Editing God’s Words: Modern Bibles and Textual Criticism Analyzed

What follows is the introduction to a book I am researching and writing. It may take me another 6 months to a year to finish, depending on how much time I am able to devote to the project. I need to return to work as soon as my back will allow, but I plan to work only part time so I can keep working on this book:

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This book is the result of several years of research into our modern Bibles and the King James Only (KJO) controversy. It will make the KJO proponents unhappy, but those who promote the modern Bibles based on the Westcott and Hort text will fume with anger.

As a young adult, I loved the NIV, but I was troubled by footnotes that said things like, a particular verse is “not found in the oldest and best” manuscripts. But I believed that the experts knew what they were doing.

Many decades later, as a researcher, journalist, and historian, I learned that they were not using the same Greek text to make their English translation as was used for the KJV. I learned that two Anglican bishops, Westcott and Hort, created a Greek master-text based mostly on two Greek Bibles that show signs of being changed by heretics and edited numerous times, so they do not even agree with each other, as well as most other Bible manuscripts.

So I set out to investigate the matter. Were the claims of the KJO group accurate, or are the modern Bibles more accurate than the KJV? I read websites full of information presented by the King James Only advocates, and then several books on both sides of the issue.

I never expected my investigation to turn into a book, because there are already many books supporting both sides. However, my skill-set is thinking outside the box and figuring things out, as seen in my other books. As such, I have some new insights and surprising information to offer.

I understand why many people have rebelled against the modern Bibles and use only the King James Version (KJV). But as I researched I began to see that both sides of the debate were partly right and partly wrong.

I learned that the KJO believers have gone to an extreme by teaching that the English of the KJV translation is, itself, divinely inspired, and therefore perfect without a single verse or word that could be translated better. This is sad because it causes many people to reject their argument completely and accept the modern versions, which I have found are indeed corrupted.

However, I must give credit and thanks to the KJO group for keeping alive the truth about the modern versions being corrupt. Without them, the Christian public may never have gotten exposed to the whole truth of the matter, and may have accepted the modern versions without asking questions.

I originally laughed at the whole King James Only idea, because I have used many different translations and also looked up words in the original Greek using Greek/English dictionaries, so I knew that the KJ bible is not perfect, but I was shocked when I learned that almost all modern translations are based on adulterated Greek texts.

For those of you who are just learning about this subject, I will present a concise history of how we got the KJV and our modern Bibles, what textual criticism is and how the textual critics often engage in faulty reasoning.

I actually prefer the wording of modern Bibles, especially the NIV, and have used it as the primary text in several of my other books. But it is plagued by the same issues as most other modern Bibles; many words, phrases, and whole verses removed or changed.

The Greek text used for KJV is known as the Textus Receptus (TR). I know that it is not perfect and needs to be corrected in several places. But textual “experts” did not set out to correct the TR, they figuratively threw it into the trash, while compiling a new Greek text from old Bibles that have clearly been corrupted.

This new Greek text is now the foundation of all modern Bibles except for the New King James Version, the Modern English Version (MEV), and several King James updates like the Modern KJV. The Modern Literal Translation (MLV) is currently only available as an electronic text.

I have never been a KJV advocate, and long prayed that God would give us a better translation of its original Greek, which happened with the MEV. But it is still not perfect, though it is much better than the KJV and the NKJV, because the wording of the NKJV is not great, and the translators could not resist shedding doubt by saying the “oldest and best” manuscripts don’t have certain verses.

The change to the Westcott and Hort (WH) text occurred in the late 1800s. I first became aware of this when I read the preface to a Greek / English interlinear Bible, by Jay P. Green, Sr. which led me to learn more about the subject.

The advocates for the modern Bibles want us to believe that all the modern Bibles are the authentic Words of God, even though they are all different. One Bible includes a particular verse, another Bible leaves it out, one says “Lord Jesus Christ” in one place, another says “Lord,” or just “Jesus,” or even God. It causes people to doubt the reliability and veracity of the Bible, and to doubt the truth of Christianity. Some people have actually lost their Christian faith because of it (examples will be given). Apparently, God cannot make up his mind what he wants to say, so he says whatever these “experts” want him to say.

The modern Bibles have received so much condemnation that the advocates are actually blaming the King James Only believers for it, but they are NOT the ones who are causing people to doubt, but the corrupted Bibles. Even some of the textual critics themselves have lost their faith and become unbelievers such as Bart Ehrman. He now writes books about the Bible in an effort to make other people become agnostic like he became.

In fact, text critics will have you believe that it is not necessary to be a God-fearing Christian full of the Holy Spirit to edit the very Words of God, but only have a command of ancient Greek. The Bible says that only by the Holy Spirit can anyone understand the Bible, yet we are expected to let unbelievers decided what the actual Words of God are. Abomination! And that is exactly what you get when you have an agnostic like Bart Ehrman dissecting the Bible and deciding what God’s words are.

But what is also a huge travesty, is that conservative Bible-believing Christians have adopted the WH text and their faulty ideas. They are even writing books for the sole purpose of trying to convince the Christian public that the modern Bibles are the reliable Word of God. Shameful.

This book is the story of how all this came to be, starting with the first Bibles and then to the Bible that Westcott and Hort (WH) created; to the first Bible they helped to produce; to the corruptions they put in our modern Bibles, and why they are errors.

However, because I don’t read Greek, this is not a scholarly book; it is a book of historical analysis, spiritual observations, and insights, with some facts and details from supporting scholars. So I have included a lot of quotes from the few textual experts that have not drunk the Kool-Aid.

Even though supporters of the corrupted Bibles dominate the field, there are many scholars with multiple degrees who have written against the WH text for 150 years, but their words have been ignored by the seminaries and Bible publishers. Therefore, I am compelled to write yet another book on the subject, because it is of eternal importance. However, I am not writing as an expert, as some of the previous authors on this subject, but merely as a Christian journalist and historian who believes the Holy Spirit is still active and guiding his people today.