Jude 5 - Jesus or Lord - saved a people out of the land of Egypt?

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Puritan Board Graduate
Ran across this for the first time last night.

5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

I've never heard of people bringing this out as a witness to Jesus' divinity. So I started looking at other translations. The only other translations where Jesus occurs are the NLT and the NET translations. If this reading holds - what a great apologetic!

5 Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe.

5 So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful.

For comparison sake here is the
5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

It comes down to textual criticism and selection of manuscripts. An interesting thing is the the majority text reads kurios or Lord. The earliest/best (according to the critical school) manuscripts read Ἰησοῦς (Jesus). Now here is the twist. Commentators and translators who usually argue for the earliest/best manuscripts went against their methodology on this case and chose kurios. I see this as a study in presuppositions. I would love to hear some thoughts from those who have studied Greek. Here are some relevent passages from commentaries:

Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.

24 tc ‡ The reading ᾿Ιησοῦς (Iēsous, “Jesus”) is deemed too hard by several scholars, since it involves the notion of Jesus acting in the early history of the nation Israel. However, not only does this reading enjoy the strongest support from a variety of early witnesses (e.g., A B 33 81 1241 1739 1881 2344 pc vg co Or1739mg), but the plethora of variants demonstrate that scribes were uncomfortable with it, for they seemed to exchange κύριος (kurios, “Lord”) or θεός (theos, “God”) for ᾿Ιησοῦς (though P72 has the intriguing reading θεὸς Χριστός [theos Christos, “God Christ“] for ᾿Ιησοῦς). In addition to the evidence supplied in NA27 for this reading, note also {88 322 323 424c 665 915 2298 eth Cyr Hier Bede}. As difficult as the reading ᾿Ιησοῦς is, in light of v. 4 and in light of the progress of revelation (Jude being one of the last books in the NT to be composed), it is wholly appropriate.
sn The construction our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ in v. 4 follows Granville Sharp’s rule (see note on Lord). The construction strongly implies the deity of Christ. This is followed by a statement that Jesus was involved in the salvation (and later judgment) of the Hebrews. He is thus to be identified with the Lord God, Yahweh. Verse 5, then, simply fleshes out what is implicit in v. 4.​

Metzger, B. M., & United Bible Societies. (1994). A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament, second edition a companion volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed.) (657). London; New York: United Bible Societies.

ver. 5 πάντα ὅτι [ὁ] κύριος ἅπαξ {D}
Despite the weighty attestation supporting Ἰησοῦς (A B 33 81 322 323 424c 665 1241 1739 1881 2298 2344 vg copsa, bo eth Origen Cyril Jerome Bede; ὁ Ἰησοῦς 88 915), a majority of the Committee was of the opinion that the reading was difficult to the point of impossibility, and explained its origin in terms of transcriptional oversight (ΚΧ being taken for ΙΧ). It was also observed that nowhere else does the author employ Ἰησοῦς alone, but always Ἰησοῦς Χριστός. The unique collocation θεὸς Χριστός read by P72 (did the scribe intend to write θεοῦ χριστός, “God’s anointed one”?) is probably a scribal blunder; otherwise one would expect that Χριστός would be represented also in other witnesses.
The great majority of witnesses read before κύριος, but on the strength of its absence from א Ψ and the tendency of scribes to add the article, it was thought best to enclose within square brackets.
[Critical principles seem to require the adoption of Ἰησοῦς, which admittedly is the best attested reading among Greek and versional witnesses (see above). Struck by the strange and unparalleled mention of Jesus in a statement about the redemption out of Egypt (yet compare Paul’s reference to Χριστός in 1 Cor 10.4), copyists would have substituted (ὁ) κύριος or ὁ θεός. It is possible, however, that (as Hort conjectured) “the original text had only , and that οτιο was read as οτιΙΧ and perhaps as οτιΚΧ” (“Notes on Select Readings,” ad loc.).
The origin of the variations in the position of ἅπαξ is best explained by assuming that it originally stood after εἰδότας (as in P72 A B C2 L 049 33 81 104 181 326 330 436 451 629 945 1877 2127 al); because, however, the word did not seem to suit εἰδότας, and because the following τὸ δεύτερον appeared to call for a word like πρῶτον, ἅπαξ was moved within the ὅτι-clause so as to qualify σώσας.2 B.M.M. and A.W.]​
{D} {D} The letter {D}, which occurs only rarely, indicates that the Committee had great difficulty in arriving at a decision. In fact, among the {D} decisions sometimes none of the variant readings commended itself as original, and therefore the only recourse was to print the least unsatisfactory reading.

