Theology Thursday - "My Words Shall Not Pass Away" (Mt 24:35)

If Jesus promised His Words would never pass away, what are the implications for the doctrine of preservation? Did God’s Words ever pass away? Were they lost for centuries in the sands of Egypt? Could they have been? How can prophesy even be meaningful if the very words of God were lost for a time, or may be lost in the future?

In this excerpt from a book he edited, entitled Thou Shalt Keep Them, Kent Brandenburg explains what Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:35 means for the doctrine of preservation.

In Matthew 24:35, the Lord Jesus Christ makes the significant prophesy, “Heaven and earth shall not pass away, but my words shall not pass away.’ Although in its context the prophesy relates to His Second Coming, it also directly concerns the future of heaven and earth and God’s Words.1

Brandenburg briefly explains some of the context surrounding the great prophesy from Matthew 24: 2

The Lord in His mercy has established His own credibility by means of prophetic Scripture. There is no one that would expect one hundred percent consistency if someone made predictions of solely human origin. Because God alone can be expected to be perfectly consistent, only the Bible has truly prophetic material … The uniqueness of Biblical prophesy testifies to its authority and perfection.

Matthew 24 and 25 stand as one of the great prophetic passages, of the Gospels especially, but also the New Testament and the whole Bible. The Lord Jesus Christ is God, so He can speak prophetically, and He does so in this text. Since He says that the events prophesied in these two chapters are going to occur, one can count on them occurring.

If God gave us prophesy, then we must assume He wanted the words of these prophesies to be available to Christians. If you suggest otherwise, you undermine the very purpose of prophesy. Here, Brandenburg explains these implications as he looks at Matthew 24:35:3 

Most people think that such predictions as the Lord is making could not be credible or valid. Prophesies can easily be doubted. They seem impossible. They actually would be impossible to trust, except that the supreme, all-knowing, all-powerful God Who created this universe has given them. The Words of the Lord can be trusted more than even heaven and earth, because His Words will not pass away …

The Lord’s Words here in His Olivet Discourse should be relied upon because His Words in general will not pass away. His Words by nature do not pass away. The generation that will see these signs, and will be here for the Second Coming of Christ, will still have available the Words of the Lord. That generation is still in the future, so today one should surely trust, based upon this prophesy of the Lord Jesus Christ, that His Words today are extant and available.

The instruction of this passage, word for word, will exist in the day of that generation because the Lord promises preservation of every Word. People hearing this in the time the Lord taught this would have known of the promises of preservation of the Words of God already, so this would have been no new doctrine. However, it would have been another reinforcement of that particular promise of the Lord in Scripture (cf. Isaiah 40:8; 59:21).

All of the portions of Scripture that contain unfulfilled prophesy are passages that are necessary for generations of people that are yet future. For instance, the detailed prophesy of the millennial temple in Ezekiel 40-48 does not wholly apply to any generation until the millennial kingdom arrives. Then these Scriptures will provide a handbook for worship.

In this same way, these Scriptures on the Second Coming signs will give the greatest help to generations that are still in the future. If present-day believers of the present generation are not willing to believe in the preservation of God’s Words, what hope will the generation have that will most need them? This, however, is not something about which one is to be apprehensive as a believer. One would assume that believers would trust the Lord when He says that His Words will not pass away.

Some might say that v.35 is about the authority of the Word of God. This is true. This is not all that this text teaches, however, or even what it mainly teaches. It also says that the very Words of the Lord will still be around when the Second Coming generation is alive, even when heaven and earth will pass away. Every generation that ever lives will be able to count on these same Words. It does not just teach their existence, but clearly implies their availability.  

The purpose of the Words is to warn of the timing of the Lord’s coming. Those who should be warned will be able to access the Words for the purpose of that warning. This does not at all concur with the view that the Words are in heaven only, in museums, or buried somewhere in the Middle East and Egypt. For the Words to fulfill their clearly implied and prophesied purpose would require them to be available to those alive for the Second Coming and for succeeding generations as well.

Does the text say that all of God’s Words will be available even after heaven and earth pass away? The use of the plural “Words” (logoi) communicates an emphasis on the individual Words themselves, not just the Word of God in general. All of the specific Words of God will continue to be available.

