Being Bible Driven // Part 3

One of our core values at Mission Hills is being Bible-driven, and we’re going to spend some time in these sessions digging into what exactly that means.

In the weekly Mission Hills staff chapel, Craig Smith shared the above study, the third part of this series. Below is a summary the highlights the main points of the video for the sake of brevity, but it is not exhaustive.


If you believe God has written something, you’re going to take care of it and others will want a copy of it.

In the ancient world, creating handwritten copies was an expensive, laborious, and time-consuming process.

They were careful to make sure that it was accurate to maintain the integrity of God’s message. Hebrew “vowel pointing” is a good example of this.

Transmission errors were introduced into some copies often by accident, like omissions or additions of words or letters, or more intentionally, like alterations or modernizations, in an attempt to add clarity. Sometimes there were intentional alterations by groups that wanted to change the meaning.

The discipline of text criticism attempts to reconstruct the original text using thousands of manuscripts. We have more manuscripts of the New Testament than any other ancient text.

Text critics generally rely on three principles:

1. Earlier manuscripts are preferred over later ones

2. Majority witness (more evidence) preferred over minority witness (fewer manuscripts).

3. More difficult readings are preferred over easier readings (because a scribe was more likely to amend a word or sentence to make it read more smoothly).
While there are occasional textual issues which these principles do not resolve, they are all relatively minor and no orthodox doctrinal position depends on a disputed text.

The doctrine of inerrancy applies to the original manuscripts, the autographs.


Church councils ratified what the church had already recognized and been using as scripture.

The books of the Old Testament were gathered together as a whole by at least 425 BC and were affirmed by Jesus himself.

The books of the New Testament were widely circulated and accepted as authoritative by no later than 185 AD.

Contrary to recent fictional assertions, no church council held an open debate on which books should be gathered together as the Bible.

Various councils did however, command that no additional books be read in worship settings, in response to various pseudepigraphical books that were circulating in some areas.


Translation is always an act of interpretation.

Two ends of the spectrum when it comes to translation: formal equivalence (works as hard as possible to maintain a word for word translation) and functional equivalence (works to maintain the most understandable concept in translation).

Translations done in committee are often best so that the interpretation of the original text and the translation depends on the input of more than one person.