We opened Holy Week this year with a look at the message of “first importance”–the gospel!–examining what Paul had to say about it in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. Without a doubt the Apostle testified to it’s veracity and vitality in what many consider to be the most succinct explanation of this ‘good news’ in the New Testament.
But can this message be trusted after all these years? This is the heartbeat of one of the questions that came in via our text line (the only one we didn’t address in the service), and it’s the focus of this week’s Q Zone.
Q: What would you say to a person who identifies as a Christian, but says they believe the Scriptures are corrupted by man and human interpretations?
A: As you know, simply “identifying” as a Christian isn’t the same as being a Christian. I would personally find it hard to consider them a genuine believer if they continually doubt the Bible and discredit God’s ability to preserve his Word. And that is what it seems they’re doing—discrediting God. But Peter assured us that man corrupting Scripture and inventing interpretations is precisely what has not happened to God’s Holy Word due to God’s powerful Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21).
But let me answer the question, which specifically was, “What would you say to this person?”
I’d say something like this: “Would you be willing to sit down with me and look more closely at your claims of corruption?” Assuming they would respond affirmatively, this is an opportunity to do two things. 1) Honestly engage about some of the known language and translation issues/discrepancies. Understanding these is one of the ways we realize that translation changes, even scribal decisions of centuries ago, do not necessarily equate to translation corruption. 2) Clarify that no major doctrine has been/is affected by language adjustments or even manuscript differences. So our confidence in God’s inspired Word remains strong and solid through minor discoveries about various translation issues.
This kind of conversation may well be what would lead your friend to either genuine faith or a more grounded faith. Without a doubt, one of the two is needed.
Incidentally, here are two good articles pertaining to trusting the Bible that may help you get this conversation started and keep it going.