God Said Man Said

Gordon Challenges Erasmus and King James

GodSaidManSaid addresses a challenge from a reader: "Your site is interesting, but you constantly refer to the Majority-Text King James Bible. Most assume that the King James Version and the New King James Version are based on the Majority-Text. This is not correct." There is nothing more important than our copy of the Word of God. I must know that it is accurate and true. I am required to stake my life upon it.
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Gordon Challenges Erasmus and King James

Article#: 1388

The more we consider the things we discover, the conclusions we come to, and the things we say, the more obvious the perfectness of the Word of God becomes.  Consider this common description that people offer when they have encountered near-death experiences:  “I saw a light at the end of the tunnel.” 

This carnal world is bound by the spirit of darkness.  The day of one’s salvation is described in Matthew 4:16:

The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

Proverbs 4:18 speaks of the journey unto eternal life:

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

This perfect day of light and eternal life is a daily journey on Route 7 North, Obedience.  As our eye is fixed upon the Light, we finally reach the end of our journey, “the perfect day.”  When the born-again finally see Jesus Christ on that perfect day, we shall be like Him.  I John 3:2:

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John, chapter 1 is known as the True Light.  Consider Colossians 1:12-13:

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

There is a Light at the end of this life’s tunnel, and this Light, Jesus Christ, is the inheritance of the redeemed.  Are you ready to see the Light?  Are you ready to be born again—born a second time, this time as a son or daughter of God?  Today is your day of salvation.  Click onto “Further With Jesus” for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God.  The Light is calling you.  NOW FOR TODAY'S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Deuteronomy 4:2:

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

GOD SAID, Revelation 22:18-19:

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

GOD SAID, Proverbs 24:21:

My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:

GOD SAID, I Corinthians 14:33:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

GOD SAID, Psalms 12:6:

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

MAN SAID:  According to Gordon:

Your site is interesting, but you constantly refer to the Majority-Text King James Bible.  Most assume that the King James Version and the New King James Version are based on the Majority-Text.  This is not correct.   The King James Version and the New King James Version are based on the Textus Receptus.  The Textus Receptus is very similar to the Majority-Text, but there are, in fact, hundreds of differences between the Majority-Text and the Textus Receptus.  The Textus Receptus was compiled and edited by Erasmus in the 16th century.  Erasmus used several Greek manuscripts, which were eastern/Byzantine in nature.  This explains why the Textus Receptus is very similar to the Majority-Text.  However, Erasmus by no means had access to all of the Greek manuscripts, so there was no way he could develop a true Majority-Text.  The Textus Receptus is based on a very limited number of manuscripts, all of them eastern, and all of them dating to around the 12th century.  As a result, compared to the Electic Text and the Majority-Text, the Textus Receptus is far less likely to have the most accurate reading.  

Now THE RECORD.  Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes…” (Luke 20:46).  The scribes were the book writers.  They transcribed, edited, and published.  That warning is just as valid today as when it was first spoken. 

Welcome to GodSaidManSaid feature 628 that once again proves the full veracity of the Word of God found in the Holy Bible.  These features are archived on this site in text and streaming audio for your edification and as ammunition in the battle for the souls of men.  Take advantage of the podcast feature.  You can download the entire site.  Use the “Tell-A-Friend” feature to send your own gospel message to someone you love, and the GodSaidManSaid search bar to find answers to your questions.  Thank you for coming.  May the face of our God shine upon you with Light and Truth. 

There is nothing more important than my copy of the Word of God.  I must know that it is accurate and true.  I am required to stake my life upon it.  GodSaidManSaid has addressed the issue of Bible translations numerous times and not all translations are the unadulterated Word of God.  Which Bible? 

This feature will address Gordon’s challenges.  The following paragraphs are from the Bible historian G. A. Riplinger’s 1184-page tome titled In Awe of Thy Word:

By 1500, Erasmus (age 34),

“…had formed his resolve to study and edit [from errors] the Greek text of the New Testament as the distilled essence of that real Christianity which, in the judgment of reformers and humanists alike, had been overlaid and concealed by the dogmas and accretions of centuries” (Durant, p. 273)

Rummaging through the library of the Premonstration abbey at Pare near Louvain, at the age of 35, Erasmus had seen the manuscript of Lorenzo Valla’s annotations from at least three Greek New Testament manuscripts (Cambridge History of the Bible, vol. III, p. 80).  Valla had noted “serious errors in the Vulgate” (Durant, p.272).  Erasmus then,

“…devoted much of his career to the task of developing, refining, and extending Valla’s methods” (Bently, Jerry H., Humanists and Holy Writ, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983, chapter 2). 

