Is It Possible to Be King James Only and Not Be Militant about It?

Over on my primary blog, I posted today about Dr. Kevin Bauder’s eight characteristics of hyper-fundamentalism. One of those characteristics is adopting “a militant stance regarding some extrabiblical or even antibiblical teaching“. Bauder then mentions the King James Only question as an example of this. He concludes that characteristic with: “When individuals become militant over such nonbiblical teachings, they cross the line into hyper-fundamentalism.”

I completely agree with Dr. Bauder, that it is militancy over a nonbiblical teaching which is the sticking point. A commenter on my blog mentioned that he felt Bauder was just trying to paint all King James Onlyists as hyper-fundamentalists. I countered with this: “He specifically mentions being militant over a non-biblical position. So people who prefer the KJV, even with strong convictions, who nevertheless remain non-militant in their stance on that question and who don’t make one’s view of the KJV as a mark of being a legitimate fundamentalist or not (the 6th characteristic), they would not be hyper-fundamentalist. I know several who are KJV only who would probably not be hyper-fundamentalist.”

My question to the readers here is, “Do you agree? Can one be King James Only and not be militant about it?” Certainly one can question the prevailing assumptions of textual criticism and not be militant, but can one be KJV only and be cognizant of the fact that it is a sticky issue and others don’t agree for valid-sounding reasons?

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121 thoughts on “Is It Possible to Be King James Only and Not Be Militant about It?

  1. Bob Hayton September 13, 2011 / 3:22 pm

    Sorry, the comment function broke. I fixed it again, so everyone should be able to weigh in, if they so choose…

    • Ian Wilson October 13, 2011 / 3:33 am

      I love the King James Version, and i wouldnt say im militant. Alot of KJVO attack other translations daily i just love the old english of the KJV. I find it refreshing in a society where everyone has to modernize everything.

  2. Bob Hayton September 13, 2011 / 3:23 pm

    Craig Hurst wrote the following on the Facebook page, that I wanted to respond to here.

    “for some reason I cannot login to comment so I have to do it here. In my experience (therefore subjective and cannot apply to everyone I have not met) those who are KJV “preferred” use that word to cover for being KJV only. Those whom I have met and know who are KJV only are all militant about it. It’s like saying I’m a monotheist and trying not to be militant about it….its just can’t happen. Granted that is core Christian doctrine but I dont know any KJV Onlyists (Doug Wilson’s camp excluded) who are not militant about it. There whole faith and existence hangs on it being the only true pure WOG. So, to answer the question in short – not in my experience. If a KJV “preferred” or Onlyist can say they use other translations in their study and appreciate them then they would probably not be militant. Again, I dont know of any (excluding Doug Wilson’s camp) who will claim that.”

  3. Bob Hayton September 13, 2011 / 3:24 pm

    Thanks, Craig. I agree that they are few, but some of the commenters around here prefer the KJV for important reasons, but aren’t overly militant about it…. Thanks for the perspective, though. You may be write, but I hope not.

  4. Jim September 13, 2011 / 5:59 pm

    I don’t think this is an easy question to answer because there is a spectrum, or range, of views that are placed under the “KJVO” label. White in his “The King James Only Controversy” recognizes this early on in the book beginning on page 23. White lists 5 types of KJVO. The first is “I Like the KJV Best” Group. Now, I have met a lot of people who like the KJV best; just last First Day/Sunday I was talking with someone about various translations of a Psalm used at Meeting, and he said, without my prompting, “I always like the KJV best”. His exact words. Would he be a KJVO? Maybe, maybe not; but I can guarantee he’s not militant about it.

    I also think Jon Sweeny expresses this view in his book “Verily, Verily”, and Donald Brake in his history of the KJV, and there are others with a similar perspective. Personally, I tend to think of this Group as KJV “Preferentialists”, but I seem to be in the minority. I think of myself as falling into that camp.

    Another aspect influencing how this issue will be viewed is how one places scripture in one’s religiosity. I suspect that there is a correlation between sola scriptura and how passionately one feels about this issue on both sides. I have observed, for example, that some of the strongest critiques of the KJV are from Calvinists who have a strong commitment to sola scripture, and my guess is that some of the most intense KJVO people would agree on the centrality of sola scriptura.

    In contrast, if sola scriptura is not front and center in one’s Christianity, then even if one favors the KJV, I suspect that the intensity of the commitment would not be as strong. My intuition here is that there are a lot of people who fall into the ‘preferentialist’ grouping but such a view is unlikely to generate involvement on internet forums or videos on youtube precisely because the intensity of the commitment that leads to such activity would be lacking. They are a kind of hidden KJV community that doesn’t get much attention.

    Best wishes,

    Jim

    • Bob Hayton September 13, 2011 / 10:19 pm

      Thanks, Jim. Another KJV preferentialist, although he warmed to the label KJV Preferred, had similar sentiments on my Facebook page which had a link to this post.

      I’ll post that exchange below.

  5. Bob Hayton September 13, 2011 / 10:20 pm

    On Facebook, Joshua Craft replied to this question. It was a good comment so I’ll share it here for our readers. Or you can find it at http://www.facebook.com/rjhayton.

    Joshua:

    If you aren’t militant, wouldn’t that be King James perfered? Tagging on “only” seems to imply exclusivity and intolerance of other versions, and thus a certain degree of militantism. I for one prefer KJV, and probably would not attend a church that didn’t use the KJV in the pulpit (that said the jury is still out on this one for me) but I can certainly accept and fellowship with others who prefer NASB, NKJV, and the several other reliable versions.

    ———————-

    Bob:

    So you would take the moniker “KJV Preferred” rather than “KJV Only”, I take
    it. Right? I appreciate people like you, too. And I’m fine with you
    wanting your church to use the KJV, too. Those kind of differences are inevitable, as long as churches don’t rank themsleves and castigate other churches for their non-use of the KJV. That’s where militancy comes in, I think. Thanks for your thought, Joshua.

    ————————–

    Joshua:

    Yes, as for a moniker, I would say I am KJV prefered. My current church uses the KJV for contenuity. We encourage the people to use the KJV in the service and our pew Bibles are KJV. This way everyone is reading the same passage with the same wording. There are several people who do not carry KJV’s and I don’t have a problem with that either and I don’t think our church does either. I under stand the Texual Criticism debate all too well (as a graduate of Pensacola Christian) and have heard all the arguements, but I differ from my Alma Mater and think that this is a matter of grace. Then there are folks who don’t have the education level (or who are ESL) who need to be able to read the Bible. There shouldn’t be a requirement for them to be educated in 1600s English to be able to read or understand the Bible.

  6. John Gardner September 14, 2011 / 10:03 am

    Is it possible to be Multiple Versions Only and not be militant about it?

  7. John Gardner September 14, 2011 / 10:03 am

    Is it possible to be Multiple Versions Only and not be militant about it?

    • Bob Hayton September 14, 2011 / 12:13 pm

      Absolutely. In fact I would consider myself more Multiple Versions preferred, and my preferences vary with the different versions. But I am totally fine with people continuing to use the KJV. I just have a problem with people denouncing me for my use of the ESV and things like that. Since this issue is a not explicitly clear in Scripture, they are being militant about a non-biblical issue, which is wrong.

  8. Susan R September 14, 2011 / 3:57 pm

    Well, I’m KJV preservationist, and I am not militant about it, in the sense that I do not view the KJVLMNOP position as some sort of test for spiritual maturity, integrity, or fruitfulness. I think that is what Gal. 5:22-23 is for.

    • Bob Hayton September 14, 2011 / 9:14 pm

      Amen, Susan. I actually have argued that one can be KJV Only and not be militant about it. So you prove my point. I think one can be and should be able to argue for your position without condemning everyone else to the pits of hell.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      BTW I liked your SI comment about hyper-fundamentalist separation being marked by a “kick-em-into-the-abyss-and-good-riddance-to-bad-rubbish attitude”. How sad but true.

    • Susan R September 15, 2011 / 6:36 am

      Thanks- in my opinion, it often isn’t the thing itself that is the problem, it is the motivation and implementation of such. There wasn’t anything wrong with the Pharisees actions per se, in tithing of mint and cumin etc- but the thoughts and intents of their hearts were a major problem.

      We should all strive for sound doctrine and holiness in every aspect of our lives, but any time our beliefs and actions become a superiority issue, we are in heap big trouble.

  9. Nazaroo September 17, 2011 / 7:45 pm

    Its obvious the definitions are too narrow, and the categories too few.

    But before tackling that, how about basic philosophical/ideological assumptions?

    Today we are inundated with a politically correct form of secular liberalism which is so pervasive and so strong (culturally dominant and saturating everthing), that it is now virtually impossible to openly practice traditional Protestant Christianity as understood post-Reformation until the close of the 19th century.

    If you did so (as Westboro Baptist has), you will not only be condemned by all the “others” (i.e., opponents of Christianity), but also 90% of Christian ‘orthodoxy’ as well.

    Today’s “Christian” (to keep his/her job as a minister) must be wholly ecumenicalist and liberal in flavor, to the point of embracing Roman Catholicism as a legitimate expression of Christian faith. This is obviously because RCs have taken over and dominated academia and established Christian religion to a point simply incredible to a 19th century Protestant.

    But this was only the *first Trojan Horse to enter the Protestant stable.

    Hugh Hefner and the Jewish porn-kings, along with Gloria Steinem and the radical feminist wing, quickly allied themselves with traditional rich people (the majority of which are homosexuals and pedophiles). The result was a Dark Force rivalling Satan himself, which quickly swept away most of the Protestant Christian gains achieved in North America and the West. North American males found the free eye-candy of the pornographers, combined with the prosperity of the homo-industrialist economy all but irresistable. Down went 400 years of Protestant achievement, in a cesspool-tarpit of filth.

    NO wonder that Christians have abandoned Paul’s metaphorical language as politically completely unnacceptable, and now adopt the language of pacifism (thinly disguised anti-Christ communism ideology).

    Instead of fighting for the truth, Christians now must ‘love our enemies’ so much that we never tell them the gospel, let alone name their abominations.

    In this shameful and adulterous generation, we are supposed to keep quiet, and stay ‘nice’, never daring to openly condemn sin, vice, even depraved crimes like sodomy and pedophilia. These are now “alternate lifestyles”.

    Pardon me, if in this overwhelming environment of anti-Gospel, that I still prefer piping up and getting banned for the simplest of Christian truths. Forgive me brothers and sisters, for being ‘militant‘ about ALL Christian doctrine.

    Whats WRONG with militant?

    Thats my first caveat.

    Nazaroo

    • Bob Hayton September 17, 2011 / 9:23 pm

      Well, now. That’s quite an eyeful.

      Westboro Baptist is just practicing traditional Protestantism? By picketing the funerals of soldiers? They are a blight on Christianity and I’m not afraid to say so.

      Actually the book I mention in this post is proof that much of evangelicalism doesn’t pander to the Roman Catholics. 2 of the 4 positions in that book make that very clear.

      Still, militancy for the gospel is one thing. For topics not-expressly-addressed-in-Scripture, that is quite another. No matter what you say about the King James Bible or the view that sees it as the best Bible available, you cannot say that such a position merely flows from the text. There is a lot of complexity and additional steps from the Scripture to that position.

    • Nazaroo September 17, 2011 / 10:31 pm

      I’m glad you’re not afraid to say so, but can you reason it out?

      Granted that WB may not be on the right page regarding ‘love’ and forgiveness, and even granting the bad taste of picketing graves:

      Are they seriously more depraved than other denominations who ordain openly gay men and perform homosexual marriages? What are we to make of that? Is Jesus gay?

      Succumbing to Roman Catholicism is a minor misdemeanor in comparison to the alliances now forming between mainstream Christian churches, depraved groups, and the government.

      I’m glad you recognize that militancy for the Gospel is distinguishable from other militancies. I presume then you approve of it, as opposed to pacifistic Anglican ‘feel good, anything goes’ versions of C.

      The position of KJVO or KJVP may not flow immediately from the text, but some may indeed claim it flows inevitably from the text, just as the doctrine of the Trinity does, rightly proclaimed within limits of knowing.

      Does ‘merely flows from the text’ do justice to the strength of legitimate arguments in regard to the NT text (putting translation issues aside)?

      I suppose the argument about complexity, which I’m willing to grant (given the IQ level of modern man), means that KJVP is not a ‘salvation issue’, since salvation was not meant primarily for the geniuses, but for the stupid. But it is still within a prince’s domain to search out a mystery.

      Moving to my second point, not enough categories, what do I do? Where do I go? What category do I get? I hate mutilated modern versions based on what is obviously to me a Unitarian/Deist sabotage of the authority and text of scripture, as well as a thinly disguised onslaught on traditional Christian doctrine.

      On the other hand, like Burgon, like Miller, like Hoskier, like A.C. Clark, like many a translator, I don’t like mistakes in the TR, anymore than I like obselete and misleading words in translation.

      I would be KJVO, but its just not good enough of a translation, even though its an order of magnitude better than any published (RC sponsored, Heretic inspired) modern version. If I would communicate with fellow Christians who actually take the Bible seriously, I have to use the KJV. Neither they nor I will use anything else in English.

      Can you really call me KJVO? or even KJVP? when I most militantly protest against the KJV in over 200 translational instances, and against both the text of the Old and New Testaments in a dozen more?

      Yet even I have to admit that John 7:53-8:11 is an integral and original part of the Gospel of John. And I have investigated and seen that Sinaiticus is a tampered-with mis-dated forgery, while Codex B was written by some wealthy 4th century textual critic, now dead. And so I have to say, Mark’s Ending is older than the oldest extant MS.

      As for 1st John 5:7, what can you say? If you think modern critics have actually improved the text over the majority reading, then how can you deny that perhaps the long clause isn’t a lost original phrase?

      After that, who can stand any modern text, with its some 200 omissions, almost half of which are provable homoeoteleuton errors?

      Even the most die-hard skeptic has to eventually tap you on the shoulder and say, “Hey, you guys are lying: it ain’t raining at all: You’re ******* on my shoes, buddy. So please stop the farcical pretense.”

      That is where we now stand with current textual criticism. Its modern hidden agenda is to prevent Fundamentalism at all costs, by propagandizing and diseminating disinformation about the reliability of the traditional text. There was never any attempt to ‘restore’ the text. Its all been a 5th-column attack, a dirty deed in a dirty war.

      peace
      Nazaroo

    • Andrew Suttles September 20, 2011 / 4:47 pm

      Naz –

      Weren’t you just recently criticizing James White and his radio program for having a precise theological dispute? I think you referred to it as ‘theological gobbledygok’ and ‘nitpicking theological hairsplitting over-abstract expositions of rambling diahorea.’

      Are you now an advocate for right thinking and orthodoxy?

  10. Walter September 18, 2011 / 1:37 pm

    I still consider myself a beginner on the issues of Textual Criticism so I’m hesitant to weigh in too much, but I did want to add a few thoughts.

    As a Byzantine/Majority Text supporter I find many of the arguments of the Critical Text Position to be just as outlandish and illogical as some pints from the KJVO position. For instance it is just baffling to me that intelligent and well reasoned scholarly Christians buy into the idea that “the harder and cruder reading is to be preferred” because of the completely unsubstantiated speculation that scribes “smoothed” out the reading over time. There’s no evidence of this, and in many ways I find it even an insult to the Holy Spirit that writings that were God Breathed couldn’t have a distinguishing mark of being smooth and more easily understandable. Yes there are some difficult parts of Scripture, and in fact I believe you can make a case that the Critical Text takes some renderings and chops them down such as John 3:13 to make them more theologically palatable.

    As those who make the case for the MT often say, the Critical Text Position is made way too much from presuppositions that have no basis and appear to have as their only goal to discredit all the logical and common sense evidence for the Majority Text.

    Having said all that though, I think the biggest friend to the Critical Text position is the KJVO only movement. Rather than having a discussion (which is very needed) on the weaknesses of the Critical Text position; what we often see played out in debates, online discussions, books, etc. is the Critical Text position vs. the KJVO only position. Well as wacky and unfounded as the Critical Text position is; they can always point to a wackier and the even more out there position of KJVOism. It appears to me that it would be difficult to have a real open dialogue on this issue right now because the average hearer would immediately lump the Majority/Byzantine position in with KJVOism and reject it before hearing it. It is my sincere belief that many of the proponents of the Critical Text position (such as White) know this very well and hide behind it as a way to not discuss the inherent weaknesses of their own position.

    By singling out KJVOism I am not meaning to disparage in any way the TR or the TR preferred position. I think the MKJV and the LITV (translations by Green from the TR) as very good translations. I like the EMTV and the WEB as Byzantine translations, but I’m still waiting on a better translation of the Majority Text. Gary Zeolla’s ALT translation is good for studying individual passages but not really for any kind of reading.

    On the subject of militancy I’d say that anyone who is KJVO would have to be militant to hold that position. It is one thing to have a TR or TR Preferred position, but to insist on the inspired infallible ENGLISH translation is just too far out there. You have to be militant just to convince yourself.

    I have generally liked what Nazaroo has posted, but found his most recent remarks to go too far in making points that just aren’t there. We can agree on the liberal politicization of modern Christianity without holding up Westboro as a shining example of the opposite. We should also be able to agree that the alternative of not having a militant KJVO position doesn’t have to be the ordaining of homosexuals and the embracing of pedophiles. I consider myself to be a highly intelligent and intellectual person who is perplexed by how easily the Critical Text position has been swallowed by Christian Academia, but I don’t see KJVOism as anywhere near the answer. In fact (even though they won’t admit it) I believe the Critical Text proponents NEED the militant KJVO’s out there to continually amp up the rhetoric so the weakness of their own position isn’t focused on.

    If we can get past the KJVO hyperbole which seems to drown out every debate on the subject of Textual Criticism; I believe it would be a major step forward in having a real discussion between the Critical Text position and the Byzantine/Majority position, and when that happens; the lay people will abandon the critical text and its translations in droves.

  11. Walter September 18, 2011 / 1:53 pm

    My first post of the day on this subject is in moderation, but let me say in advance that I really wish we could edit our posts for spelling and grammar because as often occurs I find spelling and grammatical errors just after hitting the button to submit the post 🙂

    I end that post with stating that I believe once there is an open and meaningful discussion between the Byzantine/Majority position vs. the Critical Text position that we will see a lot of Lay people abandoning critical text translations.

    Maybe one reason though why this isn’t happening at the moment is because there isn’t yet a very good translation to go to as an alternative. As I mentioned the EMTV and WEB are good versions, and the ALT is a good study tool, but I believe we need something along the lines of a Byzantine/Majority version of the NKJV, the NIV, and the Amplified. I agree that faithfulness to the original Greek Text should be the number one goal, but readability should not be relegated to way down the list of priorities.

    I also believe that Byzantine/Majority Text proponents need to be more open to including Acts 8:37 and I John 5:7 in a translation. Go ahead and footnote it and even have a discussion in the back of the translation. I’d be fine with bracketing them, but don’t leave them out. Also I think the Byzantine/Majority folks should be very open to hearing criticisms of the NKJV from the KJV people. In some places the KJV’s have a point. We can take the good where it exists without having to embrace the extreme.

