The article has some interesting information, but is sensationalized as is the title. Scholars have known–forever, of variations among hand-written copies of the Bible. The prophet Jeremiah in the 7th century before Christ complained of deliberate corruptions in the text by “lying scribes.” The book of Jeremiah’s prophecies itself testifies to at least three editions within the prophet’s lifetime.But to be “news” journalists have to make it sound like a bold new discovery. Nevertheless, the article provides a good introduction to textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible.
I don't know that I would classify the idea of a totally perfect text as one that is promoted by denominations themselves. Just about every denomination has Biblical scholars employed to help draft theology and doctrine that assist the denomination's bias.
However, I've heard many many sermons done by pastors who have only BS (not BA) and lesser training insist on an absolute perfection that doesn't exist.
I will say this, the Church as a whole has gotten a lot better at talking openly about the discrepancies in the texts which we base our Bible on, especially over the last 10-20 years.
However the topic has a habit of causing people to flip out.
On the contrary, the statement of infallibility often explicitly states that it refers to the autographs, and that the texts were preserved and passed to us by God's providence, sufficient in the form we have received them to accurately communicate God's revelation to us.Very true. It makes me wonder: how often do people pick on discrepancies in the text (including people who call themselves Christians) just to justify their departure from Biblical teachings?
The number of textual variations in the Hebrew Bible is practically zero. It's a completely different situation than the New Testament where you actually have two main approaches - majority text and critical text with a few versions of each. Those two approaches have thousands of manuscripts to work with. The amazing thing is that with this many manuscripts, we still have unprecedented agreement. No other text in history has this many witnesses - not even close.
And I can't think of any major doctrine that actually hinges on the difference between majority and critical texts. On the contrary, if you see a person arguing a major doctrine from one little Greek word or some missing text that was found in Aleph, or B or Codex whatever, they were out in left field before they started. 99.99% of the textual variations (my number) amount to nothing doctrinally.
Geisler said it best - we have the exact text from God in front of us. It's in there amongst the thousands of manuscripts.
I'm a majority text man myself.
I think that what is coming out is simply a difference in interpretations. I have just finished a class on interpreting the Bible, and it stated that the reader will have to take the Historical situation, the definition of the words and the context they were being used into account before any kind of life application can be made, then , after it has become a part of the life of the presenter can it be communicated to an audience.
I see where there are differences that you may see in how people interpret the Word, and there are many differing translations or paraphrases, so I don't see where there is error other than Human error. If all of the facts are taken into account when writing a message about the Word, it can be a very helpful and interesting read. If you just leave it up to the congregation, I can see there being many holes in may theories.
But this is just my opinion, I am merely going for a Bachelors of Science Degree, so I must not know the whole truth...(since it seems that you put the B.S. and B.A. teachings in different categories...) The Word is the absolute truth. How you choose to interpret it is another story altogether. Without prayerful consideration for the Holy Spirit to use you to communicate the Word, it might as well just be words....
Don't be surprised if you get some huge responses on this. But tonight (at least), I'll be short, because it's actually tomorrow.
There has always been textual criticism of the Bible. The Fathers fine-toothed a lot of Scripture and at various councils tossed certain books. Some segments of the Church accept several "apocryphal" books, some fully, some as a "lesser Scripture", and others not at all (Gospel of Thomas, etc.).
Of more current concern is something called "higher criticism", a product of the last few centuries, which applies legal-proof thinking to Scripture. Hence, the remorseful suicide of Judas of Matthew and the proud Judas falling to a grisly death (Acts) are considered two unreconcilable incidents, and thus only one could be true. Opposing this line of thought are scholars who are determined that all the words will fit (the information is true; we are missing facts which would show us how the two accounts actually are part of a single true story).
One article by a liberal scholar I read said that there were 20,000 textual discrepancies in the Bible. Now, such a person must be counting "Peace I give you" and "not peace, but a sword" (both spoken by Jesus) as discrepancies. Remember, Jesus was always tweaking our consciousness and consciences with paradox and riddle. "He never spoke without a parable!"
I think what I am saying is that even before we can discuss discrepancies, we have to decide what a discrepancy is.
Our assumptions about the meaning of a Bible passage can be affected by our own attitudes. My post last night mentioned the "Judas question". I could get all involved over whether people were hanged by nooses or impaled in Bible days, and miss the matter of the man's state of soul, far more important. In this case Jesus said, prophesying, "it would be better for that man if he had never been born", which has major implications for us whenever we are considering an act of betrayal (it is God's concern over whether Judas dies remorseful or proud -- He dealt with Judas, but I need to deal with my own decisions).
Part of life is learning to live with loose ends, letters that are in the mail, ambiguous boxes on forms we fill out, and so on. God made gravity; yet His Son asked Peter to "come" and walk upon deep water.
The simple belief that God has given us information accurately, and that people have recognized that He has done this, has never harmed anyone. It's kind of amazing, when you think about it, that with all the miscellaneous holy-writing about, that such a large number of churches agree on a specific collection of writings (the "canon" of Scripture) that they see as superior to, or a wellspring for, all other writings about God.
It's when people say, "The Scripture says this and you are doing that, and therefore you are a heretic or a hellion, and since the Scripture is infallible and literally correct you have no choice but to accept my judgment on you" that I get irritated. That's the Exegesis of the Pharisee. But if a person says, "I trust the Scripture which has Peter put down his sword" and becomes a conscientious objector, and another says, "honor the king" and takes up the gun to defend his countrymen, I find no contradiction in the Scriptures, only two valid modes of living.
The Scriptures have been subjected to ferocious scrutiny, not just by enemies, but by Christians who really want to be able to discern the truth about passages which seem confusing or contradictory. Yet they continue to sow God's character into those who read them, and they have a way of withstanding the onslaught of biased logic and intentional distortion of meaning. They are designed by God to transmit truth, and they do.