text was lost? Don't tell me God inspired some guy to rewrite the Bible but with 1% errors lol.

"Your words between the quotation marks are not, in fact, a quotation from what I wrote. You made an error. Do you see how easily that can be done?" Let's pretend I accidentally made an error in quoting you because I'm a poor reader ( I actually was trying to make a point....), I'm not a person God would pick to translate his word lol.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Richard, you said (post 117),

God, in giving us His written Word, controlled the writers of it in such a way that they wrote exactly what He wanted written, even while He preserved their own personalities, writing styles, etc. Therefore, what they wrote is inspired and without error...

An inspired document that contains errors (or that must admit even the mere possibility of such) is a contradiction.​

In codex Vaticanus in Matt 1:7, Asaph is wrongly written instead of the correct Asa, and in verse 10 Amos is wrongly written instead off the correct Amon. I suppose you have thus eliminated the primary exemplar of the Critical Text.

You also said (appended to the last sentence of yours I quoted) :

So, "mediate inspiration" is not a valid concept.​

The view I posit is that insofar as a translation faithfully (accurately) conveys the essential meaning of an original it then mediately or indirectly partakes of its inspiration, i.e., second hand, if you will.

The "insofar" qualification then opens for minute examination the translation
vis-à-vis the original text, and what then arises is the issue of the variant readings, and their correctness or falsity.

But even before the translation issue is the integrity of the original mss issue. With regard to the example from Matthew 1 above, is it not true that the original I referred to is in error?
 
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timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Yes, Tim, some people are. If you would like me to copy and paste every time someone said that our translations have errors I can do that for you.

Sarah,

In my thinking, "having errors" and "full of errors" are different. Using the word "full" seems to exaggerate what was actually said. Am I wrong? I know that when I exaggerate my wife's words when we have a disagreement, this tends to make things worse.

Does this make sense?
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
What we now have is a 99% accurate Bible. How we know 99% is accurate since the original text was lost I'm confused about. How do you know 99% is accurate you have nothing to compare it to.

The original autograph documents are now lost, but the original text has survived due to God's providence. We no longer have the autographs - everyone is agreed on this. But we still have the original text due to all the copying that has gone on through the centuries, ever since the very first copies from the originals were made (by hand, of course).

A simple example: if I write the words "My cat is nuts"* on a piece of paper, then make 10 copies on a Xerox machine, then throw my original away, I still have the original text even though the original document has been destroyed. (The one thing wrong with this example is that a Xerox machine will copy perfectly, although a scribe making a copy by hand can potentially make a mistake.)

And, thanks to the science of textual criticism, we are able to compare and contrast all these copies (and partial copies) to determine what the true text is. And, as I wrote before, we have a 99% certainty of what the text is.

*My cat is, in fact, nuts.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
In codex Vaticanus in Matt 1:7, Asaph is wrongly written instead of the correct Asa, and in verse 10 Amos is wrongly written instead off the correct Amon. I suppose you have thus eliminated the primary exemplar of the Critical Text.

But even before the translation issue is the integrity of the original mss issue. With regard to the example from Matthew 1 above, is it not true that the original I referred to is in error?

I might not be correctly understanding your use, in this context, of the word "original." But, Codex Vaticanus is not an original, it is a copy made long after the original was inspired by God.

