By J. Ecob
12 Ningoola Way Orange N.S.W. 2800 Australia
As the number of NEW VERSIONS of the Bible continue to multiply, the situation becomes increasingly confused for many of the Lord's people. The differences between these paraphrases and translations indicate that they can't all be correct! At least some, perhaps most, must be in considerable error, that is, IF EVERY WORD of the DIVINE ORIGINAL was given INFALLIBLY.
Since the Bible itself claims VERBAL (WORD) INSPIRATION,. (See "The Divine Inspiration of the Bible, " W.E. Vine, M.A.) the issue becomes a serious one and one which effects the very foundation upon which all truth stands, - the WORD OF GOD!
Dare anyone ADD TO, or TAKE FROM THE WORDS OF GOD!! This is not the right of any human or celestial being. Not even scholars in the field of translation and textual criticism are exempted, to tamper with the WORD OF GOD which "LIVETH AND ABIDETH FOR EVER" I Peter 1:23. To those who dare, God shall add the plagues that are written in the Word of God or take away their part out of the BOOK OF LIFE in heaven! Revelation 22:18, 19.
Two main sourues of error are evident in the large number of versions flooding the religious book market today. Some versions are influenced by one of these factors, some by a combination of both. They are:
It is obvious that modernist, liberal, or anti-christian (e.g. a Jewish Rabbi, Harry M. Orlinsky of the jewish Institute of Religion, N.Y., who was on the committee for the R.S.V.) will produce a different translation to that produced by a translator who believes that every word is God-breathed and infallible.
When C.H. Dodd, Chairman of N.E.B. Translation Committee, tells us that "MOSES HAS LEFT US NO WRITINGS, AND WE KNOW LITTLE OF HIM WITH CERTAINTY," ("The Authority of the Bible," Page 27) we can't have much confidence in the N.E.B. version of the first five (5) books of the Bible, which were written by Moses. The Lord Jesus said "HAD YE BELIEVED MOSES YE WOULD HAVE BELIEVED ME: FOR HE WROTE OF ME!" John. 5:46,.
There are basically two (2) Greek Texts from which a translator of the New Testament may work. The RECEIVED TEXT or the WESTCOT AND HORT TEXT (or its derivatives, e.g. Revised Version Text 1881, Nestles). ALL GREEK TEXTS FALL INTO THESE TWO MAIN GROUPS, and all scholars will agree on this basic fact of textual criticism.
When we remember that the Greek Text of the Revised Version 1881, varies from the Received Text in 5788 places (according to Dr. Scrivener) we can immediately see that what Westcott and Hort achieved on the Committee of the R.S.V. (with majority support against Dr. Scrivener) was not merely a better translation of the same Bible (A.V.) but a translation of A DIFFERENT BIBLE.
The New Testament came to us by hand written copies from the apostolic times down till 1516 A.D. when the first PRINTED Greek Text was published by Erasmus. Many scholars of note worked on the manuscripts and printed texts were produced which were in SUBSTANTIAL AGREEMENT with each Other, and in agreement with the vast majority of manuscripts, UNTIL THE 19TH CENTURY.
In the 19th Century, along with the tide of rationalism which swept the Christian wodd, a number of scholars arose with a DIFFERENT THEORY AS TO HOW THE TRUE TEXT WAS TO BE DECIDED.
For 350 years it was held that the TRUE TEXT was represented in the vast majority (90%) of the extant manuscripts. The few manuscripts which differed substantially were put aside in view of the number of witnesses against them AND the large amount of disagreements among them (e.g. Codex Bezae D was not used by Beza whose 1588 and 1598 A.D. editions were the chief foundation of the Authorised Version (1611 A.D.) (Schaffs "Companion" page 501 ).
Since 1611, thousands of manuscripts (actually the total is now 5,000+ including lectionaries, papyrii, etc.) have been found and the proportion of manuscripts has not changed! STILL 90% OF ALL MANUSCRIPTS AGREE WITH THE RECEIVED TEXT!!
Dean Burgon, an outstanding manuscript authority, avers that he is thoroughly convinced that "no reading can be of real importance -- I mean has a chance of being true -- which is witnessed to exclusively by a very few copies, whether uncial or cursive .... Nothing else are such extraordinary readings, wherever they may happen to be found, but fragments of primitive error, repudiated by the Church ("a witness and keeper of Holy writ") in her corporate capacity," (Letter in the Guardian, July 12, 1882).
