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

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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.  

Pretty snide in my opinion.

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.

Assumes his conclusion, really

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.

Another Reason to Separate

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

Bert

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.  

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

Not so fast

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."

A helpful expositional series on preservation

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

Translations

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

Jay

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

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

Some interaction on Psalm 12

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

Humor

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

Jay that's really the whole

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. 

Mt 24:35

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

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

Reality, sigh.

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....

Yes

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

Tyler

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

another resource

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.

Interesting citation

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.   

One other thing

...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.

Pickering

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.

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

"completely identical"

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.  

TylerR wrote:

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.

Good point, JBL

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

Does it really demand guaranteed accessibility?

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.

Jay

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

Bruce Compton (DBTS) wrote an

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

josh p wrote:

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.

Um, no...

JBL, Kent's summaries remind me of yesterday's "FactCheck" from the Washington Post, which started by admitting that a set of Trump claims was factually correct, then proceeded to change the question, and since the answer to a different question is not as Trump stated, declared him to be a liar because his answer wasn't the answer to their question.  No matter how well you did the summaries, you'd be accused of bias.

You might make it pay, though.  :^)

Reading that summary is just plain sad to me, since Brandenburg really doesn't make any attempt to answer criticisms.  A couple of favorite places where he just blips by are when he claims the first century church just knew what Scripture was, and where he denies that the wording of many OT quotes is more consistent with the LXX than ancient Hebrew manuscripts.  It is as if he is unaware that Peter had to commend Paul's writing to many churches, that Paul had to note that "All Scripture" is given by inspiration of God, and that Paul also had to defend his ministry vs. the "super-apostles" in 2 Corinthians.   For that matter, Jerome was actually attacked for translating the OT out of Hebrew instead of the LXX--it's not like this textual analysis thing is new!

KJVO/TSKT is such a waste of perfectly good brain cells.  

Agreed

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.  

Oh, I agree with that entirely...and I think that it's an area where people can differ amiably.  I also am more than willing to be wrong because I don't know all of what God is doing in regards to accessibility.

The last line I cited - about God's character - is the part of this that I have often wondered about.  How can people not realize that this KJV issue reflects directly on God's ability to sustain the His message to us?  After all, if God's own revelation to mankind can be corrupted and ruined (as TSKT, among others, alleges), when what hope do we, in essence, actually have?  How can we trust the plan of salvation we have?  Isn't it possible that maybe Satan 'altered' or 'warped' the texts enough that we've got other things wrong as well? 

No, the Bible is as clear and plain as day.  If there's any issue, it's on us.

"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

Who Supports This?

Quote:
As to words not passing away just meaning authority and validity, quoting Constable is not sufficient basis for believing that.  How does that relate to heaven and earth passing away?  Do heaven and earth have less authority and validity?

Okay, Kent, Constable doesn't count. Does Blomberg count?

Craig Blomberg, Matthew, vol. 22, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 364. wrote:

Verse 35 concludes the first half of Jesus’ teaching on the Mount of Olives by stressing the certainty of everything that Christ has outlined. His words will endure even longer than the universe itself, which will be destroyed and re-created.

Does Carson count?

D. A. Carson, “Matthew,” in <em>The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke</em>, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), 507. wrote:

The authority and eternal validity of Jesus’ words are nothing less than the authority and eternal validity of God’s words (Ps 119:89–90; Isa 40:6–8).

Does Matthew Henry count?

Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1743–1744. wrote:

1. Christ here assures us of the certainty of them (v. 35); Heaven and earth shall pass away; they continue this day indeed, according to God’s ordinance, but they shall not continue for ever (Ps. 102:25, 26; 2 Pt. 3:10); but my words shall not pass away. Note, The word of Christ is more sure and lasting than heaven and earth. Hath he spoken? And shall he not do it? We may build with more assurance upon the word of Christ than we can upon the pillars of heaven, or the strong foundations of the earth; for, when they shall be made to tremble and totter, and shall be no more, the word of Christ shall remain, and be in full force, power, and virtue. See 1 Pt. 1:24, 25. It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than the word of Christ; so it is expressed, Lu. 16:17. Compare Isa. 54:10. The accomplishment of these prophecies might seem to be delayed, and intervening events might seem to disagree with them, but do not think that therefore the word of Christ is fallen to the ground, for that shall never pass away: though it be not fulfilled, either in the time or in the way that we have prescribed; yet, in God’s time, which is the best time, and in God’s way, which is the best way, it shall certainly be fulfilled. Every word of Christ is very pure, and therefore very sure.

