WHAT IS GOD’S WORD
Lesson No. 6
In Lesson No. 2 we noted that under the American system of law a man is considered to be innocent until proven guilty. I contend that when it comes to the critics’ charges laid against the King James Bible, formerly known as the Authorized Version, Christians should do no less. We should not condemn or reject the AV-KJB before we have examined all the evidence for and against it.
A brief review of the materials available.
EARLY TRANSLATIONS – Manuscripts in Languages other than Greek.
CURSIVES – Manuscripts with Lower Case Greek Letters.
‘Service Books’, Scriptural Lessons or
CHURCH “FATHERS” – Sermons or written works of the early church leaders.
SCHOLARS CONJECTURES – “Guesses” by the scholars.
There are two things we must keep in mind in this study of manuscript evidence. No. 1 - All manuscripts are individual witnesses to the text of Scripture. And No. 2 - the importance of the “Family Theory” of dividing up the manuscripts. The “scholars” have used the “Family Theory” of manuscripts to create the so-called “text types”. This is the vehicle or method used by the “scholars” to dispose of up to 95% of the evidence in favor of the AV-KJB. The 3 major so-called “text types” are as follows:
EGYPTIAN [Also known as the Alexandrian Text] – Generally a shorter or abbreviated text.
WESTERN [Also known as the Roman Text] – Generally a longer or lengthened text.
BYZANTINE [Also known as the Received Text] – A medium length text.
Before we proceed any further some Crucial Questions must be asked. Do you think that Satan is interested in perverting or destroying God’s Holy word? Has he ever messed with it before? Since the Lord’s resurrection and the inception of His church has the old serpent tried to destroy or corrupt or change the words of God?
I cannot emphasize how important the answers given to the above questions are. Most of the “scholars” do not believe that Satan has had any influence at all on any of the manuscripts (most of the “scholars” don’t even believe in the existence of Satan). And yet my Bible tells me that Satan “is a liar and the father of it” (John )!
Satan knows the word of God as well as any of us and he uses it in ‘his work’. He doesn’t always come right out against it, often times he uses subtlety, subterfuge, and half-truths, in other words - he’s extremely “sneaky” (2 Corinthians 4:1-4; 2 Corinthians -15; Revelation 12:9)! In our investigation into ‘What is the word of God’ we must be aware of Satan’s “interest” in subtracting from; adding to; and corrupting the words of God. We should realize that our God has a greater interest and stake in His word and has not left it to the luckless winds of time.
Down through church history whenever:
#1. Satan tried to destroy God’s word – God made provision for its preservation.
#2. Satan tried to subtract from God’s word - God made provision for its preservation.
#3. Satan tried to add to God’s word - God made provision for its preservation.
#4. Satan tried to change God’s word - God made provision for its preservation.
Our job is to find out how God preserved His word not IF he preserved it! (Psalms 12:6-7)
As we follow the manuscript evidence some things will become very evident.
#1. The ‘dates’ stated are “educated guesses” by the scholars.
#2. Many ‘facts’ are hard to obtain which makes most conclusions a matter of
#3. Through all the confusion, and assertions; suppositions; assumptions; claims;
and opinions of the “experts”, one can smell a rat somewhere! It’s kind of like
a rotten egg – you can’t beat it, but it sure smells.
The following information is a chronological “trail” of the New Testament from the original writings up to the present day (also referred to as “the Transmission of the Text”).
ORIGINAL NEW TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS - (Lost)
Written by Inspired men of God.
Soon after the original New Testament manuscripts were
written, many Greek Copies were made and used
throughout the churches in the area now known as
The Peshitta Syriac (150 A.D.) is probably the first translation made
of the New Testament. This is a reasonable assumption since “the disciples were
called Christians first at
Both the Syriac and the Old Latin were pure texts when first translated and were not heavily corrupted until the philosophers and PHD’S of the 3rd. and 4th. Centuries got a hold of them.
In the last 50-70 years some papyrus fragments of
the New Testament have been found (Parts of the Gospels, Letters, Revelation,
etc). These Papyrus have been dated by the “scholars” anywhere from 100-400 A.D.,
depending upon how they want to manipulate the evidence. The Majority of this
Papyrus read much like The “Traditional Text” (“Received Text”, “Textus
Receptus”, Majority Text”, “Byzantine Text”, etc, - Use more than one name to
confuse the ‘unlearned’ and ignorant brethren!). However, there are
2 notable exceptions, Papyrus 66 and
Papyrus 75 (200 A.D.), and according
to the “scholars” conjectures, both
of which were probably written in
These two Papyrus fragments are probably the earliest copies that we have of what is known as “textual emendation” – omitting, adding, and changing a text. Papyrus 66 and 75 could be called the “granddaddies” of all Bible corruption!
