A conflict rages in this age which has been called ďthe battle for the Bible.Ē This battle (more like a war) is being fought on several levels. Some deny that the Bible is Godís Word at all. Others deny that the Bible completed Godís revealed Word. While some scholars battle over original inspiration, and some argue over Greek texts, others are fighting the battle of English translations.
Amid the confusion of theological word battles and personal vendettas, many are crying for answers. As we survey the battlefield, several points must be made clear. The first point is that this battle is one battle. On every level, this battle is about whether or not you and I have or can have the Word of God.
If the Bible only contains Godís Word, but no one knows which parts are His Word and which parts are not, what good is that? And why argue over perfect inspiration, if God has not preserved His Word? And what about all those translations? The whole problem comes down to this: Can you and I get a hold of Godís pure Word; and if we can, where?
Another point to be made is that this battle for the Bible is very important. Nothing is more important than whether or not we can get Godís truth. If Godís Word is not our source of absolute truth, then what is? We are left holding an empty bag.
Yet those who claim allegiance to the Bible cannot seem to do enough to weaken its power. Scholars dilute the Bible text. Publishers come out with new, better-than-ever bibles every few months. Preachers freely correct the words of the living God. And young men herd off to seminaries (or rather cemeteries) to be taught the inadequacies of the Word of God.
No one claims to have a painting that contains the work of Rembrandt. They either have a painting by Rembrandt or they do not. Even a careful imitation is worthless next to the real thing. Likewise, we either have Godís Word or we do not. Since Godís Word by reason of Godís own character must be totally pure, then an impure word cannot be Godís Word. Godís Word is incorruptible (I Pet. 1:23). That which is Godís Word is completely pure (Prov. 30:5). Other forms of printed matter (printed sermons, tracts, corrupted ďbibles,Ē etc.) may contain portions of Godís Word, but they cannot be said to be Godís Word.
Yes, this is all one battle. And this battle is important. But a third point needs to be made. This battle is not new. Ever since the Garden of Eden, when Satan denied Godís Word and Eve changed it, Bible correcting has been one of manís favorite hobbies.
Take, for instance, the text of the New Testament. Its alteration has not been solely the recent work of little men with thick glasses hovering over ancient manuscripts. No, the greatest corruptions of the New Testament text occurred during the first two or three centuries after it was written. By the end of this period, the vast majority of various readings had already been written and the different Greek texts of today could have been composed. These centuries, during which the battle lines were drawn, set the time frame for the Tale of Three Cities.