– by Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo (True Life Weekly 3rd March 2019) –
A young believer once asked his pastor this question, “Pastor, are there any mistakes in the Bible?” The pastor assured the young believer with what he claims to be an “honest” answer, “There are no mistakes in the Bible that should cause you any worry.” Such an answer is hardly honest but the hissing of the old serpent, “Yea, hath God said?” (Gen 3:1).
As faithful believers, we affirm without doubt the Bible to be totally infallible and inerrant, our sole and supreme authority of faith and practice. We affirm the Verbal Plenary Inspiration (VPI) and Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) of the Holy Scriptures and identify VPI and VPP Texts to be the Hebrew Masoretic and Greek Received Texts on which the Reformation Bible—the King James Bible—is based. But “what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” (Rom 3:3–4).
Unbelief of VPI and/or VPP has caused some to fall short of affirming the Bible’s 100% perfection, without any mistake. “What and where are the mistakes?” you ask. Let us look at a few of the so-called “mistakes,” and with the logic of faith, the Christian who loves the Lord and His Word will see that they are not at all mistakes.
Forty-two or Twenty-two?
Those who deny VPP believe that some words of God have been lost and remain lost leading to a “scribal error” view of the OT Scriptures. For instance, W Edward Glenny denies that God has perfectly preserved His Word so that no words have been lost. He says, “The evidence from the OT text suggests that such is not the case. We might have lost a few words…” (One Bible Only? p121). Based on his “lost words” view of the Bible, he was quick to point out “obvious discrepancies” in the OT like 2 Chronicles 22: 2, and pontificates, “These obvious discrepancies in the KJV and the Hebrew manuscripts on which it is based show that none of them perfectly preserved the inspired autographa.” (One Bible Only? p115).
Now, know that 2 Chronicles 22:2 reads “forty-two” in the KJV. A number of the modern versions like the NASV, NIV, and ESV read “twenty-two” instead. So which is the original, inspired reading: “forty-two” (in KJV), or “twenty-two” (in NASV, NIV, and ESV)? In making such a textual decision, we must have a perfect standard, and that infallible and inerrant standard is the inspired and preserved Hebrew Scripture, and not any translation ancient or modern.
It is significant to note that every single Hebrew manuscript reads “forty-two” (arebba’im wushetha’im) in 2 Chronicles 22:2. There is no evidence of lost words—every word to the letter is preserved, and reads precisely as “forty-two” as accurately translated in the KJV. If every Hebrew manuscript reads “forty-two” in 2 Chronicles 22:2, then on what basis do the NASV, NIV, and ESV change it to “twenty-two”? They change “forty-two” to “twenty-two” on the basis of the Septuagint (LXX) which is a Greek version of the Hebrew Scripture just like the NIV is an English version of it. In other words, they use a version or translation to correct the original Hebrew text! This is “Ruckmanism” no less!
A godly approach is one that presupposes the present infallibility and inerrancy of God’s Word not only when it speaks on salvation, but also history, geography and science. “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom 3:4). Such a godly approach to difficult passages seeks to compare (not correct) Scripture with Scripture. There are two possible solutions to the so-called “problem” or “error” in 2 Chronicles 22:2. “Forty-two” could be either (1) Ahaziah’s years counted from the beginning of the dynasty founded by Omri, or (2) the year in which Ahaziah was actually seated as king though anointed as one at “twenty-two” (2 Kgs 8:26). Whatever the answer may be, the truth and fact is: the inspired and preserved Hebrew reading in 2 Chronicles 22:2 is “forty-two” and not “twenty-two,” and no man has the right to change or correct God’s Word by “conjectural emendation,” taking heed to the serious warning not to add to or subtract from the Holy Scriptures (Rev 22: 18-19). (… to be concluded)