Bauckham, R. J. (2002). Vol. 50: Word Biblical Commentary : 2 Peter, Jude. Word Biblical Commentary (43). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

b. Most mss read κύριος (or ὁ κύριος), but some important mss and versions (A B vg copsa, bo eth Origen) have Ἰησοῦς, a few have ὁ θεός, and P72 has θεός χριστός. Probably κύριος should be preferred since it could have given rise to the other readings as attempts to resolve the ambiguity in κύριος (cf. the similar readings at 1 Cor 10:9). It is not likely that Jude would have used Ἰησοῦς of the preexistent Christ (despite Hanson, Jesus Christ, 165–67; F. F. Bruce, This is That [Exeter: Paternoster, 1968] 35–36): other NT examples ([esv]2 Cor 8:9[/esv]; [esv]Phil 2:5–6[/esv]; and perhaps [esv]Heb 2:9[/esv]) have the Incarnation directly in view. Nor could Jude have used Ἰησοῦς for the OT Joshua (as Jerome, In Jovin. 1.21, thought; also Kellett, “Note”; Wikgren, “Problems,” 148–49) since Joshua did not destroy the unbelievers (v 5b) or keep the angels in chains (v 6). In the second century, however, the coincidence of names between Joshua son of Nun and Jesus Christ was frequently exploited in the interests of typology (Barn. 12:8; Justin, Dial. 24.2; 75.1–2; Clement Alex., Paed. 1.60.3), and Joshua as a type of Jesus could be said to have led the people out of Egypt (Justin, Dial. 120.3). This typology could not have been intended by Jude (since it could not apply to v 6, which has the same subject), but could have attracted a scribe (who could miss its pitfalls) and account for his changing κύριος to Ἰησοῦς, rather than to Χριστός (which would, as Spitta objects, be expected otherwise, and is the corresponding variant in [esv]1 Cor 10:9[/esv]). mss manuscript(s)

A Codex Alexandrinus
B Codex Vaticanus or MT MS, edited by Jacob ben Chayim, Venice (1524/25)
vg Latin Vulgate (as published in Weber’s edition)
cop Coptic versions
P Pesher (commentary)
cf. confer, compare
Dial. Dialogue with Trypho
Paed. Clement of Alexandria, Paedadodus

Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 16: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude.
b. Divine deliverance
The first example comes from Israel’s history, when “the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt.” God considered Israel his special people. With many miracles he brought this nation out of Egypt and set his people free from slavery. Once again the Greek text has some variant readings. Translators favor the reading Lord, which they have chosen from the variants “Jesus,” “God,” and even “God Christ.”
The question remains, however, whether the expression Lord refers to God or to the preexistent Christ.22 Scripture presents support for both readings. For instance, Paul says that the spiritual rock that accompanied the Israelites in the desert was Christ ([esv]I Cor. 10:4[/esv]).23 Yet the Old Testament narrative reveals that God destroyed the unbelievers in the desert ([esv]Num. 14:29–37[/esv]; [esv]Heb. 3:17–19[/esv]). If the subject of verse 5 in Jude’s epistle is uncertain, verse 6 definitely points to God. Not Jesus but God consigned fallen angels to dark prisons (compare [esv]II Peter 2:4[/esv]). Accordingly, I interpret the term Lord in verse 5 to refer to God.​
22 Consult Richard J. Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, Word Commentary series, vol. 50 (Waco: Word, 1983), p. 49.

