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Which version of the Bible is most infallible?


urroner

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Simply put, for those who believe the Bible is infallible, which version of the Bible, and I don't care which language, is the "most infallible?"

I have heard that many say it's the KJV, but AFAIK, only English speakers say that.

There are versions of the Bible out there that contain extra books and don't include other books found in the KJV, the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible come to mind here. Are these Bibles also infallible?

So which version is the "most infallible" and why?

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There is no such thing as an infallible translation, because languages don't work that way. Maybe Beowulf will come by and relate his thoughts on that.

The originals of the biblical manuscripts are inerrant. I wouldn't go for "infallible", at least in the way we use the term today.

The question makes too many assumptions to be really informative. Take care, everyone :P

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So is that what you read...the originals?

Why yes, I have them in my office, right next to Moroni's golden plates! :P

Of course not. I read translations of the originals, and I don't consider the translations to be infallible. That was just one of the assumptions urroner made in his opening question; that all Christians who attribute inerrancy to the Scriptures pick an English translation to hang their hat on. That's simply untrue.

Take care, everyone <_<

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But Rhino, surely you are aware of the people who insist that their infallible Bible is the KJV. They are curious people, because they seem blithely unaware that there could be Bibles not in English.

Of course, the more rational inerrantists merely tell us that the ORIGINALS, wherever they happen to be, are inerrant. This is obvious, on the face of it, but not very useful, since the originals are unavailable, and probably never will be, barring a time machine or a visiting angel :P .

When I was a missionary in Japan, I noted on several occasions rather serious differences between the KJV that the missionaries were using and the Japanese-language Bible produced by the Japan Bible Society (which is the Bible used by LDS members in Japan). Some missionaries would get defensive when confronted with such variations, and would assert that the KJV must take precedence over the JBS Bible. I myself wasn't so sure, even then, since I was aware that it was based on a German translation that is better than the KJV, by all accounts.

In regards to the Book of Mormon, my wife has embarked on an effort to transcribe the entire Book of Mormon, as part of her spiritual support for her missionary son. She is copying out the BofM verse-by-verse, and then copying out the Japanese BofM beside it, for comparison and study.

This is the first time that we have looked at the new edition of the Japanese BofM very closely (it has now been 20 years, but we were both raised on the earlier edition, translated in the late 1950s, and are still not used to it), and we have discovered in this line-by-line account that the new edition makes some word decisions that I do not agree with (I won't call it a mistranslation--yet!), nor does my wife. It has brought home to me again how fragile language can be, and yet so important in helping us to understand the Word of God.

Beowulf

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Ultimately our understanding of these things is not so dependant on the particular translation but the direction of the Holy Spirit in helping us to understand them.

1 Cor 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

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Which version of the Bible is most infallible?

Hard to say. I prefer to ask it another way. "Which is most fallible". I give the Good News Bible my vote for that one. Been a long time since I read it, but it was so watered down that I finished feeling spiritually like I had just eaten a whole lot of cardboard.

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The originals of the biblical manuscripts are inerrant. I wouldn't go for "infallible", at least in the way we use the term today.

What do you mean by 'original manuscripts'? Do yo mean the text as they came from the pen of Isaiah, or Moses, or one of the 12 Apostles in the 1st century, or do you mean the oldest known manuscript, such as the Ben Asher Codex from the 10th century?

Since no one has the truly original texts, you must mean the Ben Asher text from the 10th century. I think 900 years is enough time for plenty of errors tomfoolery to slip into the Biblical text, so Jospeh Smith got it right again when he said that we believe in the Bible as far as it is translated correctly--hence the Joseph Smith Translation and the Book of Mormon passages of Isaiah that are more in line with the Dead Sea Scrolls Isaiah manuscript, a text that predates the then (1948) earliest known Biblical manuscript by centuries.

How do the critics of Joseph Smith account for the fact that recent dicoveries like the Dead Sea Isaiah Scroll affirm the Book of Mormon Isaiah passages?

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One poster noted that we don't have the Biblical autographs, but fails to make the distinction that even without the original autographs, we can (and do) have the original text of the Bible.

or do you mean the oldest known manuscript, such as the Ben Asher Codex from the 10th century?

Since no one has the truly original texts, you must mean the Ben Asher text from the 10th century.

?!

Where do you get your "information" from?!

Codex Sinaiticus dates to the fourth century.

Codex Vaticanus dates to the fourth century.

Codex Alexandrinus dates to the late fourth/earthly fifth century.

Further, we have many, many manuscripts, papryi, etc. etc., dating all the way back to the first century, as well as quotes of Scripture from the Early Christians in the first three centuries.

"10th century" indeed...

I think 900 years is enough time for plenty of errors tomfoolery to slip into the Biblical text,

Well, notwithstanding that we've gotten rid of 600 of those "900" years of yours, you haven't demonstrated any evidence of "tomfoolery", which seems nothing more than wishful (?!) speculation on your part.

As for "errors" creeping in, yes, some did, to be sure... The problem is that a few copyist errors are unable to prevent the rest of the existing copies from testifying of the authentic text. You see, the whole process is additive... Wherever there is a copyist "error", there is also the correct rendering, and we are able to determine the correct rendering from the error.

Theophilus

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The originals of the biblical manuscripts are inerrant. I wouldn't go for "infallible", at least in the way we use the term today.

