Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Abandoning Our First Love

"In considering the apostasy, we have seen its root in the loss of the first love, whereby a separation was made between the Lord and the Church,— the Head and the body, — and He was hindered in the exercise of His headship. Through the same loss of love, the Holy Ghost, sent by the Son, was unable to fulfill His mission. After a time the expectation of the Lord's speedy return passed away, and also the hope of it; and the Church made it her work to bring all the world under subjection to Christ before His return.

Thus the history of the Church has not been that of a community of one heart and mind, carrying out the will of its Head under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and steadily growing in love, holiness, wisdom, and power; but of a community divided against itself, forgetful of God's purpose, filled with ambition to rule in this world, and covetous of its pleasures and honours. The Holy Ghost has not been able to do His full work in the Church, and therefore her witness to the world has been partial and feeble. The Head, though nominally honoured, has passed more and more from the thought of the Church as her living and ruling Lord, and from the knowledge of men as the King of kings.

We have seen in the movements and tendencies of the present time the preparation for the final fulfillment of the Scripture predictions. Modern pantheistic philosophy is leavening the public mind with its denials of a personal God, of man's moral freedom, and of immortality. Modern science, particularly in its evolutionary phase, is denying a Creator and a creation, and can find in the Universe no Divine purpose, only an endless evolution, in which man appears for a moment as a shining bubble, then disappears for ever. The Bible is put aside by many as a book outgrown, with its doctrine of sin and its legendary miracles and history. Much of modern literature is imbued with the pantheistic spirit, or is critical and skeptical, and, when not positively irreligious is indifferent to religion."

(Samuel Andrews, Christianity and Anti-Christianity in Their Final Conflict, “Summary and Conclusion,” part IV, originally published in 1898)

Monday, August 27, 2018

Stay Away From The One New Man "Bible"

     The One New Man Bible, translated in 2011 by William J. Morford, is a product of both the Hebrew Roots Movement and the New Apostolic Reformation. This translation is essentially an effort to make the New Testament Hebrew. It goes on at length to define the meaning of various Hebrew words, while seemingly ignoring the reality that the New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek. Members of this movement tend to render the name of Jesus in the Hebrew "Yeshua." That is not a name which Christians would ordinarily ascribe to Christ, unless they are Arabic. 

        The underlying problem with the Hebrew Roots Movement is that it poses a direct threat to the gospel by encouraging Christians to observe Mosaic customs. It is claimed by adherents that Jesus Christ did not terminate the Old Covenant, but rather reaffirmed it and expanded upon its message. It is claimed by adherents of the Hebrew Roots Movement that Christianity has apostatized from its original Jewish roots through the incorporation of Greco-Roman philosophy. On the contrary, these claims do not withstand scrutiny when compared to the New Testament itself.

        Consider, for instance, that the Apostle Paul taught uncircumcised people need not seek fleshly circumcision (1 Corinthians 7:17-19; Galatians 5:6; 6:15). Thus, Gentiles should not seek to become Jews. The church of Jesus Christ includes both the Jew and the Gentile (Galatians 3:26-29). Nowhere does Scripture require that Gentiles keep the Law (Romans 7:6; Galatians 2:14). We are not under Law but grace (Romans 6:14; Galatians 3:25; 5:16-18). Christ is the end of the Law to all who believe (Romans 10:3-4). 

        The gospel does not depend on works of the Law (Romans 3:27-28; Galatians 2:16-21). We are not sanctified by the works of the Law (Galatians 3:1-6). The very reason that Paul sharply rebuked the churches of Galatia in one of his epistles is that they were reverting back to customs, practices, and traditions instituted in the Old Testament. He even called doing such behavior the preaching of "another gospel" (Galatians 1:8-9). The epistle to the Hebrews was written to encourage Jewish Christians to not revert to the Jewish religious system.

        There is nothing wrong with Christians being in support of Israel for political or eschatological reasons, but it is a completely different matter for us to seek to be under the Law of Moses. Those who wish to keep the Law must also do so perfectly (Romans 3:20; Galatians 5:1-3; James 2:10-11), which is impossible due to us having a sin nature. The Jerusalem Council was convened to address the Judaizers who claimed that one need be circumcised in order to be saved (Acts 15:1-5; 10-11). The Hebrew Roots Movement is spiritually dangerous because its premises are opposed to the foundational ideas of the gospel. The ideology is emphatically condemned by the New Testament. 

