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The Verbal Plenary Preservation of God's Words

By Pastor Manny Rodriguez


Verbal Plenary Preservation


“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Ps. 12:6-7


These are the hallmark verses for the Doctrine of the Preservation of the Scriptures. It is a clear promise from God that in every generation all of his pure words would exist and persist. Therefore it is quite obvious that if his words are to be preserved “from this generation for ever” than every one of these pure and inspired words must be in existence today.


Verbal Preservation is the preservation of the very words that God inspired. Plenary Preservation is the preservation of ALL of God’s words. Hence, Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP).


Inspiration & Preservation


Verbal Plenary Inspiration (VPI) and Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) go hand in hand. VPI requires VPP. For why would God inspire scriptures that he did not intend for us to have? That would not have made sense. God is not like that.


Dr. Edward Hills, a Harvard and Yale graduate with a PhD in Textual Criticism, said:


“If the doctrine of divine inspiration of the Old and New Testament Scriptures is a true doctrine, the doctrine of the providential preservation of these Scriptures must also be a true doctrine. It must be that down through the centuries God has exercised a special, providential control over the copying of the Scriptures and the preservation and use of the original text have been available to God's people in every age. God must have done this, for if He gave the Scriptures to His Church by inspiration as the perfect and final revelation of His will, then it is obvious that He would not allow this revelation to disappear or undergo any alteration of its fundamental character”[1]

John William Burgon, the great Dean of Chichester in the late 1800s and staunch defender of the Traditional Texts, said:


“If you and I believe that the original writings of the Scriptures were verbally inspired by God then of the necessity they must have been providentially preserved throughout the ages.”[2]

The Westminister Confession of Faith of 1647 states the following concerning the scriptures:


“…being immediately inspired by God and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages.”

The Error of Essential Preservation


There are some who teach that what God has promised to preserve for us is the message, thoughts, truths, doctrines, concepts, ideas, or philosophies of God’s word rather than the actual words themselves. This is referred by some as Essential Preservation. It is the ugly twin sister of the heresy called Concept Inspiration. This erroneous assertion likewise has no basis in the scriptures.


This error is why Critical Text proponents argue that all Fundamental doctrines are still contained in the CT-based Modern Versions as a way to counter our legitimate complaints about the omissions in the Alexandrian bibles they endorse. They are not concerned with the preservation of every word of God.


The Word vs. the Words


This is also why true Bible-believers make it a point to not just speak of the word of God (singular) but the words of God (plural). There is a subtle undermining of the very words of God taking place in the writings and teachings of many CT proponents today. Many times when they speak of the word of God (singular) they are referring to the so-called essence of the message that is contained in the Bible. I realize that it may seem a little knit-picky, but considering the jealousy that God himself has for his very words (Ps. 138:2, Pro. 30:6-7, Rev. 22:18-19, Pro. 22:21, Mat. 4:4), this distinction needs to be made. Satan has been attacking God’s very words since the beginning (Gen. 3:1-5), and he has not retired.


Understand that there is nothing wrong with referring to the word of God (singular), as this author still uses the terminology on occasion, as long as the truth of VPP is made plain. All the emphasis that we can place upon the very words of God, rather than just the message contained in “the word of God”, is very important. The words of God (plural) should be emphasized and identified as often as possible. Perhaps the late Jack Hyles said it best when he stated:


“My Bible does not say that God has preserved the thoughts for us. My Bible does not say that God preserved the doctrine for us. My Bible does not say that God has preserved certain truths for us. My Bible says that the words of God are perfectly pure and will be preserved forever! Since today is part of forever, that means somewhere in this world there must be the very words of God.”[3]

In fact, God said it even better when he inspired the following words through Solomon:


“Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” Pro. 22:21


God is concerned with us knowing the “certainty of the words of truth”. If we get the right words, all of them, we will get the right message rather than just man’s interpretation of what the message might be. Sound doctrines are based upon the sound words of God. Omitting or adding words can greatly affect doctrine. Therefore, it is extremely important that every word given by inspiration of God is preserved.


