A Bible Believer’s Response to “Misquoting Jesus”, the Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, by Bart D. Ehrman.
From “Born Again Bible Believer to Unbelieving Agnostic” - Are You on the Same Path?
Dr. Ehrman has at least had the gumption to follow his Biblical views to their only logical conclusion. He says: “My personal opinion is that it's very hard to have the view of the Bible's inerrancy once you know the facts about the history of the Bible. When I talk about the hundreds and thousands of differences, it's true that a lot are insignificant. But it's also true that a lot are highly significant for interpreting the Bible. Depending on which manuscript you read, the meaning is changed significantly.”
“The more I studied the manuscript tradition of the New Testament, the more I realized just how radically the text had been altered over the years at the hands of scribes, who were not only conserving scripture but also changing it. ”
“My faith -- based on the inspired words of the Bible -- came under assault. That was especially true when I realized that in many cases, we don't have the original words. We have copies that were made hundreds of years later -- in most cases, many hundreds of years later. And these copies are all different from one another.”
Question: “What is your religious outlook now?”
Answer: “I’m a happy agnostic.”
Dr. Bart Ehrman
January 6, 2008. At this point I want to put in a brief update to show what today's seminaries are producing. Bart Ehrman now has his faith destroying lecture on video at UTube. There is some discussion about his lecture and one member just posted this.- "And there are many of us atheists who were dedicated Christians for over 20 years before they went off to Bible College to prepare for the ministry, began studying it with even greater attention, and came to the only logical conclusion that the bible is complete bullshit. I am so happy that I did not continue wasting my life in pursuit of such a dead-end, fruitless vocation!"
There is a short video online (about 8 minutes) where you can see Bart Ehrman in his own words describe how he was a "born again Fundamentalist Christian" who, once he began to study Textual Criticism, began to then doubt the truth of the Bible itself, then whether or not Jesus Christ was God or merely a man, and finally even the existence of God Himself. He no longer believes any of these Christian doctrines. You can see it for yourself here:
Bart Ehrman, who was trained in Textual Criticism by Bruce Metzger, one of the chief editors of the UBS critical text (the one used to make up such modern versions as the RSV, ESV, NIV, NASB etc.) writes in the conclusion of the book, "Jesus, Interrupted" - "Doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus and Heaven and Hell are not based on anything Jesus or his earlier followers said. At least 19 of the 27 books in the New Testament are forgeries. Believing the Bible is infallible is not a condition for being a Christian."
I think God has a sense of humor in that these "No Bible is inerrant" folks refer to their own ever changing "No reading is sure; every thing is questionable" Greek texts as the "Critical" text. It very definitely is in critical condition. I like to call it the Textus Corruptus as opposed to the traditional Textus Receptus that formed the basis of all Reformation bibles.
“I started out as an ultra-conservative evangelical Christian who thought that the words of the Bible were without error. In part it was my study of these manuscripts that made me realize we didn’t have the original words, and that made me change my views about the Bible. Eventually it came to have a very serious effect on my religious outlook.”
Mr. Ehrman gives us a short testimony of how he became interested in the field of textual criticism. He says he became a "born again" Bible believing Christian as a teenager, then went to Moody Bible college where he was introduced to Textual Criticism. Then he went to Wheaton where he got more of the same, and finally to Princeton where he was taught by the renowned Dr. Bruce Metzger. Dr. Ehrman then worked on the NRSV committee, and says it is his favorite bible version, though of course, he does not consider it to be the inspired and inerrant words of God.
At the very beginning of his book, Mr. Ehrman says: “I have dedicated this book to my mentor and “Doctor-Father,” Bruce M. Metzger, who taught me the field and continues to inspire me in my work.”
