Lesson Ten: Textual Considerations
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6
Contextually the above citation concerns the strengthening of Zerubbabel with regard to building the Temple. The Almighty God informed his servant that the accomplishment of this deed would not be fulfilled by the potency and purpose of human authorities, but by His Spirit. For us, there is a deeper and continuous meaning. Successful endeavors for God can auspiciously be completed without the might and power of human ingenuity. It is the Spirit of God which brings such things to fruition. The Believer lives his or her life with the undeniable assurance that the unseen hand of the Lord gently intervenes in their daily affairs. The Apostle Paul reminds us of this in writing, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Therefore, assurance in the promises and abilities of God outweigh the evidences and efforts of man.
In regard to the study of textual criticism, Dr. Edward F. Hills referred to the intervention of God and the preservation of His words as the common faith. Hills writes:
It was out of this common faith, therefore, that the printed Textus Receptus was born through the editorial labors of Erasmus and his successors under the guiding hand of God. Hence during the Reformation Period the approach to the New Testament text was theological and governed by the common faith in holy Scripture, and for this reason even in those early days the textual criticism of the New Testament was different from the textual criticism of other ancient books. (Edward F. Hills, The King James Version Defended [1956; reprint, Des Moines: The Christian Research Press, 1984], 62-63.)
In expounding the guiding hand of God in the efforts of Erasmus and his posterity, Hills presents the three-fold foundation to this common faith.
When we believe in Christ, the logic of faith leads us first, to a belief in the infallible inspiration of the original Scriptures, second, to a belief in the providential preservation of this original text down through the ages, and third, to a belief in the Bible text current among believers as the providentially preserved original text. This is the common faith which has always been present among Christians. For Christ and His Words are inseparable, and faith in Him and in the holy Scriptures has been the common characteristic of all true believers from the beginning. (Ibid., 193.)
In today’s age of human enlightenment, this position is rejected and even belittled. In reference to John Burgon and F. H. Scrivener, both defenders of the Textus Receptus, Dr. Alexander Souter states that, “These writers appear to have left few, if any, successors.” (Alexander Souter, The Text And Canon Of The New Testament [New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1917], 102.) And yet, over seventy years after Souter’s remark Kurt Aland had to address Burgon and the supporters of the Traditional Text.
Despite their clamorous rhetoric, the champions of the Textus Receptus (led primarily by Dean John William Burgon) were defending deserted ramparts. But their battle was not conclusively lost until the Novum Testamentum Graece of Eberhard Nestle (1815-1913) was published in 1893 . . .This signaled the retreat of the Textus Receptus from both church and school. (Kurt and Barbara Aland, The Text Of The New Testament, “trans.” Erroll F. Rhodes [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989], 19.)
Apparently the followers of the Traditional Text have in fact survived theonslaught of textual critics. Otherwise James R. White would have had no need to have written his book, The King James Only Controversy. In referencingthose who generally hold to the preservation of the words of God through the Traditional Text, and Edward Hills specifically, White states:
Anyone who believes the TR to be infallible must believe that Erasmus, and the other men who later edited the same text in their own editions (Stephanus and Beza), were somehow “inspired,” or at the very least “providentially guided” in their work. Yet, none of these men ever claimed such inspiration. (James R. White, The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? [Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1995], 58.)
White is correct in stating that men such as Erasmus and his successors never claimed to be inspired. However, one would be at a loss to find any who claim that they were. Inspiration and providential guidance are not the same things; confusing the two simply ignores the real arguments raised.
Support for the Traditional Text has not, as Souter and Aland had hoped, disappeared. Nor, contrary to White and others, is it limited to independent groups such as many Baptists and the King James Only movement. Recently the Greek Orthodox Church released a Study Bible based on the text of the New King James Version. In their preface they state:
Since the 1880s most contemporary translations of the New Testament have relied upon a relatively few manuscripts discovered chiefly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Such translations depend primarily on two manuscripts, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, because of their greater age. The Greek text obtained by using these sources and the related papyri (our most ancient manuscripts) is known as the Alexandrian Text. However, some scholars have grounds for doubting the faithfulness of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, since they often disagree with one another, and Sinaiticus exhibits excessive omission.
Another viewpoint of New Testament scholarship holds that the best text is based on the consensus of the majority of existing Greek manuscripts. This text is called the Majority Text. Most of these manuscripts are in substantial agreement. Even though many are late, and none is earlier than the fifth century, usually their readings are verified by papyri, ancient versions, quotations from the early Church Fathers, or a combination of these. The Majority Text is similar to the Textus Receptus, but it corrects those readings which have little or no support in the Greek manuscript tradition.
Today, scholars agree that the science of New Testament textual criticism is in a state of flux. Very few scholars still favor the Textus Receptus as such, and then often for its historical prestige. For about a century most have followed a Critical Text which depends heavily upon the Alexandrian type of text, and more recently many have abandoned this Critical Text for one that is more eclectic. A small but growing number of scholars prefer the Majority Text, which is closer to the traditional text except in the Revelation. . . (The Orthodox Study Bible, 1993 ed., s.v. “How to Use The Orthodox Study Bible,” xi.)
We must further acknowledge that arguments raised by naturalistic textual scholars do not lead to, nor are they based on, a solid Bibliology. They have failed to lay a Biblical basis for their approach to the subject, and one is not likely to be forth coming. In our first lesson we compared the foundational approach of modern scholarship with that of the holy scriptures. The naturalistic approach tends to lead to Biblical uncertainty even in regard to the original autographs. Note, for example, the following comment:
Not only are there many manuscripts, and fragments thereof, of the NT, but the various manuscripts have many differences among themselves. Presumably if we could ever recover the original manuscript of a NT book it would be very close to what its author intended. Even here, however, the text might not be completely correct. If the author wrote it himself, he could have made mistakes; if he dictated it to a scribe, the latter could have made mistakes. Even prior to the actual writing on papyrus or parchment, error can enter. A scribe can hear incorrectly. Particularly in Greek, the difference between a long vowel and a short vowel can make a difference in the meaning of a word, and the difference between the two when spoken can be difficult to catch. (Jack Finegan, Encounting New Testament Manuscripts [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974], 54.)
Therefore, the trustworthiness, preservation, and even inspiration of scripture can become ambiguous when solely approached in such fashion. This has not been the focus of these studies. Instead we have sought to fortify the Biblical foundation of scriptural preservation and therefore have complete confidence in its accuracy not based on the power and might of modern scholarship, but by the Spirit of the Living God.
There are, of course, several places in the Traditional Text that modern scholarship considers non-authoritative and not part of the original. Additionally, there are places which are considered mistranslated in the King James Version. Since variance within textual considerations is enormous and personal interpretation and translation is even more vastly defined, we cannot look at every passage which has been questioned by textual scholars or inspect every passage which someone claims to have been translated incorrectly. However, we shall consider several passages which opponents of the Traditional Text have denied as to their authenticity. Later, in our next lesson, we will consider what some have deemed mistranslations. But for now, we will limit ourselves to the textual considerations of the following passages. Matthew 6:13; Mark 1:2; Mark 16:9-20; Luke 2:22; John 5:4; John 7:53-8:11; Acts 8:37; Romans 8:1; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 3:14; 1 John 5:7; Revelation 5:14; Revelation 16:5; and Revelation 22:19.
Additionally, we will also consider various texts and translations which agree with the Authorized Version. The KJV translators wrote, “Neither did we think much to consult the translators or commentators, Chaldee, Hebrew, Syrian, Greek, or Latin, no, nor the Spanish, French, Italian, or Douch;” (Miles Smith, The Translators To The Readers [1611; reprint, London: Trinitarian Bible Society, 1970], 31.) The first grouping refer to manuscripts and texts based on manuscripts. The second group refers to foreign language translations which pre-date the Authorized Version, namely the Spanish Reina-Valera Version, the French Louis Segond Version, the Italian Giovanni Diodati Version, and the German translation of Martin Luther. All four of these translations, based on the Traditional Greek Text, became the authoritative/standard version for their people. Also, it is known that the translators of the Authorized Version considered early English translations such as Tyndale’s New Testament (1525), the Great Bible (1539), the Geneva Bible (1560) and the Bishops’ Bible (1568). In any case, such texts and translations will demonstrate that the passages we are to consider are not unique to the King James Bible only.
