THE BIBLE--PRESERVED IN EGYPT
PRESERVED IN GOD’S CHURCHES?
Missionary David C. Bennett, D. Min.
November 17, 2004
Isaiah 31:1 "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for…
they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!"
In the Scriptures Egypt is a
picture of the world and going down into Egypt is often associated with a
lack of faith in God nd His Word. The first mention of Egypt
in Holy Writ is in the book of Beginnings, Genesis chapter 12 and verse
10. There God’s Word says "And there was a famine in the land: and Abram
went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the
land." According to the Sacred Text of Scripture Abraham was called by God
while in Ur. It was there in Ur that God told him to leave his country in
simple obedience and faith to the words of God. These words spoken by God
were probably audible words. Abram was obedient as shown in Genesis 12:4
but it isn’t far into the Genesis 12 account that Abram makes a decision
based on a famine in the land. His decision is to go down into Egypt. This
journey into Egypt was a matter of DISOBEDIENCE on Abraham’s part for the
Divine Text never once indicates that Abraham was told by God to go "down
into Egypt" due to the famine.
The second Scriptural reference
to Egypt is Genesis 12:11. Here God’s Word says that "…it came
to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto
Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look
upon." Abraham’s DECISION now leads to deliberate DECEPTION.
Thus far the Sacred Book declares
that going into Egypt was a matter of disobedience leading to deception.
Disobedience and deception are not qualities most believers seek to be
associated with. Going down to Egypt in the first two references of
Scripture were times of DISOBEDIENCE AND DECEPTION. Does God
have a lesson here for us? The New Testament tells us in 1Corinthians
10:11 that "…all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they
are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
I believe He does have a lesson here and it concerns faith in His
preserved Word and Words. Why do some, including some of our fundamental
brethren, go to Egypt when it comes to recovering the manuscripts
underlying our New Testament Scriptures? Are the "fundamental" brethren
who promote the versions based on texts from Egypt, which is the Critical
Text, knowingly DISOBEDIENT brethren? Are they like Abraham knowingly
disobeying God and then deceiving others as Abraham did?
The Greek Text comprising the New
Testament Scriptures that the Lord’s churches used in the
centuries before the nineteenth century was the Received Text. Jesus said
in John 17:8 "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me;
and they have received them…" Dr. Thomas Strouse says in THE
LORD GOD HATH SPOKEN page 73 that "Some of the NT Books were written to
and read by certain assemblies." He continues in saying that "Some NT
Books were written to individuals, such as Philemon and III John, while
some locales did not receive any NT Books such as Egypt and Babylon." Dr
Strouse then writes on page 74 that "From the first century on, Christians
have had all the words of all the books of the Bible." This is what may be
called the faith position.
It is then with great interest
that one reads D. A. Carson saying on page 48 of THE KING JAMES VERSION
DEBATE that God allowed "...the best manuscripts of the New
Testament" to be "removed to some relatively quiet
corner of the Mediterranean while inferior manuscripts
dominated in publishing centers."? Were these "inferior manuscripts" of
which Dr. Carson speaks those that now embrace the Greek Text underlying
the King James Bible? Were these "inferior manuscripts" those that Dr.
Strouse said Christians had "From the first century on…"? It must be
asked, why did God allow these "inferior manuscripts" to be published,
distributed, and used by God’s people rather than the "best manuscripts"?
May God be charged with deception?
That "quiet corner" of which Carson speaks is of course
Egypt. Think about it; while the "best manuscripts" were lying
in that "quiet corner of the Mediterranean" God had His back turned on His
churches, allowing the "publishing centers" to distribute to His churches
Scriptures made with "inferior manuscripts"? Again, we ask was God
DECEIVING His churches during this time!?
Concerning Carson’s type of
preservation (if this is what you want to call it) of the Greek
New Testament manuscripts in Egypt, Sir Frederick Kenyon in THE TEXT OF
THE GREEK BIBLE page 14 says "In one country alone were conditions more
favourable to their preservation. In Egypt (south of the Delta) the
climate is so dry that manuscripts buried in the soil beyond the limits of
the inundation of the Nile may be preserved indefinitely…" Why were they
preserved rather than used? Were God’s churches without His Word and Words
until the 1800’s and the appearance of the Critical Greek Text? Were the
great revivals before the 1800’s brought about through the reading and
preaching of translations from "inferior manuscripts"?
Did the Lord really hide His Word
from His churches in the land of Egypt until 1800? Did God
knowingly allow His churches to use "inferior manuscripts"? His churches
would have believed by faith they had His Word in Words before 1881 and if
they did not, were they DECEIVED by God, man, or both?
If these manuscripts "preserved" in the land of Egypt were the best and
closest to the New Testament originals, as claimed by some, why
were they not accepted and published for the churches before the
nineteenth century? Kenyon answers that question saying that in England
the "General opinion regarded the ‘received text’ as sacrosanct, and any
attempt to alter it as sacrilegious, while even the collection of various
readings was deprecated as tending to throw doubt on the authenticity of
the Scriptures." Page 159 of THE TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE. Unfortunately it
did not remain this way.
