Preservation of the Bible: Providential or Miraculous? The Biblical View

Jon Rehurek | May 21, 2010

Many evangelicals and KJV-only advocates assert that the Bible provides explicit evidence for a doctrine of miraculous preservation. In their assertions, they apply the doctrine to a particular version of the Bible, most often the King James Version (KJV) of 1611. Yet an examination of exegetical evidence from commonly cited biblical texts supports only a general promise of preserving the truth of God’s message to mankind, not a particular version of the Bible. Many verses—including some related to immutability, infallibility, and preservation—have been incorrectly interpreted and applied to preservation. The preservation of God’s revelation is the lesson in many of the passages, but no explicit indication applies them directly to written Scripture or to how and when a promise of general preservation would be fulfilled. Since historical evidence demonstrates that scribal errors exist in every extant manuscript, the conclusion to be drawn is that the Bible has been providentially preserved by means of secondary causation through the plethora of available manuscripts and not through miraculous preservation of particular manuscripts and versions. God Himself is faithful and true and His Word reflects His character; His decrees are absolutely immutable and infallible. Although the Scriptures themselves strongly assert that truths contained in it are firmly established and will endure forever, the case for providential preservation must rest upon theological grounds through the historical ( i.e., canonicity) and manuscript evidence (i.e., textual criticism) rather than upon exegetical grounds.

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