Since the text does not say “some of the Words” or in some other way restrict this aspect of this promise, the clear conclusion should be that every single word and all of the Words of God’s inspired originals (autographa) exist and are available for believers. For this text to teach something else would require some kind of qualifier, at least. The absence of a qualifier and faith in the Lord’s prophesy, and, therefore, in the veracity of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Divine Truth-Teller, necessitate belief in perfect and available preservation of Scripture.

The following context does not take away from this meaning and application toward perfect and available preservation of every Word. Verses 32-35 make the point of inevitability of His return. Beginning in verse 36 the Lord teaches the unexpectedness of His return, despite its inevitability. People will be able to count on the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, whether they are expecting it or not, because His words can be trusted. A contrast exists between the expectation of preserved Words and the expectation of the Lord’s return. People should be expecting the coming of the Lord because of the trustworthy Words of God.

The following context reveals that most men in the tribulation will not trust God’s Words, and will, therefore, not trust in His return. This lack of trust in the perfect preservation of God’s Words is directly related to the lack of expectation for the Lord’s Second Coming.  

He concludes with this:4

With all this in mind, the text in its context very clearly supports the doctrine of the preservation of God’s Words. Matthew 24:35 teaches that every one of God’s Words, as He gave them to holy men of God, are extant and available for every generation. To not believe this is to deny or reject this verse of Scripture in its context.

Notes

1 Kent Brandenburg (ed.), Thou Shalt Keep Them: A Biblical Theology of the Perfect Preservation of Scripture, revised ed. (El Sobrante, CA: 2007), 59.  

2 Ibid, 59-60.  

3 Ibid, 61, 62-64.  

4 Ibid, 64.  

8883 reads

There are 41 Comments

josh p's picture

Pretty snide in my opinion. He is basically taking the position that Christians should believe that God preserves His word in his (Brandenburg's) preferred text.
God preserves His word-->Lots of people have used the TR-->The TR is God's perfect and inspired word-does not work.
He is not dealing with his opponents view correctly unless I am misunderstanding. Short of liberals and heretics, everyone believes God had perfectly preserved his word. We just aren't buying his argument for a mystical TR.

Bert Perry's picture

It strikes me that Brandenburg is simply assuming his conclusion; he wants to argue that the words of Scripture--each yodh and tittle and so on--are preserved--and thus he begins with that very assumption.  Lost in the matter is the basic, real, debate over whether the very word "word" (logos I presume) refers to individual words, or a message--say as in John 1:1--and really the entire debate over translation methods of word-word accuracy vs. idiomatic translation.  

Never mind, of course, the manuscript evidence.  But that for later.

Ron Bean's picture

I KNOW God's word is preserved in the Majority Text.

I KNOW God's word is preserved in the TR.

I KNOW God's word is preserved in the KJV 1611.

I KNOW God's word is preserved in the critical text.

I KNOW God's word is preserved in the oldest manuscripts.

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

TylerR's picture

You are correct to point out that logos can refer to a specific word or a message, depending on the context. See, for example, 1 Peter 1:22-25; cf. Isa 40:8. It is worth thinking about. Whichever option you choose for logos in translation, in any passage, it really hinges on context. That is why translation is often referred to as more an art than a science.  

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

T Howard's picture

Quote:
With all this in mind, the text in its context very clearly supports the doctrine of the preservation of God’s Words. Matthew 24:35 teaches that every one of God’s Words, as He gave them to holy men of God, are extant and available for every generation. To not believe this is to deny or reject this verse of Scripture in its context.

Not so fast.  The text in context only teaches the authority and validity of Jesus's words as being God's words. Brandenburg is making several leaps of logic from what the text means in context to his conclusion that the text teaches the written Scriptures "are extant and available for every generation."

TOvermiller's picture

Jim wrote:

http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2017/06/is-being-believer-believing-...

There is some conversation on Kent Brandenburg's article here that asks for feedback regarding the exegesis of TSKT and the Scripture passages that lead Brandenburg to his position. To this end, in 2010, Aaron Blumer provided a thoughtful, helpful SI series that serves this purpose. Perhaps you followed this series when he published it, but if not, I recommend that you review it for perspective.

On Brandenburg's blog, Tyler said this:

In a nutshell, I don't think the passages TSKT uses support your position. I don't think many of them are about preservation at all. That is the crux of my disagreement, and why I do not see preservation the way you do.

