Which Bible is the Word of God

COPYRIGHT ©2000 - James M. Frye

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: All scripture quotations are taken from the Authorized King James Bible. Bold and items within brackets are the author's.

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Introduction

There are many different "Bible" versions today claiming to be the Word of God. Each one tells us that it is the most reliable, most accurate, etc. etc.. But which of them is God’s Word? Since they all disagree with one another, we can’t possibly say that they all are. Can we? Are we to suppose that God has written more than one Bible and that he makes statements in one and then disagrees with himself in another? No, of course not. God only wrote one Bible.

How, then, do we go about determining which "Bible" is the Bible? If we look to human opinion for the answer, we will find nearly as many opinions as we find people. One person will like one. Another person will prefer another. Yet a third person will assure us that it really doesn't matter, telling us that any of them will do just fine.

Since we aren’t interested in human opinion here, we need to look to scripture for help in resolving this issue. There are two questions that we will need to consider.

1) Which is the correct text?

2) Which is the proper translation of that text?

In this booklet we will look to scripture for help in answering these questions.

The Translation Question

First, let's deal with the translation question. There are two primary methods that are used to translate scripture.

1) Formal Equivalency

2) Dynamic Equivalency

The Formal Equivalency method seeks to translate scripture literally (word for word). The Dynamic Equivalency method seeks to translate scripture by paraphrasing (put it into your own words). Which is the proper translation method? Even apt translators using an "inferior" method of translation, can only produce an "inferior" translation. In order to determine the proper method of translation, we must first understand the doctrine of verbal inspiration.

The Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration

The Bible teaches that God worked in such a way that the writers of scripture wrote exactly what He wanted them to write.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

 

2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

 

1 Corinthians 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

 

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

We must also keep in mind that this inspiration extended to the very words.

1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth

 

Exodus 24:4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD...

 

Jeremiah 30:2 Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.

The Translation Question Answered

As I stated earlier, the Formal Equivalency method seeks to translate scripture literally (word for word) while the Dynamic Equivalency method seeks to translate scripture by paraphrasing (put it into your own words). Which is the proper translation method? The Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration teaches us that God inspired the very words of scripture. Since words were the unit of inspiration, words should also be the unit of translation. Let's see what God thinks about people changing His words.

Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

So we can conclude, based upon the Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration, that the Formal Equivalency method is the proper method of translation.

Translations produced by the "inferior" Dynamic Equivalency method are "inferior" translations. More than that, they are very displeasing to God, who does not like his words to be changed.

 

The Textual Question

Now, let's deal with the textual question. When it comes to the Old Testament, virtually all translations come from the same Masoretic Hebrew text (although some versions alter this text in a number of places).

When we come to the New Testament, there are primarily two types of Greek texts that are used.

#1) The Textus Receptus

#2) The Modern Critical text

Which of these texts is the correct text? Even apt translators working from an "inferior" text can only produce an "inferior" translation. In order to determine which text is the correct text, we must first understand the doctrine of providential preservation.

The Doctrine of Providential Preservation

The Bible not only teaches that God inspired the words of scripture. It also teaches that God would preserve the words of scripture.

Psalm 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them [God‘s Words], O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

 

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

 

1 Peter 1:23-25 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Notice that God said that he would preserve both his word and his words. God’s word refers to the whole Bible. God’s words refer to the individual words in the Bible.

The Textual Question Answered

The doctrine of Providential Preservation teaches us that God would "Preserve" his words. Since God promised to preserve his words, upon which of these texts do we see the hand of God's Providential Preservation?

1) The Textus Receptus has been in continuous use in the church from the earliest days until now.

2) The Modern Critical text is based upon manuscripts which were lost to the church for a period of over 1000 years.

So we can conclude, based upon the Doctrine of Providential Preservation, that the Textus Receptus is the correct text.

 

Other Reasons for Rejecting the Modern Critical Translations

Not only does the Modern Critical text show a lack of providential preservation, it also has other problems as well.

1) It is Based upon Only 1% of the Manuscript Evidence

Here is the manuscript evidence. These figures are from 1992 and may have changed slightly. (Figures from "Defending The King James Bible" by D.A. Waite page 56.)

