K Neill Foster

Daily Doctrine

A daily devotional by Dr. K. Neill Foster

for December 07, 2019

Throwing the First Stone

Text: "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" John 8:7.

The story of the woman taken in adultery is one of the most famous in the life of Jesus Christ. The pathetic scene in which the adulterous woman is about to be dispatched by a bunch of arrogant and self-righteous religious bigots appeals to our sense of drama--except for the fact that her partner is nowhere to be found (it takes two to commit adultery), and except for the fact that the text itself is not found in the best, i.e. the most ancient manuscripts, of the New Testament.

There is a rigorously applied science that helps scholars to know which reading of the New Testament Greek text is the best one to follow. Simply put, "the older the authority, the more accurate it is assumed to be."

One should not assume that the biblical text is full of flaws, but there are variant readings from time to time in the original language. My advice is to discover the oldest text. Enjoy the story, but know this: the passage may not be included in the oldest and best texts of the New Testament.

The best doctrinal statements affirm the inerrancy of Scripture in the original manuscripts.


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