Most Christians today superficially pick the Bible version they read based on what they perceive as being easy readability. Rarely has the discussion of the accurate manuscripts been thoroughly considered before choosing a Bible version. We stand firmly on the preeminence of the KJV because it is accurately translated from the manuscripts that have been accepted by Christians through history. Modern Bible version do not attempt to accurately translate the original languages but offer what they interpret as a dynamic equivalent of what the translators think is meant. Modern version also err in the use of manuscripts that have been viewed as heretical by Christians throughout history. Here we are presenting evidence from the quotations of the early church fathers as they cited the Scriptures to prove the Textus Receptus family of manuscripts were what existed in the early centuries of the Christian era.

In Matthew 6:13 the phrase “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” is omitted in the critical Greek text (look in the NIV for example of this corruption and any mentioned in this article). An early text known as Didache or Teachings, short for The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles, is dated between 70-120 A.D. cites the “Lord’s Prayer” in its entirety and includes this phrase1)The Teachings of the Apostles, Chapt. 8; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 7, p. 379 Tatian lived and wrote in the second century. Being disciple by Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.). Tatian produced a harmony of the four gospels called the Diatessaron, originally written in Greek but he translated it into Syriac and it became the authoritative text of the gospels in Syria for a number of centuries. Sadly, after Justin Martyr died, Tatian became a heretic, teaching Gnostic ideas. However, the Diatessaron includes this phrase,2)The Diatessaron of Tatian, Sect. IX, 36; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 9, p. 58 even though it is not the most reliable text it confirms the early New Testament contained this phrase. Dean John Burgon wrote concerning this passage, “these words have been rejected by critical writers as spurious for the past 360 years, in spite of the fact that S. Paul recognizes them in 2 Tim. 4:18—which alone, one would have thought, should have been sufficient to preserve them from molestation.”3)Dean John W. Burgon, Causes of Corruption of the New Testament Text, Sovereign Grace Publishers (Lafayette, IN: 1998), p. 38

Matthew 9:13 states, “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” The words “to repentance” is omitted and the NIV4)Zondervan (1984 edition) by International Bible Society, Mat. 9:13 does not even footnote this omission. This omission of the phrase “to repentance” is also evident in the parallel passage in Mark 2:17. Interestingly, the NIV and many of the modern Bible version put preeminence of corrupted manuscripts such as Codex Sinaiticus. This Codex itself in the text of Matthew 9:13 omits the phrase,5)Codex Sinaiticus (Matt. 9:13) can be viewed at: http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx?book=33&chapter=9&lid=en&side=r&verse=13&zoomSlider=0 but the Epistle of Barnabas is included in the Codex and contains the words “to repentance.”6)The Epistle of Barnabas, chapt. 5; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol.1, p. 139 The Epistle of Barnabas is of an unknown author, but the date of its composition is evident in its statement about the Jewish Temple. “Moreover, He again says, Behold, they who have cast down this temple, even they shall build it up again. It has so happened. For through their going to war, it was destroyed by their enemies; and now: they, as the servants of their enemies, shall rebuild it.”7)Epistle of Barnabas, Chapt. 16; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 1, p. 147 From this statement, scholars have recognized “the temple has been destroyed and plans to rebuild it are in process. This places the composition of Barnabas after A.D. 70 and perhaps as late as sometime in the A.D. 130s.”8)Michael R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, IVP Academic (Downers Grove, IL: 2010), p. 257 Justin Martyr (100-165) also cites these words in his The First Apology of Justin.9)The First Apology of Justin, Chapt. 15; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 1, p. 167 Surely these documents that are centuries earlier than the Codex Sinaiticus stands on firmer ground for the inclusion of these words.

In Matthew 19:16-17 “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” The adjective “Good” preceding “Master” is omitted, the phrase “Why callest thou me good” is changed to “why do you ask me about what is good?” (NIV), which is not an accurate rendering of the Greek; nor is it even in the Revised Greek text that was used for the NIV. The whole phrase “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” is omitted from the Greek text used by the NIV, but the phrase is quoted by Hippolytus (170-236 A.D.).10)Hippolytus, The Refutation of All Heresies, book VII, chapt. 19; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 5, p. 113 Hippolytus quotation of the phrase is in the context of what the Gnostic Marcion taught which sets the phrase in existing text prior to Hippolytus since Marcion died around 160 A.D. Tertullian stated of him: “Marcion expressly and openly used the knife, not the pen, since he made such an excision of the Scriptures as suited his own subject-matter.”11)Tertullian, On Prescription Against Heretics, Chapt. XXXVIII; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 3, p. 262 This would indicate that those who have omitted this phrase from Scripture have followed the corruption of the Gnostic Marcion. Origen (185-255 A.D.) also quotes this passage including the adjective “Good Master”12)Origen, Against Celsus, book V, chapt. XI; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 4, p. 548 as well as the second phrase which he quotes in two separate writings of his13)Origen, De Principiis, book II, chapt. V.4; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 4, p. 280; also in Origen, Against Celsus, book V, chapt. XI; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 4, p. 548 Origen, though not  absolutely orthodox in his own theology, also opposed the heresies of Marcion14)Origen, Against Celsus, book VI, chapt. LIII; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 4, p. 597; also see Origen, Against Celsus, book VI, chapt. LXXIV; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 4, p. 607 which would indicate why he refused to recognize the omission of this text as any sort of valid variant even though he was probably the first New Testament textual critic in history. His actions of textual criticism is the source of many of the corruptions in the modern critical text which makes it all the more remarkable that modern critics adapt this corruption.

