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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Mar 14, 2017

This episode concludes our series discussing Bible versions. Brother Jonathan briefly reviews some things, talks some more about Textual Criticism, and goes over the issue of the last 12 verses of Mark. It truly serves as an example of the differences in thinking that underlie the scholars behind the different Bible Versions.

Here are the notes for this episode:

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Bible Versions Part 6: Conclusion

  1. Introduction
    1. The purpose of this series on Bible Versions has not been to bring people to my view. The point, as I believe I stated in the introductory episode to the series, was to provoke people to examination.
    2. There is an absence of care or concern to be rooted and grounded in fact on important things like the text of Scripture. There is too much guesswork going on, and there is too much apathy by believers to check anything. If you don’t think so, just try warning professing believers anything at all about…anything really. You usually just get a small smile and a pleasant nod as if to say, “I really don’t believe you but I honestly don’t know enough to prove you’re wrong.” It’s frustrating to say the least. Try to get someone to read a book. Most people just Google something, Wikipedia something, or Youtube something. Even still, they will usually only look long enough to reassure them that they don’t really have to worry. Sad—but true.
    3. The Bible version issue does matter. The Word of God is central to Christianity and it tells you how to serve, seek, and know the God of Heaven. It’s like the fence around the sheepfold that keeps the wolves out, and teaches the sheep where it is safe to graze. If you have no confidence in the Word of God then you will never have any sure ground on which to stand in temptation or attack.
    4. The fact that there are so many versions is enough to show people that they need to figure out WHY there are so many versions, and they need to find out if one is more reliable than the others. They also need to do the research themselves and stop asking well-known ministers that have book deals with the publishing companies that make all these versions of the Bible. That’s not to say that it’s wrong to have a book deal per se, but even Eric Ludy has talked openly about how many supposed “Christian” book publishers have absolutely no regard for truth, the scriptures, or Christianity at all really. Warren Smith well said that even publishers like Harvest and Moody Press need to try a little ministry with their business. So, you can’t just take well-known ministries’ words for it.
  2. Brief Review
    1. In our introductory episode I talked about how the issue of Bible Versions is not something that should be thought of as a denominational issue. Every Christian needs the written word of God. That’s not up for debate. It’s a fact backed up by 1950 years of Christian testimony and history. Even Muhammad, the false prophet of Islam, referred to Christians as “the people of the Book” in the Quran in the 6th century. If he were to judge by the way things are today he would probably just refer to them as “the people of the nice buildings and potluck dinners”. Christianity has always been historically equated with the Bible. The only people who argue this point are skeptics, adversaries, or Catholics—because Catholic history is vastly different than real history.
    2. I said, too many people don’t base their views on fact. It doesn’t take long to figure that out. Just talk to a college graduate. Just because they sit through lectures for four years and write down what the professor tells them they think they know something. Few people actually strive to understand things today, and that’s why they are so easily led astray.
    3. So the first episode was mainly an appeal for professing believers to examine things. Stop believing what people tell you and do some research—time…consuming…research. The measure of how much you really desire truth is shown in the lengths which you will take to find it—and most don’t take any time for it at all.
    4. Next, we talked about the nature of translation. I mainly wanted to talk about it because most people don’t. In certain denominations you are almost pressured to stay ignorant of how the process of translation works and the original languages. That’s probably because it undermines their doctrinal position. Some sincere people are just wrong, and it wouldn’t be so bad if certain people wouldn’t make it the linchpin of their entire denomination, their conferences, their meetings, their books, etc. At least if they used a little logic and thought about things a little better.
    5. But just having a basic understanding of how languages and translation work really helps you understand the Bible Versions issue better. I’m study and learn things as much as I can with the time that I have, and it does greatly help. Also, actually reading that preface at the beginning of your Bible, where the translation committee gives some comments on decisions they made, actually does answer some questions. I recommend reading The Translators to the Reader from the KJV because it really answers a lot of common arguments in certain circles of the Bible Versions debate. You can probably find it online for free pretty easily.
