For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
(1 Thess. 2:13)
The Biblical approach to textual criticism stands in direct contrast to the concepts and theories of modern textual scholars and their accepted texts and translations. While textual evidence and studies is by no means to be ignored, neither is the guiding presence of the Author of Holy Writ. The pure naturalist approach only considers the physical evidence and man's intellectual understanding of that limited evidence. The Biblical approach not only considers the physical evidence, but also looks beyond to see the spiritual evidence as well. Without Divine intervention, there is no preservation (Psalm 12:6-7). And, unless we are unfairly accused, intervention differs from inspiration.
Here, we shall take a brief pause to define the difference. Too often those who believe the KJB to be the preserved word of God for the English-speaking people without proven error are said to believe that the KJB translators were inspired in the same sense that the original writers were inspired. Some have even suggested we must additionally believe that men, such as Erasmus, who produced Greek texts that were the bases for the KJB must likewise be inspired, and that even the copyist who copied the Traditional text in Greek (called the Byzantine text) were also Divinely inspired. This tendency to overstate the view of the Bible-believer has recently been dogmatically expressed by James R. White in his book, The King James Only Controversy. "Most King James Only advocates. . .believe that the KJB itself, as an English language translation, is inspired and therefore inerrant." (p.3). And that some "truly believes that God supernaturally inspired the King James Bible in such a way that the English text itself in inerrant revelation." (p.4). Additionally, concerning the Greek Textus Receptus, White writes, "Anyone who believes the TR to be infallible must believe that Erasmus, and the other men who later edited the same text in their own editions (Stephanus and Beza), were somehow inspired, or at the very least providentially guided in their work. Yet, none of these men ever claimed such inspiration." (p.58).
The last statement comes closest to the truth, for there is a difference between being guided by God and being inspired by God. An illustration of this can be seen in any publication of the KJB. A publisher may or may not be guided by God in publishing the text of the KJB; however, this does not indicate that he was Biblically inspired. Simply because one copied the Traditional Text does not mean he was Biblically inspired to do so. This may indicate providential guidance, but is not indicative of scriptural inspiration. It is also of interest that White consistently associates inspiration with inerrancy or infallibility. While it is true that the inspired word of God is inerrant, it does not mean that just because something is inerrant it is therefore inspired. Because a person or position is 100% correct does not mean that either one is Biblically inspired. A child may finish a test without error, but this does not mean the child was inspired supernaturally. Yet because God is truth and does not err, when He inspires as He did the writers of Holy Scripture, He did so without the intervention of human mistakes and errors.
Webster defines inspiration as "Any influence (that) . . .inspires," and that inspires means to, "stimulate to activity" ( New American Webster Handy College Dictionary, 1981 ed.). In a general sense of the word, therefore, we must say that the translators were inspired only in that they were moved to produce the work. However, that is not how the word is used in the theological and Biblical sense. Biblical inspiration means "that the writers were so empowered and controlled by the Holy Spirit in the PRODUCTION (the emphasis is mine) of the Scripture as to give them divine and infallible authority." (Dr. Emery Bancroft, Elemental Theology, Zondervan Pub. 1960, p.8). Preservation, on the other hand, has to do with the keeping of what has already been divinely produced. It is the assurance that the God who gave the word without error in the first place was able to keep the word without error for us today.
Admittedly the differences between the two may at first seem indistinguishable, especially when we arrive at the same answers to the following questions. Is the Bible inspired by God? The Biblical answer is yes (2 Tim. 3:16). Has the Bible been preserved by God? Again, the Biblical answer is yes (Psalm 12:6-7). According to the verses just given, was the Bible inspired by God with error? Of course not since God is not a God of error. Was the Bible preserved by God with error? Again, the verses would tell us no because the context of Psalm 12 says the preserved word is pure. Both inspiration and preservation start with God and end with inerrancy. The difference is this: inspiration deals with inception, or what was originally given and produced by God. Preservation is a process of God taking what He gave and keeping it for all generations. The Bible-believing Christian believes his Bible was both inspired by God without error and preserved by God without error. It was infallibly given and remains that way today (1 Peter 1:23). It is, therefore, not only the work of man, but the very word of God.
Such was the attitude of the New Testament Christian as stated by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:13. The word which was preached and received among them was considered not just the word of man, but as it is in truth, the word of God. This attitude is essential for at least two reasons. First, it excludes the approach that all texts and or translations are simply a work produced by good men. It demands that we recognize the ongoing providence of God in preserving what He has given and is able to provide us with His word without error. It requires us to ask ourselves if the Bible we received is the word of God? If so, is it truth without any mixture of error, or does it contain copyist and translational errors that have crept in throughout the centuries? Is it the very word of God, or the best translation available from the very best manuscripts? If it has textual, copyist, or translational error, it fails the test as set up by the Holy Scriptures themselves. Second, this passage offers evidence in helping us to see where this preserved word is. The proof is two-fold, in that it is not only RECEIVED by the born-again believer, but it EFFECTUALLY WORKS in the born-again believer.
The Biblical approach by the Apostles differs from that of the modern textual critic. Their attitude in the citation of scripture is one of "thus sayeth the Lord," and, "it is written." Not "the older manuscripts read," or "a better translation would be." They believed that the scriptures of both testaments were not only divinely inspired but kept and preserved by the guiding hand of the living Lord. They also warn against those who would change and corrupt the word of God. And that the purpose of those who would do so was to make merchandise of the believers faith. The Bible, to the Apostles, is incorruptible (1 Pet. 1:23) in spite of the many who would seek to corrupt it (2 Cor. 2:17).
The Church at Antioch has a noteworthy position in scriptures. It is the first place where the born- again believer is called a Christian, "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." (Acts. 11:26). It is also interesting to see that where both Antioch and Alexandria are mentioned in the same passage, Antioch is listed as a place of service, while Alexandria is listed as a place of disruption.
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of ANTIOCH: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and ALEXANDRIANS, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. (Acts 6:5-10)
The Bible-believer finds this rather interesting in that the line of modern translations has its source in Alexandria, while the Traditional Text has its source in Antioch of Syria where the disciples were first called Christians. And, as we examine the Biblical text of these believers in Antioch we find that it reflects the same text as found in our English Authorized Version of 1611.
