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October 1, 2020 11:17 pm
Dr. Mark Minnick of the BJU seminary faculty continues a doctrinal series entitled “God’s Word in Our Hands.”
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927. The evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent preaching from the University Chapel platform. Today's message will be preached by Dr. Mark Minnick, pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina.
Dr. Pettit has asked that we give our attention to date of the subject of translations and the preservation of God's word, ask us to take a look at these four images and nearly all for our what would you say that all of those have in common. Well it's obvious that they're all written documents and you probably at least many of you can tell that they are in languages other than English, and because the topic this morning.
You would assume that they have something to do with the Bible and they do because all four of those are what we call manuscripts, whether you've ever looked at an image of a manuscript, but there are four of them and the question is what makes a document a manuscript for our consideration was little hint of it in the upper right-hand corner. If you stop and think about how a manuscript was produced. It is handwritten and when were talking about the Scripture were talking than about a handwritten Bible is one other thing that we want to remember about a manuscript and that is that it's a handwritten Bible in the original Bible language either Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek handwritten document of a portion of the Bible in original Bible language is a manuscript.
Now, if it's handwritten and it's in another language, like the Latin document in the upper left. There's a Coptic manuscript or there's an English manuscript that's actually a page from the Wycliffe Bible of the 14th century if it's in another language than we call it a version or translation will come back to that in just a little bit so handwritten Bible in the original Bible language. Now take a look at this third client and I think this is one of the most important things to realize about our Bible manuscripts and that is every single one of them was somebody's Bible. These were not primarily produced for academic purpose. These were held in people's hands, just like were holding copies of the Scripture and hours.
They were the Bibles that people read during all of those centuries, and the fact is that if you were going to have any of the Bible all the way from when the documents were first written 1400 years before Christ. Let's say your 1500 years before Christ all the way up to the production of that book the Gutenberg Bible in 1455.
That's the Library of Congress first edition of it for that whole span of some 3000 years. If you wanted to have any portion of the word of God at all. All had to be hand written like that.
Stop and think of how amazing it is that it's been less than 600 years in world history in which people of been able to have what we call printed Bibles. Probably Bibles actually published on a press by the way if you happen to find a copy of that the Gutenberg Bible in your grandmother's attic. If you would please put that on Antiques Roadshow so the rest of us can see it and then you just want to really be strapped down to your seat when the appraiser gets ready to talk to you because you're either gonna fall over in a dead faint or they have to peel you off of the ceiling when he tells you that auction, it will go for somewhere between 25 and $30 million if your grandmother has just a page of it that's worth about 25,000 saw a remarkable document. Now what you looking at those four manuscripts couple of them don't look like they're in very good shape that brings up the whole question that is right at the heart of what we want to give our attention to the day and that is the issue of the preservation of God's word in the manuscripts. During all of those thousands of years.
The question is just how well is it actually preserved.
Do we actually have God's word in our hands. I would give you several considerations this morning that have been very securing for me personally and I hope that they will be for you as well and one of them is this some of the Bible's own statements. For instance, take a look at that one that was written by the apostle Paul. We assume somewhere in the 50s AED about 20 to 25 years after Christ's ascension and Paul is writing to those Roman Christians and what is the implication of that statement when it comes to the issue of the preservation of God's word. The statement is saying that our faith is a saving faith comes as a result of contact with the word of God. What does that imply that Paul believed was fully accessible and available to people in his day.
The implication of that statement is that when Paul wrote that the word of God was preserved for people stay or here's the statement. First Peter 123 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abide it forever. Again, what is the implication of that statement it is that the Scripture is available. Those words are still printed in our Bibles. Those words give to us the understanding that the word that is necessary for our faith for being born from above, born again is available to us that God actually has preserved his word. There are numerous other Bible statements that I can bring to our attention this morning but will just stop with those to you and the implications of them and only take you to this issue Bible statements.
Once you take a look at that manuscript that is scholars say the oldest manuscript. The almost part of somebody's Bible that we have of the book of Romans there dating it in the late to hundreds after Christ's, we would say third century after Christ in that particular scrap is very significant because it contains parts of Romans four and five and you know the Romans five begins with. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have what we have peace with God. Very important state, and there is our oldest testimony to that particular statement all right, but that scrap is not in very good shape. So when it comes to the matter of preserving what God actually said what assurance do we have well then take a look at this. This is one of those manuscripts that we had up on the screen earlier.
