God doesn’t need original manuscripts to preserve his inerrant word

It’s accepted practice these days for both Christians and critics of Christianity to place emphasis on the importance of the Bible’s original manuscripts. To listen to their arguments, one would draw the conclusion that the same God who is powerful enough to speak a non-existent universe into existence and to raise the dead somehow isn’t capable of preserving his word throughout history. So we have unbelievers asking questions such as, “How can you really trust what the Bible says? How can you say the Bible is inerrant when you don’t even have the original manuscripts to know it still says what was in the originals?” In an effort to seemingly appease those critics as if their questions are valid, we now have Christian ministries in their statements of belief including such phrases as, “We believe the Bible is inerrant in the original manuscripts.”

God has proven that he is the one who establishes his word and guards it so that it will last forever. The multitude of his fulfilled prophecies through the ages confirms that. Here’s the assurance he gave us through his prophet-king, David, in Psalm 12:

6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

We also have these words from the Word who was with God, the Word who was God, the Lord Jesus himself:

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35

Don’t Christian ministries with their “inerrancy” statements believe what Jesus said? In Matthew 5, Jesus even covered everything in the Old Testament under his inerrant preservation clause. On top of that, we have other examples where God proved he could preserve his word without original manuscripts. In Jeremiah 36:1-2, God told the prophet to write down his words in a scroll and in verse 6 of that chapter, his assistant went to the temple to read it. Later on in the chapter, the king’s servant, Jehudi, read some of God’s words to the king. The king hated what he heard, took the scroll that had God’s words on them, cut them up, and tossed them into his fireplace (v. 23). In response, the Lord had Jeremiah write the same exact words all over again on a different scroll and the Lord “added besides unto them many like words,” (v. 32).

Therefore, when the Old Testament was complete, Jeremiah’s original no longer existed, but God’s words were still preserved. In the closing chapters of Jeremiah, The Lord once again told Jeremiah to write down all of his words of judgment against Babylon which comprised all of Jeremiah 51. Then Jeremiah’s friend Seraiah traveled to Babylon to read all of God’s words in public. After Seraiah finished reading God’s words on the scroll, the Lord told Jeremiah to tell Seraiah to attach a rock to the scroll and drop it in the river Euphrates as an example of Babylon’s impending doom. So, once again, by the time the Old Testament was finished, the original manuscript with God’s words in Jeremiah 51 was destroyed. Nevertheless, he still preserved every last word and they are printed in the copies we have today in every Bible that is translated directly from the Masoretic Text manuscripts.

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7 thoughts on “God doesn’t need original manuscripts to preserve his inerrant word

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  1. Harry, may I inquire, what about variations among the extant manuscripts? How would one know for certain which variant is the correct one, which is “God’s inerrant word”, among the various manuscript copies since, in fact, we do not have the original manuscripts? Not only among Greek manuscript variants, but there are manuscripts and fragments which contain variants to the Hebrew Masoretic text?

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    1. Terry,

      The majority of manuscripts have insignificant “variants” that don’t change the meaning or contradict the meaning of the themes found throughout the Bible, such as the Trinity; the omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of God; salvation by grace through faith and not works, etc. Those manuscripts make up the body of manuscripts referred to as the Byzantine Text, Majority Text, Textus Receptus, Masoretic Text, and the Antiochian Text.

      The other 1% of manuscripts, called the Alexandrian Text (which includes the Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Septuagint), alter some of the foundational doctrines, contradict the meaning of accepted Christian doctrine, and include books that are obviously not inspired by God like the Apocrypha books.

      The KJV is the only English version that holds true to the Majority Text. The other versions rely heavily on the other 1% of manuscripts and often unjustly question the Majority Text using notes in the margins with such phrases as “the oldest manuscripts say …” or they delete words and verses.

      If you read through the KJV, you’ll see God allows variants as long as they don’t add to or take away from his purpose or meaning. Here’s an example:

      Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4

      For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:17

      Paul dropped the word “his” from the phrase Habakkuk got from the Lord, but the meaning and purpose have not taken away from or added to what God was saying.

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      1. Oh my gosh, Harry, so are you a King James Only adherent? The Septuagint version is the universally accepted accurate translation among ALL the Greek Orthodox. Hundreds of millions. And the Douay version is the only accepted version among all the hundreds if millions of Roman Catholics. PLEASE, although I very often agree with you, on this point you have OVERSTATED your view and misrepresented the reality. The fact is that God has “supernaturally attended” the TRANSMISSION of His word such that what we have today is SIMILARLY IDENTICAL TO THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS. That is as far as one can HONESTLY go. One needs to compare manuscript variants and seek, by God’s grace, to understand the autographa (i.e., original manuscripts). This take “study” and not flippant axioms concerning “inerrancy”. You are very wise in many respects, Harry, an I have appreciated and supported many of your blog comments, but not all… This would be an example of something upon which you have overextended beyond scriptural truth brother… We DO NOT have the autographa…, but we have copies which are “similarily identical” to the autographa. God has faithfully superintended his word from generation to generation so that every generation has had a copy of his word identical to the autographa and sufficient for “life and godliness”… Thank God for the “translations” produced in the reformation and beyond…

