Would it make a difference if you knew that the New Testament
of your Modern Bible did not have First and Second Peter? Yet if the total
number of missing words were added up this is how much shorter the modern
translations are than the King James Version. Is it a cause for concern if
in over 175 instances the names of Christ are missing, or if the word
“hell” is not found in the Old Testament, or if key doctrinal passages have
been diminished? And, the biggest shock of all! Is it possible that the
most basic and blatant of all early heresies concerning the Person of
Christ has been given a new lease on life in the modern Bibles? That these
things are so, with the reasons why, are set forth in the following pages.
Many have gone over to the new Bibles without realising
that much more is involved than the question of modern English. The entire
fabric has been affected! The underlying text is substantially different.
The philosophy and methodology of the translators is in marked contrast to
that of the Authorized Version. The English of the new versions is assumed
at first to be easier, but whether it is actually more readable,
authoritative, and conducive to meditation, study, and memorization is
another matter. From 1611 until our generation there was only one widely
used Bible in the English speaking world. The AV became the Standard in
that empire upon which the sun never set, and in that language which is the
primary vehicle of international discourse.
It penetrated the world continents
and brought multitudes to saving faith in Christ. It became the impetus of
the great missionary movements. Through it, Christian workers heard and
answered the call to world evangelisation. It was
the source of the greatest revivals since the days of the Apostles. Street
preachers, colporteurs, church planters, Sunday school teachers, and tract
distributors took the King James Bible into teeming cities and across
country lanes. It was the high water mark in the history of the Gospel's
However, in this world there is always an onslaught against truth and
righteousness, and a tendency to put aside the good and substitute
something that is inferior. And so, during the Nineteenth Century the call
for a revised Bible began to be heard. For the most part and certainly in
the beginning the call did not come from fervent Bible believers, but
rather those who were leaning toward theological liberalism. It came from
men who were comfortable with the rising tide of rationalism, Darwin, and
the back-to-Rome movement.
The first major revision was published in 1881. After the initial
excitement there was little public support. The same lack of acceptance
greeted the American (ASV) edition in 1901. Others followed: Weymouth,
Williams, Moffat, Beck, Goodspeed, Twentieth
Century, but still with little impact. But in 1952 came the Revised
Standard Version, produced with the backing of the liberal National Council
of Churches in the U.S.A. The pace now quickened; public acceptance began
to rise. Others followed: The New English, Amplified, Berkley, Phillips, Wuest, Living, New American, Good News, Jerusalem, and
especially the New International. Each came with the promise that they were
based on the earliest manuscripts and the latest scholarship, and that
God's Word would now be more easily understood.
Taking up this last point, it is interesting to see the names given to a
number of these versions: The Authentic New Testament, The N.T. in Plain
English, the N.T. in Basic English, The Simplified N.T. in Plain English
for Today's Reader, Inspired Letters of the N.T. in Clearest English! And
then a number of the revisions have been revised: The New Revised Standard
Version, the New Berkley Version, The New (that's
right!) Jerusalem Bible. Recently a (New) NIV has been announced. There
have been upwards of one hundred modern Bibles published in the English
language. After one hundred attempts to replace the Authorized Version, one
cannot help wonder whether God wants it replaced! This conviction is
strengthened when we note that believers do not study the modern versions
as they once did the AV. They are not marked up and study worn. Passages
are seldom memorized. Preachers do not quote verses from the NIV in the
pulpit as they once did the AV. The same is true of Sunday school
memorization. Nor is expository preaching and doctrinal study emphasized as
it once was. What is more, the issue of authority has been undermined.
“What does the Bible say,” has been replaced by an anaemic,
“How does this version render the passage.” And then, is it a coincidence
that this multiplication of versions comes at the same time as the tongues,
prophecies, and extra-biblical revelations of the charismatic movement?
Thus, it may be rightly asked, where are we to go to hear God's Word today?
The AV English is said to be difficult to understand. Indeed, it is
different. It is not like your morning newspaper; but its English is not
difficult, as a section-by-section comparison with other translations will
show. For a computer generated analysis of this question see The Reading
Ease of the King James Bible by D. A. Waite Jr. Using four readability
formulas, (Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch Grade Level, Flesch-Kincaid, Gunning Fog Index),
Mr. Waite's research shows the AV to be rated as “fairly easy”.
Though 400 years old, on the question of readability alone, the AV
achieved approximately the same scores as five recent versions. He also
shows that AV words are frequently shorter in syllables and letters. In
other respects, there is no comparison. A section-by-section comparison will
show that while the AV is a formal equivalence translation (word for word
from the original) rather than the so-called dynamic equivalence, its
English has depths and fountains. It is living and rhythmic. In contrast,
the English of modern versions has been shown to be “Formica flat”, tepid,
wooden. Recent authors, often secular, have stressed this point. The AV can
be read aloud, memorized, and quoted with authority and reverence. It has
rhythm. It flows. By comparison, in public reading, we do not have this
cadence and timing in the NIV, NASV and NKJV. They are broken and
disjointed, with halts and breaks.
Modern Bibles are not held dear as the AV was. The following
quotation from Psalm 23:1 of the Contemporary English Version gives and indication as to why this is. You, Lord are my shepherd, I will never be in need. You let me rest in
fields of green grass.
The AV displays the full flowering of the English language, and in
fact shaped that language. It is not archaic or Elizabethan, as comparison
with that era will show. It was never contemporary, but always a step apart
from the common. The great “problem” with understanding the Bible is the
fact that it is the Bible! It cannot be read like other books. Unless the
Author is known by personal faith in Jesus Christ, or in the case of a lost
person, by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, it will not be
understood or appreciated. No amount of translational skill or modern
English idiom can cross that gap. It must be read with a submissive heart
The following is intended to show that whatever help a modern version
may claim to give; the price paid in missing words, lack of reverence,
doctrinal weakening, lessened readability, and (!) the reintroduction of an
ancient heresy, is simply too great.
The modern Bibles have several basic characteristics. What is said
about one can usually be said about another. As the New International
Version is the current bestseller we will use it as a representative of the
others in comparisons with the King James Version.
This study, which is being used in Bible Version seminars in Great
Britain, is a substantially enlarged revision of the author’s previous Missing in
Modern Bibles and Modern Bibles – The Dark Secret.
London, England 2009
I. Key Passages Missing
The first list is a
partial sampling of the kind of words and phrases that are missing from the
Modern Bibles. These omissions often diminish the basic doctrines. The
New International Version, which we have used as our representative, has
somewhat fewer omissions than the New American Standard, Revised Standard,
New English, and Good News Bible etc. But they are, nevertheless,
considerable. This will become increasingly evident when we look at
the second list that gives the Names of Deity that have been omitted.
From the Gospel of Matthew the two translations placed together, this will
enable you can come to a conclusion as to whether the NIV has the same sense
of authority, reverence, and readability as the KJV.
The first passage in each example is from
And knew her not
till she had brought forth her
But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son.
But I say unto
you, Love your enemies, bless
them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them
which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
But I tell you; Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
And lead us not
into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine
is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For I am not come
to call the righteous, but sinners to
For I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.
This people draweth
nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth
me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
These people honour me with their lips, but their
hearts are far from me.
can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the
You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot
interpret the signs of the times.
kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Missing in NIV.
And I say unto
you, Whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for fornication, and
shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth
her which is put away doth commit adultery.
I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital
unfaithfulness and marries another woman commits adultery.
So the last shall
be first and the first last: for
many be called but few chosen.
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.
answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye
able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the
baptism that I am baptized with?
Ye don't know what you are asking, Jesus said to them. Can you drink the
cup I am going to drink?
Woe unto you,
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour
widows' houses, and for a pretence make long
prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Missing in NIV.
crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and
upon my vesture did they cast lots.
When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Hereafter, only the missing phrases are
Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.
immediately the fever left her.
2:17 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah
in the day of judgment than for that city.
7:8 Ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups:
and many other such like things ye do.
any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
9:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
9:46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
9:49 For every one shall be salted with fire and every sacrifice shall be
10:21 come, take
up the cross, and follow me.
10:24 Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God.
if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive
13:14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet.
13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray.
14:68 And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.
the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And he
was numbered with the transgressors.
the Lord is with thee: blessed
art thou among women.
2:43 Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
4:8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan:
9:54 Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come
down from heaven, and consume them, even
as Elias did?
9:55 But he turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what
manner of spirit ye are of.
11:2-4 When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy
will be done, as in heaven, so in earth…but deliver us from evil.
11:29 they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it but
the sign of Jonas the
17:36 Two men
shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
22:31 And the
Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you.
22:64 And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face.
23:17 For of
necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.
23:38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin,
and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
He it is, who coming after me is
preferred before me.
3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he
that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
5:3-4 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of
blind, halt, withered, waiting
for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season
into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the
troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he
6:47 He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead
17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept
them in thy name.
10:6 he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
20:32 And now, brethren,
I commend you to God.
24:6-8 Who also hath gone about to profane
the temple: whom we took, and
would have judged according to our law. But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him
away out of our hands, Commanding his accusers to come unto thee.
24:15 there shall be a resurrection of the dead both of the just and unjust.
28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered
the prisoners to the captain of the guard.
28:29 And when
he had said these words, the Jews departed and had great reasoning among
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of
9:28 For he will finish
the work, and cut it short in
righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
10:15 How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace.
13:9 Thou shalt not
steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness.
14:6 He that regardeth
the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth
not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth
14:21 whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
15:29 I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
For even Christ our passover is
sacrificed for us.
7:5 that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer.
7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth.
eat: this is my body, which is broken for you.
who hath bewitched you, that
ye should not obey the truth.
For we are members of his body, of
his flesh, and of his bones.
6:10 Finally, my
brethren, be strong in the Lord.
Let us walk by the same
rule, let us mind the same thing.
In whom we have redemption through
3:6 the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God.
immortal, invisible, the only wise God.
4:12 in charity, in
spirit, in faith, in purity.
6:5 destitute of the truth, supposing
that gain is godliness: from
such withdraw thyself.
I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
Whom I have sent again: thou
therefore receive him.
when he had by himself purged our sins.
2:7 thou crownedst
him with glory and honour and didst set him over the
works of thy hands.
7:21 Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
10:34 knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring
Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh.
their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
5:11 To him be glory and dominion for
ever and ever. Amen.
to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for
The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
5:7,8 For there are three that
bear record in heaven, the
Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that
bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and
these three agree in one.
To the only wise God our Saviour.
I Know thy works, and
where thou dwellest.
6:1 one of the four beasts saying Come and see. Also in verses 3,
5 and 7.
11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks O Lord God Almighty, which
art, and wast, and
art to come.
12:12 Woe to the
inhabitants of the earth
and of the sea.
16:17 there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven.
21:24 And the nations of
them which are saved shall
walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their gloryand honour into it.
None of the underlined
words are in the text of the New International Version (1978
edition). Occasional reference is made to these omissions in the NIV
footnotes. Many other words are omitted. And many others, which
though included, are given a footnote expressing doubt. In fact as we will
see the above list is only a very small part of the overall problem.
II. Names of Christ Missing: The Old Heresy
It is this fact of
omitted Sacred Names that has often caused the first doubts over the modern
Bibles. Names of Deity are missing and they are missing
frequently! This in fact takes us back to an old heresy that began
very in the history of the church.
the total number of New Testament omissions in two of the most
popular versions: The New American Standard and The New
International. Where these Names are in combination, they have been
Total Missing Names
The KJV (mentioned first) is compared
with the NIV:
But seek ye first
the kingdom of God,
and his righteousness.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.
And behold, they
cried out saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?
What do you want with us, Son of God? they
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went
into the house.
Then he left the crowd and went into the house.
Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things?
They say unto him, Yea, Lord.
Have you understood all these things? Jesus asked. Yes, they replied.
multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind,
dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed
Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the
dumb and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.
Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he
was Jesus the Christ.
Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the
And Jesus said unto them, because of your
He replied, "Because you have so little faith.
And Jesus called a little child unto him.
He called a little child.
For the Son of
man is come to save that which was lost.
Missing in the NIV.
And he said unto
him, Why callest thou me good? there
is none good but one, that
"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied.
"There is only One who is good."
And Jesus went
into the temple of God and cast out all them that sold
Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling
For in the
resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the
angels of God in heaven.
At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage;
they will be like the angels in heaven.
God is not the God of the dead, but of
He is not the God of the dead but of the living.
But be not ye called Rabbi: for
one is your Master, even
·"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi', for you have only one
And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these
things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon
"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the
truth, not one stone here will be left on another.
Watch therefore, for
ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein
the Son of man cometh.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
He is not here:
for he is risen, as he said. Come,
see the place where the
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where
The list continues by showing only the
And forthwith Jesus gave them leave.
6:33 And the people saw them departing, and many
knew him, and ran
thither out of all cities, and outwent
them, and came together unto him.
7:27 But Jesus said unto her,
Let the children first be filled.
9:24 The father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord.
11:10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father
David, that cometh in the
name of the Lord.
11:14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man
eat fruit of thee.
11:26 But if
ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your
12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.
14:45 and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in
4:4 man shall not
live by bread alone, but
by every word of God.
4:41 Thou art Christ the Son of God.
7:22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your
the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation?
the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.
I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God.
Lord open to us.
21:4 For all these have of their abundance cast in
unto the offerings of God.
22:31 And the
Lord said, Simon, Simon.
23:42 And he said unto Jesus,
Lord, remember me.
4:16 Jesus saith
unto her, Go, call thy husband.
4:42 and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
4:46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee.
5:30 because I seek not mine own will, but the will of
the Father which hath sent me.
6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me.
6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
8:20 These words spake Jesus in the treasury.
8:29 the Father hath not left me alone.
9:35 Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
16:16 a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.
19:38 He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
2:30 according to the flesh, he
would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.
3:26 Unto you first God, having raised
up his Son Jesus.
4:24 Lord, thou
7:30 there appeared to him in the wilderness of
Mount Sina an angel of the Lord.
7:32 I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob.
7:37 A prophet shall the Lord your God raise
up unto you of your brethren like unto me; him shall ye hear.
Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And
he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
9:5-6 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I
am Jesus whom thou persecutest: It is hard for thee to kick
against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt
thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto
he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus.
15:11 through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt
19:4 that they should believe on him which
should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
19:10 so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word
of the Lord Jesus.
20:21 repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord
20:25 among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God.
22:16 wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
us not fight against God.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of
6:11 alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
8:1 There is therefore now no
condemnation to them which are in Christ. Jesus, who walk not after the flesh,
but after the Spirit.
14:6 He that regardeth
the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth
not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth
to the Lord.
15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision.
15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the
Spirit of God.
16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ.
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
I thank God that I baptized none of you.
5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are
5:5 that the spirit may be saved in the day
of the Lord Jesus.
6:20 glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are
9:1 have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?
9:18 Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make
the gospel of Christ without charge.
10:28 for the
earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.
15:47 the second man is the
Lord from heaven.
16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be
16:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.
5:18 hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.
10:7 that, as he is Christ's, even so are we
11:31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ.
4:7 heir of God through Christ.
6:15 For in
Christ Jesus neither
circumcision availeth any thing.
6:17 I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
God, who created all things by
3:14 I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
5:9 For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness.
I can do all things through Christ.
peace, from God our Father and
the Lord Jesus Christ.
1:28 that we may present every man perfect in
2:2 to the acknowledgment of the
mystery of God, and of the Father,
and of Christ.
peace, from God our
Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2:19 in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
3:11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord
3:13 at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified.
2:4, so that he as God sitteth
in the temple of God.
and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.
2:7 speak the truth in Christ, and lie not.
3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery
of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.
5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I charge thee therefore before God and the
Lord Jesus Christ.
4:22 The Lord Jesus
Christ be with thy
from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.
10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.
10:30 I will recompense, saith the Lord.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.
5:10 who hath called us unto his eternal glory by
5:14 Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth
us from all sin.
3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God.
4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.
5:7-8 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and
these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth,
the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
9 He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the
Father and the Son.
denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am Alpha and Omega, the
beginning and the ending.
1:9 the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ and for the testimony of Jesus
1:11 Saying, I
am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.
four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
12:17 and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
14:5 they are without fault before the throne of God.
16:5 Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be.
19:1 glory, and honour,
and power, unto the Lord our God.
20:9 and there came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.
21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from
22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Defenders of the modern
versions have sought to minimize the fact of these missing Names of Deity.
Dr. Homer Kent, former president of Grace Theological Seminary in Indiana
is typical. He says in his tract The
King James Only?
One common objection is
that in a relatively few cases the names “Christ” and “Lord” are omitted
when referring to Jesus.
Whatever arguments one
might attempt to raise, the above evidence demonstrates
that these Names are missing more than in a “relatively few cases”! In
fact, what has been shown above is only part of the story and introduces us
now to the primary error in the Modern Version controversy.
III. ADOPTIONISM: The Old Heresy Behind the Text of the Modern Versions
By going through the
above verses two important trends appear.
1. The Name
“Jesus” is frequently disassociated from the titles “Lord” and “Christ.”
Whereas in the AV we will read “Jesus Christ” or the “Lord Jesus Christ,”
in the Modern Versions “Jesus” is often made to stand alone or not at
all. In fact, our Saviour’s full title
"Lord Jesus Christ" is found 84 times in 81 verses
in the AV and only 60 times in 60 verses in the
NIV, 62 times in 62 verses in the NRSV, and 63
times in 63 verses in the RSV. A noticeable
difference is clearly apparent!
2. In the
above list the name “Jesus” is frequently removed from statements of Deity
and works of Deity.
Looking at Matthew and Mark, Jesus is
The prophesy of the great light (12-16).
4:18 The call to discipleship (18-22).
4:23 The miracle working ministry in Galilee
8:29 Association with the title "thou Son of
12:25 The healing of the blind and dumb demoniac (22-30).
13:36 The interpretation of wheat and tares (36-43).
13:51 Association with the title "Lord" (which is
14:14 The immediate account of a miracle.
14:22 Much of the account of walking on the sea (22-27).
