Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
**Please note that the audio file has recently been improved (1/21)**Four basic conclusions about the partial restoration of Israel to the land. The church must be submissive to the authority of Scripture. Important factors in canonicity. A picture of how a text of Scripture came into existence. The prophet’s protection and updating of the Scriptures. The preservation of the text of Scripture after the prophets. Jesus Christ and the Apostles accepted the Old Testament as the Word of God. Questions and answers.
© Charles A. Clough 1998
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 4: Disciplinary Truths of God’s Kingdom
Chapter 5: Partial Restoration: The Discipline of Hope
Lesson 99 – Restoration Period, Preservation and Reliability of Scripture, Canon Closing
01 Oct 1998
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
We want to finish this last event so that we can get into what we should have started last month which was the Gospels and the Lord Jesus Christ, but Christ came in a stage of history and we can’t emphasize enough that you have to read the Bible in the sequence in which it was written. God has a lesson planned and it’s in sequence and there’s a reason why two-thirds of the revelation that God has given man preceded the coming of His Son. It’s all there so we can develop the categories; we have the background to interpret Jesus Christ. He comes out of all of this. That’s why we spend this time, and I really want to finish this last event, the restoration, when Israel came back, only partially into the land.
There are four truths that summarize this act of history. I think we can come to these four basic conclusions about the restoration. Keep in mind this is a partial restoration; all the Jews were not restored to the land—partial restoration! Four things: first, this partial restoration is a down payment on the ultimate greater, future and total restoration of Israel. It’s a demonstration historically that God can bring the Jews back into the land when He chooses and under the right conditions. The Gentile powers may be in array against it; surely the super powers of the day, Babylon and Medo-Persia, could have if they wanted to, stopped any Jewish re-immigration to the land. It was a miracle that God worked through these powers to allow these people to come back into the land. But the thing you want to notice, preparatory to Jesus is that it is the Jews that are still the center of the prophetic picture. It is still Israel. The church isn’t on the scene. The church is not going to be on the scene all during the life of Christ. The church is not here, so we can’t read back from us, we are another factor in the program of God. This is still the Jews, this is still Israel, and it’s still the prophecies related to Israel. So the first thing is it’s a down payment on the greater restoration to come.
Secondly, and remember we developed through the Law the blessings and the cursings, and when things got into this exile period, the Kingdom in Decline, it was cursing, cursing, cursing, discipline, discipline, discipline. So the second thing is this shows hope for the survival of Israel, that in spite of all the cursings and the disciplines and the horrible suffering that God brought upon His people, the hope is that eventually He will build His kingdom through this nation.
The third point about the exile is by bringing the Jews back into the land, the Messiah could have a nation to come to. If the Jews had been dispersed at the end of the exile to whom would the Messiah come? A group of people living in the ghetto somewhere in Palestine. So you have a nation to which the Messiah is going to come. That’s provided by this partial restoration.
A fourth thing that we want to notice is that the restoration is to a geographical location, the land of Israel. The land of Israel is literal, it is political, you can measure it, you can map it, it is the site of God’s actions historically. So this verifies that God, at the end of the Old Testament, is still working with the same land that He started in Genesis 12 getting Abraham to.
Then we said on pages 78-79 about Daniel and we went through the apparent conflict that Daniel had, figuring out how could there be four kingdoms stretching over long distance and yet the 70 years were up. We pointed out the other thing about Daniel was that he prayed a confession and repentance prayer, for the nation. So when this restoration happened, it was not the restoration of the same character of rebellious people that were kicked out of the land. The people that came back into the land were humbled by the discipline. Daniel expresses the spirit that was involved. They were repentant and they recognize that they had screwed up, and God was now restoring them. It wasn’t an arrogant attitude that they had, it certainly wasn’t any of this stuff when they came back. Then we said that this is the last of the Old Testament prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, and those men have to be read in terms of this period. We said there were dual themes, the same dual themes you see again and again in the Old Testament, you have human responsibility and you have divine promise. So in all three of those books you have them chastening the nations, as prophets convicting, they’re convicting the people of violating God’s will and at the same time they’re giving them hope that God’s promises will remain true.
At the conclusion last week we went into the closing of the canon. We made the point that the prophetic ministry ended somewhere in this area. There were no more prophets and that’s why we said, if you look at the quote on page 81 from 1 Maccabees, that quote shows you how the people were aware they didn’t have any prophets. That’s why in verse 46, they don’t know what to do with the altar and they say they “stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until there should come a prophet to tell them what to do. Obviously that shows you that they were sensing that there wasn’t any prophet around, which also tells you that they could sense when there was one around. How could they do that? I don’t know, it’s a mystery as to how they became aware of this but the awareness of a prophet was sensed by the people. If you want to see something spooky, it was that he passed those two tests, Deuteronomy 13 and Deuteronomy 18.
The end of the prophecy, the prophetic voice became quiet and the Scripture was closed, the canon wasn’t necessarily collected, but the text was fixed at that point. There was no new Scripture being written.
Then we mentioned a little bit about the transmission of the text, I drew a diagram, let’s review that. This figures in the New Testament, so that’s why we want to cover it; visualize a map with Babylon over here, Palestine here, Egypt here. In Babylon you have the Jews that were exiled, they developed communities, they stayed there and they transmitted a certain text type. Ezra comes over to Palestine, these are Jews that are being restored to the land, and we showed verses where Ezra modernized the text, he exegeted the text, explained the text and there appears to have been a type of text there. This text apparently got taken down into Egypt where it was translated into Greek. So you have Greek, you have Hebrew and you have Hebrew. Later on what happened is that the text from Babylon becomes the official text. Right around AD 70, between AD 70 to 100, this text, the one that was in Babylon, takes over and becomes the official Jewish text. That happened, let’s just say AD 100. It also turns out that because of the Dead Sea scrolls we have examples of this text. We have examples of that text at 100 BC. So let’s draw these two time lines, -100 0 + 100. There’s a 200 year period in here, and during that 200-year period there were lots of different text types floating around. They’re quoted and alluded to in the New Testament.