Erasmus continued combing Europe and England for manuscripts, “examining libraries,” throughout his entire life. “He spent his time in the great libraries, devouring all the books he could find.”  He moved constantly, after he had exhausted the libraries and bookshelves of a city.  He wrote that he had acquired so many manuscripts that he needed two assistants to help carry them and plenty of time to “arrange them” (Froude, The Life and Letters, pp.55, 57-58, 54).

Erasmus wrote to a friend very early in his career:

“I am comparing Greek MSS.  I am determined to…devote myself to undiscovered [copies of the] epistles, which I burn to handle” (See the Leyden edition of Ep. Vol. lxxxiii, 1702 or Froude, The Life and Letters, p.63, note 2: “arcanis literis” is ‘undiscovered epistles’).

“We should not attribute Erasmus the creation of a ‘received text,’ but only the transmission from a manuscript text, already commonly received, to a printed form, in which this text would continue to prevail for three centuries.”  —The Gentile Bias and Other Essays, The Erasmus Notes on Codex 2, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1980, p.168

Today, there are over 5200 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament.  KJV critics ignore the fact that over 99% agree with Erasmus’ Greek New Testament and the KJV.  Less than one percent (0.008) agree with the odd omissions and changes in the TNIV, NIV, ESV, HCSB, NASB, NRSV, NLB, CEV, NCV, NAB, and NJB.  The agreement of this tiny minority is far from unanimous on many changes. 

Yet other critics, such as James White, feel that “Erasmus guessed,” or “Erasmus’ hunch” led him to the readings which match almost every Greek manuscript known today (White, James, The King James Only Controversy, Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publisher, 19954, pp. 58, 59).

Were Erasmus alive today, he would find that, in the main, he had managed to match almost all of the over 5200 Greek manuscripts, and wisely ignore the other 44 corrupt ones.  (If these critics had taken a course in Statistics in graduate school, they would know that guesses like this are statistically impossible, given the fact that the Greek New Testament has about 140,521 words.) 

Critics often assert that “Erasmus did not have the manuscripts we have today.”  In fact, he had access to every reading currently extant, and rejected those matching the Catholic Vulgate (and the TNIV, NIV, ESV, HCSB, and NASB today). 

Robert Stephanus (Estienne in French) produced a printed Greek New Testament after the death of Erasmus.  He used the 16 Greek manuscripts in the library of King Francis I and his son Henry II.  He said they were all identical down to the letter! 

Fifteen total editions of the Greek New Testament were printed by Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, and the Elzevirs.  They are, in the main, identical.  The KJV translators availed themselves of all of these, as well as numerous Greek manuscripts and vernacular editions.  On the title page of the KJV, the translators said that the King James Bible was “Translated out of the Original Greek.”  [End of quote]

D. Baker, in his book, A Visual History of the King James Bible, writes:

Zane Hodges, Arthur Farstad:  The Majority Text represents the best theory because it is the only way to account for the vast majority of the extant manuscripts.  Under normal transmission processes, this also is the only way to account for the dominance of the Byzantine text.  Textual critical practice also relies on majority reading support. 

Maurice Robinson, William Pierpont:  As stated by William McBrayer:

“The ‘Byzantine Textform’ best represents the text of the early church.  The emphasis in textual criticism is the history of the transmission of the text.  The result of the transmission process produced a textform that is represented in the vast number of surviving Greek manuscripts.  This view stresses that the overwhelming spread and dominance of the Byzantine text suggests it is closest to the original New Testament.” [End of quote]

Keep in mind, the Byzantine Text is what is found in the King James Version.

The following information from the GodSaidManSaid feature Which Bible? (Updated) Part I continues to address Gordon’s challenges:

In this colossal question of “What did God say?,” the concept of something known as the “majority-text” is pivotal!

