Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Only One Bible Belief

I just wrote a comment to someone and I thought I'd publish it here, except removing the name of the one to whom the comment was directed.

Let’s completely take the term “KJV” out of the equation and replace it with the the term “Bible.” Let’s even get out of our head for the moment the concept of “translation."

The Bible is not paper. It isn’t ink. It is Words made from letters. Scripture presents one Bible, one set of Words. Since the Bible is so dependent on Words, since that is what it is, Words, you can’t say that there are two Bibles or four Bibles or ten Bibles and yet they are all the same. That is not possible. It’s like this: 4 does not equal 5. Or, 93 does not equal 100. Those are not the same, but in this we are supposed to say that they are the same. They are not.

Now if someone were dealing with the Iliad and Odyssey by Homer, and you had 7% word differences, you might say that they were both the Iliad and Odyssey. But with the Bible, unless the very Words don’t matter, you can’t say that two books that are 5-7% different are both the Bible. This flies in the face of what Scripture says about itself. So as we view this in a doctrinal way, we don’t have a basis for accepting two different sets of words as the same. I will not join you in that idea. And I am talking about 5-7% difference between the CT and the TR. You’ve got bigger problems if you look at the differences between the manuscripts of the CT.

Now you may say that the words don’t change any doctrine. We have established that is not true in Thou Shalt Keep Them, our book (which you can buy here: incidentally). Does the Bible tell us what doctrine is or do we determine what Bible we believe by what doctrine it contains? Because they are not the same. I’m not saying that they teach two different gospels, but that’s not a standard that we would expect either by what the Bible teaches. They do teach different doctrine though.

What you are asking us to accept though, [Person], is to accept more than one Bible. Do you see that? You make this very statement: “We do deny that it is the ONLY Bible that is of God. ” Can you imagine an unbeliever getting a hold of that? It would be confusing. “You mean there is more than one Bible?” I can hear him say. Answer from you: “Of course.” Well, that seems rather strange. I don’t accept the two Bible idea. It isn’t scriptural. This is where faith comes in.

Now you may say that you believe there is only one Bible, but you don’t know what the Words are. You can’t, if you are CT/eclectic, ever claim to know what the Words of God are. You may think that you can’t know. If that’s true, then how do you know what the 66 books are? Perhaps that’s less of a leap with your mind. Your mind can handle 66 books. Your mind can handle rejecting the Epistle of Barnabas for instance or the Shepherd of Hermas. Why? It doesn’t relate to what Scripture says, it again comes down to being rational to you.

How rational are many of the events of Scripture? Esther. Jonah. Genesis 1. Genesis 3. Every Gospel. Revelation. And how rational are many of the events? We receive them by faith. Abraham did that many times—going to the Promised Land, offering Isaac, etc.

[Person] and others here, join us in faith in, in the belief in, the providential, perfect preservation of Scripture in the language in which it was written. Without faith it is impossible to please God.


Joshua Waltz said...

This post makes me curious about where this "one Bible" exists today and how today's non-Greek or non-Hebrew readers would gain access to it.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Joshua,

It exists in the same words in which it was written and it can be translated into other languages because we're not shut off from the meaning of those words.

Do you believe there are two or more Bibles?

JW said...


Couple questions. How can one discern which English word is in the "one Bible" in cases where a range of English words is available to convey the meaning of the original? For example, does the "one Bible" in English translate "idou" as "behold," "see," or "lo"?

How can one discern which original word is in the "one Bible" in cases where the manuscript evidence is divided? ...or is lacking (e.g., 1 Sam 13:1)? ...or is quoted differently in the NT from the way it appears in the OT (e.g., cf. Ps 40:6 and Hb 10:5)?

JW said...

Help me out here. I'm trying to understand your position.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm not ignoring you---lots to do. Also answers to all those questions are on this blog several times, so I hesitate in giving the crown performance to everyone who comes along. Answers to one of them would be found in the post I had just written on the LXX.

I also asked you this question that you didn't answer: "Do you believe there are two or more Bibles?"

Alright to your two questions. I don't believe in English preservation---preservation is in the language in which Scripture was written, not in a translation. Second question. I believe that there is another explanation for 1 Samuel 13:1 besides, "God didn't preserve His Words." Since Jesus states and promises that the Hebrew text is intact and will be preserved (Mt 5:18), then one can have faith that no words are missing from 1 Sam 13:1. In contrast to those who think the Bible needs corrected at this point, Sir Isaac Newton wrote in 1770, "Saul was made King, that he might rescue Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, who oppressed them; and in the second year of his reign, the Philistines brought into the field against him thirty thousand chariots [see 1 Samuel 13:5]." Then on the second half of your question, I believe what we have is a targum that was picked up by the LXX. "A body has thou prepared" is a targum of the Hebrew text, "mine ears hast thou opened." The Hebrew was a figure of speech, which meant what Heb 10:5 says. The opening of the ears was an aspect of the work of preparing a human body. The ears received the Word of God obediently, so Christ obeyed the Word of God by becoming a man.

We could probably go on and on like this, but my answers will harmonize with my view of Scripture. If you don't take the same view as I do, then you might find yours harmonizing with something more rational and evidential, that finds greater ease in questioning the veracity of the text. I'm not assuming that about you, because you are only asking questions, so I am qualifying it by saying, "If."

JW said...

Very helpful answers. Thank you for indulging me. I avoided your question, not to be rude, but because I wasn't looking to debate - just to understand your viewpoint.

But to answer your question, no, I don't believe in 2 or more Bibles either. To quote an old acquaintance of mine (who represented my viewpoint well): I believe the Bible "exists in the same words in which it was written and it can be translated into other languages because we're not shut off from the meaning of those words."

In the interest of full disclosure, I should acknowledge that my understanding of where those original words can be found is different from yours, at least as pertains to the New Testament. But I'm not here to debate, and I'll keep investigating more of your work on the TR.

Thanks again.