if the actual words of God have not been preserved, what has?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by timothy 1769, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
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    if the actual individual words of god have not been preserved, and the luke/isaiah conflict seems to indicate they haven't been, what then HAS been preserved? certainly SOMETHING, since the bible is our standard of faith and practice. doctrines? thoughts? what? how do we KNOW what has been preserved with certainty?

    this whole thing has shaken me up, to be honest.

    [ February 25, 2003, 10:21 PM: Message edited by: Preach the Word ]
     
  2. neal4christ

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    I am sorry, but could someone enlighten me of the Luke/Isaiah conflict? Maybe I know of it, but it is not coming to mind right this second.

    Neal
     
  3. HankD

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    Jesus was given a scroll to read in the synagogue.
    What He read was (presumably) taken from Isaiah
    61.

    Problem: it matches the Septuagint rather than the Masoretic Hebrew text.

    Luke 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
    18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
    19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.


    KJV Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
    2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

    LXE Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me; he has sent me to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken in heart, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind;
    2 to declare the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompence; to comfort all that mourn;
     
  4. neal4christ

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    Thank-you very much, Hank. [​IMG]

    Neal
     
  5. Johnv

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    What has been preserved is the message. The message is not the text. The message is what inspired the text.
     
  6. JesusIsLord

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    Do you think that is alright to translate John 3:16 this way:
    God so deeply loved this sinful world that He decided in His great sovereignty to come into this world for Himself in His Son Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, that whoever believes in Him with his whole heart, will never never never be lost again but will live forever with God in heaven! :confused:
    That would be the message . But God did not say it this way did he? If God has just preserved the message... well... what is the message? Every schism in the Body of Christ is a result of the question "What is the message?"
    "I believe this passage says..." "God showed me..." A "translation" with just the message would be a very small booklet:
    Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. That would be the message...

    Alex
     
  7. timothy 1769

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    thanks to those who have responded so far. this is not an acedemic question for me, so anyone with any insight into this problem please post. at this point i really don't know what to believe regarding the preservation/inerranacy of the bibles we actually have.
     
  8. HankD

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    Dear Alex,

    That really side-steps the issue Alex.

    The OT Scripture of Isaiah 61 that Jesus quoted in the KJV does not match the translation of Masoretic text for Isaiah 61 in the KJV but matches the the Septuagint (or what is called the Septuagint).

    Personally and for what it's worth, I have grown weary of folk who apparently are willing to send up an obvious smoke-screen (not that you have) to avoid an uncomfortable but obvious "problem".

    My resolution is this :
    The doctrine of preservation directly applies to the COPIES of the original manuscripts.
    God is interested in preserving every jot and tittle of the words of the original message in the copies and the thought behind the words in a translation.

    Have we done a good job, perfectly no, virtually, yes.

    The KJV (which some say had an "inspired" translation) has gone through several revisions proving that it was NOT inspired unless somehow "inspiration" no longer applies to the "jots" and "tittles", the very spelling of the words.

    A translation in its execution (imo) is by its very nature DIFFERENT than the original, inspired giving of the Word(s). Whether we like it or not, whether it rains on our parade or no, the translation is indeed, to one degree or another, subjective to the translator and his/her culture, background, education, etc and prone to human error.

    Jesus (not prone to human error) apparently quoted from or instantly "inspired" a new rendition of Isaiah 61, others doing the same in the OT-NT translations and almost always it is the Septuagint quote word-for-word differing from the Hebrew text even to the very content of the words.

    Which is the cause and which is the effect is not the issue.

    The issue is that in the codified Word they are DIFFERENT when compared.

    When this undeniable fact is brought to our attention the result is strife, name-calling, accusations and assignments to hell (in one form or another).
    This kind of behavior is a clear Scriptural indication as to the source of such solutions, the flesh.

    In conclusion (mine):
    In my view Alex, God approves of the use of translations and in the words of the "inspired" translators of the KJV "even the meanest translation contains the Word of God, NAY IS THE WORD OF GOD".

    As a 21st Century believer, I would add, "which are faithful to the originals (or copies thereof) using equivelancy only where necessary".
    This would have a bearing on your "translation".