Matthew 6:13–And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
The argument raised concerning this text centers around the last half of the verse, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” It has been omitted from the Greek texts of the United Bible Societies and Eberhard Nestle. And, since most modern translations of the New Testament are based on these Greek texts, it is not part of the English text in most contemporary versions. Modern scholarship argues the passage is not genuine because it exists in various forms and is not harmonized in all of its citations. White states, “This kind of ‘variant cluster’ is a sure sign of a later addition.” (White, 252.) Bruce Metzger, as does White, argues the passage is a harmonistic corruption by scribes to unify the text with Luke 11:2-4 (Bruce M. Metzger, The Text Of The New Testament, 2nd ed. [Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1973], 197.).
Neither argument is substantive. To argue “variant clusters” is a lack of authenticity is to argue against the critical texts supported by modern scholarship. A review of either the United Bible Societies text or the Nestle-Aland text reveal a vast host of variant readings which modern scholarship supports. As was cited by the Greek Orthodox Study Bible, critical texts depend greatly on Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus which, “often disagree with one another.” (The Orthodox Study Bible, xi.) The argument for harmonization of Matthew 6 with Luke 11 is conjectural. This is revealed by Kurt Aland in his comment on the passage by asking, “. . . if the doxology originally stood in the gospel of Matthew, who would have deleted it?” (Aland, 306.) Questions and speculations do not alter the textual facts on this passage. While it is omitted in Alexandrian manuscripts such as Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Cantabrigiensis, it is found in a host of other sources.
Among the Greek uncials it is found in K (ninth century), L (eighth century), W (fifth century), DELTA (ninth century), THETA (ninth century), and PI (ninth century). It is found in the following Greek minuscules: 28, 33, 565, 700, 892, 1009, 1010, 1071, 1079, 1195, 1216, 1230, 1241, 1242, 1365, 1546, 1646, 2174 (dating from the ninth to the twelfth century). However, it is not without early witness. It is found in the Old Latin, the Old Syrian, and some Coptic versions (such as Coptic Bohairic). Old Latin texts, such as Codices Monacensis (q-seventh century) and Brixianus (f-sixth century), read, “et ne nos inducas in temptationem. sed libera nos a malo. quoniam tuum est regnum. et uirtus. et gloria in saecula. amen.”
The Syriac Peshitto (second to third century) reads, “And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever: Amen.” (James Murdock, The Syriac New Testament from the Peshitto Version [Boston: H.L. Hastings, 1896], 9.)
John Chrysostom cites the verse in the fourth century. In his Homilies this blessed Saint writes, “. . .by bringing to our remembrance the King under whom we are arrayed, and signifying him to be more powerful than all. ‘For thine,’ saith he, ‘is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.’ ” (St. Chrysostom, “Homily XIX,” in The Preaching of Chrysostom, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan [Philadelphia: Fortress Press], 145.)
The oldest witness, which outdates all Greek manuscripts on this passage, is the Didache. Otherwise known as the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, this ancient catechism dates to the early second century, some dating it shortly after 100 AD. In it we have a form of the Lord’s Payer which supports the reading found in the Traditional Text.
Do not let your fasts be with the hypocrites. They fast on Monday and Thursday; but you shall fast on Wednesday and Friday. Do not pray as the hypocrites do, but as the Lord commanded in His gospel, you shall pray thus: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the power and the glory forever.’ Pray thus three times a day. (W. A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers [Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1970], 3.)
It is also interesting to note that in his studies on old papyri, Dr. George Milligan includes a sixth century prayer which incorporates the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6. Despite the fact that this papyri is badly worn, it clearly contains the phrase in question. Milligan notes, “a passage which some may be tempted to quote in support of the A.V. rendering of Mt. vi 13.” (George Milligan, Selections From The Greek Papyri [Cambridge: University Press, 1912], 132-134.) He is correct, for the papyri shows that the verse as it stands in the Traditional Text was commonly used by Christians.
The passage stands in the authoritative/standard foreign versions (Spanish, French, Italian, and German) which pre-date the King James. For example, we read in the Reina-Valera Version, “Y no nos metas en tentacion, mas libranos del mal: porque tuyo es el reino, y el poder, y la gloria, por todos los siglos. Amen.” While one who does not read Spanish may not recognize “reino” for kingdom, or “poder” for power, the word “gloria” is easily recognized as glory. Additionally, the verse stands in all the early English versions which the KJV translators used such as the New Testament of William Tyndale (1525). “And leade us not into temptacion: but delyver us from evyll. For thyne is the kingdome and the power, and the glorye for ever. Amen.”
Mark 1:2-3–As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Modern scholarship declares that the passage should read, “en to Isaia to profete” (in the Isaiah the Prophet). This is supported by uncials Vaticanus (fourth century), Sinaiticus (fourth century), along with L and DELTA. The same reading is found in the minuscules 33, 565, 892, and 1241. There is a slight variant to this reading found in uncials D and THETA, and minuscules 700, 1071, 2174. In these the text reads, “en Isaia to profete.” (in Isaiah the Prophet). If we were to impose White’s variant cluster rule to this passage, we would have to excuse the reading which is supported by modern scholarship. Not only is there a variant in the readings of the Alexandrian texts (Isaiah the Prophet or the Isaiah the Prophet), but there is also a variant reading in verse one. Sinaiticus simply reads, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ” and omits the phrase, “the Son of God” which is found in Codex Vaticanus.
In support of the Traditional Text, “Os gegraptai en tois profetais” (as it is written in the prophets) we have uncials A, K, P, W, PI and minuscules 28, 1009, 1010, 1079, 1195, 1216, 1230, 1242, 1252, 1344, 1365, 1546, 1646, 2148. Thus the Greek support dates from the fourth century onward. Additionally we also find the same reading in the Syriac Harclean version (616 AD), the Armenian version (fourth to fifth century) and the Ethiopic versions of the sixth century.
It also receives Patristic citations from Church Fathers such as Irenaeus (202 AD), Photius (895 AD), and Theophylact (1077 AD). In Against Heresies, Irenaeus writes:
Wherefore also Mark, the interpreter and follower of Peter, does thus commence his Gospel narrative: “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way”. . . Plainly does the commencement of the Gospel quote the words of the holy prophets, and point out Him at once, whom they confessed as God and Lord; (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson [trans.], The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1926 ed., s.v. “Irenaeus Against Heresies 3:10:5,” 425-426.)
All the early English versions agree with the King James as do the authoritative/standard foreign versions. Luther’s German version reads, “Als geschrieben stehet in den Propheten:” (as it is written in the Prophets). However, this has been revised in modern German editions to match the views of modern textual criticism. Thus we have the new German reading, “Wie geschrieben steht im Propheten Jesaja:”. The same thing is true of the Spanish Reina-Valera Version. The 1960 revision reads, “Como esta escrito en Isaias el profeta:”. Yet, the original 1602 edition read, “Como esta escripto en los prophetas.”
Contextually there arises a problem with the reading as found in the Alexandrian Text and modern versions. The passage cites both the Prophet Malachi (3:1), and the Prophet Isaiah (40:3). The reading, “As it is written in Isaiah the Prophet” seems inconsistent. Yet, it is justified by modern scholarship in claiming that even though both prophets are quoted, Isaiah was the major prophet and therefore he takes prominence.
To illustrate their point, modern scholars will reference the student to Matthew 27:9, “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value.” The passage, they claim, is not really a citation of Jeremiah, but comes from Zachariah 11:12. Thus, Jeremiah being the major prophet receives prominence as well.
