I had a recent exchange with someone not agreeing with the standard sacred text position. First, it was a cordial exchange and so I thought it to be fruitful. Second, I thought that it would be fruitful for you all to read. In the interest of keeping things anonymous my interlocutor will be spoken of under the pseudonym: Luke.
The discussion centered first on my philosophical argument for a standard sacred text. The following is one segment of that overall discussion. Luke first begins by quoting some of my own words
Luke: “The Scripture’s authority derives from itself as does its canonicity, authenticity, trustworthiness, and testimony. How then does this touch on the Christian’s belief in the Scriptures? At its foundation the Scriptures neither appeal to another for its particular virtues, nor does it demand the believer to seek validation for those virtues beyond the Scripture. When the believer believes what the Bible teaches about the Bible she believes in and through the Scriptures by the Spirit without appeal to something supposedly more pertinent of foundational whether that eb the Pope or the internal and external evidence supporting reading X out of Aleph and B.”
Of course Aleph was someone’s bible.
Of course B was someone’s bible.
In fact given the annotations – many people’s bible.
Given their very nature (large format, high value pandect editions) they were the bibles of the churches.
So Aleph was the self-authenticating word of God.
So B could quite rationally have been held to be the Word.
Me: Let me be clear. I agree Aleph and B may have been the self-authenticating word of God for someone at that time, in that place, and according to the language through which Aleph and B were used. The question is, Is it now? I think all sides agree the answer is, no. Aleph and B may contain the words of God and even to great measure, but they are not regarded as THE word of God by either your side or by mine.
Luke: No – I myself would (and in our previous exchanges) have already indicated that I do think Aleph and B are the word of God, I also think the Textus Receptus is the word of God, and I think the various “Modern Critical Texts” are the word of God, just as I think the KJV is the word of God, and the NIV is the word of God, or the NASB. For me personally (not theoretically) I can testify to the KJV, NIV, RSV, ESV, etc. have functioned as the word of God. Since learning Greek, the TR has, and the NA/USB have functioned as the word of God. They are all the word of God to the extent they reflect the copy or in translation the autographic text and message.
Me: Would you say the NT is the word of God in the same way as the whole canon is the word of God? If yes, how? If no, why? Why do you not believe the NT a sufficiently reliable version of the Bible apart from the OT? And what makes the canon sufficiently reliable? Who determines this measure? If men, then how is that subjective grounding sufficiently reliable to the saving of the soul and if God where in the Bible is sufficient reliability taught?
Luke: (1) There is danger in equivocating over the meaning of the expression “The Word of God.” (2) Par excellance, “The (inscripturated) Word of God” applies properly to the entirety of the canonical Christian Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. (3) By synecdoche, all parts of the “Word of God” may be called the “Word of God.” (4) The NT to the exclusion of the OT would be self-defeating, as it testifies to the OT as being God’s word(s). (5) God knows not only those who are his, he knows what he has said and caused to be inscripturated as the canonical scriptures.
“And what makes the canon sufficiently reliable? Who determines this measure?”…I answer that in (5). “If men, then how is that subjective grounding sufficiently reliable to the saving of the soul and if God where in the Bible is sufficient reliability taught?” Answered in the negative. See (5).
Me: Agree to #1. #2 is the word of God as a whole taken as a whole. #3 is the word of God as a whole take as parts (which includes each word) representing the whole. #4 OK. #5 Indeed, God knows. Unless you believe Aleph is the whole word of God taken as a whole then #2 does not apply to your statement that Aleph IS the word of God. If you believe Aleph is the word of God by synecdoche, then the part speaks for the whole and the whole for the part. If that is the case, then you believe every part (every word) of Aleph is the word of God. Do you believe that? As to #5, sure God knows every word which is His but that does not mean you know every word is His or which words are His. Admitting that God knows, how then do you know?
This is where the discussion currently stands. If Luke responds that every word of Aleph is the word of God, then I am going to ask if every word of the TR is the word of God. If he answers yes again then I am going to point out that God could not have both given the long ending in Mark and not given the long ending in Mark. Therefore, Luke has an undefeated defeater for his understanding of what counts as the word of God and as such can either hold his position or be rational, but not both. We’ll see how things turn out.