"In the second century we have seen too many instances of attempts to tamper with the text of Scripture, some merely injudicious, others positively dishonest; but all this was over long before the scribes of the fourth and fifth centuries began their happy task, AS SIMPLE AND HONEST COPYISTS OF THE OLDER RECORDS PLACED BEFORE THEM. Let their testimony be received with attention at all times,' let it be accepted as conclusive whensoever there are no grave reasons to the contrary, but let not their paramount authority shut out all other considerations, external and internal, which might guide us to the true reading of a passage; NOR LET US BE SO ILLOGICAL AS TO CONCLUDE, BECAUSE ALEPH AND B ARE SOMETIMES RIGHT, THAT THEREFORE THEY NEVER ARE IN THE WRONG." (Aleph Sinaiticus, and B, Vaticanus, are two of the oldest surviving manuscripts and have been used by some 19th Century critics as sufficient to overthrow all other manuscript testimony.)
The question before us is simply "Do we accept the discordent testimony of a very few ancient documents or do we accept the concordant testimony of the great majority of manuscripts.
Evidence is given in another leaflet "Modern Versions and Ancient Versions" to show the untrustworthiness of the few most Ancient manuscripts.
Five (5) prominent scholars of the 19th Century put forward a new theory to determine which Greek Text was the TRUE TEXT. These men were Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort. (Professor Nestle, in compiling his Greek Text simply took the texts printed by Westcott and Hort, Tischendort and Weiss, and where two of these agreed against the other, then their reading was accepted.)
All of these men had a common basis for their theory. THEY ALL ACCEPTED THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE OLDEST SURVIVING MANUSCRIPT MUST BE THE BEST!
When the New Testament Greek student looks at his Greek Text he will notice the comment of these scholars at the foot of each page.
The question is simply "what value can we place on such alternative renderings?" If these scholars have more accurately assessed the true text then we shall be glad to accept the fruit of their labours. But, sad to say, all of these scholars without exception, have based their texts on a wrong assumption which can lead only to wrong conclusions.
We will now look at the assumptions which guided these 19th Century scholars in their determination of their Greek Text.
When the second of Lachmann's three editions of the N.T, Text was printed -- "It was then seen, how clean a sweep he had made of the great majedty of Greek Manuscripts usually cited by critical editions:- In fact he rejects all in a heap excepting codices A, B, C; the fragments P, Q, J, Z (and for some purposes D) of be Gospels; D, E of the Acts only; D, G, H of St. Paul."
"It seems then, to have been Lachmann's purpose, discarding the slightest regard for the textus receptus as such to endeavour to bring the Sacred text back to the condition in which it existed during the fourth century, and this in the first instance by documentary aid alone, without regarding for the moment whether the sense produced were probable or improbable, good or bad; BUT L00KING SOLELY TO HIS AUTHORITIES, AND FOLLOWING THEM IMPLICITLY WHERESOEVER THE NUMERICAL MAJORITY OF A FEW ANCIENT AUTHORITIES MIGHT CARRY HIM. For accomplishing this purpose he possessed but one Greek copy written as early as the fourth century, Cod. B; and of that he not only knew less than has since come to light (and even this is not quite sufficient), but he did not avail himself of Bartolocci's papers on Cod. B, to which Scholz had already drawn attention. His other codices were not of the fourth century at all, but varying in date from the fifth (ACT) to the ninth (G); and of these few (of C more especially) his assistant or colleague Buttmann's representation was loose, careless, and unsatisfactory." (Scrivener's "Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament" Vol. I I, page 232).
"The consequence of this voluntary poverty where our manuscript treasures are so abundant, of this deliberate rejection of the testimony of many hundreds of documents, of various countries, dates and characters, may be told in a few words. LACHMANN'S TEXT SELDOM RESTS ON MORE THAN FOUR GREEK CODICES, VERY OFTEN ON THREE, NOT INFREQUENTLY ON TWO; in Matt. vi. 20 - viii. 5, and in 165 out of 405 verses of the Apocalypse, on but one. It would have been a grevious thing indeed if we really had no better means of ascertaining the true readings of the New Testament than are contained in this editors scanty roll; AND HE WHO, FOR THE SAKE OF SOME PRIVATE THEORY, SHALL PRESUME TO SHUT OUT FROM HIS MIND THE GREAT MASS OF INFORMATION GOD'S PROVIDENCE HAS PRESERVED FOR OUR USE, WILL HARDLY BE THOUGHT TO HAVE CHOSEN THE MOST HOPEFUL METHOD FOR BRINGING HIMSELF OR OTHERS TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH." (Scrivener, Vol. II, page 233).
