KJV vs. NKJV

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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Acts 19:39 is another example that is clear from the ESV's notes for those without Greek:

ESV: But if you seek anything further,[a] it shall be settled in the regular assembly.
[a] Some manuscripts seek about other matters

AV: But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.

NKJV: But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
For those interested, I updated the Letis link in my post #134 above to include the first 11 pages of his essay on Owen and the textual battles of his day. It's quite an interesting read for those to whom the transmission history of the Textus Receptus, and its use by the Reformers contra Rome, is important.

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Jimmy, answering your post #137,

With respect to your questions, did you look at the links I gave in my post # 118? Especially the one “Concerning Erasmus”? There are answers to one of your questions there.

Also, re Rev 22:19, in the http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/responding-james-white-aomin-44382/ thread, put in your browser’s search feature “Revelation 22’s verse 19” for a discussion of that verse.

In this thread responding to Dr. White is this passage:

There are two basic text groupings comprising the varying readings in Revelation – within the Majority Text camp! – as well as some CT readings. The MT groups are the 046 and the Andreas.

Hodges and Farstad in their (The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, p. xxxvi) do admit, “There is no reason why the parental exemplar of the Andreas texttype could not go back well into the second century.” And Hodges says, “…the Textus Receptus much more closely approximates Andreas than 046 – in fact, hardly resembles the latter group at all” (from “The Ecclesiastical Text of Revelation,” Bibliotheca Sacra, April 1961, p. 121). [In their edition of the MT, they favored the 046 group, so this is a significant admission.]

From Hoskier’s Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse,

We trace the origin of the B (046) group not further back than 8th or possibly 7th century. Now many cursives are identified with this family group, whereas in the main our Textus Receptus is not, and has at any rate avoided the bulk of this revision (Apocalypse p. xxxvii)

This may be the proper place to emphasize why the Textus Receptus of the Apocalypse is intrinsically good. Apoc. 1, on which it is founded, is an old text. See how it comes out in Hippolytus…

It is actually possible to reconstruct a first-class text from Hipp.—47—and Textus Receptus, and a far better one than that of any of our five uncials. Why? Well, apart from a few idiosyncrasies, which the whole body of subsequent evidence rejects, Hippolytus represents as old a text as we can get. Then 47, also apart from a few distinguishing idiosyncrasies easily identified and rejected owing to lack of other support, is throughout a straightforward, careful witness. And lastly, the Textus Receptus, apart from any instinctive and intrinsic excellence, happens to prove back to the very order of words used by Hippolytus’ codex; in places where t.r. disagrees we let 47+Hipp. guide us and they nearly always lead us in the right path, namely with the consensus of general evidence. (Ibid., p. xlvii)​

Hoskier’s basic conclusion toward the 200 plus MSS he collated for Revelation was:

I may state that if Erasmus had striven to found a text on the largest number of existing MSS in the world of one type, he could not have succeeded better, since his family-MSS occupy the front rank in point of actual numbers, the family numbering over 20 MSS besides its allies. (The John Rylands Bulletin 19-1922/23, p 118.)​

So, per H.C. Hoskier, the manuscript(s) Erasmus used for Revelation was/were the very best, that is, of the Andreas group of manuscripts as opposed to the 046 group.

I will be posting more on Erasmus shortly, but it should be kept in mind that he kept notes on the various textual readings he came across during his many travels – even if he didn’t have all the manuscripts they came from with him – and he was constantly on the lookout for more mss. In my own mind, without notes, I have mental files on various readings, both in the CT editions and the TR/AV, and I know concerning many readings, which are genuine and which spurious. Very likely Erasmus had any more, both in preparation for his Latin NT and for the Greek.
 

One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
now since the manuscripts
that underly The KJB /AV are the best, what is your objection to the NKJV ?

The problems of translation have been mentioned earlier. As to the text underlying the translation, the problem is in the claim of the NKJV to follow in the line of earlier revisions. Those earlier revisions only touch on superficials. The NKJV does more. It sometimes translates a different underlying text. So what it claims and what it delivers are two different things.

Pastor Matthew, i was basically summing up what i thought John Owens views were in regard to the Quotes
that Logan had posted, as much as i have been enjoying the textual debate that has been raging & have
posted in Defence of The Traditional Text & KJB, I just thought i would repeat the the original question that
sarted this thread off & some light humour thrown in with the spyware comment.

yes i also believe that the NKJV has deviated textualy as well as made some bad & unnecessary word
choices.
 

One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
Robert,

I don't think that is quite correct. Consider this quote:

Owen said:
Notwithstanding what hath been spoken, we grant that there are and have been various lections in the Old Testament and the New...[listing of some] If any others can be gathered, or shall be hereafter, out of ancient copies of credit and esteem, where no mistake can be discovered as their cause, they deserve to be considered...All that yet appears impairs not in the least the truth of our assertion, that every letter and tittle of the word of God remains in the copies preserved by his merciful providence for the use of his church.

If Owen believed copies yet to be gathered should be considered, then he cannot be strictly said to be working within the variants of TR manuscripts.

Brother Logan I believe you are putting words into our dead brothers mouth & since the dead cannot speak
but by their writings the onus is on you to provide quotes that Owen would have supported the Critical Texts.
Owen was a T.R. man, to say "out of ancient copies of credit & esteem" would back this up. Remember
Sinaiticus has 23,000+ corrections at last count, thats not what you would call credit & Esteem. Owen would have
been quite familiar with the work of Fulke, Cartwright, Whitaker & other Reformed Scholars on The Textual Issue
The Reformed Churches unanimously accepted The Masoretic/Received Text as can be seen by its overwhelming
use as The Textual Base of Reformational Bible Translations in all Tongues, & Owens use of it in his works, I've
only got one more thing to say, If JOHN WEST was a Textual Scholar he would REJECT the CRITICAL Text TOO.
 
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sevenzedek

Puritan Board Junior
As much as I respect you, Rev. Winzer, this is an assertion that simply cannot be proven, at least as far as the NT is concerned.

It is easily proven. Luke 1:35 is an obvious example. For those who may not know Greek I will simply quote the translations.

English Standard Version (ESV)
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[a] will be called holy—the Son of God.
[a] Some manuscripts add of you

Authorized Version
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

New King James Version
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

Where did "εκ σου" (of you/thee) go? It's not even marked in my NKJV as a departure.
 

sevenzedek

Puritan Board Junior
Acts 19:39 is another example that is clear from the ESV's notes for those without Greek:

ESV: But if you seek anything further,[a] it shall be settled in the regular assembly.
[a] Some manuscripts seek about other matters

AV: But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.

NKJV: But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly.

Where did "περι ετερων" (concerning other matters) go?

From the NKJV preface: "Those readings in the Textus Receptus which have weak support are indicated in the footnotes as being opposed by both Critical and Majority Texts."

This departure not only departs from the TR in favor of the CT, it isn't even marked in my copy.

Mr. Winzer is correct.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Brother Logan I believe you are putting words into our dead brothers mouth & since the dead cannot speak
but by their writings the onus is on you to provide quotes that Owen would have supported the Critical Texts.
Owen was a T.R. man, to say "out of ancient copies of credit & esteem" would back this up.

