by Dr. Douglas D. Stauffer
Chapter 17 — Bible Roots
“I build on no authority, ancient or modern, but the Scripture. I want to know one thing – the way to Heaven: how to land on that happy shore. God Himself hath condescended to teach the way. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me that book of God.” —John Wesley
John Wesley understood the value of the scriptures. His quoted words were not spoken of either the original Greek or Hebrew texts. He knew that God had also given man His word within the pages of a book. Regretfully, man no longer seems willing to accept this simple truth. The same book used by John Wesley is the very book that helped establish and guide America’s unprecedented achievement of individual liberty. It triggered the greatest revivals during the Church Age. But now, this same book has been “replaced” by hundreds of modernized versions which lack the power of their predecessor.
The influences of the modern Bible college and seminary must be examined to determine how they have helped spawn this move away from the book blessed by God more than any other. For the past several decades, many so-called conservative, fundamental Bible colleges and seminaries have weakened the faith of their students concerning the inerrancy of the scriptures.
Most of these schools require that the student, eager to learn the word of God, include Greek in his course of study. He is told that Greek is the language of the word of God, even though the Bible written in his own native tongue saved him and set his soul afire. He is placed under a teacher who may or may not believe in both the inspiration and the preservation of scripture. The purpose of these courses of study is not to strengthen the student’s faith in God’s infallible word, but to teach him to become its judge.
The young student’s final authority is changed from the book he once loved and cherished to the Greek faculty and their lexicons. Soon, he is convinced that he doesn’t have the word of God at his disposal and may even wonder if it exists at all. He is taught that better and more reliable manuscripts have been discovered that were not available to the translators of 1611. Gradually, he becomes convinced that the ignorant masses (uneducated in the original languages) have been led astray from the truth. He begins to believe that his education is the answer to the Church’s woes (II Timothy 3:1-2, 7). On the contrary, this philosophy of education has significantly contributed to the spiritual drought of these last days.
Eventually, the cycle continues when the Bible student graduates and moves on to serve in the pastorate. He unintentionally begins to convince his congregation that his knowledge of the original languages makes him spiritually superior to them. He becomes their final authority, and clergy/laity class divisions begin to emerge. One should recognize the similarities between this unfortunate scenario and that found in the Roman Catholic Church’s exclusive use of the Latin language and institution of the priesthood system to blind the multitudes. Thus, many “Protestant popes” emerge, each seeking elevation on a man-made pedestal.
When Jesus spoke, “…the common people heard him gladly” (Mark 12:37). In contrast, the majority of the scholars and religious leaders rejected and resisted Him. History repeats itself because “there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Bible colleges and seminaries need to teach the Bible as infallible and the original languages as a means to convince the gainsayers (Titus 1:9), not as a tool to “correct” that which needs no correction. The moment a person runs to the Greek or Hebrew lexicon he is about to give you his private interpretation (II Peter 1:20). This is true because the lexicon will have a choice of words that could be used, and he will have to decide which is right. 1
The misdirection of one’s final authority may not be readily apparent, but the confusion caused by the various versions of the bible is easily recognizable. Are all of the different versions necessary or inspired of God? Do multiple textbooks (bibles) make sense? Consider this: No teacher would ever teach a history, science, or math class and instruct everyone to bring his favorite textbook version to class. However, this identical situation is repeated in churches every Sunday. The preacher “preaches” out of one version and the people in the pews potentially have a dozen or more other versions from which they “follow along,” creating confusion and chaos (I Corinthians 14:33)!
The King James Bible is the word of God for the English-speaking people. There is no other. God provides, and Bible believers cite, many reasons for this truth. In any analysis, we should first consider the scriptural testimony. The Bible irrefutably tells us that God will preserve His word, and not allow it to pass away. Furthermore, scripture tells us that God magnified His word above all of His name. For these reasons and many others, Satan has reveled in creating doubt concerning the authority of the words of God.
As we study some of the facts concerning manuscript evidence, the first point to be understood is that there are over 5,200 ancient manuscripts in existence today. The vast majority of these manuscripts from all over the world (including Greece, Asia Minor, England, Ireland, Constantinople, Syria, Africa, Gaul, and Southern Italy) support the King James Bible. However, the two ancient manuscripts that are the major foundation for the modern versions come from one locale – Alexandria, Egypt. During the early Christian centuries, Egypt was a land in which heresies were rampant. Today, we find that the Muslims are the predominant group controlling this region. The same was true two thousand years ago – except under a different name.
One Bible stands alone, originating from a completely different source than all of the modern versions. The evidence supporting the rejection of the Alexandrian (Egyptian) texts and the acceptance of the manuscripts underlying the KJB is overwhelming. Keep in mind that many works have been dedicated to uncovering the scriptural truths and historical facts presented in summary form here. In any discussion, we must first consider the scripture supporting one’s Bible position.
The Scriptural Evidence – Preservation
God promises to preserve His word for every generation. It is hard to believe how effectively Satan has used our Bible colleges and seminaries to convince many God-called men that God’s promises have failed today.