15:16 The discourse about defilement (10-20).
15:30 The immediate account of a miracle.
16:20 Association with the title "the Christ."
The immediate account of a miracle.
5:13 The immediate account of a miracle.
5:19 Association with the title "Lord."
6:34 The feeding of the 5,000 (32-44).
7:27 The healing of the Syrophenician
woman's daughter (24-30).
8:1 The feeding of the 4,000 (1-9).
8:17 The discourse concerning leaven (14-21).
11:14 The cursing of the fig tree (12-14).
11:15 The cleansing of the Temple (15-19).
12:41 The account of the widow's mite (41-44).
14:22 The account of the Last Supper (22-25).
In the author’s, Early Manuscripts, Church
Fathers, and the Authorized Version (Available
from The Bible for Today) eighty-six examples of this disassociation are
What Lies Behind This Separation?
This separation of
“Jesus” from “Christ” occurs far too often to look for a cause other than
deliberate editing in certain N.T. manuscripts. That there was a
strong movement in the early centuries that could result in such a
systematic editing; there can be no doubt! The foremost error
regarding the Person of Christ is to deny His true Deity and true
Humanity. The chief means by which this was done, and which finds
expression down to our own day, is technically known as “Adoptionism” or “Spirit Christology.” The heresy
follows this line of reasoning: Jesus of Nazareth, an ordinary man of
unusual virtue, was “adopted” by God into divine Sonship
by the advent of the “Christ-Spirit” at His baptism. Therefore, Jesus became Christ at His baptism rather than the
fact that He was always the Christ from eternity. And, though united
for a time, Jesus and Christ were separate personages. Many names and
groups are associated with this wicked teaching, foremost of whom were the Gnostics. The liberal J. N. D. Kelly
There was a great variety
of Gnostic systems, but a common pattern ran through them all. From
the pleroma, or spiritual world of aeons, the divine Christ descended and united Himself
for a time (according to Ptolemy, between the baptism and the passion) to
the historical personage. These were tendencies on the fringe, yet
Gnosticism at any rate came within an ace of swamping the central
tradition. (Early Christian Doctrines, London: Adam & Charles Black,
1958, pp. 141,142).
Ponder carefully Kelly's
statement about how near this came to “swamping the central
tradition”! In the summaries, we will be looking more closely at
Egypt; but notice for now that Kelly's mention of Ptolemy and Gnosticism
takes us to that city that gave powerful force and rise to the Gnostic
error - Alexandria.
is for this reason that the Bible closes with the following warnings:
2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth
that Jesus is the Christ?
1 John. 4:2,
3 Every spirit that confesseth that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh
is not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist.
5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is
the Christ is born of God.
7 For many deceivers
are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in
the flesh: This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
The terrible heresy has
found expression in a number of ways down through the centuries, and it has
been given a new lease on life through the Modern Versions. This then is
the old heresy revived!
IV. Further Significant Passages
Very few Christians are
aware as to how much is actually missing in the
modern Bibles and what the consequence actually is. With this next
list the extent of the problem can now begin to be realized. Yet even
after showing the following, there is a great deal more yet to come.
The underlined portions are omitted in the New International Version and
most other Twentieth Century versions both in English and other languages.
whosoever is angry with his brother without
a cause shall be in
5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery.
6:4 thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
6:6 thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
6:18 and thy father, which seeth
in secret, shall reward thee openly.
15:6 And honour not his
father or his mother.
19:16 Good Master, what good thing shall I
19:20 All these things have I kept from my youth up.
20:23 Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the
baptism that I am baptized with.
20:34 and immediately their
eyes received sight, and
they followed him.
22:7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth.
22:13 Bind him hand and foot, and
take him away, and cast him into outer darkness.
23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne.
23:19, Ye fools
and blind; for whether is greater.
24:7 and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and
earthquakes, in divers places.
24:48 that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his
25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him.
26:3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the
26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed.
26:59 Now the chief priests, and
elders, and all the council.
26:60 But found none; yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none.
27:42 If he be the King of Israel, let him now
come down from the cross.
27:64 lest his disciples come by
night, and steal him away.
And as soon as he had
spoken, immediately the leprosy departed.
2:16 they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth
2:22 else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and
the wine is spilled.
3:15 And to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils.
4:11 unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.
6:36 and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
7:2 that is to say, with unwashen hands, they
8:9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand.
8:26 Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.
9:29 This kind can come forth by nothing, but by
prayer and fasting.
9:45 then having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall
9:49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be
salted with salt.
10:21 and come, take
up the cross, and follow me.
11:8 and others cut down branches off the trees,
and strawed them in the way.
11:23 those things which he saith
shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever
12:4 at him they
cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully
12:23 In the resurrection therefore,
when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them?
12:29 The first of all
the commandments is,
Hear, O Israel.
12:30 and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
12:33 and with all the understanding, and with all the soul.
13:8 and there shall be famines and troubles.
13:11 take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate.
14:19 to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and
another said, Is it I?
14:22 Take, eat:
this is my body.
14:24 This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
14:27 All ye shall be offended because of me this night.
14:51 and the
young men laid hold on
14:70 thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.
15:3 accused him of many things: but he answered nothing.
15:39 saw that he
so cried out, and gave up the ghost.
And when she saw him,
she was troubled at his saying.
2:42 they went up
to Jerusalem after the
custom of the feast.
4:18 he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to preach deliverance.
5:38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.
7:28 there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.
8:43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve
years, which had spent all
her living upon physicians.
8:45 When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng
thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
8:48 be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
8:54 And he
put them all out, and took her by the hand.
9:10 And he took them, and went aside privately
into a desert place belonging to the city called
11:11 If a son shall ask bread
of any of you that is a
father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a
11:44 Woe unto you, scribes
and Pharisees, hypocrites!
11:54 seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.
12:39 had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and
not have suffered his house to be broken through.
17:3 If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him.
17:9 that were commanded him? I trow
18:24 And when Jesus saw that
he was very sorrowful, he said.
19:45 and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought.
20:13 it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
20:23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?
20:30 And the second took
her to wife, and he died childless.
22:68 ye will not answer me,
nor let me go.
23:23 And the voices of them and
of the chief priests prevailed.
24:1 spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
24:46 Thus it is written and
thus it behoved Christ to suffer.
1:51 Hereafter ye shall see heaven open.
not perish, but have eternal life.
5:16 therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him.
6:11 he distributed to the disciples, and the
disciples to them.
6:22 save that
one whereinto his disciples were entered.
6:65 except it were given unto him of my Father.
convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one,
beginning at the eldest, even unto the last.
8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman,
he said unto her, Woman, where are those
8:28 but as my Father hath taught me, I speak
8:38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father.
8:59 and went out of the temple, going through the midst of
them, and so passed by.
9:6 and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.
10:26 because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
12:1 where Lazarus was which had
14:28 I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
16:10 because I go to my Father.
17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18:40 Then cried they all again, saying.
19:16 And they took Jesus, and
led him away.
20:17 for I am not yet ascended to my Father.
And as the lame man which
was healed held Peter and
5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities
round about unto Jerusalem.
6:13 This man ceaseth not
to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and
7:37 A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up
unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him
shall ye hear.
10:12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted
beasts of the earth, and wild
10:21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from
10:30 Four days ago I was fasting until this hour.
10:32 he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the
sea side: who, when he
cometh, shall speak unto thee.
13:45 spake against those things
which were spoken by Paul, contradicting
15:23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner.
15:24 subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and
keep the law.
17:5 But the Jews which
believed not, moved with envy, took unto them.
17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men.
18:17 Then all the
Greeks took Sosthenes.
18:21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this
feast that cometh in Jerusalem.
20:15 we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium.
21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed.
21:22 What is it therefore? the
multitude must needs come together:
they will hear.
21:25 we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing,
save only that they keep themselves from.
22:9 And they that were with me saw indeed the
light, and were afraid.
22:20 I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death.
22:26 and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest.
23:12 And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together.
23:15 that he bring him down unto you to morrow.
24:26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of
Paul, that he might loose him.
25:16 to deliver any man to
die, before that he which is accused.
26:30 And when
he had thus spoken, the king rose up.
28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the
prisoners to the captain of the guard.
they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.
11:6 no more of works: otherwise
grace is no more grace. But
if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
15:24 Whensoever I take my journey
into Spain, I will come to
15:29 I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
glorify God in your body, and
in your spirit, which are God's.
7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth.
9:22 To the weak became I as weak.
10:28 conscience sake: for
the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.
old things are passed away; behold, all
things are become new.
5:19 Adultery, fornication,
5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness.
that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
4:17 that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk.
intruding into those things which he hath not seen.
2:15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets.
for that is good and
acceptable before God.
5:16 If any man
or woman that believeth
6:7 into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
Grace, mercy, and
peace, from God the Father.
thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and
didst set him over the works of thy hands.
3:6 if we hold fast the confidence and
the rejoicing of the hope firm
unto the end.
8:12 and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
10:34 that ye have in
heaven a better and an
11:11 received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age.
11:13 but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them.
12:20 touch the mountain, it shall be
stoned or thrust through
with a dart.
13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will.
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not.
5:5 ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
whereas they speak evil of you, as
4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us.
5:5 Yea, all
of you be subject one to another.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.
for my name's sake hast laboured,
and hast not fainted.
2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation.
2:13 I know thy
works, and where thou dwellest.
2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee.
5:4 no man was found worthy to open and to read the book.
the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the
temple of God.
13:10 He that leadeth into
captivity shall go into captivity.
15:2 and them that had gotten the victory over the
beast, and over his image, and over
16:17 and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven.
19:1 Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour,
and power, unto the Lord.
The doctrine of eternal
hell is a fearful Bible truth. The word itself has from the beginning
of the English language had a fixed and established meaning. “The wicked
shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17)
is plain. In fact, for many (including preachers and Bible
translators) it appears to be too plain. Many today do not mind using the
word in their daily conversation, but do not like seeing it in the Bible.
Modern translations seem
to have tried to make the Bible more acceptable by taking some of the
terror out of the fact that a man or woman who dies outside of faith in Jesus
Christ will go to an eternal and conscious hell. Translators have
done this in two ways. First, the word is often left in its untranslated Hebrew or Greek form (Sheol,
Hades), and thus its impact upon an English reader is diminished. The
New American Standard Bible reverts to this practice. Secondly, some
simply translate Sheol as “death” or
“grave.” The Jehovah's Witness “Bible” does this, and (if you can
believe it!) so does the New International Version.
In the previous lists,
the point at issue has been the underlying Greek text of the New
Testament. The modern versions are based on a different text than the
KJV. This as we will explain in the following chapters is the reason
for the many omissions. Here, though, the issue is generally not the
underlying text, but rather the philosophy of the translators. In the case of the NIV
translators, their philosophical choice has been to completely take hell
out of the Old Testament!
“Hell” in the KJV (mentioned first) and
For a fire is kindled in
mine anger, and shall burn into the lowest hell.
For a fire has been kindled by my wrath, one that burns to the realm of death below.
2 Samuel 22:6
The sorrows of hell compassed me about.
The cords of the grave coiled around me.
It is as high as
heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?
They are higher than the heavens-what can you do? They are deeper than the
depths of the grave-what
can you know?
Hell is naked before him.
Death naked before
The wicked shall
be turned into Hell,
and all the nations that forget God.
The wicked return to the grave,
all nations that forget God.
For thou wilt not
leave my soul in hell;
neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see
Because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
Psalm 18:5The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of
death prevented me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of
death confronted me.
Let death seize
upon them, and let them go down quick into hell.
Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave.
delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
you have delivered my soul from the depths of the grave.
The sorrows of
death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me.
The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of
the grave came upon me.
If I ascend up
into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
Her feet go down
to death; her steps take hold on hell.
Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.
Her house is the
way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
Her house is a highway to the grave, dealing down to the chambers of death.
her guests are in
the depths of hell.
her guests are in the depths of the grave.
Hell and destruction are before the
Death and Destruction
lie open before the Lord.
The way of life
is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to
and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
and save his soul from death.
Hell and destruction are never full.
Death and Destruction
are never satisfied.
Therefore hell hath enlarged herself,
and opened her mouth without measure.
Therefore the grave enlarges its appetite and opens
its mouth without limit.
Hell from beneath is moved for thee to
meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead
for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth.
The grave below is all
astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to
greet you-all those who were leaders in the world.
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the
But you are brought down to the grave,
to the depths of the pit.
Because ye have
said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement.
You boast, "We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement."
And your covenant
with death shall be disannulled and your agreement with hell shall not stand.
Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the grave will not stand.
and didst debase
thyself even unto hell.
you descended to the grave itself.
I cast him down
to hell with them that descend into the
I brought it down to the grave with those who go down to the pit.
They also went
down into hell.
had also gone down to the grave.
The strong among
the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell.
From within the grave the mighty leaders will say.
which are gone
down to hell.
who went down to the grave.
Though they dig
into hell, thence
shall mine hand take them.
Though they dig down to the depths of the grave,
from there my hand take them.
out of the belly
of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
From the depths of the grave I called for help.
who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death.
because he is as greedy as the grave and like death.
In the New Testament the
word hell is found twenty-two times in the Authorised
Version, compared with thirteen in the New International Version. But the
biggest shock comes when we see how this popular translation completely
removes hell from the Old Testament.
Yes, the Modern Bibles have gotten rid of the “Thee's”
and “Thou’s” and a lot else!
VI. How Many Missing Words?
A most striking fact
about the Modern Bibles is that in the New Testament they are clearly
shorter than the Authorised Version. The
following, by comparing the Greek texts which underlie the AV and Modern
Versions, gives an idea of how much shorter. The primary basis of the
Modern Version Text is The Nestle Aland Greek New Testament. Its text
is identical to another popular edition published by The United Bible
Society. The KJV New Testament is based on what is known as the
Received Text. A widely published edition of the Received Text was
that prepared by Robert Stephanus in 1550.
The KJV does not follow Stephanus in every
instance, nor is the NIV completely identical with the Nestle Aland, but
these two editions provide a good basis for comparison. In an actual
chapter-by-chapter count made by Mrs. Catherine Carmichael in our Bible
Institute in Johannesburg back in 1985 the following figures were derived.
Stephanus Received Text (listed first) compared
-381 fewer words
*The modern versions either omit, place in the foot notes,
question their authenticity, or place in brackets, Mark 16:9-20 and John
7:53-8:11. After taking these two well-known passages into account
the final count is:
-2,886 fewer words
In the New Testament the modern version text is
shorter than that of the King James Version by about the number of words
contained in I and II Peter!
VII. How Many Different Kinds of
Omissions are only part of the story! In fact
when comparing the Greek Text of the KJV with that of the modern versions,
omissions account for only about ONE THIRD of the total variations between
Today the commonly used
edition of the Received Text is that which was edited at the end of the 19th Century by H. A. Scrivener: The Greek Text Underlying the
English Authorised Version of 1611. In
our book 8000 Differences (available from The Bible for
Today) a line upon line comparison is made between this edition and the
Nestle-Aland Text. A
total of 8,032variation units are
A variation unit may
spelling of a word
by different words
of the same words in a sentence
the removal of words
times, the addition of words
Therefore, a variation
unit may comprise anything from one word, to a clause, to a verse, to (as
in the case of Mark 16) a number of verses. These 8000+ differences
do not include the many occurrences of a stylistic scribal addition at the
end of a word known as the moveable nu.
If it be argued that some
of the differences are insignificant, and may for example “only” be a
variation in the spelling of a word, we answer that it will affect the
sound and frequently the inflection and structure of the Greek sentence.
When we believe that “all Scripture
is given by inspiration of God” (II Tim. 3:16), and that “every word of God is pure” (Prov. 30:5),
questions will not be raised as to which differences are significant or
insignificant. If this is how God breathed out His Words, then it is
significant! Further, as we will show, a denial of the
Scripture’s teaching concerning its own verbal preservation will weaken
belief in verbal inspiration.
The variation will often
affect the English translation. Where the variation is not
translatable, a search of the list will show that the underlying text is
frequently weakened or lessened in some way. This is much like having
green grass, but with the root structure beneath compromised.
Single Sheet of Paper”
Speaking of the revised
Greek text, its chief architect F. J. A. Hort
sought to dampen down the extent of the changes by claiming that “the
amount of what can in any sense be called substantial variation is but a
small fraction of the whole residuary variation, and can hardly form more
than a thousandth part of the entire text.” (The New Testament in
the Original Greek, II, p. 2). Since Hort’s
day, many have latched on to this and made the further claim that these
differences could be contained on one page.
Note a recent example:
To put this “thousandth
part of the entire text” into perspective, I am looking at the last page of
my Greek New Testament. It is numbered 895. Hort’s
estimate means that if all of the substantial variation between the
families was grouped together in one place it would combine to occupy less
than one page of my entire Testament. (Mark Minnick, “Let’s Meet the
Manuscripts”, From the
Mind of God to the Mind of Man, pp. 85,86).
We wonder if those making
and repeating this kind of statement really mean to be taken
seriously. It is indeed the opposite! The 8000+
differences have a substantial and corrupting effect on the New Testament.
VIII. The Theory Behind
the Shorter and Altered Text
Are words missing from
the modern Bibles or have they been added to the Authorised
Version? Where does responsibility lie for the many other variations
between the two kinds of Greek text? This is the question that must
now be asked! Have words been deleted, either intentionally or
accidentally from the text underlying the modern versions, or have they
been somehow added to the text of the King James Version?
The roots of the current
controversy over the text of the New Testament began with the rise of
modernistic theology during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Proponents of the
new rationalism gained control within the universities of Europe.
This was accompanied by an increasing attack upon the Authorised
Version and the Received Text. The moves for revision became such
that by the second half of the19th Century a formal decision was made
to construct a revised Greek New Testament based primarily on two very old
(and disused!) manuscripts.
The Two Old (and
The “pillars” of the
revised text would be the two famous mid fourth century manuscripts: Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus
(Aleph). These well-preserved codices contain most of the New
Testament as well as the Old Testament in Greek and the Apocrypha. Vaticanus has for centuries been in the Vatican
library, while Sinaiticus, was discovered in 1844
in a monastery at the foot of the traditional Mt. Sinai. It can now
be seen at the British Library Museum.
