Inspiring the Text, vs Preserving the Text

In a different thread, someone asked me why people should expect that the Bible should have no mistakes.

Bart Ehrman, Biblical scholar who went from being a Christian to being an atheist, explains why.

I did my very best to hold on to my faith that the Bible was the inspired word of God with no mistakes and that lasted for about two years … I realized that at the time we had over 5,000 manuscripts of the New Testament, and no two of them are exactly alike. The scribes were changing them, sometimes in big ways, but lots of times in little ways. And it finally occurred to me that if I really thought that God had inspired this text … If he went to the trouble of inspiring the text, why didn’t he go to the trouble of preserving the text? Why did he allow scribes to change it?[1]


Interesting, but only a threat to the faith of a literalist.

If you are really interested, I recommend a book called Final Authority by William Grady. It’s an excellent book which answers many of the questions you have posted in different threads. BTW, he’s a Fundamental Baptist. It’s available on AbeBooks at a very reasonable price.

Some people expect God to be a puppetmaster, pulling all the strings.

For some, it’s the perfect vector to convince oneself that one’s ego is actually his god.


Bart Ehrman may have had a hand in a multipart documentary I watched in the late 90s. It was titled “From Jesus to Christ” and examined the historical Jesus and early Christianity.

The documentary left no doubt in my mind that the early Christians (Circa 100 AD) desperately sought information on their savior and readily grabbed and collected a small library of just about anything written on the topic.

I doubt each group had the same letters and books.
I believe most groups had more than 27.
I doubt each group had the 27 perfect and infallible books, plus some others.
I recall thinking, “this group had six, that group had 66, the other had 106.”

Given the above, it is unlikely the 27 books if our new testament were gabd-selected by God,. More likely they were selected by people, by academics who know more than I and who were much closer to the original than I am.


I also note that St Paul went north if Jerusalem, toward Rome, spreading the word in that direction. His teachings probably varied little from those if St Marks, who travelled S, toward Antioch (Egypt), but it was northern scholars who chose the magic 27. The only books and letters they had to choose from came from the northern tradition.

I think if God were a big part of the selection process he would NOT have allowed St Mark to spread the word south but represent it so incorrectly that all the it was right to exclude all writin s from the southern tradition.

Since the Bible has excluded all writings from the southern tradition, I am forced to conclude the Bible has been inspired in any sort of superhuman fashion.

What do you mean here?

I mean,
What one might call “the northern texts” are those early Christian texts, inspired by the teachings of St Paul, (who went north.)

What one might call “the southern texts” are those early Christian texts, inspired by the teachings of St Mark, who went south.

It should be noted that when the bible was compiled it meant some of the northern texts were selected, some of the northern texts and 100% of all of the southern texts were rejected.

If men were acted inerrantly when, on behalf of God, man inerrantly threw away all of the southern texts then
1.) St. Mark, after whom a gospel is named, an actual apostle who met the living Christ, was apparently teaching something wrong,

  • and also-
    2.) St Paul who admits in his letters that he still makes mistakes but is still trying to improve, wrote inerrantly.

I think it is more likely that there are minor differences between the teachings of Mark and Paul because people are fallible. Jesus was correcting his apostle’s errors as little as 24 hours before his death. I think history has kept some of the northern writings and none of the southern writings, because Rome conquered Europe and Antioch did not.

What was Mark allegedly wrong about?

I don’t know.
But Coptic Christianity, founded by Mark is not Roman Christianity originated by Paul, and 100% of what some deem sacred and infallible comes from Pauline Christianity. If God dictated what should be in the Bible, then apparently God felt anything written by anyone from Marks followers down south was not worthy of including.

I believe fallible man north and south wrote a bunch of early Christian manuscripts,
fallible man north and south collected them collected them and
when fallible northern men selected the best as “the greatest hits” he was fallible in his selection process, including being unaware of “the other works” even existed.

Philippians 3:13

St Paul admits his fallibility

Romans 7:14-15 Paul admits his fallibility again

Stange that a fallible man should be said suddenly to begin writing an infallible work. Does anyone think Paul stayed infallible after that or did he go back to being a fallible man doing the very best he could?

Or Paul is using the figure if speech called prosopopoeia, speaking in the voice of the man he was before being born again and receiving the Holy Spirit, and not in the voice of who he is now. The context seems to fit that interpretation.

I am still not getting where you think Mark is or was wrong.

Soo, there are two perfect people?

You are being too cryptic. Why would there need to be two perfect saviours if Mark was correct?

Every human is fallible.

The point about inspired biblical scripture is that the canonized books are so canonized because of long periods of discernment (centuries) guided by the Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote way more letters than those canonized in the Bible. But only a few were accepted as thoroughly Spirit-inspired. And there were scads more Gospels than the 4 that are canonized. Many of those others are grounded in the same “Q” (Qumran) source that the three Synoptic Gospels are. But the others include apostatic or heretical spin, (Gnosticism. Arianism. Etc.), or other problematic content.

Absolutely, fallible men wrote all of them. And even fallible men discerned which of those texts were truly inspired. The foundation of the tenet that the canonized texts are truly inspired is not a faith in the men who did any of it, but in the Holy Spirit who guided those men to the words to write, and the texts to select.

Note, too, that the infallibility in question is not about any science referenced in the texts (math, biology, physics), or in geography, or even specific historical timelines. It’s about the TEACHING of God, His Mind, His Word, His Plan.

Sorry for being cryptic.

I was snidely suggesting that since know Jesus was perfect, and we often refer to Hm as the only perfect human being, hen how can we suggest St. Paul, who admits to being fallible, wrote perfectly?

Long Centuries?

I thought (still think) Paul spread the word to the north (Ancient Turkey and Rome) and
Mark spread the word to the south (Antioch Egypt)

Those “descendants” in the north and those “descendants” in the south each compiled many scraps of literature into many different piles No two piles were exactly the same (hence the need to create a universal Bible.)

St Jerome, in 342 AD was giving the task of electing which of the many texts should make the cut. since he ws from the north, he knew little, if anything about the southern texts.

I don’t know if any equivalent compilation was made in the South. It doesn’t matter, not because of some secret conspiracy to keep out the gospel of Mary Magdelene and not because the northern texts possess magical powers the southern texts do not but simply because in the following centuries Europe was very successful in technology and politics s its infuence grew while Egypt was not so its influence waned.

The notion that he bible is magically infallible at all is imo ignorant of history, ignorant of St Mark and, when examined could be true, if and only Paul’s descendents were somehow superior to Mark’s descendents. an ide most Christians would reject.

(If ‘A’ is true then “B” must also be true. Since we know "B’ is not likely true ‘A’ is probably not true.)

The current books of the bible weren’t canonized until the 4th century.

Who told you that?