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Introduction Pic: Go, Set a Watchman, Let him declare what he seeth. Luke 21:6

Prophetic Observer


Keeping Time On God's Prophetic Clock

May 2004 — Vol. 11, No. 5

L-984


The Bottom Line

The King James Version, or the NLT, LB, NASB, JB, NIV, NCV, NJB, TEV, GWT, NRSV, PH, MSG, GEV, AMP, NKJV, HCSB, — and 150 More Post-1900 Versions

by Dr. N. W. Hutchings

This past month thousands of additional churches in the United States and around the world began the 40-day Purpose Driven Life motivational program using Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life, as their study guide. Of course, all these tens of millions of church members have to buy the book, either at a bookstore, their church, or Wal-Mart. The motivation for the book to the publisher (Rupert Murdoch) is money. The motivation for the pastors of these churches is promised church growth. The motivation for the program participants is inspiration, self and social betterment.

Regardless whether the goal of the pastors or individual program participant is realized, the reality is that this is the most effective movement or development for new Bible version acceptance since the publication of the Westcott & Hort (Alexandrian) text in 1881. Rick Warren, the author, said concerning a successful Purpose Driven program:

You have to intentionally learn to think like an unbeliever again...such as changing the way you greet visitors, the style of music that you use, the translation you preach from...

Becoming a Purpose Driven Church

by Rick Warren

We know that Pastor Warren was not suggesting changing to a KJV Bible because in his book The Purpose Driven Life, he uses 642 references from thirteen Westcott & Hort text Bibles, and only 13 references from the KJV. The millions in Purpose Driven Churches and in Purpose Driven Life studies will be persuaded to ditch their KJV and replace it with a contemporary version based on the Westcott & Hort text. In our opinion, this fact alone labels the entire package dangerous.

MARK 16:11


Verses 9-22 do not appear in the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts. Consequently, some scholars have unwisely questioned the authenticity of these twelve verses. However, these verses are found in 618 of 620 Greek manuscripts that contain the 16th chapter of Mark (Burgon). The omission in the case of the Vatican and Sinaitic versions is mystifying; nevertheless, the second Gospel would certainly not conclude with the words “for they were afraid” in verse 6. The glorious gospel of Christ does not leave His disciples in an attitude of fear.

11And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

12After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.

13And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.

14Afterward 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.

15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18They 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.

19So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

20And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.


16:16 damned. Judged

16:17 these signs. The signs of verses 17 and 18 were given by the Lord when the early church and Christianity were being established (see Acts 4:29-31; 5:12; 16:18-24; 28:3-6; 9:32-35).

16:19 sat on the right hand of God. Christ is there as our Advocate and High Priest (see 1 John 2:1 and its note, “Our Advocate”).

16:20 they went forth. An unfinished story. It was continued in the Acts of the Apostles and it is going on today.

16:20 confirming the word with signs. See verse 17 note.

Origen and the Alexandrian Texts

It is not possible to even reference the many proponents of the newer Bible versions on the market because entire books would be required. One of the better known proponents of the Westcott & Hort Bibles is James R. White, author of The King James Only Controversy. For 286 pages White majors on me “antiquated wording” of the KJV and his ideas about word changes from the Textus Receptus to the KJV, and he attempts to defend the NIV and other newer versions in leaving out words like “blood” in reference to salvation. He makes up his own rules for scriptural translation while never coming to a conclusion as to the real difference between the KJV and non-TR Bibles. For 286 pages White merely blows smoke at the real textual and doctrinal issues. The note in my KJV Pilgrim Study Bible (reproduced on page 2) explains more about the real difference than the entire book by White.

The King James Bible is 99.99% Textus Receptus. Minute differences in translations by Erasmus, Beza, or perhaps Tyndale, account for the remaining one-one hundredth of one percent. The Textus Receptus is from the Majority Text which is from 5,262 Greek manuscripts that were copied from the original inspired documents, or copies of copies, “... of which 5,212 or ninety-nine percent are in agreement” (The Bible, by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones). It should be pointed out that the minute difference in wording between the Majority Text, the TR, and the KJV involve non-doctrinal details.

