John Calvin on Errors in the Scriptures (Quotations from Calvin’s Commentaries)

In this long article the author demonstrates with many evidences from Calvin’s own writings that he recognised that the Bible contains ‘intentional and unintentional misquotations, technical inaccuracies, historical errors, scientific errors, cultural accommodations and even theological errors’!

Contemporary followers of Calvin call themselves ‘Calvinists’ (people like James White) and they all claim that Scripture is inerrant and infallible. Calvin it seems was not a Calvinist.

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Reblogged from The PostBarthian by Wyatt Houtz

At many times, John Calvin’s describes the ontology of Scripture using the same vernacular as contemporary statements such as the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy, as well as dictation theories such as Plenary Verbal Inspiration that makes strong assertions about the Scripture’s inerrancy, infallibility, and identity with the Word of God. Despite the similarities at times, when reading Calvin’s voluminous commentaries, there are many times when Calvin makes conclusions that these statements and theories would never allow. This is especially true in that Calvin is willing to identify and work through certain kinds of errors he encounters in the scriptures, and is comfortable understanding the Scriptures being both human writings and the divine Word of God — where these modern statements and theories strive endlessly to deny that any errors, as such, exist. Among the categories of errors in Scriptures, Calvin includes intentional and unintentional misquotations, technical inaccuracies, historical errors, scientific errors, cultural accommodations and even theological errors! All of these types of errors do not undermine or discredit Calvin’s firm belief that although the Scriptures are a human document, they are also the inspired Word of God, and working through these difficulties are matters of little consequence to him and do not undermine or disable the Word of God revealed in them.  

I’ve provided a selection of quotations, where John Calvin allows for and identifies errors in the Scriptures that recent dictations theories would never allow. The importance of these quotations are not to prove that the Scriptures contain errors, but to demonstrate that John Calvin considered these examples to be errors in Scripture. It’s a helpful example to demonstrate how the Reformers understood the Inspiration of the Scriptures (2 Tim 3:162 Peter 1:21) and how it is much different than in conservative American Evangelicalism today, even to the point that many people today would be deeply offended by Calvin’s conclusions. Even John Murray, who rigorously attempts to harmonize Calvin with these modern theories concludes that Calvin should not have used the language he did when discussing these scriptures.

“2. We need not doubt that it was this distinction between the demands of pedantic precision, on the one hand, and adequate statement, that is, statement adequate to the situation and intent, on the other, that Calvin had in mind when he said that “the apostles were not so punctilious as not to accommodate themselves to the unlearned.” We are not necessarily granting that Calvin’s remarks are the best suited to the solution of the questions that arise in connection with Acts 7:14 and Heb. 11:21. We may even grant that the language used by Calvin in these connections is ill-advised and not in accord with Calvin’s usual caution when reflecting on the divine origin and character of Scripture. But, if so, we should not be surprised if such a prolific writer as Calvin should on occasion drop remarks or even express positions inconsistent with the pervasive and governing tenor of his thinking and teaching. In Calvin we have a mass of perspicuous statement and of lengthened argument to the effect that Scripture is impregnable and inviolable, and it would be the resort of desperation to take a few random comments, wrench them from the total effect of Calvin’s teaching, and build upon them a thesis which would run counter to his own repeated assertions respecting the inviolable character of Scripture as the oracles of God and as having nothing human mixed with it.” (John Murray’s “Calvin’s Doctrine of Scriptures“).

However, Calvin scholars such as John T. McNeill, Ronald Wallace, François Wendel, Wilhelm Niesel, J.K.S. Reid, etc. all say that Calvin cannot be harmonized with recent dictation theories, and it is only those who have agenda to prove these theories that make such assertions about Calvin, and all of these Calvin scholars say that Calvin’s understanding of Scripture is quite different than what they considered modern “fundamentalism” because Calvin has a clear understanding that the Scriptures are both human writings and simultaneously the Word of God.

Romans 3:4 ~ Example of Paul misquoting Psalms

In Romans 3:4, when Calvin indicates that Paul intentionally followed the incorrect translation in the Greek version of Psalm 51:4, to express his purpose, “But Paul has followed the Greek version, which answered his purpose here even better. We indeed know that the Apostles in quoting Scripture often used a freer language than the original; for they counted it enough to quote what was suitable to their subject: hence they made no great account of words.”

 “Against thee have I sinned; justly then dost thou punish me.” And that Paul has quoted this passage according to the proper and real meaning of David, is clear from the objection that is immediately added, “How shall the righteousness of God remain perfect if our iniquity illustrates it?” For in vain, as I have already observed, and unseasonable has Paul arrested the attention of his readers with this difficulty, except David meant, that God, in his wonderful providence, elicited from the sins of men a praise to his own righteousness. The second clause in Hebrew is this, “And that thou mightest be pure in thy judgment;” which expression imports nothing else but that God in all his judgments is worthy of praise, how much soever the ungodly may clamor and strive by their complaints disgracefully to efface his glory. But Paul has followed the Greek version, which answered his purpose here even better. We indeed know that the Apostles in quoting Scripture often used a freer language than the original; for they counted it enough to quote what was suitable to their subject: hence they made no great account of words.