Some in England such as Anglican
minister Edward Wells and Presbyterian minister Daniel Mace did not accept
the Received Text as God’s Word so they individually produced
their own revised texts. Kenyon says their works had no effect in their
day but they "introduced many emendations accepted by modern criticism…"
Because Wells and Mace’s works were not accepted at this time the critical
textual torch leaves England and is passed onto the continent. Kenyon
states on pages 159, 160 of THE TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE that "Up to this
point English scholarship had led the way, but it now was silent for over
a century, and the primacy passed to the Continent, and especially to
Germany." This passing the torch of textual criticism from England to
Germany is important for out of Germany develops the so called "science"
of Textual Criticism that eventually infects England, the United States
and then the world.
In Germany the Received Text was
not "sacrosanct" so the textual criticism door was thrown wide open.
According to Kenyon J. A. Bengal was the first to divide "the textual
witnesses into groups or families, and to establish their interrelation
and characters." The Asiatic group is where Bengal "placed the great mass
of later Greek MSS., which he regarded as of altogether lesser value." It
was this "principle of discrimination according to age and quality, and of
weighing authorities instead of merely numbering them, was thus introduced
for the first time." Page 160 THE TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE. Note this
Textual Critic’s name for the Majority Text was "Asiatic"! That Text to
Bengal was of "lesser value"! This Textual Critic was questioning the Word
and Words the churches had used and believed were God’s Words for
centuries. It is also the time when the Majority Text is passed over for
the Minority Text.
J. S. Semler and J. J. Griesbach
followed Bengal in putting the mass of manuscript evidence
(Majority or Received Text) for the Greek New Testament as of "inferior
value." Page 161 THE TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE. However, 1831 is the year
that "marks the beginning of the modern period of textual criticism." The
credit goes to C. Lachmann who "applied to the text of the New
Testament the same critical principles as he applied to the texts of
classical authors, ignoring the mass of later MSS., and relying on
the more ancient." Page 162 THE TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE (Emphasis added).
This is of importance, as now those who come to the New Testament come not
looking at it as Sacred Holy Writ but just as any other book.
Kenyon says "Lachmann’s methods
were by no means wholly satisfactory, and his materials were not as
adequate as could be wished" but in spite of this Lachmann
"…had given a much-needed impulse towards the treatment of the New
Testament text…" on what Kenyon says was "…sound critical principles. Page
163 THE TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE. The New Testament is no longer reverenced
as the very Word of God but is looked upon and treated as any other book
Of Lachmann John Burgon,
who was a contemporary of Westcott and Hort, says in REVISION REVISED page
242 that "Lachmann’s ruling principle then, was exclusive reliance
on a very few ancient authorities-because they are ‘ancient.’ He
constructed his Text on three or four,-not infrequently on one or
two, -Greek codices. Of the Greek Fathers, he relied on
Origen." (Emphasis added). Note John Burgon said that Lachmann "…relied
Lachmann who detested the Text
supported by the majority of Greek Manuscripts relied on Origen. Why?
Of Origen John Burgon on page 98 of THE CAUSES OF CORRUPTION OF THE
TRADITIONAL TEXT says that "...licentious and rash Editors of
Scripture,--among whom was Origen may be regarded as a prime
offender,--must have deliberately introduced into their recensions many an
unauthorized gloss, and so given it an extended circulation."
Burgon of course championed the
Received Greek Text and opposed the Critical Greek Text of Westcott and
Hort. What did Westcott think of Origen? On page 354 of ON THE
CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT Westcott says "Never perhaps have two such men
as Clement and Origen contributed in successive generations to build up a
Christian Church in wisdom and humility." Burgon and Westcott had
different opinions of Origen for sure.
Edward Miller, who edited John
Burgon’s book THE TRADITIONAL TEXT after Burgon’s death, said
on page 58 that "Origen, Clemens, Alexandrinus, and Eusebius, though first
rate Authors, were so much addicted to textual Criticism themselves, or
else employed such inconsistent copies,-that their testimony is that of
indifferent witnesses or bad judges."
Jack Moorman in FOREVER SETTLED
page 130 says "When we come to Origen, we speak the name of him
who did the most of all to create and give direction to the forces of
apostasy down through the centuries." Westcott says Origen built up the
"Christian Church in wisdom and humility" but Jack Moorman says Origen
gave direction "to the forces of apostasy". Burgon also saw Origen in a
different light as did Miller. Why do Burgon, Miller and Moorman have such
a divergent view of Origen than Westcott? Does Westcott’s leaning toward
the Roman Church have anything to do with his high view of Origen? M. A.
Smith in FROM CHRIST TO CONSTANTINE page 196 says Origen "has been
reckoned as the father of both orthodoxy and heresy."
