How do we know the Bible is accurate in origin and translation?

How do we know the Bible is accurate in origin and translation? There are basically three manuscripts from which all Bibles are translated. There are different views on which manuscripts are best.
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Caller: I enjoy your show.

Pastor Doug: Thank you.

Caller: I had a question for you about the authenticity and accuracy of the English Bibles as we have today. Could you tell me a little bit about the origins and how some translations differ from others as far as the Greek manuscripts they come from?

Pastor Doug: Well, let me share with you from my ignorance. I am not a specialist in this, but I'll tell you what I do know.

Caller: Ok.

Pastor Doug: There are basically three manuscripts from which all Bibles in all languages are translated. Of course, the Bible was written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.

You've got the 'Textus Receptus', which means 'Received Text' in Latin I believe. And, incidentally the word 'Holy Bible' or 'Santa Biblia' means 'Holy Book' - the word 'Bible' means 'Book'. Martin Luther felt that it was the most dependable text, and the King James Version and the New King James Version in English are translated from the Textus Receptus.

There are two other manuscripts that have been questioned by many. Others love them others really have doubts about them, and that's the Vaticanus, which was found in the Vatican library. It's an old manuscript. There are some inconsistencies with the Vaticanus manuscript. They felt like - I think Jerome thought that it was corrupt. Martin Luther said in his words it's 'a bastardized version.'

And then there was another one called the Sinaiticus. The Sinaiticus was found on - is it St. Catherine's monastery on top of Mount - is that what it's called?

Co-Host: Yes.

Pastor Doug: St. Catherine's monastery on top of Mount Sinai. They found it in a dump! And uh, boy - that would make it suspicious! And so the Sinaiticus had some of the same inconsistencies as the Vaticanus manuscript.

They did use all of those manuscripts in creating the New International Version NIV Bible. For instance in the NIV Bible, you know the story where the woman is caught in the act of adultery, John chapter 8? That story wasn't in the Vaticanus version and so there are some very beautiful stories that just are missing from these other manuscripts.

Now you realize, of course Bruce, when we talk about the manuscripts, I'm talking about the New Testament, because the Old Testament is much more dependable. The Jews have kept it very secure and up-to-date, and there are very few inconsistencies, which is also proven by the Dead Sea Scrolls. The questionable manuscripts are the ones that pertain to the New Testament.

Caller: Ok.

Pastor Doug: And the Textus Receptus, King James and New King James Versions, from my study, are the most dependable.

Caller: Ok. Now I guess part of that would be, do each - all three Versions are not complete? I mean all three Textus have incomplete portions of them? That's my understanding anyway. Cross talk all the books in every portion or do you?

Pastor Doug: No, no. The Textus Receptus has everything.

Caller: Has everything?

Pastor Doug: Yes. The whole thing is there. It's what they call the 'Received Texts.' There have been discoveries of portions of Scripture of the New Testament, small portions, other places that are not complete but the New Testament that we have now in the King James Version is completely translated in the Textus Receptus. Every book is there.

Caller: Ok. They're all there, but are they all compiled from the same - see, they're compiled from different authors at different times and they're just a compilation, right? I guess what I'm saying is they don't have the originals. They have copies, right?

Pastor Doug: That's correct. They do not have the original Gospel of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. They've got Scribes' copies of those, but we have reason to believe they're complete.

Caller: Right. I guess what I'm looking for is where would I go to find more in-depth material on this for my own research?

Pastor Doug: If you go to a Christian bookstore, there are several books that you can get that have the history of the Bible that give commentaries. Pastor Dick?

Co-Host: I'm trying to remember the author's name and I can't remember his name, but there is a book that I used when I was studying for ministry called, So Many Versions, which is an excellent, excellent resource. I can't remember the author's name. I'm sorry.

Caller: So Many Versions.

Co-Host: It's called So Many Versions.

Pastor Doug: And they can probably search for that at a bookstore a bookstore would have the title.

Co-Host: Right.

Caller: Ok. Well I appreciate it.

Pastor Doug: Thank you Bruce.

Co-Host: Thanks for the call.

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