The application then of this passage is the following: Since all the sins of mortals must serve to illustrate the glory of the Lord, and since he is especially glorified by his truth, it follows, that even the falsehood of men serves to confirm rather than to subvert his truth. Though the word κρίνεσθαι, may be taken actively as well as passively, yet the Greek translators, I have no doubt, rendered it passively, contrary to the meaning of the Prophet.

~John Calvin, “Commentary on Romans”,
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom38.vii.ii.html#Bible:Rom.3.4

Hebrews 11:21 ~ Example of Apostle of Hebrews Misquoting 1 Kings 1:47

In John Calvin’s commentary on Hebrews 11:21, he demonstrates that the author of Hebrews quoted the Greek Septuagint, that contained an error in its translation of the Hebrew original source. Calvin notes that the Apostle did not correct the error, but allowed it to remain as an accommodation. Calvin says that the Apostle’s in their use of the Old Testament, “were not so scrupulous in this respect, as not to accommodate themselves to the unlearned [..] and in this there is no danger”. 

“And worshiped on the top, etc. This is one of those places from which we may conclude that the points were not formerly used by the Hebrews; for the Greek translators could not have made such a mistake as to put staff here for a bed, if the mode of writing was then the same as now. No doubt Moses spoke of the head of his couch, when he said על ראש המטה but the Greek translators rendered the words, “On the top of his staff” as though the last word was written, mathaeh. The Apostle hesitated not to apply to his purpose what was commonly received: he was indeed writing to the Jews; but they who were dispersed into various countries, had changed their own language for the Greek. And we know that the Apostles were not so scrupulous in this respect, as not to accommodate themselves to the unlearned, who had as yet need of milk; and in this there is no danger, provided readers are ever brought back to the pure and original text of Scripture. But, in reality, the difference is but little; for the main thing was, that Jacob worshiped, which was an evidence of his gratitude. He was therefore led by faith to submit himself to his son.”

~ John Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews,
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom44.xvii.vii.html#xvii.vii-p32

1 Corinthians 10:8 ~ Example of Factual Errors by Paul when quoting Numbers 25:9

John Calvin identifies a factual error in 1 Corinthians 10:8, where Paul records 23,000 but the source value is 24,000. Calvin says such inaccuracies are inconsequential, “Though they differ as to number, it is easy to reconcile them, as it is no unusual thing, when it is not intended to number exactly and minutely each head, to put down a number that comes near it [..] Moses has set down the number above the mark, and Paul, the number below it, and in this way there is in reality no difference.

8. Neither let us commit fornication Now he speaks of fornication, in respect of which, as appears from historical accounts, great licentiousness prevailed among the Corinthians, and we may readily infer from what goes before, that those who had professed themselves to be Christ’s were not yet altogether free from this vice. The punishment of this vice, also, ought to alarm us, and lead us to bear in mind, how loathsome impure lusts are to God, for there perished in one day twenty-three thousand, or as Moses says, twenty-four. Though they differ as to number, it is easy to reconcile them, as it is no unusual thing, when it is not intended to number exactly and minutely each head, to put down a number that comes near it, as among the Romans there were those that received the name of Centumviri, (The Hundred,) while in reality there were two above the hundred. As there were, therefore, about twenty-four thousand that were overthrown by the Lord’s hand — that is, above twenty-three, Moses has set down the number above the mark, and Paul, the number below it, and in this way there is in reality no difference. This history is recorded in Numbers 25:9

~ John Calvin, “Commentary on Corinthians, Vol 2″
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom39.xvii.ii.html#Bible:1Cor.10.8

Acts 7:16 ~Example of a Historical Error in Scripture by Luke

In Calvin’s commentary on Acts 7:16, the name Abraham is wrongly placed in the text, and Calvin specifically attributes this error to Luke, “it is manifest that there is a fault [mistake] in the word Abraham [..]   I can affirm nothing concerning this matter for a certainty, save only that this is either a speech wherein is synecdoche, or else that Luke rehearseth this not so much out of Moses, as according to the old fame; as the Jews had many things in times past from the fathers, which were delivered, as it were, from hand to hand [..] Wherefore this place must be amended.“.

16. Stephen saith, that the patriarchs were carried into the land of Canaan after they were dead. But Moses maketh mention only of the bones of Joseph, (Genesis 1:13.) And Joshua 24:32, it is reported, that the bones of Joseph were buried without making any mention of the rest. Some answer, that Moses speaketh of Joseph for honor’s sake, because he had given express commandment concerning his bones, which we cannot read to have been done of the rest. And, surely, when Jerome, in the pilgrimage of Paula, saith, that she came by Shechem, he saith that she saw there the sepulchres of the twelve patriarchs; but in another place he maketh mention of Joseph’s grave only. And it may be that there were empty tombs erected to the rest. I can affirm nothing concerning this matter for a certainty, save only that this is either a speech wherein is synecdoche, or else that Luke rehearseth this not so much out of Moses, as according to the old fame; as the Jews had many things in times past from the fathers, which were delivered, as it were, from hand to hand. And whereas he saith afterward, they were laid in the sepulcher which Abraham had bought of the sons of Hemor, it is manifest that there is a fault [mistake] in the word Abraham. For Abraham had bought a double cave of Ephron the Hittite, (Genesis 23:9,) to bury his wife Sarah in; but Joseph was buried in another place, to wit, in the field which his father Jacob had bought of the sons of Hemor for an hundred lambs. Wherefore this place must be amended.

