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Chapter 4

Who Can We Trust

 

Everyone has his or her own bias and slant on any given subject. And on the subject of Bible versions, there is no such thing as impartiality or neutrality. The writers of any work, including this one, will see to it that their slant is set forth. It is as simple as that.

 

These days, if we want to do research, we tend to go online first. We type in a few key words, and up comes a screen with more information than we can investigate in two lifetimes.

 

It seems the main argument in favor of having an “anything goes” attitude concerning Bible versions is the (apparently) irrefutable unreliability of the Received Text. And the way most nay-sayers go about it, is to first refute Erasmus—the editor of the first Greek text to be called “The Received Text.”

 

The basic information that comes up in almost any online search concerning Bible versions needs to be closely examined, as much of it is blatantly biased and false.

 

The following points outline what is commonly accepted, these days, as fact (even by many conservatives and evangelicals) concerning the Textus Receptus and the King James Version of the Bible.

 

The disdain with which the King James Bible is held is very evident when reading through many online sources. And great lengths are gone to in discrediting the source material from which it was derived (as well as attempting to disqualify those involved with its translation—primarily Erasmus).

 

A summary of what the un-experienced researcher is likely to find concerning the text that underlies the New Testament of the King James Version is as follows:

 

1.) Erasmus, who presented us with the Textus Receptus, upon which most of the Bibles of the Protestant Reformation were based, including the King James Translation, is classified as a Roman Catholic scholar.

 

2.) Erasmus is classified as a humanist

 

3.) His text is classified as a “late” Byzantine text. 

 

4.) He is accused of preparing his text carelessly—in haste.

 

5.) The phrase, “Erasmus’ text abounded with errors,” is found frequently by the modern researcher.

 

6.) Erasmus’ motivations in preparing the text are slandered.

 

7.) Erasmus had very limited access to manuscripts.

 

8.) Erasmus based his text on only a few “medieval” texts of “dubious” veracity.

 

9.)  Modern” scholars are referred to often, as if modern scholars are more reliable than scholars from an earlier time period.

 

10.) Erasmus fabricated material for his text.

 

11.) Erasmus bowed to Trinitarian pressures by including the Comma Johanneun or the Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7) in his work.

 

12.) The translators of the King James Version, used Erasmus’ “error riddled” work in translating the Authorized (King James) Version.

 

After reading what so many “experts” have to say about the King James Bible and the source material it was translated from, many lay down their faith, along with their Bibles, altogether.

 

But the reader is implored not to be so hasty.

 

The so-called “facts” that have just been presented are only a mild sample of the deliberately vicious misinformation that is widely available to the modern researcher.

 

If we are to take the word of “modern” scholarship on the subject, we will have no choice but to believe the Received Text is trash, and that both Erasmus and the translators of the King James Version were biased and irresponsible—with little to no regard for the truth.

 

Now, let’s take a closer look at what “modern” scholars are saying about Erasmus and compare it with verifiable facts.

 

It only makes sense for those who want to discredit a text, to discredit the person who wrote or edited the text to begin with. It is not only logical, but if their facts are correct, it would be the only responsible thing to do. It is a very valid approach.

 

And that is the first thing the enemies of the Received Text attempt to do. They start out by trying to discredit and disqualify Erasmus, as the translator the Protestant Bible, by calling him both a Catholic and a Humanist.

 

In actuality, Erasmus was both, but, as we will show, he was also neither.

 

Although he never officially left the Roman Catholic Church, he remained a sharp critic of its practices until his death and even turned down a Cardinalship when it was offered to him.

 

At best, Erasmus could be called a very bad Catholic.

 

The Vatican demonstrated agreement with this opinion of him when all of his works were placed on the  prohibited index of books by Pope Paul 1V. Pius 1V continued to ban (or view with caution) some of his works in a later index.

 

As for his much-touted status of being a “humanist,” during the Renaissance, anyone who studied the classics, classical culture and education was considered a humanist. Atheism was not a factor in Renaissance humanism. 

 

Although Erasmus could never, by any stretch of the imagination, be classified a fundamentalist, the fact that he did have a rather orthodox faith is revealed by his very own words. These are the words he penned in his “Treatise on Preparation for Death:”

 

“We are assured of victory over death, victory over the flesh, victory over the world and Satan. Christ promises us remission of sins, fruits in this life a hundredfold and therefore life eternal. And for what reason? For the sake of our merit? No indeed, but through the grace of faith which is in Christ Jesus . . . Christ is our justification . . . I believe there are many not absolved by the priest, not having taken the Eucharist, not having been anointed, not having received Christian burial, who rest in peace. While many who have had all the rites of the Church and have been buried next to the altar, have gone to hell . . . Flee to His wounds and you will be safe.”

 

What powerful words of faith! Need we look any further than Erasmus’ own words to prove that he was a true believer in the totality of Christ’s atonement without need of any “help” from Roman Catholic ritual?

 

Erasmus, with his own words, proves that he was neither Roman Catholic nor Secular Humanist in his beliefs.

 

He was a genuine believer in Jesus Christ. He was a saved man.

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