THE ORIGINAL WORDS THAT GOD INSPIRED ARE ABSOLUTELY AUTHORITATIVE
Because the Bible was written a long time ago, the original writings by the original writers are no longer preserved. The original writings were copied by many people and translated into many languages. There was great care given to copying the writings because the copyists believed these were the words of God. Today we can be sure that we have the true Word of God because with all these copies of the original, it is not difficult to determine what the original words in Greek or Hebrew were, which God inspired.
There are some passages in the New Testament in which we have ‘variant readings.’ We need to examine what copies and translations show us about variant readings so as to determine what the original text said. In those passages where there is a variant reading, no doctrine of Scripture is affected.
Examples of ‘variant readings’:
The Byzantine and Alexandrian approaches to studying text variants are faulty because both use only certain copies of the New Testament as being the most accurate and reliable.
“Recension” is a deliberate effort to rewrite portions of the Bible in a different way. Some people say that this happened in the centuries after Christ ascended into heaven. But there is no evidence that this ever happened. People who believe that ‘recensions’ took place want to try to disprove that the Bible is reliable and is God’s Word.
Examples of a ‘recension’:
The Bible was copied by hand from 100 A.D. to 1450 A.D., when the printing press was invented.
A “witness” is a copy of the Bible.
1)We do not have any of the original documents of the Bible.
2)All of the copies of the Bible have some variant readings which happened during hand copying over the years.
3)God has preserved so many copies of the Bible that it is not difficult to determine what the original text said, except for a few passages that do not affect doctrine in any way.
Types of New Testament ‘Witnesses’
Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Gothic, and others.
Two Guidelines for New Testament Variant Readings
Readings which are in the most ANCIENT and WIDESPREAD witnesses are true to the original text.
Consider the CONTEXT and AUTHOR’S USE OF WORDS to help determine what the original said.