Dr. Moorman continues on page 130
saying that Origen "…mightily influenced Jerome, the editor of
the Latin Bible known as the Vulgate. Eusebius worshiped at the altar of
Origen’s teachings. He claims to have collected eight hundred of Origen’s
letters, to have used Origen’s six-column Bible, the Hexapla, in
his Biblical labours. Assisted by Pamphilus, he restored and preserved
Origen’s library. Origen’s CORRUPTED MANUSCRIPTS of the Scriptures were
well arranged and balanced with subtlety. The last one hundred years have
seen much of the so-called scholarship of European and English
Christianity dominated by the subtle and powerful INFLUENCE OF ORIGEN."
Again the question is asked, how
is it that such men as Burgon, Miller, and Moorman view Origen so
differently than Westcott? As his predecessors did, Westcott
passes over the "great mass of later Greek MSS" and heads back to Egypt
and Origen for his manuscript evidence while Burgon, Miller and Moorman
passes Egypt and Origen for the "great mass of later Greek MSS" that the
Lord’s churches used until the nineteenth century! Is one being
DISOBEDIENT AND DECEPTIVE when going down to Egypt?
Dr. Moorman continues on page 130
saying that "In order to estimate Origen rightly, we must remember that as
a pupil of Clement, he learned the teachings of the Gnostic heresy and,
like his master, lightly esteemed the historical basis of the Bible. As
Shaff says, ‘His predilection for Plato (the pagan philosopher) led him
into many grand and fascinating errors.’"
Dr. Thomas Strouse in THE LORD
HATH SPOKEN page 95 says that "The modern translations not only
follow Gnostic readings which disassociate Jesus from the Christ, but they
also follow Gnositic readings which attack the Deity and Humanity of
Christ." The modern translations of which Dr. Strouse speaks have the
Critical Greek Text as their basis. It all stems from going down to Egypt.
Jack Moorman says of Origen
that "Such was the man who from his day to this has dominated the
endeavours of DESTRUCTIVE TEXTUAL CRITICS. One of the greatest results of
his life was that his teachings became the FOUNDATION of that system of
education called SCHOLASTICISM, which guided the colleges of Latin Europe
for nearly one thousand years during the Dark Ages." (Emphasis added) Page
131 FOREVER SETTLED.
Modern day textual criticism and
modern English versions of the Bible can therefore be said to be built on
Origen and the manuscripts "removed" and hidden in the land of
Egypt! It is becoming clearer (to this author at least) that going down to
Egypt to retrieve the Word and Words of God is DISOBEDIENCE AND DECEPTION
on the part of a believer! Why do some of our fundamental brethren go this
way? By going down to Egypt and accepting the manuscripts that may have
either been written or edited by Origen, are these brethren heading back
The Encyclopedia of Christian
Apologetics says "Origen rejected a penal view of justice,
arguing that "The fury of God's vengeance is profitable for the purgation
of souls. That the punishment, also, which is said to be applied by fire,
is understood to be applied with the object of healing" (De Prinicipiis,
2.10.6). He added, "those who have been removed from their primal state of
blessedness have not been removed irrecoverably, but have been placed
under the rule of those holy and blessed orders which we have described;
and by availing themselves of the aid of these, and being remolded by
salutary principals and discipline, they may recover themselves, and be
restored to their condition of happiness" (De Prinicipiis, 1.6.2)." This
is Roman Catholic purgatory!
The Encyclopedia of Christian
Apologetics continues by saying that "Origen was at best a
mixed blessing for Christian apologetics. He did defend the basic
inspiration and historicity of the Bible. He stressed the use of reason in
defending early Christianity against attacks of paganism and other false
teachings. He was a textual Scholar.
However, Origen's negatives seem
to far outweigh the positives. He denied the inerrancy of the
Bible, at least in practice. He taught universalism contrary to Scripture.
He taught the preexistence of the soul in contrast to the orthodox
teaching of creation. He engaged in highly allegorical interpretations of
Scripture, undermining important literal truths. He held an aberrant view
on the nature of Christ, which gave rise to the later Arian heresy. He
denied the tangible, physical nature of the resurrection body in clear
contrast to the teaching of Scripture (Luke 24:39; Acts 2:31; 1 John
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume
XI by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition under the heading
ORIGENISM says that Origen’s teachings were "chiefly:
Allegorism in the interpretation of
of the Divine Persons
· The theory of
successive trials and a final restoration."
The Catholic Encyclopedia
continues on to say that Origen "…accepts only four
Canonical Gospels because tradition does not receive more; he admits
the necessity of baptism of infants because it is in accordance with
the practice of the Church founded on Apostolic tradition; he warns
the interpreter of the Holy Scriptures, not to rely on his own
judgment, but "on the rule of the Church instituted by Christ". For,
he adds, we have only two lights to guide us here below, Christ and
the Church; the Church reflects faithfully the light received from
Christ, as the moon reflects the rays of the sun. The distinctive mark
of the Catholic is to belong to the Church, to depend on the Church
outside of which there is no salvation; on the contrary, he who leaves
the Church walks in darkness, he is a heretic."
