The Bible: Editing Issues?

By: Shannon Hames

Never one to shy away from controversy, I thought I would examine the claims that people make while debating that the Bible is/isn’t the inerrant word of God. So much of our culture is derived from religious tradition that it often prevents people from examining claims that are made against their beliefs because to do so might mean abandoning everything that they’ve ever known and trusted.

The books in the Bible are a collection of smaller books written by men who were supposedly writing them down under the direct inspiration from the Holy Spirit.  Those words have somehow transcended through historical and cultural context and made leaps past developments in Science to still have the exact same meaning today as they did when they were written (in some cases, 3,500 years ago).

Because paper was unavailable and expensive in ancient past, it was always an extreme and expensive task to have it written and translated.  The first part of the Bible was written in ancient Hebrew.  The New Testament was written in ancient Greek.  These texts were translated by monks who had no knowledge of ancient cultures.  What we need to ask ourselves is, at any time in history, were people such as monks, who were transcribing and translating texts so often, faced with the task of writing down things that didn’t make any sense in their language or culture?  Would they have changed the words to make it more meaningful and relevant without worrying about what the original meaning really meant?

There are websites that you can search on to see original written texts that were changed or mis-translated into something new.  I find this fascinating because it shows that scribes not only had to be scholars to understand ancient languages, and artists able to illustrate the pages and fonts, but also editors who were attempting to assess who their audience was and make the words become something that that audience would be able to read.  It is a fascinating topic, to say the least!