    I really hope those like Maurice Robinson, Paul Anderson, and Gary Zeolla hear these points as constructive criticisms from a lay individual who very much wants to see the ascendance of the Byzantine position.

  12. Walter September 19, 2011 / 12:24 am

    Just a couple of clarifications on my posts.

    In the first post the reason I brought up John 3:13 is because of the Critical Text Proponents use of the “rule” that the harder reading is to be preferred. Well obviously on John 3:13 the harder reading is the Byzantine reading. I believe you could say the same on other readings as well. The Critical Text position might better be worded “We prefer the harder readings…except where those harder readings happen to be in the Majority Text.”

    In the 2nd post the reason I brought up the need to be open to KJVO criticisms of the NKJV is because these criticisms could be helpful when making an English Translation of the Byzantine Text.

    I have heard some suggestions that maybe the best answer is to have a publisher like Lockman simply make an Amplified version of the Byzantine Text, and have someone like Nelson do the same for the NIV and NKJV. I guess the main reason it wouldn’t be done is because there isn’t a demand, but I also think they could be afraid of blowback from the current community of Christian Scholarship.

  13. James Snapp, Jr. September 19, 2011 / 8:55 am

    Walter –

    Have you considered the Equitable Eclectic approach? Its results can be sampled by reading the English translation of the Gospel of Matthew — based on the Equitable Eclectic text — available as a Kindle eBook. (Feel free to contact me for a free copy of that, and for a free copy of “Assorted Essays on NT Textual Criticism,” which includes an edited presentation of the 1897 Oxford Debate and an introduction to Equitable Eclecticism.)

    And, regarding the initial topic: I believe it would not be difficult for people to be KJV-Only without being militant: if the question of “Which Bible translation shall be used in this congregation?” is answered by the elders to the effect that “The primary Bible translation used in the activities of this congregation shall be the King James Version,” then that would be no more militant, it seems to me, than an affirmation about which time in the morning the worship-service will begin. In other words, if it is considered a question of congregational autonomy, rather than as a matter of doctrine (which is, though, how it is being developed, via the premise that God *must* preserve His words, and that means that His words *must* be available to the church, and that His words *must* be the TR), that would not be militant, imho.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

    • Walter September 20, 2011 / 12:35 am

      I believe I read some of your writings here on this blog regarding this position.

      I don’t want to give the impression of over-simplifying such a complicated subject, but I tend to boil down my thoughts on a position based on one verse.

      1 Timothy 3:16 EMTV
      16 And confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and was received up in glory.

      Substituting a Greek word which is a pronoun for “who” in place of God is in my opinion the weakest of all CT variants. It renders the verse nonsensical with introducing a pronoun that doesn’t reference anything, and is so out of place that even the CT translations don’t render it faithfully but put in He to try and make it fit.

      Add in that there seems to be ample patristic support for “God”, and the strong possibility of scribal error in missing just one line that would render the word Theos, and there would seem to be even greater weight to using God in that verse.

      Where does the Equitable Eclectic position come down on this?

  14. MWicks September 19, 2011 / 12:23 pm

    From your original post: “I completely agree with Dr. Bauder, that it is militancy over a nonbiblical teaching which is the sticking point.”

    Dear Bob, You are a very generous man, but I’m not sure that I agree with you entirely. With all due respect, how is the Bible (along with its preservation and translation) a “non-biblical” issue? Sure, you can get saved using most any Bible. I saw that happen with a little boy and an NLT. But does that make Bible versions a “non biblical” issue? You know even our view of so-called “secondary doctrines” affect our view of the core Christian doctrines and vice versa.
    What the KJVO people are saying (and I believe that they get it right at this point) is that our view of the inerrancy of the scripture and our view of the providential preservation of scripture affects our doctrine. Now, in my opinion, the KJVOs make some mistakes about the issue of the Bible, but viewing it as a “biblical issue” is not one of them. In other words, it is entirely understandable for a KJVO to be “militant”. I would be too if I thought that the integrity of the Bible was lost by accepting any other translation besides the KJV. I don’t think that the problem with the KJVO position is the passionate activity of the movement, it is the passionate activity of a movement coupled with misinformation.

    Misinformation? Take for example, many a KJVO will tell you that the NKJV is evil because your are not told to study your Bible. This, apparently proves that NKJV is a bad translation: “Study” vs. “Be diligent”
    2 Timothy 2:15 KJV Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    – What those same KJVO people do not tell you is that the same Greek word that is translated as “study” once in the KJV (in the above verse) is translated “be diligent” or “do thy diligence” four times in the KJV (see for example 2 Peter 3:14).
    – Thus, if it is wrong for NKJV to translate the Greek word as “be diligent”, does not that also call into question the KJV itself? Nonetheless, this kind of reasoning abounds in an effort to convert people to the KJVO position. Granted, not all KJVO people hold that particular argument, but it is not uncommon by any means!

    Perhaps that is what you meant by “non-biblical” though. Perhaps you are merely referring to what I have just called “misinformation”. Not sure.

    God bless you. I hope that the Lord will reveal to us more and more of the truth about His Word, and that we will speak the truth in love. 🙂

    • Nazaroo September 19, 2011 / 2:09 pm

      Misinformation? Take for example, many a KJVO will tell you that the NKJV is evil because your are not told to study your Bible. This, apparently proves that NKJV is a bad translation: “Study” vs. “Be diligent” 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – What those same KJVO people do not tell you is that the same Greek word that is translated as “study” once in the KJV (in the above verse) is translated “be diligent” or “do thy diligence” four times in the KJV (see for example 2 Peter 3:14). – Thus, if it is wrong for NKJV to translate the Greek word as “be diligent”, does not that also call into question the KJV itself?”

      (1) If KJV offers two words, “study, be diligent”, while NIV offers only one (“diligent”), the language has been impoverished. There’s a net loss. If its only a shuffle, then we have to ask, what nuances are being changed? Is it for better or worse? The issue isn’t as easily resolved as you suggest.

      (2) What does “study” mean? Essentially, it means ‘focus your attention on’. It is not misleading or archaic, so why change a word unnecessarily? This makes scripture harder to recognize, memorize, and find in context. It makes concordances, lexicons, and grammars, all but useless, or else requires them to be multiplied endlessly. What a man needs is one good translation and an accurate concordance, not 20 translations, and 40 concordances. Who can afford to be a Bible student like that?

      (3) Watch:

      Father: I want you to study your bible daily.
      son: I don’t see in scripture where that is needed.
      Father: Look here: 2nd Timothy 2:15: “Study…”
      son: My new seminary teacher showed me it should be rendered, “be diligent”. I am diligent enough. The fact that I know this proves it.
      Father: We’re switching schools. I’m sick of good advice and practice being undermined for no good reason.
      son: You’re not the boss of me now. I’ve got my new handbook showing a feminist reinterpretation of scripture which respects alternate lifestyles and groups. I’m going to California to be a waiter and dancer.
      Father: (crying) “My son is dead. I have no son.”

    • Walter September 20, 2011 / 12:02 am

      Looking at the Greek in 2 Tim 2:15 “Be diligent” seems to be the primary recommendation from Strongs and other Lexicons. I think “Be diligent and study” would be a faithful rendering as well since the verse ends with the words “rightly dividing the word of truth.”

      I agree though that this gets into the kind of circular logic of KJVO’s that the KJV is the best rendering simply because it is the KJV and not caring what the Greek actually says. It appears to me that at times KJVO’s almost seem to imply that the KJV is MORE accurate than the Greek and MORE inspired.

      But given Nazaroo’s dialogue between father and son; I wouldn’t want that poor young man to be left with the way that conversation ended so I would simply challenge the boy to look one chapter over and see the following words:

      2 Timothy 3:14-17 NKJV
      14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
      15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
      16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
      17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    • Nazaroo September 20, 2011 / 3:15 am

      Thanks for looking at this Walter.

      I’m not saying the Father/Son situation is hopeless.

      Its just that endless alternate translations invite loophole seekers to create their own bible, in the worst possible way, that is picking and choosing, not for accuracy and clarity, but so they can get away with the minimum requirements for Christian behavior.

    • Andrew Suttles September 20, 2011 / 4:50 pm

      Walter –

      It would be wonderful if the debate really were about inspiration and preservation. Unfortunately, it is mostly a debate about tradition that invokes the doctrines of inspiration and preservation.

    • Bob Hayton October 10, 2011 / 8:21 pm

      Thanks MWicks. Many apologies for not responding sooner, hope you see my reply.

      By “nonbiblical” I mean not expressly Biblical. The Bible doesn’t directly address the textual question and make a decision, so they are going beyond the bounds of Scripture to declare the KJV to be the only acceptable Bible.

  15. Maurice A. Robinson September 19, 2011 / 4:04 pm

    Walter wrote with the hope that some of us Byzantine supporters would hear certain points of his “constructive criticism” that “Byzantine/Majority Text proponents need to be more open to including Acts 8:37 and I John 5:7 in a translation,” even if in the main text with brackets, annoted with footnotes or with an appendix-based discussion. The final plea being “Don’t leave them out.”

    As one who maintains a strong Byzantine-Priority position, my response to that is clear: neither of those readings (no matter how doctrinally correct they might appear) is supported by the MSS comprising the Byzantine Textform. Period.

    Thus, they should not be included in the main text of any Byzantine Textform edition (whether in Greek or English translation), bracketed or otherwise.

    Should one desire to mention in the footnotes various TR or Critical Text readings, well and good; but “Byzantine” readings these simply are not, and thus have no business infiltrating a Byzantine text edition and thus misrepresenting themselves as though they were such.

    • Walter September 20, 2011 / 12:21 am

      Dr. Robinson,

      Thanks for your reply, and thanks for all your hard work on behalf of the Byzantine/Majority position.

      While I’d prefer to have those verses included and bracketed, I would settle for them being in a footnote referenced where they would appear and discussed at the bottom of the page.

      Looking over a few versions on my E-Sword I see that many versions include Acts 8:37 including the WEB which is a Byzantine translation. 1 John 5:7 seems to be only included in the Amplified and then those versions based on the TR.

    • Nazaroo September 20, 2011 / 3:13 am

      Dr. Robinson: Your position is the correct one. Non-Byzantine readings have to go in the apparatus.

      My wish-list is to have the Majority Text with a full and extensive (thoroughly corrected) Tischendorf-like apparatus once and for all. (and have it as an Ebook free!)

  16. Jim September 19, 2011 / 8:25 pm

    Walter:

    I appreciate your observation that in a sense the CT advocates need the KJVO so that they can frame the discussion in a way that works to their advantage. I have had some discussions with friends regarding the new versions and the CT basis and when the discussion is put as CT versus the KJV it can at times seem parochial, or even chauvinistic to defend the KJV. If, however, the discussion is enlarged so that the shift to the CT is seen as not just a rejection of the KJV, but also a rejection of the textual basis of all reformation translations, then the discussion itself shifts. But one can make the discussion larger still and point out that the CT represents a rejection of the textual bases for Old Latin, for the Vulgate, Syriac, Gothic, and Ethiopic, as well as the traditional Greek Text. From my perspective the appearance of the CT should be seen in this light of rejecting nearly 2000 years of the textual basis of translations of the Bible. When seen from this perspective it seems more pressing for the advocates of the CT to substantiate why this shift should take place; that is to say I think the demand for evidence in support of this shift becomes more pressing. In contrast, if the discussion is confined to the KJV vs. the CT-based versions the narrower focus would seem to require less of an evidential burden on the part of the CT advocates.

    I also admire Gary Zeolla’s Analytical/Literal Translation and have found it an admirable effort. It has increased my hope for a worthy translation of the MT into English as an alternative to the endless outpouring of CT based translations.

    One final question; I am wondering if a translation of the MT would mean a Septuagint translation of the Old Testament? I sense that it would, but I haven’t heard one way or the other.

    Thanks,

    Jim

    • Nazaroo September 20, 2011 / 3:10 am

      “From my perspective the appearance of the CT should be seen in this light of rejecting nearly 2000 years of the textual basis of translations of the Bible. When seen from this perspective it seems more pressing for the advocates of the CT to substantiate why this shift should take place; “

      Great observations Jim. I have to agree. KJVO is a straw dog used by those pushing the CT, so they don’t have to explain what they are really doing (dethroning the A.V.).

      Its about time we acknowledge that the German Bible Society is Roman Catholic, and that the Roman Catholic hierarchy isn’t Christian. This has always been about the British Empire getting out of their grasp.

  17. bibleprotector September 20, 2011 / 12:37 am

    Being zealous for God’s Word is very good. Indeed, I think we should be jealous to ensure that we maintain the very words of God in English. However, that is not an excuse to lambast other genuine Christians on tenuous grounds.

    So a sound, reasonable and proper stand for the perfection of the King James Bible is a good position. Many do not agree with it, but that hardly justifies people “declaring war on KJBO”, calling KJBO “heresy” or “cultic”. Ironically some of those same people use the very same language when describing Calvinism. I really wonder whether some of those people who attack other ideas so dishonestly are Christian at all.

    If KJBO is wrong, it should be exposed by honest inquiry. In my own study of the KJBO, I can say with all sincerity that I have found that the KJB is perfect. That is why I recommend it for all true Christians. So if someone wants to say that kind of militancy is wrong, it is probably because they are offended, and quite possibly, because their conscience is bearing witness against them.

    Also, I have noticed that some of the worst attackers onto the KJBO position were either once KJBO and were somehow “branded” after they no longer were KJBO, or else, they have had a bad run in with some (probably ignorant) KJBO.

  18. Jim September 20, 2011 / 9:58 am

    I want to address Walter’s remarks regarding his sense of bafflement as to how modern TC made such huge inroads into the scholarly Christian community when its principles are so obviously weak. I have shared that same sense of bafflement. The one I like to use is the ‘oldest is best’ principle, which if applied in numerous cases would support a known corrupt text. But all of the principles of evaluation used by the CT people are colosally arbitrary and fickle. And they are not applied with even a slight degree of consistency.

    How did this happen? I believe that it is at least partly due to the precedent of Higher Criticism. By the time modern TC came along the miasma of Higher Criticism had already generated similar kinds of distortions and arbitrary assertions. Just peruse some of the theories regarding the ‘Synoptic Problem’ for the same kind of drawing castles in the air that one finds in modern TC. So modern academia had already set a solid precedent which TC found easy to follow. In a sense academia was already primed for modern TC by the presence and procedures of Higher Criticism.

    I’d like to add that I think all of us owe a debt of gratititude to KJVO people for keeping alive a critique of the procedures of modern TC. As far as I can tell, KJVO was the only semi-organized movement (as opposed to single individuals) that took on the modern TC assertions. This goes back to scholars like Dean Burgon. KJVO is strongest, in my opinion, in its critiques of the foundations of the modern CT and I think many of its observations are spot on.

    Best wishes,

    Jim

  19. Paul Anderson September 20, 2011 / 4:30 pm

    CSPMT is working on collecting manuscript witnesses for the type of Greek edition Nazaroo has mentioned. It will be called the Byzantine Greek New Testament or (BGNT). A domain has already been reserved for the planned free online edition. There will be an extensive critical apparatus in the edition plus appendices with full manuscript lists for variants that are not in the Byzantine textual tradition like 1 Jn. 5:7 and Acts 8:37 but in the the TR. The Kr/f35 Byzantine text has been selected as the base comparison text for the NT.

    We are receiving many interested emails about the project from around the world and are acquiring a list of interested collators for the collation work on the selected manuscripts for the apparatus. We encourage your prayers in this massive undertaking. They would be most appreciated. Blessings.

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    Wash., D.C.
    http://www.cspmt.org

    • Nazaroo September 20, 2011 / 11:51 pm

      Dear Paul: You certainly have my prayers for your most excellent and sacred project.

      I am happy to volunteer as a collator/checker. I presume you will have some sensible procedures to prevent errors multiplying.

      I am practicing doing both error-checking and html-encoding using the Tischendorf apparatus here:

      http://tischendorf-8th.blogspot.com/

      You can see the html for 1st Jn 5:7 there now on this page:

      http://tischendorf-8th.blogspot.com/p/1st-jn-57-8.html

      You can see a basic use of color-coding/italics to make the apparatus more readable (distinguishing Greek/Latin from commentary and allowing easier following of arguments.

      Of course since I don’t know Latin, I can’t directly convert it to English reliably. I’ll need a volunteer…

      GodSpeed, friends.
      Nazaroo

  20. MWicks September 21, 2011 / 2:12 pm

    Andrew Suttles.

    I think most “sola scriptura” people would be close on their doctrine of innspiration, but not on their understanding of preservation.

    Now, the KJVO position on preservation is relatively obvious. KJV is a preservation of the perfect Greek text (not to mention the Masoretic Hebrew text). I wonder if anyone here is ready to articulate their understanding of the doctrine of preservation.

    • Andrew Suttles September 21, 2011 / 2:47 pm

      I think it is a bit more complicated than that. I think the KJV is a translation (how can one call a translation a preservation?) of several different critical greek texts and texts in other languages (at least Latin).

      The question of preservation is about how well we’ve preserved what God gave us. The translation issue revolves around how well those words are transmitted into different words of another language, while keeping the message intact.

  21. James Snapp, Jr. September 23, 2011 / 9:19 pm

    Walter –

    It’s been a while since I visited I Tim 3:16. If I were to do so today with the intention of compiling an Equitable Eclectic text of I Timothy (as I hope to do for all four Gospels), I would make a fresh analysis. So, for now I have to say that I am suspending judgment at that particular point; I would recommend asking someone whose special focus of text-critical research has been the Pauline Epistles.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  22. Paul Anderson September 24, 2011 / 10:11 am

    Walter,

    The decision regarding the reading at 1 Tim 3:16 is decided at CSPMT. We reject the minority reading (ος) instead of (Θεος). There is also no antecedent for the pronoun as Dr. Wilbur Pickering pointed out here. Also, what is the mystery of a human being manifest in the flesh in this variant?

    All Orthodox texts have the majority reading as do the Byzantine groups (K Kc Kr). Only a very few mss. side with the clearly inferior minority reading. We believe modernist versions like the NASB NIV ESV etc. all error on this important variant. The KJV and NKJV of course retains the majority reading. We are not not saying it is necessarily a Arian adoptionist intentional change here like other places found in minority text variants but nonetheless clearly is an error here.

    The notion that majority reading at 1 Tim 3:16 is a emendation is a Western textual theory first proposed by the same text critics that first spoke out against Mk 16:9-20. It is curious that the manuscript that many “scholarly” eclectics favor so much, GA1739 reads with the majority here uncorrected. Why do they avoid its reading here? Again, this is settled for CSPMT and for our future BGNT edition. I hope this helps out on this variant in question.

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    Wash., D.C.
    http://www.cspmt.org

    • Nazaroo September 25, 2011 / 2:44 am

      The controversy surrounding 1st Tim 3:16 is marred with another erroneous methodology:

      (1) The near-exclusive reliance upon a handful of Uncials in preference to the full textual evidence (inclusive of Byz), by 19th century and subsequent critics.

