Most people who oppose the modern Bibles believe that God has providentially protected the correct wording of the Bible as used by the majority of the Eastern Church, which was eventually brought to us through the Byzantine text from which the TR was made, and then the KJV.
The doctrine of Divine Preservation of the New Testament Text depends upon the interpretation of the evidence which recognizes the Traditional Text to be the continuation of the autographa. (Pickering, W. An Evaluation of the Contribution of John William Burgon to New Testament Textual Criticism. ThM thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1968, p. 91)
But the modern critics say, “what about the Egyptian Christians?” Or, “what about this other group of Christians?” They had translations from the Alexandrian text. Why did God fail to provide them with the true text, if we are to believe that there is a true text of the Bible?
God has not given Christianity to every person on the planet, neither has he given the true Gospel to every single person who professes a form of Christianity, but that does not mean that God has not preserved a true (though likely not 100% accurate) form of Christianity which continues to spread the truth. Likewise, just because some Christians had a falsified Bible, it does not mean that God did not make sure that there were copies in continual use that were not falsified. But neither does it require that the Bible be 100% perfect. Anything that the hands of man has touched, is not, and cannot be perfect except the original texts written by the prophets and apostles who wrote what God spoke or inspired.
The pagan Roman Empire severely persecuted Christians, and after pagan Rome was converted to a form of Christianity in the 4th century, Satan raised up another empire to attack and invade the Christian Eastern Roman Empire. The Arabic Islamic Empire began in 632 A.D. and soon the followers of Muhammad began their wars of conquest. They invaded Persia and the southern territories of the Eastern Roman Empire, such as Syria. Palestine fell in 637, Egypt in 642, Cyprus in 649, and the remainder of North Africa between 650-698. Thousands of copies of the Greek Byzantine and Alexandrian texts were destroyed during the wars and slaughtering and slavery by the Muslims. Then they gradually conquered the remainder of the Eastern Roman Empire over the next eight hundred years. The Arabs finally defeated the last remaining city of the Eastern Roman Empire, Constantinople, in 1453. But God turned something evil into something good.
The Arabs had already burned many Christian libraries, so Greek scholars began fleeing Constantinople in 1453 even before the war began, and took many Greek MSS with them, especially MSS of the Bible. With the arrival of Greek scholars and MSS, the study of Greek began in all the major universities of Europe.
It just so happened that the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg about 1450, and other presses were soon set up in most major cities of Europe. A press was established in Westminster, England in 1476.
The first book printed was the Latin Vulgate Bible, 1455, but the copies were large, fancy, and expensive, so they were mostly just opulent decorations. Less than 200 copies were printed, with 49 still extant. They were sold to kings, popes, and cardinals, so they were not for the common man.
Not long after Europe began to study Greek, the study of Hebrew began to spread with a complete Old Testament being published with vowel signs and accents in 1488. Prior to this time only trained Jews could read the Hebrew O.T. because there were no vowel or accent marks. God was about to do something great.
So at that time, the Greek Bibles had the Septuagint Old Testament, (the Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, but it is not as good as the Hebrew). The Latin Vulgate had a Latin translation of the Hebrew.
Then Erasmus, Europe’s greatest scholar of the age, published a collated Greek New Testament. The first edition of his Greek NT was published in 1516, which was revised and published again in 1519, 1522, 1527, 1535. It was used by Martin Luther for his German translation, and for many other languages, including English.
From the press of Froben in 1516 was issued a handsome volume, the Greek type reminiscent of manuscripts, the text accompanied by a literal translation and illumined by annotations. The volume reached Wittenberg as Luther was lecturing on the ninth chapter of Romans, and thereafter became his working tool. (Bainton, Roland, H. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, page 125)
Romans 9 speaks of Abraham, Moses, and the Israelites, and shows us God’s long-range actions and plans for salvation. In that Greek text, Luther read the words of Christ, “repent for the Kingdom of God is near,” rather than the Latin, “do penance for the kingdom is near.” And in Acts he read the sermon of Peter, “Repent and be baptized,” rather than, “Do penance and be baptized.” This became one of the major differences between Protestants and Catholics. Luther nailed his 95 objections to the door of the Wittenberg church in October of 1517. So the true Bible arrived just in time to fuel the Protestant Reformation.