How about factual errors that crept in?

From Skousen's Treasuries of the Book of Mormon:

In passing, we should note that Daniel 5:2 describes Belshazzar as being the son of Nebuchadnezzar. We now know this is an error. Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus who belonged to a completely different dynasty than Nebuchadnezzar. Of course the name of Nebuchadnezzar was very famous in Babylonian history, and some ancient scribe must have thought it would be more exciting to insert the name of Nebuchadnezzar in place of Nabonidus. He did the same thing in Daniel, chapter 4. This is the chapter which describes Nebuchadnezzar as going insane for seven years. Available records prove that nothing like that ever happened to Nebuchadnezzar. But it did happen to Nabonidus. One of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments quotes Nabonidus as saying: "I was smitten for seven years and I was put far from men."

At what point does one account for factual errors introduced by unscrupulous scribes? That's why I've never been comfortable saying they're "inerrant" when, in fact, they're not.

Cheers,

C.S.

nebuchad_large.jpg

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...or do you mean the oldest known manuscript, such as the Ben Asher Codex from the 10th century?

People are always willing to track things to the oldest source, but it's possible that the oldest one isn't always the most accurate. It depends on what other sources say, who kept them and passed them on. Our earliest reference to the flood isn't Noah, but the Babylonian Gilgamesh, I believe -- which proves nothing. Many LDS will believe that the Gilgamesh story was based on an older Noah story which we don't have. That's one of the problems with scholarship v. faith.

C.S.

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If being a translation automatically makes something fallible then I think what that's doing is basically calling the possibility of interpretation a fallacy, which I don't agree with. It's impossible to get across what you want to say 100% in all cases, whether it's in a translation or your own original language. True that the original has less room for false interpretation -- the layer of dynamic doctrinal interpretation through translation is absent, meaning that any false interpretation has to come only from the reader and/or the speaker -- but to say that it is free of it is untrue.

The problem with the "this-version-only" believers is that they usually don't understand the complexity of language. Even some foreign-gone RMs, I fear, don't realize that the original manuscript copies are indeed better than the KJV -- or they just don't think of it.

Based on what I've studied, there is no "best" version. Each has good and bad points that should be considered.

I think the main point of this thread was that since there are lots of differing translations (versions) that the Bible is not inerrant. I would point out that this can happen in any translation, and not just the Bible. In Alma 11, it is argued that the economy descibed was not monetary but based on weights and measures. Well, in Spanish the word used in v. 4 is not "things" as in English, but "monedas", or "coins". It's that layer of false interpretation that gets passed onto the ignorant reader. Saying the Bible is less than perfect only because of that fact is short-sighted. But there are lots of other reasons the Bible is imperfect (much moreso than the Book of Mormon).

The distinct versions have to do with it, not because of translation, but because they are based on distinct manuscripts that give different messages. Some things contradict, or give a completely different message, independent of intelligent interpretation. For that fact, some versions are different enough in some places that we can say that something is wrong.

Hmm... That was a little long. Sorry.

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we can (and do) have the original text of the Bible.

We do? Well, which one contains it?

Refer to BHS for the Hebrew, and UBS4 for the Greek.

Does that help? (Didn't think so.)

Have a nice day.

Theophilus

And those are the original texts, penned by the apostles and prophets? Please explain.

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There are versions of the Bible out there that contain extra books and don't include other books found in the KJV, the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible come to mind here. Are these Bibles also infallible?

I think this is the more compelling aspect of the question. The "which translation" angle to me is less convincing because as someone else noted, the fact is that parts of God's words are missing. [i still owe Rhino a response on a similar thread, BTW. I got distracted.]

Anyway, if God had intended to preserve his word perfectly and won't allow the Bible to be corrupted then why are there different Bible canons? Why do Westerners get to be right in their choice of a canon vs. what is in the EOB mentioned above? Which one did God preserve?

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we can (and do) have the original text of the Bible.

We do? Well, which one contains it?

Refer to BHS for the Hebrew, and UBS4 for the Greek.

And those are the original texts, penned by the apostles and prophets? Please explain.

You seem to have misunderstood my original statement.

I never claimed we had the original "texts" (ie. scrolls, papyrii) that the authors wrote. (I've already acknowledged that we don't have the autographs, that's pretty much universally understood.)

What I claimed was that we have the original text (collective singular), the words, phrases, sentences, books, that they wrote. Through the copies that we have, we can know with 99.9999% certainty, what they originally wrote, that is, their "text".

Other than that, what would you like explained?

Theophilus

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What I claimed was that we have the original text (collective singular), the words, phrases, sentences, books, that they wrote. Through the copies that we have, we can know with 99.9999% certainty, what they originally wrote, that is, their "text".

Other than that, what would you like explained?

You have claimed that before but I don't believe it stands up to scrutiny. If the modifications were being done early on, as some early church fathers claimed, and all the surviving manuscripts descended from those early modified manuscripts there is nothing that the textual analysis is going to give you to point to what is really the original.

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Theophilus,

Which fourth century reading for Matthew 19:9 is the correct one? Sinaiticus or Vaticanus? Vaticanus says that the woman commits adultery and Sinaiticus says the man does? P25, also fourth century, reads differently from either of the other two.

Do you really trust the editorial decisions for UBS4? Why?

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