Modern Bible Versions--How It All Began

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Preface of New King James Version 1982

“Since the 1880’s most contemporary translations of the New Testament have relied upon relatiovely few manuscripts discovered chiefly in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. Such translations depend primarily on two manscripts, Codex Vaticanus and Codex sinaiticus, because of their greater age. The Greek text obtained by using these sources and the related papyri (our most ancient manuscripts) is known as the Alexandrian Text. However, some scholars have ground for doubting the faithfulness of Vaticanus and sinaiticus, since they often disagree with one another, and sinaiticus exhibits excessive omission.”

“One is…tempted to suppose that the best  translation ….would be made by someone quite unfamiliar with the Authorized Version, but with a good knowledge of the the Greek koine …Such a person being completely uninfluenced by traditional reverence…”

 

“such reverence for the actual words of Holy Writ was shown in those older editions of the Bible…But ….we are not in the least concerned with a word-for-word version:…”  JB Philips

 

 

We can be eternally grateful that men like William Tyndale and others like him who went on to translate the King James Bible Didn't have the same attitude as JB Philips. This year (2005) will be the 469th anniversary of the strangling and burning of William Tyndale, who was condemned to death by the Roman Catholic Church for translating the New Testament into English - using the Received Text as his New Testament Greek source.

"The martyr was first confined in the castle of Filford, about 20 miles from Antwerp. He was taken from prison on Friday, October 6th 1536, fastened to the stake, strangled, and his body burned to ashes. The fervent prayer of the martyr Tyndale, when bound to the stake, 'Lord, open the King of England's eyes,' was about to be answered shortly."

Facts on New Testament

 

One reason we read the King James Bible exclusively is that it is translated from completely different source material from almost every other modern English version.

    

The New Testament of the King James Version (KJV) is a word for word translation taken from the Received Text (Textus Receptus) Which is known by many proofs to have been used extensively by the early church.

    

The Old testament of the KJV is translated from Ben-Chayyim Masoretic text (There are different Masoretic Versions as well,  and virtually all subsequent Bible versions use a different edition of the Masoretic Text - resulting in vast contradictions between the KJV and other versions--and between the modern versions themselves--for information on Masoritic texts see http://www.wilderness-cry.net/bible_study/kjvissue/criticism3.html ).

    

Almost all modern English translations of the New Testament scriptures originated from either the Hort Westcott Greek New Testament which was presented to the English Speaking world in 1881 or the United Bible Society's Nestle-Aland text (the two texts are virtually identical).

    

This is how it all began, In the late 1800's two Anglican clergymen set out to give us a greater understanding of the ancient manuscripts.

    

They did this by first rejecting all previous scholarship.

 

Do we honestly believe that from the days of Christ until almost 1900 there was no reliable translation of the scriptures available?

 

Because that is essentially what Hort and Wescott were saying when they rejected all previous scholarship.

 

The scriptures say that God honors his Word above his name, and that his word endures to all generations. If Hort and Westcott were correct in rejecting all previous scholarship, then God is a liar. 

    

They attempted to ( and succeeded to a great degree) discredit the Received Text altogether by composing a Greek New Testament that rejected not only all previous scholarship up to that point, but also the very source material that from the first century up until the 19th century had been considered sacred, inspired and reliable.

    

Bishop Brook Foss Westcott and Professor Fenton John Anthony Hort rejected entirely the Received Text that had been used, trusted (based on reliable evidence)  and born incredible fruit for almost two thousand years and chose instead for their translation almost exclusively two very poor manuscripts (Mss.) "Aleph" (Sinai) and "B" (Vatican).

    

Not only do the Mss. they chose differ significantly from one another but also from 99 out of 100 other more reliable manuscripts.

    

So, the question is why did they reject all previous scholarship?

    

 It helps to know something about the people who were undertaking this revolutionary project. Bishop Wescott was a publicly professed disbeliever in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ (his work and choice of source material reflect that slant).

    

In fact the Hort Westcott Greek refutes and/or dilutes every major doctrine of Christianity.

    

 When 1Timothy 3:16 (KJV) is compared with most modern translations, the flawed theology of Bishop Westcott is clear.

    

Changing the more specific "God" in this verse to the generic "he" completely changes the message of one of the most profound statements of the Diety of Christ found in the New Testament.

(It must be noted here that the Received Text which clearly says "God" in 1 Timothy 3:16 has the agreement of around 4000 texts--either mss,versions or writings of the early Church fathers) that is a lot of evidence--witnesses to integrity of the texts chosen by the translators of the King James Bible.

    

The Received Text that was used extensively by both the early and the modern church is very specific in this case that God was manifest in the flesh. The Hort Westcott Greek, on the other hand, clouds the issue.

    

It is also important to understand that the Hort Westcott Greek New Testament is not true source material. It is neither original nor inspired.

