Textual Criticism Begins

The Manuscript Sources Are Attacked


It is an intriguing fact that textual criticism began just before the Armada failed in its mission, to retake England and drive out the Protestants. Simon's books came off the press in 1689 and 1695.

When the battered ships returned, the Jesuits gave even more attention to this new way to destroy the Book which linked the English-speaking world to heaven.

As mentioned near the beginning of this book, the first scholar to apply so-called "scientific methods" to the text of the Bible was a Catholic priest, Richard Simon.

"Biblical scholar. From 1662 to 1678, he was a member of the French Oratory . . his Histoire Criticque du Vieux Testament (1678), arguing from the existence of duplicate accounts of the same incident and variations of style, denied that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch. He is generally regarded as the founder of Old Testament criticism."Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 1277.

One of the Catholics who helped get textual criticism started was Jean Mabillon (1632-1707), which the Oxford Dictionary calls, "the most erudite and discerning of all Maurists" (Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 853). The Maurists were a Benedictine order.

Another Benedictine priest, Bernard de Montfaucon (1655-1741) published a book, Paleographic Graeca in Paris in 1708, which applied Mabillons critical rules in such a way as to downgrade Erasmus Textus Receptus (the Majority Text in Greek).

Jean Astruc (1684-1766) was a Catholic physician and theologian who decided that two different men wrote the Mosaic books. He said the Pentateuch had been pieced together from earlier documents.

The Jesuits were thrilled when a pro-Catholic ascended the English throne in 1642. The flagrant Catholic policies of Charles I (1600-1649) led to a civil war. On January 30, 1649, he was beheaded, and Oliver Cromwell took control of the government for a number of years. (Later when another Catholic, Charles II ascended the throne in 1660, he had Oliver Cromwells body dug up and decapitated.)

Having set the science of textual criticism upon a solid footing, the Jesuits gained German helpers who carried on the work. The Jesuits had taken time to prepare for this, having early founded the Collegium Germanicum in Rome, to train secret agents who would enter Germany and labor there for the pope. Johann Adam Mohler (1796-1838), a Catholic priest who was professor of history and theology at Tbingen; and, at Munich, he helped coordinate the attack on the Bible. (Munich, at that time, was called the "German Rome.")

We earlier mentioned Semlers threefold-classification (1767) of manuscript "families" into Oriental, Western, and Alexandrian; he was the first to call these "recensions."

Griesbach, a pupil of Semlers, continued on with those theories. He changed the name of the Majority Text readings from "Oriental" to "Constantinopolitan" or "Byzantine." Griesback suggested that the Byzantine [Majority] Text evolved from the other two (Western and Alexandrian).

As you will recall, we have already learned that the Western text had some strange readings and came from central Italy; whereas the Alexandrian Text came from Alexandria, Egyptand represented the type of textual errors found in the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.

You may also recall that Constantine commissioned the preparation of 50 large Bibles; and they were prepared in Alexandria. It is generally agreed that the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus were two of those 50 Bibles. We also discovered that, although copied onto very expensive antelope skin pages, the copyists were remarkably 

careless in their work. It is believed that a number of their errors were purposely introduced by Origen and his associates.

(See the earlier chapters for the Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and the Manuscript Families, for more on this.) 



We essentially covered this earlier, under the section on the Oxford Movement. But the bare outlines should be noted once again, since that which happened was so crucial.

Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1882) and Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), along with John Keble, spearheaded the pro-Catholic Oxford Movement (also known as tractarianism, because of the many pro-Catholic tracts written at the time)which resulted in a powerful penetration of secret Catholic agents into the Church of England and Oxford and Cambridge, the two leading universities of the nation.

Even though he taught auricular confession and transubstantiation, Pusey, a leading professor at Oxford, was highly regarded by the university administration.

Why were such men permitted to stay in office? The answer is simple: Jesuit penetration had been carried on so successfully for over a century, that there were enough agents, working in key offices, to protect the others! Decades of infiltration were bringing a victory which the pope could not earlier win with the battleships of Philip II.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) and Frederich William Faber (1814-1863) greatly aided the movement to return England's leaders to Rome.

In addition to most of those listed below, all of the above secret Catholics were friends of Westcott and Hort.

Here are seven secret Catholic-English churchmen and / or university professors who helped, through textual criticism theories, to pave the way for a fuller attack on the King James Bible:

Cardinal Nicholas Patrick Stephen Wiseman (1802-1865). He coordinated the various activities of the secret pro-Catholics in the Church of England and in Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Wiseman, himself, was fully dedicated to the cause of textual criticism.

John W. Colenso (1814-1883). As Bishop of Natal, he openly questioned the authorship of the Pentateuch and Joshua.

Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893). A high-placed administrator at Oxford who, in his article, spiritualized away the Inspiration of Scripture, angered many; but he was not fired. In 1871, he also translated the writings of the ancient pagan, Plato.

Rowland Williams (1817-1870). This high-placed churchman was suspended from the ministry for a year, because of his articles on Biblical criticism. But the pro-Jesuit Committee of the Privy Council annulled the sentence in 1864.

Henry P. Liddon (1829-1890). This Oxford professor was a staunch supporter of the men who were writing the pro-Catholic tracts. He spent a quarter of a century promoting Catholic dogma in the Church of England.

Samuel R. Driver (1846-1914). A leading Bible scholar at Oxford, he was influential in questioning the Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy.

William R. Smith (1846-1894). When he was fired by a college in Aberdeen, Scotland for denying the Inspiration of Scripture, he was immediately hired by Cambridge. Smith also advocated Wellhausen's dangerous theories on the Pentateuch.

As mentioned earlier, English leaders who were won to Rome by these men included Prime Minister William Gladstone (1809-1898), John Newman (1801-1890), and Archbishop Richard Chenevix Trench (1807-1886). 



Near the beginning of this book, we discussed the terrific impact that Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) and Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892) made on all modern Bible translations (English and otherwise).

We also discovered that they favored pagan writers (especially Plato), Mormon writings, Catholicism, atheism, and the practice of the cults. They started spiritualist sťances at Oxford, which they conducted weekly meetings and encouraged students and professors to attend.

Here is a brief chronological overview of events. Anyone reading it can see that Satan guided in the preparation of their Greek Text, which has become the basis for the Nestle Text and all modern Bible translations.

("Wescott" stands for the book, Life and Letters of B.F. Westcott, edited by his son, 2 vols., 

1903. "Hort" stands for Life and Letters of F.J.A. Hort, edited by his son (Arthur F. Hort), 2 vols., 1896.)

1840 "He took a strange interest in Mormonism . . procuring and studying the Book of Mormon."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 19.

1842 "In the evening I go with Tom to the wizard; but he does not dare perform before us."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 9.

1845 Westcott, Hort, and Benson started the Hermes Club on the campus of Oxford University.

1846 "His diary tells of a walk to Girton with C.B. Scott, in which metaphysics was discussed."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 42.

Refers to missionary-minded Christians as "dangerous" and "unsound" (Westcott, Vol. 1, pp. 44-45).

"New doubts and old superstitions and rationalism all trouble me . . I cannot determine how much we must believe, how much in fact is necessarily required of a member of the church."Westcott, Vol. 1, pp. 46-47.

1847 "So wild, so skeptical am I; I cannot yield."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 52.

"Referring to heretic Dr. Hampden, he says, If he be condemned, what will become of me?"Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 52.

1848 Hort mentions the "fanaticism of bibliolaters." "The pure Romish view seems to me nearer and more likely to lead to truth than the Evangelical." Hort, Vol. 1, pp. 76-77.

"Protestantism is only parenthetical and temporary; it will pass away." Hort, Vol. 2, p. 31.

1850 "I spoke of the gloomy prospect should the Evangelicals carry on their present victory." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 160.

Westcott was "troubled about this passage" [blasphemy against the Holy Spirit] (Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 109).

1851 Hort joined the Philosophical Society. "Maurice urged me to give the greatest attention to Plato and Aristotle and to make this the center point of my reading." Hort, Vol. 1, pp. 202, 93.

Hort speaks of "the common orthodox heresy: Inspiration [of the Bible]." (Hort, Vol. 1, p. 181).

Westcott and Hort started the Ghostly Guild (weekly meetings for spiritualistic sances).

Westcott was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church.

1852 Hort became a fellow at Cambridge.

Westcott became a teacher at Harrow.

Westcott and Hort distributed Ghostly Guild literature, to encourage others to begin attending.

Hort and Westcott began work on their Greek text (which was published in 1881).

Referring to the Majority Text in Greek, then currently in use, Westcott says, "I am most anxious to provide something to replace them." Admitting that he was planning drastic changes in the text, he called it "our proposed recension of the New Testament" (Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 229).

1853 Hort "was diligently preparing for his ordination" into the Anglican priesthood.

"It was during these weeks with Mr. Westcott, who had come to see him [Hort] at Umberslacle, that the plan of a joint revision of the text of the Greek Testament was first definitely agreed upon."Hort, Vol. 1, p. 240.

Westcott then contacted others and, "about this time, Mr. Daniel Macmillan suggested to him [Hort] that he should take part in an interesting and comprehensive New Testament Scheme. Hort was to edit the text in conjuction with Mr. Westcott, the latter was to be responsible for a commentary, and Lightfoot was to contribute a New Testament Grammar and Lexicon." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 241.

"We came to a distinct and positive understanding about our Greek Text and the details thereof. We still do not wish to be talked about, but are going to work at once and hope we may have it out in a little more than a year. This, of course, gives good employment." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 264.

1855 "How certainly I should have been proclaimed a heretic."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 233.

1856 "Campbell's book on the atonement . . unluckily, he knows nothing except Protestant theology." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 322.

"I hope to go on with the New Testament Text more unremittingly." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 355.

1857 Hort became a full professor at Cambridge.

"I am just now chiefly occupied about a proposed Cambridge translation of the whole of Plato . . another scheme likely to be carried out, if a publisher can be found." Hort, p. 349.

1858 "Without doubt there was an element of mystery in Westcott. He took his turn preaching in chapel, but he dreaded and disliked the duty and he was quite inaudible."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 198.

"The principle literary work of these years was the revision of the Greek Text of the New Testament. All spare hours were devoted to it . . Evangelicals seem to me perverted . . There are, I fear, still more serious differences between us on the subject of authority, especially the authority of the Bible." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 400.

1859 "My dear Lightfoot, thank you very much for your kind present. But why did you send beer instead of coming yourself?" Hort, Vol. 1, p. 403.

1860 "We avoid giving grave offense to the miscalled orthodoxy of the day." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 421.

"If you make a decided conviction of the absolute infallibility of the New Testament a sine qua non [without exception] for cooperation, I fear I could not join you." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 420.

"My doubts about infallibility remain." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 422.

"I reject the word infallibility of Holy Scriptures overwhelmingly."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 207.

"I am glad that you take the same provisional ground as to infallibility that I do."Hort's letter to Lightfoot; Hort, Vol. 1, p. 424.

1861 "This may sound cowardice: I have sort of a craving that our text should be cast upon the world before we deal with matters likely to brand us with suspicion. I mean, a text issued by men who are already known for what will undoubtedly be treated as dangerous heresy will have great difficulty in finding its way to regions when it might otherwise hope to reach and whence it would not be easily banished by subsequent alarms." Hort's letter to Westcott; Hort, Vol. 1, p. 445.

1862 "English clergy are not compelled to maintain the absolute infallibility of the Bible." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 454.

1864 "Westcott talks of our keeping pace with the printers." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 461.