Psalm 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.
Much like the promises of the Old Testament, the New Testament contains the same promise of supernatural preservation. God promises that His words will not pass away, contradicting the basic premise for the existence of the modern versions. The Bible does not say that preservation is limited to His thoughts not passing away.
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Just as Joseph Smith claimed to restore “true religion” by founding the Church of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon church), the modern day Bible critic claims to be restoring God’s “lost” words by creating new bible versions. A common instigator works behind the scenes to create both false religions and false bibles. His satanic influence manifests itself in the production of rotten fruit. God magnifies His true word, whereas Satan magnifies the error.
The Scriptural Elevation – Magnification
Christians sing songs praising the precious name of Jesus Christ. According to God’s word, we should be singing songs that not only praise His name, but also magnify His precious word. To magnify means to make greater in size or to appear greater or seem more important than a person or thing is in fact. Either of these definitions plainly reveals God’s purpose and plan concerning His word. He wants His word magnified above even His precious name. This may seem foreign to Christians that love their Saviour, but it is scriptural and makes sense when considered in context.
Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
While on a trip with the Baptist History Preservation Society, I traveled to Barren County, Kentucky. 2 There, I read the Articles of Faith of the Barren River Association adopted in 1830. There were twelve articles listed. The first and second are reproduced below. Pay particular attention to the order – the word of God comes first. These articles demonstrate these Christians’ understanding of Psalm 138:2.
The Articles of Faith of the Barren River Association, adopted at her constitution at the Mount Pleasant Meeting House, Barren County, Ky., Sept. 15, 1830.
1st We believe that the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as translated by the authority of King James, to be the words of God, and is the only true rule of faith and practice.
2nd We believe in one only True and living God: Father, Word, and Holy Ghost. 3
Unlike so many contemporary churches, these men understood the importance divinely intended to be placed upon the word of God. In addition to their magnification of God’s word, also take note that this church believed the King James Bible to be THE word of God over 170 years ago. Some may respond that these nineteenth century American Christians did not have all the bible version choices available to today’s Christians. Amen (I Corinthians 14:33)!
Satan’s Plan – A Subtle Attack
The fall of man began with this question from the subtle serpent: “Yea, hath God said…?” (Genesis 3:1). This same question has been posed by every new bible version to hit the market. As a great preacher of old said: “The approved method of the present carnival of unbelief is not to reject the Bible altogether but to raise doubts as to portions of it…” Once one doubts the efficacy and inerrancy of the Bible, he falls prey to a never-ending search for truth. The Bible critic is “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7).
The Lord Jesus Christ warned of Satan’s mode of attack: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God… then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word…” (Luke 8:11-12). The easiest way to deceptively take something away is to replace it with something that seems similar. Replacing the genuine article with a counterfeit works effectively, whether the counterfeit be the RV, Goodspeed, Riverside, American, Moffatt, ASV, Williams, RSV, Phillips, Berkley, NEV, NWT, Good News, NASV, New World, Amplified, Living, IV, NIV, NKJV, New Scofield, NCV, CEV, New Living, etc., etc., etc.
Of necessity, the counterfeit must look like the real thing. Many times the modern versions do not remove every single instance of a particular doctrine. Thus, the changes incorporated into the new versions are limited, though they systematically attack key doctrines. The changes become progressively more pervasive as the public becomes accustomed to accepting change and grows further removed from the truth of the actual word of God. The true scriptures give us multiple witnesses, thus confirming God’s system of judgment and justice. Consider Matthew 18:16 (two or three witness requirement) and Ecclesiastes 4:12 (a threefold cord is not quickly broken). God includes multiple witnesses to His truths for this purpose.
Satan has not altered his strategy much over the centuries. He still tries to deceive God’s creation (Revelation 12:9). If he attacked the word of God in the Garden of Eden, and used God’s very words to tempt God Himself in the wilderness, he will use the same method with us today. The Bible describes his satanic modus operandi. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3). Satan still effectively deceives the unsuspecting. Too many Christians have neglected the spiritual battle and forgotten the identity of the one with whom they contend (Ephesians 6:12).
Because of a rejection of the truth through sin and rebellion, the prophet Amos foretells of the day when men will hunger, not for food, but for the word of God. Although Amos’ prophesy foretells God’s judgment upon Israel, we have a similar situation occurring in churches today. Truly, history does repeat itself. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12). [Satan’s mission accomplished.]
Since the 1880’s, over 200 different English versions of the Bible have appeared. Has God authored each and every one of these? God could not have authored all of these contradictory versions, “for God is not the author of confusion…” (I Corinthians 14:33). Can you guess who the author of this confusion might be? He is the same one who confused and beguiled Eve in the Garden; who used the scripture to tempt our Lord and Saviour in the wilderness; and who has blinded man and initiated his search for the ever-elusive “true word of God.”