Jack Moorman in FOREVER
SETTLED page 131 says that "Origenism flooded the Catholic
Church through Jerome, the father of Latin Christianity."
note what the Catholic Encyclopedia says about a man named "Helvidius
(who) held the two following tenets:
Mary bore children to Joseph after
the virginal birth of Jesus Christ;
· from a religious
viewpoint, the married state is not inferior to celibacy.
Earnest entreaty decided
Jerome to answer. In doing so he discusses the various
texts of the Gospel which, it was claimed, contained the objections to
the perpetual virginity of Mary. If he did not find positive answers
on all points, his work, nevertheless, holds a very creditable place
in the history of Catholic exegesis upon these questions." Jerome and
Origen held Romish doctrines that damn the souls of men!
However there are those,
within and without fundamentalism in support of the Critical Greek
Text, who accuse Erasmus of having connections with Jerome
and Origen. This connection they say is in reference to the Johannine
Comma. They believe that this supposed connection depreciates the
value of the King James Bible and the Received Text.
Rick Norris in a paper
obtained on the Internet entitled DOES KJV-ONLYISM HAVE A
CONNECTION WITH ORIGEN AND JEROME? says that "Along with his
admiration for Origen, Erasmus is also known for his strong admiration
for Jerome. This admiration is clearly evident in his book on the Life
of Saint Jerome. Jerome, the translator of the Latin Vulgate, was the
favorite church father of Erasmus (Who's Who in Christian History, p.
235). B. Hall commented: "For Erasmus, Jerome was the ideal of the
true theologian" (Dorey, Erasmus, p. 84)." Norris concludes his paper
by saying "Who gave Erasmus the authority to add words from the Latin
Vulgate to the preserved Word of God in the original languages? Since
Erasmus admired Origen and Jerome, is it good for believers today to
follow their views like he did?"
Daniel Wallace of Dallas
Seminary writes in his paper THE TEXTUAL PROBLEM IN 1 JOHN 5:7-8
that "This longer reading is found only in eight late manuscripts,
four of which have the words in a marginal note. Most of these
manuscripts (2318, 221, and [with minor variations] 61, 88, 429, 629,
636, and 918) originate from the 16th century; the earliest
manuscript, codex 221 (10th century), includes the reading in a
marginal note which was added sometime after the original composition.
Thus, there is no sure evidence of this reading in any Greek
manuscript until the 1500s; each such reading was apparently
composed after Erasmus’ Greek NT was published in 1516. Indeed, the
reading appears in no Greek witness of any kind (either
manuscript, patristic, or Greek translation of some other version)
until AD 1215 (in a Greek translation of the Acts of the Lateran
Council, a work originally written in Latin). This is all the more
significant, since many a Greek Father would have loved such a
reading, for it so succinctly affirms the doctrine of the Trinity.2
The reading seems to have arisen in a fourth century Latin homily in
which the text was allegorized to refer to members of the Trinity.
From there, it made its way into copies of the Latin Vulgate, the text
used by the Roman Catholic Church.
The Trinitarian formula
(known as the Comma Johanneum) made its way into the third
edition of Erasmus’ Greek NT (1522) because of pressure
from the Catholic Church. After his first edition appeared (1516),
there arose such a furor over the absence of the Comma that
Erasmus needed to defend himself. He argued that he did not put in the
Comma because he found no Greek manuscripts that included it.
Once one was produced (codex 61, written by one Roy or Froy at Oxford
in c. 1520),3 Erasmus apparently felt obliged to include the
reading. He became aware of this manuscript sometime between May of
1520 and September of 1521. In his annotations to his third edition he
does not protest the rendering now in his text,4 as
though it were made to order; but he does defend himself from the
charge of indolence, noting that he had taken care to find whatever
manuscripts he could for the production of his Greek New Testament. In
the final analysis, Erasmus probably altered the text because of
politico-theologico-economic concerns: he did not want his reputation
ruined, nor his Novum Instrumentum to go unsold."
On the other hand, in defense
of this reading, 1 John 5: 7-8 in the King James Bible,
Edward Hills in Chapter 7 of THE KING JAMES VERSION DEFENDED says
"Among the Latin-speaking Christians of the West the substitution of
Jerome's Latin Vulgate for the Old Latin version may fairly be
regarded as a movement toward the Traditional (Byzantine) Text. The
Vulgate New Testament is a revised text which Jerome (384) says that
he made by comparing the Old Latin version with "old Greek"
manuscripts. According to Hort, one of the Greek manuscripts which
Jerome used was closely related to Codex A, which is of the
Traditional text-type. "By a curious and apparently unnoticed
coincidence the text of A in several books agrees with the
Latin Vulgate in so many peculiar readings devoid of Old Latin
attestation as to leave little doubt that a Greek manuscript largely
employed by Jerome in his revision of the Latin version must have had
to a great extent a common original with A." (46)
In this instance, Hort's
judgment seems undoubtedly correct, for the agreement of
the Latin Vulgate with the Traditional Text is obvious, at least in
the most important passages, such as, Christ's agony (Luke 22:43-44),
Father forgive them (Luke 23:34), and the ascension (Luke 24:51).
