The Overzealous Monks

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 20, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

A common argument against the reliability and accurate transmission of the Bible is the Overzealous Monk argument. The argument is this: The Bible’s original manuscripts never actually had such consistency. It was edited to make it look consistent after the fact by the “latter community.” The best answer to this argument I have heard is from Voddie Baucham.

To summarize, Baucham points out one major issue with this argument: a manuscript problem. Last week, I wrote about how we have 66,000 copies of manuscripts or portions of manuscripts of the Bible. Baucham only references 6000, and he is pulling from old data and specifically talking about the New Testament. These manuscripts are written in three languages (Greek, Syriac, and Coptic), and the copies he was referencing span over 300 years. So these overzealous monks would have to go steal the manuscripts, change 6000 of them the same way, lie the same way in each language, don’t show inkwork in doing so, and get them back where they stole them from without getting caught. Then do the same thing with all the commentaries by church leaders, which quoted the New Testament so often we can reproduce all but 11 verses with these commentaries alone. Call up The Sting, Oceans Eleven, or James Bond; get your best heist people and see if they can pull that off.

In the movie Paul: Apostle of Christ, we see a plausible scenario for how the book of Acts came about. A very interesting thing they do at the very end of the movie is produce 100 copies of Acts to send out. Luke wrote his book, and the local body immediate made 100 copies of it so the church community throughout the Roman Empire could be encouraged. Was this exact fact? We don’t know. But I can say the movie was plausible. It is not like the books were written during the lifetime of the eye-witnesses and then they stayed stagnant for 300 years until Athanasius gave the first formal listing of the “Canon” in 367 AD. That’s not how it went down.

Peter recognized Paul’s letters as having the same weight and authority as the rest of established Scripture, so it is clear that the church knew these were not ordinary books but special books. In looking into the timing of when the churches got the letters, to the number of manuscripts and the languages they were translated into, this is a plausible scenario of how they came about. When the initial recipients got the books or letters we now know as the New Testament, they would have shared it around the local church community, but they would have made copies of these letters then and there and began sending the copies out, while the initial audience kept the originals. It happened very quickly.

Now some manuscripts were either retired, lost, or even discarded by unfriendly sources. Many of them were written on papyrus reeds, which have a very short lifespan. Some of these manuscripts were old and either illegible or tossed aside and were used in paper mache masks, found in Egypt. The reason Josh McDowell’s claim of 25,000 manuscripts in 1999 in The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict jumped to 66,000 manuscripts in 2016 is in part because we have found many manuscripts in these burial masks.

The translations went from Hebrew and Aramaic in the Old Testament and Greek in the New Testament into Syriac and Coptic first. Not long afterwards as Greek was dying as the common language in the Roman Empire, Jerome translated from the manuscripts he had available into the Latin Vulgate. It was translated into other languages too as time passed and Christians spread out to preach the Gospel. What’s more is that even though some numerical copying errors have been found, (such as Ahaziah’s age of 42 when he began to reign as recorded in 2 Chronicles, which is impossible, when he was actually 22 as recorded in 2 Kings), the translators refused to make the correction because they were doing everything they could to keep with what the copies of manuscripts they had said. So they KEPT the errors in there for the sake of accurate translation.

These facts make this overzealous monk idea utterly ridiculous. Last week I wrote about the copying process, which not just kills the telephone game argument, but it also kills this one too. The copying process was so meticulous this idea would have only been attempted by an individual or small group, and even then, they would not be able to get much done on it because guess what? All those 66,000 manuscripts agree within 95% or more of exact precision, and that 5% are mere variants which have nothing to do with the actual content.

I still would like to know who did this. No one who promotes this argument has ever given a face, a group name, or even a time frame in which this was done. Apparently it was the “latter community.” Where? When? How? I know exactly why there is no face: because the argument is simply made up. It never happened. The men and women who wrote, copied, and defended these books of the Bible, especially during the Roman Empire and during the days of the Roman Catholic Church’s Inquisitions gave their lives for these books. They died and refused to recant what the Scriptures taught, even under the penalty of death. If the Bible had been edited to “make it seem to fit,” why would anyone do this and why did no one who caved to the tortures give names to give credence to these stories? It does not make sense.