Manuscripts Supporting the Textus Receptus and the KJB

Papyrus Fragments . 75

Uncials ……………. 258

Cursives ……….… 2741

Lectionaries …….. 2143

Total ……………...5217

Manuscripts Supporting the Modern Critical Text and the New Versions

Papyrus Fragments . 13

Uncials ………………. 9

Cursives ……………. 23

Lectionaries …………. 0

Total ………………… 45

The Final Score is:

KJV - 5217 -vs- NEW - 45

KJV - 99% -vs- NEW - 1%

Why would anyone want a translation that is supported by only 1% of the manuscript evidence, when they can have a one that is supported by 99% of the manuscript evidence?

2) The Corrupt Nature of the Manuscripts Upon Which it is Based

The Modern Critical text is based primarily upon two manuscripts. These manuscripts are often referred to, in the footnotes of modern translations, as "the oldest and best". The two so-called "oldest and best" manuscripts are Codex Vaticanus (B) and Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph).

Herman C. Hoskier, who collated these two manuscripts, gives 924 pages of documentation in "Codex B and It's Allies, A Study and An Indictment" that these two manuscripts are two of the most corrupt manuscripts on the face of the earth. Aleph and B disagree with each other in over 3,000 places in the 4 gospels alone! What do others who have examined these manuscripts have to say about them?

Dr. Scrivener writes of Sinaiticus (Aleph):

"The Codex is covered with such alterations – i.e., alterations of an obviously correctional character - brought in by at least ten different revisers, some of them systematically spread over every page..."

Dean J. W. Burgon writes of Sinaiticus (Aleph):

"On many occasions 10, 20, 30, 40 words are dropped through very carelessness. Letters and words, even whole sentences, are written twice over, or begun and immediately cancelled; whereby a clause is omitted because it happens to end in the same words as the clause preceding, occurs no less than 115 times in the New Testament."

Dr. Scrivener (citing Dr. Dobbin) writes of Vaticanus (B):

"He calculates that Codex B leaves out words or whole clauses no less than 330 times in Mathew, 365 in Mark, 439 in Luke, 357 in John, 384 in the Acts, 681 in the surviving Epistles; or 2,556 in all."

Dean J.W. Burgon writes of Vaticanus (B):

"Matthew 21:4, five words written twice over; Matthew 26:56-57, six words; Luke 1:37, three words or one line; John 17:18, six words. These however, are but a few of many."

(Quotes taken from "Final Authority" by William P. Grady pages 103-105.)

These are the so-called "oldest and best" manuscripts. They are not worth the paper that they are written on.

 

Putting It All Together

In the beginning of this booklet we set out to answer two questions.

1) Which is the correct text?

2) Which is the proper translation of that text?

After looking to scripture for the answer to these questions we have learned the following:

1) We know from the doctrine of Providential Preservation that the Textus Receptus is the correct text.

The following translations are not based on the Textus Receptus. They come from the incorrect Modern Critical text and should, therefore, be rejected.

Examples of Modern Critical Translations.

The New International Version (NIV)

Today’s English Version (TEV)

The New Living Translation (NLT)

The Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The New American Standard Version (NASV)

The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

2) We know from the doctrine of Verbal Inspiration that the Formal Equivalency method is the proper translation method.

The following translations are not translated according to the Formal Equivalency method. They are translated by the incorrect Dynamic Equivalency method and should, therefore, be rejected.

Examples of Dynamic Equivalent Translations

The New International Version (NIV)

Today’s English Version (TEV)

The New Living Translation (NLT)

The Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Of all the "Bibles" that are readily available today, there is only one that comes from the Textus Receptus and is translated according to the Formal Equivalency method - the Authorized Version (KJV).

The New King James Version (NKJV), although it claims to be a "Formal Equivalent" translation, contains many (over 2000) instances of "Dynamic Equivalency". In the preface, (the NKJV) claims to be essentially the same as The Authorized King James Version (KJV) except that the language has been updated. Instead, it has thousands of changes that have nothing to do with updating the language at all. Where the language is updated, it is often updated incorrectly or in ways that change the entire meaning of a passage.

In this booklet we made a distinction between the word of God, and the words of God. God’s word refers to the whole Bible. God’s words refer to the individual words in the Bible. Many modern translations today, although they may contain some of the words of God, are not the word of God (in its entirety). Since they are based upon corrupt manuscripts and/or incorrect translation methods, many of God’s words have been changed, removed, or added to. These "Bibles" are not the word of God! God’s true word (Bible) contains all of God’s words.

Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

If you would like to have a Bible that contains all of the words of God, get a copy of the Authorized Version (KJV). It is the word of God!