      (2) The overblown evaluation of the importance of the reading of one Uncial, as if this 4th century abberation/variation were the *ultimate* and complete explanation for the variants found in surviving MSS.

      In regard to the first, ignoring the independent early evidence for readings in a VU is fatal to progress.

      In regard to the second, the naive attempt to ‘solve’ problems in an oversimplified manner, especially by using deceit, as practiced by apologists for the WH text is appallingly unscientific.

      The dishonest handling of this variant is up there with the fraudulent footnotes in English translations, which state “not found in the ‘oldest and best’ MSS”, without explaining that this does not and cannot imply the age of the variants.

      Such fraud has no place in science.

      Nazaroo

  23. redgreen5 September 24, 2011 / 11:43 pm

    Nazaroo

    Father: I want you to study your bible daily.
    son: I don’t see in scripture where that is needed.
    Father: Look here: 2nd Timothy 2:15: “Study…”
    son: My new seminary teacher showed me it should be rendered, “be diligent”. I am diligent enough. The fact that I know this proves it.

    The problem here is that the Greek doesn’t support “study” in the sense of cracking open textbooks, memorizing, writing notes, etc. The Greek is clear:
    http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/2ti2.pdf

    spoudason
    BE-YOU-DILIGENT
    endeavor-you !

    “Study” is a 15th and 16th century English word whose original meaning was to focus and be diligent on something. The current meaning implies education, school, and lots of book learning. The word’s meaning has changed over four centuries due to a process called semantic shift.

    (A similar thing happened with the word “doom”. The original meaning wasn’t a negative outcome; it merely meant “judgement”, whether good or bad. Now, however, it has only one meaning, a bad one.)

    Is studying the Word good? Of course. But that isn’t what this verse means. Does it matter that this verse has been repeatedly used to exhort thousands of people to study the Bible? Nope. not one whit. It still means “be diligent”, and not “study academically”. The Greek meaning doesn’t change just because a lot of people have misunderstood the English translation — even if that misunderstood English had a beneficial effect.

    So the problem here is with Nazaroo’s example. There are certainly other places in Scripture that the father could have used to show that studying the Word is good.

    We don’t get to render this verse as “study” (modern connotation) merely because doing so would support an otherwise noble goal (spending time learning the Word). Ends do not justify the means.

    So start with a well-translated text, and **THEN** build your doctrine around it — not the other way around. Let the chips fall where they may, and do not cherry pick the translation with an eye to supporting previous beloved interpretations or pet doctrines. Tails should not be wagging dogs here.

    • redgreen5 September 26, 2011 / 12:39 am

      I thought of two more examples of this particular issue which may serve to illustrate part of the problem with the KJVO mindset of preferring tradition over accuracy.

      [1]
      John 14:2

      NKJV
      2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b]

      The word “mansion” in modern English conjures up pictures of palatial estates, with columned porticoes, lush green lawns, many splendid rooms and general wealth and opulence. But the Greek word here (“monai”) means merely “abodes”, “rooms”, or “dwelling places”. No extremes of size or wealth are indicated.

      “Mansion” is absolutely the wrong word here, period.

      How did this happen? The footnote from this verse in the HCSB tells us: The Vg used the Lat term mansio, a traveler’s resting place. The Gk word is related to the verb meno, meaning remain or stay, which occurs 40 times in John.

      So this was another one of those places where the KJV pulled a term from the Latin Vulgate, similar to what happened in Hebrews 13 (“Faith, Hope and Charity” instead of “Faith, Hope and Love”). And the KJV translators had to really work hard to create this mistake; it wasn’t easy. The Coverdale, Geneva and Bishops versions all read “dwelling” or “dwelling place”. The KJV translators had to go all the way back and pull this term from Tyndale to use “mansion”. This wasn’t a mistake, either; they knew better than to use it. In the only other place in the NT where this word “monai” is used, we see the following:

      NKJV
      14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

      In the KJV, this word “home” was translated as “abode”. So even in the same *context* (in nearly the same declaration of mutual abiding with the Father), the KJV got it right. So what possible rationale for the less clear and less accurate translation in 14:2? Simple: their love of Latin got in the way of their better judgement.

      The NASB, HCSB and ESV all provide more acceptable translations:
      NASB: dwelling places
      HCSB: dwelling places
      ESV: rooms

      Entire generations have been born, lived, and died under the misconception that Christ was promising them each their own palatial estate. We even have a song about it, “Mansion over the Hilltop”. But this concept is wrong., no matter how many songs have been sung about it, or how many Sunday School classes have been taught to sing this song.

      [2]
      John 3:16

      NKJV
      16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

      For years this verse has been understood to mean that “God loved the world SOOOOOOOOOO much……”, as an indication of the intensity or depth of His divine love. But that is not what the Greek indicates:

      houtOs gar EgapEsen ho theos
      Thus for Loves (the) God

      In other words, it means “thusly”, “in this manner”, “after this fashion”, etc.

      From a doctrinal standpoint, the mistranslation was harmless. And standing in isolation, it is still true that God’s love was infinite and expansive. But the translation is still wrong, even if the resulting mistranslation is a true fact. This is a subtle distinction and worth lingering over for a moment: it does not matter if the mistranslation is true. It remains a mistranslation, and needs to be corrected.

      Only the HCSB actually corrected this, and had the courage to break with tradition to provide the actual translation:

      HCSB
      16 “For God loved (A) the world in this way: He gave His One and Only (B) Son, (C) so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (D)

      I’m not a big fan of the HCSB; I don’t really see where it brings much more to the table than the NASB was already providing. And having said all that, I’m still probably the #1 fan of the NKJV on this forum. But I do have to give the HCSB respect for being willing to rock the boat, and put proper translation ahead of established – particularly Protestant evangelical and fundamentalist – interpretation.

    • Nazaroo September 26, 2011 / 4:15 am

      RedGreen5: “…and put proper translation ahead of established – particularly Protestant evangelical and fundamentalist – interpretation.”

      This is what disturbs me about Redgreen5.

      This slip is characteristic of the “slip” that Redgreen5 inadvertently flashes, frequently.

      Everybody has an agenda, and Redgreen5 is no exception.

      I don’t doubt his ‘sincerity’ (read: commitment) to his cause. But its simply not “accurate translation” above all else.

      His agenda is the mainline and intense agenda of the whole Establishment of Academia. Its as simple as it is a violent rejection of true Christian worship and attitude:

      The goal of Textual Criticism is not to “restore/confirm the original text”, but rather, “to destroy Christian fundamentalism and derail Christian right-wing political power” wherever it it is found.

      Its a hysterical agenda, driven by the likes of Richard Dawkins, and is as alien to both true Christianity and scientific inquiry as anything the forces of Darkness have ever pitted against the word of God and the people of God.

      Its about establishing the ‘scientific world-view’ at all costs, over and above the Christian world-view. Ultimately, its atheistic and ant-Christian, even when it is wholly ‘innocent’ (ignorant) of its own consequences.

      But most fatally and tragically, its prejudice and bias makes it anti-Science, finally substituting a grim group-think mindset as dominating and stifling of true scientific inquiry as any bullying Southern Baptist.

      Its just not science: its an agenda, rooted in 19th century ‘anti-supernaturalism’, which insists upon its own version of scientism against the wider and more agnostic and authentic practice of science.

      I’m sorry for Redgreen5 and his agenda. The reason its so stubbornly fixated and difficult to root out, is that it is based upon such apparently noble and truthful ideas. But like the Unitarian reformers of the 19th century, Redgreen5 and his friends are as superstitious and stiff-necked as any crusty old Catholic.

      Science isn’t furthered by bias, preemptive strikes against everything that appears superstitious, or fraudulent hidden agendas.

      Here is the real and subtle difference (it is subtle, and so more dangerous and difficult):

      (1) Real science doesn’t spend its time and energy attacking real or perceived opponents, even before full and independent investigation is complete.

      (2) Real science isn’t afraid of independent investigation, or contrary findings by opponents. It craves these things, for they are the source of real discovery, and the strength of open knowledge.

      (3) Real science is inclusive, never closed-minded. Real science is utterly dependent upon agnosticism, and completely rejects all dogmatism.

      (4) Real science combines an essentially ‘gullible’ attitude, with a thoroughly skeptical method. it never confuses or reverses the two.

      (5) Real scientists are agnostics. Once someone has made up their mind about something, they are no longer a scientist, but are now an apologist and propagandist. They are no longer practicing science, but indoctrination.

  24. MWicks September 25, 2011 / 4:18 pm

    Well said, redgreen. Unfortunately, I’m having trouble with your link.

    Nazaroo. How is “be diligent” any less spiritual than to “study”? (You confuse me with your exaggerated language sometimes.) If this boy was truly diligent to show himself approved to God, he would have a much better attitude towards his father. Furthermore, “a new handbook showing a feminist reinterpretation of scripture” does not even sound like the son is remotely close to “rightly dividing the word of truth”. It’s only a poor excuse to hide a bigger heart problem.

    • redgreen5 September 26, 2011 / 12:26 am

      Try this one:
      http://www.scripture4all.org

      About middle of the page you should see “Greek Interlinear Bible”. From there, it’s just a matter of selecting the correct PDF file for 2 Timothy 2.

    • Nazaroo September 26, 2011 / 4:26 am

      The point is really that real people are in this same boat. Its not that alternate translations are bad by nature: they can often be good, helpful, enlightening.

      But when we undermine authority by the suggestion that the ‘old’ is bad, and the ‘new’ good, we have actually failed the real goal of translation and hindered the work. In reality, good translation is and must be a continuation of previous work, and utterly founded upon it for the purpose of preserving knowledge already gained.

      When we say ‘all versions are equal’, we also hinder all further study by needlessly multiplying the work. Let preachers paraphrase. Let students practice translating. But if we constantly increase translations to the point that the message is so diluted and cacophonic, so confused and muddied, so vast yet unmappable, we have only achieved what was accomplished at the time of the Tower of Babel. Too much of a good thing = nothing = a bad thing.

      Finally, the spiritual state of the listener, the user, the congregation, the society, cannot be ignored. When given opportunity, people will use it to make excuses, create loopholes and escapes, to the point where basic honesty and what is really going on is completely obscured and choked by ‘clever arguments’.

      We are far better off with a single Gospel, and a single voice, than a multitude of voices, with a multitude of excuses.

  25. redgreen5 September 26, 2011 / 10:31 am

    Nazaroo:
    “This is what disturbs me about Redgreen5.”

    My “agenda” is accuracy and readability above all else, and to get people’s eyes off their pet translations and fossilized favoritism and onto

    Everything you posted about my “agenda” is utter nonsense, sprinkled with your usual over-the-top conspiracy silliness. Your post will be reported to the moderators as such.

    • redgreen5 September 26, 2011 / 10:33 am

      The second sentence should read:

      – – – –

      My “agenda” is accuracy and readability above all else, and to get people’s eyes off their pet translations and fossilized favoritism and onto the need for fidelity to the source texts.

    • Bob Hayton October 10, 2011 / 9:59 pm

      Moderator note, here. Nazaroo is reading motives into red green, but it is not malicious in tone. Let’s try to stay on topic and not be condescending and dismissive of others.

  26. Jim September 26, 2011 / 12:04 pm

    Perhaps it is foolish to jump into an exchange where two people are disagreeing, but I’d like to add to Nazaroo’s comments as I essentially agree with them. It is one of the more annoying attitudes of modern translation advocates that they stand for accuracy whereas those who favor older translations are in some sense ‘fossilized’. The result of this attitude is that genuine criticism of the bases of the new versions is never seriously examined. Instead the criticism is psychologized as a kind of neurosis or those who favor older translations are viewed as ignorant.

    Referring to the specific issue under discussion, the way recent scholars refer to the KJV translators on issues like this is that they got it wrong (even that they had to ‘work hard’ to get it wrong). They are unwilling to grant that the KJV translators made their choices in an informed way. Translation is not a science. There are at times good reasons to prefer a Latin reading over a Greek text reading. It is fair to not agree with such decisions, but to refer to the decisions that the KJV translators made as somehow misguided or unjustifiable is to denigrate their scholarship. My point is that when it comes to translations and sources more than one call can be legitimately made; but my observation has been that modern textual critics are reluctant to acknowledge that.

    My personal view is that the period of New Testament Scholarship that started in 1881, roughly, will be known as the period of the Academic Corruption of Scripture. It is my hypothesis that almost all the theories offered since the inception of the period of Academic Corruption will have to re-examined as the support for these theories is at best tenuous. It is to the credit of the KJVO movement that it has been a vehicle for questioning many of these tenuous theories. But, in the long run, it’s all good. One has to take long view of these things.

    Best wishes,

    Jim

    • redgreen5 September 26, 2011 / 1:44 pm

      Jim:

      The result of this attitude is that genuine criticism of the bases of the new versions is never seriously examined. Instead the criticism is psychologized as a kind of neurosis or those who favor older translations are viewed as ignorant.

      Total strawman. Several strawmen, actually. Congratulations.

      1. Nobody here is ignoring criticisms of the new versions. Read back several months’ worth of postings. Or check the other blogs that are linked here. Check my own postings, if you like – you’ll see I have just provided criticism of the HCSB, and an historical search will show that I’ve pointed out other errors in other versions.

      2. The objections of those who favor older translations are not ignored; they are weighed for whatever value they have. However, too often they are charged with anti-learning, head-in-the-sand arguments designed to preserve their favorite translation – as opposed to conducting an even-handed evaluation of the evidence on both sides. Examples can be provided – if you really, truly need any beyond the posts available on this forum.

      3. Add a generous helping of bizarre conspiracy theories – of which we’ve seen several on this forum, especially by Nazaroo – and it becomes quite natural to put the objections of such people under a microscope. It’s one thing to say that you don’t like a particular reading; it’s quite another to claim that the reading was caused by gay Alexandrian Jesuits doing spirit channeling with Westcott and Hort. (insert tongue-in-cheek smiley). So yeah: if such people present their arguments cluttered up with outrageous nonsense, then they’ll be treated with all the seriousness which they (don’t) deserve.

      but to refer to the decisions that the KJV translators made as somehow misguided or unjustifiable is to denigrate their scholarship.

      Oh, really?

      And yet this is exactly what the KJVO crowd does to the modern scholarship – yourself included – when they hurl various nonsensical claims about CT and modern translations. But for some reason, that’s considered acceptable. I smell a double standard. Would you care to explain it, since you’re the one pushing it?

      Let me be clear: I’m not in favor of the CT. But I know *why* I don’t prefer it, and my reasons aren’t rooted in some curl-up-on-the-floor fetal position like so many KJVO folks assume, whenever they find their favorite version being subject to scrutiny. It isn’t enough to disagree with something – doctrine, politics, economics, whatever – you must also:

      (1) accurately understand the position you don’t like – and not be arguing against a strawman of it,

      (2) have solid, defensible reasons why you don’t like the opposing idea/position/whatever; and

      (3) be ready to answer objections about your reasons; and

      (4) have the intellectual and moral integrity to admit you made a mistake, or your position is weak, when the majority of evidence indicates such

      I find very few KJVOs make it past the first criterion, above.

      My point is that when it comes to translations and sources more than one call can be legitimately made; but my observation has been that modern textual critics are reluctant to acknowledge that.

      “More than one call can be legitimately made”.

      Indeed. But again: the KJVO crowd refuses to extend this same courtesy to the modern versions. Funny how it always goes one way, but not the other. Hmm. Pot-kettle-black time, methinks.

      I use the word “wrong” intentionally and with great care when referring to the KJV translation team. I also presented my evidence. Clearly you did not read it. So once again, from the top:

      (1) The word “mansion” was not in Bishops, Geneva, or Coverdale – the immediate predecessors for the 1611 KJV.

      (2) The KJV translators themselves provided the correct English translation elsewhere (John 14:23). So they knew what the word meant.

      (3) The source of the term “mansion” was the Latin Vulgate, the same as the source for the term “charity” instead of “love” in Hebrews.

      (4) The learned men were enamoured of the Latin, even though it provided a substandard translation of the Greek “monai”.

      Their stated intention in their own Preface to exercise as many alternate words as possible created this problem; the more synonyms you try to use, the greater the chance you’ll use one that veers too far off the path of simultude with the original, or comprehensibility in the English langage. That is what happened here. The result is confusion, which should be cleared up by fixing that English reading – as the modern versions have done.

  27. Maurice A. Robinson September 26, 2011 / 4:57 pm

    Paul Anderson commented on 1Tim 3:16, “There is also no antecedent for the pronoun as Dr. Wilbur Pickering pointed out here.”

    It would help if further inquiry were made on such points before making blanket suggestions. In fact, the relative pronoun *can* introduce a series of clauses *without* an initially expressed antecedent; cf. Jn 3:26, “He who [hOS] was with you begond the Jordan, to whom [hW] you bore witness….”.

    In addition, cf. Mt 10:38, “He who [hOS] does not take his cross” (with no antecedent whatever); Lk 9:50 “He who is not against you” (with no antecedent whatever); Ac 9:39 “When he [hON] had come….” (with no antecedent in the accusative); Ac 13:31, “And he [hOS] was seen many days….” (with no antecedent in the nominative); or 1Cor 7:37 “He [hOS] that stands steadfast” (with no antecedent whatever). To which further examples could be added from a careful examination of all occurrences of the relative pronoun in the NT.

    The fact is that there is *nothing* syntactically or even doctrinally wrong with the Alexandrian rendering “He who was manifest in the flesh”; further, there really is *no* question as to who is being discussed, particularly in view of the later phrases “seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory”. Now whether the Alexandrian reading should be considered as text-critically original is quite another matter; but it doesn’t serve any purpose well to claim a nonexistent grammatical anomaly or presumed doctrinal error in such cases.

  28. Paul Anderson September 26, 2011 / 7:37 pm

    Dr. Robinson,

    If you believe the gender at this variant is irrelevant with this variant that is a difference of opinion you apparently have with Dr. Pickering as well. The neuter/masculine choice here involved here is apparently not irrelevant to the question of the best grammatical choice. It is not a blanket statement as we both know there are other examples. I am saying the gender makes better sense for the majority reading in this case. You may disagree, fine and well.

    Regarding the textual issue of course it is another matter as we both agree whether a K choice or Kr it comes out the same. The Kr/f35 base text as you know for the BGNT has the majority reading. Apologies for any unclarity regarding the main issue in the 1st posting on this matter.

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson

  29. Maurice A. Robinson September 26, 2011 / 9:06 pm

    To clarify for Paul, since I obviously am being misunderstood:

    I was *not* discussing the clearly secondary neuter gender variation [hO] that prevails among the Western witnesses (which then has its referent with “mystery”). Rather, I was discussing the *masculine* relative pronoun [hOS] that appears as the main text of the Alexandrian witnesses and thus also the critical text, with its consequent rendering as “He who was manifested,” etc.

    I note further that Paul’s original comment did *not* mention the gender issue nor the neuter relative pronoun, but only the existence of the critical text’s masculine hOS relative pronoun and its consequent translation as “the minority reading” which “we reject”.

