1. God does not communicate to us through the original, but rather through copies and translations
• The original is no longer extant and genuine scholars are divided in their opinion as to what the original text is:
o Textus Receptus, Majority Text, Critical Text, etc.
o Is it “no one takes your joy” NASB or “no one will take your joy” NIV, J 16:22?
o Is it “I came forth from God” NIV or “I came forth from the Father” NASB, J 16:27?
o Is it “why does he eat and drink” NASB or “why does he eat” NIV, Mk 2:16?
o Is it “love us” NIV, RSV or “loved you” NASB, NEB Eph 5:2?
o Is it “you will fulfill” NIV or “fulfill” NASB, RSV Gal 6:2?
o Is it “God was pleased” ASV, NIV or “he was pleased” RSV, NASB Gal 1:15?
o Is it “I am not going up to the feast” RSV, NASB or “I am not yet going up to this feast” NIV J 7:8?
• God was not overly concerned about the loss of the original
o Moses suffered no rebuke for destroying the original (Ex 32:19, De 9:17) yet was rebuked severely for striking the rock twice (Nu 20:11).
o Jehudi suffered no rebuke for burning the original (Jer 36:23)
o God simply made a copy (De 10:1-4) or had copies made of the original. Those copies and translations many times had variations and additions (Jer 36:27-32), yet they were the word of God (Given by inspiration of God – having God’s authority). The copies/translations had the same authority as the original.
o Very few men in the history of the Church have ever read, touched or examined the original. Very few men in the history of the Church have ever examined “the oldest and best MSS” no plowboys that I know of can read the original languages.
o God obviously isn’t as concerned about getting back to the original as scholars are today
• The word of God is communication; it has a speaker and a listener or a writer and a reader.
o God speaks to us today:
Jas 4:5 The Scripture saith (says)… not “said originally”
Heb 3:7 The Holy Ghost saith (says), To day if ye will hear his voice… not “said originally”
Mt 22:31 Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God…
“It is written…” not “It was written…”
J 10:35 “The scripture cannot be broken…” not “could not have been broken”
o The word of God is living, eternal, it doesn’t die (Mt 24:35, 1P 1:23-25) and cannot be destroyed despite the opinion to the contrary by budding theologians.
o God’s word is not corrupted by human depravity
• God expects us to search (J 5:39), read (Mt 21:42,1Tm 4:13), know (Mt 22:29), believe (J 20:31), memorize (Ps 119:11), preach (Act 8:35), and live (Mt 4:4) the Scriptures (word of God) today. None of which could be done if we don’t possess the Scriptures. God does not expect us to read, know, believe, memorize, preach and live something corrupted by human depravity.
2. God said go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mt 28:19-20, Mk 16:15)
• Going into all the world and “teaching all things whatsoever I have commanded” implies translation
• Many confessions concur with this, e.g. Baptist Confession of Faith:
“But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read, and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.”
• Initial preaching of the Gospel in Acts 2 was in the tongues of the people and not in the original languages.
• Principle use of tongues (languages) is laid out in 1 Cor 14 – How will the unlearned (plowboys) say Amen if they don’t understand the language?
• God Himself divided the languages (Gen 11:5-9) and the bounds of habitation (language, etc.) Acts 17:26-27 in such way so as that men might seek the Lord.
3. Only proper source of doctrine (Remember its AUTHORITY that we are talking about)
• Valid doctrine only comes from Scripture given by inspiration of God (2Tm 3:15-17)
• Tradition of men will not do, it must be the word of God (Mt 15:2-6)
• Salvation and faith come from the word of God (Rom 10:17; 1Pt 1:23)
4. Expectations of translations that are the word of God
• Recognized as the word of God because of its intrinsic value
• Immediately recognizable (well known ) among born again Spirit filled Christians
• Longevity – we’d expect a copy/translation that is indeed the Scriptures to remain in use by born again Spirit filled Christians for long periods of time and not discarded over short periods of time because of changes in fad or preference.
• Earthly powers (authorities) do not determine the use of the Scriptures – reading, preaching, believing… e.g. decrees of kings cannot make a translation the word of God when it is not. Some individuals might be deceived, but not the consensus of born again Spirit filled Christians.
5. Fundamentalists, Baptists and otherwise, have used translations to correct original language documents
• Fundamentalists used Greek, Syriac and Latin to correct (their words) the original language (Hebrew) MSS. The Fundamentals, Torrey, reprint 2008, Vol 1, pgs 44-45.
• Original language sources are not always originally written in Greek/Hebrew – Greek source documents are many times accused of being translations themselves (from Latin, or some other language). Early Manuscripts & Modern Translations of the New Testament, Comfort, 1996 pg. 115.
• All of the NT quotes of Old Testament are translations – those translations are rarely word for word and yet are given by inspiration of God.
• Entire books are discarded even though they are in the oldest and best MSS written in the original languages.
• Modern translators throw out the original language reading in favor of translations – Compare “Their line is gone out through all the earth” AV vs “voice” NIV.
• Without the original exemplar or historical knowledge of the copiest/translator, we cannot know if an extant manuscript written in the original langauges is a copy or a translation from some other language.
• “The Hebrew Text sure to be Corrupted. In the first place it is only natural that the Hebrew text should have suffered considerable corruption…It is thus natural in itself that the Hebrew text as we have it now should need some correction. It is also natural that the Septuagint version, which we can trace back to an origin more than 350 years earlier than the Massoretic text, should in some cases enable us to supply the needed correction.” Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, Sir Frederic Kenyon, pg. 90-91.