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Systematic Theology Course 2

Study 5: Of the Holy Scriptures 1:8

8. The Old Testament in Hebrew, (which was the native language of the people of God of old)
(a), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally
known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and
providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion,
the church is finally to appeal to them (b). But because these original tongues are not known
to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are
commanded in the fear of God to read (c) and search them (d), therefore they are to be
translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come (e), that the Word of
God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through
patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope (f).

a. Rom 3:2.
b. Is 8:20.
c. Acts 15:15.
d. Jn 5:39.
e. 1 Cor 14:6,9,11,12,24,28.
f. Col 3:16.

5.1 The Preservation of Scripture

‘There is no need for you to defend a lion when he’s being attacked. All you need do is open
the gate and let him out.’

C. H. Spurgeon.

The Bible was originally written in the Hebrew language (Old Testament) and in the
Greek language (New Testament). These were the languages of the people to whom the
Scriptures were originally given. The actual original Scriptures (called Autographs) were
100% inerrant, containing no mistakes what-so-ever, and therefore completely

The autographs are no longer extant, having been lost over the centuries. However,
many copies were made by hand (manuscripts) from the originals in the earliest periods
of the church. Though copyist mistakes were made from time to time, these can be
1689 Baptist Confession of Faith Study Series - 5. Of the Holy Scriptures 1:8 1
identified through the labour of comparing manuscript with manuscript (lower
criticism/textual criticism); thereby arriving at what is close to the original autographs.
God in His providence has therefore kept the Scriptures, and these are they that have
come down to us today.

‘All controversies of religion’ can be solved by going back to the original, for it is these
that are inerrant (Ps 19:7; Prov 30:5; Is 8:20).


Why is it important for a preacher to develop a working knowledge of the original

languages of Scripture?

Are our translations trustworthy? Explain?

5.2 The Translation of Scripture

Obviously not everyone is familiar with the original languages of the Scriptures;
therefore it is necessary to have them translated into the language of the people. What
is needed here is for the translation to be as reliable as possible, striving for exact
accuracy in translation.


Why is it necessary for people to have the Bible in a language they can understand?

How can we know if a translation is reliable and accurate?

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1689 Baptist Confession of Faith Study Series - 5. Of the Holy Scriptures 1:8 2