Two of the greatest deceptions ever to confront the human race came to the fore in the 19th century: deceptions so subtle and dangerous that between them they have destroyed the faith of multiplied billions of souls in and out of the Christian Church. The first was the unproved theory of evolution: fascinating, plausible and seized upon by the godless mind which chafes at the commandments of the Almighty God. The second was the Revised Version of the Bible posing as the "Word of God": a version as corrupt as it was potent, for it spawned a host of unholy offspring.
The first deception has, over the years, turned hundreds of millions away from the Christian church: for it taught that the very first chapter of the Bible was not really the truth, but legend. This pernicious theory is still taught, as fact, in thousands of colleges and schools the world over.
The second deception, the Revised Bible is equally dangerous, for it casts doubt on the real Word of God and starves believers of the Bread of Life. Sad to say it is also taught in thousands of churches, Bible schools and religious colleges the world over. This article deals with the second deception - Counterfeit Bibles! Read it with special care, several times over, because if you have avoided the first deception, you are most certainly the target of the second.
Millions of Christians believe, and rightly so, in the divine and verbal inspiration of the Bible: that the Holy Ghost motivated the minds of the prophets and apostles of old to pen every word of Scripture. Our faith in divine inspiration is based on Bible texts such as:
- All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)
- 19: We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:19-21)
Millions also believe in the providential preservation of the Bible: that JEHOVAH, the Holy One of Israel has also preserved His Word down through the ages; and that His work of preservation is every bit as important as His initial work of inspiration. After all it would have been of limited value if the original inspired Scriptures were lost to posterity a few decades after being penned. Providential preservation, in other words, is as essential a work as that of divine inspiration. Our faith in providential preservation is based on Bible texts such as:
- The 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)
- Psalm 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven…111: Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever…152: Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.
- I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. (Ecclesiastes 3:14)
- Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)
- Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever… The word of the Lord endureth for ever. (1Peter 1:23-25)
Concerning Providential Preservation the Westminster Confession of Faith (17th century) says this on page 23:
"The Old Testament in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek, being immediately inspired by God and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical, so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them."
In the past most Christians accepted these facts, but of late there are a growing number who have strong reservations about divine preservation. They will allow that the original autographs, which of course are no longer available, were inspired. But they have strong reservations about divine preservation. They believe that much of Scripture is in need of update, because some of the oldest manuscripts were not available to the 17th century translators of the King James Version (KJV). That is why, they maintain, the Revised Version of 1881 and its many descendants became necessary; and how that each new English translation (well over 100 at the present count) is an improvement on the one that went before. In other words, the Bible is also evolving and each new version brings us one step nearer the original.
This is an extremely disturbing development: for when we examine modern translations, which are all based on the Revised Version, we find they do not simply use modern language, which, arguably, may have been in order; but they say things entirely different from the early English and foreign language versions of the Scriptures, which in past centuries God used to further His work. In this article you are about to learn many startling facts about the modern English translations of the Bible, that they:
- All present conflicting messages with the King James Version (KJV) and even with each other.
- Omit many words, verses and passages of Scripture.
- All cast doubt on the accuracy of the KJV and several fundamental doctrines taught in it, such as the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, his divinity, his miracles, his bodily ascension to heaven and his second coming.
- All disagree on major doctrinal points with other early European versions of the Bible which triggered the great Protestant Reformation and for which tens of thousands of true believers died during the dark ages.
- Are warmly welcomed by the Roman Catholic Church which has long considered the King James Bible its number one enemy.
These discoveries are disturbing to say the least and should cause true believers around the world to ask: Is all this true? Are these allegations justified? And if so, what spirit is behind the deception and confusion caused by the modern translations? Visit any Bible study group where believers are using a variety of modern "Bibles" and comments such as these are common:
- 'My Bible puts it this way.'
- 'My Bible doesn't even have that verse.'
- 'Listen to this Note about ancient and more reliable manuscripts.'
- 'My Bible says something totally different.'
- 'My Bible says the very opposite.'
The question is: Which English Bible is the real Word of God? Anyone can see that they cannot all be the Word of God if they are saying different things. After all, God doesn't contradict Himself and is certainly not the author of confusion. (1Corinthians 14:33) Scores of conflicting translation, all claiming to be His Word, cannot possibly be the work of the Spirit of Jehovah. Besides, would the Almighty flood the English-speaking world with well over 100 conflicting translations of the whole Bible and over 300 translations of the New Testament? Of course not: the very idea is ludicrous if not blasphemous. Something is terribly wrong somewhere and it's time to find out.