23 Charles Biggs declares, “By ‘the Lord’ is no doubt meant Christ.” A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude, International Critical Commentary series (1901; Edinburgh: Clark, 1961), p. 328.

Bruce, F. F. (1982). The Epistle to the Galatians : A commentary on the Greek text. Includes indexes. (217). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
On Galatians 4:21-5"1

‘This is an allegory’, says Paul, or ‘these are allegorical entities’, each of them corresponding to a reality in the new situation (cf. NIV: ‘these things may be taken figuratively’). He is not thinking of allegory in the Philonic sense (allegory in the Philonic sense was introduced into Christian interpretation with Origen and his successors); he has in mind that form of allegory which is commonly called typology: a narrative from OT history is interpreted in terms of the new covenant, or (to put it the other way round) an aspect of the new covenant is presented in terms of an OT narrative. Typology presupposes that salvation-history displays a recurring pattern of divine action: thus the exilic prophets portrayed their people’s return from Babylon in terms of a second Exodus, and the NT writers portray the Christian redemption in terms both of the Exodus and of the return from Babylon. Paul supplies simple examples of such typology when he says that ‘Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed’ ([esv]1 Cor. 5:7[/esv]) or shows how the people of Christ in this age experience their own counterparts of the Red Sea passage, the manna, the water from the rock and the vicissitudes of the wilderness wanderings ([esv]1 Cor. 10:1–11[/esv]). The exodus typology in particular was widespread in the NT period (cf. [esv]Heb. 3:7–4:11[/esv]; Jude 5). NIV New International Version

Reymond, R. L. (1998). A new systematic theology of the Christian faith. Lectures delivered at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. and Knox Theological Seminary, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (296). Nashville: T. Nelson.

But Jude implies still more. In addition to the six direct references to Jesus by name, there is reason to think that he had Jesus in mind when he refers to “the Lord” in verses 5 and 14. Consider the latter context first. Regardless of who the referent is in 1 Enoch 1:4–9, it seems that Jude intended to refer to Jesus when he wrote: “Behold, the Lord will come [ἤλθεν, ēlthen, an aorist with prophetic (future) intention] with his myriad holy ones” (see [esv]Matt. 16:27[/esv]; 25:31; [esv]Mark 8:38[/esv]; [esv]Luke 9:26[/esv]; [esv]1 Thess. 3:13[/esv]; [esv]2 Thess. 1:7–10[/esv]). In light of consentient Christian testimony, no other referent will suffice. But then, this being so, Jude here ascribes the divine prerogative of eschatological judgment to Jesus.
In the former verse (Jude 5), apart from the fact that “Jesus” may well be the original reading instead of “Lord,” there is every reason to believe that Jesus may still have been Jude’s intended referent. Consider the following facts. First, there is no question that Jude employed “Lord” to refer to Jesus four times (vv. 4, 17, 21, 25). Second, we have just seen that the almost certain referent of “Lord” in verse 14 is Jesus. And third, this occurrence of “Lord” in verse 5 comes hard on the heels of Jude’s certain reference to Jesus in the immediately preceding verse as “our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” So it is not only possible but also virtually certain that it is to Jesus, in his preincarnate state as the Yahweh of the Old Testament, that he ascribes, first, the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and then the destruction of those within the nation who rebelled; second, the judgment of the angels at the time of their primeval fall; and third, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And if this is so, Jude was clearly thinking of Jesus Christ in terms that encompass the Old Testament Deity. But however one interprets this last verse, it is apparent from the others that, for Jude, Christ was the sovereign Master and Lord of men, who at his coming will exercise the prerogative to dispense eschatological salvation and judgment as the Savior and Judge of men. There can be no doubt that for him Christ was divine.​
pg. 296
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Puritan Board Graduate
Another interesting text to add to the mix:

ESV Judges 2:1 Now the angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, "I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you,

Also referenced above:
Num. 14
20 Then the LORD said, "I have pardoned, according to your word. 21 But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD, 22 none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, 23 shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. 2


Puritan Board Freshman
Here is another....

