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Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading VII

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Question #1:

Dear Bob,

Sorry for the added question but I just read your link on the 2011 NIV bowlderization. Has the Authorized King James Version of 1611 been modified in the intervening years?

In Jesus,

Response #1:

There have been changes to the KJV, most of them in 1769, but some other variations and changes down the years (not for the same reasons, however); for example, you might not have "bakemeats", "botch", "speake" and "musick" in your Bible – but the 1611 version did. Also, because of the times (i.e., not having the same system of publication version control we expect today), it's my understanding that there were lots of variations of this Bible for the first 150 years or so.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Dear Bob,

Thanks for the explanation. No, those terms are not in the copies I have, either. It makes me wonder what version of the "Authorized" KJV I have. (I have no idea where bakemeats would occur. Can't think of anything in scripture that would be a reasonable substitute.)

Yours in our Lord,

Response #2:

Check the preface to your Bible; it ought to say something about that. "Bakemeats" occurs in Genesis 40:17 of the 1611 version (NKJV has "baked goods"); there were multiple mini-versions of the KJV until it was regularized; one big crunch coming in 1769, I believe; since then most of the changes have been minor and often involving punctuation or italicization which is very inconsistent in the version at all times: italics were supposed to represent supplied words that are understood in Greek or Hebrew but not there in the original, but it often doesn't work that way.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hello, Bob,

Amazing. Thank you. As it turns out both bakemeats and botch occurs in the two copies of the KJV I use. Speake and musick don't so at least spelling has been updated. Botch occurs in Deuteronomy 28. It amazes me that in all the times I've read it, I just accepted it without question. Bakemeats, I've always understood to be meat enclosed in dough and baked, like pot pies, empanadas or stromboli. Botch, I've understood as scabrous sores or similar. Never dug into either deeply. "Shambles" and "hough" are both there, too. I had to look those up.

It never ceases to amaze me that the older I get and the more I learn, the more amazing the Bible becomes. I don't have enough time left to learn all that's there to learn.


Yours in our Lord,

Response #3:

"I don't have enough time left to learn all that's there to learn" – of course that was true of Methuselah when he was still in the cradle! We do the best we can with the time we've got – or at least we should.

I'm grateful for your friendship this Thanksgiving!

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #4:

Also I was doing research on the best Bible translation and I discovered that a ton of stuff from has been omitted in the NIV, NWT, ESV, NASB, and other versions. Even a whole verse! The KJV, NKJV, and 1599 Geneva Bible are the only ones with stuff not omitted. They would take out things like “The Lord says” and they took out the number of elders in Revelation. What version do you use? Thanks.

Response #4:

On Bible versions, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. NKJV is a good version and I do use it a great deal. Generally if there is any question I read the Greek or Hebrew directly (as I do daily in any case). In terms of "leaving things out", this may be a case of omitting some interpolations that are not part of the Bible. For example, the book of Mark ends at Mark 16:8; however there are versions which print that "longer endings". All of these which go beyond verse eight are definitely late additions which were not originally penned by Mark and which are not inspired by the Holy Spirit. For more on that, here's a quick link: "Interpolations".

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello Brother Bob,

I’ve been making way through the Peter series and it is certainly illuminating. I am working on applying the teachings to my life. Admittedly, it’s been quite difficult to do so still, but I am continuing to press on. I had a quick question about daily reading of scripture. I’ve been using the lessons in Peter as my daily study, but I’d like to continue reading through scripture as well. I feel kind of lost on where I should begin as I’ve read all over the place and have at times started to systematically read only to stop and lose my place. When this happens, where do you think one should focus?

Thank you for your guidance in advance. Hope all is well. May God continue blessing you for all of your efforts in Christ.

Response #5:

Good for you, my friend! Keep at it: the greater the momentum, the better things are.

As to approaches to Bible reading, I'll give you some links below. Suffice it to say here that it is easy to get lost without a plan of some kind. I usually recommend reading from several parts of the Bible at once rather than trying to read through front to back exclusively. The New Testament ought to be read more often than the Old, and some parts of the Old more than others (Psalms, for example, is good to read on a daily basis).

So for myself, I have one of those Bible ribbon place markers which has five ribbons and inserts into the spine of the book. That way I can keep my place as I read through the first part of the OT, the Psalms, the Prophets, the Gospels, and the Epistles daily. That way I get the parts needful to know better at greater frequency. But of course as I say in "Read your Bible" (link), there is no one correct way to do it – the important thing is THAT you do it. If you read the gospels a couple of times through to start with, that wouldn't be a terrible idea at all.
Here are those links:

Read your Bible

Bible reading plans

More on Bible reading plans.

Bible reading log

Keeping running a good race, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hey Mr. Luginbill, I wanted to know if you think reading these two books by FF Bruce would be a safe and good idea. Are you familiar with this author? I post them below.