  • There are over 5,000 handwritten manuscripts of the New Testament alone, which contain all or part of the New Testament.  If the majority of manuscripts said a particular verse was there, then it was written in the “majority-text.”
  • “Majority-text” is also known as the Traditional Text, Syrian Text, Byzantine Text, Kappa, or common text. 
  • Harvard scholar Hill states that, during the Byzantine Period, which spanned from 312 AD to 1453 AD, and for nearly three centuries of the Protestant Church, the “majority-text” was the authority.
  • Hodge, Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary and co-editor of a Greek New Testament book, writes: “Thus, the majority-text, upon which the King James Version is based, has in reality the strongest claim possible to be regarded as an authentic representation of the original text…based on its dominance in the transmissional history of the New Testament text.”
  • Again, Hodge writes: “Modern criticism repeatedly and systematically rejects majority readings on a large scale.  This is monstrously unscientific.  The Textus Receptus was too hastily abandoned.”  (The majority-text was gleaned from over 5,000 handwritten manuscripts.)

William Pickering, author of Identity of the New Testament Text, recipient of a Th.M. in Greek Exegesis from Dallas Theological Seminary, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Toronto, wrote:

  • The new versions ignore the over 5,000 Greek manuscripts now extant. (Extant meaning “now existing.”)
  • The majority-text comes from manuscripts from Greece, Constantinople, Asia Minor, Syria, Alexandria, Africa, Gaul, Southern Italy, Sicily, England, and Ireland. 
  • A reading found in only one limited area cannot be original.  If a reading died out in the fourth century, we have the verdict of history against it. 
  • The King James Version has the majority-text and geography.
  • Metzger, author of The Text of the New Testament, writes: “Readings which are early and are supported by witnesses from a wide geographical area have a certain initial presumption in their favor.” 

NOTE:  Another name for the majority-text is the Syrian Text.  Central to the Apostle Paul’s ministry was the Syrian city of Antioch.  Acts 11:26:

And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

Now, let us take a look at the minority-text.  In 1881, a “new” Greek text using the Vatican Manuscript (B) was introduced by Westcott and Hort and has been used as the Greek text for all subsequent versions. 

  • Philo’s School in Alexandria, Egypt, produced manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments, altered to conform to the school’s esoteric teachings.  Westcott and Hort used these very manuscripts to alter the traditional Old and New Testaments. 
  • Westcott and Hort used Vatican Manuscript (B), which was from only one geographical area: Alexandria, Egypt.  Remember, the majority-text, on the other hand, comes from manuscripts from Greece, Constantinople, Asia Minor, Syria, Alexandria, Africa, Gaul, Southern Italy, Sicily, England, and Ireland. 

Again, Pickering states: “A reading found in only one limited area cannot be original.  If a reading died out in the fourth century, we have the verdict of history against it.” 

Researcher G.A. Riplinger weighs in with the following:

Out it comes!  Harvard scholar, Hill, writes, “This…theory has been abandoned by most present-day scholars.”  The ninety-six papyri (ancient writing materials) (with the exception of P3, 4, 7, and 14) were all discovered after 1890, after Westcott and Hort’s 1881 new Greek text. Pickering observes:

In Hort’s day…the early papyri were not extant (existing); had they been, the W-H theory could scarcely have appeared.  Each of the early papyri (AD 300 or earlier) vindicates some Byzantine [KJV] reading.  Bodmer II shows some Syrian readings to be anterior (preceding in time; prior) to corresponding [Aleph and B] readings.  The early papyri vindicate Byzantine readings in 660 places where there is a significant variation. 

Remember, the Byzantine text is what you have in the King James Bible. 

Pickering cites H.A. Sturz, who wrote The Byzantine Text-Type and New Testament Textual Criticism, and summarized his research concerning the superiority of the KJV text-type, based on the discoveries in the papyri:

H.A. Sturz…surveyed all the available papyri…each new MS discovered vindicated added Byzantine readings.  The magnitude of this vindication can be more fully appreciated by recalling that only about 30% of the New Testament has early papyri attestation.  If we had at least three papyri covering all parts of the New Testament, all of the 5,000+ Byzantine readings rejected by the critical (eclectic) texts would be vindicated by early papyrus.  Henceforth, no one may reasonably or responsibly characterize the Byzantine text-type as being…late (meaning not as old).  Although modern editors continue to reject these readings, it can no longer be argued that they are late. 