For those who may not know, Bruce Metzger (1914-2007) was the chief editor of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, which is the ever-changing Greek text (now in its 4th edition) that is nearly identical textually to the Nestle-Aland Greek text (now in its 27th edition) that underlies most modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV and Holman Standard Bible. He was George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature Emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary where he served for forty-six years before retiring in 1984, and served on the board of the American Bible Society. The basic textual handbook of textual criticism, which is followed by all those behind such modern versions as the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, NET and Holman Christian Standard Version, is called The Text of the New Testament, it's Transmission, Corruption and Restoration. Guess who is the co-author along with Bruce Metzger. You got it! It's Bart Ehrman.
Mr. Metzger was the chairman for the Reader’s Digest Condensed Bible, which removed 40% of the Bible text, including the warning of Revelation 22:18-19. The Preface claims: "Dr. Metzger was actively involved at every stage of the work, from the initial studies on each of the sixty-six books through all the subsequent editorial reviews. The finished condensation has received his full approval."
Mr. Metzger wrote the introductions to each of the books of the Reader’s Digest Bible, and questions the authorship, traditional date, and supernatural inspiration of books penned by Moses, Daniel, Peter and Paul. Bruce Metzger also co-edited the New Oxford Annotated Bible RSV (1973), which contains many introductory notes for each book of the Bible.
These notes tell us the Old Testament “story” was written “out of A MATRIX OF MYTH, LEGEND, and history...Archaeological evidence suggests that traditions of a prehistoric flood covering the whole earth are HEIGHTENED VERSIONS OF LOCAL INUNDATIONS. ...The book of Job is described as an “ancient folktale”. The notes also inform us that the book of Jonah “has taken older material from the realm of POPULAR LEGEND.”
Among the notes from “How to Read the Bible With Understanding”, we find: "The opening chapters of the Old Testament deal with human origins. They ARE NOT TO BE READ AS HISTORY... These chapters are followed by the stories of the patriarchs, which preserve ancient traditions now known to reflect the conditions of the times of which they tell, though THEY CANNOT BE TREATED AS STRICLY HISTORICAL ... the stories of Elijah and Elisha THERE ARE LEGENDARY ELEMENTS ..Legend should be read as legend, and poetry as poetry, and not with a dull prosaic and literalistic mind."
Keep in mind that if you are a modern, multiple-choice, Bible of the Month Club promoter, who thinks such conflicting versions as the NASB, NIV, ESV, NKJV, Holman Standard, etc. are “better and more reliable” than the King James Holy Bible, then you have fallen into the trap of men who do not believe The Bible, in any language, including “the original languages”, IS NOW the inspired, complete, and 100% true words of God. You will end up believing just as they do. I'm not saying you will become an agnostic like Mr. Ehrman, but you will not believe that any Bible in any language IS NOW the inerrant words of God. Guaranteed. It will not fail to happen.
After reading Mr. Ehrman’s book, I can honestly commend him for two things. One is that he is at least reasonable enough to tell us that when we change THE WORDS of the texts, we DO CHANGE THE MEANING. This should be obvious enough to everyone, but I have found that in dealing with many modern version promoters, they tell us that even though the various, textually conflicting and contradictory versions are all different from each other in Names, Numbers, hundreds of Additions, thousands of Omissions, and in the Meaning of literally hundreds of verses, yet they all somehow “have the same message”.
The second thing I commend Mr. Ehrman for is that he dares to state clearly the only logical conclusions a rational mind can come to from what he was taught in seminary. He logically concludes that there is no such thing as an inspired and inerrant Bible or text in any language on the face of this earth, and never was one. He has given up on finding "the originals", but desires instead to try to find the oldest reading, even though he admits that it was during the first two centuries that most of the scribal corruptions, either intentional or unintentional, occurred. He informs us that there are anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 variant readings in the New Testament alone, - far more variants than there are individual words in the whole N.T.
