Shouldn't we value the original autographs above any mere translation?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by franklinmonroe, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    Recently another poster included a link to a website, which I followed. The question "shouldn't we value the original autographs above any mere translation?" was the title of one of the very first articles I happen to read there. http://av1611.com/kjbp/faq/originals.html

    The question proposes an interesting hypothetical situation. I would suppose that if an authentic canonical autograph were to be discovered that it would indeed be valued both as a historic artifact and for its original content above any written translation. But the website begins --
    To put it bluntly: If God wanted us to value the originals above any other form of the Bible, why did He allow them to disappear into the dust of history? In regards to a translation: if you believe that the original languages are to be valued above an English translation, it is your duty, as an obedient child of God, to learn those languages so that you may read God's word.​

    First, the implication that God could have no possible reason to allow the autographs to vanish is false. I can immediately think of two problems that actually having an autograph might cause: 1) there could be the tendency to idolize the relic, and 2) the possessor of the relic might somehow exploit the power of ownership (this was somewhat the case with the 'Dead Sea scroll' findings). I'm sure the Lord has better reasons than mine.

    Then, in the website comment there is a sudden shift from "original autographs" to "original languages". The statement "if you believe that the original languages are to be valued above an English translation..." is an entirely different question. In order to continue, we must assume that by "original languages" the website means Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. Now, we can compare documents (MSS) to documents (translations) only because God didn't allow all the MSS to disappear into the dust.

    So, the question might be asked: are ancient language manuscripts more textually valuable than translated texts? Yes! Certainly, faithfully translated text can only aspire to accurately reflect its' source text. The translation work might fall short of this goal, but it is impossible to exceed that goal. An exact duplicate cannot be 'more genuine' than the original, much less a modified copy (which is what a translation is). The limit is perfection, just as a bowler cannot exceed a score of 300 in a single game.

    The result of reading from a Greek New Testament can be no more accurate than the reader's own grasp of the Greek language (perhaps with readily available assistance);but the result of reading from an English translation (based on a GNT) can be no more accurate than the reader's own grasp of the English language (with assistance) PLUS the translator's grasp of the Greek AND English languages. If the translation is done properly then the difference should be minimal. The primary difference being that the translated page cannot conveniently expound or expand upon the exact meaning for unequal terms or structure directly within its' text.

    Therefore, a knowledgeable reader of Greek could theoretically get a fuller understanding of a Greek text than any English reader could from a typical translation of the same text (even a really accurate rendering). The problem is that there are many more variables occurring during reading comprehension, easily exemplified by the fact that often several readers/translators will arrive at different interpretations from precisely the same text.

    Thirdly, where is the Biblical support for this statement: "... it is your duty, as an obedient child of God, to learn those languages so that you may read God's word"? The website did not offer any scripture references or logical explanation.

    Then just as suddenly as it once left the topic, the website returns to the initial question of autographa with quotes from a passage from Sam Gipp's The Answer Book.
     
    #1 franklinmonroe, Dec 10, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2007
  2. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    Franklin,

    This is a great analysis. :thumbs:

    1. I am able to read the NT in Greek and I value that greatly. Often I see things in the Greek that I do not see in any English translation, as good as they may be. For example, I read Philippians 1 this morning and notice several constructions that are only governed by one article, signifying a unity of thought---but I don't get this readily from any English translation.

    2. I believe that God providentially allowed the autographs to be destroyed, because we humans have a tendency of enshrine objects.

    3. These days, because of the various text-types and the variants they have yielded, I lean toward the Reasoned Eclecticism championed by Dr. Daniel B. Wallace of DTS.
     
  3. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with TC. If we had the original autographs would theolgians not still bicker over issues of grammar and syntax? We would still have to translate them into English for most to read anyhow.

    I am not so sure that reading the Greek gives a great deal more information. That would seem to imply that the Englsih translation are somehow less inspired.
     
  4. EdSutton

    EdSutton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Messages:
    8,755
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why are so many so certain that the 'autographs' were, in fact, destroyed, or lost? The fact that apparently we do not have them, today, does not necessarily mean some or all of them are no longer in existence, somewhere. A century ago, one was sure that there were no significant portions of extant Hebrew manuscripts of the OT Scriptures any older than ~ 1100 years, and that by no means anywhere near a complete copy, was older than about 1000 years. One could go the the LXX, a translation from Hebrew, or the early Latin, and even other transations, to be sure, but not to the Hebrew. But a rock 'chucked' by a young Bedouin sheep-herder near Qumran changed all that, didn't it?