Tischendorf who discovered the Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) in 1844 at the Convent .of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai, became so mesmerised by this discovery that he allowed this one manuscript to over-rule all other manuscripts.
"The results of this EXCESSIVE AND IRRATIONAL DEFERENCE TO ONE OF OUR CHIEF CODICES, that which he was so fortunate as to bring to the light, appears plainly in Tischendorf's eighth edition of the New Testament. That great critic had never been conspicuous for stability of judgment. His THIRD edition was constructed almost WITHOUT ANY REFERENCE TO THE CURSIVE MANUSCRIPTS (the vast majority) which, unless .they be what no one asserts or imagines, merely corrupt copies, or copies of copies, of existing uncials, must needs be the REPRESENTATIVES OF YET OLDER CODICES which have long since perished: 'respectable ancestors' (as one has quaintly put the matter) 'who live only in their descendants.' In Tischendorfs seventh edition, completed in 1859, that error was rectified, and the sum of textual variations between the third and seventh edition in consequence amounted to 1296, in no less than 595 of which (430 of the remainder being more matters of spelling) he returned to the readings of the Received Text, which he had before deserted, but to which fresh materials and larger experience had brought him back. In the eighth edition another disturbing element is introduced, and that edition differs from his seventh in as many as 3369 places, to the scandal of tbe science of Comparative Criticism, as well as to his own grave discredit for discernment and consistency. THE EVIDENCE OF COD. ALEPH, SUPPORTED OR EVEN UNSUPPORTED BY ONE OR TWO AUTHORITIES OF ANY DESCRIPTION, PROVED WITH HIM SUFFICIENT TO OUTWEIGH ALL OTHER WITNESSES, WHETHER MANUSCRIPTS, VERSIONS, OR ECCLESIASTICAL WRITERS." (Scrivener, Vol. II, pages 282, 283)
Ttschendorf dearly rejected the testirnony of the majority of manuscripts in favour of a FEW diverse manuscripts as the following quote will show "this text (the Received Text) differs in many pieces from the oldest auffiorities of the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries, and, therefore, must be replaced by a text which is really drawn from the oldest sources discoverable. THE DIFFICULTY OF FINDING SUCH A TEXT LIES IN THIS THAT THERE IS A GREAT DIVERSITY AMONG THESE TEXTS; we have, therefore, to compare them closely together and decide on certain points of superiority on which to PREFER ONE TEXT TO ANOTHER." ("Codex Sinaiticus" by. Dr. C. Tischendorf, page 85).
First we are told that the true text can only be found in the oldest manuscripts and then, that the OLDEST MANUSCRIPTS DO NOT AGREE WITH EACH OTHER!
The peculiarity of Tregelles' system is intimated, rather than stated, in the title page of his Greek N.T. It consists in resorting to ancient authorities alone In the construction of his revised text, and in refusing not only to the Received Text, but to the great mass of manuscripts also, all voice in determining the true readings.
"Tregelles' scheme, although it was apparently devised independently of Lachmann, is in fact essentially that scholar's plan, after those parts of it are withdrawn which are manifestly indefensible. Tregelles' 'ancient authorities' are thus reduced to those manuscripts which, not being Lectionaries, happen to be written in uncial characters, with the remarkable exceptions of Codices 1, 33, 69 of the Gospels, 61 of the Acts, which he admits because they 'preserve an ancient text.'