Since my conversion in 1960, when I was 18 years old, I have used a number of modern versions and translations of the Bible: the Revised Version, Moffatt Bible, Revised Standard Version, Amplified Bible, the Living Bible, the New English Bible, Knox Bible, Good News for Modern Man, Amplified Bible, Jerusalem Bible, New American Standard and the New International Version. During all that time I also used the King James Version (KJV), also called the Authorized Version. But never in all those 41 years did I suspect that anything was seriously amiss with the modern Bibles: or that they are all dangerously flawed! To be sure I knew that some paraphrased publications, such as the Living Bible, could not be relied upon when deciding doctrine: and that others had several uninspired books (the Apocrypha): but never in the past 41 years did I suspect that EVERY modern English Bible cannot truthfully be called the HOLY BIBLE, the WORD OF GOD!
With the help of several reference books and modern versions of the Bible - I possess about 20 - I began an exhaustive study of the History of the Bible: of how we got our Bible in the first place. This article tells of my findings: of facts so stunning that they shocked me more than any truth I have ever learned. I felt horrified to think that as the founder of A Voice In The Wilderness, with students in many countries, I had been deceived for so long and had been guilty of giving sincere students faulty advice. I determined I would join the growing band of believers who honour the King James Version and tell the world. The facts you are about to learn need to be studied prayerfully, several times over. Particular attention should be given to Part Two where many King James Bible texts are listed for comparison with the modern version/s you may currently be using. I will quote extensively from the reference books on Bible History mentioned in Part Three. Remember that emphasis (bold type) throughout this article is mine.
If you are reading this article on the Internet, you are reminded that SBS publications do not carry a copyright clause. Feel free to download, print, photocopy and pass this article to your friends, because, believe it or not, the world is currently being starved of the real Word of God, the HOLY BIBLE! A great spiritual famine is overtaking mankind and, as I was, the Christian Church is blissfully ignorant of its danger. This article will answer the question: " Which English Bible is the real Word of God?"
2. THE ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPHS
As most believers know, the Bible is often referred to as 'the Holy Scriptures.' It is made up of two parts, the Old and the New Testaments. The Old Testament is a collection of 39 books which were originally penned mostly in the Hebrew language. The New Testament is a collection of 27 books, written originally in Greek; though some portions were probably written in Hebrew or Aramaic, a north Semitic language. The original autographs (masters) were the hand-written scrolls penned by the inspired prophets and apostles. They were written on vellum (the skins of clean animals, such as calf or antelope) or papyrus. Vellum is more durable and costly than papyrus; but an entire antelope skin would only furnish two or three pages of a manuscript. Because of this fact the vast majority of manuscripts were written on papyrus. Papyrus is a reed-like water plant with thick fibrous stems from which a kind of paper was made in ancient times. The average papyrus scroll was about ten inches in width and about thirty feet in length. After years of constant use, being rolled and unrolled, the original autographs (master scrolls) especially those of papyrus, became worn and began to fall apart.
3. COPIES OF THE MASTERS
Before the original masters completely disintegrated they were carefully copied. The Almighty, who had initially inspired their production, then moved His faithful followers, first the Aaronic Priests and later the Masorites, to make copies of the originals. Thus began the work of providential preservation. After all, it would have been short-sighted of God to infallibly inspire the Scriptures only to have them discarded after a few decades. Jehovah must needs, as promised, preserve His Word in accurate copies for the following statements to be true.
- The 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)
- Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)
- The word of the Lord endureth for ever (1Peter 1:25)
A Divine Warning
The God of Israel anticipated Satan's intended attack on the Scriptures: and how the enemy of souls would seek to frustrate His work of preservation and cause unbelieving scribes to add to, delete and distort the sacred writings. That is why this solemn, yea frightening, warning appears at the end of the Bible. It not only addresses copyists and translators who intentionally corrupt Jehovah's Word, but also those who knowingly promote their corrupted publications.
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.
I repeat: to preserve His word, JEHOVAH the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel must needs ensure that accurate copies of the inspired masters be made, else His promise that 'the Word of the Lord abideth forever' was meaningless - if not false. Consequently the Almighty caused faithful believers to copy His Word. This is how He organized that work.