Saint Ignatius (or Theophorus) was the bishop of Antioch, Syria. Historian Will Durant states that with Ignatius, "began the powerful dynasty of the post-apostolic Fathers " (The Story of Civilization, Vol. III, p. 611). Additionally, Church Historian Earle Cairns informs us that Ignatius "was arrested by the authorities because of his Christian testimony and sent to Rome to be killed by beasts in the imperial games." (Christianity Through the Centuries, Zondervan Pub., 1967 ed., p. 78). While on route to his martyrdom, this wonderful saint wrote seven letters, six to different churches (Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, and Smyrnaeans), and one epistle to Saint Polycarp.
Ignatius was both sound in doctrine and spirit. He knew several of the Apostles personally and sought to follow their examples as believers in Christ. Dr. Michael Green states, "There was a conscious attempt by Ignatius and Polycarp, for instance, to imitate (St.) Paul. . ." ( Evangelism in the Early Church, Eerdmans Pub. 1970, p.133). Green further states that, "Something indeed of St. John's theology can be traced through Ignatius. . ." ( Ibid. ). And, in his epistle to the Romans, Ignatius himself makes reference to both Peter and Paul stating, "I do not, as Peter and Paul, command you." (2:6). Paul wrote, "Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me." (1 Cor. 4:16) Ignatius lived this admonition.
His doctrine is Biblical. The Trinity is proclaimed by Ignatius. He states that Christians should be found, "in the Son, and in the Father and in the Holy Ghost" (Magn. 4:4). He refers to Christ as, "our God" (Roma.1:13 and Smyr. 1:2), thus repeatedly affirming the Deity of Jesus Christ. Concerning Biblical salvation he writes, "Let not man deceive himself; both the things which are in heaven and the glorious angels, and princes, whether visible or invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, it shall be to them to condemnation." (Smyr. 2:12). His personal profession of faith is found throughout all of his epistles, but eloquently and scriptually stated in his letter to the Trallians: "Stop your ears therefore, as often as any one shall speak contrary to Jesus Christ; who was of the race of David, of the Virgin Mary. Who was truly born and did eat and drink; was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate; was truly crucified and dead; both those in heaven and on earth, being spectators of it. Who was also truly raised from the dead by his Father, after the same manner as he will also raise up us who believe in him by Christ Jesus; without whom we have no true life." (Trall.2:10-12).
Ignatius reflects a Christian attitude in regard to others and rejects the anti-Semitism that was reflected by the heretic Marcion, and even from some of the comments later made by Origen. Instead, Ignatius agrees with scripture and brakes the walls of racism in a day when the Jews were despised by the Gentile nations. He writes, "That he (Christ) might set up a token for all ages through his resurrection, to all his holy and faithful servants, whether they be Jew or Gentiles, in one body of his church." (Smyr. 1:6).
As he reflects his death, Ignatius writes, "For I am the wheat of God and I shall be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ. Rather encourage the beasts that they may become my sepulcher; and may leave nothing of my body; that being dead I may not be troublesome to any." (Roma.2:3-4). In fact, he seemed concern that the believers in Rome would somehow try to stop his execution and states, "Suffer me to be food to the wild beasts; by whom I shall attain unto God." (Roma. 2:2). He firmly proclaims, "I would rather die for Jesus Christ, than rule to the utmost ends of the earth." (Roma.2:14).
Sadly, the scriptural citations made by Ignatius are often ignored or belittled as unimportant in the study of textual criticism. Geisler and Nix simply write, "Although (Ignatius) did not give references to particular citations from the Scriptures, he did make many loose quotations and allusions to them." (A General Introduction to the Bible, p.100). It is true that Ignatius does not cite chapter and verse (nor did any of the other Church Fathers or Apostles for that matter) and often simply makes allusions. However, it should be remembered that he was not writing a theological dissertation. He was on his way to be martyred and was most likely citing scriptures from memory. What is often overlooked is the content of these Biblical citations and allusions. In reference to his writings, Souter says, "[It] hardly [has] any bearing on the choice between variants in the passages of the New Testament." (The Text and Canon of the New Testament, p.76). With this brief statement, the writings of Ignatius are dismissed as having no impact on the study of textual criticism. Perhaps this is because the Biblical citations used by this early Church Father does not disagree with the text of the Authorized Version. In fact, the text of Ignatius reflects the reading found in the Traditional Text.
An example of this is found in Ignatius' letter to the Ephesians. It will be remembered by the student that there is a textual variant of great importance found in 1 Timothy 3:16. The KJB reads, "God was manifest in the flesh." Modern versions, using the Alexandrian Text, read, "He was revealed in flesh" (NRSV). There is a difference between saying He and saying God . The KJB makes a clear proclamation of the Deity of Jesus Christ in this verse. What is important here is that Ignatius apparently used a Bible which reflected the reading found in the KJB. He writes, "There is one physician, both fleshly and spiritual; made and not made; God in the flesh" (Ephe. 2:7) and "God himself being made manifest in the form of a man." (Ephe. 4:13). Ignatius uses the Greek word for God (Theos), and for flesh (sarki) in the first citation and the Greek word for manifest (using the form phanerosas) in the second, as does the Greek text of the KJB in 1 Timothy 3:16. If Ignatius had used the Greek word ieos (he), the supporters of modern versions would no doubt have claimed that Ignatius was using a Greek text which supported the reading found in the Alexandrian and Western line of manuscripts. The fact is that Ignatius' text reflects the Traditional reading, found in the KJB and the Majority Text, and not the Alexandrian found in Codices Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and modern translations.
It is also interesting to read the phraseology of Ignatius in reference to the person of Jesus Christ. Over and over he refers to the Second Person of the Trinity as the "Lord Jesus Christ." This full use of the title and person of Christ is found in almost every letter of Ignatius and used several times over in those letters. I state this because the student will remember that James White (and others who would call the Traditional Text a fuller text) raised a theory called the expansion of piety. As stated in lesson three, modern versions often shorten the phrase to Christ, or Jesus Christ, or Lord, while the KJB more often uses the whole phrase, Lord Jesus Christ. It would seem from the writings of Ignatius that he had been influenced by the fuller text as it is found in our KJB.
