There is a crying need to categorize the various views about the Bible in a way that is accurate, clear, concise, consistent, complete, and equitable. It appears that much of the previous categorization is either designed for or at least lends itself to polemic purposes.[i] There are problems with the categorizations that have been foisted upon us. These should be addressed.
- accurate – the designations should be precise, with as little room for error as possible
- clear – the designations should be easy to understand rather than confusing
- concise – the designations should be simple rather than complex
- consistent – the designations should adhere to similar principles of description for all views
- complete – the designations should encompass the
range of differing views [ii]
- equitable – the designations should fairly
represent opposing and differing views [iii]
- views concerning the first writing, autographa
- views concerning copies of the first writing, apographa
- views concerning translations of the writings, allographa
- the first writings are inspired and inerrant
- the first writings are inspired, but not inerrant
- the first writings are neither inspired nor inerrant
- We have copies of the originals that contain scribal errors
- We cannot reliably know what copies contain the
- We can reconstruct and know substantially what is the original from collating and comparing existing manuscripts
- We have copies that faithfully represent the word of God in the first writings
- all translations reproduce scribal errors and introduce translation errors
- translations may reproduce some scribal errors and introduce translation errors, but can be considered essentially the word of God as originally written
- translations can accurately and faithfully reproduce the original words, representing the word of God as originally written
[i] I once thought their categorizations were useful, but have since decided that they do not give a fair representation of the views included – as well as not giving any other views. If everyone held KJV views, there would be no King James Version Debate!
[ii] For example, the categorizations primarily referenced in discussions only relates to the King James Version.
[iii] Names like “Burgonism” and “Ruckmanism” might serve some legitimate purpose, yet are more likely to stymie rather than further discussion.
[iv] Categorizations like those of Bob Griffin and James White or John Ankerberg and John Weldon suffer from including people who prefer the King James Version and those who call for its exclusive use under the broad banner of “KJV Only” – when in fact their approaches and views are completely different.
[v] “We do not have now—in our critical Greek texts or any of our translations—exactly what the authors of the New Testament wrote. Even if we did, we would not know it.” – Daniel B. Wallace, “Foreword,” Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism, Elijah Hixson, Peter J. Gurry, editors, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2019, p. xii.