What can be properly "The Word of God"?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by franklinmonroe, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    It has been suggested on this board in other threads that if an English Bible translation contains an error, it cannot be properly called "The Word of God".

    Is "The Word of God" the collection of 66 Protestant canonical books, also commonly called 'The Holy Bible'? I am suggesting it is not a synonym for 'Bible', as we normally think of it. "The Word of God" is something different than an English translation of some Hebrew scriptures and some Greek apostolic writings bound together.

    In the KJV Old Testament the phrase "the word of God" occurs just four times. Three of those occassions it is about a "saying" from the Lord to prophets (Samuel, Shemaiah, and Nathan). These clearly are not examples of written documents. The fourth is a proverb (30:5).

    In the KJV New Testament there are about 40 occurances of the phrase "the word of God". Paul applies the phrase in nine of his letters (10 if Hebrews is accepted as Pauline). The Acts of the Apostles mentions it the most (13 times, mostly "received" or heard). Peter and John use the phrase in their epistles. The "word of God" is also found in three gospels (Mark, Luke, and John). Without having to establish the dates, or the order, in which these authors wrote, it is evident that "the word of God" was a description of something by many inspired writers even before the completion of some others. It is unlikely to be a referrence to a group of writings while many of the individual works were still unpublished.

    Certainly, the phrase "the word of God" was in use before the Hebrew canon and the circulating NT writings were ever gathered together. Therefore, by any contemporary Bible's own witness, "the word of God" cannot exclusively represent it. Literally, it would seem 'unscriptural' to call an English translation the "Word of God".

    So, what does the term "The Word of God" mean? What is it? Does it descibe more than one thing (did it refer to the same thing in the OT and the NT)? And can it be fairly applied to translations today?
     
    #1 franklinmonroe, Dec 22, 2006
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  2. HankD

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    Something from the past by Doc Cassidy:

    Original Autographs : The Word of God by Inspiration.

    Apographs (copies of the original autographs) : The Word of God by Preservation.

    Apograph Translations: The word of God by Derivation.


    HankD
     
  3. robycop3

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    I think "the word of God" is the complete collection of the Scriptures-God's messages to all- in whatever medium any such collection uses. It can also refer to a part of His word as used for a particular application during a particular event.
     
  4. Rufus_1611

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    The word of God was uttered directly to Adam...
    "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." - Genesis 2:17

    ...but Adam did not obey the word...
    "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" - Genesis 3:1

    Later the word of God was made flesh...

    "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." - John 1:14

    ...but His own did not believe and questioned the word...

    "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not." - John 1:10-11

    Today, we have the word of God in the form of a Holy Bible and the first question ever posed is the same question being posed today.

    Can the "word of God" be fairly applied to a translation of today? If it can not be, then I would have to believe that God has forsaken us and by the word, I know this can not occur.

    "And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God." - Revelation 19:13
     
  5. Logos1560

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    In their preface to the 1611 KJV, the KJV translators stated: "No cause therefore why the word translated should be denied to be the word, or forbidden to be current, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting forth of it."
     
  6. franklinmonroe

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    Rufus, would you please elaborate on this? The first question recorded question in human history was: "Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Gen. 3:1, KJV) Correct?

    Before we leap into "Today,"...

    After his own received him not the 'Word Made Flesh' (Jesus Christ) was crucified, resurrected, and then ascended into Heaven; He sent the 'Comforter' until He comes again. The words of the apostolic writings were not started until two or three decades after Pentecost; not completed until about six decades after these events; not gathered together for many more years after that; and not put into the final canonical form we have today until perhaps two centuries had past. What was "the word of God" in one book on Earth during that time?

    From about 400AD until 1500AD the 'Bible' was mostly represented in Latin with the Apocrypha. Wasn't this "the word of God" at that time? If so, wouldn't it still be the "Word of God"? Since the Latin version translated into English is different from the KJV, which one is correct?
     
    #6 franklinmonroe, Dec 22, 2006
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  7. Rufus_1611

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    Correct. It's the first part of that question I was referring to..."Yea, hath God said".

    Depends on which Latin you are referring to. Just as in the English, there was a corrupt seed and incorruptible seed. The persecuted had the incorruptible seed and the persecutors had the corruptible.
     
  8. HankD

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    Let me say at the first that I am close to being KJVO apart from the doctrines of Secondary Inspiration and Advanced Revelation taught by several of the self-appointed authorities of KJVO-ism.

    If you are speaking of the Old Italic, then it is impossible to discern the “incorruptible seed” because the Italic mss are probably the worst mss in existence for intra-textual variances. If you mean the Vulgate (there are two major versions), at least there is consistency, not perfect but far superior to the Old Italic.

    In any event the 1611AV which at one time (a few years ago) here at the BB, was proclaimed by the naïve as being word for word, letter for letter, perfectly the Word of God from the hand of God Himself through these holy translators. I remember shock and disbelief here at the BB among the many that the Apocrypha was indeed included in the First (and several subsequent editions) of the AV and in fact was required that it be included to be published with the authorization of the King.

