Textual Criticism and the Spiritual Factor

By Wilbur N. Pickering, ThM PhD

People who deny the existence of the Creator, and therefore of an inspired text, have no reason to participate in the debate (except in an attempt to defend their disbelief).

The NT gains its importance by being divinely inspired; if it is not inspired, there is no point in wasting time criticizing its text (it would be irrelevant for today). Even so, most textual critics of the NT do not believe in its divine inspiration. So what motivates them?

Leaving aside those who want to defend their disbelief by attacking the belief of others, that the Sovereign Creator exists and has delivered a written Revelation to our race are given presuppositions.

There are several biblical texts that affirm God’s purpose to preserve His Revelation, something logical and necessary, but they do not say how He would do it.

The Bible clearly teaches that Satan exists and that he is the leader of the opposition to God on this earth. This opposition includes the Holy Scriptures – it began in the Garden. Since both God and Satan have a keen interest in the destiny, or the fortunes, of the NT, any model of textual criticism that excludes the supernatural is doomed to go wrong.

It follows that people who use such models are condemned to never get to the truth. Worse still, they are serving Satan, whether they believe it or not, as I will now explain.

The Sovereign Creator, while walking on this earth in the person of Jesus, was very clear: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me, scatters” (Matthew 12:30 and Luke 11:23). Note that the Sovereign does not permit neutrality; either you are with Him or you are against Him… [keep reading]