"This truly eminent person, born at Falmouth of a Quaker family January 30, 1813, received what education he ever got at Falmouth Classical School from 1825 to 1828. At an early ago he lift the communion in which he was bred, to join a body called the Plymouth Brethren, among whom he met with disquietude and some mild persecution: his last years were more happily spent as a humble lay member of the Church of England, a fact he very earnestly begged to keep in mind. The critical studies he took up as early as 1838, when he was only twenty-five years old, were the main occupation of his life. The inconvenient and costly form in which he published his Greek New Testament, brought upon him pecuniary loss, and even trenched upon the moderate fortune of his true and loving wife: After several years of deep retirement he died at Plymouth, April 24, 1875: and whereas his widow, who has since followed him to the other world, was anxious that his great work should be as far as possible completed. Dr. Hort has manifested his veneration for an honoured memory, by publishing in 1879, an 'Appendix' to the Greek New Testament, embracing what materials for Prolegomena Tregelles published writings supplied. ("Compartive Criticism" Vol. II, pages 240, 241 ).
Benjamin Wills Newton who was a personal fdend of Tregelles states "His (Tregelles) object was to edit a Text founded on ANCIENT EVIDENCE, WHATSOEVER THAT EVIDENCE MIGHT BE... The Text, therefore, of Dr. Tregelles is not presented by him as final, much less as authoritative. It is not presented as a Text which he himself would in all its parts accept. IT IS SIMPLY A TEXT, BASED ON SUCH ANCIENT AUTHORITIES AS WERE ACCESSIBLE TO HIM." ("Remarks on the Revised English Version" pages 176, 177).
Dr. Tregelles' own words are "The reader is requested to observe that in the places where he may not accept my results as the Text adopted, he is furnished with all the ANCIENT EVIDENCE against my conclusions as well as for them."
It is therefore evident that Tregelles did abandon the vast majority of the manuscripts in favour of a few ancient manuscripts.
Since these scholars gathered up the researches of Lachmann, Tischendoff, and Tregelles, and were members of the Committee which produced the Revised Version Text and Translation (1881), and since the Nestles Text of the New Testament, (widely used today) is a combination of the Texts by Westcott and Herr, Tischendorf and Weiss, -- it is obvious that THESE MEN HAVE GIVEN MORE IMPETUS TO THE GREEK TEXT UNDERLYING MODERN VERSIONS THAN ANY OTHER SCHOLARS!
We will therefore look in greater detail at the assumptions upon which Westcott and Hort Greek Text is based:
"This important and comprehensive work, the joint labour of two of the best scholars of this age, toiling, now separately, now in counsel, for five and twenty years, was published, the text a few days earlier than the revised English Version (May 17, 1881), the Introduction about four months later. The text, or one a/most identical with it, had been submiffed to the Revisers of the N. T., and to a few other Biblical students, several years before, so that the general tenor and spirit of our authors' judgment was known to many. DRS. WESTCOTT AND HORT DEPART MORE WIDELY FROM THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS THAN ANY PREVIOUS EDITOR HAD THOUGHT NECESSARY." ("Comparative Criticism," Vol. II, page 242)
"The germ of this (Westcott and Hort) theory can be traced in the speculations of Bentley and Griesbach, its authors would confess themselves on many points, disciples of Lachmann, although their process of investigation is far more artificial than his. But there is little hope for the viability of their imposing structure, if ITS FOUNDATIONS HAVE BEEN BID ON THE SANDY GROUND OF INGENIOUS CONJECTURE: AND SINCE BAREL Y THE SMALLEST VESTIGE OF HISTORICAL EVIDENCE has ever been alleged in support of the views of these accomplished editors, their teaching must either be received as intuitively true, or dismissed from our consideration as PRECARIOUS, AND EVEN VISIONARY." ("Comparative Criticism," Vol. II, page 285).
1.Westcott and Hort were inconsistent in their own theory; 2.They are lacking in historical evidence in support of their theory; 3.They are forced to acknowledge the antiquity of the Received Text as equaJ with their own almost sole authority, Codex Vaticanus (B); 4.Their "ancient" type of text can usually only be found in fragments (with exception of Aleph and B), and not in the main body of manuscripts.
According to Westcott and Hort "the vast majority of decuments (manuscripts) must be treated of NO PRIMARY AUTHORITY in ordinary variations"! (Page 547)
The system adopted by these scholars begins by rejecting the VAST MAJORITY OF MANUSCRIPTS! Yet at the same time admitting that "the only safe critio'sm is that which throughout takes account of all existing evidence" (Page 561). What Westcott and Hort meant by 'all' though is really only 5% to 10% of the manuscripts, since on page 554 they state that the vast majority of manuscripts termed "Syrian or Post Syrian" -- "MAYBE SAFELY REJECTED AT ONCE!"
