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Why the Bible is Adequate
How Did The Bible Come To Us?
1. Manuscripts (copies of the Bible in the original languages):
a. The Vatican manuscript (or Codex B) – a fourth century manuscript, housed in the Vatican Library since 1481. It contains 759 pages of the finest vellum on which most of the Old and New Testaments are written.
b. The Sinaitic manuscript – discovered at Mt. Sinai. It dates to the fourth century and contains most of the Old Testament and all twenty-seven books of the New Testament. It was discovered by a German named Tischendorf, in 1844-1859, and then put in the Imperial Library, St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1933, it was sold to the British Museum for half a million dollars. (Note: We could as reasonably say “the Russians gave us the Bible,” as we could “the Roman Catholics gave us the Bible”! Neither is true.)
c. The Alexandrian manuscript – dates to the fifth century. It was taken from Alexandria, Egypt to the British museum in 1627. Ten leaves are missing from the Old Testament, 25 from the beginning of the New, two from John and three from Second Corinthians.
d. The Dead Sea Scrolls – were discovered in 1947 and date back to the second century B.C. Scrolls were found of every Old Testament book, except Esther, and a complete manuscript of the book of Isaiah. These manuscripts simply confirmed the accuracy of what we already had.
e. Summary: There are over 5,000 manuscripts, or partial manuscripts of the New Testament (the number keeps growing), and some of them date back to 130 A.D.
Consider these facts about these ancient writings:
2. Ancient Versions (translations from the original languages):
a. The gospel was preached on Pentecost in different languages (Acts 2:4,6), and that same gospel needed to be translated into different languages after it was written by Spirit-guided men (Eph. 3:3-5). Note: Translating a manuscript cannot corrupt the manuscript! The translation may be wrong in some point, but scholars can check the manuscripts which are genuine!
b. The Old Syriac – a language spoken in regions of Syria and Mesopotamia, was found in 1892. It contains the gospel accounts and is dated to the second century.
c. The Old Latin – thirty-eight fragments contain almost every book of the N.T.
d. The Latin Vulgate – revision of the Old Latin, from Greek manuscripts, made in 382-385. “Perhaps 10,000 copies of the New Testament in the Latin Vulgate exist” (Lightfoot, p. 43).
3. What about the Apocryphal Books?
a. The Catholic Church added Apocryphal (doubtful authenticity) books to the Old Testament. They have not removed any books; they have added books! But they have not added any to the New Testament - under which we live.
b. Why we reject the apocryphal books:
1. They were never included in the Hebrew canon of the O.T. Neither Jesus, the apostles, nor other Jews to whom the Law was given accepted them.
2. They were not accepted by such Jewish writers as Philo and Josephus (first century), the Jewish council of Jamnai (c. 90 A.D.), or by Origin and Jerome.
3. They do not show qualities of inspiration. Great portions are fictitious and contain historical and geographical errors.
4. Various books were read then, as today, in religious meetings but that does not prove they were regarded as inspired.
4. Mormon Testimony:
a. The Book of Mormon says: “…For behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away…Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, and exceeding great many do stumble, yea, inasmuch that Satan hath great power over them” (1 Nephi 13:26,28,29).
b. The Articles of Faith contradict this claim:
1. “It is evident, then, that from a time nearly three hundred years before Christ, the Old Testament has been current in both Hebrew and Greek; and this duplication has been an effective means of protection against alterations” (p. 242).
2. “Since the latter part of the fourth century of our current era, there has arisen scarcely a question of importance regarding the authenticity of the New Testament as at present constituted. During these centuries the New Testament has been accepted as a canon of scripture by professed Christians” (p. 245).
3. After presenting these historical facts, it speculates – “perhaps, many precious parts have been suppressed or lost, while some corruptions of the texts may have crept in, and errors have been inadvertently introduced through the incapacity of translators, the volume as a whole must be admitted as authentic and credible” (p. 248).
Note: I have presented this material to several Mormons and the only reaction I have received is that they would not trade their feelings for anything in the Bible. Their whole defense for the necessity of the Book of Mormon is flawed, but they chose to follow the “burning of the bosom” (their feelings) over what the word of God plainly teaches. If their feeling is the final source of authority – so is the feeling of everyone else! We can follow the word of God, or our feelings – but not both as the final standard of truth. Paul said “when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery…” (Eph. 3:3,4), and he commended the Bereans because they “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Mormons misuse James’ statement - “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…” (Jas. 1:5), to teach that we should read the Book of Mormon and pray for a feeling from God about whether it is true. James was writing to “brethren” (those who had obeyed the truth) and telling them to pray for wisdom in understanding how to apply his teaching. We believe because of evidence – not emotion. True emotion should be the product of the evidence – not the evidence!
