The Invisible Things

Articles in Apologetics

Scriptural Transmission, Inspiration, and Inerrancy

with 9 comments

Imagine playing a typical game of ‘telephone,’ in which a phrase or sentence is whispered from one player to another until it reaches the original person who composed it. Often, the words have changed and the result is a hilarious illustration of how easily information can get lost in transmission. According to Bart Ehrman’s recent book, ‘Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why,’ the transmission of the Bible by scribes was comparable to a game of ‘telephone,’ (my analogy, not his) as the existence of scores of textual variants among the thousands of existing manuscripts leads Ehrman to the conclusion that the original meaning of the scriptures must be lost. Needless to say, such an allegation is likely to (and has) created controversy of ‘Dan Brownian’ proportions.

It should be initially pointed out that Dr. Ehrman’s reputation as a Biblical scholar and textual critic is exemplary, and his contributions to the study of the transmission of the scriptures are many. However, though he wields considerable authority in this area, his conclusion that the existence of variations in wording among manuscripts calls established Christian doctrines into question is quite overreaching. So, I do not want to suggest that my short article can simply dismiss Ehrman’s work as incorrect. Rather, I would like to examine several of the passages of scripture which he cites and then provide my own response as well as a brief note on the principles of inspiration and inerrancy.

Mark 16:9-20
It has been noted by New Testament scholars for the last century that the ending passage of the Gospel of Mark is absent from the earliest Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and Armenian manuscripts. Even subsequent copies reveal that the passage had been marked as questionable in its relationship to the original autograph. The writings of Clement of Alexandria and Origen seem to suggest that they were not aware of this passage, as it is not explicitly mentioned by either. However, later writings by Eusebius and Jerome indicate that they were aware of this passage’s absence from the earlier Greek manuscripts and subsequent addition. So, barring the discovery of an earlier manuscript, the current evidence seems to be in favor of a Gospel of Mark which ends prior to 16:9. Some, however, have argued that the final passage is authentic on the basis of a quote in Ireneaus’ Against Heresies of AD 180, which reads:

“Also, towards the conclusion of his gospel, Mark says, 'So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven and sits on the right hand of God.’”

Regardless of whether the passage is or is not ultimately authentic, the fact remains that some manuscripts contain it while others do not. Dr. Ehrman concludes that a variation of this nature calls the Christian traditions of inspiration and inerrancy into serious question. His expectation is that God would prevent such variations as the scriptures are reproduced. Since variations do, in fact, occur, we must be mistaken about the meaning of the scriptures and ultimately the very character of God. While Ehrman’s conclusions are based upon a presupposition regarding inspiration and innerancy which I will examine at the conclusion of this post, I would initially comment that to suggest that this is some sort of expose on the reliability of the scriptures is incorrect. Many Biblical scholars (his mentor Bruce Metzger included) examine the same data that Ehrman has and reach far different conclusions regarding the inspiration and Inerrancy of the Bible.

John 7:53-8:11
Like the above mentioned passage from the Gospel of Mark, the Pericope De Adultera is not found in the earliest manuscript copies of the Gospel of John. St. Augustine wrote of the omission of this passage, suggesting that scribes made an editorial decision based upon the fear that the story was too lenient upon adultery. Again like the Markan verses, absence of commentary on this passage from writers such as Tertullian and Cyprian seems to indicate that they did not know of it. In fact, many scholars point out that Origen’s commentary on this portion of the Gospel of John mentions every verse except those from the passage between 7:53 and 8:11, leading to the conclusion that he, too, had not been aware of it. Though we may be safe in concluding that the passage should not be considered a part of the autograph, some still suggest that the narrative is a true representation of Jesus. Bruce Metzger elaborates on this, affirming that the periscope can be non-canonical and still true:

“When one adds to this impressive and diversified list of external evidence the consideration that the style and vocabulary of the pericope differ noticeably from the rest of the Fourth Gospel (see any critical commentary), and that it interrupts the sequence of 7.52 and 8.12 ff., the case against its being of Johannine authorship appears to be conclusive. At the same time the account has all the earmarks of historical veracity. It is obviously a piece of oral tradition which circulated in certain parts of the Western church and which was subsequently incorporated into various manuscripts at various places. Most copyists apparently thought that it would interrupt John's narrative least if it were inserted after 7.52 (D E F G H K M U G P 28 700 892 al). Others placed it after 7.36 (ms. 225) or after 7.44 (several Georgian mss.) or after 21.25 (1 565 1076 1570 1582 armmss) or after Luke 21.38 (f13). Significantly enough, in many of the witnesses which contain the passage it is marked with asterisks or obeli, indicating that, though the scribes included the account, they were aware that it lacked satisfactory credentials (Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament).”

It seems quite clear that these two passages, especially the Pericope de Adultera, do not belong in the Bible, though they affirm true things about the character of Jesus and even things He was likely to have done. Biblical scholarship has traditionally affirmed that canonicity is not measured by the veracity of the content of certain books, but by the affirmation of the Holy Spirit. For example, Jude 14-15 quotes from the Book of Enoch, though this book has not been considered part of the canon. The passage, which reads, “Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners spoke against him,” certainly does not affirm anything necessarily contrary to scripture, yet its veracity does not necessarily qualify it as scripture itself. Additionally, Old Testament apocryphal books like 1 and 2 Maccabees which likely contain accurate historical accounts of the inter-testamental period also contain heretical teachings. Specifically, 2 Macabbees contains passages which affirm suicide, prayers for the dead, Purgatorial suffering as well as the possibility of being granted salvation after death.

Dr. Ehrman is correct in asserting that passages which are unauthentic or spurious should not be considered scripture regardless of our fondness for them or their veracity. However, the fact that some of these passages do remain does not lead to the conclusion that, like a domino effect, the rest of Scripture is dubious as well.

The inspiration of scripture is not at risk due to these variations. Inspiration should be understood as the intentional use of human authors by the Holy Spirit of God in the writing of scripture, such that it contained the exact message He desires. The inspiration was in the production of the autographs, not in the production of copies of the autographs. To suggest that flawed copies indicates a flawed source is without logical basis. In fact, the entire process of reconstructing the autographs by the outstandingly large amount of manuscript attestation we do have has produced a Bible of overwhelming accuracy, and in so doing affirms the emphasis on the inspiration of the autograph, rather than the copies. Even Ehrman agrees here.

Inerrancy, on the other hand, is the conclusion that scripture inspired by God is essentially true. Inerrancy does not mean that copies of the inspired autographs of scripture will be grammatically perfect or even consistent. Yet, it does suggest that the message of God will be both preserved and uncorrupted such that it is accessible to all. This is a crucial point which has major ramifications on the process of reproduction. If inerrancy meant the perfection of the words themselves, rather than the message, then the Word of God would be untranslatable. Such is the dilemma of Islam, where the Koran itself is seen as the ultimate miracle of God, perfect in essence and language. To even interact with the one miracle, the Muslim must understand Arabic, while those that read translations are prohibited from commentary as the act of translation itself is seen as a corrupting agent to the miracle. Yet, this is not the case for the Christian claim of inerrancy of scripture. In fact, the commission of Christ relies upon the ability of His Word to be translated into other languages and even paraphrased by teachers. Thus, the inerrancy of scripture is in the message, rather than the words, or even the sentences, chapters or books.

We should certainly be motivated to have a Bible that is as close to a perfect reproduction of the autographs as possible. To do so means that passages such as the two mentioned here should probably be removed (though it is only fair to mention that virtually every existing modern translation indicates clearly the verses which are varied among the source manuscripts, either by separating the text, footnotes, or other visual cues). However, and this is a big however, the existence of non-authentic passages, even within our latest versions of the Bible, do nothing more to discredit the inspiration and inerrancy of scripture as entire books that were determined as non-canonical, such as the Old and New Testament Apocrypha.

But the more important point is that while inspiration and inerrancy are integral to the Christian faith, they are not principles which override the philosophical grounding of Christian theism, nor the historical grounding of the life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. As Dr. Ehrman himself agrees, along with the majority of New Testament scholars, our modern Bible is overwhelmingly reliable as a witness to the original autographs and as a historical account of the time of Christ and the early church. I can only postulate that his incorrect conception of inspiration and inerrancy have led him to prioritize such ideas over the testimony of historical record.

