THE AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE
We believe in the supreme authority of the Bible as the Word of God.
The Bible contains 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. We believe that the original God inspired books of the Bible, known as the Autographs, which were written in the original biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, were free from error. It is important to know that there are clear distinctions between Autographs, Manuscripts and Translations regarding the Bible.
AUTOGRAPHS are the ancient original texts written either by the author’s own hand or by a scribe under his personal supervision. We believe that the Holy Spirit directly inspired the Autographs and that they were free from error. The original Bible language of the Old Testament was mostly Hebrew, however, some of the texts were also written in Aramaic. The original Bible language of the New Testament was ancient Greek. None of the Autographs of the Old and the New Testaments have survived. All of them have either been lost or destroyed. What have survived are hundreds, even thousands of Manuscripts.
MANUSCRIPTS are copies or the copies of copies…of the original inspired Autographs written in the original Bible languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. There are only a few Manuscripts of the Old Testament still in existence today compared to 5600 Manuscripts of the New Testament. None of the Manuscripts agree exactly, word for word with each other, and as there are thousands of Manuscripts, there are also multiple thousands of variations. However, all of these variations are very minor in nature and do not affect any core biblical doctrines with the exception of two verses, Matthew 28:19 and 1 John 5:7. These two verses have been corrupted in certain Manuscripts by the Roman Catholic Church to promote its unbiblical doctrine of the Trinity. We give details of these two corrupted verses in Chapter 26.
The most important Manuscripts of the Old Testament and the New Testament still in existence today are the following:
The Dead Sea Scrolls (200 BC - 70 AD) contain the entire book of Isaiah and portions of every other Old Testament book except Esther.
Aleppo Codex (circa 950 AD) contains the complete Old Testament. Unfortunately, over one quarter of this Codex was destroyed in anti-Jewish riots in 1947.
Codex Leningradensis (1008 AD) contains the complete Old Testament in Hebrew. The Jewish Bible, the Tanakh, is based on the Codex Leningradensis.
Codex Sinaiticus (350 AD) contains the entire New Testament in Greek. A German scholar Tisendorf discovered it in 1856 at an Orthodox monastery on Mt. Sinai.
Codex Vaticanus (350 AD) is an almost complete New Testament in Greek and it is catalogued as being in the Vatican Library since 1475.
Textus Receptus (1514 AD) is the first printed copy of the Greek New Testament, by Erasmus.
TRANSLATIONS are when the Bible is translated into a different language from the original Bible languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. There are also many Translations of Translations. To date, the Bible has been translated into approximately 2500 languages. The most important early Translations are the following:
The Septuagint (300-200 BC), also known as LXX, is the name given to the Greek translation of the Jewish Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures. It contains the standard 39 books of the Old Testament canon, as well as certain apocryphal books. Please note that the Septuagint comes under the category of Translation, and not Manuscript, even though it was translated into the New Testament Bible language of ancient Greek. This is because the original Bible languages of the Old Testament are Hebrew and Aramaic, and not Greek.
The Latin Vulgate (400 AD) is by far the most influential translation of the Bible ever carried out in the history of Christianity. The Latin Vulgate, translated by Jerome, reigned supreme for over a thousand years and it was the only translation made available to the Christian world because of the complete dominance of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the Middle Ages, from the 5th Century to the 16th Century. It became the Bible of the Western Church until the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s. To date, the Latin Vulgate continues to be the authoritative translation of the Bible for the Roman Catholic Church.
The King James Version (1611 AD). In 1604, King James I of England authorised the translation of the Bible into English. The King James Version, also known as ‘The Authorised Version’, quickly became the standard version of the Bible for English-speaking Protestants.
Unlike Autographs, it is very important to bear in mind that Translations are not error free. The Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, the King James Version or any other Translation of the Bible is subject to human translation and interpretation errors. Such errors are of huge significance when they affect core Christian doctrines.
Most Christians are unaware of the fact that the doctrine of hell is due to mistranslations and misinterpretations of important Hebrew and Greek words into Latin, in the Latin Vulgate. The Latin Vulgate had such an overpowering dominance and influence for over a thousand years that many subsequent Bible versions, especially the King James Version, have simply carried forward these translation and interpretation errors to varying degrees, in support of the Roman Catholic doctrine of hell.
The problem is never with the Word of God as inspired by God through His Holy Spirit. The problem is with translation errors that bring contradictions into the Word of God. The doctrine of hell, as translated and interpreted in many Bible versions, massively contradicts the truth of the Bible that God’s only begotten Son Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world. It is about time that Christians worldwide wake up to the fact that hell is an unbiblical pagan doctrine, and that there are serious mistranslations in most popular versions of the Bible. In Chapters 15-20 we give complete and comprehensive answers to why the doctrine of hell is false and unbiblical.
God is Sovereign in everything and He has allowed errors to exist in Translations, but no translation errors can prevent God from revealing His true Gospel of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to whomsoever and whenever He chooses to reveal it.
The Bible is truly an amazing book, living and powerful, life and spirit, and when it is studied and understood with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, the infallible Word of the Spirit transcends the fallible Translations of men.