Here is another interesting aspect. The Bible has numerous details that APPEAR to contradict at first. Secularists love to point out the “thousands” of contradictions in the Bible, yet each one can be explained, which only makes the passages difficult, not a contradiction. If the Bible was edited to fit nicely by overzealous monks, wouldn’t these difficult passages be edited to sound better? Why did they leave that stuff behind? I will deal with how to deal with contradictions next week.

The Telephone Game and the Overzealous Monks arguments are frequently cited but never investigated by those who cite them. They merely repeat what they have heard from other skeptics and never actually do their homework on the topics. While the information about manuscripts, copying, and such is valuable, the arguments simply do not hold any water simply by analyzing what is required for it to happen. These skeptics want you to think they are smart, but they really are not. When your knowledge base is not rooted in the Word of God, no matter what level of education you have, it is foolishness. Stick with the Bible. It has withstood any challenge thrown at it and no matter what the skeptics say today, they will pass and the Bible will remain.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The History of Nations

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 19, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

As we continue our look at the Table of Nations, the Tower of Babel, and where people groups come from today, I wanted to touch on how this list of people is connected to the people groups of the world. There are some extra-biblical resources we can draw from here. As I stated in my last blog post, there are a great number of people and people groups listed in Genesis 10-11 and some of them we have no knowledge of other than what the Bible tells us. However, that was true for many more people groups in the not too distant past. There have been several groups unknown to us save the Bible's reference to them until finds in the area where they allegedly lived reveals that, once again, we see the Bible is accurate. Let's take a look at a few of these people groups, though there are just too many for us to investigate all of them fully.

One amazing resource to view on this topic is the ancient historian Josephus. He was a Jewish man charged with writing a history of the Jewish people for his Roman captors. What's amazing is how he beautifully connects many of the people groups mentioned in Genesis 10-11 with people groups that lived around him at the time of his writings. What an excellent resource and an excellent confirmation of Biblical history.

Josephus frequently relates the land area the people settled in, who their founder was (which generally corresponded to the name of the people), and their Greek name if it was different. For example, the Canaanites were descendants of Canaan, Israelites were descendants of Israel, Elamites were descendants of Elam, Cushites were descendants of Cush, etc. He references Japheth and his sons as well. Japheth’s son Gomer founded the Gomerites, and Josephus says they are now called by the Greeks the Galls. These, if you recall, are who Paul wrote to in his letter called Galatians. Japheth's son Magog founded the Magogites, who were known by the Greeks as “Sythians.” Japheth's son Madai was the founder of the Medes. The Medes are known for their part in the Medo-Persian Empire and are now commonly referred to as Iranians. Javan, another of Japheth's sons, was the founder of the Greeks and later the Britons. I'll discuss the history of that and a larger area in more detail further down in this writing. Thiras was the founder of the “Thracians” who are now represented in Scandinavia. Egyptian writings from as early as 1300 BC reference these people, calling them the Tarusha. The Greek historian Herodotus also mentions them. He wrote about 425 BC. From the name Thiras, the Norse people took the name “Thor” and worshiped him as a god. I'll touch more on that later as well.

Now Gomer's son Ashkenaz was the founder of the Ashkenazians. These are now known as the Germans. It stands to reason, possibly, that the Angles and the Saxons (commonly known together as the Anglo-Saxons) migrated to Britain and became part of the people from today's Great Britain along with Javan's descendants. England's name comes from the Angles. A son of Javan, Tarshish, founded the Tarshians and the city we know Paul was from—Tarsus. There are many more examples of Japheth's descendants, but, again, I cannot go into great detail with them all. I would like to look further at Britain.

The history of Britain and her ancestors is, to me, very interesting stuff. There are very large amounts of historical documentation supporting the fact that the people of this area—a variety of rival groups who frequently hated each other—independently trace their lineage back to Japheth and/or Noah. These documents predate the Christianization of these people groups. Let's look more closely at this.

