There are many different versions of the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament.

If God dictated every word of the Bible, which version is the one dictated by God? It is impossible to know.

Changes occurred during constant copying and re-copying of Bible manuscripts by scribes, and during constant translating and translating back again, and when scribes made amendments, omissions or additions to present their own take on the matter.

Also, to promote a State Religion, the Emperor Constantine regulated the books of the Bible. The same effect of regulation was achieved by scribes who sometimes combined and harmonised different accounts.

The different versions give fundamentally the same message, though the words are not identical.

If every word of the Bible was dictated by God, He would have enabled us to identify that volume, or what would be the point? The reality is that in this mess of a fallen world, we have the Divine Inspiration of God to guide us, but we have to rely on fallen mankind to pass on that guidance.

To repeat, The different versions give fundamentally the same message, though the words are not identical.

*Because of this, we can know that it is the spirit of the message that matters, and we can disregard a jarring or nonsensical or unethical word if it is against justice, love or our conscience, and if we accept the meaning of the message.

*Also because of this we can know that truth is to be discovered by all our means – conscience, education, common sense etc…not just by the Bible alone (whose words have changed down the centuries) but also by a continuing revelation.

Personally, I think this way is better, because an unalterable script would promote even more errors, because people would take the words at face value, and that face value would change with time and culture and nature and nurture. That is happening now of course, but now we can agree on a common spiritual meaning from the words, and we can see a clear overall picture of God’s love and our duty to obey His commandments.

I find these differences liberating. When I’ve seen something in the Bible which is less than just, I have trusted that there is an explanation which I could accept. So for me, these differences vindicate my trust in God and in Jesus.