Since so many are so willing to glibly endorse the modern versions over and against the KJV, it is necessary to do a side by side comparison of the differences between the Greek Texts that underlie the translations of the modern versions and the KJV. The KJV is translated from the Textus Receptus (TR) based upon the Traditional Text found in the majority of extant manuscripts, while the modern versions are translated from the Critical Greek New Testament Text relying upon just a few disreputable manuscripts, most notably the Vaticanus B and the Sinaiticus Aleph. First it seems most important to note the differences between these texts by looking at the suppositions that underlie adherence to one or the other.
Those who hold to the TR, translated into the KJV, believe in Jesus Christ and trust that He has preserved His Word as He has promised. They trust that the Word bound between the two covers is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, preserved Word of God. They don’t need to go back to the original autographs because what they have is the exact same as the autographs that were inspired by God through the original writers, His prophets and apostles. Through faith they reason this, since God has declared that He has inspired His Word, and has promised to preserve His Word, then what they have in the KJV is God’s Word translated into English, and so it is God’s Word in their language.
LAMED. Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89
(16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2Timothy 3:16-17
Those who look to the villainous Vaticanus B and Sinaiticus Aleph manuscripts are unbelievers. They treat the Bible as if it were any other ancient text, whose text must be discovered through the “art” of textual criticism. Many who follow these deceivers believe that only in the original autographs is the Word truly inspired and inerrant. Therefore, they deny the doctrine of divine preservation of the Word of God and do not believe they have extant the Word of God residing in their hands. They wait expectantly upon the latest archeological findings to further the work of the textual critics in “recovering” the Word of God. Too bad they don’t realize that these textual critics have despaired of every “recovering” the original autographs so there is no way that anyone will ever have in their hands the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, if, according to these textual critics, it ever existed.
(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. Revelation 22:18-19
Second, it is good to look at the foundation from which these two Greek texts arose. One is based upon the majority of manuscripts, the other on the minority. One is characterized by great agreement and harmony throughout the manuscripts it rests upon. The other is marred by disagreement between its manuscripts and the majority, and more amazingly still, great divergence between the few manuscripts that support its Greek Text. One has an unceasing witness from the first century onward, the other from the fourth century onward.
The Traditional Text, the manuscripts copied from the original autographs from which the TR derives, is in the majority. Of the 88 papyri that are known, 75, 85%, support the TR. Of the 267 Greek uncials 258, 97%, support the TR. Of the 2764 minuscules, 2741, 99%, support the TR text, and of the 2143 Lectionaries, 100% support the TR. Of the 5262 Greek witnesses to the true text of the New Testament, 5217 (99%) are in agreement with and support the TR.1 Since the TR is in the majority it gives testimony as that Greek Text which descended from the original autographs. However, in supporting this statement there are additional facts that can be asserted. A copy of a portion of Matthew 26 represented in an uncial codex found in the Magdalen Papyrus written in Greek script was dated to 66 A.D. by Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede, Director of the Institute for Basic Epistemological Research in Paderborn, Germany. He determined the verse Matthew 26:22 to read “every one of them”, agreeing with the TR, rather than “each one of them”, in keeping with the modern versions’ translation from the Critical Greek New Testament.2 This goes all the way back to the original autographs.
Next, Tertullian (160-221 A.D.) has distinctive TR readings in his writings and remonstrated heretics with the following, proving the existence at that time of the autographs or, at the least, their faithful copies:
“Run over to the apostolic church, in which the very thrones of the apostles are still preeminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read. Achaia is very near you, in which you find Corinth. Since you are not far from Macedonia you have Philippi…and the Thessalonians. Since you are able to cross to Asia, you get Ephesus. Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority of the apostles themselves. “3
So the TR has majority attestation to its faithfulness, the earliest dating, and originates from the Autographs.
(6) The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (7) Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever. Psalm 12:6-7
The Critical, or Eclectic Greek New Testament has only 1% attestation from the extant manuscripts and even that is called into question because of the divergence that exists between these variant manuscripts. The Vaticanus B and Sinaiticus Aleph have 3036 clear differences between them in the Gospels alone.4 Vaticanus B, the primary manuscript used for the Critical Greek New Testament derives from Jerome’s Latin Vulgate which was taken from Origen’s Hexapla and his edited Greek New Testament. To say that Origen was a heretic is an understatement, Origen (185-254 A. D.), edited the New Testament to reflect his errant beliefs:
soul sleep, baptismal regeneration, universal salvation, Jesus was only a created being, purgatory, transubstantiation, reincarnation, non-baptized infants go to hell, the biblical record regarding the temptations of Jesus Christ was false, Scriptures are not literal, Genesis account of the fall was allegorical, Matthew 19 should be taken literally and he emasculated himself, one must work for salvation, there is no physical resurrection of the redeemed, one must grasp the consummation of the ages for Christ to indwell him.5
For further elucidation of Origen’s heretical beliefs please see the Way of Life link below.
