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Featured Preservation passages

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by rlvaughn, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I thought it might be beneficial to create a separate thread to specifically address the texts in the scripture where preservation is taught or believed to be taught. Below are some of the verses that are discussed pro and con on the topic. This is not an exhaustive list, but I think it catches the main ones. Feel free to suggest and discuss others as well.
    Does the Bible, in these or some other places -- directly or by implication -- teach that God will preserve the Scriptures?
     
  2. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I must confess that I am predisposed to think of most of these as passages as teaching the preservation of scripture. Most of my teachers believed in the preservation of scripture, though they might not have agreed that all these texts do so -- and many could not be described as MT/TR or KJVO men.

    That said, it seems like the main point of some of the texts is something like God saying, "I AM. What I say is truth. It does not matter what you think or what you say. Whatever I say will stand. Depend on it!!"

    The first one on the list in Psalm 12:6-7. Here is the 12th Psalm.

    Psalm 12 King James Version
    1 Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
    2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
    3 The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:
    4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?
    5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.
    6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
    7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

    8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.

    Viewed in the whole context of the song, I see verse 6 stating a general truth about God's words, and one that stands in contrast to speaking of men (as in vv. 2, 4). The words of the Lord are stated -- what he will do for the poor oppressed and needy. Because God's words are pure, they are dependable. You can believe the promise he makes in defense of the oppressed and needy toward those who are against them. The "them" in verse 7 then is most likely the oppressed and needy to whom he will keep his promise through the generations. If so, this text speaks of the general nature of God's words/promises, but the 7th verse wouldn't specifically apply to the preservation of the text of scripture. This is not to say that the purity of God's words has no implications on the idea of preservation.

    (I just referenced this text a few days ago in arguing against Peter Ruckman's view of double inspiration and advanced revelation; I still think I am right and he is wrong, but I don't now think this text is applicable in the way I used it.)

    By the way, I thought to look back at older commentators that lived before the version debate wars existed. Both John Gill and Matthew Henry thought the "them" in verse 7 applied to the people God would preserve and not the Bible. Interestingly, Gill's comments indicate he believes in preservation of the Bible, but not that this text teaches it:

    And at an even earlier date and in a different language (though what I give is translated to English), John Calvin:

    There are other issues that relate to this that need fair examination as well. What does the loss of the book of the law in the house of God have to teach us about preservation (2 Kings 22)? What about Jehoiakim cutting up Jeremiah's prophecy and tossing it in the fire (Jeremiah 36)? I mention these because I think they militate against some of the ways we argue for preservation.
     
    #2 rlvaughn, Mar 31, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
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  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Psalm 78:5-7 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

    The context refers to the scriptures, that is, the law -- the law was a written testimony that was established in Jacob/Israel. If this law is established for the purpose of teaching the present and future generations, then there is some form of preservation implicit in the establishment of it. While there is not a direct statement -- such as, "I will preserve the written word" -- there is reason to believe that God has an interest in preserving it (from the context) that they "might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments."
     
    #3 rlvaughn, Mar 31, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  4. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    The 12th Psalm is a very beautiful picture of the wonderful grace of God.

    Psalm 12, as with most Psalms, is divided into strophes. In the first strophe we see the supplication for the godly man, who is said to be "ceasing." The faithful "fail" or are dying out from among the children of men.

    Verses 5 and 6 are a strophe, and verses 7 and 8 are a strophe. The first line of the first strope (verse 5) goes with the first line of the second strope (verse 7) and the second line of the first strophe (verse 6) goes with the second line of the second strophe (verse 8). Verses 5 and 7 complement each other, and verses 6 and 8 contrast with each other.

    In the 4th strophe, verses 7 and 8, we see a consolation, a hope expressed based on the statement of God which was expressed in the 3rd strophe, verses 5 and 6. In verse 7, the suffix "em" in Hebrew refers to the poor in verse 5, and the suffix "ennu" refers back to the man in verse 1 who yearns for the deliverence mentioned in verse 5.

    The "preserving for ever" of God is so constant that never will the man of grace ever succumb to the evils of the generation in which he lives.

    Here it is laid out:

    First Strophe: A Prayerful Complaint - The Godly Are Under Attack
    Psalm 12:1 Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
    2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.

    Second Strophe: The Desired Correction - Divine Intervention
    Psalm 12:3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:
    4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?