The next event on our calendar of time was the translation of the New Testament Scriptures in the language of the Goths and Visi-Goths by the missionary Ulfilas. This translation is known as the Gothic (330 A.D.) version. This translation is in agreement with the Traditional Text and is placed within the Byzantine “Family” Text.
At about the same time that the Gothic translation came out, the ‘accredited’ University at Alexandria through the leadership of it’s president (Origen) was changing as many Greek manuscripts they could lay their hands on and as fast as they could. Their job was to “harmonize” the word of God with Pagan Philosophy.
Origen was booted out of
The next event in our journey through the history of
the manuscripts is of utmost importance to the believer, for this is the time
that the Emperor Constantine supposedly was “converted” to Christianity. This
is the time that the “church” became a part of the State and “Christianity”
(read Roman Catholicism) became the “official religion” of the
This is also the same time that, according to the
“scholars”, the two manuscripts known as Vaticanus
(350 A.D.) and Sinaiticus (350
A.D.) are supposed to have come into
existence. These are the so-called “older” and “better” manuscripts often
referred to in your reference bibles when “correcting” an AV-KJB reading (and
now you know their names!). Today, almost all
of the ‘scholars’ agree that these 2 manuscripts originated in
The manuscript known as Vaticanus or manuscript B, ‘conveniently’ omits: Genesis 1:1-46; Psalms 108-138; the Pauline Pastoral Epistles; and in the book of Hebrews - everything after Hebrews ; and the entire Book of Revelation. And that’s not even counting the hundreds of other places it adds, subtracts, or changes verses and words!
Is it a mere coincidence that a
“bible” manuscript residing in the Vatican Library in
The manuscript known as Sinaiticus or ‘Aleph’ is considered, to be the second most valuable manuscript (after Vaticanus) in existence. It is said, by the ‘scholars’), to be in agreement with Vaticanus most of the time and has been placed in the so-called “Alexandrian Family” of manuscripts. There is evidence of approximately 10 “correctors” on the pages of this manuscript. That is, at one time or another and over the space of several hundred years, 10 different ‘scribes’ have tried their hand at ‘correcting’ this “venerated” manuscript!
The truth is that other than agreeing with Vaticanus in some vital areas against the Textus Receptus, “It is in fact easier to find two consecutive verses in which these two MSS differ the one from the other, than two consecutive verses in which they entirely agree.” (Page 12, The Revision Revised, 1883 – Dean John William Burgon)
Upon comparing B, Aleph, A, C, and D, Dean Burgon states: “Singular to relate, the first, second, fourth, and fifth of these codices (B, Aleph, C, D), but especially B and Aleph, have within the last twenty years established a tyrannical ascendancy over the imagination of the Critics, which can only be fitly spoken of as a blind superstition. It matters nothing that all four are discovered on careful scrutiny to differ essentially, not only from ninety-nine out of a hundred of the whole body of extant MSS, besides, but even from one another.”
And again: “Between the first two (B and Aleph) there subsists an amount of sinister resemblance, which proves that they must have been derived at no very remote period from the same corrupt original. . . . . . Yet do they stand asunder in every page; as well as differ widely from the commonly Received Text, with which they have been carefully collated. On being referred to this standard, in the Gospels alone, B is found to omit at least 2,877 words: to add, 536: to substitute, 935: to transpose, 2,098: to modify, 1,132 (in all 7,578): - the corresponding figures for Aleph being severally 3,455, 839, 1,114, 2,299, 1,265 (in all 8,972). And be it remembered that the omissions, additions, substitutions, transpositions, and modifications, are by no means the same in both.” (Pages 11-12, The Revision Revised, 1883 – Dean John William Burgon)
The question is – are we going to toss out our King James Bibles for such as botched up mess like that?
When the ‘scholars’ claim that the King James translators didn’t have access to the “best” or “oldest” Greek manuscripts they aren’t telling us the whole truth. Erasmus, the first ‘Editor’ of the Received Text, had access to many of the so-called “variant” readings from Vaticanus and rejected them as being corrupt, which is just what the translators of The Authorized Version (AV-KJB) did one hundred years later! They had better ‘sense’ than to fool with corrupt manuscripts when they had God’s Preserved Text (The Textus Receptus) in front of them.
to this point in the ‘history’ of the text we can see the ‘scholars’ handiwork.
