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June 22, 2012

      Critics of the Bible tend to site it's inconsistency in the fact that there are numerous variations between manuscripts.  They preach that this inconsistency shows that the Bible was not written by God, arguing that if it had come from God, a single source, then there would not be these variances and all manuscripts would agree with each other.  What these critics fail to inform their audiences is that Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written, is an inflected language.  This means that the meaning of a Greek sentence is not affected by its word order, unlike English.
      In other words, if you flip around the nouns in the sentence "Christ died for us", it would alter the meaning entirely.  Knowing who is doing the act of dyeing and who it is being done for depends solely on word order.  This is not so in Greek.  Greek places endings on words that show it's role in the sentence.  This gives Greek word order flexibility that English does not have.  For example, the sentence, "The disciple proclaims the Gospel." can be translated in many ways.  It can be translated as: ὀ μαθητὴς  κηρύσσει τὸ εὐαγγὲλιον.  But it can also be translated as: τὸ εὐαγγὲλιον ὀ μαθητὴς  κηρύσσει.
      In other words, you can flip around words in a sentence without altering the meaning at all.  This ability of Greek accounts for most of the variations among the manuscripts.  And most of these variations are not an entire alteration of word order.  Usually they are like two words in a sentence that are flipped.  So in reality, an overwhelming majority of the variances in the manuscripts that critics use to discredit the Bible are variances that in no way effect the meaning of the texts.  Thus, despite these variances, there is still coherence between the manuscripts and it in no way discredits the Bible.
      It's just amazing what people will pick out to try to discredit Christianity and the Bible.  Especially when they don't clarify what they are talking about becuase if they did they know that their argument doesn't hold water.  So the next time someone tells you about the variances among the manuscripts among the Bible indicating it isn't coherent, you can ask them if they have any idea what those variances are and if they know Greek at all.  The things you already learn just by learning the language is amazing.  If you ever want to see what I'm talking about, you can get the Novum Testamentum Graece (The Greek new testament we are using for class) and at the bottoms of the page it lists the variances between what they have in the texts and what other manuscripts say and which manuscripts say it.  If you can make it out, you'll see what I'm saying.  I can't wait to learn more myself!

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