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“Holding forth the Word of Life” Philippians 2:16
“Holding fast the Faithful Word” Titus 1:9
Today, Satan is attacking the church by attacking the very Foundation of her faith—Jesus, the Living Word, and the Bible, His Written Word. The devil is attacking Christ by criticising Christ’s words. Satan has used Cambridge liberals, Westcott and Hort, and their cohorts to sow seeds of confusion in the hearts and minds of Bible-believing, Bible-loving, and Bible-defending Christians today. This Westcott and Hort textual critical virus has spread far and wide since 1881 with the introduction of their corrupt Greek text and their English perversion of the Bible called the Revised Version. The infection has reached pandemic levels! Homiletic and didactic antibiotics seem innocuous. Are we now at the mercy of this Westcott-Hort HIV, and can only wait to die? God forbid!
Satan is up to his tricks again. He is now trying to cast doubt in the minds of God’s people that we do not have a perfect Bible. Satan is saying, “The Bible is only without mistakes or errors in the area of salvation, but in matters of science, history, or geography, it can make mistakes.” Neo-evangelicals who teach this view say that we must not say the Bible is the Word of God, but that the Bible merely contains the Word of God. The devil is whispering a doubt into our ears, “Yea, hath God said?” “Are you sure the Bible is perfect to the last jot and tittle?”
The seductive doctrines of demons appeal very much to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Be careful! Watch your heart! Watch your mind! “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15, 16, 17).
The Apostle Paul gives us the divine remedy in 1 Timothy 4. But he first described the disease: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (verse 1). The antidote is prescribed in the last verse: “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (verse 16).
How can we be saved from such seductions and delusions? Simple: “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
We need to be inoculated against the doctrinal viruses and bacteria that seek to invade us. Here are three prescriptive and preventive measures:
The paramount doctrine of the Christian faith is the doctrine of the verbal and plenary inspiration and preservation of the Holy Scriptures. We need to believe that the Holy Scriptures as an inseparable unit, and in its distinctive parts to the last jot and tittle are “immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical” (Westminster Confession I.8).
The following proof-texts make this clear: (1) “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16); (2) “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); (3) “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); and (4) “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).
God forbid that we should ever make this anti-biblical statement: “The Bible contains mistakes and errors, but they are so small and so minor they should not cause us any worry.” If the Bible contains error, no matter how small or minor, I worry! “Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4)! If God says He has given us a perfect and pure Bible to the last jot and tittle, I simply and humbly believe it, and that settles it, no questions asked. We must have faith to cleave on to the very words of God. We must never doubt the veracity of His words! “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
No one has all the answers. God has all the answers, and sometimes He allows men (like Westcott and Hort with their “Accursed Text”), and false doctrines (like limited inerrancy and imperfect preservation) to come into the scene in order to test whether we love Him or not (Deuteronomy 13:3; Psalm 139:21–22). Would we doubt or question Him, or would we trust and obey His every word no matter what man may say? “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
The doctrine of verbal and plenary inspiration and preservation of Scripture is clear. We have a perfect God who has given us a perfect Bible, and He has kept His Word pure throughout all generations. None of His words to the last jot and tittle is lost. We see in history the providential hand of God in preserving the traditional Hebrew and Greek Scriptures that underlie the KJV.
Trusting fully in His promises that He would keep His words pure in all ages, we can most assuredly say, “We have a perfect Bible today!”
Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo is the academic dean of Far Eastern Bible College.
– Published in Bible Witness, Vol 2 Issue 4 (October – December 2002)