However, this point can be argued. First, the text in Matthew 27 does not read, “As it is written in Jeremy the Prophet” but merely states, “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy.” God, being the Author of Scripture, is quite aware of who writes what and who speaks what. Simply because Zachariah writes the passage does not mean Jeremiah did not speak it. Secondly, this fact was not overlooked by Zachariah who warned Israel to pay attention to what the former prophets had spoken. “Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, . . .?” (Zachariah 7:7). Matthew Henry points out that the Jews had a saying, “The spirit of Jeremiah was in Zechariah.” Therefore, much of what Zechariah received, he did so from both the Lord and the former prophet, Jeremiah. Thirdly, while the passage in Zachariah does speak of thirty pieces of silver and the potter (verse 13), it is somewhat different from the Matthew passage. “And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if no, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.” (Zachariah 11:12-13). Lastly, the passage in Matthew 27 connects of the children of Isarel with the potter’s field (verses 9-10). In Jeremiah 18:1-8, the house of Israel is connected with the potter’s house.
However, none of this addresses the real issue here in Mark 1:2. The passage does not claim, “what was spoken by . . .” as we have it in Matthew 27. Instead, it is much more emphatic in stating, “As it is written in . . .” It is more truthful to say, “As it is written in the prophets” when citing two prophets, then to say, “As it is written in Isaiah the Prophet,” when citing two prophets. Further, the weight of the textual support favors the reading as it stands in the Authorized Version as does the weight of the endurance of the reading throughout the centuries. Therefore the reading as we have it in the Traditional Text not only is textually but also contextually correct.
Although the translators of the King James Version did not have access to many of the Greek texts which seek to usurp the authority of the Traditional Text, they were very much aware of the reading. The phrase, “Isaiah the Prophet” is found in the Latin Vulgate and thus was translated into English in 1582 by the Catholic Rheims Version. “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the sonne of God. As it is written in Esay the Prophet.” However, early Protestant versions all upheld the reading of the Traditional Text as reflected in the 1539 translation of the Great Bible, “The begynnynge of the Gospell of Jesu Chryst the sonne of God, as it is written in the Prophetes.” Such variants between the Catholic and Protestant versions caused the KJV translators to declare, “. . . and all is sound for substance in one or other of our editions, and the worst of ours far better than their authentic vulgar.” (Smith, 22.)
Mark 16:9-20–Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
This passage is referred to as the longer ending to Mark. Textual critics delight in proclaiming this passage as questionable and therefore either remove it from the text or separate the passage with brackets. Objecting to the passage, Kurt and Barbara Aland proclaim, “At least the shorter ending of Mark (as well as the longer ending of Mark 16:9-20) was not a part of the gospel in its original form, although both may well be from the beginning of the second century.” (Aland and Aland, 232.) Although admitting that he did not consider the passage original, Dr. Bruce Metzger leaves the maxim of modern textual critics, “Brevior lectio potior” (the shorter reading is preferable), and supported the reading. In a 1994 interview with Christian History, Metzger stated:
The earliest Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, and Latin manuscripts end the Gospel of Mark at 16:8: “The women said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” That does not sound like an appropriate ending for a book of good news, so some early scribes, undertaking their own research, added what they thought would be appropriate endings. . . Many translators, including myself, consider verses 9 through 20 to be a legitimate part of the New Testament. (Christian History, Interview with Dr. Bruce Metzger downloaded from Christian History Magazine on 9/17/96.)
The passage is missing from the Alexandrian texts of both Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Also, the passage is omitted in minuscule 2386 (an obscure manuscript), the Syrian Sinaitic Version, and a few other translations such as some of the Georgian Versions of the fifth century. However, it is in the following uncials: A, C, D, K, X, DELTA, THETA, and PI, all of which date from between the fifth and ninth centuries. It is also contained in the later dated minuscules such as 137, 138, 1110, 1210, 1215, 1216, 1217, 1221, and 1582. Further it is the reading found in the majority of Old Latin texts as well as the Coptic Versions and other early translations.
The passage, additionally, receives enthusiastic support from many of the early Church Fathers. Irenaeus (202 AD) cites Mark 16:19 in his book, Against Heresies. He writes:
Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: “So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God;” confirming what had been spoken by the prophet. (Staint Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3:10:5.)
Ambrose (397 AD) cites Mark 16:17-18:
Therefore, it was with good reason that the Lord became a stage, so that the word of the Lord might prepare such stages for Himself; of these He says, “In my name they shall cast out devils, they shall speak in new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.” Indeed they took up serpents, when His holy Apostle cast out the spiritual forces of wickedness from their hiding places in the body by breathing on them and did not feel deadly poisons. When the viper came forth from the bundle of sticks and bit Paul, the natives, seeing the viper hanging from his hand, thought he would suddenly die. But he stood unafraid; he was unaffected by the wound, and the poison was not infused into him. (Saint Ambrose, The Prayer of Job and David, 4:1:4.)
Augustine (430 AD) cites Mark 16:15 and then refers to verses 17-18. “Ye heard while the Gospel was read, Go preach the Gospel to the whole creation which is under heaven. Consequently the disciples were sent everywhere with signs and wonders to attest that what they spake, they had seen.” (Saint Augustine, Homilies On The Epistle of John To The Parthians, IV:2).
If the early Fathers did not believe in the authenticity of this passage, they wouldnot have cited it. However, we see that it is cited in the end of the second century, the end of the fourth century, and the beginning of the fifth century by orthodox Church Fathers. This, coupled with the massive support of both Greek and other manuscripts which include the passage and the limited support for removing the passage, demonstrate the dedication modern scholarship has for the Alexandrian Codices of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.
Luke 2:22–And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
Here the variant is small, but the difference is profuse. The Authorized Version uses the phrase, “of her purification” (Greek: kathapismou autes ). Modern versions, for the most part, read, “of their purification” (Greek: kathapismou auton). Contextually, the reading must stand as we have it in the King James Version. Under the Levitical Law a woman was considered unclean after giving birth and needed purification. The passage in Leviticus 12: 2-4 reads:
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.
The citation is quite clear: this was “her purifying” and not the purifying of both mother and child. Therefore, the Authorized Version agrees with the Levitical Law.
To offset this point, some have suggested that the “them” in the passage referred not to Mary and Jesus, but to Mary and Joseph. The argument is that since Joseph and Mary are mentioned in verse 16 and referred to in the second half of verse 22, the “them” referred to the married couple. Agreeing with this we have the reading of the Catholic New American Bible, “When the day came to purify them according to the law of Moses, the couple brought him up to Jerusalem so that he could be presented to the Lord.” The obvious doctrinal problem with this is that under the Law of Moses, as set forth in Leviticus 12, the woman, not the husband, needed purification after giving birth. Therefore, the best contextual reading would agree with the Authorized Version, as it would support both the Old Testament Law and the actions presented in Luke’s Gospel.
In an Online debate between James White and myself, Brother White claimed Luke 2:22 was an error in the text of the King James Version. His reasoning is as follows:
First, the VAST MAJORITY of Byzantine manuscripts read “their” (auton). The Majority Text reads “their.” 99.5% of all manuscripts of this passage read “their.” There are a very small number that read “autou” (not noted by Dr. Holland, though having more support than the KJV reading), and there may be a grand total of 3 very late manuscripts that have the KJV reading, the only one we know of being 76, a minuscule text from the 14th century! That means the KJV’s reading cannot be traced anywhere earlier than the 14th century, and most feel that this is actually a conjectural emendation made by Beza as he wouldn’t have known of minuscule 76. (Downloaded from America OnLine/ Christianity Today/ King James Bible Only/ Subj: Luke 2:22/ Date: 95-08-21 22:09:17 EDT/From: Orthopodeo.)
In addition, White repeats this on his Web Site in a open letter concerning Dr. Peter S. Ruckman.
