Wednesday, August 5, 2015 4:54 AM

Original Copies (autographs) of Scripture

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 4:54 AM
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 4:54 AM

Too often, just because we do not have the original copies of scripture, this lack of the originals is used as an excuse to allegorize or make scripture mean what anyone wants it to mean.

Here are some quotes by Philip Edgcumbe Hughes as to how we should think of Bible inerrancy given that we do not have the original copies.

This tendency is sometimes displayed in the postulation that inerrancy belongs only to the original autographs, which (as far as we know) are no longer in existence. It is seen also in the deduction from this premise that we now possess only errant copies of these autographs. To be assured that these copies, though errant, are nonetheless infallible is far from helpful. The use of language in this confused and confusing manner is hardly conducive to sound reason and understanding. It creates, rather, the impression of verbal acrobatics.

The points I wish to stress are these: (1) that even without possessing the autographs we have the Word of God, whether in Hebrew or Greek or in the form of a translation; (2) that the Scriptures are translatable without ceasing thereby to be the authentic Word of God…

(6) that thanks to the providential control and guidance of the Holy Spirit throughout the course of the church’s history the integrity of the Scriptures has been essentially preserved in the transmission of the text; and (7) that even if the autographs were to be discovered tomorrow, though this would display the authentic text and mean the end of all textual criticism, the problems and perplexities that puzzle us now would remain unresolved—the chronological questions regarding passion week, for example, or the difference in the order of Christ’s temptations as given by Matthew and Luke. Thus, much though we would like to have the original autographs, we are not at a disadvantage for not having them. No good purpose is served by taking refuge in unavailable autographs, and it is much healthier for us to speak simply, positively, and confidently of the Bible as the Word of God without any qualification.[i]



[i] Carson, D. A., & Woodbridge, J. D. (1992). Scripture and truth (p. 193). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

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