Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Did the NIV Delete 64,575 Words?

by Christopher D. Hudson
I rarely get involved in debates on Bible translation. In fact, I don’t weigh in a lot of debates, as I believe my mission is to challenge people to simply read, engage, and apply the Bible.
As long as people are reading God’s Word, I’m not concerned about varying opinions on Bible translations, worship styles, church denominations, etc. I’m happy knowing we share a faith in Christ Jesus first and foremost, and I hope to walk with my brothers and sisters as we take one more step in the journey with Jesus.
However, I feel I must speak up when trust in God’s Word is in danger of becoming weakened due to someone’s attacks on certain translations of the Bible. A person who solely promotes the KJV (King James Version) and believes that any modern translation is evil undermines the faith of people who choose to read and study God’s Word in a translation other than the KJV.
As personal background, my degree is in ancient languages (New Testament Greek). I have a love for many Bible translations, as they have been helpful to many people (myself included) in their walk with Christ. I enjoy reading regularly from the KJV, NIV, ESV,  NLT and others. 

I absolutely love the King James Version (KJV). In fact, I serve as the editor of a KJV Study Bible. God has used the KJV mightily over the centuries, but it is only a translation of the original Hebrew and Greek Bible. 
Ultimately, I firmly believe that God’s Word is infallible. But I don’t want to confuse God’s Word (in the original Greek and Hebrew texts) with human fallible translation efforts. God’s Word is infallible. The NIV is fallible. So is the ESV. So is every translation—even my beloved KJV.
There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that God gave special blessing to Martin Luther’s translation, John Wycliffe’s translation, or to King James’s translation.

I don’t say that to undermine the Bible at all. God is perfect, and the gospel is perfect. His Word is infallible. One of the benefits of having so many translations is that we can do our best to understand the text as it was originally written thousands of years ago.

Some who attack the NIV in favor of the KJV openly denounce those who publish and back the NIV. In full disclosure, I am personal friends with the editors at Zondervan who publish the NIV Bible. We e-mail and talk on the phone often. I can assure you they are faith-driven, humble, Jesus-following people. They are actively involved in conservative churches and ministry. I’ve known some of their staff for nearly twenty years; we have challenged each other in our faith and walk with Christ. I have no doubt of their Christian commitment or their passion for preserving God’s Word.

Zondervan is owned by HarperCollins, and HarperCollins is owned by News Corp. As public corporations (headed by Rupert Murdoch), these companies are not “Christian” companies. However, the leaders of the organizations have wisely realized that they will make more money if they allow Zondervan to fulfill its faith-driven, Jesus-centered mission. They know that Christians trust Zondervan, and they’ve intentionally allowed the company to remain staffed with deeply committed, faith-driven, Jesus-centered people. In fact, the head of Zondervan’s Bible publishing efforts has served as a long-term pastor. He and I spoke this week on the phone about our mutual love for Jesus, Christ's teaching, and the truth about the gospel.

Christians have no grounds for criticizing the NIV based on its publishers. Even though the parent company, News Corp, is a secular corporation looking to turn a profit, it doesn’t interfere with the Christian editors who are preserving God’s Word at Zondervan. I believe that God has blessed Zondervan’s efforts so that they are among the most profitable divisions of HarperCollins.

An accusation has been made that the translators of the NIV removed a remarkably large number of words from the text of the NIV. This may be one of the most ill-informed and unfounded arguments against the NIV I’ve ever heard. I’m guessing the person who made this accusation looked at overall word count of the KJV and the NIV and saw a difference. Or maybe they counted all the “thees” and “thous” that the NIV doesn’t include? Actually, I can’t figure out how they would have come up with that number.

So, did the NIV translators remove words that are in the KJV? Yes. Their goal was to translate the original intent of the biblical writers in fewer words. Did they undermine or take away from the biblical meaning in doing so? No. (Translating between languages is always dynamic and never just word for word. The best translator in any setting can communicate the literal meaning with fewer words.)

Some people have criticized the NIV due to the removal of the term “Holy Ghost.” That’s just silly. NIV translators used “Holy Spirit,” which is essentially the same term. Personally, I believe that “Holy Spirit” is probably a better translation and more accurate for a modern-day reader. (Is it better to tell children that God is a Ghost or that God is a Spirit?) Anyone who uses this change in wording as an argument against the NIV shows they are trying to be inflammatory and not being intellectually honest.

