There is no doubt that early church heretics attacked the New Testament
autographs. Many new version advocates deny that the text was tampered with.
Notice the statements of James White in. The King James Only Controversy. He
says: "No grand conspiracies have been uncovered, no attempts to hide
doctrines or beliefs by mistranslating the text have been found." He
continues, "When differences are examined in a context of seeking to
understand the reasons for the differences, rather than in one of fear and
emotion, we learn more about the Word and the original intents of the
authors. This is how Christian dialogue and discussion should take place.
Whenever you encounter a supposed change in the Bible's text, take the time
to look carefully at the available information and you will discover that
there are reasons for the difference, and that there is no rationale at all
for running to theories of conspiracies or evil intentions on the part of
modern translators. Their goal is not to corrupt God's Word but to preserve
and accurately pass it on to future generations." pp. 146 -147.
White, p. 155 says, "...it is impossible to say that someone was
purposefully trying to 'hide' or 'change' anything."
Again, "...the fact remains that the modern translations are obviously not
attempting to 'tamper' with anything, or 'remove' anything. Their
translations are determined by the texts they are using..."
Many new version advocates agree with White. What Is The Real Truth?
We are giving you statements by several early Church Fathers that
declare that the text was tampered with. History disagrees with Mr. White.
Irenaeus a disciple of Polycarp said of Marcion: "he (Marcion) mutilates the
Gospel which is according to Luke, removing all that is written respecting
the generation of the Lord, and setting aside a great deal of the teaching
of the Lord, in which the Lord is recorded as most clearly confessing that
the Maker of this universe is His Father ... In like manner, too, he
dismembered the Epistles of Paul, removing all that is said by the apostle
respecting that God who made the world, to the effect that He is the Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ, and also those passages from the prophetical
writings, which the apostle quotes, in order to teach us that they announced
beforehand the coming of the Lord." Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson,
ed., The Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, 352.
New version advocates may say that Marcion's deprivations surely did not get
into our text. Jay P. Green, Sr. in his book, The Gnostics, The New
Versions, and The Deity of Christ reveals how much of his (Marcion's) kind
of error did get into the manuscripts underlying the new versions.
Eusebius quotes the second-century Church Father, Gaius and says, "The
sacred Scriptures have been boldly perverted by them." Pamphilus,
Eccleseastican History, 215. Many quotes could be given by early Church
Who Were The Heretics Who Changed The Text Before 200 AD?
They were Gnostic Docetists (An opinion that Jesus had no human body and
only appeared to have died on the cross) who looked upon our Lord Jesus
Christ as less than God. These were the people who altered the New Testament
text along with Christian scholars of the Neoplatonic philosophy that found
lodging in the School of Alexandria.
It has been documented that the first heretics who systematically depraved
the New Testament text were Basilides (AD 134)- Valentinus (AD 140); and
Marcion (AD 150). These three altered primarily the gospels. Besides
Marcion's lacerated text of Luke, there was an Ebionite recension of
Matthew. There was also a Cerinthian revision of Mark and a Valentinian
perversion of John.
It is quite revealing that new version advocates like James White do not say
one word about the heretics in the early Church altering the text. How can
he say, "it is impossible to say that someone was purposefully trying to
'hide' or 'change' anything." He continues on referring to new version
translators, "Their translations are determined by the texts they are
using,...." This is partly true. He forgets to tell his readers of the early
Church heretics who did change the text and influenced the underlying
manuscripts that the new version translators use. Re also fails to tell how
many words, in both Old and New Testaments are left out of the new versions,
left untranslated, added, or have meanings changed. A quick look at Jay
Green's work The Gnostics, The New Versions, and The Deity of Christ will
give you some magnitude of the seriousness of this kind of altering by the
new version translators.
Families of Bibles
Many disagree about families, but for our purpose we will refer to the
common ones. There are several families of Bibles. These are classified
differently by scholars. We will give a simple classification and present
the families in three groups:
1. Alexandrian – Alexandria, Egypt
2. Western - Rome
3. Traditional - Antioch
All of these started with the original autographs. How then do we come
by these three today? Before we answer, let me say that we will deal
primarily with the Alexandrian and Traditional Texts.
We believe that the Alexandrian family is a result of an attack on the
original text of the New Testament by this school's following the heretics
mentioned above. At the time Alexandria was involved with producing
manuscripts, they could not do much additional changing so they used what
had already been changed.
