David wrote, “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Ps 119:89). This verse from the whole of Psalm 119 is about the beauty and authority of the Scriptures. All Evangelicals/Pentecostals believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. This doctrine has five parts: Revelation is the means by which God himself has revealed himself through the recorded truth of his word. This process of revelation has ceased, and no more inspired books of the Bible are being added. Inspiration is the belief that the Spirit of God moved upon men to write the sixty-six books of the Bible. Authoritative is the belief that the Bible carries in its words the divine authority of God. For this reason we believe that there are universal laws such as the Ten Commandments that transcend all cultural barriers. Inerrancy is the belief that because Scripture was given by divine inspiration, it is inerrant and infallible. Illumination is the process by which the Holy Spirit opens the minds of men and women to understand the spiritual truth of God’s Word.
This doctrine of inspiration is being rejected today by many in the church who no longer view the Bible as divinely inspired. This is a slippery slope for the church and one which will continue to divide the church. For those of us who believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible, there are so many ways to see the hand of God in the preservation and transmission of the Scriptures to our present day.
One of the ways the Scriptures have been persevered is through the meticulous scribes of ancient Israel.
Before there was a printing press, every copy of every manuscript had to be made by hand, and this was a painstaking process. Every page, every line, and every word had to be right. So much effort and precaution were used because errors could be introduced if the copy was not made carefully, and so the Jews developed rules for preventing scribal errors in scrolls.
· Each day a scribe would make sure his reed pen was writing well by dipping it in ink and writing the name Amalek and then crossing it out.
· All materials had to be made according to strict specifications. Parchments had to be made from the skins of clean (kosher) animals and quills made from feathers of clean birds. The ink must be black and prepared according to scribal specifications.
· No word or even a letter could be written from memory. A scribe must have another scroll open before him and pronounce every word out loud before copying it.
· Before writing the name of God, a scribe must reverently wipe his pen and say, “I am writing the name of God for the holiness of His name.”
· Every letter had to have some space around it. If one letter touched another or if a letter was defective because of incorrect writing, a hole, a tear, or a smudge so that it could not be easily read, the scroll was invalidated.
· Each column must have no fewer than forty-eight nor more than sixty lines and must be exactly like the manuscript being copied.
· Within thirty days of completion, an editor would review the manuscript, counting every letter and every word as a way of checking. The editor would also make sure that the middle word on each page of the copy was the same as the middle words on the manuscript being copied.
· Up to three mistakes on any page could be corrected within thirty days. If more mistakes were found or if mistakes were not fixed within thirty days, the entire manuscript had to be burned. If a single letter was added or a single letter left out, the manuscript had to be fixed or burned.
This is just one of the many ways that God preserved the accuracy of the Scriptures so they could be handed down through the centuries. When you take up a copy of the Bible in your language, you are reading God’s Words to you.[i]