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Are there any errors in the Bible?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by coffeeandprayer, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    The term "Authorized" refers to the fact that it is authorized by the British Crown for use in the Church of England, specifically King James I of England authorized it because he felt it was necessary to update and standardize English Bibles for use in the Church of England. The King James Version went through several immediate revisions and updates within a few short years of its initial publication in 1611, in 1613, 1629, and 1638. However by the mid 18th century there were so many variations in the text from different revisions and updates from different publishers that it was decided that a new standardized text was necessary. The task fell to the two of Britain's most prestigious institutions, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford, the first of these which came out was the Cambridge 1760 edition, but was largely superseded by the 1769 Oxford edition. The Oxford became the de facto edition of the KJV in the English speaking world. Another major change to the KJV took place in the late 19th century, American Bible publishers began to publish the KJV without Apocrypha, largely as a cost-saving measure but likely anti-Catholic sentiment was a major contributing factor. I'm not sure if the same thing happened as drastically by British publishers.

    For the most part, in the English-speaking world if you one is picking up a copy of the KJV, it is the 1769 Oxford edition without Apocrypha, that is the standard version of the KJV; and it is markedly different from the original 1611, not simply in terms of orthography and spelling, but also changes to the translation itself, sometimes relatively substantial depending, for example the 1611 version of Ezekiel 24:7 reads "powred it vpon the ground”, the 1769 reads "poured it not upon the ground".

    Then there's the simple fact that the KJV has translated some things poorly, for example Psalm 2:12. The KJV translators aren't the originators of the mistranslation, as the same mistranslation is found in the Coverdale Bible, Great Bible, Geneva Bible, and even the Luther Bible; the problem is that translations from this period seem to have desired to treat the text as though it were Aramaic, rather than Hebrew, leading to the rendering of it as "kiss the son"; in Aramaic "bar" means "son" but in Hebrew means "purity", hence why in ancient translations such as the Septuagint and Vulgate it is retained as "purity", so we find (for example) Wycliffe's Bible translating it as "Take ye lore; lest the Lord be wrooth sumtyme, and lest ye perischen fro iust waie.", the Douay-Rheims has "Embrace discipline, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and you perish from the just way.", the rendering of "kiss the son" is innovative and does not seem to be based on the plain reading of Hebrew, or ancient translations in use among Christians prior to the 16th century. It's worth noting that not only does the KJV not originate this error, it's not alone--most translations have continued to retain this idiosyncratic translation, including the NIV, ESV, and others.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
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  2. Dirk1540

    Dirk1540 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yeah I don't understand the King James only argument, so many more manuscripts have been discovered since KJV, and earlier manuscripts. Although it's not as if you have a 'Bad' Bible by any means with any of the major translations!! I'm not knocking KJV, just don't know why people claim it to be the epitome of perfection.
     
  3. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    We have so many ancient manuscripts (of the NT, at least) that we can be reasonably certain that we have almost exactly the words as originally written.

    Good translations like the ESV render the Greek (and Hebrew) text into English about as well as can be expected (bearing in mind that sometimes the original is hard to translate).

    But the NT comes to us from a literate culture, and was written by, or in the lifetime of, people who saw the events take place.

    Well, that's just nonsense, of course.
     
  4. Mountainmanbob

    Mountainmanbob Goat Whisperer Supporter

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    Errors -- NO -- God keeps His Word in tack for us.
    Often interpreted wrongly.

    Remember -- the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

    M-Bob
     
  5. GingerBeer

    GingerBeer Cool and refreshing with a kick!

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    Yes. For example. Pi is not 3 but you can excuse that error as a rounding error.
     
  6. Dirk1540

    Dirk1540 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Very very low literacy rate among the population in Palestine, but much higher among the religious leaders. Obviously Paul, Luke, etc were very educated. But when day to day life of near illiteracy was the norm for the general population, oral based knowledge was more critical then for a predominantly literate society that can stuff all their knowledge in books. Children would have such educational rules as not being able to discuss a scripture until they committed it to memory, lest they misrepresent it. Rote memorization was the education technique of that day.