First, Clement as the
50-70 years after
Jerome claims that he has the ‘Greek originals’ written on ‘fine vellum’ scrolls with which he “corrects” The Old Latin and proceeds to make his Latin translation, now known as the Latin Vulgate (400 A.D.), which, when compared to Vaticanus, looks very much like a “kissing cousin”. Do you see what happened? Origen not only managed to mess up some of the Greek and Syrian manuscripts while he was alive. He also had a hand in messing up the Latin versions also – even though he was dead and gone to his reward!
Jerome’s Latin Vulgate eventually replaced the Old Latin Bibles in the Roman Catholic Church, but the Latin speaking believers outside of the Roman Church never accepted it and continued to use their own Latin (Italic) copies of the Scriptures as late as 1500.
At the very same time that Jerome was providing the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church with an ‘official bible’, Augustine wrote his book, “The City of God”, which laid the “spiritual” and “philosophical” foundation for the Roman Catholic Church.
Now these men and many others are called the “church fathers”. No wonder The Lord Jesus Christ said: “And call no man your father upon the earth:” (Matthew 23:9). Many of these men were more like the church ‘babies’ or worse!
The Armenian Version (400 A.D.) was another translation produced by a soul winning missionary (Mesrob) and, just like the Gothic, is found to be in agreement with Traditional Text. Do you notice anything strange or peculiar? The Translations that can be traced to soul winners (practical Christian workers) are found to be in agreement with the Traditional or Byzantine Text. While those Translations that can be traced to the ‘scholars’ (the academic types) are found to be in agreement the Egyptian and Western Texts. Is there any resemblance or comparison to the situation within Christianity today?
Around the same time that Jerome was translating his Latin Bible Codex A (400 A.D.), also known as Alexandrinus, was produced. This manuscript has a so-called “mixed text”. That is, it often supports the Received Text. (So give it a later date!)
According to the ‘scholars’ the next manuscript, Codex D, was produced about (400-500 A.D.) and was written in two languages (Greek and Latin). According to Dean Burgon: “But by far the most depraved text is that exhibited by codex D. No known manuscript contains so many bold and extensive interpolations. It’s variations from the sacred Text are beyond all other example.” And again: “Though a large portion of the Gospels is missing, in what remains (tested by the same standard) we find 3,704 words omitted: no less than 2,213 added, and 2,121 substituted. The words transposed amount to 3,471: and 1,772 have been modified: the deflections from the Received Text thus amounting in all to 13,281.” Please remember – these 13,281 “deflections” from the Received Text have been noted only in the Gospels and Codex D has “a large portion” of the Gospels MISSING! How many changes would there be if the whole manuscript were compared with the Received Text? Codex D is blatant proof that “older” is not always “better”. Remember: All manuscripts are individual witnesses to the text of Scripture. What kind of witnesses are Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Codex D?
Let’s get one thing straight. No one knows for sure who wrote Vaticanus (B), Sinaiticus (Aleph), Alexandrinus (A), or Codex D. With the exception of the Gothic, Armenian, and Latin Vulgate Translations, we do not know the names of the scribes for the thousands of manuscripts in existence today. In other words these manuscripts have no real known history and the dates given to them are at best, just “educated guesses”.
Picking up where we left off – the next manuscript in the scholars chronological order is known as Codex D2 (500 A.D.). D2 is also written in two languages (Greek and Latin). Codex W supposedly followed D2 (600 A.D.). This manuscript strongly supports the Received Text (And so it is assigned a later date, of course!). According to the “scholars” time table Codex E2 (600 A.D.) was made about the same time as Codex W.
We don’t have time or space to list the thousands of manuscripts (either by name or number). So we will state here for the record: Of the thousands of Greek manuscripts in existence (nearly 5,000) the VAST MAJORITY (100-1500 A.D.) (95% or more) are in agreement with the Received Text. The overwhelming majority of the Syrian, Gothic, Old Latin, Armenian, and Georgian TRANSLATIONS are in agreement with the Received Text. Nearly all of the Greek LECTIONARIES are in agreement with the Received Text. And last of all – the vast majority of Scripture QUOTATIONS from the so-called “church fathers” writings also support the Received Text.
On the other hand there are hundreds of Jerome’s Latin Vulgates and a few Greek manuscripts in support of the Western Text, and just a handful of some of the so-called “older” Greek manuscripts (with a few late copies) and the Egyptian Translations in support of the Alexandrian Text.