William Tyndale (1494-1536) published an English translation of Erasmus’ Greek text in 1526. The Roman Church condemned the translation and authorized Thomas More to pursue Tyndale:
[More] claimed that the text was not the New Testament at all, but rather a cunning counterfeit, perverted in the interests of heresy. It was “so corrupted and changed from the good and wholesome doctrine of Christ,” he wrote, “that it was a clean [totally] contrary thing.” . . . To search for errors in it was like searching for water in the sea . . .
When he attempted to specify some of the alleged errors, it turned out that his principal objection had to do with the rendering of certain ecclesiastical terms. Tyndale had translated the word for “priest” as “senior” (later, “elder”); the word for “Church” as “congregation”; the word for “penance” as “repentance”; the word for “confess” as “[ac]knowledge”; the word for “grace” as “favor”; and the word for “charity” as “love.” (Bobrick, Wide as the Waters, page 112)
More finally nabbed Tyndale, burning him at the stake and dumping his ashes in the river. Even though the Latin Vulgate agreed mostly with the Egyptian texts, today the Catholics are using the very same critical text used for modern Protestant Bibles, and are now translating those passages “repent.” So I guess that is one compromise they are willing to make to have an ecumenical, compromised Bible. The RCC is trying to win over the Protestants.
There were several other English translations during the next 100 years, such as the Coverdale (1535), Matthew’s Bible (1537), Great Bible (1539), Geneva (1560), Bishops’ (1568), and the King James (1611), as well as translations into French, Spanish and many other languages. Since Russia converted to Christianity in the 10th century by means of Constantinople, it is a good guess that the Russian Bible is also from the Byzantine text.
The first colony England settled in North America was Jamestown in 1607, then Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. Above any other book, the colonists relied upon the Bible. Though they originally used the Geneva and other Bibles, the KJV gradually became the most popular and was the first book printed in North America.
Even though God allowed the Muslims to invade the Middle East and destroy many churches, God stopped their advance into Europe. The main battles that stopped them were the Battle of Tours in France in 732, the Siege of Vienna in 1529 led by Suleiman the Magnificent, and the final attempt was the Battle of Vienna in 1683.
Notice that the 1529 attempt was right after the start of the Protestant Reformation, and again after only 150 years. The Christians attributed their victories to the miraculous intervention of God because of being greatly outnumbered. (Books have been written and movies made about those battles.)
Now, modern text critics (TCs) will have us believe that God’s Church created a corrupt Bible which it continued to use for over 1,100 years. Then Satan brought it to Europe where it was used to fuel the Protestant Reformation, and was translated into many languages. Then it was brought to America where it was the Bible of the Pilgrims and the founding fathers of the United States and was the Bible of the ministers of the two Great Awakening revivals. Plus, the revivals of George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley, and countless others. Why would God allow the true text of the Bible to be hidden away while His Church used corrupted texts? That is just ludicrous in the extreme.
Is it really possible that the Church that was founded by Christ and stewarded by the Holy Spirit used a corrupted Bible for 1500 years, and then God providentially brought forth from the sands of Egypt (Codex Sinaiticus) and the Vatican library (Codex Vaticanus), the true pure text? No! Anyone who supports that idea denies the shepherding of the Holy Spirit to safeguard and spread God’s truth. Such a person has been spiritually blinded by Satan himself and puts more weight on human intellect than the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit.
Even though the following quote is about the Apocrypha and other books not in Protestant Bibles, it is relevant. To the question of, are books missing from our Bibles, Randall Price said:
In the final analysis, for the believer, the answer to the question “Are books missing from our Bible?” must rest with the character of God (Numbers 23:19). If God is sovereign with respect to the giving of His revelation (Hebrews 1:1, 2 Peter 1:21) and unchanging with respect to the nature of His word (Psalm 119:89; Titus 1:2), how could He lose books of the Bible?
