Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Warfield on Inerrancy and Preservation of Scripture

It is another curiosity of the controversial use of a phrase, to find the Church's careful definition of the complete truth and trustworthiness of the Scriptures as belonging, as a matter of course, only to the genuine text of Scripture, represented as an appeal from the actually existing texts of Scripture to a lost autograph—as if it were the autographic codex and not the autographic text that is in question. Thus, we have heard a vast deal, of late, of "the first manuscripts of the Bible which no living man has ever seen," of "Scriptures that have disappeared forever," of "original autographs which have vanished"; concerning the contents of which these controversialists are willing to declare, with the emphasis of italics, that they know nothing, that no man knows anything, and that they are perfectly contented with their ignorance. Now, again, if this were to be taken literally, it would amount to a strong asseveration that the Bible, as God gave it to men, is lost beyond controversy; and that men are shut up, therefore, to the use of Bibles so hopelessly corrupted that it is impossible now to say what was in the original autographs and what not! [B.B. Warfield, "Inerrancy of the Original Autographs," in Selected Shorter Writings, 2:583]

(1)There is nothing new under the sun. Warfield could have been describing Bart Ehrman if we didn't know the time period he was writing it.

(2) Preservation of Scripture pertains to the text of Scripture, not to the codex of Scripture. Therefore, the absence of the original autographs are not a problem at all. Since we have so many textual evidences, there are few issues with establishing the original text of Scripture among the many variants.

(3) The KJVO (King James Version-Only) position accepts the liberal axiom that an authoritative Scripture require an authoritative codex of Scripture. Whereas the liberals denies the existence of an authoritative codex, and thus they deny the authority of the text of Scripture, KJVOnlyism asserts that there MUST be an authoritative codex (i.e. the King James Version) because otherwise there would not be an authoritative text of Scripture.

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