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NT Greek: An Unknown Tongue?

The following e-mail exchange is a follow-up to New Age Bible Versions?. The e-mailers’ comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red. In the third exchange, my comments to which the e-mailer is responding to are in purple and enclosed in double "greater than" and "lesser than" signs.


Exchange #1

>Mr. Zeolla.

>My name is Michael and I came across your critique of G Riplinger's book. Though strangely enough, you were criticizing a sister in Christ by mere heresay of someone else. I do not believe that as believer's we should pass judgement on one's works without at least reading them. It is a sign of Christian maturity to hold one's piece until quite sure of the matter (prov18:13).

Our church website explains our stance on the KJV. I hope to reason further with you on this very important matter. http://www.rkjbc.org/

In Christ Jesus
Michael
1/11/2001<

Now that I have Riplinger's book, I used direct quotations out of it and many other writings of KJV onlyists in my upcoming book Differences Between Bible Versions. I say pretty much everything I have to say about this subject in the book. So I would ask you to please wait for it for my full and detailed views.

Exchange #2

>Hello Gary, 

Thank you for responding to me. I'm also very familiar with the "Scholarship Onlyism" that you adhere to. I have looked at both sides of the issue. Though I'm not a Greek scholar (since it is a dead language, it wouldn't profit me or the church; the bible says that an unknown tongue doesn't profit the church: ICor.14:19).<

Greek is a dead language? I guess you never heard of Greece. Plus, it is NOT an unknown language. Anyone who has studied Greek knows Greek. The passage you're referring to refers to a language which no one knows, but plenty of people know Greek. So it is not an unknown language.

> I do understand the scripture enough to know that God promised to not only inspire the scripture (IITim.3:16) but that He would preserve every word (Psalms 12:6,7).

The words He inspired and preserved were in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

> Now...since upon observation of IITim.3:16, the "scripture" that Paul is referring to are not originals; and nowhere in the bible is "scripture" referring to original manuscripts, than I have to believe that God can and has inspired copies.<

Paul is referring to Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible. And please tell which of the 5,000 manuscripts of the Greek NT is *the* inspired one, remembering that no two of them agree exactly. For that matter, no manuscript agrees exactly with the TR. Just how do you think the TR, which the KJV is based, developed? It was the product of human scholarship, just as the KJV itself was. You cannot condemn scholarship without also condemning the TR and KJV.

> The foundation of modern scholarship is that God could only have inspired the "originals"; but after examining the above evidence, the foundation of scholars crumble.<

You present no evidence, just illogical statements and very poor exegesis.

> Just as Joseph Smith could never provide the "original" golden tablets to his followers, neither can modern scholars their phantom "originals".<

No comparison whatsoever. Jo Smith did not have any copies of the Book of Mormon in the supposed original language while there are thousand of copes of the NT in Greek. And it is from these that any Greek text is developed, including the TR.

> I hope that I can change your viewpoint about God's word. It will be a dangerous place at the Judgement Seat OF Christ for those that approach the word as scholars have.

In Christ Jesus,
Michael
1/13/2001<

I use logical reasoning and sound exegesis in developing my viewpoints. Again, I will refer you to my upcoming book for more on such matters. I am not going to repeat what is five chapters in my book in an e-mail.

Exchange #3

>Hello Gary

You have studied Greek why is it that you don't know that NT Greek and modern Greek are not the same.<

I do know that and have discussed it with others previously. But do to the pain I now have in my hand I was trying not to type too much.

>>Greek is a dead language? I guess you never heard of Greece.  Plus, it is NOT an unknown language. Anyone who has studied Greek knows Greek.<<

>New Testament Greek IS a dead language. Neither you nor any other modern Laodicean Scholar can speak, let alone, understand NT Greek. Reading a lexicon is not understanding Greek. Try that on the streets of Athens and see if you would be able to carry on a conversation with someone in Greek.<

Greek has changed over the centuries, just as any language does. And a modern-day Greek would have to understand the changes and make accommodations for them when reading the Greek NT, just as a modern-day day English reader has to understand and make accommodations for the changes in English when reading the KJV. But that does not mean NT Greek is "dead" any more than Elizabethan English is "dead." Both are still "alive" since there are people reading books written in these older forms of modern day languages.

