Read the Copy!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them (Deuteronomy 17:18,19 KJV).

What does the Bible say about manuscript copies?

Friend, if you have read or heard material from seminary and/or Bible College students, and/or their staunch sympathizers, you know their maxim. They declare, ad nauseum: “We do not have the original Bible manuscripts. All we have is copies. Only the autographs were perfect and inspired of God.” They exalt the originals (which they know no longer exist); they belittle the copies (which alone exist). Leave it to theologians to embrace such absurdity: “I have full confidence in original manuscripts that I can neither access nor read. As for these manuscript copies we do have, they are good but not infallible. By the way, my doctrinal statement is perfect—the Bible out of which I derived it is not!”

We should have a verse somewhere to support what we believe or teach. There is not a verse in all of Scripture—in any manuscript or version—that supports the idea that manuscript copies are less reliable than the originals. However, there is a verse—several, actually—that shows us that God equates original manuscripts (“autographs”) and their resultant copies (“apographs”). When Israel’s king assumed the throne, today’s Scripture says that God commanded that he copy the original manuscripts of Moses’ writings (Genesis through Deuteronomy, the “Pentateuch”). The originals were kept in the Ark of the Covenant; the king was to read his own personal copy!

In God’s mind, the copy was just as authoritative as the originals, for that copy would prevent the king from “turning… aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left” (verse 20). If the king obeyed the copy, God declared he would not make a mistake (indicating the Bible copy was also inerrant). Either we believe the King James Bible, or we believe theologians!