4. THE MASORITES
The Masorites were Jewish scholars who, like their predecessors the Aaronic Priests, had the sacred task of copying the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. In his book Story of Our English Bible, W Scott wrote, over a hundred years ago, concerning the reliability of the copies made by these faithful priests and scribes.
"It is well known that among the Jews it was the profession of the Masorites, or doctors of tradition, to transcribe the scriptures. We know to what extent these indefatigable scholars carried their respect for the letter; and when we read the rules under which their labours were carried on, we understand the use that the providence of God (who had 'confided his oracles to the Jews') made of their superstition. They reckoned the number of verses, words, and letters in each book. They tell us, for instance, that the letter A occurs forty-two thousand three hundred and seventy-seven times in the Bible; the letter B thirty-eight thousand two hundred and eighteen times; and so on to the end. They were scrupulous of changing the position even of a letter, though evidently misplaced, but limited themselves to noting in the margin, supposing some mystery was involved. They tell us which is the middle letter of the Pentateuch, as well as of each of the books of which it is composed.
They never allowed themselves to correct their manuscript; and if any mistake escaped them, they rejected the papyrus or the skin which they had blemished, and recommenced upon a fresh one; for they were equally interdicted from even correcting one of their own errors, and from retaining for their sacred volume a single parchment or skin in which an error had been made...
In his book God Wrote Only One Bible, Jasper James Ray confirms this fact about the faithfulness displayed by these ancient scribes in copying the Scriptures.
"In making copies of the original manuscripts, the Jewish scribes exercised the greatest possible care. When they wrote the name of God in any form they were to reverently wipe their pen, and wash their whole body before writing "Jehovah " lest that holy name should be tainted even in writing. The new copy was examined and carefully checked with the original almost immediately, and it is said that if only one incorrect letter was discovered the whole copy was rejected . Each new copy had to be made from an approved manuscript, written with a special kind of ink, upon skins made from a 'clean' animal. The writer had to pronounce aloud each word before writing it. In no case was the written word to be written from memory." ( Ref: D1)
It is a sad fact that the Gentiles who copied the New Testament Scriptures were not as diligent as the ancient Aaronic scribes and Masorites. Therefore it is in the New Testament texts where most errors are found.
A 'manuscript' is a hand-written document, not one that is typed or printed. The word 'manuscript' is often abbreviated as MS or ms (singular) and MSS or mss (plural). Currently there are between 5250 and 5309 extant (existing) manuscripts of the Scriptures or parts of it. Manuscripts fall into two categories:
- Masters: These were the original autographs. There are currently no original autographs or masters in existence. They have all long since been replaced by copies.
- Copies: These are hand-written copies of the masters or hand-written copies of earlier copies. Some 5000+ hand-written copies of the whole or parts of Scripture are still in existence.
Manuscripts produced by the early Christians fall into three categories:
- Copies of masters or of earlier copies.
- Versions : These are translations of Scripture made directly from the original languages. For example from Hebrew or Greek into Syriac, Latin, German, English or French. A translation from Latin into English, or from English into Chinese, cannot strictly be called a 'version.' It is simply a translation of a translation: whereas a 'version' must be a translation from the original. Bear this important fact in mind.
- Church Fathers: "Our third group is the early church fathers. These are the men who led the Christians in the first few centuries after the New Testament was completed. We have record of their early sermons, books and commentaries. They will be able to provide us with much information on disputed passages. Many may have seen the original autographs." ( Ref:B1)
As regards the format of ancient manuscripts, they are often described as:
- Uncial or Majuscules: written in capital letters with no spaces: e.g. NOMANHATHSEENGD.
- Cursives or Miniscules: written in small letters and later with spaces: e.g. No-man-hath-seen-gd.
6. THE CHURCH FATHERS
Before the art of printing was known (before AD 1450) the church fathers of the early Christian era wrote - by hand - their letters, sermon notes, commentaries and books. Their manuscripts contain many quotations from the original autographs or the earliest copies. Some fathers had actually seen the New Testament autographs or very early copies; and had personally hand-copied large portions of Scripture. The writings of these early elders help verify the original text and form a valuable source of information as to what the first apostles wrote. Scripture tells us that Satan began his attack on the New Testament Scriptures very early, even before the first apostles died. Listen to Paul's testimony concerning this matter about corrupting of the Word of God; and of some who even wrote letters as though they were composed by the apostle himself.