The Bible’s Family Tree – Simplified
The “original autographs” refer to the actual manuscripts penned by the writers of each of the 66 books of the Bible. They were written in manuscript form by one of God’s apostles or prophets. The original autograph was given to the nation of Israel (Old Testament) or a local New Testament church. Some New Testament epistles were sent to individuals such as Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. God, in His infinite wisdom and foreknowledge, primarily chose the Hebrew and Koine Greek languages to be used for the originals of the Old and New Testaments, respectively. Both of these tongues became “dead languages” within several hundred years after each respective canon was established. The words actually became “frozen in time.” Thus, the words and their meanings could not change. They became, as Latin, dead languages with fixed properties of meaning.
In contrast, English is a living language. As such, new words are constantly being added to the English language, and old words remain in a state of flux. 4 For instance, the fourth edition of The American Heritage Dictionary, released in the year 2000, advertises its product with the following quote: “This edition has nearly 10,000 new words and senses that reflect the rapid pace of change in the English language today.” 5 Unlike the modern versions, the King James Bible was translated at a time when English was in its purest form. Since that time, the English language has progressively degenerated from what it was in 1611 to what it is today. Should God’s word be forced to embody the degeneration of our language?
These original manuscripts (autographs) penned by the authors wore out from use. When certain other tribes, synagogues, churches, etc. desired a copy of a sacred writing, a copy was made for them. These copies are called “manuscripts” because they were written with pen and ink (prior to the advent of the printing press and typesetting).
Frequently, scribes were known to have destroyed old, worn manuscripts after the new copies had been made (a process analogous to our disposal of a weathered flag). These scribes were not concerned with holding onto the originals because they had faithfully copied the text. This faithful copying resulted in the faithful promulgation of God’s word to subsequent generations. The only alternative explanation of the history of the Bible is that God’s promise has failed and the words of God have indeed passed away (Matthew 24:35).
Other tribes, synagogues, churches, etc. made copies of these manuscripts until, eventually, copies of the sacred writings had been distributed all over the world. The written word of God spread in much the same way as the verbal word of God spread in the first century.
Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased…
Acts 12:24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.
Acts 13:49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.
Warning: Satan’s henchmen were busy creating and copying some manuscripts at this time, too. Church history and the Bible warn about early corruption of the words of God. For instance, the Apostle Paul warns Christians in the first century of Satan’s devices: “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” (II Corinthians 2:17). Nelson Floyd Jones’ apt description of the early days of New Testament corruption contradicts the standard Bible critic’s position.
Hort said there were no signs of deliberate altering of the text for doctrinal purposes, but the Scriptures and the church ‘Fathers’ disagree with him. Again, II Corinthians 2:17 says that ‘many’ were corrupting the Scriptures during the time of Paul. From the letters and works of the Fathers, we know of Marcion the Gnostic who deliberately altered the text for doctrinal purposes as early as 140 A.D. Other corrupters of Scripture were named by the mid-second century by these church Fathers. For example, Dionysius (Bishop of Corinth from A.D. 168 to 176) said that the Scriptures had been deliberately altered in his day. Many modern scholars recognize that most variations were made deliberately.6
God’s Line of Manuscripts versus Satan’s Line of Manuscripts
The copies that were proven to be good copies were “received” by the synagogues and local churches and became known as the “Received Text.” Of the 5,262 Greek witnesses to the text of the New Testament, 80% are in full agreement with the true text; a full 90% of the witnesses agree 97% of the time! 7 In addition, ALL 2,143 Greek lectionaries support the Received Text underlying the King James Bible. (Lectionaries are manuscripts containing scripture lessons read publicly in the churches. In other words, the churches that utilized the lectionaries ALL used the text that gave birth to the King James Bible!!!!!)
In 1382, John Wycliffe gave his people their first English translation of the Bible. He became known as the “Morning Star of the Reformation.” Regretfully, because of his lack of knowledge in Greek and Hebrew, he based his work primarily on the Latin manuscripts, such as the Latin Vulgate. The Latin Vulgate was derived from Adamantius Origen’s corrupted Greek Hexapla, commonly referred to as the Septuagint – LXX. Foxe confirms Wycliffe’s use of the Latin in his comments about William Tyndale. Tyndale was the first individual to return to the original languages of Hebrew and Greek. All of the English versions before Tyndale were translations of a translation, all derived from the Vulgate or older Latin versions. 8
Wycliffe was hated for his attempt to give the common people the words of God in the English language. In 1415, he was posthumously condemned for heresy by Pope Martin V at the Council of Constance. The Council ordered his bones exhumed and burned. The orders were carried out in 1428 when they unearthed them, burned them to ashes, and threw them into the river Swift.