1 Corinthians 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

Numbers 21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

No Longer A Libertine

Puritan Board Senior
Here is another....

1 Corinthians 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

Numbers 21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
What is the context of the tempting of Christ? Are you suggesting tempting wrath from God?

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Interesting discussion. Apart from the issue of the variants and their texttypes, the matter of the nomenclature of the divine Persons is of great significance. Paul does, as has been noted, speak of Christ (Messiah) being the spiritual rock the Israelites drank from; we know also that the Savior of the elect people of God in Old Testament times was none other than “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). What I wonder concerning is the appropriateness of referring to OT appearances or activities of God the Son (aka “the Angel of the Lord” or even Jehovah) by His mediatorial identity and name as a man, a human being. The “man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5) had not yet been born when the Jews “passed through the sea”. Am I amiss to stick strictly to the Biblical terminology and apply the name Jesus only to God as He was manifest in the flesh? Is it not an anachronism to do otherwise?



Puritan Board Graduate
Here is another....

1 Corinthians 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

Numbers 21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Interestingly enough, 1Cor. 10:9 also has the same variants of Lord and Christ. But in this case the majority of the translations went with Christ. Here are the relevant commentaries:

Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (1 Co 10:9). Biblical Studies Press.

6 tc Χριστόν (Christon, “Christ”) is attested in the majority of mss, including many important witnesses of the Alexandrian (P46 1739 1881) and Western (D F G) texttypes, and other mss and versions (Ψ latt sy co). On the other hand, some of the important Alexandrian witnesses have κύριον (kurion, “Lord”; אB C P 33 104 1175 al). A few mss (A 81 pc) have θεόν (theon,“God”). The nomina sacra for these readings are quite similar (ΧΝ, ΚΝ, and ΘΝ respectively), so one might be able to account for the different readings by way of confusion. On closer examination, the variants appear to be intentional changes. Alexandrian scribes replaced the highly specific term “Christ” with the less specific terms “Lord” and “God” because in the context it seems to be anachronistic to speak of the exodus generation putting Christ to the test. If the original had been “Lord,” it seems unlikely that a scribe would have willingly created a difficulty by substituting the more specific “Christ.” Moreover, even if not motivated by a tendency to overcorrect, a scribe might be likely to assimilate the word “Christ” to “Lord” in conformity with [esv]Deut 6:16[/esv] or other passages. The evidence from the early church regarding the reading of this verse is rather compelling in favor of “Christ.” Marcion, a second-century, anti-Jewish heretic, would naturally have opposed any reference to Christ in historical involvement with Israel, because he thought of the Creator God of the OT as inherently evil. In spite of this strong prejudice, though, {Marcion} read a text with “Christ.” Other early church writers attest to the presence of the word “Christ,” including {Clement of Alexandria} and Origen. What is more, the synod of Antioch in a.d. 268 used the reading “Christ” as evidence of the preexistence of Christ when it condemned Paul of Samosata. (See G. Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles, 126–27; TCGNT 494; C. D. Osburn, “The Text of 1 Corinthians 10:9, ” New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis, 201–11; contra A. Robertson and A. Plummer, First Corinthians [ICC], 205–6.) Since “Christ” is the more difficult reading on all accounts, it is almost certainly original. In addition, “Christ” is consistent with Paul’s style in this passage (cf. 10:4, a text in which {Marcion} also reads “Christ”). This text is also christologically significant, since the reading “Christ” makes an explicit claim to the preexistence of Christ. (The textual critic faces a similar dilemma in Jude 5. In a similar exodus context, some of the more important Alexandrian mss [A B 33 81 pc] and the Vulgate read “Jesus” in place of “Lord.” Two of those mss [A 81] are the same mss that have “Christ” instead of “God” in 1 Cor 10:9. See the tc notes on Jude 5 for more information.) In sum, “Christ” has all the earmarks of authenticity here and should be considered the original reading.​
ICC International Critical Commentary (a commentary series)
Vulgate The Vulgate version of the Bible in Latin