On the basis of the manuscript evidence you can see right away that it’s going to take a magician or a genius to figure out a way to convince people to disregard 95% of the evidence in favor of a few (questionable) manuscripts. And that’s where the so-called manuscript “Family” theory comes in. Instead of weighing or counting all of the known manuscripts, the ‘scholars’ have determined (conjectured), that the Alexandrian “Family” represents a “purer” text and so all other manuscripts (witnesses) can be dismissed as being inferior based on their (the ‘scholars’) conjectures. Pretty clever; subtle; sly; artful; cunning; and crafty! Do we know anyone in the Bible like that? Hmmm?
As the Moslem hoards took over the lands and countries that had been controlled by the Byzantine Empire (which ceased around1450 A.D.), Christians began moving out of the Middle Eastern Countries up into the European countries and brought their Greek manuscripts (Bibles) with them. Some of these Greek manuscripts and a very small part of the Latin Vulgate were used by the first critical editor, Erasmus, as a basis for the first critical edition of the Greek manuscripts.
Erasmus made several editions of his Greek text as did Beza, Stephanus, and Elzivers after him (1500-1630 A.D.). Erasmus’ text was the Greek text that Martin Luther used in translating the German New Testament and it was also the Greek text used as the basis of most of the European and Scandinavian New Testaments (1521-1700+ A.D.). Beza’s text is the basis for the AV-KJB New Testament. Elziver’s text came after the AV-KJB and was the text that received the name – “Textus Receptus” (or the Received Text). There is very little difference between all of these critical Greek editions, mainly because all of them were based on the Byzantine Text. While it is true that many of the thousands of manuscripts within the Byzantine “Family” may have blemishes (that is – mistakes caused by human error), very few have clear or apparent evidence of deliberate corruption and disfigurement (Like Vaticanus [B], Sinaiticus [Aleph], D, etc.)
Just before the Authorized Version was translated the Roman Catholic Church finally came out with their own bible called the Douay-Rhiems (1582 A.D.). The major source for this bible was Jerome’s Latin Vulgate and it included 3 Apocryphal Books within the Canon of the Old Testament!
Roman Catholic Church has never encouraged its people to read the Scriptures,
however they were forced to produce an English “bible” because of the tremendous
demand for the Bible in the English language. From 1525-1611 A.D. six English Bibles (Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthews, Great,
Tyndale was murdered (strangled to death and then burned) before he could
complete his Translation (he completed the New Testament and most of the Old
Testament). The Coverdale Bible was the first complete Bible in English based on a ‘Greek Text’ in the New
Testament. (Wycliffe’s earlier English translation (1382 A.D.) was based on
some of the Old Latin manuscripts and the Latin Vulgate, and was ‘revised’ by
John Purvey to bring it more in line with Jerome’s Latin Vulgate). Matthew’s
Bible was a combination of the best from Tyndale and Coverdale. The Great Bible
was a Revision of Matthew’s. The Geneva Bible was the Bible of the Puritan’s
(and was the most popular with the people until the AV-KJB). The Bishop’s Bible
was an “Official” Bible put out by the Church of England in an attempt to
replace the popular
Six English Bibles produced in approximately 85 years, and then the crowning achievement: The AUTHORIZED VERSION (1611 A.D.), The Seventh! What did God say in Psalms 12:6-7? Psalms 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
The AV-KJB was the seventh English Bible, translated in seven years. Do you think that’s just a coincidence? Or, is it possible that the AV-KJB is God’s Holy word – perfect and without error, preserved by God for His People? Think about that for a while!
We now have come to the least reliable of all the witnesses for text of the Bible – THE SCHOLARS. Since the manuscripts have been divided into three “Families”, the ‘scholars’ are found to line up in support of their favorite “Family”! I have divided up the ‘scholars’ or critics into 2 groups: Naturalistic Scholarship and Believing Scholarship.
(Naturalistic) (Believing) (Naturalistic)
Bently Hug Michaelis
Tishendorf Scholz Most Roman
Tregelles Dabny Catholic Scholars
Wescott & Hort Scrivener
Aland & Metzger Hills, Ray, Fuller
Majority Of The Ruckman, Pickering
Scholars Today Grady, Maynard
The differences between the ‘Western’ and ‘Egyptian’ scholars have narrowed to the point that most of them agree on almost all the major readings. And all of them agree that the True Text couldn’t possibly be found in the Byzantine “Family” (Received Text)!
