Christ and the Scriptures, Part III: Jesus’ Bibliology

biblecross31In the final post in this series, I want to consider what Jesus Christ personally taught about the scriptures. What our Lord said about and did with the scriptures are of utmost importance to all matters of bibliology because of the following argument, which I have tried to articulate in this series thus far:

1. The Christian faith is primarily and initially spiritual, not intellectual. The Christian is a believer because of a work that God has supernaturally performed in his heart, not because he intellectually “figured it out.”

2. Working in the person’s heart, the Holy Spirit testifies to Christ, while Christ draws men to Himself, given by the Father. This trinitarian phenomenon results in the believer’s first and foundational affirmation: that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God.

3. Since believers come to Christ first spiritually, they should come to Christ first theologically. That is, a Christocentric model logically follows the believer’s own conversion and spiritual growth.

4. To begin with the Bible, as noble as it seems, is backwards, because no one can hold the Bible in the esteem of a Christian without first being a Christian. We do not believe in Jesus because we first accept biblical authority, we accept biblical authority because we first believe in Jesus. The danger of reversing this causes us to try to squeeze Jesus into our pre-made biblical constructs. Rather, Jesus should have preeminence in our theology to the extent that, if Jesus said or did something contrary to our understanding or theological framework, we should abandon that framework to follow Christ.

So what exactly did Jesus teach about the scriptures?

Jesus and the Sufficiency of the Scriptures

 “The Bible was the only book Jesus ever quoted, and then never as a basis for discussion but to decide the point at issue.” – Leon Morris

One of the most important teachings about the scriptures is their sufficiency. It is a distinction that made all the difference in the Reformation, and all the difference in our lives as Christians if we are to obey God rather than man. The Roman Catholic church denies the sufficiency of the scriptures and provides its adherents with a magisterium that must interpret them, along with other forms of sacred Tradition, to communicate God’s revelation. The Watchtower Society denies the sufficiency of scripture in that their followers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, must interpret the Bible through the works of the Society. The Mormons add Doctrine and Covenants and, of course, the Book of Mormon. And you and I have our presuppositions and traditions, too.

But during our Lord’s ministry on earth, He powerfully stripped away all allegiances to extra-scriptural practices. He constantly rebuked the religious leaders, the Pharisees, for their added traditions. His purpose of doing this was to expose the utter bankruptcy of following after men rather than God:

Matthew 15:1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 
“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 
He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 
For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 
But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”  
he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. 
You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” (ESV)

Jesus said that by adding traditions to the commandments of God, the Pharisees “made void” the Word of God. That is a bold charge. Now, I have argued that the “Word of God” is not always the writings, but Jesus here makes that application as He quotes from scripture itself, namely the Ten Commandments. The scriptures would have been the only tangible source for these commandments for the Pharisees. In a sense, then, our Lord’s rebuke had to do with adding to the scriptures. To Jesus Christ, the scriptures were sufficient enough.

Jesus also set the example by speaking only what was given Him of the Father:

John 8:26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 
27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 
28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.  (ESV)

John 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. (ESV)

Jesus did not add to what His Father gave Him to speak, and the Lord demanded that we add not either. The scriptures, then, were taught by Christ as sufficient for knowing the revealed Word of God. He also taught the sufficiency of the scriptures as a means by which God produces faith. In Luke 16, Jesus recounts the story of the rich man and Lazarus. A significant aspect of this story is the absence of it being called a parable. It was likely a true account. Jesus gives it in response to the Pharisees’ ridicule of Him after He said “you cannot serve God and money.” The rich man represents the terrible consequences of trusting in wealth rather than God –  he ends up in hell. It was such a terrible place, that the rich man desired none of his family to join him. So he pleads with Abraham: 

Luke 16:27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house
28 for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 
29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 
30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 
31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” (ESV)

Jesus taught that if people will not listen to the scriptures (Moes and the Prophets), then they still wouldn’t believe, even if someone came back from the dead and told them the truth. That contradicts the idea that faith is produced by witnessing miracles. This is not to say, though, the faith is produced by the scriptures, either. Rather, the scriptures are sufficient in themselves for God to use to transform the heart of a sinner. Salvation is still of the Lord, with or without a written text in front of an individual. But you or I do not have to physically see the resurrection of Christ in order to believe it – we can take the scriptures at their word. Granted, what Jesus was teaching is specifically dealing with 1st century Jews. As I’ve argued before, the only people in the world who would place biblical authority before accepting Christ would be those who were raised believing first in the authority of the scriptures, and that would apply only to the Jews. Jesus is teaching that no Jew should seek after anything else to validate the His message – including having someone come back from the dead – because the scriptures are sufficient. Though that is the immediate, specific application, I believe this principle can be seen as Jesus’ teaching of the overall sufficiency of the scriptures.

Jesus also taught that the scriptures were sufficient to live by:

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 
2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 
3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 
4 But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (ESV)

In response to a powerful temptation from Satan, Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 8:3, in which the Israelites were reminded that they must rely on God alone for provision. Likewise, Jesus relied on God’s sustaining power alone for His provision, even after fasting for 40 days. It is not physical substance (bread) that sustains us, but God’s decrees (every word). Since those decrees are recorded for us in the scriptures, I think the application can indeed be made to the Bible. Jesus Christ taught that the scriptures were sufficient to live by, sufficient to produce faith, and sufficient to have no need of adding to.

Jesus and the Authority of the Scriptures

“The Lord Jesus regarded the Old Testament as a trustworthy, authoritative, unerring guide in our quest for enduring happiness.  Therefore we who submit to the authority of Christ will also want to submit to the authority of the Book He esteemed so highly.” (John Piper, Desiring God)

Evangelicals and fundamentalists place a high priority on adhering solely to the authority of the scriptures in all matters of faith and practice. Once again, though, we have to make sure that this was a teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. Continuing in Matthew 4:

Matthew 4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple
6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
and
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 
9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

In response to the temptation by Satan, Jesus authoritatively used the scriptures as His weapon. This is very significant in its proper perspective – Jesus Christ is the eternal God! We believe that if He wanted to, He could have destroyed the devil then and there with a snap of  His fingers. And He certainly had the authority to do so (Matthew 28:18). Yet, Jesus’ use of the scriptures here indicates that they are authoritative in and of themselves. Jesus answered Satan with the scriptures, an authority with which it seems Satan himself was powerless.

The authority of the scriptures is also seen in the teachings of Christ in that He made sure His life and ministry conformed to their prophecies:

Luke 24:25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 
26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 
27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Once again, considering the perspective that Jesus is the omnipotent Lord, why would He subject Himself to a death on the cross when He could simply snap His fingers, destroy the world, and take whom He will to heaven with Him? The authority of the scriptures dictated otherwise (I Corinthians 15:1-4). As the long awaited Redeemer (Genesis 3:15; Job 9:33; Isaiah 9:6; 53), Jesus Christ submitted to the authority of the scriptures, fulfilling prophecies (Matthew 5:17) about Himself with the utmost attention to detail. Also, since Christ was sinless (II Corinthians 5:21), He perfectly obeyed all the commandments of God the Father. How else can His contemporaries validate His perfect life other than searching the scriptures (John 5:39)? Therefore, Christ believed, practiced, and taught the authority of the scriptures because He used them against Satan, perfectly fulfilled them, and perfectly obeyed them. If the Lord Jesus Christ submitted Himself (Philippians 2:5) to the authority of the scriptures, then we who seek to follow Him should as well.

Jesus and the Reliability of the Scriptures

It is beyond doubt that Jesus highly esteemed the Old Testament and constantly submitted to it as to an authoritative revelation.  He taught that the Scriptures bore a witness to him, just as he bore a witness to them.  Because they are the words of God, Jesus assumed their complete reliability, in whole and to the smallest part.” (James Montgomery Boice, Foundations of the Christian Faith-Book I)

When Jesus Christ employed the Old Testament to make His points, He believed that what He was quoting was true, and He interpreted the accounts literally. One striking example occurred when the Pharisees tried to catch Him in the matter of divorce. Christ answered their charge by quoting the scriptures:

Matthew 19:3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?”
4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 
5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

Contrary to the beliefs of many a liberal scholar, Jesus Christ believed the Genesis account of creation was both true and literal. Otherwise, the above exhortation makes little sense. The teachings of Jesus are replete with this concept: He believed in Noah’s flood, ark and all (Matthew 24:38-39); He believed in the account of Sodom and Gomorrah, including Lot and his wife (Luke 17:28-29); He believed the account of Jonah (Matthew 12:40); and attributed passages to their traditionally upheld authors, such as Isaiah (Matthew 12:17), contrary to higher critics who believe in two Isaiahs. 

It can also be assumed the Jesus believed in the reliability of the scriptures simply by the fact that he both quoted them, and urged others to be aware of them (Matthew 22:29). Only if He had confidence that they actually reliably recorded what that to which He was referring do these things make any sense.

Jesus and the Inspiration of the Scriptures

The chief reason why the Christian believes in the divine origin of the Bible is that Jesus Christ Himself taught it.” – John Stott

Though there seems to be no recorded instance of an explicit affirmation of the inspiration of the scriptures by Jesus Christ, it can be concluded that He indeed believed and taught the concept for a few reasons:

1. Jesus seems to refer to the scriptures as the “word of God.” In answering the Jews who took up stones against Jesus for what they perceived as blasphemy, the Lord quotes Psalm 82, and challenges them on the basis of the term “god.” He refers them to the Law, in which the “word of God” was written:

John10:34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 
35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 
36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

2. Since Christ validated His own message by claiming it comes straight from God (John 8:26-28; 14:10), it is consistent to believe that He believed the same thing when He quoted from the scriptures. The authority He ascribed to the scriptures indicate His belief that they were indeed of Divine origin.

