Read With Me: ‘Why I Preach from the Received Text: An Anthology of Essays by Reformed Ministers’

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Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I have now received (finally) this book and read the first chapter.

1)

The author uses nearly two pages out of the nine total to tell us how bad the RSV, NASB, and NIV translations are. In a book about the Received Text, translational choices are irrelevant to the discussion.

As an example, the author says of the NASB, it “favors questionable interpretations in the way it translates some prepositions and other words.”

No evidence given. Simply “modern translations bad, KJV good” type of argumentation.

For the NIV, the author decries it for not being “a word-for-word translation,” and tacks on to the end of the paragraph, “based on the critical text.”

Again conflating translation and textual issues, coming across as mere rhetoric (which I’m finding much of the book to be).

First, let's not exaggerate. It's about 1.25 pages to compare those translations and how they word things compared to a translation based on the TR. I see this as serving the purpose of "setting the stage". Why is this topic important to the modern reader? Not everyone believes it is important...

As for the NIV - it is a fact that it is not a word-for-word translation and it is based on the critical text. Not sure anyone denies this. This first chapter seems to be more of a testimonial more than an apologetic.

2)

Author says’ “When I began to study Old Testament textual criticism in seminary, it became quite clear that the Lord had “by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Old Testament.”

States it as fact, provides no evidence, and moves on.

While he doesn't prove this, he is quoting the WCF 1.8. So does he need to prove it? Are we disagreeing with the WCF 1.8 here on the PB?

5)

Author claims that the way the “modern method of textual criticism” deals with variant readings (i.e. “make a rational guess about what a human author is likely to have written and whether it was accurately copied or was corrupted”), is “fundamentally contrary to the biblical doctrine of God and his self-attesting revelation of himself to men.” He cites WCF 1.4 here.

This obviously makes it seem as though the TR is monolithic, with no variants between the manuscripts, and that no human had to ever make a judgment call about any jot or tittle.

I think his point here is going off what he said of Pastors and others reading the Eclectic Text, individuals have to make guesses based on probability (he cited USB categorization method of A, B, C, D ratings). It's all based on probabilities. He quoted Bruce Metzger about this (a major Eclectic Text scholar). So for someone like myself, going to use the USB or NA, I am having to make rational (fallen by the way) guesses. I fully understand what he's saying.

6)

In favor of his position, the author claims that “when an error was made in a manuscript [through the centuries], it was discarded.” Meaning, the church kept the manuscript tradition “faithfully preserv[ed].” This is why you can trust the TR.

Yep. More closely to say the Lord promised and has been faithful to preserve His word in the Church through the centuries.


Overall, I can't really rate it as I'd like to compare to the rest of the chapters/authors in the book. It is certainly more testimonial as to the TR/KJV, but does bring into view the great concerns with the CT.

Looking at the rest of the book, it seems that this book won't provide what is being looked for as a defense of the TR. The chapters/articles are much too short to prove anything when each article is by a different author. Rather it seems this book is to represent why people made the choices that they have for PREACHING from the Authorized Version. Hence the title of the book. For chapter 1, it seems the authors main reason for preaching from the KJV is "Infallible Truth". If he were preaching from other translations he believes he would be preaching based on probability.
 
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Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
I have now received (finally) this book and read the first chapter.



First, let's not exaggerate. It's about 1.25 pages to compare those translations and how they word things compared to a translation based on the TR. I see this as serving the purpose of "setting the stage". Why is this topic important to the modern reader? Not everyone believes it is important...

As for the NIV - it is a fact that it is not a word-for-word translation and it is based on the critical text. Not sure anyone denies this. This first chapter seems to be more of a testimonial more than an apologetic.



While he doesn't prove this, he is quoting the WCF 1.8. So does he need to prove it? Are we disagreeing with the WCF 1.8 here on the PB?



I think his point here is going off what he said of Pastors and others reading the Eclectic Text, individuals have to make guesses based on probability (he cited USB categorization method of A, B, C, D ratings). It's all based on probabilities. He quoted Bruce Metzger about this (a major Eclectic Text scholar). So for someone like myself, going to use the USB or NA, I am having to make rational (fallen by the way) guesses. I fully understand what he's saying.



Yep. More closely to say the Lord promised and has been faithful to preserve His word in the Church through the centuries.