Thank you Robert, but if I may, I believe you are putting words into my mouth. I am quite confident that Owen would not have been a CT man, but that is not what I was trying to show. I was trying to show that Owen was not a strict TR man, in the sense that Letis was making him out to be. It is clear Owen believed in providential preservation. It is clear he believed God's word had been preserved entire, it is clear that he thought we had the entire word and that it was authoritative. However, it is also clear that he did not hold to a TR-only position (at least in the sense some take it), where, as Letis says he saw "only minor variants between the various editions of TR as valid areas for discrimination..." and implies that is only from Beza, Erasmus, Stephanus, etc. This cannot be true if Owen said that those variants yet to be discovered, out of ancient and creditable manuscripts, would deserve to be considered. It commits Owen to more than he took a stand for.

I am not for the CT and against the TR, but neither am I for the TR in the sense that some people are. I am, however, for the truth, and I am disappointed when I see truth being sacrificed, often out of ignorance, simply for the sake of holding one's position.

Steve, I looked through most of Letis' paper you linked to and it was helpful for clarifying Letis' position, but still think my analysis is correct in that he commits Owen to too much. Incidentally, he said "no one been able to determine Walton was a papist", not that this is an important point.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
Frederic G. Kenyon (1936)

The general conclusion to which we seem to be led is that there is no royal road to the recovery of the original text of the New Testament. Fifty years ago it seemed as if Westcott and Hort had found such a road, and that we should depart from the Codex Vaticanus (except in the case of obvious scribal blunders) at our peril. The course both of discoveries and of critical study has made it increasingly difficult to believe that the Vaticanus and its allies represent a stream of tradition that has come down practically uncontaminated from the original sources. Based as they must have been on a multitude of different rolls, it would have been a singularly happy accident if all had been of the same character, and all deriving without contamination from the originals. The uniformity of character which on the whole marks the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus is better to be explained as the result of skilled editing of well-selected authorities on a definite principle. Therefore, while respecting the authority due to the age and character of this recension, we shall be disposed to give more consideration than Westcott and Hort did to other early readings which found a home in the Western, Syriac, or Caesarean texts, but we may still believe (though here personal predilections come into play, and others may take different views) that the Alexandrian text gives us on the whole the nearest approximation to the original form of the sacred books.

In this short survey of a great subject, we have endeavoured to give in simple language an outline of the general history of the Bible text, an account of the many discoveries which have modified and extended our knowledge of it, and an indication of the conclusions to which scholarly opinion seems to be tending. It is a fascinating story to those who care for their Bible. It is the life-history of the greatest of books, diversified by interesting episodes which appeal to our human sympathies; and we venture to think that the result is reassuring. It may be disturbing to some to part with the conception of a Bible handed down through the ages without alteration and in unchallenged authority; but it is a higher ideal to face the facts, to apply the best powers with which God has endowed us to the solution of the problems which they present to us; and it is reassuring at the end to find that the general result of all these discoveries and all this study is to strengthen the proof of the authenticity of the Scriptures, and our conviction that we have in our hands, in substantial integrity, the veritable Word of God.

The Story of the Bible, by Frederic G. Kenyon (chapter 10)

The Story of the Bible, by Frederic G. Kenyon (complete book)
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Thanks for that quote Jimmy. I do think it is important to have a strong confidence in God's preservation of the Scriptures and we do have, and always have had, the very word of God. And I've seen nothing to shake that confidence whether one holds to the CT or the TR or something in between.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Acts 19:39 is another example that is clear from the ESV's notes for those without Greek:

ESV: But if you seek anything further,[a] it shall be settled in the regular assembly.
[a] Some manuscripts seek about other matters

AV: But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.

NKJV: But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly.

Neither of the examples you have given are the result of departing from the TR. All translations will occasionally add words or subtract words in order to improve understanding or to make the text flow better. It is obvious in Luke 1:35 that the child will be born to her, and it also obvious in Acts 19:39 that any additional inquiry will involve other matters. The question you must answer is this, why would the editors of the NKJV, who included thousands of footnotes indicating every minor variance between texts, for some inexplicable reason choose not to footnote these passages as variants, and further, if your theory is that the editors wanted to secretly slip in readings from the CT, why did they chose such minor, meaningless passages while leaving intact other passages such as 1 John 5:7 and Revelation 22:19 which virtually all scholars acknowledge as having almost no textual support?
 
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JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
With all due respect, I fail to see how this could not be a major problem. If the Bible is inspired in the original texts, and a particular reading has no basis in the original text, how then can it be considered to be inspired?

You misunderstand me, I'm not saying, nor I believe, is anyone that there is no basis for any reading in the original text, but that the original text is not available in it's orignal form and so the reading may not be in any one mss.. However, and you'll have to read the book to get the full argument - what Silva et. al. would assert is that the lack of explicit individual manuscript witness is what you would expect from a multi-copied orginal and is no hindrance to discovering the original text form.
 

sevenzedek

Puritan Board Junior
Acts 19:39 is another example that is clear from the ESV's notes for those without Greek:

ESV: But if you seek anything further,[a] it shall be settled in the regular assembly.
[a] Some manuscripts seek about other matters

AV: But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.

NKJV: But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly.

Neither of the examples you have given are the result of departing from the TR. All translations will occasionally add words or subtract words in order to improve understanding or to make the text flow better. It is obvious in Luke 1:35 that the child will be born to her, and it also obvious in Acts 19:39 that any additional inquiry will involve other matters. The question you must answer is this, why would the editors of the NKJV, who included thousands of footnotes indicating every minor variance between texts, for some inexplicable reason chose not to footnote these passages as variants, and further, if your theory is that the editors wanted to secretly slip in readings from the CT, why did they chose such minor, meaningless passages while leaving intact other passages such as 1 John 5:7 and Revelation 22:19 which virtually all scholars acknowledge as having almost no textual support?

That is an astute observation and I missed it. Perhaps Mr. Winzer will substantiate his point by showing other supposed deviations.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Neither of the examples you have given are the result of departing from the TR. All translations will occasionally add words or subtract words in order to improve understanding or to make the text flow better. It is obvious in Luke 1:35 that the child will be born to her, and it also obvious in Acts 19:39 that any additional inquiry will involve other matters. The question you must answer is this, why would the editors of the NKJV, who included thousands of footnotes indicating every minor variance between texts, for some inexplicable reason choose not to footnote these passages as variants, and further, if your theory is that the editors wanted to secretly slip in readings from the CT, why did they chose such minor, meaningless passages while leaving intact other passages such as 1 John 5:7 and Revelation 22:19 which virtually all scholars acknowledge as having almost no textual support?

I made a statement; you challenged it; I substantiated the statement. I am not bound to answer any question as to what the editors of the NKJV were doing. They made the claim and failed to deliver on it. They are the ones to whom you should direct your question. I have already stated in an earlier post that it cannot be shown whether this departure was intentional or accidental, as a result of following modern versions. That is as much slack as can be given. They should not have followed modern versions when they claimed to be offering a further revision of the AV. They should have translated the underlying text of the AV.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Neither of the examples you have given are the result of departing from the TR. All translations will occasionally add words or subtract words in order to improve understanding or to make the text flow better. It is obvious in Luke 1:35 that the child will be born to her, and it also obvious in Acts 19:39 that any additional inquiry will involve other matters. The question you must answer is this, why would the editors of the NKJV, who included thousands of footnotes indicating every minor variance between texts, for some inexplicable reason choose not to footnote these passages as variants, and further, if your theory is that the editors wanted to secretly slip in readings from the CT, why did they chose such minor, meaningless passages while leaving intact other passages such as 1 John 5:7 and Revelation 22:19 which virtually all scholars acknowledge as having almost no textual support?