Kenyon (1937) (47) lists 24 such passages in the Gospels in
which the Western text ( represented by D, Old Latin) and the
Alexandrian text (represented by Aleph B) differ from
each other. In these 24 instances the Latin Vulgate agrees 11
times with the Western text, 11 times with the Alexandrian text, and
22 times with the Traditional Text (represented by the Textus
Receptus). In fact, the only important readings in regard to which the
Latin Vulgate disagrees with the Traditional New Testament Text are
the conclusion of the Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6:13), certain clauses of
the Lord's Prayer (Luke 11:2-4), and the angel at the pool (John 5:4).
In this last passage, however, the official Roman Catholic Vulgate
agrees with the Traditional Text. Another telltale fact is the
presence in the Latin Vulgate of four of Hort's eight so-called
"conflate readings." Although these readings are not at all
"conflate", nevertheless, they do seem to be one of the distinctive
characteristics of the Traditional Text, and the presence of four of
them in the Latin Vulgate is most easily explained by supposing that
Jerome employed Traditional (Byzantine) manuscripts in the making of
the Latin Vulgate text.
There are also a few passages
in which the Latin Vulgate has preserved the true reading
rather than the Greek Traditional New Testament Text."
Jeffrey Khoo in his paper
COMMA - 1 JOHN 5:7-8 - A PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF THE
ANTIQUITY AND AUTHENTICITY OF THE JOHANNINE COMMA- DOES A CLEAR,
BIBLICAL PROOF TEXT EXIST FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY? says that
"It is not true that 1 John 5:7 is absent in all pre-l6th
century Greek manuscripts and New Testament translations. The text
is found in eight extant Greek manuscripts, and five of them are dated
before the 16th century (Greek miniscules 88, 221, 429, 629, 636).
Furthermore, there is abundant support for 1 John 5:7 from the
Latin translations. There are at least 8000 extant Latin manuscripts,
and many of them contain 1 John 5:7f; the really important ones
being the Old Latin, which church fathers such as Tertullian (AD
155-220) and Cyprian (AD 200-258) used. Now, out of the very few Old
Latin manuscripts with the fifth chapter of First John, at least
four of them contain the Comma. Since these Latin versions were
derived from the Greek New Testament, there is reason to believe that
1 John 5:7 has very early Greek attestation, hitherto lost.
There is also reason to believe that Jerome’s Latin Vulgate (AD
340-420), which contains the Johannine Comma, was translated from an
untampered Greek text he had in his possession and that he regarded
the Comma to be a genuine part of First John. Jerome in his Prologue
to the Canonical Epistles wrote, ‘Irresponsible translators left out
this testimony [i. e., 1 John 5:7f] in the Greek codices.’
Edward F. Hills concluded, ‘It was not trickery that was responsible
for the inclusion of the Johannine Comma in the Textus Receptus,
but the usage of the Latin speaking church.’" (Emphasis in paper).
The criticism leveled by the
textual critics that Erasmus used only a few Greek manuscripts must
also be considered. It is of interest that earlier in this
paper it was said that Burgon mentioned Lachmann’s use of a very few
manuscripts. Not surprising the same textual critic does not make much
ado about that! Instead Kenyon says on page 155 of THE TEXT OF THE
GREEK BIBLE that "Erasmus used only a handful of MSS…" Daniel Wallace
of Dallas Seminary agrees saying in his paper WHY I DO NOT THINK THE
KING JAMES BIBLE IS THE BEST TRANSLATION AVAILABLE TODAY that Erasmus
"...only used half a dozen, very late MSS for the whole New Testament
However, in spite of what
Norris, Wallace and other textual detractors believe, Erasmus was a
true scholar. In his travels Erasmus had personally read
many of the manuscripts in existence at the time but chose to use only
those manuscripts comprising what became his Greek text. As a Roman
Catholic he would have known about Vaticanus but chose not to use it.
The manuscripts he used whether five, twelve or more comprised the
reading of the majority of MSS evidence and not the Minority.
It also worth asking, if it
was a negative for Erasmus to supposedly use so few manuscripts why
was it not for Lachmann and later W & H? Dr. David Sorenson
says that "Contrary to popular misconception, Erasmus had more than a
handful of manu-scripts at his disposal. Preserved Smith, the noted
expert on the life of Erasmus, comments, ‘For the first edition
Erasmus had before him ten manuscripts, four of which he found in
England, and five at Basle. . . . The last codex was lent him by John
Reuchlin . . . (and) appeared to Erasmus so old that it might have
come from the apostolic age.’ He was aware of Vaticanus in the Vatican
Library and had a friend by the name of Bombasius research that for
him (165). He, however, rejected the characteristic variants of
Vaticanus which distinguishes itself from the Received Text. (These
variants are what would become the disting-uishing characteristics of
the critical text more than 350 years later.)" TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN
THING: THE TEXT ISSUE AND SEPARATION.