Polycarp was not only the Bishop of Smyrna but also, "had special opportunities to know the mind of the disciples because he had been a disciple of (St.) John." (Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries, p.79). His martyrdom in 155 AD is recorded by both Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History and John Foxe in hisBook of Martyrs. He was first placed at the stake to be burned, and he sang hymns waiting for the fire to consume him. However, the fire burned around him but did not burn Polycarp. He was then ordered to be stabbed until dead and his remains burned.
The witness of Polycarp is important in the study of textual criticism for the following reasons. First of all, he cites about sixty New Testament quotations in his one letter, Polycarp to the Philippians. Over half of these are citations from Paul's epistles, showing his acquaintance with the Apostle and the acceptance of Paul's letters as scripture in the early Church. Second, he was a contemporary of the Apostles and would have had access to either the original writings of the Apostles or copies that were written shortly after the originals. Thirdly, like Ignatius, the Biblical citations do not differ with the Traditional Text in favor of the Alexandrian or Western readings. In fact, even more so than Ignatius, the citations of Polycarp reflect the readings found in the Traditional Text as it differs with the Alexandrian Text.
Most of what Polycarp writes deals with Christian living, yet he does state his profession of faith early in his letter: "knowing that by grace ye are saved; not by works, but by the will of God through Jesus Christ" (Phili. 1:5), and, "he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also raise up us in like manner" (Phili. 1:8). He makes a good profession and stands against the dualism of the Gnostics in stating:
"For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, he is Antichrist: and whoever does not confess his suffering upon the cross, is from the devil. And whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts; and say that there shall neither be any resurrection, nor judgment, he is the first-born of Satan. Wherefore leaving the vanity of many, and their false doctrines; let us return to the word that was delivered to us from the beginning" (Phili. 3:1-3).
The Biblical quotation from Polycarp to confront Gnosticism is a citation from the Traditional Text. 1 John 4:3 reads, "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." The Alexandrian line omits the phrase "is come in the flesh" in verse three. The verse deals with the lack of confession, not the Believer's profession that is found in verse two. As quoted above, Polycarp writes, "whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh," matches what John wrote, "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh." In fairness to the verse, some have suggested that Polycarp is really citing 2 John 7 and not 1 John 4:3. This, however, does not seem to be the view of Dr. J. B. Lightfoot. In his book, The Apostolic Father, Lightfoot cites the quotation is from 1 John 4:3 (Macmillan and Comp. Pub., p. 171), as does Archbishop Wake in his translation of Polycarp (The Lost Books of the Bible, World Pub., p. 194). Their observations are well taken as that the Greek of 1 John 4:3 matches the Greek citation of Polycarp. However, the Greek of 2 John 7 does not match Polycarp. The Greek phrase as it stands in the Traditional Text reads, "en sarke eleluthota" (in flesh come). Polycarp writes, "en sarke eleluthenai" (in flesh come). Both use the same tense of the Greek participle. 2 John reads, "epxomenon en sarki" (coming or is come in flesh). The Greek tense differs from that of Polycarp. 1 John and Polycarp use the perfect tense, 2 John uses the present tense. English does not have a perfect tense, but in Greek in means a present state resulting from a past action (i.e. because Christ came in the flesh, He is now in the flesh). It is therefore clear in both the Greek and English that Polycarp was citing 1 John 4:3, and that his citation matches the KJB and opposes the modern versions which omit this phrase.
Polycarp writes, "and must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ; and shall every one give an account of himself." (Phili. 2:18) The allusion comes from Romans 14:10 which reads, "But why doest thou judge thy brother? or why doest thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." (KJB) This passage, therefore, confirms the Deity of Christ because verse twelve informs us that, "every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (KJB). The Alexandrian line changes "judgment seat of Christ" to "judgment seat of God." This not only leave out the cross- reference concerning the Deity of Christ, but it is obviously not the Greek text used by Polycarp in the very first few years of the second century. Both the KJB and Polycarp use the Greek word "Kristou" (of Christ). The Alexandrian line of manuscripts, which stand in the minority, use the Greek word "Theou" (of God). Since this passage is the only passage that speaks of the judgment seat of Christ, Polycarp must have received his reading from a text which read like the Traditional Text. This again shows that the older reading, closest to the original autographs, reads like that found in the majority of Greek and other manuscripts as translated in the KJB.
Here we find the phrase, "which is the mother of us all" in the KJB. The Alexandrian line of manuscripts simply reads, "and she is our mother." (NIV). The Greek word "panton" (of us all) is omitted from the Alexandrian manuscripts, while the majority of all Greek manuscripts has it in them. Polycarp writes, "which is the mother of us all" and uses the Greek word "panton." Geisler and Nix list Galatians 4:26 as a citation by Polycarp (A General Introduction to the Bible, p.349), as does Lightfoot (The Apostolic Fathers, p. 169). Where did Polycarp get the phrase if not from the Traditional Text? Plainly, the disciple of St. John, and friend of St. Paul, was using a Greek text like the Traditional Text.
Once again, the expansion of piety theory falls short in the light of Polycarp's Epistle to the Philippians. In this short letter consisting of only four chapters, Polycarp uses the triune phrase, "Lord Jesus Christ" seven times (1:1, 2, 3, 6; 4:10, 11, 20). This seems rather amazing since the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians used the phrase only three times (1:2; 3:20; 4:23). However, in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul uses "Lord Jesus Christ" the same number of times as Polycarp. In this light, the thought that the multiple use of "Lord Jesus Christ" from a shorter version was added by the Byzantine monks around 1,000 AD seems rather far fetched. It is obvious from Polycarp that the expanded phrase was in common use at the time of the New Testament and shortly thereafter. Further, because of the expansion used by Polycarp, it seem more likely that this was the common expression used in reference to our Lord. Not only is the theory invalid, but the common text used by first century Christians reflected that which would be found in the Traditional Text throughout the centuries. Thus the admonition found in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 remains intact.