The Alexandrian family came out of a background that denied literal
interpretation of Scripture and allegorized Scripture to the point that it
was seriously altered in meaning. This low view of Scripture allowed
dangerous liberties with the text as history reveals.
We believe the Traditional Text is a preservation of the autographs. It
has come down to us through ancient versions, such as the Peshitta (AD 145);
the Gothic (AD 330) and others. Also the finding of the papyri manuscripts
gives to us many traditional readings. Early Church Fathers also bear
witness of the Traditional Text, What did they quote from? Dean Burgon
examined the writings of 76 Church Fathers. From Fathers that died before AD
400, there were 2,630 references of the Traditional Text and only 1,753 of
the Neologian (Westcott-Hort type) text. This proves that the Traditional
Text was present before 400 AD The Traditional Text predominated over the
Neologian (W-H) three to two.
New Version advocates deny this, but the facts are there. Notice: Westcott
and Hort say, "before the middle of the third century, at the very earliest,
we have no historical signs of the distinctively Syrian (traditional)." The
Byzantine Text-Tvpe and New Testament Textual Criticism, p. 63.
What Are the Facts?
"These papyrus-Byzantine-Western alignments, opposed by the Alexandrian
text-type, reveal readings which were well nigh universally known in the
second century. But though they were eliminated from the Alexandrian
text-type, they have been preserved independently in the Byzantine and in
the Western traditions." Sturz, p. 5
Metzger (a liberal text critic) says, 'Papyrus 75 supports the majority text
dozens of times. In relation to the (majority) text, P46 (about AD 200),
shows that some readings ... go back to a very early period ... P66 has
readings that agree with the majority text type." G.A- Riplinger, New Age
Bible Versions, p. 108.
Edward Hills says, "Byzantine readings which most critics have regarded as
late, have now been proven by Papyrus Bodmer II to be early readings." As
quoted by Riplinger, p. 483.
The Journal of Theological Studies (London: Oxford University Press
N.S., Vol. II, 1960) p. 381 says, 'Papyrus 66 supports the readings of the
Colwell found that as early as AD 200, scribes were altering manuscripts,
changing them from a Majority-type text to a minority type. He notes, "The
Bodmer John (P66) is also a witness to the early existence of many of the
readings found in the (KJV). Strangely enough to our previous ideas, the
contemporary corrections in that papyrus frequently changes a (KJV) reading
to a (New version type). This indicates that at this early period readings
of the... (New Version type) were supplanting the ... (KIV type)." E.C.
Colwell, The Origin of Text Tvt)es of New Testament Manuscripts, 128-138,
H. A. Sturz says, as quoted by Pickering: "H.A. Sturz ... surveyed all the
available papyri ... each new MS discovered vindicated added Byzantine
readings ... The magnitude of this vindication can be more fully appreciated
by recalling that only about 30% of the New Testament has early papyri
attestation.... If we had at least three papyri covering all parts of the
New Testament, all of the 5,000 plus Byzantine readings rejected by the
critical (eclectic) texts would be vindicated by early papyrus ...
Henceforth no one may reasonably or responsibly characterize the Byzantine
text type as being ... late ... although modem editors continue to reject
these readings, it can no longer be argued that they are late." The Identity
of the New Testament Text, 77, 184, 202.
Notice this strange statement by White on p. 18. "Simply because isolated
Byzantine readings are found before the fourth century is no argument that
the Byzantine text existed before the fourth century."
The number of readings from the second century on, from a number of New
Testament books surely indicates that the text existed. This amount of
readings had to come from somewhere. Also early versions before the fourth
century such as the Peshitta and the Itala also had to come from earlier
Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. The new version advocates since Westcott and
Hort fuss with us over the date of the Peshitta. Prior to Westcott and Hort,
all Bible scholars put the Peshitta at 150 AD Westcott and Hort put forth a
now discredited theory for a late date for Peshitta. Many liberal scholars
now recognize how wrong Westcott and Hort were, but our
fundamental-evangelical experts still buy into their re-writing of history.