3. He was employing the use of texts which claimed their own inspiration. Since He believed in the reliability of the scriptures, and interpreted them literally, He was affirming all they said about their own inspiration. In the Old Testament, phrases like “thus says the LORD” and “the word of the LORD came” appear thousands of times. The prophets began their books by claiming their inspiration, as did Moses, Joshua, and Samuel. Jesus’ use of their works indicates His approval of those claims.

4. Jesus obviously taught His followers about the inspiration of the scriptures. Since Christ said, “he who hears you hears me” (Luke 10:16), Peter’s affirmation of the scriptures’ Divine origin (II Peter 1:16-20) can be taken as a direct lesson from the Lord Himself. Paul, who was indeed commissioned by Jesus Christ Himself (Acts 26:12-18), and approved as a genuine apostle (I Corinthians 9:1,2; II Peter 3:15,16) gave us the strongest affirmation of the scriptures’ inspiration (II Timothy 3:16-17). 

5. Taking everything affirmed up until this point, it only follows the our Lord believed in the inspiration of the scriptures. Otherwise, why else would He affirm their sufficiency, authority, and reliability? He never treated the works of man in such high esteem.

The Controversy: Inerrancy and Preservation

Up to this point, there is virtually no disagreement between what I am trying to articulate and the position of King James Onlyism. We all believe in the inspiration, reliability, authority, and sufficiency of the scriptures. We all believe that Christ believed and taught the same. In fact, it seems that we all arrive at these conclusions whether or not we deliberately try to be Christocentric or not. In fact, though my logic is different from that of Sam Gipp, we end up in almost the same place. So, what’s the issue?

The issue obviously has to do with Bible versions. When it comes to the King James only perspective, the place of both inerrancy and preservation in the Bible version debate are key. So in order to engage in meaningful discussion about the position, we must take a look at what Christ said about these two doctrines, and, more specifically, how they apply today (which is the main issue). 

I think we would all agree that Christ taught both inerrancy and preservation. But the question is, to what extent do these teachings apply to the copies?

Now the vital element here is whether or not Christ upheld an absolute inerrancy and a perfect preservation position when it comes to the copies of the scriptures. This is key. The conservative, pro-critical text position is that the scriptures were given by inspiration, that is they were inspired originally. God does not re-inspire translations, copies, or versions. Most KJVO agree with that statement, save the Ruckmanites, and possibly Jeff Fugate and company, though I’m not so sure these days. So while we agree that inspiration is only applied to the originals, the point of divergence is this: the KJVO believes that absolute inerrancy, through perfect preservation, applies to the copies, whereas the non-KJVO, such as myself, believes that absolute inerrancy is also limited to the originals. Many doctrinal statements of churches and seminaries read something like, “we believe in the scriptures, inerrant in the original writings. . .” King James Onlyists, on the other hand, recognize a phrase like “in the originals” to be a red flag-raiser and an indicator of unorthodox doctrine. Within KJVO, there are different ways to articulate this position:

1. God used supernatural means, including re-inspiration, to secure that the Bible would be kept purely intact all through the ages. (Ruckmanism)

2. God protected the scribe (though not all of them) in copying the scriptures so that there is at least one stream of “perfect” manuscripts. 

3. Though God did not protect the scribe from all possible copyist errors, He did providentially guide the church to recognize the words that He promised would be available to every generation (in the original languages), so that the Bible we have today (namely, the King James Version), as a translation of those received words (the Textus Receptus) is an English equivalent to the originals, inerrant just as they were inerrant.

I’m sure there are other ways to articulate it, but no matter how differently they may arrive at it, all KJVO seem to come to the same conclusion: if we don’t have a Bible exactly inerrant like the original, then we don’t have a Bible. So where does Jesus fit in?

Well, for one, Christ never hinted at any errors in the Bible. His affirmation of reliability indicates His belief in inerrancy. His teachings sometimes hinged on one single word. For example, in Matthew 22, Jesus bewilders the Pharisees:

Matthew 22:41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 
42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”They said to him, “The son of David.” 
43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet’?
45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 
46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

The entirety of His arguments really rests on the word “my.” The attention to detail is also seen in the phrase “I am” as given in Matthew 22:32. Combine that with what Jesus said about the smallest letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and a case for inerrancy in the teachings of Christ can be made:

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 
18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Jesus also preached preservation:

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Not only does the above quote make it clear, but the fact that Christ relied on the Old Testament, which teaches its own preservation (Isaiah 40:8) indicates His affirmation of the concept as well.

So Jesus believed and taught inerrancy and preservation. But does this mean He taught these things in the same sense of the King James Onlyist? Did He affirm absolute perfection, down to the very spelling, syntax, and word order? Did He believe that one translation was the perfect copy of the original? I believe that the particular quotes of the Old Testament in the New Testament, and in particular the use of it by Jesus Himself, shows that this is not the case.

I think the single greatest argument against the King James Only position, out of as many other great arguments as there are, is the way in which the Old Testament is quoted by the New Testament. This problem alone makes KJVO a self-defeating position. If I, as a follower of Christ, should be KJVO, then I would like to see my Lord and His disciples exclusively aligned to one translation as well. If they had to read from a less-than-perfect one, I would expect to see them warn of the “heresy” and “new age philosophy” contained therein. If Jesus was as concerned with the scriptures as I believe He was, and KJVO was correct teaching, I should find something in how He approached the text of His day to indicate such a thing. The truth is I find nothing. When I continue to read KJVO literature or listen to KJVO preaching I am reminded more and more of how far removed this teaching really is from the teaching of Jesus Christ. Simply speaking: the example of Jesus Christ does not fit into a KJVO biblical construct; it breaks through that construct. And if what the Lord Jesus Christ did with the scriptures is not consistent with KJVO teaching, then we must sacrifice KJVO teachings, and not try to “fit” Christ into it.

There are approximately 300 separate quotations of the Old Testament in the New. Roger Nicole says that some estimate as much as 4,105 passages may allude to the Old Testament, making up 10 percent of the New Testament. Of these references, John Salza says 2/3 of them are taken from the Septuagint.

The Septuagint, or LXX, is the Greek version of the Old Testament used by Hellenized Jews from about the 3rd centruy BC until the it was accepted largely by the early church. It is not monolithic like versions today; that is, the term refers to Greek versions in general, and not one specific text. That is why the Oxford Guide to the Bible defines the Septuagint as “the traditional term for the translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek.” King James Onlyists often refer to this fact as if it negates the entire argument of a Septuagint being employed by the New Testament writers, and specifically Jesus. 

Though there are many examples of Christ quoting scripture, the most significant to this discussion is found in Luke chapter 4. In it, He undoubtedly uses the Septuagint:

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 
17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 
21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (ESV)

The context of this event provides a few helpful facts: 1) Jesus did this regularly (“as was his custom”); 2) He read what was given to Him; 3) He found a specific place to read; 4) Luke records what was written (“found the place where it was written”; 5) Jesus referred to what He read as “scripture” (which means it was written). All of this plainly tells us that the Lord Jesus stood up and read from a passage of the scriptures. In fact, many Bibles have verses 18-19 in red because it is assumed Christ read verbatim. But Luke doesn’t say that he recorded what Jesus said; He records what Jesus read.  This does not deny that Christ indeed read verbatim, so the red letters are justified. But the distinction helps us to understand that we cannot account for the differences in this passage on the basis that Christ “did something” with the text. We know for a fact what He used.

Jesus was using the Septuagint here. Compare what the KJV has in the NT and in the OT with Brenton’s translation, taken from this chart: 

lxx2

Jesus read from a Bible that was different than the Hebrew text! And the striking thing about this is the fact that these differences are akin to the kinds of things “exposed” in KJVO literature. For example, Jesus leaves out the word “LORD” and “GOD”! Was Jesus a Gnostic conspirator trying to undermine His own deity? Perhaps He was a member of the Alexandrian cult? He also adds a phrase, “recovering sight to the blind”, which is not found in the Hebrew Isaiah, and is perhaps the biggest clue that this indeed is the LXX. If I wanted to (and if my math was better), I could produce a KJVO-style chart showing the percentage of differences between these passages and deem the Bible Jesus used as a corrupt, heretical book. And I could back that up with the fact that most scholars, KJVO and non-KJVO, regard the Septuagint as corrupt in many places. But, I have one problem. . . Jesus used it!

There’s no getting around this, and Luke 4 is just one instance out of hundreds. The fact the Christ and His followers, about 2/3 of the time, employ a biblical text different than the traditional Hebrew is not something that ought to be dismissed lightly, especially in a Christocentric model. Brian Tegart says, “What Jesus stood to read, what Luke said was written, what Jesus said was scripture – is different than what the KJV has. Jesus is not KJV-only.” His similar article provides other instances in which Christ quoted from scriptures that do not match the Masoretic Text underlying the KJV Old Testament, including Luke 10:25-28; Matthew 26:31; Mark 7:6-7; and Luke 7:27. If Jesus had no problem reading from a 1st-century equivalent of a modern versions, should I? If Jesus didn’t separate from those who used one, or at least warned them of the resultant heresy of using this version, should I? If Jesus and the apostles didn’t make a big deal (or a deal at all) about the use of a different version, how is the King James Onlyist justified in his actions? I believe he should reconsider his position. It is demonstrable that the actions of Jesus Christ our Lord totally break through the pre-made biblical construct known as King James Onlyism.

