Introductory Scripture: 2 Corinthians 2:17 “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
Introduction: Two streams flow from the top of a mountain. The mountain is two thousand feet high and unsurpassable. One stream represents a pure water source at the top of the mountain. One stream represents a polluted, undrinkable source. Let's examine both streams and see which is drinkable and which is polluted. Satan has always desired to corrupt the word of God. See Genesis 3:1 and Matthew 4:1-11. Let's see if either of these manuscript streams show evidence of Satan's polluting influence.
Reviewing at a distance:
- Mountain Stream – Majority Text: These make up about 85%-90% of manuscripts. 80% are in full agreement with the Majority Text; a full 90% of the witnesses agree 97% of the time!
- Names: The text used for the KJV is called Byzantine Text, Majority Text, Traditional Text, Textus Receptus.
- Byzantine is used because this family of manuscripts come from area of the Byzantine Empire (Syria) and was copied by Byzantine monks.
- Consider that Antioch, where God made the center of the gospel Church in the Book of Acts, is in Syria.
- Majority is used because this family comprises the majority of the Greek manuscripts we have of the Greek NT.
- Textus Receptus, or received text, is used because it was considered to be the text received by all.
- The edition of Textus Receptus which was used by the King James (Authorized) Version translators was compiled by Theodore de Beza.
- History- Erasmus in 1516 compiled, edited, and printed what is commonly called today, the Greek Textus Receptus or received text. This is the text used by the Protestants of the Reformation. The reformers know the Textus Receptus to be the scriptures.
- Erasmus is said to have laid the egg that Luther hatched. Erasmus was one of the first reformers.
- There are many early translations which date back to within 100 years of the NT. For example, the Peshitta is a Syrian translation from the 2nd century. There are also other early Christians translations that predominantly agree with the Majority text, such as the Old Latin, Syrian, Coptic, Gothic, etc.
- The Old Latin is not the Latin Vulgate of today. The Latin Vulgate of today was made by Jerome in 382 who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I. The Catholic Church sought out to destroy the true old Latin translation. In doing so they also martyred anyone who used it.
- The majority of early Church “Fathers” in the 2nd century onward quote the Majority Text.
- All 2,153 Greek Lectionaries use the Majority Text.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls agree mostly with the Textus Receptus. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered sometime around 1950. They date to around (Est.) 408 BCE to 318 CE.
- Swampy Marsh Stream – Alexandrian Text or Minority text: These make up about 10-15% of manuscripts.
- History - Westcott and Hort: The below information concerning Wescott and Hort's views can be found in An Understandable History of the Bible by Dr. Sam Gipp.
- Both men had strange Textual views. They believed that if two manuscripts disagreed then a person should accept the less doctrinal, harder read (or sloppier written) text, and the text that is represented in the least amount of manuscripts. This textual view is typically called Higher Textual Criticism and is held by most proponents of the Minority Text. This textual view also generally holds that older manuscripts are more authoritative regardless of any considerations of other circumstances surrounding the manuscript. Higher Textual Criticism looks at the Bible like any other uninspired, non-preserved book.
- Hort disagreed with the existence of the devil.
- Hort disagreed with the belief in a literal, eternal "hell."
- Hort did believe in the Roman Catholic doctrine of "purgatory."
- Hort disagreed with the idea of atonement. Quote: "The fact is, I do not see how God's justice can be satisfied without every man's suffering in his own person the full penalty for his sins." End Quote
- Hort actually considered the orthodox Christian teachings of Christ's atonement to be heresy – Quote: "Certainly nothing can be more unscriptural than the modern limiting of Christ's bearing our sins and sufferings to His death; but indeed that is only one aspect of an almost universal heresy." End Quote
- Though Hort disagreed with the existence of a literal devil, he still concluded that a ransom paid to Satan would still make more sense than a ransom paid to God – Quote: "I confess I have no repugnance to the primitive doctrine of a ransom paid to Satan, though neither am I prepared to give full assent to it. But I can see no other possible form in which the doctrine of a ransom is at all tenable; anything is better than the notion of a ransom paid to the Father." End Quote
- Hort also believed in "baptismal regeneration”.
- Hort leaned toward Communism.
- Westcott believed that the Old Testament patriarch, King David, is not a literal but a spiritual person.
- Westcott believed that Genesis is allegorical.
- Westcott was also a doubter of the biblical account of miracles.
- Westcott believed that the second coming of Jesus Christ was not a physical coming but a spiritual coming, much like full Preterism.
- Westcott believed Heaven to be a state of being and not a literal place.
- Westcott was also very devoted to the Roman Catholic defector John Newman.
- Compare Westcott and Hort that to Erasmus and the men of the KJV!
- Moving on to the text they used! Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus
- Facts About the Codex Vaticanus – This manuscript was made of vellum, which is tanned animal skin. Because of this it remained in good condition. It was rediscovered in 1481 AD in a Vatican Library. Omissions in this text are: Genesis 1:1 through Genesis 46:28, Psalms 106-138, Matthew 16:2-3, The Pauline Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews 9:14-13:25, Revelation.
- Other problems existing in this manuscript: 237 words, 452 clauses, and 748 whole sentences are missing from the gospels alone.
- The Vaticanus was available to Erasmus the translators of the King James Bible, but they didn't use it.
- Why do you think they rejected it?
- Facts About the Codex Sinaiticus: This Codex was found in St. Catherine's Monastery near Mt. Sinai, 1844 AD, reportedly in a trash pile. It does contain most all of the New Testament. It also includes the "Shepherd of Hermes" and the "Epistle of Barnabas".
- It is missing Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11
- Dr. F.H.A. Scrivener reported 15,000 alterations in the text of Sinaiticus.
