Posted by Chris McKinny | Posted in History of Ancient Israel | Posted on 3:13 PM
"What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births?(John MacArthur) Bell compares the Christian faith to a large trampoline, with its cardinal doctrines (truths evangelicals have historically deemed essential) functioning like the springs that support the jumping platform. The individual springs aren’t absolutely essential, Bell says—including the virgin birth:
But what if, as you study the origin of the word ‘virgin’ you discover that the word ‘virgin’ in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word ‘virgin’ could mean several things. And what if you discover that in the first century being ‘born of a virgin’ also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse?"
What if that spring [the virgin birth] were seriously questioned? Could a person keep on jumping? Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart? . . . If the whole faith falls apart when we reexamine and rethink one spring, then it wasn’t that strong in the first place, was it?” (26-27)To synthesize the above rambling questions into one coherent inquiry you might say Bell is asking the following question - "Does the disproving of any of the the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith mean that it, as a functioning belief system, becomes invalid and untruthful?" Bell allows his artistic rhetorical questions and flair for mysterious meaning answer the question with a negation. However, I must side with Paul (1 Cor. 15:17-19) and answer thusly, "Yes."
"It was not until evening that Pilate received a full briefing on the palm-waving phenomenon from the tribune at the Antonia. But the explanation hardly satisfied him, since it was so full of contradictions. Yes, the demonstration was in honor of a man, the prophet Jesus, who had evidently come out of hiding. Yes, the event might have serious political overtones. Many Jews though their Messiah would be declared as king on that very Mount of Olives. The crowds had also shouted praises to 'the son of David,' a loaded name if Jesus should claim to be heir of King David in a restored Judean monarchy. Even the waving of palm branches could be symbolic, for the palm was the national emblem of Palestine (my comment one criticism I have is the use of this term - it's anachronistic - the land had a name - Judea). These were Jewish flags... And of the extra quarter million people jamming Jerusalem, how many were members of the Zealot party from Galilee?One of the disadvantages of knowing the Gospel story is that we know "the end" too well - we allow it to color how we view the plot. We forget that Pilate, Caiaphas, Judas, Peter, and Jesus were real people who had real expectations of how their fates would come out and how extraordinarily surprised all of them (save the Wisdom of God) must have been with the events of Passover 33 AD. Likewise, one of the benefits of reading historical fiction is that we can recapture the sense of anticipation and feeling of "calm before the storm" that we lose in our devotional readings and expositional sermons of the Passion of the God-man.
Yet others told him that Jesus was a nonpolitical person, the commandant continued, and that he was misunderstood by the swarms of pilgrims. Still others insisted that the people knew this and were only cheering on their favorite prophet. His vehicle was not a golden chariot but a jogging ass, certainly a poor prop for any kingmakers.
And when he reached Jerusalem, Jesus made no incediary speeches to the masses or flaunted pretentions of any kind. He simply walked over to the temple, enjoyed the view across the Kidron Valley then returned with his disciples to Bethany, for it was getting toward suppertime.
Pilate was baffled by the significance of it all. The episode was harmless or it was meaningful in the extreme. But the fate of the puzzling prophet would clearly depend on what he did or did not do from now on in the face of such enthusiastic support. If Jesus veered into politics, Rome would intrude, much as Pilate hated the thought of getting involved." (Maier 1990:195-196)
I can tell you I study the Bible cover to cover... Why though? Because I have a command to do it in ...2 Timothy 2:15 ... In the modern versions there is no command to study. The English language has "evolved" into "Do your best.." or some other "interpretation" as you call it..
Now I believe the Bible was given by inspiration and we have the perfect translation in the KJV. The modern translators do not believe we have a perfect word of God in English.
You say we have an abundance of textual data, much more than in the 17th century. Which is true. However, in my opinion this only solidifies the KJV, in that approximately 99% of the newest discovered manuscripts agree with the KJV. The remaining 1% is the difference between modern translations & the KJV.
Now I didn't say we have less information or a less complete text than they did in 1611.. I said there hasn't been anything discovered that need be added to the Bible.
The fact is that over 5000 manuscripts exist of the Greek new testament & for the most part, these manuscripts along with KJV & modern translations agree. When they do not agree, modern translators refer to about 5 manuscripts because they are the oldest, which disagree with the majority manuscripts & the KJV, as opposed to the rest of the 4,995+...
Now I'm no Greek or Hebrew expert, but I can read English, & I know when somethin ain't right..
I'll give you an example..
Take your NIV & turn to Matthew 5:22, "anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement...anyone who says 'you fool' will be in danger of the fire of hell" Why, Jesus Christ was angry when he overthrew the tables in the temple in Mark 11 & he called the Pharisees fools in Matthew 23:17. You believe he is in danger of the lake of fire? Well - why not? The "oldest & most reliable" texts along with the NIV & others say that. But wait, the verse left something out. I'm sure you know, but if you don't know, you can check your KJV to see what it is (note: KJV has "angry without cause"). This "best text" you speak of OMITS a very important piece of scripture & forces Mark 11 & Matthew 23:17 to CONTRADICT Hebrews 4:15. Get out a Bible and check it out.. & I can give many more examples, this is just the one that popped in my head
I absolutely "presume" to have a perfect uncorrupted text, that's why I believe it! If you've got a corrupt bible with errors, what are you doin believing it? How do you know what's corrupted & what's not? I'm no Bible corrector, but it seems as though the modern translators thought it fit to correct the Bible & thus effectively trick you & other millions into thinking that God can't & didn't promise to preserve his word.