In 1516, a scholar named Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) was led of God to produce the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament. Although he did not have a complete text, he used the manuscripts available to him to produce a Greek New Testament, which later became known as the Textus Receptus. Some claim that his work was inferior because he was supposedly ignorant of the competing text types. This is simply not true. Documentation exists to prove that he did in fact have knowledge of the Vaticanus manuscript and had regular correspondence with Professor Paulus Bombasius, the Papal librarian, concerning it. 9 Furthermore, a Catholic priest named Juan Sepulveda sent extracts of the Codex Vaticanus to Erasmus, in an attempt to convince him of its superiority. 10 After considering the material provided him, Erasmus rejected the Vaticanus as a variant text type. (Vaticanus is discussed further under Satan’s line of manuscripts.) Thus, Erasmus knew of the text used by modern bible critics almost 100 years prior to the King James Bible, but considered Vaticanus, as well as the other Alexandrian texts to be variants.
Erasmus was the most unlikely candidate to be used of God. Yet, he was uniquely qualified. Who better to expose the fallacies of the Roman Catholic Church than one completely familiar with its ways? Although Erasmus had been raised and trained by Catholic monks, he was a true man of character. He spent his life writing about and protesting the false doctrines of the Roman Catholic system. His true friends were the Protestant scholars among whom he lived and died.
Cambridge historian Owen Chadwick said he was an “ex-monk…a Protestant pastor preached his funeral sermon and the money he left was used to help Protestant refugees.” 11 He was buried at a Protestant church in Basel. Erasmus shows up on Sebastian Frank’s list of heretics of the Roman Catholic Church. 12 The Council of Trent condemned Erasmus’ translation of the Bible because it did not match their corrupt Vulgate translation, but rather the text of true Christianity. In 1559, the pope placed Erasmus’ writings on The Index of Forbidden Books, just as the word of God had been placed on that list in 1229. 13 The Council of Toulouse, which met in November of 1229 about the same time as the crusade against the Albigensians, set up a special ecclesiastical tribunal, or court, known as the Inquisition to search out and try heretics. Twenty of the 45 articles decreed by the Council dealt with heresy. It ruled in part:
Canon 2 - The lords of the districts shall carefully seek out the heretics in dwellings, hovels, and forests, and even their underground retreats shall be entirely wiped out.
Canon 14 - We prohibit the permission of the books of the Old and New Testament to laymen, except perhaps they might desire to have the Psalter, or some Breviary for the divine service, or the Hours of the blessed Virgin Mary, for devotion; expressly forbidding their having the other parts of the Bible translated into the vulgar tongue. 14
No matter how much the Roman Catholic Church fought against those that tried to spread the word of God throughout the world, truth still prevailed. The Textus Receptus was eventually translated into other languages, including French, Dutch, Danish, and Czech. Other well-known Bibles were also produced from Erasmus’ work. These included the Swedish Uppsala Bible, the Spanish Reyna, the Italian Diodati version, and Martin Luther’s German Bible.
The English Bible – Purified Seven Times?
Many Bible believers teach that the book of Psalms prophesies of God’s supernatural intervention and preservation of His word in the English language. “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6). The King James Bible became the seventh purification of the English translation in fulfillment of this prophecy. There were six distinct editions leading up to our King James Bible, beginning in 1525 with Tyndale’s Bible. The seventh and final edition was the King James Bible of 1611.
The basis for this premise can also be demonstrated by considering the fourteen rules of translation provided to the King James translators. The fourteenth rule names the six translations considered by the KJB translation committee as true predecessors of the King James Bible. The translations to be used “when they agree better with the text than the Bishop’s Bible are the Tyndale Bible, Matthew Bible, Coverdale Bible, Whitchurch Bible (which is also known as the Cranmer’s or Great Bible printed by Whitchurch), and the Geneva Bible.” These rules also show that justification exists for excluding the Catholic Douay Rheims Version and the Wycliffe Bible from the foundational versions since they were translated from the Latin. The seven stages of purification are detailed as follows:
1. Tyndale (1525) – William Tyndale was known as the “Father of the English Bible.” He spoke seven different languages fluently (Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, English, and French) and was the sole translator of the first printed English New Testament. He had a price on his head and was hunted for eleven years by his king and the Roman Catholic Church. On October 6, 1536, he was tied to a stake, strangled, and consumed with fire. Before his strangling, he was given one last chance to recant, but refused to do so. He was allowed a moment to pray and cried out, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” 15 God answered his prayer when King Henry officially sanctioned the publishing of two separate Bibles in the English language within a year of Tyndale’s martyrdom. 16
2. Coverdale (1535) – The Coverdale Bible was named after Tyndale’s former proofreader at Antwerp – Miles Coverdale. He produced the first complete printed English Bible. His work consisted primarily of Tyndale’s New Testament and Pentateuch, with the remaining Old Testament books rendered primarily from Luther’s German translation. He omitted the marginal notes associated with the Tyndale Bible. King Henry officially sanctioned the second edition printed in 1537. The Roman Catholic Church tried unsuccessfully to silence Coverdale. He escaped only days before they would have captured him.