Does any of this seem vaguely familiar to you? Much of this heresy underlies the false teaching of the Catholic church. So the most important manuscript for the Critical Text comes from the pen of Origen, a fountainhead of much of the heresy that has misled the church through the ages, it has the least attestation, and disagrees with its closest ally in 3036 places in the Gospels alone.
(9) Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. (10) Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. (11) Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets. (12) For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: (13) But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. Psalm 55:9-13
Finally, I want to close the comparison of the two Greek Texts of the New Testament with an inspection of the fruit they have produced. Isn’t that what Jesus told us, you will know them by their fruit? One has produced good fruit, while the other has produced bad fruit. This indicates the type of tree that bore the fruit, one good, the other bad.
The Textus Receptus was brought forth from the Traditional Text by the hand of Erasmus guided by God. He was an intellectual giant, esteemed by all, who eschewed the Latin Vulgate and used a few late manuscripts (ten) for his Greek Text, after he had traveled Europe, examining several hundred manuscripts, taking notes and dividing them into two camps, the genuine and the spurious. After 1000 years, the New Testament was printed in its original tongue.6 Erasmus was a Renaissance humanist, a Catholic priest, who publicly decried the abuses of the church. By the end of his days, some of his theology came close to the Anabaptists. He rejected infant baptism and began to advocate for baptism by immersion after conversion.7 What was the fruit of his efforts? He is considered to be one of the fathers of the Reformation for printing the Greek New Testament from the Traditional Text which led to the knowledge of the Word of God. The KJV came from the Textus Receptus which led to many Revivals in English speaking nations as it was preached from and taught to the people. Knowledge of the Word of God was spread abroad, godliness increased as did general benevolence throughout those societies. Missions became an important outreach to unchurched peoples, and the knowledge of Jesus Christ was spread throughout the world.
(13) Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: (14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13-14
The Critical Text came from the hands of Westcott and Hort, ungodly men, religious in character, but corrupt in doctrine. They had strong Roman beliefs, believed in Darwinian evolution, rejected the inspiration of the Scriptures, rejected Christ’s vicarious atonement, disbelieved the miracles in the Bible, and were involved in Spiritism through the Ghostly Guild Society.8 In secret these two men rejected the TR and instead looked to the corrupted Vaticanus B and Sinaiticus Aleph for the basis of their Critical Greek New Testament rejecting the mandate they had for using the TR in revising the KJV. What is the fruit of their corrupt text? The Critical Greek New Testament Text that comes from their hands has 9970 Greek words changed or added and 1952 words omitted that are found in the TR. The Nestle/Aland Eclectic Greek New Testament Text omits 2886 words, which is akin to removing 1 and 2 Peter from the Bible.9 These rotten trees have resulted in the following bad fruit: confusion, apostasy, decline in piety and godliness within the church and especially within the society at large. There is an increase in atheism, Satanism, cults, false doctrine, and disrespect for God’s Word. The bad fruit from the bad trees that hated the Word of God have brought in much evil upon this world.
(7) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (16) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (17) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. (18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. (19) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (20) Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (21) Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:15-23
So who are we going to believe regarding God’s Word? Are we going to follow hard after heretics, or are we going to hold on to that faithful text that God has preserved for His Church throughout the ages? Before you make this important decision do some investigation into the matter and don’t just make glib statements that have no basis in fact. I have distilled much down into little in order present the case for the TR and the case against the Critical Text. You can read the books in the works cited and look for other books that present the truth. This is critical to our faith, practice, church and nation. If you want to do something good for others, become educated about this matter.
(16) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. (17) For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (18) And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount. (19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2Peter 1:16-21
Jesus Christ may we be faithful ambassadors of the truth that You have preserved for us so that we can know, serve, and share Your love with others. Amen!
1 F. N. Jones, The Bible?, (Goodyear, AZ: KingsWord Press, 2006) p. 50
2 Ibid. pp. 207-208
3 Dr. J. Moorman, Forever Settled: A Survey of the Documents and History of the Bible, (Collingsworth, NJ, The Dean Burgon Society Press, 1999) pp. 90-91
4 Jones, The Bible?, op. cit., p. 205
5 Ibid. pp. 92-96
6 Ibid. pp. 52-53
7 Ibid. pp. 60-61
8 Ibid. pp. 58-59
9 D. A. Waite, Defending the King James Bible, (Collingsworth, NJ, The Bible for Today Press, 2006) pp. 41-42