Summary: There was a video posted on Facebook about a week ago that said that the modern versions can’t be trusted. That there’s 64,000 changes and so many verses dropped out. Etc. Are these charges true?
ARE THE MODERN VERSIONS RELIABLE?
There was a video posted on Facebook about a week ago that ended up on my page. It said that the modern versions can’t be trusted. That there’s 64,000 changes and so many verses dropped out. Etc. Are these charges true?
I. DOCTRINE OF INSPIRATION
1. The doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture says that the Bible books were God-breathed, infallible, and without error IN THEIR ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS, that is, in their original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.
2. The King James Version is a translation into English from those languages. It's not the KJV that's an infallible document, but the originals. Other English translations will, of course, have different wording.
3. I love the KJV, regularly quote it, and consult it regularly. All the modern translations are based on the idea that the earliest Greek manuscripts are closer to the originals and so are to be preferred.
4. Some later manuscripts included side notes by early copyists into the texts. It is these extra notes that are the issue. Fear not, God is watching over His Word!
II. MANUSCRIPT TRANSMISSION
A. HANDOUT (Defending the Christian Faith #5)
Periods of mss transmission and methods used. Families by style and geographic area.
III. 2 CAMPS: MAJORITY VS. OLDER TEXTS
A. GREEK TEXT OF THE KJV
1. The text of the KJV was based on the 3rd edition of the Greek N.T. published by Stephanus in 1550. The Stephanus text is basically from the 1516 edition of the Greek N.T. prepared by Erasmus after consulting about 10 hand-written manuscripts, none earlier than the 10th century A.D.
2. Since the time of Erasmus, the study of the N.T. text has been greatly advanced. Today more than 5,800 Greek manuscripts, containing all or part of the N.T., exist.
3. Many of these manuscripts date to the second century, and a few (8-10), are believed to have been penned during the lifetimes of the apostles.
4. The Greek texts underlying the Stephanus/ Erasmus Greek text, versus the older Greek manuscripts, only differ by less than 10%, and there is no crucial doctrine of the Christian faith that rests on that 10%.
5. The strongest point for the Stephanus/ Erasmus text is that the majority of Greek manuscripts, about 80%, read the same. (This stands to reason since most Greek mss originate from the Byzantine area, which continued to speak and copy the texts in Greek for hundreds of years longer than other areas.)
6. The strongest argument for the Nestle-Aland/ UBS Greek Text (on which all modern versions rest) is that it is based on much older manuscripts, closer to the originals.
7. The great majority of textual scholars today, of both liberal AND conservative positions, accept the premise that the bulk of majority manuscripts are inferior to the older manuscripts. In other words, they believe the older manuscripts are to be preferred as closer to the originals.
IV. PROBLEMS WITH EACH CAMP
A. PROBLEMS WITH THE NIV
1. In my studies I have located two areas of what I perceive as bias: the words “and fasting” and a bias against Pentecostal doctrine by some non-pentecostal translators.
a. “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” Matt. 17:21 (also Mk. 9:29). Origen (ca. 180-250) listed Mt. 17:21 as having “fasting” and that word in Mk. 9:29 has extensive early support – p45, Aleph2, A, C, D, L, W, Theta, Majority, Latin & Syriac.
b. “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer” 1 Cor. 7:5. There is little early widespread support for the word “fasting.”
3. SPEAKING IN TONGUES
a. Acts 19:2, “He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” NIV says, “when.” This is not accurate. The tense of the participle shows its relation to the main verb. It’s an aorist. The Greek literally says, “Having believed, did you receive?” The KJV “since” is true. Other similar constructions – Mt. 22:25; Acts 5:10; 13:51; 16:6, 24.
b. Jude 20, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” The NIV inserts the word “and” in between the phrases, as if the building up in faith is not the same as praying in the Holy Ghost.” There is no “and” in the Greek.
B. PROBLEMS WITH THE KJV
1. Example of the Heavenly witnesses verse, 1 John 5:7-8. “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.”