Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 31, 1951
NUMBER 5, PAGE 10-11b

Did The Scholar Explode The Story??

. J. Russell, Durant, Oklahoma

(Delivered in part over the "Religious Question Hour" heard each Sunday morning over radio station KSEO at 8:30, Durant, Oklahoma.)

From Sadler, Texas We have the following letter: Dear brother Russell: Recently a person told me of seeing an article in a Dallas newspaper written by a minister about Lot's wife being turned to a pillar of salt. The minister stated that this story was untrue and the person telling me about it said, "e;If that were not true, then none of the Bible is true. I would like for you to discuss this matter over the radio. The letter is signed by a lady who lives on route one Sadler, Texas.

The article mentioned in today's letter appeared recently in the Dallas Morning News under the bold heading: SCHOLAR EXPLODES STORY OF JONAH! Above this headline appears the calumnious charge against divine inspiration: "Just Slang of the Day!

Hundreds of people seeing this headline with its bold and unfounded claims read the article which probably led many of the unthinking ones to believe that none of the Bible can be trusted. Certainly their reasoning is not far amiss—if one part of the Bible is false, then it is all a fraud and an imposition. Through this gradual process of inculcation the devil through his modernist agents (just infidels in religious clothes) is doing a devastating work in corrupting the minds of many from the simplicity seen in the verbal inspiration of the sacred scriptures. We give here the article and follow with the answer.

"A noted Bible scholar and translator said here Friday: "Jonah was not swallowed by a whale. Lot's wife was not turned into a pillar of salt. Jesus did not feed the multitude with food from heaven. Such miracles related in conventional Bibles said Dr. George M. Lamsa are among thousands of errors that have gotten into the Bibles because of faulty translations. He illustrated Lot's wife merely became paralyzed and not a pillar of salt. And Jonah in a vision' fled from God and not in a whale. And the food that Jesus had when he fed the multitude came from people who had come to see him. Dr. Lamsa explained that conventional Bibles have been translated from Aramaic into Greek from Greek into Latin and then from Latin into English without taking into account Aramaic colloquialisms and shades in meaning."

Several other statements of interest may be observed in that the Dr. stated that, "Jonah's being in the whale was somewhat akin to the American expression that a man is in a pickle or a jam!" Further does he state, "It just happens that I am the only man in the world who knows the English, Aramaic and the Bible.'' Then he added, "The writers of the Bible were inspired but the translators were not.'

A mere glance will show that the whole denial of the miracles of the Bible is made contingent on the idea that the Bible was written originally in the Aramaic, and that improper translations have changed the meaning of the sacred accounts written in this Book of Life. We cannot help but doubt the "scholarship" of one who makes such claim! The merest tyro in Bible knowledge knows that the Old Testament was written originally in the Hebrew language. (See International Bible En- cyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 460.) Only a small portion was written in Aramaic or the so-called Chaldee. The exceptions are Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Jeremiah 10:11; Daniel 2:4-7:28. These small excerpts alone are written originally in the Aramaic and definitely not the whole Old Covenant. The New Testament, of course, was written originally in the "koina" Greek. Today, translators go back to the original source and do not follow the route of Aramaic to Greek, Greek to Latin, and Latin to English as the article so confidently alleges. Three ancient manuscripts dating from the latter part of the third century to the early part of the fifth, written in the Greek language, together with hundreds of versions and translations are at the disposal of the world's ripest scholars who have given us the present day translations. The exacting Greek language in which the New Testament was written and into which the Old Testament was translated means today just what it did in the days or the apostles, for it is a dead language; marvelously and providentially preserved as that grand medium through which flow the sacred oracles of Almighty God. There is no proof offered in the article under consideration to sustain the assertion that the Bible was written originally in the Aramaic. All the effort, therefore, to sustain the allegation that Bible miracles are false is lost when predicated on the claim of Aramaic being the original language of the Bible.

We are brazenly told that Lot's' wife was merely paralyzed and not turned to a pillar of salt. A study of the original word for "pillar' reveals the clear meaning of "a statue' which is certainly in keeping with the pure translation. The word salt is the same as that used for the ancient name of the Dead Sea, the "SEA of SALT.' "All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim which is the Salt Sea.' (Gen. 14:3). The word "salt' used here is the same original word used to describe Lot's wife and we are certain the inspired writer was not speaking of a paralyzed sea!

The context of the Book of Jonah will not permit the idea that Jonah was in a pickle or a jam. Just notice how ridiculous the reading when we substitute "pickle" or "jam' for the word "fish' or "whale.' "Now the Lord had prepared a great pickle to swallow up Jonah!" (Jonah 1:17). "And the Lord spake unto the Jam and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land!' (Jonah 2:10). Certainly reason itself would not permit such wresting of the scriptures! The use made by Christ of the experience of Jonah's being in the fish as a type of his burial and resurrection should settle once and for all the controversy respecting this miracle. Jesus said, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.' (Matt. 12:40). Now who will declare that the Christ was "just in difficult circumstances?' Who will assume that Christ was not in Joseph's tomb? If Jonah was not in the whale's belly then Christ was not in the "heart of the earth.

The last paragraph in the article reads: "The writers of the Bible were inspired, but the translators were not." For that admission we are profoundly grateful. If translators are not inspired why are we asked to take Dr. Lamsa's translation as the only correct one? If he is not inspired how does he know his is the only correct translation? If translators are not inspired we definitely do not want to accept one man's word against hundreds of the best scholars who in their combined efforts have given English translations from the original source to the world.

It seems that instead of "the scholar (?) exploding the story of Jonah', the account of Jonah explodes the story of the scholar. And we do mean STORY!