Pieper, Francis. Christian Dogmatics: Volume 1. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1968.
Chapter B12, “The Integrity of the Biblical Text”
Pieper observes that through a long and complex textual history the Bible text has remained very consistent. With or without vowel points the Hebrew text traditions are stable. In the New Testament, even despite purposeful corruptions, the text is consistent. Pieper discusses various ways the New Testament would become corrupted, including accidental errors, attempts at grammatical or stylistic improvements, glosses, clarifications, and attempts at harmonization. Despite this, and even the noteworthy disputes over the textus receptus versus the modern scholarly editions, the various traditions can be used together quite easily. Pieper discusses at length the debates over 1 John 5:7-8 and observes that the doctrines are well preserved in other passages of Scripture, as well as in quotations from the Fathers.
The more we study the New Testament text the more reliable it appears.
Chapter B13, “The Original Text of Holy Scriptures and Translations”
Having dealt with inspiration and infallibility Pieper turns his attention to translations of the Bible. Because the Scripture is straightforward and readily understandable, in translation the meaning also emerges. The Church has always prepared translations so believers can read God’s Word in their own language. Although it is quite possible to trust in Jesus without being aware of such a thing as a Bible, the Christian wants to learn more of God’s Word. Pieper suggests that one has to attempt distortion in order to translate major doctrines wrong. God’s Word is plain to understand. We can also have confidence that the Lord speaks through translations in an authoritative way. He compares several different translations and their treatment of doctrines to demonstrate that God speaks clearly in the Bible, whether the original or a translation.
Chapter B14, “The Use of Scripture in Deciding Doctrinal Controversies”
Pieper now asks what the bible is useful for. In his view the Roman church considers it inadequate without the interpretation of the pope. The Scripture, however, views its teachings as being useful for all churchly controversies. At issue, says Pieper, is the fact that often two rules have been neglected. First, the question at issue (status controversiae), is often neglected. Second, people often fail to treat concerns using the passages of Scripture which most clearly pertain to the debate. If those two principles are followed there should not be need for outside resources and authority in resolving disagreements. This does not mean that all Christians are equally pastors or spiritual leaders. It does mean that before God they have the same tools in their toolbox.