    6. In part 3 I went over what I believe is the most pivotal point in the entire Bible Versions debate, Textual Criticism. There is absolutely a sense in which Textual Criticism is necessary to sort through all the variant readings, but what it has become is just silly. I’ll talk more about that in a minute. In part 3 though, we well-documented, using quotations from their own scholars, the fact that textual criticism after the manner of eclecticism is just based on “subjective judgments”, “conjectures”, and “the individual mind of the critic”. It was said by one of their own that even when equally competent scholars came to the table to look at the same evidence for the same passage they would still come to completely separate conclusions. That shows that it’s not scientific. It is opinion based.
    7. In part 4, we went over some theories of textual criticism that were quite prominent in their time but were eventually scrapped because they were found to be so completely without proof. Then we talked about the truth of that oft-repeated “oldest and best manuscripts” marginal reference that most bibles have today. I’m not against the age of a manuscript being taken into consideration, as we went over, but the fact of the matter is—if excrement is 1500 years old it doesn’t magically become a diamond. Most textual critics will honestly consider any text as long as it’s old, even if its garbage by their own standards. There are a lot of double-standards in textual criticism. On the one hand a critic will try to tell you how difficult it is to “choose” what to do when a scribe puts something in the margin that looks like a correction, but then they try to sell you how great Codex Sinaiticus is when it has been corrected by ten different scribes. First thing: you shouldn’t be “choosing” anything. You should be looking at external evidence that says which is correct. Second thing: just because a manuscript exists does not mean it is something to rely on. You don’t know if Billy-Bob the scribe just took the verses that he liked and left them in, put made-up renderings in because he thought they sounded better, or whether or not he even knew how to read the languages that he was copying. But because someone finds it they have to honestly consider it. It’s maddening…really. Beza rejected whole manuscripts from consideration because they spent time in Rome before he acquired them. He said about Codex D, “I find nothing similar to this Mss. in other Mss; and I find this Mss. was correlated in Italy where it was easy to add something in hatred of the Bohemians.” The Bohemians were what the followers of John Huss were called—the Catholics burned John Huss at the stake.
    8. What do you know, another reference to known historical corruption of manuscripts that everyone seems to be aware of but textual critics. In fact, the Reformers rejected any manuscript that differed from the Majority text no matter how old it was because they knew of the extensive corruption of texts done by the Roman Catholic Church. That’s just history—and it really doesn’t matter if you like it or not.
    9. Parts 5 and 6 were where I briefly talked about James White’s book The King James Only Controversy and who were Westcott and Hort. I felt the need to comment on James White’s book because lots of people have read it and just believed him. I will be honest and just say that I do not support James White. Not because he’s a Calvinist—that’s a separate issue—but because I’ve never seen humility in him. Arrogance is something unbecoming of a Christian, just as pride, because it is so dangerous. Debating is very different to me than earnestly contending for the faith; there is a difference between trying to convince someone of the truth of the Gospel for their sakes and trying to prove that you’re right about something. Knowledge puffs up, and when it’s not true knowledge it’s vainly puffed up. I can’t support the ministry of any man who does not show a desire for truth and sincere humility; because when such things are absent there is something wrong between the minister and God.
  3. Some Final Thoughts
    1. In the beginning of the New Testament, the writings of the Apostles were rapidly copied and circulated. It was needful, and it was important. This protected the scriptures from centralized corruption. This is a point that people like James White do a good job of pointing out. Once there were ten copies of the Gospel of Mark that were made soon after its completion (with chapter 16 v. 20), and they were spread around to the churches that used them, it would’ve been impossible to gather them up and change them all to the same manufactured reading. This rapid copying and spreading of the original manuscripts was the best way to protect its integrity. The Lord knows what He is doing.
    2. Now, let’s imagine that those ten copies of the original autograph of Mark were each then copied ten times. Now we have 111 copies total: 1 original autograph of Mark, 10 copies of the original autograph, and ten copies of each of those copies. In all this copying and recopying, there will be slips of the eye and of the pen of the scribes: it’s unavoidable. How could we then distinguish the true reading from the errors? Let’s only think about all those second generation copies, the 100, and eliminate the possibility of examining the original.