The first passage Ruckman chose to address was my citation of Luke 2:22. This passage is mentioned only twice in my book, once in a table, once in an endnote. Yet it is an excellent example of the textual problems in the Textus Receptus (TR). It also allows us to see just how much KJV Only advocates are really dedicated to the “truth” or to their own traditions. . .99.9% of all Greek manuscripts of Luke read “their”! This includes the entire Byzantine manuscript tradition, which is always called upon by KJV Only advocates as the “pure” form of the text. As Hills admits, he knows of only a few Greek minuscules and manuscript 76 that support the TR reading. Indeed, Beza was probably unaware of those sources, and simply made a “conjectural emendation,” which is a nice was of saying, “He didn’t like the way it read in all the manuscripts, so he changed it without evidence.” Let’s think about what this means. The earliest we can trace the specific reading “her” in the Greek manuscripts is to the 14th century-almost a millennium and a half after Luke wrote the passage. (James R. White, James White Responds To Dr. Ruckman, downloaded on 9/10/96 from http://net387.texas.net/ao.html.)
The statements are factually and textually incorrect. While White is accurate in stating that most of the Greek manuscripts read “of their purification,” he is incorrect in assuming that the passage was a conjectural emendation made by Beza in the late 1500s. He is incorrect in the dating of his manuscript evidence. He is incorrect in omitting evidence which supports the reading “of her.” One also cannot help but notice that his statistical data has changed from 99.5% to 99.9%m which causes us to wonder if he is simply making up the statistics or if he has any data to support the number given and if he can explain the 0.4% increase. He claims that Beza was making a conjectural emendation in his Greek text in Luke 2:22. A conjectural emendation is when a text is adjusted for one reason or another, thereby emending it. The new reading produced, which is a conjecture to replace the old reading, will therefore lack textual evidence. White is claiming the reading, “of her purification,” was simply an educated guess made by Beza without textual support. However, White has made a fundamental error. To state, “the KJV’s reading cannot be traced anywhere earlier than the 14th century,” shows a lack of understanding in the field of textual criticism and causes one to wonder how such absurd accusations can be made by one who is considered an expert in upholding the views of modern translations and their Greek texts.
The only textual support cited by White is minuscule 76 which he claims is from the fourteenth century. According to Kurt and Barbara Aland, and the United Bible Societies Greek Text, 76 comes from the twelfth century. (Aland and Aland, 141. United Bible Societies Greek Text, 2nd edition, 1968, xviii.) He also omits the textual support of 2174 which does date to the fourteenth century.
While the text is lacking Greek support, it is not lacking other textual support. The Latin Vulgate (fourth century) and later the Latin Codex Brixianus read, “et postquam impleti sunt dies purgationis eius secundum legem mosi” (And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses). The Latin word “eius,” or more commonly “ejus,” stands in the feminine genitive singular, thus “of her.” If the Latin texts had used “eorum” (of them) the reading would have supported modern versions and White’s contention. In fact, almost all of the Old Latin Codices support the reading, with the exception of Codex Monacensis (seventh century). It is found in the Old Latin Codex Vercellensis of the fourth century, and Latin texts of the fifth century such as Codex Curiensis, Codex Veronensis, and Codex Corbeiensis II. Plus, it is found in later Latin manuscripts such as Codex Usserianus I (seventh century) and Codex Rhedigeranus (eighth century). Therefore, we see that this reading stands throughout time in the Old Latin manuscripts.
This reading is not without Greek manuscript endorsement either. Beza’s Codex D (sixth century), which is highly acclaimed among textual scholars, has the reading “autou” (of it). While the reading “autns” (of her) is preferred and is written thus in minuscules 76 and 2174, both readings stand in the genitive singular and not the plural as *”auton” (of them) does. Additionally, we find the reading, “of her purification,” in the Old Syriac version (Sinaitic, second century) and the Sahidic Coptic version (third century).
White states that Beza interjected a conjectural emendation. Metzger defines a conjectural emendation as when, “the only reading, or each of several variant readings, which the documents of a text supply is impossible or incomprehensible, the editor’s only remaining resource is to conjecture what the original reading must have been.” (Metzger, The Text Of The New Testament, 182.) Beza was not making a conjectural emendation in his Greek text. He was making a textual decision for he had Latin, Greek, and other translations which read “of her.”
There was, however, a conjectural emendation by Beza in his Latin text. Beza’s New Testament had three running columns side by side. The first was his Greek text, the second his Latin translation, and the third the Latin Vulgate. Additionally, at the bottom of each page he made textual and doctrinal notes. His Latin translation reads, “Et quum impleti fuissent dies purgationis Mariae” (And when the days of Mary’s pruification were fulfilled). Beza states that his conjectural emendation of “Mary” instead of “her” is proper based on the Levitical Law. He further states in a footnote that the reading “of them” is improper and distorts the sense of scripture. Beza notes,
Most of the (Greek) Codices read “of them” and likewise so does Origen, and unfortunately so does Erasmus. However, they have not considered what the actual Law says about the purification of the mother. And so consequently the old editions (of the Greek) are unfavorable . . . because they have distorted the truth of scripture and in some degree have lessened the image of Mary’s purity. (Theodore Beza, Nouum Sive Nouum Foedus Iesu Christi, 1589. Translated into English from the Latin footnote.)
Both Tyndale and the Great Bible have the reading as we find it in the majority of Greek manuscripts. Tyndale reads, “And when the tyme of their purificacion (after the lawe of Moyses) was come.” However, the Geneva and Bishops’ Bibles read “her purification.” Of course, the Catholic Rheims Version would also read the same, being based on the Latin Vulgate which we have already shown to support the reading of the Traditional Text here. Thus it reads, “And after the daies were fully ended of her purification according to the law of Moyses, they caried him into Hierusalem, to present him to our Lord.”
James White wrote, “Let’s think about what this means.” It means that some textual critics are willing to present partial evidence, distort information, redefine terminology, and simply make up statistical data in order to hold “to their own traditions.”
John 5:4–For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
The whole verse is retained in all the early English versions as well as the Spanish, French, Italian, and German Bibles. However, it has been omitted in modern versions by either bracketing the verse or confining it to a footnote. The passage is explanatory and sets forth the reason as to why there were those waiting near the healing waters of Bethesda.
Dr. Donald A. Carson addresses this text and offers his reason for rejecting the authenticity of the passage. “. . . when I turn to John 5:3b-4 and discover it is missing from the earliest witnesses, which constitute a wide geographical distribution indeed, I conclude it was not in the original.” (D. A. Carson, The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979], 70). Kurt and Barbara Aland resort to the “Brevior lectio potior” adage and claim that the passage was inserted later by way of a legendary account.
But in John 5:3b-4 we meet another category: expansions of the original text by various later legendary supplements developed from the account itself. From the attestation for the “shorter text” it should be clear that the expansion of the ending of verse 3 and the whole of verse 4 represents a later insertion. (Aland and Aland, 303.)
The verse is omitted in P66 (second or early third century) and P75 (third century). These Egyptian papyrus manuscripts are extremely old and therefore carry considerable weight among textual critics. However, as we have seen in past lessons and will again consider later, such papyrus are not strictly Alexandrian and often reflect independent readings, sometimes even supporting the Traditional Text. Age is not the final consideration for we must not only consider where the manuscripts have been discovered, but why they were preserved. After all, manuscripts which were greatly used would not be expected to last as long as those which were seldomly used. Further, we can expect those which were greatly used to be represented in greater number as they were copied and recopied thoughout the centuries.
Additional textual support against the verse is in Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, Codex C, D (which does contain 3b), and W (although added in the text later by a different scribe). There are also about three other Greek manuscripts which do not contain the verse as well as a few Latin manuscripts, including the Vulgate, and some other translations.
