The Preservation of Scripture

Can God Protect His Words from Error?

Psalm 12:6,7

Audio MP3

May 15th 2011 PM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction


A.    The Bible… Unlike all other books!


1.      The number one best seller in the literary field year after year. Over 6 billion copies printed since 1815!

2.      Did you know?


a.       It can be read through in just 72 hours!

b.      Half a million copies are given away every day!

c.       The whole world had the Bible in their language by 300 AD

d.      After the Dark Ages faded, the whole world got the Bible AGAIN by 1900


B.     Some Facts About the Bible


1.      The Bible is ONE Book made up of 66 separate books

2.      The Bible is completed

3.      The Bible is divided into two main sections

4.      It was written for BOTH the heart and mind

5.      The Bible is perfectly accurate in all areas: history, people, places, and even about the future!

6.      The Bible is perfect, having no error because it is both inspired, and preserved by God (Psalm 12:6,7)


C.    How the Bible was Written (Hebrews 1:1,2)


1.      By the Holy Spirit of God


a.       Inspiration (2Tim 3:16) – God breathed out the words INTO men!

b.      God spoke, they heard, and they wrote


1)      From the moment it was spoken by God (Mt 4:4)

2)      From page 1, chapter 1, and verse 1 (Psalm 119:160)

3)      God moved

4)      Man spoke and wrote

5)      God moved again

6)      Man made copies


2.      Across 1,500 years (1400 BC - 95 AD)

3.      By 40 different authors – name some of them

4.      In different places (ie, wilderness, dungeons, palaces)

5.      At different times (ie, war, peace, famine, storms)

6.      In different moods (ie, heights of joy, depths of despair)

7.      On three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe)

8.      In three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek)


a.       The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic

b.      The New testament was written in Greek


9.      On stone, on paper, and on hearts!


D.    The Value of the Bible to Jesus


1.      Jesus was from 400-1900 years AFTER the Old testament was written!

2.      Yet, Jesus quotes it over 180 times


a.       Mat 12:3  But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;

b.      Mat 12:5  Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

c.       Mat 19:4  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

d.      Mat 22:31  But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,

e.       Mar 12:10  And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:

f.       Mar 12:26  And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

g.      Luk 6:3  And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;


3.      He thought the Bible was God’s perfect word


a.       The Lord Jesus Christ taught that every word of Scripture proceeded from God (Matt 4:4; 2Tim 3:16) – that is called inspiration.

b.      He taught the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture (Matt 5:17-18; 24:35; Luke 6:17) – what good is a perfect Bible that gets lost???


4.      The Lord never corrected or criticized Scripture (John 17:17).

5.      He taught the absolute authority of Scripture (John 10:34-36).

6.      Christ Jesus accepted the Old Testament Jewish Scriptures, but rejected the Apocrypha (Luke 24:44).

7.      He taught that man will be judged by God's written word (John 12:47-48)

8.      Jesus seemed to think the word of God was all anyone needed to live well


II.    Message - The Preservation of the Words of God (Psalm 12:6,7)


A.    The Words Are Preserved


1.      God’s Words are Pure Already (Ps 119:14; Prov 30:5)


a.       Purified seven times – HEATED over and over, making sure it had no dross. No one puts silver into a furnace more than seven times – there is absolutely no more dross by then! Same is true with God’s words!

b.      Every word of God has been tried and tested, compared and contrasted, and proven to be true!

c.       Your King James Bible was translated across SEVEN years, by 54 men, cross checking every word and every phrase six times to make sure every word was translated RIGHT!

d.      There are NO errors in the Bible – may be printing errors, but no errors – NONE!


