Some time ago, I rather surprisingly came across the following Scripture in Jeremiah 8:8: "How can you say, 'We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,' when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?" I am particularly concerned about this reference in the context of the Bible being referred to as the "infallible / inerrant Word of God." If Jeremiah confronted his contemporaries on the corruptness (falseness) of the written law of the Lord in his day, how can we, thousands of years later, say that 'We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord'? Unless I'm misunderstanding Jeremiah, the implication is that the Bible is not infallible: that just because something is written down as God's Law doesn't necessarily make it so. What do you think? --Nicole Peterson

Indeed, this passage has been used by skeptics in attacking the trustworthiness of the Bible. To begin with, throughout Jeremiah (e.g. in chapter 26) it is assumed that the true Law is available and the Jewish people are expected to obey it. So Jeremiah cannot be teaching that the Law has been lost completely. Further, even if the scribes had mangled the scriptures, surely God could have restored it, as he did in the case of some of Jeremiah's own oracles in the colorful Jeremiah 36. Furthermore, the prophet carefully distinguishes between true prophets and false ones (e.g. in chapter 23).

I believe the problem really has nothing to do with textual criticism. Jesus criticized the scribes of his day for twisting the law of God. In Matthew 15 and Mark 7, the Lord lambastes the religious leaders for mishandling the scriptures through their traditions, which effectively nullified the word of God. God's word is infallible; it is only the traditions of man that are erroneous.

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