Your Bible Is Missing A Few Verses

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4,000,000+ people on YouTube… and countless others across the world are reciting a verse in Church that no longer exists in their Bibles. And most likely, almost none of them are aware of it.

Once upon a time… actually, not so long ago, in a land… not so far away and probably closer than you think, someone was reading their Bible much like countless others have in times past.

And it happened that when they were reading those ancient words, that an idea or a verse stood out to them and influenced their lives and ministry. Hymns were written based on these verses and sometimes entire Churches took them on as doctrinal creeds.

However, there was one problem: the verses that they were quoting… though part of their own Bibles… haven’t remained in ours anymore.

In fact, to be more blunt, what was once scripture for them is now not even included in scripture for us. What was once holy writing for them is now for us non-canonical and apocryphal.

Yet, how did this happen? For most, it seems unthinkable. How can something be scripture for one generation (included in the Bible) and become something else for another?

For the sake of time, let’s look at 4 examples to discover the answer.

1. SOLOMON AND CHRISTMAS

In 1849, Edmund Sears wrote the classical Christmas hymn “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” It became a hugely popular hymn and is still widely sung and known across the world.

What many people have probably not stopped to ask themselves is why the song says that Jesus was born at midnight?

The truth is that the song is based on a verse from Sears’ Bible that is no longer in modern Protestant Bibles. In fact, it’s from an entire book that used to be in his Bible but is no longer included in modern Protestant Bibles!

The ancient work, titled “The Wisdom of Solomon,” is included today in all modern versions of the Old Testament in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles (which is another way of saying that the majority of Christians in the world today still consider it scripture), but in the last 120 or so years, was removed from Protestant Bible translations.

Sears (a Protestant), living in 1849, still had a Protestant Bible (the KJV) that included this book.

Why is this important? Because he read in Wisdom 18:14-16 that

while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her swift course, thine Almighty Word leaped down from heaven out of thy royal throne.

Although the author of Wisdom was speaking about the Exodus and the angel of death, he connected it with Jude 5 (see ESV) and the nativity in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.

And so it is, that each Christmas, Protestant Christians gather to sing a Christmas hymn that is based on a verse from a book that is no longer in their Bibles.

For the rest of the world’s Christians though, this doesn’t mean as much. After all, they still have the book and consider it scripture. So let’s look at another example that does affect all Christians and not simply my portion of the Church.

2. THE TRINITY AND KJV

If we turn to a contemporary example, we need look no further than singer Chris Tomlin and his famous contemporary hymn “How Great is Our God.” Released in 2004, it has had phenomenal success and become a staple new hymn for many church services.

I’ve sung (and performed) this song many times and it is a favorite of mine. Every line of the song is taken or inspired by a verse in scripture, making the song even more powerful for worship services. For a complete breakdown of the lyrics and where each line comes from, visit this website.

Yet, something about that website and its verse by verse breakdown is interesting. For the fourth stanza, there is no scriptural reference given for two lines in the song. Tomlin sings of

“The Godhead three in one. Father, Spirit, and Son.”

What gives? Why does it appear from the website that he quoted scripture everywhere but here? Well, in truth, he is quoting a verse (1 John 5:7). There we read that

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

There’s just one problem (and it’s the reason why the website didn’t include it): it’s not included in any Bibles anymore.

In reality, it was a forgery that a scribe added during the Medieval Ages and it was mistakenly added by the King James translators to their version.

So if you still have an old Bible, you can find the inspiration for Tomlin’s song, but if you have a modern Bible, you will find it as a tiny footnote at the bottom of the page, reminding you that some people still don’t realize it’s been removed.

What does that mean? 4,000,000+ people on YouTube are singing along with Tomlin and countless others across the world are reciting a verse in Church that no longer exists in their Bibles.

And most likely, almost none of them are aware of it. Maybe not even Tomlin.

3. ANGELS STIRRING WATER AND ART

More than just music was affected by such things though, so too was artwork.

Famous artists such as William Hogarth, Robert Bateman, Nicolas Poussin, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Bartolome Esteban Murillo and Dirck van Delan to name a few, all set their paint to canvas because of the inspiration of the story of John 5:1-15 (otherwise called the Healing at the Pool of Bethesda).

