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Chapter 3

Choosing A Bible

 

Choosing a Bible can be a daunting task when one looks at all the choices—Over 100 English versions of entire Bibles (containing both Old and New Testaments), and over 200 New Testament versions. But the choice is simplified completely, however, when we realize there are really only two choices.

 

All Bibles are translated from only two families of texts (source material).  These are the Greek Byzantine Majority Texts or the Alexandrian Egyptian Minority Texts.

 

What is the “Majority” Text?

 The manuscript of the Majority Text is also called the Received Text or the Textus Receptus.  It is called the Majority Text because there are so many texts still in existence that are in agreement with it—over 5000 extant (still existing) New Testament manuscripts are in agreement with the text known commonly as the Received Text or Textus Receptus.

 

It is this text that underlies the New Testament of the King James Version.

 

This text is known by several names:

       It is called the “Majority” Text, because the vast majority of Greek texts (over 5000 in agreement with one another) are of this type.

       It is called the “Traditional” Text, because it was the text normally accepted by believers.

       It is called a “Byzantine” Text, because it was preserved by the Greek speaking and writing Byzantine Empire.

       It is called the “Common” Text, because it was widely accepted by the priesthood of believers (which is composed of all believers as opposed to hierarchal religion).

       It is called the “Received” Text, because it was received by the vast majority of orthodox believers and churches.

 

What are the “Minority” Texts?

 Most modern English Bible versions (over two hundred) are translated from Greek New Testament texts that are based on [primarily] two sources—Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

 

Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are part of a group of texts called the “Minority” Texts. They are called Minority Texts because the existing texts that are in agreement with them are very few in number.

 

These two texts were used almost exclusively when creating the Hort Westcott Greek New Testament (there will be more on that in later chapters), and these two texts are not even in agreement with one another.

 

 

 

These texts are called:

       “Minority” Texts, because the number of texts of this type, which agree with one another, are so few in number.

       “Alexandrian” Texts, because Alexandria, is where they were created and preserved.     

       “Egyptian” Texts, because that is where Alexandria is located.

     

This book will take a close look at both families of texts  (the Majority and Minority texts) and their respective claims to reliability.

 

If the Majority Text is proven to be unreliable—the reader must choose Bibles translated from the Minority Texts (as the two families of texts do not agree) or visa versa.

 

The reader will be shown that acceptance of either family of texts automatically excludes the other. It is this choice, and this alone, which should determine which Bible version any believer feels is reliable.

 

The choice really is not “which version” (of which there are hundreds to choose from)? It is rather “which family” of texts (only two) is the most reliable?

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