Tares Among the Wheat
Dec 21, 2012
Codex Sinaiticus is by many modern scholars regarded as closer to the original autographs due to its age on the theory of there being less time for textual errors in scribal copying. But it is a codex , not a scroll so it is still a later manuscript (I have seen it at St. Cathrine’s monastery in The Sinai). But seemingly there are portions that are missing perhaps due to damage; it was literally rescued from the garbage! Thus the claim of its proponents is disputed.
The KJV King James, although having a number of mistakes where it deviates from the Received Text in the New Testament (in the Old Testament it follows the Masoretic, where again there are a number of mistakes), follows the Textus Receptus of Erasmus of Rotterdam from the 16th century just prior to the Reformation. The Textus Receptus is not a source manuscript (although the Ruckmanite lunatics like to pretend it is) but a fusion by Erasmus of four earlier Byzantian manuscripts and of necessity contains redaction. The KJV nonetheless must be regarded as a valid translation technically and was the best that Coverdale following Tyndale and Erasmus could have produced at that time with the manuscript record available during that turbulent period and the religious, social, and political turmoil of the aftermath of the Reformation surrounding its production. Although arcane in its prose today which can complicate popular comprehension, God certainly used The KJV. However the same claim can be made by the Puritan translation ‘The Geneva Bible” as the Puritans, Baptists, Independents, Pilgrims and other Separatist groups rejected the KJV because King James persecuted born again believers for not being Anglican and they felt the KJV 1611 edition had too much apocryphal and Roman Catholic influence in it bearing in mind King James was the son of the very Roman Catholic Mary Queen of Scots.
Thus long prior to Sinaticus even being discovered there were rival translations to the KJV. The original 1611 was the bible of the established Church of England which was at that time heavily sacramentalist and Anglo Catholic under a corrupt king who persecuted regenerate Evangelicals and drove them to Holland to America on The Mayflower etc. and murdering many others. If or not King James was bi sexual as is oft believed even by some professional academic historians, there is no dispute that he was a demonically inspired persecutor of the Evangelical Church, the true Body of Christ. This however does not reflect on the validity on the KJV as a translation. The Geneva Bible was however at that time the preferred translation of saved Christians and particularly of Reformed Calvinists and those who felt the Reformation did not go far enough and that there was still too much Roman Catholic influence in Protestantism generally and in the Church of England especially.
The modern crackpot KJV onlyists and Ruckmanites like to pretend that the KJV controversy is because of Sinaticus and Westcott & Haught etc., but nothing could be further from the truth. The KJV controversy preceded that. Roman Catholics clung to the Vulgate (ironically as did John Calvin in Geneva), Anglo Catholics & Anglicans clung to the KJV, and non-conformist Evangelicals of that time (particularly in Great Britain and colonial America) clung to the Geneva Bible. All of this was prior to the discovery of Sinaticus.
In any event, most other good translations available today do not depend on any single ancient manuscript or copy be it Sinaiticus or otherwise and much needs to be said about the Majority Text; but this is another how-be-it related, issue. The better contemporary translations we have today such as the New English Version and the New American Standard, or versions such as The Amplified or literal translations contrast all ancient manuscripts including the Dead Sea scrolls from Qumran in order to arrive at a determination of the most probable original syntax and spelling etc. Vaticanus, Sinaticus, etc. are all analyzed and compared.
I personally am convinced that the 20th century discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls was providential and delivers a death blow to liberal higher critical presuppositions that the texts evolved and mutated which Qumran proves they did not concerning the Old Testament. With Qumran, God has given us a powerful apologetic and solid counter argument to higher criticism. I therefore from a scholarly perspective would regard any translation predating the Dead Sea scrolls as being not necessarily obsolete, but certainly out dated. We simply have a better manuscript record than we have ever had before, which I believe to be providential.
Our scriptures are phenomenally well preserved, supported not only by tens of thousands of manuscripts, codexes, and fragments (a few such as the Thiesson fragment dating back to the first century of the New Testament and the Dead Sea scrolls older than the Christian era) but having dozens of times more ancient copies than even Caesars Conquests which has only 420, hundreds of times more copies than other Roman classics such as Cicero’s Republic or Seneca’s Di Celementia, and thousands of times more copies than the Greek classics,. In plain comparison, there are no comprehensive unified manuscripts of the Quran dating back to the time of Mohammed.
Moreover, except for a relative handful of verses out of 32,000 there are very few textual discrepancies and even only a comparatively small proportion of grammatical and major spelling variations. The source evidence shows clearly that valid translations today be it the New American Standard, The New English Version, The King James or otherwise do not deviate from the compendium of the ancient manuscripts.
We only have one verse in the scriptures which speaks to the subject of translation. It is Nehemiah 8:8 (when the returning Hebrews knew Chaldee not Hebrew) and this verse instructs us that the priority must be on the original meaning of the original languages.
My best advice therefore is to avoid corrupted translations such as The Message, The 2012 gender neutral edition of the New International Version, The New World Translation and inclusivist bibles on one extreme, and the babbling nonsense of Ruckmanite heretics and dogmatic King James Only ignoramuses and lunatic fringe conspiracy theorists on the other. There is enough of a real battle opposing inclusivist, gender neutral, and fanciful paraphrased corruptions of God’s Word (what Peter’s epistle calls “pseudo logon”) such as the message. We have open idiocy in things like “Recovery Bibles” and even a new perversion of scripture translated with the assistance of 50 Christian artists with no skills in manuscript history or ancient languages.
We do not need to add to this satanically orchestrated idiocy designed to replace God’s Word with distorted perversions of it by inventing more ‚ absurdity based on idiotic unsubstantiated conspiracy theories by KJV onlyists that can only serve the interests of the ‚ demonic forces by diverting true believers from the real fight.
Few if any of these crackpots are curators of scriptoriums and ‚ very few of those who subscribe to their abject nonsense can actually read Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic themselves. It is a pointless charade ‚ of pseudo academic charlatans that only distracts us from addressing the real modern threat to scriptural orthodoxy.
For those so inclined, I would also recommend the book by FF Bruce “The Reliability of New Testament Manuscripts”, bewaring in mind that there have been several further discoveries of ancient scriptural texts since that fine book was initially published.