Though differing among
themselves, they exhibit most of the omissions listed above along with the
8000+ differences when compared with the Received Text. They are the
simple reason why the text of the modern versions is shorter. They
are corrupted by Adoptionism. They, with
partial support from other manuscripts, constitute the basis of the
Nestle-Aland and United Bible Societies Greek text.
Manuscripts Aleph and B
are continually referred to in the footnotes of modern versions as the
“oldest and best manuscripts.” They are old but certainly not the
best! Their great age and good condition can only point to disuse by the
early church. How else could they be in such remarkably good
condition? We have no copies made from them in subsequent
centuries. The comparatively few manuscripts that also exhibit the
shorter text and support some of their readings will often disagree with
them in other readings. And, as is well known, Vaticanus
and Sinaiticus disagree between themselves over
3000 times in the four Gospels alone.
Their source is
Alexandria, Egypt, and their kind of text did not spread and become an
accepted text outside of that area. These two primary representatives
of the Alexandrian Text remained in their places of disuse for the better
part of the Christian era only to be retrieved in the 19th Century to form the basis of the
Several “Home Truths” About Aleph and B
Given the hatred of the
Roman Catholic Church toward the Received Text and toward the great
Reformation Bibles based on that text, it would seem surprising that Rome
did not in those years use their old manuscript that lay so long in their
library as a weapon against what they called the Paper Pope of the Protestants.
In fact they were very reluctant to let it be examined. During the
decades leading up to revision, scholars only with the greatest difficulty
were able to gain a complete transcript of its text.
Why? Their prized
possession was a two edged
sword, not only against the Received Text, but also against their own Latin
Vulgate, whose text was halfway between the two. Codex B was far too
radical of a text even for Rome. It was not until 1975 that Rome gave
its official sanction to the Nestle-Aland Text based upon their Vaticanus.
Another surprising point
– at least for defenders of the modern versions - is that Sinaiticus unlike Vaticanus
contains many corrections and alterations in its margin. Research has
shown that a large number of these were carried out shortly after the
manuscript’s completion. And, the great majority of these revert back
to the readings of the Traditional Text.
Nothing approaching an extended direct
copy or exemplar of either Aleph or B has been found! The search has been
“fruitless”, (See T.C. Skeat, “The Codex Sinaiticus,
The Codex Vaticanus and Constantine,” Journal of Theological Studies,50, pp.
619,20). In fact Skeat goes on to say that Aleph remained “a pile of
loose leaves” for some considerable time, (perhaps as much as two
centuries!), before being bound up (p. 609). Early believers wisely
ignored these two manuscripts.
For this and other
matters concerning early manuscripts see the author’s Early Manuscripts, Church
Fathers, and the Authorized Version, (available from the Bible for
Westcott and Hort:
Tailoring the Theory to Aleph and B
In the second half of the
consensus was reached among those clamouring for
change, that the revised Greek text should be based on Aleph and B with
preference generally given to B when they disagree. To forward this,
at about the time when Darwin was trying to show how there could be life
without a Creator, two Cambridge professors, B.F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort built up an elaborate theory explaining why a
shorter and changed text based on Aleph and B should be accepted in place
of the Received Text. Their theory received almost immediate
acceptance in both conservative and liberal circles. It became
dominate and has dominated the field ever since. Few stood against
it. The Anglican Dean of Chichester, John Burgon, was a notable exception. Nearly every new
translation, both English and Foreign, were now based on the Aleph-B Text.
Though the King James Version was to retain its general popularity until
the second half of the 20th Century,
virtually every conservative Bible College was to use the Aleph-B Text in
their Greek departments. Except for Burgon,
who was largely ignored, very few took the time to notice that a Trojan
Horse had come into their midst, and that the differences this text now
introduced where substantial. It was only when the KJV itself began
to be replaced in churches that a sustained reaction began to take place.
But, what is so
remarkable is that the major tenets of the Westcott and Hort
theory have been disproven or diminished by scholars and yet still appealed
to by them! It is much the same as with the key theories of
Darwin. In the kind of end time day in which we live, it is
perversely true, that for many, despite the evidence, they seem no more
likely to return to the KJV type of text than an evolutionist whose
theories have also been disproven coming back to the Genesis account of
Westcott and Hort and their fellow travellers
today have a very big task on their hands. They must explain the
dominance and uniformity of the Traditional/KJV Text. The
overwhelming majority of known manuscripts fall into this category.
In contrast to the Aleph-B Text they are strongly cohesive. How can
this be explained? And, what process could account for this vast
number of manuscripts being uniformly longer. Here then is Westcott
and Hort’s attempt at an explanation.
Major Points of the Westcott and Hort
ONE: "In matters
of textual criticism the Bible is to be treated like any other ancient book.
No special considerations are to be made concerning its claims of
inspiration and preservation."
To approach the
Scriptures with anything less than the greatest reverence and respect is to
reproach its Author! God has committed Himself to His Book in its
inspiration, preservation, and transmission. Textual scholars and
translators who have not taken this into account have made a fatal error
that reveals itself only too readily in the product. As we will see,
God declares that His words will be preserved.
or the combining of different text-types (usually the Western and
Alexandrian) is the reason for the greater
length of the Traditional Text. Rather than choose one or the other, both
were used. Much of this took the form of an official revision
sanctioned by the Byzantine Church probably under the leadership of Lucan, Bishop of Antioch (died 311)."
For example, if a certain
passage in one group of manuscripts reads, “Peter walked by the sea”, but
another "John walked by the sea"; the manuscripts which form the
basis of the Received Text merely combined the two, "Peter and John
walked by the sea." This has been the standard explanation for the
Received Text's greater length. But, as is now known, conflation cannot begin to
account for this, and today textual scholars are reticent to appeal to
If it were true, then
most of the underlined KJV passages in our lists should be combinations of
material from other existing text types. Yet a search of the
Alexandrian and so-called Western texts in these passages reveals that
there is rarely enough material to be combined. This explains why
Westcott and Hort, who were long on theory but
short on demonstration, presented only eight (not
very convincing) "examples" of conflation. To make conflation
the reason for the greater length of the KJV would require virtually
thousands of clear instances.
Coming to the second part
of the argument, that this conflating was officially carried out around the
year 300, history has left
not the slightest trace. This historical blank has led modern
scholars to speak of the “lengthening” of the Received Text in terms of a
“process that occurred over a considerable time, possibly centuries.” Yet
how such a process unnoticed by history carried out by many scribes, over
centuries, across a wide geographic area, could achieve the widespread
uniformity so apparent in the Received Text manuscripts is beyond
its numerical advantage, the Traditional or Byzantine Text (as it is
called) is merely one of three or four competing text types."
This was the great "leveller" used by textual critics when faced with
the overwhelming numbers of the Traditional Text. Rather than view
manuscripts on a 90 to 10 ratio (remembering that the 10% though mixed will
usually give greater support to the Received Text), the Received Text was
made merely one of several competing families. The others are said to
be the Alexandrian, Western and possibly the Caesarean. Thus rather
than nine to one, the Traditional Text was merely one of four.
For a start, to divide
ten percent of the remaining and mixed manuscripts among three textual
groupings shows how small each would be. Today it is admitted that
because of their lack of uniformity the Western and Caesarean can no longer
be regarded as distinct text types. This leaves the Traditional and
Alexandrian. And, the Alexandrian is very small as the following
124 Papyri Fragments
All but about seven are too fragmentary to show clearly which text they
support. However, coming as they do from Egypt, they generally
display the doctrinally defaced Aleph-B, Alexandrian Text.
Nevertheless, in his important work The
Byzantine Text Type and New Testament Textual Criticism, Harry A. Sturz has shown that there are many places where the
papyri goes against Aleph and B and supports the Traditional Text.
280 Uncial or
Large-lettered Manuscripts (4th-10th centuries): Advocates of the
Alexandrian Text claim support from only about nine; most of which, excepting
Aleph and B, give as much and likely greater support to the Traditional
Text. That is: when tested against the 8000+ only a very few uncials will
show greater overall support for the Nestle-Aland Text.
2808 Minuscule or
Small-lettered Manuscripts (9th-16th centuries): Supporters of the shorter text are
prepared to list about twenty-two for their side. But again, they are mixed
and it is doubtful if even
one with respect to the
8000+ differences would give greater support to the Nestle-Aland than to
the Traditional Text.
Manuscripts (9th-16th Centuries): These are manuscripts that were
divided into sections or lessons for services in Greek churches. With
very little variation, they are overwhelmingly Traditional Text and give
virtually no support to the Alexandrian Text. For this reason they
are all but ignored in the apparatus of the Nestle-Aland Greek New
Thus the Alexandrian
manuscripts comprise only a small fraction of the total number of
manuscripts discovered, and there is wide variation among the few that do
exist. These two facts place them in stark contrast to the great mass of
cohesive manuscripts comprising the Received Text. Among manuscripts of
reasonable length, we are probably being too generous in allowing them to
claim as many as 40 manuscripts for the Alexandrian side. Forty would
be less than 1% of the total number of manuscripts
(now about 5555).
But, as editors of the
Nestle-Aland Text are adept at making
a lot out of little, it would be interesting to know precisely how many
manuscripts they have which will give greater support with respect to the
8000+ differences. They will not be in a hurry to tell us, but it
will be a lot less than 1%.
We will come back shortly to this making
a lot out of a little.
There is only one
cohesive text type: that which underlies the King James Version. We will
press the question: If the shorter Alexandrian Text used in the modern
Bibles is the true text, why did the early church prepare so few and widely
numerical preponderance of the Received Text can be explained by a study of
the genealogical descent of its manuscripts. If, for example, of ten manuscripts, nine agree against one, but the
nine have a common original, the numerical advantage counts for nothing. It
is merely one to one."
This was the classic
argument Westcott and Hort used to deny the
Received Text any preference on the basis of numbers. The argument
implies that many of the Received Text manuscripts are but copies of each
other or of near ancestors. But note! Westcott and Hort merely theorized on this; they did not present
actual data of parent-to-child and ancestral relationships between
manuscripts. Research since W/H has shown that the great mass of
Received Text manuscripts are not "mimeographed" copies. Very few
have a parent-child relationship. Instead, they are individual
representatives of lines of transmission that go deep into the past.
distinctive Received Text readings (i.e. those we have underlined in the
lists) are not generally seen before 350 AD. For the most part they
are absent from the Greek manuscripts, Versions, and Scripture quotations
of the Church Fathers.
Church Fathers, and the Authorised Version demonstrates the falsity of this
argument. Our next chapter, “The Manuscript Evidence for the
Traditional Text” deals with the question further.
through the centuries believed that the longer text was very old, and
accurately represented the original for the simple reason that they
continually multiplied copies of it. Given the labour
involved in copying a manuscript, they would not have undertaken such a
task had they suspected that their exemplar might be a secondary, conflated
revision. Textual history demonstrates that on the one hand they
consistently avoided copying the Aleph-B kind of text and on the other
multiplied and widely disseminated the kind of text that underlies the
KJV. This is a better demonstration of the age of the Traditional
Text than that of a few 1650-year-old Alexandrian relics that knew nothing
of the rigors of continual copying.
A constantly used
manuscript could not be expected to last more than several centuries at the
most. Given the right climate, a manuscript whose only purpose was to
occupy shelf space could last indefinitely. There are old Traditional
Text manuscripts, but this explains why the very oldest are Alexandrian.
Alexandria, all was not lost even there! We mentioned above that a
substantial majority of the scribal corrections in Codex Sinaiticus revert back to the Traditional Text.
And, though generally doctrinally defaced, there is significant support to
be found for the unique AV Text readings in the papyri.
Nearly all of the 280
uncial manuscripts, the 2808 minuscule manuscripts, the 2343 lectionary
manuscripts, as well as a substantial majority of the early versions and
Scripture quotations from the early Fathers move strongly to the side of
the AV Text. This mass of evidence argues for age and the Original Text far
more convincingly than the few, hitherto disused relics, of Alexandria.
SIX: "There are
no signs of deliberate falsification of the text for doctrinal purposes
during the early centuries."
This allowed Hort (the primary mover of the theory) to treat the
text of Scriptures as he would any other work of ancient literature (See
Point One). If he admitted that there had been a significant
corrupting of the Scriptures, it would have been
difficult for him to introduce his other theories of genealogy,
conflation, official revision, text types etc. An unpredictable
variable would have been introduced which these neatly packaged theories
could not have handled. Textual Criticism approaches the history of
the Bible much in the same way an evolutionist does the history of the
planet: No direct creation, no flood, all has been left to natural
processes, no direct intervention of any kind! In the face of
widespread testimony of early Church Fathers to the contrary, it is
difficult to see how Westcott and Hort could be
serious about this point.
Tertullian of Carthage is
typical: He accused heretics of tampering with the Scriptures in
order to gain support for their special views. Around the year 208 AD he
urged these men to compare their copies with those in the cities where the
Originals had been sent. Tertullian may actually be referring to the
original autographs of the Epistles of Paul, but if not they were certainly
first generation copies.
Run over the apostolic churches, in which the very
thrones of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which
their own authentic writings are read. Achaia is very near you, in which
you have Corinth. Since you are not far from Macedonia you have
Philippi and the Thessalonians. Since you are able to cross to Asia, you
get Ephesus. Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from
which there come even into our hands the very authority of the apostles
themselves. (Prescription Against Heretics, 36).
When the Living Word, the
Lord Jesus Christ, returned to heaven Satan directed his fury against the
Written Word. This fact is essential to understanding the history of
the New Testament text. Any theory not taking this into account is
We are faced with the
most direct question. Is the longer or the shorter text the offspring
of these attempts at corruption? Did the 100-year period when
deliberate alteration took place produce the text that more fully presents
the Names, Person, and Work of Christ, or, the one that tends to diminish
them? Which would be more likely: a believer adding to the
Scriptures, or an enemy of the Faith deleting from the Scriptures?
Which would be easier and less liable to immediate detection: adding words
and phrases or removing them? Which could be more consistently and
uniformly done? And, which of these two kinds of text did believers
through the centuries feel convinced to be the right one, and demonstrate
their conviction by multiplying copies? By now, you probably know the
SEVEN: "The shorter reading is to be preferred.
Corruption by addition is much more likely than corruption by
Another classic example
of tailoring the clothes to fit Vaticanus and Sinaiticus! As with the other tenets of W/H it
has no real basis in fact. Regarding deliberate alteration, it is far
easier to remove a word or passage and get away with it (for a while!), than
to add material. When there is no particular attempt to editorialise, constant copying will result in
accidental omission far more often than accidental addition.
Supporters of the Nestle-Aland Text admit this:
But these figures suggest
strongly that the general tendency during the early period of textual
transmission was to omit…Other things being equal one should prefer the
longer reading. (James R. Royse, “Scribal Tendencies in the Transmission of
the Text”, The Text of the
N.T. in Contemporary Research, Ehrman and
Holmes eds., 1995, p. 246).
But apart from the
omission of significant words and passages, the modern version text is
shorter in another kind of way. It is terser and
not as lucid as the Received Text. And, here it betrays itself that it
is not the Original Text of the First Century, but rather one that is
altered and secondary.
In Biblical times there
were two major kinds of Greek dialect: Classical or Attic (the dialect of
Athens on the Attica Peninsula), and Hellenistic or Koine.
Though terse and compact, Attic was considered the more “elegant” of the
two. It was the language of the golden age of Greece, and was in
vogue from about 480 to 323 BC. After Alexander the Great, the more simple
and explicit Koine (meaning common dialect) began
to be spoken, and became the lingua franca of the eastern Mediterranean
region until the fourth century AD, when it was superseded by Byzantine
Importantly for us, Koine was the dialect of the New Testament; a fact
which is a remarkable evidence of God's providence. The Attic left
too much to the imagination, whereas Koine with
its greater fullness could be more precise. It was simple, lucid, plain,
and full; yet without the affected pretence of the Attic.
As time passed there were
attempts to return to the Attic dialect. The 2nd Century AD was known as the
“century of Atticism” when many did revert back to the Attic brevity. And,
as it was an occasion for attack against the Scriptures that they were
written in the less cultured Koine, a significant
number of “Christian” scholars were caught up in this. Signs point to
Alexandria being the prime mover in bringing the Scripture text into line
with the Attic dialect. The manuscripts associated with that
locality, certainly beyond all others, favour the
When Westcott and Hort convinced textual scholarship to revise the New
Testament away from the Received Text and toward Vaticanus
and Sinaiticus; these implications were not
addressed. Classical brevity was to them an attraction.
Subsequent research has shown how wrong they were: the shorter, not the
longer, is the altered text!
A Preconceived Malice
This then, with a few
other arguments of a more secondary nature, is the Westcott and Hort theory that has resulted in the shorter and
altered New Testament of our day. These are the standard arguments
against the Text of the King James Version. They are not fair.
They are not honest. They do not deal with the actual facts of the
case. Most of the argument was tailor-made by F. J.A. Hort
to support his preconceived malice against the Standard Text.
Ponder what he wrote to a
friend in 1851 when only twenty-three years old:
I had no idea till the
last few weeks of the importance of texts, having read so little Greek
Testament, and dragged on with the villainous Textus
Receptus Think of that vile Textus
Receptus leaning entirely on late manuscripts; it
is a blessing there are such early ones (Life and Letters of Fenton John
Anthony Hort, 1896, Vol. 1, p. 211).
Even granting his misconception about “late
manuscripts,” what would make a young man call the Text of the Reformation
that had brought such light to the world, “villainous and vile”?
Regardless, with this opening salvo he launched into a career dedicated to
the overthrow of the Received Text.
Ernest Colwell wrote:
The dead hand of Fenton
John Anthony Hort lies heavy upon us. In
the early years of this century Kirsopp Lake
described Hort's work as a failure, though a
glorious one. But Hort did not fail to
reach his major goal. He dethroned the Textus
Receptus. (“Scribal Habits in Early Papyri”, The Bible in Modern Scholarship,
Abingdon, 1965, p. 370).