    Not only that but the official stance of the owners in perpetuity (humanly speaking) of the AV, the Church of England, stand behind the statement that the Apocrypha (although not a source of doctrine) is good for “instruction and manner of life” and belongs within the covers of Holy Writ. Since they brought it forth and are the legal guardians of the AV, then according to them, the Apocrypha should be included in every version under penalty of being an illegal publication (which most seem to be, not being specifically sanctioned by the Church of England)

    But back to the first point, seeing that the Apocrypha is the source of much error propounded by the Church of Rome, was the First Edition really from the hand of God or had these men made a mistake by including it and if they had what other mistakes might they have made.

    BTW, I have thought this through and come to my own conclusions which I won’t elaborate upon until some answers from others (if any) come forth.

    As an aside concerning your statement regarding the persecutor and the persecutee, the Church of England in 1611 and before was a persecutor of Baptists and several other dissenting religious groups, even burning them at the stake.


    John Bunyan was imprisoned 12 years for preaching the Gospel apart from the written permission of the Church of England.


    HankD
     
    #8 HankD, Dec 28, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2006
  9. Rufus_1611

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    I wouldn't intend to speak with authority on this as the further back I go the more muddled things seem to be. However, I suspect that the Latin versions of the Waldensians, Lollards et al must have been the incorruptible seed based solely on circumstantial evidence of fruits.

    What a shame that something non-canonical can so easily shake the faith of saints. There are multiple things that I am uncomfortable with the 1611. I don't like the art work in the frontispieces, I don't like the directions to find Easter, I don't like the footnotes and yes I have even encountered some of the printing errors that the mockers get so giddy about. However, that which is scripture are pure words and the book and the scripture has been refined since 1611 and it was only two years later that the apocrypha was removed.

    Yet one more good reason to be a Baptist.

    I believe they made a mistake in including the apocrypha. It's a curious conundrum too as I do not understand why it got there to begin with. I have a treatise by King James called Basilicon Doron where he states the following:

    "As to the Apocriphe bookes, I omit them because I am no Papist (as I said before) & indeed some of them are as like the dietement of the Spirite of God, as an Egge is to an Oyster." ​

    If he disdained The Apocryphal books to such a degree then it would seem odd that he allowed for a translation committee to include them in the AV.

    Though I find some of the allegations of Anglican persecution to be unfounded your statement is fair enough. When I made that statement the crew that I had in mind was the RC persecuting the likes of Tyndale, Rogers, Coverdale, etc. however, it may not apply perfectly throughout all of history.
     
  10. Keith M

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    In actuality, the translators of the KJV, by their own words, denied the very basis of the KJVO belief. If the translators of the KJV denied the basis of the KJVO belief long before that belief was started, then why should anyone today adhere to the KJVO belief and deny that other English translations are the word of God? And if having any errors at all is the basis for determining that any particular version is not the word of God, then that makes the KJV equally not the word of God. The KJV, like all English translations, was the work of mere humans and it does have errors. So if MVs are not the word of God due to errors, then neither is the KJV the word of God due to errors.
     
  11. Logos1560

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    Do you claim that the pre-1611 English Bibles (Tyndale's to Bishops') of which the KJV was a revision were corrupt or incorruptible seed?

    The Wycliffe's Bible was translated from the Latin Vulgate of Jerome. There is evidence that shows that some of the Waldensian translations were based on the Latin Vulgate of Jerome. The 1535 Coverdale's Bible (one of the pre-1611 English Bibles of which the KJV was a revision) was partially based on the Latin Vulgate of Jerome in the O. T. books Joshua to Malachi.

    Several of the Church of England translators of the KJV were persecutors of other believers.
     
  12. HankD

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    My thoughts:


    IMO, the KJV will be the masterpiece of English literature forever.
    Also (again IMO) the best Bible, so far, that has been provided for the English speaking world considering and putting aside the Jacobean period English of the text which for a century or two was universally acceptable.

    Based upon the Traditional Type texts it is unique following no single and identifiable “Textus Receptus”.

    No, the KJV translators of the Church of England did not do a perfect job, their doctrine was and still is opposed to all of the Baptists distinctives and to this day subtlety comes though here and there in the text (e.g. the word “bishop”), they are still having a love-affair with the Church of Rome but in spite of all that they were very scrupulous over the first 3 centuries of its existence to purge it of human error.

    I am still hoping that the NKJV will have a similar history of correction and/or that an NIV edition will come forth based upon the Traditional Texts.

    I use MVs extensively for comparison in the spirit of the KJV translators to find the “sense” of the Scripture and agree with them that even the “meanest” of translations contain “nay, are the Word of God”.
     
    #12 HankD, Dec 29, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2006
  13. franklinmonroe

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    Amen, Brother! I agree most of your post, but especially these two statements. I appreciate your fair and balanced approach.
     

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