Mr. Ehrman reveals a great deal about how he came to believe the Bible is not the inspired and inerrant words of God. On pages 8-9 he says: “A turning point came in my second semester, in a course I was taking with a much revered and pious professor named Cullen Story. The course was on the exegesis of the Gospel of Mark.” He goes on to tell us of his convoluted way of attempting to explain the reading in Mark 2:26, where it says: “when Abiathar was the high priest”. Mr. Ehrman then tells us: “At the end of my paper he made a simple one-line comment that for some reason went straight through me. He wrote: “Maybe Mark just made a mistake.” I finally concluded, “Humm...maybe Mark DID make a mistake. Once I made that admission, the floodgates opened. For if there could be one little, picayune mistake in Mark 2, maybe there could be mistakes in other places as well.”
He then lists several examples of what he thinks are mistakes or errors found in ALL bible versions out there. He says: Maybe when Mark says that Jesus was crucified the day AFTER the Passover meal was eaten (Mark 14:12; 15:25) and John says he died the day BEFORE it was eaten (John 19:14) - maybe that is a genuine difference. Or when Luke indicates in his account of Jesus’ s birth that Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth just over a month after they had come to Bethlehem (and performed the rites of purification; Luke 2:39), whereas Matthew indicates they instead fled to Egypt (Matthew 2:19-22) - maybe that is a difference. Or when Paul says that after he converted on the way to Damascus he did NOT go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before him (Galatians 1:16-17), whereas the book of Acts says that was the first thing he did after leaving Damascus (Acts 9:26) - maybe that is a difference.”
Throughout his book, Mr. Ehrman heaps praise upon Westcott and Hort, the men who were primarily responsible for overthrowing the Traditional Greek texts that underlie the King James Bible. He also frequently refers to Sinaiticus and Vaticanus as “the oldest and best manuscripts”, but of course, he doesn’t always agree with these either. Mr. Ehrman has placed his own mind and individual understanding as his final authority, and freely picks and chooses among the various readings he thinks are the best.
On page 208 Mr. Ehrman states: “It bears repeating that the decisions that have to be made are by no means obvious, and that competent, well - meaning, highly intelligent scholars often come to opposite conclusions when looking at the same evidence.”
This is absolutely true. Once a man abandons the idea of the Providence and Promises of God to preserve His pure words in “the book of the LORD” here on this earth, then his only recourse is to no longer believe in an inerrant Bible. He then becomes his own Final Authority.
Please see my article titled “Every man for himself” bible versions, where you will clearly see this same philosophy in such versions as the NKJV, NASB, Holman Standard and Daniel Wallace’s NET version.
To learn more about what these so called “oldest and best” manuscripts are really like, see my article here:
“For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” 1 Corinthians 3:19
Let’s first take a look at these alleged “mistakes” Mr. Ehrman has stumbled over, which are found in ALL Bible versions out there.
#1 Mark 2:26 - “How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread...”
Mr. Ehrman is correct in saying that Abiathar was not the high priest AT THE TIME the events recorded in 1 Samuel 21:1-6 took place. However, Abiathar the son of Ahimelech was alive and present during these events (1 Samuel 22:20), and he soon thereafter did become the high priest during the time David was king. Abiathar was the high priest and was subsequently known by this title. It is much like today when we say that President Washington was born in Virginia. He wasn’t the president when he was born, but we still refer to him as the President. A biblical example of this same type of thing is seen in 1 Samuel 2:10 where Hanna prays concerning the Lord: “and He shall give strength unto HIS KING, and exalt the horn of His anointed”, even though there was no king in Israel at this time. (Regarding Mark 2:26 see also the commentaries of John Gill, John Wesley and Barnes Notes on the N.T. Check out Marty Shue’s short article on this verse where he does show an error in several modern versions - http://www.avdefense.webs.com/Mark2-26.html
Mr. Ehrman is naively reading something into the text that simply is not there, and gives credence to his Greek professor whom he esteems as “revered and pious” who tells him the Bible might be wrong. Any time your pastor, professor or Bible teacher tells you “ONLY the originals WERE inspired and inerrant”, he has effectually robbed you of any hope of ever having the “book of the LORD” that you can read, believe, and have for yourself.