In addition to the Traditional Text, we have many early and old translations of the Bible which are either classified as Byzantine (i.e. Traditional Text) or have readings which differ from the Alexandrian Text in favor of the Traditional Text. After Kurt and Barbara Aland point to around 180 AD as the beginning of when these translations began, they state, "It must be emphasized that the value of the early versions for establishing the original Greek text and for the history of the text has frequently been misconceived, i.e., they have been considerably overrated." ( The Text of the New Testament, Eerdmans Pub., 1987 p.182). Yet, one could say the same about copies of copies of copies of Greek manuscripts as well. Perhaps the concern stated by the Alands is because so many of the early translations have readings which match the KJB and its Majority Text in Greek. An early translation must have had a source. If the early translation has a certain reading, and later Greek manuscripts have the same reading, we can conclude that the source for the early translation had the reading as well, even if we no longer have that source.
There are several old translations which are called Syrian because they are in the Aramaic language. The history of the Syrian versions is a rich history, much like the history of the Latin translations. Dr. Bruce Metzger writes, "Until the middle of the nineteenth century the Peshitta held the field as the earliest Syriac version of the New Testament." ( The Early Version of the New Testament, Clarendon Press, 1977 p. 36). This is important because Antioch in Syria, the birth place of the word Christian, produced an early translation of the Bible which agreed with the Traditional Text.
The Peshitta (which means clear or simple) is the standard Syriac version. Geisler and Nix state, "It is important to note at this point that the Peshitta was 'the authorized version' of the two main opposed branches of Syriac Christianity, the Nestorians and the Jacobites, indicating that it must have been firmly established by the time of their final cleavage, well before the fifth century." ( A General Introduction to the Bible, p.318). In fact, the chart they give on page 265 of their book dates the Peshitta close to the year 200 AD. They also note that the Peshitta was, "brought into conformity with the Byzantine text type." ( Ibid., p.318). Thus the Peshitta bears testimony to the Traditional Text from which the KJB was translated. Aland justly states, "The Peshitta version as it is presented in the British and Foreign Bible Society edition is the most widely attested and most consistently transmitted of the Syriac New Testament versions. The Syriac church still preserves it and holds it in reverence in this form today." ( The Text of the New Testament, p. 190). In fact, the tradition of the Syrian church is that the Peshitta was the work of St. Mark while others claim the Apostle Thaddeus (Jude) translated it.
In 1901 textual scholar F. C. Burkitt questioned the early date of the Peshitta and assigned it as the work of the bishop of Edessa, Rabbula, in the fifth century. Metzger notes, "The hypothesis of the Rabbulan authorship of the Peshitta New Testament soon came to be adopted by almost all scholars, being persuaded perhaps more by the confidence with which Burkitt propounded it than by any proof other than circumstantial evidence." ( The Early Versions of the New Testament, pp. 55-56). The view of Burkitt has been attacked by other scholars such as Arthur Voobus who compared Rabbula's citations with the Peshitta and found several differences. It has also been argued by Edward Hills that Rabbula could not have been the translator because the division within the Syrian church took place during the time of Rabbula with Rabbula being the leader of one of these sects. Yet both sides claim the Peshitta as holy scripture. Hills writes, "It is impossible to suppose that the Peshitta was his (Rabbula's) handiwork, for if it had been produced under his auspices, his opponents would never have adopted it as their received New Testament text." ( The King James Version Defended, p.174). To this Metzger adds:
The question who it was that produced the Peshitta version of the New Testament will perhaps never be answered. That it was not Rubbula has been proved by Voobus's researches. . .In any case, however, in view of the adoption of the same version of the Scriptures by both the Eastern (Nestorian) and Western (Jacobite) branches of Syrian Christendom, we must conclude that it had attained a considerable degree of status before the division of the Syrian Church in AD 431. (Metzger, pp.59-60).
If the Peshitta does date to around 200 AD, or before, we have an answer to those who wonder about the text of the New Testament early in its transmission. James R. White asks, "If we were to transport ourselves to the year AD 200 and look at the text of the New Testament at that time, ignoring for the moment what was to come later, what would we find?" ( The King James Only Controversy, p.152). According to the Peshitta translation, we would find a text like the Authorized Version produced in 1611. This is confirmed by Souter who writes, "Thus it happens that the Peshitta Syriac rarely witnesses to anything different from what we find in the great bulk of Greek manuscripts." ( The Text and Canon of the New Testament, p.60). And, based upon our lesson so far, we would find early Christians, like Ignatius and Polycarp, using a Bible with 1 Timothy 3:16, Romans 14:10; Galatians 4:26, and 1 John 4:3 reading just like the KJB, the Traditional Text, and the Peshitta.
Bruce Metzger writes, "At the close of the nineteenth century several scholars suggested that Antioch in Syria was the place where the Old Latin version(s) originated. . .scholars today are inclined to look to North Africa as the home of the first Latin version of the New Testament." ( The Early Versions of the New Testament, p. 288). The Old Latin versions are divided into two camps, African and European. Within the Old Latin there are "variants among the manuscripts (which) make a coherent history of the text all but impossible to determine." ( A General Introduction to the Bible, p.334). Today, the earliest manuscripts we have in the Old Latin date to the fourth century.
Regardless of the history of the varying Old Latin manuscripts, there are readings within the Old Latin which support the Traditional Text. For example, Mark 1:2 reads, "As it is written in the prophets," and then quotes two prophets, Malachi and Isaiah. The Alexandrian line reads, "As it is written in the Prophet Isaiah" and then quotes from two prophets. The first reading is found in the KJB and the Traditional Greek Text. It is also found in the Peshitta. Among the Old Latin manuscripts (which are classified with small Roman letters for the most part), we find the same reading as in the Traditional Text in the Old Latin manuscripts a (4th century), aur (7th cen.), b (5th cen.), c (12th cen.), d (5th cen.), f (6th cen.), ff2 (5th cen.), and q (7th cen.). The same is true of the longer ending to Mark. While the Alexandrian line omits verses 9-20 of chapter sixteen, it is found in the majority of Greek manuscripts, the Peshitta, and almost all Old Latin manuscripts. In fact, the Old Latin manuscript k is the only one which has the shorter ending, and it was k which added the Gnostic reading about the resurrection which read like the Gospel of Peter (see lesson four). The same is also true to the passage in John 7:52-8:11 concerning the woman caught in the act of adultery. The majority of Old Latin witnesses contain this passage and read like the KJB and the Traditional Text.