What all of these artists have in common is that they had a Bible that included verse 4 which described that

an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

In all of these famous artists’ depictions of the healing by Jesus, an angel is present. The strange thing for us reading today is that modern Bibles do not include this verse because it is now known to be a forgery that a later scribe added to the text.

Yet, that forgery fooled the King James translators who didn’t know any better and made it’s way into a very famous and influential English translation of the Bible and as such, influenced many artists who would have otherwise never thought an angel was present in the story.

As a result, many today have grown up seeing depictions of the story that include elements no longer included in their Bibles.

4. SHEPHERDS AND ANGELS

Aside from songs we sing and art we view, what about ideas we commonly believe?

Have you ever heard that story told to you when you were young about how you have a good angel on one side of you and a bad angel on another side (typically situated to your right and left respectively), and each is trying to sway you to do either something good or not, locked in a lifelong battle for your soul?

If you were never seriously taught the concept, you were probably exposed to it in many cartoons. What if I told you that the idea came from a verse that used to be in your Bible?

The Shepherd of Hermas is a book that was written a few decades after John wrote Revelation and was the last major Christian prophetic work written during the Early Church. According to the author, Hermas, a freed slave, the visions came to him from an angel who instructed him regarding the role of the church in the future to come.

More ethical instruction than apocalyptic vision, the book is one of the longest works of any biblical work, making Isaiah even seem shorter.

The work was extremely popular in early Christianity and was widely accepted as genuinely inspired, if not scripture, by all the Early Church initially.

Athanasius, an early Church father, although not affirming the work as scripture, did support (and stated that those before him had supported) the idea that when new Christians were baptized, they should read the Shepherd before reading the other works of the Bible in order to best understand the Christian message.

The very idea of imagining Jesus as a shepherd with a sheep wrapped around his arms became popular not because of the New Testament we have, but the Shepherd. Some early Christians in the 2nd century even drank from goblets that had engravings of the “Good Shepherd,” a reference to the vision of the book.

Of course, many Christians did not share the view of Athanasius that it was not scripture. Many, if not most, were convinced it was.

We have more copies preserved from antiquity in many cases of the Shepherd than we do of other Biblical books, which indicates that the work was treated as scripture by those who preserved it. We know that it was quoted as scripture and argued from during the Council of Nicaea and most interesting of all, the earliest complete Bible that we have preserved from the 4th century (Codex Siniaticus) includes it as the final book of the New Testament.

However, around the 5th – 6th century, the book’s popularity dwindled until it was gone and the result is that a book that some early Bible’s included as scripture and new converts read before anything else is now not included in any church as scripture.

Yet, the ideas from that book have remained. Shepherd of Hermas 36:1-4 presents the view, straight from the testimony of an angelic being, that all humans have two angels fighting over them, one good and one evil.

The book may have been removed from the Bible, but the teaching it gave clearly has remained with us thousands of years later.

CONCLUSION

While all of this is fascinating, it can also prove disturbing for some.

In the popular imagination, the Bible is supposed to be among other things: stable, unchanging and constant. Yet, these few examples (and many more that I did not mention) illustrate the fact that the Bible is anything but stable, unchanging and constant. It is a growing work that is influenced by the people who help to shape it.

This is why many ministers and scholars feel very uneasy when some Christians say (without understanding) “The Bible and the Bible Alone” or “God says it, so that settles it.”

Such slogans are easy to say, but they ignore the known history of our Bible and how it developed and will continue to. They ignore that the Bible a Protestant holds is not the same as a Catholic holds, nor is the Catholic’s Bible the same as the Orthodox church member’s.

They ignore that the Bible they hold today is not the same that Luther, who coined the term “Sola Scriptura,” knew.

Even today, there are a few certain verses that are still included in our modern Bibles that are suspected to be forgeries and are likely to be removed by translation committees from the Bibles of our great-grandchildren (for those curious, they are usually placed in visible [brackets] in modern Bibles).

What stories do we think that we know now that our future generations will scratch their heads and wonder, “where did they get that idea from?”

What songs will they sing from our generation that in the future will sound good theologically, but will not be found anymore in those words within their sacred text?

God alone knows.

In the end, we can learn from this that the Bible is much more than a static text. It lives and it breathes and with each new day, it reveals something new to us about what it actually is, rather than what we’ve been taught to believe it is.

And the best part? What it actually is, is far more interesting.