9 Responses

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  1. I enjoy using comparisons to other religions, as you did with Islam here, and I like this point that followed:

    The commission of Christ relies upon the ability of His Word to be translated into other languages and even paraphrased by teachers. Thus, the inerrancy of scripture is in the message, rather than the words, or even the sentences, chapters or books.

    This truth resolves much of the criticisms about the “corruptions” of the manuscripts.

    The “inserted” ending of Mark is the most troubling to me, and is probably the strongest grounds that the skeptics have for concluding that the other books have subsequently layered mythology upon Mark, beginning with the resurrection. When one skeptic recently suggested to me that the other authors did not feel “bound by [the] historical facts of Mark,” I responded as follows:

    “Historical facts?” I think this may be [a] poor word choice on your part. If not, I might be tempted to cry, “check mate.” If you will grant me only Mark, then I will show you Satan, angels, demons, heaven, hell, the voice of God from heaven, Jewish responsibility in Jesus’ execution, connections to O.T. prophecy along with Jesus healing all forms of illness, personally forgiving sins, raising people from the dead, feeding thousands from thin air, walking on water, mind reading, claiming Messianic status, predicting His own death and resurrection, predicting the destruction of the temple, predicting His second coming and the final judgment, predicting Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial, and finally, the empty tomb and the report of Jesus’ resurrection and scheduled appearances. The book is lousy with the supernatural.

    And when he pointed out the absence of a resurrection narrative in Mark…

    You go and read Mark again and tell me that the resurrection is an ad hoc insertion. The entire book leads up to it; it is predicted and foreshadowed throughout, as well as proclaimed at the end by a mysterious fellow in the empty tomb. It is either a case of, “and the rest is history” storytelling, or the end was temporarily (or permanently) lost.

    It seems to me that the two strongest areas of attack on orthodoxy are what I’ll call the “theological accretion theory” and the view that Paul is the actual architect of the divine and resurrected Jesus myth. If you were inspired to write in these areas they would be most interesting reading.

    Scott Pruett

    April 29, 2006 at 11:58 pm

  2. Hi Scott,

    You raise a good question here, one that merits a full post to be sure. In the meantime, let me leave you with some preliminary thoughts in response.

    In his letter to the Galatian church, Paul mentions a visit to Jerusalem in which he gathered with James and Peter. It was this meeting at which Paul received the tradition regarding Jesus’ death and resurrection from Peter. He quotes this tradition in his earlier letter to the Corinthian church:

    “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”

    This information, given to Paul by James and Peter, can be dated to at least 3 years after the death of Jesus, meaning that it preceeded the writing of any Gospel and was taught and believed by the early church independent of any document! This also suggests that the incidentals of Jesus’ death, resurrection and post-resurrection appearances were not Pauline inventions, but facts shared and experienced by the entire Christian community and established as oral tradition before Paul’s conversion.

    One other interesting quality to Paul’s epistles is that many of them include what are now recongized as pre-established hymns and creeds (see Rom. 1:3-4;1 Cor. 11:23 ff.;15:3-8; Phil. 2:6_11; Col.1:15-18;1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:8; see also John 1:1-18; 1 Peter 3:18-22; 1 John 4:2). New Testament linguistic scholars have discerned that the quality of the language used in these passages is different from what has been recognized as typical of Paul’s writings. Also, these passages show a remarkable simplicity in being translated into Aramaic, suggesting that they originated in this language as part of the pre-Gospels Hebrew/Christian oral tradition. This is incredbily significant considering the fact that these passages clearly affirm the doctrines of the death, resurrection and divinity of Jesus. For example, Paul addresses the Corinthian church, a Greek-speaking community, with the Aramaic phrase ‘ma ranatha,’ which refers to Jesus as ‘God’ and looks forward to his return. This inclusion of an Aramaic phrase in addressing a Greek audience indicates that the Corinthians were familiar with the phrase prior to Paul’s writing them, which again shows the importance of the early establishment of an oral tradition prior to the writing of any documents.