1865 "The idea of [Mary's appearance at] La Salett was that of God revealing Himself now, not in one form, but in many."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 251. [Westcott visited a Catholic shrine in Europe and was thrilled by it.]

1866 "All the questionable doctrines which I have ever maintained are in it."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 290.

1869 Westcott became a canon at Peterborough Cathedral.

1870 Westcott became Professor of Divinity at Cambridge.

"Dr. Butler calls him [Westcott] mysterious . . His voice from the pulpit reached but a few and was understood by still fewer."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 272.

"Dr. Westcott and myself have for about seventeen years been preparing a Greek text . . We hope to have it out early next year." Hort, Vol. 2, p. 137.

"Much evil would result from the public discussion of our beliefs."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 229.

1871 "I shall aim at what is transcendental in many peoples eyes . . I suppose I am a communist by nature."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 309.

Westcott, Hort, and Bishop Lightfoot (none of whom believed in Biblical Inspiration) were invited to join the Revision Committee of the New Testament.

"Westcott believes we ought to seize the opportunity, especially since we three are on the list." Hort, Vol. 2, p. 133.

(Westcott, Hort, and Lightfoot are the "we three" in the Ghostly Guild.)

Work on the New Testament Revision Committee began, and continued until 1881, when the English Revised Version (ERV, originally known as the RV) was printed.

1872 Westcott, Hort, and Bishop Lightfoot began the Eranus Club. Sidgwick and Balfour soon started the Society for Psychical Research and also join it.

1873 "Truth is so wonderfully large."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 333.

1877 Eranus club members continued their meetings, but in Hort's quarters.

1881 "Our Bible, as well as our faith, is a mere compromise."Westcott, On the Canon of the New Testament: A General Survey, p. vii.

"The work which has gone on now for nearly 30 years was brought to a conclusion."Hort, Vol. 2, p. 234 [speaking of their joint effort to change the Bible].

The Revised Version, based on the Westcott-Hort Text and the "new Greek" of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus was published.

1882 "The truth seems to me to be so overwhelmingly vast and manifold that I shrink from drawing any outline except provisionally," Westcott, Vol. 2, p. 36.

1889 "Life and truth grow more and more mysterious." Westcott, Vol. 2, p. 61.

1890 Westcott became Bishop of Durham.

1891 At this juncture, without much else to do, and no religious faith, Westcott become a beer sot.

1893 "He sometimes with much seriousness professed to be much drawn to beer."Westcott, Vol. 2, p. 178 (son speaking).

" His zeal in the cause of pure beer involved him in a correspondence which was published in the newspapers in the later part of 1893; and his picture, together with some of the following words spoken by him, was utilized for the adornment of the advertisement of a brewer of pure beer (statement by son). My idea is that they might have a public house in which good beer alone would be sold . . I consider pure beer . . to be an innocent and wholesome beverage . . Substitutes for malt . . is not what the purchaser demands nor expects. "Westcott, Vol. 2, pp. 218-219; including Westcott's letter to the Brewers Society, in asking that inferior beer not be made.

1896 "The prohibitionists [who want to ban alcoholic beverages] once more showed themselves to be unstatesmanlike."Westcott, Vol. 2, p. 238.

1899 "But from my Cambridge days, I have read the writings of many who are called mystics with much profit."Westcott, Vol. 2, p. 309.

It is an interesting fact that these two spiritualists, who secretly admired Catholicism and communism, liked those groups also hated democracy and America.

"I cannot say that I see much as yet to soften my deep hatred of democracy in all its forms." Hort, Vol. 2, p. 34.

"The American empire is a standing menace to the whole civilization of Europe . . It cannot be wrong to desire and pray from the bottom of ones heart that the American Union [U.S.A.] may be shivered to pieces." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 459. 


Price, of the University of Chicago, summarizes the influence of Westcott and Hort on the modern Biblical world:

"The final blow was administered to the Textus Receptus [Majority Text] by the work of the British scholars, Dr. F. J. A. Hort and Bishop B.F. Westcott. The two collaborated in the product of a text and in the elaboration of a theory of criticism which has had an enormous influence from that day to this. Building upon the achievements of the scholars whom we have noticed, they brought out in 1881-1882 a two-volume edition of text (without critical apparatus [i.e. without variant passage footnotes]) and method which was some thirty years in preparation and has become a sort of watershed in the history of the textual criticism of the New Testament." Ira Maurice Price, Ancestry of Our English Bible, p. 208.

Although Westcott and Hort worked on their Greek Text off and on for three decades, it was Hort who developed the theory underlying it. For this reason, all textual scholars call it the "Hort theory."

What the two men lacked in knowledge, they made up in prejudice.

"I had no idea till the last few weeks of the importance of texts, having read so little Greek Testament, and dragged on with the villainous Textus Receptus [Majority Text] . . Think of that vile Textus Receptus leaning entirely on late manuscripts; it is a blessing there are such early ones." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 211.

Early in these pages we have clearly demonstrated the fact that the Majority Text, upon which the King James Bible is founded, represents the earliest Greek manuscripts. But Westcott and Hort were ignorant both of church history and the transmission of the Greek text.

Speaking about the King James Bible, Westcott said:

"I feel most keenly the disgrace of circulating what I feel to be falsified copies of the Holy Scripture."Westcott, Vol. 1, pp. 228-229.

Westcott was not one to read much in the Bible, any Bible. He was too busy imbibing the sentiments of spirits at his weekly sťances. It was the demons who felt disgraced by the widespread circulation of the Majority Text in English the King James Bible.

The ghosts at their guild counseled Westcott and Hort to keep secret their project to change the text of the Bible, until they could carry it out.

"We came to a distinct and positive understanding about our Greek Text, and the details thereof. We still do not wish it to be talked about." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 264.

At a later time, Hort wrote this. Read it slowly, for it is a very important statement, describing the conspiracy in which many were involved, to overthrow the King James Bible:

"The errors and prejudices, which we agree in wishing to remove, can surely be more wholesomely and also more effectually reached by individual efforts of an indirect kind than by combined open assault. At present, very many orthodox but rational men are being unawares acted on by influences which will assuredly bear good fruit in due time, if the process is allowed to go on quietly; but I cannot help fearing that a premature crisis would frighten back many."Hort, Vol. 1, p. 400.

By 1861, as they continued work on their Greek Text, Westcott and Hort questioned whether to publish some of their heresies in the liberal journal, Essays and Reviews. They finally decided that the reaction would injure the credibility of their Greek New Testament, when it was finally published. Recognizing that, if they really told the public what they believed, the Christian public would totally reject any of their later accomplishments, Hort wrote this to Westcott:

"Also, but this may be cowardice, II have a sort of craving that our text should be cast upon the world before we deal with matters likely to brand us with suspicion. I mean, a text, issued by men already known for what will undoubtedly be treated as dangerous heresy, will have great difficulties in finding its way to regions which it might otherwise hope to reach, and whence it would not be easily banished by subsequent alarms." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 445.

Hort had demonic intelligence available to him. He said it right: Once the Westcott-Hort Text and Hort's textual theory was accepted, it would become extremely difficult, in spite of alarms, to dislodge it.

As mentioned earlier, their Greek Text was basically the Vaticanus, plus the Sinaiticus and sometimes other manuscripts, when they agreed with the two codices.

The two men had a special reason for liking those two manuscripts, for both were produced in Alexandria, Egypt, the home of the heretics, Clement of Alexandria and Origen. Westcott and Hort had carefully studied the heresies of those men and liked them. Arthur Westcott wrote this:

"My fathers promised contributions, however, were completed; the most important being his articles on the Alexandrian divines, including Clement, Demetrius, Dionysius, and greatest of all, Origen. For many years the works of Origen were close to his hand, and he continually turned to them at every opportunity." Westcott, Vol. 1, pp. 319-320./p>

In the thinking of those secret heretics, "Why bother to read the Bible, when you can fill your mind with Origen?" Hort even translated the "Candlelight Hymn" of the corrupt Alexandrian Church. (Rome got its love of burning candles from the Alexandrian church, which in turn inherited it from the Egyptian worship of the Queen of heaven and her infant god-son, Horus.)

Here, in succinct form, is a statement of the Hort theory, on which all modern Bible translations are founded:

"The Neutral text, as the name implies, was considered by Hort to be the purest extant form. It was thought to be entirely free from corruption and mixture with other texts and to represent the nearest approach to the New Testament autographs. Its best representative was Codex Vaticanus, and its second best, Sinaiticus. These two codices were thought to be derived independently from a common original, at no great distance from the autographs.

"When their [Sinaiticus and Vaticanus] readings agreed, the evidence for Westcott and Hort was generally conclusive against overwhelming numerical evidence of later witnesses, unless internal testimony contradicted . . In general, readings unknown to the Neutral, Alexandrian, or Western texts [manuscript families] were to be rejected as Syrian [the Majority Text, which was always rejected], and no reading from the Western or Alexandrian was to be admitted without some support from the Neutral . . We may add that, among the church "fathers" such Neutral elements were considered to be most numerous in Origen, Didymus, Cyril of Alexandria, and Eusebius; and, among the versions [translations into other languages], in the Coptic [Egyptian]." I.M. Price, Ancestry of Our English Bible, p. 209.

Notice in the above statement, that b>tthe manuscripts, commentators ("fathers"), and translations considered closest to the "Neutral," were those in Alexandria, Egypt, from whence came the most unorthodox, heretical teachings in all Christendom at that time (4th century A.D.).

In spite of the fact that there were over 3,000 disagreements between the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, the Westcott-Hort Text did not need the 30 years to prepare, which those two men put into it. It was actually a mechanical, lazy text.

Here is how Westcott and Hort prepared their Greek Text: First, they took the Vaticanus Text and underlined everything which was essentially the same in the Sinaiticus. That was the basic text. No alternative readings were permitted to have any weight, unless they concerned those instances which were not underlined: places where the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus disagreed. When that happened, the only readings considered worthy of acceptance were other Neutral 

(Vaticanus-Sinaiticus-like), Alexandrian (anything else which sounded like Clement or Origen), or Western (anything obviously coming from the city of Rome). The Syrian (Majority Text) manuscripts were flatly and totally rejected. If a question still existed, the comments of the church "fathers" living in Alexandria had preference!/p>

Did I overstate the case? No! Read again the above quotation from Ira Maurice Price, Ancestry of Our English Bible, p. 209. Late professor of Semitic Languages at the University of Chicago, he represented the highest level of modern 20th-century textual crticism and clearly explained the modern viewpoint on such matters.

It was fortunate for Wescott and Hort that they had such a simple, mechanical way to construct their Greek text, because they spent so much of their time talking to ghosts in their club, writing skeptical letters, visiting shrines of the Virgin, studying Origen and Plato (whose writings Origen also valued), grumbling about democracy, praising communism, complaining about the teachings of Christians, or drinking beer. 



By 1870, the Oxford Movement had done its work well; and a skeptical, semi-Catholic, liberal hierarchy were fast gaining the ascendency in the Church of England and at Oxford and Cambridge.

It was no accident that Anglican Church leaders decided to form a committee, to revise the Bible, at the very time that the Westcott-Hort Greek Text was being completed.

"In 1870, the Convention of the Church of England commissioned a revision of the Authorized [King James] Version. A gleam of hope shone in the eye of every Roman Catholic in England and the continent. An eager anticipation filled every Jesuit-inspired, Protestant scholar in England. Although it was meant to correct a few supposed errors in the Authorized Version, the textual critics of the day assured themselves that they would never again have to submit to the Divine authority of the Universal [Majority] Text."Samuel C. Gipp, An Understandable History of the English Bible, p. 162.

However, the liberals were not quite in total control yet. Fearing that liberals might take over the committee, formal resolutions were passed by the Church of England's Southern Convocation on February 10, May 3 and 5, 1870, which, in the strongest language, limited the activities of the committee to revising only "plain and clear errors" (John William Burgon, The Revision Revised, p. 3).

In spite of the modernism and pro-Catholicism creeping into the Church of England, its leaders still hesitated to make major changes in the King James Version. The fact that the committee they appointed flagrantly violated that directive, and did so anyway, was due to the influence of three men: Hort, Westcott, and Bishop Lightfoot, plus help from a fourth: a man named Smith.

Ninety-nine men were invited to join the committee, of whom 49 were Anglican clergymen. One of the other 50 was a V. Smith, pastor of St. Stephens Gate Unitarian Church. Learning that a man who totally denied the divinity of Christ was on the committee, several thousand Anglican pastors affixed their signatures to a solemn protest, which caused the Upper House of Parliament to pass a resolution that Smith should be removed from the committee.

But Westcott declared that he would leave the committee if Smith was forced out. So Smith was kept on the committee. It is for such reasons that, when the English Revised Version was printed in 1881, 1 Timothy 3:16 was changed from "God was manifest in the flesh" to "who was manifest in the flesh."

Smith later commented on that passage, noting that a mythology had arisen after the death of Christ; that He was divine when, in Smiths opinion, that was not true.

"The old reading is pronounced untenable by the revisers, as it has long been known to be by all careful students of the New Testament . . It is in truth another example of the facility with which ancient copiers could introduce the word God into their manuscripts, a reading which was the natural result of the growing tendency in early Christian times . . to look upon the humble teacher as the incarnate Word, and therefore as God manifest in the flesh. "Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 515. 



Bishop Charles Ellicott, committee chairman, frequently expressed his deep concern that the British nation did not have enough qualified scholars and knowledge of the ancient languages, to adequately revise the Bible.

In addition, he repeatedly told the committee that it should only attempt a very few changes.

Ellicott wrote this before the committee was appointed:

"It is my honest conviction that for an authoritative revision, we are not yet mature; either in Biblical learning or Hellenistic [Greek] scholarship. There is good scholarship in this country . . but it has certainly not yet been sufficiently directed to the study of the New Testament . . to render any national attempt at revision either hopeful or lastingly profitable." Burgon, Revision Revised, p. xiii.

Ellicott warned the committee when it was first convened:

"What course would revisers have us to follow? . . Would it be well for them to agree on a Critical Greek Text? To this question we venture to answer very hesitatingly in the negative . . We have certainly not yet acquired sufficient critical judgment for any body of revisers hopefully to undertake such a work as this . . Nothing is more satisfactory at the present time than the evident feelings of veneration for our Authorized Version, and the very generally felt desire for as little change as possible." Burgon, Revision Revised, pp. 368-369.

He also told the convocation of the committee in February of that year (1870): "We may be satisfied with the attempt to correct plain and clear errors, but there it is our duty to stop" (op. cit., p. 368).

That rule was officially adopted by the committee. Another rule was this:

"The condition was enjoined upon them that whenever decidedly preponderating evidence constrained their adoption of some change in the Text from the Authorized Version was made, they should indicate such alteration in the margin." Ibid.

But two other decisions were also made, which destroyed the efforts of Ellicott to keep the committee from gutting the King James Bible.

This was the first:

"Each member of the Company had been supplied with a private copy of Westcott and Hort's [Greek] Text, but the Company did not, of course, in any way bind itself to accept their conclusions." Hort, Vol. 2, p. 237.

And the second was this: Although the astonished participants were not bound "to accept their conclusions" (ten years of intimidation by Hort would take care of that); they were obligated to a vow of secrecy that they possessed and were going to use the Westcott and Hort Greek Text. The devils, talking to Westcott and Hort in their weekly sťances all through those years, guided them in what to do and say at the committee meetings, so as to ram through their erroneous theories and readings.

"When the English New Testament Committee met, it was immediately apparent what was going to happen. Though for ten long years the iron rule of silence kept the public ignorant of what was going on behind closed doors, the story is now known." D.O. Fuller, Which Bible? p. 290.

Yes, now known, but only after the damage has been done.

Westcott and Hort purposely did not print their new Greek Text until May 12, 1870, only five days before the committee began its work. Then it was secretly handed to the committee members and they were vowed to secrecy.

The diabolical subtlety of Westcott and Hort's planning was remarkable. A super intelligence was at work.

The two men planned a takeover of the committee proceedings.

"The rules though liberal are vague, and the interpretation of them will depend upon action at the first." Hort, quoted in Fuller, p. 290.

We earlier learned that Bishop Lightfoot was a skeptic and close friend to Westcott and Hort. The two men felt confident that, with Lightfoot's help, they could control the meetings.

Who was Lightfoot? Here is a little background on this man, whom we earlier found to also be a secret skeptic that Westcott and Hort wrote many letters to. (He is the one, you will recall, who sent the beer instead of coming himself.)

Joseph Barber Lightfoot (1828-1889) attended Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a private pupil of Westcott. He afterward moved up through the ranks and became a professor at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1857 and taught some Greek and Hebrew. In 1871, he was appointed a Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral; and in 1875, he became a divinity professor at Cambridge. From 1870 to 1880 he was a leading member of the New Testament revision committee. In 1879, he was made Bishop of Durham.

As noted above, Westcott felt that, with the help of Lightfoot who was quite influential, the three of them could change the objective of the committee. Writing to Hort, he said:

"Your note came with one from Ellicott this morning . . Though I think that Convocation [the committee] is not competent to initiate such a measure, yet I feel that as we three are together it would be wrong not to make the best of it as Lightfoot first says . . There is some hope that alternative readings might find a place in the margin."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 390.

Continually pushing to have their way, they ultimately brought the alternative readings right into the text and crowded out the King James readings.

Beginning with the first one, before each crucial meeting of the committee, the three met for consultation.

"Ought we not to have a conference before the first meeting for Revision? There are many points on which it is important that we should be agreed." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 396.

As usual, Hort led out in the plotting. Incredibly, before long, he actually talked Ellicott into acceding to their plan for a more thorough revision!

"The Bishop of Gloucester [Ellicott] seems to me to be quite capable of accepting heartily and adopting personally a thorough scheme." Hort, Vol. 1, p. 393.

The word, "scheme," was the code word they had used for several years, to describe their plan to replace the King James Bible. Hort was an expert at using Jesuit approaches to obtaining what he wanted. He wrote, "I am rather in favor of indirect dealing" (Hort, quoted in Fuller, Which Bible? p. 282).

But the scholars of England were not qualified nor skilled in how to carry out such a complete revision. Burgon explained the problem:

"It can never be any question among scholars that a fatal error was committed when a body of divines, appointed to revise the Authorized English Version of the New Testament Scriptures, addressed themselves to the solution of an entirely different and far more intricate problem, namely the reconstruction of the Greek Text." Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 6.

At this juncture, we should identify two other important people at that time. The first was Scrivener:

Frederick Henry A. Scrivener (1813-1891). Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was one of the very few English experts in Greek manuscripts in the late 19th century.

"He made a very comprehensive study of the text of the New Testament, publishing collations and detailed descriptions of a large number of (especially minuscule) manuscripts, some of them hitherto unexamined. His Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, of which the first edition appeared in 1861 (listing some 1,170 manuscripts), and the fourth (posthumous, ed. by E. Miller) in 1894 (listing over 3,000) is still a valuable book of reference, despite the attempt made in it to defend the Textus Receptus [Majority Text]."Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 1253.

The other was Burgon:

John William Burgon (1813-1888) was educated at Worcester College, Oxford, and became, along with Scrivener, one of the most forceful opponents of the efforts of Westcott and Hort to ruin the King James Version. They were heroes of God at the time of a great crisis. The crisis continues; who will stand in defense of the King James today, as they did back then?

"He was an old-fashioned High Churchman who was famous for his support of a long series of lost causes . . He was also a strenuous upholder of the Textus Receptus of the New Testament, publishing in 1871 The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel according to St. Mark Vindicated, and in 1883 The Revision Revised. Two further works were published posthumously."Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 211.

To put it bluntly, Burgon was a pain in the neck to the liberals of his day. He had a remarkably brilliant mind and a firm devotion to the King James Bible. He also knew the Greek manuscripts well enough to prepare devastating attacks on the decisions of the revision committee and the resultant English Revised Version (1881). He is frequently called "Dean Burgon," since he was the dean of a school during the closing years of his life.

His posthumous book, The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels, Vindicated and Established, was edited by Edward Miller (1896) and published eight years after his death. (Miller was also a Greek expert and posthumous editor of the fourth edition of Scriveners Plain Introduction.) If it were not for Scrivener, Burgon, and Miller, the history of what happened back then would have been totally covered over and lost to us.

Scrivener was the most competent New Testament scholar on the revision committee. Neither Burgon nor Miller were permitted to be on that committee; but, as soon as the revised version was published, Burgon studied it and learned from Scrivener exactly what had taken place in those secret sessions.

As for Westcott and Hort, Westcott tended to take a backseat in the meetings and let Hort, who was fiercely contentious for the acceptance of his ideas, push everyone in the committee around. In strong contrast, Scrivener became the chief spokesman for the minority party in the sessions.

Committee meetings became a war between Hort and Scrivener. Scrivener would arrive at a meeting with detailed and organized material, showing that the King James text was correct and should be left as it was.

Hort arrived with, what he called his "eclectic method," which amounted to little more than whims, imaginings, and personal caprice. Hort frequently said he was "feeling his way through" the data, and heavily relying on what he called "internal evidence."

Whereas Scrivener presented facts from the manuscripts, Hort came with hunches and theories about what the original New Testament writers must have meant and how the copyists were likely to have changed the original words to make them agree with "myths."

Hort described the method, as taught him by his father:

"The obvious method of deciding between variant readings, is for the critic to ask which the author is most likely to have written, and to settle the question by the light of his own inner consciousness." Hort, Vol. 2, p. 248.

Of course, Hort's ghosts gave him plenty of "inner consciousness." Burgon explains:

"The only indication we anywhere meet of the actual ground of Dr. Hort's certainty, and reason of his preference, is contained in his claim that, every binary group [of manuscripts] containing [the readings of] B [Vaticanus] is found to offer a large proportion of readings, which, on the closest scrutiny, have the ring of genuineness; while it is difficult to find any readings so attested which look suspicious after full consideration. " Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 307.

How is that for making hunches into a science? Hort contended that he could always identify the correct reading because it had the "ring of genuineness." I surely would not wish to entrust my copy of the New Testament to the imagination of a man who visited privately with devils, loved pagan authors, detested Biblical Inspiration, and wished he could join the Catholic Church.

"And thus we have, at last, an honest confession of the ultimate principle which has determined the Text of the present edition of the New Testament: The ring of genuiness . .

"Thus, behold, at last we have reached the goal! . . Individual idiosyncrasy, not external evidence. Readings strongly preferred, not readings strongly attested. Personal discernment (self! still self!) conscientiously exercising itself upon Codex B [Vaticanus]; this is the true account of the critical method pursued by these accomplished scholars.

"They deliberately claim personal discernment as the surest ground for confidence. Accordingly, they judge of readings by their looks and by their sound. When, in their opinion, words look suspicious, words are to be rejected." Burgon, Revision Revised, pp. 307-308.