The Bible believing church has used the Traditional Text for over 1700
years. In 1881 the new Westcott-Hort text undertook to change this. The lay
people in the churches did not accept the early new versions but the
"scholars" fell for the Westcott-Hort Text that followed the Alexandrian
Bible believing people from the early church, up to the Reformers, used
Early versions that follow the Traditional Text. Some of these are:
Itala - 2nd century. This version was in use nine hundred years after the
Vulgate appeared. The critical version never displaced it, and only replaced
it when the Latin ceased to be a living language. Jack Moorman, Forever
Settled, p. 19,
"The Old Latin manuscripts were used by the Waldensians 1170-1600 A.D
International Bible Encyclopedia.
Tertullian quotes from this version and these quotes are "Received Text" in
nature. It is also claimed that he quotes I John 5:7. Moorman, p. 103
"The first believers of ancient Britain nobly held their ground when the
pagan Anglo-Saxons descended on the land like a flood. Dean Stanley holds it
against Augustine, the missionary sent by the Pope in 596 AD to convert
England, that he treated with contempt the early Christian Britons. Yes,
more, he connived with the Anglo-Saxons in their frightful extermination of
that pious people. And after Augustine's death when those same pagan
Anglo-Saxons so terrified the papal leaders in England that they fled back
to Rome, it was the British Christians of Scotland who occupied the forsaken
fields. It is evident from this that British Christianity did not come from
Rome. Furthermore, Dr. Adam Clarke claims that the examination of Irish
customs reveals that they have elements which were imported into Ireland
from Asia Minor by early Christians." Moorman, p. 105.
The Old Latin Bible was well established as Rome had not sent missionaries
to the West before 250 A-D. It is evident that Christians in Britain refused
to supplant their old Latin Bibles by the Vulgate. The Old Latin versions
were used longest by the western Christians who would not bow to the
authority of Rome - e.g., the Donatists; the Irish in Ireland, Britain, and
the Continent; the Albigenses, etc." Moorman, p. 105. -
"Famous in history among all centers of Bible knowledge and Bible
Christianity was Iona, on the little island of Hy, off the northwest coast
of Scotland. Its most historic figure was Columba. D'Aubigne says that
Columba esteemed the cross of Christ higher than the royal blood which
flowed in his veins, and that precious manuscripts were brought to long,
where a theological school was founded and the Word was studied. British
missionaries carried the light of the gospel to the Netherlands, France,
Switzerland, Germany, yea, even into Italy, and did more for the conversion
of central Europe than the half-enslaved Roman Church." Moorman, pp.
Milman claims that the French received their Christianity from Asia Minor.
Neander also claims that the first Christianity in England came not from
Rome, but from Asia Minor, probably through France. Moorman, p. 106.
In the fourth century, Helvidus, a great scholar of northern Italy accused
Jerome, whom the Pope had empowered to form a Bible in Latin for
Catholicism, using corrupt Greek manuscripts. How could Helvidius have
accused Jerome of employing corrupt Greek manuscripts if Helvidius had not
the pure Greek manuscripts? Jovinian the pupil of Helvidius was so learned
and skilled in writing and teaching, that it demanded three of Rome's most
famous fathers, Augustine, Jerome and Ambrose to unite in opposing Jovinian.
Ms followers lived on and made the way easier for Luther." Moorman, pp.
"The Reformers held that the Waldensian Church was formed about 120 AD from
which date on, they passed down from father to son the teachings they
received from the apostles. The Latin Bible, the Italic, was translated from
the Greek not later than 157 AD We are indebted to Beza, the renowned
associate of Calvin, for the statement that the Italic Church dates from 120
AD From the illustrious group of scholars which gathered around Beza, 1590
AD We may understand how the Received Text was the bond of union between
great historic churches." Moorman, p. 107.
That Rome in early days corrupted the manuscripts while the Italic Church
handed them down in their apostolic purity, Allix, the renowned scholar,
testifies. He reports the following as Italic articles of faith: "They
receive only, saith he, what is written in the Old and New Testament. They
say, that the Popes of Rome, and other priests, have depraved the Scriptures
by their doctrines and glosses." Moorman, p. 1(17.
"It is recognized that the Itala was translated from the Received Text
(Syrian, Hort calls it); that the Vulgate is the Itala with the readings of
the Received Text removed." Moorman, p. 108.