Metzger, B. M., & United Bible Societies. (1994). A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament, second edition a companion volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed.) (494). London; New York: United Bible Societies.

10.9 Χριστόν {B}

The reading that best explains the origin of the others is Χριστόν, attested by the oldest Greek manuscript (P46) as well as by a wide diversity of early patristic and versional witnesses (Irenaeus in Gaul, Ephraem in Edessa, Clement in Alexandria, Origen in Palestine, as well as by the Old Latin, the Vulgate, Syriac, Sahidic and Bohairic). The difficulty of explaining how the ancient Israelites in the wilderness could have tempted Christ prompted some copyists to substitute either the ambiguous κύριον or the unobjectionable θεόν. Paul’s reference to Christ here is analogous to that in ver. 4.​
{B} {B} The letter {B} indicates that the text is almost certain.
P P = Papyrus.

Thiselton, A. C. (2000). The First Epistle to the Corinthians : A commentary on the Greek text (740). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans.

9 (1) Χριστόν is attested by the earliest MS. P46, together with D, E, F, G, K, and early patristic writers in a variety of local regions: Irenaeus (Lyons); Ephraem (Edessa), Clement (Alexandria), Old Latin, Vulgate, Syriac, Sahidic, and Bohairic. However, א, B, and C have τὸν κύριον, which reflects τὸν θέον (cf. LXX of Num 21:5–6; Deut 6:16, and Ps 77:18 [Ps 78:18]: They put God to the test in their hearts by demanding food for their own desires). Before reference could be made to P46, some older commentators suggested that “we may safely prefer τὸν κύριον.”112 However, more recent writers almost unanimously (but with exceptions) argue for τὸν Χριστόν, including Metzger, Conzelmann, Schrage, Fee, and most decisively Zuntz and the research article by C. D. Osburn.113 The major arguments in favor of accepting and retaining Christ (which UBS 4th ed. ranks as “B,” i.e., “almost certain”) are (a) that it is easy to understand how an original Christ could be changed to the Lord because (i) Christ presupposes a Christology which identifies the God of Israel (or the angel of the Lord) with the preexistent Christ;114 (ii) Lord with put to the test would be a familiar phrase from the use of Deut 6:16 in the Gospel narratives of the messianic temptations; (iii) Lord would be near to LXX Num 21:5–6; Ps 77:18 [78:18]; and (b) that P46 goes back to around ad 200, and is supported by D and very early second- and third-century patristic witness from locations across the Graeco-Roman world. (2) ἀπώλοντο reflects the better א, A, and B as reading ἀπώλοντο of C, D, and G. Some MSS read ἀπώλλυντο (see below).​

112 Robertson and Plummer, First Epistle, 205; so also Meyer, First Epistle, 1:279.
113 C. D. Osburn, “The Text of 1 Cor 10:9,” in E. J. Epp and G. D. Fee (eds.) NT Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis: Essays in Honour of B. M. Metzger (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), 201–12; Metzger, Textual Commentary, 2d ed., 494; Zuntz, Text, 126–27; Conzelmann, 1 Cor, 164, n. 2; Fee, First Epistle, 450, n. 2 and 457, n. 34; Schrage, Der erste Brief, 2:400–401, n. 101. An exception is Senft, La Première Épitre, 130.
UBS United Bible Societies
114 Cf. J. Habermann, Präexistenzaussagen im NT, EHS T 23 (Frankfurt am Main, 1990), 219–20; A. T. Hanson, Jesus Christ in the OT, 11–16.

Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator's handbook on Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators (220). New York: United Bible Societies.

1 Corinthians 10.9.

This verse refers to Num 21.5–6; compare Psa 78.18.
The UBS Greek text has “Christ” instead of “Lord,” as in REB and the footnotes in TEV and NJB, as well as in KJV. Many manuscripts have “the Lord.” RSV and TEV texts, and most translations, follow these manuscripts. Some translations such as GeCL, ItCL, Phps, and Brc interpret “the Lord” as “God.” Metzger comments that “the reading that best explains the origin of the other is Christon (Christ”;
compare verse 4. If translators choose the Lord as the text, there should be a footnote similar to the one in RSV or TEV, showing the other choice.
Commentators are uncertain as to the exact meaning of Paul’s references to tempting the Lord or putting him to the test. The verb put… to the test is not used in Num 21.5–6, but in Psa 78.18–19 it seems to mean “doing an experiment to see whether God would perform a miracle.” In the present verse Brc probably brings out the full meaning in his translation, “nor must we try to see how far we can go with God and get away with it.” This can also be phrased as “nor must we try to see how much we can sin before God punishes us.”​
UBS United Bible Societies
REB Revised English Bible
TEV Today’s English Version
NJB New Jerusalem Bible
KJV King James Version
RSV Revised Standard Version
GeCL German common language version
ItCL Italian common language version
Phps Phillips
Brc Barclay

Calvin, J. (1998). Calvin's Commentaries: 1 Corinthians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Calvin's Commentaries (1 Co 10:9). Albany, OR: Ages Software.

9. Neither let us tempt Christ. This part of the exhortation refers to the history that is recorded in Numbers 21:6. For the people, having become weary of the length of time, began to complain of their condition, and to expostulate with God — “Why has God deceived us,” etc. This murmuring of the people Paul speaks of as a tempting; and not without good reason, for tempting is opposed to patience. What reason was there at that time why the people should rise up against God, except this — that, under the influence of base desire, 450 they could not wait in patience the arrival of the time appointed by the Lord? Let us, therefore, take notice, that the fountain of that evil against which Paul here warns us is impatience, when we wish to go before God, and do not give ourselves up to be ruled by Him, but rather wish to bind him to our inclination and laws. This evil God severely punished in the Israelitish people. Now he remains always like himself — a just Judge. Let us therefore not tempt him, if we would not have experience of the same punishment.

This is a remarkable passage in proof of the eternity of Christ; for the cavil of Erasmus has no force — “Let us not tempt Christ, as some of them tempted God;” for to supply the word God is extremely forced. 451 Nor is it to be wondered that Christ is called the Leader of the Israelitish people. For as God was never propitious to his people except through that Mediator, so he conferred no benefit except through his hand. Farther, the angel who appeared at first to Moses, and was always present with the people during their journeying, is frequently called יהוה, Jehovah. 452 Let us then regard it as a settled point, that that angel was the Son of God, and was even then the guide of the Church of which he was the Head. As to the term Christ, from its having a signification that corresponds with his human nature, it was not as yet applicable to the Son of God, but it is assigned to him by the communication of properties, as we read elsewhere, that​
the Son of Man came down from heaven. (John 3:13.)
450 “Vn desir importun et desordonne;” — “An importunate and inordinate desire.”
451 Billroth, in his’Commentary on the Epistles to the Corinthians, alleges, that the view that is here taken by Calvin “couldhave been suggested only by reasons of a dogmarital character.” The objection thus brought forward, however, is satisfactorily set aside in a valuable note by Dr. Alexander, in his translation of Billroth. See Biblical Cabinet, No. 21. pp. 246, 247. See also Henderson on Inspiration, pp. 553, 554. — Ed.
452 “C’est a dire, l’Eternel;” — “That is to say, the Eternal.”

Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 18: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. Accompanying biblical text is author's translation. New Testament Commentary (330). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

9. And let us not test Christ as some of them did and were destroyed by snakes.

The fourth reference to the history of Israel is the incident of the snakes (Num. 21:4–9). Overconfident after defeating the king of Arad, the people of Israel were unwilling to travel around the kingdom of Edom. They displayed impatience, blasphemed God, denounced Moses, loathed manna, and clamored for water. In response, God sent poisonous snakes into the camp. When the people repented of their sin, Moses prayed for them, fashioned a bronze snake, and put it on a pole. The people who were bitten looked at the snake and lived (compare John 3:14–15).
Paul writes, “And let us not test Christ.” A number of translators have the reading Lord21 instead of “Christ.”22 The oldest Greek manuscript (P46), the Western text, numerous witnesses, versions, and the church fathers have the word Christ. This is the primary reading that goes back to the second century, was the accepted text throughout the Mediterranean basin, and is well attested.23 Hence, the term Christ, which fits the context (see v. 4), is the preferred reading. And Paul teaches that the preexistent Christ accompanied the Israelites during their desert journey.
Two additional observations. First, Paul again uses the first person plural (see v. 8) to show that the Corinthians and he are not exempt from God’s judgment. They are like the Israelites in the wilderness. Israel’s victorious warriors demonstrated their impatience by refusing to accept divine guidance; they received their just reward. Accordingly, believers in New Testament times (including Paul and the Corinthians) ought not to follow their own inclinations. They have to wait for answered prayer and God’s providential leading.
Next, in three successive verses (see vv. 8, 9, 10), Paul specifies that only “some of [the Israelites]” fell into sin and died. With respect to the people who suffered snakebites, only some died. The rest looked at the bronze snake and lived.​
21 GNB, JB, NJB, MLB, NCV, NEB, NIV, REB, RSV, SEB, Cassirer.
23 Consult Carroll D. Osburn, “The Text of I Corinthians 10:9, ” in New Testament Textual Criticism, Its Significance for Exegesis. Essays in Honour of Bruce M. Metzger, ed. Eldon J. Epp and Gordon D. Fee (Oxford: Clarendon, 1981), pp. 201–12.

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate

I think it appropriate for me to ask – and I speak as one responsible for the nurture, shepherding and teaching of souls – What is the upshot of all this scholarship?

You started this thread thinking “what a great apologetic” to Jesus’ divinity the ESV reading would be; I remarked above I thought it anachronistic for His name to be so used.

But briefly to the matter of the texts and variants: Does not affording this variant credibility undermine (once again) the conviction the church has a settled text of Scripture? As I have said elsewhere, “in the eyes of many there is no longer a standard of what is and what is not the Word God has given us. It is pretty much a crapshoot...”

This is how the scholars themselves assess the situation:

“In spite of the claims of Westcott and Hort and of van Soden, we do not know the original form of the gospels, and it is quite likely that we never shall” (Kirsopp Lake, Family 13, The Ferrar Group, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1941, p. vii).

“…it is generally recognized that the original text of the Bible cannot be recovered” (R.M. Grant. “The Bible of Theophilus of Antioch,” Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 66, 1947, p. 173).

“…the optimism of the earlier editors has given way to that skepticisim which inclines towards regarding ‘the original text’ as an unattainable mirage” (G. Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles, 1953, p. 9).

“…every textual critic knows that this similarity of text indicates, rather, that we have made little progress in textual theory since Westcott-Hort; that we simply do not know how to make a definitive determination as to what the best text is; that we do not have a clear picture of the transmission and alternation of the text in the first few centuries; and accordingly, that the Westcott-Hort kind of text has maintained its dominant position largely by default” (Eldon J. Epp, “The Twentieth Century Interlude in New Testament Textual Criticism,” Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 43, 1974, pp. 390-391).