Not at all. The NIV gets attacked a lot because it is the most popular translation. However, very similar translation philosophies are followed by translators of the ESV and the NLT. If you throw out the NIV, you need to throw out virtually all modern translations that follow similar translation philosophies.

Another factor in the debate on Bible translation is the Hebrew and Greek texts these translations came from. I believe that the Greek and Hebrew texts used by modern scholars for recent translations (NIV, NLT, ESV, etc.) are more accurate.

The KJV was published in 1611 from a collection of Greek texts, which has become known as the Textus Receptus. The Textus Receptus is an excellent collection of manuscripts, and reading from them (or a Bible translated from them) can properly teach people about God, Jesus, and the gospel. However, there is no Bible verse that says the Textus Receptus is inspired. I believe the only inspired versions are the original copies written by the original authors.

The problem lies in that for over a thousand years, people hand copied the Bible word by word. And while these outstanding scribes were 99.99 percent accurate, occasionally they made a mistake. To me, what is remarkable is how accurate these scribes remained while playing a gigantic game of “telephone” (each copying a previous person’s work).

As language scholarship and archaeology has improved, we have been able to get back to manuscripts that seem to more likely resemble the original autographs written right after the time of Christ. As we’ve gotten closer to the original, we have found that there were a handful of problems in the Textus Receptus. While none of these problems really violate the gospel, they offer subtle changes.

As an example, it appears there are about 45 verses that the New Testament writers did not actually include in their original work. Well-meaning scribes seemed to have added them in over the centuries to help clarify a verse or passage in order to help readers understand.
However, none of those 45 verses change any core belief of the gospel. They are almost all clarifications. My faith is solid in God, Jesus, and the atoning work of salvation even if those 45 verses aren’t there (or if they are, it doesn’t change anything). Modern translations (including the NIV) are often criticized for removing the 45 verses. Actually, they have done a better job of maintaining the original Bible text since it looks like the 45 verses were not in the original. (Also, the 45 verses really haven’t been removed from the NIV at all—each of these verses is still present in every copy of the NIV and can be found in the NIV footnotes.)

This area of textual criticism is an area I studied extensively. My faith is in God and the God of the Bible. My hope is in Jesus. If I can’t trust the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, I can’t know that my faith is firm. After much, much study, I came to the conclusion that the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts are very accurate. They accurately record Jesus’ words and teaching. As such, my faith is secure. 
It’s easy to throw rocks, and I’m afraid those who vehemently oppose and attack the NIV (or any other translation) do so in a way that hurts Christians and their faith. Thankfully, Jesus is bigger than our human attempts to win an argument. I pray he’ll continue to be exalted even while some Christians—perhaps well-meaning ones—continue to tarnish the love and gospel of Christ in their efforts to preserve what they believe is the truth.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

FEBC starts another round of fighting

FEBC starts another round of fighting with Life BP Church, calling Life BP Church as liberal.

Not Liberal

Neither are we liberal or modernistic. Liberalism or Modernism says you can be a Christian without believing the Bible, without believing in Jesus Christ. Be warned that liberalism has crept into the Presbyterian Church. One clear example is the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (PCUSA). In 1924, 1293 Presbyterian ministers in the PCUSA denied the five fundamentals of the Christians Faith: (1) Inerrancy of Scripture, (2) Virgin Birth, (3) Miracles of Christ, (4) Substitutionary Atonement, and (5) Resurrection of Christ. Do you believe the Bible is 100% God’s Word without any mistake and Jesus Christ is the only Saviour? If you do not believe in the five fundamentals of the faith, you should not call yourself a Presbyterian, not even Christian. Without the five fundamentals of the faith, there is no Christianity and no salvation. But today in the PCUSA and in the Presbyterian Church here in Singapore, and even in the Bible-Presbyterian Church, there are those who say the Bible is not 100% perfect. They say the Bible was only perfect in the past when it was first written, but no longer perfect today. They deny that God has preserved His inspired words perfectly. But Psalm 12:6-7 says very clearly, 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, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt 5:18).

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rev Moses Hahn

B-P Pastors and Leaders Retreat

B-P Pastors and Leaders Retreat, 13-14 July 2015. Theme: "Building and Bonding" at Pulai Springs Resort.

