HAPPY NEW YEAR
[A Bible argument on New Year's Eve about the King James Bible]
(Investigator 119, 2008 March)
amidst milling crowds and carnival noise, is not ideal for religious
was at Semaphore,
an Adelaide seaside suburb, at 11.30pm,
December 31, when waylaid on the foreshore by a subscriber to Investigator.
– the name he used
in #61 – complained that Investigator
rarely used the "pure" and "correct" Bible inspired by God, the King
"Paul" that numerous manuscripts older than the King James Bible exist,
and there was once a debate about this in Investigator. [#96 –
#98] Ancient manuscripts are the answer to critics who claim the
original writings ["autographs"] of the Bible were changed during
"The word is near you; it is in your own mouth and in your heart."
(Romans 10:8) "Paul" said this means the correct "word" was preserved
by what Christians spoke and this became the King James Bible.
we have no proof
that first-century Christians spoke the King
James Bible – they certainly did not speak English. And critics who
deny that the written Scriptures stayed unaltered would be even more
skeptical about spoken text. "Paul" would need to supply audiotapes of
ancient Christians citing the Scriptures so scholars could compare what
different ancient Christians spoke!
to quote "The word is…in your own mouth" as
fact, before he's proved the King James Bible correct, is circular
reasoning. The Book of Mormon and The Koran also declare themselves
true and inspired – but such self-recommendation is, by itself,
claimed "Paul", that the Bible really is true. Jesus
witnessed to its truth and his testimony is confirmed because he rose
from the dead and 500 witnesses saw him.
too is in the Bible, I replied, and is
therefore again circular reasoning. For the 500-assertion to be
accepted we need their 500 names and their 500 reports about what they
got all that,"
said "Paul", "And it’s all true."
500 witnesses who saw Jesus would be a
sensational archaeological discovery! But "Paul", I suspect, simply
made it up! And if "Paul" can make up false claims in the 21st century
with our widespread literacy and communications, it would have been
even easier in the illiterate 1st century!
if we had those 500
names it can't prove the King James Version
authentic because it came 1500 years later.
told "Paul" that
to avoid circular reasoning we need to test
the Bible with tests and observations that can be done now.
and I moved over
to some steel railing. I said, "This steel is
too hard to push a finger through." I demonstrated and said, "You can
confirm by testing with your finger." I added, "This is how the Bible
has to be tested – with repeatable tests and observations that people
can do today."
insisted "Paul". "In the 1930s Morrison wrote Who
Moved the Stone? Morrison proved there were enough eye-witnesses to
satisfy any court of law."
Morrison prove there actually was a stone? Or does
he assume it?"
something is true is not proof. A student might assume
8+8=20 and write that in his exam but the teacher will mark it wrong!]
are Morrison's "witnesses" the Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John? If so then Morrison made the same error as "Paul" – he assumed
the Bible stories true, which is circular reasoning."
Thousands cheered, hugged or kissed, and wished each other "Happy New
Year"; and fireworks on the nearby jetty lit the sky.
to the ancient manuscripts and discussed Tischendorf who in the 19th
century discovered 300 pages of the Codex Sinaiticus, a 4th century
copy of the Bible.
criticized Tischendorf’s motives in searching for the manuscript – but
the celebrations were now too noisy for me to hear.
motives do not effect the scientific value of
Codex Sinaiticus. Consider another science – arithmetic. Suppose
someone has a bad motive for using arithmetic. His motive is that it’s
2pm and it will take him 3 hours to get ready to rob the bank which
closes at 5pm. So he calculates whether he has enough time with 2 +3 =
5. Because his motive is evil should everyone now discard arithmetic
and never again use the numerals 2, 3 and 5? Just as bad motive does
not change the value of arithmetic, it also does not change the value
of ancient documents!]
the fireworks over
"Paul" referred to the Dead Sea Scrolls.
the use of ancient manuscripts but the Dead Sea
Scrolls were different, he said, because, "The Dead Sea Scroll of
Isaiah agrees 100%, with the King James Bible."
reference books and with passers-by interjecting "Happy New Year!" we
got no further.
Internet, I found:
though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the
Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated
manuscript previously known [the Massoretic text] (A.D. 980), they
proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in
more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted
chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling. (Gleason Archer, A
Survey of Old
Testament Introduction, p 25)
Testament of the King James was based on the Massoretic Text. If the
Internet quote is correct the agreement with the Dead Sea Scrolls is
95% – not 100%.