The Early Centuries

The Best Manuscripts Support the KJV


The Apostle Paul warned the early church against heresyand it was quick to assert itself. In an effort to destroy the young church, Satan caused men to arise with every kind of error.

Paul declared that there would come "a falling away" (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and that "the mystery of iniquity doth already work" (verse 7). He warned the Thessalonians not to be soon shaken or troubled in spirit "by letter as from us" (2 Thessalonians 2:2).

Later, on his last journey to Jerusalem, he warned the men from Ephesus:

"Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."Acts 20:30-31).

From prison, he wrote Timothy:

"Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so-called." 1 Timothy 6:20).

The Greek word, in that verse, which is translated "science" is gnosis. Gnosis means "knowledge." The apostle was condemning the false knowledge and theories which were already beginning to arise.

"The later Gnostics were bolder, but more consistent innovators on the simple scheme of Christianity . . In all the great cities of the East in which Christianity had established its most flourishing communities, sprang up this revival which aspired to a still higher degree of knowledge than was revealed in the Gospel, and boasted that it soared almost as much above the vulgar Christianity as it did above the vulgar paganism."Henry H. Milman, History of Christianity, Vol. 2, p. 107.

There were no Gnostic sects after the 5th century; for, by that time, as with all other pagan and heathen religions, their concepts had been absorbed into the Roman system. That is why Scripture declares it to be "Babylon"! It is a confusing hodgepodge of pagan error.

Yet, even though Gnosticism and the Mystery Religions had penetrated the Catholic system, God preserved the Bible manuscripts, so that the errors had not filtered into, what came to be known as, the "Majority Text," the great majority of manuscripts. One reason this is so is because it was faithful Christians who were preparing those Bible copies. The worldlings, modernists, atheists, cultists, and Catholics were not interested in doing this.

We can know that this is true, not because we were there but, because the Bibles translated into English were translated from the Majority Text; they do not have Gnostic, atheistic, or Catholic teachings.

That statement does not include the Catholic Bibles, all of which are based on the Latin Vulgate and do have Catholic concepts interwoven into it. In the course of writing the book, The Magnificat, for Roman Catholics, the writer had to read somewhat widely in the Rheims-Douai (Douay), since all Bible quotations had to be from that book or other Vatican-approved books. The Rheims-Douai definitely contains Catholic error. More on this later. 


The earliest copies of Bible portions were either written on papyrus (also called parchment) or on vellum.

Papyrus was made from the inner bark of the reed-like papyrus plant found along river banks and marshes in Italy and elsewhere in the warmer climates. After drying, these strips of bark were laid side by side in a row with a second layer positioned above in a crisscross manner. The two layers were then gummed together, to create a primitive form of paper.

Vellum was the shaved and scraped skins of sheep, goats, and similar animals. It was more durable and costly. Calf and antelope skin was the most expensive. An entire antelope would only provide about two leaves (four pages) of a large Bible manuscript.

In Bible times, these pages were connected into long strips, called scrolls. The average papyrus scroll (about the size of the book of Luke) was 10 inches in height and about 30 feet in length.

In the 2nd century, a little after the time of the apostles, codices began to be used. These were pages bound on one side, somewhat like our modern books.

There were four types of early copies of New Testament portions: Greek manuscripts, quotations and comments by early Christian writers (called the "early church fathers"), lectionaries, and early translations. Let us consider each of these: 


These were papyrus or vellum copies of smaller or larger portions of the Bible.

Just as our Bibles wear out from use, so did those of ancient times. Fortunately, we have so many of those old copies, some partly worn out, that we can compare them and tell when copyists mistakes occurred.

At the present time, there are over 5,000 surviving manuscripts of the Bible! Most are only a portion of it; some were made within a couple centuries after the time of the apostles while most were produced later. We have far more copies of the Bible than of any other ancient writings. The New Testament manuscripts are in Greek and the Old Testament is in Hebrew.

Copies of portions of the Bible were made to be read, to be shared with others, to be placed in churches, or sent with missionaries to foreign lands.

There were two types of Greek Bible manuscripts: the uncials and cursive manuscripts. 


The uncials (also called majuscules) were written on papyrus or vellum about quarto (roughly 9 by 11 inches high) or folio size (double that size), usually with two and occasionally three or four columns on each page.

Unlike the later cursive manuscripts, uncials were written in capital letters without any spaces or punctuation. Here is an example of an early uncial (John 1:1-4):








The wording, of course, was in Greek not English.

There was a horizontal line just above the word, "GD" ("God"; in the Greek, "THS" for "Theos"). Certain words, known as the nomina sacra (sacred names), were abbreviated and a small line was placed over the letters. One of these was the word, "God." In the above uncial, it would be written "GD" and have a small horizontal line just above the GD. 


The second type of Greek manuscripts were the cursives, also known as minuscules. These were written in a lower-case running hand and look like the Greek letters in all printed New Testament Greek Texts, since the time of Erasmus in the 16th century.


The papyri were portions of the New Testament which were written on paper (papyrus). We can also find it in Egypt, since it has a climate dry enough to preserve this ancient paper.


The earliest Christian writers (the early "fathers") quoted extensively from the Bible. This is fortunate; for their statements help us determine the original wording of the Bible. It has been said that most of the New Testament, alone, is found in the writings of these so-called church "fathers!" And many of them pre-date the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus by many years.


These are also important witnesses to the original text of the Bible. Of the more than 5,000 extant manuscripts, 2,143 are lectionaries.

A compilation of many important portions of the Bible, the lectionary was important in each local church for use in public readings during church services. The ones containing a daily selection were called Synaxarion while those used for special days (such as Easter and Christmas) were named Menologion.


The missionary-minded believers were anxious to carry the message of salvation in Christ to all the world. To do so required translations of the Bible into other languages. A number of such translations were made. These translations also help us know the meaning of the original text of the Bible. We will later discuss a number of those early Bible translations.

All of the above four types of early manuscript evidence are very important in establishing the basic Bible Text we should use today! Modern Bible translations are based on the wrong one.

Later in this study, we shall return to this evidence, and show how it supports the type of text which forms the basis of the King James Bible.


Westcott and Hort conjectured that, of the 5,000 Bible manuscripts, only two should be given the preference: the Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus! They said these were older and therefore more reliable than any of the others. It was assumed that, since it was conjectured that they were without error, all variations in the other 5,000 manuscripts must be copyist errors of one kind or another.

That is the basic theory. But we are going to learn it is totally wrong in a number of ways.

Let us now examine both of these manuscripts: 


The Codex Sinaiticus is designated by the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which is aleph (}).

(All codices, cursive manuscripts, lectionaries, translations, etc., have scholarly code letters or numbers. But, throughout this present book, we will generally not use them. When they are used in a quotation, we will follow it in brackets with the name. A major purpose of this book is to simplify the entire subject rather than adding to the confusion.)

In April 1844, a young German scholar, Constantin von Tischendorf (1815-1874), sailed to Egypt, in search of Bible manuscripts. He had just completed a two-year study of ancient manuscripts in Paris. In May, he arrived at the Monastery of St. Catharine, at the foot of Mount Sinai. He later wrote:

"In visiting the library of the monastery . . I perceived in the middle of the great hall a large and wide basket full of old parchments; and the librarian, who was a man of information, told me that the two heaps of papers like these, mouldered by time, had been already committed to the flames."I.M. Price, Ancestry of Our English Bible

Among these sheets, he saw a number of pages of a very old Greek uncial manuscript of the Bible. The monks, perceiving that these sheets might be important, only let him take a few. Returning to Paris, he published them. They were parts of several Old Testament books.

Tischendorf returned to St. Catherine's in 1853, but only found a fragment with eleven verses of Genesis. Certain that the rest had been destroyed, he left once again.

Yet he could not but wonder if more might be available. So he went to Moscow and personally appealed to the Russian emperor, to provide funds for him to purchase whatever manuscripts he might be able to locate. After some delay, funds were made available for this purpose.

Toward the end of January 1859, he returned to St. Catherine's Monastery. However, several days search among manuscripts failed to reveal that which he most sought. Then, on the afternoon of February 4, this happened:

"I was taking a walk with the steward of the convent in the neighborhood, and as we returned, towards sunset, he begged me to take some refreshment with him in his cell. Scarcely had he entered the room, when resuming our former subject of conversation, he said, And I, too, have read a Septuagint [called the LXX, an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament].

"And so saying he took down from the corner of the room a bulky kind of volume, wrapped in a red cloth, and laid it before me. I unrolled the cover and discovered to my great surprise, not only those fragments which fifteen years before I had taken out of the basket, but also other parts of the Old Testament, the New Testament complete, and in addition, the Epistle of Barnabus and a part of the Pastor [Shepherd] of Hermas. [The latter two were New Testament pseudopigraphal books.]

"Full of joy, which this time I had the self-command to conceal from the steward and the rest of the community, I asked, as in a careless way, for permission to take the manuscript into my sleeping chamber to look over it more at leisure. There, by myself, I could give way to the transport of joy which I felt." Tischendorf, Autobiography.

Tischendorf would never forget that night.

"This was the most exciting moment in Tischendorf's entire life; he stayed up all night, fathoming his newly found treasure. In his diary, the scholar writes, Quippe dormire nefas videbatur. (It really seemed a sacrilege to sleep.)"David Beale, A Pictoral History of Our English Bible, p. 54.

That night, Tischendorf copied part of the codex, and the next morning he requested permission to take the scroll to Cairo to have it completely copied. But the prior, who alone had the authority to make this decision, had left for Cairo two days earlier.

Tischendorf quickly went to Cairo and talked to the prior of the Greek Orthodox monastery. The Greek Orthodox are no more willing to share Bibles with the world than are their separated brethren in Rome. But Tischendorf hinted that a sizeable amount of money might be paid. The young scholar was then given permission to take the codex to Cairo, where he made a copy of the entire manuscript.

It is doubtful whether the reader can grasp the amount of work required to do that! How would you like to copy part of the Old Testament and all of the New, not in English, but in ancient Greek capital letters without punctuation or spaces between letters! The task took about eight months.

On September 24, 1859, he returned to the monastery and was given permission to take the codex to Moscow, where it could be copied more accurately. On November 19, he presented his manuscript finds, including the Sinaiticus, to the emperor at his winter palace.

The emperor purchased it from the monastery for 9,000 rubles. The manuscript remained in St. Petersburg until 1933, when the Soviets, who had no need of extra Bibles around, sold it to the British Museum for 100,000 pounds.

The Sinaiticus has 346 leaves of vellum, made from the finest quality antelope skins. If the entire Old Testament had been included, the codex would have required the skins of a couple thousand animals! The leaves are 15 by 13 inches in size. Each page has four columns, except in the poetical books, which have two. It is written in large uncials with 12 to 14 letters to a line.

This codex is thought by the experts to have been written about A.D. 340. There are definite reasons for dating it to that time; and we will learn that the Majority Text (the basis for the King James Bible) goes back to an earlier date.

Of the Old Testament, only fragments remain from the earlier parts, but complete books from the later part. The entire New Testament is included.

The entire document includes fragments of Genesis 23 and 24, Numbers 5-7, 1 Chronicles 9:27 to 19:17, Ezra 9:9 to 10:44, but also Nehemiah, Esther, Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations 1:1 to 2:20, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum to Malachi, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus), and Job. Note that six of these were from the Old Testament Apocrypha. In addition to the complete New Testament, the Shepherd of Hermas was at the end. That is a New Testament pseudopigraphal book, the first time any Westerner had ever seen it.

Tischendorf later went on to discover other Bible manuscripts, and eventually prepared a Greek text with his findings.

"From 1859 he was professor of theology at Leipzig. Between 1840 and 1860 he visitied many libraries in Europe and the Near East in search of manuscripts, the most famous of his finds being his dramatic discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus. Besides careful editions of several important Biblical manuscripts (e.g., Codex Ephraemi, 1843-1845; Codex Amiatinus, 1850; Codex Claromontanus, 1852), he published between 1841 and 1869 eight editions of the Greek text of the New Testament with a full critical apparatus of the variant readings."Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 1380.

Not all Greek Texts include apparati. The apparatus 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. They are very helpful. We will personally examine this later.

Frederick Scrivener, a firm believer in the trustworthiness of the Majority Greek Text upon which the King James Version was translated, later examined the Sinaiticus carefully. Scrivener concluded that it had been corrected repeatedly, because of copyist errors and that it was not of an early, but late, date.

"Since this document was first inscribed, it has been made the subject of no less than ten different attempts of revision and correction [by later scribes]. The number of these attempts is witnessed by the different chirographies [handwriting styles] of the revisers, and the centuries in which they were respectively made can be approximated by the character of the different handwritings by which the several sets of corrections were carried out . . Many of these corrections were contemporaneous with the first writer [copyist], but far the greater part belonging to the 6th or 7th century."Scrivener Plain Introduction, p. 267.