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      2. Terry,

        You have been watching my blog for several years now and have freely made comments. I have stated many times before that the KJV is the only English version that holds true to the Majority Text/Textus Receptus. So I’m puzzled that you’re acting surprised. And notice I specified “English version.” There are a few Bibles in other languages that hold true to the Masoretic/Majority/Textus Receptus, so I’m not a KJV Only. And I’m not ashamed of that stance. The Vatican hated the Authorized Version so much that they sent Guy Fawkes and several other men to try to assassinate King James, several of his translators, and England’s Parliament in the Gunpowder plot to blow up Parliament. But the plot failed, thank God.

        The Roman Catholic Douay Rheims is a counterfeit, like the Mormon Bible, Jehovah Witness Bible, NIV, NASB, and all the other English versions. To see just how unscrupulous they can be, just compare how they handle 1 John 5:7. It’s in the Majority Text, but they cut it out in an effort to target the doctrine of the Trinity. The KJV says, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” The other versions (except the Douay Rheims) delete what I placed in bold, thereby changing the whole doctrine of the passage.

        Now, if you look up Galatians 4:7, the KJV says,

        Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

        The Douay Rheims and other versions say,

        Therefore now he is not a servant, but a son. And if a son, an heir also through God.

        It takes Christ out of the picture, diminishing the fact he is the only way to the Father. The Douay Rheims also pushes the false doctrine that Peter is the “rock” on which the church is built by mistranslating John 1:42.

        John 1:42 in the KJV says, And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. (A stone being a small pebble, whereas the “rock” in Matthew 16:18 is a huge boulder.)

        John 1:42 in the Douay Rheims says, And he brought him to Jesus. And Jesus looking upon him, said: Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter.

        So the Roman Catholic version is trying to hide the fact that in this context Christ was making it clear Peter is the stone, not the huge Rock on which his church is built–that Rock being Christ himself and the confession that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God as expressed in Matthew 16:16-18.

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      3. Harry, actually I have only occasionally read your blog over the years and I did not realize that you promoted the idea that the Textus Receptus was the “inerrant” word of God, so I am surprised and saddened. I am certain you are entrenched in your view so I won’t bother trying to persuade with you differently on the subject but, for any others who may not already be entrenched in the view that Harry is espousing, here is an excellent article on the subject entitled “The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are They Identical?” by Dr. Daniel Wallace. This is a “solid synthesis” on the question:

        https://bible.org/article/majority-text-and-original-text-are-they-identical

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      4. Terry,

        I used to be as uninformed as you about the counterfeit Bible versions. The NIV used to be one of my favorite versions. Then I did the research on who was really behind the new versions and their purposes. Then I realized that they not only try to chip away at who Jesus is, they also try to confuse his identity. For example, do you know who the “morning star” and the “day star” is? Anyone familiar with the KJV knows that Jesus is the “morning star” and the “day star” from the following verses:

        We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 2 Peter 1:19

        27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

        28 And I will give him the morning star.

        29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 2

        I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. Revelation 22:16

        Anyone familiar with the KJV also knows that Lucifer is the “son of the morning” from this verse:

        How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! Isaiah 14:12

        But in the newer versions, they use the names “morning star” and “day star” for Lucifer for Isaiah 14:12, when those terms which are reserved for the Lord Jesus do not even appear in the Majority Text. The name “Lucifer” and the term “son of the morning” as found in the KJV & Majority Text do not mean morning star or day star. This is done to promote the false occultic doctrine that equates Jesus with Lucifer–a false doctrine that is even taught in the Easter Mass at the Vatican. This is not to be ignored since it is an accursed doctrine and an abomination. Here are the bastardized verses in newer versions & a video where Lucifer is invoked at the Vatican’s Easter Mass:

        How you are fallen from heaven,
        O Day Star, son of Dawn! Isaiah 14:12, NRSV

        How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, that didst lay low the nations! Isaiah 14:12, ASV

        How you have fallen from heaven,
        morning star, son of the dawn! Isaiah 14:12, NIV

        How you are fallen from heaven,
        O Day Star, son of Dawn! Isaiah 14:12, RSV

        How you have fallen from heaven,
        O star of the morning, son of the dawn! Isaiah 14:12, NASB

        How you have fallen from heaven,
        O star of the morning [light-bringer], son of the dawn! Isaiah 14:12, Amplified

        How you’ve fallen from heaven,
        morning star, son of dawn! Isaiah 14:12, CEB

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  2. I meant to say, “God has faithfully superintended his word from generation to generation so that every generation has had a copy of his word SIMILARLY dentical to the autographa and sufficient for “life and godliness”…

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