This version dates to the beginning of the fourth century. While it does contain a mixed reading at times, it is classified as being basically Byzantine in origin. Thus the witness to Africa was also of the Traditional Text. Geisler and Nix state, "This translation adheres closely, almost literally, to the Greek text of the Byzantine type" ( Ibid., p. 324). They also classify the Armenian Version, Georgian Version, and the Slavonic Version of the same textual family, that of the Traditional Text ( Ibid., pp.323-328).
This early Germanic version dates to the first part of the fourth century. It was translated by Wulfilas who "made use of a manuscript of the early Byzantine text differing little from what we find in the Greek manuscripts." (Aland, The Text of the New Testament, p.206). Alexander Souter says of the Gothic Version, "The translation of the New Testament was made from Greek MSS. such as Chrysostom used, of the official Constantinopolitan (i.e. Traditional Text) type." ( The Text and Canon of the New Testament, p.69). Thus the Gothic version reflects the Traditional Text and the English KJB.
Hence, we can see from the old early translations that they reflect the Traditional Text from which came the King James Bible. The early translations which these believers received as the word of God, which effectually worked in them, was like our Authorized Version of today.
John Chrysostom was both a great Biblical expositor and preacher. His parents were Christians and came from Antioch. Chrysostom began his career as a lawyer, until his conversion in 368 AD. He then began to preach to gospel of Jesus Christ. He was ordained in 386 AD and preached in Antioch until 398. It was then that he became Bishop of Constantinople. (The student should note that there is in the study of textual criticism a clear connection between Antioch and Constantinople, and that manuscripts coming from these two places bear a remarkable resemblance). The Bible he used was of the Traditional text.
Even though Cairns describes him as courteous, affectionate, and kindly natured (Christianity Through the Centuries, p.152); he was not ashamed to boldly proclaim the truth, no matter who was offended. While at Constantinople, one he offended was the wife of emperor Arcadius, empress Eudoxia. He had preached against her manner of dress and that she placed silver statures of herself throughout the city. And, like the preaching of John the Baptist, his sermon came at a personal cost. He was banished from the city in 404 AD, and while in exile, he died in 407.
Chrysostom left about 640 sermons which are still in existence. Church Historian Ross MacKenzie states that Chrysostom was, "A writer of pure, almost Attic style, John is one of the most attractive of the Greek preachers, and his eloquence gained him the name of Chrysostom (Golden Mouth)." (The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, 1993 ed.) Cairns adds to this by simply stating, "It is little wonder that he was and still is hailed as the greatest pulpit orator the Eastern Church ever had." (Christianity Through the Centuries, p.152).
Because of the massive amount of homilies left by Chrysostom, and because of his expository style of preaching, it is very easy to see the text type used by him. Souter states that the type of text Chrysostom used is reflected by Codex K, which is of the Byzantine line. However, it should be noted that K dates to several hundred years after Chrysostom, thus showing its continued use through the centuries. Souter writes that Chrysostom Greek text, "is roughly that of the great bulk of our manuscripts." (The Text and Canon of the New Testament, p.85). Thus, the Greek text of John Chrysostom is the Traditional Text from which came the KJB.
This is clearly seen in his writings, but for purpose of illustration I have chosen to compare his homilies on the Sermon on the Mount with the focus on Matthew chapter 6:1-15. There are, within this passage, two very notable differences between the two major lines of manuscripts. They are found in verses 1 and 13.
|Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. (KJB).||Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. (Douay-Rheims Version).||Be careful not to do you 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. (NIV).|
The Authorized Version uses the word alms (Gk. eleemosunen), while the NIV uses the phrase acts of righteousness (Gk. dikaiosunen), and the DRV justice . As one can see from either the English or the Greek, these are two different words, with two different meanings. They are also reflective of the two textual lines, in that the Alexandrian reading uses righteousness while the Traditional line uses alms . There is no question as to which one Chrysostom uses. He comments on the text by saying, "And mark how Christ began, as though he were speaking of some wild beast, hard to catch, and crafty to deceive him who was not very watchful. Thus, 'take heed,' saith he, 'as to your alms.' So Paul also speaks to the Philippians, 'Beware of dogs.' " (Jaroslav Pelikan edition, The Preaching of Chrysostom, Fortress Press, p.130). He then quotes the passage "For which same cause he saith, 'Take heed that ye do not your alms before men,' for that which was before mentioned, is God's almsgiving." (Ibid., p.131).
|And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (KJB).||And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. (DRV)||And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (NIV).|
For years the omission of the phrase "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." marked the difference between Protestant and Catholic versions of the Lord's prayer. However, today, even conservative translations such as the NIV and NASV have chosen the Alexandrian reading of Catholicism instead of the Traditional text which is supported by the majority of all Greek uncials and minuscules.
Chrysostom, in the late fourth century, plainly used the reading as it is found in the majority of all Greek and Syrian manuscripts. He writes, "Having then made us anxious as before conflict, by putting us in mind of the enemy, and having cut away from us all our remissness; he again encourages and raises our spirits, by bringing to our remembrance the King under whom we are arrayed, and signifying him to be more powerful than all. 'For thine,' saith he, 'is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.' " (Ibid., p.145). He then expounds the phrases "the power" and "the glory," which would be rather hard to do if his Bible did not contain them. Once again we see the Bible of this great preacher was like the one translated into English in 1611.
John Chrysostom was not alone in his use of the Traditional text. Basil of Caesarea (329-379 AD); Gregory of Nazianzus (330-389 AD) and Gregory of Nyssa (330-395 AD, the brother of Basil) used the same text line. These three Church Fathers are called the Cappadocian Fathers. These three men are noted for their strength in doctrine and opposition to the heresy of Arianism (which denied the Trinity). All three strongly supported the doctrine of the Trinity and were noted as strong theologians. All are also associated with the Orthodox Church of Constantinople. All three had Christian parents, and Gregory of Nazianzus' father was a bishop.