        This whole "new man" business seems to be instigated by charismatics. In fact, it is commended wholeheartedly by them. This source says the following:

        "The NAR specifically call it [i.e. their doctrine of deification] the New One Man but can also mix it with New Breed language, names often ending with ‘Generation’ like the ‘Joshua Generation’ (as Joshua led Israel to victory into the promised land, being led by the presence and power of God to take dominion over the land). However, both the NOLR and NAR cults and it’s leaders use Gideon and his army to further this Man-Child Company, One New Man or New Breed heresies."

        The One New Man Bible is promoted by the false charismatic prophet Sid Roth. He promotes the works of William Morford. It would also be interesting to note that the author of the translation being reviewed in this article believes that the Trinity is heresy. Here are the translator's own words:

        "It is past time to recognize that the Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is not Scriptural. The Trinity came into Christian thought as former Heathens took over leadership of the Church in the second and third centuries..."

        In view of the presented information, it would certainly be wise for one to avoid reading the One New Man Bible. It should evoke concern in us for all those who are studying from it.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

"Our Reasoning Capacities Are Highly Unreliable"

"But the real surprise is that Oppy apparently rejects the assumption. He says it’s obvious (!) that our reasoning capacities are “highly unreliable” in the domain of philosophy. Yet he makes this claim as part of a philosophical rebuttal of Plantinga and Reppert, in the course of a philosophical case for naturalism, in a philosophical book written by a professional philosopher. If our reasoning capacities are highly unreliable in the domain of philosophy, what on earth does Oppy think he’s doing? This isn’t so much cutting the branch you’re sitting on as felling the tree and grinding the stump.

...Still, Oppy’s right about one thing: if our cognitive faculties are the product of undirected naturalistic evolution — which is to say, if evolutionary naturalism is true — then it’s highly unlikely that those faculties are reliable when it comes to philosophical matters. That’s a big problem for philosophical naturalists like Oppy."

Professor James Anderson, Adventures in Branch-Cutting

Is The Sinner's Prayer Biblical?

          There is a fairly recent development in church history that has pervaded mainstream evangelical witnessing methods known as the sinner's prayer, which is a recited gospel invitation meant to convict unbelievers of sin and assure new converts of having been saved by God from their sins. We frequently hear zealous pastors during their sermons calling people in their audiences to repeat after them a formulaic prayer with the intention of ensuring the salvation of listeners.

          The first and foremost problem with the notion of a sinner's prayer is that nowhere does the New Testament assure people of salvation on the basis that they recited a prayer. Scripture nowhere guarantees salvation to people who recite a specific sequence of words. Nowhere do we see the apostles in the Book of Acts assuring people of salvation simply because they recited a prayer. There is neither a prescription nor a description of using sinner's prayer evangelism in Scripture.

          Justification in the sight of God is not obtained via formulaic means, but by His grace through faith in the finished work of His Son Jesus Christ. If reciting a sinner's prayer is biblically acceptable, then why did the Apostle Paul fail to mention such a concept in his basic presentation of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)? We cannot immediately assure people who have recited a prayer of salvation because we cannot look at their hearts. We do not know whether other people have truly surrendered themselves to God.

          Furthermore, the sinner's prayer has given many unsaved individuals a false assurance of salvation. It has given people a false sense of security in regards to their true standing with the Lord. That is the most spiritually dangerous state to be entrapped in possible. At best, the sinner's prayer contains elements of truth mixed with error.

           This is not to communicate the idea that every individual who has recited a sinner's prayer is a false convert. Rather, we ought to cease implementing that witnessing approach because it is unbiblical and deceptive. It was not until the nineteenth century when a lawyer named Charles Finney invented the sinner's prayer. The concept was drastically popularized by evangelists such as Billy Graham.

           It certainly is biblical to guide somebody in prayer or repentance. It is certainly biblical for a sinner to ask God for His forgiveness. The confession of sin is biblical. But assuring a person salvation on the basis of repeating a prayer is wrong. We are saved by the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel (Romans 1:16-17). We receive Christ by faith (John 1:12-13).

