Glossary of Terms


The Greek manuscripts which the King James Bible is based have several names, but they all mean the same thing. Lest there be confusion, here they are:

Majority Text Kurt Aland, the editor of the Nestle Greek Text, correctly calls it by this name.

Traditional Text Dean Burgon, who found and collated nearly all the manuscripts and other sources late in the last century, called it by this name.

Received Text That is English for Textus Receptus. This is the name for the Greek text used by Erasmus and Stephenus. Only the Majority Text witnesses were used. The King James Bible was translated from this Greek Text.

Syrian Text This is the name given to the Majority Text by Westcott and Hort. They sought to identify it as merely a local text in Syria and Asia Minor.

Antiochan Text This is another localized name for the Majority Text, which is assumed to have come only from Antioch.

Byzantine Text This is the name applied in the earlier editions of the Nestle Text. It implies that the manuscripts in the Majority Family are all very late in origin and were produced during the Byzantine Greek period in Asia Minor.

Koine Text Also called the K, Kappa, or Common Text. This is a 20th-century term which means that it was the majority text of the common people. We agree.

In the present book, we shall generally refer to the above eight synonyms as the Majority Text.


The Westcott-Hort Text This text was prepared by Westcott and Hort. Hort prepared the explanatory section which discussed the theory underlying it.

The Nestle-Aland Text This text is very similar to the Westcott-Hort Text.

The United Bible Societies Text Also called the UBS Text, this critical text is very similar to the Nestle-Aland Text. The UBS Text was prepared by the same three-man staff which updated the Nestle-Aland Text.

There are other critical texts, including Tischendorf, Von Soden, etc.; but we will primarily refer to the Nestle-Aland and UBS Texts, which all modern translations are based upon.

However, we should also mention the Scrivener Greek Text, which is in accordance with the Majority Text (which the KJV is based on). Although excellent, it is never used today and probably is not obtainable. 


Alexandrian Text The corrupt manuscript tradition which can be traced to the Alexandrian "father," Origen Adamantius (c. 185-254). Codices Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus (Aleph) are the standard-bearers for this text type.

allegorical The liberal method of hermeneutics, pioneered by Philo and Origen, which would assign a mystical or subjective meaning to Scripture in favor of the normally intended literal interpretation.

amanuensis Akin to a scribe, but more specifically, one who takes dictation, as Tertius did in Romans 16:22. Paul had poor eyesight and he dictated most everything he wrote. See "scribe" for broader definitions.

anacoluthon A phenomenon of Greek syntax which allows for a switch from one grammatical construction to another within the same sentence as a rhetorical device.

ante-Nicene The era of church history which predates the watershed Council of Nicea in A.D. 325.

Apocrypha From the Greek apokryphos, meaning "obscure"; those writings of dubious authenticity belonging to the pre-Christian era, yet excluded from the Old Testament text. Although declared inspired and canonical by the Roman Catholic Council of Trent in 1546, the Apocrypha has remained unacceptable to Bible-believing Christians. Significantly, these dozen plus books can be found scattered throughout the text of codices Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus (Aleph).

apparatus This is the technical name, given by scholars, to the extensive footnotes at the bottom of each page of some critical Greek Texts. Those footnotes show the variants and tell which manuscripts, lectionaries, church "fathers," and translations support them.

autographs The original manuscripts of Scripture that were produced by either the Divinely appointed writer himself or his amanuenses. Bible scholars refer to the originals as the "autographs."

canon The books of the Bible which are officially accepted as inspired of God.

canonicity The Spirit-led process by which Gods people were able to differentiate non-inspired writings (pseudepigrapha) from those of Divine authority.

catechetical school of Alexandria The mysterious "Christian" school of Alexandria, founded by Philo, an apostate Platonic Jew and eventually superintended by the self-emasculated Origen Adamantius, who taught, among other things, that the stars were living creatures. Hailed by modern scholars as the pioneer of textual criticism, Origen was a rabid allegorist and is credited with the majority of textual corruptions associated with the "Alexandrian text type," specifically codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

chirography The style of handwriting or penmanship of an individual scribe or manuscript era. It is frequently possible to identify when a certain scribe copied different manuscripts.

codex (majuscule) A manuscript, in traditional book form (as opposed to one composed of cumbersome scrolls), produced by 1st-century soul winners to facilitate their Gospel outreach.

colophon A collection of scribal notes placed at the end of a manuscript containing pertinent information regarding the transcription.

copyist A person who makes a copy of an existing manuscript, whether in the Greek or in another language.

cursive manuscript (cursive, or minuscule) From the Medieval Latin cursiuus, literally "running," the form of manuscript written (as opposed to printed) in a free or "running hand style" employing lowercase letters (prompting the additional designation of minuscule from the Latin minusculus, meaning "small"). Developed by the scribes of Charlemagne, this format was utilized from the 9th to the 16th century.

