A treatise on the textual criticism errors behind most modern Bible versions


The New Testament was originally written in koine Greek. The text that is passed down by Christians from generation to generation throughout the ages and centuries and now given to us, is the Traditional Text (Received Text / Textus Receptus). This text was used as the basis for New Testament translation for the Authorised Version (KJV), Geneva Bible, William Tyndale’s New Testament, and other Reformation era Bibles.

In eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe, there was a move towards unbelief and atheism in the approach towards scholarship of our holy Scriptures. Unbelievers who did not believe the Bible to be the Word of God nor the Divine Preservation of Scriptures, involved themselves in the scholarship and publication of the Greek New Testament text. With unbelief and a hatred towards the Traditional Text, those unbelievers attempted to replace the Traditional Text with a Modern Critical Text based on a set of self-defined, illogical, unreasonable, and even ridiculous textual criticism methods.

The first widely used Modern Critical Text was constructed by Westcott and Hort in 1881 and was used to translate the Revised Version in the same year. That text was based on two fourth century manuscripts (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) that were effectively lost for 1,400 years until their discoveries in the nineteenth century. Westcott and Hort, two unbelievers who were also clergymen of the Church of England, hated the Traditional Text and considered Sinaiticus and Vaticanus to reflect the most accurate readings because of their supposed age. This is despite both manuscripts having different readings from each other and at the same time, showing signs of corrections. For example, the reading of Hebrews 1:3 in Vaticanus has been changed at least twice. Meanwhile, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus also displayed a so-called Alexandrian text that is different to the Traditional Text.

The accuracy of the Alexandrian text is highly questionable and that text was used only in ancient Egypt before the fifth century. It is important to note that the Arian heresy occurred in fourth century Egypt, the time and place where the Alexandrian text was used. The Alexandrian text contains missing verses (examples include Mark 16:9-20, John 5:4, John 7:53-8:11, Acts 8:37) and readings (different from the Traditional Text) that obscure the truth of the divinity of Christ (examples include Romans 14:10, 1 Timothy 3:16).

Since 1881, the Westcott and Hort text has evolved into the Nestle-Aland text published by both the German Bible Society and the United Bible Societies. The latest 28th edition of the Nestle-Aland text was published in 2012. It is important to note that the Modern Critical Text is always based on the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts and the Alexandrian text. Again since 1881 and beginning with the Revised Version, the Modern Critical Text is used in the translation of almost all modern versions.

Westcott and Hort introduced a set of textual criticism methods that continued to be used and further developed by modern unbelieving scholars such as Aland and Metzger. Hort believed in Darwinian evolution while modern unbelieving scholars question if St. Peter was the author of 2 Peter and at the same time, claim that six of the fourteen Pauline Epistles (if Hebrews is included) were not written by St. Paul.

In this treatise, I will endeavour to prove to you that the textual criticism methods first introduced by Westcott and Hort and now used by modern unbelieving scholars, are illogical, unreasonable, and even ridiculous. Should my conclusions be theologically correct, there would be more important reasons to immediately reject nearly all modern Bible versions.

Before I show you my proof, I consider very important to write the following paragraph to help the reader better understand the current situation about the Greek New Testament text.

The Traditional Text and the Modern Critical Text have major and significant differences that they cannot both simultaneously be the true representative of the original New Testament text. Only one of the two is the accurate and reliable New Testament text that we can read and trust. The doctrine of the Divine Preservation of Scriptures and the requirement of faith in theological work prove that the Traditional Text is the true representative of the Word of God. On the other hand, the Modern Critical Text (based on the Alexandrian text that effectively disappeared for 1,400 years) is not the Word of God and is rejected by God.

Now, back to my proof. The four principles of textual criticism introduced by Westcott and Hort and that continued to be used by modern unbelieving scholars are: (i) reject the Traditional Text, (ii) older manuscripts are preferred, (iii) shorter readings are preferred, and (iv) difficult readings are preferred.

The very first principle clearly shows the hatred Westcott and Hort had towards the Traditional Text. This same principle is the foundation of the other three principles that show an illogical and unreasonable bias towards favouring the Alexandrian text.

The existing manuscripts that reflect the Traditional Text are generally later than the Sinai and Vatican manuscripts. The Traditional Text has readings that are not found in the Alexandrian text and examples include the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13, the conclusion of St. Mark’s Gospel in Mark 16:9-20, and the woman caught in adultery recorded in John 7:53-8:11. The Traditional Text also has smooth readings compared to the Alexandrian text, meaning that theology is clearer and it is easier to gain theological understanding by reading the Traditional Text. 