If we were to take Dr. Carson’s statement at face value and consider the authenticity of a verse or passage because of the amount of witnesses and the various locations of these witnesses, as well as the age of these witnesses, we would be forced to attest to the authenticity of the passage because all of these factors support the reading as found in the Traditional Text and the Authorized Version of 1611.
The passage is found in Codices A, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, DELTA, THETA, PSI and the third corrector of C. Thus the uncial evidence throughout the old world dating from the fourth to the ninth century support the verse. The Greek minuscules overwhelming support the verse as it is found in 28, 565, 700, 892, 1009, 1010, 1071, 1195, 1216, 1230, 1241, 1242, 1253, 1344, 1365, 1546, 1646, and 2148. It is also contained in the majority of Old Latin manuscripts and early translations throughout the old world.
The verse is found in the Old Coptic Version as edited from the Coptic manuscript Huntington 17 and is translated into English as follows: “There was an angel (who) came down every hour in the pool, and moved the water. And any one (who) shall come down first after the moving of the water shall be healed of every sickness which (may) be his.” (The Coptic Version Of The New Testament: In The Northern Dialect, vol. II [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1898], 377-379.)
The same is true of the Old Syriac. James Murdock translated the passage from the Peshitto as follows: “For an angel, from time to time, descended into the baptistery, and moved the waters; and he who first went in, after the moving of the waters, was cured of whatever disease he had.” (Murdock, 172).
Nor is the passage without Patristic citations. The Orthodox Study Bible informs us that
This passage, explaining the presence of the sick around the pool, is often omitted from modern English translations because it appears in none of the oldest extant Greek manuscripts. Tertullian (c. A.D. 200) is the first Latin writer, and St. John Chrysostom (c. A.D. 400) the first Greek writer, to refer to it. (The Orthodox Study Bible, 224).
Therefore we have witnesses which date to the time of P66 and P75, such as Tertullian and the Peshitto Syriac Version, as well as wide geographical and translational support, which favor the passage. Further, we see that this is the reading which is used by Bible believing Christians throughout the history of the Church.
Porque un angel descendia a cierto tiempo al estanque, y revolvia el agua; y el que primero descendia en el setanque despues del movimiento del aqua, era sano de cualquier enfermedad que tuviese.
car un ange descendait de temps en temps dans la piscine, et agitait l’eau; et celui qui y descendait le premier apres que l’eau avait ete agitee etait gueri, quelle que fut sa maladie.
Perciocche di temo in tempo un angelo scendeva nella pescina, ed intorbidava l’acqua; e il primo che vi entrava, dopo l’intorbidamento dell’ acqua, era santo, di qualunque malattia egli fosse tenuto.
Denn ein Engel suhr herab zu seiner Zeit in den Ziech, und bewegte das Wasser. Welcher nun der erste, nachdem das Wasser beweget war, hineinstieg, der ward gesund, mit welcherlei Leuche er behastet war.
English (Geneva Bible):
For an Angel went downe at a certeine season into the poole, and troubled the water, whosoever then first, after the stirring of the water, stepped in, was made whole of what soever disease he had.
John 7:53-8:11–And every man went unto his own house. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Among textual critics, this passage is designated “Pericope De Adultera” and refers to the woman caught in the act of adultery. The passage has long been questioned as genuine and is omitted in a great number of manuscripts. It is, of course, removed from Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, as well as L, N, T, W, X, Y DELTA, THETA, PSI, 053, and 0141 among the uncial manuscripts. It is also missing from several of the minuscules manuscripts; 22, 33, 157, 209, 565, 1230, 1241, 1242, 1253, and 2193.
However, the passage is in numerous uncials, including Codex D (Bazae Cantabrigiensis), G, H, K, M, U, and GAMMA. Among the minuscule/cursive manuscripts it is in 28, 700, 892, 1009, 1010, 1071, 1079, 1195, 1216, 1344, 1365, 1546, 1646, 2148, and 2174. It also is in early translations such as the Bohairic Coptic Version, the Syriac Palestinian Version and the Ethiopic Version, all of which date from the second to the sixth centuries, as well as in the majority of the Old Latin manuscripts and the Latin Vulgate by Jerome.
Further, the passage is cited by a number of Church Fathers. Among them are Didascalia (third century), Ambrosiaster (fourth century), Ambrose (fourth century), and is in the Apostolic Constitutions, which are the largest liturgical collections of writings from Antioch Syria in about 380 AD. Saint Augustine (430 AD) makes an astounding statement concerning the authenticity of this passage. After citing the forgiving phrase from Christ, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more,” Augustine writes:
This proceeding, however, shocks the minds of some weak believers, or rather unbelievers and enemies of the Christian faith: inasmuch that, after (I suppose) of its giving their wives impunity of sinning, they struck out from their copies of the Gospel this that our Lord did in pardoning the woman taken in adultery: as if He granted leave of sinning, Who said, Go and sin no more! (Saint Augustine, De Conjug. Adult., II:6.).
This passage is found in all the early English versions and the major translations of the Reformation.
Acts 8:37–And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Here the testimony of this Ethiopian eunuch has been removed in modern versions and their Greek texts. The verse is omitted by the standard Alexandrian codices, as well as P45 (third century), and P74 (seventh century). It is also omitted from several of the cursive manuscripts and early versions.
However, the passage is found in Codex E (eighth century) and in several other manuscripts. Also, it is in the Old Latin manuscripts (second to fourth century) and the Vulgate of Jerome (fourth century). Still further, the passage is cited by Irenaeus (202 AD) and Cyprian (258 AD). Thus, while not in the majority of the Greek witness, it does have both early and wide range support.
James White objects to the passage by claiming that it was introduced by Erasmus taking the reading from Jerome’s Vulgate.
Acts chapters 8 and 9 are also rather expanded in the TR due to material brought over from the Vulgate. If one looks up Acts 8:37 . . . in the NIV, one will not find such a verse (outside of the textual footnote, that is). The reason is the verse is found in only a very few Greek manuscripts, none earlier than the sixth century, and Erasmus inserted it due to its presence in the Vulgate and in the margin of one Greek manuscript in his possession. (White, The King James Only Controversy, 66.)
True, the passage in question appears in the Latin Vulgate of Jerome. However, it also appears in all the Old Latin manuscripts which pre-date the Vulgate. And, as already stated, Irenaeus cites it in his thesis Against Heresies (3:12:8). Dr. Bruce Metzger sees the citation by Erasmus in a different light and cites Erasmus himself on this issue.
Although the passage does not appear in the late medieval manuscript on which Erasmus chiefly depended for his edition (ms. 2), it stands in the margin of another (ms. 4), from which he inserted it into his text because he, “judged that it had been omitted by the carelessness of scribes (arbitror omissum librariorum incuria).” (Metzger, A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament, 360.)
It appears in all the early English Versions and all the authoritative/standard versions of the Reformation.
Romans 8:1–There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
This verse is called into question because of the phrase,”who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” The same phrase appears in verse 4. Scholarship has labeled this a scribal error. Scribal errors fall into a variety of categories, such as omissions, false recollection, confusion of letters, and insertions. Some others are a little more technical, such as the following. Haplography: The omission of one of a pair of letters or group of letters. Homoeoteleuton: Sometimes a text has the some phrase or words. Homoeoteleuton is when a scribe skips over a portion of the text and omits what is between the two like phrases. Dittography: The repetition of a letter, syllable, word, or phrase. The passage in Romans 8:1 is listed as a dittography scribal error by naturalistic Biblical scholars.
Scribal errors do occur as seen in the large amount of variances within the textual witnesses. There is, however, another perspective which modern scholarship fails to reconcile. While we live in the natural world, there is also a spiritual world which rages an ongoing battle around us (Ephesians 6:10-12). There is a spiritual force which seeks perversion and brings corruption to the texts. Advantageously, there is also a Spiritual Force which seeks purity and brings preservation to His Holy words. While we can expect natural corruption of the text because of human error, we can also expect corruption of the text because of the powers of darkness. And yet, we have the promise of God to keep and preserve His words and therefore we are assured of His success.
