Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
April 20, 2012
Last Updated :
April 20, 2012
Textual Criticism, Were Old Testament War Stories Altered?, Jewish Religious Leadership Attempts To Manipulate And Hide Jesus' Resurrection, Power Behind Historical Revisionism, Historical Revisionism In Our Modern Day, Long-Term Impact Of Textual Changes To the Scriptures, Accumulation Of Small Changes Can Be Very Damaging, Some Biblical Manipulation Is So Subtle That It Cannot Be Detected, Inerrant Word Of God Is Nonexistent In Our Modern Day, Concerns Regarding People Losing Faith In The Bible, My Motivations For Writing This Series, God Is God And Will Do As He Will, Replying Against God, Be A Berean: Thoroughly Examine A Matter To Verify Its Scriptural Soundness And Reliability, Concluding Remarks
As I concluded in part two, textual criticism is a serious endeavor to distinguish between what is true and what is false, and what is chaff and what is real wheat in God's Word. It is an attempt to determine if what we are reading is actually the true, original Word of God, or if something has been altered or added to it in some way. If something has been added surreptitiously or unintentionally, the aim is for the process of textual criticism to discover it, and to remove it. To learn more about textual criticism, you may want to visit this page:
If certain verses in the New Testament have been proven by various theologians and textual critics to be spurious text, or have been manipulated in some way -- again, please refer to "Roman Catholicism, Water Baptism and the Trinity" -- is it wise for us to ignore the possibility that the very same thing may have occurred with Old Testament verses as well? If copyists and scribes accidentally or intentionally altered the contents of the New Testament, it seems quite plausible that similar corruption may have been introduced into the Old Testament at some point in history as well.
Having said that, we should not discount the possibility that some of the Jewish scribes may have accidentally -- or even intentionally -- altered some of the accounts of the ancient wars of the Israelites, in order to cast those wars in a more favorable light, as the Will of God against their enemies. If you honestly believe that Jacob has been the only deceiver throughout Jewish history, you are extremely naive and need to think again. In fact, allow me to share with you one clear Scriptural example where those crafty Jews intentional tried to manipulate their own history in the New Testament. Many of you will already be familiar with the following account:
"Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."
Matthew 28:11-15, KJV
Folks, there is no denying what is described in those verses. The Jewish religious leaders purposely bribed the soldiers in order to manipulate the historical record. They intentionally tried to destroy the evidence of Christ's Resurrection before it could become a part of the historical record. They wanted to cast the Disciples in a negative light, in order to make themselves look better. That is a clear example of historical revisionism in the making; so why couldn't they have done the very same thing in the Old Testament as well? Thank God that Matthew was wise enough to expose this scheme for us. Sadly, while the truth made it into the Scriptures, the damage was done; and today, the vast majority of Jews still reject the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Thus we can witness the power behind historical revisionism. Thus again we see that historical revisionism is not really anything new. Whether in the Bible or without, many a scribe has probably enhanced an account, lest he feel the wrath of his king. Furthermore, historical revisionism continues to this very day. Subtle changes are regularly made in history books, in other research and academic materials, as well as in newspapers and other forms of mass media, for the sake of conveying a particular point of view, and to manipulate the public's opinion. Needless-to-say, what is conveyed as truth is more often than not the opinion of the powers-that-be. In other words, many are the Winston Smiths who are employed by Big Brother's Ministry of Truth around the world.
As we learned in part two, it is important to realize that a change in the Biblical text does not have to be very large in order to have a profound effect on how we understand and perceive the Scriptures, past historical events, Christian doctrine, etc. Just one misplaced comma can vastly alter the meaning of a verse. In fact, it is the cumulative effect of many small changes that are made over a period of time which can ultimately have the most damaging and lasting effect on how Christians today understand the Bible. Such changes can result in a shift in our perception, and can affect Christian doctrine for many centuries to come.
