In this episode, Cole talks with Dr. John Meade about his book “Scribes and Scripture: The Amazing Story of How We Got the Bible”.
When one first becomes a Christian, there is a “Pollyanna” season. The new Christian (most likely) will not immediately recognize that English was not the original language of Scripture. One might start listening to other skeptics in the culture. The Pollyanna phrase ends, and the new believer must admit there is more than meets the eye in Scripture.
Christianity is faith-seeking understanding. We do not “check faith at the door” and go along with feelings, logic, or what culture says. Christians have nothing to fear from ancient Greek manuscripts and investigating the issues that can come with the Bible.
We do not currently have access to the original copies of Scripture. A “critical edition” or “textual criticism” is about collecting all ancient manuscripts of a certain book of the Bible. All these copies are compared word for word. From these comparisons, they make best-guestimates about what the original manuscripts said.
A “Hexapla” is Greek for a six-columned Bible. This came about at the time of Oregin (a Church Father) who helped found the art of textual criticism. The original “Hexapla” was based on the Old Testament and contained Hebrew, Hebrew written in Greek letters, and then four different translations of those Hebrew texts. This included the Septuagint. Christians and Jews used this to debate the meaning of various passages, which had very different interpretations of the Old Testament.
We still have fragments of the “Hexapla” used by various Church Fathers. This work of textual criticism continues today and is something Christians should still explore. Evidence of this is the Dead Sea Scrolls.
God sovereignly works through people to preserve his Word in the work of textual criticism.
What is the strongest evidence that the 66 books we have are what God intended to be in the Bible?
Two lines of argumentation when it comes to this topic:
Self-authentication of Scripture. (My spirit attests to the authenticity of Scripture – John 10).
Church tradition. The church is settled on the New Testament books. The Old Testament books are often up for debate. The earliest Old Testament Cannon supports the Protestant Cannon.
Is it true that something is lost in all translations of Scripture?
The Greek term for translator can be defined as a “interpreter.” There is a fair amount of interpretation in translation. We might lose the original languages, but we gain the advantage of being able to access God’s Word in a language we can understand.
Take advantage of the various English translations available to you. The many English translations are something to be celebrated. They are tools to be used to aid in a greater understanding of Scripture.
Brittany Proffitt lives in Dallas and is a writer and content manager for So We Speak.