Firstly, older manuscripts may not contain the best and most accurate readings. Corruption of and wrestling with the Word of God had taken place even during the time of the Apostles (2 Corinthians 2:17 and 2 Peter 3:16). As mentioned earlier, while Sinaiticus and Vaticanus originated from the fourth century, they came from a place and time of the Arian heresy. It is reasonable and important to take this into account since the Alexandrian text has readings (different from the Traditional Text) that appear to obscure the divinity of Christ. For example, in 1 Timothy 3:16, the Traditional Text contains the reading ‘God (θεος) was manifest in the flesh’, the Alexandrian text however, reads ‘He (ος) was manifest in the flesh’ instead.

Secondly, the ink with which a reading is written, may not be as old as the manuscript. A fourth century manuscript may contain a reading written in the nineteenth century. Sinaiticus is a heavily corrected manuscript, a fact noted by von Tischendorf, the man who discovered the same manuscript in 1844. While Sinaiticus does not contain Mark 16:9-20, the original pages of the manuscript containing the conclusion of St. Mark’s Gospel and the beginning of St. Luke’s Gospel have been replaced. The present pages display an unusual font size that clearly show a scribal attempt to fill all the blank space created by the absence of the twelve verses. Meanwhile, as mentioned earlier, the reading of Hebrews 1:3 in Vaticanus has been corrected at least twice.

Thirdly, the claim made by unbelieving scholars since Westcott and Hort that difficult readings are original because smooth readings are a result of over-zealous scribes endeavouring to clarify difficult readings, is simply illogical and even ridiculous. The faithful Christian recognises and acknowledges the holiness of the Word of God. He would out of reverence, not make any change to the Word of God knowingly and intentionally. This faithfulness is also shown by the Masorets, the Jews who copied the Hebrew Masoretic Text of the Old Testament. On the other hand, it is reasonably possible that unbelievers and heretics have the motivation and intention to obscure originally smooth readings for their own benefit. The original reading of 1 Timothy 3:16 found in the Traditional Text would prove that the Arians (including the modern day self-claimed Witnesses) are in complete error.

Fourthly, the reasons given by Westcott and Hort to explain the presence of a vast number of Traditional Text manuscripts (over 90% of presently available manuscripts reflect the Traditional Text) and at the same time, to claim the Alexandrian text to be the accurate text, are unreasonable and without historical evidence. Those two unbelievers claimed that the Traditional Text and the Alexandrian text were both present in the fourth century. However, a bishop of Antioch at that time supposedly suppressed the Alexandrian text and promoted the Traditional Text. Therefore, the Alexandrian text effectively disappeared for the next 1,400 years until the nineteenth century when Westcott and Hort brought the text back to use. However, this claim has absolutely no historical basis and is something purely imagined by Westcott and Hort. Even if the claim is true when it is absolutely not, who are Westcott and Hort to say that the bishop had made a mistake, especially during the time of the Arian heresy?

Fifthly, the Westcott and Hort textual criticism methods are also influenced by Darwinian theory of evolution. As mentioned earlier, Hort believed in Darwinian evolution and therefore, it is not surprising that he and Westcott proposed to construct a genealogy tree for all manuscripts. However, even after over a century, this proposal is impossible to be completed.

Dear reader, the textual criticism methods used by modern scholars are designed to reject the Traditional Text and to unreasonably promote and favour the Arian and inaccurate Modern Critical Text. Have you wondered why modern scholars since Westcott and Hort reject and even hate the Traditional Text? The reason is very clear: The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Men subconsciously know that the Traditional Text is the Word of God and unbelievers are pricked in the heart.

The Authorised Version is the most accurate English translation of the Bible, faithfully translated by Christians using the Hebrew Masoretic Text of the Old Testament and the Greek Traditional Text of the New Testament. However, almost all modern versions since the Revised Version of 1881, are not the Word of God because they are translated from a Modern Critical Text that is not the Word of God. Since the Modern Critical Text is a work of unbelievers, it is not surprising that the notes in many modern versions are introducing doubts to the reader.

Dear reader, theological scholarship cannot be independent of faith. You must now make a choice between the Word of God and a work of unbelievers that is rejected by God. This is a decision you must make and that would have very significant effects on your understanding of Christianity.

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