God Protects His Words, So Could Someone Change Them?
Psalm 12 (KJV) says that God protects His words.
6 The words of the Lord are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times. 7 You shall keep them, O Lord, You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
I believe He has and does. Even with some differences, the various versions of the original Greek text are very consistent.
However, God cannot protects His words from erroneous interpretations. This is because He will not force anyone to believe what He believes.
Every version of the Bible since the beginning of translating in the Reformation has been an interpretation. Interpretations are always dependent on what a person believes as they approach the task of translating. We must remember that God will never override anyone's decision to believe. Even if they choose to believe something that is not true, He will work within their choice. Because He is love, God educates and reasons with us so that we willingly decide to believe what He says.
In the last hundred years, we have witnessed dramatic changes in American English. Likewise, from the first century through the beginning of the fourth the Greek language also changed.
By the Fourth Century, the Church was struggling with a flood of heresies. Religious and government oppression and lost understanding of the true Gospel of Christ left believers perplexed. How could anyone explain a good God allowing such persecution and misery. There was much confusion about what the Scriptures really meant. So, Church Fathers began holding councils as they struggled to codify the message of the Gospel. By the sixth century, the world had fallen into the dark ages. The Apostles had died hundred of years before. Sincere believers had to figure out what their writings had meant.
Can Misunderstandings Become Mainstream Theology?
The Father of the RC Church was Saint Augustine, a influential bishop in the Fourth Century. Augustine spoke Latin and did not like the Greek language. So, he, Jerome, and others translated the original New Testament documents into the Latin Vulgate. Centuries later the Roman Church banned any understanding of the Greek Scriptures that was different than the Church’s interpretation. And there were penalties for understanding the Bible differently than the authorities. Only those approved by the Church were permitted to interpret the Scriptures. Those who were approved would have been trained in the Roman legal system and theology of the Roman Catholic Church.
Translators had learned to see God from a Roman legal perspective. And since Latin was a legal and warlike language, translators interpreted many Greek words from that perspective.
Translating is always a matter of interpretation because exact translations seldom make sense. Those scholars were simply trying to make sense of texts that were written from a love of grace. But their mindset was based in the Roman legal system of following laws. Thus, they had difficulty comprehending the depth of grace conveyed by Koine Greek.
Thus, it is easy to understand how the first century perspective of a God Who is love, and kind to all that call upon Him in truth, could change to a God Who is always angry, indignant, and judgmental. Through the Roman/Latin perspective, the Kingdom of God became a court of justice. But God is a loving Father seeking to save His children from terrible mistakes they have made. They failed to realize that their understanding of the Greek language was different from the Apostles. So, they misunderstood the Gospel and developed a distorted mainstream theology. But this did not surprise God. He knew this could happen and already had a solution. Rather than force anyone to believe Him, He chose to work within our free wills. This was going to take time, of which God has plenty.