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  • Tom Hanson

    One caution ref a scribe “forging” a word or verse. People write in their books. It happened through ages before printing was invented. In manuscript copying you can find notes and single words used to help for understanding as well as replacing what should have been there when damage had happened. Later scribes sometimes mistook note for scripture. Judgments today, to be definitive, take major work, because each instance has to be compared with older instances from both that manuscript’s family tree (“stemma”) and with the other known family trees. It also takes sober judgment. One suspects that the translators of the King James Bible probably did not have access, say, to Codex Vaticanus and some others. Forging is far too strong a word in most if not all instances.

  • NanaRuns55

    Praise God! You do not understand how God just used you to confirm some thoughts and Spirit-filled urgings that have been weighing in on me the past several months. I have to keep stopping to regain my composure. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I will be back to continue this conversation, but gotta go right now.

  • Christine Sine

    I think the best example of this is that Jesus was born out in a stable away from the home because of the verse so often translated “there was no room at the inn” but now usually translated “there was no space in the guest room” (or something like that). According to Kenneth Bailey Jesus’ family probably bedded down with the family and he was placed in the manger because it was between this part of the home and where the animals were kept. My understanding is (and this is from memory) that according to Bailey our idea of Jesus born in a stable away from the house actually comes from a novel written in the 2nd or 3rd century.

  • Alonzo

    You are only considering the translation and not the original language. And just because Bailey said something does not make it true. You need to do more research than one person.

  • jkcmsal

    Please name some others that have done research that you have read and used. Besides Wallace, who do you approve of? Also what reason do you have to think Christine can read the language the English was translated from? The translators of “there was no space in the guest room” are the ones who already did the the work. They are the ones who read the earlier language. Christine is just reporting.

  • Alonzo

    Wallace is a good starter for you, and he will lead you to others. I suggest you do your own research so you can gain some understanding.

    I will let Christine answer for herself concerning her knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic. She simply cites an unknown English version source. Quotation without citation is incomplete. The same applies to Bailey.

  • jkcmsal

    Here are some references to offer some light on the subject. The first one has the Greek and a lot of historical background. The second link has Bailey’s original journal article which originally appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Bible and Spade.
    From the article: “For centuries, large sections of the Church have assumed that the manger was in an animal stable. Three overlapping questions arise here, which of necessity must be discussed together:

    1. Was the birthplace a cave?

    2. Was it a stable or a private home?

    3. Was it inside or outside the village?

    I will try to demonstrate that the place was likely a private home in the village, and may have been a cave.”

    http://www.revisedenglishversion.com/Luke/chapter2/7
    http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/11/08/The-Manger-and-the-Inn.aspx

  • Alonzo

    Unfortunately, the biblical text does not bear out yours nor Bailey’s interpretation. Yours and Bailey’s interpretation are nothing but speculations. The Greek word for “manger” means feeding trough (φάτνῃ) for animals. People did not keep feeding troughs in their house or guest house. This Greek word appears only four times in the New Testament (Luke 2:7, 12, 16; 13:15). In Luke 13:15, some English versions use the word “stall.” In this verse, Jesus uses this word in pointing out the hypocrisy of the Jews and their lack of mercy by referring to their better treatment of their animals and the demeaning treatment they showed toward Him healing a woman on the Sabbath. The text states, “Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger (φάτνῃ) and lead it away to water it?” Only Luke of all the New Testament writers uses this word, and he gives the contexts for it. You totally miss the intent of the author

    To claim the word refers to a private home does not fit the context in the four cases mentioned in Luke, especially Luke 13:15. I don’t are how many external sources you give, you cannot twist the text to mean what it does not say. The Greek word within its various context has only one meaning, and that is “manger” or its equivalent a stall.

    You are incorrect because you ignore the original language (Greek), context, and intent of the author. Bailey is a liberal theologian and bases his case on a mix of modern and ancient context. The context was not Palestinian but Israelite. Luke was not describing a Palestinian context but a Jewish one. But that has minimal influence on the interpretation, because the key to interpretation is context. And the fact that Luke is the only New Testament author to even use the word, especially in his use in 13:15 with Jesus speaking is informative. In no instance could the context refer to a house especially in 13:15.

    You need to do your own biblical study before drawing conclusions.

  • jkcmsal

    Private homes of most people of the time had mangers (feeding troughs). That is a historical fact. So the context fits that fact. Jesus does not say the where the manger is. He didn’t need to. Everyone then knew where it was: in a home.