I agree that this is the crux of the disagreement. Though I disagree with the view that Bro. Brandenburg promotes, I disagree because I do not believe that the verses he cites support his conclusions. I do not disagree because of what I see in history, or because of a multiplicity of manuscripts with differences, and so forth. I disagree because I disagree with his interpretations of the verses that he cites. He conscientiously believes the interpretations he has published and vigorously defends. I conscientiously believe differently.

On a related note, Bro. Brandenburg emailed me to seek an apology for two things: 1) a sarcastic tone in my previous comments and 2) misrepresenting his position. Regarding 1), if anything that I have said has displayed an un-Christian tone or demeanor, please accept my fullest apologies. Such was not my intention, but if I have failed, I gladly ask for forgiveness - from Bro. Brandenburg specifically and from anyone else whom may have perceived the same error. Regarding 2), if anything I have said misrepresents Bro. Brandenburg's position, please accept my fullest apologies for this as well. I have zero intention of misrepresenting his views. My understanding of his views may be flawed, and it appears that he may address such misunderstandings in future posts at his blog. I have read his latest article (linked to by Jim Peet) and his subsequent comments, and disagree with many things that he says. Nevertheless, I disagree as graciously as I know how.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

Jay's picture

In a nutshell, I don't think the passages TSKT uses support your position. I don't think many of them are about preservation at all. That is the crux of my disagreement, and why I do not see preservation the way you do.

I remember in one of these interminable KJV debates on SharperIron from a couple of years ago, someone (might have been Kent, I don't remember) kept appealing to one of the Psalms passages as proof that God has preserved the KJV.  Unfortunately, only the KJV interprets that verse in such a way that it could refer to the Bible itself.

I always thought that was a little humorous but also very sad.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TylerR's picture

That's Psalm 12. There is an article by Thomas Strouse in TSKT about that passage.

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

TOvermiller's picture

TylerR wrote:

That's Psalm 12. There is an article by Thomas Strouse in TSKT about that passage.

Here is a response to the TSKT interpretation of Psalm 12, dated January 2014. In particular, I'll quote the following:

Psalm 12:6,7 does not, in any fashion, support the idea of an eternal preservation of the biblical text as is claimed by the SVM. In fact, it is a rather detailed, exegetically driven study that proves from the Hebrew grammar itself that the promise to “preserve them” is not the words of God, as in biblical manuscripts and texts, but relates back to the “poor and needy” mentioned in 12:5. God preserves “them,” i.e., the poor and needy, from the attacks of the wicked who seek their spiritual destruction. If anything, Psalm 12 is a Psalm giving God praise for the eternal security He provides His people.

and

So where do the Single Version Men lead us? Are they leading us to the purity of God’s Word? Are they cultivating a solid commitment and faithful affirmation to the true Word of God? (Which of course is only found in the KJV or any other TR based translation). Or are they teaching us horrendous Bible study skills that strip the biblical text of its true meaning? Are the in truth passing along a deceitful reading of history and facts about the transmission of the Bible?  All in a desperate attempt to defend their single version perspective that leaves all Christians without a genuine understanding of what God truly said and how He brought us His Word.

Brandenburg responded to this article with corresponding comments and adamantly disagrees. He says:

You have zero exegesis and only eisegesis for your secular, so-called scientific position.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

Jay's picture

Or are they teaching us horrendous Bible study skills that strip the biblical text of its true meaning? Are the in truth passing along a deceitful reading of history and facts about the transmission of the Bible? All in a desperate attempt to defend their single version perspective that leaves all Christians without a genuine understanding of what God truly said and how He brought us His Word.

I'll take the latter for $1,000, Alex.

Seriously - I find it really sad and ironic that the people driving this debate generally open with a similar line from Genesis 3 - "Hath God said...?" and follow it up with some line of "He has but only in one version."

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

josh p's picture

Jay that's really the whole matter. Mr. Brandenburg rightly wants an exegetical response to what he is saying but there is no connection between his exegesis and his particular position. 

TylerR's picture

What comments do you folks have on the exegesis of Mt 24:35?

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Bert Perry's picture

I wish I could take what Jay quoted as a joke, but given that even Brandenburg is slipping into some pretty nasty personal attacks, calling someone "secular" and accusing someone of "eisegesis" for disagreeing with him about Psalm 12, I've got to say that this is pretty much a faith-killing doctrine.  Let's walk through it;

If indeed Psalm 12 and other passages clearly don't say what KJVO advocates say they do, we must first conclude that in effect, they're setting their "teachers" up as a higher authority than Scripture.  Sola Scriptura and the First Fundamental are, as far as I can tell, GONE with those who are KJVO.   What you are going to get is authoritarian leadership that uses clearly sinful methods (slander, insults, etc..)  to spread their doctrine.