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Spurious Origin Of Mary's Perpetual Virginity

        The Roman Catholic dogma that Mary remained a virgin throughout her lifetime was most likely a consequence of the early church adopting low views regarding human sexuality and marriage. The rise of asceticism, monasticism, and already existing Gnostic beliefs played a foundational role in the development of Mary's perpetual virginity. Many early Christians embraced positions on the issue of marriage verses virginity that we would readily discard as being totally unbiblical, irrational, and even harsh. After centuries of christological disputes, the Second Council of Constantinople officially declared the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ to be "ever virgin."

        The church father Jerome vigorously argued marriage as being inferior to virginity and celibacy. Others such as Athanasius and John of Damascus taught that the concept of marriage was derived from original sin. Augustine thought that it was impossible to engage in marital relations without also having ungodly lusts. Basil claimed that although he personally rejected the teaching, many in his day believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary. There was a small Arabian cult known as the Collyridians, which appointed woman to be priests so as to offer sacrifices of bread to Mary. They worshiped her, and also believed her to be a perpetual virgin.

        It is worth considering this excerpt from the late second to mid third century scholar Origen:

        “And depreciating the whole of what appeared to be His nearest kindred, they said, Is not His mother called Mary? And His brethren, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? They thought, then, that He was the son of Joseph and Mary. But some say, basing it on a tradition in the Gospel according to Peter, as it is entitled, or The Book of James, that the brethren of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife, whom he married before Mary. Now those who say so wish to preserve the honor of Mary in virginity to the end.” (Commentary on Matthew, 17, emphasis added)

        Note how the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church defends the perpetual virginity of Mary:

        "Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus", are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary". They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression." (CCC # 500)

        Thus, we see that Roman Catholic apologists have resorted to apocryphal literature in order to substantiate their claims. One may as well justify non-Christian teaching by citing extra-biblical sources such as the Quran or Jewish Kabbalah.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Passion Translation Exposed

Another new custom Bible is The Passion Translation by NAR [New Apostolic Reformation] Apostle Brian Simmons. In [commentator] Holly Pivec’s "Important facts about The Passion Translation" she points out that Brian claims Jesus appeared to him and blew on him to commission Brian to write this new translation. She continues:

He says: “he breathed on me so that I would do the project, and I felt downloads coming, instantly. I received downloads. It was like, I got a chip put inside of me. I got a connection inside of me to hear him better, to understand the scriptures better and hopefully to translate.”

On this same TV program, Simmons claimed Jesus revealed to him a new chapter of the Bible. This happened when he was translated to the library of heaven where he saw more books than you can imagine. One stood out called John 22. It told about the greatest revival the world is yet to see. God promised Simmons that one day He’ll bring Simmons back to heaven and give him this book.

Alisa Childers points out in “Here’s Why Christians Should Be Concerned About The Passion Translation of the Bible” “…the sole translator of TPT, Brian Simmons, is not trained in the biblical languages, and lacks the credentials necessary to produce an accurate translation of the Bible.”

Another thing that sets TPT apart from these other single-author translations is that Simmons claims that Jesus visited him personally, took him to the library of heaven, and asked him to write the translation. He claims to have received “downloads,” and “secrets of the Hebrew language” from Jesus Himself. Simmons even admitted that he has minimal background in biblical languages and needed the Lord’s help to translate.

That is the advantage of producing a custom Bible. You don’t need to be bothered with such mundane things as knowing the original languages, and in fact, knowing the original languages would almost certainly be an impediment to your imagination, or whatever entity is downloading information to your mind. It frees you up to add new bible chapters – or at least teach others that there are unrevealed chapters which will be added as an update later. Who can deny your experience? Who can argue with your own custom Bible? It’s a very convenient new tool to let NAR Apostles and prophets off the hook for being false prophets by simply rewording the warning Jesus gave in Matthew 7:15 and following:

Constantly be on your guard against phony prophets. They come disguised as lambs, appearing to be genuine, but on the inside, they are like wild, ravenous wolves! You can spot them by their actions, for the fruits of their character will be obvious. (TPB)