  • A.F.J. Klijn, in his book, A Survey of the Researches into the Western Text of the Gospels, compared Aleph and B (fourth century) readings with the papyri (second century).  Pickering added to his research and compared the Textus Receptus (received text) to Aleph and B.  He concluded that the KJV readings (TR) dominated the early papyri to a greater percentage than the readings of Aleph and B, seen in the new versions. 
  • Pickering concludes: “The TR has more early attestation than B and twice as much as Aleph—evidently, the TR reflects an earlier text than either B or Aleph.” 
  • Other scholars’ findings reveal results which vindicate the KJV readings. 
  • G. Zuntz, in The Texts of the Epistles writes: “KJV type readings previously disregarded as late are in P46…Are all Byzantine readings ancient?  G. Pasquali answers in the affirmative.  Papyrus 46 and 45 support the majority-text readings.”
  • Metzger says, “Papyrus 75 supports the majority-text dozens of times.  In relation to the majority-text, P46 (about AD 200) shows that some readings…go back to a very early period.  P66 has readings that agree with the majority-text type. 
  • Hill notes: “Byzantine readings, which most critics have regarded as late, have now been proved by Papyrus Bodmer II to be early readings.” 
  • The Journal of Theological Studies (London: Oxford University Press) says, “Papyrus 66 supports the readings of the majority-text.” 

Remember, the majority-text is the King James Version. 

John W. Burgon, Dean of Chichester, was a contemporary of Westcott and Hort.  He said, “[T]he two manuscripts honored by Westcott and Hort are the most depraved.” 

  • Burgon went on to say, “[W]ithout a particle of hesitation, that B and D are two of the most scandalously mutilated texts which are anywhere to be met with: have become, by whatever process (for their history is wholly unknown), the depositories of the largest amount of fabricated readings, ancient blunders, and intentional perversions of truth, which are discovered in any known copies of the Word of God.” 
  • Finally, Burgon wrote concerning dissenting manuscripts Vaticanus (B), Sinaiticus (ALEPH), Bezae (D), and Papyrus 75: “All four are discovered on careful scrutiny to differ essentially, not only from the 99 out of 100 of the whole body of extant manuscripts, but even from one another.” 

The Authorized King James Version of the Bible is the gold standard of the Word of God.  Its scholarship is unassailable and its manuscripts the authority.  It took seven years, 1604 to 1611, for the translators and the printers to complete their labor.  Psalms 12:6:

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. [End of quote]

If you don’t have one, go out and purchase an Authorized King James Version of the Bible.  Don’t let Satan change the words in your copy of the Word of God.  A list of translation features are listed below.

GOD SAID, Genesis 3:1:

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

GOD SAID, Deuteronomy 4:2:

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

GOD SAID, Revelation 22:18-19:

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

GOD SAID, Proverbs 24:21:

My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:

GOD SAID, I Corinthians 14:33:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

GOD SAID, Psalms 12:6:

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

MAN SAID:  According to Gordon:

As a result, compared to the Electic Text and the Majority-Text, the Textus Receptus is far less likely to have the most accurate reading.  

Now you have THE RECORD. 

** As an aside, it should be noted that Gordon speaks of “the Eclectic Text” and eclectic means “deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.”  There is nothing eclectic about the minority text he endorses. **

 

 

References

Authorized King James Version

Brake, D., A Visual History of the King James Bible, Baker Books, 2011, p.149

GodSaidManSaid, Which Bible? (Updated) Part I

Riplinger, G.A., In Awe of Thy Word, A.V. Publications, 2003, pp. 933, 938-939, 941, 947, 949

 

Additional Reading:

God Said Answers KL

Irrelevant Challenges GodSaidManSaid

King James Scholarship Series

King James Version, Apocrypha, Septuagint, Canon

Pastor A.J. Contends with King James

Pastor T. and the KJV

The World''s Greatest Minds on the Bible

Which Bible (Updated) Series

 

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