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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: David Hocking :: History & Authenticity of the Bible

David Hocking :: N.T. Manuscripts

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Father, we thank You so much for this wonderful book, the Book of all books, the Bible, the Word of the Living God. Help us as we examine its history, its authenticity, Lord that we might be guided by Your Spirit. Help us to be kind to those who maybe disagree. But help us also to be thorough in what we understand. That we might place our confidence in a God who not only has inspired these words, but has preserved them throughout history. Thank You, Lord. We praise You. We love You. Thank You for what You are going to do in changing people's lives, as we present the Bible in all of it's authority and beauty and majesty. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

We are starting the New Testament. The Old Testament was a cinch by comparison. It was a cinch to evaluate its authenticity. But there are some related issues, as we will be flipping back into some stuff about the Old Testament; there are some related issues, especially as it deals with the Apocrypha. And depending on how our class time goes, we will hopefully deal with that today.

Now in the Open Bible, this is a New King James Version of it, I want to read you what it says:

For the past several centuries, English speaking people have cherished the King James Version of the Bible. This love does not come from a desire to preserve a tradition for tradition's sake, rather the opposite is true. The King James Version has become a tradition because it is loved for its scholarship, literary form, and devotional quality. During its long history, the translation has been revised in accordance with changes in English speech and our growing knowledge of the original text of the Scriptures.

Now let me stop right there and say that the actual King James Bible that we use says, "Translated out of the original tongues and with previous translation, diligently compared and revised." The actual text of the King James Version Bible that you use is not 1611. There have been five revisions of the King James Version Bible. This is not mentioned in your notes, so find some space and make a note of it somewhere. There have been five revisions. In 1629 was the first revision, eighteen years after the King James Bible first came out in 1611 A.D. The second revision came nine years later, in 1638. Then it was over 120 years later, in 1762, that we had the next revision. That is 1629, 1638, 1762! And then believe it or not, seven years later we had another one 1769, and for two hundred years it was not changed.

I have the actual translation, Old English King James Version, which I bought in a book store, the 1769 edition. I also have a 1611, and there are a few changes. One that I am very thankful for is the letter "f' in the 1611, which is really our English letter "s." So it helps greatly not to have an "f" every time an "s" appears. But that is the way old English was written. So, that is one noticeable change. But there had been four revisions up until 1769.

Now the fifth one is the New King James. That is the fifth revision of the King James text. So be careful when you read another English translation as though it is a revision of the King James. It is not. And you will learn more about why it is not before we are done in this course.

Let me continue reading. This is a little footnote:

In the summer of 1603 A.D., King James was on his way to London to receive the English crown. He was presented with a petition of grievances by clergy holding Puritan convictions.

That is very important to understand because it was the Puritans also, who saw to it that the Apocrypha, which was a separate section in the King James Bible, was taken out of the Bible. It was the Puritans who did that. The greatest theologians and Bible scholars of church history were all Puritans, whether you know that or not. Charles Spurgeon was in that tradition. And there were many, many wonderful teachers. They actually had a commitment to knowledge that was unlike anything that had ever been heard of. They were anti reason and yet some of the most reasonable men ever. But anti reason would mean in contrast to Roman Catholics who depended greatly on human reason and tradition. Puritans did not. They were scholars who spent hours on the theology of the Bible, not anything else. And so they are the ones who basically got the changes, where the Apocrypha would no longer be listed as a separate section. They said that it had no business belonging there. And we are going to tell you why we don't have the Apocrypha. Now notice the very translation-King James-came because of Puritans pressing King James. He held a conference and here is the quote from King James: "A conference for hearing and for the determining of things pretended to be amiss in the church."

It was a conference for hearing and for the determining of things pretended to be amiss in the church. Now this conference was held for three days, January 14 to 16, in 1604. It was known as the Hampton Court Conference. And during this conference, a man who was the head of the Puritan movement, Dr. John Rainolds (and he was the president of Corpus Christi College in Oxford, England) made the motion that a new translation of the Bible would be undertaken. The majority was against the motion (interestingly) but it appealed to King James, so he ordered that it be undertaken.

So they gathered together fifty‐four of the best biblical scholars who knew the original languages in Great Britain, and they were brought together. They were divided into six groups, these fifty‐four men. Nine in each group, so there would not be a split vote. And they would be assigned various passages. The interesting thing is that each group, whatever section they were assigned, had to submit their final resolution on it to the other five groups, who then had to vote unanimously on it or they would throw it out. There were a lot of checks and balances. They also decided that no text would be considered without fervent prayer. They spent hours in prayer asking God to guide them before they ever started to analyze a text and all the manuscripts that were available to them.