There are six different Anglo-Saxon people groups that trace their lineage back to Woden (aka Oden), and we know from very old records that Woden traced his lineage back to Japheth and Noah. The name Japheth in the local languages was Sceaf or Seskef. There are Icelandic, Danish, and Norwegian records going back to Japheth as well, corroborating each other. These genealogies do not perfectly reflect each other. Some include names others do not and so on. However, there are striking similarities and the names that are similar can not only be matched with the Biblical record, but they are in the same order from one people's list to another. These lists all include the infamous Brutus for whom the Island of Britain and its people were named. To me, again, this is all very fascinating. The fact that genealogies extend back to a man named Japheth or Noah in societies that have, seemingly, no connection to the Judeo-Christian faith is striking!

Some argue these genealogies are forgeries. To that, a sort of silly accusation really, I say, “By whom?” What would be the point of all of these diverse people groups, who were frequently rivals or even hated each other, claiming to all trace their heritage back to the same people? And the fact that there are slight differences, to me, helps confirm they were not forged. The fact that some lists end with Japheth (or his local language equivalent) rather than Noah also tells me it wasn't out of some zeal to make the Bible look true by local Christianized people. In fact, as I've stated, these lists predate the Christianization of this area. Many of the people in these lists were noted for their barbarism and their adherence to pagan rituals. Iceland was founded by Vikings. I don't believe anyone would argue that the Vikings, Norwegian or Danish, were Christians, especially at the time of Iceland's colonization. There's really no merit, that I can discover, to such an accusation—that of these lineages being doctored to appear to demonstrate Biblical truth. Are there other people groups that find their heritage going back to Japheth? Yes!

The Miautso Chinese people, who do not consider themselves to be “true” Chinese, are an intriguing find. They once covered much of inland China, but, over time, according to their traditions, were pushed further and further out and into the mountains of the southwest. When Christian missionaries arrived to share the Gospel with them, they were surprised to find a very similar historical account in the Miautso oral traditions to the creation and Flood accounts found in the Bible, including a story about the Tower of Babel. You can find a translation of this oral history here.

The similarities between their traditions and the historical accounts found in God's Word are amazing. They trace their ancestry to a man named “Dirt.” The first man, Adam, has a name that sounds very much like the Hebrew word for “earth” or “ground.” Sounds a lot like dirt, right? “Dirt's” son was Se-teh. In the Bible, Adam's son was Seth. See the similarities? Further down the lineage, we see a man named Lama. This resembles the name of Lamech. Lamech's son, according to the Bible, was Noah. The Miautso name Lama's son as Nuah. This, to me, is remarkable. And Nuah's sons were Lo Shen, Lo Han, and Lo Jah-phu. These names are remarkably similar to Shem, Ham and Japheth. Lo Jah-phu had a son named Go-men which is the Biblical Gomer. They detail how Lo Han's (Ham's) sons were Cusah (Cush in the Bible) and Mesay (Mizraim in the Bible). They also have in their tradition that Lo Shen's (Shem's) sons were Elan (Elam in the Bible) and Nga-shur (Asshur in the Bible who was the founder of the Assyrians). The Miautso go on to say that several of these families that were present in China became the Miautso while a minority intermingled with the invading Chinese. You can read up on the Miautso Chinese here and here or do some of your own digging. The second link there is to a small portion of Bill Cooper's “After the Flood” which I highly recommend. You can read the book in its entirety online here.

There is a great deal more to say on this topic but obviously I can't get into all the details in a short blog post. I recommend reading this paper on Japheth and Britain. You can also check out this link for the lineage to the Swedes.

The evidence here really solidly supports the historical accounts found in Scripture. There are no rebuttals I have found that seem to have any merit at all, and they generally show nothing more than desperation to reject the Biblical account. If these genealogies are correct and they represent the foundations of all the people groups in the world, then this makes the global Flood of Noah's day true history. It also means God hates sin and desires more from us. It also means the lineages found in Scripture can easily trace for us a timeline back to, at the very least, Noah but really just as easily to Adam who was created on day six of the creation week—also necessarily true if the Table of Nations is accurate. God's Word will always prove worthy of the respect and honor it's due.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


What Does the Bible Say About Fools?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 18, 2018 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

This topic is actually a pretty difficult one because so many people today want to point their fingers at others claiming them to be fools. I am hoping today’s post can be one where each individual reader takes the time to do some personal reflection on this word and what the Bible has to say about it. Piggy backing on Katie Erickson’s “What Does the Bible Say About...” series, I’d like to dig into what the Bible says about fools.

