How Much of The NT Gospels Are Actual words of Jesus, Or Interpretation Of The Apost

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JesusFan, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. JesusFan

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    Are all the words recorded to jesus actually His, or did the Apostles "interprete" what he said and rewrote it for our benefit?

    Does it matter if we have their inspired interpretation of what he actually said, or do we need to have his actual word for word sayings to be infallible for us today?
     
  2. Greektim

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    Now we are getting to a fun topic that has not been beaten to death (at least not here at this forum that I can tell).

    I think the gospel accounts are recording the voice of Jesus but not his exact words. This accords their differences (many that are unsolvable otherwise) between the synoptics. The accounts are not what we think of in presenting an actual account of facts and speeches. That is not their genre function.
     
  3. JesusFan

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    How would that though be according to those of us holding a inerrancy/infallible view of how the texts were inspired by God to us, that they are accurate and total revelation from God to man?
     
  4. convicted1

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    That's a good point there, Brother Tim. In one book, Jesus told Peter before the cock crows you will deny me thrice. In another book, Jesus told Peter before the cock crows TWICE, you shall deny me thrice. So I think you are onto something here.
     
  5. convicted1

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    There are no inerrancies in what the OT Prophets and NT Saints wrote, because they wrote as the Spirit moved upon them. The original mss are "mistake free", being written through the Spirit.
     
  6. freeatlast

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    I am not trying to be smart here. I just do not know of any other way to say it. The answer is because you have the wrong understanding of inspiration (inspired by God). The only inspired writings were the original documents. Also the words were not inspired. The writers were and they put down in their own words and style what was true.
    Finally It would be incorrect to call our bible an interpretation. It is a translation although there are some passages that have been interpreted, unfortunately, instead of translated.
    It is also true that there are some interpretations out there that some call the bible like the living bible and that is fine as long as the reader understands it is not the word of God, just an interpretation.
     
    #6 freeatlast, Nov 18, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2011
  7. Don

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    A policeman comes upon a vehicle accident, and starts asking witnesses what happened.

    One says that a black car ran a red light and hit another car.

    Another says that a car ran a light and hit a white car.

    Another says that a car hit another car.

    Another says that a black car ran the red light and hit a white car.

    Which of these are fallible reports? Which of these are in error? Which of these could not be used to ascertain what happened?

    This is the problem with those that talk about "errancy" in the scriptures. Such as with the already-pointed-out example of the cock crowing, whether it crowed once or it crowed twice, the prediction was the same, and the result was the same.

    There is no error, only a difference in the details. Whether the cock crowed once, twice, or thrice, the main point is: Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Him three times before the cock crowed. And he did. So there's no error, no fallibility.
     
  8. freeatlast

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    I think the point needs to be made that the originals were infallible. Our translations are extremely close, with a very few errors but nothing major.
     
  9. Greektim

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    Don't get me wrong... I am not denying inerrancy or infallibility. I am saying that what the evangelists recorded was not always the exact words of Jesus (especially if he spoke something besides Greek). The evangelists were giving a theological account of Jesus, not a precise chronological biography. Thus you have writers rearranging stories and even perhaps sermons (Sermon on the Mount being a case and point of a structured grouping of Jesus teachings). We have to remember that ancient historians did not have the same post-enlightenment modernistic concept of objectivity and history.

    The fact is, no matter what we do we are interpreting data when we recount a story by the mere fact that we omit or include certain details. We do so b/c we are trying to convey a point. There is no such thing as a purely objective historical account w/out interpretation. It will always be subjective and interpreted.

    Bring that discussion to a more narrow focus and apply that to Jesus' words. Is it wrong for the disciples to summarize the words of the Lord? They more than likely did it for Peter on the day of Pentecost (otherwise that was one of the shortest sermons in history). We have to remember that the gospel accounts are just a small smattering of events recorded about Jesus. There is not enough paper to write all the stories of Jesus. So the ones chosen, especially his words or voice, are chosen for a specific reason and arranged in a specific order to convey a specific message about Messiah. With that in mind, limited space and memory would not allow for an exact word account. It would be more prudent to practice an ipsissima vox account where the exact voice of Jesus is presented. Thus the apostles shared the message of Jesus and it is not bifurcated w/ the message of the apostles or the early church.
     