      1. In the mind of an eclectic textual critic your goal is trying to identify which variant reading led to all the others. Here is a quote from E.C. Colwell stating the method of textual criticism after this manner:
        1. “Today textual criticism turns for its final validation to the appraisal of individual readings, in a way that involves subjective judgment. The trend has been to emphasize fewer and fewer canons of criticism. Many moderns emphasize only two. These are: 1) that reading is to be preferred which best suits the context, and 2) that reading is to be preferred which best explains the origin of all others. These two rules are nothing less than concentrated formula of all that the textual critic must know and bring to bear upon the solution of his problem. The first rule about choosing what suits the context exhorts the student to know the document he is working on so thoroughly that its idioms, its ideas as well known as a familiar room. The second rule about choosing what could have caused the other readings requires that the student know everything in Christian history which could lead to the creation of a variant reading. This involves knowledge of institutions, doctrines, and events…This is the knowledge of complicated and often conflicting forces and movements.” (E.C. Colwell, “Biblical Criticism: Lower and Higher,” Journal of Biblical Literature, LXVII (1948), pp. 4-5)
        2. Notice that there is nothing of objective fact or proof used in this method. It is based on “subjective judgment”, the reading that “best suits the context” (which depends upon the critics own opinion of what fits), and it assumes that no reading is manufactured—which contradicts known history and testimony of scholars who themselves had translated the scriptures for centuries. In essence, this method makes the Critic a god of sorts who has some mystical intuition to discern between that which is right and that which is wrong without any objective fact.
      2. If you’re using objective means, you would simply see which form of the text enjoys the earliest, the fullest, the widest, the most respectable, and—above all things—the most varied witness. In essence, you are basing the truth upon that which is objective fact and not someone’s opinion.
    3. Think about this, if you were to tell 100 hundred people to hand-copy the Gettysburg Address, each of them would have errors in them. What is the likelihood though of the majority of the people making the same mistake in the exact same spot? Zero. In this manner you can see that by looking at a series of variants you can easily discern which is most likely the true reading.
    4. Whenever you take into account early translations of the scriptures (called Versions), quotations from early church teachers (called Fathers), and copies of passages of scripture elsewhere in the lectionaries, all you do is heap up a pile of witnesses.
    5. So if we are to think about those copies of the Gospel of Mark, how could we discern the true form of the text? Well, we would first look at all the forms of the text that are shown in the manuscripts. Then we would look at each manuscript and examine its respectability—where was it copied, is there any signs of corruption, etc. That is, if we can determine those things. But we would look mainly at the outside evidence. Did any church fathers quote from the Gospel of Mark? What passages, and how did they reference them? In the early translations, or Versions, of the scriptures, how did they render the passages in question in those Versions? Also, check the lectionaries of the churches and see how they copied the passages in general for reading in the church services. Finally, consider the grammatical structure of the passages. There are rules in grammar, especially in Koine Greek, that can enable you to discern an incorrect copy mistake sometimes. Notice that none of this is left to the opinion of a man.
    6. When you really look at these two methods of ascertaining the true textual reading it really does make you wonder why anyone would have any problem in seeing the difference in methodology. Perhaps it’s the people whose authoritative opinion would be undermined that have a problem.
  4. An Example
    1. Let’s consider, as an example, the issue of the last 12 verses of the Gospel according to Mark. Because in some early manuscripts the last 12 verses of Mark chapter 16 isn’t there some people have said that it is not supposed to be there at all. They allege that those 12 verses which appear later—practically everywhere else—were supplied by a scribe. The 12 verses we are talking about are the normal ending of Mark 16 that everyone is familiar with. This is a highly contested passage for some people, and others were unaware there was ever even an issue in the first place. I’ll briefly talk about some points brought up in the discussion.
    2. James White says:
      1. “Only the dreaded, hated [aleph and B] (and one other manuscript) do not have the passage, and even then room is left for it in B.”
        1. So James White here admits that the only manuscripts that don’t have it are those two uncials we talked about at length: Sinaiticus and Vaticanus; and also one other manuscript as well. That other manuscript not dating any older than the 12th century.
      2. Just like I said about textual critics, James White says this:
        1. “One must explain the existence of the shorter ending and the use of asterisks and obeli in some manuscripts to set off verses 9 through 20 and the long paragraph’s inclusion in W and the manuscripts that put both endings together. There simply would be no need for all these different endings if verses 9 through 20 were a part of the originally written gospel.” (James White, The King James Only Controversy, p. 318)
    3. My question is WHY do we have to explain all the variations in how the passage is recorded? It has absolutely nothing to do with figuring out which form of the text is the original. Also, White falsely says that this would not happen if the passage in question was in the original. That doesn’t follow, and he bases that on nothing else but his opinion. If the passage was intentionally changed very early on, as we know the scriptures were, and no one else had the original to check either, what should we expect but people trying to patch the obviously missing text? The fact that some scribes tried to patch the ending proves that there was a longer ending there in the first place.