Verses That Place Emphasis On the Words of God


The following is a list of verses throughout the Bible that places an emphasis on God’s words. This list comes from Dr. D.A.Waite’s classic entitled Defending the King James Bible.[4] We will not take the time to elaborate upon any of these verses but they are provided for your reference:

Exo. 4:28, 19:6, 19:7, 20:1, 24:3, 24:4, 24:8, 34:1, 34:27, 34:28, 35:1, Num. 11:24, Deut. 1:1, 4:10, 4:12, 4:36, 5:22, 6:6, 9:10, 10:2, 11:18, 12:28, 17:19, 18:18, 18:19, 27:3, 27:8, 27:26, 28:14, 28:58, 29:1, 29:9, 29:29, 31:12, 31:24, 32:46, Josh. 3:9, 8:34, 1 Sam. 3:19, 15:1, 2 Kgs. 22:13, 23:2, 23:3, 2 Chr. 11:4, 34:21, 34:30, 34:31, Ezra 7:11, 9:4, Neh. 8:9, 8:13, Job 6:10, 19:23, 23:12, Ps. 12:6, 107:11, 119:57, 119:103, 119:130, 119:139, Pro. 30:6, Isa. 51:16, Jer. 1:9, 6:19, 7:8, 7:27, 11:3, 11:6, 11:8, 13:10, 15:16, 16:10, 19:2, 23:22, 23:30, 23:36, 26:2, 26:15, 29:19, 29:23, 30:2, 34:18, 35:13, 36:2, 36:4, 36:6, 36:8, 36:11, 36:18, 36:27, 36:28, 45:1, Eze. 2:7, 3:4, 3:10, 33:32, Amos 8:11, Zech. 7:7, 7:12, Mat. 24:35, Mark 8:38, 13:31, Luke 9:26, Luke 21:33, 24:44, Jn. 3:34, 6:63, 6:68, 8:47, 12:48, 14:10, 14:23, 15:7, 17:8, Acts 15:15, 1 Cor. 2:4, 2:13, Eph. 5:6, Col. 2:4, 1 Thes. 4:18, 1 Tim. 4:6, 6:3, 2 Tim. 1:13, 2 Pet. 2:3, 3:2, Jude 1:17, Rev. 1:3, 22:18, 22:19.

10 More Verses on VPP


We have already mentioned Ps. 12:6-7 & Pro. 22:21. To further establish the truth of VPP, we will now briefly discuss 10 more verses that clearly teach the fundamental doctrine of VPP. There are other verses outside of these ten that discuss VPP, but these were chosen as the author feels that they are the most plain.


1. Ps. 78:1-8

“Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: 3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. 5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know them, even] the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: 7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: 8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation [that] set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.”


God’s words are a heritage! They were to be passed down from generation to generation. Also see Ps. 119:111.


2. Ps. 105:8

“He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.”


God’s words are persistent! I read in a Bible commentary that a generation is probably 35 years according to a statement by Job. In Job 42:16, it states that Job lived for 140 years. It further states that during these 140 years, Job lived to see 4 generations. 140 divided by 4 is exactly 35 years. If it is correct that a generation is 35 years than consider the following. God has commanded for his words to endure for 1000 generations. 35 x 1000 = 35000 years. This illustrates the magnitude of God’s statement in this verse. When our generation is dead and gone, God’s words will still be around for the next generation, and the next generation after that, and so on and so forth.


3. Ps. 119:89

“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”


God’s words are permanent! They are settled forever in heaven. Just as God has his tabernacle up in heaven of which the tabernacle of Israel on earth was patterned after (Heb. 8), the Divine Author has his own Master Copy of the scriptures in heaven preserved by his own divine care of which the pure copies here on earth reflect.

Enemies of this Biblical Doctrine scoff at Ps. 119:89 as a proof text for VPP. They claim that this verse only shows that God’s words are settled in heaven and not here on earth. But it makes no sense for God to confine his inspired and living words in heaven. What good does God’s words do mankind if his pure words cannot be found here on earth? God’s words are for the benefit of us here on earth. As stated before, we need God’s words more than our necessary food (Job 23:12, Mat. 4:4, 1 Pet. 2:2). The necessity of God’s words for the nourishment of our spiritual lives cannot be stressed enough. They do us no good if they are only in Heaven.


4. Ps. 119:152

“Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.”


God’s words are founded for ever! For God has poured this foundation. Nothing can cause this foundation to crack or crumble.


5. Isa. 40:8

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”


God’s words are steadfast! The grass and flowers cannot forever endure the corroding elements of this world. But when all shall pass away, God’s words stall stand its ground forever.


6. Isa. 59:21

“As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.”


God’s words are everlasting! They will never depart from God’s people from generation to generation.