    The remainder of my comment deals with what is most clearly the “blanket statement” that hOS in such a construction has “no antecedent for the pronoun”. As I demonstrated from numerous parallel NT instances, this simply is *not* a correct interpretation, since hOS can be assumed to have “he” as the antecedent, just as in the parallel examples cited.

    I should also make it clear that I see *no* grounds for even suggesting anti-orthodox, adoptionist, or heretical/heterodox reasons for the creation of the Alexandrian hOS reading (usually a hallmark of KJV-Only advocates), nor any otherwise malicious or deliberate intent: in my view it all goes back to a very simple scribal misreading of the nomen sacrum for Theos as hOS, and nothing more.

    • redgreen5 September 27, 2011 / 1:21 am

      Maurice Robinson:

      in my view it all goes back to a very simple scribal misreading of the nomen sacrum for Theos as hOS, and nothing more.

      This reminds me of something that Robert Heinlein wrote: “never ascribe to deliberate maliciousness that which can be adequately explained by simple human error or plain incompetence.”

      Something for everyone to keep in mind as they discuss this topic.

    • Walter September 27, 2011 / 1:45 am

      Dr. Robinson,

      I know almost nothing of Greek, and I consider myself a beginner on the subject of textual criticism so I thank you and Paul Anderson for the discussion relating to 1 Timothy 3:16 and the use of the pronoun in the CT.

      I looked at all the examples you gave where the pronoun was used without an antecedent, and I found that in each of those examples there was a good case to be made as to why the pronoun would work and seem plausible.

      I don’t see that in 1 Tim 3:16. In the prior 2 verses I see two subjects being talked about, Paul and the church. A new subject is introduced in verse 16 and with some degree of buildup letting us know that this next subject is something that involves a great mystery. The use of a pronoun there with no prior antecedent might be grammatically possible in Greek, but I’d consider it very poor sentence structure. It’s true that you can tell from what follows who it is talking about, but if anyone turned in a paper to you that had a paragraph with the same structuring I certainly hope you’d mark it up and put in big red letters “Why make such an introduction to a subject as to relate its importance and then use a pronoun to first refer to it ??!!

      My original point was that when you put together the issue of what is the more plausible structure (that a noun would be used and not a pronoun), as well as the possibility of a scribal error given how close both renederings could be, AND on top of that the support of the vast majority of manuscripts then it would appear that this verse is a no-brainer. To not use Theos would seem to indicate that the judgment was made solely on the basis of a predisposed bias in favor of the CT.

      It’s kind of like the same circular logic in KJVO circles.

      Why does the CT use the pronoun hos instead of Theos in 1 Timothy 3:16?

      Answer: Because it is right!

      Why is it right?

      Because it is in the CT!

    • Andrew Suttles September 27, 2011 / 7:38 am

      Walter says:
      September 27, 2011 at 1:45 am

      “Why does the CT use the pronoun hos instead of Theos in 1 Timothy 3:16?

      Answer: Because it is right!

      Why is it right?

      Because it is in the CT!”

      Walter –

      Is that the argumentation you find in Metzger’s Textual Commentary? You can find a simple argument for the hOS reading in the footnotes to the NET Bible: http://bible.org/netbible/

    • Scott D. Andersen September 27, 2011 / 9:35 am

      Thank you so much for pointing this out:

      “in my view it all goes back to a very simple scribal misreading of the nomen sacrum for Theos as hOS, and nothing more?”

      I agree with this explanation as to why hOS and not THEOS appears in some texts. Does anyone have a link or two that further backs this up? For example, I had heard there was an old scholar who saw the “nomen sacrum” though barely discernable in a Mss that has faded to such a degree so that presently it is no longer apparent that such ever existed. Is this documented somewhere so that we could read for ourselves of this eyewitness account? Or is it only a legend? I’m not referring to James White who I think made the same observation from a Mss he saw at the Vatican.

      Not knowing a better place to look for a sample of the “theta-sigma line over top” notation for theos here is a link to a graphic of the same in case any would like to see: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?blogid=1&query=alexandrinus (not quite 1/2 way down the page)

    • Scott D. Andersen September 30, 2011 / 12:28 pm

      I think I found the reference to where the nomina sacra was visible to the eyes of Woide but then twenty years subsequent this could no longer been observed. This illustrates Maurice Robinson’s point of the “scribal misreading of the nomen sacrum.” You can read about it here in Revision Revised by John Burgon looks like pages 431 ff — the Woide reference is on page 434 the bottom of the first paragraph.

      http://books.google.com/books?id=nXkw1TAatV8C&dq=Revision%20revised&pg=PA431#v=onepage&q&f=false

      Been a good discussion.

    • Scott D. Andersen September 30, 2011 / 2:05 pm

      “illustrates” is the wrong word in my above comment. But related to mistakes regarding the “nomen sacrum” here is further discussion in how eye witnesses from one generation could observe such markings that are no longer discernible. Hence even now a Mss can be mistaken to support hOs when 300-400 years ago it was evident to eyewitnesses to indicate theos. Is that a fair conclusion?

  30. Walter September 27, 2011 / 1:57 am

    I’m not sure why there is a need to be slinging rocks on this subject. It appears to me that the best use of our discussion would be to discuss matters involving the underlying texts rather than different translations. Having a discussion about translations just plays right into the hands of the CT advocates and enables them to paint the entire debate as one of modern scholarly intellectualism vs. archaic extreme fundamentalism as evidenced in KJVO circles.

    In my opinion the focus should be on educating people on why the CT Translations contain errors based on the underlying manuscripts used for those translations. As I’ve said before I really enjoy the Amplified Bible, and if you know where the variants are then you can take advantage of all the good and understand where it has problems. The 1984 NIV is not a bad Bible and for a lot of lay people it has the kind of readability that could keep them returning to God’s Word. Even if we assume the NIV would be 95% correct instead of the 99.9% of a Byzantine translation; I’d rather have someone reading 95% of God’s Word everyday then not reading anything at all.

    As I’ve also said before I’d much prefer that we had a Byzantine translation that could mirror the positives of some of the modern translations while correcting the problems with specific texts relating to textual variants, but we aren’t there, and probably aren’t going to be there in the near future. So what does that leave? In my view that leaves educating people on the differences and making them aware of the whole subject of textual criticism. Most lay people don’t even know there is any textual differences between the different versions and just assume all versions come from the same manuscripts and are just worded differently in English. Hurling criticisms and judgments against people who use different versions is not the way to go.

  31. Paul Anderson September 27, 2011 / 5:21 am

    Dr. Robinson,

    Walter made valid points we should also consider. Also my original comment had been noted when I was recovering from illness the previous couple of days. Health brings clarity would you not agree? You make a valid point I could have added on the nomen sacra scribal error repeated by Aleph & B. I did originally mention during my illness that intentional emendation was likely not the issue here. However, the grammatical construction with the proper gender makes for a better choice here.

    Also I know you ascribe error and scribal slips to all the errors of Aleph & B. We see it differently as do the Orthodox (not KJV Onlyists). So, again we agree that we disagree. I guess that is well and fine both being Byzantine text proponents.

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    Wash., D.C.
    http://www.cspmt.org

  32. Maurice A. Robinson September 27, 2011 / 9:19 am

    A few more points of (apparently necessary) clarification:

    1. It should be noted that in 1Tim 3:16 I support without question the Byzantine THEOS reading. All other comments should be understood with that in mind.

    2. Despite the various comments that seem to assume some syntactical or translational difficulty in 1Tim 3:16, I have clearly stated that the Alexandrian hOS reading is both grammatically acceptable and translationally sensible in view of similar occurrences of the relative pronoun elsewhere when a direct antecedent is not otherwise stated.

    3. The Western reading hO also “makes sense” by making MUSTERION the visible antecedent; this even though virtually everyone considers that reading clearly secondary, being an apparent “adjustment” to the Alexandrian reading due to misunderstood antecedents.

    4. The further blanket claim that I “ascribe error and scribal slips to all the errors of Aleph & B” is simply incorrect. While I do maintain (on the basis of a careful examination of scribal habits) that scribal error is a primary cause of textual variation, I also clearly presume deliberate alteration and recensional activity to have occurred among the Alexandrian manuscripts (as per my 1993 article, “The Recensional Nature of the Alexandrian Texttype”). The leading principle in this regard is to presume scribal error as an initial factor so lonag as transcriptional probabilities suggest such, then to presume intentional change at whatever points transcriptional probabilities seem to be transcended for what appear to be stylistic or content-based “improvement” concepts in the eyes of particular scribes.

    I trust this will clarify the matter.

  33. Paul Anderson September 27, 2011 / 12:37 pm

    Dr. Robinson,

    Perhaps clarification is also needed upon my part since I am well recovered.

    1. My point made was not to “broad sweep”. I realize and harmonizations and stylistic changes were made in the manuscript tradition but, I have not heard you mention any ‘major” variants as intentional thus far with any theological motivation for the changes made. This would include variants such as: 1 Tim 3:16, Mk 16:9-20, Mt 18:11, Jn 1:18, Mt 6:13, 17:21, 27:49, Mk. 9:29 etc. all being major variants.

    2. The scribal world of the 3-4th century was not a theological vacuum. I would add this has always been the case. Manuscripts were produced either under conditions and a time of correction of earlier errors as the case of the Byzantine scribes or they were engaged in or producing them with more reasons than scribal slips and errors as in the case of the Alexandrians under neo-Platonic schools in Alexandria under Origen. As evidence for the politics and church policy of the day, notice Athanasius being thrown into exile five times during this same period or the fate of Eustathius of Antioch. Origenistic theology and Arianism was rampant during this time and its effect on the earliest extant mss. is obvious.

    Apparently, many of these errors occurred just in the right place where-Arians as the Unitarians saw fit. (Buckminster’s pleasure). His words were Greisbach’s edition would serve as a valuable weapon against the doctrine of infallibility of scripture. Also, George Vance Smith was apparently quite pleased with the ERV’s reductionist view of Christ. Why, did the errors occur where they were. Was it luck for him being in just the right place?

    3. Dr. Robinson, I do not think we are on the same page on the grammatical difficulty at 1 Tim. 3:16. The problem not being a pronoun/antecedent issue but a gender issue. You have a neuter/feminine/masculine here with (ος) and this is problematic. I hold the possibility here for nomen sacra scribal error but it just happened to also leave a theological issue at stake

    4. The intent and stated purpose of CSPMT is to preserve and study manuscripts and to provide with the BGNT a scholarly edition to help end the status quo within NTTC. There is also a need to provide a translation based upon these principals we share based on Byzantine text. Walter’s advice for better use of time is warranted for us all.

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    Wash., D.C.
    http://www.cspmt.org

  34. redgreen5 September 27, 2011 / 12:43 pm

    Walter

    Having a discussion about translations just plays right into the hands of the CT advocates and enables them to paint the entire debate as one of modern scholarly intellectualism vs. archaic extreme fundamentalism as evidenced in KJVO circles.

    The discussion generally focuses on translations because that is precisely what the KJVO crowd is attacking; i.e., modern translations. There are dozens of KJVO attacks on the NASB, the ESV, etc., for example. The KJVOs picked the playing field, not the CT crowd.

    In fact, the CT crowd considers its strong point to *precisely* be the underlying translation. So there’s every incentive for the CT crowd to steer the discussion towards the texts, because that’s exactly where they feel their comparative advantage stems from.

    And actually, if the discussion is about translations alone, then that kind of discussion has equal opportunity (if not more) to play into the hands of the KJVO crowd. The majority of the KJVO folks don’t want to discuss the Greek, or any of the subtleties therein. We even have KJVOs who think that the English KJV can be used to *correct* the Greek.

    So I don’t see where your statement holds much water. I think it’s fine to focus on the underlying text, but those underlying texts aren’t as different as KJVO types make them out to be. In fact, once you rule out silly things like spelling errors and sentences that are rearranged, there’s upwards of 94% agreement among all text types. So let’s all keep in mind that all this sturm und drang is over the remaining 6%.

    Personally I feel the distinction between literal and dynamic translation is about 100 times more important and impactful than the distinction between MT, TR, and CT. But hey; that’s just me.

    In my opinion the focus should be on educating people on why the CT Translations contain errors based on the underlying manuscripts used for those translations. As I’ve said before I really enjoy the Amplified Bible, and if you know where the variants are then you can take advantage of all the good and understand where it has problems.

    Here’s a suggestion: instead of a priori assuming that the CT is wrong, how about an even-handed assessment of the information and just let the chips fall where they may? If the CT is wrong, then the evidence will show it. On the other hand, if the CT has some valid points, then have the grace and intellectual integrity to admit that.

    Tails should not be wagging dogs here. Build your conclusions after reviewing the evidence, not the other way around.

    • redgreen5 September 27, 2011 / 12:45 pm

      The sentence above which reads:
      In fact, the CT crowd considers its strong point to *precisely* be the underlying translation.

      Should instead read:
      In fact, the CT crowd considers its strong point to *precisely* be the underlying texts.

      I really wish the commenting model on this blog weren’t so unforgiving and allowed posting edits after the post goes live.

    • Walter September 27, 2011 / 11:45 pm

      redgreen,

      I don’t deny that the KJVO’s routinely focus on translations, but this is a playing field that CT’s don’t mind playing on either. I would agree that they would like to have the debate on underlying texts but only within the context of the CT vs. the TR and not the CT vs. the MT. I stand by my view that it is best to have a discussion of the CT vs. the MT, and that this is not advantageous ground for CT proponents. They (at least from my vantage point) have hung most of their arguments on the “odest is best” point, but when you take an example that I cite in another post on this same thread where a Byzantine reading is quoted by Polycarp in 115 AD then that would seem to negate that argument. I also seem to recall reading that there is early lectionary support for Byzantine readings that are at least as old as the supposed earliest Alexandrian readings. By itself I’m not saying these would be absolutely conclusive, but it would seem to take some of the wind out of the “oldest is best” perspective.

      I should probably also clarify that my overall perspective on this subject is not coming from a scientific or primarily a text critical view. At this point I just haven’t had time to get that deep into it. As a lay person who has done some teaching I come at this subject from the perspective of what the average person in the pew would want and need to know on the subject, and how it would affect their view of God’s Word. My main problem with modern translations is more of the textual notes which seem to cast doubt on the infallibility and preservation of Scripture. It’s one thing to change certain wordings in some places (some albeit very important changes), but then it’s quite another to call into question whole blocks of passages such as Mark 16 and John 8. Yes, if you look into the subject you can quickly find out that even with the variants there is roughly 95% agreement from all MSS, and that no major doctrine is threatened. But the average person is only going to know what they read in the notes.

      This is why I believe the most important thing is to educate people on the different arguments for the MT vs. the CT and point out where the most important variants are. Then each person can make up their own mind. Right now there seems to be a rabid opposition to allowing anything other than the CT position to get out to the people. I think the strategy is to so overly inflate the contest so it appears as if there is 99% evidence for the CT view and only a scant amount of evidence for the MT. No matter which side you come down on, I would like to think that fair minded individuals would admit this is simply not the case. Well reasoned arguments can be made for each position. I think CT proponents are concerned that if there is an even playing field, and a fair hearing in the public arena among orthodox Christians that they are going to lose. Not because the Byzantine readings would have more appeal, but because the “oldest is best” argument can be nullified in short order. Then the debate switches to how did the Majority become the majority, and they will have to postulate all kinds of theories that in the end won’t pass the smell test for the average person.

  35. Maurice A. Robinson September 27, 2011 / 4:58 pm

    PA: The problem not being a pronoun/antecedent issue but a gender issue. You have a neuter/feminine/masculine here with (ος) and this is problematic.

    Correction, hOS is *neither* feminine nor neuter, but strictly masculine (why should I even have to be stating this?). The Western reading (hO) is neuter, but that is another matter entirely. The issue with hOS therefore is *not* a gender issue, but antecedent related as previously noted.

    Beyond that, aside from attempting to claim widespread heretical or similar evil motivations for most variants (which smacks strongly of conspiracy theory), and certainly not worrying about ad hominems as to whether modern Unitarians or various cultic groups might favor a given reading, I would also take issue with the suggestion of doctrinal motivation in certain of the examples cited.

    E.g., I see no heretical or adverse doctrinal motivation as the cause of the following, but rather scribal error or matters related to liturgical practice (a primary reason for rejecting deliberate doctrinal alteration in most of these instances is that the identical doctrines were *not* altered or excluded elsewhere):

    1 Tim 3:16 (scribal error)
    Mt 18:11 (present in Lk 19:10)
    Jn 1:18 (scribal error)

    Mt 6:13 (doxology omitted due to developing liturgical practice, in which only the Orthodox priest was allowed to say those words)

    Mk 16:9-20 (probably removed in 2 Alexandrian MSS — but not the rest of that texttype — due to perceived disharmony with the other canonical resurrection accounts).

    On the other hand, I do see doctrinal motivation in the remaining citations:

    Mt 27:49 (probably added for doctrinal reasons, not merely to harmonize with the Johannine account [which would fail severely], but for iconic and liturgical reasons within the developing symbology of the Orthodox church, documented in an ETC paper presented by one of my doctoral students a few years back).

    Mt 17:21//Mk 9:29 does appear to have a valid theological motivation, regardless of which way the respective variants are evaluated; there are too many cases of omission/inclusion of fasting references scattered about for this to have been merely accidental.

  36. Paul Anderson September 27, 2011 / 5:10 pm

    Dr. Robinson,

    Not surprised in your reply. I am moving on. I believe we have had this discussion personally before anyway. We agree that we disagree and the Orthodox would as well.

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    Wash., D.C.
    http://www.cspmt.org

  37. Walter September 27, 2011 / 11:12 pm

    Andrew,

    I did read the explanation in the notes of the Net Bible, but it appears to be the standard argument for any minority text variant. Now granted I’m sure the CT proponents could classify arguments for the Majority Text position as being standard as well 🙂

    The Net Bible’s explanation centered on the unlikelihood that Theos in it’s full form could have been confused with the pronoun used, and it’s only about 2/3 through that they concede the possibility of the nomen sacrum being involved. They also make what I believe is an erroneous argument based on false assumptions that is more likely that a Theologically Orthodox scribe would have changed a text to be more orthodox than the other way around. I find that a very unconvincing argument and believe that it is far more unlikely that an orthodox believer who believed in Scriptural infallibility and inerrancy would alter the text.

    There also appears to be more patristic support for the Byzantine reading then what they admit.

    While I was there I looked up another variant to see if it had a comment about it, and it did not. The verse was Romans 14:10 where the Majority reading is “Judgment seat of Christ” and the minority reading is “Judgment Seat of God.” I don’t know enough about the underlying manuscripts to draw a definite conclusion, but on first glance this looks like a prime candidate where someone made a change for doctrinal reasons. The next verse is a reference to Isaiah 45:23

    Isaiah 45:22-23 WEB (R)
    22 “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.
    23 By myself have I sworn, the word has gone forth from my mouth in righteousness, and will not return, that to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

    Polycarp wrties of this verse and comments in his letter to the Ephesians around 115 AD:

    . If then we entreat the Lord to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15); for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and “we must all appear at the judgment-seat of Christ, and must every one give an account of himself” (Romans 14:10,12). Let us then serve Him in fear, and with all reverence (Hebrews 12:28), even as He Himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the Gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord [have alike taught us].