Let us now return back to a
further examination of Origen. It is seen he was a textual
critic residing in Egypt and this is where D. A. Carson says God
preserved the better Biblical manuscripts. Origen is the man of whom
Jack Moorman says "Such was the man who from his day to this has
dominated the endeavours of DESTRUCTIVE TEXTUAL CRITICS." Page 131
In the online Introduction of
the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume X it says Origen "…is the
first great textual critic of the Church." Kenyon says on page 151 of
THE TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE that the Vaticanus and Aleph family of
manuscripts "makes it first appearance in the writings of Origen…"
Here is a man in Egypt that is looked upon by some as "the father of
both orthodoxy and heresy" using manuscripts hidden from the Lord’s
churches for centuries! Kenyon states further on page 208 in THE TEXT
OF THE GREEK BIBLE that the text family to which Vaticanus belongs "is
now generally regarded as a text produced in Egypt and probably at
Alexandria under editorial care…"
Dr. Kenneth I. Brown in his
book THE CHURCH FATHERS AND THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT page 12 says
that Origen "…has excited as much interest and rendered as much
influence on the New Testament text as any of the Fathers." Dr. Brown
also says that Origen’s works were studied "quite carefully by
Griesbach." And we know what Griesbach thought of the Received Greek
Text! On page 21 Dr. Brown says that "To Origen is attributed the
earliest substantial work in the field of textual criticism…."
One begins to wonder
if textual critics such as Origen, those of the nineteenth century,
and those of today are seeking to verify the Word and
Words of God or vilify the Word and Words of God!?
Sir Frederick Kenyon says of
textual criticism on page 163 of THE TEXT OF THE GREEK
BIBLE that "Interest in the subject was now aroused, and the
middle of the nineteenth century saw an epoch-making advance,
both in the collection of evidence and in the development of
textual theory. The former is mainly connected with the names
of Tischendorf and Tregeslles, the latter with those of Westcott and
Hort." He says that it is "From this point English scholarship comes
back into the front line..." (Emphasis added)
However, it must be noted
that before W & H begin their revision German critic
Tischendorf brought to light Codex Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus (?).
Remember it is this family that "makes it first appearance in the
writings of Origen…" Page 151 THE TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE. It is these
two manuscripts (especially B) that will support the W & H work. The
Catholic Encyclopedia Online MANUSCRIPTS OF THE BIBLE says "B, or Cod.
Vaticanus (q.v.) (fourth century; in the Vatican) contains complete
Bible. The Old Testament lacks Gen., i, 1-xivi, 28; I and II Mach.;
portions of II Kings, ii; and Psalms, cv- cxxxvii. The New Testament
wants Heb., ix, 14; I and II Tim.; Titus.; Apoc. Its origin is
Lower Egyptian. Hort thinks it akin to the text used by Origen in his
Hexapla." (Emphasis added). This Encyclopedia article
continues to say under the heading "(c) Vellum Uncials" that
"The Vatican (B) is the oldest and probably the best New Testament
manuscript." This "oldest" and "best" are terms used frequently for
Kenyon on page 165 of THE
TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE says "It was the revelation of
these two OUTSTANDING AUTHORITIES, earlier in date than
any previously known and supporting one another in evidence for a text
markedly different from the received Byzantine text, that gave
the decisive impulse for a revision both of the Greek text in common
use and of the English Authorized Version." (Emphasis added).
It is now that German textual criticism will again cross the waters
and be solidly planted back in England.
Following Bengal, Semler,
Griesbach and others Hort classifies the documents of the New
Testament into four families. They were, first the Syrian
which were "…the later uncials and the great mass of the cursives,
which, because he believes it to descend from a revision begun at
Antioch towards the end of the fourth century…" Pages 166, 167 THE
TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE. It is again worth mentioning that these
manuscripts spoken of here comprise the majority of existing
manuscript evidence for the New Testament, often referred to as the
Received Text. It is this Greek Text Bengal, Semler, Griesbach,
Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles and W & H had a definite distain
Kenyon continues by saying
the group Hort labelled as Neutral were headed by B and Aleph
and were on Hort’s "examination" believed "to have come down in
relative purity without editorial revision…" Kenyon then notes on page
167 that Hort makes a ruling as did others before him, such as Bengal,
Tischendorf and Griesbach, that "the great mass of later authorities,
and no reading resting on purely Syrian attestation would be accepted
by him." Why did these men dislike the "the great mass of later
authorities" and favour the manuscripts of Origen and Egypt? Why did
Tregellis of England in 1838 not allow the "‘received text’ any
prescriptive rights."? Page 164 THE TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE. Is it
fair to ask of these textual critics, why are they going down to Egypt
for God’s Word? Is this a trip made in open DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD AND
DECEPTION OF OTHERS!?