    I would argue that 'Getting it written down quickly' was much less of an issue in a society like that then it would be for ours. 'Creeds' were easy little concise Christian memorization data bits. And anyway, this stuff was written down WELL within witnesses lifetimes. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians in 55 AD...and embedded in the letter is non-Pauline language that is the official grammar formula for the passing on of an already existing tradition within a writing (so this non-Pauline older information that summarizes Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection pre-dates Paul's 55 AD letter).
     
  7. OzSpen

    OzSpen Regular Member

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    coffeeandprayer,

    2 Tim 3:16-17 (ESV) states:

    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.​

    Because the NT had not yet been compiled, 'all Scripture' in v. 16 primarily refers to the OT. However, in 1 Peter 3:16, Peter speaks of Paul's writings:

    He [Paul] writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.​

    So, Peter regarded Paul's writings as having the same authority as 'the other Scriptures', which were the OT.

    It's important to note that the God-breathed (theopneustos) Scriptures refer to the original documents and not to any translation. In the handwriting copying of any document variants (typos) will creep in, some lines are missed out, copyists try to make things clearer, etc.

    But we don't have the original documents. How can we rely on the Hebrew OT and Greek NT as being accurate?

    People commonly say to me: But we don’t have the originals so it is pointless to talk about the inerrancy of original documents we do not have. Do you think so? I have found R. Laird Harris’s explanation helpful in explaining the need to have authoritative original documents behind the copies, even though we currently do not have access to the originals (autographa). He wrote:

    ‘Reflection will show that the doctrine of verbal inspiration is worthwhile even though the originals have perished. An illustration may be helpful. Suppose we wish to measure the length of a certain pencil. With a tape measure we measure it as 6 1/2 inches. A more carefully made office ruler indicates 6 9/16 inches. Checking with an engineer’s scale, we find it to be slightly more than 6.58 inches. Careful measurement with a steel scale under laboratory conditions reveals it to be 6.577 inches. Not satisfied still, we send the pencil to Washington, where master gauges indicate a length of 6.5774 inches. The master gauges themselves are checked against the standard United States yard marked on platinum bar preserved in Washington. Now, suppose that we should read in the newspapers that a clever criminal had run off with the platinum bar and melted it down for the precious metal. As a matter of fact, this once happened to Britain’s standard yard! What difference would this make to us? Very little. None of us has ever seen the platinum bar. Many of us perhaps never realized it existed. Yet we blithely use tape measures, rulers, scales, and similar measuring devices. These approximate measures derive their value from their being dependent on more accurate gauges. But even the approximate has tremendous value—if it has had a true standard behind it (Harris 1969:88-89).​

    I use the Australian one dollar coin regularly but it's only a copy. How do I know it's a reliable replica? Compare it with the original in the Royal Mint in Canberra. However, if that original was lost, the $1 coin in my pocket, that I got from the bank or supermarket, is a very close copy to the original and that will do for me.

    That's how it is with the UBS or Nestle-Aland Greek NT and the originals.

    Oz

    Works consulted
    Harris, R. L. 1957, 1969. Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.
     
  8. Norbert L

    Norbert L Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I believe spending around 40 minutes viewing this video where a biblical scholar explains all the ins and outs of your question is well worth your's or anybodies time. It's certainly much more profitable than watching a Hollywood movie of greater length.
     
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  9. JoeP222w

    JoeP222w Well-Known Member

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    There are errors in translations of the Bible but not errors in the Bible. Inerrancy speaks to the original manuscripts, not translations.
     
  10. chilehed

    chilehed Veteran

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    You mean like how Martin Luther added the word "alone" to Romans 3:28 when he made his translation into German? Yeah. That's one of the reasons it's necessary to not try to understand the Bible all by your self.
     
  11. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    Oral culture isn't really relevant.

    Paul wrote his letters (or dictated them) just as we would. John wrote his gospel just like we would write an account of what we had experienced. Luke wrote his gospel just like we would combine together pre-existing written accounts (Luke 1:1-4).
     