I wish all of you, peace and "Faith, Hope, Love." The greatest is one another, so that the world may know you are my disciples.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Heresy versus Schism: Which is Worse?

Dear All,
Heresy dies out. Schisms last for centuries. Heresy invites its own reversal by awakening a dynamic orthodoxy. Schism freezes doctrine, interferes with its healthy development. Heretics after all passionately want to improve the church's teaching. Their passion ignites a new passion in the church. Schism only provokes the passion of hatred, and its concomitant, war. In this discussion on the seriousness of heresy vis-a-vis schism, one of our company reminds us that the great schism between East and West is the first great fragmentation of the Church. Another listsib goes back to the Monophysite controversies of the fifth century, and their schisms.

These prove the point I have been arguing: heresy is essentially a short-term phenomenon, schism is long-term. Heresy forces the church to articulate its message more accurately.

For instance, the term homousios ("of one Being" in the Nicene Creed) is an accurate theoretical description of Jesus' relation to God, over against Arius' contention that "there was a time when He (Jesus Christ) was not." There was no schism because of the Arian controversy. even though it was one of the most serious and deadly heresies of all.

This later developed into the Monophysite controversy, as to whether Jesus had one ("mono") nature ("physis") or two, as Chalcedon insisted. After Chalcedon (451) there was a schism over the person of Christ.

One of the consequences of that schism was the disillusionment with Christianity of a young man thirsting for God named Muhammed.

More importantly, think how our divisions have given the lie to the Gospel we all preach.

Heresy dies out. Schisms last for centuries. Heresy invites its own reversal by awakening a dynamic orthodoxy. Schism freezes doctrine, interferes with its healthy development. Heretics after all passionately want to improve the church's teaching. Their passion ignites a new passion in the church. Schism only provokes the passion of hatred, and its concomitant, war.

I reiterate, schism is always worse than heresy. For heresy is about doctrine - credo ut intelligam - while schism is about abandoning the commandment to love one another as Christ has loved us.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

KJV only?

This past Sunday at church, a young lady in our congregation shared with me about someone she knows who believes that the King James Version(KJV) of the Bible is the only inspired translation. She went on to say that this acquaintance will actually go so far as to say that someone cannot be saved unless the KJV is used! It occurred to me that this young lady is most likely not the only person with a friend, relative, or co-worker who believes that the KJV is the only "inspired" version of the Bible.

Before commenting further, I want to be sure I'm clear on one thing; I like the KJV translation of the Bible. It's eloquence and poetic verse are second to none. Those who enjoy using the translation, whether because they were raised on it or due to the poetic nature of the verses, I believe it to be a good translation and see nothing wrong with it. However, I believe it to be one of the many good translations available today and certainly not the best.

My goal in this post is to 1) provide resources to understand the KJV only debate better 2) to provide questions for you to ask those who hold to "KJV Onlyism." I hope you find it helpful!

Here are some helpful resources:

A Complete History of the KJV Bible

The King James Bible

or check out this audio from Dr. Dan Wallace, New Testament Scholar

Background Information

If you are new to the KJV-only issue by Brian Tegart

If your not new to the KJV-only issue by Brian Tegart

If you are "KJV-only" by Brian Tegart

On the KJV Translators

The KJV Translators said THAT? by Brian Tegart

The Lofty and Worthy Endeavor or Goal of the KJV Translators by Rick Norris

Accuracy of the King James Version

Why I Do Not Think the King James Bible is the Best Translation Available Today by Daniel Wallace

Is Your Modern Translation Corrupt? Answering the Allegations of the KJV Only Advocates by James R. White

Errors in the King James Version? by William W. Combs

Issue Settled

Jesus is NOT KJV-Only! by Brian Tegart

Questions to ask KJV-Only Advocates

Ten Questions for "KJV Only" Supporters

In summary, the KJV is a good translation, but that is all.

read more:

Trinity and Revelation 3


The English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament New International Version (2011)

Revelation 3:1
Καὶ τῷ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν Σάρδεσιν ἐκκλησίας γράψον· Τάδε λέγει ὁ ἔχων τὰ ἑπτὰ πνεύματα τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἑπτὰ ἀστέρας· Οἶδά σου τὰ ἔργα, ὅτι ὄνομα ἔχεις ὅτι ζῇς, καὶ νεκρὸς εἶ.  | NIV2011 NT RI
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. | NIV