  • Alonzo

    >”The Greek word in question in Luke 2:7 is “καταλύματι (guest room) or kataluma”, not manger (φάτνῃ).”

    You are not reading correctly and show you do not know Greek:

    “καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι.”

    And she brought forth the son of her the first born and wrapped in swaddling clothes him and laid him in a manger (φάτνῃ) because not there was for them a place in the inn (καταλύματι). See the Greek above for the corresponding Greek words inserted beside the English.

    The above English translation is according to Greek word order and is an awkward rendition in English, because Greek is grammatically different from English.

    Now if all you are interested in is arguing about things of which you do not know, then this discussion ceases. I have no interest in arguing with people who do not know what they are talking about. You are wrong because you are uneducated.

  • jkcmsal

    According to Biblehub (research!), the Greek my be either guest room or inn. Several Bible translations at Biblehub, choose guest room for kataluma. Young’s Literal Translation is one such Bible given at Biblehub. From Luke 2:7: “and she brought forth her son — the first-born, and wrapped him up, and laid him down in the manger, because there was not for them a place in the guest-chamber.” Also, other places kataluma is used in Luke are not translated as “inn” but as “guest room.”

    So I am educating myself at the link you suggested. Are you saying Biblehub is wrong?

    Remember Bailey is a conservative source. His in depth explanation provides a solid basis justifying the improved and corrected translation of kataluma including why the error was made in the first place. Remember he is supporting the inerrancy of the Bible.

  • Alonzo

    I am saying that you are wrong by not reading and recognizing the word “manger” in the text. You even wrote it in your reply.

    There was no room in the INN (16th-17th century idiom), so Mary laid Jesus in a MANGER or stall. Please quit bothering me until you learn to read accurately.

    You are dwelling on the minors and missing the entire story that Jesus was incarnate God in human flesh, who lived among men, was executed, and rose again from the dead for the redemption of those who believe. This is the entire historical account. Quibbling over the details causes you to miss the entire event of the purpose of Jesus coming. If you are to know God, Jesus is the only way through confessing Him as Savior. No more from me.

  • jkcmsal

    I read and recognized manger. You and I agree, and the conservative Bailey agrees, on the meaning and definition of manger. The issue is the use of kataluma as found on Biblehub and other conservative sources which support “guest room” and not “inn.”

  • Cliff

    You come across as arrogant and condescending…..too bad…

  • Alonzo

    >”You come across as arrogant and condescending…..too bad…”

    When all logic and reason fails you, you resort to personal attack. I have lost count of the number of times I have written that to people who fail to engage discussion with reason and logic, too many to count. You just invalidated every previous reply you ever made.

  • John Purssey

    It is a logical fallacy that one comment on how a person interacts invalidates previous arguments that person made.

  • Neil Parker

    See how these Christians love one another.

  • Alonzo

    Yes we do, thank you very much regardless of your intent behind your words. I assume you are genuine in your intent unless you express otherwise. And if it is otherwise, then that reveals much about you.

  • jkcmsal

    A link to Wallace please. Especially to what he has to say about the relevant portions of Luke.
    Do you have links to anyone else? Who do you read or do you not read anyone else?

  • Alonzo

    DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK. Place Daniel B. Wallace in any Internet browser, and you will find his discussions on the reliability of the New Testament.

    I NEVER associated Wallace with the Luke passage. You just raised a straw man when you made the connection.

    I gave you more than enough. Reading others on a passage is not enough. You must read it yourself in its CONTEXT and according to the AUTHOR’S INTENT. You cannot speculate about a passage. READ IT. If you want to know about the language behind the translation, go to places where the original languages exist such as these places:

    http://www.biblehub.com
    http://www.biblestudytools.com

    Otherwise, I will not be able to reply to you until you show that you are interested in doing your own homework.