Proposed Solutions

Of course, many KJVO are aware of this problem, but honestly do not deal with it enough. It is often dismissed in a few sentences, or matter-of-fact statements like, “well there was no Septuagint back then.” To me, Jesus using the LXX is the single biggest problem for the King James Onlyist. It shouldn’t be thrown out so lightly. Here are a few proposed solutions, and some brief comments on each:

1. There was no Septuagint.

One of the more recent arguments that seems to be gaining lately is the idea that there was no Septuagint before the time of Christ. It seems Ruckman was the first to espouse the idea, as he claimed the Septuagint was created by the “Alexandrian cult.” His followers, like Sam Gipp caught on. I even heard Dr. D. A. Waite, a much more level head, say at one of his KJVO conferences, “the Septuagint originated with Origen because it is found in is Hexapla.” I don’t know if anyone else at the conference picked up on that, but that’s absurd. Putting a translation into one column in a six-column Bible does not mean that’s where the text came from. The idea of no Septuagint is more of a distraction than anything else.

First, we have to ask, so what? If there were no Septuagint during the account of Luke 4, how does that change the premise of my argument? It has nothing to do with it, really. It is very simple: Jesus read from something different. It was probably the Septuagint. If one denies that it was the Septuagint, he does not win the argument. And why? Because Jesus still read from something different!

The Paul Kahle myth. Numerous KJVO works contain a quote similar to this: “In his book Forever Settled, Jack Moorman writes on page 13 “Paul Kahle ( a famous O.T. scholar) who has done extensive work in the Septuagint does not believe that there was one original old Greek version and that consequently the manuscripts of the Septuagint (so-called) cannot be traced back to one archtype.” I have seen this quote on numerous rabid, conspiratorial KJVO websites with dark backgrounds, animated GIFs, and satanic MIDI files playing in the background, as well as in more respected articles by men like D.A. Waite and David Cloud. It’s rather ironic that men who pride themselves on “exhaustive documentation” do not check their sources. Then again, no one really knows who Paul Kahle is. He wrote in German, and outside of Hebrew textual studies, he isn’t that well known. So who’s going to bother to do the research?

Here’s why I say, thank God for the information age! I’ve spent hours perusing Google books, even German books, and then translating sections to see just what this Paul Kahle guy was really about. Thankfully, as time went by, I found more English articles about this enigmatic fellow. It turns out that Paul E. Kahle was a German orientalist, biblical scholar, and Lutheran pastor who lived from the late 19th to mid 20th century. I don’t know how much of him Jack Moorman actually read, but his summary of Kahle’s position on the LXX is misleading. Though the quote from Moorman may be elusive enough to say it contains no factual errors, the context in which it is given, as well as the context in which it is oft-quoted show that it was designed to make the reader believe that an authority backs up the claims of the King James Onlyist. Remember, only King James Onlyists will deny the existence of a Septuagint before the 1st century. 

Kahle’s position on the Septuagint isn’t too different from the common perception held by scholars today, though his specific conclusion is disputed. He agreed that the tradition derived from the Letter of Aristeas was spurious. He also knew that there were varieties of Greek translations of the Old Testament. However, he took it a step further to say that the varieties were not birthed by a single prototype; rather they were in existence before a single volume took shape. In other words, there was no one Septuagint to begin with, but very diverse translations that eventually culminated into one. But before one thinks that backs the KJVO denial, a 1963 paper from Grace Theologically Seminary says that Paul Kahle believed there was a “roughly standardized text of the LXX in existence in the first century BC.”

The Letter of Aristeas. This fictitious letter is the oldest source of the existence of the Septuagint, yet the story it created about the 72 translators is a well-known myth. Though all scholars recognize its spuriousness, none take it as far as the KJVO who would say this means there is no Septuagint. As James White once asked, “why would they make up a story about something that doesn’t exist?” Any encyclopedia, Bible commentary, or Bible history book will still place the origins of the Septuagint in the 2nd or 3rd century BC, even while acknowledging this letter’s mythical problems. It changes nothing. There was a Septuagint by the time of Christ. Even Majority Text supporter Art Farstad said God used it to bring Hellenized Jews into the faith.

2. Jesus targummed.

There are some commentators who say that Jesus “targummed.” While it is true that targums (Aramaic paraphrases) did exist and were common, and that Christ Himself may have used it, Luke 4 is a clear example in which He did not. He simple read what was there and sat down. Plus, the fact that He called it “scripture”, which means “writing” indicates that the message Christ gave did not come from his head but from the text itself. The targum proposition still poses a problem for the KJVO. If Christ used a targum, it means He quoted one and didn’t make one. There is a difference. Consequently, if He quoted a targum, He is still quoting from something different than the Hebrew, and not just in translation differences, as seen in Luke 4, or the other references above. 

3. Jesus translated

Similarly, if He translated, the Son of God would not leave out words and insert phrases. More than translation was going on. The modern versions are all translations – yet KJVO have problems with these when they are different. So how can the translation argument be helpful to the KJVO cause?

4. Jesus only used what was available to Him at that time, it doesn’t mean He endorsed the entire version from which He quoted.

Solution #4 is the only one that I think can be possible, at least to answer objections to the essence of the perfect preservation position. However, I think it strikes a blow to the modern King James Only position.

The reasoning is: just as you or I might pick up the closest available Bible in a relative’s home while engaging in religious dialogue, or even showing a Jehovah’s Witness something from their very own NWT version in order to debate on their own terms, Jesus employed the most commonly used Bible of His day. His use of it doesn’t mean He approved of it more than the Hebrew Masoretic, just as much as a KJVO using an NIV with his cousin doesn’t endorse the NIV over the KJV.

Though it is a more commendable approach, it still leaves some questions. Since Jesus sometimes did quote from the Hebrew, how can we know which one He favored more? Why did He never make a distinction? We did He not bring the better version with Him, seeing as He read in the synagogue on a regular basis? Why would God send His Son into the world during the time of an untrustworthy translation, especially since He was to fulfill specific prophecies?

Moreover, the argument does away with the dogmatism of today’s King James Only position. During His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees for a lot of very specific things. From their bad interpretation of the scriptures, to their missing the whole point of the scriptures, Jesus Christ criticized the religious in His day about their tithing habits, their praying habits, their hypocrisy, and more. Why did He not warn them about their Bible version? If everything the KJVO crowd says is so vitally important about having the “right” Bible is true, wouldn’t we find this taught by Jesus Himself? If other versions really water down theology, weaken the deity of Christ, and are produced by unholy apostates, and all of this has to be pointed out with vitriol by proponents of KJVO doctrine as if Christianity itself were at stake, why didn’t Jesus do the same? He certainly did not make an issue out of it, nor did His followers. Why should we? The King James translators themselves thought along these lines:

“The like we are to think of Translations. The translation of the Seventy dissenteth from the Original in many places, neither doth it come near it, for perspicuity, gravity, majesty; yet which of the Apostles did condemn it? Condemn it? Nay, they used it ….” (The Translators to the Reader, 1611 Authorized Version) HT: John Chitty

Also, where is the basis for the dogmatism in separation concerning Bible versions in the teachings of Jesus? If we accept that He used a different version Himself, how can we justify separating from those who use versions other than the KJV? How can we say, “you have to choose which Bible is the Word of God.”? Did Jesus teach that? How can we cut off fellowship with people, or cut off support from people trying to fulfill the Great Commission through church planting and missions simply because they employ another version of the Bible? Did Jesus teach that? The answer is clearly no.

Proof Texts of Verbal, Plenary Preservation

It is not my goal to expose anyone for being less Christocentric because they disagree with me. Though I believe that King James Onlyism doesn’t fit a Christocentric model, and it is not compatible with everything Jesus said and did, I do not deny that it is possible for some King James Onlyists to resort to Jesus as their main guide through their biblical construct. They obviously do care what Jesus said, and I do not deny that. However, I think that what King James Onlyists try to do with Jesus’ use of scripture, and in particular the above example in Luke 4, clearly demonstrate what happens when bibliology is given a heavier emphasis than Christology. Luke 4 is just one instance, it seems, so it can be explained away. At best, it can be reconciled to the rest of KJVO thinking. But why? Why is the KJVO model of inerrancy and preservation so important that the Lord Himself must kowtow to it? The targum example above is a perfect illustration of “fitting” Christ into a pre-made biblical construct, rather than letting Christ be Lord of theology.

But they are not without their proof texts. I have already mentioned these specific verses in light of a different approach. Let us take a brief look at them in light of common KJVO usage:

1. Matthew 4:4 it says EVERY word – “where are the words?’

First of all, as with the majority of KJVO proof texts, there is no need to apply this verse to the literal text of scripture. That is, this does not prove that there will be one version, translation, or family of manuscripts that contain “all the words.” Secondly, if “every” word is supposed be taken literally, shouldn’t “that proceeds out of the mouth of God” be taken literally? In other words, we know we can’t take the second part as woodenly literal, why should we take the first? The reason we can’t hold the second pat as such is because we know that “every word out of the mouth of God” is not recorded for us. Are we to believe that God, for all eternity, said nothing else than what is recorded in the scriptures? Did He not fellowship with His Son prior to creation? What did He say as He walked with Enoch? Obviously, other words came from God’s mouth that haven’t been incorporated into scripture, so a principle is in mind here, not a proof-text of verbal, plenary preservation. 

2. Matthew 5:18 says no “jot” or “tittle” will pass.

We’ve all heard the argument about how the jots and tittles are the smallest parts of the Hebrew letter. Again, if we take this so woodenly literal, we can only apply it to the Old Testament (the Law). The context provides the key once again. Jesus said that He has come to fulfill the Law, not destroy it (v 17). The “jots” and “tittles” have to do with the details of the Law that Christ will fulfill. He didn’t come just fo fufill a little bit, but down to the last detail. Also, verse 19 says, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (KJV), which shows that the whole point is to say there’s no unimportant commandment. The whole Law is to be obeyed, down to the “jots and tittles.” Is that not the point? There’s no need to take this any further than today’s expression, “cross the t’s and dot the i’s.”

