Most conservative Christians believe that the Bible is Inspired (written by God, see 2Timothy 3:16), Powerful (see Hebrews 4:12), and Authoritative (see John 12:48 and Titus 2:15). However, there is much disagreement among conservative Christians about whether or not the Bible is Preserved.
Before we look at what the majority of Christians believe regarding preservation, let’s establish a few Biblical points.
1)God has promised to preserve His Word. Psalms 12:6-7 reads, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
2)God expects man to live by “every word” of God, implying that those words are available. Matthew 4:4 reads, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
3)God states that every Word of God is pure. This means that the true Word of God does not have errors. Proverbs 30:5 states, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”
Most Christians believe one or more of these philosophies regarding the preservation of God’s Word:
1)God originally inspired the words of the Bible and left the rest up to sinful man to preserve (similar to theistic evolution). If God left the preservation of His Word up to man alone then it is not perfect today, because imperfect man could not maintain the preservation of God’s Word without divine help.
2)God’s Word has been preserved in the “totality” of the manuscripts and versions, but there is no easy explanation of how to determine which is right when they differ. If God’s preserved Word can only be found in the “totality” of the manuscripts and versions available, the only way to determine which is correct when they differ (and they do), is to rely on “scholars” and their interpretations. However, the scholars also differ, so determining the final authority on a matter is therefore impossible. Without access to the original manuscripts or the skills to use and compare them, a Christian is at the mercy of the “scholars” to tell him what the Bible really says in the originals. The scholars therefore become the final authority rather than God in His Word!
3)God has preserved His Word, but only in heaven. If God has only preserved His Word in heaven, then it is not available to man on earth, meaning His promises about preservation and the Word’s availability to man are not true. How can man obey the Word of God if he does not have it?
Regarding the preservation of God’s Word, we must carefully ask the question: “If God promised to preserve His Word and kept that promise, where is the preserved Word of God today?” Are you confident in your answer to this question? If not, please study the issue until you are! Every Christian needs to get to the point where he is going to let the Bible correct him and the scholars rather than following people who correct the Bible. The Bible clearly teaches us that the Word of God is preserved. Do you as a Christian believe that and can you explain it?