  • Alonzo

    The examples given in this article do not consider how the canon came about and why certain passages or books were excluded from the modern versions of the Bible. Much scholarship has gone into explaining these omissions if anyone wishes to do a bit of research. This response will not go into that research because of its voluminous nature. But such research answers why certain passages or entire books are omitted. Books as the Wisdom of Solomon and The Shepherd of Hermas are among book not considered reliable, are fantastical in nature, have an unknown author, or were too far removed from the first century to be considered canonist. In terms of certain phrases or passages, more recent research into ancient manuscripts, uncials, lectionaries, papyri, and other discovered fragments show that they were not in the oldest manuscripts. Daniel Wallace and others have performed such research and have highlighted and documented such discoveries. He has also shown that the Bible we have today is reliable and can be corroborated by the numerous documents now available to us. Furthermore, many Bible versions have footnotes for passages explaining why they many not have been included. Therefore, this article is misleading in its conclusion because it ignores biblical research and its explanations. Others such as Bart Erhman and those with the Jesus Seminar have also attempted to bring about doubt in the Scriptures, but they have been refuted many times over. Erhman is an atheist and begins from that point. Those with the Jesus Seminar are atheists, agnostics, or other. Those who question the authenticity and authority of the Bible need to do research.

  • popeye47

    There are countless example of people copying the bible throughout the centuries of changing, adding or omitting words or verses.
    We will never know to the extent of changes.
    I’m sure there are words added that weren’t supposedly from God.

  • Alonzo

    Your premises and conclusions are not true. I refer you to one of the world’s leading biblical scholar I cited, Daniel Wallace. You need to do your research prior to drawing such conclusions. Sure, there have been errors in copying, but one cannot conclude that we “will not know to the extent of changes.” You did not read my reply very carefully to understand that there are almost 6,000 complete New Testament manuscripts and 24,000 corroborating manuscripts, uncials, lectionaries, and fragments that provide a high degree of confidence that what we have in the current Bible is accurate. In fact the Bible is the most documented book of any ancient work.

    See here: https://carm.org/manuscript-evidence

    Here is an article DB Wallace wrote on manuscript variants that contradicts your claim: https://danielbwallace.com/2013/09/09/the-number-of-textual-variants-an-evangelical-miscalculation/

    You can search through Wallace’s website to find more articles on the subject of biblical accuracy.

  • jkcmsal

    So do you agree that the KJV of the author of the Christmas hymn “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” served as a source for the hymn? The whole point of the examples is that they are not in the canon today. The reliability of the Bible is not in question here in the article. The reliability of the Wisdom of Solomon and The Shepherd of Hermas is not in question either, one way or the other. Considering the sources of hymns painitngs, etc., is not questioning the authenticity or authority of the Bible. Bart Ehrman and the Jesus Seminar are not relevant to the examples. Nor are the number of uncials or papyri.

  • Alonzo

    I have never read or seen the 1849 edition of the KJV although I own a 1633 copy, 22 years from its original release; and I have read much earlier versions. None of those earlier version had the book called “Wisdom of Solomon,” because it was not recognized as part of the canon. You are starting at the wrong place. You need to begin with the accepted canon, of which the apocryphal books are not a part. Protestants never accepted them. That should be your starting point. Besides, you have not read my reply to this. I do not want to repeat myself. You need to do your research before making statements or asking questions.

  • jkcmsal

    Today’s Protestant canon was not used as the source for the hymn. We agree. Here is a link to an 1846 version of the King James Bible that may have been used by the hymn’s author. It contains the apocrypha.
    http://www.antiquebible.com/antique-kjv-family-bibles.html
    Glad I can provide new information for you on a subject you know well.

  • Alonzo

    Not interested

  • jkcmsal

    I hope you are at least interested in the facsimile of the 1611 Authorized King James Version of the Bible with Apocrypha.

    Perhaps you are as surprised as I am that the apocrypha was included in 1611.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=PcYXO_-Us0AC&printsec=frontcover&dq=authorized+king+james+version+oxford+with+apocrypha&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjB_uXA57fXAhXGh1QKHVugBKwQ6AEILTAB#v=onepage&q=authorized%20king%20james%20version%20oxford%20with%20apocrypha&f=false

  • jkcmsal

    A facsimile, 400th anniversary edition of the original King James Bible of 1611 The Apocrypha is included. https://books.google.com/books?id=PcYXO_-Us0AC&printsec=frontcover&dq=authorized+king+james+version+oxford+with+apocrypha&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjB_uXA57fXAhXGh1QKHVugBKwQ6AEILTAB#v=onepage&q=authorized%20king%20james%20version%20oxford%20with%20apocrypha&f=false

    Your injunction that I do research is paying dividends for you in terms of the original King James.

  • John Purssey

    Different canons for different traditions.