3. Matthew 24:35 says His words shall not pass away.

Again, this cannot be taken as a promise of a preserved text or even woodenly literal. In response to this, Dan Wallace has pointed out that not all Jesus said was recorded, especially in light of John 21:25. Not everything He said was written down, so have we lost some words? The context is His prophecies. While the heaven passes, His prophecies (words) endure. Here is what John Wyclife had to say back in the 14th century, in response to controversy surrounding his desire to translate the Bible into English:

“It seems first that the knowledge of God’s law should be taught in that language which is best known, because this knowledge is God’s Word. When Christ says in the Gospel that both heaven and earth shall pass away but his words shall not pass away, he means by his ‘words’ his knowledge.”  – John Wycliffe, On the Pastoral Office, Part II

4. The scriptures cannot be broken – John 10:35

Though this is a strong affirmation of the accuracy and authority of the Bible, there is still no need to to think this applies to all subsequent translations, in light of the fact that Christ used one that was different. The meaning of the word translated “broken” carries the sense of “nullified.”

Conclusion

“As the prophesied Messiah, Jesus Christ is the central theme of Scripture.  The Old Testament looked ahead to Him; the New Testament looks back to His first coming and on to His second.  Canonical Scripture is the divinely inspired and therefore normative witness to Christ.  No hermeneutic, therefore, of which the historical Christ is not the focal point is acceptable.  Holy Scripture must be treated as what it essentially is – the witness of the Father to the incarnate Son.” (The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, “Exposition: Authority: Christ and the Bible”)

Christianity rests on Christ alone, not the inerrancy of the scriptures, let alone the inerrancy of the copies. The King James Only position seems to begin with the premise that unless the Bible is totally inerrant – including the transmission – then Christianity is destroyed. I believe this is the main reason for the hysteria found in many KJVO works. Yet, this approach is more evidentialist in nature, trying to appeal to the intellect and give reason for someone to embrace biblical inerrancy before they embrace Christ. Christ then becomes subject to the biblical construct of King James Onlyism, so when He uses a different Bible version, it doesn’t quite fit. On the contrary, our approach should be wholly Christocentric:

“When the apostle Paul went to Corinth, he reached a certain decision. Whatever his reason, Paul determined solemnly at Corinth ‘not to know anything among them, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified’. This was deliberate decision. . .Paul decided that he was not going to waste time with them in arguing presuppositions. He was not going to start with a preliminary philosophical argument and then gradually lead them on into the truth. No! He begins by proclaiming authoritatively the Lord Jesus Christ.

“I have an increasing feeling that we must come back to this. I am not sure that apologetics has not been the curse of evangelical Christianity for the last twenty to thirty years [from 1958]. I am not saying the apologetics is not necessary. But I am arguing that, with a kind of worldly wisdom, we have been approaching the world on the grounds of apologetics instead of (with the apostle Paul), determined not to know anything ‘save Christ crucified’. We assert Him, we proclaim Him, we start with Him, because He is the ultimate and the final authority. We start with the fact of Jesus Christ, because He is really at the centre of the whole of our position and the whole of our case rests upon Him.” (D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Authority)

The entirety of our Christian faith rests on Christ alone. We start with Him, we live for Him. We must follow Him, even if what He says or does contradicts our own understanding – including our biblical understanding. The scriptures that He has given us are accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. They are sufficient, authoritative, and inspired. They have been preserved for us as well. Yet, let us not take those things to mean more than they should. Let us not be so divisive agsint each other on the grounds of how one interprets those things. We are all entitled to our opinions. Textual criticism is not done. The debate between Byzantine priority and eclecticism is not over. But to limit the English speaking world to one translation of the Bible based upon one’s understanding of some passages of scripture, to the point in which fellowship is hindered, goes against the teachings and example of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since King James Onlyism is guilty of this, it should be rejected in light of a Christocentric model of theology.


Advertisements

34 comments so far

  1. Trav on

    This series, loooong though it may be, has been very helpful for me. For those coming out of a KJVO background,as we have, it is important that we rebuild our views, taking utmost care to center the whole thing on Christ.
    Praise God that He has lead you in this process. It has been a great help to me. I pray that others will read and submit, not to a particular position, but to Christ. Ultimately, that is the choice – your position or Christ.

  2. fundyreformed on

    I agree, excellent series, Damien. I’ve thought through this angle before regarding the LXX and such, but not quite from a Christo-centric, presuppositional apologetical approach, however.

    Thanks and God bless,

    Bob Hayton

  3. […] 13, 2009 Damien over at Return to Biblicism, just completed a three part series on “Christ and the Scriptures“.  He gives me hope: there are other people out there who write longer blog posts than I […]

  4. Tim on

    IFB sure do love their charts…. lol j/k! I had to say it.

  5. Kent Brandenburg on

    DT,

    No disrespect, but I’ve never heard this before. We don’t know Jesus outside of the Bible. Sure, He gave us the Word, but we didn’t know Him until the Word. Do you have any historical theology to match up with this view?

    Regarding the Septuagint argument, you should read John Owen’s Biblical Theology, which was translated in 1994, in his small chapter on the Septuagint. He supports the argument and gives evidence for it, that is the same one as other modern Septuagint scholars, like Invitation to the Septuagint by Karen H. Jobes and Moises Silva, that is, that those who translated the Septuagint were Christians who placed the quotes of Jesus back into the Old Testament in portions.

    What this does is harmonize with the many preservation texts within the Word of Christ instead of creating a whole new position for the sole purpose of defending post-enlightenment forensics, akin to conforming Genesis 1 and 2 to post-enlightenment uniformitarianism. Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

  6. Damien T Garofalo on

    Brother Kent,

    I hope I have answered your first objection in my first two posts. At least I tried to give an explanation as to why it should be Christ first, Bible second. I was careful to say that I don’t deny the use of the scriptures in bringing us into a knowledge of Christ – that is, they obviously provide sufficient grounds for the historical Jesus, being reliable documents that testify of Him. But this does not mean that we embrace biblical authority prior to Jesus. Nor do we have to believe the scriptures are sufficient, inerrant, inspired, preserved, or any other aspect of bibliology before we believe on Him. As I’ve argued, many people read and read the scriptures, even coming up with conclusions as to who Christ was (John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, etc.), but those who believed who He really was (the Christ, the Son of God) believed it for one reason only – God revealed it unto them (Matthew 16:16-18). And this isn’t just general revelation, for many see that and don’t believe (Romans 1). It’s a specific revelation; a saving revelation that the theologians – including Owen – call regeneration. Now, the means by which the Holy Spirit regenerates someone is the Word (Rom 10:17), which I did allude to in the series, though perhaps not clearly enough. But just because the Word is used by God to bring life into a sinner still doesn’t mean we attribute salvation to the Word – for, again, many heard but did not believe. The determining factor, then is God’s regenerating work in our hearts. Hence, we start with what we are first awakened to – Jesus Christ.
    For you to say “we didn’t know Him until the Word”, I assume, doesn’t mean one has to know the ins and outs of the scriptures to believe on Christ. I can preach the gospel, in a very simple, paraphrased sort of way to a tribal member on a remote island, and God can use that to regenerate that man’s soul. My point was there doesn’t necessarily have to be a text, or even the verbatim words of scripture, for God to perform the miracle of salvation.
    As far as historical backup, I think the Bible is enough. I could do more research, but even if I didn’t find a consensus in agreement with me I wouldn’t worry so much. I don’t know if I said anything that would contradict what others have said. The thief on the cross, Lydia, the Philippian jailor are examples of those saved without the Bible. So many were saved before the scriptures were completed. The early creeds, such as the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, Chalcedonian creed and the Apostles Creed as well as the Didache don’t mention the Bible as a basis for faith. It seems the Bible became the first thing on the list during the Reformation, due to the emphasis on biblical authority for doctrine. I don’t argue against this and I’m grateful for it. The Bible is the source for our doctrine. My argument is that Christ must have preeminence in how that doctrine is articulated. His specific words and example should hold more weight in comparing scripture.
    As for the LXX, there’s more than enough evidence, the internal being the strongest, to support the fact that Christ and the Apostles quoted from the LXX. We can dispute the edition of the LXX, but it doesn’t change the fact they employed the use of a different version. If Jesus indeed did this, it should be a problem for an exclusive-Bible position. The KJV translators pre-date Owen, and they believed this. You have noted their scholarship in your own blog. I’ve only read snippets of Jobes and Silva, but they certainly believed in Greek translations of the OT prior to the 1st century.
    By the way, the Christians to whom you refer that supposedly put the quotes of Christ back into the LXX bring up an interesting point for your argument. I’ve done a lot of research for this post, especially on the LXX, and it seems that the consensus is that the early Christians used the LXX as their basic OT, which is the main reason the Jews rejected it. This, of course, is strengthened by the fact that Christ and the Apostles used it. If we follow your logic of the church choosing the words, should we abandon the Masoretic text for the Septuagint?
    Also, I am not creating a new position to defend a post enlightenment belief. The position that one should be exclusively aligned to the KJV isn’t very pre-enlightenment. I am simply trying to argue why the fact that Christ used a different version is a very strong argument against KJVonlysim, and in light of the fact that Christology should be preeminent in theology, the strongest argument.

  7. fundyreformed on

    Kent,

    You’re dodging the force of the specific argument from Luke 4, too. Jesus read words that were not the Masoretic Text. Evidently Jesus read an Aramaic or Greek translation of the Hebrew which didn’t measure up to the Hebrew text in all points. More than just reading it once, He did so as was His custom. And He read it like it was Scripture. He called it Scripture, and yet divine appellations were missing in the reading he read. Whole phrases were added to it.