While acknowledging the basic principles of sound textual criticism (i.e. that true text can only be found in ALL the manuscripts), they immediately disqualify all of the manuscripts known as Byzantine or in their nomenclature Syrian, as well as most of the remaining manuscripts with the exception of Aleph and B.
Westcott and Hort have built their theory on the basis that the most ancient manuscripts were the purest, that the later the date, the greater the chance of curruption. However, they admit that the greatest corruption of the text took place BEFORE the end of the 4th Century, as the following quote on page 548 will show:-
"Comparison with patristic quotations (by early church fathers), discloses at once the striking fact that all the more considerable variations of reading must have arisen BEFORE the latter half of the 4th Century. VARIATIONS OF LATER ORIGIN ARE FOR THE MOST PART OF LITTLE MOMENT and fhe changes which took place after that period were mainly changes in the distribution of readings already existing. A text virtually identical with the prevalent Greek Text of the Middle Ages was used by Chrysostom and other Antiochian Fathers in the latter part of the 4th Century, and thus must have been represented by manuscripts, AS OLD AS ANY MANUSCRIPT NOW SURVIVING."
.".. the most important divergences of text took place in Pre-Syrian (before the 4th Century) times."
On the one hand we are told that only the most ancient extant manuscripts are to be trusted and on the other hand we are told that the most ancient manuscript era was the era of greatest corruption!
In practice Westcett and Hort followed the Codices B and Aleph of the 4th Century almost exclusively as we shall see later. This ancient but corrupted text is supported by only a FEW fragments! Quote... "the ancient types of text are seldom to be discerned EXCEPT IN FRAGMENTS INTERMINGLED WITH OTHER TEXTS. " (Page 552)
Westcott and Hort had no conception of the PROVIDENTIAL PRESERVATION OF THE WORD OF GOD! The fact that the LORD JESUS CHRIST promised 'my words shall not pass away'-- had no place in their thinking.
In their effort to decide which manuscripts contain the True Text, they follow clear steps in their reasoning.
"What has to be noted, is, first, the presence Or absence of distinctively Pre-Syrian readings; and secondly among Pre-Syrian reading, the presence or absence of distinctively Western, or distinctively Alexandrian, or distinctively Neutral readings. " Page 553. i.e. Their first step is to identify the "family" to which each manuscript may belong.
The title "Syrian" arose from the fanciful theory that about the 4th Century some scholars "must" have got together and produced a revision of the Greek Text. This they think, "must" have taken place in Syria, "possibly" Antioch and was later taken to Constantinopale, where it was adopted by the Greek Church. The whole theory Is completely devoid of any historical foundation. It is a figment of their own imaginationl Church history clearly records such details as:
If church historians so carefully record these events HOW DID THEY MISS THE GREATEST RECENSION OF ALL TIME? -- IF IT EVER TOOK PLACE!
Westcott and Hort's claim of a 4th Century recension is an attempt to invent history 1,500 years after the supposed event because they realised that without historical support their whole theory would collapse.
We will now examine the "families" into which Westcott and Hort divide all manuscripts.
90-95% of manuscripts belong to this family. They are generally known as the Byzantine Family by other scholars, but Westcott and Hort called them 'Syrian.' The title Byzantine arises from the fact that most of these manuscripts were preserved in the Greek speaking Byzantine Empire. In the Providence of God, this Empire continued from the 4th to the 15th Century. In the 15th Century printing was invented, and God no longer required the Empire to reserve hand written copies.
Westcott and Hort acknowledge that .".. the printed Received Text of the 16th Century with the exception of scattered readings commended in most cases by Latin authority to Erasmus or his successors, is a reproduction of the Syrian text" (Page 552).
The Alexandrian family was prone to OMISSION. Some of the Papyrii (totalling only 76 in 1965) agree with the Alexandrian Text. The Papyrus copies originate from Egypt where the dry climate has permitted fragments to survive.
The Western family was characterised by paraphrases and interpolation. Westcott and Hort state: .".. even in the two chief Alexandrians, Clement and Origen, especially in some of Origen's writings, Western quotations hold a conspicuous place, while in Eusebius they are on the whole predominant."