    One added thought. The essential Modern Versions issue is the choice of the underlying Greek and Hebrew text not the choice of cross-over words, grammar and syntax.
    Personally I stand with the Burgon school of thought, the Received Text is the proper text.
    On the other hand I am also convicted that no TRANSLATION is perfect. Therefore, I use the MV's where they are faithful to the TR, especially the NKJV.

    HankD
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    Do you think that is alright to translate John 3:16 this way:
    God so deeply loved this sinful world that He decided in His great sovereignty to come into this world for Himself in His Son Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, that whoever believes in Him with his whole heart, will never never never be lost again but will live forever with God in heaven! :confused: </font>[/QUOTE]
    It would be inaccurate to call that a translation since it includes many things that text does not say. Translation is saying what the text says. That, of necessity, includes meaning and therefore makes clear that DE, to some extent, is not only valid but absolutely necessary. If the words were all that was important, then we just need to learn a new set of words (i.e., Greek or Hebrew); translation would be wrong. Because the words can be, to some extent, dispensed with for teh clear communication of the message, we can translate.

    Often in this debate, too much dichotomy is made between "words" and "message." The reality is that the point of using words is to communicate a message. The words have no meaning in and of themselves. They only have meaning in teh context and if they are understood. For most, the words "vayomer adonai" means nothing because you don't understand the words. Thus translation is necessary. But translation of necessity changes the words and shows us that the words (of themselves) are not as important as the message.
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    In the providence of God, a variety of manuscripts with insignificant differences have been preserved. There is no clear indication as to which is the exact words that God inspired. Anyone who says there is indication and asserts that they know with absolute certainty the exact words that God inspired is simply lying. They have drawn a conclusion from their interpretation of the evidence. That conclusion may be more sound or less sound. But it is conclusion of the mind, not a revelation from God. And that is a distinction taht we must not miss.

    The issue of Isaiah 61 really shows a great deal about textual criticism (which all participate in to some extent with differing principles; even the KJOnly people are immersed in textual criticism whether they admit it or not). The MT is a text that dates from 1000AD in its current form. The LXX more likely dates from prior to the time of Christ and the matching quotation of Christ gives evidence for this. For some, this gives great evidence that the MT should be changed to reflect the LXX. For others, and for the Masoretes, that was an unconvincing argument for whatever reason.

    It shows us that preservation is not an exact science. God preserved both the LXX and the MT (no matter what date you attach to it). It is only here because God preserved it. Therefore, the implication is that the preservation of Scripture is not a miraculous issue, where identical manuscripts confirm the exact wording. It should not shake our faith. In fact, it only shakes our faith if we have been incorrectly taught that God has promised absolute perfect preservation. The verses typically used for this position (e.g. Psa 12:6-7) have been shown to be talking about something else.

    The NT citations of OT passages clearly show that perfect identity is not the standard for authority or preservation. The authority of God's word lies in the message. Those same words have been used elsewhere in literature, many of them in the same construction, but they do not carry authority in those passages of literature. They only carry authority in the Scripture.

    The variants (different readings preserved by God) do not affect the teaching of Scripture or the doctrine of Scripture. Though this charge has been leveled ad nauseum, each time it has been shown to be the product of someone's imagination or the isolation of a verse from its context.

    This does not downplay or minimize the importance of the words. The most certainly are important and I believe in verbal plenary inspiration without apology. But the verbal plenary inspiration only matters because of the message communicated through the words. If we use the words, but understand the wrong message, we have not understood the word of God. Therefore, we must keep our attention settle on the message contained in the words.
     
  11. timothy 1769

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    first of all, thanks for your reply. understand (everyone) i don't want to "debate", but find the truth.

    In the providence of God, a variety of manuscripts with insignificant differences have been preserved. There is no clear indication as to which is the exact words that God inspired.

    that seems to be the case, unfortunately.

    Anyone who says there is indication and asserts that they know with absolute certainty the exact words that God inspired is simply lying. They have drawn a conclusion from their interpretation of the evidence.

    i guess conviction by the holy spirit could help, but unfortunately i don't have it and i suppose we could line up plenty of people with such convictions on either side of this issue. sigh.

