Updated: Feb 14
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away, Mark 13:31.
It is conventional thinking in the world that we don't know exactly what Jesus said. For that matter, I know of no university or major denomination that believes we have the exact words of any prophet or biblical author. This flies in the face of many bible promises. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever, Isaiah 59:21. Or, The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever, Psalm 12:6,7.
Scholars are of many minds on just how to interpret such verses. By far the most common approach is to disregard their accuracy. The average Protestant clergyman or Catholic priest would feel no more bound by those verses than they would over Hammurabi's code. I have more sympathy for their approach then I do for the attitude of the average Fundamental Baptist who beats his chest over biblical inerrancy, but can't seem to put his hand on an inerrant bible.
In the 1980's I knew an ardent communist, a used bookshop owner in Vermont, who despite being an atheist felt that the bible was important. "It is the stories", he would say, "They are myth but they are classic, they should be remembered." Regard for the bible starts with that as a low point on the scale and works its way up to a pure text King James Bible believer. Scholars and clergy are strewn everywhere in between. I think it fair to summarize that the average person who claims some form of affinity for the bible believes that the contents of the bible are of divine origin.
Some think that they are divine myths imparted by God to primitive men to guide them through moral precepts that would otherwise be out of their league. Others go a little farther on the bandwagon of faith and maintain that the stories are indeed true but their transmission to us is at best erratic. It would not bother them to find those stories in any form that conveyed the gist of them to the reader. Accuracy would not matter to such a person because they don't believe that accuracy is possible.
Then we have the standard fundamentalist view of scripture exposited by just about every commentary; the bible used to be inerrant. These people have every confidence that when Paul, Moses, Isaiah or whoever wrote, the words they wrote were spot on. This, they believe gives glory to God. He wrote the scriptures. According to this theory of biblical inerrancy it doesn't matter whether or not we have an accurate bible today. It used to be accurate and that's good enough for them.
The moral equivalent to that today is to claim that people used to get born again but they don't anymore. Or, God used to answer prayer but he doesn't anymore. Think about it. God used to preserve his word, but he doesn't anymore. I have more respect for my communist book selling friend than for anyone who seriously buys such reasoning. Such a view is held by people who hold a book in their hand but cannot defend it in an intellectual argument. Whenever someone challenges a particular passage or word, whether that challenge comes from a linguistic angle or from a archeological angle, they dismiss the criticism to inaccuracies that have crept in over the years.
King James Bible believers are familiar with these arguments. Yet, when these same arguments are turned around on them to defend the concept of a perfect King James Bible they blanch. Too often they just can't take it that far. The little differences in the text just don't mean much to them. Anything that they don't readily understand is dismissed as unimportant. I took earth science in the 8th grade in the year 1968. At that time we were taught that the human body had 104 vestigial (no longer needed) parts. No doctor in his right mind believes that today. How did science get it so wrong? They dismissed every part that they did not understand as unnecessary.
This is exactly what King James Bible believers do when they run across things that they don't understand. Since they have no idea why some "s"s are upper case and some are lower case, they dismiss it as unimportant. They don't understand slight textual variations so they dismiss them as unimportant. When confronted by facts that were not taught them in seminary, discussed in Dr. Ruckman's books or that they hadn't thought about before, they shrug their shoulders and just don't care.
A blog like this that seeks to prove that God not only can give us a perfect English Bible, but that he did give us a perfect King James Bible puzzles them. It is just so much noise in the background. For those of you who wonder how God did such a thing, this blog will have some answers.