I'm really interested in reading these books on the side. Do you think it's a worthy endeavor?

I did order two books that our friend recommended; he said you recommended them to him. They are "Introduction to the New Testament" by Thiessen and "The Text of the New Testament- Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration" by Metzger and Ehrman.

Response #6:

F. F. Bruce was a great scholar who died exactly 30 years ago. The second title seems to be a reprint; the first title seems to be borrowing his name, mostly. It's a compendium of articles. Such things are only as good as the authors who write them. I recognize some of the other names here. One of them, R.K. Harrison, died in 1993. So I'm curious as to the genesis of the book (the object clearly has something to do with making money; in the case of #2 at least it's just a reprint).

Anything you read can be helpful. Buying books and not reading them is not very helpful, unless we are talking about reference books (like dictionaries or encyclopedias) that are meant to be consulted as needed. Buying books that look good but then not reading them when it becomes readily apparent that they are not particularly helpful is a common occurrence. Much of my "collection" falls into that category, but with the internet, that is something a bit easier to avoid nowadays.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

I would recommend you read this in regards to the NIV 2011 version:


And the pertinent quotes: The Real Reason for the Revision: The explanation offered for the “updates” is also misleading in that it does not mention the real political and financial considerations that have caused the NIV committee to make three revisions within the past fifteen years. The considerations that set in motion this series of revisions are, however, indicated in a document that set forth a new “Policy on Gender-Inclusive Language” adopted by the committee in 1992. The document contains these paragraphs:

C. Authors of Biblical books, even while writing Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit, unconsciously reflected in many ways, the particular cultures in which they wrote. Hence in the manner in which they articulate the Word of God, they sometimes offend modern sensibilities. At such times, translators can and may use non-offending renderings so as not to hinder the message of the Spirit.

D. The patriarchalism (like other social patterns) of the ancient cultures in which the Biblical books were composed is pervasively reflected in forms of expression that appear, in the modern context, to deny the common human dignity of all hearers and readers. For these forms, alternative modes of expression can and may be used, though care must be taken not to distort the intent of the original text.

The same committee wrote, in the Preface to the 1996 revision published in Great Britain, that they believed “it was often appropriate to mute the patriarchalism of the culture of the biblical writers through gender-inclusive language when this could be done without compromising the message of the Spirit” (p. vii)

These statements represent a very controversial position in the realm of translation theory, and, as such, they deserve a full discussion. But I have treated the issue thoroughly in another place, 5 and so we will move on.

It is surely no coincidence that this position was adopted by the NIV committee less than two years after the publication of the New Revised Standard Version (1990), which gender-neutralized the language of the RSV, for the same reasons. The NIV committee members were simply following the lead of the NRSV committee. But because the NIV was being used by a more conservative constituency, a strong reaction arose against the NIV revision of 1996, which led to some discussions with conservative ministry leaders in America. In order to quell the controversy, which threatened to depress sales of the New International Version, representatives of the International Bible Society (IBS) then agreed to refrain from publishing the revision, or anything like it, in America.

But shortly afterwards they did publish a similar revision in America, under the name Today’s New International Version, while giving assurances that the new revision would not replace the 1984 edition. In the marketing of the TNIV, the IBS sought to minimize controversy by claiming that the revision was not really motivated by a desire to avoid offending modern sensibilities, or by any attitude contrary to “patriarchalism.”

It was claimed that their purpose was nothing other than to make the meaning of the text clear. This however was widely dismissed as an evasion, because the editing process which eliminated the words “man,” “father,” “son,” “brother” “his,” etc., had obviously nothing to do with any considerations about the meaning of the original words, or with any desire to make the meaning clear. It is not even credible that such arbitrary and mechanical changes would have been done by a committee of scholars, and we may assume that it was done by style editors employed by the publisher.

The TNIV did not sell very well.

But it seems that IBS officials were determined to make this gender-neutralizing revision sell, because after six years of TNIV failure they announced that another revision would replace the 1984 NIV—and this turned out to be just a minor revision of the TNIV, rebranded as the NIV."

Their modification of the Bible in 1996 was met with controversy and they halted the update.

But then later they went ahead with the TNIV which sold poorly.

But even when that didn't sell well.

They still went ahead in the latest NIV 2011 retaining most of the TNIV modifications. I don't see anything but nefarious motives behind this.

And even in response to the critique they dismissed the criticisms with contempt and didn't even address the central issues raised by the criticism.

Response #7:

Yes of course it's PC motivated. That is why I recommend the 1984 NIV. The company, Biblica, has also made it hard to tell the difference (as if there were only one NIV). But a good used book store (or site) will usually have the older version. It's very hard to find the 1984 NIV on the internet, however, since sites like "Blue Letter Bible" were made to take down the older version. I had found it still at "Bible Gateway", however they've also now been forced to remove it. Some sites claim to have PDF downloads, but I've not tried any of those (I have several print hard-copies).