As the committee meetings wore on, month after month, year after year, the pressure was intense on Scrivener to just give up and quit the committee. With the passing of time, with the help of Westcott and Lightfoot, more and more of the committee came under the control of the domineering Hort.

Hort would talk and talk and talk, until he got his way. Whereas, Scrivener had manuscript evidence, Hort had talk. He overwhelmed everyone with it.

"Nor is it difficult to understand that many of their less resolute and decided colleagues must often have been completely carried off their feet by the persuasiveness and resourcefulness and zeal of Hort, backed by the great prestige of Lightfoot, the popular Canon of St. Paul's, and the quiet determination of Westcott, who set his face as a flint. In fact, it can hardly be doubted that Hort's was the strongest will of the whole Company, and his adroitness in debate was only equaled by his pertinacity."Hemphill, quoted in Fuller, Which Bible? p. 291.

One unnamed detractor, quoted by Hort's son, calculated that "Dr. Hort talked for three years out of the ten" (Hort, Vol. 2, p. 236)!

On May 24, 1871, Westcott wrote to his wife:

"We have had hard fighting during these last two days, and a battle-royal is announced for tomorrow."Westcott, Vol. 1, p. 396.

Here is a profound statement, especially the final paragraph:

"This was the mode: A passage being under consideration, the chairman asks, Are any textual changes proposed? If a change can be proposed then the evidence for and against is briefly stated. This is done by two members of the company: Dr. Scrivener and Dr. Hort. And if those two members disagree: The vote of the company is taken, and the proposed reading accepted or rejected. The text being thus settled, the chairman asks for proposals on the rendering [how the Greek will be translated].

"Thus it appears that there was no attempt whatever on the part of the revisionists to examine the evidence bearing upon the many disputed readings [they did not look at what the manuscripts said]. They only listened to the views of two of their number."Philip Mauro, quoted in D. O. Fuller, True of False? p. 93.

Instead of nobly standing in defense of Gods Word, most of the committee members meekly kept quiet or quit the committee. Dr. Newth said that Hort's overbearing manner caused 88 percent of the members to quit (Newth, quoted in Hort, Vol. 2, p. 236).

"The average attendance was not so many as sixteen, concerning whom, moreover, the fact has transpired that some of the most judicious of their number often declined to give any vote at all."Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 109.

Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford and an extremely influential man, resigned his position on the committee as its original chairman after the first meeting; he bemoaned afterward to a friend, "What can be done in this most miserable business" (Wilberforce, quoted in Fuller, Which Bible? p. 291)? Much could have been done in defense of the Majority Text, but far too many men preferred peace in their time.

It is clear that godly men could have defeated this nefarious work, but they remained silent or stood aside. Similar things are being done today in our own denomination. A few speak up and are branded as "troublemakers" while far too many run for cover. 


On May 17, 1881, the long-awaited New Testament portion of the Revised Version was published. The Old Testament was completed in 1885. The entire Bible later became known as the English Revised Version (ERV). (At that time, it was called the Revised Version or RV.)

Dean Burgon immediately applied his brilliant mind to analyzing the ERV. Then he wrote a series of three scholarly articles, the first of which appeared in the October 1881 issue of the Quarterly Review. These, along with his 150-page open letter of protest to the turncoat, Bishop Ellicott, totaled 500 pages.

Frederick Scrivener also set to work and wrote a book, his massive protest, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament (1883). The first edition of that work totaled 506 pages, the second had 920 pages.

There are two remarkable things about those books: (1) They are so competently done and their conclusions so obviously right. (2) All the churchmen and scholars of the day were too sleepy-headed to unite with Burgon and Scrivener in defense of the King James.

Keep in mind that, at this same time, the great evil of Darwin's evolutionary theories were also taking control of the intellectual world. Satan was desperately at work, seeking to overpower every aspect of the modern world, for he knew that Christ had entered the Second Apartment of the Sanctuary above and the end of time was nearing.

At the very beginning of his book, Revision Revised, Burgon listed the four summary problems, cited by Scrivener, against the "system" on which Westcott and Hort had made their changes in the Bible. These points were also noted in Scriveners Plain Introduction.

"1. There is little hope for the stability of their imposing structure, if its foundations have been laid on the sandy ground of ingenious conjecture. And, since barely the smallest vestige of historical evidence has ever been alleged in support of the views of these accomplished editors [Westcott and Hort], their teaching must either be received as intuitively true or dismissed from our consideration as precarious and even visionary.

"2. Dr. Hort's System is entirely destitute of historical foundation.

"3. We are compelled to repeat as emphatically as ever our strong conviction that the Hypothesis to whose proof he has devoted so many laborious years, is destitute not only of historical foundation, but of all probability, resulting from the internal goodness of the text which its adoption would force upon us.

"4. We cannot doubt (says Dr. Hort) that St. Luke 23:34 comes from an extraneous source, (Notes, p. 68). Nor can we, on our part, doubt [replies Scrivener] that the System which entails such consequences is hopelessly self-condemned."Burgon, Revision Revised, p. iv.

This is the Bible verse that Hort has arbitrarily decided needs to be removed from your Bible:

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do, and they parted His raiment, and cast lots." Luke 23:34.

The revision committee violated the rules which had been assigned them. Rule Four stipulated that they must list all changes in the margin. This they did not do. Rule One was that they were not to make any but the most necessary changes.

Scrivener found that the underlying Greek of Erasmus Greek Text (the Textus Receptus) had been changed by the Westcott and Hort Text in approximately 5,337 instances.

(We will later learn that the Nestle Text, based on the Westcott-Hort Text, has 5,604 alterations from the Majority Text.)

As for the English Revised Version, it contained 36,191 changes in the text, from the King James (Miller, Guide to Textual Criticism, p. 3)!

In addition, the ERV had many marginal notes which cast suspicion on readings which were left in the text. Here are a couple examples of these marginal notes:

Matthew 1:18 has "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise" in the King James (KJV). The marginal note in the ERV says, "Some ancient authorities read of the Christ."

Mark 1:1 has "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" in the KJV. The ERV marginal note says, "Some ancient authorities omit the Son of God. "

Obviously, Hort wanted to instill doubt in the reader.

It is an intriguing fact that the only thing the revisers were commissioned to do, improve the language of the King James, they entirely failed to do! Having accepted Hort's foolish suggestions, the resultant translation was stiff and wooden. No one wanted to read it. Bishop Ellicott had predicted this in 1870:

"No revision in the present day could hope to meet with an hours acceptance if it failed to preserve the tone, rhythm, and diction of the present Authorized Version."Ellicott, quoted in Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 226.

Bishop Wordsworth compared the results of abandoning the King James for the Revised Version in these words:

"To pass from the one to the other, is, as it were, to alight from a well-built and well-hung carriage which glides easily over a macadamized [asphalt paved] road, and to get into one which has bad springs or none at all, and in which you are jolted in ruts with aching bones over the stones of a newly mended and rarely traversed road, like some of the roads of our North Linconshire villages." Wordsworth, quoted in Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 112.

Burgon powerfully condemned the pedantic and wooden phrasing of the English Revised Version:

"They had a noble version before them, which they have contrived to spoil in every part. Its dignified simplicity and essential faithfulness, its manly grace and its delightful rhythm, they have shown themselves alike unable to imitate and unwilling to retain.

"Their queer uncouth phraseology and their jerky sentences; their pedantic obscurity and their stiff, constrained manner; and their habitual achievement of English which fails to exhibit the spirit of the original Greek, are sorry substitutes for the living freshness, and elastic freedom, and habitual fidelity of the grand old version which we inherited from our fathers, and which has sustained the spiritual life of the Church of England, and of all English-speaking Christians, for 350 years . .

"The Authorized Version, wherever it was possible, should have been jealously retained. But on the contrary, every familiar cadence has been dislocated. The congenial flow of almost every verse of Scripture has been hopeless marred." Burgon, Revision Revised, pp. 225-226.

We could spend pages citing examples of changes made in the English Revised Version. But we will not do so, as its sloppy text helped it die out of public notice, and its doctrinal errors we will meet again as we give careful attention to their appearance in more recent translations.

Indeed, this was the problem: Not that the ERV survived the test of public acceptance; it totally failed in that regard, but that the errors in the Greek text it came from (the Westcott-Hort Text) were perpetuated into the 20th century through the Nestle Text. 


In these last days of earths history, a large number of Christians use the modern Bible versions. But when you remain with the only Bible available today, the King James, which is based on the Majority (Received) Text, you stand with a majority of those in past ages who have owned a Bible or part of it.

In contrast, those who use the modern versions do not realize the unstable nature of the collated Greek texts they are based on. Instead of using the Majority Text, based on manuscripts which essentially read alike, the new translations are founded on an assemblage of confusing variants, generally opposed to one another.

There are over 5,366 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. Together they give a view of the text much like a shifting kaleidoscope. "They contain several hundred thousand variant readings . ." notes Pickering (cf. his Identity of the New Testament Text, pp. 16-18).

At the present time there are over two dozen critical Greek texts, of which the Nestle Text is the primary one. Each one is filled with thousands upon thousands of variants. No two of those books are alike. Scholars who use them argue among themselves as to which variants to use and which to reject.

Even Westcott and Hort admitted, "Equally competent critics often arrive at contrary conclusions as to the same variation" (Westcott and Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek, p. 21). 



Evidence for the New Testament is composed of papyrus fragments and manuscripts, uncial and minuscule manuscripts (modified capitals and cursives), and lectionaries (books used in churches). Each of the 5,366 manuscripts and 2,209 lectionaries extant today are given a name, an abbreviation and / or a number (Bruce Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, p. 54).

At the present time, there are:

88 papyri (identified as P1, P2, etc.)

274 uncials (Aleph, A, B, C, D, etc.)

2,795 minuscules, or cursives (1, 2, 3, etc.)

2,209 lectionaries (L1, L2, L3, etc.)

In addition to the above, there are other witnesses to the wording of the originals written by Matthew, Paul, and the other apostles.

Many foreign language translations were made in the 2nd century and those immediately following. These include the Old Latin, the Syriac, the Coptic, the Ethiopic, and a dozen others. These provide witnesses to the correct readings of the New Testament.

Finally, scores of 2nd, 3rd and 4th century Christian writers (the "fathers")such as John Chrysostom, Irenaeus, Tertullain, and Justin Martyr, to name just a few left writings containing citations of Scripture verses, witnessing to the original readings of the New Testament.

Dean John Burgon extrapolated (analyzed and compared) over 87,000 of the above manuscripts and citations. Many of his comments are quoted in this present book. He fully acknowledged that the King James Bible was founded on the very best manuscripts; and he clearly foresaw the confusion that would result if the confusing variant readings, so many of which originated in Alexandria, Egypt, were permitted to be preferred over the Majority Text.

The overwhelming majority of all the manuscripts, lectionaries, and quotations agree generally with each other as to the readings of the New Testament. Manuscripts from the 2nd century (P66) down through the Middle Ages (A.D. 1500) attest to the readings of the Majority Text.

Dean Burgon, who found and collated this Majority Text in most of the early writers, called it the Traditional Text. It is also called the Syrian Text, the Byzantine Text, the K (Kappa) Text, Koine Text, or Common Text. Kurt Aland, the editor-in-chief of the Nestle Text and the UBS Text, calls it the Majority Text. Many others call it the Received Text or the Textus Receptus.

