"Forever, O LORD Your word is settled in heaven" (Psa 119:89).
"For as the rain comes down...waters the earth and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isa 55:10-11).
"I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return..." (Isa 45:23).
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17).
Picking, at random, a "Confession of Faith" out of my file containing statements of faith from various churches, there is the statement "We Believe...The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men, and the Divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life" (EFC-Grand Forks, ND).
Most churches, claiming to be "Bible believing," have a similar statement. How often do we ponder the details of this statement? Most Christians will readily agree that God spoke through the Holy Spirit to men who physically wrote down the words. Whether or not they actually live such a life, IN WORDS they will also assent to the fact of its "final authority" in all matters. But, are they content to have it be the "complete revelation" of God's Will. Do they realize that it is without error? And do they even know what "in the original writings" means?
We live in a generation of people, as prophesied, who "will not endure sound doctrine...will heap up for themselves teachers...will turn away from the truth" (2 Tim 4:3-4). The LOVE LOVE generation of the 60's & 70's today is the "LOVE and GRACE" generation who only want to hear "positive" things. "Who say to the prophets, 'Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits'"(Isa 30:10).
This is a generation that loves to sit around asking each other "What do YOU THINK it means?" Not realizing that Scripture is NOT TO BE INTERPRETED!! "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation" (2 Peter 1:20). A person who wants to remain true to God's Word and WHAT IT SAYS is usually labeled "Judgmental."
Concurrent with the LOVE GENERATION was a proliferation of "translations" of the Bible that fit the new "theology." Some of the translations were even hailed as being "more accurate" because they were sourced from "older manuscripts." Yes, I was deceived by this "line" for many years, too, as I made a switch to one of those translations...after all, the older the manuscript, the closer one is to the "original writings" (as stated in the Statement of Faith) and the closer to the "original," the more "accurate"... right?
The thing that most people are not aware of is the SOURCE of these manuscripts. There are two basic sources of manuscripts. The Majority Text (MT); also known as "Textus Receptus" or "Received Text." And the Alexandrian Text (AT). These come from two separate geographical regions. While the MT is newer, it proliferates by the hundreds. While the AT is older, it is also from a region where false teaching had crept in and questioned such basic doctrines as inspiration of Scripture, the virgin birth and deity of Christ.
How do we know if the MT is more accurate? Well, for an example in modern CD and computer technology, there is a process known as "sampling rate." A CD player that samples the disc only once is pretty low fidelity because some of the information will be missed, and have to be interpolated. Quality CD players will sample the same spot on the disc 8 times, take those 8 sets of information, fill in the missing information for each other and combine it into the sound the stereo produces and is usually considered "faithful reproduction." Where the MT is concerned, there are HUNDREDS of documents which agree with each other, and NO INTERPOLATION is necessary.
Let us look at a few sample passages that illustrate the differences: Luke 2:33 MT "Joseph" vs. AT "father." Is Jesus Deity incarnate, born of a VIRGIN, or is He the illegitimate son of Joseph?
Luke 11:2 MT "Our Father in heaven" vs. AT omits "in heaven." And Luke 11:4 MT "deliver us from the evil one" vs. AT "deliver us from evil." Does God the Father exist? Is there really a heaven in which He dwells? Does Satan really exist? Is he really the deceiver? Which "father" do we pray to? Our Father in heaven, or a man-made "father" who is really a messenger of Satan?
1 John 5:7 is totally eliminated in the AT and the last half of vs. 6 becomes vs. 7. Totally ignoring the trinity of the Godhead.
Jude 1 MT "sanctified by God" vs. AT "beloved in God." This is a "convenient" switch in words for those who don't want to have to be bothered by HOLY LIVING; who believe that God's grace "accepts us JUST AS WE ARE" so therefore we don't need to be conformed to a Holy God.
So...which translations fit which category? And which translation should I read if I want to be faithful to God's Word? One inquirer listed many "Bibles" including such as Gutenberg all the way through NIV and RSV. Another reader has suggested that I should consider using KJV. Of the commonly known translations readily available at your Bible book store, the KJV, NKJV and New Scofield come from the Majority Text. The others, including RSV, NRSV, NASB, NIV come from the Alexandrian Text. (In purchasing study tools such as "interlinears" one also needs to be careful regarding origin.)
Don't even consider the "Living Bible." It is not even a translation, but was written for the..."well, you know...I mean...yea man, this is cool, far out, man...well, duh!" generation. God is not a pot-head, and does not speak as such, and will never stoop to the degeneracy and conformity of such a rebellious generation! God does not change! And His holiness does not diminish!
The KJV and NKJV are not perfect either. The most obvious flaw in KJV is the word "baptize." Translated such due to politics, as the translators didn't want to "offend" the king who had commissioned the work. In three years of reading the NKJV I find occasional flaws there, too. But overall it seems to come out fairly accurate when definitions are looked up. Since my good study tools are only available in KJV I compare the two on a regular basis, and 99% of the time come away being happy with the NKJV. As with the KJV, there is a "witness of the Spirit" with NKJV.
OF WHICH GENERATION ARE YOU? "Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things...turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us" (Isa 30:10-11).
OR... "But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word" (Isa 66:2).
(Scripture quotations are from the NKJV)