    Wanna' bet you can find someone reputable today who would make that same claim about no Hebrew portions older than 11-1200 years? Somehow, I kinda' doubt it.

    Ed
     
    #4 EdSutton, Dec 10, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2007
  5. keithm56

    keithm56
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    The very notion that an obedient child of God needs to learn the original languages is a case where an individual thinks he or she knows more than God and would have done things differently. God caused the confusion of language at Babel, and He sent the Holy Spirit who caused believers to speak in various languages at Pentecost and for a short time afterward for the benefit of hearers. And although most of us have probably done it at one time or another we should never "second-guess" God and His methods and reasons.

    I'm not saying it's wrong to want to learn the original biblical languages. But it IS wrong to imply this is a requirement for being an obedient Christian. The notion is ridiculous and is a fine example of "adding to" Scripture.
     
  6. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. There are no inspired English, Spanish, German, Italian and you could go on and name all the dialects and languages on the earth.

    2. For that to be the case, the translators would have been inspired--I see no evidence of that in Scripture.

    3. Why is it only English?
     
  7. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,970
    Likes Received:
    128
    and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
    that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

    2 Timothy 3:15-17 ESV

    Au contraire, Paul says all Scripture is inspired.
    Those sacred writings that Timothy and his family used were probably not original language versions, they had no certain special divine protection from corruption.

    The early church fathers still called manuscripts with known variants 'Scripture'.

    Why even various apocryphal writings were classified as scripture at times.

    The early church valued the sacred writings handed down to them highly, even these later copies became icons.

    Rob
     
  8. EdSutton

    EdSutton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Messages:
    8,755
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great post, Deacon.

    BTW, Jesus also read from and cited as "Scripture" a portion of Isaiah 61:1-2, that does not seem to correspond to any known version with the specific wording. (Lk. 4:16-22)

    As some "ONLY-est" might say, If it's good enough for Jesus; then it's good enough for me!

    The last thing you have written. IMO, shows one of the reasons why I believe the Lord has apparently not allowed us to have any access to the autographs or even first copies. They would or did "became idols", "icons", 'carved (graven) images', relics, or what have you.

    We (or at least I) believe in and worship a triune God, -the Father , the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    We do not worship a four part Godhead of Father, Son, Hoy Spirit, and Scripture!


    Although the LORD holds His own living, "God-breathed-out", and 'forever settled', the word of truth (Ps. 119:89: Heb. 4:12, II Tim. 2:15; 3:16) in the most exceedingly high regard and manifestation, even to the point of exalting it above the very name of the Father and the also exalted Son [(whose own name is exalted even above that of the Father), and one of whose own names is even called "The Word of God" (Ps. 138:2; Phil'p 2:8-11: Rev. 19:13)], that written word is not what we are to worship. Indeed -
    BTW, although I could certainly be mistaken, mis-informed or wrong here, as far as I am aware, the exact 'version' as Jesus quoted it with the wording here, is not to be found among the extant manuscripts of either Deut. 6, Deut. 10, or I Sam. 7.

    God knows and knew what He is doing, here, in His ways.
    Ed
     
    #8 EdSutton, Dec 11, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2007
  9. EdSutton

    EdSutton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Messages:
    8,755
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hmmm! :confused:

    Noticed that too, I see!

    Ed
     
  10. EdSutton

    EdSutton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Messages:
    8,755
    Likes Received:
    0
    Welcome to the Baptist Board!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    BTW, since you first jumped in at the deepest end of the pool, I do hope you can [​IMG]

    FTR, I am not aware of any in this thread, at last, who have ever implied that anyone must learn an original language" or that it is any "requirement for being an obedient Christian".

    Personally, Jerome, Erasmus, or Tyndale, I ain't!

    Ed
     
    #10 EdSutton, Dec 11, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2007
  11. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    Thanks for addressing my question, Keith. I would suppose that the website would appeal to verses like II Timothy 2:15 ("...rightly dividing the word of truth"), and John 5:39 ("search the scriptures...") to support the assertion that believers must learn the language of the particular Bible text they accept as the most accurate.

    However, what functional level must the believer obtain in that language to be safely obedient? Would this be measured in years of Hebrew study, or by the size of one's Greek vocabulary? By this standard, only a KJV reader possessing a Master's degree in English would be able to truly satisfy the requirement. Obviously, the notion is entirely absurd.

    There is an inherent fidelity that comes from understanding ancient texts untranslated and still in their original languages. Some folks do not want to accept this fact, perhaps out of fear. They are afraid to admit that those with different language skills may have a fuller understanding of some scriptures than themselves.