I made a statement; you challenged it; I substantiated the statement. I am not bound to answer any question as to what the editors of the NKJV were doing. They made the claim and failed to deliver on it. They are the ones to whom you should direct your question. I have already stated in an earlier post that it cannot be shown whether this departure was intentional or accidental, as a result of following modern versions. That is as much slack as can be given. They should not have followed modern versions when they claimed to be offering a further revision of the AV. They should have translated the underlying text of the AV.

As you have pointed out, it cannot be proven what the motivation behind these departures was, and in light of that I believe it is best to refrain from making these kinds of assertions. While you may not say this directly, what can be ascertained from your comments is that you seem to believe that the editors of the NKJV conspired to secretly insert readings from the critical text, while all the while claiming to be using the TR exclusively. I have shown how ridiculous this is in light of how exhaustively they have footnoted even minor variants and how they have chosen to leave even questionable TR readings intact. This assertion is essentially nothing more than a ridiculous conspiracy theory which has no basis in actual fact or reason.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
As you have pointed out, it cannot be proven what the motivation behind these departures was, and in light of that I believe it is best to refrain from making these kinds of assertions. While you may not say this directly, what can be ascertained from your comments is that you seem to believe that the editors of the NKJV conspired to secretly insert readings from the critical text, while all the while claiming to be using the TR exclusively. I have shown how ridiculous this is in light of how exhaustively they have footnoted even minor variants and how they have chosen to leave even questionable TR readings intact. This assertion is essentially nothing more than a ridiculous conspiracy theory which has no basis in actual fact or reason.

I have already said the change in text cannot be ascertained to be intentional, yet you accuse me of creating a conspiracy theory. You are evil surmising. The facts are, the omissions are textual, and the NKJV follows the omissions. There are obviously many cases where changes are due to a smoothing over of the translation, which itself is questionable. But there is no doubt there are cases where the translation follows modern versions in omitting text, and those modern versions omit the text because of a different underlying Greek text.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
As you have pointed out, it cannot be proven what the motivation behind these departures was, and in light of that I believe it is best to refrain from making these kinds of assertions. While you may not say this directly, what can be ascertained from your comments is that you seem to believe that the editors of the NKJV conspired to secretly insert readings from the critical text, while all the while claiming to be using the TR exclusively. I have shown how ridiculous this is in light of how exhaustively they have footnoted even minor variants and how they have chosen to leave even questionable TR readings intact. This assertion is essentially nothing more than a ridiculous conspiracy theory which has no basis in actual fact or reason.

I have already said the change in text cannot be ascertained to be intentional, yet you accuse me of creating a conspiracy theory. You are evil surmising. The facts are, the omissions are textual, and the NKJV follows the omissions. There are obviously many cases where changes are due to a smoothing over of the translation, which itself is questionable. But there is no doubt there are cases where the translation follows modern versions in omitting text, and those modern versions omit the text because of a different underlying Greek text.

Rev. Winzer,

You are indeed a gentleman and a scholar, and I mean that sincerely, and so I certainly do not wish to accuse you of any evil. I simply fail to see how something like this could possibly be accidental on the part of the translators, and so if your assertions are true, than it would most certainly constitute a conspiracy. Regardless, I love the AV and agree with you that it is the best overall translation available in English. I just also happen to believe that the NKJV is an excellent alternative and I fail to understand why it is so needlessly impugned by so many. With that, I will bow out of this discussion and I sincerely apologize if I have misrepresented you or made false accusations. May the Lord strengthen you as you continue to fight the good fight.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Logan, I appreciate that this is where you are stuck: “[It] cannot be true [that he held ‘a TR-only position’] if Owen said that those variants yet to be discovered, out of ancient and creditable manuscripts, would deserve to be considered. It commits Owen to more than he took a stand for.”

And you give this saying of his:

“Notwithstanding what hath been spoken, we grant that there are and have been various lections in the Old Testament and the New…
[listing of some] If any others can be gathered, or shall be hereafter, out of ancient copies of credit and esteem, where no
mistake can be discovered as their cause, they deserve to be considered...All that yet appears impairs not in the least the truth of our
assertion, that every letter and tittle of the word of God remains in the copies preserved by his merciful providence for the use of his church.”

This quote is from pp 358-359 in the hardcopy. In the intervening ellipsis of that quoted he says, “Let any one run them through as they are presented in this Appendix, he will find them to be so small, consisting for the most part in unnecessary accents, of no importance to the sense of any word, that they deserve not to be taken notice of.” A little further he restates Cappellus’ opinion that “they are all trivial, and not in matters of any moment. Besides these, there are no other various lections of the Old Testament.” You will note he is speaking here only of the Hebrew. And then he gives the piece you present, “If any others can be gathered, or shall be hereafter, out of ancient copies of credit and esteem, where no mistake can be discovered as their cause, they deserve to be considered.” [emphasis added]

It will serve us to know what the word “consider” means? “To take into view in examination. . . to observe and examine” reads Webster’s 1828 Dictionary; and what is Owen’s use of it? Does he mean, “Consider for inclusion into – and possibly displace – the common readings, if it be found worthy” ? Or does he simply mean, “observe and examine”? How may we arrive at an understanding? An hermeneutical principle in expositing Scripture is to interpret the unclear in light of the clear (not vice versa), and so may we do in this instance.

For one, this quote of his you mentioned surely militates against non-Byz / TR lections being included into the text, as he insisted “that every letter and tittle of the word of God remains in the copies preserved by his merciful providence for the use of his church”. We will look in a moment what copies these might be.

As I brought up in post #128, Owen gives us a further look at his view of the contents of the Appendix:

As, then, I shall not speak any thing to derogate from the worth of their labour who have gathered all these various readings into one body or volume, so I presume I may take liberty without offence to say, I should more esteem of theirs who would endeavour to search and trace out these pretenders to their several originals, and, rejecting the spurious brood that hath now spawned itself over the face of so much paper, that ought by no means to be brought into competition with the common reading, would reduce them to such a necessary number, whose consideration might be of some other use than merely to create a temptation to the reader that nothing is left sound and entire in the word of God (pp 363, 364).​

He again emphasizes that these variants “ought by no means to be brought into competition with the common reading”. But what does he mean by a thoroughly culled number “whose consideration might be of some other use than merely to create a temptation”? If it were of the Vulgate, or sundry translations or versions, or perhaps even Codex D (Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis which Beza gave to Cambridge University and did not use himself, so corrupt did he reckon it), or Vaticanus (of which Professor Paulus Bombasius at Rome sent Erasmus many readings), think you he would have availed himself of any of these and their variants? For these were they which Rome sought to use to destroy the Reformation’s weapon against them: Sola Scriptura! This is why an understanding of the historical context in which Erasmus and the other TR editors and the later defenders of the Reformation’s Sola Scriptura is valuable. (This is why Letis’ essay, “Theodore Beza As Text Critic: A View Into the Sixteenth Century Approach to New Testament Text Criticism” is likewise of great value.) Now if there were new manuscripts discovered of the Byzantine text-type Owen may well have considered such, yet these were in the main identical with one other.