Also, it's not just a matter of PC changes. They also watered down and changed some very nice translations – for reasons I can't fathom, having nothing apparently to do with politics of theology (just made it "not as good"). See the link: "The NIV switcheroo".

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Agreed. I think this is one of the motivating factors behind the KJVonlyism among certain church. Because how many modern Bible Translations have been compromised this way.

I think its imperative that as you have already done having hard copies of the unaltered 1984 NIV to serve as a template for copying. As much as some who tried to retain PDF's of NIV 1984. I downloaded the PDF of NIV 1984 and I am relieved that key passages were the same as quoted in that document in the link to the evaluation of the Gender Neutral translation

And the Berean Study Bible I rely one right now on the biblehub website. And the Interlinear was very helpful too.

I think there may also be obscure political reasons that will become clear over time. Since it is specifically an attempt to deceive God's elect and to invert Good and Evil(Isaiah 5:20) in a similar way to the PC changes have done. Wolves in sheep's clothing on translation committees. Its like having a false teacher taking a shortcut.

Response #8:


Question #9: 

Is the Tyndall new living translation any good? I also have the KJV.

Response #9: 

There are some good things about that version, but I wouldn't advise using NLT exclusively. The specific comments I have to make about the NLT can be found in BB 7: Bibliology under the heading 5.a "The Translations" where I compare some of the more famous versions including the NLT (at the link). Here is the main assessment:

As is often the case, the New Living Translation above takes the "interpret the meaning vs. be literal" method in rendering our verse as far as possible without producing a totally indefensible translation. That is typical of this version, so that the rule given about the NIV 1984 above (i.e., being either "very good" or "awful") is doubly true of the NLT. When this version is spot-on about the actual meaning of the underlying text it is translating, it often produces a rendering which is superior to all other versions. Unfortunately, it is very often wrong – far too often to have any confidence whatsoever that when its phraseology is greatly different from that of other translations that it might be correct in opposition to the majority (that is almost never the case).

In Jesus,

Bob Luginbill

Question #10:


Sorry, I wanted to ask (but forgot in last mail): why do you say the New Living Translation can be dangerous? I got used to it after a stint with NIV. I use KJV primarily because that's where I started my Christian walk and I got used to it and use other translations secondarily mostly NLT now. (I'm actually used to thinking in KJV language)

I know you use the NIV in many cases. Would you prefer I use the NIV? I have an electronic copy on Tecarta (I bought many translations almost a decade ago) I think it is 1984 and I refused to update it. Message bible is the one that looks dangerous to me!

Your thoughts; Again! Thanx

Response #10:

On the NLT, it's like the little girl of verse: "When she was good she was very very good, but when she was bad she was awful". If they have gotten the idea of the verse right, they often give a really wonderful rendering; but far too often they completely misunderstand what the verse really says so that there is no real relation between the scripture and their translation. So if you are using NLT and find yourself saying, "wow, I didn't know THAT was in the Bible!", then it probably isn't. What I recommend is that readers make use of multiple versions, and especially if they are wanting to draw conclusions from some passage or introduce any "new idea" from what they are reading. It's not the same as checking the Hebrew or the Greek, but it's not a bad alternative since at least it will head off thinking something is biblical when it's not.

Incidentally, there will be a good deal about all this in BB 7 when it is posted . . . soon (now at the link)!

Keeping you and yours in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I saw a Bible on the list of translations within the software I use. This is the translation:

Holy Bible: From the Ancient Eastern Text: George M. Lamsa's Translation From the Aramaic of the Peshitta Paperback – May 8, 1985

Was wondering if you know anything about this translation? Would you recommend it for reading? Just curious about it.

P.S. I am currently reviewing your new study on "The Christian Code of Conduct, 1 Peter 2, and in my opinion it is an excellent teaching. Thanks so much for composing it for me. It is an absolutely tremendous study that all Christians must read study and apply to our lives.

Thanks so much for your feedback.

Blessings be with you always,

Your friend,

Response #11:

I'm not familiar with this English translation . . . BUT it is based upon a translation of the Bible, not on the Bible. The Peshitta is a Syriac version and is the "standard version" of Syriac Christian churches, analogous to how the Septuagint is the standard version for the Greek Orthodox Church (in the OT for the latter).

I never got around to learning Syriac. It is a later form of Aramaic of which I do have some experience, but it is many centuries later than biblical Aramaic and languages can change a great deal over time.

I could not recommend a "translation of a translation" in any case, and especially not when in this case – as must be the case – we would also have quibbles about what text the Peshitta is translating and also about what text of the Peshitta the English translator is translating.

Thanks for your good words – I hope to have the next Peter installment out sometime this summer (Peter #35 and Peter #36 now posted).

