Was Jesus Misquoted?

Written by gregdenham on July 7th, 2009




Have you ever read a headline from a newspaper, or magazine, or an Internet site that caught your attention and you think to yourself, “WOW, I can’t believe this?” But then, when you read the actual article, you learn that the impression from the headline is not supported by the article itself! For me, this seems to be happening more and more.


I have a theory about all this: in our fast-paced, information-filled-world, the competition among news agencies to capture the public’s attention is greater than ever. So, there is a temptation to sensationalize headlines! This, accompanied with the fact that you can come across hundreds of headlines in a day while browsing the Internet and that many people just read the headline not the article, means that there are a lot of wrong impressions being left in the public sector!


I mention this because there is a very popular – what I am going to call a type of “headline” that is being read today!


This headline, however, is in the form of a popular book title, “Misquoting Jesus”. It is a book that was written in 2006 by Bart Ehrman – a book that took our country by storm. Sadly, Ehrman was at one time an evangelical Christian but ultimately walked away from his faith. And, in his book, “Misquoting Jesus” he explains why.


Think about the title “Misquoting Jesus” for a moment.


The title implies that Jesus has been misquoted — which means that words that have been attributed to Jesus are not actually from Him at all. How could that have taken place? The promotional material’s for Ehrman’s book claim that “many of our cherished biblical stories and widely held beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself stem from both intentional and accidental alterations by scribes.” What’s more, the author, Bart Ehrman, claims that his views are being made “for the first time.”


When you hear the title “Misquoting Jesus” coupled with the promotional claims for the book, what impression does it leave you? It’s pretty clear isn’t it?


The accusation is, that those who have copied the original manuscripts of the books of the Bible either intentionally or accidently changed the original manuscripts and by doing so, have made up a Jesus that never existed. It appears from Ehrman’s “headline” that what we read in the Bible, are NOT actually the words of Jesus but a legend about Jesus. This is revealed when Ehrman writes, “Sometimes Christian apologists say there are only three options to who Jesus was: a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. But there could be a forth option – legend.”


So, what does all of this mean? Ehrman is claiming that our Bible today tells a story about a Jesus that really did not come from eye-witnesses, or from those who interviewed eye-witnesses, but “stem” from “intentional and accidental alterations by scribes.”


Well, needless to say, if this is true, as the promotional materials of Ehrman’s book claim, the ramifications are huge! However, what we’ll learn is that the facts do not support Ehrman’s headline — “Misquoting Jesus”. What we’ll learn in upcoming blogs is that his title is, sensationalized. What we’ll learn is that we are given a false and wrong impression! What we will learn is that the Bible we have today CAN be trusted!


So, “How Did We Get The Bible?”


Stay tuned.

2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Michael says:

    I look forward to this series. Having the “ammunition” to refute arguments against the authenticity of the Bible will be very helpful.

  2. Brian says:

    We were blessed with our mid-week bible study last night in Acts 8 and with the loving fellowship afterwards. I read ahead this morning and discovered vs. 37 missing from the NIV text. It noted in my NKJV “37 is found in Western texts, including the Latin tradition.” There is no misquoting me being blessed reading the Ethiopian eunuch’s response to Philip, “I beleive that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” Praise God for reaching out and blessing a man seeking the truth.

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