On page 82 I give you an example of what those three text types look like. I do that so that you can get a sense of what we mean when we say variations in the text. We’re not talking some massive difference here, we’re talking pronouns, spelling, that sort of thing. That’s what we’re talking about, that kind of thing in the text. Somewhere between 100 BC and AD 100, things began to sort out, and finally, this side of AD 100, there’s one basic Old Testament text. This is just kind of a thing to remember, I mentioned it last time, but when people talk about … you may be in a conversation with someone and they’ll mention to you that you Christians can’t really be sure that you have the text of the Bible, it was centuries before this book that we have.
You can argue this two ways, positively and negatively. What you can do is say okay, in other words you’re telling me that you won’t accept any ancient book unless you have a contemporary text. Let’s throw out Aristotle, Plato, Josephus, there aren’t any of those texts around; we don’t even have a fraction of what the Bible has. There’s a lot of biblical text that has been transmitted down through history and we have fragments going far back. If you want this, Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict, those kinds of books will give you some specifics. But beware; don’t buy into that little objection. It’s not true, and usually when you challenge people on that it turns out they’ve never read it, they’ve heard it from someone who heard it from someone who heard it from someone sometime.
We want to go to page 83 and start building the doctrine that comes out of this period of time. All the other periods you can visualize the historical event and realize that there was real doctrine that came out of them. In the case of the restoration we’re just going to look at two areas, two categories of teaching. One has to do with the preservation of the text. We want to look at that a little more clearly. Then we want to look at prayer, thinking of Daniel’s prayer and the prayer of people during the period of time when there’s not a lot of miracles going on, a period when God appears to be silent. On page 83 we start with the first of these two. We’re going to talk about the preservation of the text and what happened in this period of the silence of God.
In the doctrine of the Canon, the “canon” being defined (it’s not something that shoots bullets), the canon here is talking about the body of Scripture. We want to start off reviewing three previous truths that we studied about the Canon when we were looking at Mount Sinai, when God spoke. The first one is that you can’t have a contract without a copy of it. So if God is going to make a contract, there’s got to be a copy of the contract; the idea of a copy of the contract is implicit in having a contract. Generalizing, the concept of a canon comes out of the concept of a covenant that God makes with man. Why does God make contracts? Why do we make contracts? It’s usually because we want to measure behavior of the two parties of the contract. It’s a behavioral yardstick by which you can evaluate what went on in history. God gives the text of Scripture, the canon; that outlines the contract and the terms and preserves the witness for the behavior. Subsequently in the centuries what happens; what did man do and what did God do. All of it’s preserved in the Canon of Scripture. So the first thing about canon that we’ve already learned is that a canon flows naturally and by necessity out of the idea of a covenant. You’ve got to have both of them together.
The second thing that we studied, in the Q&A discussion we were talking about this, and this has to do with the Protestant/Roman Catholic differences. The second point is you have to look at the human and the divine source of the canon together: human and divine source. Here’s the argument of Rome. Rome argues that Mother Church authored the Scripture, and since Mother Church authored the Scripture, then Mother Church is the final interpreter of the Scripture. It sounds impressive; you can build an impressive case. Didn’t the church give us the New Testament? Now we can get caught in this kind of thinking, think back a minute. In the Old Testament what was the human tool that generated the Old Testament. It wasn’t the Church, it was Israel. So it was Israelite prophets that gave us the Scripture. Once the Scripture was given, was Israel free to change Scripture? Or was the Scripture like concrete, once you mix cement with water and gravel it hardened up and became a standard. That’s the point. Forget about the Church, Rome, and Protestantism, let’s go back to the Old Testament and think.
In the Old Testament the Scriptures came and according to Deuteronomy 13 and Jeremiah 18 it became the standard by which all subsequent prophets had to adhere. So we have the standard given through the human instrument of Israel, but it’s God giving it through Israel, and therefore it’s God’s Word and Israel herself has to submit to that. It’s an analogy with a human being having a baby. The mother has a baby, she carries the baby, the baby’s produced by her, her body, but once the baby is born the mother hasn’t got the right to take its life. Once it’s conceived the mother doesn’t have the right to take its life. The transaction has happened, it’s something new. Who gave that? God did. But you don’t argue that because the mother made the baby therefore the mother has total control over it. Yet that seems to be the essence of the Roman position; because the church authored the New Testament the church has the right to interpret the New Testament the way the Church wants to interpret it.
In the Old Testament, I refer you to page 83, those two tests that show that the Scripture, once it’s come into existence, stays as its own authority. In the New Testament there’s an analogue to that argument. Turn to Galatians 1:8, here’s Paul, the human instrument of a lot of New Testament epistles that talk about the gospel. Look at this sentence and think about it for a minute. The Apostle Paul, is he the church? Yes, he’s one of the apostles and foundations of the church. Is the church producing the gospel? Yes, through Paul. But what does he say in verses 8-9. He says “But even though we” the apostles, and any good Roman Catholic theologian will tell you that he’s on a par with the Pope, he’s up here on the authority chain, “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” What’s the internal logic of that sentence? Can Paul change his mind? Once he has taught the gospel and it’s been authenticated, can even Paul change it? No he can’t. Can the church change it? No it can’t. Once the gospel comes into existence the church must submit to the Bible. The Bible, not the church, is the final authority. That’s the Protestant point. It’s not that we don’t like the church, it’s not like we’re not saying there’s a lot of things difficult in the Scripture, we’re simply saying the church has got to be submissive to the authority of the Scripture, once the Scripture comes into historical existence.
Verse 9 is the damnation, “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” That’s the curse on anybody who would conflict with the Bible. That’s why we as Protestants hold that it’s the supremacy of the Scripture, not the supremacy of the church. That’s the second point. The first point is that the Canon is implicitly implied by the idea of a covenant. The second point is that whereas the Scripture and the canon come into existence through a historical means, once it comes into existence it’s the authority for that historical means. It becomes supreme.
The third thing about the canon, Deuteronomy 13 and 18 become the tools to measure the internal consistency of the canon. How, you ask, did Israel know canonical text from non-canonical text? I just quoted 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, all these other books, how come they’re not in the canon? There may be other reasons but one of the reasons is because there are sections in these books that are not in theological linkage with the Old Testament. They have to be Mosaic. The Mosaic standard holds, Isaiah had to be Mosaic; Jeremiah had to be Mosaic; Daniel had to be Mosaic; Haggai had to be Mosaic or they flunked the test. There has to be an internal logical harmony with the Word of God. So the canon is logically harmonious. That shouldn’t be a big mystery. What are we saying when we’re saying the canon is harmonious? We’re saying that God is internally consistent. If God is speaking He doesn’t tell us one thing in one point and another thing in another. God is perfectly rational. That’s a hard message for our generation.
