I’ve had a few discussions recently with others regarding the the preservation of the bible and I thought I’d take the time to define the difference between the separate doctrines of inspiration and preservation, why they differ and why they are both important. Before doing so, however, I’d like to provide some scriptural references.
2Ti 3:16-17 KJV All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
These verses are rather self explanatory and point out that not only is there a great deal of value in God’s words, but that they are DIVINELY INSPIRED.
Psa 12:6-7 KJV The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (7) Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Here we see that His words will be PRESERVED FOREVER. Now when we consider the fact that the “original manuscripts” that the scholarly theologians always refer to don’t even exist anymore, how did God preserve His words? I suggest that the King James AV 1611 was God’s mechanism for doing so.
Pro 30:5 KJV Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
And lastly, in the book of Proverbs we’re told that EVERY WORD is pure; not just some of them, ALL of them are pure.
So what can we glean from these scripture references with regards to the doctrines of Inspiration and Preservation?
Inspiration of the bible has to do with the authority and authorship of the bible. The bible holds itself to be divinely inspired by—authored by—God, which naturally implies that its words, being His words, hold sole authority over everything.
Preservation of the bible relates to the accuracy of the bible as we know it today, to the original text given by God to man. It contends that if God took the time to share His words with us that He would certainly see to their preservation from a viewpoint of accuracy. It seems illogical that God would share His plan with mankind then fail to preserve it for future generations; especially since He says that He will (Psa 12:6-7).
The doctrine of inspiration and the doctrine of preservation stand or fall together. If the bible was not divinely inspired then it would not matter if it were accurately preserved because it would hold no authority. If the bible is divinely inspired—which it is—then it must be divinely preserved because if we could not rely on its accuracy then we really wouldn’t care who inspired it. Therefore, these two doctrines are both true; the bible is divinely inspired and divinely preserved.
Having recognized the authorship, authority, and accuracy of the bible we must now realize that every single word in the bible is there for a reason. Any word that God speaks is not only important, but invaluable. Recognizing this we must also recognize the dangerous practices of the many publisher’s–whose goals, I believe, are not inspired by God, but rather by the almighty dollar–that keep pushing the myriad of “modern” translations that we have today.