The Greek and Old Latin manuscripts used by these men reflect the text of the Traditional line. Souter states that their Greek text originated "probably in Constantinople" while the Latin "in North Italy." (The Text and Canon of the New Testament, p. 9). Souter lists the Gospel manuscripts of N, O, Sigma, and Phi, reflecting "the text used by the great Cappadocian Fathers. . .in the last third of the fourth century." (Ibid., p. 30). These manuscripts (N, O, Sigma, and Phi) are from the sixth century and reflect the readings found in the Traditional text.
It is little wonder then, that when we find differences between the Traditional text and the Alexandrian text, that the Cappadocian choose the readings as they are found in the KJB and not the ones reflected in the NIV or NRSV. The following are a few examples.
Matt. 17:21 is omitted in the NIV and NASV, but is in the KJB and supported by the Traditional Text and the Cappodocian Fathers.
Mark 1:2 the KJB reads "prophets" as does the citations of the Cappodocian Fathers. Modern versions choose the Alexandrian reading of "Isaiah the prophet" and then quote form Malachi.
Mark 16:9-20. The longer ending, as it is found in the KJB, is also in the Greek Gospels of the Cappodocian Fathers.
Luke 2:14. While the Nestle Text of the Alexandrian line renders the phrase as, "men of goodwill," the KJB and the Cappodocian Fathers render it as, "good will toward men."
John 5:4 is omitted in the Alexandrian Text, but found in the Greek text of the Cappodocian Fathers.
This siding with the Traditional Text is not just limited to the Gospels, although there are several examples. It should also be noted that, like Ignatius, the Cappodocian Fathers used God (Gk. Theos) in 1 Timothy 3:16.
Throughout the centuries there have been those strong in the faith who were willing to suffer and die for the cause of Christ. Their histories have been written with honor by men like John Foxe in his book of Martyrs; their names have been reduced to that of heretic by those who persecuted them. Among such groups of Bible-believers were the Paulicians, the Bogomiles, the Anabaptists, the Waldenses, and the Albigenses to name a few. They are mentioned here only because the scriptures they used were those of the Traditional Text or a translation which reflected the readings found in the Traditional Text. They received the word of God, as it is in truth the word of God, and it worked effectually within them (1 Thess. 2:13).
Most of those mentioned above were and are labeled as heretics in order to justify their mass murders. A case in point would be the Albigenses, so named because they originated in southern France near the old city of Albiga. To this date they are listed in most histories of the Church as a heretical sect which practiced dualism. It has been claimed that the Albigenses believed in two gods, one good and one evil, much like the old Gnostic heresy. However, this is simply not the case. Historian for the American Baptist Converntion, Henry C. Vedder, writes, "The (Roman) church was not at all careful to distinguish between them, and they were often included under the name of Albigenses in one sweeping general condemnation. That name, however, does not properly denote the evangelical heretics, who never confounded themselves with these dualistic heretics, and indeed sympathized with them as little as they did with Rome." (A Short History of the Baptist, Judson Press, 1907, p.103).
The true "heresy" of these Bible-believing French folk was that they would not conform to Rome and its teachings. They believed each Christian had the right to read the Bible in their own language for themselves. Pope Innocent III declared war on them and began what was infamously known as the Inquisition. Edward Peter notes, "The severity and frequent brutality with which the northern French waged the Albigensian Crusade led to the killing of many heretics without formal trial or hearing." (Inquisition, The Free Press; 1988, p. 50). In this dark period of time, unnamed thousands died at the hand of Rome because they wished to place the Bible into the hands of the common man.
Catholic historians and theologians today argue that this simply is not so. The Right Reverend Henry Graham (Where We Got The Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church ), Rev. Dr. L. Rumble, and Fr. Charles Carty (Bible Quizzes To A Street Preacher ) state that most people in the Middle Ages could not read, so there was no need for the Bible in the language of the common man because he could not read it if he had it. They further state that since those who could read all read Latin, there was no need to have any other translation other than the Latin Vulgate by Jerome. This, however, by no means justifies the mass torture and murder of thousands of people. Additionally, it overlooks several simple truths. First, just because someone could not read for themselves would not stop them from wanting a Bible in their own language so someone else could read it to them. If there were only Latin Bibles, those who could not understand Latin were without hope of even hearing the word of God. Second, history has shown that once the Bible is translated into the language of the people, the people learn to read. Time and again the Bible has been the basic text book for individuals to learn their own language in written form.
Another example are the Waldenses, who are often linked in history with the Albigensians. Some have suggested that the name Waldenses came from Peter Waldo, around 1176 AD. Waldo was a Bible-believing merchant turned preacher. Others believe the name comes from the Italian or Spanish word for valley, thus stating they originated in the valley region of northern Italy. Regardless of where they derived their name, they strongly stood against many of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Catholic and Orthodox historians David Knowles and Dimitri Obolensky list for us the "heresies" of which the Waldenses were guilty: "[The Waldenses] became definitely heterodox, regarding the Bible as the supreme authority and denying the real presence in the Eucharist. . .the Waldenses, the 'proto-Protestants', continued to influence religious history throughout the middle ages and despite persecution remain in existence at the present day." The Christian Centuries, Vol. 2, Paulist Press, 1969, p. 369). What they did believe in was that the Bible was the final authority for the born-again believer. That any one who was called of God could preach the word without authority from Rome. That salvation was not by works, but by the grace of God alone, and that baptism should follow belief and not applied to infants. Thus, the principles of 1 Thessalonians 2:13 were established in their lives.
Knowles and Obolensky further state, "Already in Milan and Lyons the Humiliati and the Waldenses were beginning to show the characteristics of their class: desire for associations of prayer and good works outside the liturgical framework; love of preaching and Bible-reading in the vernacular; dislike of . . .(the) sacramental aspects of religion; disputes about the Eucharist; praise of poverty; impatiences of hierarchical control." (Ibid., p.224.) In addition they "believed that every man should have the Bible in his own tongue and that it should be the final authority for faith and life." (Cairns,Christianity Through the Centuries, p.248). Thus, they copied and translated the Bible in the vernacular and freely published these manuscripts. Therefore, their aid in using the Traditional Text and providing vernacular translations of it must not go unnoticed in the Biblical study of textual criticism.