The passage in Romans 8:1 is by no means a scribal error (unless one inadvertly omitted the Biblical phrase). Instead, we must conclude upon both the textual promise of God concerning preservation and the contextual passage itself that the passage is genuine and has only been omitted by those forces which seek to pervert and not preserve. Having said this, let us look at both the textual evidence for the passage and the contextual importance of the phrase.
The Greek phrase, “ue kata sarka peripatousin alla kata pneuma” (who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.) is supported by a number of minuscules. Among them are 33, 88, 104, 181, 326, 330, 451, 614, 630, 1241, 1877, 1962, 1984, 1985, 2492, and 2495. These date from the eleventh to the fifteenth century. In fact, according to the United Bible Societies Greek Text, among the minuscule witness, only minuscules 1739 (tenth century) and 1881 (fourteenth century) support the reading which omits the phrase. The standard Alexandrian uncials also omit the phrase from verse one. But it is included in Codex K (ninth century), Codex P (ninth century), and stands in the corrected margin of both Codex Sinaiticus (fourth century) and Codex Claromontanus (sixth century). Also, it is included in the Latin Vulgate (fourth century), “nihil ergo nunc damnationis est his qui sunt in christo iesu qui non secundum carnem ambulant”, and the Old Syriac Peshitto (second century). The whole verse is cited, with the phrase in question, by Theodoret (466 AD), Ps-Oecumenius (tenth century), and Theophylact (1077 AD). We also have partial citation of the verse by Basil (379 AD). He writes,
And after he has developed more fully the idea that it is impossible for one who is in the power of sin to serve the Lord, he plainly states who it is that redeems us from such a tyrannical dominion in the words: “Unhapply man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I give thanks to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Further on, he adds: “There is now, therefore, no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh.” (Staint Basil, “Concerning Baptism,” in The Fathers Of The Church: Saint Basil Ascetical Works, “trans.” Sister M. Monica Wagner, vol. 9 [New York: Fathers Of The Church, Inc., 1950], 343.)
It therefore comes as no surprise that the whole verse is found in the authoritative/standard foreign versions which underlined the Authorized Version in 1611. Nor is it a surprise to find it in all early English versions. The Bishops’ Bible reads, “There is then no damnation to them which are in Christ Jesu, which walke not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Likewise, Tyndale’s New Testament, and the Great Bible use the word “damnation.” However, the Geneva Bible agrees with the King James and uses the English word “condemnation.”
Theologically, the omission of the last half of the verse carries a doctrinal error. To say that there is no condemnation whatsoever of any who are in Christ Jesus is to overlook the whole of scripture. In fact, we are told that it is very possible for those who are in Christ to suffer condemnation. If the Believer is walking, not after the Spirit but after the flesh, his or her works are nothing but wood, hay, and stubble. If the Believer is walking after the Spirit, and not after the flesh, his or her works are gold, silver, and precious stones. (1 Corinthians 3:12). Everyone’s works will be tried by fire. Fleshly works will be burned and Spiritual works will endure. We are told, “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:15).
The context of Romans chapter 8, verses 4-10, also teaches us that faithful Christians are to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. This has to do with our Christian living. The Christian is in a constant battle between the Spirit and the flesh (Galatians 5:16-18). There is no condemnation for the Believer who is following the Holy Spirit. However, there is condemnation for those who do not follow the leading of the Spirit, but seek to follow their own flesh.
We must remember that the word condemnation not only carries the meaning of judgment, but also of disapproval. John informs his “little children” that the heart of the Believer is able to pass such condemnation or disapproval on our Christian living. “For if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 John 3:20-21). Not only is there a judgment for Believers who stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:9-10) where their works will either be approved or disapproved (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). But there also can be a judgment on the Believer here which may cost them their very life if they continue in sin (Acts 5:1-10; 1 John 5:16). So, Biblically speaking, there is condemnation to those who walk after the flesh and not after the Spirit.
The use of this verse among the Reformers, as it stands in the Traditional Text, may be illustrated by citing John Calvin. In his commentary on Romans, Calvin writes of verse one:
“There is then, &c.” After having described the contest which the godly have perpetually with their won flesh, he returns to the consolation, which was very needful for them, and which he had before mentioned; and it was this,–That though they were still beset by sin, they were yet exempt from the power of death, and from every curse, provided they lived not in the flesh but in the Spirit . . . “After the Spirit.” Those who walk after the Spirit are not such as have wholly put off all the emotions of the flesh, so that their whole life is redolent with nothing but celestial perfection; but they are those who sedulously labour to subdue and mortify the flesh, so that the love of true religion seems to reign in them. (John Calvin, Commentaries On The Epistle Of Paul The Apostle To The Romans, “trans.” John Owen [1536; reprint, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1947], 275-276.)
Ephesians 3:9–And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
The Textus Receptus uses the Greek word, “koinonia” (fellowship). However, almost all Greek manuscripts of this passage use the Greek word, “oikonomia” (dispensation or stewardship). To this, James White states,
We have already noted the fact that the TR has a very unusual reading of “fellowship,” found only in the margin of minuscule manuscript 31 and a few other very late manuscripts, rather than the reading of all uncials, 99% of the minuscules, and all the early Fathers, which have “administration.” (White, King James Only Controversy, 179.)
Although we may have cause to question the statistical information provided, White is correct in stating that almost all of the Greek manuscripts and Church Fathers used the word “oikonomia” (administration). However, in addition to the minuscule manuscript 31, we may also add minuscule 57 (twelfth century) as using the word “koinonia” (fellowship). Additionally, Metzger notes that, “a few other minuscules,” contain the Greek word “koinonia.” (Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament [New York: United Bible Societies, 1968], 603.). Thus there are at least three or four Greek manuscripts which have the Greek word “koinonia.” In favor of the Greek word “oikonomia,” we have P46, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, and the correctors of Codices D, G, K, L, and P. Among the minuscules 17, 37, and 47 support the use of “oikonomia” instead of “koinonia.”
Early English versions, being based on the Textus Receptus of the Reformation, used the Greek word “koinonia” and thus the English word “fellowship.” The much beloved Geneva Bible reads, “And to make cleare unto all men what the felowship of the mysterie is, which from the beginning of the worlde hathe bene hid in God, who hathe created all things by Jesus Christ.”
“Oikonomia” is translated as “stewardship,” “administration,” and “dispensation” in various modern versions in Ephesians 3:9. On the other hand the word, “koinonia” is translated as “fellowship” (Acts 2:42), “communion” (2 Corinthians 6:14), *contribution* (Romans 15:26), and *distribution* (2 Corinthians 9:13) in the Authorized Version. There is a commonity here among these English words, and even among the two Greek words, for all of them reflect one who gives what he is a part of.
Dr. A. W. Thorold (Lord Bishop of Rochester) noted this in 1882. Commenting on Ephesians 3:9 he writes, ” ‘Fellowship.’ or, dispensation, in making Gentiles fellow-heirs with the Jews.” (A. W. Thorold, “The Epistle to the Ephesians,” in Commentary On The New Testament, vol. 2 [London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1882].) John Locke tied “fellowship,” “communication,” and “dispensation” together in 1707. Locke cites the Authorized Version’s reading of “fellowship” and then uses the meaning of “communicated” in his own paraphrase.
Tis h koinonia, What is the Communication, i.e. that they may have light from me, to see and look into the Reason and Ground of the Discovery or Communication of this Mystery to them now by Jesus Christ, who is now exhibited to the World, into whose hands God has put the Management of this whole Dispensation. (John Locke, A Paraphrase And Notes On The Epistles Of St. Paul To The Galatians, 1 And 2 Corinthians, Romans, Ephesians, Arthur W. Wainwright ed., vol. 2 [1707; reprint, Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1987], 640-641.)
