1. "Nearly all involved in the controversy are agreed that God has preserved His Word for us in some sense."
2. "Nearly all are agreed as well that Scripture teaches God will preserve forever, somewhere and in some form, every one of the words He inspired and that some believers will always have access to Scripture in some form."
3. " Though we do not have equally direct and clear statements to the effect that God also ensures word-perfect preservation (see part 2), many believe a compelling case for this kind of preservation can be derived from less direct passages."
The statements are so ambiguous that they are very difficult to figure out. His first "nearly all" sentence could mean almost anything. The second one has so many qualifiers that it is hard to put one's finger on what he means. And I really don't see how or where Scripture teaches the view that he espouses. He hasn't revealed any evidence for this view thus far nor research that shows nearly everyone believes at least what he has written.
I'm asking. Scripture teaches that God will preserve forever in some form every one of the words He inspired? What?!? In some form? Where does Scripture say that? In some form? And then "some believers" will "always" have access to Scripture in some form? How many believers? Two? Ten? And only those will always have Scripture "in some form"? Will they have all the Words or just all of Scripture in some form? What is "some form"? And Aaron supposedly got this from Scripture.
The third statement is also very difficult, but it does help us a little to interpret the other two. What he seems to say is that we don't have any teaching in Scripture that tells us that those "some believers" will have "every one of the words He inspired." Aaron is all for "some believers" will always have access to some "form" of Scripture. I can see why men on the other side have not written any doctrine of preservation up to this point. They are comfortable criticizing our position, but they strain to write their own. I don't see anywhere that Scripture says that God would preserve His Word "in some form." Where he gets that, I do not know. Nor do I know how anyone could see that as preservation. And I'm not trying to be mean here.
Aaron writes as though he has proven some point about word-perfect inspiration as opposed to word-perfect preservation. I'm happy he believes in the depravity of man, but he hasn't succeeded at showing some scriptural connection between man's limitations due to sin and the failure in preservation of Scripture. We know man is limited because of sin, but that does not mean that he can stop what God has promised He would do. Man doesn't stop sinning even after conversion (1 John 1:8, 10; Romans 7), but God still saves, preserves, and keeps His soul pure. We don't have physical evidence of this. It's all by faith in what God has said. The gap for Aaron in believing word-perfect preservation and word-perfect inspiration seems to be his own staggering unbelief, not the lack of scriptural evidence. There are more preservation passages than inspiration ones. Men have operated with the same kind of rhetorical, grammatical, and syntactical techniques upon inspiration verses as Adam uses with the preservation ones and left us without inspiration in their teachings.
Now let's get into the nuts and bolts of Aaron's article. He says that of four passages that we examined in TSKT, they only affirm a concept of preservation, but not word-perfect. It's hard to understand what Aaron is saying. I guess I'm supposed to assume that "we" in his sixth paragraph (there is no referent) means the "some believers" in his previous statements. However, "we" seems to mean himself and all believers throughout all history. And he says that the passages are "consistent with" the "idea" of "word perfect copies of Scripture." That sounds good, sounds about right. He is saying that they teach word perfect preservation. That's good! Don't get too excited, because those passages haven't, according to Aaron, shown how God was going to be able to overcome the limitations of man's depravity. That's bad! So man's depravity trumps God's sovereignty as it relates to God's Word. Where does Scripture say that? It doesn't. King Ahasuerus was sinful but He still opened up the history books on the appropriate night to read about Mordecai. Among many other events that God providentially used to save Israel, he was able to overcome the limitations of their sinfulness to accomplish it.
Then Aaron writes this: "Perhaps recognizing that these often-cited passages are not sufficient to support their conclusions, the writers of TSKT look to several other verses as well." Not true at all. Our view of preservation is the whole package. And we've got more than what is in that book. It wasn't as though we got through five or six preservation passages and then said, "Wow, this is not enough, let's add some other chapters." You can all be dispelled of Aaron's speculation about our state of mind.
Regarding Matthew 4:4, Aaron says that "it is written" continues to the speaker's present. That's true, and as he wrote, that's what we said. We knew that. However, if those words in Deuteronomy 8:3 continue to Jesus' day, that means preservation. That use of the perfect teaches the doctrine of perfect preservation.
Then he makes a point that Matthew's use of rhema would somehow be spoken versus perhaps logos being written. Both rhema and logos are spoken words. Scripture comes out of God's mouth, it is God breathed. Rhema is used all over the NT and we don't assume that it is spoken versus written. For instance, in Ephesians 6:17, it says that the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God," and "word" is rhema. For Aaron to be consistent, we wouldn't have anything to use for spiritual warfare because the words we use could only be oral ones coming directly out of God's mouth. For awhile, I've thought this an inane argument, whether used by Aaron or anyone else. If truly we are to live by every oral Word of God, then that would be a greater standard for God, as we would be assured of possessing every word that God has ever said, including the ones in Scripture. It still doesn't disprove the availability of Scripture. It seems to be a red herring.
