Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Proofreading Scripture

Is the Bible inerrant? Are there mistakes in Scripture? Did the Bible need a proofreader? Many people today doubt its veracity. My book, Changing Churches elaborates on these troubling issues.

In the course of writing and working with a publisher I learned more than I ever knew I needed to know about proofreading. I spent days and hours and even weeks looking for mistakes. This daunting task taught me that nothing man creates is perfect.

The Christian Writer's Manual of Style says:
"The average 200 page book contains about 500,000 characters, that is a half-million letters, spaces, and punctuation marks. Each one must be in exactly the right place if the book is to be error free. A book that is 99 percent accurate will still contain five thousand typographical errors - about twenty-five errors per page. A book that is 99.9 percent accurate will still contain five hundred errors, or about two-and-a-half per page."      

Even so, I couldn't believe it when I discovered a mistake in The Message version of the Bible!

"May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!" (Romans 15:13)  

Clearly this should say "May the God of great hope fill you up with joy..."  The mistake in The Message was a minor error not picked up by spell check and it did not distort or change the basic message of the verse.

The accuracy (Truth) of the Bible has come under attack by many so-called Christian churches and groups in recent decades. Check out the Re-Imagining Conference, and the Jesus Seminar. As Christians we need to know the Scriptures and be able to defend their veracity. Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Christ, gives marvelous information along this line.

Here's a taste of Strobel's facts attesting to the truth of Scripture:

How can we be sure the biographies of Jesus are reliable? The four gospel writers give eye witness accounts of Jesus life and teachings. Their accounts, written 20 to 30 years after the crucifixion, contain accurate historical dates and are consistent with each other.

What about copying errors? The only errors are minor such as misspelling of words or putting the words in a different sequence without changing the meaning. There is no variation in the major doctrines of the church.

Did Jesus and Jesus alone match the identity of the Messiah? Dozens of Old Testament prophecies gave Israel a way to rule out impostors and validate the authentic Messiah. Against astronomical odds - one chance in trillions ­- Jesus, and only Jesus, throughout history, matched this prophetic fingerprint.

Surely, the Bible was proofread by the Holy Spirit.

Blessings, Dottie


  1. Thanks Dottie, I'm glad that you're standing up for God's Word and recommending good books to help people see the evidence for themselves. Well done you :-)

  2. Inspite of man's imperfection in translating scripture, Jesus is still Jesus!