It can be quite a touchy subject because this word is such a trigger to most; who really likes being called a fool? I know I don’t. So, what I would ask you, the reader, to do with today’s post is to reflect on your own self. Please don’t just think to yourself, “Oh, I know who fits this very well and they need to realize it and change it.” I encourage you to see how in and through your own actions how you might fit this description, and then pray about it asking the Lord God to reveal to you about how you can change your own mindset and actions. In doing so, keep yourself disciplined and accountable to the Lord and His good and right ways.

So what does the Bible say about fools? We see in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” How are you doing with this? Are you being willing to listen to God’s Word and really be a learner, or do you think you’ve figured it all out?

Next up we see in Proverbs 1:22, “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” Are you a mocker, always questioning everything even when you know something is right and true? How are you doing with growing in knowledge?

Proverbs 1:32 tells us, “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.” What comes to my mind is a person’s passion and desire to do what is right no matter what. How is your heart in wanting to do what is right? Are you willing to strive to be the best in all you do, or have you become complacent in doing good in this world?

I would like to share three more Proverbs with you. Proverbs 13:20 states, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” What comes to my mind is the text in 1 Corinthians 15:33 which states, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” It is really true. You end up becoming like those you hang out with. I encourage you to seek out good friends and good influences in your life and hang out with them as much as you can.

Allow the following text to “simmer” a bit in your mind and spirit. Pray on it. Proverbs 14:8: “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”

What I appreciate so much about this next verse is how it points out the importance of being a person of grace to others, remembering that God forgives sins and so should we. Proverbs 14:9 says, “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.”

There are so many more verses in the Bible about fools, and I encourage you to dig into them, research them, and be open to the leading of the Holy Spirt in not being a fool.

Lastly, I will leave you with Psalm 14:1: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


What Does the Bible Say About Parenting?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 16, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

This is an interesting post for me to write since I’m not a parent, well at least not of humans anyway - our household does have 5 indoor cats, 4 pet frogs, 2 bearded dragons, and 1 betta fish. This is not a topic I’ve looked into much considering I don’t have a personal need for it in my life, but here’s what I’ve found on what the Bible says about parenting.

The most often-quoted verse I’ve heard on this topic is Proverbs 22:6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs also talks about disciplining children, as in Proverbs 23:13, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.” Proverbs 29:17 echoes this sentiment: “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.”

Hebrews 12:5-11 further tells us about discipline for children. Verses 9-10 say, “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” God disciplines us as His children, so we have His example to follow as earthly parents disciplining our children. For some additional insight on disciplining children, check out Jason DeZurik’s recent blog post here.

In Ephesians 6:1-4, we see instructions to both children and parents: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” There are similar instructions in Colossians 3:20-21: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

But, some of the most important parenting commands in the Bible come from the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” It’s very important for parents to teach God’s Word to their children, and to tell their children what God has done in your life so they can see Him working in their own lives.

Joshua 4:20-24 says, “And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, ‘In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.’” This passage shows us the importance of handing down the stories of what God has done to future generations, that they may know God’s faithfulness.

God is our Father, so while we humans won’t be able to perfectly imitate Him, look to His example given to us in the Bible for how to treat your children with Godly love, to help them grow in their understanding and relationship of their heavenly Father.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The Faith of the Church

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, July 15, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

As our nation recently celebrated our 242nd year of independence, I found myself thinking about how many people must have dreamt about it and pursued it only to never fully experience it. We in America certainly take it for granted because we’ve all been born into freedom and have never known what it’s like to be oppressed by a nation or a government. But that’s not how it was for the original patriots who risked and in many cases gave their lives for this cause. That being said, we still have a role and a responsibility today to continue that cause for two reasons: 1) so that those who come after us will continue to enjoy the freedoms we have enjoyed, and 2) so that the sacrifices and efforts of those who went before us would not be wasted. In other words, it’s up to US to carry the torch of freedom and keep it burning.