Revelation 3:2
γίνου γρηγορῶν, καὶ στήρισον τὰ λοιπὰ ἃ ἔμελλον ἀποθανεῖν⸃, οὐ γὰρ εὕρηκά σου τὰ ἔργα πεπληρωμένα ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ μου·  | NIV2011 NT RI
Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God | NIV

Revelation 3:3
μνημόνευε οὖν πῶς εἴληφας καὶ ἤκουσας καὶ τήρει, καὶ μετανόησον· ἐὰν οὖν μὴ γρηγορήσῃς, ἥξω ὡς κλέπτης, καὶ οὐ μὴ γνῷς ποίαν ὥραν ἥξω ἐπὶ σέ·  | NIV2011 NT RI
Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. | NIV

Revelation 3:4
ἀλλὰ ἔχεις ὀλίγα⸃ ὀνόματα ἐν Σάρδεσιν ἃ οὐκ ἐμόλυναν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν, καὶ περιπατήσουσιν μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐν λευκοῖς, ὅτι ἄξιοί εἰσιν.  | NIV2011 NT RI
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy | NIV

Revelation 3:5
ὁ νικῶν οὕτως περιβαλεῖται ἐν ἱματίοις λευκοῖς, καὶ οὐ μὴ ἐξαλείψω τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐκ τῆς βίβλου τῆς ζωῆς, καὶ ὁμολογήσω τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐνώπιον τοῦ πατρός μου καὶ ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων αὐτοῦ.  | NIV2011 NT RI
The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels | NIV

Revelation 3:6
ὁ ἔχων οὖς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις.  | NIV2011 NT RI
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. | NIV

3 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

  These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

  4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Re 3:1–6.

Doctrine of Trinity in this chapter

1. Jesus Christ is holding the seven spirits of God. He is the Son of God. He mention the Holy Spirit here in verse 1

2. Jesus Christ said He is seeing his God in verse 2.

3. He said He is coming like a thief.

4. Jesus Christ acknowledged God the Father as "my Father." Christ taught the same in the gospels—that whoever would confess Him before men, in turn, He would confess before His Father and the angels (Mtt. Mat. 10:32; Luke Luke 12:8). What powerful incentive this is for our witness of Him in the face of skeptics and mockers! When standing before such men, let us consider ourselves to be standing before the very throne of the Father in our confession of the Son. “Coming immediately after the promise of not erasing the overcomer’s name from the book of life, this promise implies that on that future day of reckoning the judge will acknowledge the names written in the book as those who belong to Him.”

Even in the last book of the Bible, we learned that Our God is one, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Our God is eternal. Three Persons in One God. Amen.

Can Bible-Presbyterian Church unite as one? The answer is no! Big No.....

They like to quarrel, everyday quarrel, Tiam-Tiam Quarrel, TTQ......

FEBC and Life BPC are Church of Sardis

Revelation 3 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

  These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

  4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Re 3:1–6.

Wake Up—The Message to the Church in Sardis (3:1–6)

“You Are Dead!” (1–3)

The two most adverse reports are sent to Sardis and to Laodicea. In this letter to Sardis, Jesus passes over any estimate of their “deeds” and their “reputation” to give the bottom line: “You are dead” (Revelation 3:1). Their only hope is to “Wake up!” How do they do this? They must complete the deeds they began at a former time, “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent” (Revelation 3:3). What will the consequences be if this is not done? Certainly it will be no less than His warning to the Ephesians, “I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Revelation 2:5). Or to Pergamum, “Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (Revelation 2:16). But to Sardis, Jesus simply warns, “I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you” (Revelation 3:3).

A Few Still Live (4–6)

Even in a congregation judged as dead, a few individuals have managed to stay alive and refused to be entangled in either the sin of the world or the apathy of a dying congregation. They “have not soiled their clothes.” Jesus promises, “They will walk with me, dressed in white” (Revelation 3:4). He promises the one who overcomes, “I will never blot out his name from the book of life” (Revelation 3:5). By inference, Jesus is saying unless a person remains faithful, his name will be blotted out.
As Jesus introduces himself to this church, He is described as holding the sevenfold Spirit (the Holy Spirit) in one hand and the seven stars (angels or messengers) in the other. This is appropriate to the deepest need of the congregation. They need life, and the Spirit is associated with giving life: “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4).