    4. Instead of trying to figure out what led to what, let’s just see that at some point it all diverged into the variants. Because these aren’t variants like normal variants. These are endings several verses long made-up by people who saw that something had been taken out. Now, you read verse 8 of Mark 16 and tell me if you think that’s how God ended this account of the gospel. It wouldn’t have been Mark who screwed something up, unless you deny that God inspired its writing. For someone to say that some theorized different original ending has been “lost”, and many say that, that have to believe and teach that God’s originally inspired text has been lost. That is something that undermines the entire integrity of someone’s view of the preservation of God’s Word. For someone even to say that and to openly teach that God may have permanently “lost” a portion of the Gospel of Mark seems to me intentionally designed to cast doubt upon the written Word of God. And as you’ll see it’s completely without merit.
    5. James White himself states that only 3 manuscripts don’t have an ending longer than verse 8—those MSS dating from the 4th century and the 12th century. Then he states that there are several early Versions that have different endings, and some have critical marks around the passage—none earlier than the 4th century I believe. Next he proceeds to discuss internal considerations (Which are simply people not liking how other people use words most of the time), because as he himself states it—there is no more external evidence.
      1. So the earliest supposed evidence that the traditional passage is incorrect is no earlier than the 4th century. The two early uncials Sinaiticus and Vaticanus don’t have those verses of Mark. One of them doesn’t have the last 3 chapters of the book of Hebrews either though—but that’s a separate matter.
      2. What is interesting though, is that the earlier of the two codices leaves a space just large enough for this entire passage to be there. It’s the only place in the entire manuscript where the scribe ends a book like that—the only place. Odd that a scribe would just happen to leave a space just large enough for a passage 12 verses long when that passage in question is supposed to have never existed before. It’s also a strange coincidence that the scribe never ends another book in the entire MSS like that anywhere else. It’s almost like it was intentional…odd.
    6. Since that is ALL the evidence against these verses being there according to James White, and he has publicly stated that he believes they aren’t supposed to be there, let’s consider the evidence FOR this passage being there.
      1. In the 4th century (the same century as the earliest against the passage) you have 5 Greek writers that quote from it, one Syriac writer that quotes from it, two Latin Fathers that quote from it (excluding the Vulgate), the Gothic and Memphitic Versions all testifying to this passage being there.
      2. But let’s go earlier! In the 3rd century Hippolytus references from this passage, and both the Curetonian Syriac and the Thebaic Versions bear testimony that in these three different provinces there was no suspicion of this passage.
      3. But let’s go earlier! In the 2nd century Irenaeus quotes from the passage, and the Peshito and the Italic Versions have it. That means that in Gaul, Mesopotamia, and Africa (a good geographical distance) this passage was received as scripture within 100 years of the original inspired autograph.
      4. To summarize, the earliest Fathers, the most respected early Versions, and ALSO the lectionary evidence all bear witness to the legitimacy of this passage.