The passage in the real bible is actually a warning to be on guard for FALSE PROPHETS – which of course the NAR prophets are! The definitions of false prophets are given by Moses in Deuteronomy 13 and 18. The hearers of Jesus’ warning would have had these passages memorized. The warning has nothing to do with the so-called “fruits of one’s character.” One cannot judge a false prophet by his ungodly or bad “character,” since, as Jesus points out, they will look just like sheep!! Sheep are true believers. These false prophets would seem outwardly like Godly men, doing good works while hiding their true characters! The false prophets that Jesus warned would come would probably be carrying Bibles, claiming to do miracles, utilizing Christian lingo, acting nice and Christian-y, and maybe even casting out demons in Jesus’ name. In fact, that is what Jesus said in Matthew 7:22-23:

On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Affirmation Of Miracles Among The Ancients Was Not A Result Of Wrongly Perceiving The Universe

"...it may be stated at once that this view is quite wrong about facts. The immensity of the universe is not a recent discovery. More than seventeen hundred years ago Ptolemy taught that in relation to the distance of the fixed stars the whole Earth must be regarded as a point with no magnitude. His astronomical system was universally accepted in the Dark and Middle Ages. The insignificance of Earth was as much a commonplace to Boethius, King Alfred, Dante, and Chaucer as it is to Mr. H. G. Wells or Professor Haldane. Statements to the contrary in modern books are due to ignorance."

C.S. Lewis, Miracles, pg. 78

Belief In Miracles Was Never A Result Of Scientific Ignorance

"When St. Joseph finally accepted the view that his fiancee's pregnancy was due not to unchastity but to a miracle, he accepted the miracle as something contrary to the known order of nature. All records of miracles teach the same thing. In such stories the miracles excite fear (that is what the very word miracles implies) among the spectators, and are taken as evidence of supernatural power. If they were not known to be contrary to the laws of nature how could they suggest the presence of the supernatural? How could they be surprising unless they were seen to be exceptions to the rules? And how can anything be seen to be an exception till the rules are known? If there ever were men who did not know the laws of nature at all, they would have no idea of a miracle and feel no particular interest in one if it were performed before them. Nothing can seem extraordinary until you have discovered what is ordinary."

C.S. Lewis, Miracles, pg. 74-75

Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;' Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’

"Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

Dr. McHugh, the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles, made his remarks in a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, where he explained that transgender surgery is not the solution for people who suffer a “disorder of ‘assumption’” – the notion that their maleness or femaleness is different than what nature assigned to them biologically."


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Experiencing The Joy Of God's Providence

        "O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!" (Psalm 34:8)

        From a materialistic perspective, the Christian life is easily comparable to a complicated maze of edicts and burdens. It is ordinarily perceived by the world to be enslavement of the human will, but the reality of the matter is that everybody is a slave to something. We can either be servants of God or servants of idols. Any imagined concept of middle ground on this matter is illusionary. We can experience a temporary perversion of joy through self-indulgence or receive the crown of eternal life which consists of redemption, reconciliation, and fellowship with our Creator. The temporal blessings that God gives to us in this life point to the eternal blessings He will bestow upon us in heaven.

        One need not be discouraged in his or her walk with God in the midst of daily inconveniences or persecution. One need not discard the precious gems of gospel truth in view of the moral turbulence that this world presents. It must be recognized that nothing transcends the power of God. He is working things out for the good of those who love Him. We must evaluate matters from the lens of eternity. The world is not the way it is supposed to be. It has been impacted by sin. It is not our home because we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Our true home is an everlasting abode above. So we should not seek worldly or sinful means of pleasure.

         Christians have been called to exercise spiritual discernment. To act foolishly while claiming superficially that God will provide is not trust, but presumption. The gospel is not an invitation to prosper financially, but a call to experience fellowship with God. It is a call to love, know, and serve Him in this world. The gospel is a call to glorify God. We experience His goodness through being in communion with Him. He is not a means to an end, but a means in Himself. God designed us with the freedom of choice so that He could experience fellowship with mankind. That is the purpose and design of our free will. He did not create us because He needed to, but because He is love.

