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Concerning the Authenticity of the Bible
  Who Owns the Old Testament?
Source: Prepared for Spubs by an anonymous writer.
Article ID : MSS030002  [27731]  
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This passage is not in the Hebrew Old Testament, nor is it found in the current English translations. Nevertheless, we find Paul quoting this passage in its entirety in the New Testament in his letter to the Romans 3:13-18! Where did he get it from? Which version of the Old Testament was Paul using when writing his letter and why do modern English translations not rely on the same version when reproducing Psalm 14 so as to match the usage of Paul. Footnotes in the New International Version attempt to piece together the statement in Romans by citing excerpts from four different Psalms and Isaiah, but the effort is hardly convincing, particularly when we remember that the passage is quoted in its entirety in Psalm 14 of the Latin and Greek versions.

Mark's Gospel highlights again the concern about the New Testament authors' insufficient knowledge of the Old Testament. He states in his Gospel 2:25-26: 'Have ye never read what David did... How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shrew bread.'

This is incorrect because the high priest at the time of this incident was not Abiathar but rather Ahimelech, as can be seen in the Old Testament at I Samuel 21:1. Therefore, Peake's Commentary says (p.684): "The reference to Abiathar is a mistake."

In view of the above comparisons, one is left a little less than fully convinced about the New Testament's handling of the Old Testament. Why were the New Testament authors unable to reproduce accurately the texts they needed from the Old Testament? And are these inaccuracies compatible with a work that claims for itself Divine inspiration? Corruption of the text (Old Testament and New) is one obvious answer, something that Professors of Biblical Exegesis have long since affirmed for the Old Testament at least. This can be seen from even a cursory look at Peake's Commentary on the Bible (edited by Arthur S. Peake, once Professor of Biblical Exegesis at the University of Manchester, is a compilation of commentaries, articles and works by the editor himself as well as, amongst others, Professors of Hebrew and Old Testament Exegesis, a Professor of Divinity, Semitic Languages, New Testament Exegesis and a Professor in New Testament Greek. It was published by Thomas Nelson and Son Ltd (London) in 1919 as a single 1014 page volume) which has the following to say about various Books of the Old Testament:

It says in the concluding statement to the commentary on the Book of Joshua (p.255): "According to critical investigation the book appears to be a medley of contradictory narratives, most of which are un-historical."

Commenting on Judges chapter 17 and 18 it states (p.269): "In not a few places the text has evidently been tampered with by scribes, who took offence at practices which were from a later point of view irregular."

In its commentary to I Samuel 2:3 we read (p.275): "These verses do not make sense; the present wording cannot be the original one, but must be due to mistakes in the copying. We cannot now discover the original form."

Again in I Samuel, this time against verse 14:18, it says (p.288): "The introduction of the Ark in I Samuel 14:18, is due to a corruption of the text."

On p.292, commenting on II Samuel 23:4-7, it states: "The text and translation of the last line, and of 5-7, are uncertain; there is no agreement amongst scholars as to how they are to be restored."

On page 321, in the commentary to II Chronicles, chapters 29 to 32, we read: "The Chronicler in this long section writes, from his own point of view, much that is quite un-historical... it is probable that another source (or witness?) was utilised by the Chronicler but he himself is evidently responsible for many of the variations."

Commenting on Ezra 4, verses 6 and 7 (p.327): "These are two stray verses which have been left in the text here by mistake. This offers a good example of the way in which fragments of sources are jumbled together in our book... Scholars have suggested a number of solutions, but they differ from each other considerably."

In the introduction to the Book of Hosea, we read (p.534): "As will be apparent from the notes, the text is in places very corrupt. We must often resort to conjectural emendation, and reach only a possible approximation to the original text."

Commenting on Zechariah 6:9-15, it says: "The text is considerably confused, partly through accident, partly it would seem by deliberate alteration."

It would appear that Christianity's attachment to the Old Testament will continue, and along with it all of the problems highlighted above!

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