Because of Believers like the Albigenses, the Waldenses and others, the Bible was translated into Provencial or Old French, Old High German, Slavonic, Old and Middle English, and other languages as well as Old Latin and Gothic. Through them, and others, we can see the Traditional Text not only translated into the language of the people, but translated into the lives of those who read it.
One such translation is the West Saxon Gospels which date to this period of time. This is the oldest version of the Gospels in English (that is in Old English which differs from that which we use today). The following example comes from Luke 15:16 and shows that this version of the common man followed the Traditional Text which later produced the Authorized Version.
|And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. (KJB).||And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. (RSV).||Da gewilnode he his wambe gefyllan of pam beancoddum be oa swyn aeton; and him man ne sealde. (West Saxon)|
The subtle difference comes from the variance between the two line of manuscripts. The Greek Textus Receptus reads, "gemisai ten kailian autou apo" (to fill his belly with). The United Bible Societies' Text reads, "xortasthenai ek" (fed out of). This reading is supported by P75, Vaticanus, and Sinaiticus. All the Byzantine manuscripts, most Old Latin manuscripts, the Peshitta, and the Armenian, support the Traditional Text. It is plan from the reading of the West Saxon Gospels which one they follow. The words "wambe gefyllan" mean "stomach filled" which matches the text of the KJB.
By the Majority Text, we mean the Traditional Text which has been used by Bible-believing Christians throughout the centuries and is reflected in the majority of Greek manuscripts. This Text has also been called the Syrian Text, the Constantinople Text, and is usually referred to as the Byzantine Text. It is this text which produced what has commonly been called the Textus Receptus or Received Text. It was this type of Greek Text which underlined the Authorized King James Bible. We have already seen that this text type was used by early Christians and was the basis for early translations. It is the text which has predominated the history of Bible based Christianity and, for that matter, the majority of Christendom throughout the ages.
The main objection to the Majority Text is that it is a late text, of which most of the manuscripts within this textual family date after the ninth century. However, as we have already seen, the readings found within the Traditional Text date to manuscripts of the second century and some even to the first century. Additionally, the earliest citations made shortly after the completion of the New Testament reflect the readings found in the Traditional Text, and not the Alexandrian.
The question may be asked, Why do we have so many copies which have such a late date? There are several reasons of which I shall name three. First, because it is the Traditional Text. It was the one received by the early Church and the body of believers. Naturally, it would be the one to endure throughout the centuries and be massively copied and translated. Second, the reason why we do not have as many old manuscripts of this type is simply because it was the one used. Those manuscripts which were corrupted would not be used by the early born-again believers. They would see the corruptions and reject them. However, the Bibles which they did use would reflect that use. Just as the Bible you use today is quickly worn by use, so would the early manuscripts used by Bible-believing Christians. Third, the climate where the Traditional Text was formed is not as conducive for maintaining manuscripts as the climate in Egypt. Nevertheless, on this point it must also be noted that the origin and keeping of the New Testament did not lay in Egypt but elsewhere. Places such as Asia Minor, Palestine, Greece, and Rome would be where the New Testament originated and was kept. Alexandria originated none of the autographs nor was it the caretaker of any New Testament book or epistle. It therefore lays with the majority of manuscripts which were received and used by born-again believers (1 Thess. 2:13).
We now have over 5,000 manuscripts of the New Testament. A manuscript may be the whole New Testament, or it may only be a few books. At times it may even be a portion of a book or even a fragment. But all together we have well over 5,000 of these manuscripts. Dr. Zane Hodges, of Dallas Theological Seminary, has pointed out that "somewhere between 80-90 percent- -contain a Greek text which in most respects closely resembles the kind of text which was the basis of our King James Bible." ("The Greek Text of the King James Bible," found in Bibliotheca Sacra 124 (1968) p.335). Dr. Wilbur Pickering states, ". . . one may reasonably speak of up to 90% of the extant MSS belonging to the Majority text-type." (The Identity of the New Testament Text, Nelson Pub., 1980 ed., p.118).
The agreement within this vast host of manuscripts is astounding. It becomes even more astounding as one recognizes that the Traditional Text has been with us throughout the history of the New Testament Church, and that this text is represented in various locations throughout the world. Yet this text has few variances within the bulk of its witnesses. This is, of course, in direct opposition to the Alexandrian Text which is the minority text. The Alexandrian Text, with only a few Greek manuscripts "disagree as much (or more) among themselves as they do with the majority (text). For any two of them to agree so closely as do P75 and B is an oddity." (Ibid. ) In the Biblical definition of things, this is itself evidence that the Alexandrian Text is not the instrument God used in preserving His word. Namely, because there is a higher degree of variance within its own family based upon a much smaller portion of manuscripts. Since God is not the Author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), we can conclude that God is not responsible for this line.
It is from this wealth of manuscripts that men such as Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), Robert Stephanus (1503-1559), Theodore Beza (1519-1605), and Bonaventure and Matthew Elzevirs (1624) produced Greek Texts which were greatly used by God and His Church. The Greek Text produced by Erasmus was the text which Martin Luther used to produce his German Bible. This text, along with those produced by Stephanus, were the basis for the Italian Bible of Giovanni Diodati (1576-1649) and the French Bible of Louis Second. They were also used by Casidoro de Reina (1520-1594) and Cipriano de Valera (1531-1602) and their Reina/Valera Spanish Bible. These texts and translations, along with earlier English translations and the Greek Text of Beza, formed the basis of our KJB.
These texts and their translations did not go unrewarded by God. The Greek text of the Reformers was that of the Traditional Text. Every Protestant Church which was formed during this period of Church history, used the Traditional Text or a translation based on it. The underground Church which did not need to leave Rome because it was never a part of it, used the Traditional Text as its Bible. The Traditional Text produced reform and revival. It has proven itself to have worked effectually within the community of believers who have received it as the very word of God. And, consequently, it has affected history and culture itself. Dr. Fred Craddock and Dr. Gene Tucker of Emory University have corrected stated, "Translations of the Bible, such as the Authorized Version (or King James Bible, 1611) and Martin Luther's translation of the Bible into German (first completed in 1534) not only influenced literature, but also shaped the development of languages." (cited from Encarta by Microsoft, 1995 ed).