This text type is available today in English only in the Authorized Version or, as it is called in the United States, the King James Version.

The 809,000,000 copies of the King James Bible, published since 1611 in 300 languages, demonstrates the continuum of this Majority Text. It is a tragedy that the new versions are 

not based on this Majority Text; but, instead, they are based on a dissenting handful of manuscripts which disagree with the Majority. 



It is difficult to explain the utter foolishness of this modern Bible manuscript theory. The present writer encountered the same difficulty when he attempted to present in simple language the deep things of scientific learning in his 1,326-page three-volume Evolution Disproved Series. The problem is that the average reader tends to be afraid of scientific facts, assuming they are above his head; when, in reality, common sense can explain a lot.

The same applies to the present subject. Most people fear to encounter a "Greek expert"; when, it reality, there are only a handful of them in the world. The rest of the so-called "Greek experts" are shams who can only, with greatest difficulty, turn to a portion of the New Testament that you may select and read any of it.

The present writer graduated with a double major (Theology and Biblical Languages) in college; and he was one course short of having a second major in Biblical Languages (in addition to Systematic Theology) at our Theological Seminary.

Yet, even with his background, he finds it difficult to present the remarkable foolishness of the liberal theory, which Westcott and Hort bequeathed to us. This is because everyone assumes the subject is too deep for their comfort. 

So here is an illustration which may help the reader understand the simple facts about these ancient Greek manuscripts, translations, and quoted citations:

We have a pumpkin, one pumpkin. It is the original. This would stand for the original Greek autograph, the original Greek manuscripts written by the apostles and other inspired Bible writers.

Because there is nothing like it anywhere, many, many people eagerly want pumpkins like this original. They are thankful to be able to obtain seeds from it, which they plant. Copies are made of the original manuscript.

More pumpkins are the result, and their seeds are planted, producing still more pumpkins. Still more copies are carefully made from the earlier copies; and, just as the Apostle said, the Word of God multiplies. A high degree of accuracy is maintained because the copies are prepared by faithful Christians.

This continues; and the result is a very large number of pumpkins, nearly all of which look alike and taste wonderful. The Majority Text is produced and includes not only most manuscripts, but also lectionaries, quotations, and many translations; all these have relatively few variants.

Unfortunately, some worthless pumpkins are also produced. Some grow accidently while others are intentionally irradiated, so they will grow malformed. A minority of only about 10% of the total number of manuscripts are corrupt. Some of the errors were caused by sloppy copyists. Others are intentionally made in order to introduce doctrinal errors into the Bible. 

The existence of bad pumpkins (especially those produced in Alexandria) was no problem for centuries. Folk used the good pumpkins, ate them, and used their seed to produce more.

But, then, a century ago, some people who knew little about farming, decided to discard the good pumpkins, and only use the deformed ones that did not taste as good!

In spite of the protests of competent farmers, they picked over the thousands of pumpkins (assuming that pumpkins keep well, which they naturally do not) and tossed out the good ones while only retaining the ones which were misshapen, brown, spotted, moldy, or did not taste good. These foolish modern farmers declared that the formerly rejected ones, were actually the best! The reason they gave for their decision was their theory that the best pumpkins would only be the minority, the few, which were different.

Then these strange farmers deliberately bred the worst pumpkins, banned all the good ones from the market, and only sold the worst.

Am I stretching the point? No, I am not. This is exactly what was done! The good quality manuscripts were set aside, and the inferior ones were prized and used to produce the new Bibles.

But let us carry the analogy further:

Agricultural scientists decided this would make a good research study which they could get the universities to fund; so they decided to make a Critical Pumpkin Text. It would list all the variants in each of the bad pumpkins. Why focus attention on the bad ones? Well, the scientists would quickly be out of a job if they only compared the good pumpkins, for they were all alike!

After publication of the initial Critical Text, new editions of the text have continually been issued ever since, as more and more bad pumpkins are found. Their Critical Text lists the spotted and speckled, the ones with worms, decayed seeds, those with moldy parts, as well as the brownish and half-rotten ones. Attention is given in their scholarly Text to the bad-tasting ones; and categories are made for the various disgusting flavors. Those with very advanced stages of disease and mold also receive special attention. Everything receives numbered or alphabetized designations.

The general public is overawed by the project, since it is so complicated. It just seems so scientific. Indeed, the scientists have devised special names for each type of diseased, misshapen, rotten kind of pumpkin.

Every single thing wrong in each pumpkin is carefully listed under its separate heading in the critical text. Under the category of "stems," the bad pumpkins which have stem problems are listed by their code number. The same for "seeds," different areas on the outer rind, and various sections of the pulp.

In order to add to the confusion, all the comments are written in a complicated code of numbers and letters.

What about the majority of the pumpkins, which are all so much alike, and which taste better? They are lumped together in the critical text as "Byzantine," or "Syrian," and are said to have been produced in just one local area. Based on a theory they devised, scholars said it was obvious that the normal pumpkins were not the originals, but had been grown centuries later, from seed produced by the half-rotten variants!

The scholars declared that, on the basis of their research studies, the Byzantines were so inferior, they should be kept from the buying public. Why have a normal pumpkin, when you can have one that is so different, so exotic that, as soon as you buy it, you have to examine it in an attempt to find the worms and the moldy spots?

With this pumpkin analogy in hand, you are now prepared to understand the modern Critical Greek Texts.


In 1898, Eberhard Nestle in Germany published an inexpensive Critical Greek Text for the Stuttgart Bible Society. The text was based on the readings of Tischendorf and Weymouth (later Weiss), but primarily Westcott-Hort.

In 1904, the British and Foreign Bible Society set aside the Erasmus Greek Text (called the Textus Receptus)and began using the Nestle Text instead. That was a most influential decision! Because Bible translators tend to go to the Bible societies for copies of the Greek text they will use in their work, the Nestle Text became the translation standard. That situation has not changed, from that day to this. (As we will learn below, today, the UBS (United Bible Societies) Text is often used, but it is essentially the same as the Nestle Text.)

On the death of Nestle in 1913, his son, Erwin Nestle, took over the work. For the first time, a brief apparatus was added. This "apparatus" consists of footnotes which, using an abreviation code, lists the sources used for what is in the text and the variants which are in the footnote (the rejected readings).

Gradually, over the years, the Nestle Text has enlarged and gone through over two dozen editions, each one containing more changes in the text and footnotes. The title of the book has not changed: Novum Testamentum Graece.

In 1950, custody was transferred to Kurt Aland who, with the help of Matthew Black, Bruce Metzger, and Allen Wikgren, has continued the work that Westcott and Hort pushed upon modern Bible translators. (However, there has been a partial return to the Majority Text by the men in charge of the Nestle-Aland Text.)

Those same three men also produced a Greek Text, called The Greek New Testament, sponsored by the United Bible Societies (which includes the American Bible Society); it is now generally called the "UBS Text." More on this later.

Currently the manuscripts for both the Nestle-Aland Text and the UBS Text are being collated by the Institut fur neutestamentiche Tereforschung, under the direction of Kurt Aland in Munster, Germany. Many microfilms are housed in the archives of the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center in Claremont, California.

Should the reader wish to pursue his own investigation, a list of sources where copies of those manuscripts may be found is given below. Here are the directories where you can locate all the New Testament manuscripts, so facsimile copies may be obtained for personal study. But keep in mind that these are all in Greek or other ancient languages:

The Paleography Collection in the University of London Library, Vols. 1-2 (Boston, 1968).

John L. Sharps Checklist of Collections of Biblical and Related Manuscripts on Microfilm, published in Scriptorium, XXV (1971), pp. 97-109.

The rest of the sources are in books which have introductions, comments, and footnotes in French, German, or Latin.

The simplest procedure is to purchase a copy of the Nestle Text, edited by Kurt Aland, from the American Bible Society (address: 1865 Broadway, New York, NY 10023).

You will recall that Scrivener found that the underlying Greek of the Erasmus Greek Text (called the Textus Receptus), on which the King James Bible is based, had been changed 5,337 times in the process of preparing the Westcott-Hort Text.

In our generation (1992), Dr. D. A. Waite made a careful study of the Nestle-Aland Greek Text (26th edition) and found 5,604 alterations. Dr. Waite made this comment:

"Of these 5,604 changes, I found 1,952 to be omissions (35%), 467 to be additions (8%), and 3,185 to be changes (57%). In these 5,604 places that were involved in these changes, there were 4,366 more words involved, making a total of 9,970 Greek words that were involved. This means that in a Greek text of 647 pages, this would average 15 words per page that were changed from the Received Text [the Textus Receptus of Erasmus]."D.A. Waite, The King James Bibles Fourfold Superiority, p. 31.

Few Biblical Greek scholars today bother with the Westcott-Hort Text. Instead, they use the Nestle-Aland or UBS Text, but, for the most part, they follows the same textual principles laid down in Hort's theory.

"The supremacy and popularity of the Westcott-Hort Text continued for many years. The research of Bernhard Weiss and the propagation of the Nestle Text especially helped to establish its wide usage."I.M. Price, Ancestry of Our English Bible, p. 212.

It is a definite fact that the Nestle-Aland Text has tended to move closer to a partial acceptance, at times, of the readings of the Majority Text. But that acceptance is still not very much. 


As mentioned earlier, the same three men who edit the Nestle-Aland Greek Text now produce the UBS Text as well. Both Texts are essentially the same, although the present writer finds the Greek print in the UBS Text is easier to read.

Yet, when you look at the apparatus (the footnotes at the bottom of each page, which contain the variant readings), you find they are based on guesswork:

The uncertainty as to which readings constitute the correct one is shown in the UBS 3rd & 4th editions. The letters A, B, C, and D are enclosed within braces (written like this: { }); they are placed at the beginning of each set of textual variants, to indicate the relative degree of certainty. The letter A signifies the text is virtually certain while B indicates that there is some degree of doubt. The letter C means there is a considerable degree of doubt whether the text or the apparatus contains the superior reading while D shows that there is a very high degree of doubt concerning the reading for the text. Pickering comments, "It is hard to resist the suspicion that they are guessing." Their guesses are based on the Hort theory. 



Who is doing the guessing? The UBS Vice President is Roman Catholic Cardinal Onitsha of Nigeria. The executive committee includes Roman Catholic Bishop Alilona of Italy. Among the editors is Roman Catholic Cardinal Martini of Milan. In the past, Catholics would not work with Protestants in the work of Bible translation; but times have changed.

"Catholics should work together with Protestants in the fundamental task of Biblical translation . . [They can] work very well together and have the same approach and interpretation . . [This] signals a new age in the church."Patrick Henry, New Directions in New Testament Study, pp. 232-234.

This began in 1943, when the Papal encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu called for an ecumenical Bible. It said:

"These translations [should] be produced in cooperation with separated brothers."New American Bible, p. vii [Roman Catholic].

Subsequently, Jesuit scholars moved on to editorial positions in the previously Protestant Journal of Biblical Literature. Their work on the UBS / Nestles Text and influence in Biblical scholarship appears to have so successfully biased so many new readings, that the recent Catholic New American Bible was translated directly from UBS / Nestle rather than from the traditional Catholic Latin Vulgate. Frankly, that is very revealing!

The Introduction in that Catholic Bible says this:

"In general, Nestles-Alands Novum Testamentum Graece (25th edition, 1963) was followed. Additional help was derived from The Greek New Testament (editors Aland, Black, Metzger, Wikgren) produced for the use of translators by the United Bible Societies in 1966."New American Bible, p. ix.