    

The Hort Westcott Greek New Testament is nothing more than the interpretation of two men as to what they thought the writers of the source material they chose for their project were trying to say (and they chose texts that reflected their biases regardless of reliabililty). 

 

The Hort Westcott Greek New Testament, along with the United society's Nestle-Aland, is a hodgepodge, a "frankenstein," of a text.

 

 Portions that were missing altogether in one text were simply filled in from portions of other "selected" texts that were also missing portions.

    

The sad truth is that most modern translations of the Bible are translated from the Hort Westcott Greek or from an eclectic text (United Bible Society/Nestle - Aland) that is virtually identical to the Hort Westcott translation.

    

These versions either subtly attack the major doctines of Christianity or they boldly attack them. And in hundreds of ways dilute the doctrines given to us by God that pertain to life and Godliness.

    

Those who love the Hort Westcott Greek (which both the New Testament of the Amplified Bible and Watchtower's New World Translation are based entirely on) work tirelessly and often successfully to discredit the King James Version and convince many who are seeking the truth into believing that the modern translations derived from the corrupt texts of Sinai and Vatican are the most accurate.

    

This is simply not true.

     

It is a blatant lie propogated by the enemies of the truth that King James insisted on his particular doctinal beliefs being brought forth in the translation that bears his name.

    

He did not. He only authorized (legalized) the undertaking which up until that time was a crime punishable by death.

    

The KJV is one of a very few word for word translations of the Holy Scriptures we have. Every word in it can be looked up in the **Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Bible Dictionary.

    

**When purchasing a "Strong's" make certain you purchase the Original Strong's - not the New Improved or the Strongest Strongs - with the "updated" Greek and Hebrew! (these new Strongs are full of the corrupted Hort Westcott/Nestle-Aland "eclectic" Greek texts).

 

The "original" Strong's contains the words (and meanings) of the Received Text as well as the Ben Chayyim Masoretic Text, and the Berry Interlinear contains a complete copy of the Received Text.

The Preface of 1958 edition of

THE AMPLIFIED NEW TESTAMENT  Lockman foundation 1958 says this:  The Greek text of  Westcott and Hort was pursued with meticulous care.”

 

Page one of The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (published by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, i.e., Jehovah’s Witnesses) says this;

“The New Testament in the Original Greek

By B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort – 1881”

 

CHOOSING A BIBLE
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The most important choice a Christian ever makes

Facts on where the King James Bible came from

Facts on where other versions came from

More Facts on Modern Versions

Return To "Bible Versions"
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Readings which are challenged in the Authorized Version for their non-existence in the 'two most ancient authorities' (Minority Texts Codex Sinaiticus or A; and Codex Vaticanus, or B, fourth century) are frequently discovered in the Syrian and Latin translations of the second century."

  • The Minority Texts were the work of unbelieving Egyptian scribes who did not accept the Bible as the Word of God or JESUS as the SON of GOD!
  • The Minority Texts abound with alterations, often a single manuscript being amended by several different scribes over a period of many years; something the Aaronic priests and Masorites would never have tolerated when making copies of the Scriptures.
  • The Minority Texts omit approximately 200 verses from the Scriptures. This is equivalent to 1st and 2nd Peter. Pause and consider that stunning fact!
  • The Minority Texts contradict themselves in hundreds of places.
  • The Minority Texts are doctrinally weak and often dangerously incorrect.

Misleading Footnotes

Modern translations abound with misleading footnotes, which do little else but cast doubt on the King James Version. Examples are:
  • The Hebrew of this line is obscure.
  • The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain - or unknown.
  • Other ancient mss add …
  • Other ancient mss omit…
  • Other ancient mss read …
  • Other ancient mss insert …
  • Some early mss read…
  • The most ancient authorities omit John 7:53 - 8:11
  • The best manuscripts omit this verse. (e.g. Matt.17:21, 18:11, 23:14, Mark 7:16, John 5:4)
  • Some of the most ancient authorities bring the book (Mark) to a close at the end of Mark 16:8
  • Many mss do not contain the remainder of this verse. (e.g. Acts 8:37)
  • Many ancient authorities read…
  • Not found in most of the old mss.(e.g. John 7:53-8:11)

In this article we will not analyse these footnotes, simply because there are scores of them scattered throughout the modern translations and each has a slightly different slant. However, one thing they all have in common: and that is, they ALL cast doubt on the accuracy of the Authorised King James Bible! By implication they all claim to be more accurate and reliable than the King James Version. In the preface of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) we read this misleading statement. "Yet the King James Version has grave defects." Oh how subtle is Satan, how evil and how sinister! The stunning fact is: the very opposite is true. The King James Version is infinitely more accurate and reliable than ANY modern English translation on the market today. And that is why for nearly 400 years it has had - and continues to have - the blessing of the Almighty God upon it: something no modern version or translation can come anywhere near. Most, after a decade or two, disappear from the book shops, only to re-appear some years later with a few alterations under a new name.

