The Doctrine of Preservation The Biblical Doctrine of Divine Preservation of the Scriptures

The Need for Preservation

1 Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 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.
Matthew 4:1-4

When Satan was trying to tempt our Lord, he tried to get Him to change rocks into bread. Satan knew that He had been fasting for forty days, and He was now very hungry. The devil taunted Him, saying “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” Jesus responded by saying “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.” (Matt 4:4) He rebuked the devil by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, stating that man needs spiritual food to live, and not just physical nutrition. Therefore, we need to live by every word of God. But in order to do that, we must every word of God. We must have every word of God in order to live by every word of God. How do we know that we have every word of God today? Do we even have every word of God today? Of a truth, we do, for God has promised to preserve them for us.

First, how did we get the word of God? Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21) and All scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Tim 3:16). God inspired His word. He wrote it by using the Holy Ghost to inspire holy men to write. They were His pens. The inspired word of God was pure, infallible, spotless:

Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it. Ps. 119:140
Thou art near, O Lord; and all thy commandments are truth. Ps 119:151
Thy word is truth. John 17:17
If ye continue in my word ye shall know the truth – Jesus Christ, Jn 8:31,32

The last of the Bible was inspired over 1900 years ago, and those original manuscripts have long since disappeared. If we no longer have the originals, then how are we supposed to live by “every word of God?” Simple! God not only inspired His words, He promised to preserve them to this very day! God preserved His words for us here on earth, forever. This is made so plain in Scripture; it is not a theory or speculation, but a very DOCTRINE of the Christian faith.

The Promise of Preservation

God Promised in His Word that He would preserve His Word for us! Here are just some of the many Scriptures declaring this promise:

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.
Psalm 12:6,7

The Lord made a covenant (contract) with Israel that His words would never depart out of their mouth forever. They would always have God’s words:

As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
Isaiah 59:12

Jesus Christ assures us that His words would never pass away:

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall NEVER pass away.
Luke 21:33

Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Matthew 5:18

King David praised the Lord because His truth endures forever. God’s word is the truth. (See Jn 17:17):

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Psalms 100:5

1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.
Psalms 117

Isaiah tells us that the Word of the Lord stands forever:

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Isaiah 40:8

Peter expands on Isa 40:8 by informing us that the Word of the Lord LIVES and ABIDES with us FOREVER:

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
1 Peter 1:23-35

So it can be clearly seen from the Holy Scriptures themselves that God did indeed promise to preserve His Word. How did this happen? If God inspired His word by using holy men, no doubt He could also have used holy men to preserve it.

The manuscript evidence even shows that God’s Word has been preserved. Ninety-Five percent of all available NT manuscripts are categorized as being from the Byzantine text type.[i] This means that 95% of all NT manuscripts generally agree with each other, showing that God has indeed preserved His word. If you are still not convinced or want to see more Scripture on preservation, please see God’s Inspired, Preserved Word.

Preserved Forever

Therefore since God preserved His words, He must have preserved them forever. If it wasn’t preserved FOREVER it wasn’t preserved, period. In fact, the Bible says that He preserved them FOREVER:

6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Psalm 12:6,7

This means that God’s pure words have been with us since He inspired them, and will always be with us. Jesus told His disciples “My words shall not pass away.” “The word of God abideth with us forever” (1 Pet 1:23). This means the word of God lives with us, dwells with us, abides with us forever.

Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. Psalms 119:152
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. Psalms 119:160

God’s word endures forever. So we can know for sure, that; even though we live 3000+ years since Moses wrote the first book, and about 1900 since the last New Testament book was written, we can be sure that we have the infallible, perfect, pure, holy, inspired Word of the Living God available to us today.

Preserved for the People

Now that we know that God did indeed promise to preserve His words for us, another question arises: Exactly WHO did God preserve His word for? For the common people or for the Bible scholars? For everyone, or for an elite to lord over His flock?

Psalm 117
1 O praise the Lord, all ye nations, praise Him, all ye people.
2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.

Psalm 100
1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

God preserved His word for the people. O praise the Lord, all ye nations, praise him, all ye people. And why do the people praise the Lord? Because the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. The people were praising God because He had preserved His truth, His word for them. Thy word is truth Jn 17:17.

On the other hand, today’s scribes, the Bible scholars, though they hate to admit it, would have you believe that God preserved His words for them and that you have to go through them to get it. They believe that God’s word is preserved only in the original languages, Greek and Hebrew, and that no translation could ever be perfect. (If God could use holy men to inspire it perfectly, and use holy men to preserve it perfectly, surely He could find some holy men to translate it perfectly.) Now very few people understand Greek and Hebrew. If God preserved His words FOR THE PEOPLE, His preserved words cannot be found in the original languages alone, they would have to be found in translations also.