#2 “Maybe when Mark says that Jesus was crucified the day AFTER the Passover meal was eaten (Mark 14:12; 15:25) and John says he died the day BEFORE it was eaten (John 19:14) - maybe that is a genuine difference.”
Again, Mr. Ehrman is seeing an “error” where none exists. John 19:14 does NOT say that Jesus died BEFORE the passover meal was eaten. Mr. Ehrman failed to read the texts clearly or believingly. If the Bible believer will carefully compare Mark 14:12; 15:42, with Luke 23:54 and John 19:14, 31 and 42, they will see that the Preparation was of the Sabbath that occurred at the beginning of the Passover week (“for that sabbath day was an high day” John 19:31), only to be followed by a regular seventh day sabbath. See also the commentaries of John Gill, Matthew Henry and even Robertson’s word pictures regarding John 19:14.
#3 “Or when Luke indicates in his account of Jesus’ s birth that Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth just over a month after they had come to Bethlehem (and performed the rites of purification; Luke 2:39), whereas Matthew indicates they instead fled to Egypt (Matthew 2:19-22) - maybe that is a difference.”
At first glance, (though most people have probably never thought about it), it might well appear to be a legitimate mistake in the Bible. However we know from many instances in the Bible itself, that one writer was inspired to record events and sayings that another one did not write down. When we correctly put all the Scriptures together, there is no contradiction.
The Lord Jesus is born in Bethlehem. The family then leaves Bethlehem and takes the baby Jesus to be circumcised the eigth day in the city of Jerusalem according to the law of Moses. The family immediately returns to Nazareth (Luke 2:39). Then the gospel of Matthew chapter 2:13-15 picks up the events that occurred at this time and Joseph is told to take the child and his mother and flee into the land of Egypt, where they remain for a short time till the death of Herod. Then they return to Nazareth again, and from Luke 2:40 and onwards the events that then took place are described. There is no contradiction.
#4 “Or when Paul says that after he converted on the way to Damascus he did NOT go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before him (Galatians 1:16-17), whereas the book of Acts says that was the first thing he did after leaving Damascus (Acts 9:26) - maybe that is a difference.”
Once again, Mr. Ehrman is misreading the inspired Scriptures. Nowhere in Acts 9 do we specifically read that “the first thing he did” was to go up to Jerusalem. Acts 9 records the conversion of Paul and tells us that he continued to preach Christ in the city of Damascus. Then “after MANY DAYS”, which equals the three years mentioned in Galatians 1:17-19 (See 1 Kings 2:38-39 for this exact representation of “after many days” being equal to “three years”), Paul DID go up to Jerusalem where he met with both Peter and James. Again, there is NO contradiction. See also the commentaries of John Wesley, Martin Luther and even Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, all of which clear up this apparent contradiction.
God has merely blinded the eyes of men like Bart Ehrman that he cannot see the truth of the inerrant Bible. “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? (scholar), where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world.” 1 Cor. 1:19-20
EXAMPLES of N.T. READINGS Mr. Ehrman tells us are NOT ORIGINAL
Both in his book and in public interviews Mr. Ehrman has a rather long list of New Testament readings he is sure do not form part of the inspired New Testament. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer Mr. Ehrman tells of some of the “non-original” readings found in the New Testament. He says: “And in the Last Supper...Jesus says, "This is my body which has been given for you; do this in remembrance of me." And he gives the cup and says, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for you." Luke 22:19-20
“But those verses are missing from some of the oldest and best manuscripts of Luke's Gospel. Without those verses, Luke nowhere else talks about Jesus' death as being an atonement, a sacrifice for the sake of others. It also turns out that the account in Luke about Jesus sweating blood as he prays in the garden is missing from our oldest and best manuscripts. I think scribes added that because there were debates in the second and third centuries as to whether Jesus was fully human or not. These verses were inserted to show he really was human and really did suffer.”