Overall, I can't really rate it as I'd like to compare to the rest of the chapters/authors in the book. It is certainly more testimonial as to the TR/KJV, but does bring into view the great concerns with the CT.
Thanks, brother.

I checked again and I actually see 1.5 pages. Let’s not underestimate it!

But in all seriousness, running on fumes when I wrote it, I made a mistake. My apologies. 1.5.

Perhaps his points helped to affirm the position to you, but as someone on the other side who doesn’t take these things as granted, the essay actually left me more turned off than before.

But that’s the whole issue, isn’t it? By definition, there is no evidence or argument (or lack thereof) that could possibly disprove or cast doubt upon the TR.

I believe that the position’s epistemology excludes any type of argumentation, especially textual critical argumentation.

Hopefully the rest of the book can shed a lot more light on the belief, and really help understand it.

Would you like to post an overview of the second chapter?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
But that’s the whole issue, isn’t it? By definition, there is no evidence or argument (or lack thereof) that could possibly disprove or cast doubt upon the TR.
This isn't necessarily true. It's not that there is "no evidence or argument that could possibly disprove or cast doubt upon the TR." Rather, this discussion is actually upstream from speaking of evidences. It's actually presuppositional in nature, and I think that's where the divide often occurs. CT folks often want to speak of evidence, data, etc., and TR folks (at least in the strain of E. F. Hills) wish to discuss presuppositions. For myself, I'm fine discussing evidence, but evidence must be filtered through presuppositions, so I want to discuss those first.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
CT folks often want to speak of evidence, data, etc., and TR folks (at least in the strain of E. F. Hills) wish to discuss presuppositions.

Yep. We start with Scripture and move forward, we don't start with methods of man and work backward.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Yep. We start with Scripture and move forward, we don't start with methods of man and work backward.
And this is where I have had a problem particularly with Dr. Daniel Wallace, who has said on numerous occasions that we ought to approach the text of Scripture from a completely neutral standpoint, with no presuppositions whatsoever. Of course, this is nonsense, because it is not possible to approach anything without presuppositions. The attempt to be without presuppositions is itself a presupposition.

Because of this, Dr. Wallace also despises the confessional doctrine of preservation, calling it the novel invention of Westminster. (Of course, I fully recognize that this is not the stated position of all CT advocates, which is why I name Dr. Wallace specifically.)
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
This isn't necessarily true. It's not that there is "no evidence or argument that could possibly disprove or cast doubt upon the TR." Rather, this discussion is actually upstream from speaking of evidences. It's actually presuppositional in nature, and I think that's where the divide often occurs. CT folks often want to speak of evidence, data, etc., and TR folks (at least in the strain of E. F. Hills) wish to discuss presuppositions.
Indeed, brother.

My comment about epistemology is most applicable in the context of discussing evidence.

When speaking of textual critical evidence, if the TR camp wants to leave things at, “God did it,” then I believe that is more faithful to their position (and logical and consistent).

Thank you for bringing up the distinction. I’m still learning.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Can you expand on this?

If we want to talk about textual criticism of Scripture, and the doctrine of Scripture through the ages (after the 1st Century AD), then we must start with Scripture. Scripture is perfect for it is God's Word. I.e. We must work from Scripture forward in time so that our doctrine determines our practice. Does God speak about His Word in the Scriptures? He certainly does. Then we must start there. However, modern textual criticism doesn't start with the presuppositions of Scripture. It starts with a theory from man that there's a problem, and then works backwards from the present to seek to solve said problem.

Taylor said:
Dr. Daniel Wallace, who has said on numerous occasions that we ought to approach the text of Scripture from a completely neutral standpoint, with no presuppositions whatsoever."

Starting from a neutral standpoint is not starting from Scripture. So as Dr. Wallace says, there are no presuppositions. But the problem with that is God says something about His Word.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
If we want to talk about textual criticism of Scripture, and the doctrine of Scripture through the ages (after the 1st Century AD), then we must start with Scripture. Scripture is perfect for it is God's Word. I.e. We must work from Scripture forward in time so that our doctrine determines our practice. Does God speak about His Word in the Scriptures? He certainly does. Then we must start there. However, modern textual criticism doesn't start with the presuppositions of Scripture. It starts with a theory from man that there's a problem, and then works backwards from the present to seek to solve said problem.
In other words, the Bible not only cannot, but may not be treated like any other book, because it is like no other book. While all literature is sustained and upheld by the providence of God, Scripture, as the Confession says, is the object of God’s “singular care and providence.”