To the contrary, God preserved His Words. For
many, even in these last days, the King James Bible and the Received Text
are well and comfortably enthroned.
IX. Manuscript Evidence for the
1. The Greek Manuscripts: Their Current
The liberal Institute for
New Testament Textual Research in Munster, Germany, is the home of the
Nestle-Aland Text. It also maintains the international recording list
for Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. All manuscripts found
anew anywhere in the world are recorded and examined by them. Though
they list all manuscripts, their only real interest lies with those that
depart to some extent from the Traditional Text and give at least partial
support to the Aleph and B base of their text. With well over 90% of
manuscripts giving strong and consistent support to the Traditional Text,
and with most of the rest, though mixed, still giving it greater overall
support, the vast majority of manuscripts numbered below are ignored in the
As of August 2009, the
Institute gave what they called the “nominal” figures for the total number
of known manuscripts. Previously, their figures for February 2008
were for some reason higher. Perhaps a number of manuscripts have since
The One Percent Text
We have already shown
that among the above manuscripts of reasonable length, the most that can be
claimed in giving a fair amount of partial support to the Aleph-B text would
be about 40 manuscripts. That is well
under 1% of the
total. But, if we were to press further and discover how many among
these forty give greater
overall support than the
Traditional Text when tested against the 8000+ differences, we would find
that many and likely most give more support to text underlying the
KJV. This would give the modern version text overall support from a great deal under 1% of the 5555 manuscripts.
However, the editors of
the modern version text, like the evolutionist, are very adept at making a
lot out of this little.
“The Consistently Cited Witnesses”:
Making a Lot out of a Little
The Introduction to the
Nestle-Aland Greek NT presents three lists of manuscripts. Their first and best list is what they call “The Consistently
Cited Witnesses of the First Order”. Each of the twenty-seven books
of the New Testament is given its own list of “first
order” manuscripts. Therefore, the same manuscript may be
“consistently cited” and of the “first order” in one book, but not in another.
For example they may cite a manuscript in Matthew but not in Acts. If
in Matthew it departs from the Traditional Text (perhaps 10% or more) but
it does not depart so much in Acts, then it will not be cited in
Acts. Each NT book
has its own list! A manuscript is only allowed to speak in
those books where it falls more into line with Aleph and B. This is
how they get a lot out of a little.
The Nestle-Aland cites
more of these “first order” manuscripts for Matthew than any other NT
book. Notice the numbers of “first order” manuscripts in the Matthew
The 42 uncials and 19 minuscules are selected by the Nestle-Aland editors because
they show clear departure from the Traditional text. How much?
The Institute seems to have set guidelines for inclusion in this favoured group, if in a given NT book a manuscript
shows at least 10% departure in a set of selected test passages. (Barbara
Aland, Klaus Wachtel, “The Greek Minuscule
Manuscripts of the New Testament”, The
Text of the N.T. in Contemporary Research, p.54).
This of course means that
a number of these “first order” manuscripts could still show as much as 90%
agreement with the Traditional Text. In our Early Manuscripts, Church
Fathers, and the Authorized Version most
of these same 42 uncials and 19 minuscules are
tested against 356 doctrinal passages unique to the Traditional Text.
The Papyri (2nd -6th Centuries)
Unlike the uncials and minuscules where a selection is made from the mass of
manuscripts for inclusion among “first order” manuscripts, the Nestle-Aland
cites every available papyri for each NT book,
regardless of age or the kind of text. Eighteen papyri have portions
containing Matthew. Eight of these Egyptian papyri had fewer
than 10 verses. Six had 10-20 verses. Three had 21-32 verses.
The verses are frequently not connected. Only one papyri of more
extensive length contained Matthew, P45.
While many of the papyri are too fragmentary to give an adequate picture as
to how they would vote on the 356 doctrinal passages, the few instances
that they are able, is generally on the side of the Aleph-B text. The
more extensive P45 contained 22 of these doctrinal
passages and voted 13-9 against the Traditional Text.
All, though, is not lost
for the papyri. Harry A. Sturz in his The Byzantine Text-Type and New
Testament Textual Criticismlists
320 Received Text readings that oppose the early Alexandrian manuscripts,
that are read by the mass of later manuscripts, and that are supported by the early papyri.
Sturz demonstrates papyri support for a total of
839 readings that in varying degrees would be classed as “distinctly
Byzantine” (his term for the Traditional Text). As the papyri is
available for only 30% of the New Testament, existing evidence allows us to
reasonably project that the results would be the same for the rest of the
For statistics on the
other papyri fragments see Early
Manuscripts, Church Fathers, and the Authorised
The Uncials (4th -10th Centuries)
In Early Manuscripts the uncials were also tested
against their alignments with Vaticanus as
opposed to the Traditional text. Here: Manuscripts A, C, D-05 and
D-06 gave greater support to the Traditional Text; while Aleph gave more to
Vaticanus. Aleph’s scribal corrections on the
other hand favoured the Traditional Text by
473-181. When the 42 “first order” uncials containing Matthew are
tested against the 356 doctrinal passages over the entire NT, only 13 were
found to give greater support to the Nestle-Aland Text.
This, I think, gives a
reasonable picture regarding overall uncial support for their side.
It is not likely that they could claim many more than 13 manuscripts from
among the 280 uncials. We concluded that the uncials strongly support
the AV Text.
(9th -16th Centuries)
With a total of 2808 minuscules, Nestle-Aland’s 19
“first order” minuscules fare badly for their
side. Eighteen are combined in two groups that have long been prized
by critical editors as showing some departure from the Traditional
Text. They are known as Family 1 and Family 13. Tested against
the 356 doctrinal passages, the five manuscripts of Family 1 supports the Traditional
Text by 100 – 61, and the thirteen of Family 13 by 151 – 21. The one
additional manuscript, their “most prized” minuscule is number 33, called
the “Queen of the Cursives”. In the Gospels it moves closer to Vaticanus, something entirely unique for
a minuscules. In the rest of the NT
“it looses its crown” and moves back toward the
Traditional Text. The 2808 minuscules
therefore give nearly unanimous support to the AV Text.
The Lectionaries (9th -16th Centuries)
Though four are mentioned
of the “second order” no lectionary manuscripts of the “first order” are
listed in the Nestle-Aland Introduction. The 2343 lectionaries give
unanimous support to the AV Text. We will see shortly that in a
remarkable way they demonstrate the early age of the Traditional Text.
When these details of the
Greek manuscripts are analyzed and digested it can readily be seen that the
Nestle-Aland Text of the modern versions is indeed the 1% Text.
2. The Early Versions
The early versions, i.e.
where Greek was translated into another language, strongly support the
Received Text, both before and after 350 AD. The three primary
versions are the Old Latin, Syriac Peshitta, and Egyptian Coptic. The two former
were translated about 150 A.D. and the Coptic about 200 AD. As might
be expected existing manuscripts of the Coptic lean toward the
Alexandrian-shorter text. Yet, in a significant number of places the Coptic
is found to agree with the Received Text against Vaticanus
The Old Latin
We believe the correct
view of the origin of the Old Latin is that missionaries to the Western
Roman Empire had translated it in Antioch, Syria. Support for this
view is demonstrated by the strong Syrian and Aramaic tendencies in the
existing manuscripts. If this is the case then the Old Latin is
associated with that city which was not only the missionary center in the
Book of Acts, but also the place that history accords as the fountainhead
of the Received Text.
The 67 or so existing
manuscripts often disagree among themselves and are probably not very good
reflections of the original Old Latin text. Those associated with
North Africa show some strange additions as well as subtractions.
Whereas, the manuscripts connected with Europe are generally favourable to the Received text. The African
strain of the old Latin is has been termed "the Western text
type." One thing is certain; the Old Latin whether European or
African does not give much support to the Alexandrian-modern version text!
It is the branch of the
Old Latin used in northern Italy that attracts our interest most, and
establishes one of the crucial chapters in Bible transmission
history. This version, known as the Itala,
is associated with the Christians of the Vaudois
- the valleys of northern Italy and southern France. These noble
believers withstood every attempt of Rome to “bring them into the
fold.” From the days of Pope Sylvester (early 300's) unto the
massacres of 1655, they were slaughtered, their name slandered, and their
records destroyed; yet they remained true to the Scriptures. They are
known by a number of names, but chiefly as the Waldensians.
Research into the text and history of the Waldensian
Bible has shown that it is a lineal descendant of the Old Latin Itala. In other words, the Itala
has come down to us in the Waldensian form, and
is firmly in the Received Text tradition. The same can be said of
other Bibles belonging to those groups who remained separate from
Rome. Thus, in the Received Text we have the convergence of the
Greek-speaking East and the non Catholic Latin-speaking West.
The Syriac Peshitta
Coming now to the third
primary version, the Syriac Peshitta,
we have a clear case of textual history being rewritten. From the
days of Westcott and Hort and the establishing of
Vaticanus and Sinaiticus
as the basis of the new Bibles, every attempt has been made to discredit
all pre 350 AD evidence for the Traditional Text. This is nowhere
more apparent than with the famous Syriac Peshitta.
The importance of this
version and the church it came from cannot be overstated. The virtual
center of First Century Christianity was Antioch in Syria. “The
disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:20).
Paul's great church planting ministries had their base in Antioch.
Syrian Christianity had a close proximity and linkage with many of the
churches that had received the inspired New Testament letters. The
Syrian church had direct contact with the Apostles and writers of the
Scriptures, therefore, the Syrian version may have been written with direct
access to the original autographs. Indeed, Bishop Ellicott in 1870
wrote, “It is no stretch of imagination to suppose that portions of the Peshitta might have been in the hands of St. John.”
During the years
following 1870 the good bishop must have bit his tongue for so openly
stating this commonly held view concerning the Peshitta’s
near apostolic age. For in the movement to bring out a revised Bible, in
which he himself played a leading role, the Peshitta
posed a major stumbling block. Its manuscripts (numbering about 300)
are in line with the Received Text! Thus, practically by itself, the Peshitta could undermine the entire Westcott and Hort superstructure.
Their answer was to take
two other Syriac manuscripts (one discovered in
1842, the other in 1892), which differed from the Peshitta,
and call them the “Old Syriac.” The Peshitta was then made to be a revision of this
so-called Old Syriac. To complete the
rewriting of the history, the Peshitta's date was
moved from 150 to about 425 AD, with its “revision” being performed by a
certain Rabbula, Bishop of Edessa in Syria.
There is not a trace in
Syrian ecclesiastical history of such a thing happening! As Arthur Voobus writes “this kind of reconstruction of textual
history is pure fiction without a shred of evidence to support it” (Early
Versions of the New Testament, pp. 90-97). Further, the view is
contrary to the established facts of history. In Rabbula's
day a massive split occurred in the Syrian Church. The two opposing
sides were known as the Nestorians and the Monophysites
(led by Rabbula). Yet, both sides regarded
the Peshitta as their authoritative Bible.
It is impossible to believe that the side bitterly opposed to Rabbula should at the same time embrace unanimously his
"revision" of the Scriptures. Further, such a unanimous
acceptance by both parties in the early 400's argues powerfully for the Peshitta's early origin.
Regarding the two sole
manuscripts of the so-called Old Syrian text. They are not all that close
to each other. One denies the virgin birth of Christ in Matthew 1:16.
Nor do they lend particularly convincing support to the Alexandrian
Text. In fact, they contain a significant number of Received Text
readings. They are merely corrupted copies, all but ignored by the
Syrian church, yet with the Received Text base still discernible.
The other European
versions-the Gothic (350 AD), Armenian (early 400's), and Georgian
(mid-400's) follow the Received Text. Even the Ethiopic (400),
despite its proximity to Egypt, is basically Received Text.
Therefore, in the early versional history,
support for the Received Text, in contrast with the Alexandrian Text, is
overwhelming. How the entire range of versions vote with regard to
the 356 doctrinal test passages can be seen in Early Manuscripts, Church
Fathers, and the Authorized Version.
In Early Manuscripts an investigation is made
of five categories of Greek manuscripts and eighteen categories of early
versions. A decisive preponderance of evidence is shown for the
3. The Scripture Quotations of the Early
Westcott and Hort confidently declared that ecclesiastical writers
before 350 AD did not quote from the longer type of text. Their confidence
rested in part on what is an immediate disadvantage for the Traditional
Text. Most early writers (or at least those whose
writings exist now) were located near the areas where the shorter text was
prevalent (Alexandria), and where most divergences have been noted in the
manuscripts - (North Africa and the West).
Here, and in this entire
inquiry it cannot be overstated that in early textual history the
Traditional Text is most
directly associated with those places that were either the senders or recipients
of the original New Testament autographs, i.e. Antioch, Asia Minor,
Greece, Macedonia. While volumes of
theological literature poured out of Alexandria, North Africa and Italy in
the west, very little is available for us prior to 350 from the eastern
areas. Yet even with this disadvantage, the Received Text can be
shown to prevail in the Alexandrian and Western writings of the Fathers.
Toward the end of the 19th Century John Burgon
compiled an extensive index of Scripture quotations from the early Church
Fathers. In mentioning Burgon we come to
the man who so powerfully and eloquently fought against moves in England to
replace the Received Text. Attempts have been made to discredit this
good man's massive labours. It certainly
cannot be done on the basis of his scholarship. After matriculating
at Oxford with honours and taking his B.A. and
M.A. there, he was to spend most of his adult life at that famous
university. Burgon was Fellow of Oriel
College, vicar of St. Mary's (the University Church) and Gresham Professor
of Divinity. During his last twelve years he was Dean of Chichester. Unlike many of his contemporaries his
was a “scholarship on fire.” He believed and loved the Bible, and had
a great zeal to defend it. While we cannot go along with his high
churchmanship, we acknowledge him as a worthy champion of the Faith, and
strongly urge the reading of his books (available from The Bible for
Coming now to the index, Burgon cited 4,383 Scripture quotations from 76 writers
who died before the year 400 AD. Edward Miller carried on the work
after Burgon's death and put the material in a
tabulated form showing the times a Church Father witnesses for and against
the Received Text. He found the Received Text had the greater support
by 2,630 to 1,753 or 3 to 2. Keeping in mind the Alexandrian and
Western localities of these 76 Fathers, we have here quite a strong
majority for the Received Text. Had the quotations of the Eastern
Fathers been available, all indications are that the support would have
been quite overwhelming. But the above evidence shows clearly also that
while there was a struggle over the text of Scripture in those early
centuries, there was a clear winner!
Miller concluded his
research with the following challenge:
As far as the Fathers who
died before 400 AD are concerned, the question may now be put and answered.
Do they witness to the Traditional Text as existing from the first, or do
they not? The results of the evidence, both as regards the quantity
and the quality of the testimony, enable us to reply, not only that the
Traditional Text was in existence, but that it was predominant during the
period under review. Let any one who
disputes this conclusion make out for the Western text, or the Alexandrian,
or for the Text of B and Aleph (i.e. Vaticanus, Sinaiticus), a case from the evidence of the Fathers
which can equal or surpass that which has been now placed before our
reader. (The Traditional Text, p. 116).
Regarding the attempt to
discredit Burgon's work by saying that later
editors “adapted” the Church Father's quotations to the Traditional Text,
Edward Hills writes:
In regard to my
references to the Church Fathers, I am sure that if you examine the notes
to my King James Defended and my Believing Bible Study, you will see that I
have taken care to look up all the Burgon's
references in the most modern editions available. During the years 1950-55,
I spent many weeks at this task. In fact, the newer German editions
of the Church Fathers differ little from those of the 17th and 18th
centuries. Certainly not enough to affect Burgon's
arguments (Letter from Edward F Hills to Theodore P Letis,
February 15, 1980, as quoted in Theodore P Letis,
"Edward Freer Hills Contribution to the Revival of the Ecclesiastical
text," unpublished M.T.S. Thesis, Emory University, 1987).
In Early Manuscripts, Church
Fathers, and the Authorised Version the Scripture quotations of the
early Fathers were tested against the 356 doctrinal passages unique to the
Traditional Text. Here there was a 2.3 to 1 advantage to the
Traditional Text against that of Nestle-Aland.
X. A Recent Counter Argument
To a large extent we are
now dealing with expediency rather than an honest evaluation of the
evidence. The publishing houses have invested and made huge sums in
the modern versions. The NIV outsells the Authorized Version in many
places. The major Bible Societies use the shorter text for their
foreign language translations. It is entrenched in practically every
theological college. Despite a point-by-point demonstration of the
weakness of their position, and of whatever is left of the Westcott and Hort theory, there is simply not the will to upset the
status quo. Nevertheless, they must be able to offer some reasonable defence. They may merely try to repeat the old
arguments, or raise some secondary points; but as far as factual evidence
they have very little to offer for their case. Recently they have
come up with an argument which, while not offering positive support for the
shorter text might appear to some credence to their position.
Gordon Fee of
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary has been at the forefront in seeking to
dampen down the resurgence of the Received Text. He makes the
But the question still
must be answered: How does one account for its dominance and general
uniformity? How did the Byzantine text become dominant?…By the end of
the seventh century the Greek NT was being transmitted in a very narrow
sector of the church viz., the Greek Orthodox Church with its dominant
patriarchate in Constantinople. By the time of Chalcedon (the famous
council of 451 AD) Greek is almost unknown in the west, and after Chalcedon
the decline of Alexandria and the subsequent rise of Islam narrowed Greek speaking
Christendom still further. ("Modern Textual Criticism and the Revival
of the Textus Receptus," Journal of the Evangelical
Theological Society, March 1978, pp. 29, 30).
It is here argued that
the reason for the scarcity of Greek manuscripts with the shorter text is
due merely to the fact that they are associated with areas which ceased to
speak Greek. This has become something of a last ditch defence
for the Alexandrian Text in the face of its paucity of manuscript evidence.
The argument is not valid:
1. At issue here is
the shorter text of Alexandria, not that of the West generally. The
argument tends to give an impression that the scarcity of Alexandrian
manuscripts is due to Greek usage dying out in the West. Alexandria, of
course, is not the West.
2. The Alexandrian
Text is precisely what the term implies - the local text of
Alexandria! There is little evidence that it spread beyond
Egypt. It made no impact on the West or East, neither in Greek,
Latin, or the other versional languages.
3. The Moslem
conquest of Alexandria did not take place until 642 AD. And though
the Muslims restricted evangelism, they did not attempt to exterminate
Christianity, or compel Christians to convert. Nor does there seem to
be evidence that the Muslims halted manuscript transmission in the areas
they conquered. Therefore, many centuries were available for the
Alexandrian Text to proliferate and establish itself. It did
not! Not only did it fail to make an impression on the surrounding
regions, but if surviving manuscripts are anything to go by, it also lost favour on its own home base. This is demonstrated
by the fact that the very few manuscripts which display this kind of text
often do so only in a part of their contents. Also, one of its two
primary representatives, Sinaiticus, has hundreds
of scribal alterations made near the time of its production that move back
toward the Traditional Text. And, that by a five to two margin!
This argument does not stand.
XI. The Huge Disparity Among
the Few Modern Version Manuscripts
A hugely disproportionate
amount of the variation is to be found among the relatively few manuscripts
supporting the Aleph-B text. The critical editors, Barbara Aland and
Klaus Wachtel admit this:
The papyri and majuscules
are for the most part individual witnesses: despite sharing general
tendencies on the forms of their texts, they
differ so widely from one another that
it is impossible to establish any direct genealogical ties among them.
(“The Greek Minuscule Manuscripts of the N.T.”, The Text of the N.T. in
Contemporary Research, p.46. Emphasis mine).
If these few cannot agree
among themselves, then why do footnotes in modern versions call them “The
Best Manuscripts”? As so little of an Aleph-B kind of manuscript is
available, clearly early scribes did not think them best. Nor did the
scribes of the 8th/9th Centuries think them best when
they transferred the text from uncial to minuscule
script. Further, as we have said, the manuscripts that
were widely copied are known to be strongly cohesive, with narrow variation
margins. Their variation is usually just enough to let us know that
they are independent productions with long transmissional
XII. Key Epochs in the Preservation
History Of the New Testament Text
Given that God has
promised to preserve His Words, we would expect these Words that were
inspired by the Holy Spirit and inscripturated through
the Apostles will be the subject of a number of key epochs during the
manuscript period and leading up to the time of printing. Among
important events that played a providential role, we mention several:
1.The Early Lectionary Period.
Most do not realise the pivotal role this kind of manuscript played
in the preservation of the Scriptures. Lectionary manuscripts are
those that were divided into sections for readings throughout the year in
services of the Greek churches. Some lectionaries have readings
(lessons) for only Saturday and Sunday, others for each day of the
week. Many have readings from the Gospels, others from the Apostolos (the rest of the NT excluding Revelation),
and others contain both. A complete lectionary would contain two parts:
the synaxarion - following the religious
year and beginning with the variable date for Easter; and the menologion - covering the civil year
and beginning on September 1.
At a time when most would
not have their own copies of Scripture, this system allowed for a
substantial amount of the NT along with readings from the OT to be read
systematically throughout the year. Some 2343 lectionary manuscripts
are known to exist (about 270 are in the uncial script), and virtually all
support the kind of text underlying the AV. It is for this reason
they are all but ignored in the Nestle-Aland apparatus. Current
textual studies are only interested in the very few lectionaries showing
some minor departure from the Received Text.
While the oldest extant
lectionaries go back to about the 9th century, their formatting system
is very old.
The implications this has for the kind of early text the lectionaries had,
as the following quotations shows, is a subject which modern textual
criticism would prefer to avoid.
Carroll D. Osburn seems to be wrestling with the issue when he
Precisely when and where
these lections became fixed remains unsettled. Gregory theorized that
the Saturday and Sunday lessons probably originated in the first half of
the second century.
How early then are traces
of lections detectable? It is evident, possibly from the time of
Origen, but certainly from the time of Epiphanius,
Cyril of Alexandria, and John Chrysostom, among others, that having
specific Scripture lessons for specific days was customary in their
localities. Chrysostom indicates frequently that he is commenting on
the “lesson” for the day. Consequently, Metzger is of the opinion
that “the lectionary system current today in the Orthodox Church had its
origin sometime during the fourth century.”
The question, however, is
not settled. For his own reasons, Burgon
saw the matter as settled by A.D. 348. For
other reasons, some would
not like to admit the origin of the lectionary system prior to A.D. 300,
for it then could be said to represent the text of the early period.
(“The Greek Lectionaries of the NT”, The
Text of the N.T. in Contemporary Research, pp. 63,64.
The implication is clear,
and Osburn plainly says so in his last
sentence. If the formatting is early so also is the text, and both are the same that we see in the Greek
church today. There is every likelihood that
the lectionary system placed a kind of preservative fence around the
original words of the New Testament. It became a formal means by
which early Greek speaking churches kept the words of Scripture pure and
untainted. We see the Lord’s hand in this.
2. The Changeover from Uncial to
While there may be
earlier minuscules, the earliest to be dated is
MS 461 of the year 835. The actual change of script began in the 7th century, and became developed in
the 8th. The kind of text which was now being copied into
the new script was almost in every instance that which we see in the
Barbara Aland and Klaus Wachtel are at a loss to explain this:
other ancient Greek literature into the new script involved “en meme temps
un travail critique,” (at the same time, a work of criticism), this was not
the case for the NT, at least in the sense that no attempt was made to base
the newer manuscripts on the oldest available form of the text….
(“The Greek Minuscule Manuscripts of the NT”, The Text of the N.T. in
Contemporary Research, p. 44).
This is a key period in
manuscript history. The scribes who undertook this laborious and
meticulous work were obviously convinced as to what constituted the True
Text. If one is
spending so much time on a project they would want to be certain. To
them the text to copy was certainly not the Aleph-B kind. Would not
their vantage point into the previous textual history more likely give them
a clearer view than ours 1200 years later? They knew to avoid the
kind of manuscript preferred by Aland and Wachtel.
We see God’s hand in this.
3. The Printing and Spread of the
During the 1500s it does
not seem to have occurred to any of those so involved to set type for
anything other than Greek editions based upon the Traditional Text.
No Greek editions approaching an Aleph- B kind of text got within sight of
Europe’s publishing houses. There was no debate, no doubt. They
knew of manuscripts with aberrant readings and they left them where they
lay. The Received Text and the great Reformation Bibles spread across
Europe and then to the ends of the earth. Debate, dissent and
opposition would come later, but first the pure and full Scriptures were
allowed to do their work. With the invention of printing it was this
kind of Greek text that would be the first to speak. We see the hand
of God in this.
4. The Refining of Printed Editions of
the Received Text
The different editions of
the Received Text represent the vast majority of Greek and versional manuscripts. Therefore whether it was the
editions of the Elzevir brothers (1624,33,41)
which were popular on the Continent, or those of Robert Stephenaus
(1546,49,50,51), accepted as the standard in English speaking countries,
the Received Text was the Textreceived by common consent around the
world, and represents the Traditional Text of the New Testament. The
different editions of the Received Text are not carbon copies; they have
slight differences. These differences demonstrate that they are to a
certain extent independent witnesses to the Traditional Text.
The Traditional Text in
its printed form began with the five editions of Erasmus (1516,19,22,27,35). This paved the way for nearly a
century of textual preparation leading to the publication of the King James
Below are some of the key
editions leading up to the translation of the King James Version.
1. Erasmus’ 1519
edition provided the basis for Luther’s German translation. William
Tyndale followed Erasmus’ 1519 and 1522 editions.
2. Erasmus’ 1527,35 editions contained some changes from the Complutensian Polyglot (1514). The Complutensian contained the Received Text and the Latin
Vulgate in parallel columns. Though prepared by the Catholic
its Received Text was very close to the other
editions. Rome’s Vaticanus manuscript had
no effect on its preparation.
3. Simon Colinaeus (1534) published an edition based on Erasmus
and the Complutensian.
4. Robert Stephanus, the stepson of Colinaeus,
published four editions (1546,49,50,51). His
edition of 1550, known as the “Royal Edition” followed the text of Erasmus’
1527 and 1535 editions. The 1550 also contained marginal readings
from the Complutensian. Stephanus’
1551 Geneva edition reprinted the 1550 text and inserted for the first time
the current verse divisions.
5. In Geneva,
Theodore Beza published a total of ten folio
(large page) and octavo (small page) editions. After a Latin
translation (1556), his four folio editions (1565,82,88,98)
became especially influential. These were based on the Stephanus 1550,51 with some
changes and notes. Beza’s last two octavo
editions were published in 1590 and 1604, and his 1565 edition was the
primary base for the later editions of the Elzevir
1598 edition, F.H.A.Scrivener says:
Between 1598 and 1611 no
important editions appeared; so that Beza’s fifth
and last text of 1598 was more likely than any other to be in the hands of
the King James revisers, and to be accepted by them as the best standard
within their reach. It is moreover found on comparison to agree more
closely with the Authorised Version than any
other Greek text. (Scrivener’s Annotated Greek New Testament, The
Bible for Today, pp. vii-viii).
Regarding places where the AV does not follow Beza, Scrivener further reports:
All variations from Beza’s text of 1598, in number about 190, are set down
in an Appendix at the end of the volume, together with the authorities on
which they respectively rest. (p. ix).
These 190 differences for
the entire New Testament, many of which are very small, are a striking
demonstration of the narrow limits of variation within the Received Text
tradition. There is, in fact, just enough variation to show theindependence of the witnesses. Their work
reflects a refining process in the providential preservation of the Word of
God. Compare this with the many thousands of differences among
manuscripts used to support the Nestle-Aland Text.
Scrivener revised Beza’s edition of 1598 to the Authorised
Version. It was first published in 1881 as The New Testament in Greek
According to the Text Followed in the Authorised
Version, and is the
edition most in use today.
The God-consciousness and
reverence for the Scriptures of these early Received Text editors is in
contrast to the unbelief and rationalism, which characterises
nearly all the editors of the critical text.
Edward F. Hills explains
how a belief in the Bible’s preservation marked the labours
of Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza:
But in their actual
editing and printing of the New Testament they were guided by the common
faith in the Received Text. For in their appeal to the New Testament
against the errors of the papacy and the Roman Catholic doctrinal system
these Reformers were not introducing a novelty but were falling back on a
principle which long before the Reformation had been acknowledged by everyone.
For centuries it had been commonly believed that the currently received New
Testament text, primarily the Greek text and secondarily the Latin text,
was the True New Testament Text which had been preserved by God’s special
providence. It was out of this common faith, therefore, that the printed Textus Receptus was born
through the editorial labours of Erasmus and his
successors under the guiding hand of God. (The King James Version
Defended, pp. 62,63).
We see the hand of God in
the refinement of the printed editions of the Traditional Text.
5. Seven Great “Preparatory” English
Version was the culmination of nearly 100 years of preparation. There was
intensive study of the Greek and Hebrew Text. The five Greek editions of
Erasmus, the four of Stephanus, the nine of Beza provided the translators with a refined
representative of the Traditional Text which was in the majority of
manuscripts, and had been acknowledged (John 16:13) by God's people through
the centuries. There were no fewer than seven "preparatory"
English translations: Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthews, Great, Taverners, Geneva, and Bishops. The fifty or so
AV translators were men of unparalleled scholarship, representing the
combined intellectual might of Oxford and Cambridge. But far more
importantly, they were marked by a holy awe and deep reverence for the Word
of God. It is this latter, and an insight into which we will see
shortly, that places them poles apart from the
translating teams of today.
6. The King James Version: A Four Hundred
In the translation of the
Authorised Version we have one of the great
epochs in the history of Scripture preservation. God’s Words, which
had been providentially watched over, were now to be brought into a primary and standard translation (“one principle good
one, not justly to be excepted against”, The Translators to the Reader,
XV:2). And, in a language that would be
a world language.
The fifty greatest scholars of the time, who sought Him that hath the key of David ( XV:8) knew where to find the
Words which in the beginning holy
men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy
Ghost. They knew which manuscripts, which versions, which Fathers
preserved these inspired Words. They knew to avoid the corrupted
texts, which according to II Corinthians 2:17
In their scholarly
diligence, and above all, their devotion to the Scriptures, they knew how
to translate these Words. An insight as to the nature of how they approached
their work can be seen below in the key extracts from The Translators to the Reader. Relying upon God, and with
the greatest care, these sacred Words were placed in the bosom of the
English language at a time when that language was best able to receive
was spared, as they
brought back to the anvil that which they had hammered (XV:20).
The translation was fully accurate and intact. It was word for word
expressive of the original inspired Words: reverent, exhortative,
convicting, meditative, comforting, timeless.
Though now in English, “the King’s speech remained the King’s speech”.
7. The Traditional Text Kept Separate
from the Modern Versions !
This may at first seem
like a strange argument for the preservation of the New Testament Text. But
God, it would seem, has prevented His Inspired, Preserved and Uncorrupted
Words from being the base of an endless succession of inferior
translations. The Traditional Text had been and should remain, the domain of those translators who honour Him. Let today’s liberal, new evangelical, “dynamic equivalence” kind of translator have
their Nestle-Aland Text. The Received Text belongs solely to Godly
translators who do not lessen, weaken and corrupt the Scriptures.
This raises a question
concerning the New King James Version, which appears to be an exception to
the above as it purports to be based on the Received Text. It is
based on the Received Text, but the story does not end there. Nine of
the translators who were involved with the NIV took part in the translation
of the NKJV. Thus a common philosophy will in part extend to both
translations. It is based on the Received Text, but also
departs from it in a number of places. Its introduction, while saying
some good things, seeks to minimize the differences between the different
types of manuscripts; including the large omissions in Mark 16 and John
The NKJV undermines faith
in the Received Text by continual footnotes referring the reader to the
alternatives of the Nestle-Aland Text, and also another edition that has
misleadingly been called the Majority
Text. (See the authors When
the KJV Departs From the So-Called Majority Text). While it
claims to be a revision of the KJV, it is in reality a new translation, and
as research has shown, an inferior one. It is more difficult to
memorize, and does not appear to be memorized any more than the other
modern versions. It does not have the cadence, the declarative force,
the devotional quality of the KJV. Without formal notice literally thousands
of changes have been made to the NKJV over the years since its inception in
1979. The NKJV is a door opener to the other modern Bibles and their
corrupted text. It is not a safe Bible for the Christian.
Coming back to our point,
the issue is much clearer when we realise that
nearly every modern version is based on the Nestle-Aland Text. They were meant for each other,
and they can have each other! This has kept the Traditional
Text separate and apart from inferior and unworthy translating practices.
We can see the hand of God in this.
XIII. Antioch or Alexandria
There is one point upon
which both sides of the current debate agree: the early history of the New
Testament Text is a "tale of two cities", Antioch and Alexandria.
And, just as surely as the KJV Text was woven into the spiritual life of
Antioch in Syria, so was also the modern version text among the
“scholarship” of Alexandria. Today a believer must decide whether he
is more comfortable with a Bible whose roots go back to one or the other of
these two cities. The choice is a clear one, as there is very little
common ground between them.
Certainly Antioch has by
far the greater Biblical heritage. It became to the Gentile Christians what
Jerusalem had been to the Jews, and superseded Jerusalem as the base for
the spread of the Gospel. The “disciples were called Christians first
in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). It was the starting point for the Apostle
Paul's missionary journeys. Mark, Barnabas, and Silas were there. Peter and
probably Luke were there. The Book of Acts presents Antioch as the center
of early church activity.
Egypt shares no such
heritage. Biblically it pictures the world, and the world in its
opposition to the things of God. God would not allow His Son (Mt. 2),
His nation (Ex. 12), His patriarchs (Gen. 50), or even the bones of the
patriarchs (Ex. 13:19) to remain there. The Jews were warned
repeatedly not to return to Egypt. Not to rely upon it for
help. Not to even purchase horses there, etc. Thus, in contrast
to what is being claimed today, it is hard to believe that Egypt and
Alexandria would have been the central place where God would preserve His
Holy Word. Frankly, it was the last place on earth that one could
trust in doctrinal and Biblical matters. It certainly wasn't safe to
get a Bible there!
Even the late Bruce
Metzger, a fervent supporter of the Alexandrian Text, was compelled to
catalogue the vast amount of religious corruption that came from
Among Christians which during the second century either originated in
Egypt or circulated there among both the orthodox and the Gnostics are
numerous apocryphal gospels, acts, epistles, and apocalypses. Some of
the more noteworthy are the Gospel according to the Egyptians, the Gospel
of Truth, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, the Kerygma of Peter, the Acts of John, the Epistle of
Barnabas, the Epistle of the Apostles, and the Apocalypse of Peter.
There are also fragments of exegetical and dogmatic works composed by Alexandrian
Christians, chiefly Gnostics during the second century. We know, for
example, of such teachers as Basilides and his
son Isidore, and of Valentinus,
and Pantaenus. All but the last-mentioned
were unorthodox in one respect or another. In fact, to judge by the
comments made by Clement of Alexandria, almost every deviant Christian sect
was represented in Egypt during the second century; Clement mentions the Valentinians, the Basilidians,
the Marcionites, the Peratae,
the Encratites, the Docetists,
the Haimetites, the Cainites,
the Ophites, the Simonians,
and the Eutychites. What proportion
of Christians in Egypt during the second century were orthodox is
not known. (The Early Versions of the New Testament, Clarendon
Press, p. 101).
Let it be said again:
Alexandria was the worst possible place to go for a Bible! Yet it is
precisely the place that our present-day translators have gone in gathering
Aleph, B, and the papyri as sources for their modern versions.
XIV. Timeless or Time-bound
Translators of the Authorised Version and the other great Bibles believed
that the Scriptures unfold absolute truth which transcended time and
culture. Though the events and discourses of Scripture take place in
a past age, and in a civilization different from
our own; by the working of the Holy Spirit it speaks directly to the heart
in all cultures and times. That this is so is demonstrated by man's
common union in the fall of Adam (Rom. 5:12) and his need of the One Saviour (Acts 4:12). This two-fold unity overrides any
considerations of time and culture.
There may have been the
need for certain normal adjustments, but there was never a question of
translating the Bible any other way than the way God gave it. It was
also acknowledged by translators that there were many deep things in the
Bible which could not be translated simply enough for “modern man” to
understand at first reading. Any such attempt would “translate away
the meaning”! Therefore, this idea of bringing the Bible “down to the
people” had definite limits.
With the advent of Eugene
A. Nida and his widely accepted "Dynamic
Equivalence Theory" this has all changed. According to him the
message and events of Scripture are “bound in their ancient time and
culture.” By merely using the “static” equivalence method of
translation, i.e. word for word translation, the message of the Bible
remains bound as far as modern man is concerned. But when the
principles of "dynamic" equivalence are applied the message will
naturally “leap out” at him into his own day and
surroundings; or so Nida would like us to think.
Nida says that formerly there was a
one-sided regard for the message, but today the emphasis should be on how
the message is connected with its receptor (the certain people to whom the
message is sent). Thus, the translator must consider more than just
the differences between two languages; he must consider the cultural
differences and the differences between the past and present. If (to use one of Nida's
example) the people of Jacob's day understood his wrestling with the angel
in a literal sense, the people of this day probably would not.
Therefore, the translator should, to a certain extent, adapt and translate
Genesis 32 “psychoanalytically or mythologically”.
It becomes apparent that
so long as the translator “gets the message across,” this method allows for
a great deal of liberty to be taken with the events and discourses of
Speaking in irony of this
new method, missionary director Dan Truax writes:
Admittedly, the readers
in the jungles of Brazil would understand Isaiah 1:18 better with the “corn
flour” substitution. The “corn flour translation” would read as
Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as corn flour.
But consider the dilemma
of those translators when they came to certain Bible verses into which
“flour” in the place of "snow" would not fit.
He slew a lion in a pit
in a corn flour day.
(1 Chronicles 11:22).
For as the rain cometh
down and the corn flour from heaven. (Isaiah 55:10).
What happened to the old
practice of translating the Bible as it was, and then explaining concepts
that were strange to the readers? (B.I.M.I. World).
There is a limit as to
how far the advocates of Dynamic Equivalency will go. Obviously, if the
translation becomes too radical it will not be accepted. "The cultural
adaptation must not totally enter the translation. At the same time, they
are convinced that cultural adaptation is necessary." Therefore,
they speak of the church as a "transformer of the truth" which
completes the process began by the translator. Thus if the translator
cannot convey that Jacob wrestling with the angel was really a
“psychological struggle”, the church and preacher should make that supposed fact known!
Virtually all recent translations, and the work of the Bible Societies
generally, have to a large extent been influenced by Dynamic
Equivalence. It has made Eugene Nida the
most influential person in the field. The theory is grounded in
theological liberalism. It strips the Bible of its doctrinal
content. It dishonours God by implying He
is unable to speak absolutely to all generations and cultures. And,
to quote the verdict that a literary critic gave concerning the New
International Version, it makes the Bible “Formica flat”.
That the New
International Version was influenced by Dynamic Equivalence is demonstrated
by the following statement in its Preface:
Because for most readers
today the phrase “the LORD of hosts” and “God of hosts” have little
meaning, this version renders them “The LORD Almighty and God Almighty” (p.
Thus, they have
confounded LORD of hosts with El Shaddai: (God
It is not only the
underlying text that is at fault in the modern versions; the translation
itself is seriously defective. Thankfully you'll not have to worry
about either when you meditate in the pages of the King James Bible.
For an excellent study (to whom I am indebted for the above), see The Future of the Bible by Jakob
The Bible’s Final Warning
Tampering with the Bible
is more than academic wrangling; it has eternal implications. The
Bible warns against this many times (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Jer.
26:2). The Bible’s Final Warning is clear:
For I testify unto every
man that heareth the words of the prophecy of
this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him
the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away
from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part
out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things
which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18, 19).
This warning in the first
instance refers to the Book of Revelation. But, it is the Book of
Revelation in its position as theConclusion
of Scripture. It is a warning for the entire Bible. This is
evident, as warnings of this kind are not found at the end of any of the
other sixty-five books of Scripture. That modern Bible translators do
not take this warning seriously does not diminish its force and
XV. AV Or NIV
With the advent of the
Internet and its effect on global business, the English language itself has
become globalised on an ever-increasing scale. It has been a primary medium
through which the Word of God has spread during these last centuries of
church history. And, in these final days before Christ returns, this globalisation of English is an important aid in the
carrying out of the Great Commission. There are
however a number of reasons why the AV and its English remains better
suited as a vehicle for divine revelation in these last days.
While the AV English is different, it is not difficult. It is an
evidence of God's providence that after four centuries, so little can be
found to be archaic to the point of not being understood. Certainly
there is a big difference between the Elizabethan English of that day and
current English. The AV, however, is not Elizabethan English!
As a comparison will show, there is a great difference between AV English
and the wordy, affectatious Elizabethan style.
Far from our Bible being
a product of that day's literary style, the English language after 1611
owes its development to the Authorized Version! “The King James
Version was a landmark in the development of English prose. Its
elegant yet natural style had enormous influence on English-speaking
writers.” (World Book Encyclopedia). This partially explains why the
AV is ever fresh and lucid while most else from that period is very
difficult to read.
Edward Hills speaks on
the misconception that the English of the AV is Elizabethan:
The English of the King
James Version is not the English of the early 17th century. To be exact, it is not a type of English
that was ever spoken anywhere. It is biblical English, which was not
used on ordinary occasions even by the translators who produced the King
James Version. As H. Wheeler Robinson (1940) pointed out, one need
only compare the preface written by the translators with the text of their
translation to feel the difference in style. And the observations of
W.A. Irwin (1952) are to the same purport. The King James Version, he
reminds us, owes its merit, not to 17th-century English - which was very
difficult - but to its faithful translation of the original.
Its style is that of the Hebrew and of the New Testament Greek. Even
in their use of thee and thou, the translators were not following
17th-century English usage but biblical usage, for at the time these
translators were doing their work these singular forms had already been
replaced by the plural you in polite conversation. (The King James
Version Defended, pp. 218, emphasis mine).
In 1604 when James I authorised preparations for a new English version of
the Bible, a watershed was reached not only in the history of Bible
translation, but of the history of the English language itself.
ContentsXVI. The Translators to the Reader
The Epistle Dedicatory to James I is placed in most
editions of the Authorized Version, but the much longer The Translators to the Reader is rarely included. This is
unfortunate, for it gives unparalleled insights into the nature and work of
the Translators. Through their spokesman or spokesmen, we have here what
they themselves said about this great translating work. It is this
that makes the Preface the most important historical document we have
concerning the translation of the Authorized Version.
The reputed author of
this noble Preface…is Dr. Miles Smith of the first Oxford Company who would
naturally be one of the six final revisers and became Bishop of Gloucester
in 1612 (Authorized Version, p. 39).
The Translators to the
Reader reveals a love for Christ and zeal for the Scriptures
that places it on a level far above what we see in today’s translation
prefaces. Anyone who takes the time to read and compare it with that
of the NASV, NIV or NKJV will see that we have something here that is
The Preface is not necessarily
easy reading, and may seem tedious in places. It is long, and for
most too long, a point that is made near its conclusion:
Many other things we
might give thee a warning of gentle Reader, if we had not exceeded the
measure of a preface already (XVIII:1).
Much of it deals with the
opposition that the Translators were facing and expecting to face, coupled
with the need for translations of the Scriptures generally,
and for this translation in particular. Many early writers and church
fathers are quoted. There is therefore a great deal of material,
which while important for presenting the arguments at that time, may in
fact distract the reader from coming to grips with those things that are
most important for us today. In this presentation, we have what I
think are the key statements, and which should give considerable help to
those who stand for the King James Bible today.
The Preface is available
online. The best presentation is the one formatted by A.V. Bible Tracts and
In addition to other
helps, they have divided the Preface’s 18 titled sections into 272 numbered
sub-sections. This makes the document much easier to reference and
was an aid in identifying the most important statements. Below are 56
taken from among the 18 headings.
I The best things
have been calumniated 1-11.
Anacharsis with others 1-14.
III The highest
personages have been calumniated 1-12.
IV His Majesty’s
constancy, notwithstanding calumniation, for the survey of the English
V The Praise of the Holy
Scriptures 1-27 (19, 22-27).
The Scriptures then being acknowledged to be so full and so perfect,
how can we excuse ourselves of negligence, if we do not study them? of curiosity, if we be not content with them?
It is not only an armour,
but also a whole armoury of weapons, both
offensive and defensive; whereby we may save ourselves and put the
enemy to flight.
It is not an herb, but a tree, or rather a whole paradise of trees of life,
which bring forth fruit every month, and the fruit thereof is for
meat, and the leaves for medicine.
It is not a pot of Manna,
or a cruse of oil, which were for memory
only, or for a meal's meat or two, but as it were a shower of heavenly
bread sufficient for a whole host, be it never so great; and as it
were a whole cellar full of oil vessels; whereby all our necessities
may be provided for and our debts discharged.
In a word, it is a panary [bread pantry] of
wholesome food, against fenowed [mouldy] traditions; a physician's shop (Saint Basil calleth
it) of preservatives against poisoned heresies; a pandect [a complete
body] of profitable laws against rebellious sprits; a treasury of most
costly jewels against beggarly rudiments; finally, a fountain of most
pure water springing up unto everlasting life.
And what marvel? the original thereof being from heaven, not from
earth; the author being God, not man; the inditer,
the Holy Spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or Prophets; the penmen,
such as were sanctified from the womb, and endued
with a principal portion of God's Spirit; the matter, verity, piety,
purity, uprightness; the form, God's word, God's testimony, God's
oracles, the word of truth, the word of salvation, etc.; the effects,
light of understanding, stableness of persuasion, repentance from dead
works, newness of life, holiness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost;
lastly, the end and reward of the study thereof, fellowship with the
Saints, participation of the heavenly nature, fruition of an
inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that never shall fade away.
Happy is the man that delighteth in the
Scripture, and thrice happy that meditateth
in it day and night.
Translation Necessary 1-9 (1,8,9).
But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How
shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue? as it is written, Except
I know the power of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh, a Barbarian, and he that speaketh, shall be a Barbarian to me.
- 8 Translation
it is that openeth the window, to let in the
light; that breaketh the shell, that we may
eat the kernel; that putteth aside the
curtain, that we may look into the most holy place; that removeth the cover of the well, that we may come
by the water, even as Jacob rolled away the stone from
the mouth of the well, by which means the flocks ofLaban were watered.
Indeed, without translation into the vulgar tongue, the unlearned are
but like children at Jacob's well (which was deep) without
a bucket or something to draw with: or as that person mentioned by Isaiah, to whom when a
sealed book was delivered, with this motion, Read this, I pray thee,
he was fain [compelled] to make this answer, I cannot, for it is sealed.
VII Translation of the
Old Testament out of the Hebrew into Greek 1-27.
Translation out of Hebrew and Greek into Latin 1-4.
The translating of the Scripture into the vulgar tongues
X The unwillingness
of our chief adversaries, that the Scriptures should be divulged in the
mother tongue, etc. 1-7.
The speeches and reasons, both of our brethren and of our
adversaries, against this work
A Satisfaction To Our Brethren 1-19
Yet for all that, as nothing is begun and perfected at the same time,
and the later thoughts are thought to be the wiser: so, if we building
upon their foundation that went before us, and being holpen by their labours,
do endeavour to make that better which they
left so good, no man, we are sure, hath cause to mislike
us; they, we persuade ourselves, if they were alive, would thank us.
The vintage of Abiezer, that strake the stroke: yet the
gleaning of grapes of Ephraim was not to be despised. SeeJudges 8, verse 2.
How many books of profane learning have been gone over again and
again, by the same translators, by others? Of one and the same book of Aristotle's Ethics, there are extant not
so few as six or seven several translations.
Now, if this cost may be bestowed upon the gourd, which affordeth us a little shade, and which to-day flourisheth but to-morrow is cut down, what may we
bestow, nay, what ought we not to bestow, upon the vine, the fruit
whereof maketh glad the conscience of man,
and the stem whereof abideth for ever?
And this is the Word of God, which we translate.
Therefore let no man's eye be evil, because his Majesty's is good;
neither let any be grieved that we have a Prince that seeketh the increase of the spiritual wealth of
Israel, (let Sanballats and Tobiahs do so, which therefore do
bear their just reproof but let us rather bless God from the ground of
our heart, for working this religious care in him to have the
translations of the Bible maturely considered of and examined.
For by this means it cometh to pass, that whatsoever is sound already
(and all is sound for substance, in one or other of our editions, and
the worst of ours far better than their authentic vulgar) the same
will shine as gold more brightly, being rubbed and polished; also, if
anything be halting, or superfluous, or not so agreeable to the
original, the same may be corrected, and the truth set in place.
answer to the imputations of our adversaries 1-17 (1,2).
XIV A Third
Cavil 1-24 (12,14,20,21).
Now to the latter we answer, that we do not deny, nay, we affirm and avow,
that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set forth
by men of our profession, (for we have seen none of theirs of the
whole Bible as yet) containeth the Word of
God, nay, is the Word of God.
As the King's Speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated
into French, Dutch,
Italian, and Latin, is still the
King's Speech, though it be not interpreted by every translator with
the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly
for sense, everywhere.
But the difference that appeareth between
our translations, and our often correcting of them, is the thing that
we are specially charged with; let us see therefore whether they
themselves be without fault this way, (if it be to be counted a fault,
to correct) and whether they be fit men to throw stones at us: O tandem maior parcas insane minori; they that are less sound themselves
ought not to object infirmities to others.
But what will they say to this, that Pope Leo the Tenth allowed Erasmus's translation of the New
Testament, so much different from the vulgar, by his apostolic letter
and bull? that the same Leo exhorted Pagnine to translate the whole Bible,
and bare whatsoever charges was necessary for the work?
Nay, further, did not the same Sixtus ordain
by an inviolable decree, and that with the counsel and consent of his
cardinals, that the Latin edition of the Old and New
Testament, which the Council of Trent would have to be authentic,
is the same without controversy which he then set forth, being
diligently corrected and printed in the printing-house of Vatican
? Thus Sixtus in his preface before his
And yet Clement the Eighth his immediate
successor, publisheth another edition of the
Bible, containing in it infinite differences from that of Sixtus,
(and many of them weighty and material) and yet this must be authentic
by all means.
XV The purpose of the Translators, with
their number, furniture, care, etc. 1-21 (1-3, 7-21).
But it is high time to leave them, and to shew
in brief what we proposed to ourselves, and what course we held, in
this our perusal and survey of the Bible.
Truly, good Christian reader, we never thought from the beginning that
we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one
a good one, (for then the imputation of Sixtus had been true in some sort,
that our people had been fed with gall of dragons instead of wine,
with whey instead of milk:) but to make a good one better, or out of
many good ones, one principal good one, not justly to be excepted
against; that hath been our endeavour, that
To that purpose there were many chosen that were greater in other
men's eyes than in their own, and that sought the truth rather than
their own praise.
And in what sort did these assemble? In the trust of their own
knowledge, or of their sharpness of wit, or deepness of judgement, as it were in an arm of flesh? At no
They trusted in him that hath the key of David, opening, and no
man shutting; they prayed to the Lord, the Father of our Lord, to the
effect that S.Augustine did: O let thy Scriptures be my
pure delight, let me not be deceived in them, neither let me deceive
In this confidence and with this devotion, did they assemble together;
not too many, lest one should trouble another; and yet many, lest many
things haply might escape them.
If you ask what they had before them, truly it was the Hebrew text of the Old Testament,
the Greek of the New.
These are the two golden pipes, or rather conduits, where through the
olive branches empty themselves into the gold.
Saint Augustine calleth
them precedent, or original, tongues; Saint Hierome,
The same Saint Hierome affirmeth, and Gratian hath not spared to put it
into his decree, That as
the credit of the old books (he
meaneth of the Old Testament) is to be tried by the
Hebrew volumes, so of the New by the Greek tongue, he meaneth by the original Greek.
If truth be to be tried by these tongues, then whence should a
translation be made, but out of them?
These tongues, therefore, (the Scriptures, we say, in those tongues,)
we set before us to translate, being the tongues wherein God was
pleased to speak to his Church by his Prophets and Apostles.
Neither did we run over the work with that posting haste that the Septuagint did; if that be true which is
reported of them that they finished it in 72 days; neither were we
barred or hindered from going over it again, having once done it, like S.Hierome,
if that be true which himself reporteth,
that he could no sooner write anything, but presently it was caught
from him, and published, and he could not have leave to mend it:
neither, to be short, were we the first that fell in hand with
translating the Scripture into English, and consequently destitute of
former helps, as it is written of Origen,
that he was the first, in a manner, that put his hand to write
commentaries upon the Scriptures, and therefore no marvel if he
overshot himself many times.
- 18 None
of these things: the work hath not been huddled up in 72 days, but
hath cost the workmen, as light as it seemeth,
the pains of twice seven times seventy-two days, and more: matters of
such weight and consequence are to be speeded with maturity; for in a
business of moment a man feareth not the
blame of convenient slackness.
Neither did we think much to consult the translators or commentators, Chaldee,
Hebrew, Syrian, Greek, or Latin, no, nor the Spanish, French, Italian,
neither did we disdain to revise that which we had done, and to bring
back to the anvil that which we had hammered:
but having and using as great helps as were needful, and fearing no
reproach for slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we have at
the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the
work to that pass that you see.
Reasons moving us to set diversity of senses in the margin, where there is
great probability for each 1-14 (1,2,5,6,7).
Some peradventure would have no variety of senses to be set in the
margin, lest the authority of the Scriptures for deciding of
controversies by that show of uncertainty should somewhat be shaken.
But we hold their judgement not to be so
sound in this point.
it hath pleased God in His divine providence here and there to scatter
words and sentences of that difficulty and doubtfulness, not in
doctrinal points that concern salvation, (for in such it hath been
vouched that the Scriptures are plain) but in matters of less moment,
that fearfulness would better beseem us than confidence, and if we
will resolve, to revolve upon modesty with S.Augustine,
(though not in this same case altogether, yet upon the same ground)Melius est dubitare de occultis, quàm litigare de incertis: it is better to make doubt of those
things which are secret, than to strive about those things that are
There be many words in the Scriptures which be never found there but
once, (having neither brother nor neighbour,
as the Hebrews speak) so that we cannot be holpen by conference of places.
Again, there be many rare names of certain birds, beasts, and precious
stones, etc., concerning which the Hebrewsthemselves are so divided among
themselves for judgement…..
[Note: Assuming an AV of
1338 pages, the marginal notes in the first AV edition would average about
5 per page in the Old Testament and just under 2.5
per page in the New Testament. According to Scrivener: of the 767 in
the NT, 552 were an alternative translation, 112 a more literal rendering
of the Greek than was judged suitable for the text, 35 are explanatory, and
37 relate to various readings almost all of which were derived from Beza’s text or notes. Of the 6637 in the OT, 4111
express a more literal rendering of the original (77 of which were from the
Aramaic), 2156 were alternative renderings, 240 relate mainly to Hebrew
names, and the remaining 67 refer to various readings of the original. (Authorized
Version, pp. 41,56).
The marginal notes were
in effect a brief commentary showing the breadth of the Original and what
it was capable of expressing. In these instances, the translators, who trusted in Him that hath the
key of David, made their decision as to the precise wording of the
English text, and the passage of time has demonstrated that this was the
correct decision. JM].
Reasons inducing us not to stand curiously upon an identity of
phrasing 1-14 (1-3, 12-14).
Another thing we think good to admonish thee of, gentle reader, that
we have not tied ourselves to an uniformity of phrasing, or to an
identity of words, as some peradventure would wish that we had done,
because they observe that some learned men somewhere have been as
exact as they could that way.
Truly, that we might not vary from the sense of that which we had
translated before, if the word signified the same thing in both places
(for there be some words that be not of the same sense everywhere) we
were especially careful, and made a conscience, according to our duty.
But that we should express the same notion in the same particular
word; as, for example, if we translate theHebrew or Greek word once by purpose, never to call
it intent; if one
if one wherethink, never suppose; if one where pain, never ache; if one where joy, never gladness, etc.;
Lastly, we have on the one side avoided the scrupulosity of the
Puritans, who leave the old Ecclesiastical words, and betake them to
other, as when they put washing for Baptism, and Congregation instead of Church:
as also on the other side we have shunned the obscurity of the
Papists, in their Azimes, Tunike,
Rational, Holocausts, Præpuce, Pasche, and a number of such like, whereof
their late translation is full, and that of purpose to darken the
sense, that since they must needs translate the Bible, yet by the
language thereof it may be kept from being understood.
But we desire that the Scripture may speak like itself, as in the
language of Canaan, that it may be understood even of the very vulgar.
Many other things we might give thee warning
of, gentle reader, if we had not exceeded the measure of a Preface
It remaineth that we commend thee to God,
and to the Spirit of His grace, which is able to build further than we
can ask or think.
He removeth the scales from our eyes, the vail from our hearts, opening our wits that we may
understand His Word, enlarging our hearts, yea, correcting our
affections, that we may love it above gold and silver, yea, that we
may love it to the end.
Ye are brought unto fountains of living water which ye digged not; do not cast earth into them, with the
Philistines, neither prefer broken pits before them, with the wicked
Others have laboured, and you may enter into
- 6 O
receive not so great things in vain; O despise
not so great salvation!
Be not like swine to tread under foot so precious things, neither yet
like dogs to tear and abuse holy things.
Say not to our Saviour with the Gergesites,
Depart out of our coasts; neither yet with Esau sell your birthright for a
mess of pottage.
If light be come into the world, love not darkness more than light; if
food, if clothing, be offered, go not naked, starve not yourselves.
Remember the advice of Nazianzene, It is a grievous thing (or dangerous) to neglect a great fair,
and to seek to make markets afterwards:
also the encouragement of S.Chrysostome, It is altogether
impossible, that he that is sober (and watchful) should at any time be
Lastly, the admonition and menacing of S.Augustine,
despise God's will inviting them, shall feel God's will taking
vengeance of them.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God; but a
blessed thing it is, and will bring us to everlasting blessedness in
the end, when God speaketh unto us, to
hearken; when He setteth His Word before us,
to read it; when He stretcheth out His hand
and calleth, to answer, Here am I; here we
are to do thy will, O God.
The Lord work a care and conscience in us to know Him and serve Him, that
we may be acknowledged of Him at the appearing of our Lord JESUS
CHRIST, to whom with the Holy Ghost, be all praise and thanksgiving.
This kind of testimony is
unique in the history of Bible translation.
XVII. Principles of Bible Preservation
Verbal inspiration of the
Scriptures demand verbal preservation. This is the crux of the
matter; does God preserve the Words that He originally inspired? If
so, to what extent? Is it merely the
concepts and basic message that is kept intact; or does preservation, as
inspiration, extend to the words themselves? That the Bible
declares both the fact and extent of its preservation is made abundantly
clear in the following:
- Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing
of the word of the LORD. II Kings 10:10.
words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of
earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep
them, O LORD; thou shalt preserve them from
this generation for ever. Psalm 12:6, 7.
the LORD is good, his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:5.
ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89.
word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth
it. Psalm 119:140.
thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. Psalm 119:152.
word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous
judgments endureth for ever. Psalm 119:160.
word of God is pure. Proverbs 30:5.
grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for
ever. Isaiah 40:8.
shall my word be that goeth forth out of my
mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that
which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth
pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise
pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18.
and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew
it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. Luke 16:17.
scripture cannot be broken. John 10:35.
born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word
of God, which liveth and abideth
for ever. I Peter 1:23.
the word of the Lord endureth for ever. I
We have a strange contradiction today; Christians claim to believe
what the Bible says about it's
own inspiration but deny or ignore the equally direct statements concerning
preservation. The textual theories inherent in the modern versions must by
their nature deny what the Bible says about preservation.
1. The Starting Point of Apostasy
The questioning of the
Bible's preservation is the starting point of all other kinds of apostasy.
Satan in Genesis 3 did not begin his attack by questioning whether there
was a God, or whether God created, or whether the doctrine of the Trinity
is true. Nor did it begin with the question of whether God's Word was
originally inspired. Apostasy began when Satan asked Eve, “Yea hath God
said?” “Eve, are you certain that you presently have a full
recollection of what God said?” When doubt was given a bridgehead at
this point, the other defences soon fell.
The same principles apply today: Has God preserved and kept intact
the words He originally inspired or not?
2. Preservation Must Be Approached
in an Attitude of Faith
Like all Bible truths,
the Scripture's teaching on its own preservation is to be in the first
instance accepted by faith. Edward F. Hills in his book, The King James Version Defended calls it “the logic of faith”. The facts and evidence of such
preservation will then follow.
3. Preservation is Grounded in the Eternal Counsels of God
The words of Scripture
are rooted in the eternal counsels of God. Though inspired and breathed out
on earth in time, yet these
words were in God’s mind from eternity. The words of Scripture
therefore are as eternal as God Himself. Are we now to believe that
he would let them pass away?
For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89.
4. Preservation is Brought
to Pass Through the Priesthood of Believers
The Old Testament text
was preserved by the Aaronic priests and the
scribes who grouped around them. “Unto them were committed the oracles of
God” (Romans 3:2).
In the New Testament
dispensation every believer is a priest under Christ. Hence, the NT
Text has been preserved by faithful Christians of every walk of life.
“Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all
truth” (John 16:13).
It was not the
pronouncements of church fathers or counsels that determined the Text and
Canon of the New Testament. Rather, the Holy Spirit guided His own
into the acceptance of the true Word of God. Such copies proliferated,
while defective ones were ignored. To this very day, God raises up humble
believers to defend His Words.
5. Preservation Extends to the Actual
verbal. It has to do with the actual Words of Scripture. Preservation
must also deal with these same actual Words, not merely the general
teaching or concepts. This is made clear in the above list of verses.
Advocates of the modern versions commonly say: “There is not a single
doctrine missing.” But, what they fail to tell you is that the words
that support and develop these doctrines are frequently missing in their
versions. The force of the doctrine is diminished.
Inspiration and preservation of the Scriptures must both be verbal.
6. Preservation is Operative
in the Spread of the Scriptures
Preservation has taken
place in the diffusion of God's word, not in it being hidden or stored
away. Stewart Custer of Bob Jones University in seeking to somehow
equate the use of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus with the doctrine of preservation said: “God
has preserved His word in the sands of Egypt”. (Stated in a debate at
Marquette Manor Baptist Church, Chicago, 1984).
To take such a position,
would mean that believers have had the wrong text for 1800 years, and it
has been only with the advent of two liberal British churchmen, and the
retrieval of two disused Alexandrian manuscripts that we now have the true
preserved word of God. No! The miracle of preservation was
operative while the Scriptures were being disseminated. “The Lord gave the
word: great was the company of those that published it” (Psalm 68:11).
“Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and
their words unto the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18).
7. Preservation of the Original Inspired
Words Will Result in Standard Translations Based on These Words
Note again Points 6 and 7
from Chapter XI, Key
Epochs in the Preservation History of the New Testament Text. It
is the original Hebrew and Greek Words that were in the beginning given by
inspiration. It is the original Hebrew and Greek Words that are
preserved across the centuries. If these Words have been prayerfully,
faithfully, and accurately translated by Godly translators into another
language, then that translation may with full justification be called the
Word of God. It is still the Kings
speech, though now in a different language.
As with the Authorised Version, a
translation that has the blessing of God upon it will manifest this by
becoming a Standard. This will take place over a considerable period of time,
and among a large number of people. The Latin Vulgate was not a standard.
It was the Bible of the priests, not of the people. The NIV, NASV,
NKJV are not standards. You cannot have three standards! In their
short lives they have undergone frequent changes and revision. Further, and
for example, we expect a standard to be
memorized, they are not.
Being a Standard, and particularly as in the case of the AV, a 400 Year
Standard, is the sign that this is the Word of God in English.
8. Preservation Makes It
Possible for Copies of The Scriptures to Still be
Called “The Scriptures”
Some may assume that the
Bible use of the word “Scripture” primarily refers to the original
autographs. This is of course not the case. Virtually every
time we see the word, it is the copies or even a translation of the
Scriptures that is in view. It refers to the copies of the Scriptures
that the people then and there had access to. Notice the following
- I will shew thee that which
is noted in the scripture of truth. Dan. 10:21.
do err, not knowing the scriptures. Matt. 22:29.
day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Luke 4:21.
expounded unto them in all the scriptures. Luke 24:27.
while he opened to us the scriptures. Luke 24:32.
they might understand the scriptures. Luke 24:45.
believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. Jhn. 2:22.
the scriptures. Jhn. 5:39.
scripture cannot be broken. Jhn.
place of the scripture which he read. Acts 8:32.
began at the same scripture and preached. Acts 8:35.
with them out of the scriptures. Acts 17:2.
from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures.
II Tim. 3:15.
scripture is given by inspiration of God. II Tim. 3:16.
Here “the Scriptures” clearly refer to what was at hand, what was
current, what they could then actually read and hear. The Biblical
usage “the Scriptures” is to a great extent to the copies of the
- These copies are holy. II Tim. 3:15; Rom. 1:2.
copies are true. Dan. 10:21.
copies are not broken. Jhn. 10:35.
copies are worthy of belief. Jhn.
prophecies contained in these copies have been fulfilled to the very letter,
while others await fulfilment. Luke
copies are the very voice of God. This can be illustrated by a
comparison of the following: Exodus 9:13-16 with Romans 9:17;
Genesis 12:1-3 with Galatians 3:8; Genesis 21:10 with Galatians 4:30.
Here, the fact is established that there is no difference between the
Scriptures speaking and God speaking. And as the Scriptures refer to
that which is current and available, it follows that our copies are as much
the voice of God as the original was.
9. II Timothy 3:15-17 and Preservation:
Past Inspiration - Present Profitability
And that from a child thou has known the holy scriptures, which are
able to make thee wise unto salvation through
faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by
inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
that the man of God may be perfect, throughly
furnished unto all good works.
There are some remarkable things about this passage. The words
“is given by inspiration of God” are translated from the one Greek word, theopneustos (God-breathed),
and the words “is profitable” is from ophelimos.
These two words are joined by the conjunction kai.
All Scripture (graphe) is said to be
“God-breathed and profitable”. Therefore, while the Scriptures were inspired
in the past, their profitability has to do with the present. This
grammatical construction inseparably links past
inspiration to present profitability. Such could not be the case if
God did not providentially preserve the Scriptures.
10. John 16:13 and
Preservation: Guidance into All Truth
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of
truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.
God has promised to guide His people into all truth. This guidance is
based upon, and relative to the Scriptures that He has inspired: Never
apart from them! “Truth” is defined in the next chapter as the Word
Sanctify them through thy
truth: thy word is truth. John 17:17.
God’s people (at least a number of them) would be guided into all
truth concerning the Scriptures to the extent that the Scriptures would be completely preserved.
Through the priesthood of believers, God guided His people into all
truth as to the Canon of Scripture. For example they knew that II Peter was
to be placed in the Canon whereas the so-called Epistle of Barnabas and Gospel of Thomas where rejected. He guided them into all truth as to the Text of
Scripture. They knew that the Text emanating from Antioch was true, but
that from Alexandria was corrupt. They multiplied copies of the
former and ignored the latter. He guided them into all truth as to
the relatively few variations in the Traditional Text manuscripts, thus
providing a sound and refined base when the first printed editions of the
Received Text appeared, and when the great Reformation Bibles of Europe
began to be translated.
From the time of the inspiration of God’s Words to the time of their
reception into the great Reformation Bibles and most notably the King James
Version, a sufficient number of God’s people have been guided into all
truth to enable the complete preservation these Words. God used
people; believers, for this process.
Since that time, guidance
based on the Scriptures continues as to the guarding of God’s Words.
Every period of history has had its defenders who stood their post by
God’s once delivered Words (Jude 3). Back in Burgon’s day when the Westcott and Hort juggernaut began to rumble across Europe there were very few. Today there
are more. But there will always be a sufficient number, whether in
the manuscript period, the early printing time, or these last days, to
guard God’s Words.
We urge you to
take your stand for every word in the Text and the
Translation of the Authorized Version. All indications point to the
KJV as the Bible God would have His people use in these last days before
the Second Coming of Christ. God has preserved in the Hebrew and
Greek Words underlying the King James Version His
original work of inspiration. Upon investigation, the AV translation of
these Words will be shown to display their fullest expression available in
our language. We do not deny that here and there they may need to be
explained, but when researched a given word will be shown to be fuller than
the modern replacements, and with a much longer and more consistent history
in our language. Therefore, if necessary: Explain it, but do not change it!
The flower has not faded! The Sword is as sharp as in the day it
was first whetted!
(Isaiah 40:8; Hebrews
XVIII. Some Further Arguments Against Our Bible
One does not need to
“come down from the wall” of service to Christ and answer every criticism a
person may raise against our Bible (Nehemiah 6:3). This is especially
true if they are not prepared to do a little study on their own. Here
are several common criticisms made against the Traditional Text and
AV. Fuller answers are available in other books and also on the Net.
1. Erasmus, the first editor of the
printed Received Text, was a Roman Catholic and a humanist.
Erasmus (1466-1536) was
of course Catholic as was nearly everyone else at that time. But, at
his monastery, he was far more of a continual student with a voracious
appetite for knowledge than a priest in the normal sense. Also, it is
in this respect rather than in the modern atheistic sense that he was a
humanist. Many of his writings were scathing against the Catholic
Church. He died among his Protestant friends and was buried in a
Protestant cemetery. He had embraced much of the teaching of the
Reformation, but had not come out openly in its support by formally leaving
the Catholic Church.
Erasmus was acclaimed the
greatest intellect of Europe, and became the man of the hour to initiate the transfer of the Traditional Text from manuscript
to printed form. His Greek editions provided the base for the great
Reformation Bibles, and lit the fire for the Reformation itself. Many, would like us to concentrate instead on his
deficiencies, and have us jump from Erasmus and his 1516 edition directly
to the AV of 1611. By this they seek to attach any deficiency in the
man and his work to the AV itself. (For a fuller account see Edward
Hills, The Kings James Version Defended, and also The
Bible Version Question/Answer Database by David Cloud).
2. Erasmus’ first
edition was published in haste and with many errors.
Much has been made of the
publisher Froben’s haste in printing Erasmus’
first edition (1516) before the Spanish Cardinal Ximenes’
Complutensian Polyglot Bible went to press (which
also contained the Received Text). But, as it would turn out, in the
following year the Reformation was to begin at Wittenberg, and this first
printing of the Greek NT was to become a (in fact, the!) major
impetus of the Reformation. This is a powerful demonstration of God’s
providence in the timing of the publication. Most of the errors were
corrected in his later editions. (See Hills).
3. Erasmus’ edition was based on only a
half dozen late manuscripts.
This criticism ignores
that Erasmus was conversant with many manuscripts in his searches across
Europe. Those that he did have before him at Basel for the 1516
edition can be demonstrated to have been good representatives. (See Hills,
p.198). David Cloud in his The Bible Version Question/Answer
Database has gathered a number of important citations on this
question, including the following two:
4. Erasmus’ manuscript
of Revelation was lacking in the last six verses (22:16-21), and was
supplied by referring to the Latin Vulgate.
For the first edition
Erasmus had before him ten manuscripts, four of which he found in England,
and five at Basle…The last codex was lent him by John Reuchlin…(and)
‘appeared so old to Erasmus that it might have come from the apostolic
age’. (Preserved Smith, Erasmus: A Study of His Life,
Ideals, and Place in History, 1923).
I told what sweat it cost me, no one would believe me.” He had
collated many Greek manuscripts of the N.T. and was surrounded by all the
commentaries and translations. (D’Aubigne, History
of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, vol. 5, p. 157).