According to the scholars’ way of thinking, if you want to have access to the pure, infallible, holy Word of the Lord, you must spend thousands of dollars to go to Bible school to learn Greek and Hebrew. Remember, you must be fluent in Biblical Greek and Hebrew to fully understand the Bible. Once you have mastered the languages, you must go out and buy the most accurate edition of the Greek and Hebrew texts that you can find. You will learn that these are not perfect, and that you will have to buy new editions of the text every few years as the scholars make it ‘more perfect’ using the latest available manuscript discoveries. But the new editions are not perfect, and will never be perfect. So you learn that in order to find the true Word of God, you must take more classes and earn some degrees, costing you some tens of thousands more. You will find yourself with a Th.D in Textual Criticism, and will now be able to find the true, holy, perfect, infallible Word of God. You will be able to determine for yourself which manuscripts are correct and which are wrong, for you will BE a BIBLE SCHOLAR.

Yes, according to the scholars’ thinking, you will have to become a Bible scholar to know the true Bible. You must become ONE OF THEM to have access to the pure word of God. But along the way, you will have learned their dirty little secret: They don’t believe that God preserved His Word. They do not believe in Scripture preservation at all. You will learn that the Word of God was perfect in the original manuscripts only, and that all we have today is error-filled copies. So you will have spent a fortune and have gotten nowhere. But don‘t worry, everyone will look up to you, and accept your interpretation as valid, for “if the Scholar said it, it must be true.”

So according to the scholars, you might have a “very good” copy of the Greek and Hebrew, or an “accurate” translation, but you can never have an absolutely perfect, 100% pure, infallible, just-as-God-inspired-it Bible. BUT THIS IS NOT GOD’S WAY OF THINKING.

So to get the infallible word of God, you could spend thousands of dollars, or go to the local Christian bookstore and buy a King James Bible for $15 ($60 if you want a good one). Which of these options sounds more available to the common man?

The Lord Jesus Christ declared, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matt 4:4. Now if the common man does not have access to every word of God, then how are we supposed to keep this commandment? Therefore, are we, who do not know Greek and Hebrew, willfully disobedient of God’s commandment? If we are all required to give an account before God (and we are), what did we say then? ”We could not keep every one of Thy words because we could not afford to learn Greek and Hebrew?“ Do you REALLY think that a loving God would give us a commandment impossible for us to keep? No He did not, for it is evident, that God preserved His word for the PEOPLE.

Is is then no doubt why Jesus Christ Himself warned us to “Beware of the SCRIBES…” (Luke 20:46); Not all of them are good.

A SIMPLE LAYMAN ARMED WITH SCRIPTURE IS TO BE BELIEVED ABOVE A SEMINARY OR DOCTOR OF THEOLOGY WITHOUT IT!!

God preserved His word for the people. Therefore, God’s infallible Word is found in the common languages of the people, and not just in the original languages. How can a translation be perfect? With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Matt 19:26

Preserved to the Word

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Matthew 4:4

If God expects us to live by His every word, then He must have preserved every word. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever (Ps. 119:160). EVERY ONE.

Jesus Christ Himself said that His WORDS would not pass away, but be preserved:

Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33

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.
Matthew 5:18

Now if Christ Himself declared that His Words would last forever, there is no disputing it. The Word was preserved to the very words. But it may have been preserved even better than that. It may have been preserved to the very letter. In Matthew 5:18 (quoted above), Christ states that not a jot or a tittle shall pass away. Now a jot means the least part of something, a little bit and tittle means a very small part of quantity (Infoplease.com dictionary). The least part of God’s Word will never pass away. In fact, another meaning of tittle is a dot or other small mark in writing or printing In these verses did Christ not promise that not even a letter of His Word will ever fail or pass away?

God Has Preserved His Word

Now you can see that God has preserved His word, and He preserved it for YOU. He preserved it perfectly. It is pure, perfect, infallible, error-free TODAY, not long ago and far away in manuscripts that no longer exist. He preserved it to the word, so that you could live by every word, and he preserved it forever so that we would always have it. Now that you know that you have access to a perfect Bible, what are you going to do with it?

[i] D.A. Carson. The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1979. pg 50 It is interesting to note that Dr. Carson not only does NOT believe in preservation, he misrepresents those who do to make it look like they are twisting the Scriptures!

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