    7. There is something very interesting to note at this point. It used to be claimed that a Victor of Antioch was an early source against this passage. John Burgon showed quite succinctly that that was not the case at all. Burgon quotes from Victor of Antioch, and then explains:
      1. This is from Victor of Antioch’s commentary on the Gospel according to Mark: “Notwithstanding that in very many copies of the present Gospel, the passage beginning, ‘Now when (Jesus) was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,’ be not found (certain individuals having supposed it to be spurious)—yet we, at all events, inasmuch as in very many we have discovered it to exist, have, out of accurate copies, subjoined also the account of our Lord’s ascension (following the words ‘for they were afraid’) in conformity with the Palestinian exemplar of Mark which exhibits the Gospel verity: that is to say, from the words, ‘Now when (Jesus) was risen early the first day of the week,’ &c., down to ‘with signs following. Amen’
      2. Now listen to Burgons comments on this quotation: “And with these words Victor of Antioch brings his Commentary on St. Mark to an end. Here then we find it roundly stated by a highly intelligent Father, writing in the first half of the fifth century—
        1. That the reason why the last twelve verses of St. Mark are absent from some ancient copies of his Gospel is because they have been deliberately omitted by copyists;
        2. That the ground for such omission was the subjective judgment of individuals, not the result of any appeal to documentary evidence. Victor, therefore, clearly held that the verses in question had been expunged in consequence of the (seeming) inconsistency with what is met with in the other Gospels;
        3. That he, on the other hand, had convinced himself by reference to “very many” and “accurate” copies, that the verses in question are genuine;
        4. That in particular the Palestinian Copy, which enjoyed the reputation of “exhibiting the genuine text of St. Mark,” contained the verses in dispute. To opinion, therefore, Victor opposes authority. He makes his appeal to the most trustworthy documentary evidence with which he is acquainted; and the deliberate testimony which he delivers is a complete counterpoise and antidote to the loose phrases of Eusebius on the same subject;
        5. That in consequence of all this, following the Palestinian exemplar, he had from accurate copies furnished his own work with the last twelve verses in dispute…” (Burgon, as quoted in Counterfeit or Genuine?, edited by David Otis Fuller, pp. 56-7)
      3. Now may I ask, “Does the margin of your Bible mention any of that?” Just to prove a point, let me reread the marginal notes in a few Bible versions:
        1. In my copy of the NLT the margin says, “The most reliable early manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark end at verse 8.” In my copy of the ESV the margin says this, “Some manuscripts end the book with 16:8.” In my copy of the CEB the margin says this, “In most critical editions of the Gk New Testament, the Gospel of Mark end at 16:8.” In the NASB the passage is in brackets. In my copy of the NIV, the 2008 edition, they don’t even try to hide anything. It says in the margin, “Serious doubt exists as to whether these verses belong to the Gospel of Mark. They are absent from important early manuscripts and display certain peculiarities of vocabulary, style, and theological content that are unlike the rest of Mark. His Gospel probably ended at 16:8, or its original ending has been lost.”
      4. Listen to that! The 2008 NIV says that there are “serious doubts” based upon 2 early uncials, a 12th century MSS, and “vocabulary, style, and theological content”. I want you to ask yourself what objective fact is there in determining another author’s choice of vocabulary or style of writing as being correct or incorrect? Or what gives someone license to say that something should not be there because they don’t believe that the “theological content” is correct? According to who, you? That rests entirely upon your opinion! Given the external evidence which is overwhelming I find myself scratching my head when I read things like this. Now let me ask you, given the evidence that I just went over is there any doubt in your mind about which tips the scale?
  5. Problems with People’s Arguments for Bible Versions
    1. Before I talk specifically about whether I would specifically endorse one version of the Bible more than any other, let me comment a little on arguing the issue. There are a lot of times when you read one book or another on the Bible versions issue and you just get frustrated.
    2. I came out of Independent Fundamental Baptists, I disagree with them doctrinally now but it was my foundation. The frustrating thing when I read their books or something now is that they argue about the “perfection” of the English translation of the KJV. I commented about this in the second part of this series so I won’t dwell upon it long. I’m not bashing them either, so please don’t take my comments that way. There is a pressure in the IFB camp to not ever study Greek or Hebrew, to not ever read anything that is not IFB, and you are thought of as almost a heretic if you even so much as read non-IFB books.
    3. But my main frustration comes when you hear an argument for the perfection of the KJV which shows a lack of knowledge of anything. They’re the type of arguments that just come from repeating what you are told. I can speak plainly about this because it’s what I used to do. It’s very easy to just read a couple of books and think that you know something. You can just throw a couple of pre-memorized “proof texts” and think, “Oh yeah, I got them!” It’s a lot different learning to study and examine things and to be willing to be corrected if you are wrong.