Hope you and your wife are doing well, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob,

I can't remember if I've asked you this one before, so please forgive me if I'm repeating myself.. Before I was using a computer to keep track of our email conversations but don't have one at the moment where I am.

Is this whole Marcan priority and Q business something I need to look into? I'm reading David Pawson's book Unlocking the Bible as it is a good overview, while I am using the Unger books as commentary. Pawson believes in Marcan priority and touches on Q source. Where do these ideas come from? Are they meaningful when we come to study the Gospels?

Also is it best to study the bible in chronological order (as is recommended in my Pawson book) or stick to the order that is in my King James Version?

Many thanks and sorry if I've asked this before.

Hope you are continuing to survive the craziness of Covid lockdown.

In Him,

Response #12:

1) There is no "Q". It is entirely the figment of some liberal scholars collective imagination (not a scrap of physical evidence to support their preposterous theory has ever surfaced).

2) Matthew wrote first, not Mark.

3) Where do these ideas come from? Straight out of thin air with not a shred of evidence – and in fact all mss. evidence declares loudly for points 1 and 2.

4) It's impossible to study the Bible "in chronological order" because

a) What does that mean? The order in which the books were written? We don't know enough about that in some cases to sort that out and many books overlap in terms of the when of writing, some, like e.g. Psalms, being written over a long period of time; and . . .

b) Because by "chronological order" sometimes it is meant "reading the books according to the time of the events they describe" – but that is even more of a conundrum since some books cover long periods, some short, with much overlap, and some books can't be pinned down as to when they were written or what period they refer to very well (e.g., Job), while others talk about the past, present and future (e.g., the prophets and nearly every NT book, especially Revelation). So the task is impossible – not that there would be the least additional benefit in doing so if it were possible, whatever may be meant by "chronological order" (see the link for one discussion on this).

Here are two other links that deal with the ins and outs of your other questions as well:

Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading VI

BB 7: Bibliology

Hope you are doing well – I keep you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:


Giving me your best opinion as to the best version of Bible to study that is as close to the original writings that can be found ? I now study Dr. David Jeremiah KJV Bible. I add to it Pastor Robert Clifton Robinson and David Guzik (Enduring Word) along with Charles Spurgeon and J. C. Ryle studies and of course your writings. Pastor Robert Clifton Robinson and David Guzik came out of the Chuck Smith movement in California years ago. I am curious though which Bible you would recommend, for example David Guzik uses the NKJV. Thanks for any input you may have.


Response #13:

You can find my brief analyses of various versions at the following links:

Bible versions (in "Read your Bible")

Translations of the Bible (in BB 7)

Suffice it to say here that no translation can be perfect – precisely because it is a translation, not the same as the actual text that's being translated by definition. Add to that the fact that the Bible is very large, and any work needs to be completely understood to be accurately translated from one language to another – and who understands absolutely everything about the Bible? Certainly not most translators.

When I'm not reading scripture in Greek or Hebrew, I generally prefer the NIV for personal Bible reading (the 1984 NIV, however, NOT the 2011 secret replacement: they both go by the name "NIV"); for quotations I generally prefer NKJV as it tends to be pretty much spot on with a standard, literal translation of the traditional renderings of major passages.

As I always counsel Christians, Bible reading is very important; but so is Bible teaching.

So as to recommendations, having three or four (KJV, NKJV, 1984 NIV, NASB) and comparing them is generally a good thing, because by comparing, you will be alerted to any major discrepancy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #14:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

I pray all is well with you and yours and that you are adjusting to the current problems that our world seems to be facing. I am currently a fourth through your new release BB7. And as a person who has been under your covering since coming to faith in 2002 I have read nearly 85% of what you have written. Lately I have been reading the email section more often to see what questions people under your tutelage are asking about the “season” that we are in (Eschatological issues). So, I was tooling around in the 11/14/20 postings titled “Struggling with Faith and Sin” and I came across questioner #12 in which he acknowledges that you went to seminary with John MacArthur.

Now to be sure, I did not receive my MacArthur Study Bible until January 12th, 2005. Up until that time I used my “Daily Study Bible for Men”, NLT by Stuart Briscoe and it was interspersed with topical lessons that we could glean from the word of God. I say all that to ask this, should I switch to another bible even though by this time I am capable of spotting “some” errors in his comments? It is wonderfully crossed index and I have many notes and dates. The foundation of my teaching is a result of being under cover of you and the ichthys.com website; to you and the Holy Spirit is why I feel confident in continuing with MacArthur. I have read it (not bragging or anything) cover to cover 7 or 8 times. I guess in a round-about way I am asking is there a bible that I might be more efficacious to my continued teaching or should I stay with the status quo. No pressure, any answer would be a good one coming from you.

To the Father, Son, and Spirit of Truth.

Response #14:

Thanks for the prayers!