        We should be leaning on God and looking to His promises. We ought to trust in His divine plan to restore creation back to its original state of perfection. We should be striving for spiritual maturity through prayer, conquering fleshly lusts, and mediating on the principles of Scripture. God Himself is not simply a Giver of gifts, but is a gift Himself. He is the ultimate Gift. We ought to express gratitude for whatever blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon us. We must rejoice continually in the tender mercies He gives. God is our strength and our song. He is our comforter and all in all. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

A Conservative Introduction To Biblical Transmission And Textual Criticism

  • Defining The Issues:
          -The Bible documents the creation of the world, fall of man, God calling Israel to be His people, His plan of redemption, and the means of redemption. It records the rise and fall of various governments. The Bible was written over a period of 1,600 years by approximately 40 authors.
          -The term "canon" is defined as standard or rule of faith. Therefore, the collection of books which comprise the Bible are to function as the spiritual measuring stick of discernment for the Christian church. 
          -The historic Christian position in regards to the Bible is that it is inspired revelation from God. The Bible proclaims itself to be a product of divine inspiration (John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:16). It contains both human and divine fingerprints.
  • How The Old Testament Canon Was Established:
          -The formation of the Old Testament canon began with God inscribing the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets. Moses was commanded by God to pen down the words of the Law so as to provide the Israelites a rule or faith or standard of judgment.
          -Evidence that Old Testament revelation gradually expanded over time is the fact Old Testament authors recognized other authors. For example, the Prophet Daniel makes mention of the books documenting how the Lord spoke to Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2). The twofold division of the Law and prophets points to the Old Testament canon (Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 16:29-31). The threefold division of the Law, prophets, and the psalms also signifies the complete Hebrew Old Testament (Luke 24:44). This demonstrates the overall consistency within the Old Testament writings.
          -"On the other hand, much of the Bible, in particular the historical books of the old testament, are as accurate historical documents as any that we have from antiquity and are in fact more accurate than many of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, or Greek histories. ‘These Biblical records can be and are used as are other ancient documents in archaeological work. For the most part, historical events described took place and the peoples cited really existed." (https://www.csnradio.com/tema/links/SmithsonianLetter.pdf)
          -"No longer are there compelling reasons to assume that the history of the canon must have commenced very late in Israel’s history, as was once accepted. The emergence in Mesopotamia, already in the second half of the 2nd millennium BCE, of a standardized body of literature arranged in a more or less fixed order and with some kind of official text, expresses the notion of a canon in its secular sense…The Old Testament as it has come down in Greek translation from the Jews of Alexandria via the Christian Church differs in many respects from the Hebrew Scriptures…It should be noted that the contents and form of the inferred original Alexandrian Jewish canon cannot be ascertained with certainty because all extant Greek Bibles are of Christian origin." (https://www.britannica.com/topic/biblical-literature/Old-Testament-canon-texts-and-versions#ref597311)
  • Primary Ancient Witnesses Consulted In Reconstructing And Verifying The Text Of The Old Testament:
          -The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered near Wadi Qumran, are the earliest known extent Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament. Codex Leningrad is the earliest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Old Testament, dated around the timing of the eleventh century and reflects Masoretic tradition. Other important ancient witnesses supporting the accurate preservation of the Old Testament Scriptures would include the Samaritan Torah, the Greek Septuagint (LXX), and the Aramaic Targums.
  • How We Can Know That The Old Testament Has Been Accurately Transmitted:
          -The Jews carefully preserved the writings that they deemed to be of canonical status. Any texts and scrolls that were reputed to have the unique characteristic of divine inspiration were kept in the temples, under the intense care and supervision of the priests who ministered and the scribes. In short, the concept of canonicity was known to the Israelites. Moreover, Near Eastern scribal practices in religious and political contexts involved meticulous preservation of important documents. Manuscripts would be copied. Manuscripts would be revised. They were compared, and examined letter per letter. The Jews no doubt venerated the Old Testament Scriptures. Thus, the closed and standardized text of the Old Testament has been passed down to us in excellent condition.
          -"Many of the prophets did not speak as recognized leaders of the nation. When we read their strong criticism of many of the leaders of the people, we find it hard to imagine how any nation would accept such books as part of its national treasure. It is a phenomenon that can hardly be paralleled in any other nation. Nor was there any lack of attempts to dispute the authority of the prophets during their lifetime." (Evidence for Faith: Deciding the God Question, contributor Allan A. MacRae, p. 223)