I pointed out earlier that as Owen ends the section, Chapter III, “Of various lections in the Greek copies of the New Testament”, he begins Chapter IV with these words,

Having now declared in what sense, and with what allowance as to various lections, I maintain the assertion laid down in the foregoing treatise concerning the providential preservation of the whole book of God, so that we may have full assurance that we enjoy the whole revelation of his will in the copies abiding amongst us. . . (p 367).​

He was there talking of the Byzantine / TR textform editions they had in hand. You may be assured he was not talking of the copies Rome was attempting to foist upon the world!

Logan, you are correct (as you referenced Letis) to say Walton was not a papist; sorry if I said he was (if so I will have to find that and change it), but rather an Anglo-Catholic much in sympathy with Rome’s attack against the Puritans whom he felt had done him (Walton) insult and injury.

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Jimmy,

You keep searching the internet, and cut and paste views opposing the Reformation view of the received text. Okay, you are entitled to your views, and I wish you well in holding them. Though I must say that your Mr. Kenyon is overly optimistic about the outcome of his methodology. The views of a good number of 20[SUP]th[/SUP] century critics are far less positive:

“The ultimate text, if ever there was one that deserves to be so called, is for ever irrecoverable” (F.C. Conybeare, History of New Testament Criticism, 1910, p. 129)

“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 textual history that the Westcott-Hort text represents is no longer tenable in the light of newer discoveries and fuller textual analysis. In the effort to construct a congruent history, our failure suggests that we have lost the way, that we have reached a dead end, and that only a new and different insight will enable us to break through (Kenneth Clark, “Today’s Problems,” New Testament Manuscript Studies, edited by Parvis and Wikgren, 1950, p. 161).

“…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).

“In general, the whole thing is limited to probability judgments; the original text of the New Testament, according to its nature, must remain a hypothesis” (H Greeven, Der Urtext des Neuen Testaments, 1960, p. 20, cited in Edward Hills, The King James Version Defended, p. 67.

“... so far, the twentieth century has been a period characterized by general pessimism about the possibility of recovering the original text by objective criteria” (H.H. Oliver, 1962, p. 308; cited in Eldon Epp, “Decision Points in New Testament Textual Criticism,” Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism, 1993, p. 25).

“The primary goal of New Testament textual study remains the recovery of what the New Testament writers wrote. We have already suggested that to achieve this goal is well nigh impossible. Therefore, we must be content with what Reinhold Niebuhr and others have called, in other contexts, an ‘impossible possibility’ ” (R.M. Grant, A Historical Introduction to the New Testament, 1963, p. 51).

“…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 face a crisis over methodology in NT textual criticism. ... Von Soden and B.H. Streeter and a host of others announced and defended their theories of the NT text, but none has stood the tests of criticism or of time. ... [F]ollowing Westcott-Hort but beginning particularly with C.H. Turner (1923ff.), M.-J. Langrange (1935), G.D. Kilpatrick (1943ff.), A.F.J. Klijn (1949), and J.K. Elliot (1972ff.), a new crisis of the criteria became prominent and is very much with us today: a duel between external and internal criteria and the widespread uncertainty as to precisely what kind of compromise ought to or can be worked out between them. The temporary ‘cease-fire’ that most—but certainly not all—textual critics have agreed upon is called a ‘moderate’ or ‘reasoned’ eclecticism ... the literature of the past two or three decades is replete with controversy over the eclectic method, or at least is abundant with evidence of the frustration that accompanies its use...” (Eldon Epp, “Decision Points in New Testament Textual Criticism,” Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism, 1993, pp. 39-41).

“…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).​

Jakob Van Bruggen’s, The Ancient Text of the New Testament, is an analysis of this sorry state of affairs.

So Jimmy, what kind of Bible is it you will have to hold in your hands? Will you have to say, “Well, I am absolutely certain that the original autographs were thoroughly inspired, and what I have here in hand is the very word of God, except perhaps for this hotly contested passage, and this and this and this. . . . but I hope that some day the full true text will be recovered.”?

I prefer – and have – much more confidence in my Bible than that.

--------------

Re Erasmus, even William Combs relates,

“Beatus Rhenanus, an employee of Froben, wrote a letter to a friend in September in which he reported: ‘Erasmus of Rotterdam, a great scholar, has arrived in Basel most recently, weighed down with good books, among which are the following: Jerome revised, the complete works of Seneca revised, copious notes on the New Testament....’ ” (Erasmus and the Textus Receptus, p 7.) [emphasis added]​


From David Cloud’s article, What About Erasmus?

DIDN’T ERASMUS USE A MERE HANDFUL OF MANUSCRIPTS?

This is the standard line that is given by textual critics and parroted by those who support textual criticism. Consider the following three examples. Kenyon was an influential textual critic, and Carson and Wallace are New Evangelicals who defend textual criticism.

Frederic Kenyon -- “Erasmus used only a handful of MSS...” (The Text of the Greek Bible, p. 155).

D.A. Carson -- “Although Erasmus published a fourth and fifth edition, we need say no more about them here. Erasmus’s Greek Testament stands in line behind the King James Version; yet IT RESTS UPON A HALF DOZEN MINUSCULE MANUSCRIPTS, none of which is earlier than the tenth century. ... the textual basis of the TR is a small number of haphazardly and relatively late minuscule manuscripts” (D.A. Carson, The King James Version Debate, 1979, pp. 35-36).

Daniel Wallace -- “[Erasmus] only used half a dozen, very late MSS for the whole New Testament any way” (Why I Do Not Think the King James Bible is the Best Translation Available Today).

ANSWER:

1. Erasmus had knowledge of many manuscripts other than those he used for his first edition. Erasmus “began studying and collating NT MSS and observing thousands of variant readings in preparation for his own edition” (Eldon Jay Epp, “Decision Points in New Testament Textual Criticism,” Studies in The Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism, edited by Epp and Gordon Fee, p. 18; quoting Bentley 1983: 35, 138). “It is well known also that Erasmus looked for manuscripts everywhere during his travels and that he borrowed them from everyone he could. Hence although the Textus Receptus was based mainly on the manuscripts which Erasmus found at Basel, it also included readings taken from others to which he had access. It agreed with the common faith because it was founded on manuscripts which in the providence of God were readily available” (Edward Hills, The King James Bible Defended, p. 198).

2. Erasmus knew about the variant readings that are known to modern textual critics.

a. As Frederick Nolan observed: “With respect to Manuscripts, it is indisputable that he [Erasmus] was acquainted with every variety which is known to us; HAVING DISTRIBUTED THEM INTO TWO PRINCIPAL CLASSES, one of which corresponds with the Complutensian edition [the Received Text], and the other with the Vatican manuscript [corresponding to the modern critical text]. And he has specified the positive grounds on which he received the one and rejected the other. The former was in the possession of the Greek church, the latter in that of the Latin; judging from the internal evidence he had as good reason to conclude the Eastern church had not corrupted their received text as he had grounds to suspect the Rhodians from whom the Western church derived their manuscripts, had accommodated them to the Latin Vulgate. One short insinuation which he has thrown out, sufficiently proves that his objections to these manuscripts lay more deep; and they do immortal credit to his sagacity. In the age in which the Vulgate was formed, the church, he was aware, was infested with Origenists and Arians; an affinity between any manuscript and that version, consequently conveyed some suspicion that its text was corrupted" (Nolan, Inquiry into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, or Received Text of the New Testament, London, 1815, pp. 413-15).

b. “For the first edition Erasmus had before him ten manuscripts, four of which he found in England, and five at Basle. ... The last codex was lent him by John Reuchlin ... (and) ‘appeared to Erasmus so old that it might have come from the apostolic age.’ He was aware of Vaticanus in the Vatican Library and had a friend by the name of Bombasius research that for him. He, however, rejected the characteristic variants of Vaticanus which distinguishes itself from the Received Text. (These variants are what would become the distinguishing characteristics of the critical text more than 350 years later.)” (Preserved Smith, Erasmus: A Study of His Life, Ideals, and Place in History, 1923). Erasmus was given 365 select readings from Vaticanus. A correspondent of Erasmus in 1533 sent that scholar a number of selected readings from it [Codex B], as proof [or so says that correspondent] of its superiority to the Received Text” (Frederic Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, 1895; S.P. Tregelles, On the Printed Text of the Greek Testament; cited from Hills).

c. Erasmus discussed these variants in his notes. Indeed almost all the important variant readings known to scholars today were already known to Erasmus more than 460 years ago and discussed in the notes (previously prepared) which he placed after the text in his editions of the Greek New Testament. Here, for example, Erasmus dealt with such problem passages as the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:13), the interview of the rich young man with Jesus (Matt. 19:17-22), the ending of Mark (Mark 16:9-20), the angelic song (Luke 2:14), the angel, agony, and bloody seat omitted (Luke 22:43-44), the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11), and the mystery of godliness” (1 Tim. 3:16) (Edward Hills, pp. 198-199).

3. Erasmus also had the textual evidence from the writings of ancient church leaders and from ancient Bible translations. “Nothing was more important at the dawn of the Reformation than the publication of the Testament of Jesus Christ in the original language. Never had Erasmus worked so carefully. ‘If I told what sweat it cost me, no one would believe me.’ HE HAD COLLATED MANY GREEK MSS. of the New Testament, and WAS SURROUNDED BY ALL THE COMMENTARIES AND TRANSLATIONS, by the writings of Origen, Cyprian, Ambrose, Basil, Chrysostom, Cyril, Jerome, and Augustine. ... When a knowledge of Hebrew was necessary, he had consulted Capito, and more particularly Ecolampadius. Nothing without Theseus, said he of the latter, making use of a Greek proverb” (J.H. Merle D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, New York: Hurst & Company, 1835, Vol. 5, p. 157).

4. Erasmus knew that the manuscripts he selected reflected the reading of the common text, and he was guided by this “common faith.”

“Long before the Protestant Reformation, the God-guided usage of the Church had produced throughout Western Christendom a common faith concerning the New Testament text, namely, a general belief that the currently received New Testament text, primarily the Greek text and secondarily the Latin text, was the True New Testament Text which had been preserved by God’s special providence. It was this common faith that guided Erasmus and the other early editors of the Textus Receptus. ... 



“In Erasmus’ day [the common] view occupied the middle ground between the humanistic view and the scholastic view. Those that held this view acknowledged that the Scriptures had been providentially preserved down through the ages. They did not, however, agree with the scholastic theologians in tying this providential preservation to the Latin Vulgate. On the contrary, along with Laurentius Vallas and other humanists, they asserted the superiority of the Greek New Testament text. This common view remained a faith rather than a well articulated theory. No one at that time drew the logical but unpalatable conclusion that the Greek Church rather than the Roman Church had been the providentially appointed guardian of the New Testament text. But this view, though vaguely apprehended, was widely held, so much so that it may justly be called the common view. Before the Council of Trent (1546) it was favored by some of the highest officials of the Roman Church, notably, it seems, by Leo X, who was pope from 1513-1521 and to whom Erasmus dedicated his New Testament. Erasmus’ close friends also, John Colet, for example, and Thomas More and Jacques Lefevre, all of whom like Erasmus sought to reform the Roman Catholic Church from within, likewise adhered to this common view. Even the scholastic theologian Martin Dorp was finally persuaded by Thomas More to adopt it. In the days of Erasmus, therefore, it was commonly believed by well informed Christians that the original New Testament text had been providentially preserved in the current New Testament text, primarily in the current Greek text and secondarily in the current Latin text. Erasmus was influenced by this common faith and probably shared it, and God used to providentially to guide Erasmus in his editorial labors on the Textus Receptus. ...



“But if Erasmus was cautious in his notes, much more was he so in his text, for this is what would strike the reader’s eye immediately. Hence in the editing of his Greek New Testament text especially Erasmus was guided by the common faith in the current text. And back of this common faith was the controlling providence of God. For this reason Erasmus’ humanistic tendencies do not appear in the Textus Receptus which he produced. Although not himself outstanding as a man of faith, in his editorial labors on this text he was providentially influenced and guided by the faith of others. In spite of his humanistic tendencies Erasmus was clearly used of God to place the Greek New Testament in print, just as Martin Luther was used of God to bring the Protestant Reformation in spite of the fact that, at least at first, he shared Erasmus’ doubts concerning Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation” (Edward F. Hills, The King James Version Defended, 4th edition, pp. 193, 197, 199).



5. This entire issue is a smokescreen. 



a. First, what could it possibly matter that Erasmus used only a few select manuscripts for his Greek New Testament, when the textual critics know full well that these manuscripts represented then and still represent today the vast majority of extant Greek manuscripts and lectionaries? Charles Ellicott, the chairman of the English Revised Version committee, admitted that Erasmus’ “few” manuscripts represent the “majority.” “The manuscripts which Erasmus used differ, for the most part, only in small and insignificant details from the bulk of the cursive manuscripts. The general character of their text is the same. By this observation the pedigree of the Received Text is carried up beyond the individual manuscripts used by Erasmus. ... That pedigree stretches back to a remote antiquity. The first ancestor of the Received Text was at least contemporary with the oldest of our extant manuscripts, if not older than any one of them” (Charles John Ellicott, The Revisers and the Greek Text of the New Testament, by Two Members of the New Testament Company, 1882, pp. 11, 12). Obviously, therefore, the exact number of manuscripts that Erasmus used has no relevance to the issue whatsoever. Yet we continually read the following type of statement from those who defend the modern versions: “This approach to the question, however, ignores the thousands of manuscripts that Erasmus did not consider. Some of those might actually contain the words originally penned by the apostles” (Robert Milliman, “Translation Theory and Twentieth-Century Versions,” One Bible Only? edited by Roy Beacham and Kevin Bauder, 2001, p. 135). How such a thing could be written with a straight face, I do not know. This type of thing is why we titled our first book on this subject in the 1980s “Myths about Modern Bible Versions.” By the way, Milliman’s statement is another blatant denial of preservation. If the words of God were not available to the Reformation editors and translators, that means they were hidden away from common use by the churches for at least 1,500 years. What type of “preservation” is that?



b. Second, if to base a Greek New Testament upon a few manuscripts is in actuality something that should not be done, why do the textual critics support the Critical Text when it is based largely on a mere handful of manuscripts? The United Bible Societies Greek New Testament, the latest edition of the Westcott-Hort Text, repeatedly questions and omits verses, portions of verses, and individual words with far less textual authority than the Trinitarian statement of 1 John 5:7. Most of the significant omissions are made on the authority of Aleph and B (sometimes both together and sometimes one standing alone), and a bare handful of similar manuscripts and versions. For example, the word “fasting” is removed from the Westcott-Hort Text, the Nestles’ Text, the UBS Text, and all of the modern versions on the authority of its omission in Aleph, B, two minuscules (0274, 2427), one Old Latin, and the Georgian version. The entire last 12 verses of the Gospel of Mark are omitted are seriously questioned on the authority of only three Greek manuscripts, Aleph, B, and the minuscule 304 (plus some witness by various versions that were influenced by the Alexandrian Text). Sometimes, in fact, the modern textual critics don’t have even this much “authority” for their changes. For example, the UBS Greek N.T. puts Matthew 21:44 in brackets on the “authority” of only one 3 Greek manuscripts, one uncial (the terribly unreliable D) and two minuscules.