7. Mat. 5:17-18

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”


God’s words are eternal! God has not just promised the eternal existence of his words, but even the jots and tittles of his words. Jots and tittles are the smallest characters in the Hebrew alphabet. A jot is like an apostrophe. A tittle is a dot. We will let Dr. D.A.Waite, a Greek and Hebrew scholar who has been familiar with the original languages since 1945, explain these small Hebrew characters:


“A ‘jot’ is like our apostrophe or comma (only at the top of the line). It is the Hebrew yodth. The sound is like “ya”. The “tittle” represents a tiny difference between two Hebrew letters. I want you to notice two letters in Psalm 119. In most of our KING JAMES BIBLES we have at the beginning of verse 9 the word “beth”. The Hebrew letter is to the left of the beth. Compare at verse 81. Above that verse you have the word caph. Notice those two letters. What is the difference? Caph is more rounded. The little extension at the bottom right of the beth is a tittle—a little jutting foot. That is what the Lord meant. Look above verse 73 where it says jod (yodth), the little apostrophe is a jot. Look above verse 25 at the daleth. Look at the Hebrew word resh above verse 153. What is the difference between them? The same small extension, only on the top right of the daleth, and resh is rounded. Those are examples of the tittle, the smallest distinguishing characteristic between two letters in the Hebrew language. The Lord Jesus Christ believed in Bible preservation, didn’t He? There is good evidence that a tittle is the smallest Hebrew vowel which is a dot. This view is even better than the other view.”[5]

The fact that God promised even the preservation of the jots and tittles demonstrates the importance of VPP. It manifests how serious the LORD himself is about the preservation of his words.


8. Mat. 24:35

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”


God’s words are immortal! Heaven and earth will one day dissolve, but God’s words will live on forever. Also see Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33.


9. Jn. 10:35

“If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken”


God’s words are indestructible! They will never be broken.


10. 1 Pet. 1:23-25

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”


God’s words are incorruptible! For according to 1 Pet. 1:23-25, God’s words will live forever, abide forever, and endure forever.


Is Ps. 12:6-7 a Proof Text for Verbal Plenary Preservation?


Now that VPP has been established as a Bible Doctrine, let us revisit Ps. 12:6-7.


“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”


There are some who insist that Ps. 12:6-7 is not a proof text for VPP. They claim that the word “them” in verse 7 is not in reference to the “words of the Lord” in verse 6. Instead, they believe that the word “them” is in reference to the “poor” and “needy” (Israel) mentioned in Ps. 12:5. They say this because the word “them” is a feminine gender and the term “words” in v.6 is a masculine gender. And supposedly a feminine word cannot modify a masculine word. Thus, they believe that these verses are actually teaching the Preservation of Israel.

But they are wrong.

You don’t have to be a linguistic expert to know that sometimes there are exceptions in grammar. In most cases, a masculine plural would not modify a feminine gender. But in the case of Ps. 12:6-7 the masculine plural "them" does in fact modify the feminine noun "words", BECAUSE THE CONTEXT DEMANDS IT!


First off, let's look at the context. The entire chapter shows a contrast between the evil words of men and the pure words of the Lord. Here are the preceding verses themselves in the context of vs. 6-7:


Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. 2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. 3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: 4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? 5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him."[6] (emphasis in bold and underline mine)

Verse 4 is the key to the context. The context is evil men who persecute with their tongue against the righteous.

Now look at the contrast:


"6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."


This chapter is discussing the contrast of the evil words of men as opposed to the pure words of the Lord. God is showing that the effect of man's evil words are temporal, whereas God's pure words are eternal.


If that isn't enough for you, consider the following.


Go to any Hebrew expert and ask them if the following point is not true. And when I say a Hebrew expert, I'm not talking about just a Gentile professor in a Christian seminary somewhere. Go straight to the source. Go to an orthodox Jewish Rabbi, who knows the language of the Tanakh from his youth, and whose whole life's duty is to know and understand Hebrew and the Hebrew scriptures. Who can be more authoritative on the Hebrew language than a Hebrew rabbi himself who has mastered the language from his youth up?


A friend of mine who is a retired Pastor talked one time to an orthodox Jewish Rabbi named Rabbi Slater in Savannah, GA. Rabbi Slater says that sometimes a masculine word can modify a feminine word. To prove this point, the Rabbi gave the example of Exo. 15:20-21 which says:


“And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.”