~ John Calvin, “Commentary on Acts”,
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom36.xiv.iii.html#Bible:Acts.7.16

Ephesians 4:8 ~ Example of Paul intentionally misquoting Psalms 68:16, and correct a theological error

According to Calvin, Paul intentionally “changed” the quotation of Psalm 68:16 into its “opposite meaning” by replacing “gave gifts” to “received gifts” in his quotation in Ephesians 4:8. Although the standard ‘solution’ to this bible difficulty is to say that Paul combined Psalms 68:16 with Leviticus, this is not Calvin’s conclusion. Calvin says that the apostles, and in this case “Paul does not always quote the exact words of Scripture, but, after referring to the passage, satisfies himself with conveying the substance of it in his own language.” The provocative point is that Paul has improved upon the Psalmist, that it may be right to consider Psalm 68:16 as a theological error, that has been amended by Paul!

And gave gifts to men. There is rather more difficulty in this clause; for the words of the Psalm are, “thou hast received gifts for men,” while the apostle changes this expression into gave gifts, and thus appears to exhibit an opposite meaning. Still there is no absurdity here; for Paul does not always quote the exact words of Scripture, but, after referring to the passage, satisfies himself with conveying the substance of it in his own language. Now, it is clear that the gifts which David mentions were not received by God for himself, but for his people; and accordingly we are told, in an earlier part of the Psalm, that “the spoil” had been “divided” among the families of Israel. (Psalm 68:12.) Since therefore the intention of receiving was to give gifts, Paul can hardly be said to have departed from the substance, whatever alteration there may be in the words.

At the same time, I am inclined to a different opinion, that Paul purposely changed the word, and employed it, not as taken out of the Psalm, but as an expression of his own, adapted to the present occasion. Having quoted from the Psalm a few words descriptive of Christ’s ascension, he adds, in his own language, and gave gifts, — for the purpose of drawing a comparison between the greater and the less. Paul intends to shew, that this ascension of God in the person of Christ was far more illustrious than the ancient triumphs of the Church; because it is a more honorable distinction for a conqueror to dispense his bounty largely to all classes, than to gather spoils from the vanquished.

The interpretation given by some, that Christ received from the Father what he would distribute to us, is forced, and utterly at variance with the apostle’s purpose. No solution of the difficulty, in my opinion, is more natural than this. Having made a brief quotation from the Psalm, Paul took the liberty of adding a statement, which, though not contained in the Psalm, is true in reference to Christ — a statement, too, by which the ascension of Christ is proved to be more illustrious, and more worthy of admiration, than those ancient manifestations of the Divine glory which David enumerates.

~ John Calvin, “Commentary on Ephesians”
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom41.iv.v.ii.html#iv.v.ii-p23

Matthew 27:9 ~Example of a Wrong Name Put Down By Mistake

John Calvin makes no attempt to defend the author of Matthew in his commentary on Matthew 27:9. Calvin says “the passage itself plainly shows that the name of Jeremiah has been put down by mistake,” and although Calvin occasionally attributes such an error to a scribe, however, in this example he says: “I confess that I do not know nor do I give myself much trouble to inquire.”  Note that Calvin doesn’t attempt to vindicate Matthew of this blunder, but accepts it plainly as an error that should be corrected, without being hindered by whomever put down the wrong name, whether it was in sources to Matthew, by the Author of Matthew, or due to a later scribal error.

9. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet. How the name of Jeremiah crept in, I confess that I do not know nor do I give myself much trouble to inquire. The passage itself plainly shows that the name of Jeremiah has been put down by mistake, instead of Zechariah, (11:13;) for in Jeremiah we find nothing of this sort, nor any thing that even approaches to it. Now that other passage, if some degree of skill be not used in applying it, might seem to have been improperly distorted to a wrong meaning; but if we attend to the rule which the apostles followed in quoting Scripture, we shall easily perceive that what we find there is highly applicable to Christ.

~ John Calvin, “Harmony of the Evangelists, Pt 3”
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom33.ii.xxxvi.html#ii.xxxvi-p31

Matthew 23:35 ~ Example of Mistaken name 

John Calvin provides several conjectures to explain why the wrong surname is attributed to Zechariah, and finally makes an interesting conclusion allowing that Jerome may be right that the text may contain an error, “or whether (as Jerome thinks) there is a mistake in the word, there can be no doubt as to the fact, that Christ refers to that impious stoning of Zechariah which is recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:2122“. Calvin is not thinking of a scribal transmission error, because Jerome affirms Barachiah is the original form, and arguest against the Gospel of Nazarenes where the name is corrected to Jehoiada, and at the same time Jerome denies that Zechariah is the son of Barachiah. Jerome’s solution, that Calvin endorses is complicated in suggests the wrong name was intentionally placed in the text to follow a Hebrew pattern due to the meaning of Barachiah. Read Jerome’s Commentary to understand why Matthew would have intentionally supplied the wrong name.