3. Matthew (1537) – John Rogers (using the pseudonym of Thomas Matthews) continued Tyndale’s work while Tyndale was imprisoned in a dungeon. After the death of Edward VI in 1553, Queen Mary came into power with the ambition of burning every Protestant that would not recant and submit to the established church of Rome. John Rogers was burned first because he was the closest to William Tyndale. Over 300 leading Protestant scholars in England were burned at the stake during “Bloody Mary’s” four-year reign. Most of the English refugees fled to Geneva, Switzerland.
4. Great (1538) – This translation was named the Great Bible because of its exceptional size – 16½ inches by 11 inches. This Bible was a revision of the Matthew Bible, not including Rogers’ marginal notes. Henry VIII authorized by royal injunction the printing of 20,000 copies of this translation for distribution to every church in England. It has the distinction of being the first Bible officially authorized for public use in England’s churches. Thus, Tyndale’s dying prayer was quickly answered.
5. Geneva (1560) – Theodore Beza, John Knox, William Whittingham, and Miles Coverdale labored six years to produce the Geneva Bible. This translation included thousands of explanatory notes which promoted study and understanding of the text. The Geneva Bible was the first to feature numbered verses and italics, and the first English Bible translated entirely from the original languages. 17 It is quoted over 5,000 times in the plays of William Shakespeare. 18 The Geneva Bible came to America with John Smith in 1607, and later on board the Mayflower with the Pilgrims. It was the Bible used to lead Pocahontas and her people (the American Indians) to Christ.
6. Bishops (1568) – The changes instituted in the Bishops Bible were mostly cosmetic, including many pictures, and thicker, more expensive paper. The Geneva Bible remained the people’s Bible until the 1611 Authorized Version.
7. King James (1611) The King James Version of the Bible became the seventh purification of the English translation and is as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. The “Puritans” vowed to remove the remnants of Roman Catholicism from the Church of England. Thus Dr. John Reynolds, president of Corpus Christi College at Oxford, suggested to King James that a translation be produced that the common people could understand, read, and love. This undertaking began when approximately one thousand ministers sent a petition to King James. 19 It was finally agreed that a new translation, absolutely true to the original Greek text, be made which would not include any marginal notes or comments. 20 No marginal notes were incorporated into this translation, except for explanations of Greek or Hebrew words and the provision of cross-references.
In 1604, a group of 54 of the best scholars in England were chosen to begin a new translation into English. In 1611, they completed the book that later became known as the Authorized Version.
The early editions of the Authorized Version included the Apocrypha. They included these books between the canonical Old and New Testament books to show that they were not inspired. All of the Apocryphal books were written in Greek, with the exception of one written in Latin. A 1613 edition of the KJB was printed excluding the Apocrypha. It is interesting to note that the Apocryphal books were distributed within the text of the Old Testament Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and the other Egyptian manuscripts favored by the modern versions and the modern day textual critics. 21
In the book, From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man, Paul Downey gives the distorted impression that the King James translators failed to distinguish between the non-canonical Apocrypha and the inspired scripture of the Old and New Testaments. He states that “the Authorized Version of 1611 had followed the Council of Trent…” 22 He fails to point out that the Apocryphal books were included in the KJB as they were in all other versions of the English Bible from the time of Wycliffe (1384). Furthermore, the Council of Trent officially pronounced many of the Apocryphal books as inspired and canonical.
Satan’s Line of Manuscripts
In 1475, a manuscript was logged into the Vatican library known as Codex Vaticanus. It was “rediscovered” almost four centuries later (in 1845) and has become instrumental in influencing modern scholarship. It dates to around A.D. 350.
In 1844, a second Alexandrian manuscript, called Codex Sinaiticus, was discovered in a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai. This manuscript also dates to about A.D. 350. Many scholars believe that these copies are two of the 50 copies that the Emperor Constantine instructed Eusebius to prepare for the new churches he planned to build in Constantinople. Thus, Origen (the Gnostic) influenced Eusebius (his favorite student); Eusebius influenced the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts; and – in turn – every modern version taken from these two manuscripts was corrupted! Neither the Vaticanus nor the Sinaiticus was accepted as a “received” text. Thousands of changes have been noted within their pages by many different scribes throughout history.
In 1853, two men named Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort set out to write a Greek text based on these two Alexandrian texts (Codex Vaticanus, and Codex Sinaiticus). Since these two texts by then disagreed with each other in some 3,036 places in the four Gospel books alone, the two men had to come up with a completely subjective text influenced by their heretical views. Consequently, they wrote an “eclectic” text, meaning they preferentially picked and chose certain portions of scripture from the Vaticanus manuscript and other portions from the Sinaiticus manuscript until they produced a rendering that satisfactorily conveyed their doctrines. (BUT “…no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” II Peter 1:20.).
