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Posts Tagged ‘becareful what you hear’

“…The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” Rom 10:8 NKJV

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Heb 11:1 NKJV

“…the just shall live by faith…”  Heb 9:38 NKJV

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the the word of God.”  Rom 10:17 NKJV

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What I am about to share comes as a product of having just taught a 13 week Sunday School class on, Investigating the Bible.

I am forever changed…

I was curious for certain. Bible history, nor history in general, is not my strength. But I was ignorant of how our Bible had come into its present form.  Seemed like a good thing to teach.

For the purpose of this writing, I can’t possibly compress 13 hours of teaching into one short blog post.  But I hope what I do share here you will further investigate … like a Berean. You can start with Chuck Missler’s videos on You Tube: How we go our Bible…

Let’s just jump in then, shall we…

I want to focus here on just the New Testament.  The Old Testament has arrived current day under the watchful eye of dedicated Scribes, then detailed servants called Masoretes, who were guardians of the Word and diligent copyists and brought it forward to roughly 1008 A.D. to the last codex written by the ben Asher scribes. Through the 12th C. these scribes of the ben Asher family line provided the only recognized form of the Hebrew Scriptures. Thus, from the Law being first given on Sinai, to the Pentateuch, to books being added through the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), to the Rabbinic Bibles of the 1500’s and later to the 1937 3rd Edition Biblia Hebraica, The Old Testament has been a guarded, well-protected whole.

Not quite the same story for the New Testament.

First let me say, thank God there is more manuscript support for the New Testament than for any other body of ancient literature.

There are multitudes of New Testament source items (some fragments – not complete works) on Papyri and parchment, which tend to be fragile and do not stand wear and tear of handling and time. But we swim in a veritable ocean of papyri, collections, The Dead Sea Scrolls, and fragments all pertinent to the New Testament. Some of these are dated to within a lifetime of the events they describe.  There is great assurance now that the New Testament parchments themselves were all written before A.D. 80.

Thankfully we also have many many quotes from early church fathers as they quoted and discoursed over the word. That is a gift that has made such insights as I will share possible.

So for instance, for writings of those early church fathers you have the writings of Clement (who was a companion of Peter and Paul). You also have writings of Polycarp (who was a pupil of John and bishop of Smyrna). You have writings of Ignatius, (also  pupil of John and bishop of Antioch) who wrote Seven Epistles. You also have Justin Martyr and many others.

These Apostolic Fathers were writing and sharing during the period of the early church, roughly 91-160A.D.. Their discourses provide many lengthy quotations of the Apostles and their original writings, which provided a transmission of these works to others as instruction.

There were, however, three codices (manuscripts) that are from the 4th and 5th Century that are considered complete. These were the Alexandrian Codices, two of which (Vaticanus and Sinaiticus) figure heavily in the translation of our Bible today. They all come from Alexandria in Egypt, which was a major center of Greek thought and commerce.

So, this is the story concerning our New Testament and things you should know.

At the end of the 3rd C., Lucian of Antioch compiled the Greek text to create the primary standard throughout the Byzantine World (centered in Byzantium – not Rome).  Then from the 6th C. through the fourteenth centuries, the majority of the New Testament texts were produced in Byzantium and also in Greek.

Starting in the early 1500’s Desiderius Erasmus (a Dutchman) compiled a New Testament from these available Byzantine Greek New Testaments. His fifth edition text, in 1525, became the basis for the primary text of the Greek New Testament for translations like the 1611 King James Version. It was called the Textus Receptus (TR) or Received Text (RT).

The use of the Textus Receptus (the Erasmus New Testament) as the backbone and framework for the New Testament continued for the next three hundred years.

In the 19th century, with the release of the Alexandrian texts (Vaticanus and Sinaticus) to scholarly examination, there was a complete shift in veneration from the Textus Receptus to these older manuscripts. To wit, by 1881, we see the Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament being completed after 28 years of work.

What seems to be the problem you say?

While indeed “older manuscripts” the Alexandrian texts are considered riddled with omissions, copyist errors, but worse, they gave Westcott and Hort the inroad they desired to sway Christian doctrine away from themes they found offensive and difficult.

These two Anglican churchman, having been influenced by Gnostic heresies and New Age doctrines, had developed great contempt for the Textus Receptus and  wanted a way to downplay its doctrines of:

– Bible history concerning Creation, the Fall,

– the Resurrection and the Fall

– deity of Christ

– forgiveness of sins

– literal heaven and hell

and they decided this was a good time to offset these doctrines and shift them into Gnostic like heresies with New Age twists…

Westcott Horts’ defense was they were using the oldest complete manuscripts. Really, they were using corrupt manuscripts that gave them a license to skew doctrine. 

The proof is in the fact that early church father’s who had extensively quoted Scripture in their writings demonstrated the presence of Scripture that had been left out by Westcott Hort.  These Scriptures had been in earlier writings than the Alexandrian texts.

Just one example of this is Mark 16:9-20.  Justin Martyr refers to this passage in the middle of the 2nd century. In A.D. 180, Irenaeus quotes Mark 16:19 outright in a commentary… but it is likely your Bible copy says, “earlier manuscripts do not contain these passages.” Those earlier manuscripts would be referring to Alexandrian texts that Westcott and Hort used. But remember the Alexandrian texts dated back to the 4th and 5th centuries.  But there were in existence many sources quoting Scripture that themselves were dated prior to the 4th and 5th centuries.  These sources quoted Scripture passages like that in Mark 16:9-20, thus confirming they had been present before the Westcott Hort text was compiled, and eliminated them.

Thus, was born the age of one-thousand years of influence from Wescott and Hort to today!!!

You see… their Greek New Testament text completed in 1881, would become the standard for the work of the Anglo-American Revision Committee (1881-1885) and would become the basis for the 1901 American Standard Version.  This ASV text, would become the standard in American Seminaries across the nation… filling the hearts of hungry Bible students who would later fill America’s pulpits, and later preach the word to America’s heart (just not the whole council).

In the 1880’s we saw the industrial revolution, and Darwinism gain great influence, and the concept of evolution take hold in the seed bed of American thinking.

Who knows what might have been different for our Nation, had the corrupt influence of Westcott Hort not been allowed to flourish.

But here is the harsh reality. Every modern translation of the Bible since the 1900’s has been based on the Westcott Hort Greek Text!

My beloved Amplified Bible by Zondervan, the RSV, the NASB, The NIV, and the NLT all are based on the 1901 ASV.

Want to check your version? Look at the graphic below and if your version has been lined out in the same manner, it is not based on the Textus Receptus, but rather the Westcott Hort text.

Let’s not let the devil have the final say in America’s reading of the Word of God, but rather let us rise up and take hold of the full council of God that was originally given. If you want to make sure you have a Bible based on the Textus Receptus, you will need to secure a KJV, NKJV, a 1537 Matthew’s Bible (difficult to read because of the Olde English), 1539 Great Bible, 1560 Geneva Bible, 1833 Webster’s Bible, 1862 Young’s Literal Translation, or any Bible using the KJ or NKJ text.

But no matter what, read the footnotes and the bottom and find out what they mean. Get the whole council of God.

For faith comes by hearing… and hearing by the word of God!

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