Burgon regarded the good state of preservation of B (Codex Vaticanus) and Aleph (Codex Sinaiticus) in spite of their exceptional age as proof not of their goodness but of their badness. If they had been good manuscripts, they would have been read to pieces long ago. We suspect that these two manuscripts are indebted for their preservation, solely to their ascertained evil character; which has occasioned that the one eventually found its way, four centuries ago, to a forgotten shelf in the Vatican Library; while the other, after exercising the ingenuity of several generations of critical Correctors, eventually (viz. in A.D.1844) got deposited in the wastepaper basket of the Convent at the foot of Mount Sinai.

 

Had B (Vaticanus) and Aleph (Sinaiticus) been copies of average purity, they must long since have shared the inevitable fate of books which are freely used and highly prized; namely, they would have fallen into decadence and disappeared from sight. Thus the fact that B and Aleph are so old is a point against them, not something in their favour.
It shows that the Church rejected them and did not read them. Otherwise they would have worn out and disappeared through much reading.

"The Sinaiticus is a manuscript that was found in 1844 in a trash pile in St.Catherine's Monastery near Mt. Sinai, by a man named Mr Tischendorf.
 
It contains nearly all of the New Testament plus it adds the 'Shepherd of Hermes' and the 'Epistle of Barnabas' to the New Testament.
 
The Sinaiticus is extremely unreliable, proven by examining the manuscript itself. John Burgon spent years examining every available manuscript of the New Testament. He writes about Sinaiticus...

'On many occasions 10, 20, 30, 40 words are dropped through very carelessness. Letters, words or even whole sentences are frequently written twice over, or begun and immediately cancelled; while that gross blunder, whereby a clause is omitted because it happens to end in the same words as the clause preceding, occurs no less than 115 times in the New Testament.

THAT'S NOT ALL!

On nearly every page of the manuscript there are corrections and revisions, done by 10 different people. Some of these corrections were made about the same time that it was copied, but most of them were made in the 6th and 7th century.

Phillip Mauro, a brilliant lawyer who was admitted to the bar of the US Supreme Court in April 1892, wrote a book called "Which Version" in the early 1900s. He writes concerning the Sinaiticus
 
'From these facts, therefore, we declare: first that the impurity of the Codex Sinaiticus, in every part of it, was fully recognized by those who were best acquainted with it, and that from the very beginning until the time when it was finally cast aside as worthless for any practical purpose.' "

The great Greek scholar, Dr Scrivener, points this out in his historic work A Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus.
 
He speaks of correctional alterations made to the MS: 'The Codex is covered with such alterations... brought in by at least ten different revisers, some of them systematically spread over every page, others occasional or limited to separated portions of the MS, many of these being contemporaneous with the first writer, but the greater part belonging to the sixth or seventh century.'

Of Codex Vaticanus Samuel Gipp writes on page 72:
Quote: "This codex omits many portions of Scripture vital to Christian doctrine. Vaticanus omits Genesis 1.1 through Genesis 46:28; Psalms 106 through 138; Matthew 16:2,3; Romans 16:24; the Pauline Pastoral Epistles; Revelation; and everything in Hebrews after 9:14.

Vaticanus , though intact physically, is found to be in poor literary quality. Dr Martin declares, 'B' exhibits numerous places where the scribe has written the same word or phrase twice in succession.

Dr J Smythe states, 'From one end to the other, the whole manuscript has been travelled over by the pen of some… scribe of about the tenth century.'

If Vaticanus was considered a trustworthy text originally, the mass of corrections and scribal changes obviously render its testimony highly suspicious and questionable."

"The corrupt and unreliable nature of these two MSS (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) is best summed up by one who has thoroughly examined them, John W Burgon: 'The impurity of the text exhibited by these codices is not a question of opinion but fact...In the Gospels alone, Codex B(Vatican) leaves out words or whole clauses no less than 1,491 times. It bears traces of careless transcriptions on every page…

"So we see that once a pure copy of the Universal Text (Textus Receptus) had been carried down into Egypt, it was recopied. During the process of this recopying, it was revised by men who did not revere it as truly the Word of God.
 
This text was examined by the critical eye of Greek philosophy and Egyptian morals.
 
These men saw nothing wrong with putting the Book in subjection to their opinion instead of their opinion being in subjection to the book.
 
This process produced a text which was local to the educational centre of Alexandria, Egypt.
 
This text went no further than southern Italy where the Roman Catholic Church found its unstable character perfect for overthrowing the true Word of God which was being used universally by the true Christians."

Be careful what you eat...

               ... to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet

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