Thursday, September 18, 2008

Textus Receptus, Ben Chayyim Masoretic, and King James Bible

If I end up holding to the idea that God perfectly preserved His Word in the Textus Receptus Greek and the Ben Chayyim Masoretic Hebrew and Aramaic texts, then the following observation is quite compelling:

People, even Fundamentalists, substitute God's "Word" for His Words, when they talk about the Scriptures, and their preservation for His Saints. By this they mean, not the exact words, but close enough: the thoughts, ideas, concepts, revelation, communication, message.

How do I know what His Word is if I don't know His exact words?

Emergent Church incoherence is the end result. "The Virgin Birth just has to be true, whether it happened or not."

Either that or Bart Ehrman. One of his major complaints, voiced in Misquoting Jesus, is this: What's the point of God plenarily inspiring Scripture--where every single word is exactly what God said, and nothing is left out--if it's no longer available to us? What kind of God would hide it from 2000 years of the Church, only to be made available by the heroic restoration efforts of 20th and 21st century ivory tower NT Textual Critics? (And even they have practically given up on finding the exact words.)

Dr. James White told a KJVO caller to the Bible Answer Man broadcast that he ought not to replace truth with certainty. Wow! From James White's own lips. Tony Jones couldn't have said it better. I actually resonate with this truth, as long as the certainty you're talking about is a kind of scientific Aristotelian Evidentialist certainty, and I think that's how James White meant it. I just find it interesting, since usually James White is all about the exact meaning of words and phrases in the Scriptures, in his debates with Catholics, Mormons, JW's, Muslims, etc.

But if you've settled in your mind that the TR and the Ben Chayyim are God's exact words, then you have a certain kind of certainty, based on faith that what God said is true. Sounds circular, but bear with me. There are many places in Scripture that people use to prove God promised He'd preserve His word, not just in a cave somewhere, but in a form available to his catholic Church. Psalm 12:6-7 and Matthew 5:18 come to mind. If you can show that these Scriptures speak of Preservation, in all textual variants including the corrupt ones, then you can logically conclude that, well, the one that has been most widely available must be the incorrupt one God promised to preserve.

The Authorized Version, or King James Bible, is the most printed book in history. The New Testament part of it is based on the Textus Receptus, which is based on the Majority Texts, i.e., the most abundantly copied species of all extant manuscript variants.

This is presuppositionalism. Waddles like a duck, swims like a duck, barks like a duck--must be a duck.

Now, do the variants matter, doctrinally? Dr. D.A. Waite, a TR/Ben Chayyim (and, derivatively, KJV) advocate, says there are about 350 variants that have doctrinal implications. I must check into these.

No comments: