war of words: saints & scribes

Previously I discussed the two families of Bible manuscripts–the Textus Receptus (Received Text) and the Alexandrian text.  These two families of manuscripts have huge disagreements with each other.  The Textus Receptus, which has a vast majority of the manuscripts, was used to make the KJV.  The Alexandrian text, which is only 1% of the manuscripts, was used to create the newer Bible versions.

the earlier the better?

One argument against the Textus Receptus (TR) is that it doesn’t have the earliest manuscripts.  But this is far from the truth.  Anyone who has a modern education about the ancient manuscripts knows that there are about 96 papyrus manuscripts from the 1st to 3rd centuries (i.e. they’re the earliest) that overwhelmingly agree with the words in the KJV in comparison to the wording of newer versions. [Pickering, Wilbur.  The Identity of the New Testament Text. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1980,  pp. 77, 184, 202, 224]

most reliable manuscripts

In the footnotes of some newer versions are words like “the most reliable manuscripts say…”  This refers usually to Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus (Aleph) of the Alexandrian text.  This notion that these two manuscripts are reliable is a lie.  John William Burgon (1813-1888), Dean of Chichester in England, was a staunch defender of the faith and God’s word and also proved to be a thorn in the side of those who wanted to “modernize” the Bible.  He examined these manuscripts carefully and made the discovery that some words had been erased from them while others had been erased and replaced with different words, which blatantly changed the meaning of the text. [Burgon, John William. The Revision Revised. London: John Murray,  1883, pp. 16, 318, 520 (available on Google Books)]

the saints

Many believers in Christ in the early church [100-400 AD] quoted from the Bible in their writings and their quotations agree with the words found in the KJV and they stand as witnesses that the TR is correct.  Here are a few of the men:

Justin Martyr: raised around Jews, he studied Greek philosophy at Ephesus before converting to Christianity in 130 AD.  He became a Christian teacher and apologist before moving to Rome.  Labeled falsely as being a subversive, he was executed in Rome a few years after Marcus Aurelius became emperor.  He is known to have quoted Jesus words in the garden of Gethsemane–“If it be possible, let this cup pass.”  He also called Jesus “the only-begotten of the Father.”

Athanasius (297-373 AD):  a believer of Alexandria, Egypt.  He converted to Christianity ca. 313 AD.  He was around when Constantine the Great started the Holy Roman Empire (Roman Catholic Church).  Athanasius referred to the burgeoning Roman Catholicism as “the heresy that was fighting against Christ.” He attended the Council of Nicaea where the new Roman Catholic church decided to compile its own canon of scripture and argued in defense of the apostles’ writings although he was not allowed a vote.  His defense of Christ’s divinity, monotheism, and the Trinity as well as his stand against Constantine’s new “church” gained him many enemies.  He was persecuted and exiled by his enemies several times but was fortunate enough to keep his life and die naturally.

Irenaeus (d. 202 AD):  Born in Asia Minor (Turkey) between 115 & 125 AD, he served as bishop of Lyon, Gaul (France).  He fought against gnostic doctrines and embraced all four gospels as canon scripture.  In his fight against heretical doctrines, he quoted heavily from most of the New Testament and his words match what we see in the KJV.

Who was King James?

Possibly one of the most controversial European kings of all times, King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England in 1603 after Queen Elizabeth I (his cousin) died.  His mother, Mary Queen of Scots, was staunchly Roman Catholic but James was Protestant and was very serious about his faith in Christ.  When a group of Puritans came to him with a concern for having a more accurate Bible for their use, King James put together a committee of devout Christians who were also scholars to gather manuscripts and translate them into English for the common people of his kingdom.  For more about the King, including his accomplishments, his family, his enemies, and the lies he endured for his firm stand on God’s word, click on this link.

the scribes

The manuscripts of Alexandria, Egypt were created to be a mixture of Eastern and Western philosophies and religions.  Here is some information on the men behind the Alexandrian manuscripts:

Philo (20 BC-50 AD): Philo mixed Stoic philosophy of Greece with Plato and the Old Testament.  He believed scriptures should not be taken literally but that they had hidden meanings.  This belief in hidden meanings comes from Plato’s belief that the physical realm was simply a veil for the idea behind it and only the idea of a physical thing is real.  Plato advocated the state control of all religion and state control of children.  Philo held to these philosophies and mixed them into the manuscript he wrote which became part of the Alexandrian text.

Clement of Alexandria (150 AD-215 AD): He also embraced Plato’s philosophy and mixed it with Christianity.  Clement believed Christians could reach deification and assimilate into God.

Origen of Alexandria (185 AD-254 AD): Like his predecessor, Origen also mixed Plato’s philosophies with Christianity. He held that scripture was purely allegorical, not literal.  Origen believed the human soul pre-existed before taking corporeal form and the soul has several incarnations before reaching God (i.e. a God-state).  He even believed fallen angels would one day be reunited with God.  Origen also taught that God was a First Principle (an idea, not a person) and that Christ (i.e. Christ-consciousness) was under this First Principle.

Fenton John Anthony Hort (4/23/1828–11/30/1892):  an Irish theologian in the Anglican church, Hort was reading the works of Philo and Clement of Alexandria to incorporate them into his introduction to his new Greek text which was from the Alexandrian text, the basis for newer Bible versions.  Here are some quotes from Hort as found in Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort (1896) by his son Arthur Fenton Hort, which is available at Google Books:

…and further, the Bible then was closed, but now, thanks to Luther, it is open, and no power (unless it be the fanaticism of the bibliolaters [those who study the Bible], among whom reading so many ‘ chapters’ seems exactly to correspond to the Romish superstition of telling so many dozen beads on a rosary) can close it again… (p. 77)[Hmm… so in other words, Mr. Hort said studying the Bible is like Romish superstition.]

…You ask me about the liberty to be allowed to clergymen in their views of Baptism [i.e. total submersion]. For my own part, I would gladly admit to the ministry such as hold Gorham’s view, much more such as hold the ordinary confused Evangelical notions, tho’ I would on no account alter the Prayerbook or Catechism to make them more palatable to them. (p.  148) [I.e. “I’m not changing my Prayerbook or Catechism to suit confused evangelical notions.”]

…but on the other hand, should things come to such a pass that, as in the war between Charles I and his Parliament, neutrality is an impossibility, and we must join one party or the other, I should have no hesitation in cleaving at all hazards to the [Roman Catholic] Church for several reasons…2nd[reason], the pure Romish view seems to me nearer, and more likely to lead to, the truth than the Evangelical. (p. 76)

Brooke Foss Westcott (1/12/1825–7/27/1901): an English theologian of the Anglican church and spiritualist, he also held to the doctrines of the Alexandrians mentioned above.  He co-founded the Ghostly Guild with Hort and co-founded the Society for Psychical Research with Hort and H. P. Blavatsky, the famous female Luciferian/medium/witch.  Westcott & Hort also founded the Hermes Club in honor of the god of magic, messenger of the gods, and conductor of souls to Hades.  Hermes, of course, is really Satan.  Ancient worshippers of Hermes were known to be gender benders (cross-dressers) and apparently the tradition was continued with Westcott & Hort’s club since letters were discovered describing the members of the all-male club having relations with each other. [mentioned in Alan Gauld’s The Founders of Psychical Research, 1968]

Incidentally, not only was H. P. Blavatsky friends with Westcott & Hort, she also befriended Albert Pike, leader of the Freemasons, and Rob Morris, godfather of the Order of the Eastern Star.  Very interesting how they all ran in the same circles.  Here are some quotes from Westcott as found in Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott (1903) by his son Arthur Westcott which is also on Google Books:

…he took a strange interest in …Mormonism…He told me that all excesses and mischievous delusions among men came from onesided views of truth, and too great importance given to one aspect of it, … that the way to combat error was to seek the element of good in it [the error], and show that its real explanation and satisfaction were included in the Bible.  (p. 19) [stated about Westcott by his brother-in-law. Westcott felt other religions considered in error were actually backed by the Bible.]

… As to our proposed recension [critical revision] of the New Testament text, our object would be, I suppose, to prepare a text for common and general use—in schools, for instance. (p. 228) [The New Testament was perfectly fine and didn’t need a critical revision.  Those who argue in favor of new versions say they were just updates of the language.  Westcott obviously felt differently.]

I am rather afraid of the pressure of immediate results, and shall aim at what is transcendental in many people’s eyes. … I suppose I am a communist by nature… (p. 309)

United Bible Society (UBS) & Nestle-Aland (NA) text

New versions use this text which was initially touted as the new Textus Receptus, but Philip Comfort who helped with The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, NRSV states “…some scholars have openly criticized UBS3/NA26 [UBS 3rd ed., Nestle-Aland 26th ed.] as trying to gain the reputation of being the new ‘Textus Receptus’; and other scholars are discouraged that this new text still looks so much like the Westcott-Hort text.”  [Comfort, Philip. Early Manuscripts & Modern Translations of the New Testament. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishing, 1990, p.24] This is because the texts were derived from Westcott & Hort with only minor changes.

UP NEXT: war of words: comparing Bible versions

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–

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