Creation & the Text of Scripture
Since the teaching of Biblical origins depends entirely upon the creation account of the Bible in Genesis, the words we have in that special and unique Book are extremely and eternally important. This Book is what it claims to be: the Word of the living God, our Creator. In order to communicate His Record to us, God used men who knew the ancient languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. For the most proper and complete understanding in our culture today of what God meant and said, we must understand that the languages we read today are intricately and inseparably tied to the ancient languages. Hence, those who translated from these languages must have known these languages intimately in order to accurately communicate them for us today. Our purpose in this section is to show from Scripture just how important is the preservation and translation of the ancient texts.
1. God gave His initial laws to Adam & Eve (Genesis 1:28; 2:15-17, 19), in a language they could understand. This means that they could comprehend and communicate in this language. It also takes away the evolutionary idea that there were “sub -human” or “pre-human” ancestors prior to Adam & Eve.
2. All descendants of Adam & Eve had one language until God confounded their speech at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-7) after the Flood.
3. The Bible records that God’s thoughts would be communicated to “all generations” and that His Word “standeth forever.” (Psalm 33:11). God’s Word is reliable. It has stood and will stand the test of time.
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever… the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23, 25)“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Ps. 12:6)
Biblical and Practical Points:
- God gave to early man great abilities, such as the abilities to develop musical instruments or metallurgy (Genesis 4:21-22). He made the first man, Adam, with His Own hand and not taking one who had descended from an ape-like ancestor. He made him with abilities to function perfectly in all capacities, including language.
- Languages do not evolve. Rather, they have “devolved” since Adam as words change meanings over time and lose their original significance. One Scriptural and modern example of this is the word “gay” in James (2:3) where it is used to refer to “gay clothing.” Clearly, “gay” did not mean “homosexual” as in modern terminology.
- It is impossible for one who has a 21st century western mindset to “correct” translations that were made in other times and cultures. A particular word or phrase is best viewed from the viewpoint of those who knew it in their language and culture. In other words, we must “give the sense” of words from the Biblical perspective just as in Nehemiah 8:8.
- It is extremely important to recognize that GOD HIMSELF chose the exact historical frameworks that were perfect for His Revelation. These times were when languages were at their zenith; that is, they were in common usage, highly detailed, and extremely expressive for HIS purpose: to preserve and communicate His design for all of mankind. Though God promised to preserve His Word for all people, He did NOT specify a language through which He would do it. In fact, “all generations” would no doubt entail each language of the various people groups of those generations.
- It is up to us to “study” to show ourselves “approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing…the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The phrase, “rightly dividing” is translated from just one Greek word, ortho-tomeo, which basically means “to cut straight.” While some may think “dividing” means to distribute (as in “dividing inheritance” - Luke 12:13), the correct meaning here is that God’s Word must be “put straight,” or “cut straight” without deviation from the meanings God invested into those words and the manner in which He intended His Word to be communicated.
God’s chosen language is Hebrew.
- Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa (Ac 26:14 “in the Hebrew tongue”).
- Spirit-inspired translations into Hebrew. (Jo 5:2; 19:13, 17; Rev. 16:16)
- Jesus speaking in Hebrew while on the cross. (Matt. 27:46)
- The oft-repeated phrase: “LORD God of the Hebrews” (Ex. 7:16; 9:1, 13; 10:3)
- The fact that almost all of the OT was written in ancient Hebrew (chosen by God).
- In translating from one language into another, original meanings or shades of meanings are/can be lost.
For example, when translating the word “chair” from Spanish to English, one loses the masculine-feminine aspect as the Spanish word for “chair” is “silla,” a feminine word.
- God tells us to “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:8). The meaning of a particular word in a given language is a landmark.
The question we must ask ourselves is this:
Would God allow to be lost a language which was His vehicle for communicating to all HIS design for every aspect of physical and spiritual existence?
From the study of “textual criticism” (better, textual evaluation), it is our understanding that modern versions of the Bible are based upon this premise: “the oldest manuscripts are the best manuscripts.” Yet, it is not highly publicized nor explained why the “oldest” would necessarily be more accurate. Since God promised that His Word would be “to all generations,” Creation Family Ministries takes the position that He did indeed make His Revelation to everyone of every culture and time period. This means that God’s Word was available from the time of the “oldest manuscripts” until today. The only group of manuscripts that represents the understanding that men faithfully copied the manuscripts is referred to as the “Textus Receptus” (meaning “received text”). When a manuscript was worn due to usage, more copies were made and “received.”
The idea that “oldest manuscripts” are better (i.e. more correct because they were closer to the time of Christ) is Biblically inconsistent with the “received text” view since the older manuscripts would have been hidden and unavailable for generations prior to their discovery. It is for these reasons that we use only the Textus Receptus as the best manuscripts. Other versions of the Bible may be useful for various purposes, but since they are based upon the “oldest manuscripts,” they are suspect at best. All versions of every other language of the Bible must be compared to ancient Hebrew (OT - Masoretic) and Greek (NT - Textus Receptus). The KJV is based solely upon the Textus Recepus and is the most reliable as it is based upon God’s promise to provide His Word to all generations.
An excellent recourse, a "game changer" book that addresses the "oldest is best" issue is this book, "Neither Oldest Nor Best."