    4. An argument that I’ll use as an example is one that is based around John 4:24 where Christ says in the KJV, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) Then they’ll point out that in the NAS77, NASB, ISV, CEB, NIrV, NIV, NKJV, and the TNIV all have “God is Spirit”. They would then say, “God is not ALL spirit, he is a particular spirit: this verse in the modern versions teaches pantheism!” Now, on the face of it it seems pretty reasonable right? We know that God is not a pantheistic God. What is not mentioned, at least I’ve never heard it said by KJV-only perfectionists is that in Koine Greek there is no indefinite article. What that means is that in Koine Greek, the language of the NT originally, it never says “a word”. The “a” there signifying that it is indefinite. If it was definite it would say “the word” and include the definite article “the”.
    5. In Koine Greek there is no indefinite article like in English. If you study Koine Greek you know that the Greeks used the article very different than we would in English. So if you were to see the phrase in Koine Greek, “o logos”, it would be translated “the word” because it has the definite article. If you were to see the phrase “logos” you could translate it either “word” or “a word”. It’s up to the translator to see whether the context allows for the indefinite article in English. So because there is no indefinite article in English the phrase in John 4:24 can legitimately be translated either “a Spirit” or “Spirit”. It’s just an issue where a little language study can clear something up.
    6. Now, someone could argue and say that the context of scripture should make it clear that it ought to be translated with the indefinite article and say “a Spirit” so as to not appear to teach pantheism, and they would have a good argument. But if I were to take the opposing viewpoint I would then counter-argue that the problem is an interpretive one. The passage is not actually emphasizing the fact that God is a Spirit, though He is, it is emphasizing that because God is a Spirit or Spirit and not flesh and bones He must be worshipped in spirit and truth—deeper than flesh and bones or carnal ordinances. That would also fit the context of scripture and the immediate passage given what Christ was trying to teach the Samaritan woman. You see though how either way it goes in this particular instance that neither viewpoint is heretical.
  6. Which Bible Version?
    1. So let me go on the record as saying that the only Bible version that I read, use, or study is the King James Version. Although I understand that it is not perfect. The studying that I have done up to this point has really solidified me in using the King James Version, not necessarily for the English translation, but because of the underlying text—the Traditional Text.
      1. I understand that there are thee’s and thou’s. The fact of the matter is that they don’t bother me. It takes about 2 minutes to understand why they’re there and that it’s actually for a good reason.
      2. I understand that there is “archaic” language that could be updated, and there is some legitimacy to that point. I just don’t believe that there is enough archaic language to legitimately claim it needs to be completely redone.
      3. I understand that in some places the translators rendered some things leaning toward Calvinism, but the fact of the matter is I read it and I have never seen Calvinism in it anyways. Besides, it’s nothing that actually studying the passage and its original languages cannot clear up.
    2. Also, one main contributing point that reinforces my use of the KJV is the fact that every other version I have ever looked into has been 10 times worse, and has even greater errors in their textual choices and translation choices. I am sincere though in saying that when or if I find a translation that rectifies these problems, and stays based upon the traditional text, prayerfully considering it I will use it.
  7. In closing
    1. Now, does that mean that I esteem someone who uses another version to be a heretic? Absolutely not. Demonizing people for that reason is not only unscriptural, it’s just silly. There are people in the world, and in times past, who have and do legitimately corrupt the scriptures. But most people are just sincere, and a lot are just sincerely incorrect on some assumptions and ideas that they have regarding Bible versions because they haven’t examined some things yet. They may be guilty of negligence like an ostrich with their head in the sand, but most of them are not demonic enemies—most. Though I could point some legitimate ones out for you.
    2. So, if you’re interested, here’s a list of some reading that I would recommend for you no matter where you stand on the Bible versions issue.
      1. The Traditional Text by John Burgon
      2. The Revision Revised by John Burgon
      3. Which Bible? Edited by David Otis Fuller
      4. True or False? Edited by David Otis Fuller
      5. Counterfeit or Genuine? Edited by David Otis Fuller
    3. I mainly recommend the last three as a good starting point because they point to so many other good sources. If you take the time to go over the footnotes and quoted works you get a wealth of good reading.
    4. In the end you need to examine your position carefully, and never take anyone’s word for it. The battle today is over not just the inerrancy of scripture or its integrity it is over the sufficiency of scripture. In temptation or trial if you have no sure footing for your faith to rest on then you will be driven with the wind and tossed about continually. You need to have your faith resting on objective fact, and the objective truth of Christianity is always God’s Word. He’s the same yesterday, today, and for ever—we should not expect His Word to be just as faithful.