"After Eusebius THEY MAKE NO SHOW IN GREEK THEOLOGY, except so far as they were adopted into eclectic texts; a few writers offer rare traces of the expiring tradition, but nothing more" (Page 549). (i.e. after 4th Century).
The Western family was therefore rejected by the Greek Christians and survived in the Latin Versions of the Roman Church.
"Of the two oldest manuscripts Aleph is Pre-Syrian and largely neutral, but with considerable Western and Alexandrian elements, B is Pre-Syrian and almost wholly neutral, but with a limited Western element in the Pauline Epistles: ALL OTHER GREEK MANUSCRIPTS CONTAIN A GREATER OR LESSER SYRIAN ELEMENT." (Pages 553 and 554),
Having placed the manuscripts into their respective families, the next step is to EXCLUDE ALL SYRIAN OR POST-SYRIAN manuscripts, i.e. 90 - 95% of the total. Quote: "A reading marked as Syrian or Post-Syrian by the range of the documents which attest it MAY BE SAFELY REJECTED A T ONCE" (Page 554).
This leaves a small company of witnesses, but of these the Western family is rejected and the Alexandrian family is not quite good enough. We are now left with only the Neutral family, which we have already been told consists of Codices Vaticanus B and Sinaiticus Aleph. Two (2) manuscripts, supported, where possible by scattered readings in a few ancient manuscripts!
Surely any reasonable person will see how fantastic the Westcott and Hod theory is. Listen to their confession:-
"The number of groups that DESERVE SERIOUS ATTENTION is soon found to be COMPARATIVELY SMALL. Neither Greek manuscripts containing a large amount of distinctively Pre-Syrian text nor early Fathers are numerous, and to a great extent they are FRAGMENTARY OR DISCONTINUOUS" (Page 558).
Only a FEW FRAGMENTARY documents can be produced to support B and Aleph which form the basis of their text!
"with certain limited classes of exceptions, the readings of Aleph and B combined may safely be accepted as genuine in the absence of specially strong internal evidence to the contrary, and CAN NEVER BE SAFELY REJECTED ALTOGETHER" (Pages 559 and 560).
So if Aleph and B agree, that reading is right! Yet in the next breath they intimate that these manuscripts disagree in numerous places.
"Next come the NUMEROUS VARIATIONS in which Aleph and B stand on different sides" (Page 560).
The climax of the Westcott and Hort theory is reached on Page 560; when they state: "EVEN WHEN B STANDS QUITE ALONE, its readings must never be rejected."
In other words they believe that, even though Codex B disagrees with every other manuscript, it should still seriously be considered as the possible true reading. At this point, one wonders whether these scholars are being controlled by sound reasoning or by some other motive which caused Dr. Hort as a young man to exclaim that he would 'Destroy that wretched Textus Receptus!'
The last of the New Testament documents were completed at the end of the 1st Century. During the 2nd and 3rd Centuries, the Church was under severe attack from within by heresy, and from without by the periodic persecutions of the Pagan Roman Empire.
During two centuries God preserved His Word. Humble believers rejected the corrupted version and manuscripts and copied those which were faithful representations of the Divine Original. The Holy Spirit who indwells every believer bore witness to the truth!
In Egypt the Church had a long record of corruption from the Schools of Philosophy. The brilliant Alexandrian philosopher, Origen, (185 to 254 A,D.) studied under Ammonius, who Milner ("History of the Church of Christ," page 110) says 'Mixed together Christianity and Pagan Philosophy.'
Porphyry, an enemy of Christianity, knew Origen when he was a young man and notes - 'his rapid improvements under Arnmonius' and acknowledges that Odgen continually persued Plato, Numenius and the rest of the Pythagreans; that he was well versed in Chaeremon the Stoic and in Cornutus; and, that from all these masters, he borrowed the Grecian manner of allegorical interpretation and applied it to the Jewish Scriptures.' ("Milner's History of the Church of Christ," page 111 ).
Origen was a brilliant scholar and prolific writer. It has been claimed he wrote 6,000 books. His scholarship has swayed the minds of those who are impressed with human brilliance. His doctrine was corrupt! He believed that Christ was 'born of the Father before all creatures', was a 'second God', and a 'creature' ("History of the Church," Walker, pages 75 and 76).