    The quote and commentary make it abundantly clear to me that Polycarp is using a Byzantine reading.

    Just as with 1 Timothy 3:16 I think Romans 14:10 shows there’s very good internal and external support for a Byzantine reading, and that the “oldest is best” argument is not as cut and dried as it has been made to seem.

    • Walter September 27, 2011 / 11:53 pm

      I should probably clarify a little more as to why I have initial suspicions about the intentional altering of Romans 14:10.

      Taking the Majority reading of “Judgment Seat of Christ” followed in the next verse with a quote from Isaiah referring to God as the person doing the judging, it is clear that is another place in the New Testament where an Old Testament verse which clearly refers to God is attributed to Jesus thus attesting to his Divinity.

  38. redgreen5 September 28, 2011 / 1:43 am

    Walter

    As a lay person who has done some teaching I come at this subject from the perspective of what the average person in the pew would want and need to know on the subject, and how it would affect their view of God’s Word. My main problem with modern translations is more of the textual notes which seem to cast doubt on the infallibility and preservation of Scripture. It’s one thing to change certain wordings in some places (some albeit very important changes), but then it’s quite another to call into question whole blocks of passages such as Mark 16 and John 8.

    And what about KJV and TR readings for which there is weak or no support in the MT? Are you OK with textual footnotes that point those out, and the consequences to the average person in the pew? The average person who might find out that passages in his KJV as well as numerous chunks of Revelation have little or no support in the MT?

    Do you find that acceptable?

    If your answer is “yes”, then aren’t you signing off on the idea that it’s actually OK for the average person to have some doubts that prompt them to further investigate the textual issues? And is this a contradiction of your paragraph I cited, above?

    If your answer is “no”, then it seems to me that your position is basically one that textual footnotes are only acceptable if they create doubt about the CT. But they are unacceptable if they create doubt about the TR. Or doubt about the MT.

    Yes, if you look into the subject you can quickly find out that even with the variants there is roughly 95% agreement from all MSS, and that no major doctrine is threatened. But the average person is only going to know what they read in the notes.

    But the textual notes reflect the state of things as they are – not perhaps how we would *like* for them to be, but as they are. Are we doing anyone a favor by shielding them from the knowledge of reality?

    It’s the old saying: you have to play the hand of cards that you are dealt. I don’t think we do anyone a favor by saying, “Here is all you need to know. Don’t delve any further, because the information you find out might cause you to think about deep and sometimes difficult questions.”

    This is why I believe the most important thing is to educate people on the different arguments for the MT vs. the CT and point out where the most important variants are. Then each person can make up their own mind.

    But didn’t you just say that teaching them about these differences (i.e., via footnotes) isn’t a good idea?

    Not because the Byzantine readings would have more appeal, but because the “oldest is best” argument can be nullified in short order.

    If you really think that is the CT position – or the basis for the UBS or Aland GNT – then you’re arguing against a strawman. Age obviously plays a part. But it’s a more eclectic approach than you are making it sound.

  39. Walter September 28, 2011 / 2:02 am

    I think discussion is good, but argumentation over every jot and tittle is not good so I’ll try to limit what I say to what I believe is helpful.

    My problem with the notes in some modern versions is not in the idea of notes themselves, but that the notes are misleading and one-sided. There is much much more to what variant should be used than what is the “oldest and best.” That may not be the totality of the CT argument, but I would argue that the average person just looking at notes would come away that this is precisely the reason a certain variant was used.

    I think giving people information is good, but it needs to be balanced on both sides. That isn’t happening right now in the notes or margins of these translations, and I don’t see that changing. So the alternative is to get the information out there as best as possible and let people look at each side of the debate and decide for themselves.

    Granted I am admittedly new to this subject, so I’m always open to correction and being wrong. With that said, can you tell me one change that has taken place since the time of Westcott and Hort where a minority reading has been dismissed in favor of a Majority/Byzantine reading with this new eclectic approach?

    • redgreen5 September 28, 2011 / 9:31 am

      Walter

      I think discussion is good, but argumentation over every jot and tittle is not good so I’ll try to limit what I say to what I believe is helpful.

      I still think you owe an answer to my question about whether you would be OK with footnotes that pointed out the sections of the KJV-TR that have little or not support in the MT. Are you OK with the impact to that for the average churchgoer? Do you have any concerns about the impact to the faith of this average churchgoer, when he/she finds out that passages in the KJV that they have known for years have little or no support from the Majority Text?

      Granted I am admittedly new to this subject, so I’m always open to correction and being wrong. With that said, can you tell me one change that has taken place since the time of Westcott and Hort where a minority reading has been dismissed in favor of a Majority/Byzantine reading with this new eclectic approach?

      Specifically cite them? No; like you, I’m a layman and do not read Greek.

      I would point out to you, though, that the major CT-based versions (such as the NASB) include the Byz sections that you think are overlooked – and they do this in a way that is NOT misleading or one sided, contrary to your claim. For example, in regards to the ending of Mark 16, we find the following footnotes:

      NASB:
      Later mss add vv 9-20

      HCSB:
      Other mss omit bracketed text

      ESV:
      Some manuscripts end the book with 16:8; others include verses 9-20 immediately after verse 8. A few manuscripts insert additional material after verse 14; one Latin manuscript adds after verse 8 the following: But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this, Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Other manuscripts include this same wording after verse 8, then continue with verses 9-20

      I fail to find *anything* judgemental, one-sided, or biased in the comments above. They are neutral in their tone, reporting “just the facts, ma’am.”

      This may also interest you – NA 26 and NA 27 explicitly citing Byzantine sources in its apparatus:

      http://www.skypoint.com/members/waltzmn/CriticalEds.html

      Nestle-Aland Editions 26-27
      The twenty-sixth edition of Nestle-Aland, published in 1979, was the first to be produced entirely under the supervision of Kurt Aland. The result was very nearly a new book.

      The Text. The text of NA26 is, in all major respects, the same as that of the United Bible Societies Edition, of which Aland was an editor. The only differences lie in matters not directly associated with textual criticism, such as accents, punctuation, and arrangement of paragraphs. The characteristics of the text are described under the section on the UBS edition.

      The Apparatus. The apparatus of NA26 is equally radically revised. Instead of the haphazard citation of witnesses found in the earlier editions, a select list of witnesses is cited for all readings. The witnesses cited include all papyri, all early uncials, and a selection of late uncials and minuscules — usually about twenty witnesses for each reading. The most important of these witnesses, the papyri and the early uncials, are cited explicitly. (In the twenty-seventh edition, certain important minuscules — 33, 1739, 1881, 2427 — are elevated to the ranks of the explicitly cited witnesses.) The remaining witnesses, mostly Byzantine or mixed, are cited explicitly only when they differ from the Byzantine text; otherwise they are contained within the Majority Text symbol . An example of the use of the Majority Text symbol is shown in the example above.
      This apparatus offers distinct advantages. It cites many important manuscripts in a minimum of space, and is quite convenient to use once one becomes accustomed to it. In addition, the Nestle-Aland apparatus is probably the most accurate since Tischendorf. The several appendices offer additional useful information, e.g. about the differences between the major twentieth century editions. The margin has a much fuller set of cross-references than most comparable editions, and includes several ancient systems of enumeration.
      There are still a few drawbacks. Some witnesses have lacunae which are not noted in the appendix. The reader may therefore assume, falsely, that a witness agrees with the majority text when in fact it is defective. (This was a particular problem in the twenty-sixth edition with 33, which is often illegible. This was solved in the twenty-seventh edition by citing 33 explicitly. However, the even more problematic 1506 is still not cited explicitly. In addition, the Nestle text does not list lacunae precisely; when it says, e.g., that 81 lacks Acts 4:8-7:17, 17:28-23:9, it means that it lacks those verses in their entirety. The verses on the edge of these lacunae — Acts 4:7, 7:18, 17:27, 23:10 — will almost certainly be fragmentary, so one cannot trust citations from silence in those verses.)
      The set of variants in NA26 is still relatively limited; with minor exceptions, only those variants found in NA25 are cited in NA26. The thorough critic will therefore need to use a fuller edition — Tischendorf, Von Soden, or Merk — to examine the full extent of variation in the tradition.
      Students are also advised to remember that Nestle-Aland cites only Greek and Latin fathers. The eastern tradition is entirely ignored. Those wishing to know the text of Ephraem, say, will have to turn to another source.

    • Walter September 28, 2011 / 2:08 pm

      I think it’s a fair question as to what I would do regarding notes and variants in terms of the TR. I’ll see if I can put a post together to share my thoughts on this later tonight.

      I should tell you in advance though that I’m not a TR proponent, but I’m a MT proponent.

  40. Maurice A. Robinson September 28, 2011 / 11:29 am

    This should be no surprise, but on Rom 14:10, once more I see accidental variation as the cause (single letter nomina sacra confusion between QU and CU, perhaps influenced by the occurrence of QEW in 14:11), with no intentional theological alteration. Again, one should be wary of imposing outside theological interpretative considerations upon variant readings, which considerations likely never crossed the mind of the various scribes perpetuating such.

    • Walter September 28, 2011 / 2:13 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I do think there is merit in not overstating a case or coming off as conspiratorial, but in my opinion you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder about how so many of these variants seem to end up around the subject of the Deity of Christ.

      It might not be a scientific statement, but I do put some weight in the old saying:

      Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, but three times starts to look an awful lot like a pattern.

  41. Maurice A. Robinson September 28, 2011 / 11:30 am

    In another matter….

    Not addressing Paul, since he has agreed that we necessarily disagree on certain matters (also quite obviously with Pickering, who was also mentioned). Rather, I offer a distinguishing observation that perhaps will be seen as pertinent within this whole area of discussion:

    The R-P Byzantine-priority methodology approaches the NT text from a standpoint that should be tautological: one and only one reading within a given variant unit can be original, with the remaining readings reflecting differing levels of secondary variation. The Byzantine-priority position presumes that this single reading will be that of the putative archetype of the Byzantine Textform. In most instances, the external evidence is already determinative of that archetype.

    However, another part of the evaluation process is the examination of all readings within a given variant unit in relation to their possible origin (transcriptional or deliberate), sensibility, resultant meaning, and impact upon the text in the immediate context as understood by the scribes who created or perpetuated such readings. In this segment of the methodology, outside a priori concepts or presuppositions are not brought to bear upon the evaluation of any given reading (in other words, avoiding presuppositional assumptions anticipating malicious alteration as an expected or necessary outcome). Rather, each reading is considered on its own merits in context, with resultant evaluation deriving from the inductive study and not from external expectations.

    The application of such parameters within the Byzantine-priority theory thus avoids bias externally imposed on the basis of outside considerations, and results in a text that, while being considered of autograph originality, has in the process of evaluation fairly and openly considered all competing readings within any variant unit, with determination of accidental or intentional origin for such being determined from inductive analysis.

    This methodology and its results stands in sharp contrast to the Orthodox bodies. While they perhaps should be considered the keepers and guardians of holy writ, they are quite willing to allow virtually any textual stream within the “Byzantine” compass (whether individual manuscript or printed TR-type of text) to be acceptable and generally sufficient for all purposes. One reason for this textual fluidity approach is their rejection of a sola scriptura principle, thus allowing varying degrees of “tradition” to be ultimately determinative regarding the overall general content of Scripture. Such textual fluidity thus allows a primarily devotional or non-text-critical approach, and that general Byzantine-based “traditionalism” represents a differing dynamic that tends to be quite characteristic among Orthodox bodies. Thus for the Orthodox, it becomes mostly irrelevant that various Byzantine-type manuscripts or TR-type printed editions differ from the primary Byzantine Textform in hundreds or even thousands of places (the latter figure obtaining among the various TR editions). Thus the key difference between the Orthodox concept of text and the Byzantine-priority position involves a distinction between their non-text-critical view of what is considered “sufficient” or “acceptable” and our position that involved the establishment of a reasonably solid text-critical determination regarding which readings can be established as representing the primary underlying Byzantine archetype and by extension the presumed original text of the NT itself.

    • Andrew Suttles September 28, 2011 / 1:54 pm

      Dr. Robinson –

      Is there any chance you might write a book or guide on textual criticism? I really think that a textual commentary (similar to Metzger) for the R-P GNT would be fantastic!

      I wish we could get a major publisher to produce an edition of their Bible with the R-P as the NT base. I’ve e-mailed a few publishers about the idea, but no one seems interested.

      That, and a nicely printed R-P GNT with leather cover would be excellent!

    • Bob Hayton October 10, 2011 / 11:39 pm

      I would second you on that request, Andrew. Dr. Robinson would be perfect for a primer on Textual Criticism from a conservative standpoint.

  42. Maurice A. Robinson September 28, 2011 / 1:29 pm

    Walter asked “Can you tell me one change that has taken place since the time of Westcott and Hort where a minority reading has been dismissed in favor of a Majority/Byzantine reading with this new eclectic approach?”

    Over 500 changes were made between the Nestle-Aland 25th and the 26th/27th editions, most of these moving away from a Westcott-Hort Alexandrian reading to one supported by the Byzantines. These are marked in the NA apparatus with a dagger, and also listed (under “N”) in the Editionum Differentiae appendix of that edition.

    One example (since that was what was requested), rendered in English for the sake of clarity: Mt 3:7, WH “come to the baptism”; NA27 = Byz, “come to his baptism”.

    Another example: Mt 3:14, WH “but he forbad him”; NA27 = Byz, “but John forbad him”.

    These examples can easily be multiplied.

    • Walter September 28, 2011 / 2:01 pm

      Thanks for the reply Dr. Robinson. I find this to be an ever learning experience.

      If you have time at some point I’d be interested to know if any of these changes from the time of Westcott and Hort would be considered important or substantive, and especially in regards to the Deity of Christ.

  43. Maurice A. Robinson September 28, 2011 / 5:24 pm

    Walter: I’d be interested to know if any of these changes from the time of Westcott and Hort would be considered important or substantive, and especially in regards to the Deity of Christ.

    Some of them certainly could be considered of theological significance. However, the claim “you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder about how so many of these variants seem to end up around the subject of the Deity of Christ” is quite overblown in its scope as usually applied (mostly by KJV-onlyists or TR-onlyists), since the claim cuts both ways.

    The fact is that most textual variants have no theological or doctrinal significance whatever, and of those that remain, very few seriously impact theological interpretation. But certain of the cases that do have a theological impact demonstrate the irrationality of the claim being made. To cite several examples (don’t look them up before you consider the interpretative issues involved):

    Example 1 — in Jude 25, which reading is theologically more significant:

    “To the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever” or

    “To the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and authority, both now and forever” ?

    Example 2 — which reading of Acts 4:25 is theologically superior:

    “Who by the mouth of our father David, your servant, did say by the Holy Spirit” or

    “Who by the mouth of your servant David has said” ?

    Example 3 — which reading of Ac 10:48 is theologically superior:

    “He commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” or

    “He commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” ?

    Example 4 — which reading of 1Co 6:11 is theologically superior:

    “You are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” or

    “you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus” ?

    Example 5 — which reading of Lk 10:21 is theologically superior:

    “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit” or

    “In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” ?

    And such a list can be multiplied, though in my view not to a major significant purpose, since the real issue is textual as opposed to theological (theology deriving from the text once established and not vice versa).

    • Walter September 28, 2011 / 9:42 pm

      I am primarily concerned with verses relating to the Deity of Christ since that appears to me to be the doctrine that came most under fire during the first 3 centuries of Christianity when these revisions would have been made (if in fact they were revisions and not scribal errors.)

      I continuously emphasize that I’m new to this topic because I am ever mindful that my initial thoughts on a given topic could be wrong and subject to correction with more information.

      Having said that I have not seen a CT reading that was theologically superior to a MT reading with regards to the Divinity of Christ. If you believe as I do that Revelation 1:8 is Jesus speaking then you could say the CT is superior to the TR, but I don’t consider that of major significance since the MT has the same strong reading. I know that some might argue that Acts 20:28 could be construed as a stronger reading in the CT, but I would disagree and say the MT would be theologically stronger since the use of “Lord” makes it even clearer that it is the blood of God the Son that was shed for the church.

      I stand by my assertion that Romans 14:10 looks fishy.

      I would like to share my thoughts on Jude 25.

      Here is Jude 1:

      Jude 1:1 WEB (R)
      1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:

      and Jude 4

      Jude 1:4 WEB (R)
      4 For there are certain men who crept in secretly, even those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ.

      and Jude 21-25

      Jude 1:21-25 WEB (R)
      21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
      22 On some have compassion, making a distinction,
      23 and some save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.
      24 Now to him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory in great joy,
      25 to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.

      I don’t think it is a stretch to say the primary person of the Godhead that is the subject of Jude is Jesus. In my view it is also not a stretch to say that Jude 25 could refer to Jesus.

      Compare the language of verse 24 to Ephesians 5:27

      Ephesians 5:25-27 EMTV
      25 Husbands, love your own wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
      26 in order that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of water by the word,
      27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless.

      Now I am not one that tries to overstate the case for the Deity of Christ where it isn’t there. I am working on a paper on the subject of the Deity of Christ, and I would not put Jude 25 (Byzantine reading) in the category of “probable” verses referring to Christ, or even in the “likely” category, but I would say it is “possible.”

      I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t believe it is beyond all reason to think that both Jude 4 and Jude 25 could have been altered for theological reasons.

    • Walter September 28, 2011 / 9:49 pm

      I should also mentioned that contained in the book of Jude with verse 5 is one of the most overlooked verses on the Deity of Christ as it shows that it was Jesus who led the children of Israel out of Egypt. As I have studied this subject more and more it should not come as a surprise that it was Jesus who has always been the primary figure connected with Redemption both in the Old and New Testaments.

    • Walter September 28, 2011 / 9:55 pm

      I did want to add that I’m not unaware that the ESV has Jesus for Jude 5, but I am not sure what manuscripts that is based on.

  44. Maurice A. Robinson September 28, 2011 / 5:37 pm

    Andrew Suttles: Is there any chance you might write a book or guide on textual criticism?

    Would that some of us might ever have the time! But such simply is not available in view of other necessary duties at present.

    Suttles: I really think that a textual commentary (similar to Metzger) for the R-P GNT would be fantastic!

    So do I, at least a discussion of the most slimly supported critical text readings (supported by 5 named MSS or less) when compared to the Byzantine majority (I have been compiling an extensive list of such readings for a proposed paper on that subject).

    Suttles: I wish we could get a major publisher to produce an edition of their Bible with the R-P as the NT base. I’ve e-mailed a few publishers about the idea, but no one seems interested.

    I suggested something similar to a well-known Bible publishing executive several years ago. His first reaction was laughter, followed by an immediate dismissal of the proposal as unnecessary and unwarranted. Draw your own conclusions.

    Suttles: a nicely printed R-P GNT with leather cover would be excellent!

    Send our 2005 Text Edition or 2010 Reader’s Edition to a bindery and pay them to strip of the hardback cover and rebind in leather, and you will get your wish!