    God would not favor some believers above other believers, would He? Well, do American believers have more resources than Chinese believers? <duh!> And how would this be any different than those that are of generally higher intellect having a stronger comprehension of reading material over others of lesser intellect? God did not bless me with particularly superior cognitive abilities; does this mean that He is keeping something from me? does this make me an inferior believer?

    I am thankful that God has not only preserved His word, but that He has also raised up faithful and trustworthy scholars and expositors in each generation to serve the Christian community with insights and information that the average believer would not normally obtain otherwise.
     
    #11 franklinmonroe, Dec 11, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2007
  12. Palatka51

    Palatka51
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,724
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hebrews 10:7-9
    7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
    8Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
    9Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

    Of course this applies to OT/NT, however I have no problem with reading of scripture with respectful worship.
    Notice that the form of worship was that of animal sacrifice and it was God that said He is found in the volume of the book, he is not found in animal sacrifice.
    He is not found in worship He is found in the reading of His Word. Sense He has taken away the originals then He must have established the second.
    As far as you who can read Greek and Hebrew more grace you should have to those of us that can not. Meanwhile I'll trust what I can read.

    Psalm 40:1-9,16&17

    1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
    2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
    3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
    4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
    5 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
    6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
    7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
    8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
    9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.
    16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.
    17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

    Why shouldn't I worship this blessed Book?
     
  13. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. Of course, the NASB that I teach and preach from is sacred---but sacred in what sense I ask? Sacred in the same sense as the autographs? Not at all! But sacred, because it is God's words.

    2. My NASB is Scripture.

    3. I wonder if they were elevated to the same level as the autographs in the mind of the Fathers and so on?
     
  14. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,051
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry, but that is a blatant twisting of those scriptures to fit your doctrinal foibles.
     
  15. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    I find this statement very perplexing.

    So if the autographs could be found then those who read Greek would in fact have an advantage over the rest? I disagree with this.

    For me the fundamental difference is to be found not between the elusive "autographs" and all of the other written versions - but rather between God's words and those which were written down by people in human languages. Greek is a cool language and I have enjoyed my years of studying it. But it is a human language like any other.

    To say that it has a unique flexibility to communicate is unrealistic.

    To say that Bibles in English or any other language are less sacred than the original Greek manuscript is to misunderstand the nature of the revelation given us. Has God not provided us with His word? Even if we had the original autographs what would we do - worship them? No we would read them just as we do the Bible now.

    Finally - what do we imply by saying that the autographs were better? Either God preserved His word or He didn't. To say that the autographs are better is to say that what we have now is second rate!
     
  16. kubel

    kubel
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    526
    Likes Received:
    0
    To put it bluntly: If God wanted us to value to the KJV above any other form of the Bible, why did He allow the original KJV manuscript to disappear into the dust of history (or rather, the ashes of the Great Fire of London of 1666). No one has the pre-printed supposedly inerrant-straight-from-inspiration manuscript KJV any more, just like no one has the original straight-from-inspired-authors manuscripts.

    Why is it OK for the KJV to have copy/printing errors and not have the original... but it's not OK for the Hebrew and Greek to have copy errors and not have the originals? It seems to me that both 'sides' have almost identical histories, with the only major difference being time and technology.

    KJV:
    Supposedly Inspired
    Written
    Printed
    Original destroyed/lost
    Prints copied and copied and copied...

    Hebrew/Greek:
    Inspired
    Written
    Copied
    Originals destroyed/lost
    Copies copied and copied and copied...
     
  17. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,051
    Likes Received:
    0
    If we had the original autographs men would worship them- just look at what some do with the KJV now!
     
  18. Salamander

    Salamander
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Messages:
    3,965
    Likes Received:
    0
    The sects of rabbinic order have done so for centuries.

    The Greek enhances the KJB when taken into proper context and verb usage. Anything else is corrupt.

    There are no inerrant translations that are any less inspired than the O A's.

    The question alaways comes down to inerrancy, then the arguement always goes against inerrancy.:wavey:
     
  19. Salamander

    Salamander
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Messages:
    3,965
    Likes Received:
    0
    To surmise that, "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse".

    As more and more information is presented the more clouded the actual truth becomes. The more alternatives to truth allowed the more the truth becomes cluttered with man's suggestions and influences.

    The smarter a man thinks he has become the more ignorant he becomes of God.
     
  20. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    No particular language is inspired, whether Hebrew or Gree.

    1. But into which tongue did God breathe His revelation for us, when the biblical writers wrote?

    2. Are our English translations to be regarded as the same as those original writings of say, Paul?
     

Share This Page

Loading...