The King James Version, the Modern-Day Bible Versions, and the “Missing Verses”

Many believers probably receive a short bias article alerting them that there are almost sixty-five thousand words removed from our modern-day Bible versions like Jehovah, calvary, Holy Ghost and omnipotent just to mention some in the widely read New International Version.

Modern-day versions has been accused of deleting “forty-five complete verses” altogether labelling them as “missing verses.” Modern-day Bible versions like the New International Version (NIV), English Standard Version (ESV), and New American Standard Bible (NASB) were not spared. This very short article even accused two prominent and respected Christian publishers namely Zondervan and Thomas Nelson of compromising the Christian faith by partnering with Harper-Collins, a secular publication responsible for reprinting literatures against Christianity, that is, The Satanic Bible (1969 Avon Books) and promoting homosexuality through a book titled The Joy of Gay Sex (1977 HarperResource).

Are these valid reasons to give up the modern versions of the Bible today? Where is the news coming from?  What is the purpose of the article?

This is a propaganda aimed to promote the King James Version.

Many of these arguments have been refuted several years ago in many lectures and formal debates by known biblical scholars namely Dr. James White, Dr. Daniel Wallace, Dr. D. A. Carson, and many more.

In fact, the unscholarly article was written by a King James Only advocate and proponent of Peter Ruckman, Samuel Gipp, Dr. D. A. Waite, and Gail Riplinger whose sole purpose is to remove all modern-day Bible versions from the hand of every believer but the King James Version.

Their works did not escape the notice and careful scrutiny of many biblical scholars and serious researchers which leads them to write several scholarly books and articles to respond and refute like, The King James Controversy (Dr. James White), The King James Version Debate (Dr. D.A. Carson), The King James Only Debate(Dr. John Ankerberg & Dr. John Weldon), An AIA Review of the New Age Bible Versions(Bob & Gretchen Passantino), and others.

Many biblical scholars carefully translated the ancient biblical languages into our modern-day languages that can be easily understood by lay people. Unfortunately, the first manuscripts written by the apostles were no longer with us. However, before the manuscripts became extinct many scribes in Alexandria, Byzantium (Constantinople), West (Rome), and Caesarea (Jerusalem) volunteered to copy the original manuscripts in order to maintain their circulation from one church to another. Even though it is difficult to assure of an exact copy of the original manuscript by one scribe due to possibility of human error there are still thousands of manuscripts to compare so faithfulness to the original can be achieve.

Many critics would question the accuracy of the Bible versions we have in our possession. Surprisingly, they are willing to accept the trustworthiness of such works like Homer’s Iliad with only 643 manuscripts. But they try to undermine the fact that there are currently 5,800 Greek New Testament manuscripts and 300 of those can be found in the National Library of Greece.

These manuscripts may not be fully identical to each other but have a number of minor differences which we call variants. There are approximately 400,000 variants. Approximately one to two percent only of these variants affects the meaning of the text. While ninety-eight percent of these variants could be differences in spelling or words due to unintentional Scribal error, word pronunciation while dictating, or word order. These variants has not affected the soundness of the Christian teaching about the Trinity, Christ, salvation, church, among others. Some of the “missing texts” falls under these variants.

The missing texts are not to be understood as withholding the truth from Bible readers rather as awareness that such verses cannot be found in the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. One rule of the thumb amongst Greek scholars is the more closer the manuscript to the original writings the more reliable it is.

Sadly, several King James Onlyist advocates are not after trustworthiness and accuracy but with an agenda of placing the said version up on the pedestal making them guilty of bibliolatry.

Some facts that you need to consider are the following:

1. The only family of manuscripts (Byzantine) used by the King James translators are the Textus Receptus(Latin, “Received Text”) prepared by Desiderius Erasmus from at least four to five manuscripts, slightly modified by Robert Stephanus and Theodore Beza. Erasmus checked no more than six Greek manuscripts. There are other families of manuscripts available during that time like the Alexandrian, Western, and Ceasarean that can be used for comparison by any sincere biblical scholar. These manuscripts will surely help determine which of the passages are more accurate and faithful to the autographs (original writings) of the apostles. Unfortunately, the King James Onlyist advocates did not use it due to bias reasons.

2. The article circulating among Facebook users was written by a King James Onlyist advocate whose aim is to dispel the believers’ trust over the modern-day Bible versions steering them to their choice version namely the King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version). Some extreme views believe that the translators of the King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version) were “inspired” by the Holy Spirit, therefore, worthy of reading. If this is the case then they will surely end up concluding that the King James Bible of 1611(Authorized Version) of the Bible is “inspired” by God. This claim is totally absurd not to mention arrogant.

3. A number of King James Onlyist advocates became so legalistic even to the point of questioning the salvation of every believer who reads their passages from the modern Bible versions. They believed that unless you read in the King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version)  one will not hear the voice of the Master. Surprisingly, they compare the Shakesperean or Elizabethan words of the King James Bible of 1611(Authorized Version) with that of the original autograph of the apostles.

4. The 1 John 5:7 passage of St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate found it’s way in the pages of the King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version). This passage was inserted by Jerome in hope to lend support to the Trinitarian doctrine which the Textus Receptus (Latin “Received Text”) also followed. According to Dr. Paul D. Wegner, Professor of Old Testament Studies, “in time the Vulgate’s text incorporated many copying errors.” (A Journey from Texts to Translations, p. 217)

a. “Quoniam tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in caelo: Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus: et hi tres unum sunt.” – A passage inserted by Jerome in his Latin Vulgate (AD 383-405).

b. “For there are three that beare record in heauen, the Father, the Word, and the holy Ghost: and these three are one.” – The translators of King James followed the Textus Receptus in their King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version)

c. “the Spirit and the water and the blood, and the three are into the one.” – This is how it is written in the earliest Greek manuscripts therefore giving credibility and accuracy on the renderings of our modern-day Bible versions.

Of course, we are not limited to 1 John 5:7 in proving the Trinity doctrine but there are still various passages that lends support to this teaching like Gen. 1:26; Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19-20; 2 Cor. 13:14, etc.

First, there are thousands of variants found in many Greek manuscripts. The seventeen omitted texts in the modern Bible versions does not mean a conspiracy theory but rather to inform us that these verses cannot be found in the earliest family of manuscripts. The more early the manuscripts, the more reliable it will be. In fact, the very latest Greek manuscript which is the Bodmer Papyri in 1955 are not available for the King James Bible of 1611 translators. In reality, they are not really “missing” because many of them are still found in the footnote of modern Bible versions.

Second, it’s true that Zondervan and Thomas Nelson publishing houses became part of HarperCollins, but this doesn’t mean they’ve compromised for that would be an unfair judgment. In fact, it’s good to know that HarperCollins step in to acquire the two Christian publications since the former has a much wider reach than the latter. As long as these publications stand strongly on their conviction this move will surely advance the Gospel of Christ more in different parts of the world. The HarperCollins may have printed such books as The Satanic Bible and The Joy of Gay Sex in the past but what’s more important today is preaching the Gospel of Christ as Paul wrote,

But whether or not their motives are pure, the fact remains that the message about Christ is being preached, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. – Phil. 1:18, New Living Translation

Any story sounds true until someone sets the record straight. – Prov. 18:17, New Living Translation

(Revised January 10, 2018)

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