  10. JesusFan

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    think that would be interesting to see how just different Christians would view this particular topic, to see if this contridicts held inspiration views!
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    Depends on your view of a few things, one of which pertains to the Q document. It is likely that the writers of the Gospels, both Synoptic and Johannine, were taking words and lessons from a shared tradition and adding their perspective.

    Another issue has to do with your view of inspiration. If you're a dictation theory proponent (which has all kinds of problems) then, yes they are the exact words of Jesus. I'm not dictation view. I would suggest that the writers were able, through the inspiration of Scripture, identify true elements to Jesus' story and add their specific touches of artistic/literary perspective.

    Jesus' words, in the text of Scripture, are authentic to His life and teaching.

    I don't think so.

    If you believe the authors, and thus text, to be inspired this isn't a big deal.

    I don't know anyone who posts around here with regularity that denies inerrancy. I sign my ETS statement every year. ;) That said there are a couple of ways to reconcile issues in the text.

    Perhaps the best, imho, way to reconcile this is to image each of the four Gospel writers as artists in a studio looking at a model at the center of their circle. Some of the artists/writers, paint one perspective, another has a slightly different vantage point, another has another, and so forth.

    The text is inspired since the author(s) were able, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to authentically communicate truth of God's revelation. They vary in their description, and even accounting of the words Christ uses, for many reasons. Yet the text is still inspired...though the transmission and our interpretation isn't necessarily so.

    Finally, remember this that we don't need to hold the text of Scripture, particularly the biographical accounts of Jesus' life to the same test of narrative faithfulness that we have come to expect from documents in our time. Biographies of the ancient world look different and have different features. They are not necessarily worried about exacting detail and look for the authentic story and gloss over the details. :)
     
  12. Don

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    In order to make that claim, you need to identify the errors.
     
  13. jbh28

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    From what I've heard, Jesus spoke in Aramaic, and the writers of the gospel wrote in Greek. So, they are translating what he said.
     
  14. JesusFan

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    Think even most ardent supporter of inerrancy/infalliblity would recogize the English translations have to due at times "best educated guesses" on just how to translate from Hebreew.Greek texts, as some scribal errors in numberings, margin add ins etc!
     
  15. 12strings

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    In the Gospels, I think it is clear that we have both: Some are the exact words Jesus Spoke, Such as "TELETESTAI" (It is finished)... Sometimes the Apostles summarized or paraphrased what Jesus taught, which is perfectly fine, since we believe God oversaw and guided their summaries. If Jesus preached an 5,000 word sermon, and God decided we only needed a 500-word summary, then that is God's prerogative to say those people 2,000 years ago needed the long version we get the short version that is an accurate representation of what Jesus said.

    I think this also means that our red-letter bibles are not that helpful, as they can cause some people to think the red letters are MORE inspired than the rest.
     
  16. beameup

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    Matthew's account is probably the most verbatim since, as a tax collector, he would have used a kind of Greek shorthand.
    But it is all written as the Holy Spirit intended, whether written at hand or at a later date.
     
  17. Greektim

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    This seems contradictory. If Matthew used shorthand to pen his account (likely used an amanuensis so yours is a moot point), then wouldn't it be less verbatim and more summary/nut-shell oriented?
     
  18. convicted1

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    Brothers, let's just cut to the chase on this topic. The Word is impeccable, as these great men wrote what they wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If you can not take the bible at it's face value, then go read a comic book. Not saying anyone has spoken bad about the Word, but something's aren't coming across in a "clear" manner.


    The Word is impeccable, pristine, pure, unalderated, powerful, wise, and all about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. I may doubt myself sometimes, but never the Word. If I have something wrong, it's my fault. The Word IS what it IS, nothing more, nothing less.
     
  19. preachinjesus

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    This is a difficult position to consistently maintain given the textual data available in Matthew's Gospel.
     
  20. preachinjesus

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    This is a good point.

    One of the big conversations going on right now is whether or not Jesus and His disciples would have been illiterate. (The fact that we can't know should say something...but it is a rising criticism in scholarship) Ehrman's position is that they were all likely illiterate and couldn't have composed the Gospels and other NT literature. Bock has responded with vigor and is close to defeating the position, but it is a rising criticism nonetheless.
     

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