After that Aaron says the present tense of "proceedeth" means for sure here, based on the future tense "shall live," that the verb is talking about continuous action. He doesn't provide any exegetical basis besides merely his own statement. I'm thinking, "What a stretch!" The normal tense of speaking is present. There's not any big point being made here grammatically. The reason that "shall live" is in the future tense is because all the living is in the future relative to the Words that God spoke. It really is as simple as that.
It was appropriate for Jesus to quote Deuteronomy 8:3 against Satan because Satan was tempting Jesus to disobey God's Words. Jesus always submitted to the Father. In the context of Deuteronomy, it wasn't food that would keep Israelites alive, but their obedience to God's Words. Jesus was not going to turn stones to bread because that would violate God's Words. Israel could have as much bread as they wanted, but that wouldn't guarantee their survival—their obedience to God's Word would.
In order to knock down Thomas Strouse's chapter on John 17:8 in TSKT, Aaron makes this statement: "Strouse then cites several references to believers "receiving" the word (pp. 54-55) and, in the process, gives "receive" a special meaning: something along the lines of "to get a hold of a copy of the entire Bible that you know is a word-perfect copy" (my words, not his)." He admittedly uses "his words," not Strouse's to make a point. The problem is that "his words" do not represent Strouse's. The point that Strouse is making is that as copies of Scripture are made, God's people will receive His Words, that is, they will know what those Words are. Conclusions can be derived from that teaching, but that is the point of Strouse. Misrepresenting Strouse might be fun reading for the choir, but it doesn't do anything to Strouse's argument and especially to what John 17:8 teaches.
Then Blumer goes into attacking that point that "received Words" means "Bible canon." It is a straw man, because Strouse knows that Jesus wasn't referring specifically to the Old Testament in John 17 and that the "all Scripture" of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 at that time wasn't the entire canon. It would be. When Paul wrote to Timothy, Revelation didn't exist—should we assume something about the canonicity of Revelation from that? Of course not. And the words of the Old Testament are still Jesus' Words. He is Jehovah. And we still apply "all Scripture" to the whole Bible. The line of criticism is overt picky-ness that I can't imagine Aaron applying to others. And the point of the chapter anyway was different than one that Aaron was looking for—Strouse was expounding on the received-text attitude that would be found in genuine believers.
2 Timothy 3:15-17
Blumer's major argument here is found in these words:
[T]he passage does not say that Timothy "had access to" or "possessed" the "holy scriptures" but that he knew them. Unless we suppose that young Timothy knew every single inspired word of the Old Testament, "holy scriptures" in v.15 cannot have that meaning. Rather, it refers to the subset of the Scriptures Timothy had personally learned.
Aaron says he gets his teaching from Scripture. This one is simple. The passage says that Timothy knew the holy scriptures. The verb "hast known" is oida, which BDAG says is "to experience, to be acquainted with." Timothy had experiential knowledge with the holy scriptures. The level of Aaron's exegesis is the guess or speculation that, even though the text says Timothy did know the holy scriptures, this was not likely so. Shouldn't we just take the text at its word? Are we going to just deny what the verse actually says? This isn't a credible criticism.
I think that in light of the context we can assume that God had preserved every Word of the Scriptures that Timothy used. Unless Aaron and others want to assume that Timothy was studying directly from the original manuscripts as penned by the original authors, then we should believe, which we should, that the "all Scriptures" were the copies that Timothy and Paul had. Those were the same Words that God had breathed out. This assumes preservation.
(This paragraph is one that I added later to this post, after several comments had been made.) 2 Timothy 3:15 and 16 are connected by a grammatical point. Verse 16 begins without a conjunction, that is, it is asyndetic. So it can't be new subject matter. The holy scripture must be the all scripture because of that grammatical point. Timothy was using "all scripture." These verses assume preservation.
Blumer uses an illustration (money and hamburger) to say that we cannot conclude that the sufficiency of Scripture is based upon "all" Scripture. He is saying that some could be enough. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 say "all Scripture" throughly furnishes the man of God unto every good work. Blumer says that by that statement we cannot assume that something less than all Scripture would not be sufficient to do every good work. I don't believe that we can equate the money to buy a hamburger with the Words of God. We must be regulated by what God said, not by what He didn't. And He said that "all Scripture" is the basis for sufficiency. We should make assumptions based upon what God said, not what He didn't. What Aaron is saying is that it is possible that something less than all of Scripture would be sufficient for every good work. Who are we to assume that? We can't.
As we covered in the beginning of this post, it is hard to understand Aaron Blumer's view of preservation and where he might get the position he takes. What we can conclude is that he doesn't believe that we have all God's Words available. To me, that means that he doesn't believe in preservation. He says that he gets this view from Scripture. I would be happy to leave to you, when you read the passages that apply to the doctrine of preservation, to decide whether you believe the Bible teaches what Aaron says it does. The Bible does teach that God would preserve every Word and that they would all be available to every generation of believers. The God I know can and did do that.