What does God say about His own Word? Some appeal to history as authoritative proof that the Received Text has been passed down from one generation of Bible-believing Christians to the next. Others argue based purely on logic (at times, faulty logic at that). As we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, it is important to remember what the Bible states about its own preservation.
If we are truly Bible-believing Christians, then we should start with the Bible. Does the Bible itself promise, either explicitly or implicitly, that its words would be preserved for each generation? Some will call this “circular reasoning,” but in any court of law, a defendant should be able to testify on his own behalf. Therefore, I call the Holy Bible to the witness stand and ask one simple question: “Have you promised to be present in every generation?”
In this imagined dialog between the Bible and a prosecuting attorney, when asked about its own stand on self-preservation, I believe the Word of God could answer along the following lines:
Bible: “I have specifically stated that my words would be preserved for every generation. ‘The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever’ (Psalm 12:6–7).”
Upon cross examination, the prosecutor asks the Word of God to give up this verse. In the Hebrew grammar, the gender of words is not the same gender as the word them in the following verse. At first glance it appears them cannot refer to words.
Bible: “When something proceeds from God, I often make it masculine. In Psalm 119:111, the word testimonies is feminine, but they is masculine. I do the same in verses 129, 152, and 167. Further, I do the same in the New Testament when speaking about the Holy Spirit (a neuter noun) when I describe Him with masculine pronouns.
“I would also like the record to note what I have said in Psalm 119:89, 160; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35; John 10:35 and 1 Peter 1:23-35. I would also point out that in 2 Timothy 3:16, I state ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is [right now at this very moment] profitable….’ It is only profitable if it is available.”
In its own defense, the Bible has also made statements that can only be understood in the context of preservation.
Men are commanded to study God’s words in 2 Timothy 2:15. This can only be accomplished if they are available.
Pastors are commanded to preach God’s words in 2 Timothy 4:2. This can only be accomplished if they are available.
Jesus said that He wants man to live by His words in Matthew 4:4. They can only do this if those words are available.
Jesus said that His words would be the final judge for all mankind in John 12:48–49. He will do this because His words will still be available.
Jesus said that He has given to His Church the words (John 17:8), and they have received them. Furthermore, He has stated that His words are truth (John 17:17), and that the Church is the pillar and ground of truth (1 Timothy 3:16). Since He has committed His words to His Church, and since His church will always be here (Matthew 16:18), then His words will always be here.”
While the courtroom drama is fictional, the principles are not. The Bible, both implicitly and explicitly, promises that it will be preserved. God has kept His “pure words” for every generation.