Autographs and Apographs

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written…” (Luke 4:16,17 KJV).

The original Bible manuscripts written by the prophets and apostles are non-extant today. Either by means of disintegration or intentional destruction, those autographs have disappeared. Today, there are 5,500-plus manuscript copies of those Greek New Testament autographs. Alas, theologians relegate these copies to an inferior position to the originals. Do manuscript copies (apographs) possess the same authority as the original manuscripts (autographs)?

In today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah. Did Christ read from the original, 700-year-old document that Isaiah penned? In Acts 8:26-35 both Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch also read the scroll of Isaiah. Should we conclude that Christ and the Ethiopian eunuch shared the lone scroll of Isaiah? Preposterous! Both were manuscript copies.

Did Timothy’s family possess the original Old Testament Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15-17)? Was Paul quoting from the original manuscripts of Isaiah and Hosea (Romans 9:25-29)?

Note that whenever Israel’s king would assume the throne, God instructed: “He shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:… and he shall read therein all the days of his life…” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). God instructed the king to study his copies, not the original manuscripts.

Psalm 12:6,7, Psalm 33:11, Matthew 24:35, and Mark 13:31 are but a few examples of God’s promise: “My words shall not pass away.” The Bible says that God has preserved His words. Undoubtedly, immediately after an autograph was completed, it was copied and distributed. Although the autographs and their first copies have disintegrated, their text is preserved today in subsequent apographs.

The original manuscripts have been gone for centuries. God’s words must exist today in manuscript copies. The autographs and apographs are equal.