(These verses are Luke 22:43-44 “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” )
It is interesting to see how scholars who do not believe in an inerrant Bible constantly change their opinions and contradict themselves. Mr. Ehrman here tells us that “some of the oldest and best manuscripts” do not contain these verses, (Luke 22:43-44) and yet many other times he rejects the readings found in these very same manuscripts, in favor of something else. In fact, he does this very thing in these two simple examples found in this one chapter of Luke 22. ALL modern version translators do this type of thing.
The first example Ehrman gives comes from Luke 22:19-20. “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
These verses are found in the Majority of all Greek texts, including Sinaiticus, and Vaticanus, (the very ones he refers to as “the oldest and best”) Alexandrinus, plus the Old Latin, Syriac Peshitta, Harkelian, Palestinian, Coptic Sahidic and Coptic, and the Armenian ancient Bible versions.
The only major Greek text that omits these two verses is manuscript D (Codex Bezae). The RSV omitted them, but then the NRSV, on which Mr. Ehrman himself worked, put them back in! They are also found in the NASB, NIV, ESV, NKJV and Holman Standard versions.
The next verses Mr. Ehrman says are not inspired or original are Luke 22:43-44 where we read of Jesus praying earnestly and his sweat being as great drops of blood. Likewise JAMES WHITE does not believe this saying of the Lord Jesus is inspired Scripture either and he says it should not be in the Bible.
See - James White says Luke 23:34 is not inspired Scripture
Here again the reading is found in the Majority of all Greek texts including manuscript D which he just got done siding with against the reading found in Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. Sinaiticus original contained these two verses. A later scribe removed them, and then another later scribe put them back in again!
The reading of Luke 22:43-44 is also found in the Old Latin, the Syriac Peshitta, Harkelian, Palestinian, Coptic, Armenian and Ethiopic ancient versions. The verses are also included this time in the RSV as well as the NRSV, ESV, NASB, NIV, NKJV and the Holman Standard.
Vaticanus, Alexandrinus and P75, all three of which Mr. Ehrman just got done rejecting in Luke 22:19-20, omit these words, and THIS TIME the good Doctor thinks they are right, and the verses should be omitted from the Bible. “Sometimes I like to follow D and other times I like Vaticanus, and sometimes I don’t like either, but choose something else.” Do you begin to see how the scholar game is played?
In both his book “Misquoting Jesus” and in interviews Mr. Ehrman tells us that 1 John 5:7 “the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one” does not belong in the Bible. When asked “What else doesn’t belong in the Bible?” Mr. Ehrman says: “There's only one verse in the New Testament that explicitly states the doctrine of the trinity (that there are three persons in the godhead, but that the three all constitute just one God). It's 1 John 5:7-8. You'll find the verses in the King James Bible, and they've always been used as an explicit statement of the doctrine of the trinity. But those verses aren't found in any of the Greek manuscripts down to the 14th century.”
Mr. Ehrman is not giving all the information regarding the authenticity of this verse, and in his book he also repeats the same false and outdated claims of those who allege that Erasmus said he would include the verse if he found a Greek manuscript that contained it. Then, almost made to order, hot off the presses, one appeared.
Bruce Metzger was partly responsible for propagating this urban myth, but at least he had the integrity to retract this false accusation in the 3rd edition of his book. Here is the exact quote from Mr. Metzger himself.
"What is said on p. 101 above about Erasmus' promise to include the Comma Johanneum if one Greek manuscript were found that contained it, and his subsequent suspicion that MS 61 was written expressly to force him to do so, needs to be corrected in the light of the research of H. J. DeJonge, a specialist in Erasmian studies who finds no explicit evidence that supports this frequently made assertion." Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of The New Testament, 3rd Edition, p 291 fn 2.
There are many good sites defending 1 John 5:7 as being inspired Scripture. Here are a few you might like to look at:
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 “Let your women keep silence in the churces: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
Again, Mr. Ehrman informs us that these two verses are spurious additions to the N.T. and are not original. Manuscript D omits them, but they are found in the Majority of all texts, including what Ehrman previously called the “oldest and best” manuscripts of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, and they are found in the RSV, NRSV, ESV, NASB, NIV, NKJV and Holman as well.