The History of the King James Bible - People Involved
John Wycliffe (c. 1320-1384) is looked upon as the first to translate
the entire Bible into English. We must remember that there was no Hebrew -
Greek copies of the Bible in England in Wycliffe's time. It has been said
"Wycliffe did his translating primarily from the only Bible then in use: The
Latin Vulgate." Laurence Vance, A Brief History of English Bible
Translations, p. 6.
History does provide evidence opposite to Mr. Vance's statement, though he
does say "primarily." Some would not even say that. Jacobus quotes the
"prologue" of Purvey's edition of Wycliffe stating (spelling retained),
"First ... with diverse felaives and helperis, to gedere manic elde biblis,
and othere doctouris, and comune glosis and to make oo latyn Bible sumdel
trewe; and thanne to studie it of the neue, the text with the glosse ... the
thirdde tyme to counsiele withelde gramariens ... the fij time to translate
as cleeli as hd code to the sentence, and to have manic gode felawis and
kunnynge at the correcting of the translaeiun .... the comune Latyn Biblis
hen more need to be corrected, as manic as I have seen in my fif, than hath
the English Bible late translated." Jacobus Melanthon, Roman Catholic And
Protestant Bibles Comparted 2 p. 206. Here we see that Wycliffe used other
versions to compare with the Vulgate. He tells us that he corrected the
Vulgate and that it had real need to be corrected.
Wycliffe was educated at Oxford and became the pastor at Lutterworth, in
Leicestershire. He was a Roman Catholic priest, but opposed to
ecclesiastical abuses and the Papacy, itself. He held to Scripture authority
rather than the Pope. Wycliffe believed that the Bible should be in the
hands of the common people. His Bible was completed in 1382. John Purvey (c
1353-1428) assisted him and translated much of the Old Testament.
In 1428, Wycliffe was posthumously condemned for heresy. The Pope's Council
of Constance ordered Wycliffe's bones be unearthed, burned to ashes and
thrown into the river Swift. Thomas Fuller said, "This brook has conveyed
his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, they
into the main ocean. And thus the ashes of Wiclif are the emblem of his
doctrine, which is now dispersed all the world over." Quoted from Alexander
McClure's Translators Revived, p. 14.
Desiderius Erasmus Roterdamus (1466-1536) was born Gerhardus Gerhard.
Erasmus was an extremely bright boy and young man and was well-schooled.
In the early 1500's, Erasmus became interested in the Greek language and
learning. It was during this period, on through to the 1520's, that Erasmus
became interested in translating the Bible from the original languages. He
read Valla's notes on the New Testament that revealed the deplorable
condition of the Latin Vulgate Version. Pope Nicholas V, a humanist, was
interested in having a new Latin version done. He had Gianozzo Manette, a
competent scholar, work on a translation. It was never completed. He put in
parallel columns his translation, the Vulgate and the Italia.
Erasmus collected text material over a number of years at Bologna, Venice,
Padua and Basle.
Preserved Smith (a great American Presbyterian Church Historians in ERASMUS,
p. 163 says: "For the first edition Erasmus had before him ten manuscripts,
four of which he found in England, and five at Basle, where they had been
left by Cardinal John of Ragusa, when he attended the Council of Basle in
143 1. The last codex was let him by John Reuchlin...."
Erasmus' Greek New Testament has been often criticized on the grounds that
he had so little data at his command from which to draw and that they were
"late copies." However, Erasmus did not go to the task unprepared. Although
he had only five late minuscules, he had already translated a Latin New
Testament and in preparation for this labor had collected and gathered
variant readings from many Greek manuscripts. He journeyed all over Europe
to libraries and to anyone from whom he could gather readings from
manuscripts. Edward Hills, The King James Version Defended, p. 198.
Erasmus organized his findings and made notes for himself concerning the
different readings. These travels brought him into contact with several
hundred manuscripts and Erasmus divided them into two camps, i.e., those he
considered spurious and those he deemed genuine and trustworthy. Fredrick
Nolan, An Inquiry Into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate or Received Test
of the New Testament, p. 413.
The first circulated edition of the Greek New Testament was the work of
Erasmus in 1516 with a Latin translation in a parallel column. The second
edition of 1519 corrected numerous printing errors and was the basis of the
German translation of Martin Luther (14831546). In 1522, a third edition
appeared in which he introduced the Johannine Comma. This edition became the
basis for the later standardized Text.