    That conclusion may be more sound or less sound. But it is conclusion of the mind, not a revelation from God. And that is a distinction taht we must not miss.

    that makes sense.

    It shows us that preservation is not an exact science.

    if only it were! that's certainly what i would have voted for [​IMG] . but i don't see any way to avoid the conclusion that the KJV (or even the TR/Masoretic combo) isn't god's exactly preserved words if 2 different versions of the same text (is. 61) are provided within it/them. if i'm missing something (anybody!) please straighten me out.

    Therefore, the implication is that the preservation of Scripture is not a miraculous issue, where identical manuscripts confirm the exact wording. It should not shake our faith. In fact, it only shakes our faith if we have been incorrectly taught that God has promised absolute perfect preservation. The verses typically used for this position (e.g. Psa 12:6-7) have been shown to be talking about something else.

    i have seen someone present an argument from grammar, but unfortunately i am too ignorant to realy follow it / confirm it. could a TRO/KJVO expert in hebrew critique the idea that the "them" in that verse cannot refer to god's words?

    The variants (different readings preserved by God) do not affect the teaching of Scripture or the doctrine of Scripture. Though this charge has been leveled ad nauseum, each time it has been shown to be the product of someone's imagination or the isolation of a verse from its context.

    i went and bought a NKJV to use as a reference, since it documents the differences. in checking several pages at random, the changes do seem pretty minor. could a KJVO advocate present, say, the top three doctrines taught in the KJV but not, say, in the MV of their choice?

    This does not downplay or minimize the importance of the words. The most certainly are important and I believe in verbal plenary inspiration without apology. But the verbal plenary inspiration only matters because of the message communicated through the words. If we use the words, but understand the wrong message, we have not understood the word of God. Therefore, we must keep our attention settle on the message contained in the words.

    but what was the point of inspiring the words just to let them be lost? perhaps that's not a question we can answer.

    has god promised somewhere to not let his message (as distinct from his words) be tampered with? if not, how do we know that the message itself (the teachings of the bible) hasn't been tampered with in some way?

    if you're right, and it's the message that has been preserved (even in the TR and KJV) i wish all the scholars wouldn't have bothered with their various critical texts since it seems impossible to retrieve the original wording that way. apparently the only things accomplished are great confusion and needless divisions.

    [ February 26, 2003, 07:27 PM: Message edited by: am ha'aretz ]
     
  12. JesusIsLord

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    Yepp! That´s what I believe, too. My point was that if God has preserved the message only, you could do whatever you want with that book called Bible (not the Word of God but the Message of God). I like the things you wrote. It is the way I see it. I like the KJV and NKJV, too. In Germany we have a MV based on the RT and I use it for study, preaching and devotional. I am not against other manuscripts but I believe that we have to understand that we are talking about the Word of God and not only the message.
     
  13. Harald

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    HankD, you said many (imo) wise things above. I would add that the modern version issue also has come to involve dynamic equivalency vs. formal equivalency in Bible translation. Both ways I am conservative, i.e. TR-only and FE-only. Thus I believe the best translation(s) are to be found among versions based on the TR and which are FE translations. As far as I know I do not know of any TR-based versions which are purely DE. (Some have said the KJV contains DE renderings here and there, yet it is essentially a literal or FE translation). This would indicate that a TRO (or -preferred) position in general is incompatible with DE. Interesting.

    Harald
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    How did TR-only get to be conservative?? :confused: :confused: All the conservative people I know use the eclectic text. The text you use is not a conservative/non-conservative issue. The dividing line, IMO, is inspiration and inerrancy, which can be affirmed for any of the three position (TR, MajT, Eclectic).
     
  15. HankD

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    Dear Harald,

    I understand what you are saying and pastor Larry has a valid point that the term "conservative" might give the wrong impression concerning the theological viewpoint of those who use a non-TR text. If I were to guess (because I really don't know for sure) most conservative fundamentalists don't have a problem with the texts which have come down to us from the Wescott and Hort 1881 text.