Anyway, let me tell you what the title was on the original. You ready for this? The Holy Bible Containing the Old Testament and the New; Newly Translated Out of the Original Tongues with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised by His Majesty's Special Commandment, Appointed to Be Read in All the Churches; Imprinted in London by Robert Barker, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty, Anno Dom. 1611. That is the official title. Aren't you glad we just say King James Version?

So, it gives you a little bit of background on it. But there is one other thing I wanted to mention. It says here that in the preface to the original 1611 edition, the translator said that their purpose was: "Not to make a new translation, but to make a good one better." They spoke of being indebted to the work of William Tyndale. Again if you have not read that story, it is a paperback book called God's Outlaw that is worth reading. They saw this contribution as merely a revision and an enhancement of the excellence of the English versions that had sprung from the Reformation. Now, you have a little clue, which means only in the last 100 or 150 years or so, all those works that contributed to the Reformation, putting the Bible in the language of the common people. And so they took that tradition and that is what they followed.

Some people have said, "Isn't the King James just based on Latin?" It is true that the major edition of the Scriptures used by the Roman Catholic Church for over a thousand years was Jerome's Latin Vulgate. And they certainly did refer to that because a man who wrote in the fourth century would certainly know more about how Greek should be translated than you would 1500 years or 1100 years later. However, the argument that they did not consult the original tongues is a direct attack against what is clearly stated in all the documents related to King James and the story about how it was done. They consulted the manuscripts that were available to them in Greek, which did deal primarily with what we call a Byzantine text. These are just some basic facts about your King James Bible. And there are some other Bibles in addition, new Open Bible that has some of those facts listed for you.

A lot of people say, "Wait a minute. How did we get our Bibles? How did they put them together?" And we will deal with that later under canonicity, but at this point I simply want you to see something. The list of books that should be in the New Testament, since the originals were scrolls, you know lots of scrolls or a letter that had been written. The original list, the earliest list we have is from Athanasius of Alexandria, which is in 367 A.D., and he lists twenty‐seven books, the exact same books we have in the Protestant Bible today.

Catholics do not like us bringing that fact out because they are trying to argue that that was not done until later. That Protestants have removed the Apocrypha. No we didn't. We have evidence that before Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, two manuscripts that modern English translations refer to, do contain the Apocrypha. Before we ever had the Latin Vulgate, which does have the Apocrypha as a separate section after the twenty‐seven books, before we ever had the edition of the 1611 King James Bible, which also includes the Apocrypha, whether you know it or not in a separate section, before any of that we have a list of what books belong in the New Testament and there are twenty seven.

Interesting Jerome and Augustine both, although they had Apocrypha sections of their works, yet they said they were not Scripture. And they listed only twenty‐seven books as being from God, inspired of God. At the Synod of Hippo, 393 A.D., a big church council, lots of leaders from all over the empire, they confirmed that there were only twenty‐seven books in the New Testament. And the fourth synod of Carthage in North Africa in 397 A.D. is probably one of the most important conferences dealing with the canon of Scripture. It confirms that there were only twenty‐seven books in the New Testament and that the church had deemed it so. And we will go over those arguments. How did they know which books to make New Testament?

Lists of New Testament Books

  • Athanasius of Alexandria (A.D. 367) - confirms 27 Books
  • Jerome (A.D. 340-420) - confirms 27 Books
  • Augustine (A.D. 350-430) - confirms 27 Books
  • Synod of Hippo (A.D. 393) - confirms 27 Books
  • 4th Synod of Carthage (A.D. 397) - confirms 27 Books

Now another item that is of some interest to us, especially in dating the New Testament, is the matter of writing materials. What writing materials were used? The most important manuscripts in some sense (if you mean oldest) are those which were found on papyrus. Very similar to the word paper, the word paper comes from it. But papyrus is reeds, like bamboo shoots that grow along the Nile River. They make parchment paper out of them. They do the ancient process in Egypt today. If you go to Cairo you can find little factories that are still doing it and you can buy a replica of a parchment of how they did it in ancient times. So it is not used today, and frankly was not used after the fourth century A.D. The problem with parchment-have you ever had a piece of paper in your clothes that went through the washing machine?-you know what it comes out like. It is all crumpled up and destroyed. That's what happens to parchment when it is in a non-arid climate, that is, rainy or wet climates. So, most of papyri comes from when it's found by archaeologists in dry, desert areas where there is very little moisture, where the humidity factors are down around five to ten percent. That is the only way they would have been kept preserved even under dirt and sand all these years. So that is important to understand. Papyrus was the writing material of the early centuries. All the apostles would have written on papyrus. So that is the reason why the original documents are kind of hard to preserve.

