Of Biblical Commas, Biblical Inerrancy and Humility

“There is not a single edit you could make to Scripture to improve it. Anything you would do to amend so much as a biblical comma would drastically demote it. You can’t improve the Word of God. You’d only ruin perfection. Keep your edits on the shelf.”

Tweet by Grace Bible Theological Seminary provost and theology professor Owen Strachan.

Evangelical theologians like Strachan who believe in Biblical inerrancy believe that the Bible in the original manuscripts is without fault or error. Most evangelical theologians also believe in biblical infallibility, the belief that what the Bible says regarding matters of faith, science, geography and history is absolutely true.

They believe that every jot and tittle in Scripture is the inspired word of God and woe is unto any infidel who removes so much as a single comma.

I’m not a theologian or a linguist, but even I know that the original Hebrew Biblical manuscripts were written without vowels and without punctuation. In fact, most modern Hebrew is also written without vowels. Vowels were inserted by translators when they deemed it necessary for reading comprehension and to prevent misunderstandings.

The original manuscripts may have been without fault or error, but what most Christians don’t realize is that over the past 2,000 years, the sacred text has changed a great deal. There is not a single “first edition” extant, what we have are copies of copies of copies of copies …

Of course, Strachan knows that there are no commas in the original Hebrew manuscripts, evidently he places a greater importance on trolling rather than teaching the Bible.

The original holy text simply doesn’t exist, the fact is that what we have are English translations of Hebrew manuscripts that were copied scores of times.  The scribes who copied the Hebrew manuscripts made myriad errors and the translators who translated the Bible from Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek to English made mistakes of their own.

The provenance of Scripture should instill a little bit of humility in theologians and lay Christians. The Bible of today is an imperfect book for imperfect human beings, which means that Christians should be less dogmatic and more loving, tolerant, and understanding.

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