Bible Texts 1

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[Part 1]——————–Bible Texts——————–

While there are today more than twenty-five English translations which have received some degree of acceptance, it has been said that there are only two Bibles from which to choose. How can such a simplistic
statement be made ? The answer is fundamental: there are but two basic texts from which translators  work, especially in the New Testament. While they have been identified by various titles, they are simplistically known as the Majority Text and the Minority Text. These two Greek texts differ in no fewer than 6,000 places. They cannot both be completely accurate. The question is, which text is the Word of God ?

Majority Text –

The Majority Text (Textus Receptus, Received Text, Traditional Text, Byzantine Text) is that from which the King James Bible was rendered. It is the first Greek text published by Erasmus, who worked from
manuscripts which represented this textual tradition. There are some 5,225 Greek manuscripts extant today; 80-90% of them are in agreement. This is, of course, why the label “Majority Text” has been given.

Minority Text –

The Minority Text (Wescott-Hort, Nestle, Nestle-Aland, United Bible Societies Greek New Testament) is that from which virtually every English TRanslation since the Revised Version of 1881 has been rendered. While it differs from the Majority Text in some 6,000 places, translations from it into English have an even more pronounced variance. There are some 36,000 differences between the English of the KJV and the RV. This includes entire passages, verses, portions of verses, and single words left out, or in some cases added.

While the Majority Text is represented in thousands of Greek manuscripts, the Minority Text is formed essentially by five manuscripts. The most important of the five are Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) and Codex Vaticanus (B). When these two manuscripts differ, which they do in thousands of places (it is easier to find a verse in which they differ than where they agree, preference is given to B.

The first edition of this new minority text was first created by the eclecticism of Westcott and Hort, the two cheif translators on the committee to produce the Revised Version of 1881. They had collaborated on the text prior to beginning the work of translating, using the recently discovered Aleph and B.

The translating committee was dominated by liberal, even unbelieving churchmen. It included a Unitarian minister who rejected the deity of Christ and rejoiced at the new rendering of 1 Tim 3:16. Both Westcott
and Hort were sympathetic with Romanism. Another member did not beleive the Pentateuch was the work of Moses, and did beleive that the Word of God dwelt in many sacred books other than the Bible.

Westcott and Hort had three rules by which they determined, as they compared Greek manuscripts, which reading was the most likely to be the original:
* The hardest reading was prefered
* The reading from which it was most likely that they other readings could have been developed was to be prefered
* The shorter reading was to be prefered

In short, they did not approach their task with a consciousness of the possibility that God had preserved His Word in the vast majority of manuscripts. Rather they *assumed*, with no proof, that the scribes down through the years had simplified and smoothed out the readings and conflated (added together) radings from various manuscripts. If therefor a reading was smooth and natural, it was suspect. If a manuscript was discovered which had a shorter reading (that is, left out words) it was thought to be closer to the original.

The faulty text created has remained, in it’s essential elements, the Greek text from which many translators work today. It is the text seen in the Revised Version, American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, New International Version, the New English Bible, Today’s English Version, the Amplified Bible, Moffatt’ New Translation, and the New Testement in Modern English (Phillips).

The question is very basic: Do we beleive that God preserved His Word  to all generations, as He promised, in the great majority of manuscripts (not including the abundances of modern products), or do we beleive that God’s Word has been rediscovered within the past century and a half, after having been lost for 1500 years, and that it exists in a mere handful manuscripts of clumsy workmanship ?

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