There is no probability in the opinion of those who refer this passage to that Zechariah who exhorted the people, after their return from the Babylonish captivity, to build the temple, (Zechariah 8:9,) and whose prophecies are still in existence. For though the title of the book informs us that he was the son of Barachiah, (Zechariah 1:1,) yet we nowhere read that he was slain; and it is, forced exposition to say, that he was slain during the period that intervened between the building of the altar and of the temple. But as to the other Zechariah, son of Jehoiada, the sacred history relates what agrees perfectly with this passage; that when true religion had fallen into decay, after the death of his father, through the wicked revolt of the king and of the people, the Spirit of God came upon him, to reprove severely the public idolatry, and that on this account he was stoned in the porch of the temple, (2 Chronicles 24:2021.) There is no absurdity in supposing that his father Jehoiada received, in token of respect, the surname of Barachiah, because, having throughout his whole life defended the true worship, he might justly be pronounced to be the Blessed of God. But whether Jehoiada had two names, or whether (as Jerome thinks) there is a mistake in the word, there can be no doubt as to the fact, that Christ refers to that impious stoning of Zechariah which is recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:2122

~ John Calvin, “Harmony of the Evangelists, Pt 3”
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom33.ii.xiii.html#ii.xiii-p48

Numbers 8:26 ~ Example of Alleged Scribal Error

In his commentary on Numbers 8:26, Calvin concludes that the text is incorrect, but in this instance, he blames the error on the carelessness of a Scribe, despite the lack of manuscript evidence to support such a conclusion.

Nor does any reverence prevent us from saying that, as it sometimes happens in minor matters, a wrong number may have crept in from the carelessness of scribes; 239 and this is probably the most natural solution. The more correct reading, in my opinion, is, that they should offer two bullocks and one ram; but since it is elsewhere explained why God appointed this day, he only briefly recites here: “When they bring the fainha with the first-fruits.”

~ John Calvin, “Harmony of the Law”, Pt 2
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom04.iii.ix.iii.html#iii.ix.iii-p39

Genesis 1:14-16 ~ Example of Scientific (Astrological) Error 

In Calvin’s commentary on Genesis 1:14-15, he considers two cosmological errors in these accounts: 1) that the Moon is not larger than Saturn and 2) the Moon is a dark, opaque body and not an luminary. Calvin’s conclusion is that the author of Genesis is justified in using inaccurate science in order to communicate truths, so far as it enables that revelation to be better understood. The example demonstrates who a scientific error may be used in the Scripture, without it being corrected. He writes: “Moses wrote in a popular style things which without instruction, all ordinary persons, endued with common sense, are able to understand; but astronomers investigate with great labor whatever the sagacity of the human mind can comprehend. Nevertheless, this study is not to be reprobated, nor this science to be condemned”

15. Let them be for lights It is well again to repeat what I have said before, that it is not here philosophically discussed, how great the sun is in the heaven, and how great, or how little, is the moon; but how much light comes to us from them.71 For Moses here addresses himself to our senses, that the knowledge of the gifts of God which we enjoy may not glide away. Therefore, in order to apprehend the meaning of Moses, it is to no purpose to soar above the heavens; let us only open our eyes to behold this light which God enkindles for us in the earth. By this method (as I have before observed) the dishonesty of those men is sufficiently rebuked, who censure Moses for not speaking with greater exactness. For as it became a theologian, he had respect to us rather than to the stars. Nor, in truth, was he ignorant of the fact, that the moon had not sufficient brightness to enlighten the earth, unless it borrowed from the sun; but he deemed it enough to declare what we all may plainly perceive, that the moon is a dispenser of light to us. That it is, as the astronomers assert, an opaque body, I allow to be true, while I deny it to be a dark body. For, first, since it is placed above the element of fire, it must of necessity be a fiery body. Hence it follows, that it is also luminous; but seeing that it has not light sufficient to penetrate to us, it borrows what is wanting from the sun. He calls it a lesser light by comparison; because the portion of light which it emits to us is small compared with the infinite splendor of the sun.

16. The greater light I have said, that Moses does not here subtilely descant, as a philosopher, on the secrets of nature, as may be seen in these words. First, he assigns a place in the expanse of heaven to the planets and stars; but astronomers make a distinction of spheres, and, at the same time, teach that the fixed stars have their proper place in the firmament. Moses makes two great luminaries; but astronomers prove, by conclusive reasons that the star of Saturn, which on account of its great distance, appears the least of all, is greater than the moon. Here lies the difference; Moses wrote in a popular style things which without instruction, all ordinary persons, endued with common sense, are able to understand; but astronomers investigate with great labor whatever the sagacity of the human mind can comprehend. Nevertheless, this study is not to be reprobated, nor this science to be condemned, because some frantic persons are wont boldly to reject whatever is unknown to them. For astronomy is not only pleasant, but also very useful to be known: it cannot be denied that this art unfolds the admirable wisdom of God. Wherefore, as ingenious men are to be honored who have expended useful labor on this subject, so they who have leisure and capacity ought not to neglect this kind of exercise. Nor did Moses truly wish to withdraw us from this pursuit in omitting such things as are peculiar to the art; but because he was ordained a teacher as well of the unlearned and rude as of the learned, he could not otherwise fulfill his office than by descending to this grosser method of instruction. Had he spoken of things generally unknown, the uneducated might have pleaded in excuse that such subjects were beyond their capacity. Lastly since the Spirit of God here opens a common school for all, it is not surprising that he should chiefly choose those subjects which would be intelligible to all. If the astronomer inquires respecting the actual dimensions of the stars, he will find the moon to be less than Saturn; but this is something abstruse, for to the sight it appears differently. Moses, therefore, rather adapts his discourse to common usage. For since the Lord stretches forth, as it were, his hand to us in causing us to enjoy the brightness of the sun and moon, how great would be our ingratitude were we to close our eyes against our own experience? There is therefore no reason why janglers should deride the unskilfulness of Moses in making the moon the second luminary; for he does not call us up into heaven, he only proposes things which lie open before our eyes. Let the astronomers possess their more exalted knowledge; but, in the meantime, they who perceive by the moon the splendor of night, are convicted by its use of perverse ingratitude unless they acknowledge the beneficence of God.