    Just how does saying the LXX was created after Luke 4 help your argument? Damien’s point about the early church’s use of the LXX is big. Jerome stood against the prevailing view when he argued for the Hebrew text being the standard, even then Jermoe’s text took centuries before it became the standard. So if God’s people received His word, and textual differences between competing texts are so very important and meaningful in our Christian lives, how does this fit into the story of the early church that we have?

  8. David T. on

    Thank you Damien!

    Your bit on Jesus not ripping the Pharisees over versions is a new thought for me, and I am very much impressed at that insight. I am so far removed from my 2001 conversion from KJVO that I had not only locked up the closet so to speak but also began to have the smallest of inklings to reevaluate, when I read this. The constant drumbeat of KJVO family leaves me wondering if I am deceived, but the example and life of Christ is irrefutable!

  9. Kent Brandenburg on

    DT,

    There is a reason that this is not a historic view. We should take that into consideration. It doesn’t seem to bother other people, which has me thinking that truly they are the ones “dodging” this. It’s not honest to leave out historic theology on an issue so important. I think it is even more dangerous because it relates directly to the gospel. But I understand Bob’s silence—he gives up historic soteriology in order to take a shot at the KJVO view—something more in line with his purpose of going after his former crowd. The truth has got to be bigger than what crowd we want to hang out with.

    You wrote: “But just because the Word is used by God to bring life into a sinner still doesn’t mean we attribute salvation to the Word.” James 1:18 attributes salvation to the Word. James 1:18 says we are begotten by the Word of Truth. This explains why the relationship of the believer to the Word of God to the believer is so important (James 1:19-27). You see the same type of argument used by Peter in 1 Peter 1. We are holy because the Word that regenerated us is incorruptible—the nature of the Word brings the nature of the believer. And it is the written Word, not some kind of “spoken Word” separate from the written Word. God breathed out the graphe, the written Word, and that is the basis of our salvation, not ideas that the Holy Spirit uses.

    You’ve got to take something into consideration dispensationally with prophets and with apostles. The apostles doctrine was equivalent to the Word of God, but Paul still called it the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13). The apostolic age is not an exact model for our present practice.

    It seems you just dismissed what Owen wrote in the seventeenth century about the Septuagint. He argues internally by actually giving real quotes and illustrating his point. Somebody who cared would say, “Owen wrote on that. Well, I should read that. Thanks.” But you dismiss it without a word.

    You say that you researched heavily and you have a “consensus” that they quoted from the LXX. I can’t actually wrap my brain around your consensus. If I made the same kind of point, that is, that I had a consensus, I would be smacked silly by your readers. And if they were quoting from the LXX, then why in a good percentage of cases do we get quotations that match the Masoretic?

    Bob,

    You’ve got a problem with Luke 4 if Jesus was “quoting the LXX,” because it doesn’t match up with the LXX either. I’ve not dodged this issue. Rather than rewriting what I’ve written before on this, here’s a link:

    http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2008/08/critique-of-2008-fundamental-baptist.html

    Many of your arguments rely on more accurate transmission of history (Jerome argument) than they do upon the Bible’s promises of preservation. I am amazed, first, at how much you are willing to twist passages on preservation out of teaching preservation and yet to talk ancient history into promoting your point of view. The WC and LBC didn’t come to the same conclusions as you. I would say that the enlightenment and its children heavily relate to your position on this.

  10. Damien T Garofalo on

    Brother Kent,

    I don’t think this is not a historic view. That’s why I referred to the early creeds and the Didache and their absence of emphasizing the scriptures as the basis for faith. The Bible just became more emphasized because of the question of authority leading up to the Reformation. But these are really two different things: 1) the Bible, for the Christian, as the authority in the faith – which I affirm with you 2) the Bible, for the unbeliever, in its role for bringing men to Christ – which I guess we’re disputing, but perhaps more for my lack of articulation. I did not and do not deny the Bible’s role in brining men to Christ. I deny that they must first embrace the Bible like Christians do – as the inspired, inerrant, authoritative word of God in order to embrace Christ. Believing the Bible is just that is a result of becoming a Christian, not the cause. And so my argument was, in that case, it is not right to try to squeeze the Lord Jesus into a biblical construct because that indicates putting the Bible above Christ. In the link that you provide, you admit to doing just that:

    “4) If Jesus quoted the LXX, He would have been endorsing a corrupt text, which clashes with all of the teaching throughout Scripture on a pure and perfect Bible. If there is another legitimate or viable explanation for why the LXX and the quotes of Jesus match up, we should look for it, based on a biblical presupposition of the purity of Scripture.”

    Despite the fact that the internal and external evidence strongly suggests otherwise, you just have to come up with an explanation for what Christ did here, to meet your pre-made standards. Now, you’re going to say that those standards are biblical. Well, yes they come from the Bible, but did you ever consider that you understanding of them could be off? That’s my point here – that if we have things in the scriptures which necessitate harmonization, we start with Christ. That’s giving Him the preeminence.

    Concerning the word, you haven’t showed how saying that the text itself is not the determining factor is a wrong assumption. Historic soteriology, if you will, attributes this to regeneration. The Word is used, yes, but sometimes the word is just a paraphased summary of the gospel, what then? It’s all Jesus – the Bible is nothing without Him, the cross means nothing if He wasn’t on it, the empty tomb means nothing if He didn’t come out of it.

    And it can be the spoken word. both Peter and the writer of Hebrews talk about the world being framed by the “word” of God. Did God create the worlds with the Bible? I guess this goes back to what the Word ultimately is.

    Your explanation for the apostolic age fits well and I agree it’s a good explanation for your side, but what about the post-apostolic, pre-written-canon stage? Is there a dispensation for that? And if you find one, demonstrate how that’s historic theologically. thanks.

    About my consensus comment, here’s what I said:
    “I’ve done a lot of research for this post, especially on the LXX, and it seems that the consensus is that the early Christians used the LXX as their basic OT, which is the main reason the Jews rejected it”

    Let me clarify what that means. I was introducing another argument, based upon your reasoning about the church recognizing the “words.” The “consensus” is not dealing with the NT writers, but “early Christians”. What I’m saying is that in the works I’ve read leading up to this post, there was an additional fact I’ve not even discussed, namely that for the first few centuries of Christian history, the LXX was the OT used, and the Jews in turn went back to the MT as a result. All I’m saying is that if the early Christians used the LXX, shouldn’t we, based on your reasoning?

    You mentioned several times in other posts/comments about how sometimes Jesus and the apostles don’t quote the LXX. That changes nothing about my arguement. I even specifically said in this post that out of all 300+ OT quotes in the NT, about 2/3 of them are LXX. So I acknowledge that fully. So what? The thrust of my post doesn’t change a bit on this fact, but is probably strengthened because I am arguing against an exclusive-Bible position.

    And about Owen. Sorry I didn’t respond the way you wished. You didn’t respond about the KJV translators either. So now what do we do? You can make history say what you want. If all Owen did was affirm your position, must I read him? (honestly I can’t find that specific source, if you’d like to buy it for me I’ll take it.) Before Owen, others disagreed (KJV translators), after Owen others disagree (the majority of textual scholars). Somewhere in between, there’s Owen. We can do that for any position in the world, find someone in history who agrees. I don’t “dismiss” it anymore than I “dismiss” the other thousands of opinions I’ve not read to this point. I honestly did look for it, and I’ll be glad if you reproduce the exact thing he said.

    Bob,

    don’t you regret using the word “dodging” now?

  11. fundyreformed on

    Actually, no. Dodge he did. And dodge he’s done again. Taking Luke 4 at face value, Jesus opened the Scriptures, read, then explained the meaning, and sat down. The explanation was short, and that was the “wow” factor of his message.

    In the post Kent directed us to where he deals with Luke 4, he gave a quote by Strousse about targumming:

    The reader read the OT Scripture and then gave his running interpretation or Targum of the passage at hand (vv. 17b-19). 3) The reader rolled up the scroll, handed it back, and sat down (v. 20).

    Notice, text read first, text explained second, then the teacher sits down. In Luke 4 the text that was read does not match the MT, call the text an Aramaic translation, call it an alternate Hebrew text, call it a Greek translation, call it the LXX, call it John Doe’s version, I don’t care…. whatever it is, it does not match the MT. And Luke clearly describes the words he quotes as the words on the page Jesus read. By using those words and teaching from them, how does Jesus avoid endorsing a faulty translation/textual reading?

    Dodge away….

  12. fundyreformed on

    Looking at this again, the words in red don’t help matters for this passage. Luke 4:18-19 are not a quote by Luke of what Jesus said. The KJV says:

    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. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me….. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 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. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

    So the words are Luke’s telling us what was written in the book that Jesus read from. Jesus’ words include a reference to the text as scripture (not a targum or explanatory preaching session). He didn’t call it revelation or new scripture, but scripture (what was already written down and treated as God’s word).

  13. fundyreformed on

    Now for a textbook illustration of how to dodge well:

    Many of your arguments rely on more accurate transmission of history (Jerome argument) than they do upon the Bible’s promises of preservation. I am amazed, first, at how much you are willing to twist passages on preservation out of teaching preservation and yet to talk ancient history into promoting your point of view. The WC and LBC didn’t come to the same conclusions as you. I would say that the enlightenment and its children heavily relate to your position on this.

    Yes and my point was all about preservation passages, the WC and LBC, etc. All of this just muddies the waters and evades the issue I brought up that he was evading.

    Let’s call all history suspect, and assume God’s people really went with the MT not Greek translations/LXX in the first few centuries after Christ. Let’s say the LXX didn’t exist at Christ’s time, and was in fact created after the fact and harmonized with the NT use of the OT to add legitimacy to divergence the NT displays from the Hebrew OT. That will divert people from really thinking about the ramifications of NT authors and Jesus using OT Scripture and quoting it in ways that differ from the MT.

