Wednesday, September 09, 2009


([Steve] sent a point-by-point commentary on what I'd written.  I'm not publishing that here, but here's a couple follow-up points that I originally was going to send to him, but later decided not to.  It's useful for me to know, but it wasn't about what he was asking.  I emailed to let him know I think it's easier to discuss this in person).

from the last discussion, I wasn't exactly sure which claims you were concerned about.

No translation is guaranteed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit -- only the original writings come with that guarantee.  That's why minor textual variations in even the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts aren't horrifying to me.  Since the originals couldn't survive forever, the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts scholars study are copies of copies.  Minor copyist errors are to be expected.  (And if they weren't there, I might wonder if these were forgeries!)  The original writings (Holy Spirit + John + pen + paper) were inspired by God, and our goal is to understand the original meaning and intent of God.  Every attempt to reach back to them is flawed in some way or another, but in varying degrees.  We must continually look for the least flawed way to understand God's original communication.  But the blessed thing is, each of us isn't alone in this: the Holy Spirit is an awesome guide!

I would like some books and studies that details your claims. Yes, He is an awesome guide, but how do I know that I'm relying on Him and not my own authority or even the devil?

I said "No translation is guaranteed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit" because it's the original message that was inspired.  People do translations, people are flawed, and since the Holy Spirit has never guaranteed that He has inspired a translation like he inspired the original writing, I conclude that no translation is perfect. 

As far as the copying process, based on handwriting analysis, the oldest NT manuscript we have is from ≈ 125 A.D., and that's just a fragment.  Here's some info on the age of the oldest manuscripts NT we have: site 1, site 2.

We don't have the original, handwritten manuscripts that Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc., wrote on, but we do have copies that were rapidly disseminated after they were written, which gave very little time for anyone with an original to make changes and try to change what was written.

The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the Bible.

Today, He helps people today...
1) in correcting the minor textual variations in the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts so that the original words in these languages are clear
2) in guiding translators who examine the Greek and Hebrew words and translate their meaning into English
3) the individual believer reading the English translation and understanding the meaning

The Holy Spirit's message to the authors of the Bible was perfect, and they wrote it down perfectly.  Our goal today is to understand that message perfectly.  People succeed at those three processes I showed above (esp. the last two) to different degrees, because they have different degrees of knowledge, motivation, and leaning on the Spirit. 

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