Robert Estienne (1503-1549), better known as Stephanus, published several
editions. Theodore Beza (1519-1605) was the next editor. His editions of
1589 and 1598 were used ostensively by the King James translators. Vance,
pp. 12-13. The work of these men became known as the "Received Text" or
Luther was born in 1483 at Eisleben. As a young student, he was
approaching the outskirts of Stotternheim when suddenly, a thunderstorm
struck and a bolt of lightning knocked him to the ground. He got up in
terror and cried out, "St. Anne help me! I will become a monk."
"The man who thus called upon a saint was later to repudiate the cult of
saints. He who vowed to become a monk was later to renounce monasticism. A
loyal son of the Catholic Church, he was later to shatter the structure of
medieval Catholicism. A devoted servant of the Pope, he was later to
identify the Popes with Antichrist." Roland Bainton, Here I Stand A Life Of
Martin Luther, p. 15.
Luther translated the New Testament at Wartburg, and it was published in
1522. The entire Bible was published in 1534.
Bainton said, "For the Germans, Luther's rendering was incomparable. He
leaped beyond the tradition of a thousand years. There had been translations
before him of the Scripture into German, reaching back to the earliest
transcription of the Gothic tongue by Ulfilas. There were even portions of
the Bible translated not from the Latin Vulgate, but from the Hebrew and the
Greek. But none had the majesty of diction, the sweep of vocabulary, the
native earthliness, and the religious profundity of Luther." p. 255.
Modem version advocates declare that Luther and other Reformers used the
Traditional Text because they had no other choice. This is what Dr. Doran of
Detroit Baptist Seminary said of Luther at the Fundamental Baptist
Fellowship meeting at Thompson Road Baptist Church, Fall of 1996. But T.H.L.
Parker said, "There existed, even in the sixteenth century, an alternative
to the Textus Receptus." He referred to the edition of Colinaeus. Luther
accepted the conclusions on the text by Erasmus, rather than Roman Catholic
versions which were in agreement with Vaticanus.
Luther, along with the other Reformers, broke with Roman Catholic theology.
They came to hold:
1. Sola Scriptura - Doctrine shall be determined by Scripture alone.
2. Sola gracia - Salvation is by grace alone
3. Sola feidism - Salvation is by faith alone, apart from works."
In the years following the completion of Wycliffe's Bible translation,
the world was shaken by a "revival of learning," and by Luther and the
Reformation. The Word of God was being translated in German, French, and
Italian. Printing came on the scene and Erasmus published the Greek Text of
the New Testament (basically the same as the Textus Receptus). However, no
new translations have appeared for nearly 150 years.
God put His hand upon a young man by the name of William Tyndale. He was
born in 1494 or 1495. "The Spirit of God presided over Tyndale's calling and
training." Moorman, p. 159. He was schooled at Oxford and Cambridge
Universities. He left Oxford for Cambridge to study Greek under Erasmus.
Erasmus taught at Cambridge from 1510 to 1514. Tyndale had a natural
aptitude for languages. History tells us that he was skilled in seven
languages, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, English, and French. He
could speak all of them as his native tongue.
"When Tyndale left Cambridge, he accepted a position as tutor in the home of
an influential landowner. Here his attacks upon the superstitions of Popery
threw him into sharp discussions with a stagnant clergy, and brought down
upon his head the wrath of the reactionaries. It was then, in disputing with
a learned man who put the Pope's laws above God's laws, that he made his
famous vow, 'If God spare my life, ere many years, I will cause a boy that
driveth a plough shall know more of the Scripture than thou does'."
Terrence Brown gives the following fascinating account of Tyndale and his
"Tyndale with the means of giving to English readers for the first time a
New Testament translated directly from the Greek, the language in which it
was first written. Like Wycliffe, Tyndale was accused of heresy, and was not
allowed to pursue his studies in peace. He spent several years on the
Continent and was eventually betrayed by a false friend, arrested,
imprisoned and burned at the stake at Vivvorde in Belgium in 1536. The place
is marked by a memorial erected by the Trinitarian Bible Society and the
Belgium Bible Society and the inscriptions include Tyndale's dying prayer
"Lord open the eyes of the King of England." His prayer was answered when in
1538 King Henry VIII gave instructions that a large Bible should be placed
in every parish church,
Tyndale published an edition of the New Testament in a conveniently small
size and arranged for thousands of copies to be smuggled into England in
barrels, bales of cloth, and even in flour sacks. By these means the New
Testament was rapidly and widely distributed. Many copies were seized and
burned at St. Paul's.