Based on Scriveners findings, Philip Mauro discusses how deeply flawed the Sinaiticus was:

"Here is a document which the [1870-1881] revisers have esteemed (and that solely because of its antiquity [said to be in the 4th century]) to be so pure that it should be taken as a standard whereby all other copies of the Scriptures are to be tested and corrected. Such is the estimate of certain scholars of the 19th century.

"But it bears upon its face the proof that those in whose possession it had been, from the very first, and for some hundreds of years thereafter, esteemed it to be so impure [so full of copyist errors] as to require correction in every part . . Considering the great value to its owner of such a manuscript (since it is on vellum of the finest quality) and that he would be most reluctant to consent to alterations in it except the need was clearly apparent, it is plain that this much admired codex bears upon its face the most incontestable proof of its defective character.

"But, more than that, Dr. Scrivener tells us that the evident purpose of the thorough-going revision which he places in the 6th or 7th century was to make the manuscript conform to manuscripts in vogue at that time which were far nearer to our modern Textus Receptus. "Mauro, quoted in D.O. Fuller, True or False? p. 75.

Textus Receptus is the name given to the third edition of Erasmus Greek Text, from which nearly all European Reformation-era Bibles were translated from, and all English Bibles. The exceptions were the 9th-century Alfred's, the 14th-century Wycliffe translation, and the Catholic Rheims-Douai (Douay). The Textus Receptus (the "Received Text") is the Majority Text which has been rejected by 20th-century Bible translators.

(As we will learn later, it was not until the mid-20th century that a Catholic Bible, in any language, was translated from something other than the Vulgate.)

Dr. Scrivener concluded his denunciation of the quality of the Sinaiticus with these words:

"It must be confessed, indeed, that the Codex Sinaiticus abounds with similar errors of the eye and pen, to an extent unparalled, but rather unusual in documents of first rate importance; so that Tregelles has freely pronounced that the state of the text, as proceeding from the first scribe, may be regarded as very rough. "Scrivener, Plain Introduction, p. 267.

Yet this is the manuscript, along with the Vaticanus, which, according to Westcott and Hort's theory, has become the basis for all 20th-century Bible translations!

Dean Burgon, another brilliant Greek scholar who also carefully examined the Sinaiticus, wrote about the utter carelessness of the Sinaiticus copyists:

"On many occasions 10, 20, 30, 40 words are dropped through very carelessness. Letters and words, even whole sentences, are frequently written twice over, or begun and immediately cancelled; while that gross blunder, whereby a clause is omitted because it happens to end in the same words as the clause preceding, occurs no less than 115 times in the New Testament."Dean Burgon, Causes and Corruption of the Traditional Text, p. 128.

Scrivener shows in some detail how the Sinaiticus disagrees so frequently with all the other codices.

"The relation in which Cod. 2 [Codex 2, now called Codex Aleph, is the Sinaiticus] stands to the other four chief manuscripts of the Gospels may be roughly estimated from analyzing the transcript of four pages first published by Tischendorf, as well as in any other way. Of the 312 variations from the common text therein noted, forty-five stand alone, and eight agrees with ABCD united (much of C, however, is lost in these passages), with ABC together thirty-one times, with ABD fourteen, with AB thirteen, with D alone ten, with B alone but once (Mark 1:27), with C alone once: with several authorities against AB thirty-nine times, with A against B fifty-two, with B against A ninety-eight."Scrivener, Plain Introduction, Vol. 2., pp. 267-268.

The above four codex designations are Alexandrinus (A); Sinaiticus (Aleph or }); Vaticanus (B); Ephraemi (C); Bezae (D).

Why was the Sinaiticus so sloppily produced? We earlier said that God protected the text as faithful Christians made copies. Those thousands of copies became the Majority Text which so wonderfully agrees with itself.

But the Sinaiticus and (we will learn below) the Vaticanus were both sloppily prepared. This was due to the fact that the copyists were men paid, by Constantine, to do the job. These men had been hired through Eusebius, a favorite of the emperor and confidant of Pope Sylvester. The scribes cared not for quality of their workmanship; and it shows in the finished product.


The Codex Vaticanus (B) is the most complete known manuscript of the Greek Bible; it includes much of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament while breaking off at Hebrews 9:14.

It was brought to the Vatican Library by Pope Nicholas V, who heard about it in 1448; and it was listed in the first catalog of the library in 1475. Its earlier history is not known. But everything about it, the age of the vellum skin, the lettering, the type of ink, etc. identifies it as having been written at about the same time as the Sinaiticus.

It has been said that the Vatican secretly wrote it. It is more likely that it was an ancient copy of the Bible. Rome did not want the world to know about it, and did everything possible to keep scholars from reading it. They did not like Bibles being made available to people. If the Reformation had not occurred, the people still would have no Bibles!

This codex was first made known in 1533, when Seplveda called the attention of Erasmus to it. But Seplveda was not permitted near it; and Erasmus did not want to bother with it. He preferred the Majority Text of the Greek. No Protestant was permitted to study the book until the middle of the 19th century.

In 1669, Bartolocci, librarian of the Vatican, made a collection of some of its variant readings, but nothing was published.

When Napoleon invaded Italy, he took it to Paris, where Hug carefully examined it in 1809. For the first time, the world learned of its existence.

In 1815, after Waterloo, it was restored to Rome, where it was once again hidden. No scholar could go near it. The Catholic Church today claims to be the one that gave the Bible to the world, yet history reveals that, for centuries, it tried to destroy every copy of the book it could find. Those it did not burn, it chained to walls in dark corners of monasteries.

In 1843, after several months delay, Tischendorf was permitted to look at it for six hours. How kind they were! The next year, DeMuralt was allowed nine hours to read in it.

In 1845, the English scholar Tregelles, even though he had an introduction from Cardinal Wiseman of England, was not allowed to copy a word. If he looked too intently at any passage, the two attendants which stood next to him, would snatch the volume from him and turn the page! When he left the room where it was kept, his pockets were searched and all writing material was taken from him. When it comes to keeping the Scriptures from the public, Rome has had years of experience.

"They would not let me open it without searching my pocket, and depriving me of pen, ink and paper . . If I looked at a passage too long the two prelati (prelates) would snatch the book out from my hand."Tregelles, quoted in Frederick Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, Vol. 1, p. 112.

Other scholars who traveled to Italy from distant lands to see the codex were, if anything, treated worse.

We might wonder why the Vatican so feared to have any scholar look at this codex. The answer probably is that they were frightened at what anyone might find in it! The ancient codex was written in capital letters, without spaces or periods; and, very likely, no Catholic scholars could read it! All they knew was their precious dead language, Latin.

Rome's refusal to let anyone see the codex created such a stir in the scholarly world; so much so that, in order to avoid the scandalous label that it was trying to keep the Scriptures from the people, the Vatican hired some folk to make a copy for publication. But, since no one in Italy cared much about Bibles, the work was very sloppy and full of errors. Under the auspices of Cardinal Angelo Mai, the work was done between 1828 and 1838. Nineteen years later, someone got around to hauling it over to a print shop. In 1857 it was published in five volumes. From the few glimpses they had been able to obtain of the original, scholars throughout Europe immediately recognized it to be an inferior production of the original. Rome never was very good at publishing Bibles.

In 1866, Tischendorf made a third attempt to see the codex. This time he asked for permission to edit the text; that is, to identify errors in the published copy. So, centuries after the Vatican acquired the manuscript, Tischendorf was permitted, under the supervision of a prelate, C. Vercellone, to look at it for three hours a day.

Recalling the fabulous amount he was able to accomplish at St. Catherine's, by the end of the eighth day he had managed, contrary to directions, to actually copy 20 pages from the original! Vatican officials were incensed and almost threw him out of town. But, because of what he had done seven years earlier in bringing the Sinaiticus to the world in 1859, Tischendorf had become world famous. It would not look right to kick him out; so, Vatican officials grudgingly let him have six more days to read in it. Because he had a near photographic memory, when Tischendorf left, he was able, in 1867, to publish the best edition of the text up to that time.

Seeing the cat was out of the bag, and ashamed that other people were publishing their book, Vercellone and his successors at the Vatican published a very complete edition in six folio volumes in 1868-1881. The Westcott-Hort Text was based on that edition. But it was not until 1889-1890, that a photographic facsimile edition of the entire codex was prepared by Abbate Cozza-Luzi and issued.

Codex Vaticanus (B) is written in uncials on 759 folios of fine vellum, three columns (of about 42 lines each) to a page, 10 inches wide by 10 inches high. Because of the vellum and the type of print, it is dated in the first half of the 4th century, to about the year A.D. 340, the same time that the Sinaiticus was copied.

It contains solid capital letters, with no spaces between words, no punctuation, and no divisions into chapters or sections. It is all just one solid paragraph, from start to finish!

Tischendorf was certain that the scribe of the New Testament portion was the same one who prepared a part of Codex Sinaiticus. We will learn later that this helps explain why the ending of Mark is gone from both codices.

The codex originally contained the entire Greek Bible. In its present state, after the ravages of going from place to place for centuries, it lacks Genesis 1:1 to 46:28; Psalms 106-138; and everything after Hebrews 9:14.



We have discussed these two books in detail, since they lie at the heart of the controversy.

The truth is that it is not the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus which are the problem. They are just Bible manuscripts, howbeit, with serious flaws.

The problem is this: (1) The Westcott-Hort theory claims that those two manuscripts should have superiority over 5,000 other manuscripts. (2) All 20th-century scholars prepare Bibles in accordance with that theory. For this purpose, modern translators use the Nestle-Aland or UBS (United Bible Societies) Greek Text, both of which favor the readings of those two manuscripts, over and above all others.

It is not the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus which are the problem, it is the adulation that translators give to them by preferring them above the Majority Text. The great strength of the Majority Text (used to translate the King James Version) is that it was a combination of many manuscripts. As a result, the Majority Text tended to be much more free from the copyist errors to be found in one or a few manuscripts.

Yes, there are some copyist errors in all manuscripts, but relatively few in those which comprise the Majority Text.

"Some look to us gravely and say, Don't you think there might have been some mistake in the copyist or in the translators? This is all probable, and the mind that is so narrow that it will hesitate and stumble over this possibility or probability would be just as ready to stumble over the mysteries of the Inspired Word, because their feeble minds cannot see through the purposes of God . .

"I take the Bible just as it is, as the Inspired Word. I believe its utterances in an entire Bible." 1 Selected Messages, 16-17 [Manuscript 16, 1888; written at Minneapolis, Minnesota, autumn 1888].

Copyist errors did, indeed, occur from time to time in the copying of manuscripts; but the Majority Text tended to eliminate them for two reasons: (1) Those manuscripts were prepared by faithful, prayerful followers of Christ and God blessed their efforts to be accurate. (2) As scholars compared manuscript with manuscript of the many in the Majority Text, they could the more easily weed out the errors.



Regarding the quality of the transcription in the Vaticanus, upon very careful examination of it, Dr. Scrivener found that it was not much better than the Sinaiticus:

"That no small proportion of these are mere oversights of the scribe seems evident from the circumstance that this same scribe has repeatedly written words and clauses twice over."Philip Scrivener, Plain Introduction, Vol. 1, p. 120.

If I repeated or miswrote the same thing same thang, you would consder me me an incompetent writer. (as demonstrated in this paragraph.) Yet those two codices made such mistakes repeatedly.

John W. Burgon gives an example from the Vaticanus:

"Matthew 21:4, five words written twice over; Matthew 26:56-57, six words; Luke 1:37, three words or one line; John 17:18, six words. These however, are but a few of many . .

"The impurity of the text exhibited by these codices is not a question of opinion but of fact . . In the Gospels . . Codex B [Vaticanus] leaves out words or clauses . . It bears traces of careless transcription on every page."Burgon, quoted in Scrivener, Vol. 1, p. 120.

Citing a contemporary scholar, Dr. Dobbin, Scrivener mentions still more omissions of the sacred Scriptures in the Vaticanus:

"One marked feature, characteristic of this copy, is the great number of its omissions, which has induced Dr. Dobbin to speak of it as presenting an abbreviated text of the New Testament . . and certainly the facts he states on this point are startling enough. He calculates that Codex B [Vaticanus] leaves out words or whole clauses no less than 330 times in Matthew, 365 in Mark, 439 in Luke, 357 in John, 384 in the Acts, 681 in the surviving Epistles; or 2,556 times in all."Scrivener, Plain Introduction, Vol. 1, p. 120.

Such omissions were very serious. The problem is intensified, since the omitted words or phrases occur at times in unison.

"By what possible hypothesis will such a correspondence of the copies be accounted for if these words, clauses, and sentences are indeed, as is pretended, nothing else but spurious accretions to the text?"Ibid.

Burgon recognized a common flow of errors, in the two codices, that pointed to an underlying attempt to insert errors.

