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THE WORD IS THE WORDS: HONESTY ABOUT PRESERVATION

September 12, 2007

I read these quotes in a booklet about the book of Jeremiah.

Inspiration ensures the preservation of God’s words regardless of the destruction of individual texts by wicked men (v. 32).

Wow!  That is my exact position.  Individual texts were destroyed for sure.  Satan wants to eliminate God’s Words.  The copies are not all the same because of his nefarious activity.  But the preservation of the Words themselves continues—inspiration ensures that (so says this author).  And he makes this doctrinal point exegetically from Jeremiah 36:32.  The author had started (in 1984) the whole article with this statement:

Jeremiah 36 is full of the words of the LORD.  Not that every chapter of the Bible does not consist of the LORD’s words, but this particular chapter mentions the words of the Lord more than any chapter in the Old Testament except Psalm 119.

You can see how he takes notice of “words,” not just “word.”  It isn’t just the “word of God,” but the “words of God,” and God makes special emphasis of that bibliological point.  Later the author continues:

Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.”  The word “stand” has the imagery of something resisting every effort to crush it, grind it under foot—and standing still!  Jehoiakim burnt Jeremiah’s scroll, but it is standing still.  We can follow the historical preservation of Jeremiah’s scroll through the centuries.  He himself was dragooned off to Egypt in the 580’s.  He evidently died there (cf. Jer. 43).  But his writing remained, and over 150 years later, when Ezra gathered the sacred Jewish writings into one complete canon, Jeremiah’s scroll (or copies of it) was included among them.  As all of the sacred writings, Jeremiah’s prophecies were treasured by the Sopherim, the Hebrew scribes who preserved and copied the texts of Scripture.  They treasured those texts so deeply that they counted all of the words and all of the letters. . . . And today, Jeremiah’s words are read and treasured by believers, almost 2600 years later.  Those words continue to be preserved as a witness against Jehoiakim and his evil generation.

So the author concludes that the promises of God in His Word concerning preservation are enough of a basis to believe that we still have His Words (and letters).  The preservation of those Words was a witness against Jehoiakim.  Outstanding!  How could we continue to have them?  He says:

God’s Word is fixed in Heaven, an inviolable, unchangeable, everlasting standard.  Some day we will face its perfection and account for our responses to it.  God has sent it to us in letters and words on a merciful mission.  He has verified it in ten thousand different ways . . . . [W]e must respond properly to God’s Word.

We can still have all the Words on earth because of God.  God knows them, preserves them in Heaven.  God the Holy Spirit ensures that believers will have on earth the Words in heaven (John 16:13).  The necessity of response requires availability of the Words (Matthew 4:4).  When the author writes that we must respond properly to God’s Word, it is plain from the article that he means respond to all the Words.  God makes sure that we on earth have His Words on earth, so that we will be prepared when He judges us based on those very Words in heaven.  The Words that were in heaven, God sent on a merciful mission.  Dr. Mark Minnick writes, and I agree, that we must respond on earth in the present to those Words that are in heaven.  They are preserved for us today!

What is my “take” on Mark Minnick writing this in 1984?  This wasn’t a prominent and political issue in 1984.  He gives an honest exposition of a text in Jeremiah 36.  He sees preservation there, so he teaches it.  The book of Jeremiah still teaches that position.  Believers for centuries have understood, taught, and written about the same viewpoint as Mark Minnick declared in the Biblical Viewpoint in November of 1984.  This hasn’t been some conspiracy from a group especially influenced by a movement or a few 20th century books.  The average “Joe” in the pew thinks his Bible has no errors.  He got that position from reading His Bible.  The same “Joes” see all those texts that teach preservation, just like Dr. Minnick did in 1984.  Their faith in God affects their view of history.

Mark Minnick wasn’t there in 580 in Egypt with Jeremiah.  He wasn’t there 150 years later with Ezra.  He wasn’t there with the Sopherim whom God used to preserve and copy the Scriptures.  Yet, he believes they did that.  Why?  God would have followed through with what He said He would do.  I believe that too.

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Categories: Brandenburg, The Word
  1. September 12, 2007 at 11:10 am

    What an excellent post. If we can’t trust the words to be preserved, we can’t trust the Word.

  2. September 12, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Great post. I love being able to know for sure that I have the truths of God’s Word to guide me each day. I love knowing that God preserved it for me!

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