God Doesn't Give Autographs

autograph

Is the integrity of the Bible in question, as Bart Ehrman suggests, since we don't have the originals?  Or can we have confidence that we know what was originally written with all the copies we have?

By: Greg Koukl

God doesn't give autographs. What I mean by that is that God doesn't allow us, or apparently hasn't in His sovereignty, to keep the autographs of the writings of the Bible. I am tempted to say the original autographs, but the autograph is an original so that would be like saying the original original. In other words, those things that the Apostles actually penned, which copies were made of to disperse around the Mediterranean region and then be copied and recopied, etc.–Greek copies of which we have some 5,366 plus now, and in addition, the Aramaic and Coptic and Latin Vulgate. We have lots of different copies to make comparisons to see if what we have now is accurate.

That's actually a separate question, by the way. The question of lower criticism, or textual criticism is, have the documents been passed on in an accurate fashion? We have a transcript on that issue called "Is the New Testament Text Reliable?"

But the question can be raised, why didn't God allow us to have the autographs, the originals? I guess I need to back up here a moment and talk about inspiration because this whole question that I want to approach here is grounded in the idea of inspiration. It's really important that you understand precisely what we mean when we say that God inspired the Scripture. Let's just take the claim at face value right now. I won't defend the notion; that's a different issue. What it means is that God worked in a supernatural way such that those who were actually doing the writing wrote down precisely what God wanted them to write. He was moving through a human individual.

It was not automatic writing. It wasn't like Paul was in a trance writing away with his eyes glued opened and someone asked, "What are you writing?" And he said, "I don't know, it's Greek to me…"

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