Common Sense Biblical Scholarship

Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God (2 Peter 1:20-21, NLT).

I believe scripture is inspired by God.

My simple definition would be – God working though human writers and canonizers to give us God’s Word, which is infallible in the original manuscripts and preserved until today.

Side note: Canon means standard and is used by scholastics to refer to the 66 books or canon of the Bible.

Some scholars today state that the Bible contains the Word of God. The word they use – contains the Word of God, not is the Word of God. If our Bible only contains God’s Word then we can dissect it, leave some of it out, and interpret it as we desire. 

I believe the Word of God has authority because it is the Word of God – the words in your New American Standard Bible are the Spirit-preserved Words of God.

I wrote in Interruptions #277 … 

A noted scholar wrote in a book (other noted followers have said the same) that the New Testament manuscripts, copied by hand before the printing press, have 400,000 variations made by the scribes. 

Uh, oh, can we trust the Bible if it has 400,000 errors?

Let’s consider one of these errors in Luke 10:1 …

Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come (NASB1995).

After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go (ESV).

Did you see the discrepancy? The NASB1995 says 70 and the ESV says 72.  

Do we throw the Bible out as untrustworthy or take a closer look?

Let’s be scholars for a moment and solve this problem. We don’t need a working knowledge of Greek or a Ph.D. in New Testament studies – most scholastic problems are solved by common sense.

Take a moment now and think, “What about Pastor Grant’s definition of the inspiration of scripture (above) gives us the answer?”

Pause and think: (this blank space indicates you pausing and thinking).

I didn’t say the NASB1995 (New American Standard Version) or the ESV (English Standard Version) were the absolute inspired Word of God. 

I said, “original manuscripts.”

Since the New Testament was copied by hand for hundreds of years, there are errors, misspellings, and even variations in the words or early manuscripts. These variations originate the 400,000-errors statement of the doubting scholar. 

Another side note: Doubt those doubting scholars, as there aren’t legitimately 400,000 copyist errors!

Let’s use our common sense!

Nobody is sure whether the number is 70 or 72, but this isn’t an error of inspiration; it could be a translation difficulty or just a monk having drunk some bad mead the day before he copied this verse. 

But the 70 or 72 inconsistency doesn’t violate any significant doctrine. 

It would be stupid on the Day of Judgment to use this “errors in the Bible” argument as the reason that you didn’t accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Reading, understanding, and living according to the Word requires common sense.  

All of us can use common sense and often someone with a Ph.D. doesn’t.

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