The Bible tells us in the New Testament book of First Corinthians that "...God is not the author of confusion...", but add man to the mix and, well, enough said. Such is the case with a new book and bible version. The book claims that much of the New Testament is a forgery and the new bible version, among other major revisions and reinterpretations of scripture, changes the description of Mary, the mother of Jesus, from being a virgin to a young woman.
Bart D, Ehrman, an already controversial biblical scholar, claims that a good portion of the New Testament of the Bible was not written by the authors given credit for it. In his new book, Forged, Ehrman says that at least half of all the New Testament books are forgeries. He believes that books claimed to have been authored by Peter and Paul, for example, were actually written by others that witnessed their lives or were close to them in the time of Jesus.
Ehrman says that because Peter was a fisherman, he was likely iliterate, and that Paul contradictated himself in his writings. He believes this helps to prove his point that people with competing theological views actually added to or wrote much of what we believe the Apostles authored in the New Testament. Ehrman gives us the impression that the books were forged to prove certain theological points or to negate others. However, there are some obvious problems with his conclusions.
The first and primary objection that I have to the arguments made in Mr Ehrman's book is that they ignore one of the primary fundamentals of the Christian Faith: That the Bible is the perfect, divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God. Consider what is stated in the King James Version, New Testament biblical book of First Peter, chapter one and verses sixteen to twenty-one: "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
God inspired people to physically write down what he wanted us to know. He most certainly allowed the people he used as scribes to interject their own styles, but the words and teachings are his. The need for a "more sure word of prophecy" came from the fact that early apostolic spiritual gifts were still available during the lifetimes of the Apostles. For example, they were often given supernatural knowledge from God that they would convey to people. However, there would come a time when these early spiritual gifts would no longer be available.
The King James Version, New Testament biblical book of First Corinthians makes it clear in chapter thirteen that the early spiritual gifts would cease. Verse eight states: "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." The ceasation of these gifts created the need for the written Word of God to be made available to people in future generations. Thus, we have the Bible.
The real question created by books like the one written by Ehrman is, "Can we trust that the Bible is the Word of God and made it down to us intact?" Well, if we look to the speeches made by Jesus and recorded in the New Testament, the answer is obvious. For example, Jesus often quoted from the Old Testament. In the King James Version, New Testament biblical book of Luke, chapter twenty-four and verses forty-four to forty-eight, Jesus appears after his death to his Apostles and says, "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things."
These amazing statements by our Savior reveal that Jesus put his stamp of approval on the Old Testament books which he quoted from; that they came down to his time intact and were the Word of God; and that his very own supernatural intervention was needed for his Apostles to fully understand scripture. The Bible is a supernatural book and those best suited to understand it are people with their spiritual eyes opened: namely, Christians. This fact is made clear in the King James Version, New Testament biblical book of Luke, chapter eight and verse ten where it states: "And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand."
I believe that books like Forged by Bart D, Ehrman are good in the sense that they cause people to read and examine the Bible who might not otherwise do so. However, I cannot accept his conclusions because they are based on assumptions, without proof, and question the divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Word of God. The King James Version, New Testament biblical book of John (also known as the Gospel of John) states in chapter one, verses one to five: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
The original Greek used in those verses (LOGOS, for example) gives us the impression that Christ is God's DIVINE EXPRESSION. This means that Jesus Christ is the living expression of everything that God wants us to know about himself and his plan of salvation for mankind. He is, literally, the walking Word of God. To question the validity of New Testament scripture, is to question the diety of Jesus Christ. If the Word of God is not the Word of God, than Jesus cannot be the Son of God and our Savior.
I have similar problems with the latest version of The New American Bible (Revised). In the 2011 edition, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken an already flawed translation of scripture based on poor manuscript choices and made it worse. They have tinkered with their version to the point that it has become almost completely impotent, spiritually speaking. Let's take a look at the King James Version, Old Testament biblical book of Isaiah, chapter seven and verse fourteen: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
The same verse in the old edition of The New American Bible states: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel." This translation is different from the King James and not as good. However, it has been made worse because the editors of the new revision, 2011 edition have replaced the word VIRGIN with THE YOUNG WOMAN. This negates the supernatural nature of the birth of Jesus Christ. As with the book by Ehrman, this translation of the Bible clearly attacks the diety of Jesus Christ.
I believe that most people that raise the kinds of questions that Ehrman raises or work on new Bible translations do not do so out of spite. I do not believe they are some sort of God haters. I believe that they have what they consider to be valid intellectual reasons for doing what they do. However, I also believe the Bible is a supernatural book brought down to us in a miraculous way. I accept the King James Version as the most accurate translation and believe it IS the Word of God for the English-speaking world.
It has been exactly four hundred years since the King James Version was first made available and I believe the best way to celebrate is for Christians to commit themselves to the reading of God's Word. Even if it's just a few verses or one chapter a day. The New Testament biblical book of Luke (also known as the Gospel of Luke) is a great place to start. It reveals some amazing details about the birth of John the Baptist, how he is related to Christ and gives us a brief glimpse into the boyhood of Jesus.
People will always debate the validity, inerrancy, divinity and relevency of the Bible. However, quoting from a line that Nicholas Cage delivers as an angel of God in the theatrical film City of Angels, "Some things are true whether you believe in them or not." The King James Version, New Testament biblical book of Acts, chapter sixteen and verses thirty to thirty-one states: "And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."