2.      God’s Words are Plural – not WORD (singular)


a.       Literal words from God (Rom 10:17)

b.      We need EVERY word from God (Mt 4:4)


1)      66 Books (Genesis to Revelation)

2)      1,189 Chapters

3)      31,101 Verses

4)      783,137 Words

5)      Only 12,000 different words are used throughout the 1200 pages of the Bible

6)      Shakespeare’s writings used 30,000 words

7)      Most of us know well over 40,000 different words by the time we are 20 years old

8)      Written so a 12 year old with a 6th class education could read it with no difficulty


3.      God’s words are Powerful (John 6:67,68) – words of eternal life! Words that still CHANGE lives

4.      God’s Words are Preserved - Preservation


B.     The Promise of Preservation


1.      Both Inspiration and Preservation are works of God, not people, not the church


a.       Mt 24:35

b.      Mt 5:18

c.       1Peter 1:23-25

d.      Pretty specific!


2.      Ps 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

3.      Ps 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Not changing

4.      Ps 119:152 Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. They will exists forever!

5.      Ps 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

6.      Isa 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.


C.    What a waste of God’s time perfectly inspiring His words onto paper if He didn’t or couldn’t preserve them!

D.    The Procedure of Preservation


1.      They are protected, kept, preserved by God from the time of inspiration – from the time the pen was put to paper - Autograph pages


a.       Started with Job (Job 19:23,24) – wish granted! The oldest Book in the Bible (1,900 BC)

b.      Then Moses (Dt 31:9) – we still have God’s words through Moses (Genesis thru Deuteronomy).The Levites preserved the first five Books


1)      Check-sums

2)      Taking the task VERY seriously


c.       Then Joshua – he made sure we had Moses’ very words (Cf Josh 8:32) and added HIS words to it (Josh 24:26)

d.      Then Samuel (1Sam 10:25)

e.       Then David wrote the Psalms

f.       Then Ezra wrote 1st and 2nd Chronicles (Ezra 7:6)

g.      Then the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc) wrote their prophecies

h.      Then the minor prophets (Hosea, Amos, Micah, Zechariah, Malachi, etc) wrote their prophecies

i.        Then the Apostles and New Testament prophets wrote: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, Jude

j.        Until the Apostle John wrote the Book of the Revelation

k.      A total of 40 writers, scribes, and prophets wrote (2Pet 1:21) the words of Almighty God down onto pages and pages, and then, were tested and proven, and combined into one Book of books – the Bible!


2.      God has kept them, preserved them, for us!


a.       In 5,300 pages and manuscripts in Greek

b.      In about 70,000 Hebrew pages

c.       Dead Sea Scrolls

d.      Not only that, but in quotes by writers throughout history

e.       By dozens of early translations made in the first 300 years after the resurrection

f.       By the sacrifices of thousands and thousands of men and women who gave their lives copying, and faithfully translating the Scriptures


1)      Adonirum Judson – Burmese

2)      William Carey - India


g.      And God always will preserve them (Mt 24:35)


3.      Here is a thought… If He can’t preserve His word, then He can’t preserve YOU!


E.     The Power of Preservation


1.      Over-riding copyist errors


a.       Scribal system – copyists and counters

b.      Multiple copies made, guaranteeing that it can be reconstructed

c.       God’s Holy Spirit


1)      The power behind the Inspiration

2)      He is also the power behind Preservation “THOU shalt keep them, preserve them”


2.      Over-ruling Satan’s attacks (Gen 3:1; 2Cor 2:17)


a.       Example of Jacob’s sons attempt at destroying Joseph – God preserved both JOSPEH and all of Israel

b.      Persecution never destroys the work of God, it just reveals it (1Cor 3:13)


3.      Over-whelming every obstacle


a.       Decay – the paper and inks naturally decay

b.      Disinterest – people’s interest wanes

c.       Destruction – by the Catholic Church, the Communists


F.     The Purpose of Preservation


1.      So that people can know God

2.      So that people can trust God – by trusting His words

3.      So that people can PREACH unashamedly “Thus saith the LORD!”


III. Conclusion and Study Questions


A.    What does INSPIRATION mean? God spoke His word into the minds of His prophets

B.     How pure are God’s words? VERY pure!

C.     Peter said Jesus’ words where what kind of words? Words of eternal life!

D.    Just as miraculous as Inspiration, what else has God done to His word? Perfectly Preserved it

E.     What does PRESERVATION mean?

F.      List a verse that says God will preserve His word… Matthew 24:35