The Bishop of London, who was anxious to obstruct the progress of the
Reformation, consulted with Pakington a merchant with connections in
Antwerp, and asked his advice about buying up all the copies that could be
obtained in Europe. He did not know that Pakington was a friend of Tyndale.
Tyndale was quite pleased with the arrangement, as the money relieved him of
his debts, the burning of some of the Testaments had the effect of
encouraging many people to support the work he was doing, and he now had
resources to spend on an improved edition. Some time afterwards a man named
Constantine was being tried before Sir Thomas Moore for heresy. He was
promised leniency if he would tell where Tyndale and his helpers obtained
the money to pay for their editions. Constantine replied - 'It is the Bishop
of London that hath holpen us, for he bestowed among us a great deal of
money up on New Testaments to bum them, and that been our chief succour and
comfort." Moorman, pp. 160-161.
The New Testament was based on the, second and third editions of Erasmus'
Text (1519 and 1522). The New Testament was finished in 1525-6. A large part
of the Old Testament was completed before his martyrdom in 1536 (New Bible
Dictionary). Bruce says, "The influence of Luther's work on Tyndale is
obvious to anyone who compares the two versions, but Tyndale is far from
being a mere echo of Luther." The influence of the wording and structure of
Tyndale's New Testament on the Authorized Version is immense, and the latter
provides a continuing tribute to the simplicity, freshness, vitality and
felicity of his work. New Bible Dictionary.
List of English Bibles After Tyndale
1. The Coverdale Bible - 1535
2. The Matthew's Bible - 1537
3. The Great Bible - 1539-41
4. The Taverner's Bible - 1539
5. The Geneva Bible - 1557-60
6, The Bishop's Bible - 1568
The King James Bible
Fifty-four scholars were chosen to translate the King James Bible.
Forty-seven were actually involved in the translation. These men were
divided into six groups. Each group was given a different portion of
Scripture to translate. Each man in the group translated the portion
assigned and when they each finished, they came together and compared and
refined their work. After that, their work was given to the other groups for
further checking and revision. When this was done, two men from each group
formed a committee of twelve to further check and revise. The work of these
twelve were then sent for review to the bishops, the Privy Council, and the
"The Authorized Version, as it came to be called, went through several
editions and revisions. Two notable editions were that of 1629, the first
ever printed at Cambridge, and that of 1638, also at Cambridge, which was
assisted by John Bois and Samuel Ward, two of the original translators. In
1657, the Parliament considered another version, but it came to naught. The
most important editions were those of the 1762 Cambridge revision by Thomas
Paris, and the 1769 Oxford revision by Benjamin Blayney." Vance, p. 29.
Alexander Geddes (d. 1802) a Roman Catholic priest, who in 1792 issued the
first volume of his own translation of the Bible, paid tribute to the Bible
of his time: "The highest eulogisms have been made on the translation of
James the First, both by our own writers and by foreigners. And, indeed, if
accuracy, fidelity, and the strictest attention to the letter of the text,
be supposed to constitute the qualities of an excellent version, this of all
versions, much in general, be accounted the most excellent. Every sentence,
every word, every syllable, every letter and point, seem to have been
weighed with the nicest exactitude; and expressed, either in the text, or
margin, with the greatest precision.' Vance, pp. 29-30.
The new version supporters have cast scorn upon the King James translators.
For the most part they attack the Textus Receptus and the manuscript
evidence, and the versions that the translators used. The translators are
also charged with not knowing the languages of the Bible as well as the
present day translators do. What is the truth? Notice the qualifications of
some of the key translators of the King James Version.
"Such was his skill in all languages, especially the Oriental, that had
he been present at the confusion of tongues at Babel, he might have served
as interpreter-general." Alexander McClure, Translators Revived, p. 86. At
his funeral Dr. Buckerridge said that Dr. Andrews had been conversant in
He was expert in the study of Arabic as well as Persian, Latin, Hebrew
He made annotations on 300 Church Fathers; he read them all. He was also
well acquainted with the Rabbinical glosses and - comments. He was expert in
Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew was as his native tongue.
He was reading and writing Hebrew in an elegant way by ten years of age.