Notice the words in bold type. We already know the word “them” is masculine. Here is a really deep question for you. Do you think the word “women” is feminine? The Hebrew word for “women” is “is’shah“, a feminine gender according to Strong‘s Hebrew definition. Here you have the case of the masculine plural word “them” modifying the feminine word “women”, BECAUSE THE CONTEXT AND COMMON SENSE DEMANDS FOR IT.[7] There are always exceptions to the rule. There are several authoritative Hebrew grammar books that attest to this.[8]


More examples of masculine words modifying feminine words are found in the following verses:


“Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.” Ps 119:111


“Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.” Ps 119:129


“Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.” Ps 119:152


“My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.” Ps 119:167


The Hebrew word for ‘testimonies’ is eduwth (ay-dooth') and is a feminine gender. There are many other examples that can be found throughout the scriptures but these should be enough to suffice for any reasonable person.


The point is that there are definitely times when a masculine word can modify a feminine word when the context allows for it. Besides, as a preacher said one time, “I wouldn’t want to be preserved poor and needy forever anyways.” Neither would I. Would you?


Ps. 12:6-7 in the Spanish Bibles


We devoted several pages to prove that Ps. 12:6-7 is indeed a reference to the preservation of God’s pure words for a reason. Until 2004, as far as this author is aware of, there has never been a Spanish Bible in which Ps. 12:6-7 was translated in a way that rendered the passage as a reference to the preservation of God’s words rather than the preservation of Israel. Now let’s compare Ps. 12:6-7 in the 1602, 1865, 1909, 1960, and RVG:


KJV - The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. Ps. 12:6-7


1602 Las palabras de Jehová palabras limpias: plata refinada en horno de tierra: colada siete veces. 7 Tú Jehová los guardarás: guárdalos para siempre de aquesta generación. Salmos 12:6-7[9]


1865Las palabras de Jehová, palabras limpias: plata refinada en horno de tierra: colada siete veces. 7 Tú, Jehová, los guardarás: guárdalos para siempre de aquesta generación. Salmos 12:6-7


1909Las palabras de Jehová, palabras limpias; Plata refinada en horno de tierra, Purificada siete veces. 7 Tú, Jehová, los guardarás; Guárdalos para siempre de aquesta generación. Salmos 12:6-7


1960Las palabras de Jehová son palabras limpias, Como plata refinada en horno de tierra, Purificada siete veces. 7 Tú, Jehová, los guardarás; De esta generación los preservarás para siempre. Salmos 12:6-7


RVG - Las palabras de Jehová son palabras puras; como plata refinada en horno de tierra, purificada siete veces. 7 Tú, Jehová, las guardarás; las preservarás de esta generación para siempre. Salmos 12:6-7


The RVG is the only Spanish Bible in this list that renders “Thou shalt keep them” in the feminine gender (las guardarás) which makes it an undeniable and exclusive reference to the preservation of God’s words. Dr. Humberto Gomez has been criticized for introducing this change into the Spanish Bible. But after considering the evidence already provided in the prior section, Dr. Gomez should instead be commended for this improvement in the Spanish Bible.

[1] The King James Version Defended by Dr. Edward Hills, pg. 2 [2] Revision Revised by Dean John Burgon, p. 8 [3] The Need For An Every Word Bible by Jack Hyles, pg. 13 [4] Defending the King James Bible by Dr. D.A.Waite, pgs 184-196 [5] Ibid. pgs. 10-11 [6] The hebrew word for "puffeth" is puwach, pronounced poo'akh, which according to Strong's is: a primitive root; to puff, i.e. blow with the breath or air; hence, to fan (as a breeze), to utter, to kindle (a fire), to scoff:--blow (upon), break, puff, bring into a snare, speak, utter. [7] This information came from notes taken from Pastor Baker’s Power Point Presentation on The Preservation & History of the Bible, a week long series that was taught at Calvary Baptist Church in Beaufort, SC. [8] In Jack Moorman’s article entitled Ps. 12:6-7 & Bible Preservation, he provides several statements from standard Hebrew grammar books and commentaries by Jewish Rabbis supporting this same point. To see this information go to http://www.feasite.org/Foundation/fbcpresv.htm. [9] The 1602 adds an extra verse in the beginning of Ps. 12:6-7. Thus, Ps. 12:6-7 is really Ps. 12:7-8 in the 1602. It is given here as Ps. 12:6-7 for sake of uniformity with the other Reina Valera Bibles.

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