Again it must be emphasized
that the manuscript that takes centre stage for the W & H Greek New
Testament is Vaticanus (B) followed by their other
favourite Codex Sinaiticus. Of this Neutral Text of W & H’s The
FreeDictionary.com says "The Alexandrian text-type (also called
Neutral or Egyptian) is a group of early manuscripts in
the original Greek. Whilst the type of text is referred to as
‘Alexandrian’ since most manuscripts of this early type appear to have
been preserved by the dry climate of Egypt…" Dr. James Sightler in his
paper CODEX "B" – ITS HISTORY says that "Both B and Aleph were written
in Egypt." Is Egypt the place to look for God’s Word? Preserved in
Egypt but unpublished and distributed for use until the 1800’s!
It is the critical textual
work of W & H "which appeared in 1881, consisting of a
revised text without apparatus criticus, but with elaborate
prolegomena and notes on special passages, has formed the basis
of all subsequent textual criticism of the New testament"
since. Page 165 THE TEXT OF THE GREEK BIBLE. (Emphasis added). Some
will disagree with Kenyon but I believe he is correct for all ensuing
critical Greek texts have their roots in the W & H edition. It must be
stressed again that W & H’s work is based on Origen and Codex B,
site includes the paper TEXTUAL CRITICISM THE ALEXANDRIAN TEXT.
It says "This text arose in Egypt and is generally
conceded to be the most important one. Westcott and Hort, who named
this the Neutral Text, thought that Codex
Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus had
preserved a pure form of the Alexandrian type of text."
(Emphasis added). Again note the importance these two have on textual
criticism. These two manuscripts are seen as pure while the majority
of the manuscript witnesses are seen as irrelevant unless they
coincide with these two.
The Online SBIA-Biblia
Textual Reina-Valera- Types of Texts says under the heading
THE ALEXANDRIAN TEXT "It is usually considered to be the best and most
faithful in the preservation of the original text. Its characteristics
are its briefness and its austerity. In other words, the Alexandrian
text is generally shorter than other types of text, and does not have
the same degree of grammatical and stylistic neatness characteristic
of the Byzantine type of text and to a lesser degree of the Caesarean
type of text.
Until recently, the two chief
witnesses to the Alexandrian text were codex Vaticanus (B)
and codex Sinaiticus (?),
parchment manuscripts of the middle of the 4th. Century."
Then under the BYZANTINE TEXT
heading we read "The classical description of the Byzantine
type of text is made by F.J.A. Hort. He says ‘…The qualities that the
authors of the Byzantine text seemed to want to project most are
brilliancy and completeness. It is evident that they were anxious - as
far as possible and without resorting to violence - to remove all the
obstacles that existed in the path of the ordinary reader. They were
also very eager for the reader to obtain the benefits of the
instructive part included in all existing text, careful not to mix up
the context or introduce apparent contradictions. New omissions are of
course rare and when they take place it is usually to try and feign
simplicity. On the other hand, the new interpolations abound, the
majority of them made due to harmonization or other similitude; but
fortunately they can be identified as they are capricious or
Both in its theme and diction
the Syrian text is visibly a ‘complete’ text. It takes
pleasure in using pronouns, conjunctions, expletives and provides all
kinds of links as well as additions made out of consideration. As if
wanting to distinguish itself from the intrepid courage of Occidental
scribes and from the erudition of the Alexandrines, the spirit of its
corrections is both sensitive and weak. Absolutely irreproachable in
its literary and religious bases with regard to a vulgar or unworthy
diction, but showing an absence of critical and spiritual discernment,
it presents the New Testament in a soft and attractive form but
notably impoverished in strength and meaning, more appropriate for
quick or recitative reading than diligent and repeated study." One is
not left in doubt as to what Hort thinks of the Received Text as he is
simply following Bengal, Semler, Griesbach, and Lachmann before him!
The Catholic Encyclopedia Online under the heading
MANUSCRIPTS OF THE BIBLE says of those manuscripts called "(d)
Vellum minuscules" that "The vast numbers of minuscule witnesses
to the text of the New Testament would seem to indicate a rich field
of investigation for the text-critic. The field is not so rich at all.
Many of these minuscules have never been fully studied.
Ninety-five per cent of them are witnesses to the same type of
text; that of the textus receptus. Only those minuscules
interest the text-critic which are distinctive of or akin to one of
the great uncials." (Emphasis added).
Note that it is said that
in this matter of textual criticism much emphasis is placed on the
importance of the great uncials such as B and Aleph while
giving very little significance to 95% of the witnesses that comprise
the Received Text! The only weight these witnesses (95%) have as
far as the naturalistic textual critic is concerned is when they are
"akin to one of the great uncials."