In the second century there was an extensive corruption of text copies. Dr. Bruce M. Metzger of Princeton states on page 201 of his book The Text of the New Testament,

The number of deliberate alternations made in the interests of doctrine is difficult to assess... many... Church Fathers accused the heretics of corrupting the Scriptures in order to have support for their special views.

There are many sources we could cite concerning the corrupting of NT manuscripts in the second and third centuries. One example is the deletion of the account of the woman taken in adultery in John, but it was later restored. One person who was very skilled at changing the wording in the manuscripts was Origen. Origen had a unique ability to change the wording in the documents where they would not say what the reader would think they were saying. After Origen had been dead for more than 50 years, Emperor Constantine wrote Eusebius to send him 50 copies of the Alexandrian texts edited by Origen because these texts were more compatible with the major religions of the Roman Empire — paganism, Gnosticism, and Christianity. In these last days when the nations are being compressed into a one-world government and religion, the revival of the Roman Empire system, it is no coincidence that the Alexandrian texts of Origen have reappeared in the new Bible versions.

We reference pages 80-81 from While Men Slept, by Dr. Kerby F. Fannin:

Eusebius of Caesarea reported that he obeyed the emperor's commands and immediately began the work of producing the ordered manuscripts. Tischendorf believed that both the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus were produced as part of the fifty Bibles ordered by Constantine. The production of these manuscripts was paid for by the Roman Empire, and overseen by Eusebius of Caesarea.

Charged by the emperor with the responsibility of producing a new Bible to unite the new official universal Christian religion of the fourth century, Eusebius of Caesarea was faced with a formidable task. Many of the critical manuscripts of the Bible had been destroyed by the reign of terror that had been launched against Christians by Diocletian and others prior to the ascension of Constantine to power. Wishing to please Constantine, Eusebius used the manuscripts of Origen that had been preserved, by whatever means, from destruction. Some believe Constantine preferred the manuscripts of Origen, which were edited by Eusebius, because they reflected a blending of Christianity and Gnosticism. One writer described Constantine's preference this way:

“Quite naturally he preferred the one edited by Eusebius and written by Origen, the outstanding intellectual figure that had combined Christianity with Gnosticism in his philosophy, even as Constantine himself was the political genius that was seeking to unite Christianity with pagan Rome.”

As we shall see, the influence of Origen and Eusebius of Caesarea on both the Old and New Testaments of the fourth century Bibles was enormous. For the foundation of the Bibles ordered by Constantine, Eusebius of Caesarea selected both Origen's Greek New Testament and his Greek Old Testament, which was a revision of the Septuagint.

What did Origen believe?

Origen was totally committed to his own convictions about what he considered his calling and relationship with God. Because he would feel tempted when teaching women in mixed classes, Origen castrated himself rather than to submit to temptation. Some of the unusual beliefs of Origen were:

  1. Baptismal regeneration and infant baptism.
  2. Universal salvation — even Satan would be saved.
  3. Originated the doctrine of purgatory.
  4. Jesus was only a created being.
  5. Reincarnation of the soul.
  6. Adam as a mythological figure; scriptures are not literal.
  7. No physical resurrection.
  8. Transubstantiation — the literal rather than memorial.

We can understand how much of Roman Catholic doctrine came to Constantine through the works of Origen. Some commentaries praise Origen while overlooking his doctrinal errors. Others bring out that Origen was declared a heretic by many of his peers, church councils, and even by Emperor Justinian three hundred years after his death. Even Eusebius, who admired Origen, wrote:

...Origen, a Greek educated in Greek learning, drove headlong towards barbarian recklessness, and making straight for this he halked himself and his literary skill about; and while his manner of life as Christian and contrary to the law, in his opinions about material things and the Deity he played the Greek, and introduced Greek ideas into foreign fables. For he was always consorting with Plato...[and other Greeks]... from whom he learnt the figurative interpretation, as employed in the Greek mysteries, and applied it to the Jewish writings.