>> The passage you're referring to refers to a language which no one knows, but plenty of people know Greek. So it is not an unknown language.<<

The passage in 1Cor 14. is referring to people standing up in the church and preaching or exhorting in a language that noone knows but the speaker and God. That is why it is called an UNKNOWN tongue, unless you are charismatic, then that would be referring to a babble that no one knows, including the speaker.  That is why I used that reference; to convey the unscriptural use of a dead unknown language that no one knows to try and exhort the church.<

Based on you own exegesis, the verse has nothing to do whatsoever with someone learning NT Greek to better understand the NT. It would only apply if someone got up and read the Greek NT in an assembly without translating it. But for a preacher to refer to the Greek text, translate what he is reading, and expound on it would be perfectly Biblical. That is exactly what Ezra did with regards to the Hebrew Scriptures and the now Aramaic speaking Jews (Neh 8:1-12).

> It will only lead to confusion; which modern scholarship has done just that. I believe God has been faithful in giving us a preserved word in the universal language of these end times.<

I assume you're referring to the KJV. I will simply refer you again to my book for a discussion on such claims.

>>The words He inspired and preserved were in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.<<

> No, the verse in psalms 12:7 states that He would preserve His "words" from the generation of the psalmist until heaven and earth shall pass away (Mark 13:31).<

These verses were written in Hebrew and Greek respectively. They could not be referring to English words. English didn't even exist when these words were written.

>>Paul is referring to Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible. And please tell which of the 5,000 manuscripts of the Greek NT is *the* inspired one, remembering that no two of them agree exactly. For that matter, no manuscripts agree exactly with the TR.<<

> Yes, Paul is referring to copies of Hebrew manuscripts, not originals; nevertheless they were said to be of inspiration by God...But wait...how could they be inspired if they were not the originals penned by the holy prophets. God can inspire copies, thatís how. Again the point that could be made is that the originals are not the only inspired. This is just the opposite view made by every seminary professor this side of the continent.<

There are literally thousands of differences between the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. They cannot all be inspired. For instance, either God inspired theos (God) or os (who) or o (which) in 1Tim 3:16. All three cannot be correct. The "which" reading is an obvious human error, not an inspired deviation. The other two are debated.

Now to be clear, as I discuss on my site and in my book, I do believe in the "providential preservation" of God over the transmission on the text, ensuring that the correct reading is retained in the majority of the manuscripts. In this case, "God" has been preserved in the vast majority of the manuscripts, while "who" occurs in only a few and "which" is just a couple of manuscripts. Hence, I believe "God" is what God originally inspired.

> Let me ask you a question. Do you believe in IITim.3:16? Is the bible (any  bible) inspired by God?<

God inspired the original writers who were writing in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. He did not inspire any translators, including the KJV translators. No translation is perfect, including the KJV.

> Which one of the thousands of old testament manuscripts was Paul talking about in 2Tim 3:16? I have an even greater question? <

He was referring to the text as God originally inspired it.

>Why are there only 66 books that are canonized? What about the epistle of Barnabas? Bell and the Dragon? Books of Eden? Did God inspire the 66 books that we now have?

In Christ Jesus,
Michael
1/19/2001<

This is another subject entirely. I've already done more typing than I should, so I won't even get into this one.

I will simply close this discussion by saying for the third and final time, I discuss the kind of arguments you are raising in detail in my upcoming book. And I am not going to repeat five chapters in an e-mail. If you want to know my positions and reasons therefore on this subject, get my book when it comes out. If you don't want to get the book, fine. But don't expect me to keep repeating myself. 

An announcement will be made on the What's New? page when the book is available, probably by the summer of this year.

 

Bible Versions Controversy: KJV-Onlyism
Bible Versions Controversy

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