Origen held that men are only sinful angels and demons are more sinful men. That 'even the devil can yet ascend to higher worlds' ("Story of the Church," Ranwick, page 47). To Origen, punishment was only remedial and ultimately everybody will be saved. He was a Universalist and believed in reincarnation.
When Westcott and Hort comment that, "Origen's writings contain no certain traces of distinctively 'Syrian' (Received Text) readings," (page 548), we are not surprised. But when they attribute to Origen the honor of paraptuating the 'purer text' we are staggered. Quote: "The perpetuation of the purer text may in great measure be laid to the credit of the watchful scholars of Alexandria, its best representatives among the versions are the Egyptian, and especially that of Lower Egypt, and the quotations which follow it are most abundant in Clement, Origen, Dionysius, Peter) Didymus, and,the younger Cyril,, all Alexandrians" (Page 550)
It is now only a few years ago that I listened to a Keswick Conference speaker expounding the doctrine of 'the eternal generation of the Son' taught by Origen. The Bible teaches that Christ had no beginning and that He, as God, is co-eternal with the Father.
In the early 4th Century it was the Arian heresy which first shook and for awhile dominated the Church. Arius got his doctrine from Origen, and the Jehovah's Witness sect today have joined the same camp with their teaching that Christ was the first of God's created beings.
Emperor Constantine and Eusebius were Arians in belief. Constantine who "professed" Christianity wrote a letter to Eusabius requesting 50 copies of the scriptures to be made and sent to him. Eusebius complied, and many scholars believe that Codices B and Aleph are actually two of these copies.
It is significant that Aleph and B, almost alone refer to Christ as 'the only begotten God' instead of "the only begotten Son." This is Arian heresy teaching that. Christ was a "begotten God," when God could never be hegotten! Only the Son, born of the Virgin Mary, conceived of the Holy Spirit could be begotten of God! (John 1:18).
When the persecutions of Christians ceased about 313 A.D. under Constantine, the copies of scripture multiplied and the question that Westcott and Hort could not fathom was "Why didn't they accept the Alexandrian manuscripts?" Especially since these had the support of an Arian Emperor. They state .".. the Syrian text grew in influence... at last the Syrian text almost wholly displaced the rest" (Page 552).
To accept the 19th Century theory which underlies almost all modern versions. we would have to believe that the text which has been preserved by faithful Christians (not Pagan/Christian scholars) has all been a mistake, and God has failed to keep His promise to preserve His Word! "God has not failed!" Erasmus (1516) recognised the True Text and rejected the readings of Codex Vaticanus (B), Beza (1598) recognised it and rejected the readings of Codex Bezas (D). The 47 learned men who translated the Authorised Version (1611 ) followed the Reformers, (Luther, Tyndale etc.) and recognised the True Text, divinely preserved in the majority of manuscripts, and known as the Received Text, Byzantine Text or Majority Text. (Syrian Text by Westcott and Hort)
The Authorised or King James Version (1611 ) closely follows the True Text, as does also the King James II Version (1971 ). Many attempts have been made to replace it, but all have failed! Modernists and Liberal ministers become angry at the usage of the A.V. Why? The answer is simple. They find an affinity with the RSV., N.E.B., T.E.V., etc., because they themselves do not believe in the great fundamental doctrines of the Scriptures, which are deleted and watered down in these versions.
The tragedy of our day is that many fine evangelical christians have been deceived into accepting modern sibstitutes, being told that these are based on "better manuscripts."
We may rest assured that just as God preserved His Word from corruption in days gone by, so today, amid the GREAT APOSTACY of the LAST DAYS, He will give discernment to His People.
Available manuscripts, quite apart from their contents, divide into two (2) main groups. These are known as UNCIALS and CURSIVES. The majority of manuscripts are cumives. UNCIALS are capital letters in the Greek alphabet and CURSIVES are lower case letters.
The dating of manuscripts is based chiefly on the STYLE of writing used.
The scholars have generalised that cursive writing was less ancient than uncials, therefore the uncials are older and, in their opinion, more reliable.
Evidence is given in the leaflet "Modern Versions and Ancient Manuscripts," that it is extremely difficult to determine, within 100 or 200 years, the age of a manuscript, on the basis of style of writing alone.
Cursive writing was known in pre-christian times! A fact which should be kept in mind when considering the antiquity of the manuscripts.
