Why Textual Criticism is an Unreliable Method for Finding the Words of God

In the video below, count the number of times those in white shirts pass the ball to each other.

After watching the video to the end, how did things turn out for you?

The above example serves as a stark reminder to us all that in order for us to know what is or is not the word of God there must be an external and objective source for knowing what is or is not the word of God. Otherwise we put too much attention on the quality of manuscripts or our subjectively concocted method. When we do that, we are doomed to miss the elephant in the room, that God’s words are right in front of our face and we can’t see them.

This is why we argue for an objective transcendent method, a method which begins with the Spirit of God using the words of God in the hearts of the people of God who accept the words of God by the God-given gift of faith. In this way the limitations of our subjective noetic and affective faculties can be mitigated and even overcome thus producing an authoritative and certain Scripture. And because we believe this to be the primary means whereby the Church comes to know what are or are not the words of God, by default, modern textual criticism is relegated to minor servant-type role.

But before we go, and in order to drive the point home, let me remind you of Dan Wallace’s position regarding what would happen if God’s words were right in front of a text-critic,

“We do not have now in any of our critical Greek texts – or in any translation – exactly what the authors of the New Testament wrote. Even if we did, we couldn’t know it. There are many many places in which the text of the New Testament is uncertain.”

Daniel Wallace, “Foreword” in Elijah Hixson & Peter Gurry. Myths & Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism. xii. [Italics: Mine]

The point is, no matter how many times a text-critics look at manuscript evidence, compare manuscript evidence, and come to conclusions based on that work, they are incapable of seeing the gorilla and even if they did see the gorilla, they couldn’t know it. Thanks to Dan Wallace for the clarification.

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