In doing so, they are simultaneously going to inoculate people to the Scripture precisely because it is the leader, not the Scripture, calling the shots.  And I'll be blunt; I was part of a "closet KJVO" church for a while, and my family is good friends with a family at an openly KJVO church, and what I've seen is simply not pretty.  I've seen my Methodist step-father pointing out that if what he heard is indicative, he's concerned that my kids would not learn much theology.   We left soon afterwards.  I've seen my kids' friends ask legitimate questions of their pastor, only to have him appeal to his authority.  He had no Biblical answers, and my view is the kids were right.  I've seen a church treat excommunication as if it were some feature of Biblical fidelity.  I know several families that were victims of that debacle.

Sorry, but unless there's a benign kind of KJVO out there that I've never seen, it's a cancer on the body of Christ, one that infringes on the First Fundamental and all of the Solas.  It needs to be excised, put in a theohazard bag and burned.

I've got no objections to the doctrine that God's Word will be preserved--the question is not whether, but HOW, and the answer to that simply needs to be consistent with the manuscript evidence.  And if someone argues that a Psalm in Hebrew indicates which Greek manuscripts--written down 1000 to 2000 years later--would be authoritative, and that this furthermore indicates which translations of that Greek manuscript are allowed, and those half a millenium later than the manuscripts, again....

Jay's picture

If indeed Psalm 12 and other passages clearly don't say what KJVO advocates say they do, we must first conclude that in effect, they're setting their "teachers" up as a higher authority than Scripture.  Sola Scriptura and the First Fundamental are, as far as I can tell, GONE with those who are KJVO.   What you are going to get is authoritarian leadership that uses clearly sinful methods (slander, insults, etc..)  to spread their doctrine....

In doing so, they are simultaneously going to inoculate people to the Scripture precisely because it is the leader, not the Scripture, calling the shots.  And I'll be blunt; I was part of a "closet KJVO" church for a while, and my family is good friends with a family at an openly KJVO church, and what I've seen is simply not pretty...

Sorry, but unless there's a benign kind of KJVO out there that I've never seen, it's a cancer on the body of Christ, one that infringes on the First Fundamental and all of the Solas.  It needs to be excised, put in a theohazard bag and burned.

The more exposure I get to KJVOism, the more solidly I am convinced that it is an insidious and pernicious heresy of the worst order, and its dangerous simply because it appears to so right - after all, who doesn't want to defend the Bible?  But the fruit of that debate is almost always in line with the fruits of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) and not at all with the fruits of the Spirit.

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

JBL's picture

My take on the ideas being communicated in Matthew 24:35.  Mainly getting these from the verb conjugations.

The heaven and earth can be taken as one system.  It has not passed away yet, but it will.  I (Jesus) am absolutely confident that it will pass away. Who of what causes the heaven and earth system to pass away is not important, but just the fact that it will.

On the other hand,

My words that I have spoken on this matter will not cause themselves to pass away.  Nothing else will cause them to pass away.  They will not do so, either gradually or all at once.  

I look at II Peter 3:1-7 as insightful into the meaning of this passage.  Any visible evidence of the permanence of the world is outweighed by the reliability and permanence of Jesus' words.  I view this as the primary meaning of the passage.  What is not as clear is whether permanence demands guaranteed generational accessibility.  

John B. Lee

Bob Hayton's picture

There is another good resource that provides what Brandenburg is asking for: a biblically based approach to preservation.

The book is: The Doctrine of Scripture: As It Relates to the Transmission and Preservation of the Text by Jason Harris (InFocus Ministries). It is available on Amazon here.

I penned the foreword and gave a brief review here.

Brandenburg took exception to that book for misrepresenting his position. I don't want to get into a full fledged discussion on that point, but I seem to remember there being assumptions in TSKT that a true believer will eventually be led by the Spirit to receive all the words of God and ultimately receive the doctrine of perfect preservation. This comes very close to the point Harris is concerned by (and which Brandenburg takes as a blatant lie).