6. Concerning the preservation of the Scriptures, our faith is not in man, but in God. Even if the Reformation editors had fewer resources than those of more recent times, we know that the God who controls the times and the seasons was in control of His Holy Word (Dan. 2:21). The infallible Scriptures were not hidden away in some monastic dungeon or a dusty corner of the Pope’s library at the headquarters of Apostasy. The infallible Scriptures were being published, read, and taught by God’s people.



“At Marquette Manor Baptist Church in Chicago (1984), Dr. [Stewart] Custer said that God preserved His Word ‘in the sands of Egypt.’ No! God did not preserve His Word in the sands of Egypt, or on a shelf in the Vatican library, or in a wastepaper bin in a Catholic monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai. God did not preserve His Word in the ‘disusing’ but in the ‘using.’ He did not preserve the Word by it being stored away or buried, but rather through its use and transmission in the hands of humble believers. At latest count, there were 2,764 cursive manuscripts (MSS). Kenyon says, ‘... An overwhelming majority contain the common ecclesiastical [Received] text.’ ... Kenyon is prepared to list only 22 that give even partial support to the [modern critical] text. ... Are we to believe that in the language in which the New Testament was originally written (Greek), that only twenty-two examples of the true Word of God are to be found between the ninth and sixteenth centuries? How does this fulfill God’s promise to preserve His Word? ... We answer with a shout of triumph God has been faithful to His promise. Yet in our day, the world has become awash with translations based on MSS similar to the twenty-two rather than the [more than] two-and-a-half thousand” (Jack Moorman, Forever Settled, 1985, pp. 90-95).



For more about Erasmus and the Received Text see the book “The Bible Version Question-Answer Database,” “Should 1 John 5:7 Be in the Bible Since It Has Little Support Among the Greek Manuscripts?” This book is available from Way of Life Literature. 



WHY DID ERASMUS ADD THE JOHANNINE COMMA TO HIS 3RD EDITION GREEK NEW TESTAMENT? 


There are two popular myths regarding Erasmus and 1 John 5:7 that are parroted by modernists, evangelicals, and even fundamentalists today who defend the modern versions against the KJV.



The first myth is that Erasmus promised to insert the verse if a Greek manuscript were produced. This is stated as follows by Bruce Metzger: “Erasmus promised that he would insert the Comma Johanneum, as it is called, in future editions if a single Greek manuscript could be found that contained the passage. At length such a copy was found--or made to order” (Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, 1st and 2nd editions).



The second myth is that Erasmus challenged Edward Lee to find a Greek manuscript that included 1 John 5:7. This originated with Erika Rummel in 1986 in her book Erasmus’ Annotations and was repeated by James White in 1995 (The Truth about the KJV-Only Controversy). 



In A History of the Debate over 1 John 5:7,8, Michael Maynard records that H.J. de Jonge, the Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Rijksuniversiteit (Leiden, Netherlands), has refuted both myths. de Jonge, a recognized specialist in Erasmian studies, refuted the myth of a promise in 1980, stating that Metzger’s view on Erasmus’ promise “has no foundation in Erasmus’ work. Consequently it is highly improbable that he included the difficult passage because he considered himself bound by any such promise.” He has also refuted the new myth of a challenge (which Rummel devised in reaction to the burial of the promise myth). In a letter of June 13, 1995, to Maynard, de Jonge wrote:



I have checked again Erasmus’ words quoted by Erika Rummel and her comments on them in her book Erasmus’ Annotations. This is what Erasmus writes [on] in his Liber tertius quo respondet ... Ed. Lei: Erasmus first records that Lee had reproached him with neglect of the MSS. of 1 John because Er. (according to Lee) had consulted only one MS. Erasmus replies that he had certainly not used only one ms., but many copies, first in England, then in Brabant, and finally at Basle. He cannot accept, therefore, Lee’s reproach of negligence and impiety.



‘Is it negligence and impiety, if I did not consult manuscripts which were simply not within my reach? I have at least assembled whatever I could assemble. Let Lee produce a Greek MS. which contains what my edition does not contain and let him show that that manuscript was within my reach. Only then can he reproach me with negligence in sacred matters.’



From this passage you can see that Erasmus does not challenge Lee to produce a manuscript etc. What Erasmus argues is that Lee may only reproach Erasmus with negligence of MSS if he demonstrates that Erasmus could have consulted any MS. in which the Comma Johanneum figured. Erasmus does not at all ask for a MS. containing the Comma Johanneum. He denies Lee the right to call him negligent and impious if the latter does not prove that Erasmus neglected a manuscript to which he had access.



In short, Rummel’s interpretation is simply wrong. The passage she quotes has nothing to do with a challenge. Also, she cuts the quotation short, so that the real sense of the passage becomes unrecognizable. She is absolutely not justified in speaking of a challenge in this case or in the case of any other passage on the subject (emphasis in original) (de Jonge, cited from Maynard, p. 383).



Jeffrey Khoo observes further: “Yale professor Roland Bainton, another Erasmian expert, agrees with de Jonge, furnishing proof from Erasmus’ own writing that Erasmus’ inclusion of 1 John 5:7f was not due to a so-called ‘promise’ but the fact that he believed ‘the verse was in the Vulgate and must therefore have been in the Greek text used by Jerome’” (Jeffrey Khoo, Kept Pure in All Ages, 2001, p. 88).



Edward F. Hills, who had a doctorate in textual criticism from Harvard, testifies: “...it was not trickery that was responsible for the inclusion of the Johannine Comma in the Textus Receptus, but the usage of the Latin speaking Church” (Hills, The King James Version Defended).



In the 3rd edition of The Text of the New Testament Bruce Metzger corrected his false assertion about Erasmus as follows: “What is said on p. 101 above about Erasmus’ promise to include the Comma Johanneum if one Greek manuscript were found that contained it, and his subsequent suspicion that MS 61 was written expressly to force him to do so, needs to be corrected in the light of the research of H. J. DeJonge, a specialist in Erasmian studies who finds no explicit evidence that supports this frequently made assertion” (Metzger, The Text of The New Testament, 3rd edition, p. 291, footnote 2). The problem is that this myth continues to be paraded as truth by modern version defenders.