    If I know one thing about Kent, it is that he won’t stand a “gotcha”. And he’ll throw everything he can back at me on this. But there’s more than just Luke 4 on this. And there’s more than just the NT quoting the OT on this. The Bible’s illustration of how and when to use the Bible’s text, and how to quote it, is clear. And when you realize how pervasive and consistent it is, the conclusion is compelling, for those who will listen.

  14. David T. on

    It occurs to me that disputing whether Jesus quoted the LXX misses the point. If what Jesus quoted does not match the MT, KJVOs have a problem. The math is simple. If:
    1.KJV OT & NT=Perfect, and
    2.KJV OT=MT, and
    3.Jesus’ quote MT
    then
    Jesus’ quote Perfect

    Maybe Jesus was quoting some long lost Sanhedrin-approved proto-MT Hebrew text. It wouldn’t help the KJVO case. To echo fundyreformed, Luke 4 is explicit about what was actually physically written in the book that Jesus read. Luke didn’t say “it read something like this,” or “my version reads this,” Luke said “where it was written,” without equivocation. Kent and other KJVOs must grapple with this passage, because it represents a reading that, REGARDLESS OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE LXX, does not match the MT/KJV.

  15. David T. on

    I meant to say:

    1.KJV OT & NT=Perfect, and
    2.KJV OT=MT, and
    3.Jesus’ quote does not equal the MT
    then
    Jesus’ quote does not equal Perfect

    The system didn’t like my unequal sign…

  16. Damien T Garofalo on

    Thanks for your insights, Bob and David. You’re both right that the crux of the issue is indeed what Luke specifically says. Trying to question the LXX is a strawman, but even those arguments are weak. So much has been written about the LXX, I find things all the time that affirm what I’m saying here. But again, if that’s disputed, the KJVO still has to deal with the fact that Christ quoted something different as scripture.

    It occurred to me that we employ the same harmonization with the Sabbath. Our SDA pals might argue like the KJVO here, and say that there’s so much scripture about the Sabbath, that we can’t do away with it all because of one instance of Jesus teaching otherwise. SDA explanations try to harmonize Jesus’ relationship to the Sabbath with the other passages, rather than vice versa. Could it be that the KJVO is doing the same thing here?

  17. David T. on

    Right, Damien… Their understanding of preservation is what they have to harmonize with. The doctrine of Preservation is what KJVOs are trying to defend, and being unable to identify a particular version as being 100% textually accurate to the autographs falsifies preservation, for them.
    Thus they insist on a specific understanding of preservation where is it not Scripturally warranted. When you point this out, they throw up their hands and say you can’t know what God’s word says, and you can’t hold it as your final authority, unless you understand preservation on their terms.
    This is their presupposition.

  18. Kent Brandenburg on

    “Dodge” is a nice word. I’m not dodging anything. You guys constantly say something like that. The sources you use make a difference. I’m making that point. Bob relies on “history.” There is no promise of a preservation of history and he is going way back. And essentially DT, you say that there is a consensus—that’s all I get. The KJV translators knew Greek and Hebrew—they translated. That doesn’t mean that we rely on mainly Anglicans, baptismal regenerationists, for our theology. Do you? Do you you rely on the unregenerate for theology? I point out John Owen. He’s a believer. He represents a believing position based on scriptural presuppositions.

    Know what Bob and others dodge? They dodge what scripture actually teaches on this subject of preservation. And then he says I dodge because I don’t a view of “the” LXX based upon biblical presuppositions. It shows their epistemology and their apologetic. We have all these verses that teach a historic view of preservation. And you take your position not from statements about preservation, but from these presuppositionally contrived “LXX” view. And I say “LXX” because we don’t have a basis to believe there was an LXX before the second century, AD.

    Here is what Alfred Edersheim says about this very passage in Luke 4 (p. 5).

    It was, indeed, Divine ‘wisdom’–‘the Spirit of the Lord’ upon Him, which directed Jesus in the choice of the text for His first Messianic Sermon. It struck the keynote to the whole of His Galilean ministry. The ancient Synagogue regarded Is. lxi. 1, 2, as one of the three passages, in which mention of the Holy Ghost was connected with the promised redemption. In this view, the application which the passage received in the discourse of our Lord was peculiarly suitable. For the words in which St. Luke reports what followed the introductory text seem rather a summary than either the introduction or part of the discourse of Christ.

    Alfred Edersheim (March 7, 1825 – March 16, 1889) was a Jewish convert to Christianity and a Biblical scholar known especially for his book The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (1883). Edersheim was born in Vienna of Jewish parents of culture and wealth. English was spoken in their home, and he became fluent at an early age. He was educated at a local gymnasium and also in the Talmud and Torah at a Hebrew school, and in 1841 he entered the University of Vienna. He was Select Preacher to Oxford University 1884-85 and Grinfield Lecturer on the Septuagint 1886-88 and 1888-89.

    Edersheim lectured on the Septuagint at Oxford and he doesn’t say that Luke 4 is a quotation of the Septuagint.

    What is with this dodging of Edersheim?

    DT, what are you going to take a source of doctrine? Didache or James? This is where our epistemology is tell-tale.

    Speaking of a gotcha, Bob, and others. I totally dismantled Wallace’s article that you and others regularly quote about “scriptural teaching” on preservation. I’ve got only silence on this. The lack of admission is on your side. Bob must use words like “dodge” because he relies on post-enlightenment rationalism for his position.

  19. Kent Brandenburg on

    This sentence: “And then he says I dodge because I don’t a view of “the” LXX based upon biblical presuppositions.” It should read like this, “And then he says I dodge because I don’t have a view of “the” LXX like him, mine based upon biblical presuppositions.”

  20. Damien T Garofalo on

    Ok, where to begin?

    I don’t know what you mean by “you guys constantly say something like that”, or who the “you guys” are, but I don’t know if everyone on the non-KJVO side are constantly telling “you guys” that you’re dodging something. If it’s found on one side, it certainly is found on both. How about we agree to just discuss the issues and not try to get at other people’s motives or try to criticize the way they argue? That’s a request for all of us, myself included, and Bob and Kent. I realize it can get heated between you two, as seen in other blogs, and just ask that we all agree to keep the argumentation about the issues at hand and that’s it. I do think that Bob saying you’ve dodged something, Kent, was his way of saying your argument avoided the actual issue, which I still agree with. You keep attacking the LXX but aren’t answering the fundamental problem of Christ quoting something different – Luke 4 only being oneexample of which.

    Forget the consensus thing, I’ve explained what I meant by that and your not addressing what I said.

    It’s amazing how you keep changing the goals in order to try to win the argument. You ask for historical proof that people agree with something I’ve said. So then I quote the KJV translators (who you think very highly of, according to your blog- in fact when I brought up Rev 16:5 on your blog you said the KJV translators knew what they were doing in including it in the text. you obviously trust their scholarship), and then since I quote them you ask me if I “rely” on baptismal regenerationist Anglicans for my theology! what in the world? How can anyone argue like this? Later on you try to get me with your “Didache or James?” quote. Did I ever say the Didache was a source of doctrine? Ever? Is that in the article? Why, oh why would I even mention the Didache? Oh yeah, because you asked me for some history! It seems your strategy is to turn the tables around when you get an answer. When you asked for other historic proof of a nonKJVO position before the Enlightenment, I went over to your blog and referenced Wycliff. then you dismissed Wycliff because he lived in a Catholic area and I guess didn’t know better than to accept the Vulgate. So basically, your “challenge” to find a pre-Enlightenment support of nonKJVOism and nonKJVO bibliology will never be answered because you’ll keep changing the goals. Your making history say what you want, and you mentioned it so much that I should be the one asking if you are relying on it rather than the Bible for your doctrine.

    You mention Edershiem. No one is dodging him. You can’t dodge something not thrown at you. I should know, I’m pretty good at dodgeball. So you bring him up. My suspicion is, if I bring up someone from his time period who agreed with me, you’d tell me its post-Enlightenment, so what’s the point?

    Now you/re right, Edersheim doesn’t allow for Jesus quoting the LXX. That’s his opinion. Though I can’t out-argue this expert, I think I’ve given reference to more credible folks in the articles I’ve written. But something else should be pointed out. Edersheim doesn’t agree with you that there was no LXX at that time. So do you trust him when he says that? Here’s what he also said about the text in question:

    “No doubt Jesus read alike the Haphtarah and the text of His discourse in Hebrew, and then ‘targumed’ or translated it: while St. Luke, as might be expected, quotes (with but two trifling alterations12) from the rendering of the LXX.”

    So here’s a guy that agrees with your targum theory. Fine. But he also says that Luke quoted from the LXX rendering. How did Luke do this if he didn’t have an LXX? furthermore, that would still be putting God’s approval on another version being that Luke was, after all, inspired by God to write it.

  21. fundyreformed on

    I agree, we need to keep the debate charitable. I apologize for getting a little agitated.

    Here’s my beef, as illustrated perfectly in Kent’s most recent reply. David T and myself, not to mention Damien have zeroed in on one particular thing: Luke’s mention that the very scroll Jesus read from, was not a MT scroll. Luke doesn’t quote Jesus’ words, he quotes the scroll in Jesus’ hand.

    To date, Kent has not interacted with that point. He has gone in circles around this issue. He is bringing up the Bible’s teaching on preservation. We do understand that those of us in this debate take different positions on the interpretation of passages purported to teach a perfect preservation. We could argue that. But the argument here is not concerning preservation. That is not pertinent to the Luke 4 issue, directly.

    He also brings up the supposed non-historicality of our position, as Damien rightfully complains about here. Any evidence you try to present will be dismissed.

