What Does ‘Scripture’ Mean?
Jesus frequently referred to “the scriptures” as he taught the disciples and conversed with the Pharisees. He told His disciples that some of His actions were for the purpose of fulfilling the “scriptures.” Other times he admonished the Pharisees that they did not know the “scriptures.”
In the Book of Acts, the disciples “reasoned with them out of the scriptures,” “searched the scriptures daily.” Apollos was “mighty in the scriptures,” The Apostle Paul also referred to the “holy scriptures” in his letters. There was obviously some body of writings (scripture) that were held sacred by both Jesus and the apostles.
Gary Miller, in his 5-lesson Bible study Why the King James Bible is the Perfect Word of God, points out that Matthew 22:29-31 defines the word scripture: “Jesus said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God…have ye not read that which was spoken to you by God…?” So, when the Bible refers to scripture, it is something written that was spoken by God.
Today, many churches’ Statements of Faith use descriptive phrases such as: “written without error (inerrant) in the original manuscripts,” or they believe, “the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings.” Some state the belief that only the “original autographs” are without error. (Italics added.) They no longer believe we have a perfect Bible.
Jesus and the apostles did not refer to the “original” manuscripts when quoting the scriptures. Miller points out: “You can find the word “scripture” in 53 verses of the Bible. Not one of them ever refers to the “original.” Each is referring to copies. God calls those copies “scripture.”
Jesus and the disciples all relied on trustworthy copies. So, the question becomes: Which copies are “trustworthy?” We know that the copies that they used were what we call the Old Testament. And we also know what extreme care was used by the scribes who copied it. No one seriously questions the accuracy of the OT copies. Not even Jesus or the apostles questioned them.
Did this accepted accuracy happen without God’s supervision?
Author David Daniels, possibly one of the most knowledgeable researchers on the Bible version issue, details two streams of copies down through history. One stream can be traced from Jerusalem through Antioch, across Europe to culminate in the King James Version. Daniels says that the evidence supporting this stream testifies of highly accurate copying and translating, similar to the care the OT scribes exercised.
The other stream went from Jerusalem to Alexandria and was polluted with human philosophy and produced copies that have hundreds of discrepancies. Unfortunately, all of the modern versions stem from these polluted copies. Only the KJV comes from the faithful copies and translations in the other stream.
Details of these two manuscript sources can be found in Daniels’ book, Did the Catholic Church Give Us the Bible?
Don’t be fooled. Nobody has access to the originals. Even Jesus did not have them! What we have is a choice between two kinds of copies: the preserved words of God or the perverted words of men. Which one do you think God would want you to choose?
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