If anything is taking over our culture it’s this antirational, mystical move, I want to feel it. It doesn’t matter how you feel, even our hymns are filled with stuff, how I feel about Jesus. It’s irrelevant how you feel about Jesus. He’s not going to stop being Jesus because you don’t feel well; He’s still King of kings, it doesn’t make any difference. It’s not feelings, it’s not emotions, it’s the Word of God that has rational consistency, whether we feel like it today or we don’t feel like doing it today, it doesn’t make any difference. It’s still there; it’s still the Word of God.
On page 84 I want to take a little visit to the Old Testament because we want to answer a question. Read with me, it’s labeled The Issue; I want to make a point. “The necessity of a canon for proper functioning of a covenant, the role of a canon in ruling spiritual matters of the believing community, and the proper boundaries of a canon are important factors in canonicity. One can and should insist upon inerrantly inspired Scripture in the autographs, or original writings. The problem which must be faced, however, is this: what good is the canon if it has not been accurately preserved throughout history so that the Word of God is available today? What good is an inerrant autograph if there are no texts today which precisely reflect it?” Now watch this, watch the next sentence. “Quasi-biblical cults that rely on post-biblical texts like Islam and Mormonism try to contrast the supposedly ‘unbroken’ line between their original texts and today’s texts.” The Bible. “It is important, therefore, for us to examine preservation of the biblical writings.”
Let me diagram what I’m talking about here. Here’s the argument. The Mormons, typical of an extra-biblical cult, by extra-biblical cult I’m not name calling, I’m just using a theological designation. Here is the New Testament; the New Testament ended at a point in time, just like the Old Testament ended at a point in time, the Scriptures terminated, the Scriptures were done. God’s finished talking. Now we have to listen to Him and think about what He says. He’s given us 2,000 years to think about what He’s said. We have these people that always want another word from God. I’ve got plenty of problems with what He’s already said. I don’t need any more.
So what happens, along comes somebody down here and they get this thing that somehow the Bible is old and decrepit, and we need a fresh word from God. So they come out with some of their text, and their text was written here, but because it’s more recent we have continuity and here we are in 1998 and we have the originals, we’re very close to the originals, we’re a lot closer to that guy than we are over here. So this book tends to take center stage, away from the Scripture. It’s a classic maneuver. Of course the problem is that this book doesn’t do what? How do we know that that’s not canonical Scripture, what truth text do we use? Deuteronomy 13, Deuteronomy 18, and their teachings here don’t mesh with the teachings over here, so no, there’s not a continuity between those two books. But the argument that is used that attracts your attention and gets your loyalty, gets your trust built up in these books is because they’re recent; we have all the texts back to those.
I was just reading an apologist for Islam, and his whole point was that the in Koran we have this dictation back in Mohammed’s day, and the caliphs preserved the text, and it’s all so close, we’re not like the Christians and the Jews where this text is kind of floating along in history and we have all these pieces. We want to deal with that. We want to show how the text was preserved. We’re going to divide the problem in half. For tonight’s sake, all I’m talking about is the Old Testament. We’re just developing the principle out of the Old Testament. We’ll get to the New Testament. The Old Testament text stopped here. Who was active in producing the Old Testament text? They were called the prophets. They stopped, the text stopped. Then you have this problem.
Let’s cut the problem in half. We have problem A and problem B. Problem A is how did the prophets preserve the text? After the prophets went away, how was the text preserved. We don’t know exactly all the details under the providence of God, but what can we say about the preservation of the text from the way it’s handled by believers, in this case how does the New Testament handle the Old Testament.
Turn to Jeremiah 36 and we’ll see an incident that happened in Jeremiah’s career that lets us peak into, as it were, the processes that God used historically to keep this text going during the time of the living prophets. You want to be familiar with this chapter because it’s a good chapter to show how close the Word of God came to being destroyed in history and what God did to preserve it.
Jeremiah 36:1, “And it came about in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,  ‘Take a scroll,’ ” this is God talking, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord. This actually shows us how Scripture was generated; this is a neat picture of how Scripture came into creation, the word of the Lord “came to Jeremiah,”
 “Take a scroll and write on it all the words which I have spoken to you concerning Israel, and concerning Judah, and concerning all the nations, from the day I first spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day.” This is actually how part of the book of Jeremiah got created.  “Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the calamity which I plan to bring on them, in order that every man will turn from his evil way; then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin.  Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah,” look at this, here’s how the Scripture was generated, “and Baruch wrote at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which He had spoken to him, on a scroll.” That’s probably like Paul did; they had people that would write for them, maybe their handwriting was as bad as mine is and they had somebody that could at least print clearly.
Verse 5, “And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, ‘I am restricted: I cannot go into the house of the LORD” by the way, that restriction is what we were getting into chapter 5 leading up to this chapter. He says  “So you go and read from the scroll which you have written at my dictation the words of the LORD to the people in the LORD’s house on a fast day. And also you shall read them to all the people of Judah who come from their cities.” You go read to them. So he did.
In verse 17 and 18, the people that hear him reading the scroll asked him a question, “And they asked Baruch, saying, ‘Tell us please, how did you write all these words? Was it at his dictation?’  Then Baruch said to them, “He dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink on the book.  Then the officials said to Baruch, ‘Go, hide yourself, you and Jeremiah, and do not let anyone know where you are.” They went into the king, and the king did this, verse 21. Now watch what happens to the scroll. “Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it out of the chamber of Elishama the scribe. And Jehudi read it to the king as well as to all the officials who stood beside the king.” In verse 22, “Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the nigh month, with a fire burning in the brazier before him.  And it came about, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut it with a scribe’s knife and threw it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier.  Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments.  “Even though … [they] entreated the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them.”
There’s a picture of an arrogant man. In those days they didn’t use separation of Church and state to get rid of the Bible, in this day they used a knife to slice it up and put it in the fireplace. So there’s the destruction of the only copy of the book of Jeremiah at that point. So now we’ve got a problem. We’ve destroyed God’s word.