Dead Sea Scrolls Manuscripts, mostly Biblical, discovered in caves near the Dead Sea.

diaspora The dispersion or scattering of the Jews, beginning about 300 B.C.

Rheims-Douay (Douai) Bible Jesuit translation of the Latin Vulgate, constituting Rome's first official "Bible" for English-speaking Catholics. Unleashed as a major stratagem of the Vatican's Counter Reformation, the New Testament was published in Rheims (1582), with the Old Testament completed in Douay (1610).

eclecticism The liberal method of textual criticism which enjoins its adherents to select one manuscript reading over another solely on the basis of the highly subjective criteria of internal evidence. This unscholarly rejection of the more conclusive body of external evidence i.e., multiplied manuscripts, lectionaries, versions, and patristic testimony was the modis operandi behind the Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament. The eclectic method is to textual criticism what the allegorical school is to hermeneutics.

English Revision of the Authorized Version, 1881-1885 The project sanctioned by the Convocation of Canterbury in 1870, to revise the Authorized Version which produced the Revised New Testament in 1881 with the Old Testament following in 1885. With Drs. Westcott and Hort at the helm, the "esteemed" committee completely ignored the convocations directive to "introduce as few alterations into the text of the A.V. as possible . ." The result was that the English Revised Version (ERV) had over 30,000 changes from the KJV.

extant In a state of current existence as opposed to that which is lost or perished.

"fathers" The venerated leaders of ancient Christendom whose extant writings containing numerous Scriptural citings provide an invaluable witness to the prevailing text of their day.

Gunpowder Plot Jesuit-inspired assassination attempt against England's James I. The plot was foiled by royal agents on November 5, 1605, less than 24 hours before the convening of Parliament, when Guy Fawkes was caught superintending 36 barrels of gunpowder in that assembly's basement.

Hampton Court Conference The historic gathering, in 1604, of Puritan and high church leaders convened by James I; this provided the impetus for the A.D. 1611 Authorized Version.

hermeneutics From the Greek hermeneuein, "to interpret." The principles or methodology one follows when attempting to interpret Scripture; the two major schools being the literal (conservative) and the allegorical (liberal).

Hexapla Origen's highly overrated manuscript consisting of six parallel columns displaying as many Greek and Hebrew translations of the Old Testament.

higher criticism Biblical analysis made in an effort to disprove the Bible and its authors. See textual criticism.

idiom From the Latin idioma, for "individual peculiarity of language"; a phrase that is exclusive either syntactically or in possessing a definition that cannot be extracted from the combined meanings of its word parts.

Inspiration From the Greek, theopneustos, and literally means "God breathed." More specifically with application to the Bible, that supernatural influence upon the sacred writers which enabled them to receive and record, with preciseness, the Divine revelation.

Interpolation An unauthorized insertion of a word or words into the text of any document.

Itacism The misspelling of a word in an ancient manuscript, especially by an interchanging of vowels.

Italia Bible A 2nd-century version of the Bible in Latin, translated by Waldenses. These readings frequently agree with the King James Bible against those of the modern versions based on codices Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus (Aleph), which are dated mid-4th century.

Italicized words Those necessary English words (without an equivalent in the Hebrew or Greek manuscripts) inserted by the King James translators for clarity's sake (i.e., as in the case of idioms "step on the gas," etc.). Although this practice is common to all modern translators, the Authorized Version is unique in its usage of italics, to indicate the extent of such activity.

Jesuits See Jesus, Society of.

Jesus, Society of The Roman Catholic order known as the Jesuits, established by Ignatius de Loyola between 1534-1539 for the sole purpose of reintroducing papal authority and regaining control of Europe for the pope.

Lectionaries Books containing selected passages of Scripture, employed by the ancient assemblies for congregational reading. Those which provided a weekly lesson were called Synaxaria while those consisting of readings for special days such as Easter, Christmas, etc., were called Menologion.

lithographic errors Pertaining to printing errors within the earliest editions of the King James Bible.

Latin Vulgate Jerome's 4th-century "revision" of the Itala Bible (Old Latin) using the Vaticanus readings as his standard. Responsible for ushering in the Dark Ages, the Latin Vulgate became Rome's official Bible throughout this benighted period.

Lollards Followers of John Wycliffe, known as the "poor priests" who suffered great persecution for their Bible distribution and street preaching.