Now we have fragments of them but not many. This might surprise you. These figures, I just happened to check on at the bookstore in several volumes of apologetics and criticism books, and it's interesting, not one of them agreed with each other. There is a reason for that, because most of the papyrus has been found in the last few years. I gave you a running list so that you get an idea.

Kenyon, a great Greek textual criticism scholar, in 1912, listed only 19 of those twenty‐seven books. In all the years of having manuscript evidence for the New Testament, for the first four centuries basically, we had only 19 fragments. The Chester Beatty Papyri, which is named after the man who discovered it, is just a fragment of John, like chapter 18, a few verses. That's all it is. It was a great find, significant find, because it was a parchment that was dated around the first century. It could very well have been close to coming off the pen of John. So it was very interesting and very powerful when it was discovered. But again, you only had nineteen [books].

Now in 1925 the great Greek scholar A. T. Robertson lists thirty‐four, so you see, they are uncovering more. Most of the heavy‐duty archaeological work, in the Middle East of course, has happened since this century. Now why is that?

Well in 1897 under the great leader Theodore Herzl, we had a return to Israel. Zionism began and a return back to the land. In 1914 A.D., well 1917 actually-1914 was World War I starting-and in 1917 A.D. we had what was called the Balfour Declaration. What happened is that they divided up the Middle East into the present boundaries really, outside of the wars that have happened. But they divided it up, the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan and all the barriers between Syria and Iraq. It was all divided up at the Balfour Declaration. But see the Jews never really had a homeland, although they were continuing to come back to the land. There had always been a Jewish presence in Israel ever since the captivity back in 70 A.D. But they started coming back in droves.

And we had, of course, the war of liberation and that was in 1946‐48, following World War II. And in 1948 the Jews captured, not really a whole lot of that land, but enough to have a separate state and they declared the name of this state "Israel." That was the first time in history that a nation that had been completely wiped out came back into existence. And that was a fulfillment of prophecy, by the way, from the book of Ezekiel 37.

So since that time, 1948 until now, can you imagine the excitement all over the biblical world as archaeological projects, of course, are launched by the Jews and with governments of the world like Italy, and Germany, and America, and all of the various schools and universities. Boy, they wanted them to come in! Israel is filled with mounds all over it, that you look at and say, "There is a city under there. There is evidence under there of Bible times." And they'll be doing this if the Lord delays His coming for another hundred years. Because there are so many of them and it takes so long. And it is tedious work, very tedious work.

But everything that archaeology has ever uncovered has only confirmed the history and authenticity of the Bible, so we are excited about archeology. Hey, bring it on, man-the study of old things, you know. Henry Thiessen has a great book called Systematic Theology and we still use that in the School of Ministry. And in 1945, he lists fifty‐three fragments. So it is really growing now, finding these fragments all over. And in 1955, Bruce Metzger, whose books are still classics on Greek, he has one little book that is a real handy little volume. It lists all the Greek words and terms and the number of times they are used. Now that took some time. And when you open the book, you will discover that the average Greek word is used less than fifty times. Words like "love," and "God," and all those are exceptions. But the average Greek word is used less than fifty times. So it helps you to get a handle on studying and following things up.

In 1958, Driver (of Driver, Briggs, and so forth, big dictionaries and lexicons) he lists sixty‐eight of them. I just checked Norman Geisler's book, it is supposed to be pretty well updated, he said, there are seventy‐six. So today, I've been told there are some ninety‐two of these fragments that have been catalogued, and there are probably a lot more sitting in the basements of universities and museums. Did you know that some of the greatest discoveries on manuscripts of the Bible are found in the basements of museums? They have taken out by the truckload, stuff out of Israel, and dumped them in there and scholars spend the rest of their lives, poring through this stuff. I've seen this with my own eyes. I saw a room that is a lot bigger than this with glass cases as far your eyes can see, rows of them, and scholars (with thick glasses I might add), with fine little brushes and pins, trying to separate documents, manuscripts of the Bible.