  45. Maurice A. Robinson September 28, 2011 / 11:11 pm

    Walter: Acts 20:28 could be construed as a stronger reading in the CT, but I would disagree and say the MT would be theologically stronger since the use of “Lord” makes it even clearer that it is the blood of God the Son that was shed for the church.

    Not sure how you are stating the reference: while the critical text and TR in Ac 20:28 both read “church of God,” the reading “church of the Lord” is also a minority reading; the Byzantine Textform in contrast reads “church of the Lord and God”.

    Similarly in Jude 5, I’m not sure about what you are referencing. The critical text, TR, and the Byzantine Textform all read “Lord,” while the readings “Jesus”, “God” or (even the theologically strongest) “God Christ” are all minority. Further, all these readings involve the abbreviated nomina sacra, which in individual words differ by only a single letter (thus, KS vs IS vs QS vs QS KS).

    Since you asked, the MSS that read the minority “Jesus” in Jude 5 (as with the ESV) are A B 33 81 2344 and a few others (pauci), according to the Nestle27 apparatus (fuller information can be supplied from other sources if desired). But are you suggesting that the minority reading “Jesus” should be correct against all remaining MSS and especially the majority that read “Lord”? And if so, why? For a priori theological reasons? That is precisely the point I have been at pains to reject.

    Once more, probably more is being made by various individuals (including KJV=only and TR-only advocates) out of the theological aspect of certain variants than is warranted. In contrast, I see in most instances a lack of evidence suggesting any systematic alteration of theologically related passages, particularly a lack of any sinister motives underlying such variation.

  46. Walter September 29, 2011 / 12:36 am

    Dr. Robinson,

    I can see how those points weren’t clear. Let me clarify what I meant. In Acts 20:28 the CT reads “church of God” whereas the Byzantine reading is “church of the Lord, and of God.” My point was that some might suggest that the additional words of “the Lord” could make the meaning a little murkier and thus the CT stronger, but I wouldn’t agree. I made a statement that I didn’t see any CT renderings that were theologically stronger on the Deity of Christ, and I was trying to anticipate possible objections to that.

    I was doing the same thing by referencing Jude 5. From what little research I’ve done it seems clear to me that “Lord” is the correct word. I brought up the ESV’s use of “Jesus” again in anticipation that someone might point to that as a stronger reading on the Divinity of Christ, but as you said it is a minority even among a minority. I just wasn’t sure which manuscripts that reading came from and thus how strong the evidence might be for it.

  47. Walter September 29, 2011 / 12:50 am

    On a related note I recently read a really good book on the Deity of Christ titled “Putting Jesus in his Place” by Robert M Bowman Jr. and J. Ed Komoszewski.

    They referenced Jude 5 as a proof text, but they were clearly a CT proponent so they didn’t mention Jude 4 and of course not Jude 25. They also didn’t reference the other main proof texts that would be used by MT proponents such as 1 Timothy 3:16 or Romans 14:10. It was still a very good read, and unlike many that I’ve read on the subject they did a good job of showing that Revelation 1:8 referred to Jesus, but I’ve found what I believe to be even stronger evidence for that verse’s application to His Divinity.

    I was disappointed that like many they would not reference 1 Timothy 1:17 because in that verse there is no Textual issue but just one of interpretation. The entire build-up of that verse is all about Jesus, and then in the doxology it uses the term “King of Ages.” I found 36 places where King is used in the New Testament to refer to Jesus, and not a single instance where it clearly references God the Father.

    One of the points they brought up that I thought was interesting was that Paul uses the greeting involving “grace and peace to you” and attributes this as coming from Jesus in all cases except in Colossians 1:2 and 1 Thessalonians 1:1. I thought, hmmmmmmmm; let me check the Byzantine text. The Byzantine text indeed has a reference to Jesus in both verses whereas the CT does not. I’m sure CT proponents would see that as evidence of harmonization, but I see it as one of common sense consistency.

  48. Paul Anderson September 29, 2011 / 9:27 am

    Walter,

    Sound and valid points. Notice however the interesting manuscript evidence on the minority variant at Jude 1:5 (Jesus) is a follows:

    υμας απαξ παντα οτι Ιησους – sic. 03 Vaticanus*
    *Note: Aleph changes word order but with (Κυριος).

    Other mss. (14) with (Ιησους) at verse 5 but with different word order and construction:
    02 6 33 88 93 322 323 665 915 1241 1501 1739 1881 2298

    The interesting thing on this is the ESV & NLT versions both followed B(03) for their own translations even down to grammatical construction. This is not surprising once again due to both being over reliant upon B(03) time and time again with their minority readings. Also, note that the other mss. that retain the inferior reading are either so-called Alexandrian mss. or they are mixed. There is close to 500 mss. with the majority reading (Κυριος).

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    Wash., D.C.
    http://www.cspmt.org

    • Walter September 30, 2011 / 2:16 am

      Paul,

      Thanks for the added information.

  49. Walter September 30, 2011 / 2:38 am

    redgreen wrote: I still think you owe an answer to my question about whether you would be OK with footnotes that pointed out the sections of the KJV-TR that have little or not support in the MT.

    I don’t think anyone ever “owes” a answer to a question posed on a message board, and I’m a little hesitant to give precedent to looking as if they do, but it was a fair question in the given context, and I do think there is value in the answer.

    I do not have a problem with pointing out the differences between where the MT and the TR differ. I had an exchange with Dr. Robinson where I shared by thoughts on for instance how I’d like to see 1 John 5:7 treated. I’ll expand on that just a little bit to let you see where I’m coming from.

    If I could somehow cause a MT Translation to appear on the market in the coming months here is what I’d like to see. In the beginning of the translation I’d like to see a brief introduction as to what the MT is and how it differs from both the TR and CT as well as where they are similar. Within the Bible itself I would have footnotes with respect to certain verses showing the differences. I think the translation committee would need to decide on what variants to cover and not cover depending on their importance because I just don’t know if it’s valuable to highlight every single minute difference. In the footnote to each of these verses I would refer the reader to the back of the translation where a more thorough explanation could be given as to the arguments on both sides of the MT and CT and show how the MT is better and more reliable. Concerning the TR I would highlight that Erasmus had few manuscripts to go on, but since of the ones he did have they were of the same family as the MT so that is why it is much more similar to the MT than the CT.

    Now to get to your question more specifically, I have already stated in an exchange with Dr. Robinson that for instance on 1 John 5:7 and Acts 8:37 that I’d like to see these verses included in the Biblical text perhaps bracketed and even greyed out with a footnote explaining why.

    So why would this be different in terms of not casting doubt on God’s Word, and its preservation as opposed to how some modern translations handle text critical differences? I think the difference is that in my translation the subject is treated in a full and complete way and the reader is left to decide rather than being clearly steered in one direction.

    I am only going on my own experiences, but the footnotes that stood out to me as I read different versions seemed to imply that the CT reading was correct because it was based on the oldest manuscripts, and in my opinion giving the distinct impression that they were added later on. If the reader has access to the full amount of information on this subject then they can decide for themselves where the evidence leads.

    Also for the sake of fairness I think the translation committee could come to an agreement on 3 or 4 really good works on both sides of the issue and recommend those to the reader for further investigation and study on the subject.

    • redgreen5 October 3, 2011 / 11:48 pm

      Walter

      “So why would this be different in terms of not casting doubt on God’s Word, and its preservation as opposed to how some modern translations handle text critical differences? I think the difference is that in my translation the subject is treated in a full and complete way and the reader is left to decide rather than being clearly steered in one direction.”

      So to recap: you’re OK with casting doubt on a TR reading, providing that a full explanation of *why* you are casting doubt on the passage is provided.

      Again: how is this different from the NASB or ESV, which offer their justification for using the CT in their prefaces? To me this still looks like you are engaging in favoritism.

      And since the decision to accept/reject a particular reading has to be made one at a time — one variant reading at a time, that is — are you seriously proposing a full and complete discussion of the text-crit analysis should accompany every point of variance?

      Let’s tak an example. Matthew 19, NKJV shows the following differences with the CT:

      a.Matthew 19:4 NU-Text reads created.
      d.Matthew 19:9 Or fornication
      e.Matthew 19:16 NU-Text omits Good.
      f.Matthew 19:17 NU-Text reads Why do you ask Me about what is good?
      g.Matthew 19:17 NU-Text reads There is One who is good.
      j.Matthew 19:20 NU-Text omits from my youth.
      k.Matthew 19:29 NU-Text omits or wife.

      Seven points of variance in this one chapter.

      Are you seriously proposing that each of these should be discussed for the reader, the pro’s and con’s carefully laid out, and then let the reader decide? Is this a Bible version you’re talking about? Or an interlinear commentary?

      I’m all for people educating themselves, but exactly how many volumes of pages do you think this hypothetical Bible version of yours should expand to?

    • Walter October 4, 2011 / 2:14 am

      If you feel the CT translations give a fair and complete picture of why they chose the variants they did then we’ll have to agree to disagree. All I’ve seen is footnotes highlighting essentially the “oldest is best” argument. I understand there is more to the CT argument, but that is what I’ve seen come across in the translations I’ve viewed.

      It is my belief that it is in the best interest of the CT and its arguments to NOT have a full and complete discussion because no matter how confident they are in their findings I think they know that the average lay person would look at both arguments, the individual variants, and come down in favor of the MT. While “oldest is best” argument is not the only argument they have, I think to the lay reader it is the most compelling. If you can show that there are Byzantine readings that are just as old then the age of the CT based manuscripts becomes less important.

      In my earlier post I made mention that you cannot possibly do detailed footnote on all the variants. I think the best approach would probably be to do what the NKJV does and highlight the different wordsings for the variants, but choose what would be considered the most important passages for detailed footnotes. The summary of the MT Position and why it should be the preferred reading can be done in the section in the back of the translation.

      As far as casting doubt, it is my belief that by questioning whole chunks of Scripture such as the ending of Mark 16, and the PA of John 8, as well as many changes regarding the Deity of Christ; you just aren’t casting doubt on specific passages, but you’re casting doubt on the overall Preservation of Scripture. These readings have been in the Majority of manuscripts for over a thousand years and in English Translations for over 300 years before these CT readings came along as far as being available to the masses. So we’re telling people that up until the late 1800’s we didn’t readily have access to God’s complete Word. Yes, in my mind that produces doubt about the overall reliability and preservation of Scripture.

      So is it different to cast doubt on Acts 8:37 and 1 John 5:7 along with some minor wording differences? Yes it is very different. You can explain to the reader that those readings were only in a small minority of manuscripts from any MSS family, and in the case of 1 John 5:7 there is little Patristic or Lectionary support. As I’ve said I do think you bracket them with the footnoted explanation. But as long as you share all the information with the reader regarding these texts then this does not cast doubt on the Preservation of Scripture. The MT position allows you to make the case that God’s Words have always been preserved in the majority of manuscripts available to the lay reader since the time they were originally written.

      I feel as though you’re going to continue to try and find an argument in whatever I say so at some point I have to decide when I feel the points have been made well enough and just go ahead and let you have the last word.

  50. Walter September 30, 2011 / 2:59 am

    Clarification on above post:

    Where I say “giving the distinct impression that they were added later on” what I mean is the footnotes give the impression that the MT reading was a change that took place later on as opposed to the CT reading which was original.

    I would also expand on the reason I don’t think footnotes with regards to TR readings would cause doubt to the average person. I believe if the lay person in the pew saw the evidence for just how many manuscripts there are out there that support the MT position as well as patristic support and lectionary support then they would have an even greater appreciation for the doctrine of Preservation of Scripture.

    I’m still relatively new on this subject so I proceed with caution, but one of the things that really impressed me on this subject was that I seem to recall reading that although there are thousands of manuscripts that belong to the Byzantine line there are fewer discrepancies among these thousands then there are in the small minority of manuscripts from the Alexandrian line. Yet at the same time there are enough differences in the Byzantine line to show that copying was done on a localized manner and there was no great conflation or recension. If I am recalling correctly; Dr. Robinson has done research that shows 10 distinct streams for the PA which shoots even more holes into the recension theory. If I’m the average lay reader then in my opinion all this information causes me to have that much more appreciation for how God has preserved His Word.

    • redgreen5 October 4, 2011 / 1:21 pm

      Walter

      I would also expand on the reason I don’t think footnotes with regards to TR readings would cause doubt to the average person. I believe if the lay person in the pew saw the evidence for just how many manuscripts there are out there that support the MT position…………..

      The TR is not the same as the MT.

      Why do you keep borrowing the arguments for the MT, and trying to apply them to answer my questions about footnotes questioning the TR?

  51. redgreen5 October 4, 2011 / 12:57 pm

    Walter

    If you feel the CT translations give a fair and complete picture of why they chose the variants they did then we’ll have to agree to disagree. All I’ve seen is footnotes highlighting essentially the “oldest is best” argument. I understand there is more to the CT argument, but that is what I’ve seen come across in the translations I’ve viewed.

    “Oldest is best” is all you’ve seen from the footnotes?

    It’s amazing that you can continue to say that, after I posted quite clearly above:

    I would point out to you, though, that the major CT-based versions (such as the NASB) include the Byz sections that you think are overlooked – and they do this in a way that is NOT misleading or one sided, contrary to your claim. For example, in regards to the ending of Mark 16, we find the following footnotes:

    NASB:
    Later mss add vv 9-20

    HCSB:
    Other mss omit bracketed text

    ESV:
    Some manuscripts end the book with 16:8; others include verses 9-20 immediately after verse 8. A few manuscripts insert additional material after verse 14; one Latin manuscript adds after verse 8 the following: But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this, Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Other manuscripts include this same wording after verse 8, then continue with verses 9-20

    I fail to find *anything* judgemental, one-sided, or biased in the comments above. They are neutral in their tone, reporting “just the facts, ma’am.”

    So Walter:
    Please enlighten us where the “oldest is best” argument is used here by the NASB, HSCB or ESV.

    And please note that these examples come from the ending of Mark 16, one area you specifically said “you just aren’t casting doubt on specific passages, but you’re casting doubt on the overall Preservation of Scripture.”

    I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that you cannot be dissuaded from your position, no matter how much evidence is presented. That’s a mark of KJVO, you know.

  52. redgreen5 October 4, 2011 / 1:18 pm

    Walter

    But as long as you share all the information with the reader regarding these texts then this does not cast doubt on the Preservation of Scripture.

    It most certainly does. It means that the predominant text for the last 400 years – the text of the Reformation, the Textus Receptus – is not correct. Since the TR and the MT are not the same, you still have to answer this problem.

    If you say “well, the real text was available to the church, but wasn’t widely used, so it was never truly lost” then that same argument can be recycled by the CT advocates. You’re in a logical dead-end here. The only question is whether you’ll admit the quandary, or keep trying to carve out an exception for your preferred position.

    The MT position allows you to make the case that God’s Words have always been preserved in the majority of manuscripts available to the lay reader since the time they were originally written.

    You seem to be enamored of the “More is Better” argument. You seem to forget that the Majority Text didn’t become the numerical majority until the Byzantine period. So your argument for the Majority text doesn’t work for the first 8 or 9 centuries of the history of the Church.

    There are good arguments for the MT. But the “More is Better” is probably not the most convincing one.

  53. Maurice A. Robinson October 4, 2011 / 4:01 pm

    redgreen5: You seem to forget that the Majority Text didn’t become the numerical majority until the Byzantine period. So your argument for the Majority text doesn’t work for the first 8 or 9 centuries of the history of the Church.

    Actually it does, so long as one is not enamoured in “counting noses” only of *extant* witnesses (a point I directly address as contributing to a “revisionist view” in my “Case for Byzantine Priority” article).

    As I therein note, even Westcott and Hort acknowledged that the Byzantine Textform was clearly “dominant” from the fourth century onward, with such also reflected in patristic writings from that era onward:

    “The fundamental text of late extant Greek MSS generally is beyond all question identical with the dominant Antiochian [= Byz]… text of the second half of the fourth century” (WH, Introduction, 92); “The text of Chrysostom and other Syrian Fathers of Cent. IV [is] substantially identical with the common late text” (ibid.,xiii).

    • redgreen5 October 5, 2011 / 11:55 pm

      Dear Dr Robinson,

      Thanks so much for this info; I stand corrected.

  54. James Snapp, Jr. October 6, 2011 / 11:13 pm

    RedGreen5,

    I don’t see how anyone can seriously claim that the footnotes you cited about Mark 16:9-20 report “just the facts,” and are “neutral.” Your claim that they are not misleading or one-sided is easily refuted. Those notes are so vague that they have the same effect as lies. They are deceptive.

    NASU: “Later mss add vv 9-20.” (Bear in mind that this note is different from the earlier NASB.)
    That is one-sided. Where is the mention of earlier evidence (Justin, Tatian, Irenaeus, De Rebaptismate, Porphyry/Hierocles)? Nowhere! And what is meant by “Later”? No actual dates are given for comparison; “Later” could mean 50 years later, or 500 years later; how is the reader supposed to know?
    Recently, a preacher in Texas (Bob McCartney of the First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls) told his congregation that no manuscripts before the 800’s contain Mark 16:9-20. Vague footnotes like this one that let him get away with that kind of lie. Plus, the obvious force that this footnote is expected to have upon the reader is founded on the false premise that the age of a manuscript must imply that its text is better; if textual critics are challenged on this point, and they can’t dodge the question or shut down the debate, they will admit that the premise must be thoroughly coated with qualifications – qualifications which the text-compilers have used often to veto the readings of Papyrus 45 in Mark – but the readers of these footnotes won’t notice all that. Instead, they will do what this footnote is designed to encourage them to do: they will conclude that verses 9-20 are “Later” — all the while having gotten no idea of how widespread, how textually diverse, and how numerous the MSS that include vv. 9-20 are.

    Did you notice the NASU’s adoption of the reading of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus at Mt. 27:49? Me neither. There, somehow, the reading of the oldest extant two MSS is not worth mentioning. It is hidden, for a very good reason: the NASU’s base-text is essentially Alexandrian, and to present this festering boil on the face of the Alexandrian Text would repulse readers and make them question its reliability. They are smart not to mention it; their way of presenting the evidence selectively is smart. Smart, and deceptive.

    HCSB: “Other mss omit bracketed text.”

    That is vague. Why is it so hard for the note-writers to say “Two mss” instead of “Other mss”? Let me tell you why: because the note-writer is not stupid (grossly misinformed, most likely, but not stupid), and he perceived that if he were to plainly inform the readers that the base-text relies at this point on just two extant Greek manuscripts, a lot of readers would question the competence or sanity or orthodoxy of the text-compilers, instead of questioning the legitimacy of the bracketed text.

    ESV: “Some manuscripts end the book with 16:8; others include verses 9-20 immediately after verse 8. A few manuscripts insert additional material after verse 14; one Latin manuscript adds after verse 8 the following: But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this, Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Other manuscripts include this same wording after verse 8, then continue with verses 9-20.”

    The ESV’s footnote begins and ends with vagueness. Why not begin by saying, “*Two* MSS end the book with 16:8; *1,500* include verses 9-20 immediately after verse 8”? Are the annotators ignorant of the numerical amounts involved? No. They /deliberately/ phrased the footnote in vague terms. They /deliberately/ obscure the facts about the quantities of MSS involved (although they are quite willing to appeal to quantities when it suits their purposes!).