~ John Calvin, “Commentary on Genesis, Pt 1″,
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom01.vii.i.html#Bible:Gen.1.16

 

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Categories: Bible, Christianity, Scholarship

29 replies

  1. Spot the difference… Which version is correct..

    And he said, “Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed. ( Genesis 47:31 Masoretic Torah )

    ————————-

    And he said, Swear to me; and he swore to him. And Israel did reverence, leaning on the top of his staff. (Genesis 47:31 Septuagint Torah )

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t believe that the lxx was existent at the time the apostles wrote the NT.

    The Jews would not have treated such a thing as scripture in their own land when they already had it in the original tongue.

    Like

  3. Mr Williams,

    Just a few comments on this post. First I consider Mr White a psuedo-intellectual; he is unable to grasp intellectual concepts whereas John Calvin obviously could. To be honest, Calvin did not share Mr Whites views on Textual Criticism especially regarding the Apostolic Polity. Also Mr White wouldn’t have faired well in historical Geneva. Lol.

    Now,John Calvin is dealing with Text Criticial and translation issues, as did Erasmus, Stephanus, the AV Scholars of 1611, Beza, Ireneus, Jerome and Augustine did.

    For instance: Here are the historical statements by credible fathers of the Church which should shed more light on this discussion:

    Augustine:
    “For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the manuscript is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it. (Letters, 82, in NPNF, 1:350).”

    Note: Calvin was a follower of Augustine

    Tertullian:
    “The statements of Holy Scripture will never be discordant with truth” (A Treatise on the Soul, 21, in ANF, 3:202).

    Irenaeus:
    “We should leave things [of an unknowable] nature to God who creates us, being most assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and His Spirit” (Against Heresies, 2.28.2, in ANF, 1:399).

    Mr Williams, Textual Criticisim is now being applied to the 31 different Korans. Jay Smith has found a scholar whose doing text criticisim on them that will be comming out soon on you-tube video near you..

    I am so glad we had scholars such as Jerome, Beza, Valla, Calvin, Stephanus,Tyndale, Erasmus, the AV Scholars of 1611 to work on ours.

    Jonathan S

    God Bless

    Like

    • “Mr Williams, Textual Criticisim is now being applied to the 31 different Korans. Jay Smith has found a scholar whose doing text criticisim on them that will be comming out soon on you-tube video near you..”

      LOL, irony and errors abound in this statement!

      “31 different Korans”? That’s rich!

      And then it gets better! Jay Smith, huh? Well, that certainly adds credence (sarcasm intended)!

      And finally, Smith “has found a scholar”? What does that mean? Who is this “scholar”? A bit vague, don’t you think? And this “scholar’s” work is being published on YouTube? Well, if he was a “scholar”, then shouldn’t his “text criticism” come out in a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal? YouTube is not exactly a scholarly medium.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jay Smith is a notorious hate preacher and liar. He has been exposed many times on youtube. Shame the Jonathan has such low standards.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mr Williams, my point in reference to Jay Smith, is why aren’t Islamic scholars working on this issue? Obviously there are printed editions of the Koran in Arabic throughout the Islamic world that are being sold. Why hasn’t a study been published?

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe there is a known Koran that does have known varients of the korans in Arabic by someone from the area. Yet this scholarship is not being pushed…

      So why aren’t your scholars doing this type of study?

      God bless

      Jonathan S

      Like

    • Jonathan, I know you are desperate to change the subject and run away from issues i raised in the post: John Calvin on Errors in the Scriptures (Quotations from Calvin’s Commentaries). Now man up and let’s engage with the subject shall we?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mr Williams,

      I am more than happy to discuss this topic with you:

      First it’s important to understand the writer of the article is articulating three different opinions that each comes out of their own school of thought. The authors own (which appears to be Noe-Orthodox), John Murray’s (which represents the views coming out of Westminster around the 1930s) and John Calvin’s which represents the scholarship of the Magisterial reformation)

      Also Mr Williams, you must understand where I am coming from. As an Anglican, I support the scholarship of the Magisterial reformation – and believe modern fundamentalism is contrary to the theological and textual positions not only of the the Magisterial reformation, but also of the historical Apostolic Churches.

      With that said, lets review a couple of the Authors assertions:

      First, the author of the Article stated that “Romans 3:4 ~ is an Example of Paul misquoting Psalms” and that Calvin indicates that Paul intentionally followed the incorrect translation in the Greek version of Psalm 51:4, to express his purpose

      Now let’s look at what Calvin really said: “But Paul has followed the Greek version, which answered his purpose here even better.