This is an amazing science and what we have already had catalogued is indeed, amazing. Hey, it would take you a lifetime to do one of them, so it is really remarkable that we have ninety‐two. And you are talking about some of the oldest writing the world has ever seen. And these are very special manuscripts, papyri fragments of actual passages of the Bible. And who knows which ones of those might have come off the hands of the apostles themselves. We don't know, but we basically say that we don't really have the original text, at least we don't know that we do. We probably just have copies. And it is understandable because most of that would be destroyed if it was taken to any climate except maybe Egypt or the Sinai Peninsula, desert. If it was taken to the high altitudes of Israel, those documents would have folded in a period of time.

These papyri are written in what we call "uncial script." I'm going to expect you to know what an uncial manuscript is. It is a manuscript with capital letters. Now they used large, capital letters in these original manuscripts, which tells me something. I do not want to overstate this. But it is very possible that the original copy of the New Testament, as given by God controlled through these men, was in large capital letters and it tells me something: God didn't want anybody to miss His message! Isn't that interesting? It's just a simple little deal. But I kind of like little deals. Little deals thrill me sometimes. It is just a little deal. God didn't write so small that somebody couldn't figure out what He said. And it's interesting that we have these large uncial letters in these papyri manuscripts. Again, as I told you last time, there is no separation between the words. But of course if you know the language, it's no problem. It was true in Hebrew. It was also true in Greek. So through the years, people have helped us out. Non‐Hebrew speakers, non‐Greek speakers have helped us out by separating words and indenting and so forth.

Right after papyrus, they started using leather. Now leather is hard to work on. If any of you have done any leather work, you know what tools are used and all that. You did it as a kid maybe in Vacation Bible School or camp or something. That isn't easy to do. Can you imagine doing a whole book of the Bible on leather? But they didn't wear out of course, as fast as papyrus. It is interesting that only leather and papyrus are used in a scroll format. You know where you roll it up. The next two that we're going to talk about don't. So the scroll really, if I can show this with just a small piece of paper, it really goes both ways. So when you unravel it, the opening or the first paragraph is like right here in the middle. You are unraveling it. Now, sometimes we have some on leather that are rolled up like we think. They're rolled just like this. But isn't it interesting that in Jewish synagogues, when you go to see copies of the Torah, they still use the ancient practice of two rolls!

Now, one of the most important kinds of manuscripts is what we call parchment. But I do not like this word. I'll tell you why. It is amazing how many people hearing that, hear "paper" in it. Parchment is paper. Because you go down to an antique store and they have some little poem or something on parchment. It's literally paper. But when we say "parchment" in biblical manuscripts, we're talking about the skin of sheep and goats. And that was used then for probably 600 years, clear up until the 10th century A.D. And it is the main material, class, for books from the fourth century on. And they are sheets and they are tied together with leather thongs. And the name of that is codex. Codex-C‐O‐D‐E‐X. Now, that's an English word. When we codify something, we are cataloging it or putting it in an organized structure. That's what it means. Ancient writing, instead of being on these long scrolls and hard to read, it all of a sudden began to be organized as a book would be. So, codex, codifying, is our first word for "book." And that is your main book from fourth century all the way up even until the time of printing.

But along the way, they discovered that calfskin, baby cow, was better for writing material than either sheep or goats, which was a little tougher and harder to work with. So calfskin becomes the dominate kind of material on which we have the majority of our manuscripts of the New Testament. It went clear until the invention of printing.

Now, when was printing invented? Anybody know?-in A.D. 1450, by a man named Gutenberg. Now the first thing ever put on a printing press was the Bible in German. Anyway, that was the first thing ever printed on a printing press. Until that time everything was copied by hand and the major writing material was vellum. So if I ask you, "What is the major writing material upon which most of the manuscripts of the New Testament are written?" The answer is "vellum," which is cow. It was calfskin instead of sheep and goats.

There is something else that we want to take a look at and that deals with types of writing. There are two types of writing on which manuscripts of the New Testament are found. One is uncial-capital letters. Now how many of these uncial manuscripts do we have? That is manuscripts with capital letters? In 1912 when we had one of the first listings of all the available manuscripts, there were only 168 of these. And interestingly today, in spite of all research, all archaeological digs, we only have a total of 270 that are catalogued. I mean, there might be some others sitting in museums somewhere. But we have 270 uncial, capital‐letter manuscripts. And we know the capital letters were used up until the ninth century. So class, in terms of evaluating the importance of a manuscript, if your argument is age, then uncial manuscripts will be very important to you. The most important would be papyri, the first three centuries, closer to the time. Next, would be uncial manuscripts. Now, papyri are not real helpful, in that they are only fragments. But the uncials, we've got some with huge sections of the New Testament in them and so they become very important manuscripts.

Two of those-Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus-were not revealed to the world until the end of the 1900s. And that became the turning point in changes from the manuscript evidence behind the King James, to the manuscript evidence behind modern English versions.

The second type of writing is what we call "minuscule," and you know it as that which you usually do yourself. It is what we call "cursive" writing. You are not using capital letters; you are just kind of handwriting. What we call "handwriting" today is cursive writing or script writing. Now on computers or typewriters they have script fonts also. That would be called cursive writing that appears like it was, done by hand. It uses smaller letters. Not capitals.

However, one of the interesting things is that it has capitals when there is a new paragraph, at least in thought. Or it has a capital when it is a proper name. But basically it is cursive writing. Now, notice please class that the majority of Greek manuscripts are in this area alone, 2,800 of them. And they are primarily later, that is, from 800 A.D. on, because they would be copies of the major uncials. There were some earlier, but not many.

Now if you want to know, class, about this because there are some of you who are going to be Bible teachers and you want to know the facts, a fourth issue deals with the age of a manuscript. Now, I went through the bookstore looking for some of these books that tell you about the Bible and how we got our Bible. What we are trying to do in this course is give you a confidence in your Bible and a basic knowledge of the facts behind it to help you deal with apologetical issues in the future-when somebody is attacking your Bible. But be careful in reading these books on how we got our Bible. Not that they aren't good, but they don't really tell you all that you need to know and they kind of skip over some stuff.

Now you will often read, even in the Bible, I took out five of them in my office and I was reading their introductions. It is amazing how many of them say that the best manuscripts are the oldest manuscripts. But that is not true. The oldest papyri we have are all messed up. It's the craziest thing you ever saw in your life. And that is the oldest copy of papyri we have of the New Testament. The point is, be careful about that statement: "If it is old, it is best." Now in general if it is older, then maybe copies were made of it. So that's an important factor, but be careful what you say. Again, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Here is how they determine the value of these manuscripts and their age. I'm not going to expect you to know all these things. But you should be familiar with this just so you can refer to it later. First of all, one thing we have already dealt with would be writing material. So the kind of writing material does have a tendency to date it. Another thing is letter size and form. If you would go to say King James' period of time, they come in giant lettering with beautiful calligraphy and art and all that. So sometimes the size of the sheets determines the age. That's not a hard fast rule, you have to be careful. That is not a dogmatic issue, but it is one that is considered, the size of the actual letter that you are looking at.

Also, punctuation is definitely a factor. Punctuation has changed. What we have today was not in the older manuscripts at all. And so, even as we look at a manuscript-how it was punctuated, whether a period or a comma or a hyphen of whatever-that tells us a lot about what age it's from.

Text divisions. Class, you have probably been told this before, but let's make sure you know it. The chapter divisions in the books of the Bible are not in the original text. Okay, so some of that was the result of scholarship trying to put it in a form that was easier to read, more book oriented. So not always is the chapter placed correctly, is it? You have probably heard people mention that before. A chapter ends and you know really it continues for two or three more verses. Like in Hebrews chapter 7, dealing with our High Priest, if you don't see what it says in 8:1, you miss the whole point of the passage. What it is leading up to. And there are lots of passages like that.

In 2 Corinthians 6 where it says, "Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. What fellowship has light with darkness? Come out from among them. Be separate. I shall be a father to you. You shall be My children." If you do not read chapter 7:1, you miss it. It says, "Having therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let's cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit; perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

So you've got to understand that not always is your chapter division a break in the thought. Now, many times it is. But sometimes it is not. So, the way a text is divided often reveals the period of time in which it was written.

Also, there is the issue of ornamentation. We have a book that you can buy in a scholarly or academic time store or university bookstore, ancient near Eastern texts, huge like this. And you open it up and you can see photographic facsimiles of these original manuscripts. And some of them will amaze you-the ornamentation, the design work-even the original King James!

I have a copy of the original cover of the King James 1611 and an original page from the Book of Acts. I have that framed on my wall. But when you look at it, you say "I don't believe this! I mean was that actually the Bible? That was King James?" Oh yeah, it is very ornamented. I mean it is just all over the place in artwork. You just look at it, "man, how did they read these things?" Well, you see, some of ornamentation varies, even in use of colors and the kind of artwork. You know that if you've ever had a class in art and traced art through the years, you know that you can basically tell when art was in the Renaissance period as opposed to the Middle Ages period. So that's another way that the scholars date text.

Another thing is color of ink. A lot of people have the idea that it was all black. No, it wasn't. They used a lot of colors. We have that principle in our Bibles, don't we? I don't have one but maybe you do. You have the words of Christ in red. Sometimes these manuscripts would put every time God spoke in a different color. So there are different ways of looking at it. So the color of ink affected it and certainly the texture and the color of the parchment. Sometimes a scholar could say "That is between the fourth and fifth century. You can tell by the material that it's on." And they will look at another vellum and they will say, "Well, that animal skin, that design on it and the impression into it, the writing tools into it: that probably comes from the eighth or ninth century."

So this is a scholarly deal. It gives you an idea that this is a science, called "textual criticism." I want you to know the difference between higher and lower criticism. When we hear the word criticism, it is a negative term-when somebody is critical of something. It is not a negative term in academic scholarship, and we need to understand that. Now higher criticism deals with matters like, when you have a study Bible or a Bible handbook, you have a long section that's introduction. It talks about the date of the book, the author of the book, where it was written, etc. That is higher criticism. It doesn't deal with the text at all. Higher criticism deals with things like authorship, the date of the book, to whom it was written, where it came from, etc. That is what is called "higher criticism."

Now most of those books we call today, like Old Testament Introduction or New Testament Introduction, or Introduction to the Bible, those are the kinds of books. And sometimes they are in survey books of the Bible, where you will get that kind of information. In most of the study Bible, whether Ryrie Study Bible, or Open Bible, or some other Bible, you will find these discussions at the beginning of each book-a little background. Sometimes in the back of the book you will find some discussions about it. That is higher criticism.

"Lower criticism" is referring not to something that is less than what higher is, but it is a term they use for the actual text. The actual text, where is it? Is it in the Bible? Is it not in the Bible? Is this word really in the text or is it not in the text? What does this marginal note mean? And did they insert something here? Did the copyist copy it correct here? That is all lower criticism.

When you hear in a message, you'll hear guys speak about the liberal critics of the Bible. By and large, a liberal critic is committed to higher criticism. That is why sometimes guys get confused and say, "a higher critic said…" Well, they don't know the meaning of "higher" because it isn't higher criticism that is the problem. It's the fact that he's liberal doing higher criticism. Is everybody following me? I don't want to confuse you here. I want to make sure you know the difference.

For example, the Book of Daniel is greatly criticized by people who don't believe in the inspiration of the Bible, because chapter 11 alone is the most detailed account of the breakup of Alexander the Great's empire into the Ptolemies and the Seleucids that you will ever read in history. It is totally accurate to everything we know in archaeology. And if you took a Nile River cruise from Aswan Dam down to Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, you would have lectures all along the way and stop at many, many fortresses that are from that period of time, which would just amaze you. You would hear lectures and actually you could open Daniel 11 and follow it straight through, even though the names are not listed. So people who look at that say, "Wait a minute, Daniel couldn't have written that in the 500s B.C. It is 200 years before it happened." You see what I'm saying? But that is one of the strongest issues with those of us who believe the Bible is the Word of God. Issues of prophecy and fulfilled prophecy are extremely important to us. If you refer to a liberal criticism of Daniel that it wasn't written by Daniel, but some later writer, he is what we call a higher critic. That is, he's concerned about the date and the author of the Bible. He isn't dealing with the text at all. So sometimes we get confused with that.

Most lower criticism scholars, who do translation work, don't care. I'm just being honest. They don't care whether you are a liberal or a conservative. You just pay them to do the job. These are guys who look at manuscripts and are going to compare them with manuscripts, they are going to do all that detailed eye work; they are not really thinking, "Gee, I wonder if this came from the only King James school?" They don't even ask those questions. The same guys who worked on the New King James-that is in the King James tradition of text-also worked on the New International and the New American Standard.

In my New American Standard Bible, it has a list of the scholars. Four of them were my teachers and they were fundamentalists and they believe the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible publishing company authorized them to do an English text off of that Greek text that it came from. So if you are a lower critic and you are doing those kinds of studies, it makes no difference to you. All they are doing is working with the text, all day long. Okay, that's a lower critic. So don't jump all over him. Don't criticize him. He is just doing what he is asked to do, or paid to do, I might say.

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CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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