This is called Kodak's that COD acts as a word for an ancient book that's done in this form signing it. I guess it was discovered at St. Catherine's monastery in the Sinai desert and it contains the entirety of the New Testament and its dated about a century after that scrap look at that that comes from two centuries later. It also has the book of Romans and it and there's another one from the ninth century and there's one from the 11th century. Another just five but all of those are witnesses to the book of Romans, and those are just five of many many many manuscripts are witnesses to the book of Romans and what it does is bring up the point that I want to call your attention to the next and that is the constant matter preservation. We normally have certain statements in the word of God itself, but we have this. The many manuscripts that can be compared how many are there. Well, there thousands of Hebrew manuscripts and their over 5500 catalog Greek manuscripts so you have all that to bring to bear on the subject, but you also have this function you have all of these versions. The Manning versions over 20,000 manuscript versions that have been catalogued in many, many of the languages of the ancient world in that Mediterranean region you stop and think if it was a word in question and you brought to bear upon it. The testimonies not only of multiple manuscripts and multiple versions. But then take into consideration that those flyballs were found in many different parts of the world all the way from the Western Roman Empire all the way around through Turkey down through Israel to North Africa, you have witnesses from many many different parts of the ancient world as well. It gives great assurance when it comes to this matter has the word of God actually been preserved in those ancient Bibles.
And then there's this particular issue. These three young ladies are having a trip of a lifetime there, looking at the photographer they can look right over the photographers shoulder and behind him is that love a spot on the earth. What is it the Dead Sea and what they're pointing to is a cave, located at the ancient side of Qumran. Many of you may be familiar with the fact that in the 1940s.
This was the site where there were many Bible manuscripts discovered hidden in case. These are some folks from our church and were making our way up escarpment to one of those case fact that gentlemen there in the orange top is Dr. Kerry McGonagle honor Bible faculty here and what were headed for is up there spot that has the square, the Red Square around it and that is called cave lawn and the importance of that is that that manuscript in the upper right hand corner was found in that cave.
What is so significant about that particular manuscript that is the oldest complete copy of the book of Isaiah that we have in the world today was discovered in that case is conservatively dated over a century before the time of Christ, stop and think about it it's 2100 years old now.
At least that's conservative estimate what is really significant about that is that before the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. The oldest manuscripts of the book of Isaiah to use that one illustration.
The oldest manuscripts that were known to anyone were from about 10 centuries after Christ, with the finding of that particular scroll and it's a complete scroll of Isaiah 66 chapter beautifully legible with the finding of that scroll. They jumped back from 10 centuries after Christ to a century before Christ.
That's 1100 years.
This is 2016 go back to 916 think of everything that happens over the course of 1100 years. All of the opportunities for corruption of the biblical text and yet what scholars are determined is that 95% or better of that particular scroll matches up identically with the Bible manuscripts from 11 centuries later, the 5% different sounds. Large but you gotta stop and remember what a lot of those variations are in will come to that in just a moment. So when it comes to the matter preservation hears this whole scroll.
That's the whole thing 54 leaves that when you go to Jerusalem and some of you will be that perhaps this may with the universities trip and I'm sure that they will take you to the Israel Museum of the major building there called the shrine of the book that's actually shaped like the lead of one of those jars in which they found those Dead Sea Scrolls and when you come inside that they got a facsimile of that whole Isaiah scroll was the centerpiece of that shrine of the book building.
That's what the call of the shrine of the book there were a million visitors a year that walk around and see the facsimile that Isaiah's work is on display by the promise of God for the world to see today that he has preserved his word. Now what about this business of the preservation of the Bible. Here are helpful considerations Bible some statements many manuscripts, many versions thousands of those and what I was showing you those slides of that scroll that the point I want to make is this the careful transmission of the tax that is gone on over thousands of years. That way, and that does bring us number five to the issue of the variations member the 5% variation I mentioned that folks in a really ironic sort of way, and this is the wisdom of God on display variations themselves help assure us of the preservation and I want to try to demonstrate the way that can be the case here.
You are, let's say that Dr. Pettit got up in chapel and sat working to do an exercise for 20 minutes in chapel documents that I'm going to read the book of Romans to you Word for Word and as I do and I want all of you to carefully make your own copy. You'll get as much of the grounds as we get in 20 minutes when that exercise was over.
Do you suppose there would be some variation between you, how much variation you suppose there would be one with each one of you only made one mistake that the 3000 variance. One of each of you made for mistakes. That's over 10,000 variance in just 20 minutes of copying, and hearing the same person reading what you're copying that I'm going over that to make this point there are thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of variations in those manuscripts as you did will expect, but let's stop for just a moment and ask ourselves what do you suppose would be the most common kinds of variance among you when we finish with that exercise. I would bet you would all come up with the right answer that the most common kind of variation would be a variation in what anybody want to hazard a guess on that it be in spelling unquestionably and don't you suppose that if we had just cannot do your copies, and we were able to compare just 10 of them that we be able to figure out what the right spelling was and what if we could compare hundreds of your copies and lots of those variations are nothing more than spelling variation like that or the kinds of variations were someone writes the same word twice their brain, skips out on the fact that they just wrote the road again, but there are other kinds of variations as well that I want to call your attention to here is the first line of Romans 11 maybe a little bit thing that we hope you can read that right right through the words on this that says Paul, loss, giving the English word that's Paul do loss you heard preachers use that term. That's the Greek word for slave or servant Pawlowski lost Chris to go with that being that's Christ and Jesu. That's Jesus right there. Those four words Pawlowski lost Chris to Jesu, there's the top line to look at the second line Pawlowski loss and I expected it would say Chris to but it says Jesu Jesu Christi, what you've got is a reversal of those two words that actually occurs in some of the manuscripts. Some of those people's Bibles that felt selective recall that when you're taking a quiz you're supposed to write a verse word perfectly, but you reverse Jesus with Christ. The text of Jesus Christ and you write it Christ Jesus.