Scrivener reported 15,000 alterations in the text of Sinaiticus “brought in by at least ten different revisers, some of them systematically spread over every page, others occasional or limited to separate portions of the manuscript, many of them being contemporaneous with the first writer, far the greater part belonging to the sixth or seventh century, a few being as recent as the twelfth.” 23
Therefore, it stands to reason that no matter how closely Vaticanus and Sinaiticus once agreed, with so many alterations these witnesses could no longer agree. Regarding the thousands of changes in the seventh century, Scrivener wrote: “The one object of this corrector was to assimilate the Codex to manuscripts more in vogue in his time, and approaching far nearer to our modern Textus Receptus.” 24
In 1898, a revision of Westcott and Hort’s Greek Text was made and called “Nestle’s Greek Text.” The majority of Bible colleges today use Nestle’s Greek text (the Aland-Nestle26 or the UBS3) although it differs greatly from the Textus Receptus. Despite this fact, the new versions arise from these corrupted texts, while the King James Bible stands alone in its use of the Textus Receptus and its rejection of the readings from the corrupt texts. (Note: UBS3 stands for the third edition of the United Bible Society.)
Westcott and Hort had an unusual rule of thumb for determining which Greek text to choose when there was a variant reading. They chose the “neutral” approach. Basically, this meant that the variant (the difference between the Greek texts) was approached from the perspective that the reading that should be chosen would be the one that reflects the least doctrinal bias (i.e. the one that is most neutral). For instance, they chose to use the word who or he in I Timothy 3:16 rather than God (used in the Textus Receptus) because they hypothesized that some well-meaning scribe inserted God into the passage. According to their theory, the variants were caused by God’s people, rather than those who had set out to corrupt the scripture (II Corinthians 2:17). This is preposterous and anti-scriptural!
Typical of this philosophy, James White justifies the changes in the modern versions using various unproven hypotheses such as: “scribal expansion,” 25 “parallel passage corruption,” 26 “scribal harmonization,” 27 “parallel corruption,” 28 and “parallel influence.”29 Johann Jakob Griesbach concurs with this theory that the corrupted text is the one that contains a dogmatic position on doctrine. Read the illogical conclusions for yourself:
When there are many variant readings in one place, that reading which more than the others manifestly favors dogmas of the orthodox is deservedly regarded as suspicious. 30
If the subject were not so serious, this absurd position would be humorous. Such a theory certainly has no basis in the spiritual realm. We are not talking about just any book. We are discussing a book that Satan hates! Ignorance of the truth has always been his greatest ally. To attribute the changes to “well-meaning godly men,” rather than to satanic influence borders on lunacy. Dr. Samuel Gipp succinctly speaks from the Bible believing, spiritual perspective.
If Satan can eliminate the Bible, he can break our lifeline to Heaven. If he can only get us to doubt its accuracy, he can successfully foil God’s every attempt to teach us. 31
Westcott and Hort’s theory of corruption has been proven false by unquestionable evidence. Dean Burgon dedicated 84 pages of evidence to support the KJB rendering of I Timothy 3:16 “God was manifest in the flesh” and to invalidate the modern version rendering of “He who was manifest in the flesh.” Out of 254 manuscripts and translations in other languages personally examined by Dean John Burgon, 252 contained the reading supporting the KJB. 32 This equates to greater than 99% agreement with the King James reading and less than 1% siding with the readings found in the modern versions.
Compare the magnitude of evidence from the correct reading with the typical footnote found in most modern versions: “Some manuscripts read God.” The modern version editors fail to tell you that the two manuscripts supporting the corrupt reading are the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. According to the critic’s theory, these two manuscripts should be given precedence because they do not contain as dogmatic a doctrinal stand. Here is the standard line of the liberals and neo-fundamentalists as excerpted from the book, From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man.
The discovery of some ancient Greek manuscripts late in the nineteenth century produced a revolution in the understanding of the Greek New Testament. These discoveries have changed the editing of Greek texts into a new quest to define the original text. These texts are based on new witnesses not previously known and new approaches to interpreting the variations. Beginning in the 1880s, printed Greek New Testaments were developed with significant differences from the traditional Textus Receptus Greek Text.33
According to this modern philosophy, God’s promise of providential preservation of the scriptures failed until Tishendorf, Tragelles, and Westcott and Hort “providentially” discovered it in the mid-nineteenth century. Consider the dire implications – the text used by the church for 1,500 years and the same one that aided the cause of the Protestant Reformation was really not the preserved text. Instead, infidels rediscovered it during a time of great unbelief – the time of evolution, liberalism, Freud, and Marx. True biblical historians trace the great confusion and discord among believers today back to this period of uncertainty and unbelief.
Scriptural Support for Rejection of Alexandrian (Egyptian) Texts
From the scripture that follows, one can easily see that the LORD dispels any notion that Egypt should be treated as any other country. This is the very land from which the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts originated. One can be certain that He did not send His Levitical scribes to Egypt and bless them there with the task of preserving His holy word. Instead, the LORD says He is going to consume (kill) them all. He wants His people OUT of Egypt.
Jeremiah 44:26 Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth.