[End David Cloud]
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
You are indeed a gentleman and a scholar, and I mean that sincerely, and so I certainly do not wish to accuse you of any evil. I simply fail to see how something like this could possibly be accidental on the part of the translators, and so if your assertions are true, than it would most certainly constitute a conspiracy. Regardless, I love the AV and agree with you that it is the best overall translation available in English. I just also happen to believe that the NKJV is an excellent alternative and I fail to understand why it is so needlessly impugned by so many. With that, I will bow out of this discussion and I sincerely apologize if I have misrepresented you or made false accusations. May the Lord strengthen you as you continue to fight the good fight.

Brother, thankyou for your kind thoughts. The OP asked for reasons why the AV should be preferred to the NKJV. I trust it is not impugning a work of man to show wherein it has come short of something better. But I will leave it there, as you desire. Grace and peace!
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Pastor Matthew, i was basically summing up what i thought John Owens views were in regard to the Quotes
that Logan had posted, as much as i have been enjoying the textual debate that has been raging & have
posted in Defence of The Traditional Text & KJB, I just thought i would repeat the the original question that
sarted this thread off & some light humour thrown in with the spyware comment.

Sorry for missing your point.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I am not knowledgeable enough to refute the professor's claims but I know there are some on here who are and I would be grateful if they would prove to me that Dr Wallace is in error and there are no "problems" with the TR underlying the AV, and with the translation of the AV as it was done by the translators in 1611.

Jimmy,

You keep searching the internet, and cut and paste views opposing the Reformation view of the received text. Okay, you are entitled to your views, and I wish you well in holding them.

Steve, thank you for the 'Herculean' effort in putting all of that information together on my behalf. I am genuinely grateful. I have stated, for what ever it is worth, that I 'cut my teeth' on the AV, read it more than the other versions, and will continue to do so. But as you point out, I have been posting views "opposing the Reformation view of the received text."

I asked in my quoted post above someone would go to the trouble of proving to me that Dr. Wallace is in error. You've gone above and beyond in attempting to do that AFAIC. I really do appreciate the effort. I confess that other than watching a few debates on youtube, reading threads on PB, and perusing articles on the internet, I haven't delved into those authors whose work you've quoted.

If you are correct than that leaves me with a stack of ESV, ASV, NASB and NKJV that are paperweights or doorstops at best, heretical works at worst ? As I stated in my quote above, I don't have the base of knowledge that you or Reverend Winzer do, and at my age, it is unlikely that I will attain to it in whatever remains of my life. I look at people such as RC Sproul, William Mounce, Daniel Wallace and on and on.

Since they do have that level of knowledge and expertise, and they accept, indeed in some cases, participated in some of these translations based on the CT, am I to assume all of these luminaries in the Reformed community have been bamboozled ?

My copy of the Trinity Hymnal, published by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, uses Scripture quotations taken from the NIV. I don't particularly like that but it seems that the majority of pastors and scholars are going in that direction. Are they along with the OPC all in error ?

I hope this isn't taken as a 'troll' post because believe me, it is not. I agonize over this debate. God is not the author of confusion so who or what can we attribute this division to if not the adversary ?
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Since they do have that level of knowledge and expertise, and they accept, indeed in some cases, participated in some of these translations based on the CT, am I to assume all of these luminaries in the Reformed community have been bamboozled ?

Jimmy,

Before you make any hasty decisions, I recommend you read
1 King James Onlyism: A New Sect by James Price
2 The King James Only Controversy : Can You Trust Modern Translations? by James White (Revised ed)
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Thanks for your reply, Jimmy! By my reading chair I have on a shelf a NKJV, MKJV, NIV, ESV, NASB, and an old LB (plus other versions on shelves further away), all of which I regularly use to help me either understand portions of my AV better, or see other ways of translating. I also have a few interlinear NTs and one OT (as Logan encourages) to help get at meanings, plus a lot of lexicons, word studies, and commentaries.

The word of God I have and trust I have labored long to ascertain the warrant for that trust, and then to defend it, as loving this edition of the Bible puts one in the sights of many. I seek peace with those who differ with me, and do not try to delegitimize their Bibles; it is accurate translation and true readings I focus on. Still and all, I was born to fight – and my given names, Stephen Mark, mean crown of war – and am up to it, though my primary warfare is simply to declare the word of God in an ungodly world.

A book that states my view pretty well is Thomas Holland’s, Crowned With Glory: The Bible from Ancient Text to Authorized Version.

But I know godly men and women who live the Christian life well using other versions, and they are blessed by the Lord in their ways – and they have blessed me as well!

-----

Stephen, I certainly agree that men should not make hasty decisions, but to carefully consider their way. And I have interacted with Dr. White (here) and another textual writer from his ministry, AOMIN (here).
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
Thanks for your reply, Jimmy! By my reading chair I have on a shelf a NKJV, MKJV, NIV, ESV, NASB, and an old LB (plus other versions on shelves further away), all of which I regularly use to help me either understand portions of my AV better, or see other ways of translating. I also have a few interlinear NTs and one OT (as Logan encourages) to help get at meanings, plus a lot of lexicons, word studies, and commentaries.

The word of God I have and trust I have labored long to ascertain the warrant for that trust, and then to defend it, as loving this edition of the Bible puts one in the sights of many. I seek peace with those who differ with me, and do not try to delegitimize their Bibles; it is accurate translation and true readings I focus on. Still and all, I was born to fight – and my given names, Stephen Mark, mean crown of war – and am up to it, though my primary warfare is simply to declare the word of God in an ungodly world.

A book that states my view pretty well is Thomas Holland’s, Crowned With Glory: The Bible from Ancient Text to Authorized Version.

But I know godly men and women who live the Christian life well using other versions, and they are blessed by the Lord in their ways – and they have blessed me as well!

-----

Stephen, I certainly agree that men should not make hasty decisions, but to carefully consider their way. And I have interacted with Dr. White (here) and another textual writer from his ministry, AOMIN (here).

Many thanks Steve !
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Steve,

Yes, in post #128 you said "by Roman Catholic Brian Walton", perhaps you did mean "Anglo-catholic" then.

Thank you for your copious notes on Erasmus, I'll let someone else reply if they want to.

For one, this quote of [Owen's] you mentioned surely militates against non-Byz / TR lections being included into the text, as he insisted “that every letter and tittle of the word of God remains in the copies preserved by his merciful providence for the use of his church”.

No, not necessarily. I want to be absolutely careful that I am not reading my own position into Owen's, I try to read him fairly. With that said, is it possible you are reading your own into Owen's? Let me be absolutely clear that I personally don't care which way Owen went, I don't have a vested interest one way or another, but I am interested in truth for truth's sake.

But I think you are assuming that when Owen says "every letter and tittle", or "purity" that he means what you mean. I'm concerned that we read our own views back into the Puritans or Westminster Divines'. Might that not be the case here? If I may quote from Turretin?

Turretin said:
The question is not, are the sources so pure that no fault has crept into the many sacred manuscripts, either through the waste of time, the carelessness of copyists or the malice of the Jews or of heretics? For this is acknowledged on both sides and the various readings which Beza and Robert Stephanus have carefully observed in the Greek (and the Jews in the Hebrew) clearly prove it. Rather the question is have the original texts (or the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts) been so corrupted either by copyists through carelessness, or by the Jews or heretics through malice, that they can no longer be regarded as the judge of controversies and the rule to which all the versions must be applied? The papists affirm, we deny it.

...