Then what happens, verse 27, “Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah after the king had burned the scroll and the words which Baruch had written at the dictation of Jeremiah, saying,  Take again another scroll and write on it all the former words that were on the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah burned.’ ” And it goes on to describe the process all over again. God is determined that His Word will go forth and it will not be destroyed by anyone, including the highest authorities in the land, they are never going to be able to destroy the Word of God.
The point we want to make here is the function of the prophets. When the Word of God was destroyed, who rewrote it? It was the prophets. See how prominently the prophets played in Israel, Israel’s a chain of prophets. You remember this because when you think about Chinese religion or Indian religion, or some of the other religions, where’s their line of prophets from century to century to century, hundreds of years, thousands of years, etc. Where’s the line of prophets. Israel has a unique characteristic of history. There’s that constant prophetic voice, century after century, saying the same thing from the same Lord of revelation.
Let’s turn to some other functions of the prophets. Go back to the book of Judges. I want to dip into some pieces of the Old Testament to show you evidences of what these guys did, and how we can thank God for these men, many of them we don’t know their names, only a few of their names are recorded in Scripture, but these guys were faithful, they treasured the Word of God, it was the authority to them, they loved it, they protected it, often at the expense of their lives. They nurtured it and kept it clear and readable.
In Judges 18:30, here’s what we call a little comment, this is a case in point where obviously after the text had been written and circulated, it was updated. “And the sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image, and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land.” When was Judges written? Think back. We’ve gone through the history of Israel, so think back through to the earlier events. Judges was back here, conquest and settlement. Since that time there’s been the reign of David, there’s been the era of Solomon, the kingdom was divided, the kingdom was in decline, and here’s the exile, here’s the captivity. So in verse 30, how then in the book of Judges do we find some comment about the captivity? It’s clear that these prophets went back and updated an area that might not have been clear to the readers. Did they have the authority to do it? You bet they did. Can we do that? Absolutely not! The Scriptures say you will not add to My Word; you will not take away My Word. There’s a curse placed on anybody that dare do this. That’s the difference of the prophets. These people walking around claiming to be prophets, I’d like them to see what could happen to them. These guys had clear cut authority to go in and update the text. But how arrogant for anybody today to go back and try to update the text.
1 Samuel 9:9, there’s a couple more of these places, actually there’s many of them but I just want to show you 2 or 3 of them just so you can see what I’m talking about when I talk about the prophets protecting Scripture and updating it. In 1 Samuel 9:9 there’s an explanation that was injected into the text later, after the text was originally written. “(Formerly in Israel,” see, it’s there as an explanation because the readers later on, centuries later, wouldn’t have understood this thing that was going on in 1 Samuel 9, so it’s almost like a footnote is put in there. “(Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he used to say, ‘Come, and let us go to the seer,’ for he who is called a prophet now was formerly called a seer.)” It was written after the text. Who did that? Prophets did that, they had the authority to go in and massage and tweak the text. That was their job.
Why did they have to do that? Why do you suppose this explanatory note is in there? Think about it. It’s an explanatory note. Why bother with an explanatory note? To explain it. Why do you want to explain it? To make the Word of God clear, so people can understand the Word of God. God wants His people to know His Word, and that’s the ministry of the prophets, to make the Word clear, not add their own little opinions, not replace the Word of God with something else, but make the text clear.
2 Samuel 18:18 and that will be enough to get the idea across. Someday in heaven we’ll get a chance to talk to these guys, we’ll go up and ask them, hey, when you put that note in there, why did you do that, and who did that, find out who the guy was. “Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar which is in the King’s Valley, for he said, ‘I have no son to preserve my name.’ So he named the pillar after his own name, and called it Absalom’s monument to this day.” What’s “this day,” whenever this note was put in there. Why do you suppose that particular note is in there? When I went to Israel many years ago, one of the things that impressed me was every place that is historically important to those people they have a monument.
At one time there was a popular song among teenagers in Israel, and it motivated them to cross this no-man’s land between the Jordanian army in Israel around Petra, the mystique was to go to Petra, and there was this teenage song that was played in Israel, and the teenagers got enraptured with this idea, and a couple of them decided they were going to go across, and they were told by the Israelis, don’t go across there because you’re going to get shot, you know, the Jordanians don’t like Jews. These kids went across there, you can’t tell them anything, so they have to learn the hard way. Well, they learned the hard way, they went over there and they got shot, but if you drive along that area today there’s a monument, there’s their name, age 16, such and such, age 15, age 17, and it’s a listing of those kids.
If you drive up to Jerusalem, in 1948 they didn’t have any tanks so to break into Jerusalem they put welded steel plate on busses and that was their tanks, the only tanks they had, and they kept driving up and the Arabs would shoot up the busses and kill them, etc. and along that road you’ll see monuments, two busses were destroyed on the road here, here are their names, name, date, name, date, name, date. You go around and you see this again and again, there are always monuments, natural rocks with a plaque on them or sometimes it’s a poured monument. But you get the impression real quick driving around that it’s important to them that the person’s name be associated with what happened at a particular time and place. These are not fairy stories, they happened at the corner of this road and that road at a certain time on a certain day in a certain month of a certain year.
That’s the same kind of flavor you see here, this Absalom’s monument. In other words, at the time that note was put in there you could walk down there and see Absalom’s monument. There was no question where it was. So what we’ve dealt with is part of this problem, the problem being that we have problem A, during the [time of the] prophets the prophets preserved the text.
Now what we want to deal with is after the prophets go away, how does the text get preserved? We don’t know how the text gets preserved, other than the fact that we know that the text has continuity to it, and I’m going to show you with a test case. Here’s our argument. We’re not going to use the New Testament; we’re going to use the Old Testament. The Old Testament ended here. What happened over here? Jesus Christ came and the canon reopened and we call the new addition the New Testament. Here’s a test. We can go to this point, look back in time and ask ourselves: how did Jesus and the apostles here treat the text here? There was a 400 year gap here. And during those 400 years the text was transmitted along these lines, so that in Jesus day you have this, you have this, and you have this, that’s three texts cycling. Remember Jesus and the apostles lived between what period of time? Between – 100 and + 100. So they had a variable text and they quote from all of them in the New Testament.