Lucianic Recension (Antiochian) Dr. Hort's desperate conjecture that the Textus Receptus readings received an official, empire-wide sanction at two church councils between A.D. 250-350 at Antioch. Despite speculation that one Lucian (d. 312) led in this venture, the theory remains destitute of any historical corroboration.

Majority Text This the great majority of Greek manuscripts, variously estimated at 90%-95%, which are read essentially the same way. The Erasmus Greek Text (the Textus Receptus), which the King James Bible was translated from, was based on them. Also see Textus Receptus.

manuscript Any portion of a literary work that has been handwritten as opposed to a copy printed from moveable type.

manuscript evidences The true, or conservative, mode of textual criticism which would seek to establish the correct text on the basis of all available data, such as the whole body of cursive manuscripts, lectionaries, ancient versions, and the writings of the church "fathers."

Mariolatry An excessive and unnatural veneration of the Virgin Mary. Drs. Westcott and Hort were guilty of this.

Massoretic Text Hebrew text of the Old Testament edited by Jewish scribes of the Middle Ages, A.D. 775-925. They, for the first time, placed vowels in the Hebrew text (but, of course, they did not know the ancient pronunciation).

mental reservation Jesuit doctrine of deceit that allows a person to profess one thing while secretly believing something different.

Millenary Petition Religious petition containing nearly one thousand ministerial signatures which was presented to James I, in 1603, by a Puritan delegation incensed with increased Catholic-inspired formalism within the Church of England. It resulted in the translation of the King James Version of the Bible.

Majuscule Another name for a codex. It means a document with all capital letters.

Minuscule Greek manuscripts of the New Testament written in the 9th to 15th centuries. Also see cursive manuscript.

Nestle-Aland Greek Text Named after the German scholar Eberhard Nestle, this Text represents the major adversary of the Textus Receptus in our day, being used in most colleges and seminaries. Despite a periodic fluctuation throughout its twenty-six editions, the Nestles Greek Text is basically the Westcott and Hort Text of 1881. The committee for the 26th edition comprised several unbelievers, including Rev. Carlo M. Martini, a Roman Catholic cardinal. The UBS Greek Text is similar and under the primary editorial staff of the same three men.

orthographic discrepancies Pertaining to spelling discrepancies within the various editions of the 1611 Authorized Version. These are neither conceptual nor doctrinal errors.

Oxford Movement A fruition of the earlier Tractarian controversy (1833-1841) which aimed at restoring subtle Catholic principles within the Church of England. Orchestrated by secret Vatican sympathizers, this effort exerted considerable influence on Drs. Westcott and Hort.

papyrus A primitive paper fashioned by cross-weaving the dried, flattened stems of the reed-like papyrus plant. This ancient "paper" was used as writing material at the time of Christ and for several centuries thereafter. Due to its dry climate, copies written in Egypt have been found.

parchment An ancient writing material prepared from the skins of sheep or goats.

patristic Of or pertaining to the church "fathers" or their extant writings.

Pentateuch The first five books of the Bible, the Mosaic books.

Peshitta This is the Syriac translation, an ancient version of the Scriptures. The translation from the Greek to the Syriac was made about A.D. 145 (antedating Vaticanus and Sinaiticus by over two centuries). Most of its extant readings agree with the King James Bible against those of the modern versions.

plenary Inspiration The doctrine which attributes Inspiration to all parts of Scripture, thus holding the Bibles declarations on science as being equally authoritative and infallible with those of a theological nature.

post-Nicene The period of church history which commences with the landmark Council of Nicea in A.D. 325.

probabilism A Jesuit doctrine that regards an opinion as probable even if only one theologian can be found in support of its acceptance. Thus, any single Jesuit allied with the Pope can make a majority.

pseudopigrapha From the Greek word, pseudopigraphos, for "falsely ascribed"; the non-canonical books of spurious authorship were composed between 200 B.C. to A.D. 200. Whereas the Old Testament Apocrypha gained a limited acceptance, the pseudopigrapha writings have been rejected by everyone. Eusebius spoke of them as "totally absurd and impious."

Puritans The "purifying" element within the Church of England, occasioned by the political laxity of Elizabeth I, which committed itself to restoring an intolerance of Catholic encroachments, particularly in the areas of formalism and ritual.

Reading A specific phrase, verse, or passage of Scripture.

Recension (1) An editorial revision of a literary work, especially on the basis of critical examination of the text and the sources used. (2) A version of a text resulting from such revision.

scribe One who transcribes manuscripts in a professional or official capacity. A copyist makes copies of an existing manuscript. A scribe may make copies or he may take dictation in the preparation of a manuscript with new content. An amanuensis only takes dictation.

scriptorium A special room set aside for scribes to use when copying their manuscripts.

