The Answer: “original autographs.”

The Answer:  We should put as much value on the “originals” as God does.

The Explanation:
It is impossible to be true to the originals because the originals have long been lost. This well established fact should be enough to make the sincere student of Scripture realize that an affirmative answer to the question is an impossibility.

But it does not explain the above answer. Just how much value does God put on the originals?

To get the answer we must explore several chapters in the book of Jeremiah beginning with the famous passage in chapter 36 concerning the roll that Jeremiah had written.

In verse 21 the roll is brought before King Jehoiakim and read by his servant Jehudi.

According to verse 23 Jehudi read three or four leaves and King Jehoiakim cut it up with a penknife and cast it into the fire on the hearth until it was destroyed.

Thus ends ORIGINAL #1!

Then the Lord moved Jeremiah to rewrite the roll adding some words to it. (Jeremiah 36:32)

Thus ORIGINAL #2 is born.

We are shown the text of this second original in Jeremiah 45-51 where it is reproduced for our benefit.

Jeremiah told Seraiah to read this roll when he came into Babylon. (Jeremiah 51:59-61) Then Jeremiah instructed Seraiah, after he finished reading the roll, to bind a stone to it and cast it into the Euphrates river (Jeremiah 51:63)!

Thus ends ORIGINAL #2!

But wait! We have a copy of the text of the roll in chapters 45-51. Where did it come from? It came from a copy of original #2 which we can only call ORIGINAL #3!

So there are two very big problems for those who overemphasize the “originals”.

(1) Every Bible ever printed with a copy of Jeremiah in it has a text in chapters 45-51 which is translated from a copy of the “second” original, or ORIGINAL #3. (2) Secondly, NO ONE can overlook the fact that God didn’t have the least bit of interest in preserving the “original” once it had been copied and its message delivered. So WHY should we put more of an emphasis on the originals than God does? An emphasis which is plainly unscriptural.

Thus, since we have the text of the “originals” preserved in the King James Bible we have no need of the originals,even if they were available.

©All material is copyright of Dr. Sam Gipp. Used with permission.


Posted on May 24, 2011, in The Answer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Honestly, and I don’t want to sound mean, but that last part almost sounds like heresy.

  2. Unfortunately though the King James wasn’t translated from the originals and there is enough scholarship that has proven that latest manuscript findings since the KJV was written have given better translation insights into a modern understanding…

    Therefore as disciples of Christ – we should make ourselves available from this modern research.

  3. That’s faulty rationale if I’ve ever heard it…and here’s why, at least in part: the Holy Spirit was involved in the writing of Jeremiah (since it is, itself, holy writ) in a way that He simply wasn’t involved with in the King James Bible. I would guess that you, Heather, would never equate an “inspired” sermon with the “inspiration” found in the Bible itself…they’re of a different kind.

    I agree with Craig…instead of Scripture being undermined by modern research into the original languages, we have actually learned more in terms of what the language meant to the people in that time period than we knew in 1611 (or any of the subsequent revisions of the KJV…yes, the words were tweaked over time, and no two KJVs in a bookstore say EXACTLY the same thing!). In addition, we know better what was in the copies the churches had in the first century because of discovery of older manuscripts than were available to the translators of the KJV.

    Anyway…I hope I’m not coming across as rude…but I cringed when I read this…and honestly, I have the same reaction that Mr. Baker had above. I’d love to think some of this through with you, if you want to. I won’t brow-beat anyone about this…it just concerns me for reasons I must confess I can’t articulate at the moment.

    • Hey Dave, thank you for your thoughts.
      Let me just clear the air and say that I do not agree with Sam Gipp on everything that He says, and I don’t agree with his answer on this one.
      In fact, I stated what I believe about the “Originals” vs. any translation in this post last year.
      I appreciate your approach and the grace you put forth in your responses to people and posts you don’t agree with.

  4. On this point, Gipp also struck me – as he did A.C. and Dave – as quite off base. He seems to weaken the case for much of the Old Testament. If it was destroyed, where did the text we have (in any version at all) come from? Did someone just make it up? He makes it sound as if that must have happened. He forgets that from early on there wasn’t just ONE copy of the “originals” – there were multiple ones, copied by the ancient scribes.

    Little is known about how many copies existed, but each synagogue had its own copy of the scrolls of the law. If one was destroyed, another copy was simply made from another synagogue’s copy to replace it. Remember how Jesus read from a scroll of Isaiah in Luke 4:17-21? That copy was in a synagogue, not the Temple.

    Now, we don’t know how far back synagogues go. Some sources – like the Talmud and the ancient historian Josephus – think they date to the time of Moses, though most scholars think they began later, during the Exile.

    At least, they do point up the fact that from quite early on, there was not ONE copy of the “originals” – but many. Even of the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments – which God himself rewrote after Moses broke them (for one citation, see Deuteronomy 10: 1-5).

    And Gipp misses all that.

    We may not have the “original” originals. But we do have many copies that descended from them. Every major doctrine in the Bible is repeated in enough places in those copies so that none of those teachings are in question.

    And as we keep learning more about the ancient languages (which we do), our translations do keep improving. The King James is a classic – we should not “knock” it. Let’s all stay “friends” on that. But neither should we put down more modern versions.

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