This is, again, where men like Daniel Wallace and James White go astray in their presuppositions. They would say—and indeed have said—that we ought to treat the Bible like any other book. This is not a little problematic, in my view.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for sharing your opinions brothers. Much to think through.

Where I am currently at is the TR position talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.

There’s always a majestic, rhetorical flair when speaking of the TR in these terms, but when I read church history and how the TR came to be, I just don’t see it.

What I see is ultimately an anachronistic position.

With all that said, I’m still learning and will comment with more substance as I’m able.

Grace to you both!
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
In other words, the Bible not only cannot, but may not be treated like any other book, because it is like no other book. While all literature is sustained and upheld by the providence of God, Scripture, as the Confession says, is the object of God’s “singular care and providence.”

This is, again, where men like Daniel Wallace and James White go astray in their presuppositions. They would say—and indeed have said—that we ought to treat the Bible like any other book. This is not a little problematic, in my view.
Can you link me to where White has said that we ought to treat the Bible like any other book? Thanks.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Can you link me to where White has said that we ought to treat the Bible like any other book? Thanks.
All I could do would be to search through articles he’s written, but I’m talking about spoken material. I have indeed heard him say it on The Dividing Line on multiple occasions, but it would likely take dozens of hours to try to find quotes hidden somewhere in numerous multi-hour videos. So, unfortunately, you will simply have to take my word for it.

To be clear, this is in the area of textual criticism. These men do not believe we should treat the Bible like any other book in general, but only when doing textual criticism on it.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I think I am on the edge of something. I can't quite put my finger on it. I suppose my initial question is: "Do TR people consider their position falsifiable?"
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
I think I am on the edge of something. I can't quite put my finger on it. I suppose my initial question is: "Do TR people consider their position falsifiable?"
It would depend who you'd ask. Also what their position exactly is. Within the TR/Confessional Bibliology movement there are a host of different emphases, flavors, starting points and ending points. I think the book demonstrates that. I may be more willing to bend on certain things than others and others might bend where I am rigid.
 
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Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
I think I am on the edge of something. I can't quite put my finger on it. I suppose my initial question is: "Do TR people consider their position falsifiable?"
I don’t know about theoretically, but in practice it seems it is not falsifiable because the system conforms the way external evidence is judged to whatever is needed to “affirm the consequent.”

The TR is assumed as the foundational starting point. Doesn’t that preclude any falsifiability?
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
This is not the case at all.
In the realm of falsifiability (i.e. the realm of evidence for or against), is the TR not assumed as the correct text?

Or are you saying the TR position is the conclusion of weighing the external textual evidence? I thought that is the very thing it may never be.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Logic dictates how things may be contradictions. Contradiction is able to be predicated for any logical argument. All S is P; Some S is not P.

Generally, proponents of the TR say that all of the TR is purely preserved by the Lord. It can then be falsified by proving that some of the TR is not purely preserved.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
Logic dictates how things may be contradictions. Contradiction is able to be predicated for any logical argument. All S is P; Some S is not P.

Generally, proponents of the TR say that all of the TR is purely preserved by the Lord. It can then be falsified by proving that some of the TR is not purely preserved.
What would it require to prove that?

Because the CT camp believes it has been proven when the manuscript evidence for a particular reading is really bad.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
In the realm of falsifiability (i.e. the realm of evidence for or against), is the TR not assumed as the correct text?

Or are you saying the TR position is the conclusion of weighing the external textual evidence? I thought that is the very thing it may never be.
I think you’re still not understanding the TR position. The TR position is at its core a set of doctrinal presuppositions, the conclusions of which lead to the TR. It’s not a matter of merely weighing evidence because, again, all textual data must of necessity be filtered through presuppositions about the text. This is why, for example, Dabney in his essays on this topic deals primarily with the canons of modern textual criticism. He absolutely deals with evidence, but mainly deals with the presuppositions, which he (I believe rightly) finds lacking.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I think you’re still not understanding the TR position. The TR position is at its core a set of doctrinal presuppositions, the conclusions of which lead to the TR. It’s not a matter of merely weighing evidence because, again, all textual data must of necessity be filtered through presuppositions about the text. This is why, for example, Dabney in his essays on this topic deals primarily with the canons of modern textual criticism. He absolutely deals with evidence, but mainly deals with the presuppositions, which he (I believe rightly) finds lacking.