  12. Monna

    Monna Well-Known Member

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    Because virtually no word in a language can be translated totally equivalently by any single word in another. Words in English do not have only one meaning, but can have several depending on the context. "You park in the driveway and drive on the parkway" illustrates how crazy individual words can be put together to create a sentence that has a level of "meaning" that is beyond the words themselves - just by reason of playing with them.

    So different translations give slightly different nuances in our language that the original word had but which have no exact equivalent. Real the Amplified Version aloud to someone if you want to know how awkward it would be to read a translation that tried to convey the full meaning of all the words used as they appear.

    Also because your own language changes, and changes fairly rapidly. For those who hold to the Authorised or King James version (i.e. translation), it seems many don't realise that it has been updated several times - just for this reason. A peculiarity with church English is the use of the old words Thee and Thou. Today many think this is very respectful when speaking to God. But 'Thee' and 'Thou' are/were the second person singular forms and were considered "familiar" long ago, whereas 'You' was (and still is) the second person plural form and originally a more respectful word to use in addressing people of higher status. Yet many English speaking Christians today think 'you' is familiar, not very respectful and formal.
     
  13. Dkh587

    Dkh587 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In Acts of the Apostles 12:4 (KJV), the word "Easter" was incorrectly used. The translators should have used "Passover" instead.

    This verse is a go-to when people attempt to show Easter is biblical (even though it's not)
     
  14. RaymondG

    RaymondG Well-Known Member

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    There may be some errors in the letters in the bible, but the spirit of it remains in tact. If we focus on the message and not the letter, it can lead us to eternal life..

    "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
     
  15. Ken Rank

    Ken Rank Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I haven't read any other posts so I many or may not be repeating something. God inspired all of what we call "biblical authors" to write what He desired for them to convey. They did it within the scope of retaining their individuality. We find the best example of that within the 4 gospels as all 4, generally, tell the same story but clearly their individual writing styles and personalities are retained in their words. Nevertheless, those works were inspired and are what they were inspired to be... in the original forms. In other words, those original letters were without blemish.

    However, those letters (all 66 books) were translated many times over and into many different languages. Sometimes you don't always have a word that fits perfectly into another language. For example, when we take the word b'rit in Hebrew (an agreement between two or more parties cut with blood) into English, we get covenant but the word covenant does not require blood. So, we don't have a word that exactly equates to b'rit. Is that an error? No... it is just what happens sometimes when you take on language into another.

    But are there scribal errors? The answer is yes. Here is an example...

    1 Kings 4:26 Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.
    2 Chron 9:25 Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem.

    40,000 or 4,000? An error? Yes, but not a lack of inspiration... all we have is a dropped letter not something added or changed. We have some examples like this one, not a ton of them but it happens. Let anyone sit down and start copying the same things over and over and over again and a dropped letter here or there should be expected.
     
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  16. Myychael

    Myychael Newbie Supporter

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    Psalms 138:1,2 good statement
     
  17. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

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    Hi; there are two different processes: God originally inspiring the text and God graciously preserving His Word in the totality of the manuscripts and textual fragments.
     
  18. coffeeandprayer

    coffeeandprayer New Member Supporter

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    Thank you so much for explaining this. I agree 100% with you, but a friend of mine has been trying to convince me that the Bible is full of errors... I am not confused at all, just wanted to ask others about this. I'm thankful to God for using godly believers that have answered me on this topic. I am definitely at peace again! Blessings to you!
     
  19. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

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    The person is not being a friend, then. S/he needs friendship, maybe, but it's not a friendly act to denigrate the source of living waters but more like poisoning a well in the desert.
     
  20. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    People talk about errors in the bible, in faith I ask them to show me the error, then I explain the context. There's a couple inconsistencies which are more of a puzzle to harmonize such as what was the last question that Jesus was asked before no one dared to ask him another question? Another one that stands out is sometimes the Chronicles and Kings disagree on numbers regarding the same event (can't remember which ones now tho).
     
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