The word of God, or not?


From: Bob Williams

Trempealeau, Wis.

I concur with Barry Peratt that the Word of God, alone, has different meaning and import to Protestants and Catholics. That oral Tradition has been elevated to equal or greater status than God’s Word by Catholic dogma which says the Word is not complete or sufficient and that man must finish what God started. This is reminiscent of what began in Gen. 3:1 when Satan asked the woman, “Yea, hath God said,” in questioning what God said then using man as a competing authority to the Word of God. This also flies in the face of the early patristic and apostolic writers who almost universally espoused that the entirety of faith is grounded on Scripture and Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura).

From the very beginning of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers there is an exclusive referral to the Scriptures for the teaching of doctrine and to defend against heresy. There is no indication of any appeal to oral Tradition in such early writers as Justin Martyr and Athenagoras (early second century). In mid-second century, Irenaeus and Tertullian mention Apostolic Tradition, however, they were referring to Teaching the truth of the Word. In other words, all teaching, preaching, and doctrine was rooted in Scripture, could be proven by Scripture, or was rejected.

In the late second century, Gnostics first taught that they had an oral tradition that was independent from Scripture. Early church fathers rejected this and relied on Scripture alone for proclaiming and defending doctrine. Yet the Catholic Church in the 16th century at the Council of Trent declared that the revelation of God was not contained exclusively in the Scriptures.

Therefore, it should not be surprising that “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” (Ro. 10:17) is rejected as insufficient by the Catholic Church. This seems to be based on the view that the Bible is not complete and revelation continues in the form of oral tradition. Paul records in Col. 1:25 that one of his responsibilities was “to fulfill the word of God.” The word “fulfill” is the same Greek word for “complete,” meaning to cram full with nothing more able to be added. When the Canon was completed, there was no longer a need for additional special revelation to man.

When speaking of the Canon of Scripture, it is counterintuitive to believe that Christ would use the Alexandrian manuscripts, as Barry Peratt stated, since God has little good to say about Egypt and Alexandria. From Gen. 12:10-13, to the last time either is mentioned; Egypt and Alexandria are viewed highly negatively. The last time Egypt is mentioned is in Rev. 11:8 and it is placed in the same category as Sodom. The first time Alexandria is mentioned in Acts 6:9; 7:54-60, it is associated with unbelievers, persecution, and the death of Stephen. The last time mentioned is in connection with ships transporting Paul to his eventual death in Rome. (Acts 27:6; 28:11)

Founded in 332 B.C. by Alexander the Great, Alexandria was the second largest city in the Roman Empire. It was home to the largest library in the world at that time. It was also the home of a catechetical school headed by the apostate Origin. The Egyptian text is referred to as the minority text and is where so-called modern versions of the Protestant bible come from. As Barry Peratt correctly states, Rome and her Western text also comes from Alexandria.

On the other hand, the Syrian, or Byzantine text is from Antioch and was copied and distributed by Bible-believing Christians to win souls and to spread the Word of God. These manuscripts are known as the Majority text from which the King James Bible came.

In contrast to Egypt and Alexandria, the Holy Spirit’s comments on Antioch tend to be very positive. In Acts 6:3-5, Antioch is the home of a Spirit-filled deacon. In Acts 11:19-24, Antioch sheltered persecuted Jewish saints. The first major movement of the Holy Ghost among Gentiles occurred at that time. Paul and Barnabas taught for a whole year in Antioch having a fruitful ministry, which included believers first being called Christians, Acts 11:26-30. Paul’s first missionary journey started at Antioch, Acts 13:1-3. Antioch remained the home base for the early church, Acts 14:19-26; 15:19-35.

In the end, you have a choice: You can get your Bible from Alexandria or you can get it from Antioch. I choose the KJV, based on the manuscripts from Antioch.


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