What Did Westcott & Hort Believe?

While there were ample copies of the Greek texts which Origen and his disciples, Arius, edited (Alexandrian texts) around, none of them were ever acknowledged by any church council, except in a negative sense. They were never considered to be a part of the majority text, because the Vaticanus and the Sinaticus disagreed over 3,000 times between themselves. Therefore, why would two Cambridge professors latch on to discarded copies of the rejected Alexandrian texts? Notoriety? Maybe. Money? Maybe. Because they agreed doctrinally with Origen? Maybe. Some of their views and beliefs were:

  1. Rabid racists — believed the black race was barely human.
  2. Involved in the occult — talked with the dead.
  3. Endorsed Darwin's evolutionary theory as irrefutable.
  4. Championed Christian Communism.
  5. Proposed British Israelism.
  6. Prayed for the total destruction of the United States.
  7. Denied that Jesus was the Only Begotten Son of God.

While Men Slept, by Fannin, pg. 604

Both of these men denied the deity of Christ Jesus and they denied the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture. Moreover, Hort spent the last eight years of his life working with Westcott in translating the Books of Wisdom and Maccabees, two uninspired writings.

The Bible, by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones, pg. 60

Vaticanus omits chapters 1 through 46 of Genesis; Psalms 105 through 137; most of Hebrews, parts of 1 and 2 Samuel; 1 Kings; Nehemiah; all of Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, Revelation, and 1491 clauses in the four Gospels. Sianaticus omits most of Matthew and much of Mark, John, and Romans (The Certainty of the Words of Truth, by Dr. Dennis Spackman, pg. 74). Without the support of the Unitarian Church, the new Bible text of Westcott & Hort would have never become what it is today, the base for all the newer versions (with few exceptions) that now permeate the United States and many other nations (While Men Slept, pg. 282)

John William Burgon, Dean of Chichester, professor of Divinity at Oxford University, devoted his life to biblical textual study. He authored several books on this subject after spending years examining early biblical text at the Vatican, throughout Europe, and at Mt. Sinai in Egypt. He died in 1888 and is still quoted extensively in books on textual authority and purity. Following is Dean Burgeon's appraisal of Drs. Westcott & Hort, the Alexandrian texts, and the translated texts from it that are the texts for 13 of the 14 Bibles referenced in The Purpose Driven Life, as well as over 100 other new versions:

Who could have anticipated that the opportunity would have been adroitly seized to inflict upon the Church the text of Drs. Westcott & Hort, in all its essential features, — a text which, as will be found elsewhere largely explained, we hold to be the most vicious Recension of the original Greek in existence?

For the Greek text which they have invented proves to be so hopelessly depraved throughout, that if it were to be thrust upon the church's acceptance, we should be a thousand times worse off than we were with the text which Erasmus and the Complutensian, — Stephens, and Beza, and the Elzevirs, bequeathed to us upwards of three centuries ago.

Shame, — yes, shame on that two-thirds majority of well-intentioned but most incompetent men, who, — finding themselves (in an evil hour) appointed to correct “plain and clear errors” in the English “Authorized Version,” occupied themselves instead with falsifying the inspired Greek text in countless places, and branding with suspicion some of the most precious utterances of the Spirit. Shame, yes, shame upon them.

As for the weak superstition of these last days, which — without proof of any kind — would erect two IVth-century copies of the New Testament [i.e. “B” and “Aleph”], (demonstrably derived from one and the same utterly depraved archetype,) into an authority from which there shall be no appeal, — it cannot be too soon or too unconditionally abandoned.