          -"The care of the Talmudic doctors for the text is shown by the pains with which they counted up the number of verses in the different books, and computed which were the middle verses, words, and letters in the Pentateuch and in the Psalms. The scrupulousness with which the Talmudists noted what they deemed the truer readings, and yet abstained from introducing them into the text, indicates at once both the diligence with which they scrutinized the text, and also the care with which, even while acknowledging its occasional imperfections, they guarded it. Critical procedure is also evinced in a mention of their rejection of manuscripts which were found not to agree with others in their readings; and the rules given with reference to the transcription and adoption of manuscripts attest the care bestowed upon them. The Talmud further makes mention of the euphemistic Keris, which are still noted in our Bibles, e.g. at 2 K. vi. 25. It also reckons six instances of extraordinary points placed over certain words, e.g. at Gen. xviii. 9; and of some of them it furnishes mystical explanations." (William Smith, A Dictionary Of the Bible Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History, p. 651)
  • The Establishment Of The New Testament Canon:
          -The New Testament Scriptures were being read and circulated even as the apostles lived (Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27; 2 Peter 3:15-16; Revelation 1:10-11). Consequently, it can be affirmed that the New Testament canon was being established in the middle to the later end of the first century. Jesus Himself implicitly indicated that there would be the production of New Testament Scriptures in John 14-16. Most conservative scholars agree that the 27 books of the New Testament were completed by the end of the first century, with the epistle of James being the first and Revelation being last in order of completion. Some, however, argue that Revelation was written earlier than AD 95.
          -22 out of 27 books of the New Testament were received as canonical by the end of the second century. The four gospel accounts and the Pauline corpus were never seriously disputed. The books of Hebrews, James, 2 John, 3 John, 2 Peter, and Revelation were questioned for a time. That point shows us the early Christians did not accept any random texts claiming to be of apostolic origin but instead scrutinized them, which bolsters our confidence that we have the rightful books in the New Testament canon. The lack of citation of 2 John, 3 John, and Jude from early patristic writers may be explained by their shortness. Factors used in the canonization process would include the dating, authorship, theology, and level of circulation of writings in the church. The New Testament canon was crystallized through church councils.
  • Primary Ancient Witnesses Consulted In Reconstructing And Verifying The Text Of The New Testament:
          -The earliest manuscripts of the New Testament available are papyri, some of which can be dated as early as the second century.
          -Leather parchment eventually replaced papyrus because the material was more durable. 
          -Codex Vaticanus is significant because it contains the entire New Testament. Another manuscript which contains most of the New Testament is Codex Sinaiticus. 
          -There are ancient Syrian, Coptic, and Latin translations which enhance our understanding of the New Testament autograph manuscripts. Those came about as a result of intense missionary work in the early church.
  • Textual Variations In Greek New Testament Manuscripts:
          -Causes of unintentional scribal alterations in manuscripts would include poor eyesight, faulty inspection, mistakes in memory, spelling errors, and wrongly viewing inserted marginal notes as corrections of the text.
          -Causes of intentional scribal alterations in manuscripts would include attempts to update archaic grammar and spelling, clarify or harmonize more obscure texts, and protect important doctrines. An example of scribes attempting to protect doctrine (in this case it would be the deity of Christ) would be the insertion of "God" into 1 Timothy 3:16 rather than "he."
          -Most manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments have differences in spelling or grammar that do not pervert the meaning of the text.
          -There are textual variants among manuscripts that read synonymously. For instance, there are manuscripts that render the same passage of Scripture with Christ's name as being "Lord Jesus" or "Lord Jesus Christ."
          -There are textual variants that can readily be ignored due to being outright irrational or found in poor quality manuscripts.
          -The New Testament documents alone are almost one hundred percent textually pure. They have much earlier and wider source attestation than any other document of antiquity. Not one variation among biblical manuscripts comes close to harming a doctrine of the Christian faith.
  • Defining What Textual Criticism Is:
          -The purpose of textual criticism is to accurately convey what was written in the inspired original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible. This process of refinement involves sifting through all the available manuscript data. That is the science of biblical textual criticism.
          -Biblical criticism has been separated into two main categories: higher and lower criticism.
          -It would seem to be common sense procedure to inspect the oldest manuscripts in existence to better reconstruct the original text of the New Testament rather than a harmony of medieval manuscripts. There would be less of a possibility of the former being corrupted because less time passed between the beginning of the church and their production.
          -Textual criticism should be opposed when there are humanistic or anti-supernatural motivations involved. It should be done on the presupposition that the Bible is divine revelation.