Bumper Sticker Theology vs. Reliability of Biblical Texts – Daniel Wallace at Dallas Theological Seminary

„The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.” Simple, this aphorism speaks highly of the importance of faith and it links that faith to the ultimate authority for the Christian, as the Word of God. It’s pithy and it’s easy to remember. It’s found on countless church marquees, evangelistic tracts and websites. To millions of believers it speaks of a child like faith, and it just might be the worst Christian slogan ever concocted.

There are serious gaps in this triad. Take the first line: The Bible said it. How do you know that the Bible said it? Which Bible says it? In order to know all that the Bible said, in all its particulars, requires doing serious work in ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts trying to trace back the trail to the original wording, because the original manuscripts turned to dust long ago. It requires a profound knowledge of scribal habits and at least a passing acquaintance with several ancient translations of the Bible- Latin, Coptic, Syriac, and a host of others.

And even after all the spade work has been done, we cannot be sure of all the details. Now the irony is that God Himself has put you and me, ministers of the Gospel in the extremely awkward position of having to echo that question first posed to Eve in the garden: „Has God REALLY said?” Now, as a general rule, I don’t like to be in league with the devil, so I should point out that, though the question is the same, our motivation should be different. We ask because we really wanna know, so that we can believe. That old serpent asked because he wanted to sow the seeds of doubt, not only of the Word of God, but of also the character of God. „Did God really say this?” Well, if He did, He must not be good. But, we still must ask.

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