You say well, gee, how can you be sure that the text was preserved for those 400 years, there were no prophets around, they weren’t amending the text; they locked it up, nobody was messing with it. Let’s look at some verses where the New Testament authors do something in their deductions about doctrine in an Old Testament text. We want to look how they do this. Turn to Matthew 22:32. Here’s Jesus, and He’s building an argument. We want to look at that hidden assumption to this argument. He says “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead but of the living.” That particular verse, if you have a marginal reference is a quotation from an Old Testament text. What is Jesus quoting that text for? Verse 31, the argument that He’s getting into is an argument over the resurrection, “But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying,” He cites the text of Exodus, “He is not the God of the dead but the God of the living.” That is a hard argument. If you diagram the logic of this argument there are four or five steps in there.
Let me try to summarize it for you. The argument is that there’s a present tense in that citation, “I am the God,” not I was, “I am the God.” What is he arguing for? He’s arguing that God is always present and the believers are always present and to be fully present with God we have to have our resurrection bodies, that salvation of the soul is not enough in the Bible, that’s the Greek. In the Hebrew mind it’s the soul and the body, the material and the immaterial that must be saved. So Jesus says if you’re going to have the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, and these guys are going to be worshiping Him forever and ever, and Yahweh is going to be their God, you have to have resurrection bodies. They’ve lost their other bodies. So his argument is I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In verse 31 he prefaces the quote by saying it was spoken to you by God, i.e., to the Jewish nation, spoken to you by God and he quotes the verse.
Now let’s look at this text argument. Regardless of which text type he cites here, he’s saying that they are in the presence of the Word of God spoken to whom? Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? When? When were the dates of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Between 2000-1800 BC. What time is it now, the time of Matthew 22? It’s AD 30, something like that, AD 28 or 27, somewhere in there. So now we have 27 plus at least 1800, so we’re talking about 1900…. [blank spot] … so clearly he’s talking about a text that they read in the synagogue. And he says that text is so accurate that I can argue on the basis of a [can’t understand word] over nineteen centuries. Jesus, not having a PhD of modern skeptics didn’t understand that the text might have gotten contaminated along the way, He forgot about that. He’s only the Son of God, He wrote the text.
Let’s look at another reference, Luke 16:29, this gets into a more sobering application of this truth, what it means to us today. In Luke 16 it’s the story that tells of Lazarus. Background: verse 22, “Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom;” that’s the site of Old Testament saints before the Lord rose, “and the rich man died and was buried.  And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.” By the way, did Jesus ever talk about Hell? Try this one on for size. Please notice this person doesn’t go extinct. This person doesn’t go unconscious. This is a very sobering passage here; this is what it looks in this next life to come when you are in Hell. A sobering passage that you’re conscious, and worst of all you’re conscious of what you could have done.
So he says at least “send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue…  But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, in order that those who wish to come over from here to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.”
A side note here, remember the diagram we always draw on good and evil. We point out in the Christian view of evil, what do we notice on the right side of that diagram? That there’s a separation; that’s the Christian solution to evil. We really are thoughtless and sloppy when we fuss about it. We’re fussing because there’s evil in history and we want to get rid of it. God says I’m going to, I’ve got to separate it. Now we’re fussing at Him because He separated it. So what’s He supposed to do? This is what’s happened. Here, there’s a time of good and evil between the fall and the judgment, there’s a time when repentance works, that’s a time when grace functions. The problem is that when you pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and you want to resolve and get rid of evil, suffering and sorrow, here’s what we’re praying for, right there. The horrible thing is that once that event occurs, this is a great gulf fixed and there’s no more room for repentance, the day of grace is finished. Grace does not go on forever.
Here’s the situation, this guy is caught. Verse 26 says there’s a great chasm and you can’t cross it. This is the time for repentance; this is the time when we can make a choice. Then it’s too late. Verse 27, “And he said, I beg you, Father, that you send him to my father’s house—  for I have five brothers— that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment. 
“But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear from them.’” Isn’t this striking, “they have Moses and the Prophets,” when was Moses and the Prophets? A couple of centuries before this. So what does he mean when he says “they have Moses and the Prophets”?
They have the text. What do they read in the synagogue every Sabbath? They unscrolled the scroll and they read Moses and the Prophets.
Verse 30, “But he said, No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent?” They didn’t when One did rise from the dead. Verse 31, “But he said to them,” now look at the sobering point he makes here, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.” Is there any problem, do you notice any hesitation, well we aren’t really sure whether we have the real text or not, we can’t really be sure that the text shows what Moses wrote, that might just be contaminated, it might be corrupted or something. No. We’re talking about heaven and hell here, and we’re talking about responsibility and culpability, and it’s being measured against the text, not some autographer that’s centuries old, this is the contemporary text that’s being cited as the standard of judgment. No matter what’s going on here between -100 and + 100, the text may be solidifying, there’s lots of versions around but Jesus claims that everybody in those synagogues is being held accountable to the text.
Acts 15:21, this is a church council, a very critical church council, one of the first in history, trying to solve a theological problem. They make their judgment, verses 19-20. Then in verse 21 this statement occurs. “For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” Since he is what? “He is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” The question you want to ask yourself, if this contamination of text is a really serious problem, then can’t you get off the hook here? Couldn’t you argue that we can’t be sure of Moses, do you have Moses read in the synagogues every Sabbath, maybe the text is incorrect? Do you think that excuse is going to hang? I don’t think so, this is the apostles talking and the last verse we went to was Jesus talking, and they’re both saying that I’m held accountable for the text that I’m hearing and that’s good enough to condemn me or to give me the gospel.
Finally we come to a really neat argument. If the other verses didn’t convince you, this one ought to, about the preservation of the text after the prophets died away. Remember we’re in category B type problem, the first half of the lesson was category A, we showed how the prophets massaged the text when the prophets were around to massage the text. Now we’re in category B we’ve got a 400 year gap and we’re asking the question, do Jesus and the apostles accept the text as the Word of God, not just saying that the text was an autograph. That’s true, but they said more than that. They said the text that I have in my hands is read in every synagogue; that is the Word of God. In Heb. 7:14, a point is made by this author. It’s the story of Melchizedek, Melchizedek was the guy in Genesis 14, he shows up and there’s no comment in the text about who he was the son of, usually it’s the son of so and so, the son of so and so, the son of so and so, etc. He just appears in the text, without any kind of introduction.