Lewis Foster, Revelation: Unlocking the Scriptures for You, Standard Bible Studies (Cincinnati, OH: Standard, 1989), 54.

Friday, June 5, 2015

When you come to Giltead Road, Singapore

When you meet some one in Life Bible-Presbyterian Church in Gilstead Road, Singapore, you better ask him or her, "To whom you are following, Jeffrey Khoo or Charles Seet?"

Some will say, "I follow Jeffrey Khoo." Some will say, “I follow Charles Seet." Some will say, "I follow Timothy Tow." Some will say, "I am for Verbal Plenary Preservation." Some will say, "I am against Verbal Plenary Preservation." Some will say, "I follow Christ." Some will say, "I am neutral." Some will say, "No comment."

Divisions!There are divisions in one small piece of land, Gilstead Road, Singapore!

Listen, what Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians.

1Co 1:11  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

1Co 1:12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

1Co 1:13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

1Co 3:1  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

1Co 3:3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

1Co 3:4  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

Commentary of 1 Corinthians 3:4 

For when one saith (hotan gar legēi tis). Indefinite temporal clause with the present subjunctive of repetition (Robertson, Grammar, p. 972). Each instance is a case in point and proof abundant of the strife.

Of Paul (Paulou). Predicate genitive, belong to Paul, on Paul’s side.

Of Apollos (Apollō). Same genitive, but the form is the so-called Attic second declension. See the nominative Apollōs in 1Co_3:5.

Men (anthrōpoi). Just mere human creatures (anthrōpoi, generic term for mankind), in the flesh (sarkinoi), acting like the flesh (sarkikoi), not pneumatikoi, as if still psuchikoi. It was a home-thrust. Paul would not even defend his own partisans.

To me, honestly speaking, Far Eastern Bible College and Life Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore are carnal Christians, they are not spiritual, they are babe in Christ. They are acting in flesh, mere man.

But sad to say, both Far Eastern Bible College and Life Bible-Presbyterian Church are thinking the other way, they think they are very spiritual.......!!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Both will cancel each other

Life Bible-Presbyterian Church and Far Eastern Bible College will cancel one another!

Number of full time student in Far Eastern Bible College will reduce 30%

Numbers of student in ERBL Lecture in Life Bible-Presbyterian Church will reduce another 30%

The rest of the 40% will go to Singapore Bible College...........

Both ERBL and Far Eastern Bible College are losers..........

At last, Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore will learn a lesson,


And at last they are on the track to become "Evangelical Christian"

Heretics speaks for love

The heretic says to Christian: "Even though we are different, please accept our differences, we must love one another, we must unite to witness for Christ. We are one in Christ..."

Christians say: "Let the tares and wheat grow together in the world......"

Bible-Presbyterian Church reap what they sow

Bible-Presbyterian Church likes to attack other denominations,

so this is what they reap,

now they have to live with heretics in Giltead Road, Singapore.

To teach them a lesson, "next time, mind your own business!!!!!"

Monday, April 27, 2015

One God in Three Persons or One God in One Person?

  אֶחָד is one......

Deuteronomy 6:4 (NIV)
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one אֶחָד

Old Testament says God is one.

One God in one Person?

God is one, can be translated as "Joined One," please see:

Ezekiel 37:15–17 (NIV)
15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, take aאֶחָד stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ 17 Join them together into oneאֶחָד stick so that they will become oneאֶחָד in your hand.  

Two sticks joined into one, and became one!

God the Father joined with God the Son and joined with God the Holy Spirit, they are one God.

Our God is One God in Three Persons, Triune God.


Both Life Bible-Presbyterian Church and Far Eastern Bible College, they do not have unity. They split....!!!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Is the Bible Today What Was Originally Written?