Does Brown, Fausset, and Brown count?

Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 88. wrote:

Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away—the strongest possible expression of the divine authority by which He spake; not as Moses or Paul might have said of their own inspiration, for such language would be unsuitable in any merely human mouth.

Does James Edwards count?

James R. Edwards, The Gospel according to Mark, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002), 405. wrote:

[commenting on the same statement in Mark 13:31, Edwards writes...Beyond the cataclysm, however, stands Jesus himself. “ ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.’ ” For Jesus to assert that his words will outlive heaven and earth is a remarkable claim of authority. The only being who could reasonably make such a claim is God (so Isa 51:6).

Does RT France count?

R. T. France, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 2002), 540. wrote:

[Again, commenting on Mark's use of the verse...] 31 This emphatic assertion of the permanent validity of Jesus’ words heavily underlines the implications of the introduction ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν to the preceding pronouncement. You may rely on him. The words are remarkable, in that they echo the declaration of Is. 40:7–8, that while grass and flowers may wither, God’s word stands forever. The reliability of the word of Jesus is no less than that of the word of God himself. For the fixed order of the created universe as a guarantee of permanence cf. Is. 51:6; 54:9–10; Je. 31:35–36; 33:20–21. This verse is not therefore speaking of a future passing away of heaven and earth as something which may be contemplated, still less as part of what Jesus is predicting, but rather, as in Isaiah and Jeremiah, using the unthinkableness of such an event as a guarantee for the truth of what Jesus has declared. In Mt. 5:18; Lk. 16:17 the same imagery is used for the permanent validity of the law; Jesus’ λόγοι are thus put on a par with the Torah in terms of authority and permanence.

Does Walter Wessel count?

Walter W. Wessel, “Mark,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), 751–752. wrote:

[Again, commenting on Mark's gospel]...31 Jesus strongly emphasizes the certainty and reliability of his predictions in v. 30. “Heaven and earth” is a reference to the whole of the universe, all creation. The certitude and absolute reliability of Jesus’ words is far greater than the apparent continuance of the universe. It will some day cease to exist, but Jesus’ words will always have validity (of Ps 102:25–27; Isa 40:6–8; 51:6).

Does Robert Stein count?

Robert H. Stein, Mark, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 619. wrote:

[commenting on the statement in Mark]...In verse 31 Jesus places his personal guarantee on the truthfulness of what he has said in 13:30. Heaven and earth will one day pass away (cf. Ps. 102:25–27; Isa. 40:6–8; 51:6; Matt. 5:18; Luke 16:17; 2 Pet. 3:7, 10; Rev. 20:11; 21:1), but Jesus’s words will never pass away. The words of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, are more enduring than creation itself.

 

Sorry, Kent, but I'm not finding any support in the commentaries listed or in any other exegetical commentary I own to support your eisegesis of Matthew 24:35.

What Matthew 24:35 is communicating is the authority, certainty, and eternal validity of Jesus' words. Now, please show your work. Who supports your interpretation of the text?

Once Again and Slowly

Kent wrote:
For me, exegesis is looking at the text, but for some, like the Pharisees, who quoted experts, it means counting commentaries. OK, let's say it is that. If you're going to quote them, then at least understand what they are saying. Here are from the quotes he provides:

Kent, you complained that no one actually addressed your understanding of the passage. I addressed it and provided a source (Constable) to confirm my understanding of the passage. You respond that Constable is not "a sufficient basis for believing" what I do about the passage. I then provide numerous quotes from EXEGETICAL commentaries (you know, commentaries that actually look at and study the text) that also affirm my understanding of the passage. You respond by accusing me of being "like the Pharisees" because I'm "counting commentaries." You then quote 3 non-exegetical commentaries and you fail to show your exegetical work.

Kent, please stop. Your position on the Matthew 24:35 passage has no credible exegetical support. You're reading into the text something that neither Jesus nor the gospel writer intended.