So the questions you should be asking should/must be what does Scripture say about Scripture? Perhaps more specifically, what does Scripture say about Scripture's preservation? You have to start there. Doctrine must come before practice (doxis --> praxis).


Now, I do not agree with the full conclusion of the Majority Text (Byzantine) as these authors, but this is the first thing I read that made me question everything on Textual Criticism that I had learned in seminary. They provide in the middle of this 13 points of presuppositions based in Scripture. https://www.amazon.com/Has-God-Indeed-Said-Preservation-ebook/dp/B07D49Y6C5#:~:text=Has God Indeed Said is,hope they continue to publish.
 
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Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
I think you’re still not understanding the TR position. The TR position is at its core a set of doctrinal presuppositions, the conclusions of which lead to the TR. It’s not a matter of merely weighing evidence because, again, all textual data must of necessity be filtered through presuppositions about the text. This is why, for example, Dabney in his essays on this topic deals primarily with the canons of modern textual criticism. He absolutely deals with evidence, but mainly deals with the presuppositions, which he (I believe rightly) finds lacking.
Okay fair enough. I’ll put Dabney on the list. Thank you.

Was the exact book of his mentioned already? Can’t remember off the top of my head. I seem to think it was. I’ll check.

Back to Jacob’s question. Can the position be falsified? If so, how?

If the presuppositions lead only to the TR, can’t it be said to be unfalsifiable?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Was the exact book of his mentioned already? Can’t remember off the top of my head. I seem to think it was. I’ll check.
The two articles are The Doctrinal Various Readings of the New Testament Greek and The Revised Version of the New Testament. They are in volume one of his Discussions. They can also be found online.

Back to Jacob’s question. Can the position be falsified? If so, how?

If the presuppositions lead only to the TR, can’t it be said to be unfalsifiable?
What do you mean by “unfalsifiable,” and what significance does it have?
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
The two articles are The Doctrinal Various Readings of the New Testament Greek and The Revised Version of the New Testament. They are in volume one of his Discussions. They can also be found online.


What do you mean by “unfalsifiable,” and what significance does it have?
Thank you.

And you’ll have to ask @RamistThomist those particulars.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
All I could do would be to search through articles he’s written, but I’m talking about spoken material. I have indeed heard him say it on The Dividing Line on multiple occasions, but it would likely take dozens of hours to try to find quotes hidden somewhere in numerous multi-hour videos. So, unfortunately, you will simply have to take my word for it.

To be clear, this is in the area of textual criticism. These men do not believe we should treat the Bible like any other book in general, but only when doing textual criticism on it.
During James White's debate with Jeff Riddle on Eph 3:9, James compared Biblical textual criticism to determining the true reading of historic works of Plato Aristotle etc. In other words he was implying that you determine the text of the Bible naturalistically, just as you would for other historical works. I rejected the CT approach after this!
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thank you.

And you’ll have to ask @RamistThomist those particulars.
Unfalsifiable = no conditions under which the position may be proven false. At least that's how I am using it.
That’s how I figured it was being used. I know that falsifiability is usually a criteria for having a legitimate/valid hypothesis. But what is the significance in this particular matter of having the thesis be falsifiable? I’m asking genuinely.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
A review of the book. Can’t recall if it has been shared. Sorry if it has.

 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
That’s how I figured it was being used. I know that falsifiability is usually a criteria for having a legitimate/valid hypothesis. But what is the significance in this particular matter of having the thesis be falsifiable? I’m asking genuinely.

If the TR admits that his position is not falsifiable, then he is practically saying under no conditions could he be wrong. That's why these conversations often end the way they do.
 

PointyHaired Calvinist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Having not read the book but the review, it bothers me that Rev. Myers, who I believe is RPCNA, calls CT translations “Satan’s Bible.” Is this a widespread belief among CB advocates, as opposed to being “inferior”? It would seem that pastors who believe CT promoters are promoting the devil’s work should be bringing the CT users up on church disciplinary charges for corrupting the Word of God. If it’s not worth this, they should stop using such incendiary (slanderous?) language.
 
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