    I find that the more we understand about the ways in which the early Christians (and Jews) used oral tradition and its firm establishment prior to the written accounts (corroborating the traditions, of course), the more the concepts of inspiration and inerrancy make sense. As I mentioned before, the commission of Christ was to go out and make disciples by spreading the Word, apparently by mouth or by pen! Yet, the Christian understanding of inerrancy perseveres whether the earliest Greek manuscripts are read or the truth of Christ is explained in a newly discovered language for the purposes of evangelism to an unreached group of people.

    As I said, these are my initial thoughts, but at your urging, I will form them into a full and upcoming post.

    Blessings,

    CB

    CB

    May 1, 2006 at 8:20 am

  3. i am doing some reseach on burt d. erhman, which he was new me. as i studied, which i am working on a report in spanish for interglobal, i found out some interesting things about him that i did’nt know. aside from his creditials as i new he was a testament scholar, i found his was first “born again” but now he is an agnostic. i also found that he and bruce metzger did a book together which i found strange, as he states in one of his books that the Bible is basically a human book because or what he has found out that the copies of originals contain errors. this would be normal in my thinking. following norman geisler’s logic, 1. God is without error. 2. he speaks without error, 3. then his word is without error. but if you go 1. man errores. 2. what he says/writes has errors 3. then the bible that they wrote has errores also.

    knowing that most hold that the original autographs/ manuscripts are supposedly without error (that norman geisler and others hold)and that is the view of inerrancy yet there are no original autographs that now exist that can be checked, then only copies can be looked at for some proof, as orinals don’t exist.

    but can you tell me, are there any originals that do exist? scraps? numbers? museums?

    and the apostoles spoke in aramaic but the new testament is in greek, did the originals come in aramaic or in greek?

    dennis swick

    dennis swick

    June 5, 2006 at 2:04 pm

  4. Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for your comments and questions! You are right in that at this point, we are not in posession of the autographs. However, the idea that it is the autographs that are inspired (as opposed to later translations and/or copies) is still legitimate. Basically, this means that we affirm that the message God imparted to the original authors was inspired by Him, while the process of transmission and copying afterward was not. In regards to inerrancy, again it is the message that is inerrant, rather than the words themselves. It is this position which allows for the Gospel to be translated to any language without concern that the validity of it will be lost (as opposed, as I mentioned above, to the Islamic tradition).

    Though we may never actually discover or locate the autographs, we can assemble, through the thousands of manuscripts we have, a version of the Bible which most probably resembles the autographs closely. As I concluded in my more recent article, “Textual Criticism and the False ‘Telephone’ Analogy,” as the process of linguistic, historical, and archeological discovery continues, the reliability and resemblance to the autographs of the scriptures will only increase.

    It is likely that the original teaching was in Aramaic, as far as some of the Gospels are concerned, whether either orally or written. As many scholars point out, quotes of the Apostles teaching/preaching in the book of Acts and the Epistles of Paul are more fittingly traced back to Aramaic, and likely originate with the oral tradition of the earliest Christians. Likewise, the codex format was introduced for the purposes of easier note-taking and copying of texts, so one might postulate that some of the first manuscripts of the Apostles, whether notes or something more robust, could have been in Aramaic. However, until we discover more manuscripts, we will not know for sure.

    Thanks,

    CB

    CB

    June 12, 2006 at 11:18 am

  5. The idea of the autographs is not compelling, and your defense of it no more so. In order to argue that autographs are required to exist, you must come at the question from the perspective of one that already believes that the Bible was originally infallible. If you do not, as I do not (though I once did), come from that perspective, then Dr. Ehrman’s ideas make much more sense, and yours resound like hollow brass — I’m sorry.

    Regards,

    Reynolds Jones
    Schenectday, NY

    Reynolds C. Jones

    February 2, 2007 at 10:48 am

  6. Hello everyone. I have not read Bart Ehrman’s book ‘Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why,’ but it would seem a popular version of his more technical book ‘The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.’ This book I have read, and found it quite appalling. I simply cannot think of another book which manifested more bias and prejudice. As I read it, I must have put a thousand question marks on the margins of the pages.