A Crucial Test:
The Articles of Faith suggests “a crucial test, whereby the validity of falsity of any claim to divine authority may be determined” is whether the church organization is ever the same (p. 199). Note: It does not say to pray and ask God to give you a feeling about it, but to compare it with the Divine revelation to see if it is ever the same. So, let’s look at their organization and compare it with the Bible.
1. The Priesthoods:
a. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints recognizes two orders of Priesthood, the lesser called the Aaronic, the greater known as the Melchizedek order” (p. 204).
b. The Bible teaches:
1) The Aaronic priests were from the tribe of Levi (Num. 18:1,2).
2) Jesus was from the tribe of Judah (Heb. 7:13,14), therefore He could not have been an Aaronic priest (Heb. 8:4). But non-Jews (Mormons) claim to hold this priesthood.
3) The priesthood and the Law changed when Jesus died on the cross (Heb. 7:12; 8:7-13; 10:9-14). If the Levitical priesthood still exists, we are still under the Law of Moses.
4) There was only one man in the Old Testament to hold the priesthood of Melchizedek (Gen. 14:17-20). There is only one person in the New Testament who holds the priesthood of Melchizedek – Jesus (Heb. 7:1-10). David prophesied: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4; Heb. 6:20; 7:17).
5) The fact that neither the birth, death nor ancestry of Melchizedek is known made him typical of the One who truly had no beginning or end. Any man whose parents, or birth is known cannot be a priest after the order of Melchizedek!
a. This is called “the first or lowest (office) in the Aaronic Priesthood” (p. 206). Boys may be appointed to this office at the age of twelve.
b. The Bible teaches, among other qualifications, deacons must “be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well” (1 Tim. 3:8-13). Nothing is said about holding the Aaronic priesthood – because the priesthood had changed (Heb. 7:12).
a. Elders is another office of the Aaronic priesthood. They may be appointed at seventeen years of age, and ninety-six elders form a quorum, three of these constitute the presidency of the body” (p. 207).
b. The Bible teaches that elders, and bishops refer to the same work (Acts 20:17,28; Tit. 1:5,7). They must meet the qualifications (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9), and be appointed in local churches. An unmarried young man cannot meet the qualifications of husband of one wife and have believing children.
a. The seventies “are primarily traveling elders” and are to preach “unto the Gentiles first, and also unto the Jews” (p. 207).
b. The seventy sent by Jesus taught “the kingdom of God has come near you” (Lk. 10:11). They were not in the church, or kingdom, because it had not been established. There was never an office of “seventies” in the New Testament church.
5. High Priests:
a. High Priests “are ordained with power to officiate, when set apart or otherwise authoritatively directed, in all the ordinances and blessings of the Church” (p. 207).
b. In the Old Testament, the High Priest (one at a time) was from the tribe of Levi and had to meet specific qualifications (Ex. 29:29,30; Lev. 21:10-15). In the New Testament, Christ is our only High Priest (Heb. 4:14; 7:26-28). All who have been purchased by the blood of Christ are “a holy priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 5:9,10), and are to offer themselves as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1,2).
a. Apostles “act under the direction of the First Presidency of the Church. Twelve Apostles, duly set apart, constitute the Quorum, or Council, of the Twelve” (p. 209).
b. The Bible teaches that an apostle must be one who accompanied Jesus from His baptism and have been an eye-witness of the resurrection (Acts 1:21,22). There were only two who were found who met the qualifications and only one of them was chosen. Paul was an exception, and said “last of all He (Christ) was seen of me also, as one born out of due time” (1 Cor. 15:8). The apostles and prophets were part of the foundation of the church, with Jesus as the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). Neither the apostles, nor Christ must be on earth for the church to exist – and none of them are
7. The First Presidency:
a. The First Presidency is chosen by members of the High Priesthood and is “to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the Church” (p. 210).
b. The Bible says Christ is “head over all things to the church, which is His body…” (Eph. 1:22,23). The Bible does not authorize a First Presidency, nor an earthly head of the church. The one body (Eph. 4:4) has one head
If you took a “crucial test” and missed every question, what would be your grade? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not have one office that is identical with the organization of the New Testament church. It is a human organization, set up by the wisdom of men, not by the Testament dedicated with the blood of Christ.
The First (or Old) Testament was dedicated by the blood of animals (Ex. 24:7,8). The Second (or New) Testament was dedicated by the blood of Christ (Mt. 26:28; Heb. 9:15-17). Any addition to that Testament is a reflection on the blood of Christ and has not been dedicated with His blood.
The Book of Mormon is NOT another Testament of Jesus Christ. It was not dedicated by His blood and is not in harmony with the Testament that WAS dedicated by that blood.
Note: Whoever wrote the Book of Mormon probably confused Zion (the city of David, 1 Chron. 11:5), with Bethlehem (the city of David, Lk. 2:11). Jerusalem was a walled city and never included Bethlehem.
Copyright Midway Church of Christ 2014 This page last modified July 03, 2014