"Between the first two [Sinaiticus and Vaticanus] there subsists an amount of sinister resemblance, which proves that they must have been derived at no very remote period from the same corrupt original. Tischendorf insists that they were partly written by the same scribe. Yet they vary repeatedly from one another on every page; as well as differing widely from the commonly Received [Majority] Text, with which they have been carefully collated. On being referred to this standard, in the Gospels alone, B is found to omit at least 2,877 words: to add, 536: to substitute, 935: to transpose, 2,098: to modify, 1,132 (in all 7,578)the corresponding figures for being severally 3,455, 839, 1,114, 2,299, 1,265 (in all 8,972). And be it remembered that the omissions, additions, substitutions, transpositions, and modifications, are by no means the same in both. It is in fact easier to find two consecutive verses in which these two manuscripts differ the one from the other than two consecutive verses in which they entirely agree."Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 12.



The Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are not as old as the Majority Text. They originated in Alexandria, Egypt, a continual breeding ground for paganizing Christian error. They were influenced by the Alexandrian heretic, Origen.

These two codices were extremely expensive. They required the sacrifice of well-over a thousand antelopes (since each adult antelope could only provide skin for two leaves, four pages, of a codex).

Only an extremely wealthy person could afford to commission the preparation of such a book; yet both books are very similar in a number of ways. The style and handwriting is quite similar; the remarkable number of copyist errors are also! In addition, Tischendorf declared that part of the Vaticanus was written by the same scribe which produced all of the Sinaiticus. There is no reason to consider him wrong in that conclusion.

It is believed that both codices were commissioned by Constantine I, as part of an order for fifty copies. It is also believed that they were transcribed in Alexandria, Egypt.

"Constantine applied to Eusebius for fifty handsome copies, amongst which it is not improbable that the manuscripts . . B and Aleph were to be actually found." Burgon, Traditional Text, p. 163.

In order to do this, Constantine asked Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, to arrange for the copying of the fifty new Bibles. Eusebius went to the memorial library of Pamphilus, where he led a team of copyists to carry out this request.

"Most scholars believe that, like the Vaticanus, it [the Sinaiticus] was written in Alexandria, Egypt . . The New Testament text of the codex is closely allied to that of the Vaticanus, together with which it is the chief witness to the Neutral Text. "Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 310.

Tischendorf also believed that this was how the Sinaiticus originated.

"Is it possible that this Bible, Aleph, could be one of the 50 copies which Emperor Constantine ordered Eusebius to place in Constantinople, his new capital." Tischendorf, quoted in Beale, Pictoral History, p. 54.

It is very significant that there is such decided evidence that these two codices were produced in Alexandria, the capital at that time of Egypt. Not only was 4th-century Alexandria noted for its mixture of pagan philosophy with Christianity, but it had a reputation for very early "textual criticism": i.e., trying to change the Word of God.

In addition, Origen, the worst Christian apostate alive, was there. It was also the center of the blasphemous, Christ-denying heresy of Arianism (the teaching that Christ was a created being). In referring to this error, Burgon writes:

"It is a circumstance that cannot fail to give rise to suspicion that the Vaticanus and Sinaitic manuscripts had their origin under a predominant influence of such evil fame. At the very least, careful investigation is necessary to see whether these copies were in fact free from that influence which has met with universal condemnation." Burgon, Traditional Text, p. 161.

This Alexandrian connection is highly significant. It explains the numerous errors in the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, both typographically and doctrinally, as revealed in their 3,000 plus disagreements with one another in only four books. When we recall that Constantine and Eusebius leaned toward Arianism, the potential for treachery increases.

1 Timothy 3:16 is a shocking example of what happens when modern translators take two manuscripts (the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus)and ignore all the rest.

Under the urging of Westcott and Hort, the Revision Committee of 1871-1881 viciously attacked the Deity of Christ in 1 Timothy 3:16. They altered the traditional, "God was manifest in the flesh," to the corrupt, "he who was manifest in the flesh." They had the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus as support for this change.

In response to this, Burgon wrote a letter, pleading with the committees chairman, Bishop Ellicott, not to permit that to be put in the new Bible.

"Behold then the provision which the Author of Scripture has made for the effectual conservation in its integrity of this portion of His written Word! Upwards of 1,800 years have run their course since the Holy Ghost, by His servant Paul, rehearsed the Mystery of Godliness, declaring this to be the great foundation fact, namely, that God was manifest in the flesh. And lo! out of 254 copies of St. Paul's Epistles, no less than 252 are discovered to have preserved that expression. The copies whereof we speak were procured in every part of Christendom, being derived in every instance from copies older than themselves; which again were transcripts of copies older still. They have since found their way, without design or contrivance, into the libraries of every country in Europe, where they are jealously guarded . . We submit, as a proper and just conclusion from these facts, that men who, in view of the evidence before them, would cast out of the Scripture at this vital point, the word God and replace it by he who have thereby demonstrated their unfitness for the work of revising the Greek text of the New Testament." Burgon, quoted in Fuller, True or False? p. 98.

It is truly astounding that Westcott and Hort would base their entire theory on those two inferior manuscripts! They maintained that the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were "pure texts" and that all others were partly corrupt, especially the ones used in the preparation of the King James Bible.

The liberal scholars themselves recognize that those two codices were produced in Alexandria; but it bothered them not that this city was the polluted spring, from whence came the deepest heresies in early Christianity. In separate studies (Beyond Pitcairn, for example) the present writer has shown that Sunday sacredness was first philosophized into the church at Alexandria and, then, commanded into the local churches by the bishop of Rome. Religious leaders at the new Christian centers worked hand in hand to introduce raw paganism into the Christian church.

(It is of interest that Constantine's orthodox son, Constans, sent a similar request for Bibles; but to the anti-Arian Athanasius. Burgon, Traditional Text, p. 163.)

In the following statement, Dean Burgon summarizes the evidence, from the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, which marks them as produced in Alexandria:

"Yet I venture also to think that it was in a great measure at Alexandria that the text in question was fabricated. My chief reasons for thinking so are the following: (1) There is a marked resemblance between the peculiar readings of Vaticanus / Sinaiticus and the two Egyptian versions, the Bohairic or Version of Lower Egypt especially. (2) No one can fail to have been struck by the evident sympathy between Origen, who at all events had passed more than half his life at Alexandria, and the text in question. (3) I notice that Nonnus also, who lived in the Thebaid, exhibits considerable sympathy with the text which I deem so corrupt.

"(4) I cannot overlook the fact the Codex Sinaiticus was discovered in a monastery under the sway of the patriarch of Alexandria, though how it got there no evidence remains to point out. (5) The licentious handling so characteristic of the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament, the work of Alexandrian Jews, points in the same direction, and leads me to suspect that Alexandria was the final source of the text of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. (6) I further observe that the sacred Text . . in Cyrils Homiles on St. John is often similar to B-Aleph; and this, I take for granted, was the effect of the school of Alexandria, not of the patriarch himself. (7) Dionysius of Alexandria complains bitterly of the corrupt codexes of his day: and certainly (8) Clement habitually employed copies of a similar kind. He too was of Alexandria." Burgon, Traditional Text, pp. 234-235.

There is also a linkage between the Sinaiticus / Vaticanus and Jerome's Catholic translation into the Latin Vulgate.

Another factor, linking the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus to Origen through the traceable similarities with Jerome's Latin Vulgate, is Jerome's choice of Pamphilus library as his primary source of translation labors. This library was the chief depository of Origen's writings, including his famed Hexapla (a manuscript of the Old Testament with six translations in Hebrew and Greek arranged in parallel columns for comparative study).

Dr. Frederick Nolan, a careful Greek and Latin scholar, found that the Vaticanus and the Vulgate have a number of remarkable similarities!

"The striking coincidence of the Greek of the Vatican manuscript with the Latin of the Vulgate leads to the establishment of the same conclusion. This version received the corrections of St. Jerome during his abode in Palestine; it is thus only probable that the Greek copies, after which he modeled it, were those, which far from being current in Palestine, were used in the monastery into which he had retired: but these he assures us were of the edition of Eusebius. For this edition he had imbibed an early partiality, through Gregory of Nazianzum, who first put the Scriptures into his hands, who had been educated at Caesarea in Palestine."Frederick Nolan, An Inquiry into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, or Received Text of the New Testament, pp. 83-84.

Jerome (who translated the Catholic Latin Vulgate from a Greek manuscript) mentions his familiarity with the manuscripts of Pamphilus and Origen, particularly that of the original of the latter's Hexapla. Jerome said that he relied on those documents as his unquestioned model (see Scrivener, Plain Introduction, Vol. 2, p. 226).

Burgon angrily declares that the modern revisers have removed the words, "that ye should not obey the truth," from Galatians 3:1 solely on the basis of seven manuscripts (Codices A, B, Aleph, D, F, G, and Papyrus 17), and says that Jerome earlier led out in doing the same. Then Burgon adds:

"But when he comes to the place in Galatians, he is observed, first to admit that the clause is found in some copies, and straightway to add that inasmuch as it is not found in the copies of Adamantius, he omits it. The clue to his omission is supplied by his own statement that in writing on the Galatians he had made Origen his guide." Burgon, Traditional Text, p. 167.

It has been said that Erasmus Greek Text, the basis of the King James Bible, is inferior because he only had access to the Majority Text and not to the superior Vaticanus. The truth is that he was the first to reject the Vaticanus as a source.

Without taking the space to elaborate on this, there is evidence that Erasmus was told about many variant readings in the Vaticanus, by Seplveda, and from the papal librarian, Paul Bombasius, as early as 1521 (see Wetsteins Prolegomena to the New Testament, Vol. 1, p. 23). But, with four editions of the Greek New Testament already completed, the 67-year-old accomplished scholar was not impressed with that inferior document at the Vatican. He wanted nothing to do with papal documents. Two years later, Erasmus published his fifth and final edition (a year before his death).

In spite of these facts, liberals defend their errant manuscripts, by declaring the Erasmus only had access to "later" manuscripts.

Before concluding this comparison of the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus with Alexandria and Origen's Hexapla (the basic source Jerome used in preparing his Vulgate translation), it should be noted that, not only is the style of those two codices like that of Origen's writings, but the content also agree with them.

"The points in which we are specially entitled to look for innovations are: (1) curious and ingenious readings, such, for instance, as those which we have noticed in St. Mark and St. Luke; (2) the removal of words, clauses, or entire sentences which a man of fastidious taste might regard as superfluities or repetitions; (3) a fearless and highly speculative mode of dealing with portions of the New Testament which might contain statements opposed to his prepossessions or present difficulties which even his ingenuity might be unable to solve."Herman C. Hoskier, Codex B and its Allies, p. 10.

We will learn later that, at the time that the apostate Constantine had those large codices made, faithful Waldensians in the hills of northern Italy protested this corruption of the text! 


This is a second part of the Westcott and Hort theory. Those two men and their associates were embarrassed by the truly vast number of manuscripts and other materials which support the King James Bible and disagree with the Westcott-Hort theory, that their beloved Sinaiticus / Vaticanus are the most important manuscripts in the Biblical world.

So they invented the "Lucian Recension Theory." (A recension is either an editorial revision of a literary work, especially done on the basis of critical examination of the text and the sources used, or a version of a text resulting from such revision.) Their theory is keyed to the fact that Lucian, a Christian of Samosata in Asia Minor, tried to produce a unified text, including all the Old Testament and New Testament. He gathered this from a variety of sources. Lucian had earlier studied in a Christian school at Edessa in Mesopotamia and, by the time he arrived in Antioch, had gained a reputation for scholarship. He worked with a Hebrew scholar in a revision of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament, prepared over a span of 150 years and completed about 100 B.C.) that was more thorough than that done by Eusebius of Caesarea.

Lucian, who only had a friend or two to help him, worked faithfully on his little project. Later, he was martyred under the persecution of Emperor Maximus in 312.

Westcott and Hort expanded that historical fact into a fabulous tale, that the emperor commanded that Lucian do his work and that it must be made the standard New Testament text of the Roman Empire!

"The Syrian text must in fact be the result of a recension in the proper sense of the word, a work of attempted criticism, performed deliberately by editors and not merely by [scattered] scribes." Hort, quoted in Wilbur, Pickering, Identity of the New Testament, p. 37.

This is an entirely imaginative theory; yet, mysteriously, these ideas that Westcott and Hort secretly learned, at their séances 

with the devil, were eagerly accepted by worldly scholars as truth.

"An authoritative revision at Antioch . . was itself subjected to a second authoritative revision carrying out more completely the purposes of the first. At what date between A.D. 250 and 350 the first process took place, it is impossible to say with confidence. The final process was apparently completed by A.D. 350 or thereabouts."Ibid.

According to the theory, this is the reason there are so many thousands of manuscripts in the Majority Text.

Westcott and Hort developed this theory in order to refute the fact that those thousands of manuscripts all came in separate streams from the originals. They contended that this was not true; but that Lucian made a collated text, and that was used almost universally. It is theorized that some official church leader may have mandated that his text be copied and used by all the churches, but that is a convenient conjecture.