Neither a copy (of a Hebrew or Greek document) nor a translation (into some modern language) can be considered inspired because both are the work of mere uninspired men. They are merely copies of an inspired original (which we no longer have, as you know). Even a perfect (not even one mistake) copy cannot be considered ("mediately") inspired because it is only a copy of what God had already had written through inspiration.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
I woke up thinking about this thread and the issues at stake. Surely it's a very simple issue being clouded by an argument that doesn't take into account that God has promised the quality of inspiration in his word. This is taught throughout the Scripture; for a NT text see, as has been offered before, 2 Timothy 3:16 where the Scripture available to Timothy *is* inspired. The quality of inspiration in the Scripture to the end of the world is something God must maintain; it's humanly impossible but with God it's possible.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
Since the original autographs were written on papyrus, and later on vellum, and as scrolls rather than codices (books as we know them) wear and tear was inevitable. According to this Wiki article codices didn't come into use until the 4th and 5th centuries. Say that to say, it is no wonder that the original autographs appear to be lost.
On the other hand, the scroll of Isaiah discovered in 1947, two thousand years after it was written, generates some hope that the original autographs of the NT may someday be found. This Wiki article will be of interest in that this scroll contains the complete book of Isaiah, all 66 books, and though there are variants and errors, is largely the book as we know it.
Referring to the 'Critical Text' of the NT, the man some love to hate, FJA Hort (of Westcott and Hort) ;
Fenton John Anthony Hort, The Greek New Testament : Introduction 1886 ;
With regard to the great bulk of the words of the New Testament, as of most other ancient writings, there is no variation or other ground of doubt, and therefore no room for textual criticism ; and here therefore an editor is merely a transcriber. The same may be said with substantial truth respecting those various readings which have never been received, and in all probability never will be received, into any printed text. The proportion of words virtually accepted on all hands as raised above doubt is very great, not less, on a rough computation, than seven eighths of the whole. The remaining eighth therefore, formed in great part by changes of order and other comparative trivialities, constitutes the whole area of criticism.

If the principles followed in the present edition are sound, this area may be very greatly reduced. Recognising to the full the duty of abstinence from peremptory decision in cases where the evidence leaves the judgment in suspense between two or more readings, we find that, setting aside differences of orthography, the words in our opinion still subject to doubt only make up about one sixtieth of the whole New Testament In this second estimate the proportion of comparatively trivial variations is beyond measure larger than in the former; so that the amount of what can in any sense be called substantial variation is but a small fraction of the whole residuary variation, and can hardly form more than a thousandth part of the entire text.

Since there is reason to suspect that an exaggerated impression prevails as to the extent of possible textual corruption in the New Testament, which might seem to be confirmed by language used here and there in the following pages, we desire to make it clearly understood beforehand how much of the New Testament stands in no need of a textual critic's labours.
Say all this to say, whether we accept the term 'mediate inspiration', or not, the NT as we have it is indisputably the Word of God.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
and if it is 'the Word of God', it must have inspiration; else, how is it men are saved under the non-inspired renditions?
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Richard, responding to your post 131 (and I note that you subscribe to the WCF), you seem to be saying that there are no inspired Scriptures extant today, and that they disappeared when the apostolic autographs were gone. What then do you make of the WCF at 1:8 where it says,

"The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical"​

If the OT and NT in their original states were immediately inspired by God, and then by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, what do you reckon was kept pure in all ages? What do you think "kept pure" means? Would it be the standard – the classic – definition of "pure"?

The issue of the Vaticanus ms is different; the CT editors since the late 1800s considered it the best, the "neutral", i.e., unadulterated, NT text (though more recently that infatuation has evaporated). But it clearly isn't. I would suppose you don't have a Bible you can hold in your hand and say this is the authentic, intact, infallible word of God. Or do you?
 
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bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Richard, responding to your post 131 (and I note that you subscribe to the WCF), you seem to be saying that there are no inspired Scriptures extant today, and that they disappeared when the apostolic autographs were gone. When then do you make of the WCF at 1:8 where it says,

"The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical"​

If the OT and NT in their original states were immediately inspired by God, and then by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, what to you reckon was kept pure in all ages? What do you think "kept pure" means? Would it be the standard – the classic – definition of "pure"?

The confession is talking about God's providential care in making sure that the text of the Bible survived through the centuries even though the autographa had long-since disappeared. 1.8 doesn't say that "mediate inspiration" was a result of this process.

It would be interesting to know what the divines meant by "pure," in light of the fact that they didn't possess nearly the number of copies and parts of copies that we have today.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
The TR has undergone many editions--the idea that any one edition is flawless is untenable. However, some of us are convinced that the NA/USB texts are inferior to the traditional text.