Septuagint The earliest Greek translation of the Old Testament, made about 250-150 B.C.

Sinaiticus (or "Aleph") The 4th-century manuscript rescued by Count Tischendorf from eventually being burned, at St. Catherine's monastery (situated at the base of Mt. Sinai). It is second only to the famed Codex Vaticanus as a cited witness against the Authorized Version. This pair of "ancient authorities" disagree with each other in over 3,000 places in the Gospels alone. Also see Vaticanus.

targums Aramaic paraphrases of the Old Testament.

Text and text Text is capitalized in this book, when referring to (1) a manuscript family or (2) a prepared Greek Text. Text is not capitalized when referring to a reading; i.e., a specific phrase or verse of Scripture. In this book, we will generally refer to Text and a reading.

textual criticism Theoretically, the scholastic discipline that would employ manuscript evidences to determine the correct Scriptural text. But it has degenerated into a method used by liberals to change the Bible. Also see "higher criticism." Properly done, textual analysis would work with external evidence (manuscripts, lectionaries, patristic testimony, and ancient versions) to determine the original readings. Instead, we find an emphasis on so-called "internal testimony," but which is actually liberal conjectures.

Textus Receptus The predominant Greek tradition of the manuscript era and underlying text for most of the Authorized Version. The honored designation of Textus Receptus (for "received text") was first used by the Elzevir brothers in the introduction to their second edition of 1633, but it is generally agreed that the third edition of Erasmus Greek Text is the standard Textus Receptus. Nearly all Reformation-European-Protestant Bibles and all English Protestant Bibles (with the exception of 9th-century Alfred's and 14th-century Wycliffe's) were translated from the Textus Receptus. Although some technical disagreements exist among scholars, other accepted names for this text would include Majority, Traditional, Byzantine and Antiochian. (It should be mentioned that, not until the mid-20th century was any Catholic translation made from anything other than than the Latin Vulgate.) Also see "Elzevir" under Glossary of Names.

Tractarianism See Oxford Movement.

translation The rendering of a literary work from one language into another; for example, the Peshitta translation from Greek to Syriac or the Rheims-Douai translation of Latin into English. Poor Bible translations result when they are not made from Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek. Also see version.

transmission The providentially guarded process by which the Scriptures have been reproduced down through the ages.

UBS The United Bible Societies consists of all Bible societies in the world (including the American Bible Society). They produce a UBS Greek Text which is essentially the same as the Nestle-Aland Text and is produced under the direction of the same three men. All Bible Society translations, including those of the Wycliffe Bible Translators, use the UBS Text.

uncial manuscript (majuscule) Derived from the Latin uncia, for "twelfth part" (indicating that such characters occupied roughly one-twelfth of a line of print). The word, "uncials," has come to depict the style of ancient printing employing "inch high" (one twelfth) letters. Majuscule (which means "small major," from the Latin majusculus, "large") refers to the exclusive usage of "uppercase" type. These block capital letters of such manuscripts as Vaticanus and Sinaiticus were positioned together with no break between the words. In English, this would be comparable to GODISNOWHERE or perhaps INTHEBEGINNINGWASTHEWORD.

universalism The theological position, that all men will eventually be saved. Espoused by liberals, such as Origen, Westcott, Peale, etc., it denies a future punishment of the wicked. A final restoration of Lucifer himself is also maintained by some.

Vaticanus (B) The 4th-century Greek codex named after the library in Rome, where it was kept for several centuries, down to the present time. It is the primary ancient manuscript used as the basis of the Nestle-Aland and UBS Greek Texts which, in turn, are the basis for all modern Bible translations. Both the Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus were produced in Alexandria, Egypt, and contain errors in common which originate in that locality that had the most early Christian heretics. Also see Sinaiticus.

vellum The finest, most expensive parchment material. It was made from antelope or calf skin.

version Anciently, Bible translations (from one language to another) were always called translations. Modern Bible translations are sometimes called "translations" and, sometimes, "versions." We will generally use the terms interchangeably in this book, when referring to 20th-century Bibles. However, among scholars, in regard to modern Bibles there is an actual difference: A "version" tries to remain closer to the King James and be more literal (ERV, ASV, and RSV). Producers of a "translation" are very willing to veer further away and interject paraphrase far more often (Phillips, LB, NEB, etc.). Also see translation.

Vulgate Latin translation of the Bible made in the 4th century by Jeromea Catholic monk, on assignment by a pope.

Uncials Greek manuscripts of the New Testament written in the 4th to 9th centuries. Also see codex.


"And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

2 Timothy 3:15

"Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures."

Luke 24:45