The entire "Lucian Recension Theory" is erroneous; and here is the evidence:

First, there is no evidence that any such edict, commanding that Lucians text be the only one to be copied and used, was ever issued. Indeed, it is speculative as to who might have issued such a requirement.

Second, a significant number of the manuscripts, lectionaries, early church "father" quotations, and foreign translations, most of which support the Majority Text, date as early or earlier than Lucians research project.

Westcott and Hort were dreaming up their theories under the tutelage of demons who were talking to them during their "Ghostly Club" meetings at Oxford.

"In order to prop up his contention, Dr. Hort is obliged to conjure up the shadows of two or three phantom revisions of which no recorded evidence exists. But Dr. Hort, as soon as he found that he could not maintain his ground with history as it was, instead of taking back his theory and altering it to square with facts, tampered with historical facts in order to make them agree with his theory."D.J.W. Burgon, Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels, p. 93.

"Not the slightest confirmation is given to Dr. Hort's notion that a revision or recension was definitely accomplished at Antioch in the middle of the 4th century. There was a gradual improvement as the traditional text gradually established itself against the forward and persistent intrusion of corruption."D.J.W. Burgon, Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels, p. 121.

Bruce Metzger has assigned the origin of the Majority Text to Lucian of Antioch (d. 312).

"As has been indicated in the previous pages, his [Lucians] recension of the New Testament was adopted at Constantinople and from there it spread widely throughout Greek speaking lands."Bruce M. Metzger, "The Lucianic Recension of the Greek Bible," Chapter in his History of New Testament Textual Criticism, p. 27.

Bruce Metzger is one of the three editors who decided which readings would be accepted or rejected in the Nestle-Aland and UBS Greek Texts, used by all translators of 20th-century Bibles. When he bought the Westcott-Hort theory about the Sinaiticus / Vaticanus, he also bought the Lucian theory.

A leading American textual critic, Ernest C. Colwell, wrote that the Majority Text "had, in its origin, no such single focus as the Latin had in Jerome" (E.C. Colwell, What is the Best New Testament?). Many scholars recognize that the Majority Text, as well as the other major families of the Greek text, are the result of a process rather than a single event in textual history.

Another scholar, Jacob Geerlings, who has done extensive work on certain "family" branches of the Majority Text, has stated that "its origins go back to the autographs [the originals]" (J. Geerlings, Family E and its Allies in Mark).

Historical records reveal that the Eastern Church never officially adopted or recognized a received or authorized text. The Western Church, at Rome, adopted the Latin Vulgate.

Oddly enough, even if the theory were correct, the theory would date the Majority Text as having originated at an earlier date than the Sinaiticus / Vaticanus. Lucian of Antioch, who is supposed to have prepared the "Lucian Recension" which all the "late" Majority Text manuscripts all based on, died in A.D. 312.

According to the Westcott-Hort "Lucian Recension theory," the basis of the Majority Text was prepared at Antioch between A.D. 250 and 350. Since the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are dated at approximately 340, that would make the Majority Text earlier than them! 


In attempting to compare the 5,000 manuscripts, scholars have found tendencies for certain ones to be somewhat similar to certain others. The word, "somewhat," is used because there are so many variables that it is impossible to say, "This manuscript is exactly like that one." That never happens. Yet, in an attempt to arrive at some semblance of order, five primary manuscript "families" have been accepted by modern scholars.

(These "families" are also spoken of as "Texts," with a capital "T." Scholars use the terms interchangeably.)

An attempt has been made to locate each of these five families to certain regions where the copyists supposedly worked.

J.A. Bengel (about 1734) suggested that the manuscripts might be divided into Asiatic and African.

J.S. Semler (about 1767) prepared a threefold classification: Oriental, Western, and Alexandrian. He was the first to call these families, "recensions."

J.J. Griesbach, a pupil of Semlers (1774-1776, 1805), introduced the names, Constantinopolitan or Byzantine.

J.L. Hug said the Western text was based on an earlier one, and was itself split into three, the Palestinian by Origen, the Egyptian by Hesychius, and the Syrian by Lucian.

Carolus Lachmann suggested the terms, Oriental and Occidental.

The above, very brief description hardly describes all the speculation, squabbling, and changes in the various theories which occurred.

Then came the F.J.A. Hort and B.F. Westcott theory. They used the terms, Western and Syrian (Antiochian), for two of the groups and divided the third into Alexandrian and Neutral. Hort was the principal member of the team which devised and wrote down their theory of families.

This "family" theory of manuscripts is important, since the two 20th-century critical Greek Texts (the Nestle-Aland and the UBS) are almost entirely based on the Westcott-Hort theory. Nearly all 20th-century translations into English and other languages are made from one or the other of those critical Greek Texts. (More on these later in this book.)

Neutral family. Hort considered this the purest extant form. It was thought to be entirely free from corruption and mixture with other families, and to represent the nearest approach to the New Testament originals.

Its best representative, according to Hort, was the Vaticanus, with the Sinaiticus second best. Both were thought to be derived independently from a common original, at no great distance from the originals. Therefore, they were called "neutral" or pure. (Some editors call them the Hesychian family, on the theory that they were produced under the direction of Hesychius, a scribe in Alexandria, Egypt.)

Here is how the Westcott-Hort theory is applied:

1 - When Sinaiticus and Vaticanus readings (they are the Neutral family) agree, no contradictory readings from other manuscripts are accepted, unless internal evidence contradicts this.

2 - Readings not found in the Neutral, Alexandrian, or Western Texts (or families) are to be rejected as "Syrian."

3 - No reading from the Western or Alexandrian is to be admitted without some support from the Neutral.

Now, let us look at these other families:

The Alexandrian Family. This consists of manuscripts conjectured as having originated at Alexandria. Hort's purpose in splitting the two apart was to separate his so-called Neutral family from Origen and Alexandria. (But Hort freely admitted that his Neutral Text also came from Egypt.)

The Western Family. Included here are Greek manuscripts which originated in central Italy. Do not confuse these with Old Latin, which was an ancient (4th century) translation. A pure and earlier Latin dialect was the Waldensian Italia of northern Italy, translated into Latin by the Waldenses about A.D. 157. The Italia belongs to the Majority Text.

The Syrian Family. This is that other text family which Hort considered to be so utterly worthless. Yes, you guessed it. This is the Majority Text which the King James and the other Reformation Bibles were translated from. Listening to the devils at their Ghostly Club, Westcott and Hort figured out a clever scheme to get rid of the purest, largest, and earliest manuscript source.

The Syrian Text is also called the Byzantine or Antiochian family. It is also referred to as the Traditional Text, since it was used in preparing the earlier English and European Bibles. Another name for it is the Received Text or Textus Receptus (which is actually the name of the third edition of Erasmus Greek Text, based entirely on this family of manuscripts). However, throughout this book, we will call it by the most descriptive name: the Majority Text.

In Hort's opinion, Greek and Syrian church "fathers" produced this as a revision of existing manuscripts in the vicinity of Antioch in the late 4th century. Hort declared it to be later than the other families and, therefore, essentially worthless. Yet the Majority Text includes most of the uncials (which Hort arbitrarily decided must have been produced in later centuries) and nearly all the thousands of cursive manuscripts.

It is of interest that even Dr. Hort admitted that the Syrian Family (Majority Text) was as old as his so-called Neutral family.

"The fundamental text of late extant Greek manuscripts, generally is beyond all question identical with the dominant Antiochian or Graeco-Syrian text of the second half of the fourth century."F.J.A. Hort, quoted in J.W. Burgon, The Revision Revised, p. 257.

According to that admission, the Majority Text was at least as old as the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus! Yet, according to the Westcott-Hort theory, the two codices were supposed to be "purer" because they were said to be older! There is something wrong here in someone's thinking.

Add to this the point that, according to their "Lucian Recension theory," the basic Majority Text was prepared at Antioch between A.D. 250 and 350. Since the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are dated at approximately 340, that would make it older than them!

Very small "families," each with only a very few manuscripts in them, have since been added: the "Ferrar" manuscripts (or Family 1) which includes 1, 13, 124, 346, and 69; and the Codex Theta. These manuscripts would receive but little notice, except that they exhibit some of the strange peculiarities of the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.

Now we are ready to track down still more evidence that the Majority Text is the purest, earliest, and best.


You will recall that we earlier mentioned four early Bible text sources. These were (1) Greek manuscripts, (2) lectionaries (Bible compilations read in churches which could not afford a larger manuscript of a Bible portion), (3) quotations by the early church "fathers," and (4) translations into other languages. We have now learned enough to return to them.

We are now going to discover that the great majority of those four sources, when they are very early, support the Majority Text, which, as you know, is the basis of the King James Bible! They also disprove the "Lucianic Recension theory," since they existed prior to the time that Lucian could have prepared his recension.

1 - Greek manuscripts. As mentioned earlier, there are 5,000 of these! These include the following: (1) Over 200 uncials (all capital letters), counting all fragments, which range in date from the 2nd to the 9th century. (2) About 100 papyri and ostraca (ostraca are written on clay tablets). These are mainly uncial. (3) Approximately 3,000 cursives, dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries. There are also lectionaries.

Comparatively few of these materials contain the complete New Testament and many are very fragmentary, especially those among the uncials and papyri. Yet, as far as the quality and quantity of the evidence, the New Testament is by far the best-preserved ancient document in the world.

The entire New Testament is substantially contained in only two uncials (Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus; most of Matthew being missing in the latter) and in about 50 cursive manuscripts. Approximately 120 other manuscripts contain all but the Revelation; and about 50 contain all but the Gospels.

The most abundant single group is the four Gospels, with some 1,500 documents; and the next, in order, would be combinations of the other groups (Acts and the General Epistles, Pauline Epistles, and Revelation).

About 30 manuscripts contain the Acts and General Epistles alone. (The General Epistles are all those not written by Paul). About 35 have the Pauline Epistles alone. Another 45 only have Revelation alone.

The remainder of the 5,000 manuscripts are too fragmentary to classify.

Why so many fragments? They are mute testimony to the work of Satan, down through the centuries, to destroy Christians, their homes, their churches, and their Bible portions!

But we find that nearly all of the above listed manuscripts support the Majority Text!

The Greek papyri should also be mentioned here. They are among the very oldest manuscripts of the New Testament. Because they were written in Egypt, they frequently have some corrupt Alexandrian readings; yet, much of the time, they agree with Majority Text readings. It is possible to find papyri in Egypt, since it has a climate dry enough to preserve them. That is where these were written and preserved.

2 - Lectionaries. The second of the four witnesses to the original text of the Bible are the lectionaries. As mentioned earlier, copyists would assemble many choice passages into books, and use them in church readings. Each one would contain selected portions of Scripture, arranged in a particular schedule for congregational reading. Each of the lectionaries is called a lection. There are about 2,143 of these lectionaries.

Many of these date very early, and they frequently favor the text upon which the King James Version is based.

Here is the comment of one scholar, that the lectionary evidence does not support the conjecture that Lucian's text was required of all the churches:

"The Lectionaries also indicate that the Traditional [Majority] Text could not have been imposed on the church by the ecclesiastical authorities. These, as has been stated, are manuscripts containing the New Testament Scripture lessons appointed to be read at the various worship services of the ecclesiastical year. According to the researches of E. Colwell (1933) and his associates, the oldest of these lessons are not Traditional but mixed in text. Westcott and Hort's theory was that the Traditional text from its very beginning had never enjoyed official status."Edward Hills, Believing Bible Study, p. 100.

3 - Quotations by early church "fathers." The writings of early Christians (called "fathers") are also referred to as patristic ("fatherly") testimony. This is the correspondence and miscellaneous works of the church's earliest writers, theologians, and bishops.

Although some of these men believed heretical notions, when they quote the New Testament, they tend to quote it accurately, in accordance with the manuscripts they had available to them. These quotations provide us with a valuable witness as to what the Bible text was in their day and are invaluable evidence.

"Besides establishing the antiquity of the Traditional [Majority] Text, the quotations in the early "fathers" reveal the streams of corruption which prevailed in the first ages, till they were washed away by the vast current of the transmission of the text of the Gospels."D.J.W. Burgon, Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels, p. 117.

"The original predominance of the Traditional [Majority] Text is shown in the list given of the earliest "fathers." Their record proves that in their writings, and so in the church generally, corruption had made itself felt in the earliest times, but that the pure waters generally prevailed."D.J.W. Burgon, Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels, p. 121.

Hort's entire security is based on the theory that the manuscripts did not exist before his preferred family of texts or before any of the other families.

"The text, found in the mass [Majority] of existing manuscripts, does not date further back than the middle of the fourth century. Before that text was made up [when the so-called Lucian recension was supposedly required to be distributed], other forms of text were in vogue, which may be termed respectively Neutral, Western and Alexandrian." Hort, quoted in Dean Burgan, Traditional Text, p. 91.

