Vol.IV No.I Pg.4
February 1967

Story Of The Text...1

Robert F. Turner

Examination of the source of our Bible, the written text, is something many brethren shun like the plague. I begin a series of such studies with the realization that many prefer to remain in ignorance of such matters: some, because their faith is so weak they are afraid of what they may find; and some, too lazy to think about it.

On one extreme are those who think the King James version was "authorized" by God; and on the other are those who ridicule any version or any text as being the inspired word of God. In between are poor souls so in love with their own smattering of the greek language that they cast aside the learning of the centuries and propose to give us "the final word." Such people usually produce the "modern English" books that are more commentaries than texts; and often are really different from standard texts (K. J., A. S.) only in those places where the translator (?) wishes to substantiate his peculiar doctrine.

Some unthinking people, or people having little knowledge of history or languages, even ask, "Why have any translations or versions? Just take the Bible the way God gave it::" They fail to realize that the Bible was not given in English -in fact, the English language did not even exist in the time of Christ. Hebrew, Greek, and Latin were the languages of those most closely associated with the writing of divine truth; and if we had the original manuscripts most of us could not read them. To be concrete, Paul's letter to the Corinthians was written in Greek -- and was actually sent to Corinth as a letter. (2 Cor. 2:4, 9.) It had to be copied by hand, (again, in Greek) and passed to other saints who were interested in what the inspired Apostle said regarding divisions, discipline, marriage, spiritual gifts, etc. And, as the church spread into north Africa, and saints of Paul in Greek epistles had to be translated into Latin.

Luke's writings (addressed, or we might say 'dedicated' to Theophilus) had to undergo the same treatment; and so with all the other writings.

A careful reading of the first letter to Corinth shows it was written during Paul's third journey; from the city of Ephesus. (1 Cor. 16:8) Luke's history of the church (Acts) was not written until after Paul's imprisonment, journey to Rome, and after he had been there at least two years. (Acts 28:30) Obviously, these (and by like reasoning and evidence, other-) books of the New Testament were not written at the same time, and handed to the saints as a single bound volume. There is no reason to panic at this information, nor shut your eyes.

God's revelation was for many years of the first century (we speak of the N. T.) before it was completely embalmed in the inspired written word. The various writings were copied many times, some translated into other languages, before copies were finally put together in anything like the form we know today. It is important to remember that during this formative period, inspired men were checking and doublechecking the message. (1 Cor.14:37) there wanted the writings their own language, these

The truth is, in inspired men