For Bible-believing Christians the Scriptures are the most valuable and the most essential material objects they may possess. They are so because while being material, that is, they are found printed on paper, or recorded onto magnetic tape or compact disc, they are but an expression of something quite immaterial, namely the Word of God to humanity. For Bible-believing Christians, the Scriptures are the only objects that they may see, handle, listen to, and come to know through study and devotional use, the ultimate origins of which, are not merely beyond this world, but are beyond our space-time-matter universe.
Amongst all that we see around us, they alone have a supernatural provenance, because God alone is truly supernatural. All else that may be named or conceived, is a part of the created order; a part of nature, rather than something that is above nature. Instead of coming to us from within the natural realm, the Scriptures come to us from outside the compass of the natural realm, which they will outlast, as they will endure even when the current created order has run its course (Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35; I Peter 1:23.). Thus the Scriptures have a quality about them that is peculiarly distinctive, and which exists outside the Scriptures, within the Godhead alone.
The only other objects which humanity has possessed, of which we are aware, and which might be compared with the Scriptures, are the Ark of the Covenant, and the Tabernacle, with its altars, fixtures and fittings, along with the associated Priesthood and ceremonial, for these were all produced from patterns revealed to Moses directly from the Lord (Exodus 25:9), and so they too were truly supernatural in conception and in what they signified. But all these now have passed, leaving the Scriptures in a truly unique position. But now we come to the problem we need to examine. Given that the Scriptures truly are the Word of God, and emanate from Deity, being quite literally God's Word to humanity, how do we know that the English version Bible on our bookshelves is a faithful reproduction of that Word as originally delivered? After all, it has come to us directly by the hands of ordinary men and women working in their capacity of book sellers, distributors, printers, publishers, editors, translators, textual critics, copyists, curators, et cetera.
Between the English version Bibles we read, and the oracles of the God Who first Inspired Holy Writ, are thousands of years of human activity. We need to know then how faithful to the originals written on papyrus, linen, vellum, and clay tablets, the oldest of which predate the Global Flood, are the English translations in use in the twenty-first Christian century. How could a message given to humanity in its very beginnings, pass safely into our hands today, free of accidental error or deliberate corruption? The time span is so extremely long that the transmission of the Word of God has had to surmount changes in writing techniques and materials, languages and even alphabet types, and has also had to survive the assaults of those hostile to its message, as well as the supposed 'assistance' of its friends.
This is the problem addressed in this study, and it is a most crucial one for all Bible-believing Christians.
The Authenticity Of English Version Bibles by MWJ Phelan was published by Twoedged Sword Publications in September 2010 and is our 36226th best seller. The ISBN for The Authenticity Of English Version Bibles is 9781905447237.