But the quoted Scriptures, found in the early Christian writers, disprove the Westcott-Hort theory!

The writings of just five early writers (Tertullian, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Origen, and Clement of Alexandria) have provided us with 30,147 Scripture citations alone! Yet the great majority of their quotations agree with the Majority Text!

And consider this: All five of those men died between 20 and 150 years before the approximate dates when the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were copied; many of them died before the conjectured Lucian recension could have been made!

"It has been pointed out elsewhere that, in and by itself, the testimony of any first-rate father, where it can be had, must be held to outweigh the solitary testimony of any single codex which can be named . . For instance the origin and history of Codices A, B, Aleph, and C [Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Ephraemi] is wholly unknown: their dates and the places of their several production are matters of conjecture only. But when we are listening to the articulate utterance of any of the an 

cient fathers, we not only know with more or less of precision the actual date of the testimony before us, but we even know the very diocese of Christendom in which we are standing. To such a deponent we can assign a definite amount of credibility, whereas in the estimate of the former class of evidence [the Greek manuscripts] we have only inferences to guide us. Individually, therefore, a fathers evidence where it can be certainly obtained caeterius paribus [Latin: other things being equal] is considerably greater than that of any single known codex."Edward Miller, quoted in Dean Burgon, Traditional Text, 57.

Just how "early" did these "fathers" actually live? Here are the facts:

"With the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325) acting as their chronological watershed, church historians will generally arrange the fathers by the era in which they lived; Apostolic (A.D. 75-150); Ante-Nicene (A.D. 150-325); and Post-Nicene (A.D. 325-500).

"However, an even more significant designation would be by geographical area; Western, Alexandrian and Antiochian. The relevance of this regional triad to the study of manuscript evidences should be apparent by now. Therefore, the following breakdown of the most pertinent fathers is listed according to both criterion.

"For the Apostolic Age, we have: the Western, Clement of Rome (A.D. 30-100); the Antiochian, Ignatius (A.D. 35-107) and Polycarp (A.D. 69-155); and no major Alexandrian fathers. In the Ante-Nicene Period: the Western, Irenaeus (A.D. 120-192), Hippolytus (A.D. 170-235), Tertullian (A.D. 160-225), and Cyprian (A.D. 200-258); the Alexandrian, Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165), Clement (A.D. 150-215), Origen (A.D. 185-254), and Didymus (A.D. 313-398); and the Antiochian, Lucian (A.D. 250-312).

"The Post-Nicene Fathers are: In the West, Augustine (A.D. 354-430); in Alexandria, Athanasius (A.D. 293-373) and Cyril (A.D. 315-386); and finally, the Antiochian Diodorus (d. 394), Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407), Theodoret (A.D. 393-458), Basil (A.D. 329-379), Gregory Nazianzen (AD. 329-390), and Gregory of Nyssa (A.D. 330-395)."W.P. Grady, Final Authority, pp. 37-38.

As stated earlier, the majority of the "fathers," including the earliest of them, quoted from the Majority Text!

4 - Papyri. Consisting of Greek New Testament fragments written on ancient paper, called papyrus (singular form), these are the very earliest Greek manuscript fragments of the New Testament that we have. Papyri have only been recovered in Egypt because the climate there was consistently dry enough to preserve them.

There are very few of these earliest manuscript sources; but, although they demonstrate some Alexandrian errors (since they were copied in Egypt), they also quite consistently support Majority Text readings which Sinaiticus and Vaticanus reject.

"In Hort's day . . the early papyri were not extant [available]. Had they been, the Westcott-Hort theory could scarcely have appeared . . Each of the early papyri (A.D. 300 or earlier) vindicates some Byzantine [Majority Text] reading . . Bodmer II shows some Syrian readings to be anterior to [earlier than] corresponding Aleph and B readings . . The early papyri vindicate Byzantine readings in 660 (or 885) places where there is a significant variation."Pickering, Identity of the New Testament Texts, p. 224.

H.A. Sturz carried out a careful analysis of the papyri, and wrote his findings down in his book, Byzantine Text-Type and New Testament Textual Criticism. His research studies showed that the Majority Text was quoted more frequently by the papyri than any other manuscript family.

"H.A. Sturz . . surveyed all the available papyri . . Each new manuscript discovered vindicated Byzantine [Majority Text] 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, plus, Byzantine [Majority Text] readings rejected by the critical, eclectic texts would be vindicated by early papyri . .

"Henceforth, no one may reasonably or responsibly characterize the Byzantine [Majority] text-type as being late . . Although modern editors continue to reject these readings, it can no longer be argued that they are late."Op. cit., pp. 77, 184, 202.

Klijn compared Aleph and B (both are 4th century) with the papyri (2nd century) and found that the papyri were closer to the Majority Text (A.F.J. Klijn, Survey of the Researches into the Western Text of the Gospels).

Here are the statements of five additional Biblical scholars, that the papyri do not sup

port the Sinaiticus / Vaticanus text; but, instead, they support the Majority Text, the basis of our King James Bible:

"[Majority Text-type] readings previously discarded as late are in Papyrus 46 . . Are all Byzantine readings ancient? . . G. Pasquali answers in the affirmative . . Papyrus 46 and 45 support the Majority Text readings."G. Zuntz, Texts of the Epistles, p. 55.

"Papyrus 75 supports the Majority Text dozens of times. In relation to the [Majority] text, Papyrus 46 (about A.D. 200), shows that some readings . . go back to a very early period . . Papyrus 66 [has] readings that agree with the [Majority] . . text type."Bruce Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, pp. 64, 108.

"Byzantine readings which most critics have regarded as late, have now been proved by Papyrus Bodmer II to be early readings."Hills, quoted in Dean Burgon, The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, p. 54.

"Papyrus 66 supports the reading of the Majority Text."Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. 2, p. 381.

"Some of the New Testament papyri that have been discovered show remarkable similarity with later manuscripts. In fact, several of the extant early papyri are related to many later manuscripts (fourth century and beyond) or at least share a common ancestor."Philip W. Comfort, Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the Bible, p. 11.

From the collected research of these scholars, listed below, are some sample papyrus manuscripts. In each instance, they supported the Majority Text more than the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.


P45 19 24 32

P66 14 29 33

P75 9 33 29

Colwell made an interesting discovery. He found that, as early as A.D. 200 (which is very early!) there was already evidence of tampering with the manuscripts! Men were already trying to change the Majority Text into something else!

Of course, when this is done, the text is either poorly erased and something new is written in or a variant reading is written above or in the margin beside the original reading.

"The Bodmer John (P66) is also a witness to the early existence of many of the readings found in the Majority Text. Strangely enough, the contemporary corrections in that papyrus frequently change a Majority Text reading to something different. This indicates that at this early period, variant readings were supplanting the Majority Text."E.C. Colwell, "Origin of Text types of New Testament Manuscripts," in Allen Wikgren, Early Christian Origins, ed., pp. 128-138.

Do you see it? Satan was intent on destroying the basis of the Majority Text as early as A.D. 200! That is only a hundred years after the death of the Apostle John!

5 - Translations into other languages. Faithful Christians were so anxious to share the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, that rather early they began translating the New Testament into other languages.

(1) Syrian translations. Translations were made for the Syrian people, dwelling northeast of Palestine. There were at least four major versions: the Peshitta (A.D. 145); the Old Syriac (A.D. 400), the Palestinian Syriac (A.D. 450), and the Philoxenian (A.D. 508). The last one was revised by Thomas of Harkel, in A.D. 616, and is known as the Harclean Syriac.

The earliest of these was the Peshitta, translated only about 50 years after the last book in the Bible was written! The name, "Peshitta," means "straight" or "rule," and that is what it is. The Peshitta set the standard for excellence and purity of text, due to its early translation. It closely agrees with the Majority Text! This is a most powerful evidence that the Majority Text is the most accurate text.

Because of the obvious embarrassment caused by this document, which is two centuries earlier than the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus codices, modern liberal scholars went against the known facts of nearly two millennia and upped the translation date of the Peshitta to A.D. 415.

(2) Gothic Translation. This was the first translation into a purely European language. It was prepared in A.D. 330 by Ulfilas, an earnest soul-winning evangelist. (His name means "little wolf.") This translation was prepared about 10 years before the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, and it agrees closely with the Majority Text.

"The type of text represented in it is for the most part that which is found in the majority of Greek manuscripts."Frederick G. Kenyon, Critical Text of the New Testament, 1912 edition.

So Ulfilas had access to King James Version 

readings before the Sinaiticus or Vaticanus were copied! For example, his translation has the traditional ending on Matthew 6:13, which the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus and the modern versions omit:

"For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

We are fortunate to know the readings in the Gothic translation; for there are only eight copies still in existence.

Interestingly enough, since that ancient northern language is related to our modern English, we can see traces of our language in it. Here is the first sentence of the Lord's Prayer in English and in ancient Gothic:

Our Father which art in heaven.
Atta unsar thu in himinam.
hallowed be Thy name.
Weihnai name thein.

(3) Armenian Translation. Scholars call this the "Queen of the Versions," because there are so many copies still in existence (1,244).

Mesrob, an evangelist, and Sahak translated it about A.D. 400; and it closely matches the readings in the Majority Text.

(4) Georgian Translation. Even the liberals recognize the early date of this translation, which was prepared for the people dwelling between the Black and Caspian Seas of southern Russia. It also supports the Majority Text.

"The Georgian Version . . arose in the fifth century on the outskirts of Christianity. Armenian tradition ascribes it to the work of Mesrob, who is said to have invented the Georgian alphabet."Ancestry of Our English Bible, Ira Maurice Price, pp. 117-118.

(5) Coptic Translations. The Egyptian translations are called "Coptic," and divided into two main versions, based on dialect and locality. Since these are Egyptian, we find that they do not agree with the Majority Text. Remember, Egypt is where the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus came from.

[1] The Sahidic Translation was used in the southern part of Egypt (called "Upper Egypt," meaning "up the Nile River"), and is dated from about the beginning of the 3rd century.

[2] The Bohairic Translation is northern ("Lower Egypt"), and is as late as the 6th century (about a hundred years after the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus).

Both of these Coptic translations are frequently different from the Majority Text. The reason for this is their proximity to Alexandria, where Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and their many liberal and heretic friends were located. The Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were produced in Alexandria. We would today call Alexandria a "university town"; it would be comparable to Berkeley, California, with its rampant liberalism. The university at Alexandria was, at that time, the largest in the world and contained the most paganizing Christians.

(6) Ethiopian Translation. Prepared in the nation closest to Egypt, this translation is corrupt just like the Coptic translations. It also includes 14 non-canonical books.

(7) Latin Translations.

[1] The Italia (Old Latin) Translation. The first of these was made no later than A.D. 157, about 60 years after the last book of the Bible was finished. It is called the Old Latin Translation or Italia. This translation was made for the young churches established in the Italian Alps (the far northern part of Italy). It is an excellent translation and agrees closely with the Majority Text. Yet it occurs a full century before the theorized "Lucian Recension" is supposed to have been made, and two full centuries before the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were produced.

The Waldensian Bible was either produced from this Italia translation or from the Majority Text Greek manuscripts.

It is highly significant that, in spite of the Romish apostasy, the faithful Latin-speaking believers in the hills of northern Italy continued to use their beloved Italia down through the centuries. They ignored the Vulgate and remained with the Italia and its successor, the Waldensian Bible.

"The old Italic version into the rude Low Latin of the second century held its own as long as Latin continued to be the language of the people. The critical version of Jerome [the Vulgate] never displaced it, and only replaced it when the Latin ceased to be a living language, but became the language of the learned.

"The Gothic version of Ulfilas, in the same way, held its own until the tongue in which it was written ceased to exist . . The reason for these facts seems to be this: that the languages into which these versions were made were almost perfectly adapted to express the broad, generic simplicity of the original text . . It was partly because the Low Latin of the second century, and the Gothic of Ulfilas, and the rude, strong German of Luther had that character in a remarkable degree, that they were capabile of rendering the Scriptures with a faithfulness which guaranteed their permanance."Fulton, The Forum, June 1887; quoted in Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, pp. 27-28.

The Old Latin translation held its own for 900 years after the Vulgate appeared (Jacobus, Catholic and Protestant Bibles Compared). The common people wanted the Old Latin, not the popes Vulgate. Since the Vulgate was issued about A.D. 397, nine hundred years brings us to about A.D. 1280. It is known that, in 1229, the pope issued orders to begin a most terrible crusade against the Albigenses of southern France and the Waldenses of northern Italy.

The Italia manuscripts were brought to the Island of Iona where Columba, Patrick, and their faithful helpers made copies and sent out missionaries throughout Europe.