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
During the latter part of his life the apostle John strongly defended the Word of God. Being an eye-witness of many events involving the ministry of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), John was well qualified to refute written or spoken error and to put the record straight. The enemies of truth had this reliable eye-witness banished to the island of Patmos.
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos , for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
There were many church fathers who hand-copied the whole or portions of Scripture. Let me mention a few who greatly influenced the church, particularly in Europe.
In his book Story of Our English Bible
W Scott wrote:
"Crysostom,the most eloquent of the fathers, spoke of them (the Scriptures) as The Divine Books, Polycarp,who lived at a still earlier date, having been personally instructed by the Apostle John, spoke of the Bible as The Sacred Scriptures, as also the Oracles of the Lord. Clement of Rome, whom Paul styles his 'fellow-labourer' (Phil.1V.3), termed the Scriptures The True Sayings of the Holy Spirit. Irenaeus, of the second century, makes about 1200 citations or references from the New Testament; Tertullian, also of the second century refers to or quotes from the New Testament about 2500 times; Clement of Alexandria, another of the second century Fathers, cites from or refers to the New Testament 800 times; and Polycarp, already referred to, in a brief epistle addressed to the Philippians, quotes from the New Testament about 50 times." (Ref: A6)
Lucian of Antioch
Lucian (AD 250-312) was born in Antioch in Syria where the early believers in Jesus were first called Christians. (Acts 11) In his book Truth Triumphant Benjamin George Wilkinson Ph.D writes this about Lucian:
"Lucian founded a college at Antioch which strove to counteract the dangerous ecclesiastical alliance between Rome and Alexandria. How bitter the situation became and how it finally split West and East will be clarified by the following four facts:
7. ANCIENT VERSIONS
Bear in mind that a version is a translation made directly from the original Hebrew or Greek: i.e. from Hebrew or Greek into Syriac, Latin or English: whereas a translation of a version into yet another language is simply called a translation. Bible versions were made in several languages within a few years of the New Testament's creation. This was a rarity in the ancient world for any book.
Josh McDowell writes on pages 16-17 of his book Answers to Tough Questions.
"...Translation of a document into another language was rare in the ancient world, so this is an added plus for the New Testament. The number of copies of the versions is in excess of 18,000, with possibly as many as 25,000. This is further evidence that helps us establish the New Testament text. Even if we did not possess the 5,500 Greek manuscripts or the 18,000 copies of the versions, the text of the New Testament could still be reproduced within 250 years from its composition. How? By the writing of the early Christians. In commentaries, letters, etc., these ancient writers quote biblical text, thus giving us another witness to the text of the New Testament.
John Burgon has catalogued more than 86,000 citations of the New Testament in the writings of the early church fathers who lived before A.D.325. Thus we observe that there is so much more evidence for the reliability of the New Testament text than any other comparable writings in the ancient world." (Ref: M1)
In his book Final Authority William P Grady quotes John Burgon on pages 33-34 concerning the reliability of a version over any single manuscript.
"I suppose it may be laid down that an ancient Version outweighs any single Codex, ancient or modern, which can be named: the reason being, that it is scarcely credible that a Version - the Peshitto , for example, an Egyptian or the Gothic - can have been executed from a single exemplar (copy).
In the course of time many versions (translations from the original language) of Scripture were made. Let us now consider a few.
The Peshitta Version (AD 150)
The Peshitta was the first Syrian translation from the original languages. Even to this day there are around 350 copies of the Peshitta (or Peshitto) version in existence. In his book Which Bible? David O Fuller writes this of the Peshitto:
"It was at Antioch, capital of Syria, that the believers were first called Christians. And as time rolled on, the Syrian-speaking Christians could be numbered by the thousands. It is generally admitted that the Bible was translated from the original languages into Syrian about 150 AD. This version is known as the Peshitto (the correct or simple). This Bible even today generally follows the Received Text. One authority tells us this - 'The Peshitto in our days is found in use amongst the Nestorians, who have always kept it, by the Monophysites on the plains of Syria, the Christians of St.Thomas in Malabar, and by the Maronites on the mountain terraces of Lebanon.' " (Ref: F8)
The Old Latin Vulgate (AD157)
The word 'vulgate' is Latin for vulgar or common. The Old Latin Vulgate is a version. It was used by early believers in Europe when Latin was in popular use. It was sometimes referred to as the Itala version.