Further, Dr. G. W. H. Lampe demonstrates that among the writings of the early Church Fathers, such as Justin Martyr and Clement, “koinonia” carried the meaning of distribution and imparting. (G. W. H. Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon [Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1961], 764.) Still further, the English word “fellowship” carries this same meaning which demonstrates a mutual sharing. Thus, the Greek words and all the English words reflect the meaning of giving what we are partakers of, which is the meaning of the passage in Ephesians 3:9.
In light of the definition, the use of the words, and the textual support, it seems rather ridiculous to cite this passage as an example of errata in the King James Bible. This passage can hardly be compared to places in modern editions where the Traditional Text is rejected and whole verses are missing or the context is completely changed.
Ephesians 3:14–For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
The Authorized Version is criticized on this verse by textual critics because the phrase, “of our Lord Jesus Christ” lacks Greek support among the early manuscripts. It is true that the phrase is missing from P46 (200 AD), Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Codices A, B, C and P. It is also missing from the cursives 33, 81, 1739, 1962, 2127, and 2492. Oddly, it does appear in the corrector (c) of Codex Sinaiticus, which contains many additions and corrections in its margins. It is also in D, G, K, and PSI. Among the cursives it is found in 88, 104, 181, 326, 330, 436, 451, 614, 629, 630, 1241, 1877, 1881, 1984, 1985, and 2495.
It is also found in the Old Latin and other early translations. The Syriac Peshitto Version (which has been dated as early as the second century and as late as the fifth century) reads, “And I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.” The reading is also found in the Old Gothic Version of the fourth century and the Old Armenian Version of about the same time.
It is cited by Ambrosiaster (fourth century), Victorinus of Rome (362 AD), Ephraem (373 AD), Chrysostom (407 AD), Theodore (428 AD), Theodoret (466 AD), John of Damascus (749 AD), and Photius (895 AD), showing that the reading has survived the onslaught of time.
Saint Basil (379 AD) founded the monastic system, put his faith into practice by beginning what was an early form of hospice care for terminally ill patients, and firmly believed that water baptism should follow only after conversion. In his thesis on the subject of baptism, he cites Ephesians 3:14:
In these and other passages of the kind, then, the Lord says that they who are born of the Spirit become spirit. The Apostle again testifies to the same truth when he says: “For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by His Spirit with might unto the inward man.” And if, living in the Spirit, we also walk in the Spirit, thus becoming receptive of the Holy Spirit, we shall be enabled to confess Christ; because, “no man can say the Lord Jesus but by the Holy Ghost.” (Saint Basil, 377-378.)
1 John 5:7–For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
The passage is called the Johannine Comma. It is not found in the majority of Greek manuscripts and is limited to few late manuscripts in Greek. For this reason, modern versions do not contain the verse. However, it should be remembered that there are not a large number of Greek manuscripts containing 1 John. Our final authority for this verse, or any other verse, does not rest in the hands of textual critics or the number of manuscripts, but in the promise of God to keep and preserve His words.
The Comma did not appear in the first two editions of Erasmus’ Receptus but was added to his third. Some have stated that Erasmus added the Comma reluctantly. Erasmus had been criticized for his earlier editions which did not contain the passage. Metzger writes, “In an unguarded moment Erasmus promised that he would insert the Comman Johanneum, as it is called, in future editions if a single Greek manuscript could be found that contained the passage. At length such a copy was found–or was made to order!” (Metzger, The Text Of The New Testament, 101.) This statement, however, is in question. Others have shown that Erasmus did not add the verse aversly, but was in fact searching for a Greek text which supported what was already in the Old Latin texts.(Donald L. Brake indicates this in his thesis presented to Dallas Theological Seminary and reprinted in the book Counterfeit Or Genuine, edited by Dr. David Otis Fuller [Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids International Publication, 1978], 205. This is futher verified by both Dr. Fuller and by Dr. Edward F. Hills in his book The King James Version Defended, 209.)
The first Greek manuscript found which contained the verse was minuscule 61 which dates to the late fifteenth century. However, three other Greek minuscules contain the verse, 88 (twelfth century), 629 (fourteenth century), and 635 (eleventh century). It is, nonetheless, supported by the Old Latin manuscripts which read, “Quoniam tres sunt, gui testimonium dant in coelo: Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus sanctus: et hi tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terra: Spiritus, et aqua, et sanguis: et hi tres unum sunt.” (verses 7-8). This Latin wording (which matches the English of the KJV) is important because of the like wording made by Cyprian (250 AD). Cyprian writes >>Dicit Dominus: ‘Ego et Pater unum sumus,’ et iterum de Patre et Filio et Spiritu sancto scriptum est: ‘Et tres unim sunt.'<< (The Lord says, “I and the Father are One,” and again, of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost it is written: “And the three are One.”). Thus we see that the reading is found not only in the Old Latin manuscripts, but was also cited by Cyprian sometime before 250 AD. All of which disproves the popular myth that the reading is without textual support until sometime in the fifthteenth or sixteenth century.
Porque tres son los que dan testimonio en el cielo, el Padre, el Verbo, y el Espiritu Santo; y estos tres son uno. (1 Juan 5:7)
(For ther are thre which beare recorde in heaven, the father, the worde, and the wholy goost. And these thre are one). (1 John 5:7)
For there are three which beare record in heaven, The Father, the Word, and the Holy ghost, and these three are one. (1 John 5:7)
Revelation 5:14–And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
Dr. Jack Lewis states, “The phrase, ‘Him that liveth for ever and ever’ has no known Greek manuscript support.” (Jack P. Lewis, The English Bible From KJV to NIV [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1982], 43.) However, James R. White notes, “This addition is found in only three suspect Greek manuscripts, . . .” (White, The King James Only Controversy, 66.) Although White does not speak favorably of these Greek manuscripts, he is correct in citing them as supportive of the passage.
Further, it should also be noted that the Revelation does not have as many Greek witnesses as other New Testament books do. For example, among the uncial manuscripts there are only three which contain the entire text and three others which contain the majority of the Revelation. Other uncial manuscripts contain only a chapter or two, and these are not complete chapters. Among the papyri, only five contain some part of Revelation. Most of these are fragmentary. But in the economy of textual thought among modern versions, it is a nil point. To the modern critic, it would not matter if all the Greek manuscripts had the phrase as long the Sinaiticus did not contain it, or if it was missing from one of the African papyri. These manuscripts take precedence over the promise of Biblical preservation according to the views of modern scholarship.
As shown by Dr. H. C. Hoskier, the reading is supported by 57, 137 and 141. (H. C. Hoskier, Concerning The Text Of The Apocalypse [London: Quaritch, 1929] vol. 1, 474-477 and vol. 2, 454 and 634.) In addition to the Latin text, the longer ending is cited by Primasius, Bishop of Hadrumetum (552 AD ) in his commentary on the Revelation. (Henry Alford, Alford’s Greek Testament [Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1874], vol. 4, 611.) This work is important because it draws from the lost work of Tyconius (as does the work of Beatus, see comments on Rev. 16:5), and that the text used is that of the Old Latin which pre-dates Jerome’s Vulgate. (Berthold Altaner, Patrology [New York: Herder and Herder, 1960] trans. by Hilda Graef. 590.)
And the four living creatures said: Amen. And the four and twenty ancients fell down on their faces, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever.
And the, iiii, bestes sayd: Amen And the xxiiii. elders fell upon their faces, and worshipped him that liveth for ever more.
Revelation 16:5–And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
The question arises concerning the Trinitarian phrase, “which art, and wast, and shalt be.” Modern versions read, “which is, and was, the Holy One.” Dr. Edward Hills has correctly cited passage as a conjectural emendation (Hills, 208). Bruce Metzger defines this term as,
The classical method of textual criticism . . . If the only reading, or each of several variant readings, which the documents of a text supply is impossible or incomprehensible, the editor’s only remaining resource is to conjecture what the original reading must have been.