    In addition, the ESV’s statement, “A few manuscripts insert additional material after verse 14” is in error. Codex W is the only extant MS that does that. Here you have on display the ignorance about Mark 16:9-20 that permeates American evangelicalism. This is not like the little mistake about Jacob’s goats – this error is *Still In The ESV After Ten Years!*

    Plus, nothing is said about the weirdness of the “one Latin manuscript” that is mentioned. Any one of the translators of the ESV, if he happened to come across pages of an English translation of Codex Bobbiensis that someone had attempted to publish as a translation of the Gospel of Mark, would instantly conclude that some half-drunk cultist was responsible for it. But this is not mentioned at all; Bobbiensis’ interpolation at 16:3 is not mentioned.

    And, the mistakes in Bobbiensis’ rendering of the Shorter Ending are deliberately hidden from the reader by the ESV annotator: the note gives readers the impression that Codex Bobbiensis is being quoted, but that impression is false; the ESV does not present the Shorter Ending as it appears in Codex Bobbiensis. Why not? Easy: if the ESV did that, readers would see that the copyist of Codex Bobbiensis was rather dense — initially writing “puero” instead of “Petro,” and writing “from east to east,” and so forth.

    And, near the end, why is it so hard for the note-writer to specifically state that *five* Greek manuscripts have the Shorter Ending in the text after verse 8, followed by the longer ending? (274 has the Shorter Ending, too, but in the lower margin.) And you seriously don’t think this is vague, RedGreen5?

    Clearly, KJV-Onlyists do not have a copyright on dogmatic refusal to be dissuaded from untenable positions no matter how much evidence is presented. The claim that the footnotes in the NASU and ESV are “neutral” is absolutely ludicrous. I consider this hereby demonstrated.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

    • redgreen5 October 7, 2011 / 12:32 am

      James Snapp

      I don’t see how anyone can seriously claim that the footnotes you cited about Mark 16:9-20 report “just the facts,” and are “neutral.” Your claim that they are not misleading or one-sided is easily refuted.

      No, I don’t think so. But I do suspect that, as usual, you’re going to exceed your reach here. I’ve noticed that on almost every one of your longer posts, you reach waaaaaay out onto the limb to try and prove your point. But in doing so, the strain of the effort becomes obvious to the audience, and ultimately undercuts the credibility of the point you’re trying to make. And so the limb cracks, with you still upon it.

      Let’s watch this happen here.

      Those notes are so vague that they have the same effect as lies. They are deceptive.

      Now you’re engaged in wishful thinking in an attempt to artificially inflate the weight of your claim. Even if the footnotes were vague – which they are not – that would not be the same as a lie.

      NASB

      That is one-sided. Where is the mention of earlier evidence

      When creating a new translation, a translation committee will lean overwhelmingly on manuscripts, not external evidence. And as we all know, the root cause of the difference between the CT and the TR or MT is the mss themselves. The footnotes are thus rightly about the state of mss for the ending of Mark. A discussion of non-mss evidence would be interesting, but would not fit inside a footnote.

      And what is meant by “Later”? No actual dates are given for comparison; “Later” could mean 50 years later, or 500 years later; how is the reader supposed to know?

      All perfectly good questions for a primer on text-crit. But for a footnote? Don’t be ridiculous. If you only have 1/4 inch of space and six point font to work with, the most you’re going to be able to say about any one verse is extremely limited.

      Vague footnotes like this one that let him get away with that kind of lie.

      Total nonsense and you’re doing some Olympic-quality grasping here. What that preacher said was highly specific in both the number of mss. and the boundary date in question. The footnote was not. Thus, the footnote in the NASB could not possibly be construed to support his claim.

      Did you notice the NASU’s adoption of the reading of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus at Mt. 27:49?

      Please stay focused. My discussion was about the ending of Mark.

      HCSB

      HCSB: “Other mss omit bracketed text.”

      That is vague.

      It most certainly is not. It is the plain and simple truth, without adding emotionally charged words such as “older and better mss” or “highest quality mss” or “best mss” or “vast majority of mss”.

      a lot of readers would question the competence or sanity or orthodoxy of the text-compilers, instead of questioning the legitimacy of the bracketed text.

      Your complaint, then, boils down to you being unhaappy about the reality that footnotes can’t automatically self-expand into full blown Wikipedia articles. I guess you need to take that complaint up with the publisher and printing house. I’m sure they’d love to know a method to make printed headers, footers and margins magically expand to contain all the extra information that you seem to think is mandatory for a single footnote.

      It’s as if there was an entry titled “Australia” in a book. The short little footnote said, “a continent”.

      Then here comes James Snapp to say “Why didn’t the footnote specify that it isn’t the ONLY continent in the southern Hemisphere? Why didn’t it specify that it is an ISLAND continent, the only one recognized as such? Why didn’t it tell the reader that Australia was the LAST continent discovered? These notes are vague!”

      ESV:

      The ESV’s footnote begins and ends with vagueness.

      No, it doesn’t. It gives a rough state of the mss evidence for this section of Mark, while trying carefully to thread the needle of not biasing the footnote commentary.

      Why not begin by saying, “*Two* MSS end the book with 16:8; *1,500* include verses 9-20 immediately after verse 8″?

      Because once you open the can of worms and start talking about the numbers involved, then you have to open the can all the way and talk about the quality of the mss, the provenance of their discovery, the external witnesses, the foundations of text-crit, etc. Again: that’s fine for a primer on text-crit, but wouldn’t fit in a footnote.

      The claim that the footnotes in the NASU and ESV are “neutral” is absolutely ludicrous.

      No, it’s spot-on correct. It’s merely inconvenient for your private little war on the CT. You want to hang the CT-based versions so badly, that you’re willing to twist a perfectly innocent, dry and terse set of footnotes into some kind of conspiracy.

      I consider this hereby demonstrated.

      How childish. Here’s a hint: nobody elected you judge and jury, and what you “consider” doesn’t carry any weight.

      In conclusion, you’ve done what I knew you would do: oversell your case by severalfold.

  55. Maurice A. Robinson October 7, 2011 / 8:04 am

    Like Mr Snapp, I also have concerns about variant reading footnotes in various English translations (reflected in a paper I presented to the Canadian Bible Society conference in Montreal in 2010).

    First, there clearly are not enough such footnotes (the cited instance of footnote silence on the lengthy Mt 27:49 Alexandrian reading is but one example). I would suggest that all major translatable variants should be noted in English translations (particularly since as matters stand, one neither gets a reasonable overview of either the Byzantine or Alexandrian text from the limited footnotes currently provided). This does not mean every possible minor translation (e.g. “the disciples” vs “his disciples”), but anything that would more seriously impact translation.

    Secondly, I strongly suggest that the source of footnotes be clearly indicated, at least in a minimalist manner such as is found in the NKJV with their NU-text (Nestle-UBS) and M-text (Byzantine/majority) indicators. Of course the problem with even the NKJV is that it hardly includes enough of those footnotes in comparison to what should have been presented (Nelson Co. hasn’t exactly asked me to suggest improvements either).

    Thirdly — and this pertains to notes such as regard the Ending(s) of Mark — when a given texttype is divided over a reading, this also should be indicated. Thus, merely because two MSS (Aleph and B) omit the ending(s) of Mark, the fact that the remainder of the Alexandrian MSS do contain such should not be ignored by footnoted silence.

    And finally, footnotes in English translations really need to be more “honest”. When a note says “Some MSS read”, it is often the case that those “some MSS” might include the vast majority, and not merely from the Byzantine but from other texttypes; while on the other hand, a different “some MSS” note might indicate only two or three MSS that happen to reflect a wholly independent deviation from all texttypes. The English reader has not a clue in such cases as to what the evidence really says. Key example here: TNIV/NIV2011 on Mk 1:41, where they read as main text that “Jesus was indignant” with the leper, with a footnote saying that “Many manuscripts” read “Jesus was filled with compassion” — yet the “indignant” reading is found in only one Greek MS of questionable character (Codex Bezae), while *all* other Greek MSS read “compassion”; ergo, the note is highly misleading.

    So I do call for some improvement in these areas by all Bible translators and publishers. Will they listen? I have my doubts.

    • redgreen5 October 8, 2011 / 12:52 am

      First, the elements of a lie are:

      1. the claim must be contrary to fact; otherwise, it is the truth;

      2. the speaker must be aware that the claim is contrary to fact; otherwise it is honest error;

      3. the speaker must propagate the claim with the intent to deceive or mislead the audience;

      So to prove (or even assert) that someone is lying, you really have to have knowledge of their intent and state of mind. This does not require mind reading, but it does require more than assumptions or wishful thinking.

      Second, It is one thing to say that (a) footnotes could be improved or made more comprehensive. But I think it is quite another thing to say that (b) footnotes which fail to do so are intentional lies.

      James Snapp is saying both (a) as well as (b).

      Dr Robinson: are you saying (a) as well as (b)? Or only (a)?

      Thank you.

  56. James Snapp, Jr. October 7, 2011 / 5:28 pm

    RedGreen5,

    I don’t think you will ever admit what is obvious to anyone who is well-informed about the pertinent evidence: the footnotes and/or headings about Mark 16:9-20 in the NIV, HCSB, NASU, and ESV are deceptively vague, and the ESV’s footnote includes a fictitious statement.

    Your failure to find anything one-sided or biased in the wording of those footnotes says more about your commitment to promote the modern versions than it says about anything else. /I’m/ coming to the conclusion that /you/ cannot be dissuaded from your position, no matter how much evidence is presented. But I was writing to point out the shortcomings of the footnotes, not to make personal comments about you. You, on the other hand, tried hard to shift the focus away from the real subject here: I counted 21 uses of “you” or “your” in your response, but you only mentioned “footnotes” or “notes” four times. That’s a sign of desperation, you know.

    Now then:

    RG5: “When creating a new translation, a translation committee will lean overwhelmingly on manuscripts, not external evidence.” (I deduce that what was meant was “patristic,” not “external,” since MSS are part of the external evidence.) I don’t grant that premise. If you read what the Metzger-parrots say about Mark 16:9-20, two of their most popular slies are, “Clement and Origen show no knowledge of these verses,” and “Eusebius and Jerome attest that these verses were absent in most of their MSS.” Clearly either they *do* consider patristic evidence to be very important (since they mention Clement and Origen by name, without mentioning oodles of manuscripts by name), or they at least want their readers to get the impression that they do so.

    RG5: “Even if the footnotes were vague – which they are not – that would not be the same as a lie.” The footnotes /are/ vague. If someone were to say, “Some of the birds in that flock are white, and others are black,” knowing perfectly well that only two of the birds are white, and 1,500 are black, and six are grey, that person would be vague, and anyone listening to his description of the birds would have a right to conclude that a deliberately deception – accomplished by means of vagueness and ambiguity rather than by outright falsehoods, but a deception nonetheless – was being perpetrated. Same story here regarding the manuscripts.
    And I did not say that they are lies; I said that they have the same effect that lies have: they deceive the reader. The use of the terms “some” and “other,” when precise quantities can be used just as easily, and just as concisely, is deceptively vague. Look at the NIV’s footnote at First John 5:7: amazingly, the footnote-writer discovers how to be precise, when the quantities are on his side!

    It is possible for a footnote to mention patristic evidence and the scope of support for rival readings. In less space than is occupies by the ESV’s footnote, one could state, “These 12 verses are not included by the two oldest Greek MSS of Mark 16 (from the 300’s), but all other Greek MSS (over 1,500), from the 400’s onward, include the passage, and it is attested in patristic writings from the 100’s.”

    Regarding Bob McCartney’s false statement: perhaps smaller words will convey my point more clearly: if the Bible-footnotes had been more specific, the chance that he would have made that false statement would have been greatly reduced. The point is not that the NASU’s vague footnote /supports/ his false claim; the point is that the NASU’s vague footnote /allows/ his false claim, whereas a more precisely worded footnote would have been likely to have stopped him from ever making that false claim.

    Regarding the absence of a footnote at Mt. 27:49 in the NIV, NASU, and NIV: this is not a tangent: the refusal of the footnote-writers to inform readers about questionable Alexandrian readings such as this one reveals a bias; they do not want their flagship-MSS to look bad, so they have hidden their faults. But there is nothing that is hidden that will not be revealed.

    Regarding the HCSB’s short note, “Other mss omit bracketed text” — when I observed, “That is vague,” you said, “It most certainly is not.” Are we both using the same definition of the word “vague”?? The footnote-writer could easily refer to precise quantities, and he did not do so. Instead, he used vague terms of quantity when precise terms could have been used instead. Picture a basketball game in which the final score was 2 to 1,500, and then picture a report: “We scored some points, and the other team scored some points.” Such a report would not be considered precise, and its readers would have a right to consider it biased. And if they heard someone say, referring to such a vague report, “Yes; that’s the plain and simple truth,” they would feel justified in drawing the conclusion that the speaker’s evaluation of the report was not altogether grounded in objective reality, and that he, for whatever reason, favored vague wording instead of precise wording.

    RG5: “I’m sure they’d love to know a method to make printed headers, footers and margins magically expand to contain all the extra information that you seem to think is mandatory for a single footnote.” Obviously they do not have such magical abilities, but, equally obviously, they already have the ability to refer to precise quantities, and to attestation-dates, and they could concisely mention those things if they wanted their readers to know about them.

    RG5: “It’s as if there was an entry titled “Australia” in a book. The short little footnote said, “a continent”. Then here comes James Snapp to say . . . .”

    I replied to your comments to say that the footnotes that say that “Some MSS” omit Mark 16:9-20, and “Others” include Mark 16:9-20, are deceptively vague. The question at hand is not, “How can this unfortunate flaw can be remedied?”; the question at hand is one of diagnosis, not cure. And the fact is that such footnotes are vague – deceptively vague, because the proportionate difference between the “Some” (2) and the “Others” (over 1,500) is so immense.

    RG5: (About my statement that the ESV’s footnote begins and ends with vagueness) “No, it doesn’t. It gives a rough state of the mss evidence for this section of Mark, while trying carefully to thread the needle of not biasing the footnote commentary.” What you call “rough” is vague. The ESV’s footnote uses wording which tilts the reader’s perception in favor of the abrupt ending at verse 8. The note is biased; part of it is fictitious, and it needs to be rewritten. The annotator’s decision to use up space by quoting the Shorter Ending, without mentioning the patristic evidence from the 100’s supportive of verses 9-20, is a symptom of bias, not of a shortage of space. It may have been an unconscious bias, but it’s bias nonetheless.

    RG5: “It’s merely inconvenient for your private little war on the CT. You want to hang the CT-based versions so badly, . . . .” Not at all. I want them, and their base-text, and their footnotes, to be improved. I believe we both want this. But improvement will not take place until the need for improvement is acknowledged.

    RG5: “Here’s a hint: nobody elected you judge and jury, and what you “consider” doesn’t carry any weight.”

    What sparkling argumentation, RedGreen5! Facts are facts, whether anyone pays attention to them or not, and regardless of who is stating them. Regarding the footnotes and headings in the NASU, the NIV, the HCSB, and the ESV about Mark 16:9-20, the fact is that they are deceptively vague and need to be improved.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  57. Paul Anderson October 8, 2011 / 8:39 am

    This reply is as much intended to respond to the comments of redgreen5, whoever he is, as much as it is to what Rev. James Snapp and Dr. Maurice Robinson have already added on this question of footnoting in the modern CT based versions.

    First of all redgreen5, the people involved in the work and research at the CSPMT organization are “textual scholars, highly educated and respected ecclesiastics. We are not KJVOists. In your summary of your last rebuttal to the posting of Rev. Snapp you wrote:

    “Again, the elements of a lie are:

    1. the claim must be contrary to fact; otherwise, it is the truth;
    2. the speaker must be aware that the claim is contrary to fact; otherwise it is honest error;
    3. the speaker must propagate the claim with the intent to deceive or mislead the audience;”

    Point no. 1, “the claim must be contrary to fact”: Are you saying that when the CT based versions which disperse broad sweeping inaccurate comments like, “the oldest manuscripts”, “best manuscripts” or even other inaccurate statements often made like “some manuscripts” when it applies to well over 90% of the manuscript evidence? I am not counting noses here as Dr. Robinson aptly puts it, but is this being “scholarly” or “reputable”? And which mss. I might ask are these CT “scholars, committee members etc. standing on for their burden of proof for these claims? Are their preferred mss. in agreement on these important variant matters? Often not. In fact, the bogus claim of an “Alexandrian” text form or formally “Neutral text” is made out of lies and mis-information. For when we speak of the “Alexandrian text” we are mainly dealing with Aleph, B (Vaticanus) and a smattering of readings in fragmentary papyri. Their so-called supporting manuscripts are not “Alexandrian”. Mss. such as 33, 157, 579, 892, 1241 are not “Alexandrian mss. they are “mixed” at the best. Their text form matches the textual pattern of Codex W and not Aleph or B. Their overall agreement with Aleph and B (Vaticanus) is minimal. Even the agreement of Aleph and B is suspect itself. If the Byzantines disagreed as they do among themselves, they would be considered weak in agreement. The truth of the matter is, all CT UBS/NA based versions including the New American (Roman Catholic) post-Vatican II version are based upon a theory based text, “reasoned eclectic” that is overly dependent upon two error prone, corrupted mss. Aleph and B (Vaticanus).

    Point no. 2, Are you suggesting all “CT scholars” are making honest errors at the worst? Well, I am aware of facts where at least one of these so-called respected so-called reputable textual “scholar” prominent on several new version committees that is not only aware of these errors but attempted on purpose to coverup the inadequacies of his arguments in order cover up facts which countered his own position fearing loss of respect and funding if the truth was let out in public regarding his position on textual matters and the new version questionable variants. Not good redgreen 5 on your point no. 2 would you say? Reputable scholars you say? Maybe some are, but not all are and that is a fact.

    Point no. 3, Ibid. no. 2.

    Redgreen5, maybe your points would have more validity if you knew or were aware of more things that go on inside the world of “scholarly” textual criticism. Rev. Snapp and Dr. Robinson have valid reasons for being suspect of the modern versional footnotes. I can state that also as a matter of fact.

    Another point I would like to make on this matter is that the Orthodox Church website has only two English versions on their website homepage for scripture lookup. The KJV & NKJV. Why? It is not that they are necessarily “textual scholars” caring about such matters as critical footnotes in the “modern versions”. It is simply that the KJV & NKJV contain all variants necessary for “proper” worship and faith. No ending of Mark missing, no PA lacking, no Matthean Doxology or fasting verses totally in absence. Take the footnote of the ESV on fasting at Mt. 17:21. If you search on Biblegateway website the passage in the ESV it comes up as a no hit. You have to search the whole chapter to find even the footnote which adds I quote, “e. Matthew 17:20 Some manuscripts insert verse 21: But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.” This is a scholarly footnote? Perhaps they should readily admit the very few mss. which omit the verse and for what reasons. Yes, we can say people can come to faith in Christ through the preaching by a modern version. People can be saved upon just Jn. 3:16 too but that is not the “whole” of Holy Scripture or the Word Of God either.