Mark 1:41 “A Leper in the Hands of an Angry Jesus”
One of the more curious changes Mr. Ehrman thinks should be made in the Bible is found in this verse. The context is a leper coming to Jesus, kneeling down before Him and saying ‘If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.’ And Jesus MOVED WITH COMPASSION, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.”
“Moved with compassion” is the reading found in the Majority of Greek texts including Sinaiticus, and Vaticanus, and is the reading of the NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, RSV, NRSV and Holman. However both manuscript D and the brand new TNIV tell us that instead of Jesus having compassion, HE WAS ANGRY. Ehrman thinks this is the true reading, and Daniel Wallace said he is thinking of changing his NET version to read this same way too.
Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he BY THE GRACE OF GOD should taste death for every man.”
So read the Majority of all texts including this time both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus AS WELL AS manucript D, which Dr. Ehrman has previously favored above all the others. “by the grace of God” is also the reading of the RSV, NRSV, ESV, NASB, NKJV, NIV, TNIV, and Holman Standard. However THIS TIME Dr. Ehrman thinks that the true reading should be: “that he WITHOUT GOD should taste death for every man.” And all this is based on an variant reading found in three obscure manuscripts.
Before concluding with some final quotes from Dr. Ehrman’s book, I wish to briefly mention some of the usual Scriptures criticized both by Dr. Ehrman and others who support the modern versions. Mark 16:9-20. Mr. Ehrman doesn’t think these 12 verses should be in The Bible. The RSV previously omitted them, as also the 12 whole verses from John 7:53 to 8:11, but then the NRSV put them back in, and they are still found in the ESV, NASB, NIV, NKJV and Holman, though many of these versions cast doubt on their authenticity. Neither does Mr. Ehrman think that 1 Timothy 3:16 should read “GOD was manifest in the flesh”, but instead something like “WHO (or He) was manifest in the flesh.” Agreeing with Ehrman on this one are the RSV, NRSV, ESV, NASB, NIV and Holman, but all previous English Bibles like Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishops’s, Geneva Bible, and the NKJV agree with the King James reading of “GOD was manifest in the flesh”.
Below are some useful links which defend the King James readings of these verses.
Marty Shue’s article on Mark 16:9-20 - very good and short
1 Timothy 3:16 - Short defense by Marty Shue
Excellent source of information on 1 Timothy 3:16 with many other links
Good textual site defending many disputed KJB readings:
John 7:53 - 8:12 The woman taken in adultery
I recently watched a series of videos on YouTube where Mr. Erhman comes out with some blatant lies regarding the story of the woman taken in adultery as found in John 7:53 to John 8:12. Mr. Erhman actually says that this story is not found in any good manuscripts before the 10th century, a 1000 years after the N.T. was written, and he tells his audience at Stanford that this story came into our English bibles via the King James Bible in 1611. This statement is totally false for a number of reasons.
The 12 entire verses in question are found in the Majority of all Greek texts, as well as the Old Latin copies aur, c, d, e, ff2, j, r1, , the Vulgate 385 A.D. and 425 A.D. They are in the Syriac Peshitta, Harkelian, Palestinian, some Coptic Boharic, Slavonic and Ethiopian ancient versions, and they are quoted or referred to by Ambrose, Eusebius, Faustus, Pacian, Rufinus, Jerome and Agustine. As for his statement that "the story came into English through the King James Bible", this is totally and demonstrably false. The whole event is recorded in Wycliffe's bible 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587 and Beza's New Testament 1599. Mr. Erhman is flat out wrong about this.