Thus we have briefly seen the history of the Traditional Text and how God has used it throughout the Church. In lessons to come we will explore this period of time which produced the KJB in order to better understand the history of the KJB itself. Also, we will be looking at the Greek Septuagint of the Old Testament and its citations in the New. Plus, we will study those missing verses listed in lesson three to find the textual and doctrinal support for them.
One student writes, "I would really enjoy seeing something about Psalm 12:6,7. I have a copy of James White's book somewhere, and it would be nice to see a refutation of each supposed 'problem' passage of the KJB he lists. (Of course that may be a bit much. :-)"
Not really. In fact, I plan to respond to many of the verses that Brother White raises in his book,The King James Only Controversy, simply because he does such a fine job of stating the point of view reflected by the supporters of modern versions, and because his book is popular and in use with many. However, for now let us focus briefly on Psalm 12:6-7.
The verse reads, "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." (KJB).
James R. White responds to this passage twice in his book. Once in a footnote on page 6, and then again on page 243. He writes, "Many KJB Only advocates prefer to speak of the "words of God" when they refer to the KJB, drawing from Psalm 12:6." (p.6). To me, this is a very interesting footnote given by James R. White. Time and again, White says he believes the KJB is the word of God, as is the NIV, RSV, NASV and NRSV. If this is so, why would he footnote what he himself claims to believe? The difference here is that I do not believe the NIV, RSV, NASV, or the NRSV are the words of the LORD. I believe they are translations made by men which reflect a certain line of manuscripts. I believe that they contain God's word only when they agree with it.
But containing God's word and being the word of God are two different things. I do not believe that God's word has error in it, and I believe that these translations have error. What I do believe is that God promised to keep and preserve His words. That is what the verse says. If I am to believe God, I must believe this verse. If I do not believe this verse, why should I believe anything else that God says? However, I do believe it and I have the assurance that God has not lied to me concerning the keeping of His words. Further, I believe that for those of us who speak English these preserved words are in the KJB. So I have a book I believe fulfills Psalm 12:6-7 and it can be held and tested. James R. White does not.
The question is asked by White, "Doesn't Psalm 12:6-7 promise that God will preserve His WORDS?" To this White responds with, "My first question is, Where does Psalm 12 say that the 'words of the LORD' refer to the King James Bible? Of course, it doesn't. Secondly, nowhere does this passage tell us how God will preserve His words. Does this mean He will do so by ensuring that no one can ever change the substance of those words, or does it mean that He will always make sure that there is one infallible version in one or more languages or translations? The passage does not even begin to address such things. And finally, noting the NIV translation, it is quite possible that verse 7 does not refer back to 'the words of the LORD' in verse 6, but instead to those in verse 5 of whom the Lord says, 'I will set him in the safety for which he yearns' (NKJB)." (pp. 243-244).
The passage in Psalm 12:6-7 in the NIV reads, "And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever."
So, in his chapter on 'Questions and Answers' (chapter 10) his very first question, which is the one listed above, gives no answers at all. Instead, he raises more questions himself.
White's first question is, "Where does Psalm 12 say that the words of the LORD refer to the KJB of the Bible?" This is not an answer, it is a question. However, the answer is that it does not. If it had, then there would be no word of God until 1611. If there was no word of God until 1611, then Psalm 12 could not possibly be true because the claim is to keep the words of the LORD from THIS generation for ever. This generation predates 1611, however it also includes 1611. This is the difference between the Bible-believer and modern scholarship. Where is this preserved word today? Where was it at any time? Have we lost it or misplaced it? The modern scholar does not have an answer, at least not one that agrees with the verses found in Psalm 12. The "KJB Only advocates" (to cite Brother White) do not advocate the KJB only for everyone throughout Church history. I think the above lesson is proof of this. We advocate the KJB as the preserved word of God, for the English-speaking people, without any proven error.
His second question is what did God mean by "preservation"? Well, the best answer is He meant what He said. He said He would keep and preserve His words from this generation for ever. Either He did this or He did not. If He did, the modern scholar is at a loss to find where these preserved words are. If He did not, then He lied, which is impossible for God to do. Please notice that the text does not say that God would preserve the substance of His words, as White suggests. He says He will preserve His W-O-R-D-S. Now, did He or didn't He? Once again, the Bible-believer says He did and not only see the evidence that He did, but has a copy he can hold and read for himself.
The third question James R. White raises is one he plants in your mind. Is Psalm 12:7 translated correctly? Does it refer back to verse 5 and not verse 6? This is the same argument Dr. John Durham of Southeastern Baptist Seminary raised. Durham writes, "Verse 6 interrupts the development of the Psalm with an aside on the purity of the utterances of Yahweh. . .It is. . . an interruption and could very well have been added at a period subsequent to the composition of the Psalm." (Boardman Bible Commentary, pp. 192-193) So now it becomes either a mistranslation, an interruption, or an addition. Anything except for what it is, the promise of God to keep and preserve His Words. The mark of the Holy Ghost is to assure the Believer concerning the word of God (1 John 5:13). The mark of Satan is to question the word of God (Gen. 3:1).
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan agreed with the rendering. He writes, "The psalmist breaks out into praise of the purity of His words, and declares that Jehovah will 'keep them' and 'preserve them.' The 'them' here refers to the words. There is no promise made of widespread revival or renewal. It is the salvation of a remnant and the preservation of His own words which Jehovah promises." (Notes on the Psalms, Revell Comp., p.32).
James R. White quoted the NKJB to support his view that verse 7 refers back to verse 5 and not to verse 6. However, this is not how the NKJB is versed. In the Psalms, the NKJB lends itself to poetic form and groups verses together. It is very plain to see that the editors of this translation have grouped verses 6 and 7 together and not verses 5-7. James R. White would have done better to have stayed with the NIV instead of switching to the NKJB.
It should also be noted that the KJB is not alone in its translation of verse 7 as "them" instead of "us." The ASV of 1901 reads, "Thou wilt keep them, O Jehovah, Thou wilt preserve them from this generation for ever." Well, I guess that this only proves the old saying that even a blind squirrel can find a nut. :-)
I do hope that this answers your question and that this lesson has been an encouragement to you. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write me and let me know.
Until later, God bless as you labor for Him.
Yours in Christ Jesus, Thomas Holland Psalm 118:8