By David W. Daniels
Have you looked at your church's statement of faith lately?
Is it possible it confesses faith in a Bible that does not, and never did, exist?
In Did the Catholic Church Give Us the Bible," I mentioned something called the "Original Autographs." Do you know what those are?
The first time a person writes something, it's called an "original autograph." So when Moses came down the mount, he had two tables of stone written with the finger of God (Exodus 31; Deuteronomy 9).
That was God's "original autograph" of the 10 commandments. What happened to them? Moses got angry at the people's idolatry and broke them at the foot of the mount (Exodus 32)! The original autograph of the 10 Commandments is gone. It's dust.
Then God had Moses cut out his own two tables (since he broke the ones God cut out). And God wrote on them the 1st copy of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34; Deuteronomy 10). What happened to those? They got put in the ark of the covenant, and no one knows for sure where the ark of the covenant is. For all practical purposes, the 1st copy of the Ten Commandments is gone as well. And it doesn't matter if you call it the "1st copy" or the "2nd autograph." It's not available for us. End of story.
So what did God do next?
God inspired 5 books, which Moses wrote on animal skins in a scroll format. That is called the Torah, or the Pentateuch. What happened to the Torah Scroll? It was also placed with the ark of the covenant. Where is it now? For all practical purposes, that Torah Scroll is gone, too.
What about the original autographs of Joshua through Malachi? They're gone, as well. Do we detect a pattern here?
Is God concerned with "original autographs"? Or is God concerned with preserving His words in copies? In 2 Timothy 3:15-17 God inspired Paul to say to Timothy: "...From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus... All scripture is given by inspiration of God...."
Timothy had no "original autographs." He had a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy... and on down. But God called His copy many generations later, "scripture!"
So face it: an "Original Autograph Bible" does not exist. God never intended it to exist. But don't despair. God promised to preserve His words: Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (See also Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33; Psalm 12:7 and Psalm 119:160.)
God takes it upon Himself to preserve His holy words. If He gives us copies and calls them scripture, we must trust a copy. I believe God kept His promise to preserve His words.
If your statement of faith for your church, Bible school, college, seminary or Bible club says it believes in the purity of the "original autographs" only, but doesn't state a trust in God's providential preservation of His very words for us today in English, it is based upon a lie.
The "original autographs" are gone. Only copies remain. Believers in an "original autographs only" statement of faith can never hold a Bible in their hands and say, "This Book is the inspired words of God in my language."
There is only one Bible, copied and accurately translated, that passes the test and passes down that same inspiration, and thus can be called, without any qualification, SCRIPTURE in English: the King James Bible.