    Relative to the discussion above, I find untenable the position according to which inspiration concerns only ‘the message’, but not ‘the words’ by which the message was conveyed. In fact, one of the ‘messages’ communicated repeatedly by the biblical authors was that inspiration superintended the very words of Scripture. Many relevant passages could be quoted from the Old and New testament, but here’s one from the apostle Paul:

    “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
    But as it is written:

    “ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
    Nor have entered into the heart of man
    The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

    But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
    These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy[d] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (I Corinthians 2:6-14).

    Five fundamental things are affirmed in this passage:
    1) The wisdom of God (the gospel) is antithetical to the wisdom of man (v. 6-7), who for this very reason repels it and judges it foolishness (v.14).
    2) Historically speaking, the most evident proof of this fact is man’s rejection and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the incarnate wisdom of God (v. 8).
    3) The truths relative to the gospel (‘the things of God’) originate entirely from God, not at all from man (v. 9).
    4) God reveals these truths to the apostles through the agency of the Holy Spirit (v. 10-12).
    5) The apostles are inspired not only in the basic “truths” they communicate, but also in the very words they employ to communicate them (“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual,” v. 13).

    My question is: was Paul wrong in his view of inspiration? Which, after all, is the same view held by the prophets of the Old testament, by the other apostles, and by Jesus himself? (Mat 4:4; 5:17-18; 15:3-6; 22:43; Luke 18:31; 24:25-27, 44). And if the biblical authors are wrong in the basic ‘message’ they give concerning inspiration, how can we trust them concerning other messages?

    Concerning the question of the inspiration of the original autographs and faulty manuscripts we presently have of them, I will share the following quotes attesting that which has always been the evangelical position:

    F. Turrettin (Reformed theologian, XII century: “The providence of God which could not permit books which it willed to be written by inspiration (theopneustois) for the salvation of men (and to continue unto the end of the world that they might draw from them waters of salvation) to become so corrupted as to render them unfit for this purpose” .

    John Dagg (Baptist theologian, XIX century): “Although the Scriptures were originally penned under the unerring guidance of the Holy Spirit, it does not follow, that a continued miracle has been wrought to preserve them from all error in transcribing. On the contrary, we know that manuscripts differ from each other; and where readings are various, but one of them can be correct. A miracle was needed in the original production of the Scriptures; and, accordingly, a miracle was wrought; but the preservation of the inspired word, in as much perfection as was necessary to answer the purpose for which it was given, did not require a miracle, and accordingly it was committed to the providence of God. Yet the providence which has preserved the divine oracles, has been special and remarkable. They were at first committed to the Jews, who exercised the utmost care in their preservation and correct transmission. After the Christian Scriptures were added, manuscript copies were greatly multiplied; many versions were prepared in other languages; innumerable quotations were made by the early fathers; and sects arose which, in their controversies with each other, appealed to the sacred writings, and guarded their purity with incessant vigilance. The consequence is, that, although the various readings found in the existing manuscripts, are numerous, we are able, in every case, to determine the correct reading, so far as is necessary for the establishment of our faith, or the direction of our practice in every important particular. So little, after all, do the copies differ from each other, that these minute differences, which viewed in contrast with their general agreement, render the fact of that agreement the more impressive, and may be said to serve practically, rather to increase, than impair our confidence in their general correctness. Their utmost deviations do not change the direction of the line of truth; and if they seem in some points to widen that line a very little, the path that lies between their widest boundaries, is too narrow to permit us to stray. As copies of the Holy Scriptures, though made by fallible hands, are sufficient for our guidance in the study of divine truth.”