Herman Hoskier in his massive, Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse, has shown that
Erasmus may have had Greek manuscript 2049 (Hoskiers’
141) covering these verses (I 474-77; II 454, 635). But whatever the
case, if indeed Erasmus used the Vulgate, in his later editions it was
corrected by direct reference to the
One notable exception
is claimed to be 22:19 where the AV/TR reads: …shall take away his part out of the book of life. This has fairly
substantial support in other sources, but is found in only three Greek
manuscripts (296 2049 2067mg.). The variant reading, though supported
by the Greek, can hardly be said to make sense: shall take away his part out of the tree of life. In When
the KJV Departs from the
So-called Majority Text, and using Hoskier, I have listed support from the manuscripts,
versions, and Fathers for eight passages in Revelation 22:15-21.
5. I John 5:7 should not be
in the Bible. Erasmus said he would insert it only if someone could show
him a Greek manuscript containing the passage, to which a manuscript was
hastily prepared for that purpose.
A letter from the Erasmian scholar H. J. de Jonge
to Michael Maynard in 1995 puts the matter in a different light.
Quoting Erasmus in his dispute with Edward Lee, de Jonge
Erasmus first records
that Lee had reproached him with neglect of the manuscripts of I
John. Erasmus (according to Lee) had consulted only one manuscript. Erasmus replies that he had “certainly not used only one
manuscript, but many copies, first in England, then in Brabant, and finally
in Basle. He cannot accept, therefore, Lee’s reproach of negligence
“Is it negligence and
impiety, if I did not consult manuscripts which were not within my
reach? I have at least assembled whatever I could assemble. Let
Lee produce a Greek MS which contains what my edition does not contain and
let him show that that manuscript was within my reach. Only then can
he reproach me with negligence in sacred matters.”
From this passage you can
see that Erasmus does not challenge Lee to produce a manuscript etc. What Erasmus
argues is that Lee may only reproach Erasmus with negligence of MSS. if he
demonstrates that Erasmus could haveconsulted
any MS. in which the Comma Johanneum figured.
Erasmus does not at all ask for a MS. containing theComma
Johanneum. He denies Lee the right to
call him negligent and impious if the latter does not prove that Erasmus
neglected a manuscript to which he had access.
(Michael Maynard, A History of the Debate over I John 5:7,8, p. 383).
Jeffrey Khoo points out:
Yale professor Roland Bainton…. agrees with de Jonge,
furnishing proof from Erasmus’ own writing that Erasmus’ inclusion of I
John 5:7 was not due to a so-called “promise” but the fact that
he believed “the verse was in the Vulgate and must therefore have been in
the Greek text used by Jerome.” (Kept Pure in all Ages, p.88;
cited from D.W. Cloud, The Bible Version Question/Answer Database,
p.343). See also And These Three are
One by Jesse Boyd, Wake Forest, 1999.
monumental work on the disputed passage will, I think, demonstrate that
this has not been a debate over “thin air”. His book chronicles the
fact that defence of the faith
and defence of this passage frequently went hand
in hand. Beginning from the days of Cyprian of Carthage (died
258), there is indeed substantial evidence for the
passage. Cyprian said:
The Lord saith, “I and the Father are one;”
and again it is written concerning the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, “And
three are one”. (de Catholicae
ecclesiae unitate, c.6).
Critics have argued that Cyprian was merely giving a Trinitarian
interpretation to verse 8. The spirit, and the water, and the
blood: and these three agree in one.
The answer to this is
obvious; the figures of verse 8 cannot naturally be interpreted as the Persons of the Holy
Trinity. (See Hills).
Though missing in most Greek manuscripts, it nevertheless leaves in them its footprint! And this, with the mismatched genders that result when the disputed
words are removed. The loose ends do not match up
grammatically! Native Greek speakers find this “glaring”. Here
in London, the printed Apostolos (the lectionary text used
in Greek Orthodox services) contains the passage.
6. The marginal notes in
the AV reveal that the Translators viewed their work as being to some
extent tentative and provisional.
They reveal nothing of the
kind. The Tranlslators viewed their work as
being principle not provisional.
Truly, good Christian Reader, we never thought from the beginning that
we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a
good one…but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones one
principle good one, not justly to be accepted against. (Translators to
the Reader, XV:2)
History has borne this out, as the AV remains the one
principle good one after 400 years.
Regarding the marginal
notes, these provided a kind of miniature commentary. In the
comparatively few places where we find them, those translators who trusted
in Him that hath the key of David, showed by inclusion in the text what
their decision had been, while at the same time giving insight into what
the Original was capable of expressing. In some cases they
demonstrate that a strictly literal rendering into English would have been
In only 104 instances
(Scrivener) is a variant reading from different manuscripts given.
Here they show their awareness, but not to the point of distracting the
reader, and certainly not to the point as some have claimed that the AV
translators would have “welcomed the great manuscript finds that have
occurred in the last 150 years”.
Erasmus knowledge of
variant readings in Codex B is well documented. In an attempt
to persuade Erasmus of the superiority of B, 365 variant readings were sent
to him in early November 1533 from Rome by the Spaniard Sepulveda (Maynard,
pp. 87,88). Erasmus rejected these for
his 1535 edition. They were rejected by succeeding editors of the
Received Text, and by the great Reformation Bibles both in English and
other languages. The men of the AV knew where the dangers lurked in
the manuscript record. For example, Codex D, and the Clementine
Vulgate (a much more corrupt 1592 replacement for the Sixtine
edition), were at their disposal. They had the spiritual discernment
to reject the corrupt variants that these and other sources presented.
7. Many thousands of changes have been
made to the AV over the centuries.
Nearly all of the changes
made in the Oxford and Cambridge printings of the AV are updated
punctuation and spelling, along with correction of some printing errors.
Dr. D. A. Waite’s
thorough research into this question has shown that very little difference
can be detected when reading a 1611 edition and the AV of today.
Among the 791,328 words in the AV only 421 showed a change in sound.
Of these there were only 136 changes of substance, such as an added “of” or
“and”. (See Defending the King James Bible, pp. 3-5, and also BFT 1294).
8. There are too many
old-fashioned expressions and words in the Authorised
Actually, after 400
years, there are not! But, we have for example: Suffer
little children to come unto me; and, Study to show thyself approved unto God. These we could replace these with permit and give
diligence, but the impact would be lessened. We could change noised about to reported, but the former gives a better picture of what was actually taking
place in Luke 1:65 and Mark 2:1.
Should we not replace the eth and ith verb endings in the AV? Known as
the historical present they are there for good
reason. They translate a certain usage of the Greek present
tense. At times, though the Greek verb is in the present, the action
has actually taken place in the past or has past connotations. This
was a device in that language to give vividness by bringing a past event
more into the present. Therefore if you translate these occurrences with
the English present (as the NIV) you will be missing somewhat the sense
intended. Or, if like the NASV you use the English past (with an *),
you will also be missing the sense. The AV uses the historical
present (saith, seeth,
taketh etc.) as a kind of bridging verb to convey
that both the past and present are in view. Therefore while some view
the eth endings as a distraction, they are a necessity to
more accurate translation. (See, The New King James Bible,
G. W. and D. E. Anderson, Trinitarian Bible Society, pp. 12,13).
We could replace the thee’s and thou’s with
“you”, but would then remove the means of distinguishing between singular
(thee, thou), and plural pronouns (ye,
you). The Ts are singular, the Ys are plural.
Marvel not that I say unto thee (Nicodemus), Ye (everybody) must
be born again. John 3:7
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you (all the disciples), that he may sift you (all the disciples) as wheat: But I
have prayed for thee (Peter), that thy (Peter) faith
fail not: and when thou (Peter) art converted, strengthen thy (Peter) brethren.
Without the distinguishing pronouns, we would think Christ’s address
was entirely to Peter and not the other disciples. Further, replacing Thee and Thou removes what has historically been the
reverent form of address to God.
Among the words termed
archaic, I would estimate that not many over 35 or 40 (most are used
infrequently) would perhaps need a dictionary. Often, the context
indicates the meaning. A study of the history and distinctive meaning
of these words will show that they will often have a greater depth of
meaning than their modern replacements. It is on reflection, truly
astounding, that in comparison with every other 400-year-old book, so
little in the AV is archaic. It is a timeless Bible.
9. There are translation errors that need
to be strained out of the Authorised Version.
A classic example of a supposed error of translation in the AV is
Ye blind guides, which
strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
It should, we are told, be strain out a gnat instead of the AV’s strain at . Wycliffe (1395) had clensinge a gnatte,
but four Reformation Bibles before the AV (Tyndale, Coverdale, Geneva,
Bishops) read strayne out a gnat. As subsequent refinements to the AV text allowed this reading
to remain, it is highly unlikely, as some have suggested,
that this was a printer’s error.
The AV translators made a decision to go against their predecessors,
and this likely for the following reasons: (1) The Greek word for strain (diulizontes) is found only here in the N.T. It is
a present participle (rather than an aorist) and means to strain or
filter. The present participle indicates that an ongoing rather than
completed action is taking place. It points to the effort involved, rather than that they had succeeded
and actually got the gnat out. In 1729, Daniel Mace made a translation of the N.T., and
rendered the words, strain for a gnat, which conveys the same meaning as the AV.
(2) Only one gnat is involved. At first discovery of
this tiny, lone, solitary creature all else stopped. Rather than
remove it with a spoon, the entire contents must be filtered; suitable
cloths were brought, and with much show and ritual the filtering process
began. Thus they strain at a gnat. That is, at the first sight of only one gnat the filtering ceremony begins.
(3) When “out” is used in the N.T., we expect to see an accompanying
Greek preposition, usually ek or apo. They are not used here. Commentators as Poole, Henry,
and Gill (non revised) do not take issue with the
AV reading. The AV is correct.
This passage opens up a window into the spiritual and intellectual
diligence of the AV translators. It would have been far easier simply
to translate the verse as had Tyndale, Coverdale, Geneva and the Bishops,
and thereby avoid any further controversy. But they did not, and they
For other passages, see
“AV Verses Vindicated” by Ron Smith. Also, among other sources, see
the author’s Conies, Brass and Easter.
It is common today for
critics to look for gnats in the AV. These are often
accepted, when a little homework will show that there is a reasonable and
genuinely enlightening solution. The above has been considered one of
the strongest proofs of a translation error. We maintain that after 400
years there are no reasonably proven translation errors in our Standard
Bible. Given all that can be said in behalf of the AV, the burden of
proof must rest with the one making the charge. If they feel they
have better understanding and spiritual insight at a given point than did
the fifty AV translators - and the translators of the seven propitiatory
Bibles from Tyndale to the Bishops - then
they must set forth their evidence.
That this is not so easy
can be seen from the following incident involving one of the AV
Dr. Richard Kilby, the translator in the Old
Testament group at Oxford, heard a young parson complain in an earnest
sermon that a certain passage should read in a way he stated. After
the sermon Dr. Kilby took the young man aside and
told him that the group had discussed at length not only his proposed
reading but thirteen others; only then had they decided on the phrasing as
it appeared. (Gustavis S. Paine, The Men Behind
the KJV, Baker Book House, pp. 137,8).
A great amount of unnecessary harm has been done by “young parsons”
(and older ones!) who do this. Anyone who approaches a so-called
problem passage in an attitude of honour towards
God's Word will find the solution equally honouring.
He will find that God's promise of preservation has been vindicated.
10. Great fundamentalist leaders of the
past made favourable comments on the Revised
Not until the 1960s and
70s when modern versions began to increasingly displace the KJV, did more
concerted and general warnings begin to be heard that a Trojan
Horse had been brought through the gates. It was late in
coming. But, better late than never!
The booklet Trusted
Voices on Translations (Published by Mount Calvary Baptist Church
in Greenville, South Carolina) gathers quotations from many of the great
leaders of the past. Here: C.H. Spurgeon, J.C. Ryle, Francis Ridley Havergail, D.L. Moody, Alexander Maclaren,
C.I. Scofield, Oswald Chambers, G. Cambell Morgan, Amy Carmichael, H.A. Ironside along with others are heard to make favourable comments on the revised Bibles.
But! No detailed research is mentioned as coming from these Trusted Voices. They merely made favourable
statements. No lists by Oswald Chambers are mentioned showing ommissions, alterations, missing names of Christ,
doctrinal deviations etc. Spurgeon, Moody, Francis Ridley Havergail should have demonstrated from their writings
that they had investigated at least some of the many thousands of
differences between the two kinds of text, but no indication is given in
this publication that they did.
All that Trusted Voices can demonstrate is that from
Westcott and Hort until more recently many
otherwise sound believersdid not raise their voices when the Westcott and Hort theory
raced across Europe and over to America. They should have sounded the
alarm but did not. In this their voices could not
XIX An Example
of the Downward Course that Accompanies Criticism and Rejection of the Authorised Version
This is not an issue that
you can put a fence around. You cannot expect that other areas of the
Faith will not also be affected. Such an example is Dr. Daniel
Wallace, a prominent professor at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Dallas, during its earlier days, was typical of many otherwise sound
schools: No inconsistency was seen in using the Revised Text in the
classroom and the King James Version in the pulpit and private study.
Though there were some dissenting voices (i.e. Zane Hodges), this was the
common practice, with very little interest shown in the matter. We do
owe a debt to the “old” Dallas. In the years following WW II it was
at the forefront among institutions in producing a vast amount of material
on the Premillennial Return of Christ.
Dr. Wallace, as his
website will show, has taken the rhetoric at Dallas against the Traditional
Text and AV to a higher level. His short paper Why I Do Not Think the King James
Bible is the Best Translation Available Today is typical. After
giving some of the above arguments, he concludes:
I trust this brief
survey of reasons I have for thinking that the King James Bible is not the
best available translation will not be discarded quickly.
For his own good and those
who follow him, his reasons should be discarded quickly. It is a
downward course. After announcing that he no longer accepts passages
as John 3:13; John 7:53- 8:11; I Timothy 3:16, he says:
I find it difficult to accept intellectually the very passages which I
have always embraced emotionally.
Yes, other areas will be affected! The following is from a
9/12/94 article in Christianity Today where
Wallace praises the neo-orthodox Karl Barth and utters a typically liberal
expression in bemoaning bibliolatry.
One of the chief
legacies Karl Barth left behind was his strong Christocentric
focus. It is a shame that too many of us have reacted so strongly to
Barth, for in our zeal to show the deficiencies of his doctrine of
Scripture, we have become bibliolaters. (O Timothy, Oct.
In Wallace’s The Synoptic Problem, (available on his website), he supports the
redaction approach to the Gospels. This theory teaches that the
Gospels were given, not by direct inspiration, but rather by copying from
each other, and from a common secondary source. (See O Timothy,
vol. 15-7, 98). Wallace says:
It is quite
impossible to hold that the three synoptic gospels were completely
independent from each other. In the least, they had to have shared a
common oral tradition (p.1).
We shall see later that before the Gospels were written there did exist
a period in which the gospel materials were passed on orally, and it is
clear that this oral tradition influenced not only the first of our
synoptic Gospels but the subsequent ones as well (p. 4).
The majority of NT
scholars hold to Markan priority…This is the view
adopted in this paper as well (p.6).
One argument concerning
Mark’s harder readings…is the probability that neither Luke nor Matthew had
pristine copies of Mark at their disposal…An intermediate scribe is
probably responsible - either intentionally or unintentionally - or more
than a few of the changes which ended up in Luke and Matthew (note 49).
This is characteristic of
the kind of scholarship that produces and backs the modern versions.
When the Standard Bible and Text are rejected. When verbal
preservation is abandoned: a denial or weakening of verbal inspiration will
XX. The Great Contrast
We can do no better in closing
than to note again The Translators to the Readers.
The contrast with what we
have just seen above could not be greater.
Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we may look into the
most holy place; that removeth the cover of the
well, that we may come by the water; even as Jacob rolled away the stone
from the mouth of the well, by which means the flocks of Laban were watered. (VI:8,9).
And in what sort did
these assemble? In the trust of their own knowledge, or of their sharpness
of wit, or deepness of judgment, as it were in an arm of flesh? At no hand.
They trusted in him that hath the key of David, opening, and no man
shutting; they prayed to the Lord, the Father of our Lord, to the effect
that St Augustine did; O let thy Scriptures be my pure delight; let me not
be deceived in them, neither let me deceive by them. In this confidence,
and with this devotion, did they assemble together; not too many, lest one
should trouble another; and yet many, lest many things haply might escape
them. If you ask what they had before them, truly it was the Hebrew text
of the Old Testament, the Greek of the New. These are the two golden
pipes, or rather conduits, where through the olive branches empty
themselves into the gold. (XV:7-11).
Neither did we think much
to consult the translators or commentators, Chaldee,
Hebrew, Syrian, Greek, or Latin, no, nor the Spanish, French,
Italian, or Dutch; neither did we disdain to revise that which
we had done, and to bring back to the anvil that which we had
hammered: but having and using as great helps as were needful, and
fearing no reproach for slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition,
we have at the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought
the work to that pass that you see. (XV:19-21).
Many other things we
might give thee warning of, gentle reader, if we
had not exceeded the measure of a Preface already. It remaineth
that we commend thee to God, and to the Spirit of His grace, which is able
to build further than we can ask or think. He removeth
the scales from our eyes, the vail from our
hearts, opening our wits that we may understand His Word, enlarging our
hearts, yea, correcting our affections, that we may love it above gold and
silver, yea, that we may love it to the end. Ye are brought unto fountains
of living water which ye digged not; do not cast
earth into them, with the Philistines, neither prefer broken pits before
them, with the wicked Jews. Others have laboured,
and you may enter into their labours. O receive not so great things in vain; O despise not so
great salvation! Be not like swine to tread under foot so precious things,
neither yet like dogs to tear and abuse holy things. Say not to our Saviour with the Gergesites,
Depart out of our coasts; neither yet with Esau sell
your birthright for a mess of pottage. If light be come into the world,
love not darkness more than light; if food, if clothing, be offered, go not
naked, starve not yourselves ....(XVIII:1-9).
Jack Moorman London,