But not all who study the
manuscript evidence agree with delegating the 95% to the side as
insignificant with reference to the original New Testament
autographs! Wilbur N. Pickering says in AN EXAMINATION OF THE
ALEXANDRIAN TEXTS "So who held these Autographs? Speaking in terms of
regions, Asia Minor may be safely said to have had twelve (John,
Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Philemon, 1 Peter,
John's three epistles, and Revelation), Greece may be safely said to
have had six (1 and 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians,
and Titus in Crete), and Rome may be safely said to have had two (Mark
and Romans). As to the rest, Luke, Acts, and 2 Peter were probably
held by either Asia Minor or Rome, Matthew and James by either Asia
Minor or Palestine, and Hebrews by Rome or Palestine. Jude was quite
possibly held by Asia Minor. Taking Asia Minor and Greece together,
the Aegean area held the Autographs of at least eighteen and possibly
as many as twenty-four of the twenty-seven New Testament books, Rome
held at least two and possibly up to seven, Palestine may have held up
to three, and Alexandria (Egypt) had none! The Aegean region
clearly had the best start, and Alexandria the worst."
Primitive Baptist Robert L.
Webb writes in TRUE BIBLE AND TRUE CHURCH INSEPARABLE that
"The ‘Great Reformation’ which followed over a century after
Wickliffe’s death did not make the Catholic Bible the ‘true Bible,’
any more than it made the Catholic Church the ‘true church.’" He goes
on to say that "…the Protestant Reformers and the Waldenses all
refused to use the Catholic manuscripts (either Vulgate or Vatican).
He concludes his paper by saying that "…the Received Text is the only
underlying basis for any past, present or future New Testament
translation that should be regarded by Christian people."
So, thus far the
data gathered is:
1. Holy Writ tells us that
Abram’s going down to Egypt was a matter of DISOBEDIENCE
leading to DECEPTION.
2. Origen was born in
Alexandria, Egypt (185 – 254 AD).
3. Origen did much writing,
copying and textual criticism.
4. Origen was a Gnostic
heretic (some deny this) and a destructive textual critic.
5. According to Sir Frederick
Kenyon it was Origen who brought Codex B and Aleph into the
6. Most if not all modern
English translations are based on the Critical Greek Text
which Dr. Strouse said follow Gnostic readings.
7. D. A. Carson says
there is the possibility that the best New Testament manuscripts were
removed by God to be preserved in Egypt while "inferior texts"
"dominated in the publishing centers."
8. The German textual critics
all had a distain for the Received Text and therefore they
were not accepted as an equal to the Alexandrian text.
9. Westcott and Hort followed
the German textual critics in placing the Received Greek
Text as inferior and their (W & H) Neutral Text, composed mainly of
Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, as the best and most pure.
10. Wilbur Pickering states
that the Alexandrian Text (or as W & H called it the Neutral Text) was
11. The Reformers in their
translations resorted not to the Vaticanus or Latin Vulgate
but to the Received Text!
Consider a few questions
brought about by the above eleven points. They are:
1. If the Alexandrian is the
worst, as Wilbur Pickering says it is, why do these textual
critics have such an infatuation with Egypt and its manuscripts?
2. Why did Bengal, Semler,
Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregellis, Westcott and Hort, go
down to Egypt and follow Origen and Codex B in the first
3. Why do some of today’s
fundamentalists follow German natural textual critics by
going down to Egypt for the Word and Words of God?
4. Do the textual critics of
the past and present have such disparagement for the
Received Greek Text that they will follow the worst rather than the
5. Finally, do the
manuscripts from Egypt and those translations made from
them have a link to the ecumenical movement back to Rome?
Picking up on question five
Dr. Kenneth Brown in the introduction of his book A CRITICAL
EVALUATION OF THE TEXT OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE page 1 says that "In
recent days, several men have placed into print some defense of the
Textus Receptus, feeling that any other conclusion is apostate,
liberal, Roman Catholic, or some product of destructive
higher criticism." (Emphasis added). Remember, this study began with
Isaiah 31: 1 "Woe to them that go down to Egypt…but they look not unto
the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!"
The conclusion of the matter
is that going down to Egypt and adopting any one of the new English
versions translated from the Critical Greek Text will eventually (I
believe) lead to a closer relationship with new evangelicals and their
ultimate move back to Rome. Dr. Strouse says on pages v and vi of the
Preface of his excellent book THE LORD HATH SPOKEN that "After all,
the King James Version is the Bible of Fundamentalism. Even the
liberal James Barr cogently and correctly states, ‘Until quite
recently conservative evangelicals were extremely closely tied to the
Authorized (King James) Version. The symbolic and practical importance
of this tie with a particular and traditional English version is
difficult to exaggerate…for the fundamentalist society as a whole the
Authorized Version functioned as the direct and immediate expression
of transcript of divine revelation."
On page 21 of the same book
Dr. Strouse restates his belief when he writes that
"Fundamentalists have identified with the KJV because of its textual
and theological integrity, because of its beauty and strength of
expression, and because of its protection from liberalism."
study the text issue from both sides! It is through that
study that they should come to the conclusion and conviction that God
has given to the English speaking world His preserved Hebrew, Aramaic,
and Greek words clothed in English apparel in the King James Bible. It
is also through this study that young and old fundamentalists will
come to a renewed appreciation and love for the English Bible that God
has honoured with soul saving, life changing revivals and world wide
DO NOT GO TO EGYPT
FOR YOUR BIBLE!