The phrase “for many be called, but few chosen” is omitted from Matthew 20:16 in the Greek critical text and without a footnote in the NIV.15)Zondervan (1984 edition) by International Bible Society, Mat. 20:16 This phrase is quoted without reservation by Irenaeus (130-200 A.D.) in his major text Against Heresies.16)Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book IV, chapt. 27.4; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 1, p. 500 Ed Reese mentioned, “In his famed book, he made 1800 quotations from the New Testament, implying they had for some time been considered Scripture…. Irenaeus is considered the first writer to deserve the title of theologian, using both the Old Testament and New Testament in building his theology.”17)Ed Reese, Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies, AMG Publishers (Chattanooga, TN: 2007), p. 12

Matthew 27:35 states: “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” The critical text ends this verse with “casting lots” omitting a larger portion of the verse and a very significant phrase acknowledging the fulfillment of prophecy.  The NIV footnote states: “A few late manuscripts lots that the word spoken by the prophet might be fulfilled.”18)Zondervan (1984 edition) by International Bible Society, Mat. 27:35 Tertullian (160-230) was the earliest extant Latin author of the Christian era. He wrote, “Upon my vesture they did cast (the) lot; just as the other (outrages) which you were to commit on Him were foretold — all which He, actually and thoroughly suffering, suffered not for an evil action of His own, but that the Scriptures from the mouth of the Prophets might be fulfilled.”19)Tertullian, An Answer to the Jews, chapt. X; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 3, p. 165 His inclusion of this phrase shows that it existed very early since Tertullian was quoting from a Latin translation of the New Testament. This early Latin version must have an early origin being translated from the Greek source showing the antiquity of this phrase predating the corrupt manuscript of an older date having omitted this portion of God’s word. “When and where the new Testament was first translated into Latin has been the subject of much dispute, but, according to Metzger, most scholars now agree that the first Latin translation of the Gospels was made in North Africa during the last quarter of the second century.”20)Dr. Jack Moorman, Forever Settles: A Survey of the Documents and History of the Bible, The Dean Burgon Society (Collingswood, NJ: 1999), p. 66 It is likely this Latin text existed earlier since Christianity was well grounded in North Africa and the extensive citations of the New Testament from Tertullian seems to imply his expectation of his readers to have a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures allowing the assumption that North Africa was proliferated with Latin New Testament quite a bit earlier than 175 A.D. David Soernson speaks of the Old Latin, “It has existed since A.D. 157. Noted church historian Fredric Nolan confirms the same. This date is less than one hundred years after most of the books of the New Testament were written. The greater point is that the Itala (or Old Latin) was translated from the Received Text, indicating its existence to the earliest days of the New Testament church. Therefore, the Received Text clearly existed and was used by churches in early church history.”21)David Sorenson, Touch Not the Unclean Thing, Northstar Baptist Ministries (Duluth, MN: 2001, 2003), p. 79

Mark 9:29 says: “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” The NIV following the critical text omits “and fasting” as well as the parallel verse in Matthew 17:21 which is complete missing from the text being relegated to a footnote.22)Zondervan (1984 edition) by International Bible Society, Mark 9:29 cf. Mat. 17:21 However, Origen noted in his book On Fasting, “He taught likewise that fasts are to be weapons for battling with the more direful demons…”23)Origen, On Fasting, Chapt. VIII; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 4, p. 107 He is clearly reference the thought of this verse with the presupposition his readers were familiar with what statement of the Lord was being implied without a specific quote. Furthermore, since he did not quote the verse itself, it cannot be argued that this is a text that Origen is guilty of corrupting. The verse is also cited in a pseudo-Clemetine text.24)Attributed to Clement of Rome, Two Epistles Concerning Virginity, chapt. XII; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 8, p. 59 Surely Clement of Rome was not the author of this text but it comes from an early author nevertheless as the editor’s introduction states, “Jerome was acquainted with the writing (Ad Jovinum, i. 12), and possibly Epiphaius (Haer.,xxx. 15). Hence we may safely allow an early date.”25) The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 8, p. 53