However, you seem to be confusing the issues of textual criticism and translation--we were talking about the authority of the English translations stemming from them being a faithful representation of the Greek or Hebrew; what Greek text is to be preferred is a different matter.
I agree with your statement here that the reliable English translations are indeed faithful representations of the originals, but just saying that we have No copies off the originals left, and there is no translation without any mistakes or errors.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
If they can be distinguished, they are not "strictly synonymous," which was all that I said. This has been a veritable minefield in Biblical scholarship; precision is critical.
The Originals were fully Inerrant, as in no mistakes or errors within them period, while translations are an infallible witness to them, as they do represent the word of God to us now, but none of them are perfect.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
You miss the teees for the Forrest, Richard.

Let me ask it another way: is the word ‘the’ in Hebrew and Greek accurate to the original autographs and if so, is that word inspired in the translation?
We do not have the originals around to compare that to though.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Richard, responding to your post 131 (and I note that you subscribe to the WCF), you seem to be saying that there are no inspired Scriptures extant today, and that they disappeared when the apostolic autographs were gone. What then do you make of the WCF at 1:8 where it says,

"The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical"​

If the OT and NT in their original states were immediately inspired by God, and then by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, what do you reckon was kept pure in all ages? What do you think "kept pure" means? Would it be the standard – the classic – definition of "pure"?

The issue of the Vaticanus ms is different; the CT editors since the late 1800s considered it the best, the "neutral", i.e., unadulterated, NT text (though more recently that infatuation has evaporated). But it clearly isn't. I would suppose you don't have a Bible you can hold in your hand and say this is the authentic, intact, infallible word of God. Or do you?
Our English translations are giving to us what God intended for us to have an authoritative text for doctrines and practices, but none of them are perfect.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
The confession is talking about God's providential care in making sure that the text of the Bible survived through the centuries even though the autographa had long-since disappeared. 1.8 doesn't say that "mediate inspiration" was a result of this process.

It would be interesting to know what the divines meant by "pure," in light of the fact that they didn't possess nearly the number of copies and parts of copies that we have today.
Correct, as they did not seem to hold to mediate inspiration as carrying forward from the original languages texts into the English translations.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
This doesn't even make sense, David. Infallible and inerrant mean the same thing. Also, you have absolutely no proof that there are no translations which were copied from the original....none. You really think the Creator of all things who upholds all things would be so clumsy as to not make sure that his exact words weren't copied down from the originals? LOL! 2 Tim 3:16 "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness...". He didn't say only the originals he said his scripture is.
There are no manuscripts that go all the way back to the originals, as those were the source texts for the translation themselves.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
I agree with your statement here that the reliable English translations are indeed faithful representations of the originals, but just saying that we have No copies off the originals left, and there is no translation without any mistakes or errors.
Right. Neither the doctrine of providential preservation nor the doctrine of mediate inspiration would preclude any of what you've stated in this post. I really think you need to step back from trying to argue for a particular view, and try to understand what other people are saying.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Right. Neither the doctrine of providential preservation nor the doctrine of mediate inspiration would preclude any of what you've stated in this post. I really think you need to step back from trying to argue for a particular view, and try to understand what other people are saying.
As long as we are not saying that either we have the Originals today, or that any English translation is perfect, I am fine with your suggestion.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
David writes:

We do not have the originals around to compare that to though.

So, in essence, we are flying on the seat of our pants; Can the translations save men? If so, they must have inspiration as how could the Holy Spirit use the word if it is not inspired?

Our English translations are giving to us what God intended for us to have an authoritative text for doctrines and practices, but none of them are perfect.

No one ever said that they are perfect, but the imperfections still carry the overall inspiration that God intended when He commanded that the gospel be taken to every tribe, tongue and nations.

Correct, as they did not seem to hold to mediate inspiration as carrying forward from the original languages texts into the English translations.

The above is speculation and is contra-biblical. Mediate inspiration is the rationale that the majority of translations, hold the word of God in the translations.

There are no manuscripts that go all the way back to the originals, as those were the source texts for the translation themselves.

Then, it would follow then that nothing we do or read has any inspiration; this to include the preaching done every Lord's day. When the preacher claims 'this is the word of God', it is in fact, not the word of God (using your interpretation). No one believes this!

As long as we are not saying that either we have the Originals today, or that any English translation is perfect, I am fine with your suggestion.