Both the Catholic and New Protestant Bibles are now based on the same identical critical Greek Texts (UBS / Nestles) which, in turn, are based on the same 1% minority Greek Manuscripts (Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, plus some others reflecting their readings).

Dean Stanley, a member of one of these translation committees, recognized that this new joint Catholic-Protestant cooperation on new versions would help the denominations move toward union with one another and, ultimately, with Rome:

"The revision work is of the utmost importance . . in its indirect effect upon a closer union of the different denominations."Stanley, quoted in David Schaff, Life of Phillip Schaff, p. 378. 


We have been speaking of the critical New Testament Greek Texts. Mention should also be made of Gerhard Kittel's ten-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Serious students of New Testament Greek try to purchase a set. Kittel's Greek Dictionary is the standard reference work used in New Testament Greek word studies. Modern translators rely on its judgments.

Kittel's labors in Germany on his ten-volume Greek New Testament dictionary also began the same year he became a Gestapo agent, working for Adolf Hitler. He provided Hitler with a "Christian philosophy" for the destruction of the Jewish race.

Kittel's trial, conviction, and imprisonment for his part in the extermination of two thirds of Europe's Jewish population is a fact that is not discussed today. His ten-volume set continues to be sold.

"His writings penned between 1937 and 1943 caused the physical death of millions of Jews . . Using the cloak of Christianity and science, Kittel was the chief architect of the so-called racial science and Christian bias for Hitler's anti-Semitism.

"Scholar Robert Erickson, winner of the 1987 Merit of Distinction from the International Center for Holocaust Studies writes, He established a solid Christian foundation for the opposition to the Jews (Erickson, Theologians under Hitler, p. 54). Kittel called himself the first authority in Germany in the scientific consideration of the Jewish question (op. cit., p. 37).

"William Foxwell Albright, a promient archaeologist and Semitic scholar, writes: Kittel is . . even darker and more menacing . . than Goerring or Goebbels . . [He had the] grim distinction of making extermination of the Jews theologically respectable (Albright, quoted in History of Archaeology and Christian Humanism, p. 165)."G.A. Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions, 593.

All new versions, including the New King James Version, have abandoned the traditional Old Testament Hebrew Text (which is the Ben Chayyim Massoretic Text) and are using Biblia Hebraica, the critical Hebrew Text prepared by Gerhard Kittel's father, Rudolph Kittel, who lived in the 19th-century Germany during the time when German higher criticism was tearing the Old Testament apart.

Rudolph Kittel's Biblia Hebraica has become the standard critical Hebrew Text of the Old Testament. An illustration of one page from it will be found a few pages from here. 


There are three Greek Texts which contain the Majority Text. The first is the third edition of Erasmus Greek Text, commonly referred to as the Textus Receptus.

The second is the Scrivener Greek Text. That godly man produced a very useful Greek Text of the New Testament.

The third is the Hodges-Farstad-Nelson Majority Greek Text. 

The present writer is not certain which of these Greek Texts are still in print today.

The Hodges-Farstad-Nelson Text and the Nestle Text were both used in the preparation of the 1979-1982 New King James Version. More on that translation later. 



Throughout this book, we have always named the manuscript instead of giving its code. When a quotation cites only the code, we have printed the name in brackets. It is belief of the present writer that there is no need to make this subject as complicated as some attempt to do. Only Biblical scholars need bother with codes.

However, within a few pages, we will take a peek into a modern Greek Text; and it would be well if you had a reference guide to some of the codes, along with a brief description of the manuscript, etc.

In reading through the following list, you will find that the ancient papyri and codices, preferred by the modernists (in accordance with the Hort theory), were generally prepared in Alexandria, Egypt, or contain Western (central Italy) errors.

(It should be kept in mind that the papyri, the earliest of all, frequently support Majority Text readings.)

The cursive manuscripts, although theoretically dated later, match the readings found in the early "fathers," lectionaries, and translations, which were earlier than the codices! Thus we find that a minimum of 90% of the manuscript evidence, of all types, is early. Called "the Majority Text," it is the basis of the King James Bible (with the exception of Wycliffe who did not have access to the Majority Text), of all other Reformation English and nearly all Reformation- European Bibles.

We are going to list below the primary documents referred to in the apparatus (footnotes) of a modern Greek Text. The reason those ancient manuscripts are considered to be most important by the editors of the Nestle / Aland-UBS Greek Textsis because they vary the most from the Majority Text! Or to put it another way, because they fit the best into the Hort theory, which despised the Majority Text.

PAPYRI The papyri codes always consist of a capital "P" plus a superscript number. In agreement with the Hort theory, here are the most important ones: P45 (Gospels and Acts, 3rd century); P46 (Pauline, 3rd century); P47 (Revelation; 3rd century). None of those are complete; and the rest of the papyri are extremely fragmentary. Unfortunately, the above papyri were copied in Egypt and include the type of errors found in the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, which were also copied there. The largest nest of Christian heretics in the 3rd and 4th centuries was in Alexandria, Egypt. Yet, in spite of this, these papyri, which are very early, still generally support many Majority Text readings.

The John Ryland's fragment (P52) should be mentioned. Consisting of a verse or two from John 18, it is dated at the middle of the 2nd century or about 50 years after John wrote the words.

CODICES There are about 45 codices, but only five are primarily discussed. As you will recall, codices are Greek manuscripts bound in books instead of rolls and generally contain capital letters.

5th century Codex Alexandrinus (A) is parts of the New Testament. Parts of this Egyptian codex closely agree with the Catholic Vulgate.

4th-century Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph or }) is parts of the Old and New Testaments. This is also from Egypt (Alexandria).

4th-century Codex Vaticanus (B) is all of Old Testament and New Testament up to Hebrews 9:14, from Alexandria.

Ephraemi (C) is parts of the New Testament with date uncertain. The text is generally Alexandrian, but with some late additions.

5th-6th-century Bezae, also called Cantabrigiensis (D), is Gospels and Acts only. It is the most complete manuscript with "Western" readings from central Italy (which many scholars agree are rather erroneous, although Westcott and Hort accepted some of them). Here is an example of one of these odd "Western additions":

"On the same day, seeing someone working on the Sabbath, he [Christ] said to him, Man, if you really know what you are doing, you are blessed; but if you do not know, you are cursed, and a transgressor of the law. "Luke 6:4-5 in Codex Bezae.

We should mention once again: Please do not confuse the Western family of Greek manuscripts, from central Italy, with the Italia. The Italia is the Latin manuscripts which are the basis of the Waldensian Bible. The Italia (also called the Old Latin) was prepared by the Waldenses, or Vaudois (pronounced "VAW-doh"), in the 4th century, long before Peter Waldo (which Catholic legend claims to have been the "first Waldensian") lived around the year A.D. 1175.

Other important codices (which will only rarely be mentioned in this book) include:

6th-century Codex Claromontanus (D2) is the Pauline Epistles. Same Western source as Bezae.

7th-century Codex Laudianus (E2) is Acts. Same Western source as Bezae.

4th or 5th-century Codex Freer (or Washington, also called Washingtonian or W) is the Gospels. It contains portions of Western, Caesarean, and Byzantine [Majority Text] readings. It was purchased from a Cairo dealer, in 1906; and it is now in the Freer Museum in Washington, D.C.

7th-9th-century Koridethi Gospels (Theta). Egyptian.

8th-9th-century Codex Regius (L) is the Gospels. Totally Alexandrian.

Why were so many 4th-century codices Egyptian? Because at that time it dominated worldly Christianity and could command the money to produce codices.

Why were so many later codices Western? Because Rome then dominated Christianity and had the money to produce errant codices.

The Majority Text manuscripts and translations were consistently produced by poor people who were genuine Christians. They copied earlier safe manuscripts as accurately as possible.

For your information, the following codices agree with the Majority Text (the basis of the King James Bible). Therefore, Hort arbitrarily assigned them late dates, even though they have uncial (full capital) texts:

Codex Basiliensis (E), dated to 8th century

Codex Cyprius (K), 9th century

Codex Campianus (M), 9th century

Codex V, 9th century, with the Gospels

Codex Delta, 9th century

Codex H, 9th century, with the Gospels

Codex Omega, 8-9th century, with the Gospels

CURSIVES There are thousands of these Greek manuscripts; and, because they support the Majority Text and not the Egyptian (as do Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) or Western, they are considered worthless by modern textual critics.

"The cursive manuscripts, like the later uncials, mainly reflect the Byzantine [Majority Text] form of the text and they occupy a smaller place in the considerations of the textual critic."I.M. Price, Ancestry of Our English Bible, p. 171.

The cursives are coded simply by numbers. Of these, the critics like the very few which include the oddities of the Alexandrian codices. These include 33, 81, 424, 579, and seven others. The rest are tossed out, with the exception of 28 and 565 which have Caesarean readings, and the "Ferrar" manuscripts (or Family 1) which includes 1, 13, 124, 346, and 69, both having Caesarean characteristics. What makes these manuscripts so valuable? It is their strange readings. One example is that, in common, they have the adultery story after Luke 21:38 instead of in John 8. Another is that they place Luke 22:43-44 after Matthew 26:39. As you can see, the critics look for oddities; and they dearly prefer to accept them in place of what you find in your King James Bible.



Throughout this book, we have clearly established that the Majority Text is correct and the minority witnesses have the mistakes.

But we need to clarify a very important fact: There are not a lot of mistakes, even in the minority manuscripts!

For example, the standard Catholic Bible, the Rheims-Douai, was translated from Jerome's Latin Vulgate, which was based on minority manuscripts. Yet you can bring a person to Jesus Christ, the third angels message, and a knowledge of Gods law and the sanctuary message, all from the Rheims-Douai.

This is because it still contains the plan of salvation, although it has glaring errors not even found in the Revised Standard Version.

On page 140, we will reprint, full size, the first two pages from the Gospel of John in the UBS critical Greek Text. It is typical of what you will find all through a modern critical Greek Text.

On the following page, we will reprint the first page of the Gospel of John in the Nestle-Aland critical Greek Text. Read the two for yourself, and you will see that the main text (the portion in Greek in the upper part of each page) is exactly alike in both the UBS and Nestle-Aland. (However, the UBS is easier to read, because of typesetting factors.) The apparatus (notes on the bottom of each page) are also easier to read and far more complete in the UBS Greek Text.

Thee important facts should be noted here:

(1) The variants, listed in the apparatus, are essentially the same.

(2) There are very, very few of them!

(3) Yet, if you will read the Greek text (upper part of each page), you will find it reads exactly the same as your King James Bible!

The reason for this is the fact that, throughout the New Testament, there are only a few thousand variants from the Majority Text in the modern critical Greek Texts (Westcott-Hort, Nestle-Aland, UBS).

Most of these variants are not significant. In order to give you an idea of what they are generally like, here is a description of the variants listed on the first page of the UBS critical Greek Text:

Page 1 contains John 1:1 through 1:7. The upper portion contains the text in cursive (lower-case) Greek. The lower part of the page has the apparatus, which is all the footnotes.

There are two variant possibilities on page 1. Both are in the beginning of verse 4:

Verse 4: "en auto zoe en" = "in Him life was." (The first "en" has a short "e" and means "in"; the last "en" in the verse has a long e, and is a totally different Greek letter. It means "was.")

Variants for the first "en" are listed under "3-4" on the apparatus (lower part of the page).

Variants for the second "en" ("was") are listed under "4" in the apparatus.