      The question we need to ask is why would Paul go to the Greek Version? Well, Calvin states in his preface to his commentary on the Romans that the “the Church of Rome membership included both Jews and Gentiles (1:6- 13; 7:1), and it was regarded by Paul as especially a Gentile church (1:3- 7; 13-15). Greek being the common language of the area,the Greeks and Jews would be more accustomed to the LXX,

      Calvin also states in his preface to the Romans that “Some Errors of Doctrine and Practice Had Crept in Which Needed Correction. (1) They seem to have misunderstood Paul’s teachings”

      Since Paul is trying to clarify the teachings, the substance of the message in the Psalm would be more properly understood by going to the Greek that they would be familiar with than to the Hebrew which may have caused more confusion…

      Calvin reiterates this very point when he says” We indeed know that the Apostles in quoting Scripture often used a freer language than the original; for they counted it enough to quote what was suitable to their subject: hence they made no great account of words.”

      Mr Williams – we all paraphrase to our audiences to get them to understand the topic at hand – this is nothing knew – Calvin does not speak of any error of scripture – but he is discussing that Paul is carrying over the essence of the message in the Hebrew Psalm to those that are acquainted with the Greek that they may properly understand the teaching. .

      Let’s look at another another example:

      The author of the article cites: Genesis 1:14-16 ~ Example of Scientific (Astrological) Error

      The bible is not a scientific journal; it is communicating salvation to men, and the purpose is to communicate that message in a way that allows the hearers to gain an understanding of that message” which is why Calvin states:

      “Moses wrote in a popular style things which without instruction, all ordinary persons, endued with common sense, are able to understand; but astronomers investigate with great labor whatever the sagacity of the human mind can comprehend. Nevertheless, this study is not to be reprobated, nor this science to be condemned”

      Authors use different styles to communicate their meanings whether by the use of a poetic approach, or though the use of metaphors, analogies, similes, etc…Calvin is clear there is no error here when he states “this study is not to be reprobated” –

      Let’s be honest Mr Williams, what do you think of the scientific statement found in the Koran that says the sun sets in a muddy pool.

      I am more than happy to discuss more of these statements of Calvin once I receive your response.

      2 Peter 3:15-16
      15. even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

      16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

      God Bless

      Jonathan

      Like

    • Jonathan,

      your quotes from Augustine et al shed no light whatsoever on the errors and contradictions in the Bible as discussed by Calvin. They are just an irrelevant diversion.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Jonathan knows next to nothing about the extent of the scholarship on the Quran. Not surprising given that most of his information is coming from Jay Smith.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just can’t take a single word of 2 Peter serious knowing it’s a forgery.
      I guess you’ll come up with some lame excuse to try and justify it or God forbid be in denial about it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Atlas,

      Since you know 2nd Peter is a forgery, Surely you can enlighten me on the name of the person who wrote it, where he was from, and how he was able to get into most of the Apostolic Churches in the Greek East and Latin West and convince these bishops it was from the Apostle Peter. Apparently you forgot to document these citations in your last post.

      Not only have you ignored the Apostolic Polity as evinced of the writings of Tertullian and Ireneus, but you failed to mentioned that even though Eusebius had reservations about 2nd Peter, Eusebius didn’t classify it as spurious ,but listed it as disputed and reported “that the majority of the Apostolic churches accepted the epistle as authentic. Since you forgot to read Tertullian (Prescription against Heresies /Against Marcion) and Ireneus (against heresies book 3) and Eusebius Church histories – all document that the Apostolic church were not only founded by the apostles, but as Ireneus writes “We can enumerate those who were established by the apostles as bishops in the churches and their successors down to present time – The historic churches to this day still maintains this polity. Which means we can establish a legal chain of custody for the text that was received by thousands of independent churches from the east and the west that received 2 Peter. The council of Carthage in 421 accounts 2nd Peter as Cannonical as being received by the fathers. Origin Lists 2nd Peter as Cannonical, as does Athanasis, Augustine, and Gregory Nazian.

      The fact that it was disputed, shows the churches weren’t dummies, and didn’t just accept anything – once again if you would actually read what the Apostolic Churches said (Ireneus/Tertullian) you would know that the text had to meet to key standards – it had to be apostolic (in that it could trace back to the Apostles and secondly it had to be catholic (commonly received).

      It’s important to due homework Atlas before parroting these type of comments…

      Its interesting that Bukhari used a similar standard (independant chain of reports) in collecting his prophets hadeeths 200 years afterwoods -and I can respect the integrity of his process and method even though he was only one man. But when thousands of independent Apostolic churches in the East and West uses a similar technique to validate the writings of the apostles – you call it a forgery.

      This is a clear example of a double standard.

      I’ll be explaining more on this topic on Mr Williams recent posting on the credibility of the bible.

      God Bless

      Jonathan S

      Like

    • A forgery is when it is NOT written by the one who claims to be the author.
      Not if you know WHO ELSE wrote it! You bring up such absurd standards to try and make everything in your bible unfalsifiable.

      ” But when thousands of independent Apostolic churches in the East and West uses a similar technique to validate the writings of the apostles”
      O really? They used similar technique as Bukhari? Are you actually serious Jonathan?
      Ok give me a single chain of any verse of 2Peter that goes back to Peter that is AUTHENTIC.
      And btw it’s the internal info of 2Peter that shows it’s not from Peter.

      Like

    • Atlas,

      once again you provide no historical citations from the ancient world to back up your assertions.