BACK TO BLIND BART
On page 210 - 211 of “Misquoting Jesus”, Dr. Ehrman begins to sum up his arguments. He states (Caps are mine): “ They are ALL based on texts that have been changed in places. And there are some places in which modern translations continue to transmit what is probably not the original text. So I’ve argued for Mark 1:41; Luke 22:43-44; and Hebrews 2:9, for example; there are other instances as well. There are some places where we don’t even know what the original text was, places, for example, about which highly intelligent and impressively trained textual critics continue to dispute. A number of scholars have even given up thinking that it makes SENSE to talk about the “original” text.”
“In particular, as I said at the outset, I began seeing the New Testament AS A VERY HUMAN BOOK. The N.T. as we actually have it, I knew, was the product of human hands, the hands of the scribes who transmitted it. Then I began to see that not just the scribal text BUT THE ORIGINAL TEXT ITSELF was a very human book. This stood very much at odds with how I had regarded the text in my late teens as a newly minted “born again” Christian, convinced that the Bible was the inerrant Word of God and that the biblical words themselves had come to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As I realized already in graduate school, even IF God had inspired the original words, WE DON’T HAVE THE ORIGINAL WORDS. So the doctrine of inspiration was in a sense IRREVELANT to the Bible as we have it, since the words God REPUTEDLY INSPIRED had been changed, and in some cases, LOST. Moreover, I came to think that my earlier views of inspiration were not only irrelevant, they were probably wrong. For the only reason (I came to think) for God to inspire the Bible would be so that his people would have his actual words; but if he really wanted people to have his actual words, surely he would have miraculously preserved those words, just as he had miraculously inspired them in the first place. GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCE THAT HE DIDN’T PRESERVE THE WORDS, THE CONCLUSION SEEMED INESCAPABLE TO ME THAT HE HADN’T GONE THROUGH THE TROUBLE OF INSPIRING THEM.”
At this point some of you who are modern version promoters may be thinking that Bart Ehrman has gone over the edge of all reason, and is not worth listening to. But wait! He is not the only scholar behind the multiple-choice modern versions who thinks this way. The truth is, THEY ALL DO.
In a little paperback, sent to the subscribers of Biblical Archeology Review, called The Dead Sea Scrolls After Forty Years, published by BAR in 1991, James Sanders, a member of the United Bible Society, lets us in on a few “secrets”. He served on the committee that put out the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. He says, “The NRSV is not the Bible; no translation is the Bible. So what is the Bible? What and whence these texts?” On page 62 he continues, “We are now very careful about using the word ‘original,’ because we don’t really know what we mean by it.” On page 63, he suggests, “We should just drop the word [original, as in original Greek Bible] because we do not have the autographs of anything…”
He goes on to answer his question as to where the Bible originated, “Therefore, we have to say that we don’t really know exactly the inception of any of these texts, but they develop into what we call traditioning process.” On page 69 he says, “The stabilization of the text is not yet finished…” He is telling you that what you think is the Bible today may not be the Bible tomorrow.
Then in a moment of candor (page 71), on behalf of his fellow scholars and Bible translators, he says, “I think it is time for us TO STOP FOOLING THE PEOPLE, making them think there is just one Bible and that our Bible committee got closer to it than their committee did.” Sanders then expresses the reason why the “scholars” deliberately fool the public: “I have been told by some that this would just destroy the Bible because LAY FOLK STILL WANT TO THINK OF THE BIBLE AS SOMEHOW INERRANT. He concludes with, “It may well be that if there should ever be the possibility of discussing the text of Isaiah with Isaiah, he might very well say, ‘BUT I DID NOT SAY THAT.’”
I also have written an article called “The Bible is NOT the inspired and inerrant word of God”
In it you will find direct quotes from several evangelical leaders who are beginning to see how most Christian seminarians no longer believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. You will also see several reasons listed why I and thousands of other Christians adamantly believe that God has Providentially preserved His pure and inerrant words in the English language of the Authorized King James Holy Bible, and in none other.
In and by His grace alone Accepted in the Beloved,
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"Misquoting Jesus" - Down the Road of Apostasy