And yes, I know that is a long title. Maybe I read the Puritans too much.
Recently, I encountered a lengthy but well-written blog post describing the three major approaches to the preservation of God’s Word. The article on the Berean Patriot blog sets forth its purpose in the title: Majority Text vs. Critical Text vs. Textus Receptus – Textual Criticism 101.
The article is, according to the author, more than 18,000 words (I took his word for it). I had a long flight recently, so I loaded the article before the flight and read it (with a few breaks) over about 3 hours. The author does (in my opinion) tremendous work laying out the principles of textual criticism and the nuanced approaches of those who hold to the critical text compared to those who hold to the majority text. I especially appreciated Berean Patriot’s (BP) honest interaction with these two approaches.
But BP’s handling of the Confessional position (about 2/3 through the article) left much to be desired. If you take the time to read it, you will no doubt notice the shift from careful analysis and interaction to a casual dismissal of the confessional position. I find this bias frequently, so I thought I should take the opportunity to interact with BP’s description and analysis as an example of the shabby ways the confessional position gets treated.
But before I deal with what BP gets wrong, let me say he gets some things right. He rightly states that confessional bibliology assumes
God must have “kept (the scriptures) pure in all ages”. By this, they mean that God wouldn’t allow the true version of the Scriptures to be replaced with a corrupt version of the scriptures. Or at least, He would preserve a true version for His faithful followers.
He quotes Thomas Watson in support of this, which I appreciate. John Owen also wrote extensively about this, and recently Jeff Riddle has published John Owen’s work on this subject. It is helpful to note that the Puritans believed that God preserved the words of Scripture, not just the message and that this is the historic view of preservation.
I appreciated BP’s clarification of the source for the Textus Receptus:
Continue reading “One Example of the Shoddy Way People Treat the Preservation Passages”
The primary Greek source for the King James Version was the 1598 version of Theodore Beza’s Greek New Testament. The main source for Beza’s New Testament was Robert Estienne’s 1550 Greek New Testament. (Estienne was also known as Stephanus.) Estienne’s New Testament is remarkably similar to Erasmus’ Greek New Testament, but Estienne claimed he didn’t use Erasmus’ work as a source. The first document to be called “Textus Receptus was the 1633 printing of the Elzevir Greek New Testament, which was substantially identical to the 1565 version of Beza’s Greek New Testament.