Saturday, June 28, 2014

Session 3: Transmission of Scripture Part 2

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30
Writing about Session 3 Transmission of Scripture, Grant Etherington shares his thoughts on having confidence in the Bible.

Here is a question to ponder: How do we know that the Bible is the same today as it was when it was written? Let’s start with the Old Testament, it was written in two languages Hebrew and Aramaic, and was written over a period of time from 1500 to 400BC. Now the New Testament was written in Koine Greek(basically how they talked on the streets) and was written from 40 to 90BC.

We learned that we do not have any original writings, and all scripture that was passed on was handwritten until the printing press came about in the 1450s. When I hear that, my mind says there is no way the Bible I’m holding in my hand can hold anything to the original.

Then we learn that there are over 300,000 errors (also called variants) in the New Testament alone. Wow! Now that really makes you think about the Bible that you are holding in your hand. Upon further discussion we learned that 99% of those errors, actually make no theological difference what so ever. A lot the variants were unintentional, like a mistaken letter, or similar sounding words, or the reversal of order with words, example of that would be Christ Jesus, Jesus Christ.

As I saw these variants it made me wonder how I would have performed! I know for certain I would have messed up! It was very interesting to know that there were some intentional errors as well. Some examples of that would be updating to the language (names of towns).

Another one they would do would be Liturgical Additions, which means that something that always might be used and said within a church service might be added, the example they used was Matthew 6:13”And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil…For yours is the kingdom and the power and glory forever, Amen. After the word evil the rest was added, because that’s what they would have said in their service.

Now of the one percent that does affect theology, none of those affect any major doctrine!

A very cool thing we learned was when they found the Dead Sea scrolls in 1948, they compared them to the manuscripts they had and the scrolls were dead on word for word. That blows my mind. For me it was very comforting to learn all this and it just affirms that what we are holding in our hands is the real deal. I think if your walk with Christ wobbles over these variants then you’re looking for a way out. But for me it just puts my mind at rest.

So at the end of the night it was quite amazing to learn how sound the Scriptures are that we are holding in our hands. It’s the real McCoy. I know for me, growing up, it was very easy to think that the Bible was just bunch of stuff men threw together and that it can’t be the same as it was back in the day. BUT IT IS!!! So not only am I able to trust in God, but I can read this Bible with total confidence!

Grant Etherington

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