The impurity of the texts exhibited by codices B and Aleph is not a matter of opinion, but a matter of fact. These are two of the least trustworthy documents in existence...“a text formed” by “taking codex B as the sole authority” “would be”... by far the foulest text that had ever seen the light: worse, that is to say, even that the text of Crs. Westcott & Hort... and codices B and Aleph are nothing else but specimens demonstrably of the depraved class thus characterized.

— Dean Burgon, Revision Revised

The works of Westcott & Hort from their translation of the Alexandrian texts have indeed been thrust upon the church and, as Dean Burgon said, the church is a thousand times worse off than the church of A.D. 1500.

It is assumed by most church members today that suddenly one day not long ago Westcott & Hort miraculously found two wonderful texts of the entire Bible in a secret place on a mountain in Egypt. These texts, supposedly, were far superior than those from which our King James Bible came from, and how wonderful it is that we now have all these marvelous new Bibles that we can understand. The scholars who worked on the KJV had these texts and rejected them as “corrupt, inaccurate, and worthless” (Words of Truth — p. 74). In fact, the early church leaders between A.D. 300 and A.D. 500 rejected them as heresy.

For more than 20 years the Southern Baptist Sunday School materials and most Southern Baptist pastors have used the NIV and recommended it to their congregations. This past year the Holman Baptist Standard Bible came out. Lo and behold, some verses that had been left out of the NIV were put back in the new Bible (see my Prophetic Observer article on the HCSB). What happened to:

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...

— Revelation 22:19

Will the Southern Baptist Convention admit and repent of recommending a butchered, polluted Bible for more than 20 years? Not on your life.

Some proponents of the new Bible versions will claim that the KJV has likewise gone through four revisions with 75,000 changes. This is not so. The second printing in 1629 corrected only typographical errors. Spelling errors were corrected in the 1638 printing. In 1762 and 1769 two printings standardized spelling and changed gothic old English letters to their present form. Words like “sonne” were simply changed to “son.” However, the “ye, thee, thou,” and a few other Middle English word forms were retained. Evidently, the reason for the retention of these words was that in Middle English “ye” is plural and “thou” is singular. To change the words would have required too much sentence reconstruction as well as destroying the beauty and symmetry of the KJV language.

Also, as stated plainly by Dr. Floyd Jones on page 78 of The Bible, modern English cannot capture the true meaning of some Greek words like the so-called archaic words in the King James Bible. This is another reason why they have not been changed. Below are actual reproductions of John 1:51 from my 1611 King James Version and my 2004 Pilgrim Bible. Notice the shape of some letters are changed and the spelling of some words have been updated, but the words themselves are the same.

Picture Comparing John 1:51 from the 1611 King James Version and the 2004 Pilgrim Bible

When the four corrections and updating in the 1611 text took place, between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21, 90 articles or conjunctions were dropped. However, the full meaning of the text in all 90 places is not affected, as in Ephesians 2:18. The KJV 1611: “... we both have an access by one Spirit...” Today's KJV: “... we both have access by one Spirit...” In New Versions there may be 10,000 word changes or more from one edition to the next, with a large percentage changing the meaning of the verse in which the word is used.

It is indeed amazing that in an age when printing was not an exact science as it is today, only 90 small and unimportant word changes occurred in some 200,000 lines of type over 400 years. In considering God's promise about His everlasting and preserved Word (Mk. 13:31; 1 Pet. 1:25; Ps. 138:2; 12:6-7; Rev. 22:18-19) we can be confident that in the King James Version we do have God's Preserved Word. I cannot have such confidence in the Westcott & Hort-based new Bible versions, so called.

Bill Clinton got elected twice with using the slogan: “It's the economy, stupid.” Millions of new Bible versions have been sold with the slogan implication: “It's easier to read, stupid.” Sure, to some the new Bible version may be easier to read, but again, you may not be reading what you think you are reading. My advice? Go back to the King James Version.


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