The publishers of The Good News firmly believe that all the books of the Bible were written under divine inspiration. The evidence we base that conviction on is summarized in our free booklet Is the Bible True?
As the apostle Peter succinctly put it: "For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21 2 Peter 1:21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×). The apostle Paul adds that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:15 2 Timothy 3:15And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
American King James Version×).
It is infallible in the original written form. However, these original writings are no longer available—as we might expect for a book whose youngest portions are about 2,000 years old. We also believe that extrabiblical evidence adequately confirms that God involved Himself in the preservation and translation of the Bible.
In the world of biblical translation, the term autograph refers to the original writings as God inspired them in the Hebrew and Greek languages. For instance, an autograph of the book of Revelation would be John's original writing in Greek.
A manuscript is a handwritten copy of an autograph. Often a manuscript is several times removed from the original. As an example, people made copies of John's original autograph of Revelation, then others made copies of these copies, and so on.
In spite of their rigorous training in this profession, as scribes made copies from older copies at times they made errors, mostly minor. Common among the types of errors that are found in biblical manuscripts are misspellings of names and slight errors in numbers. These errors are comparatively few, and many have been corrected simply by comparing manuscripts. There are between 4,000 and 5,000 copies of the New Testament in Greek and many copies of the Old Testament in Hebrew.
These minor copyist errors have had little impact on the original inspiration God gave. Carefully trained scribes employed the most rigorous methodology in carrying out their profession, but they were still human. Their errors were mostly of a technical nature with minimal impact. The Bible as we know it is totally reliable in matters pertaining to our salvation and God's plan for mankind.
However, this does not mean that all modern translations are completely free from error. Although none is completely accurate, some versions are more reliable than others. The Good News generally uses the New King James Version when quoting Scripture. A helpful discussion of the relative merits of various Bible translations can be found on pages 12 and 13 of our free booklet How to Understand the Bible.