In Luke 4:18, Dr. Frederick Scrivener noted εὐαγγελίζεσθαι is spelled εὐαγγελίσασθαι and the phrase “to heal the brokenhearted” is missing.26)Frederick H. A. Scrivener, Scrivener’s Annotated Greek New Testament,Dean Burgon Society Press (Collingswood, NJ: 1999), p. 153 This phrase was present when Irenaeus quotes the passage in the second century27)Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book IV, chapt. XXIII, sect. 1; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 1, p. 494 and it is contained in the quote by Peter of Alexandria28)Peter of Alexandria, The Canonical Epistle, Canon II; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 6, p. 270 who in 311 “was the last martyr put to death by public authority at Alexandria.”29) Ed Reese, Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies, AMG Publishers (Chattanooga, TN: 2007), p. 31 As the head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, some might suppose affiliation with Origen, however, he opposed his false teachings and was counted “among the enemies of Origen…”30)Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1858, fourth printing 2011), Vol. 2, p. 808

Acts 8:37 is completely omitted in the critical text and is rendered to a footnote in the NIV.31)Zondervan (1984 edition) by International Bible Society, Acts 8:37 It should stand as reading: “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” In the later half of the second century Irenaeus wrote, “But again: Whom did Philip preach to the eunuch of the queen of the Ethiopians, returning from Jerusalem, and reading Esaias the prophet, when he and this man were alone together? Was it not He of whom the prophet spoke: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb dumb before the shearer, so He opened not the mouth? But who shall declare His nativity? For His life shall be taken away from the earth. [Philip declared] that this was Jesus, and that the Scripture was fulfilled in Him; as did also the believing eunuch himself: and, immediately requesting to be baptized, he said, I believed Jesus Christ to be the Son of God. This man was also sent into the regions of Ethiopia, to preach what he had himself believed, that there was one God preached by the prophets, but that the Son of this [God] had already made [His] appearance in human nature (secundum hominem), and had been led as a sheep to the slaughter; and all the other statements which the prophets made regarding Him.”32)Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 3,chapt. 12, sect. 8; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 1, p. 433 Craig Keener says “there is little likelihood that [Acts] 8:37 is original”33)Craig S. Keener, Acts An Exegetical Commentary: 3:1-14:28, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI: 2013), Vol 2, p. 1592 yet noted this early quotation by Irenaeus attempting to ignore it by reasoning, “Church fathers quote the passage widely (Iren. Her. 3.12.8), but what probably began as oral tradition and marginal notations took some time to work its way into the text.”34)Craig S. Keener, Acts An Exegetical Commentary: 3:1-14:28, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI: 2013), Vol 2, p. 1592 This is a hard statement to swallow when speaking of Irenaeus, who spoke of personal acquaintance with “the most approved and ancient copies”35)Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, Chapt. XXX, sect. 1; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 1, p. 558 of Scriptures, specifically speaking in this context of the book of Revelation, he diligently opposed any form of corrupting God’s words. Noting that in his day some copies of Revelation had the number 616 instead of 666, he attacked anyone who would be willing to alter even one letter of the Bible. “But as for those who, for the sake of vainglory, lay it down for certain that names containing the spurious number are to be accepted, and affirm that this name, hit upon by themselves, is that of him who is to come; such persons shall not come forth without loss, because they have led into error both themselves and those who confided in them. Now, in the first place, it is loss to wander from the truth, and to imagine that as being the case which is not; then again, as there shall be no light punishment [inflicted] upon him who either adds or subtracts anything from the Scripture, under that such a person must necessarily fall.”36)Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, Chapt. XXX, sect. 1; in The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson) Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 1, p. 559

This is just a handful of examples of where the critical text have clearly corrupted God’s word as the antiquity for the reading in the Textus Receptus is vouched for by the Christian authors of the earliest years. Other important passages such as Mark 16:9-20 and 1 John 5:7-8 are also strongly evident with similar quotations but such controversial passages deserve lengthy articles for themselves so have not been included here. Those passages will be discussed in future articles. These passages are sufficient for now to present why we hold the KJV as the preeminent English Bible.

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Heath Henning
Heath's Testimony Heath heads the Set Free addictions ministry on Friday nights at Mukwonago Baptist Church and is involved in evangelism on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus, offering his expertise in apologetics at the weekly Set Free Bible Study every Tuesday evening. He currently lives in East Troy, Wisconsin with his wife and eight children.