By Andreas J. Köstenberger
The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic (the Old Testament [OT]), and Greek (the New Testament [NT]). The Bibles we use today are translations from the original languages into English (or other languages). Jesus most likely taught in Aramaic (though he probably also knew Hebrew and Greek), so that the Greek NT itself represents a translation of Jesus' teaching from the Aramaic into Greek.
The question, "Is the Bible today what was originally written?" involves two important questions: (1) Are the available manuscripts (mss.) of the Bible accurate representations of the original mss. of the respective books of the Bible (the autographs of Scripture)? This is an issue of textual transmission. (2) Are the available translations faithful renderings of the Bible in the original languages? This is an issue of translation.
With regard to the first question, no original autographs exist of any biblical text; only copies are available. The word "manuscript" is used to denote anything written by hand, rather than copies produced from the printing press.  Textual evidence constitutes anything written on clay tablets, stone, bone, wood, various metals, potsherds (ostraca), but most notably papyrus and parchment (vellum). 
Most ancient books were compiled and then rolled into a scroll.  Since a papyrus roll rarely exceeded 35 feet in length, ancient authors divided a long literary work into several "books" (e.g., the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles consisted of a two-volume set composed by Luke).
Later, sometime during the first or second century A.D., the codex came into use.  The codex consisted of bound sheets of papyrus and constitutes the prototype for the modern book format.  Thus early Christians began to collect and collate individual books into what is now the canonical NT. The term "Bible" derives from the Greek word biblion (book); the earliest use of ta biblia (the books) in the sense of "Bible" is found in 2 Clement 2:14 (c. A.D. 150).
Even though the original autographs are lost, the extant ms. evidence allows a high degree of confidence in the text of the Bible. Both the Old and New Testaments are attested by a large number of mss. in a variety of forms spanning many centuries.
The primary witnesses to the OT come from the Masoretic texts (the Masoretes were Jewish scribes) including the Cairo Geniza (A.D. 895), the Leningrad Codex (A.D. 916), the Codex Babylonicus Petropalitanus (A.D. 1008), the Aleppo Codex (c. A.D. 900), the British Museum Codex (A.D. 950), and the Reuchlin Codex (A.D. 1105).  The Leningrad Codex remains the oldest complete ms. and serves as the main source for the Hebrew text.  However, since the earliest of these mss. date from the ninth century A.D., they are removed from the original autographs by a considerable period of time.
Other witnesses include the Talmud (Aramaic translations and commentaries), the Septuagint (LXX; the Greek translation of the OT), the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). The latter, discovered during the 1940s and 50s, provide scholars with witnesses to the OT text that can be dated between 250-100 B.C. Cave four (4Q), e.g., has yielded about 40,000 fragments of 400 different mss., 100 of which are biblical, representing every OT book except Esther.  Remarkably, a comparison of the DSS and the Masoretic text reveals a fairly small number of discrepancies.
Thus the ms. evidence for the OT firmly demonstrates that the original OT texts were carefully preserved and are accurately represented in our modern Bible.
The NT text remains the best attested document in the ancient world.  The witnesses to the NT fall into three broad categories: the Greek mss.; ancient translations (versions) into other languages; and quotations from the NT found in early ecclesiastical writers (the Church Fathers).  The Greek mss., over 6,000 in number, include papyrus fragments, uncials (written in all capitals without spaces and punctuation), and minuscules (small cursive-like script).
The papyri form the most significant group due to the fact that their early date implies that they are chronologically the closest to the original autographs. For example, both p52 (containing a few verses of John 18) and p46 (containing all of Paul's epistles except the Pastorals) are most likely dated within 30 years of the original writings.
The uncials follow the papyri in chronological importance. Codex Sinaiticus, an uncial written about A.D. 350, is the earliest extant copy of the entire NT.  Other uncials, such as the Codex Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Ephraemi, and Bezae, constitute significant witnesses as well.
The minuscules compose the largest group of Greek mss., but they are dated considerably later.
Finally, the versions and Church Fathers provide helpful early attestation that can aid scholars in reconstructing the most plausible original readings. The total tally of more than 6,000 Greek mss., more than 10,000 Latin Vulgate mss., and more than 9,300 early versions results in over 25,000 witnesses to the text of the NT.
This sheer multiplicity of mss. does not, however, result in absolute uniformity of the texts.  Thousands of variant readings (most of them minor) exist between the mss. While scribes exhibited great care in their effort to reproduce an exact copy,  they were not immune from human error. Scribal errors can take on the form of unintentional and intentional errors.  Unintentional errors are the cause of the majority of textual variants.  These typically include errors of the eyes (e.g., skipping words or losing one's place); hands (slips of the pen or writing notes in the margins); and ears (confusing similar sounding words or misunderstanding a word).  Intentional errors resulted when scribes attempted to correct a perceived error in the text or altered the text in the interest of doctrine and harmonization.  These errors often became standardized through subsequent copies made from the defective copy.