And now for the big question. Do I know for a fact that this type of intentional manipulation occurred with any of the Old Testament war stories where the Israelites killed men, women and children? Obviously not. However, allow me to point out to you that even some theologians willingly acknowledge that there are some intentional manipulations of the Scriptures which are so subtle, and which have been in the text for so long, that it has become virtually impossible to detect them. Thus, as difficult as it may be for some of you to accept, if we are really honest with ourselves, we have to admit that in reality, in our current day, there is really no such thing as the truly inerrant Word of God. Inspired? Yes, but error free and beyond any possible manipulation? Absolutely not in my view, and I am not alone regarding this position.
In writing this series, I fully realize that by stating these things, and by making my claim regarding the nonexistence of the inerrant Word of God at our present time, serious concerns will be raised. Some people will question if this series will result in some Christians losing their faith in the Bible as the inspired Word of God. I certainly hope not, because that is most definitely not my intention. If anyone loses faith, it is because their faith is weak already, and they were looking for a reason to abandon it altogether. I cannot be blamed for that.
Aside from expressing my own concerns regarding the wars of the ancient Israelites, and the obvious acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing which were committed by them, my purpose in writing this series has been to expose the fallacy which has for so long been embraced by some Christians, such as the KJV extremists. Again, I have been a KJV-only advocate for forty years now. I believe that the King James Bible is an inspired text, and my life has been tremendously blessed by it. Yet at the same time, I am honest enough to recognize that it is not a perfect work, and that the original 1611 translators made no such claim either. That is why I often use both Hebrew and Greek lexicons in order to gain better insight regarding the precise meanings of words. I encourage you to do the same.
In conclusion, regardless of whether He is a man of peace, or a God of war, God still remains God. As such, He can do whatever He likes, whenever He likes, to whomever He likes, for whatever reason He likes, and it is not our place to say contrariwise or to question Him. Therefore, as difficult as it is for me personally to accept that God would order the Israelites to slaughter young children, if that is indeed what He did -- and I am still not one hundred per cent certain that this is the case -- then so be it. While at the current time it is still difficult for me to fully reconcile the contrast between the God of Peace of the New Testament, and the God of War of the Old Testament, perhaps someday, in His time, I will be able to resolve this issue to my satisfaction. For now, however, it remains a matter of faith alone.
As Moses said to the ancient Israelites, God kills, and He makes alive; and as the Lord Himself said through the Prophet Isaiah, "I will do all my pleasure". Thus, it is really not our place to reply against God. Consider these verses:
"See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand."
Deuteronomy 32:39, KJV
"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:"
Isaiah 46:9-10, KJV
"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."
Proverbs 10:19, KJV
"Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few."
Ecclesiastes 5:2, KJV
"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
Proverbs 29:11, KJV
"For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
Matthew 12:37, KJV
"Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"
Romans 9:20, KJV
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:"
James 1:19, KJV
However, at the same time, please remember that to question the authenticity and the purity of certain verses and events which are found in the pages of the Bible is not to doubt God Himself or His Word. It is an endeavor to simply make certain that what we are reading is really His unaltered Word. There is no evil in doing this.
In fact, if the truth be told, it is when we naively choose to just blindly accept what is spoon-fed to us by organized religion, televangelists, online preachers, etc., -- as many Christians so often do -- that we can very easily fall into doctrinal error and become deceived. Like the Bereans of old, the Scriptures exhort us to thoroughly and studiously examine a matter before we choose to accept it as doctrinal truth. We must test the spirits, and check all doctrine for Scriptural soundness and reliability, as we see by the following verses:
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, KJV
"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Acts 17:10-11, KJV
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
1 John 4:1, KJV
Of course, there is a caveat here; and that is that we must also make certain that Scripture truly is the unaltered Word of God; and that is not an easy task for the common man. With this thought, I will bring this series to its conclusion. I pray that you have found it informative, and that it has been a blessing in your life. If you have been blessed by it, I encourage you to share its URL link with all of your online friends. Also, if you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would very much appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of resources below, which are also located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
Roman Catholicism, Water Baptism and the Trinity
In Defense of the KJV Bible
History of the Authorized King James Bible