Page 2 contains John 1:8 through part of 1:16. It has two variants. You will find them at verse 13 and verse 15.

This means that, from John 1:1 to part way through John 1:16, there are only four variants! Please understand that you are looking at a critical Greek Text. As the apparatus reveals, it lists dozens of codices, cursives, lectionaries, quotations from the "fathers," and translations. Yet there are only four items in those 16 verses which have variants!

Lest you think I am bluffing on this, let us translate the first page together:

1. En arche en ho logos, kai ho logos en pros ton theon, and theos en ho logos.

1. En [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and God was the Word.

2. Houtos en en arche pros ton theon.

2. This-one was in [the] beginning with the God.

3. Panta di autou egeneto, kai choris autou egeneto oude hen ho yeyonen.

3. All-things through Him became, and without Him became not one-thing which has-become.

4. En auto zoe en, kai e zoe en to phos ton antropon [underline = where there are variants].

4. In Him life was, and the life was the light the of-men.

5. Kai to phos en te skotia phainei, kai e skotia auto katelaben.


Sample pages from four critical Bible Texts are illustrated on the next three pages.

1 - Two pages from the United Bible Societies Critical Greek Text. This, along with the Nestle-Aland Text, are the two New Testament Greek Texts used by modern Bible Translators. Both are edited by the same three-man team and essentially have the same text. We discuss this in some detail.

2 - One page from the Nestle-Aland Critical Greek Text. / On the same page is a chart of the Greek Alphabet. You will note that the Greek text is identical to that of the UBS Text and the variants are about the same.

3 - One page from the Alfred Rahlf's Critical Greek Septuagint (LXX). This two-volume work is the standard critical Text for studies into the Greek translation of the Old Testament.

4 - One page from the Rudolph Kittel's Biblia Hebraica, the standard critical Hebrew Text of the Old Testament. Rudolph Kittel was the father of Gerhard Kittel, mentioned on an earlier page as working closely with Hitler in the slaying of millions of Jews.

5. And the light in the darkeness shines, and the darkness it not overtook (or overwhelmed).

6. egeneto anthropos, anestalmenos para theou, onoma auto Iwannes.

6. There-was a-man, having-been-sent from God, name to-him John.

As you can see from the above, there is no problem in those verses, as they are given in the main text of this critical Greek Text.

Now let us consider the two variants on this page (both are at the beginning of verse 4, and are underlined, above).

Variant 1: The text reads "en auto zoe en" ("In Him life was"). Looking down at the first item in the apparatus, we find that the variant is simply a repetition of the preceding four Greek words: "oude hen, o gegonen en." If we used this variant, the last part of verse 3 and the first of verse 4 would read: ". . and without Him not one thing became which has become. Not one thing became. In Him was life . ." A scribe apparently copied part of the text twice.

Variant 2: The text reads "en auto zoe en" ("In Him life was"). The variant is keyed to the "was."

Support for the reading in the main text: Looking down at the apparatus, we find that it says, "24 {A} en." That "en" means "was." The "2" is the footnote number. The "4" tells the verse that the variant is in. The "{A}" tells us that this is the textual support for what is in the text of verse 4 (on the upper part of the page). For a moment, let us look at the evidence for "was" ("In Him was life"). In doing so, we will get a feel for how to work with a critical Greek apparatus:

First is listed the papyri ("P66,75"). Then comes the codices ("A, B, C," etc.). Then come the cursives ("050, 063," etc.). After this is a lectionary (in this case, all the Byzantine [Majority Text] lectionaries). Next come the translations (Vulgate, all three Syriac translations: Coptic, Armenian, and Georgian). Next is listed the quotations from the "fathers" ("Theodotus, Irenaeus," etc.).

Having looked through that, you have a pretty good idea how the witnesses are arranged. All of the above support having "In Him was life" at the beginning of verse 4.

Now we will consider the two variants of "was" ("In Him was life"):

(1) The first is "estin," which means "is" (In Him is life"). In support of this, we have the Sinaiticus, D (Codex Bezae, which has Western [middle Italy] readings), several Old Latin manuscripts, Curetonian Syric translation, two Coptic manuscripts (Sahidic and Fayumic), plus citations by twelve "fathers."

(2) The second is this: omit "Wsupp." This means that one manuscript omits "was" entirely ("In Him life"). That manuscript is "Wsupp", which means that the Washingtonian codice has a "supposition item" added here. A portion of a manuscript was supplied by a later hand (a later scribe) where the original was missing. The original scribe probably left out "In Him was life"; so a later scribe wrote in "In Him life."

Well, we have quickly looked at one page of a modern critical Greek Text. Now you can see why modern translators rely on the critical Greek Text rather than do their own research into the ancient manuscripts.

The problem is not that they rely on a Greek Text, but that they rely on the modern ones (based on the Hort theory) instead of one containing only the Majority Text.

Yet, as you can now see, even the modern Greek Texts have very few problems in them!

Later in this book, we will list the worst problems that we could find. They fill several pages; yet it still is only several pages. It is not a whole book of problem translations. 

With this fact in mind, we are prepared to discuss the next section in our book: Why did Ellen White quote from some of the modern translations? 


We are about to briefly consider each of the most important Bible translations of our time. But first, we have another matter to give our attention to:

First, what did Ellen White say about the possibility of errors in the Bible?

Second, why did she use the modern versions, and to what extent?

In this section, we will consider the first question; in the next the second.

To begin with, I urge you to read 1 Selected Messages, pp. 15-23. It says that, yes, errors may have been made at times by the copyists; but we should trust the Bible and obey it, and not worry about the problems.

"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, pp. 16-17 [Manuscript 16, 1888; written at Minneapolis, Minnesota, autumn 1888].

Here is another interesting passage:

"I saw that God had especially guarded the Bible; yet when copies of it were few, learned men had in some instances changed the words, thinking that they were making it more plain, when in reality they were mystifying that which was plain, by causing it to lean to their established views, which were governed by tradition. But I saw that the Word of God, as a whole, is a perfect chain, one portion linking into and explaining another. True seekers for truth need not err, for not only is the Word of God plain and simple in declaring the way of life, but the Holy Spirit is given as a guide in understanding the way to life therein revealed."Story of Redemption, p. 391.

The message is clear enough: We can trust our Bibles.

The modernists in our own church declare that the Bible is not infallible and that Ellen White admitted the fact.

As evidence for their claim, they cite the passage we have just quoted:

"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." 1 Selected Messages, p. 16.

How can the Bible have mistakes, when Ellen White repeatedly said it was infallible? The answer is this: That which the prophets wrote is infallible, but copies of the originals could have occasional mistakes in them. Yet, she hastens to add, we can fully trust our Bibles. Therefore, the mistakes must not be very serious.

Although Ellen White repeatedly said that mans words and ideas are fallible, Gods Word is declared to be infallible.

"In His Word God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will."Great Controversy, p. vii.

"Zwingli . . devoted himself with his whole soul to the search after divine truth . . The more he searched the Scriptures, the clearer appeared the contrast between their truths and the heresies of Rome. He submitted himself to the Bible as the Word of God, the only sufficient, infallible rule."Great Controversy, 173.

"[Zwingli] He presented the Word of God as the only infallible authority and the death of Christ as the only complete sacrifice."Great Controversy, p. 177.

"Wycliffe now taught the distinctive doctrines of Protestantism, salvation through faith in Christ, and the sole infallibility of the Scriptures."Great Controversy, p. 89.

"Man is fallible, but Gods Word is infallible. Instead of wrangling with one another, let men exalt the Lord. Let us meet all opposition as did our Master, saying, It is written. Let us lift up the banner on which is inscribed, The Bible our rule of faith and discipline." 1 Selected Messages, p. 416 (Review, Dec. 15, 1885). 


Ellen White sometimes quoted from the ERV (RV); and, when the ASV (ARV) was published, she occasionally quoted from it.

A word of explanation is needed: In her day, the English Revised Version (ERV) was called the Revised Version (RV); and the American Standard Version (ASV) was called the American Revised Version (ARV). In later years, the names were changed.

In view of the fact that the modern versions are not the best, why did Ellen White quote them at times in her books? There is a very sound reason for this; and we will explain it here.

First, let us briefly review the background of what we are dealing with:

The originals were written by the Bible writers. They are called "autographs." Copies were carefully made over an extended period of time. At times errors were introduced into the copies. Some were deliberately introduced while a majority of others were accidental. But, as we have observed, there were not a lot of variants.

The great majority of the manuscripts tended to read the same way. We call them the Majority Text. There was also a Minority Text, composed of several variant manuscript "families."

Unfortunately, Westcott and Hort urged that one minority family (which they called the "Neutral Text") was the best; and modern translators have followed their lead. This is primarily because the Nestle-Aland and UBS Greek Texts provide a relatively easy way to carry on translation work, and they are essentially based on the Westcott-Hort pattern.

But, now, notice this: Even though the Majority Text is superior to the modern Greek Texts, the great majority of readings in both are essentially the same! We have not made an issue of this fact, but it is true. We have just observed this in our analysis of part of a modern critical Greek Text.

If you doubt this, take a copy of any conservative modern version (we will tell you, below, which they are) and compare a chapter in it with the King James Version. You will find that most everything is essentially the same in both Bibles. The wording will be somewhat different, but the concepts will be almost identical. (Note that I said a "conservative modern version; I did not say all modern versions!)

There are not a million variations between the modern Greek Texts and the King James; there are only about 5,000 of them. We have repeatedly observed that (this information came from scholars favoring the King James) scholars deplored the fact that any existed at all. Yet there are only a few thousand flaws.

Now, follow me closely: The problem with the modern versions is not primarily the 5,000 variants; it is the changes in phrasing, especially the radical ones which occur in them, especially in the paraphrase Bibles (Phillips, Living Bible, etc.).

We have observed that the line of English Bible translations, from Tyndale to the King James, were essentially the same. There was very little variation in phrasing. The reason was that the conscientious men who prepared them, not only relied on a good Greek Text (that of Erasmus) but, clearly recognized that Tyndale had made an excellent translation and they should stay very close to it. And they did.

William Tyndale was unusual in that he had two outstanding qualities: First, he was a master with languages. Few men in any generation have had the mind for foreign languages that Tyndale did. Second, he was an extremely devoted child of God. The result was an exceptional, outstanding Bible translation!

Those who came after him recognized the fact and they kept their translations close to his. Down through the centuries, the King James was updated in regard to spelling and obsolete words, but no other changes were made. We still had Tyndale's version!

But then, in the late 19th century, all this changed. From 1870 down to our own time, men who were not as close to God, and who definitely did not have the foreign language ability of Tyndale, tried their hand at translating.

These modern translations fell into three categories:

1 - Translations which were conservative and attempted to remain closer to the King James.

2 - Translations which dared to be much more innovative in phrasing.

3 - Translations which were made specifically to support special doctrinal beliefs (i.e., the Catholic and Jehovah's Witnesses Bibles).

More on each of these later in this book.

It is for such reasons that we prefer to remain with the King James. It not only adheres to the Majority Text, but it has the phrasing Tyndale bequeathed to it.

When I read in a Bible or quote from one, I prefer to use the King James. I understand its value and I am aware of those places where, in order to prove an eternally burning hell, it incorrectly translates the text. I am at home with the King James.

But when I read in a modern version, I must continually be on guard to identify, not just the 5,000 Greek Text problems but the subtle phrasing errors placed there by the modern translators.

However, occasionally some of those variant phrasings are actually improvements over the King James phrasing! Neither you nor I know which ones they are, and we surely do not wish to occupy ourselves in trying to figure it out.