The Old Latin Vulgate must not be confused with Jerome's Vulgate, which was produced over 220 years later in AD 380. Jerome's Vulgate (also written in Latin for the Roman Church) was rejected by the early Christians for almost a millennium. The Waldenses, Gauls, Celts, Albegenses and other groups throughout Europe used the Old Latin Vulgate and rejected Jerome's Vulgate. In his book An Understandable History of the Bible Rev. Samuel Gipp Th.D confirms this fact. He writes:
"The Old Latin Vulgate was used by the Christians in the churches of the Waldenses, Gauls, Celts, Albegenses and other fundamental groups throughout Europe. This Latin version became so used and beloved by orthodox Christians and was in such common use by the common people that it assumed the term 'Vulgate' as a name. Vulgate comes from 'vulgar' which is the Latin word for 'common' It was so esteemed for its faithfulness to the deity of Christ and its accurate reproductions of the originals, that these early Christians let Jerome's Roman Catholic translation 'sit on the shelf.' Jerome's translation was not used by the true Biblical Christians for almost a millennium after it was translated from corrupted manuscripts by Jerome in 380 A.D. Even then it only came into usage due to the death of Latin as a common language, and the violent, wicked persecutions waged against true believers by Pope Gregory IX during his reign from 1227 to 1242 A.D." (Ref:B2)
David Fuller confirms this fact: "It is clearly evident that the Latin Bible of early British Christianity was not the Latin Bible (Vulgate) of the Papacy." (Ref:F9)
The Italic Bible (AD157)
"Italy, France and Great Britain were once provinces of the old Roman Empire. Latin was then the language of the common people. So the first translations of the Bible in these countries were made from the Greek Vulgate into Latin. One of the first of these Latin Bibles was for the Waldenses in northern Italy, translated not later than 157 AD and was known as the Italic Version. The renowned scholar Beza states that the Italic Church dates from 120 AD. Allix, an outstanding scholar, testifies that enemies had corrupted many manuscripts, while the Italic Church handed them down in their apostolic purity." (Ref:D2)
The Waldensian (AD 120 & onwards)
"The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation, they possessed a Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution …Here for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith…In a most wonderful manner it (the Word of Truth) was preserved uncorrupted through all the ages of darkness." (Ref:F7)
The Gallic Bible (Southern France) (AD177)
The Gothic Bible (AD 330-350)
The Old Syriac Bible (AD 400)
The Armenian Bible (AD 400) There are 1244 copies of this version still in existence.
The Palestinian Syriac (AD 450)
The French Bible of Oliveton (AD 1535)
The Czech Bible (AD 1602)
The Italian Bible of Diodati (AD 1606)
The Greek Orthodox Bible: Used from Apostolic times to the present day by the Greek Orthodox Church.
All the above mentioned Bibles and the vast majority (about 99%) of the 5200 extant New Testament MSS are in agreement with the text now known as Textus Receptus; the Text which underlies the Authorized King James Bible.
John Wycliffe's Translation (1380-82). This was the first manuscript (hand-written) Bible in the English language. Strictly speaking, it was not a version, but a translation into English from the Old Latin Vulgate. Wycliffe, often described as the 'Morning Star of the Reformation,' was an able Latin scholar. Alas! so hated was he for making Scripture available to the common man that some 44 years after his death his bones were dug up and burned, and his ashes cast into the river Swift.
William Tyndale's New Testament (1526) was the first printed Testament in the English language. Unlike Wycliffe's translation, Tyndale's New Testament was translated directly from the Greek, from the Majority Text, now known as Textus Receptus. More about this Text later. Tyndale's work, in other words, was a 'version.' The first printings of Tyndale's version were burned at St Paul's Cross (London). At that time it was a grievous offence, punishable by fine, imprisonment or death to even possess a copy of Tyndale's New Testament. It was said of William Tyndale that he was:
"A man so skilled in the seven languages, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, English and French, that which ever he spake, you would suppose it his native tongue." (Reef: E4)
He it was who said to the ignorant clerics of his day that he would 'cause the boy who driveth the plough to know more of the Scriptures than them.'