Psalm 12: 6-7 "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
Now read those verses in your NIV (NIV - “And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.” (Psalms 12:6–7 NIV)). What a convenient verse to change the meaning of! I'm no Greek or Hebrew expert, but I'm not too blind to see when someone is trying to fool around with the WORDS of God.
I think this is something we will just have to disagree on. Regardless, you seem like a well-meaning, respectable, well-educated Christian, and I admire your credentials.
I just urge you to reconsider the fact that the Bible you read every day is corrupted and imperfect. Don't you think that having a reliable and infallible book is essential to our faith? I know Greek & Hebrew as well, I'm no expert, but If God came down from heaven & gave me the original autographs, I'd still read my KJV. Greek is a dead language & useless to winning the lost & Hebrew is spoken by less that 1% of the world. He's magnified HIS WORD above all His precious name. If you believe He hasn't preserved his word down through the generations forever, I encourage you to look at psalm 12:7 again, in Hebrew.
I have answers to your other questions such as where was the perfect Bible before 1611, the accusation that I took Matthew 5:22 out of context, & so forth. But I do not want to be argumentative. Those answers I'm sure you are capable of finding if you want them.
I've studied the Alexandrium, the Sinaiticus & the Vaticanus.. You can call your Bible corrupt, but leave mine out of it please.
The Bible said that there will be a famine in the last days of hearing His words.. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways... So when you have two bibles telling you two different things in the same verse, (many examples IN CONTEXT) well simply put, 2+2=4
This is my last post as well, Chris, nice talking with you. I saw your pictures, I hope to make it over to Jerusalem someday in the near future. I'm sure that was a great experience! I've listened to everything you've said, keep looking into this issue, as I will do the same.
We're obviously not going to convince each other, there is no need to continue this "debate". You read over 100 translations and believe them all... I read over 100 translations and believe 1.My Final Response
One thing we do know is that His Word is settled in Heaven, & I'll be glad one day when I can ask Him face to face instead of having to deal with all this mess down here! Until then we'll just have to keep looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ!
I completely disagree with you too & hope to meet you someday, maybe we could find some things we agree on.
My Response:Ok Chris, now I'm not trying to convert you to the KJV or anything like that, the bible you choose is your choice... However, here's what I know. The KJV was translated from the Textus Receptus. You're right, there have been many new discoveries of manuscripts since 1611. BUT, there have been no new READINGS discovered. Meaning nothing new has been found that they didn't already have 400 years ago.
I believe you said more "complete" manuscripts have been found, yet when I read the NIV, I find MANY verses "missing". My favorite is Acts 8:37. So you see, if you have an NIV, you don't have a complete Bible. We can get deeper into the manuscripts they used if you want.
And that isn't all, if you have an NIV, you have a bible which is hard to understand. I'll give you an example, which of these texts makes more sense to a 21st century reader?
"The tents of marauders are undisturbed, and those who provoke God are secure."
"The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure."
Both come from Job 12:6. I'll give you one guess which one is the NIV.I'll give you another one. "I will stand at my watch, and stand myself at the ramparts." OR "I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower."
Now, you may know what "ramparts" and "marauders" mean, but the majority of 21st century readers don't, although they sing that word in their national anthem 100 times each year.
The point is, we are not capable of understanding everything that's in that Book. The Bible says that "the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." The Holy Spirit is our interpreter.
When you look at the origins of modern versions, their omissions, & contradictions, it's hard (for me at least because I'm a skeptic of everything) to believe they are the word of God. If you dont think Satan is trying to attack this book, you don't know Satan very well. He started attacking God's words right from the beginning in Genesis 3:1.
Like I said I'm a skeptic to everything, even my own religion & Book, but when you set out to disprove something that can't be disproven, your faith only strengthens.
Now, try to disprove the modern versions, & see what happens.
When the disciples screamed in the face of a storm, Jesus slept (Mk. 4:37-38). When Jesus screamed in the face of a cross, the disciples slept (Mk. 14:37,41).
Why could Jesus sleep so peacefully through a life-threatening sea-storm, and yet is awake all night in the olive garden before his arrest, crying out in anguish? Why are the disciples pulsing with adrenaline as the ship is tossed about on the Galilee Lake, but drifting off to slumber as the most awful conspiracy in human history gets underway?
I have yet to find an error in the king James Version. The same cannot be said of any other version I know of.. The KJV has many presumed errors & problematic texts... But these all can be explained with some deep study......
I disagree that the original Hebrew is the only text without error.. Simply because there are no originals there are only copies of the originals.
So be careful with that ESV.. It isn't translated from the same manuscripts as the KJV.
Some would call this tragic. Others wouldn't. I personally use KJV, but will, on occasion, refer to ESV or NIV for something that's easier to understand. I think the only real "version" without error is the original one... and that's not the KJV, its the original Hebrew and Greek text. While I do think the seemingly endless reproduction of different versions of the Bible that are required to have changed "X" number of words is a little bit of a bastardization of the text, a money plot by publishers, and just might sometimes get a little close to straying away from the original Hebrew message, I do think some people may need to refer, as I do, to a commentated source in order to understand something every once in a while. Judaism has done this without making 54 different translations... its the Talmud, and contains a commentary on the original and a commentary on the commentary., for applications sake.
that being said, I'm only comfortable saying the absolute FIRST text, in the original old Hebrew and Greek, is the divinely inspired, error free, word of God, to the horn of the yod.
The KJV says God preserved his words through the generations, the inspired inerrant scripture CAN'T be just the words on the paper of the original autographs... I can show you some shocking verses if you want...My Interjection