You may have probably received a short article being pass around in the social media that informs you of the alleged “missing verses” in our modern Bible versions such as New International Version (NIV), English Standard Version (ESV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), among others. The circulating article even accused two giant Christian publishers namely Zondervan and Thomas Nelson of compromising the Christian faith by partnering with Harper-Collins, a known secular publication who’s responsible for reprinting literatures against Christianity titled The Satanic Bible (1969 Avon Books) and promoting homosexuality through a book titled The Joy of Gay Sex (1977 HarperResource). Are these enough and valid reasons to give up the modern versions of the Bible that we have today? Where does this article originates? What is the purpose of this article?
In fact, this is a King James Onlyist propaganda which is not anymore new since this type of argument and denunciation was started by many King James Onlyist advocates and proponents like Peter Ruckman, Samuel Gipp, Dr. D. A. Waite, Dr. Jack Hyles, and Ms. Gail Riplinger whose sole purpose is to strip the believers of every modern Bible versions to make them read the King James Version or in their own terminology the King James Bible of 1611. Some King James Onlyist proponents even went to extreme by claiming that salvation cannot be understood unless one read from the King James Version. That was a very bold claim! Their writings and researches were refuted by some biblical scholars which led them to write a number of scholarly articles and books to respond and refute the claims of the King James Onlyist. Many books like The King James Controversy by Dr. James White, The King James Version Debate by Dr. D.A. Carson, The King James Only Debate by Dr. John Ankerberg & Dr. John Weldon, An AIA Review of the New Age Bible Versions (Bob & Gretchen Passantino), and many others are now available in the market.
I am fully aware of the discipline in translating biblical Greek language into our modern-day receptor languages. I thank the Lord for honest biblical scholars who meticulously and untiringly translate this ancient language into modern-day languages that can be understood by any lay persons. Unfortunately, the first manuscripts personally written by the apostles are no longer existing. But before they became extinct many non-professional scribes in Alexandria, Byzantium (Constantinople), West (Rome), and Caesarea (Jerusalem) volunteered to copy the original manuscripts in order to maintain their circulation from one church to another. Thank God for volunteers! Since we cannot be assured of an exact duplicate of the original manuscript due to human error there are still thousands of manuscripts to compare in order to be faithful with the most earliest ones. Many King James Onlyist proponents would try to question the accuracy of the Bible versions we have in our possession. Actually, they are willing to accept the trustworthiness of such works like Homer’s Iliad that only has 643 manuscripts. But they try to undermine the fact that there are currently 5,800 Greek New Testament manuscripts and 300 of those can be found in the National Library of Greece. These manuscripts may not be fully identical to each other but have a number of minor differences which we call variants. There are approximately 400,000 variants. These variants are consist of one to two percent that changes the meaning of the text while ninety-eight percent of them could be differences in spelling or words due to unintentional scribal error, word pronunciation while dictating, or word order. These variants did not affect the soundness of the Christian doctrine about the Trinity, the deity and humanity of Christ, the deity and personality Holy Spirit, the salvation by grace through faith alone, the Church, and others. These “missing verses” falls under these several variants. The “missing verses” or “missing texts” does not withhold the truth from Bible readers rather these provides awareness that such verses could not be found in the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. One rule of the thumb among Greek scholars is that the closer the manuscript is to the original writings the more reliable it is. Sadly, many King James Onlyist advocates are not after trustworthiness and accuracy but with the agenda of placing the said version up on the pedestal making them guilty of bibliolatry. I am sure that the fifty “learned men” who translated the King James Bible 1611 (Authorized Version) will not be happy with what their predecessors are doing.
Read the following:
1. The only family of manuscripts (Byzantine) used by the King James translators are the Textus Receptus (Latin, “Received Text”) prepared by Desiderius Erasmus from at least four to five manuscripts, slightly modified by Robert Stephanus and Theodore Beza. Erasmus checked no more than six Greek manuscripts. There are other families of manuscripts available during that time like the Alexandrian, Western, and Ceasarean that can be used for comparison by any sincere biblical scholar. These manuscripts will surely help determine which of the passages are more accurate and faithful to the autographs (original writings) of the apostles. Unfortunately, the King James Onlyist advocates did not use it due to bias reasons.
2. The article circulating among Facebook users was written by a King James Onlyist advocate whose aim is to dispel the believers’ trust over the modern-day Bible versions steering them to their choice version namely the King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version). Some extreme views believe that the translators of the King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version) were “inspired” by the Holy Spirit, therefore, worthy of reading. If this is the case then they will surely end up concluding that the King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version) of the Bible is “inspired” by God. This claim is totally absurd not to mention arrogant.
3. A number of King James Onlyist advocates became so legalistic even to the point of questioning the salvation of every believer who reads their passages from the modern Bible versions. They believed that unless you read in the King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version) one will not hear the voice of the Master. Surprisingly, they compare the Shakesperean or Elizabethan words of the King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version) with that of the original autograph of the apostles.
4. The 1 John 5:7 passage of St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate found it’s way in the pages of the King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version). This passage was inserted by Jerome in hope to lend support to the Trinitarian doctrine which the Textus Receptus (Latin “Received Text”) also followed. According to Dr. Paul D. Wegner, Professor of Old Testament Studies, “in time the Vulgate’s text incorporated many copying errors.” (A Journey from Texts to Translations, p. 217)
a. “Quoniam tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in caelo: Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus: et hi tres unum sunt.” – A passage inserted by Jerome in his Latin Vulgate (AD 383-405).
b. “For there are three that beare record in heauen, the Father, the Word, and the holy Ghost: and these three are one.” – The translators of King James followed the Textus Receptus in their King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version)
c. “the Spirit and the water and the blood, and the three are into the one.” – This is how it is written in the earliest Greek manuscripts therefore giving credibility and accuracy on the renderings of our modern-day Bible versions.
We are not limited to 1 John 5:7 in proving the Trinity doctrine but there are still various passages that lends support to this teaching like Gen. 1:26; Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19-20; 2 Cor. 13:14, etc.
First, there are thousands of variants found in many Greek manuscripts. The seventeen omitted texts in the modern Bible versions does not mean a conspiracy theory but rather to inform us that these verses cannot be found in the earliest family of manuscripts. The more early the manuscripts, the more reliable it will be. In fact, the very latest Greek manuscript which is the Bodmer Papyri in 1955 are not available for the King James Bible of 1611 translators. In reality, they are not really “missing” because many of them are still found in the footnote of modern Bible versions.
Second, it’s true that Zondervan and Thomas Nelson publishing houses became part of HarperCollins, but this doesn’t mean they’ve compromised for that would be an unfair judgment. In fact, it’s good to know that HarperCollins step in to acquire the two Christian publications since the former has a much wider reach than the latter. As long as these publications stand strongly on their conviction this move will surely advance the Gospel of Christ more in different parts of the world. The HarperCollins may have printed such books as The Satanic Bible and The Joy of Gay Sex in the past but what’s more important today is preaching the Gospel of Christ as Paul wrote,
But whether or not their motives are pure, the fact remains that the message about Christ is being preached, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. – Phil. 1:18, New Living Translation
Any story sounds true until someone sets the record straight. – Prov. 18:17, New Living Translation