He was also skilled in Greek, both classical and Koine.
Dr. D.A. Waite writes: "Many modem 'translators' come up to a word, and in a
footnote somewhere, or in an index at the bottom of the page, they'll say
the meaning of this Hebrew word is uncertain; so they have some other
rendition of it. Well, the meaning of it is uncertain, perhaps, to these men
who were living in 1960, when the NASV came out, in 1969, when the NIV came
out or in 1979, when the New King James came out; but these men who
translated the King James Bible knew their cognate languages well. They
understood these references and there was no question in their minds about
what most of these words meant. It is a strange thing; yet people doubt and
question the authenticity, superiority, and the knowledge of these King
James Translators. Cognate languages are simply sister languages related to
Hebrew like Arabic, Persian, Syriac, Aramaic, Coptic, and so on." Defending
the King James Bible, pp. 69-70.
The English Language in 1611
"We are now come, however, to a very striking situation which is little
observed and rarely mentioned by those who discuss the merits of the King
James Bible. The English language in 1611 was in the very best condition to
receive into its bosom the Old and New Testaments. The past forty years had
been years of extra-ordinary growth in English literature. Prose writers and
poets - Spenser, Sidney, Hooker, Marlowe, and Shakespeare, to name only the
greatest - had combined to spread abroad a sense of literary style and to
raise the standard of literary taste. Under the influence, conscious or
unconscious, of masters such as these, the revisers wrought out the fine
material left to them by Tyndale and his successors, into the splendid
monument of Elizabethan prose which the Authorized Version is universally
admitted to be (Kenyon). Each word of the language was broad, simple, and
generic. That is to say, words were capable of containing in themselves not
only their central thoughts, but also all the different shades of meaning,
which were attached to that central thought. Since then, words have lost
that living, pliable breadth. Vast additions have been made to the English
vocabulary during the past 300 years, so that several words are now
necessary to convey the same meaning which formerly was conveyed by one. It
will then be readily seen that while the English vocabulary has increased in
quantity, nevertheless, single words have become fixed, capable of only one
meaning, and therefore less adaptable to receiving into English the thoughts
of the Hebrew which likewise is a simple, broad, generic language." Moorman
quoting Kenyon, pp. 185-186. This is true of New Testament Greek as well.
'For three centuries it (the KJV) has been the Bible, not merely of public
use, not merely of one sect or party, not even of a single country, but of
the whole nation and of every English-speaking country on the face of the
globe." Moorman quoting Kenyon, p. 188.
Those Who Attacked the King James Bible
Moorman says: "The King James Bible had hardly begun its career before
the enemies commenced to fall upon it. Though it has been with us for three
hundred years in splendid leadership -- a striking phenomenon --
nevertheless, as the years increase, the attacks became more furious. If the
Book were a dangerous document, a source of corrupting influence and a
nuisance, we would wonder why it has been necessary to assail it since it
would naturally die of its own weakness. But when it is a Divine blessing of
great worth, a faultless power of transforming influence, who can they be
who are so stirred up as to deliver against it one assault after another?"
Moorman, p. 191.
"Wherever the so-called Counter-Reformation, started by the Jesuits,
gained hold of the people, the vernacular was suppressed and the Bible kept
from the laity, So eager were the Jesuits to destroy the authority of the
Bible -- the paper pope of the Protestants, as they contemptuously called it
-- that they even did =: not refrain from criticizing its genuineness and
historical value." Moorman, p. 191.
Unbelieving scholars mounted an attack (higher criticism) against the
truth of the Bible until it became an ocean surge inundating France,
Germany, England, Scotland, the Scandinavian countries, and even Russia.
This tide of higher criticism soon seen to change its appearance and to
menace the whole framework of fundamentalist thinking. Revision of the Bible
was sought, and soon time-honored Bibles in France, Germany, England and
Scandinavia were radically redone, and new meaning was read into words of
Three indications became evident as features of "higher criticism." First,
"collation" became the watchword. Manuscripts were searched to find various
readings and to justify which reading the critic chose as correct. The
result was a turning from the majority of manuscripts which underlie the
Traditional Text to a handful of manuscripts that can be proved questionable
in character. Second, this movement was Hostile to the Reformation. A third
indication was that our time-honored Bibles, when revised, were changed in
favor of Roman Catholicism. It is interesting to note that we have revised
our Bibles back to harmony with Rome.