Put another way, why would God allow books that He inspired to not be included in His Bible? If books have been “discovered” that should have been in the Bible, then the Bible for all of the history of the church has been incomplete. Moreover, if books were found thousands of years after the establishment of the Church – books that changed the defining doctrines of Christianity or argued in favor of an alternate Christianity – how could God be trusted? He would have either shortchanged or outright deceived all previous generations of the faith. (p.140)
Notice the underlined text, yet Price supports the modern text critics and Bibles. He supports the idea that the entire New Testament can be altered by two Bibles that were found over 1100 years after the establishment of the canon – books that are trying to change the defining doctrines of Christianity and that cause people to doubt the truth of Christianity and the Bible.
In another place Price said:
[choosing the books of the Bible] was possible only because it was understood that the Holy Spirit attended His church and guided it into “all truth” (John 16:13). It is inconceivable that the God who inspired the authors of Scripture would not give sufficient sense to His church to recognize which books should be a part of that Scripture.
After all, God has sway over all things, from powerful politicians such as Constantine (Proverbs 21:1) to the decisions of apostles and bishops, who in reality are simply announcing decisions already made in heaven . . .
In the end, it is up to us to trust the God of the Bible to be God, and to have given His Word to us in the canon of Scripture. . . . a canon was necessary, since orthodox faith is defined by what is truly Scripture. God gave a fixed number of books to be recognized by the church as Scripture. This being done, there is no reason for the church to be troubled over the unearthing of “lost books” with secret information about a different “Christian” faith. (Ibid, p. 157)
Yet he supports the claim that the Bible was corrupted by the bishops of the Church, and then restored after two Bibles were unearthed from a monastery in Egypt and the Vatican library! And these books have not just troubled Christianity, but have changed the actual Words of God in the Bible.
Is it possible that the Bibles corrupted by Gnostics were hidden away and not used because they were known to be corrupt, and only brought forth by the Evil One to corrupt God’s Word, and spread doubt and mistrust about what God has said? Yes!
Jack Moorman said:
Thus the Holy Spirit guided the early Christians to gather their individual New Testament books into one New Testament canon and to reject all non-canonical books. In the same manner also the Holy Spirit guided the early Christians to preserve the New Testament text by receiving the true readings and rejecting the false. Certainly, it would be strange if it had been otherwise. It would have been passing strange if God had guided His people in regard to the New Testament canon but had withheld from them His divine assistance in the matter of the New Testament text. This would mean that Bible-believing Christians today could have no certainty concerning the New Testament text but would be obliged to rely on the hypotheses of modern, naturalistic critics.
But God in His mercy did not leave His people to grope after the true New Testament text. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit He guided them to preserve it during the manuscript period. God brought this to pass through the working of His preserving and governing providence. . . .
God has preserved the New Testament text by means of something inward and spiritual, namely, the universal priesthood of believers. . . . It must be, therefore, that Christ has preserved this true text in the usage of His Church and in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts, which are the products of the Church’s usage. (Forever Settled, page 60, 62, 63)
Dr. Scrivener was probably the most eminent textual critic of the 19th century and did not believe that the other recently found texts should replace the TR. He said:
I hope it is no presumptuous belief, that the Providence of God took such care of His Church in the vital matter of maintaining His Word pure and uncorrupted, that He guided the minds of the first editors, in their selection of the authorities on which they rested. (A Supplement to the Authorized English Version of the New Testament, 1845, page 7. Quoted in Bacon, page 78)
On the preservation of the Scriptures, Dr. Burgon said:
There exists no reason for supposing that the Divine Agent, who in the first instance thus gave to mankind the Scriptures of Truth, straightway abdicated His office; took no further care of His work; abandoned those precious writings to their fate. That a perpetual miracle was wrought for their preservation–that copyists were protected against the risk of error, or evil men prevented from adulterating shamefully copies of the Deposit–no one, it is presumed, is so weak as to suppose.