But Ellen White had no such qualms. She was a fully inspired prophet of God. The Lord had told her that she could go to the history books and extract information she could use in preparation of the Great Controversy.

She read in Milman, The History of the Jews; J.A. Wylie, History of Protestantism; Baras 

Sears, The Life of Luther; John Lewis, History of the Life and Sufferings of John Wiclif; August Neander, General History of the Christian Religion and the Church; or J.H. Merle DAubigne, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century; as well as other historical writingsand was always able to identify that which was true! You and I could not do that, but she could.

You will recall that, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had a light about them which helped them understand everything in nature, as they approached it. Ellen White had something similar, a divinely guided recognition of truth.

Not only did the Lord direct her to look in history books; He directed her to look in the modern Bible translations.

You might wonder why. There was a good reason for this. There are, indeed, some improvements, here and there, in the modern translations. But you and I do not know where they are. The Lord guided Ellen White to search out those improvements and quote them, so we could have them! What a blessing! Thank the Lord for everything in the Spirit of Prophecy, and reject none of it! It is all from God!

Many of these passages which she quoted from modern versions are taken from the Old Testament. There has been relatively little change in the Hebrew Text of the New Testament; whereas there has been more change in the Greek Text of the New Testament. She quoted from both the Old and the New Testaments in the modern versions, and consistently provided us with excellent help.

The present writer has carefully analyzed a great number of these modern-version quotations by Ellen White. In not one instance has he found that she quoted a bad one!

Later in this book, we will quoted a lot of the verses which the modern versions have improperly translated. Some are based on our modern Greek Text while others are the result of foolish translations or efforts to inculcate doctrinal error. We will show you many of those wrongly translated passages.

But Ellen White never quotes them. She only quoted improved phrasings which were beneficial for us to know about.

The Lord had her do this in order to help us. We should praise Him for this blessing.

Having said this, are there instances in which Ellen White did something unusual in her quotations, or lack of quotation, of the Scripture? As an inspired prophet, everything she did was significant. So this should be of interest to every Spirit of Prophecy student.

1 - Are there any instances in which Ellen White used concepts which are in the the original Greek, yet are not in the King James Bible (and which she did not quote from other versions)?

The present writer has been interested in this since his college years. Here are a few examples for your consideration:

* The comma in Luke 23:43. It is correct in only one other translation (Rotherhams), which was published in the late 19th century.

"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with Me in paridise." Luke 23:43, KJV.

"I say unto thee Today, Thou shalt be with Me in paradise." Desire of Ages, 751.

There are no commas in the Greek text, so the translators made the verse agree with their theological beliefs.

There was no Bible in Ellen Whites day which correctly translated Luke 23:43, so she stated it correctly. In doing so, she improved on the King James.

* Did Baalim go with the men? There is an error in the KJV translation of Numbers 22:21.

"And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.

"And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab."Numbers 22:20-21.

The Lord told Baalam that if the men came for him the next morning, he could go with them; but otherwise he was not to go (verse 20). The next morning he went with them (verse 21); therefore why was the Lord angry with him and tried to slay him during the journey?

As usual, the Spirit of Prophecy explains the matter. Why? because, if you are for this truth, the Spirit of Prophecy is more accurate than any Bible translation! Why? not because she is a superior prophet. We have her writings in the original language; and these are more precisely detailed. Remember that she told us that some mistakes may have been made by the copyists. Therefore she clarifies the meaning of the Bible. Something else to be thankful for.

"Some look to us gravely and say, Don't you think there might have been some mistake in the copiest or in the translators? This is all probable." 1 Selected Messages, p. 16.

In reality, the Bible does not say that the men came for him the next morning. So what is the solution? Simply this: Translate verse 21 as "went after" instead of "went with." Now that makes sense and it exactly fits the story, as related by Ellen White.

First, the Lord was angry with him (verse 22). Second, Balaam obviously made the journey with only his two servants (verses 22-34).

We would also need to change the translation of the prepositions in verse 35: "Go after the men" and "went after the princes." The entire problem is just a mistranslation of three prepositions.

As usual, the Holy Spirit explains the matter. Read Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 438-443. The men never came to him the next morning; instead, they left before he could go with them. That fully explains Numbers 22:20-22.

* Did Joseph tell his brothers a lie? Genesis 46:34 and 47:3 indicate that Joseph told his brethren to lie to Pharaoh. He told them to tell Pharaoh they were cattlemen, but they told Pharaoh the truth.

Patriarchs and Prophets, 233:2 explains that Joseph told them to tell Pharaoh they were shepherds, so he would not want to hire the brothers and they could remain with their own people. The word "cattle," in 46:34, should be translated "sheep."

"According to Holladay, the Hebrew word, translated "cattle" in Genesis 46:34, can be translated "flock" or "movable property" (William L. Holladay, Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, p. 320).

According to Davidson, that word can be translated riches, possessions, wealth; generally cattle, animals requiring pasturage (B. Davidson, Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, p. DCLXII).

2 - Are there instances in which Ellen White did not use any translation available to her, including the King James, because they were all incorrect?

Here is an example:

* John 20:17a. "Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not."

The rest of the verse (which she quotes), says, "for I am not yet ascended to My Father."

At times, Ellen White quotes the last part of that ("I am not yet ascended to My Father"; DA 790), but the only time she quotes the first three words ("detain Me not") is very early in her ministry (3SP 202-203, quoted in 5BC 1150). While writing Desire of Ages, the Lord taught her the correct meaning, which she wrote down:

"Springing toward Him, as if to embrace His feet, she said, Rabboni. But Christ raised His hand, saying, Detain Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father; but go . . [rest of verse is quoted].Desire of Ages, 790.

Christ's concern was not that she not touch His feet, but that she not detain Him, for He had to make a trip all the way to heaven and back that same day!

Jesus said to her, "Me mou haptou (not Me touch), for I have not yet ascended . ." In the middle tense, it can mean "detain." Ellen White accurately used a Greek idiom, without ever having studied Greek! Ironically, many scholarly Greek students mistranslate the sentence, because they do not have a clear understanding of how the verb can be translated.

3 - Can you cite an example where Ellen White uses the Majority Test family of manuscripts, when the Neutral Text had something distinctly different?

* John 7:53-8:11. The story of the woman taken in adultery is not in the body of the modern Greek Text. But Ellen White clearly states that it actually occurred (Desire of Ages, pp. 460-462). In his Greek Text, Von Soden commented: "In the great majority of the manuscripts it stands in the text," therefore he left it in his. But, since it was not in the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, it was left out of the Westcott-Hort Test and Nestle Text.

* Revelation 22:14. This very important verse has been changed in the Neutral Text, and therefore in most modern translations.

"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."KJV.

"Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates."RSV; the footnote reads: "Other ancient authorities read do his commandments."

Ellen White properly quotes this, as it is found in the KJV, innumerable times.

There are interesting aspects to this variant:

First, it is clearly a doctrinal issue, and antinomians would be glad to see the "commandments" taken out of the verse.

Second, the variant is quite Biblical; for there are two other verses in Revelation which says something similar:

"Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood."Revelation 1:5b (KJV).

"These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the lamb."Revelation 7:14b (KJV).

Third, it is an intriguing fact that the alternatives in Revelation 22:14 rhyme in the Greek!

"Blessed are those doing the commandments His." / Makarioi oi poiountes tas entolas autou.

"Blessed are those washing the robes His."

/ Makarioi oi pluntes tas stolas auton.

It is very possible that a copyist became confused, due to the similar sound, and he substituted something like the earlier two verses in Revelation.

Many other examples could be cited where Ellen White used a Majority Text family of manuscripts, when the Neutral Text had something distinctly different.

4 - Can you give an example when Ellen White used a modern Greek Text reading, in addition to the reading in the Majority Text?

* John 5:39. The key point to this verse is that we should "search the Scriptures." Regarding that point, Ellen White quotes the KJV of John 5:39 about 50 times.

But the historical context of that verse is the fact that Jesus was telling His accusers that, although they were searching the Scriptures, they would not come to Him that they might have life. Ellen White explains this fact in Desire of Ages, p. 211:4, where she quotes the RV (today known as the ERV):

"Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me."John 5:39 (ERV).

She also quotes the ERV of this verse in Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 367.

5 - Is there an example when she quoted a modern text reading and never quoted the Majority Text?

* One example, found while preparing this book, is Mark 9:44, 46: "Where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched" (KJV).

That phrase, repeated three times in three verses, is omitted each time in the non-Majority Texts. She never quotes these phrases, although she quotes some near them (Acts of the Apostles, pp. 312-313, and Desire of Ages, p. 438).

Checking further into this, we discover that this omitted phrase is found nowhere else in the New Testament. The phrase implies that the fire is not quenched and the worms eating their bodies (living?) do not cease their action.

But the phrase comes from Isaiah 66:24; it is there speaking about "carcases" (KJV) or "dead bodies" (RSV). In that passage the wicked are already dead and the remembrance of them may always exist, but the wicked are not still alive.

6 - Is there an example where she referred to a concept in a modern text reading, without quoting it?

* John 5:3-4. This verse is omitted from the modern Greek Texts and many modern versions.

" . . waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water; whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had."John 5:3b-4 (KJV).

This is obviously a strange passage which has something wrong with it. Angels do not stand around, jumping into pools every so often. In Desire of Ages, p. 201, she does not deny that the people were waiting for the waters to move (thus certifying that John 5:3b belongs there), but she explains that the idea of an angel troubling the waters was a superstition.

2 Timothy 3:16. There are two possible readings of this verse:

All Scripture is given by Inspiration of God, and is profitable for . ."2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV).

Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable for . ."2 Timothy 3:16, RSV, footnote.

If we assume that "Scripture" means the Bible writings, then there is no question: All Scripture is inspired of God!

But the Greek word used here means "writings," not "Bible." We would not want to say, All writings are inspired by God.

In the previous verse (3:15), Scripture is defined as those writings that are holy; i.e., inspired by God. Based on that, verse 16 is well-translated as "All Scripture is inspired by God."

However, we should keep both possible translations in mind; since a Catholic could say that this verse proves that the Apocrypha in his Bible is also inspired, since it is included in his copy of the Scriptures!

How did Ellen White handle 2 Timothy 3:16: In at least 66 instances, she translated it in the usual pattern. But in Great Controversy, p. v, she left room for the other concept:

"The Bible points to God as its author; yet it was written by human hands . . The truths revealed are all given by Inspiration of God. "

For this reason, the 3-volume Index lists that passage as quoting the Revised Version (although it is not directly quoting it).

7 - Is there an example where she did not quote a verse which also happens to be omitted from the modern text?

Romans 14:6. "And he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it" is omitted in the RSV and most other modern texts. Ellen White does not quote it either.

Later postscript to this chapter: Earlier in this chapter, I mentioned that, along with some others, the Bible truth about hellfire is incorrectly translated. This quotation may help explain this:

"I saw that God had especially guarded the Bible; yet when copies of it were few, learned men had in some instances changed the words, thinking that they were making it more plain, when in reality they were mystifying that which was plain, by causing it to lean to their established views, which were governed by tradition. But I saw that the Word of God, as a whole, is a perfect chain, one portion linking into and explaining another. True seekers for truth need not err, for not only is the Word of God plain and simple in declaring the way of life, but the Holy Spirit is given as a guide in understanding the way to life therein revealed."Story of Redemption, 391.

"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20

"Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." Job 23:12