What is the Bible?
The Christian must decide which version of the "Bible" is really God's
Word. For if we are going to be reading, studying and memorizing the Scripture,
which we should be doing, we must be sure that we are dealing with God's Word,
and not merely man's imitations and interpretations. With so many "Bible"
versions readily available, Christians can easily find themselves with a
"Bible" that man has meddled with. A corrupted "Bible" is a way for all sorts
of apostasy to enter the Church.
The Scripture declares that God's words will never
pass away, so we must
find out what is God's preserved Word.
We all know that the Bible was not originally written
in English, but the
Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, and the New Testament was
written in Greek. While there is little argument with the Hebrew Old Testament,
it is not so with the Greek New Testament. Thousands of ancient Greek
manuscripts exist (manuscript means it was hand written), and almost all of them have very few differences. We often call these similar
Greek manuscripts the "majority" texts.
The words of the Lord are pure words... O Lord, thou shall preserve them from
this generation forever. (Psalms 12:6, 7)
[Jesus said,] heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Mark 13:31)
...the word of the Lord endureth forever. (1 Peter 1:25)
The Scripture used and trusted by Christians nearly
everywhere in the world
until the nineteenth century composed of the Masoretic (M) Hebrew Old Testament
and the Textus Receptus (TR) Greek New Testament, which are often together
called the traditional text (TT), or just the M + TR.
What made the great change in "Bibles" that we see
today? People had uncovered several new manuscripts, and so they decided they
needed a new Bible. So,
in the late 1800's, two textual critics, Messers B. F. Westcott and F. J. A.
Hort, created a new Greek text upon which to base new "Bibles". This text was
created by picking and choosing from various different manuscripts, largely
including the ones we will mention a little farther on. They used a process
called textual criticism to decide which manuscripts to use for the various
passages and verses, and to decide which ones should be included or discarded.
The main guidelines used in this deciding process are as follows: (Simplified)
At first glance they may seem to make sense to you,
but not when explored
deeply. We will deal with each of these concepts.
- The harder to understand text is the better text.
- The shorter text is the better text.
- The older text is the better text.
The harder to understand text is the better text?
Textual critics think that contradictions are better,
which clearly goes
against the scripture, for the Bible says:
There are no contradictions in the true Bible, for God wrote it, and He knows
everything, so contradictions in His Word cannot exist.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16)
...the scripture cannot be broken; (John 10:35)
The shorter text is the better text?
Parts and fragments of various manuscripts were lost
over the hundreds of
years since the originals were written. To decide that the shorter text is
better is senseless. This is why if you open an NIV to the Gospel according to
Mark, it is often either missing verses 9-20 of the last chapter (16), or there
is a note saying that these verses probably shouldn't be included. This is just
one example of the concept that says shorter is better. If one follows this
reasoning through, why should there even be any words in the Bible? What could
be shorter than nothing? If one follows this idea through, it should come as no
surprise that many verses in the newer versions are completely missing.
The older text is the better text?
At first glance, older may seem better, but when
examined further, we
realize that it is quite on the contrary. A surviving ancient manuscript, or
codex, as it can also be called, essentially means that it was not used, which
makes one wonder why it was not used. Could it perhaps have been poorly copied?
The original inspired manuscript would have been
copied, as many of the
churches would have wanted a copy of the scriptures. (One must remember that
these were the days before the printing press, when books had to be written out
and copied by hand.) Then in turn, those manuscripts would have been copied as
they wore out. The well-copied manuscripts would have normally been used until
they were worn out. Thus, only the ancient manuscripts that were miscopied, and
thus not used, have survived until modern times.
Let us examine where two of the best-known
"non-majority" codexes were
found. These include the Codex Sinaiticus, which was discovered in the trash in
a monastery in Egypt's Sinai, along with the Codex Vaticanus, which was
uncovered in the Roman Catholic Church's library. Scholars think that both of
these manuscripts were probably copied in Egypt, at a liberal school in
Alexandria, a place where apostasy spread quickly in the early church.
These two texts are older than the any of the
"majority" texts, but, when
compared, have well over 15,000 differences! One would think that manuscripts
so obviously corrupt and miscopied would never be used, but this was not the
Where are we now?
These were the concepts that Westcott & Hort used
to choose what to
include and exclude in their Greek text, which is often referred to as the
"Westcott & Hort Greek" text.
These men actually intentionally altered and corrupted
their Greek text,
which was a very different and distorted text. This should be no surprise if
you know about these men, for they did not believe in Creation, did not believe
that Christ was the Son of God, and, among other wickedness, did not believe in
the full verbal inspiration of Scripture!
This alone should be enough to convince anyone that
nothing good could come
from persons in such a state. And now, dismayingly, this obviously corrupt text
is the Greek upon which the following popular "Bibles" are based upon:
These few listed, along with nearly all of the other
versions on store
shelves, are based upon the corrupt Westcott & Hort Greek text, which means
one could easily end up with a corrupt version of the Bible. Some of the Bibles
based upon the non-corrupt traditional text include:
- New International Version
- New King James Version
- American Standard Version
- New American Standard Version
- Revised Version
- Revised Standard Version
- New English Bible
- Good News Bible
- Jerusalem Bible
- Amplified Bible
- Authorized Version or King James Version
- William Tyndale's Bible
- Geneva Bible
Do the differences matter?
The differences matter greatly. For instance, if you
pick up a newer
version such as the NIV, you will find changes such as the fact that verses
found in the Textus Receptus Greek and the KJV are missing in the NIV, and
important Bible truths are made to seem less important, such as: the virgin
birth, Christ being the Son of God, and His saving blood. There are many, many
changes in the revised and corrupted "Bible" versions. Satan has done all in
his power to corrupt the Scripture, because he hates the Bible!
What should I use?
Many people dislike the King James Version Bible
because the English found
in it can often be hard to understand. While I realize that the English
language has changed, and there are some archaic words, some of this was
necessary, because some of the English used at the time of the translation in
1611 A.D. was not commonly used, but words such as thee, thou, and thy were
needed to accurately translate the Greek.
Now while it may be true that the King James Version
is hard to understand
at first, it can be largely understood when one is accustomed to reading from
it. I almost entirely use the King James Version Bible, because it is God's
preserved Word in English. For one who wants the Bible, which I trust includes you, the critics version of the "Bible" should not be
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:8)