But it is quite a different thing to claim that all down the ages the sacred writings must needs have been God’s peculiar care; that the Church under Him has watched over them with intelligence and skill; has recognized which copies exhibit a fabricated, which an honestly transcribed text; has generally sanctioned the one, and generally disallowed the other.
I am utterly disinclined to believe–so grossly improbable does it seem–that at the end of 1800 years . . .[texts] whose contents were till yesterday as good as unknown, will be found to have retained the secret of what the Holy Spirit originally inspired. I am utterly unable to believe, in short, that God’s promise has so entirely failed, that at the end of 1800 years much of the text of the Gospel had in point of fact to be picked by a German critic out of a waste-paper basket in the convent of St. Catherine; and that the entire text had to be remodeled after the pattern set by a couple of copies which had remained in neglect during fifteen centuries, and had probably owed their survival to that neglect; whilst hundreds of others had been thumbed to pieces, and had bequeathed their witness to copies made from them. (The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels, 1896)
God’s providence led the Orthodox Church to choose the books of the Bible, and even before they were chosen, God led the church to preserve the text and pass along that text through the centuries. To suppose that God then allowed their text to become corrupted even before the Bible was officially compiled, and by the Church itself, is an enormous absurdity because it shows a great lack of faith in God’s ability to do something so simple, yet very important. The doubters in God would prefer to believe that he allowed the church to use corrupted texts for 1500 years until the true texts were found in Egypt and the Vatican library. Has anything good come from Egypt or the Vatican?
In 1 Corinthians 14:33 it states, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” And Jesus said in the book of John, “But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth” (16:13) (MEV). So we can be confident that God gave us the true Bible, not a corrupt Bible.
If you are NOT going to believe that the true church of Jesus Christ of the east, and then the Protestants, used the true Bible texts, and instead believe the Egyptian Arians and Gnostics used the true texts, then you must also accept the books of Barnabas and The Shepherd of Hermas because they and other books are included in Codex Sinaiticus (often abbreviated “Aleph”).
Christians enjoyed an expansive and well-established network of churches, groups, and individuals that were not only interested in the copying and publication of Christian writings but apparently had the means at their disposal for this publication to take place. . . . earliest Christianity was not a religion concerned only with oral tradition or public proclamation but was also shaped by, and found its identity within, a vivid “textural culture” committed to writing, editing, copying, and distributing Christian books, whether scriptural or otherwise.
Contrary to the claims of Ehrman and others, from a very early point Christians not only had an interest in books but had a relatively well-developed social and scribal network . . . Indeed, it is just this rapid transfer of literature that set early Christians apart from their surrounding Greco-Roman world. . . .
Thus, there are no good historical grounds for doubting that there were adequate means within the early Christian communities for reliably transmitting books. (The Heresy, Kruger, page 200-201)
We have seen that Satan tried to pollute the true Greek Scriptures by the heretics, and then he tried to destroy the Scriptures during the persecutions; then the Arabs invaded and destroyed churches and Bibles; then the Roman church suppressed the reading and copying of the Latin Bible (except for a few official translations), which was based on the Latin Vulgate which was based on Egyptian texts. This means that the Latin Vulgate, nor any translation of it, was able to become widespread and become the daily Bible of the common people in Europe, and certainly not the whole of Christianity. God did not allow that to happen.
Then the printing press was invented (1450) in nearly the same year that God brought the Byzantine text to Europe (1453). But Rome tried to stop the publication of Bibles from the Byzantine Greek text.
But Satan was not finished, because he is still trying to destroy God’s Words. What he has accomplished in the years since 1881 when the Revised English Version was published, is far more than what he has previously accomplished; because he has come very close to replacing the Byzantine text which is 99% accurate with the corrupted Egyptian-based WH text that has so many words removed that it is equal to removing 1 & 2 Peter. And probably just as much more has been changed.
How has Satan virtually replaced the text? Through textual criticism.