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 of 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. We understand from Bible scholars that all of these variations are minor in nature. However, we know that there are at least two corrupt verses, Matthew 28:19 and 1 John 5:7, found in Manuscripts that have been corrupted under the dominating influence of the Roman Catholic Church in support of its unbiblical doctrine of the Trinity. In Chapter 26, we give detailed commentaries on these verses.
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) contained 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 this Manuscript.
Codex Sinaiticus (350 AD) contains the entire New Testament in Greek. A German scholar Tisendorf discovered it in 1856 at an Orthodox monastery on Mount 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. Unlike Autographs, it is very important to bear in mind that Translations are not error free. The most important early Translations are the Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate and the King James Version.
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.
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 biblical doctrines.
Three of the major doctrines believed by Traditional Christianity are the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of Hell and the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul. The shocking fact is that these are all unbiblical doctrines, which bring contradictions into the Word of God. In this book, we give detailed explanations on how and why all of these three doctrines are false and unbiblical, contradicting the Word of God.
We absolutely believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that it does not and cannot contradict itself. This is our guiding principle. So, when we find a contradiction in any version of the Bible, we immediately suspect the translation. We have proved again and again that any word or phrase, in any version of the Bible, is always mistranslated or misinterpreted if it brings contradiction into the Word of God.
A person does not have to be an expert in the Hebrew or Greek languages to know the intended meaning of any original Hebrew or Greek word. This is because there are excellent free websites like ‘Blue Letter Bible’ available to all, which give useful research tools such as Strong’s Concordance. Strong’s Concordance is an exhaustive cross-reference of every ‘original’ Hebrew and Greek word translated in the King James Version, and very importantly, it also gives other possible meanings of these Hebrew and Greek words, in the context in which they occur in the Bible. So, when a person has a reason to believe that a particular verse in the Bible is mistranslated or misinterpreted by the KJV translators, he is able to discern if there is an alternative way of translating the same verse. Let us demonstrate this by giving you the following specific example.
Matthew 25:46 (KJV)
And these will go away into everlasting (aionios) punishment, but the righteous into eternal (aionios) life.
The Greek word aion and its adjective aionios have two clear meanings in the Bible, depending on the context in which they occur. These meanings are ‘everlasting/eternal’ and ‘age’. When translating Matthew 25:46 above, the KJV translators chose to use the meaning of ‘everlasting’ for aionios in both of the occasions it occurs in this verse, and ignored the alternative meaning of ‘age’, and by doing so they introduced contradiction into the Word of God.
To translate ‘aionios life’ to mean eternal life for the righteous is obviously correct. However, to translate ‘aionios punishment’ to mean everlasting punishment for an unbeliever after death, is a mistranslation because it brings contradiction into the Word of God, contradicting many clear scriptures (see Chapter 4 of this book) that speak about the universal salvation of the whole world.
Also, it should be noted that the Greek word for punishment used in Matthew 25:46 above is kolasis, and the meaning of kolasis is ‘corrective punishment’, as confirmed by Strong’s Concordance number G2851. So, the true meaning of Matthew 25:46 as originally inspired by God, which does not bring any contradiction into the Word of God is:
And these will go away into age lasting (aionios) corrective punishment (kolasis), but the righteous into eternal (aionios) life.
It was Jerome who first mistranslated Matthew 25:46 in the Latin Vulgate around 400 AD in support of the Roman Catholic doctrine of hell. The KJV and other subsequent versions of the Bible that support the doctrine of hell have carried forward this mistranslated verse into their own versions. In Chapter 17, we discuss the mistranslation of this verse in greater depth.
In writing God’s Plan for All, our guiding principle has always been that the Bible is the Word of God and that it does not and cannot contradict itself. The problem is never with the Word of God as inspired by God through His Holy Spirit. The problem is always with translation and interpretation errors that bring contradictions into the Word of God. 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.
From time to time, our readers ask us if there is any version of the Bible that we would recommend to them. We have not found, and we do not believe that there is any version of the Bible currently available that is error free. Of course, some versions are better than others. We are thankful that there are Translations available like the KJV, NKJV, NASB and others. These are still excellent Translations of the Word of God in spite of the fact that they contain some significant translation errors. We have extensively used these Translations, and most scriptures quoted in this book are from the New King James Version (NKJV). 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.
We have no doubt that God inspired us to write God’s Plan for All because we are simply incapable of writing such a book through our own understanding of the Bible. In writing this book, we haven’t used or copied any material from any other writer except for certain historical facts of the Bible that we have researched ourselves from information available to the general public. This is why there is no reference list for us to give at the end of this book.
God’s Plan for All gives many truths of the Bible, and if there is any similarity in what we have written with anything previously written by any other writer, then this is due to the fact that we have used the same reference book, the Bible.