The author of Hebrews picks this theme up and he says in verse 14, “For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.  And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek,” and it goes on and points out that Melchizedek had no genealogy, but in this case, as he builds this whole issue of Jesus being like Melchizedek, the priesthood being like Melchizedek in the sense that Melchizedek had no genealogy, Jesus was not of the right tribe to be in the Levitical priesthood. What tribe was Jesus from? Judah. But he makes the point in verse 14 for our purposes tonight, “it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah,” now look at this clause, “a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.”
What’s the logic behind verse 14? Let’s think about it, let’s catch the argument. It says Moses doesn’t connect the tribe of Judah in any way with priests. How do you know that? You’re sitting in a Jewish synagogue, it’s AD 30, or this might have been written later, AD 40 or 50, whatever the date, you’re sitting as a faithful Jew in the synagogue, you hear Moses read, and you’re drawing a conclusion that Moses spoke nothing concerning the priests. How do you know that? What’s the assumption of this argument? That the text must be inviolate, because suppose a section where Moses might have said that dropped out. See, the presupposition of the entire New Testament is a textual preservation of the Old Testament. The New Testament arguments don’t make sense unless the Old Testament is preserved in toto and is the living Word of God.
I want to conclude with an application about the Bible and language. This is the kind of thing that we want to learn as Christians to do, and that is when we read the text of Scripture, we’re not just talking about religious things here, because the Word of God is the Word of God and He created the universe. When you go to the Word of God you pick up clues about every area of life, EVERY area of life. You can teach math out of the Word of God, if you’re permitted to do so without violating separation of Church and state, of course.
On page 86, “The proper resolution of the issue, therefore, is that God somehow preserved the Old Testament canonical text during four centuries of prophetic silence such that the existing manuscripts in New Testament times could, of all intents and purposes, be considered as the Word of God. This fact being so, modern believers can be confident that today’s manuscripts, too, are the Word of God in spite of obvious textual variations here and there.” Textual variations mean nothing as far as the authority of the Word of God today. But it goes further than that. If that all is true, and what we’ve said is true, it implies something about the nature of language.
“The truth of the preservation of the canonical texts implies something about human language. Human language can have textual and semantic range without nullifying its meaning. In fact, translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek and the subsequent identification of the Greek text as the Word of God by Jesus and the Apostles implies that translation in principle does not nullify meaning either.” Translation is possible. Why do we say that? “After all, it was God who fractured human language at Babel centuries earlier knowing full well that He would need to disseminate His Word to all men everywhere.” See, when God broke up the languages at Babel, after He did it, it wasn’t, “Oh, gee, what did I do? I shot myself in the foot.” No, God is omniscient, He knew very well at Babel that when He fractured the language He had this under control, no problem here; all I’ve done there at Babel is I’ve messed it up so that men are screwed up, but I haven’t screwed myself up. I’m perfectly okay. God fractured human language, not man. “For the gospel to have meaning across multiple languages,” remember the gospel is preached in multiple languages, “human language after Babel must carry a sufficient ‘translation-ability.’” It must be able to be translated, or God cannot hold accountable any one of us who have come to know Jesus Christ through a language other than Koine Greek. We are held accountable because we have heard the Word of God in our language.
Now here’s the conclusion as we move over and introduce Islam. Islam has the idea that the Koran cannot be translated, they translate the Koran, but the idea is that if you are a believer in Islam you must learn Arabic in order to read the Word of Allah in his language, Arabic. And the reason they hold to that is they feel that the Word of God is lost in translation. So there’s a collision here between the theory of language of Islam and the theory of language of biblical Christianity. “Thus the objection of Islam that the word of Allah cannot be translated from the Arabic original and still technically remain the word of Allah is built upon a theory of language foreign to the Bible.” We haven’t got time to go into the details but I want you to notice in this paragraph what I’ve touched on. You want to try to replicate this thinking. If you’ve got a problem with language, studying language, translation, think about it in terms of biblical history. What do we know about language?
Let’s conclude with this. Maybe you’re grappling teaching reading to students; maybe you’re teaching how to interpret text. This is a very anti-language culture we’re living in. We grunt, we don’t speak. Music and everything else is into that mode. So we’re fighting just to be able to speak a vocabulary word, and have a subject go with the predicate. So when we think about language, let’s discipline ourselves to think, how do you that, how do you start thinking about it correctly?
Here’s how you start thinking about it correctly. You think back to the framework, do any of these events teach you anything about language. We go back; we say okay, I come back to here. God called Abraham out and now what happened with the call of Abraham as far as gospel truth. It’s was confined to what language? Hebrew. So does that mean if God confines His revelation to Israel to the Hebrew language it can’t go into Ugaritic, it can’t go into Aramaic, it can’t go into Arabic, it can’t go into Africa, it can’t go into Europe? No, that doesn’t sound right because what did God say He called Abraham to do. That all the families of the earth be blessed. So that warns you that there’s something screwy about the idea that different languages are impediments to meaning and truth. Before the call of Abraham what happened? The tower of Babel happened. That’s how you do this, you think about the pegs.
We’ve been through all these events, you want to learn to pick these up and use them as little tools. Then you can go back and say what if I go back to the original, way back to the beginning, what do I know about language? Who spoke the first words? God did. What happened when He spoke? The universe came into existence. God didn’t use an atom smashing machine to build the universe. He didn’t use any tools. Think about that. The only tool that God used, if you can call it a tool, was His own words. He spoke and it was done. Then who did He talk to? He talked to Adam after Adam was created. He sat Adam down and He described to Adam, I did this, I did this, I did this, I called the light good, I called this the earth, I called that the sea, He built Adam’s original dictionary for him. Then he said to Adam, after I give you the dictionary, I’ve got the basic vocabulary, now what are you doing Adam? You add to the dictionary. How do you add to the dictionary? By going into my creation and thinking My thoughts after Me. I send you on a mystery Adam, I ask you to go dig into the depths of My creation. I’ve already thought it out, you’ll always find a plan in it, it’s already named, I’ve named it, but I’m going to give you an exercise, you go and you take those animals and you look at them, you see how I designed them and you call them a name.
See the power of the language is built on God as the Creator. That’s the biblical view of language. Motivated that way, we want to learn to read. If children can see that language is the tool that we communicate to our God and our Creator with, there’s the motivation to read. But if God isn’t there, then we’re going to pussy foot around and keep all the big topics out of the school system, out of the language learning process, and some kid says why should I bother with all for, why do I have to learn all that, I’ve got four lettered words that covers most of my needs. You see, the point is, they’re right. There is no motive to learn apart from the biblical view. It’s only in the Word of God that you get all these questions answered.
