Have you heard of a game called picture telephone? It’s similar to the original game of telephone, where a sentence is whispered from one person to the next until the last person has received it. Often what the last person hears bears little resemblance to the original thought. However, in picture telephone*, the message alternates between sentences and drawings on paper cards. True to form, there are always some hilarious mix-ups. For example, once, “The time difference between New York and Israel is seven hours” got sketch-translated as a plane surrounded by puffy clouds and was then subsequently re-translated into a phrase about a school of fish in the sky. Quite off-base, right?

It’s easy for a message to get lost in miscommunication. Sometimes a message between two people can be misremembered and conveyed incorrectly within five minutes or less! Over time many messages are, and therefore many can be dismissed as containing irrelevant content. However, one of the unique attributes of the Bible is that, though it has survived for thousands of years, it has maintained its accuracy as the inspired word of God. Translations available today still match those found in the Dead Sea scrolls, dating from between the third century B.C.E. and the first century C.E. They were discovered between 1947-1956. The texts largely match the Hebrew manuscripts we have from about 1000 C.E., until 1947 the earliest copies of the Hebrew Bible known to us. That alone is quite a miracle, but you don’t have to see it as miraculous if you trust it as truth.

From the Newer Testament, John 1:1 reads,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

This is talking primarily about Yeshua (Jesus), but it may also suggest that the Bible was a completed whole in the mind of God before it was ever given to people. Even more than that, the whole of Scripture points to the Son of God, Yeshua. Yeshua was present with God and knew before creation began that he would one day fulfill the role of messiah as foretold in Isaiah 7:14, “God with us.” God would dwell among people and save them from sin and its penalty: death.

What was written down on paper by the pens of prophets, priests, and poets was ultimately pictured years later in the person of messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth. He was foretold throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. Not one of them messed up the message. The original autographs are correct. No scribal errors contradict what is the inspired word of God.

Have more questions about God and the picture He has painted of himself in Scripture? Please check out our whole How to Know God resource, and perhaps in particular, the parts pertaining especially to God’s Word.

*If you want to try playing picture telephone, here are some basic instructions:

  1. Get a group of people, 6-12 will likely work best.
  2. Prepare a stack of blank cards (or pieces of paper) that are large enough on which to write a sentence and draw a small scene.
  3. Hand each player a pen and a set of as many cards as there are in the group.
  4. Everyone starts off by writing a sentence of their choosing on the card on top of their pile.
  5. Once finished, everyone hands their entire pile to the person to their right.
  6. Each person now looks at that sentence from the pile they’ve been handed, and puts the card on the bottom of the pile, drawing as close a representation of that sentence as possible.
  7. Once finished, everyone hands their entire pile to the person to their right.
  8. Each person now looks at that drawing from the pile they’ve been handed, and puts the card on the bottom of the pile, writing as close a representation of that drawing as possible.
  9. Repeat steps 5-8, alternating between sentences and drawings, until each person’s original sentence pile makes its way around the circle.
  10. Have each person read and show the progression of his or her pile. It should be pretty hilarious.