Although we give to the Scriptures absolute integrity, we do not therefore think that the copyists and printers were inspired, but only that the providence of God watched over the copying of the sacred books, so that although many errors might have crept in, it has not so happened (or they have not so crept into the manuscripts) but that they can be easily corrected by a collation of others (or with the Scriptures themselves). Therefore the foundation of the purity and integrity of the sources is not to be placed in the freedom from fault of men, but in the providence of God which (however men employed in transcribing the sacred books might possibly mingle various errors) always diligently took care to correct them, or that they might be corrected easily either from a comparison with Scripture itself or from more approved manuscripts. It was not necessary therefore to render all the scribes infallible, but only so to direct them that the true reading may always be found out. This book far surpasses all others in purity.

Now don't get me wrong. Turretin almost certainly wouldn't have been for the critical text. However, Turretin, while affirming the purity, integrity, and authority of the Scriptures, also offered corrections to the TR (e.g., arguing that "Cainan" in Luke 3:36 should not be there).

So Turretin affirmed the absolute purity, and preservation of the Scriptures while also saying that there were variants and one must work by "collation".

How do we reconcile this? Or how do you reconcile this? The most sensible way that presents itself to me is to assume that they did not mean pure in minutiae, but pure in essence. Remember too that the Westminster Divines also said that the Scriptures had been "kept" pure in all the ages (not made pure in Erasmus' time). If you take that statement as strictly as you take Owen, it is not true.

If Owen meant only variants that match the TR deserve to be considered (or even "observed", as you suggest), then why even consider them? What would be the purpose or benefit? If it matched, it would be no help, if it varied, it would be rejected.

As I said earlier, Owen contends that a large number, probably a majority, of the variants collected are unnecessary or unhelpful: printing errors, transcription errors, corrupted fragments, etc. it is these that he says are "all trivial", not every variant as you seem to suggest. Likewise, when Owen says “ought by no means to be brought into competition with the common reading”, he is speaking derogatorily about those who attempt to "correct" the common reading with ancient translations, such as the LXX and Syriac. He is not speaking about all the variations.

So I see no problem with Owen declaring both that we possess the entire revelation, and that we should consider variants from reputable manuscripts. At the beginning of chapter III he commends the methods of Beza, Stephanus, Cameron, Erasmus, etc. as opposed to the papal method of appealing to the Vulgate. He thought the work that they did was sound, and strongly implies that this sort of work should be continued, instead of the methods being applied in his day.

So Owen also believed in a pure Word, absolutely reliable, while granting variations (even in yet unknown manuscripts) and methods to reconcile them. The integrity of the Word is what Owen contends for, but he does not do so by appealing to the TR as the final authority, but rather to how minor the variations are in legitimate manuscripts.

This one fact is worthy of consideration: if Owen thought that manuscripts of ancient and reputable origins should be considered, even if discovered some time in the future, then he cannot have been speaking only of manuscripts within the various TR editions, as Letis asserts. And that's what I was trying to say.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Stephen, I certainly agree that men should not make hasty decisions, but to carefully consider their way. And I have interacted with Dr. White (here) and another textual writer from his ministry, AOMIN (here).

Steve, I am aware of your views. I did hold that position myself once. I do stand by the books I mentioned - Price adds to the debate beyond James White.

It may be worthwhile, Steve, for you to have a formal debate with James White as other such as D.A. Waite have done.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Hi Logan,

I think I have made my case fairly well for what Owen’s view was on variants coming from textual traditions other than those which the Reformers settled on as the common text to be held forth against Rome’s imperious claims, which was to be found strictly in Erasmus’ 3rd, Stephen’s 1550, and Beza’s 1598 editions – including the manuscripts they used to compile these editions* – and translated into the 1611 Authorized Version, the 1637 Dutch Statenvertaling, and the other Protestant versions of the Reformation period.

* Added 11/15/13

It is really amazing to me what you are reading into Owen’s views – which is not congruent with the general understanding of his position – but I will rest with what I have already posted and let those looking on decide for themselves. You may have the last word, if you wish – I'll let you know when I am done. You have been a gracious discussion partner – thanks!

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On another note – re your work trip – how cold was it in the mountains? And what kind of gear did you wear to withstand it? Beautiful pics you took!

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Stephen, I’m afraid Dr. White would likely chew me up in a formal debate, as he’s much quicker thinking on his feet than I am; I am more a pondering (not ponderous I hope!), careful type who prefers to research and write his views. I can speak, as in preaching or lecturing, but am sort of slow with repartee and verbal sparring.

My purpose is to let those whose trust reposes in the Authorized Version as God’s providentially preserved Bible in English, faithfully translated from the Greek and Hebrew, that they may know one does not have to be an expert in the Greek or Hebrew to defend their sacred trust in this edition of the Scripture. We are not, as Machen used to say, to be under the tyranny of experts. God’s word is for the common man, woman, and child, and if the “scholars” – and even our beloved pastors – tell us we cannot trust the Reformation’s Bible, we can parry off their doubting with His word, which says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4), and that “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3), His every word being among them, and which we have. We can take that precious promise by faith. I care not if any call me an ignorant babe; I will hold to my God’s word like a bulldog his bone.

About Dr. Price, Stephen – I need not deal with every opponent of the Authorized Bible that puts something in print, need I? Else I would be kept busy till my last breath, and I do have other things to do! Anyway, I have interacted with an essay of James Price here. I don’t want to be stalking the man!

Hopefully this will be my last post in this thread!
 
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Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Thanks Steve,
I've now read through "Divine Origins" almost completely twice, including Owen's preface which isn't in the 16 vol edition. I have also discovered in my PDF copy (since I don't have my books with me on my trip) that I was reading through his "Integrity and Purity of the Hebrew and Greek Text", and it is especially here that I have been pulling from (so your confusion may be my fault). Looking back at "Divine Origins" I see where you are coming from, reading Owen's slightly later work, "Integrity and Purity", I think you'll see an expansion of his views and see what I'm saying.

And as to "reading into Owen", all I can say is that if I am doing this, then the editor, Rev. William Goold D.D. also did the same, since he said essentially the same thing I am in his note at the beginning of "Integrity and Purity". I came to my conclusion independently of him since I didn't read his note until after.

I am still on my trip (typing from the mountain right now). Gear is pretty much Carhartt overalls and jacket, but most of the time we are inside running diagnostic tests. It is quite beautiful here!

Does anyone have an English translation of Owen's "Pro Sacris Scripturis"? I am led to believe this later work talks even more about his beliefs regarding Scripture.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Logan, likewise myself, I have been working mostly out of the section, “Of the Integrity and Purity of the Hebrew and Greek Text”, as can be seen from the page numbers I cite in my quotes. Editor Goold I am not crazy about, as he sets himself over Owen and presumes to critique him. If my memory serves me right I believe he had done this with another Puritan he edited, though I can’t recall now which.

Pro Sacris Scripturis Exercitationes Adversus Fanaticos, John Owen. Here it is in Latin, but I can’t find it translated anywhere.

The Works of John Owen - John Owen - Google Books
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
A Defence of the Sacred Scriptures was translated by Stephen Westcott and appended to the volume entitled "Biblical Theology," which was published by Soli Deo Gloria. It is against the fanatical doctrine of "inner light." From memory it does not go into any textual detail, but only provides a general vindication of the perfection of Scripture. Dr. Westcott's Introduction intimates that Dr. Goold did not share Owen's "Biblicalism."
 
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