"When the Saxons invaded Britain, heathenism gained control. The conquerors disdained to be instructed by their slaves, and the Christians were forced to retreat to the mountains and the wild moors. Yet the light, hidden for a time, continued to burn. In Scotland, a century later, it shone out with a brightness that extended to far-distant lands. From Ireland came the pious Columba and his colaborers, who, gathering about them the scattered believers on the lonely island of Iona, made this the center of their missionary labors. Among these evangelists was an observer of the Bible Sabbath, and thus this truth was introduced among the people. A school was established at Iona, from which missionaries went out, not only to Scotland and England, but to Germany, Switzerland, and even Italy."Great Controversy, p. 62.

The "church in the wilderness," in rural areas hidden from the despotism of Rome, the faithful continued to use the basic Majority Text, even though it may have been translated into Syrian, Gothic, Armenian, or Old Latin.

"The old Latin versions were used longest by the Eastern Christians who would not bow to the authority of Rome--e.g., the Donatists; the Irish in Ireland, Britain, and the Continent; the Albigenses; etc." Jacobus, Catholic and Protestant Bibles Compared, p. 200.

There are thousands of Old Latin and Vulgate manuscripts in the public and private libraries of Europe (some estimate it at 8,000). There are more than 800 in the libraries of Paris alone.

"Now among translations themselves, the Italia is to be preferred to the others, for it keeps closer to the words without prejudice to clearness of expression."Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 542.

More on the Waldensian translation later.

[2] The Latin Vulgate. In A.D. 382, Bishop Damascus of Rome (they were not yet called "popes") commissioned Jerome to make a new, "improved" edition of the Old Latin. That which he produced was the infamous Latin Vulgate.

Jerome was born about A.D. 341-342 of wealthy parents who gave him the best education available. He spent five years (374-379) in the desert in a hermit-like "self-discipline," and then began studying Hebrew and Greek.

Jerome became a close friend of Pope Damasus; and, after living for several years in Antioch and Constantinople where he learned the latest philosophies, he went to Rome in A.D. 382, "where he spent more than two years in close association with Pope Damasus" (Ira M. Price, Ancestry of Our English Bible, p. 86).

At the request of the pope, he began work on a "modern" Latin Bible. First he translated a revision of the Gospels which appeared in A.D. 383. This was followed soon by Acts and the rest of the New Testament. His work on the Old Testament began with a revision of the Old Latin Psalter, done on the basis of the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament completed about 150 B.C.).

When Pope Damasus died about A.D. 384, Jerome left Rome the next year and eventually settled in Bethlehem in Palestine, where he founded two religious houses. One was a monastery which he managed for the next 15 years. The other was a nearby nunnery, which a nun was in charge of.

From A.D. 390 to 404, he translated the rest of the Old Testament (including part of the Apocrypha). So the entire Vulgate Bible was translated between A.D. 382 and 397.

In A.D. 580, Pope Gregory praised this wonderful translation, the Vulgate. It was a book very dear to the heart of the pontiffs.

The Vulgate is still the official Psalter in St. Peters, in Rome. Jerome's translation was always appreciated by the popes.

Later in this book, we will encounter the Vulgate again; for it was used by Rome to withstand Protestant Bibles. It was first used 

to destroy the effect of the Waldensian Bible. After the Reformation began, translations of it into English and other languages were used to withstand the Protestant European and English Bibles. The Rheims-Douai was specifically translated from the Vulgate, in order to overcome the King James Bibles.

"In the fourth century, Helvidius, a great scholar of northern Italy [where the Waldenses lived], accused Jerome, whom the pope had empowered to form a Bible in Latin for Catholicism, using corrupt Greek manuscripts (Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 338).

"How could Helvidius have accused Jerome of employing corrupt Greek manuscripts, if Helvidius had not had the pure Greek manuscripts?

"And so learned and so powerful in writing and teaching was Jovinian, the pupil of Helvidius, that it demanded three of Romes most famous fathersAugustine, Jerome, and Ambroseto unite in opposing Jovinians influence. Even then, it needed the condemnation of the pope and the banishment of the emperor to prevail.

"But Jovinians followers [the Waldenses] lived on and made the way easier for Luther."Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, p. 33.

We will later return to the Rheims-Douai translation and its strange readings. 


The most reliable copies became the Majority; for they were copied by faithful Christians, scattered throughout the Near East and Europe.

We might ask why, if God protected the copies back then, a corrupt text is being used today? Back then, faithful Christians did the copying, but today worldlings, trained in secular universities, have substituted a greatly inferior Greek text.

Yet do not forget that, in the providence of God, He has provided us with the King James Version! In spite of the efforts of men to overthrow it, we still have that wonderful book!

Not only were the best copies the Majority ones; but, as you would expect, they were also the earliest! If they were not the earliest, then they would have had to have been copied from the corrupt copies which Westcott and Hort said were the earliest!

The Bible writers themselves told us that, very early, copies of Gods Word were made and circulated everywhere.

"And the Word of God increased." Acts 6:7.

"But the Word of God grew and multiplied." Acts 12:24.

"The Word of the Lord was published throughout all the region." Acts 13:49.

"So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed." Acts 19:20.

Here is a remarkable collection of statements by scholars, in support of the fact that the Majority Text, the basis of the King James Bible, comes from manuscripts which are the earliest:

"As far as the "fathers" who died before A.D. 400 are concerned, the question may now be put and answered. Do they witness to the traditional text as existing from the first or do they not? The results of the evidence, both as regards the quantity and the quality of the testimony, enable us to reply not only that the traditional text was in existence, but that it was predominant during the period under review."D.J.W. Burgon, Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels, p. 116.

Pickering explains the multiplication of the originals throughout history.

"We may reasonably assume that in the earliest period of the transmission of the text, the most reliable copies of the autographs [the originals] would be circulating in the region that held the autographs. With an ever-increasing demand and consequent proliferation of copies throughout the Graeco Roman world and with the potential for verifying copies by having recourse to the centers still possessing the autographs, the early textual situation was highly favorable to the wide dissemination of manuscripts in close agreement with the original text . .

"It follows that within a relatively few years after the writing of the New Testament books, there came rapidly into existence a Majority Text, whose form was essentially that of the autographs . . the science of statistical probability demonstrates that a text form in such circumstances could scarcely be dislodged from its dominant position . .

"In every age, from the apostolic to the nineteenth century, the text form in question . . was the one that the church in general recognized, used, and transmitted."Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament Text, pp. 116-120, 237.

Simple arithmetic confirms that the nearer a particular reading is to the original, the longer the time span will be for descendants to follow and multiply! The larger the family is, the older the original source must be.

Leading scholars of the world agree on the overwhelming dominance of this type of New Testament text in the early church and throughout history.

E.C. Colwell called it "the uncontrolled popular edition of the 2nd century" (Colwell, Studies in Methodology in Textual Criticism, p. 53).

Philip Comfort wrote this:

"It became the most prevailing type of text throughout the Greek speaking world . . It was nearly standardized. From then on, almost all manuscripts follow the Byzantine [Majority] text, including those manuscripts used by Erasmus in compiling the text that eventually would become the Textus Receptus [the Greek Text type underlying the King James Bible]."Philip W. Comfort, Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the New Testament, pp. 13-14.

Regarding the Majority Text, Geerlings affirmed:

"Its origins . . go back to the autographs."J. Geerlings, Family E and Its Allies in Mark, p. 1.

Hodges wrote this:

"The Majority Text, it must be remembered, is relatively uniform in its general character with comparatively low amounts of variation between its major representatives . . The majority of manuscripts in the transmission of any book will, a priori [when reasoning from cause to effect] preserve the best text. 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 dominances in the transmissional history of the New Testament text."Hodges, Which Bible? p. 37.

The Harvard Theological Review cited Kirsopp Lakes exhaustive examination of manuscripts which revealed, "the uniformity of the text exhibited by the vast majority of the New Testament manuscripts."

The Theological Review also pointed out that Von Soden, who made the most extensive review of the text yet accomplished, called it the Common (Kappa) text, showing that it was the Greek text type most commonly used throughout history.

Bruce Metzger, a leading Greek scholar in the mid-20th century, agreed with this verdict of history. He spoke of the "the great majority of the minuscule manuscripts on which the Textus Receptus rests" (Bruce Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, p. 86).

Hills, another New Testament scholar, wrote this:

"The vast majority of these extant Greek New Testament manuscripts agree together very closely, so closely indeed that they may fairly be said to contain the same New Testament. This Majority Text is usually called the Byzantine Text by modern textual critics. This is because all modern critics acknowledge that this was the Greek New Testament text in general use throughout the greater part of the Byzantine Period (A.D. 312-1453). For many centuries, before the Protestant Reformation, this Byzantine text was the text of the entire Greek Church, and for more then three centuries after the Reformation, it was the text of the entire Protestant church . . [It is] found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts. . . The Traditional Text . . is the true text because it is that form of the Greek New Testament which is known to have been used in the church of Christ in unbroken succession . .

"Thus the evidence which has accumulated . . is amply sufficient to justify the view . . that therefore the Byzantine Text found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts is that true text."Dr. Edward F. Hills, quoted in Which Bible? pp. 104, 89, 90.



It is a remarkable fact that, not only the great majority of the ancient Biblical manuscripts are the basis of our King James Bible, but at least 90% of them are.

Kurt Aland's collation of 1000 minuscules in 1000 different passages shows that 90% contain the Traditional Text. (He is the current editor-in-chief of the Nestle Text.)

Work done at The Institut fur Neutestamentliche Texzforschung [Institute for New Testament Studies] in Munster, Germany, confirms this same 90%. When they include papyrus and uncials together with cursive manuscripts, the number remains above 80% (Pickering, Identity of the New Testament Text, p. 160).

"The outstanding feature of the Received [Majority] Text is its high percentage of agreement among so many thousands of independent witnesses. This agreement is often placed at about 90 percent; in other words, 90 percent of all 

existing manuscripts agree with one another so miraculously that they are able to form their own unique text. In contradistinction to such unity, the remaining 10 percent comprises a selection of manuscripts that will both agree with the Majority Text in many particulars while disagreeing wildly in others. Again, let it be stated that many of these variant readings are also unique to the individual manuscript containing it; where the 10 percent disagree from the majority, these departures also disagree with each other!"W.P. Grady, Final Authority, p. 28.

Pickering, a careful researcher into the New Testament manuscripts, explains in detail these percentages. Here is an excellent breakdown of the percentages:

"A better, though more cumbersome, way to describe the situation would be something like this: 100% of the manuscripts agree as to, say, 80% of the text; 99% agree as to another 10%; over 95% agree as to another 4%; over 90% agree as to another 3%; only for 3% (or less) of the Text do less than 90% of the manuscripts agree."Wilbur Pickering, Identity of the New Testament Text, p. 118.

Here is another manuscript analysis, prepared by Dr. Hodges:

"A very large number of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament survive today. A recent list gives these figures: papyrus manuscripts, 81; majuscules (manuscripts written in capital letters), 267; minuscules (manuscripts written in smaller script), 2,764. Of course, many of these are fragmentary and most of them do not contain the entire New Testament. Nevertheless, for an ancient book the available materials are massive and more than adequate for our needs, providing they are properly handled by scholars.

"It is also well known among students of textual criticism that a large majority of this huge mass of manuscripts, somewhere between 80%-90% contain a Greek text which, in most respects, closely resembles the kind of text which was the basis of our King James Version. This piece of information, however, may come as a surprise to many ordinary Christians who have gained the impression that the Authorized Version is supported chiefly by inferior manuscripts. "Zane C. Hodges, in Which Bible? p. 26.

"95% of the manuscripts belong to the Byzantine tradition . . [That is] the textual tradition which in large measure stands behind the KJV. There are far more manuscripts extant in this tradition than in the other three combined [Caesarian, Western, and Alexandrian]."D.A. Carson, quoted in G.A. Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions, p. 478.

Kurt Aland is the scholar to whom textual critics have committed the task of assigning official numbers to Greek manuscripts as they are found. He is the one who has compiled the figures in the above list. In addition to the totals given above, Aland also lists 2,143 lectionaries (manuscripts containing the Scripture lessons which were read publicly in the churches); so that the grand total of all these types of texts is 5,255 (Kurt Aland, "The Greek New Testament: Its Present and Future Editions," Journal of Biblical Literature, LXXXVII, June, 1968, p. 184).

Aland explains that the percentage of minuscules belonging to this type of text is about 90% (say, 2,400 out of 2,700) while its representatives are found also among the codices (majuscules) and later papyri.

Among 44 significant codices described in Metzger's handbook, at least half either belong to or have affinities with this text form (Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, pp. 42-61).

The low figure of 90% is, therefore, an overly safe estimate of the percentage of witnesses to this text from among papyri, majuscules, and minuscules taken together, which support the Majority Text. But a number of other scholars figure the percentage to be 95%. The present writer has worked with the apparatus of the Nestle Text (which Aland now edits), and he finds that relatively few manuscripts are consistently cited in favor of the Westcott-Hort type of readings. The great majority of witnesses opposing them are listed as "Byzantine" (Majority Text). 