      When you state [You bring up such absurd standards to try and make everything in your bible unfalsifiable]

      The Apostolic Polity as evinced in the writings of Tertullian and Ireneus defines a very specific criteria for the text of the New Testament – When the Gnostics made their textual claims, it was subject to the following standard; Listen to the testimony of Tertullian:

      “But if there be any (heresies) which are bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop of theirs ] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men, — a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches likewise exhibit (their several worthies), whom, as having been appointed to their episcopal places by apostles, they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed.- Prescription Against Heresies (Tertullian)

      Shortly afterwords in his treastise Tertullian challenges the Gnostics to verify for themselves the official writings of the Apostles when he states “run over the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read:

      Now when Marcion rejected Johns Apocalypse, listen to how Tertullian objectively demonstrates the validity of the Text; “For Tertullian states: We have also St. John’s foster churches. For although Marcion rejects his Apocalypse, the order of the bishops (thereof), when traced up to their origin, will yet rest on John as their author” Tertullian Against Marcion Book 4.

      Tertullian also uses the same criteria to establish the validitiy of Matthew Mark, Luke and John when he states: “The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage — I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew — while that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke’s form of the Gospel men usually ascribe to Paul” Tertullian Against Marcion Book 4 Chapter 5

      So Atlas when you state: [Ok give me a single chain of any verse of 2Peter that goes back to Peter that is AUTHENTIC.] – We have the official Apostolic Sees of Peter (Aka – lines of Peter though the following churches [Alexandria – Mark was Peters Disciple according to both Tertullian, Ireneus and Eusbius – according to Eusebius in his Church Histories – Mark organized the church of Alexandria and was its first bishop, Origin who was a member of the church of Alexandria list 2nd Peter as from Peter and quotes from it at least 6 times; Origin had no problems even calling 1st & 2nd Peter the Twin documents of Peter. Athanasis who was Bishop of Alexandria lists 2nd Peter in his list of the 27 books of the new testament. Antioch, another Apostolic Church founded by Peter also list 2nd Peter as Cannonical – Rome which was founded by both Peter and Paul list 2nd Peter among the canonical books of the New Testament.

      Just in those 3 Apostolic Sees of the Apostle Peter, they witness 2nd Peter as being received from the Apostle – That is objective criteria and would hold up in any normal court of law. Even though Eusebius did have some reservations in naming several texts that are listed as spoken against – he testifies 2nd Peter and others are familiar to most.

      So Atlas, any one can forge a text. Marcion created his shorter edition of Luke and ten letters of Paul, the Valentians produced the Gospel of Truth. But as in any forged work – you still have to get it into the churches, and get them to accept the document – and we are not talking about 1 church, but thousands. This would be a logistical nightmare in the ancient world. the testimony shows from Ireneus and Tertullian that the Apostles appointed bishops to oversee and guard the churches against such corruption. Plus, the churches were underground prior to the edit of Milan – remember it was a crime to be a christian in the Roman Empire and the persecutions of Trajan and Domition demonstrated that they were being sought after.

      Atlas, when you state: [O really? They used similar technique as Bukhari? Are you actually serious Jonathan?]

      In order to help you understand what I mean, let me refer you to Dr. Mohammad Shafi lectures on the Hadith – How it was collected and compiled: The link is here for your reviewing. http://www.daralislam.org/portals/0/Publications/TheHADITHHowitwasCollectedandCompiled.pdf Remember, these aren’t my scholars – these are yours. Pay attention to this quote from Dr Mohammad Shafi as he discusses the methodology in collecting the hadiths “The scholars had to devise methodologies to deal with the challenge of discovering the various capabilities of reporters, and of identifying fabricators and people with special tribal, ethnic, or sectarian agendas. Thus was born the next element of authenticating Hadith; the Isnad. Having reliable people in the chain was not enough. It was required that Hadith on matters of importance come through a number of independent chains”

      This last statement by Dr Mohammad which states “Having reliable people in the chain was not enough, it was required that Hadith on matters of importance come through a number of independant chains” if you accept the criteria as laid out by Dr Mohammed which represents the criteria used by Bukhari, why then do you reject the collection efforts that also uses chain of reports and independant witnesses that agree to verify the collection of our new testament documents. What Dr Mohammad has described is very similiar process to that used in the arguments of Ireneus and Tertullian. As you can see, I’m being very fair to Islamic sources, yet your are not being fair to my Christian sources of the second century.

      God Bless

      Jonathan S

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    • And btw when something was disputed Bukhari would consider it to be unauthentic. Even Sahih Muslim’s standards of authentication wasn’t accepted by Bukhari.

      Like

    • In regard to Augustine, here’s an interesting existentialist quote:

      “Accordingly, when anyone claims, “Moses meant what I say,” and another retorts, “No, rather what I find there,” I think that I will be answering in a more religious spirit if I say, “Why not both, if both are true?” And if there is a third possibility, and a fourth, and if someone else sees an entirely different meaning in these words, why should we not think that he was aware of all of them?”

      Augustine, Confessions 12.31.42

      It seems that ol’ Augustine wasn’t much of a stickler for the absolute truth.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Once again I mentioned that internal evidence show that 2 Peter couldn’t have been written by Peter.

      You mentioned Mark. There is no evidence that Mark wrote that Gospel. And bringing in Ireneus wont help as that doesn’t prove your point.
      In fact early mentions of the gospels didn’t refer to them as the Gospel of Mark, Matthew,etc but referred to them just as 4 documents without mentioning their names. Early sayings of regarding Matthew was that it was written in Hebrew!

