A GCSE student told me that the Bible was an old book, which had been copied and translated many times. No way could we be sure that what we have is the original.
Well, the version you have in front of you is a translation from three ancient languages. But most modern translations are not translations of translations, they go back to the earliest manuscripts we possess and they have only been translated once. When we compare translations we find that there a few serious differences between them. But, yes, if you are really serious about learning the Bible it would help to learn the original languages. I'm a fan of that.
This week we start to look at Paul's letter to the Galatians. Most people who study these things think it is genuinely the work of the Apostle Paul, the first century missionary.
Paul has a lot to say but first he spends a lot of time arguing that he does have the right to say it. He talks about the way God called him and the way his gospel agrees with the gospel of those who met Jesus after the resurrection.
We've just looked at Peter's second letter. We saw that he knew the Lord and he claimed he wasn't making up stories. He also said that Paul was preaching the same message. Peter and Paul are keen to say that they are on the same side.
So we need to take Peter and Paul seriously, if I may use the jargon word, as apostles of Jesus.
Next week Paul will really get going, but this week we are introduced to a lot of his themes: the resurrection and the new age it launches, God's one family, grace, peace, God our Father and of course the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
This letter has a lot to say to us. Let's start it with the conviction that it is worth reading.