    E.J. Young (Reformed theologian, XX century):

    “Those who oppose the doctrine of inerrancy sometimes assert that God evidently did not regard the preservation of this original as a matter of importance. He apparently was content for us to have imperfect copies of the Scripture. It is, of course, a fact which all admit, that the original copy of the Bible is not preserved. Is the loss, however, a great one? Are the copies of the Bible which are now in our possession so poor that from them we cannot learn the true Word of God? If that were the case, if the Bible that is now before us were so far removed from the original that we could not learn from it the will of God, then the situation would be tragic indeed. Then we could probably say nothing whatever about the original. We might think that it was without error, but we could not know. We would have no trustworthy Bible and we would be left to our own imaginations…
    Are these copies, however, hopelessly corrupt? For our part, we are convinced that they are not. We believe that the Bible which we have is accurate and that it is a remarkably close approximation to the original manuscripts…It should be clear that errors are bound to appear in almost anything that is copied. If the reader will copy out five pages of his English Bible he will doubtless make the discovery, on reading over his work, that he has made some mistakes. This does not mean that there are mistakes in the Bible but merely that there are some mistakes of copying (copyist’s errors, as they are called) in what the reader has written out. Such is the case with the manuscripts of the Bible which are extant. They are remarkably close approximations to the original, and by means of the careful study of textual criticism it is more and more possible to approach that original…One cannot but exclaim, after having spent much time in a study of the Hebrew text…that these manuscripts have been preserved by the singular care and providence of God” .

    R.C. Sproul (Reformed theologian, XX-XXI century):

    Inspiration applies strictly to the original autographs of Scripture, to the original works of the inspired authors. What this does indicate is that the infallible control of God in the production of the original Scripture has not been miraculously perpetuated through the ages in the copying and translating process. It is plainly apparent that there are some minute variations between the manuscript copies that we possess and that the translating process will inject additional variants for those who read the Scripture in another language than Hebrew and Greek…Since we do not have the original manuscripts, some have urged that an appeal to the lost originals renders the whole case for the inspiration of the Scripture irrelevant. To reason in this manner is to do despite to the very serious work that has been done in the field of textual criticism. Textual criticism is the science which seeks to reconstruct an original text by a careful analysis and evaluation of the manuscripts we presently possess…For more than ninety-nine percent of the cases, the original text can be reconstructed to a practical certainty. Even in the few cases where some perplexity remains, this does not impinge on the meaning of Scripture to the point of clouding a tenet of the faith or a mandate of life. Thus, in the Bible as we have it (and as it is conveyed to us through faithfu1 translations), we do have for practical purposes the very word of God) inasmuch as the manuscripts do convey to us the complete vital truth of the originals.
    …copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original. Though we do not actually possess the originals, we have such well-reconstructed translations and copies that to the extent to which they do correspond to the original documents they may be said to be the Word of God. But because of the evident presence of copy errors and errors of translation the distinction must be made between the original work of inspiration in the autographs and the human labor of translating and copying those autographs.
    The denial has in view the important point that in those minuscule segments of existing manuscripts where textual criticism has not been able to ascertain with absolute certainty what the original reading was, no essential article of the Christian faith is affected .

    D.A.Carson writes on the same vein: “What is at stake is a purity of text of such a substantial nature that nothing we believe to be doctrinally true, and nothing we are commanded to do, is in any way jeopardize by the variants” .

    I trust this has been helpful. Glad to participate in the discussion.

    Renato Giuliani
    Rome, Italy

    Renato

    November 22, 2008 at 5:09 pm

  7. Renato,

    You will have a hard time convincing someone who does accept the NT by quoting the NT. When it comes to facts, this is a common reaction by Christians. They use the NT as their primary source when it is the veracity of the NT that is being tested. Then they talk about “the spirit”, as though that it more important then truth. I ask you, would you accept such a sresponse from a Muslim?
    Christians want to shove the Bible down everyone’s throats until it is they who cannoty defend it, then they run to “spirit” and special revelation that cannot be tested.

    Fred

    December 10, 2008 at 2:03 am

  8. CB,

    It’s been years since you’ve written this, but I hope that you can still answer my questions. I’m interested in the two areas where you said something along the lines of “Dr. Ehrman agrees…” Could you please point to or provide the sources you found that indicate this?

    Alfredo Villasenor

    March 17, 2012 at 12:27 am

  9. [...]  “Christopher Butler cites Bart Ehrman, ‘Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible…. Christopherbutler.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2012-10-23. [...]


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