When you think about it, this has been true about any noble cause that has ever existed. Other than Jesus dying for the sins of the whole world on the cross, God never intended for one person to do it all. Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t begin the Civil Rights Movement (Rosa Parks and others came before him) and he certainly was assassinated before he got to experience the fullness of the freedom and desegregation that he dreamt of. Others had to keep the torch burning. Robert Gould Shaw (portrayed by Matthew Broderick in the movie Glory) was a white man who fought and died in the Civil War for the cause of freedom for slaves. His torch would’ve burned out if others didn’t keep it going. It’s true about ministry as well. I have a friend who is leaving in September to go to Ecuador for a year to help develop pastors and churches there who are ministering to the natives. The organization he’ll be working for put out a publication that states the work of evangelism in Ecuador began with Jim Elliot and the men who were with him in 1956. They were all martyred, but the seeds they planted were watered by others and now missionaries and native Christians are beginning to reap the harvest there.

It reminds me of the words of the writer at the end of Hebrews 11. As I have taken you through this chapter, faithful hero by faithful hero in a series that started over ten months ago, I pray that these examples of faith have ignited a fire within you to carry on their torch. That’s what the writer of Hebrews also desired. In Hebrews 11:39-40, he reminds us, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." The idea of being made perfect is actually that they are made “complete." In other words, all these heroes of the faith that we’ve talked about over the past ten months had a faith that was not yet made complete. Now, that’s not to say THEIR faith was incomplete. They followed God with boldness and total dependence on him. But the faith to which they devoted themselves was based on something God had promised but had not yet come to fruition. In that sense, the universal, Christian faith was not made complete until Jesus came, lived, died on the cross, and was raised to life again.

What does this mean for you, me, and all believers and followers of Jesus? The writer tells us as the next chapter begins. In Hebrews 12:1, we see the word “therefore," which directly refers back to every single mention of a hero of the faith, as well as the very last words from chapter 11. The writer tells us that we have some advantages that these faithful heroes didn’t have. The Church (capitalized to signify all Christians past, present, and future) ought to consider what each and every one of these faithful heroes did and how they stood firm in the incomplete faith that had not yet seen the arrival of the Messiah. Hebrews 12:1 calls them “witnesses," which is actually from the Greek marturos and is where we get the English term “martyr." You see, a martyr isn’t just someone who loses their life; it’s what all Christians are called to be to the extent that God asks of us. I might have to give up my life or I might only be asked to give up my desire for popularity and approval of those who would have me compromise the truth to obtain those things. Either way, every follower of Jesus must decide whether they will stand firm in their faith or be on shaky ground in something else.

The writer of Hebrews then tells the Church that, since we are surrounded by these witnesses and their stories - an advantage many of the faithful didn’t have as they stood out among the unfaithful - we have reason to get rid of the things in our lives that hinder us from faith and avoid the sins that ensnare us (v. 1). He says we ought to persevere in the “race marked out for us” even when it’s difficult. The way to do that is what the writer explains is another advantage that we have - we can “fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). None of the ancient heroes of our faith described in Hebrews 11 could fix their eyes on Jesus because he had not yet come! They knew of him only in the sense that they believed in the promise, but it was still something they could only imagine. To our knowledge, the name “Jesus” was not revealed to any of them. So, when the writer mentions our Savior by his human name, only those who have come after him can find strength from his endurance.

We are reminded in verses 2-3 of what exactly our Savior endured. The cross was not just physically painful but also publicly shaming. Yet, Jesus “scorned its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." The author of Hebrews tells us that when we are struggling, we should consider not only all of those other faithful heroes, but the most faithful of them all - Jesus of Nazareth. If we consider all that he went through and endured, as well as his great reward of sitting at the right hand of God (the highest position of honor there is), we “will not grow weary and lose heart” (v. 3).