      Coming back to 2 Peter it contains material that is to late to be written during the lifetime of Peter. Never mind the fact Peter couldn’t even reed or write (according to Acts itself). I’m now supposed to believe he was he was an outstanding Greek writer?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Atlas,

      Once against you make assertions, but have not provided documentation from the ancient world that supports these statements. And while you gladly accept the methodology used by Bakhari to establish his prophets sayings 200 years after his prophets death through independent chains of reports from reliable sources – yet the independent churches of Peter that knew him best that can establish a legal chain of custody back to the apostle peter, who were familiar with his writings (Antioch, Rome & Alexandria) not to mention the churches of North Africa, and other Greek Churches you reject. Even Stevie Wonder can see this is a double standard.

      Second, your only appeal is to stylistic interpretations – yet Origin, a member of the church of Alexandria who read and wrote in Greek actually rendered the opposite conclusion for it is evident that he considers 2 Peter as equal in authority with 1 Peter by saying that “Even Peter blows on the twin.

      If you understood the ancient world, most letters were done by scribes – Tertullian and Ireneus document that Paul Gospel was written by Luke, and Pauls letters to the Romans was actually written by the scribe Tertius – the scribe actually gives a shout out in Romans 16:22. Tertullian, Ireneus, Eusebius, Clements of Alexandria and Papias, Athanasis, Jerome, all stated Peters Gospel was written by Mark who was his scribe/interpreter.

      Now you say there is no evidence that Mark wrote the Gospel – Do you not read the historical records from the period,

      Eusebius History of the church states: ” And thus when the divine word had made its home among them, the power of Simon was quenched and immediately destroyed, together with the man himself. And so greatly did the splendor of piety illumine the minds of Peter’s hearers that they were not satisfied with hearing once only, and were not content with the unwritten teaching of the divine Gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark, a follower of Peter, and the one whose Gospel is extant, that he would leave them a written monument of the doctrine which had been orally communicated to them. Nor did they cease until they had prevailed with the man, and had thus become the occasion of the written Gospel which bears the name of Mark.

      2. And they say that Peter — when he had learned, through a revelation of the Spirit, of that which had been done — was pleased with the zeal of the men, and that the work obtained the sanction of his authority for the purpose of being used in the churches. Clement in the eighth book of his Hypotyposes gives this account, and with him agrees the bishop of Hierapolis named Papias. And Peter makes mention of Mark in his first epistle which they say that he wrote in Rome itself, as is indicated by him, when he calls the city, by a figure, Babylon, as he does in the following words: “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, salutes you; and so does Marcus my son.” 1 Peter 5:13

      And they say that this Mark was the first that was sent to Egypt, and that he proclaimed the Gospel which he had written, and first established churches in Alexandria.”

      Ireneus does help – read his testimony from Against heresies book 3 “Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also handed down to us in writing what Peter had preached” Remember, Ireneus was from Asia Minor, whose bishop was Polycarp who was appointed by the Apostle John according to Tertullian.

      Tertullians Testimony (Against Marcion Book 4) – while that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was.

      Clement of Alexandria and Papias confirm this same testimony. So we have a witness from the churches of John in Asia Minor (Ireneus), Tertullian (in North Africa), Clement in Alexandria Egypt, Papias from Hieropolis, and Eusebius of Ceseara – and yet you say there is no evidence – either you are not aware of any of this empirical data or you are making things up.

      Even if I believe your fairy tale that Peter couldn’t read or write – I have already established above that Mark was peters interpreter, and wrote his Gospel – this is why they had scribes in the ancient world – Yet Peter as Fisherman (A Trade) would have to have known Greek to commence trade as a fisherman –

      Once again Atlas, why do you accept Bukhari methodologies who used independent chains of reports from reliable sources who was dealing with over 600000 sayings of his prophet that he widdled down to about 7000 – yet reject the testimony of Peters churches and the testimony of our fathers which is based on similiar criteria.

      Yep Double Standard

      Like

  4. The Jews had no mandate from God to make a translation of their scriptures. They were commanded to preserve the hebrew text. I don’t believe this LXX myth.

    Like

    • Then you rightfully deserve your name…IGNORAMUS.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not debating, just sayin’…😄

      “The Gemara continues: And this was due to the incident of King Ptolemy, as it is taught in a baraita: There was an incident involving King Ptolemy of Egypt, who assembled seventy-two Elders from the Sages of Israel, and put them into seventy-two separate rooms, and did not reveal to them for what purpose he assembled them, so that they would not coordinate their responses. He entered and approached each and every one, and said to each of them: Write for me a translation of the Torah of Moses your teacher. The Holy One, Blessed be He, placed wisdom in the heart of each and every one, and they all agreed to one common understanding. Not only did they all translate the text correctly, they all introduced the same changes into the translated text.”

      https://www.sefaria.org/Megillah.9a?lang=bi

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    • To be fair, this is the Talmud so it shouldn’t be taken seriously…seems interesting though…

      Like

  5. Great article! I really miss brother Paul and his contribution in the blog. The brothers of Islam should not block the good they have for mere personal issues.

    “And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not contend together, (and) so you would be disheartened and your vigor goes away; and (endure) patiently; surely Allah is with the patient.” QT 8:46.

    Isn’t it enough that Allah Himself is with those who are patient?

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