Westcott and Hort were the first “scholars” who were successful in overthrowing the Received Text and replacing it with their own depraved text (which they humbly called the “Neutral” Text), which was based mainly on Vaticanus. Wescott and Hort maintained “that out of 500 pages of the Greek New Testament there was only about half a page about which any question remained as to the wording of the original.” My question for Wescott and Hort and for all the “scholars” who have followed them is: why is it that they needed 324 pages of “Introduction” to their Greek Text if only “about half a page” was in question? Hmmm!
The direct result of the Westcott and Hort Greek Text was the first ‘official’ Revision (1881) of the English Bible since the AV-KJB in 1611. This ‘bible’ was called the Revised Version, and you couldn’t find a copy of it today if your life depended on it!
Twenty years later the American ‘scholars’ thought that they would try their hand at ‘revision’ and produced the American Standard Version (1901). It is nearly as hard to find a copy of this ‘bible’ as it is to find the Revised Version. Interestingly, neither one of these ‘bibles’ was received or accepted by ordinary believers although the ‘scholars’ and “intellectuals” raved about them and claimed that they were far more “accurate” and closer to the “originals”.
In order for the scholars, the schools, the churches, or any other ecclesiastical organization to exercise authority over believers they must first set up at least TWO (2) AUTHORITIES and then they can become the “Interpreters” between the competing authorities. With the final result being that they become the FINAL AUTHORITY in all matters of faith and practice and end up exercising DOMINION over believers!
Some of the better known “official” English versions since 1901 follow:
American Standard Version (1901)
The Amplified Version (1958)
New American Standard Version (1960)
New English Bible (1961)
Good News For Modern Man (Today’s English Version – TEV) (1966)
New Jerusalem (1966 - Catholic)
New International Version (1973)
Common Bible (1973)
Just some of the names of the “New” bibles out on the “market” today.
The Book (Living)
The Student Bible (NIV)
The New Adventure Bible (NIV)
The Life Application Bible (NIV)
Kid’s Application Bible (LIVING)
The Quest Study Bible (NIV)
The Best Selling Modern English Translation Bible (NIV)
THE Recovery Bible (Living)
Precious Moments Bible (TEV)
The Original African Heritage Study Bible (KJV) ?
Men’s Devotional Bible (NIV)
Women’s Devotional Bible (NIV)
Couple’s Devotional Bible (NIV)
The Parenting Bible (NIV)
The Bible For Today’s Family (Contemporary English Version)
The Contemporary English Version ("The Bible for Today’s Family") proudly states:
"Traditional translations (Read KJB – AV) use words such as Justification; Righteousness; Redemption; Reconciliation; Propitiation; Atonement; Salvation; Sanctification; and Repentance. All these words are absent from the Contemporary English Version. One reason for this absence is that “they are not used in everyday English."
(All underlines, italics, bold, etc. are mine)
The Century Bible
The "New" Revised Standard Bible
The “New” American (Roman Catholic)
Any and all “New” Versions - produced since 1990
ONE WORLD BIBLE - (Coming Soon?)
The following is a partial list of various “Private” versions of the Bible in English:
The Mace Testament (1729) The Whiston Testament (1745)
The Wesley Testament (1755) The Purver Bible (1764)
The Harwood Testament (1768) The
The Hawais Testament (1795) The Newcome Testament (1796)
The Scarlett Testament (1798) The Macrae Bible (1799)
The Thomson Bible (1808 The Belsham Testament (1808)
The Williams Testament (1812) The
The Webster Bible (1833) The
The Penn Testament (1836-37) The Clapp Bible (1837)
The Townsend Bible (1837) The Sharpe Testament (1840)
The Conquest Bible (1841) The Morgan Testament (1848)
The Whiting Testament (1849) The Murdock Testament (1851)
The Christian Spiritual Bible (1851) The Woodruff Testament (1852)
The Norton Gospels (1855) The Sawyer Testament (1858)
The Thorn Testament (1861) The Young Bible (1862)
A Mormon Bible (1867) The Darby Bible (1872)
The Hanson Testament (1883-85) The Dillard Testament (1885)
The Spurrel Old Testament (1885) The Lewis Gospels (1894)
The Weekes Testament (1897) The Fenton Bible (1895)
The 20th Century Testament (1898-1904) The Way Epistles (1901)
Testament (1902) The
The 1911 Bible (1911) The Moffatt Testament (1913)
The Shorter Bible (1918-21) The Cunningham Testament (1919)
The Ballentine Bible (1922) The Ballantine Testament (1923)
Testament (1923) The
The Overbury Testament (1925) The Concordant Testament (1926)
The Moffatt Bible (1926) The Short Bible (1933)
The Torrey Gospels (1933) The Williams Testament (1937)
Please keep in mind that the above list is PARTIAL!