May 28

Part 31: The Trustworthy Word and the Christ Who Redeems

Todd Pruitt |Series: The Gospel of John |2 Timothy 3:16 [John 7:53-8:11]

One of the great statements on the trustworthiness of Scripture is found in the Apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy. There he writes that “all Scripture is breathed out by God…” (2 Timothy 3:16a). That is, all Scripture came about by Divine inspiration. The doctrine of the Scriptures inspiration refers to that mysterious and dynamic process whereby our self-revealing God acted upon certain men in such a way that they spoke and wrote as He directed them. Because of this we have confidence that God’s written Word is a reflection of His own authority and perfections.

Anyone with a contemporary translation of the Bible (ESV, NASB, NIV, etc) will notice that John 7:53-8:11 is bracketed and accompanied by a notation reading something like, “The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53-8:11.” And that is true. In fact, this account does not appear in any New Testament manuscripts until the fifth century AD. It is never referred to by any of the church fathers from whom we have commentary and sermons on every other text of the New Testament. There is only one other similarly contested passage in the New Testament. That is the concluding paragraph of Mark’s gospel, which like this section in John, is not found in the earliest manuscripts.

What are Christians to make of this? Should our confidence in the trustworthiness of the Bible as God’s unerring Word be undermined? This Sunday we will see how, quite to the contrary, our confidence in the trustworthiness of the Bible is very well placed. We will see the truly unique character of the Scriptures, the massive wealth of manuscript evidence, and the remarkable unity of those manuscripts testify to God’s providential care in preserving his Word for us.

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