"Before Tyndale's day the English versions of the Bible had been translations of a translation, being derived from the Vulgate or older Latin versions. Tyndale, for the first time, went back to the original Hebrew and Greek. And not only did he go back to the original languages seeking for the truth, but he embodied that truth when found in so noble a translation that it has ever since been deemed wise by scholars and revisers to make but a few changes in it; consequently every succeeding version is in reality little more than a revision of Tyndale's. It has been truly said that 'the peculiar genius which breathes through the English Bible, the mingled tenderness and majesty, the Saxon simplicity, the grandeur - unequalled, unapproached in the attempted improvements of modern scholars - all are here, and bear the impress of the mind of one man, and that man is William Tyndale." (Ref: E5)
But alas! Tyndale was to suffer the wrath of blind ecclesiastical authority. He was burned at the stake!
"The martyr was first confined in the castle of Filford, about 20 miles from Antwerp. He was taken from prison on Friday, October 6 th 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." ( Ref:A3)
David Fuller writes of Tyndale:
"In the Reformation period the Church of Rome sought to maintain its dominant position by burning not only the copies of the bible, but also those who recognized the supreme authority of God's word. Tyndale was burned at the stake at Vilvorde outside Brussels in Belgium on August 6, (October according to some historians) 1536. His great offence was that he had translated the scriptures into English and was making copies available against the wishes of the Roman catholic hierarchy." (Ref:F3)
Miles Coverdale's Bible (1535). This was the first complete Bible in the English language. Coverdale was not the scholar Tyndale was, for his translation relied heavily on Tyndale and Luther's German Bible. It was printed just one year before his friend Tyndale was martyred.
Matthew's Bible (1500-1555). This was the first Bible issued with the king's license. It was mostly taken from Tyndale's and Coverdale's work which had gone before. It was printed in Hamburg by the king's printer John Rogers and was dedicated to Henry VIII by Rogers under the name Thomas Matthew, hence its name.
The Great Bible (1539). This Bible was printed in large folio (15x9 inches) hence its name. It was printed in Paris and was mostly a revision of Tyndale's and Matthew's work which went before.
The Geneva Version (1560). During the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary many Protestant believers from Britain fled to the Continent. The Scot John Knox was one. The Geneva Bible is a true 'version' having been translated from the original Hebrew and Greek throughout.
"A number of these intellectual pilgrims rendezvoused in Geneva (known as the Holy City of the Alps) to form the first committee to attempt a translation of the Bible. Such men as Theodore Beza, John Knox, William Whittingham and Miles Coverdale laboured six years to produce the celebrated Geneva Bible in 1560. Although this Bible was the first to feature numbered verses and italics, its main achievement was the Hebrew to English rendering of Ezra through Malachi, thus representing the first English Bible translated entirely out of the original languages." (Ref: E6)
"The Geneva Bible was the first complete translation into English from the originals throughout. It was addressed to 'the brethren of England, Scotland, and Ireland,'…There were two Bibles at this time in general use in England. The Geneva Bible was the more popular of the two, and was generally read in the household and in private study of the Word by the people. The Cranmer or Bishops' Bible was the one, however, which obtained most favour amongst the clergy and was read in the churches." (Ref: A4)
The Bishops' Bible (1568). "Archbishop Parker was the master mind in the preparation of this new edition of the Holy Scriptures, assisted by about 15 scholarly men. He distributed the 'Cranmer Bible' into parts, assigning portions to various learned bishops, the whole being subject to his own personal supervision. The large number of the revisers being from the Episcopal bench gave the name and character to this bible. It was printed in large size, and beautifully executed. It was adorned with numerous cuts; its notes were brief, and, like the 'Geneva Bible,' was divided into verses. It was used in the Churches for about 40 years. Various revised additions of the Bishops' Bible were published. Soon after the appearance of the Authorized Version of 1611, the Bishops' Bible - the last edition of which was published about five years before its noble successor - fell into general disuse…" (Ref:A5)
The King James Version (1611) This is the Real Word of God for our generation. The Almighty has used it to further His work for coming on 400 years. See Section 10 for further details of this Bible.