    As to DE vs FE.
    The first issue imo is that the difference between these two methods of translation/interpretation "equivalences" can be very fuzzy.
    My presumption is that when one goes from the origin to receptor language and oversteps some nebulous line then it gets the label "dynamic".
    So that's the first matter is to try to determine a good definition for each and draw a line in the sand between the two. Maybe Pastor Larry can help here.
    I don't have a problem with DE if it is (as I have said before) actually both dynamic and equivalent from the origin to the receptor language and not a device to promote a point of view (and in fact that it is necessary to the understanding of the original).

    Here for instance, some examples which cry out for some kind of "equivalency"...

    bowels (Greek:splagchnon 4698 bowels, intestines).

    KJV Philemon 1:7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

    NIV Philemon 1:7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

    In the same vein...

    KJV 2 Corinthians 6:12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

    NIV 2 Corinthians 6:12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.

    HankD
     
  16. JesusIsLord

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    But the word splagchnon means a lot more than just heart . It means (as you wrote) "intestines". "Everything in us"! That´s much more than just hearts.
    Why can´t we translate that word "bowels" and look it up in a Strong´s once. Once we know what it means we would say: Wow, what a word!!! What a powerful statement!
    Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the bowels of the saints. I think that´s more powerful than just heart... isn´t it?

    Alex
     
  17. Dr. Bob

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    Alex, my bowels are moved for you!

    Somehow, that just doesn't have the right sound to it, right? YOU and I might look up the word in Strongs (sure many of us have) but John Doe reading it is probably going to scratch his head, wonder what in the world it means and ALSO look it up - in Websters!

    They'll find it means bowels!

    God's Words - actual words, not ideas or thoughts or message - are there for us in the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. Not one is missing.

    Cannot apply this in any way/shape/form to a translation which takes these inspired, specially chosen words, into other word/words in any other language.
     
  18. JesusIsLord

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    Dear Dr. Griffin!

    Deep in my bowels I understand what you mean [​IMG] . I think you´re right. I wish there would be a good english word to translate splagchnon ... what about... intestines ? ;)

    Alex
     
  19. Archangel7

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    The difficulty is that we're dealing with a Greek idiom having no direct equivalent expression in English. A literal translation results in a text that's at best strange sounding and at worst incomprehensible to modern English speakers. Phrases like "the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother" and "ye are straitened in your own bowels" are more likely to make people think of laxatives than of love! [​IMG] "Intestines" doesn't do it either; and the English idiom "guts" (as in "he has guts") denotes courage rather than affection. If the Greek word σπλαγχνον, when used figuratively, means "love, affection, compassion," and the closest English equivalent is "heart," why not translate it as "heart" in the text and have a footnote which reads "literally, 'bowels'"? Wouldn't that satisfy the requirements of both formal and dynamic equivalence in translation?
     
  20. HankD

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    Yes Archangel "heart" would be a good choice today, but what about 400 years from now when the English word "heart" perhaps will have lost its figurative meaning? Your footnote would make it perfectly acceptable (to me anyway). BTW the KJV translators had such marginal notes in the original 1611 edition.

    Years from now, would people say "what in the world do they mean by "heart" the organ which pumps blood? Yek!

    Because God gave His Word in "koine" the language of the common man, then IMO the church should/must continously keep the TRANSLATED Word fresh and alive as in the beginning.

    Personally, I use the KJV because it is based upon the Tradional Text and at the moment all will hear it, using MV's cautiously to explain or translate Ye Olde Engliff.

    Think about this: God chose the word "bowels" as a dynamic equivalent of "affections" in the original writing because it was the "common" use of that day. Therefore He approves of equivalency.

    Today we have (as Archangel pointed out) a different common word as an equivalent "heart" for the affection(s). Which IMO is perfectly acceptable as long as we ackowledge that it may change or pass away.

    Ironically the very proof text of this concept has the self same "problem".
    How many speakers of English know the Elizabethan definition of the KJV word "quick"?

    KJV Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful...

    Does this mean it is FAST and powerful?

    NKJV Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful...

    HankD
     

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