For the record, MacArthur was a famous alum of Talbot even by the time I attended; I didn't "go to school" with him, but he did speak in our chapel when I was in attendance. I don't think I've ever given his commentary the "once over".

On study Bibles generally, none of those out there are going to be perfect. I usually recommend K. Barker's SB version of the 1984 NIV; and Ryrie's NASB SB is not too bad (though the notes on the latter are pretty thin). Scofield's KJV started all this, I believe.

To be honest, the best things about a good study Bible – that is, if these parts are truly good – are 1) the introductions to the books (quick reference rather than consulting a Bible encyclopedia or OT/NT "Introduction" genre book); 2) the verse cross-references (these can be really helpful when they've been thoughtfully done; "Doesn't Paul say something like that too . . . now where was that?); 3) historical background notes. I think most Ichthys readers with study Bibles probably do what I do when it comes to a) "preachy notes" or b) doctrinal notes, namely ignore them in favor of the teachings at Ichthys. The more of the latter you read, the less likely you are to be "swept to and fro" by false teaching of any kind (Eph.4:14), even if it is (theoretically) "well-intentioned".

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hello--Sorry to bother you on a Sunday, but a weird poster on CARM, who calls her self e v e, claims that it is Marcion who divided the Bible into the Old Testament/Covenant and the New Testament/Covenant. And that he hated the OT. I know he was a heretic, but is either of these two things true? Do we know who actually divided the Scriptures up into two sections? She claims this has led to corrupting the scriptures and changing them. But I pointed out that just dividing the bible up into two sections isn't corrupting it or changing the text.

She doesn't believe in the Trinity and sounds more like a Oneness but her beliefs are so strange and esoteric, that only she seems to know what she is talking about.

She has also stated that God didn't make the earth and universe we live in now. But I proved from the Psalms that He did, since David said the stars declare the glory of God...and gave her more verses.

She is a very odd duck, who seems to espouse some sort of Christian mysticalism. She denies being a mystic, since she doesn't espouse trying to be one with God. I can barely understand her, sometimes. She claims to be a retired professor of religion and philosophy. She thinks all bibles are corrupt and she will only use interlinears. She also claims to know you and to have debated with you.

Anyway, I was just wondering who was first responsible for dividing up the OT and the NT in the Bible. Thanks and stay healthy!

Response #15:

It's a funny thing for correspondent to say!

The last book written in the Old Testament was probably Malachi (some say Joel), dating to around the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. So when Christ was born, the Old Testament canon had been closed for over 400 years! Every synagogue worth a mention in our Lord's day had a complete copy of the Old Testament, usually on several scrolls (24 "books" but sometimes combined as the Torah is). And it was sometime in the 40's AD when Matthew penned the first gospel, right around 500 years after the Old Testament had been completed and established as such. Nowhere is there any indication that Christians ever combined any of the New Testament books by adding them onto/into previously existing Old Testament scrolls.

Several centuries later, when the codex (our "book" as opposed to scrolls) was invented – and there is evidence that Christians invented it precisely so as to have the whole Bible in one (very big) book – the Greek translation of the Old Testament was invariably used (i.e., the Septuagint or LXX). So Christians did not "divide" the two parts of the Bible – they were the ones who first put them together into one "book" so as to have the entire Bible in one place – but the Old Testament always came first and was never intermingled with the New.

And in Christian tradition ever since, this has always been the practice (small differences in tradition account for additions such as the Apocrypha in the RC tradition, not subtractions).

If one goes to one of the earliest of the codices, Aleph (Sinaiticus), the manuscript goes directly from Job chapter 42 to Matthew chapter 1 (Job being the last OT book in the LXX order in this mss.). So if a person didn't realize that Job was OT and Matthew NT and was reading this ms. from front to back, there would be no indication of a division. But clearly, the NT is put after the OT because it is an "addition", at least in terms of adding books just being or just having been written (relatively speaking) to those already long in existence.

Don't have a clue what to say about the other ramblings here. Marcion is said to have preferred Paul to other NT writings and essentially done a "scissors" job on the Bible to suit his theology. Not the first, not the last. But before and after Marcion, Christianity as a whole has had the same Bible from the beginning to the present day (Greek Orthodox and RC additions excepted).

In Jesus our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi--Thanks for your help. So, Marcion was not the first to divide the OT from the NT? Is that it? I asked her for evidence of this and will wait and see what she does.

I thought Mark was the first Gospel written down, but you mention Matthew...or are you simply mentioning his Gospel because it is listed first in the NT?

E v e claims to know you and debated you, but I find that hard to believe. Though it is possible, I suppose.

I think she wrote on the boards that most Bibles are corrupt and she only uses interlinears. She is one odd duck,, that is for sure!

Thanks again and stay well!

Response #16:

I can assure you that Matthew wrote first (see the link); liberal scholarship assigns Mark priority because his gospel is shorter and their theory is that other writers merely expanded – from their imaginations and tradition – his book (no room for the Holy Spirit in their unbelieving way of thinking; see the link).

The Bible has never been divided. It was completed by the NT which, once the codex was invented, was put together with the OT, the OT coming first and being of a piece, the NT coming second and being of a piece.

No one ever "split up" the two testaments. Believers have always esteemed and preserved the Bible, the Old Testament as well as the New, just like today. We only have a few reports of what Marcion may or may not have done, but there's no evidence of any such "Marcion Bible" in the manuscript evidence or tradition.

The earliest complete Bible we have, Sinaiticus, has the Old Testament first followed by the New Testament – in one complete "book".

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Okay, thanks again. I think Eve means that the Bible was divided into 2 sections...but that does not mean it was split into 2 separate books--is that what you mean?

Response #17:

I'm sure I don't know what she means. If you have an Old Testament, and then a New Testament is written, and the New is added to the Old in the first place with the two never separate except that the books first written come first, how is that a "splitting"?

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi--Eve responded to what you wrote about this separation between OT and NT stuff. She gave the citations, and apparently, it is Tertulliun who said he sepatated them, to show that the NT disproved the OT. I basically told her that this was guilt by association, that we Christians recognize Marcion as a heretic, but just because he may have separated out the OT from the NT does not mean that our motives for labeling them as such in our Bibles is the same. I pointed out that in all Bibles I know of, BOTH the OT and NT are in the ONE BOOK we call THE BIBLE. The labeling of OT and NT just makes it easier to find the books in each, plus, it also helps to show how the NT fulfills the OT.I told her that no true Christian hates the OT but recognizes it as the inspired word of God. I said that the ministers in our church are required to learn Biblical Hebrew as well as Greek and also study the OT in detail. And we study the books of the OT in adult Bible classes. So, we Christians do NOT hate the OT, the way Marcion did. And labeling the OT and NT in our ONE BOOK, the Bible, doesn't prove that we do, either.

So, she has all of this "separation anxiety" for no real reason at all. I told her it was a tempest in a teapot, much ado about nothing (thank you, Willie Shakespeare!). The problem is all in her own mind.

You can see her citations here, if you desire. I don't expect you to spend any more of your time on this, since I know you are busy with your classes. She wrote:

"About luginbill, as I said, I respect his efforts and used to read his site a lot, especially his genesis pages concerning the fallen angels and the fall. he did provide some good details, which actually support my views..I even used a few of his finds at university with my students, which were specific quotes of scripture.... as he understood them, which was well done... but as I said, I would have to go back and see which ones because its been a few years since I read his site."

I have NO idea what she means by a bunch of "Canaanites" trying to hide what Marcion supposedly did. I think she uses the term to designate all those who are not God's "souls"--the saved. But not sure. She is the only person who can understand all that she writes. So much of it sounds like esoteric, neo-Gnostic gibberish to me. Talk about robbing us of the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

But anyway, thanks for your patience and God bless you and stay healthy!

Response #18:

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, there is no evidence that anyone ever "separated" the testaments, not if we are talking about the physical presentation of the Bible as I assumed we were:

1) The ancient biblical codices which are complete have both testaments, with the Old first because it was written first and the new appended directly to it: i.e., combining the two rather than separating them.

2) The same is true of all ancient translations such as, e.g., the Latin Vulgate.

3) No New Testament scripture "separates" the Old from the new, not even Paul (who of course frequently quoted the Old Testament), whom Marcion, e.g., preferred:

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4 NKJV

4) Even the term "New Testament" is biblical, given to us by our Lord:

"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Matthew 26:28 KJV (cf. Mk.14:24; Lk.22:20; 1Cor.11:25)

As to Tertullian, I had a look at the quotation in Latin, and he is refuting a theory that attacks the canon of the New Testament as late rather than early. First, it's not all that clear what he means in his paragraph – and he gives no explanation of what he means or examples of it so it's not possible to use this as proof of some sort of unknown and not-capable-of-being-described "separation".

Secondly and more importantly, Tertullian is using a hypothetical argument. He is not actually saying that the two were separated. The gist of what he is saying is this: "For those who claim that Marcion split the two as a basis for claiming the canon is late, they are refuted by their own argument since he who split is certainly later than that which was split" – but he does not in fact SAY that they were split . . . nor what in the world that might mean or might have looked like.

As I say, we know what a combined Bible looks like – because these are the only kinds we have from antiquity onward until today.

In Jesus Christ the Lord.

Bob L.

Question #19: 

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for your Web site; it contains a lot of good information. I particularly enjoyed your statement that, "The Bible breaths forth the very Person of God on every page, in every verse". How true that is! Thank you for your ministry and for your encouragement and exhortation that we should read the Bible.

Given all that you know about the Bible, I was surprised that you wrote, "The Bible is the only source of God's truth", because that is obviously self-refuting.

First, the Bible did not come with a table of contents. That element of "God's Truth" had to come from outside the Bible, did it not? Or was there a part where Jesus said, "Blessed are those who read Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, . . . . Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, .. . Revelation?"

Second, many early Christians came to faith through hearing, since there was no such thing as the Bible, and many epistles that you and I would regard as New Testament Scripture had not even been written!

Third, you say that the Roman Catholic Church's list of Books of the Bible "was not made 'canon,' however, until the council of Trent in the 16th century as a reaction to the Reformation." In fact, until the Reformation, there was no need to re-affirm what had always been the case and was re-affirmed at the Councils of Hippo, Rome, and Carthage in the fourth century. Those councils all affirmed the 73 books of the Bible that the Catholic Church had always relied on, including the deuterocanonical books. When is the first time in history that we find the list of 66 books that you believe to comprise the Bible?

Fourth, it is manifestly untrue that, "the Bible in its entirety is every Christian's true 'statement of faith.'" It is clearly not true of Catholics, for example, and Catholics are by far the largest group
of Christians. Yes, Catholics revere the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, but we necessarily have elements of faith that are outside the Bible, such as the very table of contents, mentioned above. You also do. For example, you believe, "the Bible breaths forth the very Person of God on every page, in every verse," but I cannot find that statement anywhere in the Bible. Yes, the Bible affirms the importance of Scripture (and who can doubt it), but it never mentions itself by name; how could it?

Fifth, if it were the case that every Christian takes the Bible as their true statement of faith, we would not have tens of thousands of Protestant denominations teaching very contrary things! Clearly the various Protestant churches use extra-scriptural authority in understanding the Bible.

St. John Henry Newman, a great saint who converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism said that to be deep into history is to cease to be Protestant. That is my prayer for you, my brother in the Lord.

In Christ,

Response #19: 

If anyone alive in the world has heard a true word about Jesus Christ, that message came from the Bible, whether directly or indirectly. There are no alternative sources since God is not presently providing direct special revelation to anyone today (and hasn't been since John was given to pen Revelation).

As to your other statements and propositions, we can discuss them if you wish, but in my way of looking at things a lot of this depends on definition of terms. The name "Christian" is a non-biblical word (see the links); when I use it, I use it to describe believers in Jesus Christ, individuals who have been born again, born from above, through simple faith in the One who became a man and died for us on the cross, expiating all of our sins. I don't use it to refer to individuals who belong to religions, denominations and sects which style themselves as "Christian" churches or the like, but which in fact teach salvation through being a communicant, or engaging in some set of rituals, or working their way into heaven, etc., etc. Saving faith is just that. Nothing can be added to it or taken away from it for it to be genuine. So there is not much point in engaging in argumentation when such basic and ultimately divisive principles are at stake. There is not much point, therefore, in discussing the former when the latter is at issue.

In Jesus Christ by whom we are saved through faith alone.

Bob L.

Question #20:

Thank you for your kind and prompt reply, Dr. Luginbill.

Yes, I would be interested in your answers to the following:

1) Given that the Bible did not come with a table of contents, do we not need authority outside the Bible to know what the books of the Bible are?

2) When is the first time in history that we have a canon that shows just 66 books?

3) If the Bible is the only source of God's truth (your assertion, not mine), and the multi-part definition of Christian that you give is not found in the Bible, on what authority to you teach that? Is it not just your personal definition, with no authority from above? Are all other definitions of Christian wrong?

4) Where in the Bible does it say the Bible is the only source of God's Truth? Yes, the Bible affirms the importance of Scripture broadly, but does it talk about itself as a collection of 66 books somewhere?

In Christ,

Response #20:

You're welcome. I hope this ends up helping you.

1) What "Word of God" are we speaking about here?

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Hebrews 4:12 NLT

To what is Paul referring? Paul is referring to the Bible. If not the Bible, then what? How would his recipients be able to identify with these truths if something other than the Bible were meant? And only the Bible has these characteristics.

Any believer who reads the Bible appreciates its unique power and the brilliance of its truth. No other book has these qualities. Even unbelievers generally "get that" – which is one reason why they spurn it. As with all things, the proof is in the pudding. The Bible is not the Word of God because someone else says so; it says so itself and it proves it to anyone who is not deceiving himself or others whenever it is read. No other book or writing does so. The Bible is absolutely unique. It is the written Word of God, the very thinking of the living Word of God, Jesus Christ (1Cor.2:16).

So do we need outside authority? The Bible is the authority because God Himself has endowed it with authority.

Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
Proverbs 30:6 NIV

For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Revelation 22:18-19 NKJV

2) Sitting in judgment over the Bible is sitting in judgment over God's Word which is sitting in judgment over God. The Bible is the Bible. All human beings can do is acknowledge that fact, and that is all the early councils of the church did (I mean the ones before the Roman church began to usurp authority over others to itself). They did not CREATE a "canon"; they merely acknowledged the Bible that existed as an apologetic defense against the heresy of taking out (as Marcion tried to do) or adding in (as the council of Trent tried to do).

3) To paraphrase our Lord, if you don't know of earthy things, what if I were to tell you of heavenly ones?

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:3 NKJV

Jesus is the One who defines what a believer is and what a believer isn't. It is His Church. To belong to it, you must be born from above – by God's power, the power of the Holy Spirit – you must be re-born. That is a spiritual experience that is accomplished by the Holy Spirit for all who put their faith in the Son of God for salvation – not just accepting that He exists, but embracing the truth that eternal life comes only through faith in who He is, the God-man, and what He has done in paying the entire price for all of our sins.

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:18 NKJV

Nothing here about being a communicant of any particular religion or denomination. Believers are saved; those who have not been born again, born from above, by the power of the Spirit in response to the water of the Word of God made real by Him in their hearts are not. Simple as that.

"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!"
Acts 16:31

Paul's words to the Philippian jailer are as true now as they were then. When he said them, there was no church at Rome yet at all, and Peter was playing second fiddle to James in Jerusalem at that time (or third or fourth).

4) Asked and answered above.

"You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me."
John 5:39 NKJV

The Word of God and scripture and the scriptures are mentioned throughout the Bible and they refer to the inspired writings, writings inspired by God Himself. That is what our Lord says above about the Old Testament, and He also predicted the New Testament (e.g., Jn.14:26). That is true of the entire New Testament from the gospels to Revelation which John was commissioned by Jesus Christ Himself to write (Rev.1:19).

All these truths are made self-evident to believers who read their Bibles regularly. So read your Bible!

I sense that the Lord is working something in your heart – which is no doubt why He sent you to this ministry. Be pleased to read scripture and open your heart to what the Spirit tells you. And do take care that this does not befall you:

“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
Matthew 15:7-9 NKJV

Written in the love of Jesus Christ our dear Lord and only Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Thank you, Dr. Luginbill. I appreciate your sincerity and Christian kindness, and I will try to respond in kind.

1) Paul could not have been referring to "The Bible" because "The Bible" per se did not exist when Paul was writing his letter to the Hebrews! Some of the books, of course, did. But there was no place that one could find a collection of the 66 books you call "The Bible" when Paul was writing Hebrews.

I joyfully and heartily affirm that the Bible has unique power and brilliant truth, and no other book even comes close. But given that it didn't come with a table of contents, some authority outside the Bible had to decide which books were and were not in.

2) I can't find any alleged "Bible" with 66 books before about the year 1500, and apparently neither can you. Were Christians without a Bible before then?

3) Like you, I also can't find your definition of Christian in the Bible. Yes, there are aspects of it to be sure expressed here and there, but nowhere does it say, "Here is what a Christian is: a, b, c, d, e, f, g and h." You're putting your own interpretation on things, which is fine, but I also see nothing in the Bible that grants infallibility to your particular interpretation (or mine, for that matter!)

4) You have demonstrated that sola scriptura is your personal rule, but it certainly isn't the sole organizing principle of Christian faith for many of us who share your belief in Christ. Furthermore, if as you say, "All these truths are made self-evident to believers who read their Bibles regularly," why do we have tens of thousands of Protestant churches? If it's all "self-evident," shouldn't there be unanimity?

In Christ,

Response #21:

1) The Bible was the Bible before it was complete (Jn.5:39).

2) You need to do more research. Codex Sinaiticus contains the entire Bible (ca. 3rd cent. AD). There is plenty of evidence of the entire NT existing from within a generation after it was written; and of course our Lord and the apostles had the entire OT.

3) The WORD "Christian" does not occur in the Bible (see the links). The ISSUE is "are you saved"? You are not saved if you are relying on membership in your organization for salvation, e.g. You can only be saved by being born again, born from above (read John chapter 3).

4) Truth is truth. God is God. You can't change that by argumentation. The argument from unity is an old canard that thus carries no force. If you want the truth, seek the truth. As to "Christian faith for many of us who share your belief in Christ", who are we talking about here? My belief in Christ is absolute and not mixed with any sort of supposed need for works or worship of human beings or being a communicant in some organization, etc., etc. The righteousness I have I have through faith – in Jesus Christ alone.

It's not sola scriptura so much as Solus Christus – He is the only Way to be saved.

Are you saved?

Have you read the Bible? The entire Bible? How often do you read the Bible? What authority do you grant to it when you read it? If you read it, and if you listen to the Holy Spirit when you read it . . . and if you BELIEVE it, everything I've been telling you will begin to make sense, great sense.

Otherwise, we are both just wasting each other's time.

Here are a couple of other links which may prove helpful:

Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading VI

BB 7: Bibliology

In Jesus Christ the Lord,

Bob L.

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