His name will not be named by those Israelites dwelling in the land of Egypt. The Egyptians, of course, are Arabs. Most of the Arab countries are determined to eradicate the nation of Israel at any cost. Some might point to Anwar Sadat of Egypt as a leader of an Arab nation willing to consider peace with Israel. Consider this politician.
“A pragmatist, Sadat indicated his willingness to consider a negotiated settlement with Israel and shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize with Menachim Begin as a result of the Camp David Accords. He was assassinated by Muslim extremists, who were opposed to his peace initiative with Israel.” 34
Now consider the background: Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and was assassinated two years later. He was assassinated because of the peace treaty, and the assassination occurred while he was reviewing a military parade that marked the eighth anniversary of the crossing of the Suez Canal. In other words, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, but continued to celebrate his country’s attack on Israel! Is he a good example of Egypt’s acceptance of Israel? He was a politician who did things that were politically expedient. Muslims hate Israel, America, and anything non-Muslim. 35 The scripture continues its condemnation of the Jews in Egypt.
Jeremiah 44:27 Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them.
God allows us to find the truth through a search of the scriptures. The LORD wanted His people out of Egypt. He consumed any of them that remained there. The modern critic wants us to believe that God then used this same region to preserve His word through the Roman Catholic Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts. God emphatically differentiates between His words and those of the Jewish Egyptians!
Jeremiah 44:28 Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, mine, or theirs.
It sounds as if God insured that the remnant of Judah would be able to differentiate between His words and theirs. It is unfortunate that man does not seem to possess the same capacity to discern truth from error today. Consider some of the other biblical passages which cast a definite negative light on Egypt.
Genesis 12:10-13 – Because of the Egyptians, Abraham is concerned for his life and the safety of his wife. Also note that this concerns the genealogical line of Christ (Matthew 1:1-2).
Genesis 37:36 – Joseph is sold into Egypt as a slave. Did Egypt bring upon itself the curse of God pronounced against all those that curse Israel (Genesis 12:3)?
Genesis 50:25-26 – The first book of the Bible ends with Joseph’s being placed into a coffin in Egypt.
Exodus 1:11 – Israel is persecuted in Egypt (Genesis 12:3).
Exodus 12:12 – God passed through the land and killed all the firstborn of Egypt, judging all their gods.
Exodus 20:2 – Egypt is called the “house of bondage.”
Deuteronomy 4:20 – Egypt is called the “iron furnace.”
Deuteronomy 17:16 – The LORD ends the warning by stating, “Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.”
Jeremiah 42:13-19 – God warns Judah pointedly, “Go ye not into Egypt: know certainly that I have admonished you this day.”
Jeremiah 46:25 – God promises punishment on Egypt.
Ezekiel 20:7 – God commands Israel not to be associated with Egypt’s idolatry.
Hosea 11:1 – God called His Son out of Egypt.
Revelation 11:8 – God compares Jerusalem in apostasy to Sodom and Egypt.
In spite of all of the scriptural evidence against the possibility of God’s using Egypt to preserve His word, the Bible critics continue to hold to this unscriptural position. The following comments plainly reveal their position. According to an article written by Gary Hudson, Bob Ross theorizes the following concerning Egypt:
We should also remember the wonderful Providence of the Lord in regard to Moses, Joseph and the Israelites in Egypt, as well as how the infant Jesus was taken to Egypt as a means of escaping death in Israel during the time of Herod’s campaign of infanticide. The Lord is Sovereign in Egypt as well as in Antioch, Jerusalem, and Rome! He works His wonders all over! In fact, if you had to have the “right place” in which the Lord could do His work, it would have to be a “wrong place,” as the whole world is defiled by sin. 36
In other words, the right place would have to be the wrong place. This position ignores God’s specific condemnation. Read Jeremiah chapter 44 again. This theory makes as much sense as attributing all the variations between the Textus Receptus and the modern versions to God’s people. According to the critics, the modern versions are necessary because God chose Egypt (and the Catholic Church) to preserve His word which had been corrupted by well-meaning, over zealous scribes. Sounds like some of the logic displayed in the Garden of Eden!
God’s promise of supernatural preservation has not failed during the last century. Man needs to believe the book God has provided, rather than trying to correct that which needs no correction. God used Antioch (Acts 11:26), not Alexandria, Egypt (Acts 27:6, 28:11) to preserve His word. As we look at the cast of characters in the next chapter, consider which group was most likely entrusted by God to keep His beloved word!
Chapter 17 - Endnotes
1 Dennis Spackman, The Certainty of the Words of Truth, (New Zealand), p. 155.
2 Baptist Historical Society, 504 Grace Avenue, Kannapolis, NC, 28083. Jeff Faggart, founder (704)938-1335.
3 C.P. Carothorn & W. L. Warnell, Pioneer Church Records of South Central Kentucky and the Upper Cumberland of Tennessee 1799-1899, 1985), Reprinted by Church History Research & Archives, Dayton, OH., p. 23.