However, supposing ALL of the early manuscripts were written in uncials, what have we proved? The fact of the matter is, that extant uncial manuscripts cover a period (esti mated) from 4th to 10th Century and SOME OF THESE UNCIALS AGREE WITH THE MASS OF CURSIVE MANUSCRIPTS! e.g. Codex A in the Gospels (5th Century).
When the cursives were copied, say in 900 A.D. there were, no doubt, many ancient manuscripts available then, which are not available today! So that a cursive manuscript copied in the year 1000 A.D. could very well have been copied from a master dating back to the 3rd or 4th Century.
The life of the vellum sheets was extremely long and at that time these would only be 500 or 600 years old! The most recent manuscripts available today are about 500 years old! So the first cursives would have required masters no older than our most recent copies, in order to PREDATE THE OLDEST EXTANT VELLUM UNCIAL MANUSCRIPTS.
It has been argued that vellum (calf skin) was not used till about the 4th Century and therefore the masters used for the cursive and later uncials COULD NOT PREDATE CODEX B OF THE 4TH CENTURY! If all scriptures were written on Papyrus, before the 4th Century, and these survived only 100 years at best, (except in Egypt's dry climate), then the number of times the scriptures were recopied would have been greatly increased.
The evidence shows that animal skins were in common use througout the entire early church period!
The Dead Sea Scrolls, dated 100 B.C., were written on parchment (i.e. skins) and have survived 2000 years!
The apostle Paul used parchment! In 2 Timothy 4:13, Paul requests of Timothy .".. bring... the books, but ESPECIALLY THE PARCHMENTS." Kenneth S. Wuest says "The books Paul asked for were papyrus rolls." The parchment manuscripts (Membrana) were made from skins of sheep, goats or antelopes, or of vellum, which later was made from the skins of young calves." ("Word Studies," page 167)
"Strongs Exhaustive Concordance" states that the literal meaning of parchment from the Greek is, "sheep skins."
The True Text was not an invention of the 4th Century! It can be found scattered through the most ancient manuscripts, and has valuable testimony from quotations in the writings of the early Church fathers (2nd and 3rd Centuries).
Early translations into various languages bear valuable testimony to the True Text. The Peshitta Syriac Version, which is generally accepted as being translated in the 2nd Century, follows closely the Received Text. There seems little doubt that this version existed before 170 A.D. and must have been translated from Greek manuscripts of the Byzantine type which were then CURRENT AND ACCEPTED AMONG CHRISTIANS!
The Received Text can be traced, right back to the days immediately following the Apostles and when due allowance has been made on one hand for the corruption of a few ancient manuscripts by early Alexandrian scholars, and on the other hand, for the Providence of God in preserving His Word, it is evident that the Bible Believing Christian can confidently take the majority of manuscripts, the Received Text and our English Authorised Version as being the eternal Word of God!
Already we are hearing of many who are abandoning the modern versions and returning to the A.V. Under God this tide will rise and the corrupt versions will be overthrown as they have in the past, LET THOSE WHO KNOW THE TRUTH, BE FAITHFUL TOWARD THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN DECEIVED.
"When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him."
WHICH BIBLE -- Dr. David Otis Fuller - This book provides an outline of the history of the Text and traces God's Providential Preservation of His Word -- An exciting bookl
TRUE OR FALSE -- Dr. David Otis Fuller - An evaluation of the Westcolt and Hort theory. Price on request.
THE KING JAMES VERSION DEFENDED -- Dr. Edward F. Hills
GOD WROTE ONLY ONE BIBLE -- J.J. Ray - 44 Versions are tested by 162 scriptures. This enables the reader to check out any one of these versions against the Received Text.
200 KEY REFERENCES -- J.J. Ray - An eight (8) page leaflet, listing 200 OMISSIONS from the scriptures in modern versions.
BIBLES -- Authorised Version (King James) Price on request.
INTERLINEAR GREEK -- ENGLISH Textus Receptus
TRINITARIAN BIBLE SOCIETY LEAFLETS
THE CHRISTIAN BOOK CENTRE 16 Roope St. New Town, Tas. 7008 PH: (002) 28 2236
EVANGELISTIC LITERATURE ENTERPRISE P.O. Box 10 Brendale, Qld. 4500 Ph: (O7) 2O5 7100
J. Ecob 12 Ningoola Way Orange N.S.W. 2800
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