8. TEXTUS RECEPTUS…THE MAJORITY TEXT
Before we consider the King James Version (KJV) and a few of the modern translations in use today, let us first consider certain Greek texts from which all New Testament translations are derived. Foremost amongst these is the Traditional Received Text (Textus Receptus), also called the Byzantine Text or the Majority Text because it is based on the vast majority of manuscripts still in existence. These extant manuscripts (MSS) were brought together by various editors such as Lucian (AD 250-312), Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza and the Elzevir brothers to form the text known as Textus Receptus, the name given to the Majority Text in the 17th century. The most notable editor of all was Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) one of the greatest scholars the world has ever known. When the early Protestant Reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries decided to translate the Scriptures directly from Greek into the languages of Europe, they selected Textus Receptus as their foundation Greek document. It is vitally important to understand why they did so.
Wilkinson writes in his book Truth Triumphant:
"The Protestant denominations are built upon that manuscript of the Greek New Testament sometimes called Textus Receptus, or the Received Text. It is that Greek New Testament from which the writings of the apostles in Greek have been translated into English, German, Dutch and other languages. During the dark ages the Received Text was practically unknown outside the Greek Church. It was restored to Christendom by the labours of that great scholar Erasmus. It is altogether too little known that the real editor of the Received Text was Lucian. None of Lucian's enemies fails to credit him with this work. Neither Lucian nor Erasmus, but rather the apostles, wrote the Greek New Testament. However, Lucian's day was an age of apostasy when a flood of depravations was systematically attempting to devastate both the Bible manuscripts and Bible theology. Origen, of the Alexandrian college, made his editions and commentaries of the Bible a secure retreat for all errors, and deformed them with philosophical speculations introducing casuistry and lying. Lucian's unrivalled success in verifying, safeguarding, and transmitting those divine writings left a heritage for which all generations should be thankful." (Ref: J2)
In his book Which Bible? David Otis Fuller says this about Textus Receptus. Carefully note Fuller's first point that all churches (we could now add all Bible students) fall into one of two basic study categories:
- Those who use a variety of Bibles influenced by the Minority Text (the Nestle/Aland Text). For 45 years I was in this camp: but I thank God I had my eyes opened.
- Those who only study Bibles based on the Received Text (Textus Receptus). I have now joined this camp.
Fuller writes :
"First of all, the Textus Receptus was the Bible of early Eastern Christianity. Later it was adopted as the official text of the Greek Catholic Church. There were local reasons which contributed to this result. But, probably, far greater reasons will be found in the fact that the Received Text had authority enough to become, either in itself or by its translation, the Bible of the great Syrian Church; of the Waldensian Church of northern Italy; of the Gallic Church in southern France; and of the Celtic Church in Scotland and Ireland; as well as the official Bible of the Greek Catholic Church.
Why did the early churches of the 2nd and 3rd centuries and all the Protestant Reformers of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries choose Textus Receptus in preference to the Minority Text? The answer is because:
- Textus Receptus is based on the vast majority (90%) of the 5000+ Greek manuscripts in existence. That is why it is also called the Majority Text.
- Textus Receptus is not mutilated with deletions, additions and amendments, as is the Minority Text.
- Textus Receptus agrees with the earliest versions of the Bible: Peshitta (AD150) Old Latin Vulgate (AD157), the Italic Bible (AD157) etc. These Bibles were produced some 200 years before the minority Egyptian codices favoured by the Roman Church. Remember this vital point.
- Textus Receptus agrees with the vast majority of the 86,000+ citations from scripture by the early church fathers.
- Textus Receptus is untainted with Egyptian philosophy and unbelief.
- Textus Receptus strongly upholds the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith: the creation account in Genesis, the divinity of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, his miracles, his bodily resurrection and literal return.
- Textus Receptus was - and still is - the enemy of the Roman Church. This is an important fact to bear in mind.