4 Jones, op. cit., p. 10, 11.
5 The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company.
6 Jones, op. cit. p. 134.
7 Grady, Final Authority, op. cit., p. 28.
8 John Foxe et al., Foxe’s Christian Martyrs of the World (Westwood, NJ: Barbour & Company, 1985) p. 362.
9 Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament with Remarks on Its Revision upon Critical Principal Together with a Collation of Critical Texts, (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1854), p. 22.
10 Marvin R. Vincent, A History of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, (New York: MacMillian, 1899), p. 53; F.H.A. Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, 4th ed., ed. Edward Miller, 2 Vols., (London: George Bell and Sons, 1894), Vol I, p. 109.
11 Owen Chadwick, A History of Christianity, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995), p. 198.
12 Roland Bainton, Erasmus of Christendom (New York: Scribner’s, 1969), p. 257.
13 Ibid., p. 277-278.
14 Pierre Allix, Ecclesiastical History of Ancient Churches of the Albigenses, published in Oxford at the Clarendon Press in 1821, reprinted in USA in 1989 by Church History Research & Archives, P.O. Box 38, Dayton Ohio, 45449, p. 213.
15 Fox, Fox’s Book of Martyrs, Edited by William Byron Forbush, D.D. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1967), p. 184.
16 Grady, Final Authority, op. cit., p. 137-138.
17 Ibid., p. 139-140.
18 The Forbidden Book, New Liberty Videos.
19 Alexander McClure, The Translators Revived, (Litchfield, MI: Maranatha Bible Society, 1858), p. 57.
20 Ibid., p. 58-59.
21 Samuel C. Gipp, An Understandable History of the Bible, 2nd edition, (Northfield, OH: Daystar Publishing, 2000), p. 335.
22 From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man, James B. Williams, ed., op. cit., p. 45.
23 Prebendary Scrivener, Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus with the Received Text of the New Testament, Introduction, p. xix.
24 Cecil J. Carter, The Anti King James Version Conspiracy, Prince George, BC, Canada, 1997, p. 27.
25 White, The King James Only Controversy, op. cit., p. 252.
26 Ibid., p. 253.
27 Ibid., p. 254.
28 Ibid., p. 257.
29 Ibid., p. 264.
30 J.J. Griesbach, Novum Testamentum Graece (Halle: 1796), p. 62.
31 Samuel C. Gipp, An Understandable History of the Bible, 1st edition, 1987, p. 26.
32 Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 492.
33 Williams, From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man, op.cit., p. 171.
35 The followers of Islam are known as Muslims and number around 1 to 1.5 billion people worldwide. They teach that Islam is the only true religion for salvation and eternal happiness. The Koran is Islam’s “bible” and Allah its god. The followers of Allah and His prophet Muhammad teach that Muslims everywhere must make jihad (holy war) against the evil forces that they believe are trying to destroy their religion.
“I (Muhammad) have been commanded to fight against people, till they testify to the fact that there is no God but Allah, and believe in me (Muhammad) as the Messenger (from the Lord)...and when they do it, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law.” (Muslim 1: 31)
”A martyr (in Jehad) is dressed in radiant robes of faith: he is married to houries and is allowed by Allah to intercede for seventy men (i.e. he is authorized by God to recommend seventy men for entry into paradise, and his intercession is sure to be granted.) (Ibn-E-Majah, Vol. 2, p. 174)
”Whatever one spends to facilitate Jehad, Allah shall give him a reward which will exceed his contribution 700 times.” (Tirmzi, Vol.1, p.697)
”A man who was eating dates, said to the prophet ‘Where shall I be if I am killed in Jehad?’ He replied: ‘In paradise.’ The man threw away the dates and fought until he was killed.” (Sahih Muslim: 4678)
”He who murders another, property of the murdered becomes property of the murderer.” (Ibn-E-Majah, Vol. 2, p. 183)
Islam is the only approved religion of Allah (V. 5) and no other religion is acceptable to God (III: 75). Thus, all non-Muslims have been declared enemies of Allah. They are taught to give their enemy (infidels) three choices:
1. Invite them to embrace Islam (which actually means acknowledging the Lordship of Muhammad).
2. If they do not accept the proposal, then they must surrender and pay tribute, and
3 .If they reject both alternatives, then fight them mercilessly:
When the Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalists who had been one of the forces fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, was establishing its control of most of the country in mid-1996, Osama bin Laden left Sudan and relocated his base outside the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. Weeks after relocating to Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden issued a fatwah entitled “Declaration of War Against the Americans Who Occupy the Lands of the Two Holy Mosques.”
The fatwah announced “there is no more important duty than pushing the American occupier out” and it praises Muslim youth who are willing to die to get rid of the enemy. “Youths only want one thing,” Osama bin Laden wrote, “to kill you so they can go to Paradise.”
36 Gary Hudson “KING JAMES ONLYISM” and the “Egyptian Corruption” Argument.
More:What’s Right? vs. James White
Chapter 4 - Salvation Sure and Simple
© 2001 McCowen Mills
One Book Stands Alone
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