    Also, perhaps also the new Bible versions would gain more respectability (from non-CT) advocates if they distanced themselves from particular mega-corprate publishers like News Corp. owning both Zondervan (NIV2010) & Harper-Collins which through Walters which in turn publishes the Satanic Bible and Rituals. No conspiracy here right? Just bad affiliations possibly? Facts are facts and business is business but the publishing of Bible versions is more than just business as usual.

    In conclusion, the footnotes in modern versions should inform rather than mis-lead or at best foster inaccurate information regarding important textual variants in the NT.

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    Wash., D.C.
    http://www.cspmt.org

  58. Maurice A. Robinson October 8, 2011 / 12:00 pm

    redgreen5: “It is one thing to say that (a) footnotes could be improved or made more comprehensive. But I think it is quite another thing to say that (b) footnotes which fail to do so are intentional lies….Dr Robinson: are you saying (a) as well as (b)? Or only (a)?”

    Aside from the fact that I see little or no profit in the endless verbal diatribes that have characterized this and other discussions….

    I have many times made it clear that I don’t go along with various conspiracy theories, and any attempt to impugn motives where nothing of the sort has been stated or can be readily discerned would fall into that category.

    In the present discussion I have seen too much of this occurring in the posts (sadly typical of the various “debate” boards in general); here in particular from Mr Snapp, but not solely so. Example, in Mr Anderson’s latest post, he states: “The bogus claim of an ‘Alexandrian’ text form or formally ‘Neutral text’ is made out of lies and mis-information”.

    Were one more properly to suggest that such claims were “based on what appears to be a faulty theory and a mis-weighting of the evidence”, such a comment would far better serve the purpose than what otherwise seems to come across as angry rhetoric. (And for my part, I would not hold that the Alexandrian texttype is “bogus”, nor that “mixed” MSS otherwise pertaining to the Alexandrian texttype are somehow not “Alexandrian” in nature. Tim Finney has clearly demonstrated on the basis of statistical clustering the valid and accurate alignments of texttype-related clusters; any claims to the contrary first must attempt to falsify Finney’s hard data on this point, which I suggest cannot be done).

    To return to the matter at hand, I see the wording of the various English translation footnotes as deriving from translators and editors for whom the precise delineation of manuscript or particular texttype support was never considered much of an issue to begin with. Most of them had already accepted the critical text as their base, assuming such as “best” without further question.

    In addition, many or most translators are not text-critical experts, nor would they consider precise information necessary in footnoted data regarding alternative readings as these might relate to the intended lay readership of those various translations.

    Given that nearly all translators and editors of English versions were trained from a perspective that promoted the critical text position as “best” (with the entire mass of Byzantine MSS generally dismissed as a mere single witness of secondary character), there is no surprise when the citation of alternate readings reflects a critical text orientation, and in the process provides an incomplete or less than accurate statement of the actual text-critical situation.

    That is the matter that needs to be rectified in the present situation, and not an endless warring over words.

  59. Walter October 8, 2011 / 2:15 pm

    Dr. Robinson,

    Let me say that I always appreciate your scholarly and scientific approach to the issues of textual criticism, and I hope you continue to post on this board as you have time and opportunity. I understand your desire to keep the debate purely upon what can be proven by hard facts. I also understand that much harm has been done to the overall discussion of textual criticism by all the hyperbole and melodramatics of some KJVO’s over time, and you wish to stay as far away from that as humanly possible. In addition to this I sympathize with the fact that all too often the MT position is mistaken to be the KJVO or TRO position, and there is a desire to separate these positions so the taint that often comes with KJVO is not placed upon the MT position thus causing it to be unfairly ridiculed before the discussion even begins.

    Having said all that though………..it is not out of bounds to look at hard evidence and even a preponderance of hard evidence in some cases and draw some conclusions based on potential motives. It may not be scientific, but I believe we have to understand that when we’re dealing with something as supernatural as God’s Word that all things involved are not just purely fact driven. There is reason to believe from early partristic writings that there were those trying to tamper with God’s Word from a very early time. In my opinion it cannot be denied that since the beginning of the time of Westcott and Hort there has been much confusion regarding exactly where God’s Word is as well as casting some questions and doubt on the overall Preservation of Scripture, and in my view casting doubt on the Infallibility and Inerrancy of Scripture.

    Even if we chose to believe the very best of everyone’s motives involved from Tichendorf to W & H, and to all of those involved in this debate from the beginning, and even if we believe everyone who has ever come to this issue simply wanted to arrive at the truth of God’s Word based solely on scientific evidence (a view I don’t hold) then we would STILL have to recognize the overall supernatural element behind all the confusion and doubt and ascribe some of that to a spiritual force that has always opposed God’s Word. In my opinion if you tried to approach this issue solely within a scientific vacuum shutting out all supernatural elements as well as the depravity of man then you handicap yourself from the beginning.

    Maybe I’m naive (or uninformed), but from what I’ve read I believe the majority of those on the original 1984 NIV translation committee had a desire for the truth and wanted to arrive at the best translation possible. I believe you could say the same of the Amplified and ESV. The problems in the translations I would not ascribe to evil motives on the part of the translators but just the fact that they’re working with a faulty basis for their Greek texts. I want to do a separate post on footnotes, but I’ll just say here that I think the reason for the vague and misleading footnotes is because they know that if they mention the overwhelming number of manuscripts that support MT readings then they’ll have to go into an explanation as to why these majority readings should be dismissed, and there is no good answer that will satisfy the average reader.

    On the other hand there is the JW’s NWT translation that I would hope we could all agree is agenda driven and purposefully mistranslated. Is it possible there are other versions that fall somewhere in-between the ESV and the NWT? Would the RSV possibly fit in this in-between category given its treatment of Acts 20:28, Romans 9:5, and Jude 5 (possibly other verses as well)?

    In conclusion Dr. Robinson, I’d just like to share with you that from a layman’s viewpoint we need BOTH your perspective and thoughts on this issue as well as the kind of feedback given by Paul Anderson and James Snapp. Let’s remember that Jesus would look at the words and actions of some and ascribed motives to them that to others seemed way out there and involved taking major leaps. No we are not Jesus, but we do have the Spirit of Christ. As much as this has been abused throughout history to wrongfully accuse others of things and draw conclusions that weren’t there, that doesn’t mean we should outright reject this either.

  60. Walter October 8, 2011 / 2:50 pm

    Rather than addressing an individual on this thread regarding the issue of footnotes, I’m going to take the approach of just addressing the issue in general. I don’t see any reason to get into parsing words as to what constitutes a lie vs. a misstatement vs. a half-truth vs. vague vs. misleading, etc. All I can do is give you my impression as a layman on the subject who comes at this with as little bias as possible.

    I’ve stated many times that my primary translation for almost 20 years was the NIV, and I still read the Amplified everyday. I have no animosity toward many modern versions. If you’re reading the ESV, NASV, NIV(1984), Amplified, as well as a few others and God is blessing you with a growing relationship with Himself through his Spirit as you read God’s Word in these versions then I’d recommend that you keep going. That is the advice I recently gave to my son. At the same time I took a few minutes to give him a brief introduction about textual differences and how he should be aware of those differences. It is my belief that at this time we should not be focusing on getting people off translations (except for bad ones) and rather spending time educating people on the subject of textual criticism and laying the groundwork for more substantive changes in the future.

    Now back to the subject of footnotes. I have simply given my perspective on what I believe are footnotes that are misleading and biased. So if my belief is correct then why is it happening? I think there are two reasons. One is that there is an understanding that if you lay out all the evidence side by side along with laying out the variant readings side by side that most orthodox Bible Believing Christians are going to choose the MT variants. In an earlier post I was accused of being essentially enamored with the More is Best argument. I am a logical and rational person (a computer programmer by trade), and to me it is a matter of math. If we know the MT was the majority from at least the 400’s just based on hard evidence, and this trend continued up until the time that manuscripts were no longer copied by hand then it is reasonable and logical to conclude the MT has ALWAYS been the Majority Text. Everyone from the time of Westcott and Hort has conceded this point. What they say though is that something happened from about the time of the mid 4th century that CAUSED the MT to become the MT and the Alexandrian minority readings had been in the majority up to that point. So let’s review. If we tell people that the MT has been the Majority and not just the Majority but the overwhelming majority from the 400’s, and we know it is logical to conclude from this it has always been the majority, THEN we have to give them an explanation as to what happened to cause it to become the Majority.

    So here is why they would not address this and deal with this in a footnote: THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A PROVABLE THEORY AS TO HOW THE MAJORITY BECAME THE MAJORITY AND CAUSED A REVERSAL SO THAT WHAT HAD BEEN THE MAJORITY WAS RELEGATED TO THE MINORITY. Every theory along these lines from the time of W & H has been unproven and unsubstantiated conjecture. Then if you also address that while the Sinaticus and Vaticanus may be the oldest there are patristic readings supporting the MT that go back even farther than them and in fact to the immediate generation after the originals, then “Oldest is best” is nullified.

    If you were to put footnotes that covered only even part of this information the logical question from many readers would be think the CT translations were based on less reliable Greek Texts thus causing doubt as to why they should be reading the translation to begin with. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why you wouldn’t include footnotes that cast doubt on the product you’re offering.

    Then there is what I believe to be a 2nd reason why footnotes are misleading and vague. This is just my opinion, but having listened to some CT Proponents (and sincere ones at that) I come away with the distinct conclusion that they believe the CT is the more reliable text, but they believe you have to be very informed and intellectually open to come to that conclusion. In other words if you take the evidence at first glance and face value then many lay readers will assume the MT is more reliable because it is an easier argument to grasp and understand. Since the CT argument is based on a more complex algorithm they fear most wouldn’t take the time to look into it deep enough to grasp it fully. Soooooooooo, they feel justified in not giving what I would term a more balanced approach because they feel the evidence you could lay out in a paragraph would not be enough to do the subject justice and would cause readers to come to a wrongful conclusion. So given this, many would say that the footnotes aren’t lies or misleading but just enough to give the right conclusion with the smallest amount of information.

  61. James Snapp, Jr. October 8, 2011 / 2:55 pm

    Walter,

    (Just chiming in:)

    W: . . . “I’ll just say here that I think the reason for the vague and misleading footnotes is because they know that if they mention the overwhelming number of manuscripts that support MT readings then they’ll have to go into an explanation as to why these majority readings should be dismissed, and there is no good answer that will satisfy the average reader.”

    That’s pretty much the deduction that I draw as well: the annotators are not being sinister, but they are being deceptively vague so as to prevent readers from seeing the ratios of support that are involved (like, 2 versus 1,500+ in the case of Mk. 16:9-20,, or, in the case of Mk. 1:41, 1 versus 1,500+) which would elicit “Are they serious?” reactions from many readers. Probably the annotators think they are doing readers a favor by sparing them the labor and training that is required to perceive that it is perfectly okay to favor readings in such small minorities. But even if my deductions are all wrong, and the annotators wrote vaguely for some other reason, the wording of the footnotes remains vague, and needs to be improved (and, in the case of the ESV, corrected).

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  62. Maurice A. Robinson October 8, 2011 / 6:34 pm

    Walter: “There is reason to believe from early partristic writings that there were those trying to tamper with God’s Word from a very early time.”

    Without getting into elements of the remaining discussion (regarding which I mostly concur with Walter, Mr Snapp, and Mr Anderson regarding various particulars), I still see too much of the “conspiracy mentality” permeating the issue, as exemplified by the statement above.

    While it certainly is correct and can be established from patristic writings and accounts of early church history that there were attempts to alter/corrupt the text of the NT for sinister (i.e., non-orthodox, heretical, or heterodox) purposes, I would contend that the NT MSS that remain cannot be demonstrated to be the products of such corruption. For example, we have no copies whatever of Marcion’s widespread and apparently highly popular “abridged version” of the NT, just as we have no early copies of Tatian’s Diatessaron, nor any NT texts otherwise most plainly altered by various heretical or heterodox factions.

    Rather — as I have stated previously elsewhere — the fathers in fact were keen watchdogs and guardians of the text, with the result that heretical or non-orthodox corrupted documents simply did not survive (and if they did, they would readily be recognized by their manifold aberrancies, as even the early father Caius had stated).

    To put it simply, the existing NT MSS do not reflect any heretical origin or perpetuation, and in most instances their readings do not cause any significant theological problem such as would negate or add to doctrinal teachings otherwise presented.

    As I often have said, were I on the proverbial desert island with only a copy of the NIV and/or the unannotated Westcott-Hort text, I could be reasonably content, despite my knowing that a text and translation more to my preference could have been a better option.

    • redgreen5 October 9, 2011 / 12:17 am

      Dr Robinson

      To put it simply, the existing NT MSS do not reflect any heretical origin or perpetuation, and in most instances their readings do not cause any significant theological problem such as would negate or add to doctrinal teachings otherwise presented.

      And to be crystal-clear:
      I assume that you when you say “the existing mss” above, you meant that to also include those mss upon which W/H and the CT are dependent? And thus include Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and all the rest in your evaluation that existing mss do not show any heretical origins and/or perpetuation?

      Am I correct?

      I believe this is what you’re saying; but it never hurts to ask and be sure.

      Thank you.

  63. Paul Anderson October 9, 2011 / 6:17 am

    This is where we differ with Dr. Robinson at CSPMT. If left on the proverbial desert island we would pray for clarity and understanding while stuck on that isle then in turn pray for a alternative like a KJV or NKJV then maybe in addition a Byzantine Greek NT. If need be, to be delivered via the proverbial glass bottle.

    Again, we pray for clarity and understanding then seek God’s blessings for something better that would contain the “whole” of Scripture. In reality some of us on the Board at CSPMT have been in that position before too complacent and yet not satisfied with the status quo (modern versions, CT Gk NTs) so we pray for improvements.

    To redgreen5, CSPMT and its supporters are not so positive on B and Aleph and we have reservations on its heretical origins and or/perpetuation. Being made very likely at Caesarea under the pro-Arian Eusebius via Alexandrian papyri brought by Origen. Again, mss. not being written in a theological vacuum. Hope that is clear, which is also likely why both do not have any textual dependents (descendants) no matter how hard one looks for such mss. Blessings.

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    Wash., D.C.
    http://www.cspmt.org

  64. Maurice A. Robinson October 10, 2011 / 3:17 pm

    redgreen5: Am I correct?

    Yes. As I have continually noted, for some 10 years following my conversion I used without serious question not only the critical text (at that time UBS-1), but also English translations based upon such (NASV, RSV etc.).

    For all practical doctrinal and theological purposes both those sources remain adequate and sufficient, even though (as Mr Anderson has stated) if on the desert island and knowing what I now know, I certainly would hope minimally for a predominantly Byzantine text and a NKJV to wash up in a hermetically sealed crate as opposed to a Wilson basketball (think Tom Hanks); but if such never occurred, I would remain responsibly content, and could easily survive on what I did happen to possess.

  65. Andrew Suttles October 10, 2011 / 3:53 pm

    I would pray for a rescue ship, or at least some food/shelter, matches, signal flares, etc.

    I’ve already memorized 1 John 5:7, so I could get by without the NKJV until the rescue ship arrived.

  66. Bob Hayton October 10, 2011 / 11:38 pm

    **Moderator’s Note**

    First, an apology. I haven’t paid as close attention to this ensuing discussion as I would have liked to until now. I have lots of other things going on and I just kept saying I’d read these comments later…

    Anyway, by now most have seen the back and forth between Snapp and Redgreen. I have deleted several of the worst posts in that exchange.

    Redgreen, earlier in these comments you objected to Nazaroo reading motives into people and into your posts. You were doing that with Snapp, plain and simple. You kept demanding retractions from Walter and other such tactics. Please, this is about ideas and questions not about people.

    For my part, I saw the possibility of the NASB note being misleading and biased with its brevity, and I think you’re refusing to accept anything else on this question.

    I love the NET Bible notes and wish all Bibles could be so expansive with the notes. Perhaps having a Textual Criticism section in the back of a study Bible would help, and then use M, NU, TR etc. like the NKJV does with a few notes about manuscript numbers or whatever, and see back for more or something.

    I think it comes down to trying not to confuse and mislead people, and the translators are bound by the text they choose as a basis and other considerations.

    Also, Paul Anderson mentioned Zondervan being associated with Haper Collins and the Satanic Bible. If you study it out, the Committed on Bible Translation (CBT) has exclusive control of the text of the NIV and Zondervan has no influence on that at all. At least per the answers to the questions that were being given by the CBT during the most recent edition of the 2011 NIV. The CBT answers to Biblica, the Bible society, but Zondervan has an exclusive license to publish the resultant text.

    Anyway, let’s try to keep the conversation civil, and it may help to keep discussions grouped by topic, so I have finally turned on the forums (see link at the top of the page) and we’ll see if you all want to post in there. Again take pains not to make it a personal spat. There is a lot of healthy discussion and learning that can be had and similar points of view that get overlooked and lost in the shuffle when we’re in the midst of a loud “He-said/she-said” type argument.

    It makes it all the more likely for people like Dr. Robinson to bow out of the exchanges, and others like him, because it all gets too personal, too quickly.

    Anyway, I hope to have some more fresh posts coming out too. And please Contact me with ideas for new posts, too. With other obligations the time I have for this blog is limited, but I look at discussions like this one and see learning, discussion and healthy debate thriving, so I’m happy to provide the site. See the “Suggest” section I added in the sidebar too. You all who are regular commenters, please feel free to help me in making this site all the more useful and beneficial for all by adding healthy discussion points.

    Contact me too, if you meet the qualifications of the other contributors to this blog: you are well-versed in this debate, you are formerly KJV Only, but have modified your position to some degree (anything from KJV-Preferred to Majority Text or Critical Text). You have to have a knack for remaining calm and reasonable, and abide by the spirits of the commenting policy, but I’d be happy to consider you for helping add fresh posts.

    Anyone who has written on the topic who is a regular commenter here, feel free to let me know and I can post notices about new articles or excerpt your works here too.

    Anyway, please accept my apologies for letting the site go for a while. Sometimes just each side saying your piece and then walking on, will help the discussion to continue and not get bogged down.

    So no more on the footnotes please. Instead consider a new forum topic or wait for the next posts to come this week.

    Bob Hayton

  67. Bob Hayton October 11, 2011 / 5:49 pm

    Clarification: I totally understand angst about the profits of the NIV going to the coffers of Harper Collins and Newscorp and all. Also, I’m not trying to single out Dr. Robinson, just that he’s told me he rarely comments on this issue online because of the kinds of debates that are sure to follow. That’s why I used his name in this.

  68. Scott D. Andersen October 12, 2011 / 8:53 am

    Thank you everyone for the ongoing discussion. Especially Dr. Robinson, Paul Anderson and James Snapp. I did think the discussion was helpful at many points. Especially to understand better the MT position. I did purchase the GNT for Beginning Readers resulting from following this discussion. Hoping very much Dr. Robinson and all continue to provide clarifying comments as the blog progresses.

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