All Greek mss. exhibit traits that enable scholars to classifying them into text families (Alexandrian, Western, Byzantine) based on geographic origin, Greek style, and date. Through comparative analysis performed by the practitioners of a science called "textual criticism," scholars sift through all the mss. in order to reproduce the most plausible reading of the original autographs in each individual case.
Textual critics adjudicate between readings through exacting criteria such as dating, text type, attested readings (i.e., how many mss. have a certain reading), and possible reasons for variants (e.g., smoothing out a theologically difficult reading). In addition to examining the Greek mss. textual critics also consider all other relevant witnesses (i.e., versions and the Church Fathers).
Although textual criticism is a very complex and at times controversial science, it has provided us with at least two assured results. First, none of the variant readings (including omissions) affect the central message or theological content of the Scriptures. Second, it can confidently be asserted that the text of the Bible today is an accurate and faithful representation of the original autographs.
The second issue, namely that of translation, follows as a natural corollary once the question of the textualtransmission is settled. To assess the fidelity and accuracy of the Bible today compared to the original texts one must investigate the issues of translation theory and the history of the English Bible. The task of translating the Bible from its source languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) into a receptor language (English) involves a plethora of issues related to the nature of language and communication. Is word meaning found in some fixed form of inherent meaning, or is meaning determined by contextual usage? Is meaning located in the formal features of the original grammar, or in the function of words within the grammar? These are just a few of the questions pertaining to translation theory.
Some translators maintain that accurate translation requires a word-for-word approach of formal equivalence (KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV).  Others contend that construing a straightforward one-to-one correlation between two languages actually distorts meaning.  These translators employ a phrase-for-phrase approach  of dynamic or functional equivalence (NRSV, NIV, CEV, NLT, TNIV).  In light of linguistic, exegetical, and stylistic considerations translations produced in accord with dynamic or functional equivalency tend to reflect the original meaning more closely.  The goal of all translators, no matter what translation theory they employ, is the production of an English version that is an accurate rendering of the text written in such a way that the Bible retains its literary beauty, theological grandeur, and, most importantly, its message. 
The history of the English Bible satisfactorily demonstrates that the Bible of today does indeed faithfully represent the Scriptures in their original languages. For centuries the only Bible available to Western people was the Latin Vulgate prepared by Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus toward the end of the fourth century A.D.  The Vulgate served as the official version of the Bible throughout Medieval Europe and was restricted to the clergy, monastic orders, and scholars. 
A British priest and Oxford scholar, John Wycliffe (1330-1384), was the first to make the entire Bible accessible to the common English-speaking people.  His translation, however, was based on the Vulgate and not on the Hebrew and Greek.  William Tyndale published the first English NT based on the Greek text in 1526.  Two close associates of Tyndale, Miles Coverdale and John Rogers, finished his work by publishing their own respective translations of the entire Bible: the Coverdale Bible (1535) and Matthew's Bible (1537).  The Geneva Bible of 1560 provided a translation of the Bible entirely from the original languages.  This paved the way for King James I to issue a translation that would correct the partisan nature of the Geneva Bible.  Thus in 1611, the much-celebrated Authorized Version (AV or KJV), largely based on Tyndale's work, became the unrivaled English translation for 270 years. 
The twentieth century has given rise to a number of new translations.  The updating and production of new translations were necessitated by new ms. discoveries, changes in the English language, and the advancement of linguistics. Today, when someone opens any English Bible (NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, TNIV, HCSB), he or she may know that generations of faithful scholarship have managed to preserve and protect that Bible as it was originally given.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Timothy Tow

Only a handful of Bible-Presbyterian old pastors dare to call Timothy Tow Siang Hui as "an old fox," these old pastors were very close to Timothy Tow from the beginning of Far Eastern Bible College, they were all at inner circle of Tow's life, they knew him very well, they were in the beginning good friend.....but Tow betrayed them and hurt their feeling...that is why they called him, "an old fox