- After examining this manuscript for many years, John Burgeon writes: "On many occasions 10, 20, 30, 40 words are dropped through very carelessness. Letters, words or even whole sentences are frequently written twice over, or begun and immediately canceled; while that gross blunder, whereby a clause is omitted because it happens to end in the same words as the clause preceding, occurs no less that 115 times in the New Testament."
- Vaticanus and Sinaiticus disagree with each other over 3,000 times in the gospels alone
- Where did these Manuscripts come from?
- These manuscripts are believed to be two of the 50 copies prepared by Eusebius under the order of Emperor Constantine. These 50 copies were to be used for future churches which would be started in Constantinople.
- Who was Constantine? He was a Roman Emperor who converted to Christianity. Unfortunately, he adapted the paganism he left with his new faith and started the first state church, the Roman Catholic Church.
- What source manuscript did Eusebius use for mass producing his NT? These 50 copies were a direct result of Origen's Hexapla.
- What did Origen believe? From the book Crowned with Glory by Dr. Thomas Holland, “Origen rejected the literal interpretation of scripture, questioned the truthfulness of the book of Genesis, and was skeptical of the fall of man. When the Old Testament depicts certain attributes of God, such as His divine wrath and judgment, Origen explained these away as merely symbolic. Likewise, he did not consider the temptations of Christ as literal temptations, but as symbolic truths. In his work, De Principiis, Origen said that he could not determine if the Holy Ghost was born or innate, or if the Holy Spirit is to be considered a Son of God. He believed Christ was unable to see the Father. He claimed that those who were in hell could be restored. Origen also suggests that the sun, moon, and stars were living beings.” End Quote
- It is probable that Origen and his Alexandrian contemporaries were greatly affected by heretics among the early church, the Gnostics.
- Who do you trust? Do you trust the stream that represents the church or the stream that represents full Heretics, the Vatican, and Gnostics. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. See 1 Timothy 3:15.
Reviewing up close: Looks can be deceiving, right? We are told that we shouldn't judge a book, or stream, by its cover. With that in mind, let's review some up close information about the Vaticanus and Siniaticus.
- First up close inspection: From the book Crowned with Glory by Dr. Thomas Holland, “When we compare the Greek Textus Receptus with the Critical Greek Text there are almost six thousand differences. Considering that there are 7,959 verses in the New Testament, we begin to see that the differences have a greater effect than what we might think. One notable distinction deals with the number of verses contained in the Textus Receptus that are not contained in the Critical Text, and therefore do not appear in most modern versions based on that text. This, of course, does not prove a certain translation correct and another incorrect. These verses are Mt 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mr 7:16; 9:44,46; 11:26; 15:28; Lu 17:36; 23:17; Joh 5:4; Ac 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29; Ro 16:24; 1Jo 5:7. Additionally, Mr 16:9-20 and Joh 7:53-8:11 are contained in the majority of Byzantine manuscripts and the Traditional Text. However, most Alexandrian manuscripts do not contain these verses, and therefore are so noted in the Critical Text.” End Quote
- Note: There are many verses left out of the Alexandrian stream and it disagrees almost 6,000 times with the text that had been used by the church throughout all ages. The first up close evidence makes this stream not only look undrinkable, but also poisoned.
- Second up close inspection: From the Trinitarian Bible Society, “The Critical Text differs from the Textus Receptus text 5,337 times, according to one calculation. The Vatican manuscript omits 2,877 words in the Gospels; the Sinai manuscript 3,455 words in the Gospels. These problems between the Textus Receptus and the Critical Text are very important to the correct translation and interpretation of the New Testament. Contrary to the contention of supporters of the Critical Text, these omissions do affect doctrine and faith in the Christian life. Several examples of doctrinal problems caused by the omissions from the Critical Text follow. This is by no means an exhaustive list. The modern reconstructed Critical Text: omits reference to the Virgin Birth in Luke 2:33, omits reference to the deity of Christ in 1 Timothy 3:16, omits reference to the deity of Christ in Romans 14:10, 12, omits reference to the blood of Christ in Colossians 1:14. In addition, an error is created in the Bible in Mark 1:2; in this passage in the Critical Text Isaiah is made the author of the book of Malachi. In numerous places in the New Testament the name of Jesus is omitted from the Critical Text; seventy times ‘Jesus’ is omitted and twenty-nine times ‘Christ’ is omitted.” End Quote
- Note: This second inspection shows that there is not only differences from these manuscripts and the Textus Receptus, but there are serious doctrinal changes that exist in the text. It even makes the Bible make false claims concerning the authorship of books of the Bible.
Really just need one! The stream already looks undrinkable. Among all these, we really only need one example to show us the poison. Consider John 1:18 from the NASB: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” Is Jesus a begotten God? God forbid! This is the literal reading of the Alexandrian text. The NASB is the only academically honest translation of the Alexandrian text regarding this verse. You can easily see the Gnostic influence on the Alexandrian Text. A little leaven affects the whole. Sadly, there is more than just a little leaven in the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Even with just this error we know that a little leaven affects the whole. See Gal. 5:9.
Conclusion: We've now seen both streams from a far and examined them up close. Which stream would you like to drink? The stream influenced by Heretics, the Vatican, and Gnostics? Or would you like to drink from the stream used by and trusted by the church throughout all ages?
Information found in these study notes are derived from the following sources:
Crowned with Glory by Dr. Thomas Holland
The Bible Answer Book by Dr. Sam Gipp
An Understandable History of the Bible by Dr. Sam Gipp
One Book Stands Alone by Dr. Douglas Stauffer
Visual aid titled "Which Stream?" Click on graphic to enlarge.