The heroes of the faith in the past chose to stand firm even though they had yet to see what was promised. If they could endure so much without seeing the promise come true, how much more reason do we have to continue to keep the torch of faith burning, knowing that God has been faithful in keeping his promises? If you are part of the Church, you have this responsibility for the next generation. I don’t know what God will ask you to endure, but I know that you have examples right in front of your eyes of those who have endured and have overcome even more. By the same faith that was central to the lives of so many before you, you can reason that God is bigger than your problems, that he has a plan, and that following him even when circumstances seem to be against you is more logical than rejecting him and his commands. As I said at the beginning of the series, faith in God is not blind. Follow the evidence, which includes all these faithful stories before you, and make your choice to stand firm in that faith. May God bless and reward you as you do!

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The Telephone Game

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 13, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

There are many scholarly critics, especially in the universities who love to impress upon new freshmen that the Bible has long been antiquated and completely untrustworthy. They have three favorite arguments which I have heard numerous times, yet all fall flat. I will address one today and the other two in the next two weeks. The professors who speak of these have not studied the issues themselves and a simple examination of how the Bible got here easily refutes such notions.

The first argument is like the “telephone game.” The argument states that the Bible was copied and copied and copied and translated and translated and translated so many times that we actually do not know what the original text said. In the telephone game, you get people in a line or a circle, one person gets a word or phrase and passes it on to the next person who gets the message and passes it on as well. Eventually by the end of the line or circle, the last person’s message seems to have little to no resemblance to the original word or phrase. Therefore, the argument states that the Bible cannot be trusted because we don’t have the same message it started with. The skeptics also tend to speak of oral traditions in the same way.

To this notion I laugh, because it is not a well-researched claim. First let’s dig into the nature of the telephone game analogy. In the telephone game, there are two details about the game which fail to apply to both oral traditions and to the Bible. First, we are not in an oral tradition society where our brains are trained to retain things we hear orally. In societies where their stories are passed down orally, they have excellent memories on the topic, rehearsing them over and over again until they are memorized. Also, what needs to be memorized is often put into a mnemonic structure, usually with rhymes or song, to help with the memorization.

The other detail is that in the telephone game, you can’t ask what the phrase was a second time. There is no way to validate what you heard. If you were trying to pass on information and all you had was an oral passing, would it not be wise to hear the message twice, repeat it, and make sure you got it right? The telephone game does not allow for this. But the Bible was not merely passed on orally. It was written. So anyone who heard Scripture could go to the text and validate what they heard. That is what the Bereans did with Paul and Silas and Luke praised them for it.

But now let’s get to the meat of the claim: the copying and translation aspect. The telephone game fails to account for this as well. The primary claim here is that the Bible went from one manuscript to another manuscript to another manuscript to another manuscript (again, without verification) and due to copying errors, the current manuscripts have no relation to what was originally written. That’s the argument. However, the only Bibles I know of which would remotely make this claim are the paraphrases such as The Message (I personally consider them commentaries, not versions). Each of the versions (KJV, NKJV, NIV, ESV, etc.) go back to the manuscripts in the original languages to get the most accurate translation in the modern language we can get. I will address the versions debate in three weeks.

The copying process itself was very intricate and detailed; it was not a casual process. Josh McDowell does a great job at describing this process in his books The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict and God-Breathed. I am just going to highlight a few of the points. The parchment, pen, and ink each had to come from specific sources and be prepared in certain manners. They could not use just whatever they wanted. Each sheet for the scroll was cut to exact sizes and then lined and columned. Each letter had to be written with a specific spacing and size range, and each line had to contain a certain number of letters. Each line and column would be numbered so if a mistake was made, the scribes could pinpoint precisely which letter was off by this system alone.

The name of God was treated with such reverence that the scribe would stop on the word before saying the Lord’s name, go cleanse himself, and prepare a new pen and ink well. He would write the word prior to the Lord’s name so the ink would not blot, and then write the name of God. If a single error was made on this name, the entire page of the scroll had to be burned and start over. Then to top it off, before a copy of the Scriptures was considered a valid copy, the manuscript had be carefully inspected letter by letter, a process which often took about three years. No other ancient book, written by hand, on perishable material, went through this kind of process.

