Or did God actually preserve His words?
Jack: And you know, when it comes to doctrine, lots of times I like to talk to people about doctrine. And many times my doctrine may be different from someone else's. However, there's one thing. If you want to talk about doctrine, what you have to do first is agree on a document that you're going to use. "This has got all the words in it we are going to start with." Then you can discuss doctrine. But until you can first agree "This is the base document we are gonna use," you're wasting your time.
Now I've read arguments by scholars. For example, one time I was interested in the subject of "Open Theism," which is, "Did God know certain things? God knows all things; but does He know future choices (of man) and things like that?" That's called Open Theism.
So one man, one theologian, was arguing using the NIV. And the other theologian was arguing using the ESV or the New American Standard. Well, the problem was, the words weren't the same.
David: No basis for argument.
Jack: No basis. I had about [an inch thick] of stuff printed out in my files, and I'm trying to go through it. And then I'd have to compare both into the standard I have, which is the King James Bible... I gave up. I couldn't do it.
It was interesting what those guys were doing, and I would have liked to hear them make their arguments. But I couldn't really do it, because they didn't agree on the wording! So how could I? I couldn't cross-reference, because they have different Bibles. They say different things.
And they MEAN different things. That's the amazing part about it. So those fellas were not only wasting my time, they were wasting their own time. They were wasting everybody's time. Because all it was, was a ... "bull session" about Open Theism, whether or not it's good or bad. And, more than that, you have a whole bunch of people saying, "Well, that's heresy."
Heresy? Nobody even knows what anybody else said!
David: You have to start with something. In the book of Deuteronomy, God spoke to Moses, and He said some important words about why they need to listen to Him, and obey His words exactly. Because how can you obey His words, if you don't know what His words really are?
In Deuteronomy 4:2, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you," pretty straightforward, by the way, "neither shall ye diminish ought from it," can't take anything away, "that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."
I want to keep His commandments! I've gotta know what they are. But if somebody paraphrases it, how do I know where God's words start and men's words stopped? How do I know which words are men's words and which words are God's words?
God says, "I don't want you to have that process at all. Give exactly My words. Don't put any more. Don't put any less."
"But a paraphrase is what the kids need!"
No, they don't. They need to know what God said. Do you want your neighbor to paraphrase how you want to discipline your kids? Or would you like to be able to tell them yourself?
You don't want somebody else to speak for you. God doesn't want man speaking for Him, as if they know His mind. Because literally, they translate, saying "Well, God really meant to say..."
You've got to be kidding me. You know the mind of God? So that God Himself doesn't know enough to put His own words and put the meaning of those words in plain sight? He has to find a scholar, hundreds of years or thousands of years later, to come up with an idea that goes BING! in his mind...
"I know! Let's change those words!" Erase, erase, erase... Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite...
"There! Now it's what God REALLY meant."
Jack: And that doesn't even count the fact that it's from a different text, which is a whole assembly of words and phrases that they're trying to determine "Well, I wonder if those are authentic or not? Well, over here; let me give you may best guess." That's what Textual Criticism is. Their Bible is a Bible that does not exist and never existed. It is "The Original Autographs," what was originally written, they never were assembled in one book to start with!
So now these guys are going to tell us... They're still searching for that which never existed in the first place.
David: And how can you take what the king cut with his pen knife and threw into a fireplace, and say, "Oh, let's go grab that out" ? You can't do that.
Or let's take the Ten Commandments out of the ark of the covenant, let's take those and somehow sow those to animal skins, and then stick them into papyri.
"Now we've got ourselves an Original Languages... Bible!"
There ain't none! Ain't never been. God never intended it. Otherwise He wouldn't have done it that way, would He?
Jack: And secondly, they can search all they want. And there are fellows who still even to this day are searching like crazy. They're going to "desert places," and they're trying to find original documents.
Well, the thing is, there's no copyright written on any piece of paper that they find. So they have to now determine, "Well, exactly how old is that fragment?" And then they'll argue amongst themselves, "Well, that's 125 A.D."
Well, you know what? If I were not a Christian, and I owned a piece of paper that was really old like that, I might go and try to find a guy that would date the thing. And whoever dated it the earliest, believe me, that's what I'd advertise. Because that makes it way more valuable than it was.
And besides, even the fragments --and I mean to tell you, they are fragments-- of papyri they find, that they claim are like, 125 A.D., and so forth, I mean, it's nothing... little, small amounts of ...
David: The size of a postage stamp, a couple of them.
Jack: Yeah, it's a chase. And all of this assumes that the Lord Jesus Christ had nothing to do with the Bible issue. That's the biggest problem with all of it I've seen. And just like you, David and I have been through the same process, where we hear the same things. "Well, the oldest and best manuscripts say this..." And "This is attested to in a particular reading," and so forth.
If you spend any time in this business you realize that that kind of argument has no end. Because it depends on who is making the argument. And believe me, there will be somebody on the other side of that argument, tell you it isn't so.
So you can chase that, but all of this assumes that the Lord, whose words they are in the first place, has nothing to do with it.