Reverend Gipp comments further:
"The Majority Text has been known throughout history by several names. It has been known as the Byzantine text, the Imperial Text, the Traditional Text and the Reformation Text as well as the Majority Text. This text culminates in the TEXTUS RECEPTUS or Received Text which is the basis for the King James Bible, which we know also as the Authorized Version....We describe this text with the term "Universal," because it represents the majority of extant MSS which represent the original autographs. Professor Hodges of Dallas Theological Seminary explains, "The manuscript of an ancient book will, under any but the most exceptional conditions, multiply in a reasonable regular fashion with the result that the copies nearest the autograph will normally have the largest number of descendants." (Ref:B3)
Continuing from page 66 in Gipp's book:
"Professor Hodges concludes, 'Thus the Majority text, upon which the King James Version is based, has in reality the strongest claim possible to be regarded as an authentic representation of the original text. This claim is quite independent of any shifting consensus of scholarly judgment about its readings and is based on the objective reality of its dominance in the transmissional history of the New Testament text.' " (Ref:B4)
In his book God Wrote Only One Bible, Jasper J Ray pens the following testimony about Textus Receptus:
"Wonder of wonders, in the midst of all the present confusion regarding manuscripts, we still have a Bible we can trust. The writing of the word of God by inspiration is no greater miracle than the miracle of its preservation in the Textus Receptus. All criticism of this text from which was translated the King James Bible, is based upon an unproved hypothesis: i.e. that there are older and more dependable copies of the original Bible manuscripts. No one in nineteen hundred years, has been able to prove that one jot or tittle has been inserted or taken out." (Ref:D3)
In his book Final Authority, William P Grady provides further interesting details about Textus Receptus, the Received Text:
"For instance, over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament exist today ranging from small fragments containing two or three verses to nearly entire Bibles. Their ages vary from the second to the sixteenth century; the manuscripts are ending with the arrival of printing. By comparison, there exist only ten quality manuscripts of Caesar's Gallic War composed between 58-50BC… "Once again, the outstanding features of the Received Text is its high percentage of agreement among so many thousands of independent witnesses. This agreement is often placed at about 90 percent; in other words, 90 percent of all existing manuscripts agree with one another so miraculously that they are able to form their own unique text…
9. THE MINORITY TEXTS
There are other extant Greek texts which are referred to as the 'Minority Texts' simply because they represent only about 5% of existing manuscripts. Another 5% are Neutral Texts: sometimes agreeing with the majority and at others with the minority. The 'Minority Texts' are also known as the Alexandrian Texts because they were produced in Alexandria in Egypt. The Minority Texts were rejected by the early Christians and also by all the Protestant Reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries. The Reformers, who were well aware of the existence of the Minority Texts, considered them unfit for translation purposes. These are very important points to bear in mind. Why did the early Christians and the Protestant Reformers reject the Minority Texts?
The answer is:
- 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.
- The Minority Texts contradict themselves in hundreds of places.
- The Minority Texts are doctrinally weak and often dangerously incorrect.
Proof of these astonishing allegations will follow in Part Two where we will take a close look at some 80+ Bible verses corrupted by the Minority Text.
Yet, startling as it may sound, every modern English Bible relies on the Minority Text as its underlying New Testament text in preference to Textus Receptus! Isn't that an amazing revelation? What brought about this almost incredible switch from the reliable Textus Receptus, beloved by the early Christian church and the Protestant Reformers, to the corrupt minority text favoured by the Roman Catholic Church? It is important that you find out soon: because the modern "Bible" you may be faithfully studying every day is really nothing more than a counterfeit posing as the Word of God! If it is any consolation to you, do remember that I was equally in the dark and totally devastated by my findings.
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 Authorized 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 the past 386 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.
How did it happen that the Minority Text supplanted the trustworthy and respected Textus Receptus which triggered the great Protestant Reformation during which tens of thousands of true believers perished by flame, famine and torture? Who is behind this dangerous deception that has engulfed the Christian Church? Do you know? Do you care? Is it important? Does it really matter?
I most certainly didn't know. But I do believe that it is vitally important that every believer know that Satan is behind it: not any particular Church, its leaders or its members - but the great enemy of souls! He is behind every deception ever aimed at the human race: and millions, in and out of the church, believe his lies. I for one had been living in blissful ignorance of the danger for many years: till a massive heart attack laid me flat on my back and I was moved - yea inwardly compelled - to make a deep study of the History of God's Word and how He has providentially preserved it till today.
Now let us turn our attention to the Minority Text's two most prominent manuscripts on which most modern translations of the Bible heavily rely. They are called Codex Sinaiticus (ALEPH ) and Codex Vaticanus (B). The word 'codex,' incidentally, means that the manuscript is in book form, with pages, as opposed to being a scroll. But first a little about the man whom God raised up over 150 years ago to expose the errors of the Minority Texts. His name is John Burgon.
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