  • jimoppenheimer

    I was listening to a lecture by Ehrmann. He stated that there are indeed more potential variations of the New Testament than there are words in the New Testament, and he then added that the vast majority of these variations are minor grammatical differences, obvious scribal errors, and other things which can easily be accounted for. He ended by saying that in terms of actual meaning, there are very few differences between the various versions of the Bible extant today. That has certainly been my experience. I think Ehrmann is an agnostic, not an atheist. There actually is a big difference.

  • Alonzo

    Again, Bart Erhman has been refuted numerous times. See Daniel Wallace’s refutation of his approach and data: https://danielbwallace.com/2012/05/01/the-bart-ehrman-blog-and-the-reliability-of-the-new-testament-text. Because Erhman is an atheist, that is his default starting point with the Bible. He rejects it as God’s word and begins his analysis from that point.

  • Alonzo

    >”potential variations…”

    Arguing from “potential” is arguing from absence, which is a logical fallacy. Potential is not existence but speculation, which many who have rebutted Erhman have pointed out, making the “potential argument unsound (Professors Daniel Wallace, Thomas Shreiner, Decker, Ted Cabal, Michael Kruger).

  • Cliff

    I do not think it is correct to say “Erhman is an atheist and begins from that point.” I agree with jimoppenheimer that Ehrman is an agnostic, not an atheist. Ehrman is a scholar of the first rank. Further, what do you mean by the remark that the Jesus Seminar folk “…are atheists, agnostics, or other.” What/who are “other”? Ehrman, the Jesus Seminar folks, and many others certainly do solid research. There are millions of agnostics and the number grows daily, as do the numbers of Nones and Church Alumni — and atheists.

  • Alonzo

    Thanks for all your unsupported remarks. The next time you write, document them. Both agnosticism and atheism reject God, making them without God and in the same predicament. I do not quibble over names, because it is the intent and end that counts and determines the basis for their research. If one rejects God, one rejects anything that leads to belief in Him regardless of research. Such research will automatically omit anything that support God’s authority.

    You cannot support your claims and have not done so.

  • John Purssey

    Your remarks are also unsupported. Your statement about the scholarship of people like the Jesus Seminar group simply displays your prejudice.

  • Alonzo

    Nice shifting the issue. I don’t follow your rabbit trails.

  • John Purssey

    You prefer your misconception that sarcasm bolsters your argument.

  • Alonzo

    Devolving to name calling now. Bye. You are blocked

  • John Purssey

    That isn’t name calling. But your posts on this blog item do seem to belie a fragile ego with a need for feeling superior.

  • http://www.lifeloveandtruth.com Jeffrey Courter

    Dismissing an argument does not refute it. The Bible cannot be proven to be inerrant – one can believe it is, but that in itself is a statement of faith, not a proof. The historical accuracy and scientific accuracy of the Bible can be shown to be fallible, but even John Calvin, of Reformation fame, argued that if the Bible did not square with science, so much the worse for the Bible – it is not a book of science. Spouting references to whatever scholarly authority one chooses does not necessarily prove a point. Logic itself will often do, and the pure logic of whether the Bible is inerrant or not is that it cannot be proven, just as God’s existence cannot be proven in any scientific sense. As Tertullian famously asserted, “I believe because it is absurd.” (Kierkegaard echoes this later.) So where does that leave us? With uncertainty, and choice – we choose what we believe. As Luther asserted, “Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me.” Thus it is for all of us.

  • Alonzo

    >”The Bible cannot be proven to be inerrant -”

    Non sequitur. This discussion is not about the inerrancy of the Scriptures. Your argument is a digression and not on point. If you wish to discuss inerrancy, then start a discussion on it. Besides, can you prove your statements?

    Citation for Calvin, please. I have his works so I can verify your claim. Citation from Tertulian, also. Is that your translation or someone else’s? You quote Luther out of context.

  • http://www.lifeloveandtruth.com Jeffrey Courter

    Your citing of Daniel Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, known for its theological conservatism, belies a certain view you perhaps wish perhaps to promote on this decidedly liberal (“progressive”) Christian blog and invites the discussion of inerrancy. Calvin’s quote: “But if the Lord has been pleased to assist us by the work and ministry of the ungodly in physics, dialectics, mathematics, and other similar sciences, let us avail ourselves of it…” (Inst. 2:2:17 – I realize this is not the same as saying “so much the worse for the Bible;” my point is that Calvin allowed that much scripture is metaphor and allegory, rather than scientific truth.) Tertullian: “Credo quia absurdum.” De Carne Christi, ca 203. As for Luther, I understand the quote is out of context, but it proves a point – we each are our own interpreters, as was he.