    Third Strophe: The Promise of God - To Protect His People, the Godly
    Psalm 12:5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.
    6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

    Fourth Strophe: The Consolation of Hope - God Will Protect and Preserve His People.
    Psalm 12:7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
    8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
     
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  5. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Psalm 105:8 is the next one on the list: He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

    While this has implications that can be derived from God's faithfulness, I don't see much here that directly addressed the preservation of the written word. The covenant addressed is an oral one made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Of course, it was written down in the scriptures later, and was written at the time the Psalmist wrote, but it seems to me we would be stretching to get something into the text that isn't exactly there.)
     
  6. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    For the moment I'm going to skip over the other Psalm passages, which all seem somewhat in the same vein. Next cometh Isaiah 30:8 - Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:

    Just briefly before I go to bed. We see the context here is clearly a written word, a prophecy of Isaiah that is written as a standing testimony against the rebellious ones who will not hear the word of the Lord. One might argue it only applies to this writing, but it at least applies to it -- and it is written.

    Matthew Henry writes:
    The Pulpit Commentary says:
    Just saying, I'm not out here on a limb all by myself on this one (although the extra weight is not always good for the limb; and what's not good for the limb might not be good for those on it).
     
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  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    The next verse in the list above is Isaiah 34:16 - Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

    Here we have another text that is dealing with the written word -- a book, or scroll if you prefer -- the prophecy of Isaiah that is written down and can be referred back to see what was written has not failed but came to pass as God said. I agree with Gill that "it seems best to understand it of this book of the prophecy of Isaiah; which being sought to, and read at the time when these predictions will be fulfilled, it will be easily seen, by comparing events with prophecies, how everything will be exactly accomplished; from whence may be concluded, this book being called the book of the Lord, that it was written by divine inspiration, as all other parts of the Bible are..."

    It seems that the Bible believer has to here admit to the preservation of the prophecy of Isaiah, at least this portion of it. And does not "nature itself" tell us that it has been preserved as God said, since we are reading it. Surely this has some implications for the broader topic of preservation, does it not?
     
  8. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    Sound understanding of some Bible truths would suggest or affirm that preservation would have to concern the Scriptures in the original languages. The scriptural truths (Deut. 4:2, Deut. 12:32, Prov. 30:6, Rev. 22:18-19) that warn against adding to and taking away from the Scriptures would clearly and directly relate to the doctrine of preservation and to the making of copies of the original language Scriptures. These commands must embrace the Scriptures in the original languages since the very nature of translation requires that words may have to be added or omitted to make it understandable in another language. Thus, these verses were important instructions and warnings given particularly concerning the Scriptures in the original languages. Again it should be obvious that these commands had to be directed concerning the Scriptures in the original languages since it is well-known that in translating words have to be added or omitted for the translation in the other language to make sense. These verses could also be understood to suggest that God gave to men an important role or responsibility in preservation of the Scriptures on earth. These commands or instructions would indicate the need and responsibility for the making of exact, accurate copies of the Scriptures in the original languages. These commands or instructions also demonstrate that the source being copied was the standard and authority for evaluating the copy made from it. These commands would suggest that the copies of Scripture were not given or made by the means or process of a miracle of inspiration. For a king or whoever copied them to be able to “keep all the words,” they would have needed to make an accurate, exact, and complete copy of them (Deut. 17:18-19).

    A copy of Scripture should have the exact, same words as the source from which it was copied, and it could be tested or evaluated by its source (Exod. 34:1, Deut. 10:2, 4, Deut. 17:18, Deut. 27:8, Jer. 36:28, John 17:8, Jer. 23:28). Jesus gave the exact same words to the apostles or disciples that God the Father gave to Him (John 17:8).

    A logical and sound deduction or necessary consequence from the instructions in several verses of Scripture (Deut. 4:2, Deut. 12:32, Prov. 30:6, Rev. 22:18-19) would indicate and affirm that copies of it would need to be carefully examined, searched, tried, or evaluated to make sure that no additions were made, that nothing was omitted, that no words were changed, and that the meaning of words according to their context was not diminished.
     
  9. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Personally I would say the entirety of the 119th Psalm is a testimony to the preservation of God's word.

    HankD
     
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  10. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    If we look to the authority of God's word to discuss whether or not his word has been preserved, don't we do it on the presupposition that it has been preserved?
     
  11. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

    This text occurs within the context of what the New Testament identifies as a prophecy of John the Baptist -- the voice of one crying in the wilderness. It speaks of the broad fact of the truth and immutability of whatever God says, not directly to the preservation of written words. Peter quotes this and also ties it to the gospel.