The Bible says, "A false balance is abomination to the Lord" (Prov. 11:1). That is what the modern versions are based on.

The textual variations among the Majority Text are minor. On the other hand, the remaining handful of manuscripts are frequently extremely divergent from one another in their readings. This handful not only disagrees with the Majority, as to what the New Testament says, but disagree among themselves! These include such manuscripts as Vaticanus (B), Sinaiticus (Aleph), Bezae (D), Papyrus 75 and a smattering of versions. Of the four uncials, Aleph, B, C, and D, Burgon said this:

"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."John Burgon, The Revisions Revised, p. 12.

Astoundingly, in the year 1881, this 1% minority text type supplanted the Majority Text with its almost two thousand years as the leading manuscript source. A New Greek Text, based on the Vaticanus manuscript was introduced by Westcott and Hort. It has been used as the Greek Text for all subsequent versions. It seems that no 20th-century scholar or Bible translator dares oppose the will of Dr. Westcott and Dr. Hort.

Frederic Kenyon, the late Director of the British Museum and author of the most widely used textbooks on textual criticism, wrote this about the Majority Text:

"This is the text found in the great majority of manuscripts, entrenched in print by Erasmus and Stephenus and known as the Textus Receptus or Received Text . . Until 1881 . . it held the field as the text in practically universal use and when its position was then decisively challenged, a stiff fight was made in its defence by advocates such as Burgon.

"[This New Minority-type Greek text] predominantly used . . Aleph and B [Sinaiticus and Vaticanus] type readings . . [The changes] amount to an extensive modification of the text. It has been the dominating influence in all modern critical editions.

"It is clear that . . deliberate alteration . . has been at work on a large scale in one text or the other . . The Textus Receptus [Majority Text] being habitually the longer and fuller of the two."Frederick Kenyon, Text of the Greek New Testament, pp. 197-204, 224, 231.

Did you catch that point? Kenyon, a world-recognized scholar of his day, said it was obvious that either Sinaiticus and Vaticanus had been deliberately altered or the Majority Text had. Then he pointed out that the fault could not lie with the Majority Text; for there were too many manuscripts containing its readings!

Wilbur Pickering deplores the fact that all modern Bible translators continue to rely on this inferior 1%-2% of the manuscripts, in preparing their new Bible versions. Here is a most excellent analysis of the situation:

"[The new versions] ignore the over 5,000 Greek manuscripts now extant . . The evidence cited does prove that aberrant forms of the New Testament text were produced. Naturally some of those text forms may have acquired a local and temporary currency. Recall that the possibility of checking with the autographs must have served to inhibit the spread of such forms. We have what Aland calls the Majority Text (which Burgon calls the Traditional Text), dominating the stream of transmission with a few individual witnesses going their idiosyncratic ways . . One may reasonably speak of 90% of the extant manuscripts belonging to the Majority Text type . . The remaining 10% do not represent a single competing form.

"The minority manuscripts disagree as much (or more) among themselves as they do with the majority. We are not judging between two text forms, one representing 90% of the manuscripts and the other 10%. Rather we have to judge between 90% and a fraction of 1% (comparing the Majority Text with P75 and B text form for example). Or to take a specific case, in 1 Timothy 3:16, over 300 Greek manuscripts read God [KJV] . . Greek manuscripts read who [NIV, NASV, etc.] So we have to judge between 97% and 2% . .

"It really does seem that those scholars who reject the Majority Text are faced with as serious problem . . They are remnants reflecting ancient aberrant forms. It is a dependence on such aberrant forms that distinguishes contemporary critical editions of the New Testament . . I submit that due process requires us to receive as original that form of the text which is supported by the majority of witnesses. To reject their testimony in favour of our own imagination as to what a reading ought to be is manifestly untenable."Wilbur Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament Text, pp. 114-120, 25, 149, 150, 237.

In the above statement, Pickering says that it is not 90% of the manuscripts saying this, as opposed to 10% which say that; but it is 90% which stand solidly in mutual agreement while 10% disagree fiercely among themselves. Therefore, on any given passage, it is 90% against 1% or 2%, not 90% vs. 10%.

Then there is Hodges; he says that modern textual critics do the opposite of scientists in other fields: Everyone else goes by what majority research proves, not that which the minority presents.

"Modern criticism repeatedly and systematically rejects Majority readings on a large scale . . [This is] monstrously unscientific . . If mod

ern criticism continues its trend toward more genuinely scientific procedures, this question will once again become a central consideration . . The Textus Receptus was too hastily abandoned."Zane C. Hodges, quoted in op. cit., pp. 159-179.



Not only are these manuscripts a minority of witnesses, but they represent only one geographical area: Alexandria, Egypt. The Majority Text, on the other hand, come from manuscripts from Greece, Constantinople, Asia Minor, Syria, Africa, Gaul, South Italy, Sicily, England, and Ireland.

Pickering wrote this:

"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."Op. cit., pp. 143-144.

And that is what happened. The great majority of the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus scribal changes in the text were not copied by scribes! They recognized that those two codices were flawed.

Hodges maintained that, because most of the non-Byzantine type of manuscripts have come from Egypt, therefore they probably represent a textual tradition pertaining only to that geographical area (Hodges, The King James Version Debate, p. 49).

Another textual scholar, Zuntz, was careful to note that the agreement between our modern editions does not mean that we have recovered the original text. Indeed, all that has been done is that modern editors have followed one narrow section of the evidence, namely the non-Western old uncials (G. Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles, p. 8).

Regarding those two codices, which form the basis of all modern Bible translations, K.W. Clark said it well: "All are found on the same Egyptian recension" (K.W. Clark, "Todays Problems with the Critical Text of the New Testament," in Transitions in Biblical Scholarship, ed. by J.C.R. Rylaarsdam, p. 166).

What is a "recension"? According to Webster, it is a "revision." The NASV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament refers to its "Greek text" as a "recension" (Alfred Marshall, The NASV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, p. vi). Wouldn't you really rather have "the original"? That is what you get in the Bible translated from the Majority Text.


It is said that the King James-based manuscripts are late and practically worthless, and the Sinaiticus / Vaticanus manuscripts (which were also comparatively early) are very pure because they are early.

We have found that the first part of that sentence is untrue; now we will learn that the last part is equally false.

"It is no less true to fact than paradoxical in sound, that the worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected, originated within a hundred years after it was composed; that Irenaeus [A.D. 130-200] and the African fathers and the whole Western, with a portion of the Syrian Church, used far inferior manuscripts to those employed by Stunica, or Erasmus, or Stephenus thirteen centuries later, when moulding the Textus Receptus."Frederick H.A. Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament for the Use of the Biblical Student, Vol. 2, pp. 264-265.

Even Hort admitted that his beloved Alexandrian manuscripts were not very good. In a letter to Westcott, he wrote:

"Inaccuracy may in certain men or at certain periods run into a laxity which is careless about words though supposing itself faithful to sense, and which draws no sharp line between transcribing and editing, i.e. mending or completing. This last characteristic naturally belongs to the early period."A.F. Hort, Life and Letters of F.J.A. Hort, Vol. 2., p. 228.

While some of these flaws were of an unintentional nature (human error or scribal carelessness, etc.), many others resulted from deliberate interference. Sometimes the tampering was heretical; at other times it was pious but misguided.

There are four basic types of corruptions which can occur in a text. Here they are: omissions, additions (interpolations), changes (substitutions), and transpositions (reversing word order). Omissions constitute the largest number while additions are the smallest.

Upon examining the very earliest manuscripts, the papyri, we find they had such errors:

The Chester Beatty and Bodmer papyri, two of the oldest manuscripts (but both from Egypt)had almost total disagreement with one another. Out of 70 extant verses, they disagreed with one another in 73 places, apart from mistakes.

When the nearly 100 extant papyrus fragments are carefully examined, we find that corruption is the rule and not the exception.

One of the oldest papyrus manuscripts in existence is P66 (Bodmer Collection); dated at about A.D. 200, P66 contains 104 leaves of John 1:1 to 6:11; 6:35b to 14:15, and fragments of forty other pages from John 14 to 21.

Wilbur Pickering has cited the results of E.C. Colwells collation of P66 along with P45 (c. 250) and P75 (c. 225):

"The nearly 200 nonsense readings and 400 itacistic (vowel interchange) spellings in P45 are evidence of something less than disciplined attention to the basic task. To this evidence of carelessness must be added those singular readings whose origin baffles speculation, readings that can be given no more exact label than carelessness leading to assorted variant readings. A hurried count shows P45 with 20, P75 with 57, and P66 with 216 purely careless readings."W. Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament Text, p. 123.

Commenting on this, Pickering said this:

"Coldwell's study took into account only singular [unique] readings, readings which no other manuscript supports. He found P66 to have 400 itacisms plus 482 other singular readings, 40 percent of which are nonsensical. P66 editorializes as he does everything else, in a sloppy fashion. In short, P66 is a very poor copy, and yet it is one of the earliest!

"P75 is placed close to P66 in date. Though not as bad as P66, it is scarcely a good copy. Colwell found P75 to have about 145 itacisms plus 257 other singular readings, 25 percent of which are nonsensical. Although Colwell gives the scribe of P75 credit for having tried to produce a good copy, P75 looks good only by comparison with P66. (If you were asked to write out the Gospel of John by hand, would you make over 400 mistakes? Try it and see."Op. cit., p. 125.

Here we have manuscripts dated very early; yet they are full of mistakes! P66 is dated at A.D. 200. Another papyrus, P46, is one of three manuscripts in the famed Chester Beatty collection. Consisting of 86 mutilated leaves, this fragment comprises eight of the Pauline epistles. Gunther Zuntz says this about it:

"In spite of its neat appearance (it was written by a professional scribe and corrected, but very imperfectly, by an expert). P46 is by no means a good manuscript. The scribe committed very many blunders . . My impression is that he was liable to fits of exhaustion."Op. cit., p. 125.

Farther down on the same page, Zuntz adds this:

"The scribe who wrote the papyrus did his work very badly. Of his innumerable faults, only a fraction (less than one in ten) have been corrected and even that fraction, as often happens in manuscripts, grows smaller and smaller towards the end of the book. Whole pages have been left without any correction, however greatly they were in need of it."Ibid.

Later in time, we come to the ancient uncials, but we find them to also be in poor shape. Dean Burgon did an analysis of Luke's account of the Lords Prayer in "the five old uncials." These five are the Sinaiticus (aleph), Vaticanus (B), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi (C), and Bezae (D). The Bezae is also called the Cantabridgiensis.

This is what he discovered:

"The five old uncials (Alpha, A, B, C, D) falsify the Lords Prayer as given by St. Luke in no less than forty-five words. But so little do they agree among themselves, that they throw themselves into six different combinations in their departures from the Traditional Text [the Majority Text]; and yet they are never able to agree among themselves as to one single various reading: while only once are more than two of them observed to stand together, and their grand point of union is no less than an omission of the article. Such is their eccentric tendency, that in respect of thirty-two out of the whole forty-five words they bear in turn solitary evidence." D.J.W. Burgon, Traditional Text, p. 84.

Burgon provides another example of this lack of agreement among the ancient codices with his comments on Mark 2:1-12:

"In the course of those 12 verses . . there will be found to be 60 variations of reading . . Now, in the present instance, the five old uncials cannot be the depositories of a tradition, whether Western or Eastern, because they render inconsistent testimony in every verse. It must further be admitted (for this is really not a question of opinion, but a plain matter of fact) that it is unreasonable to place confidence in such documents. What would be thought in a Court of Law of five witnesses, called up 47 times for examination, who should be observed to bear contradictory testimony every time?" Burgon, The Revision Revised, pp. 30-31.

Kurt Aland, the man most responsible today for promoting the papyrus manuscripts and the five ancient uncials (since he is the editor-in-chief of the Nestle and UBS Texts which all modern versions are translated from) said this:

"We need not mention the fact that the oldest manuscript does not necessarily have the best text. P47 is, for example, by far the oldest of the manuscripts containing the full or almost full text of the Apocalypse, but it is certainly not the best."Kurt Aland, quoted in Pickering, Identity of the New Testament Text, pp. 125-126.

Hort himself conceded this:

"The confusion of attestation introduced by these several cross currents of change is so great that of the seven principal manuscripts (Aleph, A, B, C, D, L, and Delta), no two have the same text in all four places."Hort, quoted in Fuller, True or False? p. 71 [L stands for Codex Regius; and Delta stands for Codex Sangallensis.]

If both Aland and Hort admit the truth, why does anyone still believe the lie?

In view of what we have so far read in this section, on what basis can it be said that any manuscript can be any good, if some of the early ones had so many errors?

The answer is quite obvious. (1) The 10% of the manuscripts with all those errors, whether copied early or later, were either made in Egypt where there was little respect for Biblical accuracy or they were made by major codex copyists who were paid by kings and popes to do the job and cared little for the quality of their work.