We call it what kind of a mistake that is an inversion, and many of the variance are nothing more than those kinds of conversions all the words are there, but somebody switch them in his Bible and you find some of this. Here's another kind of variation that you find just get you to count the words of the top line.
How many words given the top line 5 count the words of the second line how many you have a second line you got six of the second line you got that one little word in red up there, which is the word for and also I that's another kind of variation and conditions you have in versions, and you have additions like that in the text. Let me show you 1/3 kind and this time rather than letting you look actually at lines of Greek tax, take you to the 1611 King James Bible, you can buy your own copy that was by Thomas Nelson for less than $20. Complete facsimile the original 1611 King James Bible. Here is Matthew 2626 and in the column reference the King James translators put many Greek copies have gave thanks this warlord took the bread and many great copy say he gave thanks, but some Greek copies no in the King James translators decided that when they wrote the person. There they would put it without gave thanks but they wanted the readers to know that there were many ancient Bibles that had it with thoughts what you call that what you call it. If something is left out of a manuscript that's not an admission. That's a lot that's a subtraction alright so those are some substitution in this particular case is a substitution for the word blessed me show you another one of things.
This is also from the 1611 King James version.
This is Luke 1736 and you have this reference thereto. Men shall be in the field one shall be taken on the other shall be left in the King James translators note this this 36th verse is wanting they mean missing it's missing in most of the Greek copies. There is an omission or a subtraction. The previous one was a substitution because the word of the text was blessed.
He blessed and some of the great copy said he gave thanks. Right. So here's another kind of variation in versions admission substitutions of missions.
Those kinds of things. Now I'm saying as knowing that actually gives me more, not less assurance about my Bible house so we just take you through.
This isn't something that the King James version translators did evaluate those variations. They knew of their existence and they examined the secondly they wanted to tell their readers about the and thirdly that helps assure me that God actually has preserved his word house assure me because I have my Bible and I have honest translators saying to me that you need to be aware that some of those other ancient Bibles reverse those words or have this additional word or didn't have that particular verse and when I look at that once a parent is nobody's trying to hide anything from me. Nobody's trying to somehow inject doctrinal error in the my understanding, the translators of being right up front and honest about the variations alerting me to their existence and the fact is God's word is preserved among those many manuscripts and in those variations.
Even if I'm not exactly sure what the word was. I got all the options and that brings us to this. How significant are those variations would you say that would be a very important question. What I'm saying like, got the word of God.
I'm just not sure which of the two. It is three within.
The question is, how significant are they just take you through a couple of facts about this that will help you in the major additions of the Greek New Testament that have been put together from those manuscripts there are somewhere between 138,000 and 141,000 words, depending on the particular Greek Testament that you're using the about a 3000 word difference there in terms of the actual words that are included.
That's about 2% variation.
Now that could sound like a lot, but actually 10% of those words are in just 21 versus in one of those persons is Luke 1736 that we just looked at when it said in Luke's gospel that verse about two men in the field. One will be taken when we left many of the Greek manuscripts don't have that person. Luke, it is in Matthew but not sure if it's a live about 10% of those variations in terms of total number words are in just 21 verses of the Bible like that and that brings us to this question.
What about those admissions omissions in versions, substitutions, what about other kinds of variations in the remainder of the text and scholars tell us that when you look at those the amount of significant variation is less than 2%. The merger talking about very very little significant variation, but I want to bring you this is the bottom line folks. There's nobody even the people who are the most concerned about those variance and were all concerned about them. We all really want to know. But the people who are the most concerned about them and make the greatest issue about them. No one has ever been able to demonstrate that there is even a single Bible doctrine or prohibition, or prescription for Christian behavior, not a single one that is affected at all by those variations you are losing nothing when it comes to your faith and practice. Regardless of what the variations are the amount of variation is so small you stop and think of a book, of which there are tens of thousands of ancient copies in many, many languages copied by hand in many parts of the world. This is been going on for thousands of years and in the end, 95 to 96% of it is identical. The remaining few percentage points have these kinds of variations in them that don't affect the content at all and I will ask you has God preserved his word or not.
Does the Bible you have in your hand, have the word of God is the word of God. All those translations, folks.
If those translations are done accurately.
You have the word of God.
Let's bow for prayer. Father, we thank you for your graciousness to us in doing this miracle. All of these thousands of years and we pray that you would help us not only to read this Bible but to have the greatest commitment possible to accepting it and living by in this fallen world for your glory and we ask this in Christ. Precious name amen you been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University by Dr. Mark Minnick. Thanks again for listening and we look forward to the next time as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform