In order for succeeding generations to share in revelation, the scriptures had to be copied, translated, recopied and retranslated.
The scriptures have undergone 2,000+ years of transmission, therefore, is the 21st century English Bible an accurate reproduction of the first century Greek Bible or the Hebrew Old Testament?
Why God chose written languages.
God could have used:
visions and dreams
What God chose to use:
He chose to record His communication.
Recording is more precise.
Recording preserves better than memory.
What language God chose (Suited to the purpose of His revelation.)
Old Testament languages: Semitic family
Not used in Old Testament
South: Arabic, Ethiopic
Arabic is the most widely spoken Semitic language today.
North: Amorite, Aramaic
Amorite in Palestine
Aramaic — language of the Syrians – used in all three sections of the Old Testament.
Northwest: Ugaritic, Phoenician, Moabite and Hebrew.
Ugaritic not used in Old Testament, but used for Old Testament study (Ras Shamra Tablets, 1929).
Phoenician not in Old Testament (introduced the alphabet to other languages)
Hebrew – most important language of Old Testament.
New Testament Language: Semitic and Indo-European
Greek translation of the Semitic idiom
Aramaic the spoken language of Palestine.
Indo–European: Latin and Greek
Latin used by Roman legions (loan words. in New Testament)
Koine (New Testament Greek)
New Testament Greek until 19th century considered a special “Holy Ghost” language.
Not identifiable with other four periods
Note identifiable with papyri, 19th century
Most widely known language throughout the world.
Why God chose these languages:
Aramaic — a clear spoken language.
Hebrew — pictorial, personal
Greek — logical, categorical technical precision universal= evangelism
(this section needs updating; disregard this section for now)
The overwhelming number of ancient documents establishes the integrity of the manuscripts.
Citations of the fathers
Modern versions are based on the critical text.
New Testament manuscripts vs. classical writings of Greece and Rome.
Iliad of Homer= 643 manuscripts
The Peloponnesian War of Thucydides= 8 manuscripts
New Testament= almost 6,000 manuscripts
Old Testament Masoretic Text
Very few variants
LXX supports Masoretic text
Dead Sea Scrolls support Masoretic
New Testament Manuscripts
Manuscripts on papyrus (2nd and 3rd centuries)
Uncial manuscripts on vellum and parchment (4th-9th centuries) Codex Vaticanus (B)
Codex Sinaiticus (א) C. 340
Codex Alexandrinus (A)
Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (C)
Minuscule manuscripts (9th-15th centuries)
Papyri, 0straca, inscriptions, and lectionaries.