A typical emendation involves the removal of an anomaly. It must not be overlooked, however, that though some anomalies are the result of corruption in the transmission of the text, other anomalies may have been either intended or tolerated by the author himself. Before resorting to conjectural emendation, therefore, the critic must be so thoroughly acquainted with the style and thought of his author that he cannot but judge a certain anomaly to be foreign to the author’s intention. (Metzger, The Text Of The New Testament, 182.)
From this, we learn the following. 1). Conjectural emendation is a classical method of textual criticism often used in every translation or Greek text when there is question about the authenticity of a particular passage of scripture. 2). There should be more than one variant in the passage in question. 3). The variant in question contextually should fit and should be in agreement with the style of the writer.
Such is the case here. First of all, to change the Trinitarian phraseology (which is used in Revelation 1:4, 8; 4:3; and 11:17) does break the sense of the passage and is inconsistent with the phrase used elsewhere by John. Furthermore, the addition of “Holy One” is awkward and is repetitive of the use of the phrase “Thou art righteous, O Lord.”
Secondly, there are some textual variances among the changes made. The Greek text of Beza reads, “o on, kai o en, kai o esomenos” (who is, and was, and shall be). It should be pointed out that among the Greek manuscripts the reading is different. Most of them read, “o on, kai o en, o osios” (who is, and was, the Holy one). The oldest Greek text of Revelation containing this passage, which is P47, has a textual variant. This Greek text reads, “o on kai, o en, kai osios” (who is, and was, and Holy one). It is interesting to note that while the actual manuscript itself uses both “kai” and “osios,” and that only the word “osios” will fit, the text is rather worn here leaving the other words in the passage mostly unscathed.
Thirdly, P47 is not the only Greek text which is worn here. In fact, while P47 is slightly worn, the Greek text which Beza used was greatly worn. This is so noted by Beza himself in his footnote on Revelation 16:5 as he gives reason for his conjectural emendation:
“And shall be”: The usual publication is “holy one,” which shows a division, contrary to the whole phrase which is foolish, distorting what is put forth in scripture. The Vulgate, however, whether it is articulately correct or not, is not proper in making the change to “holy,” since a section (of the text) has worn away the part after “and,” which would be absolutely necessary in connecting “righteous” and “holy one.” But with John there remains a completeness where the name of Jehovah (the Lord) is used, just as we have said before, 1:4; he always uses the three closely together, therefore it is certainly “and shall be,” for why would he pass over it in this place? And so without doubting the genuine writing in this ancient manuscript, I faithfully restored in the good book what was certainly there, “shall be.” So why not truthfully, with good reason, write “which is to come” as before in four other places, namely 1:4 and 8; likewise in 4:3 and 11:17, because the point is the just Christ shall come away from there and bring them into being: in this way he will in fact appear setting in judgment and exercising his just and eternal decrees. (Theodore Beza, Nouum Sive Nouum Foedus Iesu Christi, 1589. Translated into English from the Latin footnote.)
In addition to the Greek manuscript witnesses (which in this passage are few, as we have already noted), early translations should be considered. Again, the weight of the evidence falls on the side of “holy” and not “and shall be.” Most translations, such as the Latin, omit the “and” using only “holy” (the Latin word is “sanctus”). Primasius, Bishop of Hadrumetum, wrote a commentary on Revelation around 552 AD and used the Latin word “pius” instead of “sanctus.” They mean the same, but it does reveal yet another variance in the text. This, of course, brings us to yet another group of witnesses: Patristic citations.
Two things should be stated before continuing. One, as confirmed by Jerome, there were a number of various Latin editions of the New Testament which differed in both translation and content before and around 405 AD (when Jerome finished his Vulgate). Most of these we do not have. Two, as pointed out by Dr. John Wordsworth (who edited and footnoted a three volume critical edition of the New Testament in Latin) the like phrase in Revelation 1:4 “which is, and which was, and which is to come;” sometimes is rendered in Latin as “qui est et qui fuisti et futurus es” instead of the Vulgate “qui est et qui erat et qui uenturus est.” (John Wordsworth, Nouum Testamentum Latine, vol.3, 422 and 424.)
Wordsworth also points out that in Revelation 16:5, Beatus of Liebana (who compiled a commentary on the book of Revelation) uses the Latin phrase “qui fuisti et futures es.” This gives some additional evidence for the Greek reading by Beza (although he apparently drew his conclusion for other reasons). Beatus compiled his commentary in 786 AD. Furthermore, Beatus was not writing his own commentary. Instead he was making a compilation and thus preserving the work of Tyconius, who wrote his commentary on Revelation around 380 AD (Aland and Aland, 211 and 216. Altaner, 437. Wordsword, 533.). So, it would seem that as early as 786, and possibly even as early as 380, their was an Old Latin text which read as Beza’s Greek text does.
It should be noted that none of the early English versions, nor the foreign translations, read as does the Authorized Version. However, they do not read as most modern versions do either. Instead they read somewhere in between using both the “and” with “holy.” The New King James Version follows the reading of the Authorized Version.
New American Standard Version:
And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous art Thou, who art and who wast, O Holy One, because Thou didst judge these things.
The Great Bible:
And I herde an Angell saye: Lorde, whych arte and wast, thou arte ryghteous and holy, because thou hast geven soche judgementes.
And I heard the Angel of the waters say, Lorde, which art, and was, thou art righteous and that holy one, because thou hast given such judgements:
Luther’s German Bible:
Und ich horte den Angel der Wasser sagen: herr, du bist gerecht, der da ist und der da war, und heilig, dab du solches geurteilt hast
Ed io udii L’angelo delle acque, che diceva: Tu sei giusto, O Signore, che sei, e che eri, che sei il Santo, d’aver fatti questi giudicii.
New King James Version:
And I heard the angel of the waters saying: ‘You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things.
Rev. 22:19–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.
The objection here is cited by Dr. Jack Lewis, “No known Greek manuscript reads ‘book of life’ in Revelation 22:19; the manuscripts have ‘tree of life.’ ” (Lewis, 43.). Lewis is correct in asserting that the majority of Greek manuscripts read “tree of life” instead of “book of life.” However, he is incorrect in stating that there are no known Greek manuscripts which read “book of life.” It is found in the Greek manuscripts noted by H. C. Hoskier as 57 and 141. Nor is Lewis correct in assuming that there is no other textual evidence for the reading.
The Latin reads, “et si quis diminuerit de uerbis libri prophetiae huius auferet deus partem eius de ligno uitae et de ciuitate sancta et de his quae scripta sunt in libro isto.” The word “libri” means “book” and is where we derive our English word “library.” This is true of not only the Vulgate, but also of Codex Fuldensis (sixth century); Codex Karolinus (ninth century); Codex Oxoniensis (tweth to thirteenth century); Codex Ulmensis (ninth century); Codex Uallicellanus (ninth century); Codex Sarisburiensis (thirteenth century); and the corrector of Codex Parisinus (ninth century). It is also the reading of the Old Bohairic Coptic Version. Further, it is supported by Saint Ambrose (340-397 AD), by Bachiarius (late fourth century), and by Primasius in his commentary on Revelation (552 AD).
And if any man shal diminish of the wordes of the boke of this prophecie, God shal take away his parte out of the Boke of life, and out of the holie citie, and from those things which are writen in his boke.
Y si alguno quitare de las palabras del libro de esta profecia, Dios quitara su parte del libro de la vida, y de la santa ciudad, y de las cosas que estan escritas en este libro.
Perhaps we should consider these words and their meaning. Scholarship is a noble and honorable carrier. However, it ceases to be both when it seeks to userp the authority of the Lord God in the keeping of His words by carelessly correcting what He has preserved. The final Scholar and Critic is God Himself. Certainly one should take note of His textual choices. Or else, by correcting His word, one could find himself the omission from the Text.
Yours in Christ Jesus,