    Ehrman began as a devoted fundamentalist. His research led to his current views. I may not share his current views, but I have regard for his research.

    I will drop the discussion on inerrancy, but it seems to be related to standards of biblical canon and orthodoxy. Simply stated, philosophy seems to use prepositional logic more than argument from authority, while Christian theology is held to tradition, so citations are more frequent. I must admit that the agnostic view that one cannot know for certain if God exists or not is logically true – we cannot see or hear God normally, and when we take the word of those who claim to have seen or heard God we are taking it by faith, believing he or she is not lying to us. Ergo, as Paul states well, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor 5:7)

  • Alonzo

    Stop it! You already received my reply. You are using diversionary tactics.

  • jimoppenheimer

    There are a few places where there are significant differences, such as the Lord’s Prayer. The prayer is in significantly different form in Luke and Matthew. However, in the manuscript the King James scholars had, some scribe noticed this difference and “fixed” it by changing the shorter version for the longer version, so that in the KJV, both gospels have the same wording.
    However, this has not real impact on our faith. If we had the shorter form of the Lord’s Prayer (certainly the more likely to come from Our Lord), I cannot imagine that it would in any way change our faith. This is the way most of the differences pan out. Yes, they are differences, and the Bible certainly is not one inerrant version, but the message is pretty much the same. Even Bart Ehrmann says this quite clearly in one of his lectures. If Bart is saying the Bible’s variations are not really consequential, I think it’s likely to be an accurate assessment.

  • John Purssey

    And “The Lord’s Prayer” is not a name given to it/them in the Bible, so some call it the “Our Father” prayer.
    The final line of “For Yours is the Kingdom …” is found not in Luke or Matthew but in The Didache. On the other hand, the sentiments of this line are not in disagreement with the rest of the Bible.
    What is interesting is that it is given as an example of how to construct a prayer, but it is used instead as a mantra.

  • William Cook

    Thank you, all of you. I am grateful for the scholars and scholarship that is committed to developing the best original language texts and, from those texts, the most careful translations. It is a gift to the rest of us. I enjoy Hebrew and Greek, and mostly read the Greek NT. I am very much aware of the issues that challenge any translation from one culture and language into another. I honor the work that places a solid text in front of me.

    And yet as much as I honor that work and appreciate it, my faith is not in some “inerrant” text that I might have in front of me, nor one that might have existed in some distant path. Clearly the texts have a history, as do the doctrines that shape how we hold the texts. My faith (as I am sure is true for those in this conversation) is in God, and not the text. The biblical text, as perfect or imperfect, failible or infallible, errant or inerrant, a translation might be, is still Canon (the content of which still differs from one community to the next). It still remains at the heart of that through which I encounter the Christ.

    An additional issue is the reader. Even if we had an infallible and inerrant text, we are still very imperfect readers. The text comes to life in our reading. Apart from a reader, the text is just marks on a page. We come to the text with our own histories, biases, cultures, ideologies, and imperfections. Put all of this together, and I think we need to pick up a text and read it carefully, with humility, listening to each other. Ultimately, it is by grace and in faith that we read, not contingent upon some kind of perfection that is not found in us.

    Translations will continue to evolve, and must if the Bible is to speak to contexts and cultures that are foreign to us. Thank you to those who do that work.

  • jekylldoc

    The key word here is “encounter”. And if we only encounter Christ through the Bible, we are impoverishing our encounters.

  • jekylldoc

    I was raised with an idea of the Bible having supernatural authority for every word. I completely agree that the alternative is more spiritually alive.

  • Daniel Fisher

    A few clarifications….

    1. Protestant doctrine going back to the time of at least the Westminster Confession (1646) rejects the apocryphal books, and one can still get brand new “Protestant translations” (such as the ESV) with these books. Not sure it is quite accurate to suggest that there was some systemic removal of the apocrypha in the last 120 years; as much as simply demand for such simply dropped off.