No one has made that claim in this discussion, anywhere. You are failing to read and process, apparently.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
The Originals were fully Inerrant, as in no mistakes or errors within them period, while translations are an infallible witness to them, as they do represent the word of God to us now, but none of them are perfect.

"Infallible" but "none of them are perfect" Hmmm. (Just thought I'd tease you a little.)
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
There are no manuscripts that go all the way back to the originals, as those were the source texts for the translation themselves.

1) Your Lack of proof: You have no proof that God did not have men make copies of the original text which were passed around to other churches of that time, and then handed down to other generations who eventually translated those copies. Just because no one has found the copies doesn't mean they didn't exist. I have proof that God did provide copies from the original text. 2 Timothy 3:16.

2) Illogical reasoning: Your belief that there were no copies obtained from the original text places you in a predicament of having an untrustworthy Bible. The Bible you would have us accept as being infallible in its truths would have no original source from which it received its truths. How can you claim its infallibility if there are no original text from which our present Bible obtained its truths?

3) Your Contradictions about God's character and your low esteem of his Word: You would have us accept God's omniscience and omnipotence of being capable of producing out of "thin air" a translation which is infallible, but you strip him of those very attributes when you claim he was incapable of ensuring copies of the original text. You force upon God's character mankind's inept attributes when you say his Word is infallible but errant. Mankind can be inerrant and errant at times because he is fallible. But God is infallible and therefore can never be errant. He is his Word which he gave to us. What is claimed in Scripture is what God claims as himself. Yet you would place upon that Word some errancy.

4) Your limited understanding of translating languages: God is the one who created all languages. They not only differ in their words but also in their grammatical structures. The English language has words and sentence structures that the Greek and Hebrew language might not have much less use and vise versa. Does that make the English (or any other language) translation errant or does that make the English translation inerrant according to how God created the English language? Where the English translation might use "the" and the Greek or Hebrew language would not, deleting the usage of "the" from the English translation would actually make the English version wrong because that is not how God created the English language.

5) Your inability to claim certainty of truth: an infallible but errant Bible rids you of any foundation on which you set your claims for absolute truths. You can and will be stripped of your claim to Biblical truths by unbelievers who will use your own words against you.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
1) Your Lack of proof: You have no proof that God did not have men make copies of the original text which were passed around to other churches of that time, and then handed down to other generations who eventually translated those copies. Just because no one has found the copies doesn't mean they didn't exist. I have proof that God did provide copies from the original text. 2 Timothy 3:16.

2) Illogical reasoning: Your belief that there were no copies obtained from the original text places you in a predicament of having an untrustworthy Bible. The Bible you would have us accept as being infallible in its truths would have no original source from which it received its truths. How can you claim its infallibility if there are no original text from which our present Bible obtained its truths?

3) Your Contradictions about God's character and your low esteem of his Word: You would have us accept God's omniscience and omnipotence of being capable of producing out of "thin air" a translation which is infallible, but you strip him of those very attributes when you claim he was incapable of ensuring copies of the original text. You force upon God's character mankind's inept attributes when you say his Word is infallible but errant. Mankind can be inerrant and errant at times because he is fallible. But God is infallible and therefore can never be errant. He is his Word which he gave to us. What is claimed in Scripture is what God claims as himself. Yet you would place upon that Word some errancy.

4) Your limited understanding of translating languages: God is the one who created all languages. They not only differ in their words but also in their grammatical structures. The English language has words and sentence structures that the Greek and Hebrew language might not have much less use and vise versa. Does that make the English (or any other language) translation errant or does that make the English translation inerrant according to how God created the English language? Where the English translation might use "the" and the Greek or Hebrew language would not, deleting the usage of "the" from the English translation would actually make the English version wrong because that is not how God created the English language.

5) Your inability to claim certainty of truth: an infallible but errant Bible rids you of any foundation on which you set your claims for absolute truths. You can and will be stripped of your claim to Biblical truths by unbelievers who will use your own words against you.
God preserved for us the originals in the sense of there being enough material still existing to have us compile and reconstruct what the original texts were, but there are NO textual experts that I am aware of that claim we have today the first copies of the originals still existing.
And the English translations derive authority from being done of the original language sources, but none of them are perfect, as only KJVO will claim that to be true.
 
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