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Bert Perry's picture

I read through Brandenburg's critique of Bob's review of Harris' book (linked above), and it strikes me that Brandenburg is offering a lot of invective--accusing others of lying, etc..--with very little evidence to back up his contentions.  As I noted, even the sanest KJVO advocates seem to be slipping into those sinful personal attacks and such that I was talking about.

Why so?  Perhaps because Brandenburg's logical skills are simply not up to snuff, and where logic fails, invective rules (see: politics).  For example, he says in one place "Belief in Christ assumes the reception of all God's Words.",  but does not clue in to the fact that this would imply that if one does not have all of those words--say if you're reading a critical text Bible--it would mean the person does not have faith in Christ.  While he vociferously denies the implication in many places, thankfully, the fact of the matter is that he's not drawing logical conclusions well.

Another example is that he simply does not clue in (per my comments) that a doctrine of preservation would imply that we ought to also have some evidence for the text's existence  for the church (his comments on my first comment in one thread here).  You simply can't assume that, and the fact of the matter is that the Roman church brutally suppressed all Bibles except the Vulgate during the Middle Ages--unintelligible to almost all people in the churches of that day.  

Moreover, in other comments he makes in his most recent post, he affirms Wilbur Pickering's work without clueing in that Pickering's work is at its core a work of the same textual criticism Brandenburg abhors (just with a different bias), that it's not quite the TR, and without figuring out that to determine a "perfect" manuscript, you've got to have the autographs.  Brandenburg also fails to note that for Pickering to find his "perfect" manuscript, he ignored an unspecified number of discrepancies in the text.  "Oops."  (from Pickering's foreword to his own book)

Brandenburg's work demonstrates what Beacham and Bauder noted in One Bible Only:  that KJVO is in reality a faith-based position, and not an evidence-based one.  As I've noted before, it suffers from a crisis of evidence, and TSKT "manages" this by more or less making the theory un-falsifiable and hence....un-proveable.   

Bert Perry's picture

...it's worth noting that Wilbur Pickering's work is not only based on the Majority Text, not the TR, he also appears to have done a new translation.  If one goes a couple of clicks further, the societies to which Pickering belongs include at least one where he is a director that make it very clear that the MT text he's chosen is NOT the TR by any stretch of the imagination.  Would love to see KJVO activists like Brandenburg dance around that one.  

Along these lines, it's worth noting is that what I experienced at the wannabe KJVO church was that the "pastor" ** would use any resource as long as it agreed with his conclusion, and the fact that one source contradicted the other completely was of no importance.  For example, he'd teach the Chick KJVO theory, which argues that the perfect text is the Old Latin, simultaneously with David Sorenson's TR advocacy, without seeing any contradiction.  As long as it was a club to use on his enemies, he was good with it.

**"pastor" is in quotes here because I can not in good faith refer to him with that title.  He was an abuser of the Word of God, not a shepherd of God's people.

TylerR's picture

Bert:

Pickering is very interesting. He believes the text was preserved through a very narrow family of manuscripts (f35, I believe). I've read some of his work, but not the whole thing. I'll probably include a good excerpt or two from Pickering's book for an upcoming Theology Thursday piece.

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Bert Perry's picture

In Pickering's world, what that means is that he's decided some textual variants don't matter, so "completely identical" means that manuscripts are separated by spelling errors, grammatical errors, and the like.  In other words, he's set the bar just high enough so that F35 can sneak through, but (perhaps) other text groups cannot, and of course comparing group A to group B fails this test.  He admits as much in the link to his book provided above.  

That's not scholarship, but gamesmanship.  Same basic thing with ellipses and taking quotes out of context.  And when Brandenburg not only falls for it, but believes (pretends?) that it has something to do with his preferred text group, the nicest thing we can say is that he's not much of a scholar.  

T Howard's picture

TylerR wrote:

What comments do you folks have on the exegesis of Mt 24:35?

As I said earlier, the only point being made in Matt 24:35 is the authority and validity of Jesus's words as being God's words.As Constable writes, "[Jesus] claimed that His predictions had the same authority and eternal validity as God’s words." As such, his disciples can have complete confidence and certainty that the predictions foretold by Christ shall be accomplished just as Christ said they would be.

To say that this passage teaches the perfect preservation of a specific text family is eisegesis. Again, as I earlier said, one has to make several leaps of logic and perform theological gymnastics to get to the perfect preservation of a particular Greek text family from this verse.