Some of the higher critics from 1611 to the French Revolution (1789) were
Simon, Astruc, Geddes, Eichhorn, Semler and DeWette.
This retreat to unbelief led to devastating war across Europe. Napoleon
marched back and forth across Europe, and the foundations of the world were
broken down. Even from the Vatican the cry arose, "Religion is destroyed."
After Napoleon was beaten, Europe stood forever changed.
Protestantism reacted in two ways: (1) Some found a strong faith in the
Scriptures, (2) Others reacted against God. They felt God and the Bible were
impotent and had allowed the French Revolution and war to happen. And, as in
the days before that outbreak, Germany, which had suffered most, seemed to
be fertile soil for a strong and rapid growth of higher criticism.
After the French Revolution, Lachmann (1793-1851), Tischendorf (1815-1874),
and Tregelles (1813-1875) continued on the road of Higher Criticism. These
men threw aside the Received Text and endorsed a new Greek Testament based
on a different Family of manuscripts.
Tischendorf found the Sinaitic Manuscript in the convent at the foot of Mt.
Sinai. This find seemed to destroy his judgment. Previous to this find, he
had brought out seven different Greek New Testaments, declaring that the
seventh was perfect and could not be bettered. After he found the Sinaitic
Manuscript, he brought out his eighth Greek New Testament, which was
different from his seventh in 3,572 places.
Tregelles followed Lachmann's principles back to what he thought were the
most ancient manuscripts and, like him, he ignored the Received Text and the
great mass of cursive manuscripts.
Bishop Ellicott says of these men, "Lachmann's text is really one based on
little more than four manuscripts, and so is really more of a critical
recension than a critical text." And again, "A text composed on the
narrowest and most exclusive principles." Moorman quoting Ellicott, p. 195.
All of the above men were unbelieving skeptics. How can we as Bible
believing fundamentalists square our doctrine of "Separation" with our
wholesale adoption of the views of the higher and lower critics?
It can be shown that Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Tregelles fell under the
influence of Cardinal Wiseman's theories. There are more recent scholars of
textual criticism who pass over these three and leap from Griesbach to
Westcott and Hort. It was Griesbach who classified Greek manuscripts into
three groups, the Received Text, the Alexandrian, and the Western.
"Brook Foss Westcott (1825-1901), and Fenton J.A- Hort (18281892), Anglican
scholars at Cambridge University are the men who worked together on a
critical text (25 Years), publishing the text and principles in 1881-82,
built on German scholars such as Lachmann, Griesbach, and Tischendorf to
produce the text behind the English Revision of the New Testament in 1881."
Moorman, pp. 197,198. These men followed the course set by higher criticism
and its sister, lower criticism.
Westcott and Hort deliberately set out to construct a theory that would
destroy the Received Text and support their "Neutral" Text.
Moorman gives an outline of their attack:
1. In textual criticism the New Testament is to be treated like any
2. There are no signs of deliberate falsification of the text.
3. The numerical preponderance of the Received Text can be explained
through genealogy. Basically this means frequent copying of the same
kind of "defective" manuscripts.
4. Despite its numerical advantage, the Received Text is merely one of
several competing text types.
5. The fact that the Received Text is fuller is because it is a
conflated text. It was combined with the shorter readings of the other
competing text types. This conflation was done with the official
sanction of the Byzantine Church during the 4th century,
6. There are no distinctive Received Text readings in the writings of
the Church Fathers before 350 AD
7. The shorter reading is to be preferred (on the assumption that a
scribe would be more likely to add material). Also the harder reading is
to be preferred (on the assumption that the scribe has attempted to
8. The primary basis for a Greek Text is to be found in Vaticanus and
Sinaiticus. (These two disagree seriously with each other in over 3,000
times in the gospels alone).
9. Harmonization. Parallel passages in the New Testament were made to
say the same thing.
All of these theories of Westcott and Hort can be disproved.
New Version translators, of the present, basically take the theories of
Westcott and Hort and their text. The Westcott and Hort Text is the one that
is basically used for translation purposes. The new version translators say
that they use an eclectic approach to translating (they use all the
manuscript evidence). This can be refuted. They still hold to the
Westcott-Hort theories, and their text is predominant in the new versions.