That’s what we want to finish with, and hopefully in the preservation of the text you’ll see that the Word of God has been preserved, there may be variations, but the meanings are there and they are sufficient for our needs. Next week we’ll deal with the doctrine of prayer. The section that I passed out tonight is an appendix, I know this is going to delay further getting into the Lord Jesus Christ and getting the incarnation, birth, death and resurrection, but I thought about that and I think we need to understand a little bit about when it says Jesus is the coming King, the King is here, I will come again as a King. We want to think about the fact, what kingdom, what’s the kingdom? That appendix is a debate over what is the kingdom that Jesus promises to bring about.
I’m happy to have a friend of mine who’s an expert in eschatology and church history, Dr. Tommy Ice who’s written several books, available in Christian book stores, he’s not selling here. But if you have questions on some of the eschatological areas, that we haven’t touched on too much, he’s one of the nation’s experts on it right now.
Question asked: Clough replies: Maybe Tommy can supplement what I’m saying, I’m not familiar with the source of origin of why this has recently become an issue, but the variations in the texts have gone back a number of years. What it amounts to is an argument of methodology, because when the 19th century ancient texts of the New Testament were found. Keep in mind, let’s separate two things, translations and texts. This is why the question you asked, a very pertinent question, has a lot of parts to it. Let me divide it into two parts. The first part is regardless of what committee or who does the translating, they’ve got to come out of the Greek. The problem is: what is your methodology of picking the manuscripts that you’re going to use. There were thousands of manuscripts. Here’s the dilemma of the methodology.
The argument is that the King James and all the translations, the King James is not the only translation, there’s the Tyndale, there were a lot of translations around that time, the King James is best known because it’s popular. If we had lived in Germany it would have been Luther’s translation. We might add that it’s another testimony to the power of the Word of God that shapes language. German, I’m told by Germans that the German language was largely shaped by Luther’s translation of the Bible, it’s so influential. The King James was a contemporary translation when it was written, and it shaped largely the English language, it became kind of a standard. But the issue is that when all those translations began they were using what we would call a received text. That is they corpus of these manuscripts had been passed down through history, and there’s hundreds of them, hundreds of these texts, and these guys would sit there and carefully look at them, and they’d shepherd these texts into families. They would kind of take the average reader, so to speak, this is what the King James did, and this is what substantive until in the 19th century guys like Tischendorf and others found manuscripts that were very, very old, going back, the physical piece of manuscript actually was old, it was older than those received manuscripts that went into the King James translation. And they had some textual differences. Keep in mind, textual differences, the example I gave you, that’s what we’re talking about, on the text.
So the question then became, after the discovery of these early texts, now what do we use for our translation. Do we use the ones we’ve traditionally used and say that those are the normantive readings, or do we take some of these Codex Aleph and Codex Vaticanus and these others that are found in ancient libraries and take these and say gee, maybe these are earlier readings, maybe these represent reading closer to the time of the apostles. So the question then was, after the 19th century, what text do you use when you sit down to do the translating work. Westcott and Hort and a few people basically set the tone for most people and created a methodology whereby you use the earlier manuscripts in preference the received text of the King James, so that if you pick up a King James translation, say the American Standard 1901, RSV 1950 somewhere, you’ll look at the text there you’ll see they’re clearly translating from those early manuscripts and putting a lot of weight on them.
In the middle of this, and this started happening by about 1920s and 1930s, there were scholars in fundamentalist camps that said wait a minute, whoa, does it make sense that God, who has 100% sovereign control over history, let the church go on with these received manuscripts when He knew that the real manuscripts were hiding in a library in the Vatican and wouldn’t be discovered until 1900 years later. So there was something kind of flaky sounding in that. And they began to raise the question, maybe the manuscripts that we found in the ancient libraries are crummy copies, because think about it, they wouldn’t have printing presses then, and the issue was that if you had a crummy copy of a book it wouldn’t be used much, it wouldn’t have been saved. The good copies would have been used, hand and finger grease would ruin the text, and it would be passed on and passed on. So the counter argument was that we should stay with the Majority Text, the Received text or…, that type of reasoning, on the theological basis that God’s providence is going to preserve it so why are we messing around with the earlier texts when we really have no control of what they’re right or not, maybe it’s just library junk. So there’s that debate. That’s the background for the translation issue. There are very few translations today, maybe the New King James. The New King James deliberately chose to continue the tradition of the King James text and I think most of the new translations all go [someone else speaks, can’t hear]
So today on the market the New King James has the deliberate methodology of going with the same kind of idea of being very suspicious about these new, earlier manuscripts, whereas most of your other translations have picked up the traditional methodology started in the 19th century, when we’re in doubt we’re going to go to earlier manuscripts. So that’s first. I think what’s happened and Tommy, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think recently, was the NIV that stimulated some criticism; can you give us some background on that, you’re well read.
Tommy Ice: It’s more of a textual thing; it’s not a history thing. There was a guy in Florida in the 1960s named Ruckman who started the “King James only” thing, that’s kind of a cult, he has cultic views sometimes. So there’s a whole spectrum of people playing off of him. Some people for example, the Christian Reconstructionists like the King James simply because it preserves their great English tradition of literature. In other words, you can’t read Shakespeare and Samuel Johnson, so learning the King James Bible helps you to preserve a tradition of English literature. So some people argue for it today.
Then this lady with a Master’s Degree in Home Ec at Cornell University put out this book, New Age versions and all this stuff, she didn’t know a thing about textual criticism, but she basically attacked everything else because there were some feminists in the revision committee on the NIV, I think Nancy Hardesty, one of those feminists who was doing some of the English language smoothing, and they fired her within six months, so she didn’t have much influence. They say she’s a feminist New Ager, so these are new age versions. Do you see what I’m saying? So you get into that.