“…we no longer think of Westcott-Hort’s ‘Neutral’ text as neutral; we no longer think of their ‘Western’ text as Western or as uniting the textual elements they selected; and, of course, we no longer think so simplistically or so confidently about recovering ‘the New Testament in the Original Greek.’…We remain largely in the dark as to how we might reconstruct the textual history that has left in its wake—in the form of MSS and fragments—numerous pieces of a puzzle that we seem incapable of fitting together. Westcott-Hort, von Soden, and others had sweeping theories (which we have largely rejected) to undergird their critical texts, but we seem now to have no such theories and no plausible sketches of the early history of the text that are widely accepted. What progress, then have we made? Are we more advanced than our predecessors when, after showing their theories to be unacceptable, we offer no such theories at all to vindicate our accepted text?” (Eldon J. Epp, “A Continuing Interlude in NT Textual Criticism,” Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism, (Eerdman’s, 1993), pp. 114, 115).​

Consider now, where has the so-called “science” of textual criticism led us? Is it not accurate to say, Into a dead end, with no hope of escape on this route? When on a false path (I know this from the mountain wildernesses of New York) one returns whence one came, and sets out afresh.

When I am told that in the ESV’s Matthew 1 verses 7 and 10 with their notorious Asaph and Amos replacing the royal forebears of the Lord Jesus we have the authentic Greek text (reflecting the reading of the CT), with disdain I reject that assertion which posits error in the autograph of the apostle.

Vast multitudes have followed the blind textual critics nursed on the poison milk of unregenerate rationalists, and this subtle assault on the foundations of the Faith will take a greater toll than is now apparent to the eye. We need to return to when we knew the text we had was of God, and to separate from those false trails that led us into blind alleys. I know, it is a hard thing once one’s mind has been made up that the Old Trail is the bad one, and the new trails the right ones. It is hard to disentangle the mind from “evidences” supplied by…..who, ultimately, is the one who hath sown this bad seed?.....the enemies of the Faith.

A good starter antidote to this poison is The Ancient Text of the New Testament, by Professor Jakob van Bruggen: http://web.archive.org/web/20030428225220/www.thescripturealone.com/VanBrug.html. He reviews the past century’s text criticism.

Our confidence in the Word of our God is what enables us to trust Him and His promises. When our confidence is eroded, it is as the erosion of our very faith. Because of our carelessness in these matters – vaunting our advanced scholarship and great knowledge – we are endangering future generations of believers, if not our own. This erosion will increase.

I think we have been stricken with a theological malaise called sovereignitis, wherein we overlook and excuse the role and responsibility of men because of our knowledge of the overriding sovereignty of God. It is as if I put sugar in my gas tank – thinking to “sweeten up” my ride – and expected my car to keep running. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” the LORD once said to His people in another controversy, and it applies to this one now, for we give misinformation to the minds of our people and expect it not to bear the fruit of disaster.

[The quotes of the text critics above I got from David Cloud's Faith vs. the Modern Bible Versions, pp. 238, 239: http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/books/bible-versions.html.]

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Puritan Board Graduate

I appreciate your concern over the use of textual criticism. I will think through all that you have said and read through the links you provided. I even noted that the translators seemed to go against their own grain in some of the above examples. I would prefer that this thread remain focused on Jude 5 and 1 Cor. 10:9 and work through all of the interpretive issues that the variants raise. I provided commentaries on the text and asked men much more knowledgeble than I to "think out loud" through the issues to show me and the rest of the PB'ers how one should interact with them.

If you are of the opinion that the KJV and the received text is the only viable one and dislike textual criticism in general then may I suggest either adding to existing threads those concerns or starting a new one? I don't have time to interact on an in-depth level currently. If I have misunderstood your position in even suggesting this, please forgive me and offer a correction.

Grace and peace,


Puritan Board Sophomore
For some reason, when I read this I thought of [esv]Isaiah 6[/esv] and [esv]John 12:41[/esv].
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