But (2) God cared for the manuscripts copied by the faithful who, with little fanfare, produced thousands of copies. Those copies agreed almost perfectly and were reverently prepared by humble folk who loved Gods Word.

Taught by devils, Westcott and Hort maintained that the readings, which the largest number of manuscripts had in common, would be the most corrupt. But Hodges explained why they would, instead, be the most accurate:

"The manuscript tradition of an ancient book will, under any but the most exceptional conditions, multiply in a reasonably regular fashion with the result that the copies nearest the autograph will normally have the largest number of descendants. The further removed in the history of transmission a text becomes from its source, the less time it has to leave behind a large family of offspring. Hence, in a large tradition where a pronounced unity is observed between, let us say, eighty per cent of the evidence, a very strong presumption is raised that this numerical preponderance is due to direct derivation from the very oldest sources. In the absence of any convincing contrary explanation, this presumption is raised to a very high level of probability indeed."Hodges, quoted in Fuller, Which Bible? p. 37.

Even Hort admitted the fact:

"A theoretical presumption indeed remains that a majority of extant documents is more likely to represent a majority of ancestral documents at each stage of transmission than vice versa."Hort, quoted in ibid.

Church history confirms that the initial copies of Scripture were blessed with an unprecedented proliferation. For instance, Clement of Rome refers to at least eight New Testament books in his epistle to the Corinthians, dated about A.D. 96. Many such similar references confirm the early existence of a burden to both propagate and receive the precious words of God.

Although the dedicated early Christians eagerly made copies of the Scriptures, they were concerned about doing it very carefully. Such caution was a natural reaction to the vicious onslaught of heretical corruption which quickly began. Having copied the very prophecies of the enemy's approach, they were suddenly confronted by their ominous fulfillment, as they learned of the heresies and poorly made copies produced down in the university town of Alexandria.

The early true Christian leaders worked vigorously to resist the apostasy. This is mentioned in Scripture:

"I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars."Revelation 2:2.

Polycarp, bishop in Smyrna (A.D. 69-155) had been a personal disciple of John. He continued his teachers concern, to safeguard the Word of God. He wrote: "Whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord . . he is the first-born of Satan."

Irenaeus, at the end of his manuscript letter, On the Ogdoad, included this note:

"I adjure you who shall copy out this book, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by His glorious advent when He comes to judge the living and the dead, that you compare what you transcribe, and correct it carefully against this manuscript from which you copy; and also that you transcribe this adjuration and insert it in the copy." Irenaeus, quoted in Pickering, Identity, p. 108.

As Adam, Methuselah, and Noah preserved the entire pre-flood oral tradition, the church's accessibility to New Testament autographs offered a similar security for the written record. That the originals were used in this very manner is confirmed by the written testimony of Tertullian as late as the year A.D. 208. In his defensive work, entitled On Persecution against Heretics, he rebuked the skeptics of his age with the challenge that the "authentic writings" of the apostles were still possessed by Christians in his day:

"Come now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of your salvation, run over [to] the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read, uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally. Achaia is very near you, [in which] you find Corinth. Since you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi; (and there too) you have 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 apostles themselves). How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood!"Tertullian, quoted in Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 260.

Satan was trying, in a thousand ways, to corrupt the faith of the saints. 


The pseudopigrapha should be mentioned here. These were apocryphal books which claimed to have been written by the apostles or their helpers, yet which taught various errors.

Alluded to by Luke (Luke 1:1-2), these non-inspired books were among the earliest irritations to the young churches. Eusebius said this about them:

"Among the spurious must be numbered, both the books called The Acts of Paul, and that called Pastor, and The Revelation of Peter. Beside these, the books called The Epistle of Barnabas, and what are called The Institutions of the Apostles."Eusebius, quoted in Pamphilus, Ecclesiastical History, pp. 215-216.

Photius, a Christian writer in the 9th-century, listed over 280 of these fake New Testament books. These included the Gospels of Thomas, Peter, Nicodemus, Barnabas, Andrew, Philip, and Thaddeus; as well as numerous missing "epistles" of Paul; along with the Apocalypse of Peter, Paul, Thomas, and Stephen (N.L. Geisler and W.E. Nix, General Introduction to the Bible, pp. 200-201).

The pope told Jerome to include the Old Testament Apocrypha in his Latin Vulgate, which he did (although he commented that he did not believe they were inspired). At the Council of Trent, Rome decided to keep most of the Old Testament apocryphal books, since they helped prove pergatory and some other Catholic inventions.

But not even Rome accepted any of the New Testament pseudopigraphal books. 




Ultimately, with the passing of the centuries, the Roman apostasy grew to the point that the bishop of Rome demanded that all the local churches bow in submission to him. This only accelerated the scattering of the faithful, as they fulfilled the prophecy of Revelation 12 and fled into the wilderness. And what did they take with them?those pure Biblical manuscripts! The corrupt ones, from Alexandria, they left behind for the pope and his henchmen to work with. Wilkerson said it well:

"But soon the scene changed; the fury of Satan, robbed of further opportunity to harass the Son of God, turned upon the written Word. Heretical sects, warring for supremacy, corrupted the manuscripts in order to further their ends. Epiphanius, in his polemic treatise the Panarion, describes not less than eighty heretical parties. The Roman Catholics won. The true church fled into the wilderness, taking pure manuscripts with her."Benjamin G. Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, p. 7.




In view of such desperate efforts by Satan to corrupt the faith of the people of God, it is a great marvel that we have a holy Bible at all! 

But the God of heaven, who inspired the Sacred Writings, was also protecting it.

The Lord guided His true church to prepare careful copies, reject false readings, and only accept the good ones. Just as surely as He guided in the selection of which books should be in the inspired canon of Scripture, so He guided in the preparation of manuscript copies. Hills explains what happened:

"No sooner had the New Testament books been given to the church through the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit than the spirit of darkness began his endeavors to corrupt their texts and render them useless, but in these efforts also the evil one failed to attain his objective. In regard to the New Testament text as well as in regard to the New Testament canon God bestowed upon His church sufficient grace to enable her to overcome all the wiles of the devil.

"Just as God guided the church to reject, after a period of doubt and conflict, all non-canonical New Testament books, so God guided the church during this same period of doubt and conflict, to reject false readings and to receive into common usage the true New Testament text.

"For an orthodox Christian, Burgon's view is the only reasonable one. If we believe that God gave the church guidance in regard to the New Testament books, then surely it is logical to believe that God gave the church similar guidance in regard to the text which these books contained. Surely it is very inconsistent to believe that God guided the church in regard to the New Testament canon but gave the church no guidance in regard to the New Testament text."Edward F. Hills, quoted in D.O. Fuller, Which Bible? p. 99.

According to the liberal view, all the Bible manuscripts are worthless, except for two especially, plus a few others. Hills powerfully replies to that error:

"I am utterly disinclined to believe, so grossly improbable does it seem, that at the end of 1,800 years 995 copies out of every thousand, supposedly prove untrustworthy; and that the one, two, three, four or five which remain, whose contents were till yesterday as good as unknown, will be found to have retained the secret of what the Holy Spirit originally inspired.

"I am utterly unable to believe, in short, that Gods promise has so entirely failed, that at the end of 1,800 years, much of the text of the Gospel had in point of fact to be picked by a German critic out of a wastepaper basket in the convent of St. Catherine; and that the entire text had to be remodeled after the pattern set by a couple of copies which had remained in neglect during fifteen centuries, and had probably owed their survival to that neglect; whilst hundreds of others had been thumbed to pieces and had bequeathed their witness to copies made from them."Op. cit., p. 92.

Oh, that all the Bible translators in the world could read the above statements by Edward Hills!

The Presbyterian theologian, B.B. Warfield, theorized that God had worked providentially through Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott, and Hort to preserve the New Testament text, by their inclusion of the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus in a prominent roll in critical Greek Texts! To this, in a different book, Hills gave this forceful reply:

"But this suggestion leads to conclusions which are extremely bizarre and inconsistent. It would have us believe that during the manuscript period orthodox Christians corrupted the New Testament text, that the text used by the Protestant Reformers was the worst of all, and that the true text was not restored until the nineteenth century, when Tregelles brought it forth out of the Popes library, when Tischendorf rescued it from a wastebasket on Mt. Sinai, and when Westcott and Hort were providentially guided to construct a theory of it which ignores Gods special providence and treats the text of the New Testament like the text of any other ancient book.

"But if the true New Testament text was lost for 1,500 years, how can we be sure that it has ever been found again?"Edward F. Hills, The King James Version Defended, pp. 110-111.



We have found that the Greek manuscripts clearly favor the Majority Text, which is the basis of the King James Version, even though, as we shall learn later, that Majority Text has been rejected by all 20th-century Bible translations, without exception!

The Majority Text (also called the Received Text, the Textus Receptus, Syrian Text, Antiochian Text, and slurringly by the liberals, the Byzantine Text) contains the purest, most accurate, and earliest Greek manuscripts.

How thankful we can be to our kind heavenly Father, that He has protected His holy Word through all past ages. But now, in the end time, the warning of Revelation 12:17 is being fulfilled. The dragon is desperately at work to destroy the faith of the remnant, keeping in delusion all those who might be attracted to the final truths for our generation. May we be faithful in defending Gods Word. For when we do, we defend God Himself. And what an honor it is to be able to do that!

In concluding this section, we will cite a few additional quotations by Bible scholars.

Wilbur Pickering, author of the scholarly book, Identity of the New Testament Text, and recipient of a TH.M in Greek Exegesis from Dallas Theological Seminary, with an M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics, from the University of Toronto, wrote this:

"The distressing realization is forced upon us that the progress of the past hundred years has been precisely in, the wrong direction, our modern versions and critical texts are found to differ from the Original in some six thousand places, many of them being serious differences . . [They] are several times farther removed from the originals than are the A.V. and TR [King James Version and its foundation, the Greek Textus Receptus]. How could such a calamity have come upon us? . . Much of the work that has been done is flawed."Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament Text, pp. 149-150, 237.

Dean John Burgon, the scholar who collated the earliest New Testament documents, including codices, cursive Manuscripts, papyri, lectionaries, quotations by early "fathers" (87,000 in all)wrote this about the changes the liberals were making in Greek texts and Bible translations:

"Ordinary readers . . will of course assume that the changes result from the revisers skill in translating, advances which have been made in the study of Greek. It was found that they had erred through defective scholarship to an extent and with a frequency, which to me is simply inexplicable . . Anything more unscientific . . can scarcely be conceived, but it has prevailed for fifty years. We regret to discover that . . their work is disfigured throughout by changes which convict a majority of their body alike of an imperfect acquaintance with the Greek language."Burgon, The Revision Revised, pp. 54, xi, 270, 277.

Edward F. Hills, author of The King James Version Defended, and graduate of Yale University, Westminster Theological Seminary, recipient of the Ph.D. from Harvard, and the TH.M from Columbia University, declared that "modern speech Bibles are unscholarly" (Hills, King James Version Defended, p. 219).

Dr. E.C. Colwell, past president of the University of Chicago and a leading North American New Testament Greek scholar, authored scores of books, including Studies in Methodology in Textual Criticism of the New Testament. Ultimately, he recognized that the liberal position was totally wrong, and he returned to fullest confidence in the Majority Text.

"Scholars now believe that most errors were made deliberately . . the variant readings in the New Testament were created for theological or dogmatic reasons. Most of the manuals now in print (including mine!) will tell you that these variations were the fruit of careless treatment . . The reverse is the case." Colwell, What is the Best New Testament? pp. 53, 49.

Zane Hodges, professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary and co-editor of a Greek New Testament, made this comment about the new versions:

"Monstrously unscientific, if not dangerously obscurantist. The average well-taught Bible-believing Christian has often heard the error that the King James Version is corrected on the basis of better manuscripts or older authorities." Hodges, quoted in Pickering, Identity of the New Testament Text, p. 160.

"Lacking any kind of technical training in this area, the average believer probably has accepted such explanations from individuals he regards as qualified to give them." Hodges, quoted in D. O. Fuller, Which Bible? p. 25.

William Palmer, scholar and author of Narrative of Events on the Tracts for the Times, made this comment:

"Ordinary Christians have little idea [concerning the new Greek text] . . it rests in many cases on quotations which are not genuine . . on passages which when collated with the original, are proved to be wholly inefficacious as proofs."Palmer, quoted in op. cit., p. 265.

"The multiplication of witnesses [Biblical manuscripts] and variants [differences between them] attests the tremendous importance of the New Testament in the early centuries and really guarantees the general integrity of the text [because there are so many manuscripts].

"Only 400 or so of the 150,000 variants [in the those manuscripts] materially affect the sense, and of these perhaps 50 are of real significance. But no essential teaching of the New Testament is greatly affected by them."

Ira Maurice Price, The Ancestry of Our English Bible, p. 222