Now, have errors been introduced into the copying process? Yes. They are called variants. But there is more to this claim than that. What kind of errors are they? Spelling and grammar, number disagreements, pronoun use (exchanging “The Lord” for “He”), and the like. Not a single variation found had anything to do with the actual content of what was being said. Look at this quote regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls.

"Once the Dead Sea Scrolls were translated and compared with modern versions of the Hebrew Bible, the text proved to be identical, word for word, in more than 95% of the cases. (The 5 percent deviation consists of mainly spelling variations. For example, of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, only 17 letters are in question. Of those, ten are a matter of spelling, and four are stylistic differences; the remaining three letters comprise the word light, which was added to Isaiah 53:11.)"
~Josh McDowell, God-Breathed, pg 154-155

“But there are thousands upon thousands of these variations.” Are there? Each error is counted with each manuscript we find. We have thousands of manuscripts. Two years ago at a conference I attended in El Paso, TX, Josh McDowell cited that there were up to 66,000 manuscripts or portions of manuscripts of the Bible, some of which date to within 50 years of the events written. In many cases, multiple copies have the same error. So we aren’t talking about hundreds of thousands of errors, but very few. No other ancient text can compare. The Iliad, Sophocles, Herodotus, Julius Caesar’s Gaelic Wars, and others all have single digit copies to hundreds, and the absolute best less than 2000 copies, many of which date multiple centuries after the originals were written. Those are accepted without question. So why are they skeptical about the Bible, when if they applied the same criteria to any other ancient history which they accept, that history would be unreliable? The answer is simple: they don’t WANT to believe the Bible, so they search for whatever excuse that allows them to sound smart in their unbelief. It works on impressionable freshmen, but to anyone who has done their homework, it is silliness at best.

The Bible did not go through the telephone game to get to us. Each translation goes back to copies of the original in the original language, pulling from the thousands of copies which enable us to get a clear picture of what the text says. It takes teams of numerous scholars, fluent in in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and likely Coptic, Syriac, and other languages from the area to put together a translation. They do so what they believe is best to get it as accurate as possible and as understandable as possible. And finally here, one does not need to be a language scholar to understand the Bible. The translators can be verified by other scholars on their work. To discuss which translation is best is worthy for another post. But do not believe the claims that the Bible got to us via the telephone game or something like that. There is nothing of the sort to support such claims. Next week, I will address another popular claim: The Overzealous Monk Theory.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Is the Journey the Truth?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 11, 2018 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

We live in a day and culture of people seemingly enjoying “the journey” of life. While there is nothing really wrong with enjoying the journey, it seems to me that too many people are focusing way too much on that journey. I am not against someone walking through life and processing what is going on with them and in them during this life. But it seems to me that instead of looking for answers, people these days are more focused on the journey and believing the journey is what is the truth of life, instead of using the journey and enjoying the journey of life along the way to lead them to truth. Do you see the difference?

Perhaps you have experienced this yourself or know someone who is like this in your life. You know, the person always looking for truth but even when finding truth decides to keep going down the path looking for truth, even though they have already found the answer to their question. Since the answer they have found, which is truth, doesn’t fit into their already preconceived notion of how things should be, they keep looking for an answer that fits what they so desire it to be. Or are they?

It seems that even when many find the answer they are looking for, they keep seeking and searching because for them the truth IS the journey. They keep moving down the path. Even if they find real truth, they ignore it because the quest is more important to them then actually finding answers. Have you ever experienced someone like this in your life? Are you like this?

I have experienced people like this even before I became a Christian. The reason this topic is so near and dear to my heart is because when I was a young man, who was going his own way instead of following God, I came to a point of realizing that my way was the wrong way and I wanted answers. I came to a point in my life that I was going to seek and search out truth no matter where that search led me. I came to a decision that I would stand on truth, even if I didn’t like the direction it took me. I was looking for answers.

I have come to realize that the journey is very important, but it is not the answer. The answer to life lies in the person of Jesus Christ. He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to Father God except and only though Him (John 14:6-7). If you are looking for truth just in the journey or the process, you will find nothing but emptiness and a place reserved for you in hell.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.