What follows is the introduction to my latest book, Editing God: Textual Criticism and Modern Bibles Analyzed. It is due out January 1st of 2019.
The King James Only (KJO) believers accuse modern Bibles of being corrupt because they remove many words and phrases and even whole verses, removing enough text to equal 1st and 2nd Peter, and make many other changes. So I investigated the issue. The question I set out to answer was, are the claims of the KJO group accurate, or are the modern Bibles more accurate than the KJV?
I never expected my investigation to turn into a book because there are already several books supporting both sides, however, my skill-set is thinking outside the box and figuring things out, as seen in my other books; so I have some new insights and surprising discoveries to offer.
The reader will learn that the text base of the KJV, called the Textus Receptus, is not as corrupt as we have been told and that modern Bibles are far more corrupt than you would ever imagine. This book will make the KJO proponents unhappy, but those who promote the modern Bibles based on a Greek text created by B. Westcott (1825-1901) and F. Hort (1828-1892) (WH), will be very upset.
I originally read the KJV, then as a teenager I loved the NIV, but I was troubled by footnotes that said some verses are not found in the “oldest and best” manuscripts. I wrongly believed that the “experts” knew what they were doing.
Several decades later, as a researcher, journalist, and historian, I learned that most modern Bibles were translated from a Greek master-text different from the Greek text used for the KJV. I read websites and books full of information presented by the King James Only advocates, and the supporters of the modern Bibles. As it turns out, the WH text was made by putting together mainly two Bibles copied in the 4th century. The problem is the texts of those two Bibles were likely created by heretics and are so corrupt they disagree with each other over 3,000 times in the Gospels alone. So I understand why many people have rebelled against the modern Bibles and use only the King James Version.
I originally discounted 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 know that the KJV is not perfect. But I was surprised when I learned that almost all modern translations are based on Greek texts that were adulterated by heretics like the Gnostics and Arians.
A major problem is that many 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 word or verse that could be translated better. This is sad because it causes many people to reject their argument completely, including the information against the WH text, and accept the modern versions which are indeed corrupt.
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 completely accepted the modern versions.
There are other people who are not KJO who also reject the WH text and the modern Bibles, but they are small in number and not very vocal. This group includes a small number of text experts who support the Majority Text (MT), which is a compiled text made from the majority of Greek manuscripts (MSS), which is only slightly different from the text-base of the KJV called the Textus Receptus (TR). They oppose the WH-based modern Bibles.
The change from the Textus Receptus (TR) to Bibles made from Westcott and Hort’s Greek text began in 1881. Revisions of their text have become 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.
I have never been a KJV advocate, and much 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 and even more changed.
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 have long prayed that God would give us a better translation based on the TR, which happened with the MEV, but it is still not perfect. Though it is much better than the KJV and even 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, even though they included them.
Westcott and Hort, the creators of the corrupted Greek New Testament text, were both liberal Cambridge professors who despised evangelicals and their literal view of Scripture. I have many quotes from them proving their unbelief. Hort, especially, was an unbeliever who said there was more truth in Greek philosophy than in “revelation,” meaning the Bible.
Though they were officially Anglican bishops, they were likely secret Unitarians because only members of the Church of England could be college professors or hold a government job. So they kept their liberal unbelief a secret, but it was revealed after their deaths by the publication of their private letters. Their plan, which they executed with great success, was to produce a liberal Bible that Unitarians, then and today, love.
They even confessed their plot to make many small changes that may not seem important, and just “appear to be trifling alterations,” Hort said. But taken together the “accumulation of small details then produces its full effect,” said Westcott.
Advocates for the modern Bible versions want us to believe that all the modern Bibles are the authentic Words of God, even though they are all different. The modern translations pretty much include or leave out whatever they want, since that was how the Greek master-text was created. One Bible includes a particular verse, another Bible leaves it out; one says one thing, another says something else. It causes people to doubt the accuracy of the Bible, and to doubt the truth of Christianity.
Apparently, God cannot make up his mind what he wants to say, so he says whatever these “experts” want him to say, and it changes with each new edition of the Greek master-text, and each new translation that comes out. Some people have actually lost their Christian faith because of it (examples are given). Even some textual critics themselves lost their faith and became unbelievers, such as Bart Ehrman. He now writes books about the Bible in an effort to make other people become agnostic like he became.
The modern Bibles have received so much condemnation that the advocates are blaming the King James Only believers for it, but they are NOT the ones who are causing people to doubt, but the corrupted Bibles. The KJO movement is merely pointing out the corruption in the modern Bibles.
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. But the Bible says that only by the Holy Spirit can anyone understand what the Bible means, yet we are expected to let unbelievers decide 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 said or did not say.
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.
The Greek text used for the KJV became 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 threw it in the trash while compiling a different Greek text from old Bibles that have clearly been grossly corrupted. And they teach in seminaries and Christian colleges that the KJV is corrupt and that the Greek text it was made from is corrupt, even that the entire family of MSS the Greek text was based on is corrupt, so they claim!
The first official English translation done after the KJV, was supposed to be a revision of the KJV, but WH and a few others on the translation committee, dominated the proceedings and went far beyond the original mandate for the revision and made so many changes to the English Revised Version (RV) that it closely resembles the Greek text created by WH. This caused several members of the committee to publically renounce the RV translation after it was completed.
This book includes the story of how all this came about, starting with how Gnostics and other heretics corrupted many copies of the Bible, and then to the Greek text that Westcott and Hort (WH) created; to the first English translation they produced; to the corruptions they put in our modern Bibles, and why they are errors.
However, because I don’t read Greek, I am not writing as a Greek 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. So this is not a scholarly book, this is a book of historical analysis, and spiritual observations and insights, with a lot of quotes from the textual experts who have not drunk the Kool-Aid.
Even though supporters of the corrupted Bibles dominate the field, a few scholars with multiple degrees have written against the WH text for 150 years, but their words have been ignored by the Christian seminaries and Bible publishers. Therefore, I am compelled to write yet another book on the subject, because it is of eternal importance.