Don’t shut me down now! Don’t turn off the podcast! Don’t go and unsubscribe! Because I am going to ask a question and I am going to make a statement that my catch you off guard, a statement that may sound a whole lot suspicious, but if you stick with me, if you hear me out, I think we can come to a reasonable conclusion. This question and the statement both go back to where we are in our study in the book of John. Surely, in your study of the Bible you have ran across this topic, this problem, this challenge, this situation, but as we come to John chapter 8 the situation is a little more sizable, a bit more apparent.
So here is the question, and then I am going to answer the question with the statement that may catch you off guard. Ready? The Bible you read, the Bible you hold in your hand, the Bible you take to church, is your Bible the inspired Word of God? Let me ask that one more time? Is the Bible you hold in your hand the inspired Word of God? Think about that for a second. Is your Bible the inspired Word of God? Sounds like a straight forward and easy question doesn’t it? Were you thinking, yes, of course my bible is the inspired Word of God? If you were, you were …. Wrong! Now my statement: your Bible, my Bible is not the inspired Word of God! But don’t tune me out! Don’t run away! Because it’s all OK!
Let me be clear, I believe the bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God! But the Bibles you and I hold in our hands are not inspired, your Bible, my Bible is only a copy of the copy of the copy of the copy, however far back we need to go to get to the inspired manuscripts. Only the original texts, those written by Paul, those written by John, those written by Moses, only the original texts of the Bible are inspired. What you and I have today are only copies of the original inspired texts of the Bible.
The original manuscripts are long since gone, but there are thousands of partial, segments, portions and various verses of the Bible. These are copies of copies of copies that have been translated and interpreted throughout history. Copies that have so called textual variants where a scribe might have misspelled word or skipped line, difference in punctuation, or something of that sort, but none of the variants affect the great doctrines of the bible, and these variants only affect one or two percent of the Bible.
Some versions rely more upon literal interpretation, more word for word, and some rely more upon a functional translation where more of the meaning is expressed than word for word. Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament is more difficult to translate than Greek the language of the New Testament. Humans were involved so mistakes were made, but with thousands of copies, brilliant minds, and the help of God, we have today accurate and reliable versions of those original manuscripts, and with so many copies saying virtually the same thing we can be sure of the reliability of the Bible.
There is not one version that is better than the other, most of it comes down to personal preference. Some like the KJV, some like the NKJV, some like the NIV, some like the NASB, some like the ESV. Lots of versions, I like to read three or four versions just to try and get a good feel for what was trying to be said.
Then we come to John 7:53 and it says, “Then everyone went to his own house.” Then there is a note in most Bibles that says John 7:53 - 8:11 is not found in some manuscripts. Remember we have copies of copies of copies and who knows how far back, but somewhere along the line, someone skipped it, added it, or felt it didn’t belong, so we are left with a note to decide for ourselves. It isn’t found in the earliest manuscripts. The story first appeared in the Bible around the fifth century. Some Bible scholars think it should be included, some Bible scholars think it should not be included in the Bible. Most scholars believe it represents a true picture of Jesus Christ.