Our Marvelously Preserved Scriptures…

Our Marvelously Preserved Scriptures…

I came to understand the true nature of both God and man through the study of the Scriptures. I can truly sing these words with great joy:

How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

God has preserved His Word through three conduits.

“The provision,” writes John Burgon, “which the Divine Author of Scripture is found to have made for the preservation in its integrity of His written Word, is of a peculiarly varied and highly complex description.”

“First,—By causing that a vast multiplication of COPIES should be required all down the ages,—beginning at the earliest period, and continuing in an ever-increasing ratio until the actual invention of Printing,—He provided the most effectual security imaginable against fraud.”

“Next, VERSIONS. The necessity of translating the Scriptures into divers languages for the use of different branches of the early Church, procured that many an authentic record has been preserved of the New Testament as it existed in the first few centuries of the Christian era.”

“Lastly…every famous Doctor of the Church in turn has quoted more or less largely from the sacred writings, and thus has borne testimony to the contents of the codices with which he was individually familiar. PATRISTIC CITATIONS accordingly are a third mighty safeguard of the integrity of the deposit.”

“And, first of all, the reader has need to be apprised (with reference to the first-named class of evidence) that most of our extant copies of the N. T. Scriptures are comparatively of recent date, ranging from the 10th to the 12th century of our era. That these are in every instance copies of yet older manuscripts, is self-evident; and that in the main they represent faithfully the sacred autographs themselves, no reasonable person doubts. Still, it is undeniable that they are thus separated by about a thousand years from their inspired archetypes. Readers are reminded, in passing, that the little handful of copies on which we rely for the texts of Herodotus and Thucydides, of Æschylus and Sophocles, are removed from their originals by full 500 years more: and that, instead of a thousand, or half a thousand copies, we are dependent for the text of certain of these authors on as many copies as may be counted on the fingers of one hand. In truth, the security which the Text of the New Testament enjoys is altogether unique and extraordinary.”

“To specify one single consideration, which has never yet attracted nearly the amount of attention it deserves,—“Lectionaries” abound, which establish the Text which has been publicly read in the churches of the East, from at least a.d. 400 until the time of the invention of printing.”

Having read about these wonderful provisions our God has made let us sing together:

How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

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