    2. “there is no scriptural reference given for two lines in the song.” This is simply erroneous. The website you note lists 17 references for the line of “Father Spirit Son”, and presumably the author of that website was simply conflating those references to describe both lines as they encompass one single idea. So at worst, there is still only one “line” of the song without such any reference. And please let’s not forget the explicit language of “Father, Son, and Spirit” is found elsewhere in the Bible than John 5?

  • Shiphrah99

    Re: #4. Have a look at the lyrics to the Jewish Friday night hymn, Shalom Aleichem, and the midrash that it was based on.

  • John Purssey

    Peace be unto you, ye ministeri​​​​ng Angels, Angels of the
    most High, ye that come from the Supreme King of Kings,
    the Holy One, blessed be He.

    May your coming be in peace, ye ministeri​​​​ng Angels, Angels
    of the most High, ye that come from the Supreme King of Kings,
    the Holy One, blessed be He.

    Bless​ me with peace, ye ministeri​​​​ng Angels, Angels of the
    Most High, ye that come from the Supreme King of Kings, the
    Holy One, blessed be He.

    Go ye forth in peace, ye ministeri​​​​ng Angels, Angels of the
    Most High, ye that come from the Supreme King of Kings, the
    Holy One, blessed be He.

    Trans​lation by Herbert Loewe, Mediae​val Hebrew Minstrels​y, Songs for the Bride Queen’s Feast​, published​ 1926.

  • Starla Anne Lowry

    I have studied the various versions of the Bible and have satisfied my mind that the most accurate is the King James, based on the Textus Receptus text. Bruce Metzger who headed the new translations has said, “We took as our base at the beginning the text of Westcott and Hort and introduced changes as seemed necessary on the basis of MSS evidence.” So, what manuscripts did Westcott and Hort use to get their Greek New Testament? They used primarily two old 4th century manuscripts for their work — Codex Vaticanus (B) and the Codex Sinaiticus to fill in gaps missing from Vaticanus. Also, the King James Bible is built on the foundation of faith by men who had a very high regard for the Bible.

  • John Purssey

    And had to make sure that their translation reflected the divine right of Kings, as King James required.

  • Martha Anne Underwood

    I know that the concept of the Trinity is not Biblical. From my understanding, we Christians are monotheistic and the early church developed the concept/doctrine of the Trinity to explain that we don’t have three Gods, i.e. God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit but one God who has three roles. The Trinity is an interpretation of the verses about God, Jesus and Holy Spirit so that we still have one deity. So do you believe that Jesus was only human and not divine; that when Jesus was a baby God picked him to be the Savior? I know there are people who believe just that. Even though I don’t believe it, I respect others’ views, so I am not going to try to convince them otherwise. For me, Jesus has to be God incarnate on earth; both human and divine. For my foundation is on Jesus Christ, not the Bible. Since my foundation is on Christ, I believe the Trinity is the best explanation. The Bible was written by devout humans who were in relationship to God; however, as humans, they were fallible, so I don’t believe in the inerrancy of the Bible.

  • Dawgxian

    The evidence that early Xians saw the Shepherd as scripture is not widespread. The Muratorian Canon states it was written in the late 2nd C and should not be read with the Scriptures. Even the codex that has it puts it after Revelation implying it was not part of the Canon

  • John Purssey

    The modern Christmas story has extra-biblical elements:
    Scenes of the nativity showing the nativity in a stable in a cave derive from the Protoevangelium of James.
    The ox and the ass are a Nativity projection by Christians on Isaiah 1:3
    The ox knows its owner,
    and the donkey its master’s crib;
    but Israel does not know,
    my people do not understand.
    Matthew says the magi visited Mary and Joseph in a house “On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother” which would have been Jospeh’s house in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.
    It is the Gospel of Mary that Mary takes a vow of perpetual virginity and that Jesus was therefore born without sex.
    The Protoevangelium of James (8:13) makes Joseph an older man. beyond sex, and “solves” the problem of Jesus having brothers and sisters by making them children from a previous marriage,

    By the time of the 6th cent. the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew has shaped the modern tradition and has:
    Jesus born in a cave used as a stable,
    watched over by an ox and ass,
    Mary would ever remain a virgin and was attended to by two midwives,
    One of the two dared to test with her hand to check that Mary was still a virgin and was punished with a withered hand,.

    Viz; That Holy Night:Reflections on the Infancy Narratives, Robert Crotty, Ch 10, Reading the Bible, Ed. Maurice Ryan, Social Science Press, 2003.