You pick up almost any of the popular translation of the bible out there, you take a quick scan of the new testament especially the gospels and see chunks of text printed in red which the bible translation has claimed ( usually in one of the first few pages of the bible ) to be the actual words of Jesus Christ or you hear a christian claim that Jesus said this or said that.
I am sure most of us are familiar with this scenario above. It is worrisome the number of christians out there who actually believe that those text in red or whatever is in the bible to be the actual words that Jesus said ( maybe not the english texts ). Well how many of those christians even bother to read about their history in the first place to know that this is not the case.
The earliest gospel mark is taken by scholars to have been written around forty years after the death of Jesus. It is ridiculous to believe that whoever wrote the gospel of Mark somehow captured accurate oral tradition or eye witness accounts. It is also a stretch to say that the “eye witness(es)” would narrate the details of Jesus teachings in Jesus’s own words and not use some form of reported speech to narrate the events to their audience. I highly doubt any of us can narrate a one hour presentation we heard to someone else 30 minutes later in the exact words used by the speaker.
It is also far fetched to assume that a stenographer was following Jesus like a stalker to record all of his teachings and dialogues that are found in the bible. That someone was following Jesus with a book when he was 12 years old to record the conversation he had with his parent after the missing child situation, recorded the incidence during the wedding feast at Cana, recorded Jesus conversation with satan during his temptation, recorded what transpired between him and John or between him and Nicodemus, recorded his words during his transfiguration where only his innermost circle of friends were present ( excluding the heavenly audience and participants ), recorded his discussion with the samaritan woman at the well, recorded his exact words during his time at the garden of Gethsemane. It doesn’t take someone with half a brain to rule out the chance that somehow Jesus words were written while he said them. We are back to transmission by word of mouth
Can someone tell me how John’s gospel have gigantic pages of red text when this gospel was the last one on the scene
Okay lets assume for a second that the gospel writers somehow got the exact words that Jesus said, they should have written it in aramaic or hebrew the language that Jesus obviously spoke and not greek. That aside where are they original manuscripts, are they somewhere in the vatican, or in the british museum or in a museum in Israel. NO, they are in none of these place because they have disappeared from the face of the earth. Nice job dad you actually wanted me to know what you really said.
The first complete new testament manuscript date from around the third/fourth century, prior to that we only have small nuggets of text. What we have is around three centuries of manuscripts missing. We have no idea what the actual writings of the gospel authors are, how then can we claim to know what Christ said and confidently print it in red.
After the best manuscripts are identified, translators are hired to make it understandable by the general public. But the translators and their employers are people who most likely already have preconceptions of what the bible says, how then can they be trusted to render an unbiased translation, the translators are guided by some form of theology and will most likely produce a translation that is inline with their belief
“Over the years, I had become disenchanted with almost all the standard translations available, and especially with modern versions produced by large committees of scholars, many of whom (it seems to me) have been predisposed by inherited theological habits to see things in the text that are not really there, and to fail to notice other things that most definitely are. Committees are bland affairs, and tend to reinforce our expectations; but the world of late antiquity is so remote from our own that it is almost never what we expect.” David Bentley Hart ( Aeon.com )
Consider Luke 14:26; here are four translations, the first two of which translate the Greek word, miseo, honestly.
• King James: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
• New Revised Standard Version: “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.”
• The Message Bible: “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.
• The Passion Bible: “When you follow me as my disciple, you must put aside your father, your mother, your wife, your sisters, your brothers—yes, you will even seem as though you hate your own life. This is the price you’ll pay to be considered one of my followers.”
The Passion Bible says that ‘hate’ is a metaphor, adding: “In this case, Jesus, the King of love is not saying to hate but to put aside every other relationship into second place.” This will full error in translation in the passion bible and the message bible is due to their preconception of who Jesus is. This is dishonesty, how can we be certain that just like these our translators who idealised Jesus as the king of love and try to make their translation reflect that, the original gospel author were actually portraying history and not the type of Jesus the had in their heads.
Though few christians realise that the very act of translating the bible from greek to english means that the bible undergoes processing once again in addition to centuries of manuscript copying, altering and tampering.
Well the translators of the bible that have the words of Christ in red have done a great job in misleading their readers ( I was once among they misguided ), what they do is to promote faith through whatever means necessary and weed out the seeds of doubt and suppress any form of curiosity.
If god the being with the highest level of intelligence, the fine tuner of the universe went through all the trouble of sending his son to dies for us and getting/inspiring people to write his holy book which is supposedly vital for our salvation, the least god could do was ensure that we got his original message, god could do the copying, translation and interpretation by himself or herself or itself and not left it in the hands of damned mortals. God could not take proper care of the original documents and ensured that what we have was 100% accurate, it is surprising how god could fine tune the universe
So even if the original manuscripts were inspired by god, we cannot accept the faith based claim that the bible sitting on my desk while I write this article is “good enough”.