I think a lot of it has to do with the same thing that went on as to why King James commissioned the King James Version. In the 1300 and 1400s when they got into getting the Bible into the English language, because through the Middle Ages it was illegal to translate it outside of Latin, which was not the original language, it was Greek and Hebrew. But the church maintained a lot of Greek and basically forgot its Hebrew, although a person here and there knew a little Hebrew. When the Reformation came in they started learning Hebrew and Greek. When they started reforming, actually it was the Renaissance, the idea of lets get back to the sources, and what are the sources? Well, the sources are the original Greek and Hebrew. So that led to wanting to translate the Bible into the language of the people. You had just a plethora of translations for 200 years from Wycliffe and Tyndale, up to the early 1600s and people were tired of all the translations.
So King James commissioned a group of three different groups, some Anglicans, I think Presbyterians and Congregationalists. And they set up committees and did the King James Version. That’s why the Puritans wouldn’t let the King James onto the North American continent for a hundred years because it was corrupted, because it had Catholic influence, it had Anglican. They used the Geneva Bible which was a pure translation, done by the English under Calvin in Geneva. And they used the very same arguments against the King James Bible in the 1600s; you will not find any King James Bible in the early 1600s in America. There’s no such animal, because it was a corrupt translation. It took a hundred years before that broke down and they allowed it over here. By the way, it’s been revised four times. So if these people are into the King James only, then which version? Usually they go to the 18 whatever, the early 1800s thing.
So I think people are tired of all these different translations, certain groups. And because they do not understand that the authority lies in the original languages and all that kind of stuff, you get up, you stand up and you’re teaching the Bible and you’ve got 15 different translations, you know, just pragmatic reasons, and some segments have made it almost into a cult of using the King James Bible. The Old Testament is not a problem, the Masoretic text is solid. But you get into the New Testament, none of the modern translations reflect the same Greek text, which is based on [can’t understand word] Fourth Edition which came from Erasmus, who’s a Catholic by the way, I don’t know how that got to be but… So I think people were just tired of a lot of that and some guy gets up in certain circles and just starts preaching an emotional sermon and I think people get on the band wagon and you see Ruckman’s group out of Pensacola sort of growing, especially fundamental Baptists, is basically where you get this, get on the King James only band wagon.
Clough: One of the contemporary things, wasn’t the NIV going to be redone?
Tommy Ice replies: Constantly.
Clough: They’re constantly redoing it, and one episode happened last year or the year before, where they had let it out before they financed it, because these translations cost money, and they were trying to collect money and in the course of the campaign to raise funds to do it, they let it out that they thought it was about time to, what they call to dynamically translate. This does get into a problem, where you translate idea for idea instead of the text. They wanted to deal with—that we have to reform the masculinity of God and they were going to make it feminine and oh gee… that isn’t a translation as such, that’s a translation methodology problem. When that got around enough people fussed about it that I think it turned off the facet a little bit.
Tommy Ice: Yes but translations, there is a statement in the 1609 edition.
Clough: 1611, I think it was 1611, I don’t think the Scofield Bible has it.
Tommy Ice: In the fly leaf of the King James Version the translators said any translation is the Word of God and I think that’s a good statement. You know, it’s the Word of God, and people understand there’s a spectrum of everything of the most literal, which is like an interlinear, you know what that is, to like the Living Bible, which is a paraphrase, and then in the middle you have like King James, for example, that is translated with an emphasis on public reading. They went back and smoothed up the text so it has a flow to it.
Clough says: … you’ll find in a systematic way that the verses are easy to memorize, in some regard it’s easy to memorize the King James even though it’s old English, there’s a flow and a rhythm to it, and that’s part of that magic that was built into the King James.
Tommy Ice: and then you have, say, the New American Standard, which actually… see you have developed what’s called translation traditions, for example Wycliffe started the tradition, and translators come in behind a guy that has done a major translation and they either follow him or don’t follow him. In other words, if he translates, let’s say the word “baptism,” this is what the King James translators did, they invented the word “baptism” as an English word. Up to that point the Greek word baptizw (baptizo) was translated immerse or dip, and with Anglicans and all these different people on the committee, they did not want to translate the word, so they invented the English word “baptism” to get around that.
So if you have a certain translation tradition, like Wycliffe got going, then they follow that, or they come in and revise that. The New American Standard went for literalism, it’s the most literal, it’s not a paraphrase, it’d be kind of middle right, the King James is kind of in the middle, it’s more literal in trying to keep, for example Greek words as much as possible, translate them by the same English word if possible, so you can have correspondence, and they followed a guy named John N. Darby. Darby did an original translation back in the 1800s. Then the American Standard followed Darby. And the New American Standard is basically two generations removed from Darby. So you have those translation versions.
The NIV started a whole new thing with what’s called dynamic equivalency. Let me give you an example, and this is a modern, I think it’s a liberal idea quite frankly, and this bothers me, I don’t recommend the NIV or at least for studying, if you just want to read the Bible and stuff like that, then that’s fine. The idea is that language it’s based upon an evolutionary premise of language, that language is evolving, and there’s not necessarily a commonality between ancient people and modern people. Let me give you an extreme example of dynamic equivalency.
Let’s say the Lord’s Table is based upon the beverage of the day, which would be wine, and the basic food of the day which would be bread. So if you’re living 2,000 or 4,000 years later and the basic beverage of the day is Coca Cola and potato chips are the basic staple, then using the dynamic equivalents of thought, you would translate bread and wine as Coke and potato chips, and that would be viewed by these people as a legitimate translation, and this get into the idea of how these scholars… if you look at the text the Hebrew word for man is “man,” it’s male, and you sit here and you go, now how can they turn that into man dash woman [“man-woman”]? Because they’re thinking philosophically about language in a totally different way than we do. We think the whole goal is to reflect what the original text says, but they’re deconstructing, they are having to take into account the progression, the philosophical change that we have, so they think that this is a bad translation, to not reflect the modern philosophy of those things. That’s where you get into all this trouble.
An example in the NIV would be “born of the seed of woman,” and they translated it “a descendant.” I’m born of the seed of David, Romans 1:3, [“concerning His Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,”] and the Greek word is “seed,” sperma, you know what word means, if you give it a dynamic translation which is correct, if it is a translation, there it means a descendant of David. But you start losing the basis to trace back to Genesis 3, the seed of the woman and all those kinds of things, so that’s the problem with this dynamic thing.
We’ve had a good discussion but we’re running out of time. This is a very good question, and you can tell by what’s going on here it’s a whole study unto itself, but I think Tommy pretty well covered the basics on it.