KEEP IT PURE!
Because of the nature of God's Word, as well as the dependency of our life upon it, man is not allowed to corrupt it. Both covenants demand that the words of God be kept pure. "Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you" (Deut 4:2 NIV). "See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it" (Deut 12:32 NIV). "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book" (Rev 22:19 NIV).
Any effort to mitigate or embellish the Word of God is met with His curse--and there are no exceptions. Such attempts have taken place throughout history, from the first century until now. From Satan's viewpoint, vast segments of Scripture would have disappeared long ago, were it possible for such to occur. Our adversary is not amenable to the presence of God's Word. He seeks to corrupt, distort, and destroy it, but he cannot accomplish His task.
The Divine affirmation reverberates throughout the universe, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matt 24:35, KJV). Again, Jesus strikes at the heart of our subject, "It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law" (Luke 16:17, NIV). Whatever you may think of our Lord's words, it is on the part of wisdom to take them seriously! They presuppose the superintendence of God Almighty, not only in the giving of the words, but in the preservation of them. If this were not the case, Jesus could not have made this statement.
God's Word is sent into the world, and will accomplish His intentions. As Isaiah wrote, "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it" (Isa 55:10-11). This is written against the backdrop of the copying and translating of the Word of God. The fact that His Word was given into the hands of men did not constitute a liability. God's Word will still accomplish what He sent it to do--that is the Divine declaration.
When men are admonished not to take from or add to the Word of God, it is not for the Word's sake, but for their own, that the warning is issued. God did not say He would repromulge His Word if men took from it or added to it. He did this once, when He gave the ten commandments, written with His finger upon tablets of stone. After Moses dashed the original tablets in pieces, angered by the sin of the people, God rewrote them. As it is written, "The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke" (Ex 34:1). No such promise was made in regard to the "Scriptures."
God's Word speaks solemnly to those taking it upon themselves to tamper with His Word. Their attempts would effect them, not Scripture! The Psalmist wrote, "All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal" (Psalm 119:160). This presupposes their preservation! Peter adds his testimony, "but the word of the Lord stands forever" (1 Pet 1:25). God's Word will not suffer because of the attacks of men--but men will bear the penalty for such folly!
When Isaiah said "truth is fallen in the street" (Isa 59:14), and Jeremiah said, "truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth" (Jer 7:28, NASB), they did not mean truth had been rendered extinct. God said His Word would never pass away, and it will not. The Prophets were affirming that truth had been NEGLECTED. The situation only required someone to take the truth into their mouth and speak it. It was still available to be known and spoken!
The fact that every historical attempt to destroy the Word of God has been dashed upon the rocks of futility ought to tell us something. Even if you manage to push it out of sight, like it was during the dark ages, the Word will surface again. Luther discovered it in a monastery, and when he did, he found it unchanged, uncorrupted, and with great power. It is on the part of wisdom to settle it in our hearts, "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever" (1 Pet 1:24-25, NRSV). In the fullest and most precise sense of the Word, text-tamperers are fools, playing over the fires of condemnation.