    But it all boils down to the words of Luke 4. They don’t support a targumming view. Luke says the words in the book said “[insert quotation from Luke 4 here]”. And he says this book was the scroll of Isaiah. So Luke is giving us a direct witness to the text of Isaiah available in Jesus’ synagogue. It was not a Hebrew MT text.

    That says a lot. It would seem that there should be some explanation or exegesis of Luke 4 which shows us 1) that Luke is quoting Jesus and 2) that Jesus is targumming, or quoting freely from the OT. Or else some other explanation like 3) Luke himself is targumming and synthesising Jesus’ targumming of the OT, but 4) Luke’s introduction to the “quotation” in some way clues us off to the fact that Luke is giving us this summary of a sermon, not an actual quotation from the scroll of Isaiah.

    I contend that none of the 4 options above adequately deal with the text of Luke 4.

    Thanks Damien for trying to keep us on track here, in this whole debate.

    PS I’m intentionally avoiding addressing some of the peripheral matters that Kent brought up here, because I’m honing in on the Luke 4 thing primarily.

    PPS One last note. The argument I give in this post does not at all depend on the date of when the LXX was created.

  22. fundyreformed on

    OK, reread Kent’s latest post (not sure if more are in the moderation queue, but the one that starts with: “Dodge”…). I caught this bit on a second read through: “The sources you use make a difference. I’m making that point.” I went back and reviewed things, and I think I understand why I started out with “dodge” in my posts.

    One of Damien’s main points in his post here was that KJV Only proponents try to explain away the LXX argument by saying it was made later than the NT, or that it was a targum or some such thing. Then Brandenburg’s first post focuses on our lack of history, the point he says he’s making, and then puts forth Owen as evidence on the LXX doesn’t exist point.

    So he chose not to deal with the argument Damien made that it doesn’t matter if the LXX was around or not, but Luke quotes something not perfectly in line with the Hebrew MT. So to be fair, it wasn’t really a dodge. I took it that way because he acted like Damien hadn’t made that point. And when some of us called out that point, he again didn’t address it.

    He doesn’t have to address it. Damien does have a point about him bringing in history which then gets left out of the equation for satisfying Brandenburg’s request for history.

    Anyway, I think I’ve said my piece, and I’ll bow out. It is interesting though that we’ve still not heard that particular argument handled. Even in the link Brandenburg gave, he didn’t deal with this exact argument. At the end of the day, whether or not the LXX was around before the NT, one thing is strikingly clear in the NT. The authors and Jesus himself find no need to stick to an extreme perfect word-for-word translation when quoting from the Old Testament.

  23. Kent Brandenburg on

    I’m not close to as sensitive about anyone else on the internet than Bob. I feel I have some responsibility to keep him from doing damage everywhere. I see him as a kind of wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’ve been very merciful to Bob in not writing a huge expose of him that would give several details to his “testimony” that would make him not the hero of the story. Anyone saying I would dodge anything bothers me, but especially coming from him.

    Back to the point at hand. Bob and DT, you are missing a ton here.

    Sure I say go to history, but who you go to in history makes a difference. It’s not just finding a quote. Yes, I respect the translation abilities of the KJV guys, but that doesn’t mean that I respect Anglican theology, and I believe that their view of the LXX is a theological one. Regarding Rev. 16:5, your example, that’s still a translation issue, not a theological one. I say the same thing with “Didache” regarding coming to a theological position. If your position isn’t found in a period of widespread biblical teaching, so you have to go back to Didache to get your theology, something is wrong. That’s my point DT. It’s not just a matter of producing history.

    To start here, however, we should be going to Scripture first, and that’s what isn’t happening with you guys, so it is sure that we are going to come to a different position.

    During Bob’s entire last comment, he says that I don’t deal with Luke 4. I dealt with Luke 4. DT didn’t include the belief by Owen or by Silva and Jobes. Bob keeps saying it is a “quote.” I used the Edersheim comment to back up the idea that it isn’t a quote. I’m not dodging anything to say it isn’t a quote. Edersheim says it isn’t a quote. Was he dodging too? That’s my point about dodging. I wasn’t saying DT was dodging that, but asking whether Edersheim was dodging. Of course, instead making much about the actual point I made from Edersheim, the believer, DT starts looking for Edersheim support of the LXX and emphasizes that point. I didn’t say I agreed with Edersheim about everything. I was saying that Edersheim wasn’t saying that Jesus was “quoting” the LXX, so I DID deal with the argument. They aren’t quotes. Jesus targums and then those targums get put into the LXX a good amount of times by Christians. Owen and Silva and Jobes agree with that. And that fits a scriptural presupposition of inerrancy, of perfection, of preservation. I start with the presupposition. You guys don’t do that. You take the Wallace evidentialism of “don’t let your theological presuppositions affect the evidence; just let the evidence take you where it leads you.”).

    I did, by the way, deal with the text of Luke 4 in the link that I gave. I’ve dealt with it before. He couldn’t have been reading straight from the Isaiah scroll, even if the Isaiah scroll had been utilized in Jesus time there in the synagogue. I believe that somebody already read from the scroll and Jesus targummed. The reason this wasn’t the text from Isaiah is because a piece of it isn’t even in Isaiah. That blows apart that whole reading from the LXX view. A little chunk of a passage in Psalms is used in Jesus’ targum.

    Nobody dealt with that. Something that DT doesn’t want to call a dodge (for the sake of “kindness”), but says that he agrees with Bob that I’m dodging.

    David T (above),

    You say the way we believe in preservation. How about the way that WC and LBC believed in preservation and applied it. They believed they had perfect apographa. The critical text/eclectic/MVO position is the new position. It doesn’t come from a position on preservation of Scripture. That’s what’s new about it.

    One more thing,

    This is typical of—KJVO people don’t handle arguments—and I can tell you that I don’t avoid anyone’s arguments. I get them regularly avoided by the MVO side. Many, many. I should do a whole blog to show which ones don’t get answered.

    And one more thing. I just noticed DT, your paralleling us with Seventh Day Adventists. Nice. I’ve noticed Islamics and Jehovah’s Witnesses taking the same position as you on the text. Mussolini got the trains to run on time.

  24. Damien T Garofalo on

    This is plain ridiculous.

    The majority of these comments are about one another and not the actual issues at hand. I know that the KJVO issue is a sensitive one, but please, can we give each other the benefit of the doubt that we’re all sincere, Christ-following, Bible-believing Christians that are honestly trying to pursue truth?

    I don’t know if you’re proud of your track record, Kent, but I know it’s been noted before of your knack for getting banned from other blogs. Do you ever wonder why that might be the case?

    Anyone who is literate can read clearly what’s being said here. You’re attempting to read between the lines and point out something that apparently no other Holy-Ghost indwelt Christian is seeing. When I referenced the SDA, I was making a parallel between a certain kind of argumentation. Do you deal with that? Of course not. You accuse me if comparing you to them. Well, in any case, if you think what I’ve done is wrong, then why have you retaliated? What kind of example is that for us poor, young, misguided post-Enlightenment, Dan Wallace worshipers?

    Look, it’s my blog and here’s the deal. I’ve given the last word on any issue relating to someone else’s supposed motivations, agendas, or style of argumentation. We’re not here to debate the debate. We’re here to talk about the issues. There’s a lot that can be said, for the sake of sharpening and edifying one another, that hasn’t been said yet because of side issues and personality. We must let it go before we start to dislike one another on a personal level. We’re brothers, right? So, from henceforth, if the next comment involves anything other than the issues discussed in the article , it will be deleted.

    thanks! :)

  25. fundyreformed on

    Damien: “So, from henceforth, if the next comment involves anything other than the issues discussed in the article, it will be deleted.”

    Considering the length of the article and the number of points covered, that still leaves us a lot of room! ;)

    Thanks for tackling this sticky issue, Damien. And for trying to keep the discussion on track. I apologize if I helped derail it. I think I’ve made my point, but I really didn’t have to because you did so in your post quite well.

    Blessings in Christ to you and everyone else in the comments here,

    Bob

  26. Kent on

    DT,

    You go back to Didache for your position, this Christological one, the one that you use Dan Wallace to back up. Regarding Didache—how could that be an orthodox position when the Didache wasn’t even available until the late 19th century.

    And yes, this view of “preservation” is post-enlightenment historically. You won’t find it before that and it relates to textual criticism, a post-enlightenment practice. It is evidentialist rather than fideistic. It is a point I keep making that you don’t deal with. It doesn’t come from presuppositions, but starts with evidence.

    I’ve got to go to class, but I’ll come back later perhaps.

  27. Damien T Garofalo on

    I don’t go back to the Didache for my position. Had I done so, it would have been in the article. I brought up the Didace (as well as the early creeds which you have not mentioned) because you asked for some history. The Didache may not have been discovered until late but it was written, of course, much earlier. The early creeds were better preserved, and many Protestants consider them of value and representing early Christianity before the rise of the Roman Catholic Church. My position is Christological. That’s what I’ve tried to articulate and develop in this entire series.

    I don’t think Erasmus, Beza, Wycliff, Luther, Calvin, or the KJV translators held to the KJVO doctrine of preservation. Though textual criticism became a more exact science post-enlightenment, the practice of considering variations in the text and creating texts is nothing new. There are roughly 20+ editions of the TR.

    The idea of fideism vs evidentialism brings up a good point. I’ve addressed that in the series in how it relates to the vindication of Christianity as a whole. I believe that a segment of KJVO (I say that to make sure it doesn’t represent everyone who is KJVO) believes that Christianity stands or falls on biblical inerrancy. I believe that’s a sort of evidentialist approach. That’s elaborated further in the series.