For Clarity

See my question and Bro. Brandenburg's response, which I'll re-produce here:

  • Me to Brandenburg: Why do you prefer the TR to the Byzantine?
  • Brandenburg to Me: Hi Tyler, Believers received the TR. The Byzantine position and the so-called Majority Text view (we don't know what the Majority Text is, because not all the manuscripts have been collated) are recent innovations. Earlier a person with the label, Bible Believer, or something like that asked what the exact words are, and I say Hebrew Masoretic OT essentially Beza 1598 NT. I take the same view as Edward Hills (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_F._Hills). To everyone, as I say that, please don't remind me that Beza 1598 and Scrivener are not identical. I have an annotated Scrivener, which shows the differences. All I'm saying is that the trajectory of preservation moves forward, not backward. I'm also not saying there was one perfect manuscript that moved it's way through, but that every word and all of them made their way through. They were always accessible.

I think the key point to take away to understand his position is this statement:

All I'm saying is that the trajectory of preservation moves forward, not backward.

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

TylerR wrote:I think the key

TylerR wrote:
I think the key point to take away to understand his position is this statement:

All I'm saying is that the trajectory of preservation moves forward, not backward.

And what does this mean exactly?

OK...

...if the trajectory of preservation moves forward, not backward, please explain to me why the 1516 Textus Receptus is our standard understanding of the best rendition of the original New Testament.  The trajectory is forward, but it's been in neutral and nobody has touched the clutch for 501 years now?

I would agree that the trajectory of textual understanding ought to move forward, and that those involved in discovering and analyzing ancient manuscripts ought to be using that clutch.    But that reality will tend to lead us away from, not towards, a TR position, I dare say, unless we put an extraordinary amount of weight on the the source for some major differences between the TR and the MT; the text of the Vulgate and the assumption that Jerome had an ancient manuscript with those verses in it in that form.  Given that this was the only Catholic Bible for over a millenium, and still ranks as "THE" important translation for Catholics today, suffice it to say it would be odd to give it that weight among fundamental Baptists.

Kent, you complained that no

Kent, you complained that no one actually addressed your understanding of the passage. I addressed it and provided a source (Constable) to confirm my understanding of the passage. You respond that Constable is not "a sufficient basis for believing" what I do about the passage. I then provide numerous quotes from EXEGETICAL commentaries (you know, commentaries that actually look at and study the text) that also affirm my understanding of the passage. You respond by accusing me of being "like the Pharisees" because I'm "counting commentaries." You then quote 3 non-exegetical commentaries and you fail to show your exegetical work.

Which is exactly why I stopped engaging with Kent on this issue years ago.

"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

On those commentaries...

....they can be a great resource for checking one's logic, but appealing to the number and type of commentaries is simply argumentum ad populum or argumentum ad vericundiam, appeal to popularity or appeal to authority.  One always "loses" that kind of argument simply because your opponent simply has his own echo chamber and collection of authorities.

(not picking on you, T. Howard, just pointing out a rhetorical reality)

But that said, we do know that the commentaries give a great picture of what may, or may not, follow from a given passage given what we know of history and the like.  And I am with Jay in not interacting directly with Kent on this topic simply because he doesn't seem willing to really address contrary evidence, even when it's an obvious characteristic of his own sources.  (e.g. Pickering's use of MT f35 group, which is not TR, to prove "perfect" manuscripts, and his "interesting" definition of "perfect" matches)

Bert Perry wrote:

Bert Perry wrote:

....they can be a great resource for checking one's logic, but appealing to the number and type of commentaries is simply argumentum ad populum or argumentum ad vericundiam, appeal to popularity or appeal to authority.  One always "loses" that kind of argument simply because your opponent simply has his own echo chamber and collection of authorities.

Sure, I understand. I almost included a comment about appeal to authority in my post. However, I think it is important that when we think we find a new/unique insight into a verse or passage or we claim our insight into a verse or passage is right/best, we confer with others who have walked down the same path as we have. Further, if we're claiming some special exegetical nuance or meaning to a verse or passage, it should probably be observed and examined by other exegetes. That is why I quoted from exegetical, not homiletical, commentaries. [note: granted 2 of the commentaries I listed are not exegetical commentaries.] If Kent's interpretation of Matthew 24:35 is correct, I would expect other exegetes of Scripture to make similar observations. Not one commentary I own that addresses that passage or a parallel passage supports Kent's conclusions. To me, that raises red flags. Combine that with Kent's lack of exegetical rigor, his quickness to engage in ad hominem attacks, and that about concludes my dealings with him. He [moderator edit] has a blog and likes to hear himself talk.

Peace out, Kent.


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