    1 Peter 1:24-25 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

    We have the gospel. It has been preserved orally and in writing. So this has implications on what has been preserved or passed down to us.
     
  12. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    Of course. And does not the fact that we can study His word to try to determine that prove it has been preserved? If it was not preserved, what is that on the desk beside me? :D
     
  13. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Yes but we do it by faith.

    HankD
     
  14. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I don't disagree, Hank. But I think we realize that (for most of us) all doctrines grow out of two basic foundational truths -- that God is and that He has revealed Himself in the sixty-six books we call the Bible. If there is not some kind of preservation of that revelation, other points become pointless.
     
  15. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Matthew 5:17–18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    Also Luke 16:17 is similar: And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

    This should have some implications to the preservation of the written word -- since the law was written -- but the point of Jesus is about the veracity and immutability of what God says. these are not a verses in which Jesus is directly saying he will preserve printed words. The implication (to my way of understanding) is, how can we know God's word is true and dependable if it is not passed down to us so we can know about it in the first place?
     
  16. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    Did God ever promise to preserve His Word or His words in any language other than the original languages used in the giving of those exact same words to the prophets and apostles (Matt. 5:17-18)?

    The phrase “the law or the prophets” (Matt. 5:17) was used to denote the entire Old Testament Scriptures. The specific features “jot“ and “tittle“ at Matthew 5:18 and the “tittle” at Luke 16:17 would indicate the particular original language words of the Scriptures given by inspiration of God to the prophets.
     
  17. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    Allow me to jump in here... I believe God had definitely preserved his written word and I could go into a long desertation why I believe this but I sure all you brethren have studied the progress of it down through the ages... I won't bore you with that... But Jesus uses these very written words to declare who he is and why he came... If we did not know of the written declaration in Genesis 3:15 how could we possibly understand what he declared in Luke?

    4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

    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,

    4:18 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,

    4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

    4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

    4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

    To digress a little... At this time I am watching a series on different Faith and what I find interesting is there is a record of their beliefs written in a book... In fact their is one belief where the book they believe is so holy the average people do not have access to the book... Reminds me of another time where Gods people on this side of the cross didn't have access to the Holy scriptures... The Bible was chained to pulpit... T.C. I'm glad you have the written word of God sitting on your desk. I feel and know that there is a written record of all that God has done for his people... I'm also thankful for all moles, warts, imperfection of the people of God in the written word trying in their unworthy way trying to serve their Lord and Master through the Old and New Testament and since no one is perfect but Jesus Christ I'm on solid ground... Where would we be today if what was declared in Isaiah was fulfilled in Luke if we didn't have written record of it and believe that the written word of Isaiah was fulfilled in Luke... The natural Israelite doesn't believe that even though he has the written record but is blinded to the fact that it has been fulfilled... The Messiah has already come and done his work... When he comes again he will gather his people he died for and complete his work when he delivers us all to the Father... I know because the preserved written work of God tells me so!... Brother Glen
     
    #17 tyndale1946, Apr 4, 2017
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  18. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Did God ever promise to preserve His Word or His words in the original languages in the exact words given to the prophets and apostles?

    Do you interpret Matthew 5:17 as a promise to preserve the Old Testament scriptures?
     
  19. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Next on the list is Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

    This is another text that is not focused on the written word but about the veracity and immutability of what Jesus is says. Heaven and earth as we know them will not stand; what Jesus is saying will stand. Things will happen just as he says. These is not a verse in which Jesus is saying he will preserve printed words. But if these words were not passed down to us in some way we would not know about what he said in the first place.
     
    #19 rlvaughn, Apr 4, 2017
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  20. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

    Verses 44 and 45 are related: And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures

    The scriptures are mentioned 3 times in Luke 24. This is the written word, which could be read and searched (Cf. Mark 12:10; John 5:29). It is not suggested that the written text was in front of them at this time, but it appears rather that Jesus spoke the scripture to them. Nevertheless the full account indicates that the written word of the Old Testament in its 3 divisions (see v. 44), with its teachings on the Messiah, were both preserved and accessible at the time of Jesus's resurrection. While this only directly speaks to the preservation of the Old Testament, it indicates the work of God in this regard and suggests it would be consistent for Him to also preserve the writings of the New Covenant, which speaks better things than the Old.
     
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