Jay's picture

I look at II Peter 3:1-7 as insightful into the meaning of this passage.  Any visible evidence of the permanence of the world is outweighed by the reliability and permanence of Jesus' words.  I view this as the primary meaning of the passage.  What is not as clear is whether permanence demands guaranteed generational accessibility.  

I agree with this interpretation, but I would also argue that Jesus' reference to permanence does demand guaranteed accessibility.  After all, it does no one any good for the words to be permanently preserved if no one can actually read them.  Jesus' whole point is that everything will be destroyed but people will still be able to read and understand and disobey or obey what He says.

It's a pretty huge leap, however, to demand that guaranteed preserverance and accessibility = divine preservation of one text family or particular manuscript.   Even if you make that jump, you wind up with continuing re-revelation to mankind as languages change and adapt.  I can't go there, either.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

AndyE's picture

Jay wrote:
I agree with this interpretation, but I would also argue that Jesus' reference to permanence does demand guaranteed accessibility.  After all, it does no one any good for the words to be permanently preserved if no one can actually read them.  Jesus' whole point is that everything will be destroyed but people will still be able to read and understand and disobey or obey what He says.

Does it really demand guaranteed accessibility?

I think we in the West are so spoiled with the ubiquitous availability of the Scriptures in our language that we don’t realize our unique privilege compared to the lot of the vast majority of people in the world currently and especially historically.  What does guaranteed accessibility mean to Indians in America prior to colonization by Europeans, or the vast numbers of pagans in India, South America, Africa, Indonesia, China, etc.?

Whatever Matt 24:35 means, it has to mean it for these people, too. You could perhaps say God’s Word will always be generally accessible to believers, or the church, or a certain subset of the church, or a certain number of believers but the text doesn’t specify anything like that and it seems to me that the promise is irrespective of any such limitations.

I don’t see accessibility in this passage at all. What I see is (1) the eternality of God’s Word and (2) the absolute faithfulness and dependability of God’s Word – more dependable than even the continued existence of heaven and earth! The context is that the disciples can know for sure that “all these things [will] be fulfilled” (24:34). This is true because God’s word is indestructible, permanent, and completely reliable no matter what happens in heaven and in earth.

Does this mean that it is impossible to destroy every last physical copy of the Bible? Maybe but let’s suppose that happened.  Would God’s Word therefore be less sure? Would it be invalidated? Would it mean that it actually passed away? Do I need to have a physical copy of the Bible for its promises and truths to be true and sure or something I can depend on?

I do believe that one of the purposes of inspiration is that God’s Word would be captured and thus preserved in some way for mankind (cf., Isa 30:8-9; Dan 12:4; Hab 2:2-3, “write the vision and make it plain upon tables that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time”).  Consequently I believe we have a legitimate expectation of providential preservation but nothing that guarantees accessibility (whatever the definition of that is). It is possible that passages such as Ps 119:152, 160, where the context of these verses is the meditation, memorization, and delight in the Word of God that David has in hand (i.e., the written Word), teach that we should expect the physical preservation of all of God’s inspired Word for all time, but I am not sure that is a legitimate inference. In general I believe that these types of verses teach the enduring nature of Biblical truth and its everlasting faithfulness and dependability rather than its physical preservation.

JBL's picture

The conclusion that the permanence of God's words demands its accessibility is credible.  It very well might be true.  

However, I still submit that the truth of the permanence and dependability of God's words and the truth of its preservation and accessibility are distinctly different concepts.  

The permanence and veracity of God's words must be so because of God's character.  

The preservation and accessibility aspect of Scripture are important revelations of God's will toward us - namely that he wants us to know him.

I am very sure that Matthew 24:35 teaches the permanence and veracity aspect.  We have to make inferences to reach the conclusion that Matthew 24:35 teaches preservation and accessibility.  The inferences make me a little uncomfortable from an exegetical standpoint.  

John B. Lee

josh p's picture

Bruce Compton (DBTS) wrote an article responding to the TR only view on preservation. I personally found it persuasive and he deals directly with Matt. 24.
archive.dbts.edu

Bob Hayton's picture

josh p wrote:

Bruce Compton (DBTS) wrote an article responding to the TR only view on preservation. I personally found it persuasive and he deals directly with Matt. 24.
archive.dbts.edu

Are you referring to William Combs' article on preservation? I don't see one by Compton.

http://archive.dbts.edu/journals/2000/Combs.pdf

 

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Pages

Help keep SI’s server humming. A few bucks makes a difference.