    One could equally say it’s fideistic that the evidence will always lead to the Truth. In other words, though evidence governs the choosing of textual variants, we are confident that this evidence will never lead us to an unorthodox position. This is dealing with a new subject, though, and that’s the subject of textual criticism, which wasn’t thoroughly discussed in the series. I’ll briefly do that here.

    When Wallace and others speak of not letting theology into TC, they have a good point. Let’s take I John 5:7. This is the most extremely explicit affirmation of the Trinity in the Bible – if it’s in the Bible. The evidence says it is not in the Bible. So am I an evidentialist because I think it doesn’t belong in the text? I don’t think so. I am a Trinitarian, through and through. I would love to have this verse. but my theology shouldn’t get in the way. It’s not enough to say this verse should be included because it affirms the Trinity. That’s the point of what these guys are saying. The evidence will point to the Truth no matter what because we already believe (fideistically) that God’s word is trustworthy. Therefore, we’re not afraid of what the textual data will yield. I believe thats why there’s no false doctrine in the modern versions.

  28. Kent Brandenburg on

    That’s not all that Wallace means, DT. He means that our view of preservation and Holy Spirit illumination and guidance shouldn’t get in the way.

    I think it is important for something to be historic. If it isn’t, then Scripture ought to easily overturn it. You go to Didache for your history, but the Didache is a questionable document based upon its history. And it is obvious that people didn’t take that position for centuries. Your saying that post-reformation dogmatics clashed with the reformers doesn’t have historic or theological merit. It would at least with Kurt Aland’s statement that between the 16th and 18th centuries, Christians believed that the Greek text they possessed was perfect. He’s not the only one to say that. You should also take into consideration Muller’s Post-Reformation Dogmatic Theology. He is a foremost historian, I believe the top about that period. And he agrees. Get volume II.

  29. Damien T Garofalo on

    I disagree. I didn’t see where Wallace attacks Holy Spirit illumination and guidance. And, get in the way of what? He is indeed talking about the choosing of textual variants. This is in his writings as well as when he was on the Ankerberg program. In one article that you pointed to, he is discussing Luke 2:22. If you read the article carefully, all he is saying is that, trying to vindicate the an apparent discrepancy in the Bible is not always easy, but we can’t rest at just one option because it satisfies our theology. We must get to proper understanding. But before you think he’s advocating errors in the Bible, he specifically says that he starts with the belief that the Bible is accurate, infallible, and authoritative. He calls it a faith-stance. I agree. I believe, in faith, in the Bible’s reliablilty. So why should I be afraid of where the evidence leads?

    As Baptists, we both want Acts 8:37 to be in the Bible. Our Presbyterian brothers might not be so concerned, theologically. So who decides? I think that’s the point of not letting theology govern our textual choices.

    But again, this article is not about Wallace, but how Jesus used the OT. Getting back to that, how can we account for what Luke did here? At face value, Luke does tell us what was “written’. If Jesus targummed or translated or whatever, what does Luke mean by that?

    Forget the Didache. I mentioned that almost in passing as a response to show how early Christianity approached the subject. I’m not here to defend the Didache or use it as a standard.

    I don’t deny that those between 16-18th centuries believed that. My argument is that others believed the same about differing texts, so someone was wrong. Wycliff considered the Vulgate the Bible. Luther, who actually said it was no small miracle that God preserved His word, attributes the word to the Vulgate, which he himself considered erroneous. See, if Martin in Germany thinks his text is perfect, and John in England thinks his text is perfect, and Desiderius in Rome thinks his text is perfect, but none of those texts agree, someone is obviously wrong. Or perhaps what they meant by perfect is not what we think.

  30. P S Ferguson on

    If our intrepid anti-KJVers wish to maintain that the statements of Christ were based on errant manuscripts, then the burden of theological proof lies on them. In making such a statement, one would imagine they would have explicit biblical teaching distinguishing the authority and reliability of the autographa and copies of them. One would also reasonably expect to make such a bold assertion that they would have least researched and seen extant manuscripts of any Biblical texts from the first century. However, they do not have a single Scriptural reference for their audacious claim or even a single copy of a first century manuscript. In fact what they argue explicitly contradicts what the Bible says as, for instance, God promised Isaiah, “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” (Isa 30:8). It is interesting to note that although the Jews were accused of many things, the corruption of the Old Testament was never once suggested by either the Lord or the apostles.

    God does not approximately speak the truth and the unchallengeable testimony of Jesus was, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Indeed in John 17:8 Jesus said, “I have given unto them the words which You gave Me and they have received them.” Christ taught using Words that He claimed were absolute eternal truths (John 8:26, 40) and a denial as such strikes at the heart of the His role as a Prophet and Teacher. The inerrancy of these Words is affirmed as we are also told that, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him” (John 3:34).In Matthew 22:29 Jesus rebuked, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures.” If the scriptures were only accessible in the Originals then why would He chide them for being ignorant of Words that were not available?

    Even when Satan tempted Christ, our Lord submitted Himself to the written Words of God from the Old Testament as His sole defence (Matt 4:4 cf. Deut 8:4), which vindicates the promise of His Father, as having, “magnified thy word above all thy name” (Ps 138:2). Christ made it clear that the Old Testament copies of His day was sufficient to witness to the truth of God and His salvation (Luke 16:31). He often rebuked His enemies by citing the writings of Moses from the oldest part of the Scriptures by showing that although man may be in error, the Scriptures are never (Matt 22:29; John 17:17). However, Christ did rebuke His enemies when Pharasaical teaching altered the text of the Old Testament Scriptures such as in regard to hatred (Matt 5:43) and with respect to divorce (Matt 19:7). In Acts 17:2, when Paul “reasoned with them out of the scriptures” he also never criticized the text even though he did not have the Old Testament originals. These Paul writes were the “scriptures of the prophets…made known to all nations” (Rom 16:26).

    This inerrancy of the statements of Christ goes to the very heart of the trustworthiness and truth of the gospel as if what He said was not wholly true, then our salvation has no dependable and divine warrant. The continuity of the message depends upon the totality of all scriptural revelation writings because scripture constantly references the truth-claims in other portions of scripture. The Psalmist makes clear, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” (Psa. 139:17). This belief that Christ and the Apostles only had access to errant manuscripts would also have the effect of having to accept that there has never been an inerrant and inspired complete Bible of canonized books on earth that any generation of the church has ever had access. Accordingly, the hypothetical inerrant originals are in reality a utopian and trivial concept.

    Christians must believe that Jesus Christ has spoken truthfully, although not exhaustively, in all scripture. Christ’s testimony is so important because God authenticated and proved Him to be the Son of God by His resurrection (cf. Acts 2:22-36; 4:8-12; 17:30-31; Rom 1:4). As man cannot be trusted as using himself as a reference point for truth, we are left with the only option but to take the Bible at face value with respect to what it teaches about God’s work in the universe and His historical dealings with man. If every quotation from the Old Testament in the New Testament had mistakes, how do we know what actually was the original wording? For instance, if we accept that the Gospels we rely on to reveal the risen Christ has mistakes, who can determine exactly and objectively where the few mistakes are? How do textual critics expect us to believe in a true historical evaluation of these sources? Christ himself believed in the inerrancy and infallibility of His texts, and, if He was wrong in that belief, by what means can we know He was right in any other? When we survey the Scriptures themselves we find there is no precedent for the people of God living by corrupted copies (cf. Deut 17:8; 1 Kings 2:3; Prov 25:1).

  31. Damien T Garofalo on

    You’ve said a lot, so let me break it down a bit in response. . .

    “If our intrepid anti-KJVers wish to maintain that the statements of Christ were based on errant manuscripts, then the burden of theological proof lies on them. ”

    I wish you wouldn’t use the term “anti-KJVer”. I’m not against the KJV, it is a masterpiece. I do prefer modern versions, but ‘anti’ takes it too far. I would never say thinks about the KJV like the things said about modern versions from the KJVO side. Secondly, it’s not so much theological proof but biblical proof that is needed, and has been given, concerning the use of the OT by NT writers and Christ Himself.

    “If the scriptures were only accessible in the Originals then why would He chide them for being ignorant of Words that were not available?”

    I never made this argument. In fact, it’s the exact opposite case I’ve made. The scriptures were very available in the documents from which Jesus read and from which the apostles quoted that differed from the traditional Hebrew, at least what’s given to us in our OT. The argument is not about what’s available, but the fact that the extant scriptures, though different in some regard from the ‘original’, were held in the same regard . This contradicts an exclusivist position on the text.

    You are therefore making my case when you write: “Christ made it clear that the Old Testament copies of His day was sufficient to witness to the truth of God and His salvation (Luke 16:31)” and “In Acts 17:2, when Paul “reasoned with them out of the scriptures” he also never criticized the text even though he did not have the Old Testament originals.”

  32. […] “Kahle’s position on the Septuagint isn’t too different from the common perception held by scholars today, though his specific conclusion is disputed. He agreed that the tradition derived from the Letter of Aristeas was spurious. He also knew that there were varieties of Greek translations of the Old Testament. However, he took it a step further to say that the varieties were not birthed by a single prototype; rather they were in existence before a single volume took shape. In other words, there was no one Septuagint to begin with, but very diverse translations that eventually culminated into one.” Quoted from https://biblicism.wordpress.com/2009/03/13/christ-and-the-scriptures-part-iii-jesus-bibliology/ […]

  33. Paul on

    Septuagintophobia

    Dangers of “KJV Onlyism” or KJV Perfectionism

    http://bethelwimbledon.com/archives/category/bible-translation

  34. […] or falls on biblical inerrancy. For more on that, see what I’ve written here, here, and here. Jesus Christ is the foundation, center, and capstone of what we believe and why we believe it. We […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: