Posted by: biblestudyseattle | September 23, 2013

Spurious Scriptures

“How can you say, ‘We are wise,
And the law of the Lord is with us’?
But behold, the lying pen of the scribes
Has made it into a lie.” Jeremiah 8:8

“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18

Here we have concerns in both old and new testaments about doctoring the scriptures. As older manuscripts came to light in the last couple centuries, errors became evident, particularly in the new testament. That is not to say we throw out the bible. God has seen to it, that his truth will be evident to those who desire it. But he has allowed some falsity to throw the less ardent off. He is a picky God who likes to see people who really dig for the truth. Consider how he chose men for one of Israel’s military campaigns:

“Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him, rose early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley. The Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’ Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained.

Then the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.” Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water. The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.” So the 300 men took the people’s provisions and their trumpets into their hands. And Gideon sent all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the 300 men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.” Judges 7:1-8

The Israelites proposed to send 32,000 men against Midian. God said take only 300!

One person who studied spurious texts was Sir Isaac Newton. He was a devout Christian, but secret in his beliefs for fear of official Church doctrine, which he did not agree with. He posthumously wrote a book titled ‘Observations on the prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John. Thomas Jefferson had a copy in his personal library. You can see it at the Library of Congress.

Another person to study spurious scriptures was Constantin von Tischendorf. By comparing manuscripts, he concluded that many words were added to the new testament later. Here is a list of spurious words and phrases he compiled,

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