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Bible Archaisms and Modern Versions

Rev. Robert C. Harbach



1. To Hard to Understand?
2. The Language of the People or the Language of the Bible?

3. Authorised Version not so Archaic

4. The Name Given Our Bible

5.  Four Greek New Testament Texts Compared

6. German and Dutch Bibles Compared

7. Seventeen Modern Versions Compared

8. King James New Testament Texts Compared

9. A 1982 Version

10.  One More Concluding Point

11. Conclusion


Too Hard to Understand?

"I don't use the King James Version of the Bible any more. It's too hard to understand—with all those out­dated, archaic words!" This objection to what is still the world's best seller is very commonly levelled against it in favour of one of the many modern language bibles. Our purpose in providing the following list of over one hundred biblical archaisms is to show that the 1611 edition of the Bible is not so archaic, after all. For the list reveals that many of these archaisms are elsewhere in Scripture rendered by a synonym quite familiar to everyone. (Where this is not the case, as with a few words, the modern equivalent is simply given, as in besom = broom.) The reader should notice that the Numbers given in brackets, as, e.g., in the case of 1. affrighted [6206], reference is so made both to the word and its synonym as similarly Numbered in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. This is for the reader's convenience, in case he may wish to check things out further for himself in a standard work where any word in the King James Bible may easily be found.


The Language of the People or the Language of the Bible?

Are there more archaisms in the Bible than these listed? Probably quite a few more. In this computer age, some readers may wish to enter this entire list in their personal computer and add to it as more are discovered. Many of our readers have already learned, through The Standard Bearer, that these archaisms were archaic even to the King James translators and to their times. This came about as the result of translating the Old Testament Hebrew and the New Testament Greek, not in the then current vernacular, but in the best English language de­manded by these original Scriptures. This means that the language of the Authorised Version was not so much "the language of the people" as it was the language of the Bible!


Authorised Version Not so Archaic

Numbers [in brackets] refer to the English words so Numbered in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

1. affrighted [6206] (Deut. 7:21) = terrified [6206] (Deut. 20:3)

2. aforetime (Jer. 30:20) = before (Ps. 139:5)

3. amerce [6064] (Deut. 22:19) = to fine, to punish [6064] (Prov. 17:26)

4. anon (Mark 1:30) = straightway/forthwith/immediately (Gk. eutheoos )

5. asswaged = subsided (Gen. 8:1)

6. astonied [8074]—10 times in OT = astonished [8074] = amazed [8074]

7. aught, ought [3972] (Gen. 39:6) = anything [3972] (Gen. 22:12; 39:9, 23)

8. aul = awl

9. avouch = avow

10. begat = begot

11. besom = broom

12. bestead = distressed, perplexed (also found in the KJV)

13. bethink (I Kings 8:47; II Chron. 6:37) = recall (in order to repent, convert)

14. betimes [7836] [7925] (Prov. 13:24; Gen. 26:31) = early [7836] (Ps. 90:14) [7925] (Gen. 19:2)

15. betwixt [996] (Gen. 31:37, 50, 51, 53) = between [996] (Gen. 31:44, 48, 49)

16. bewray [1540] (Isa 16:3) = reveal [1540] (Job 20:27; 33:6) = uncover [1540]—25 times

17. blains = blisters or ulcers

18. blessed be he that blesseth thee (Gen. 27:29) = blessed is he that … (Num. 24:9)

19. brass, i.e., strictly, copper

20. boiled (Ex 9: 31), the flax was boiled, i.e., "in bud"

21. brigandine = coat of mail (also "coat of mail" appears twice in the OT)

22. bruit [8052] (Jer. 10:22) = rumour [8052] (Jer. 49:14) = fame [8052] (II Chron. 9:6)

23. cabins, i.e., vaults, cells, dungeons

24. candlestick—the word is lampstand, no connection whatever with candles (Ex. 39:27)

25. cankerworm (Joel 1:4) = caterpiller (Jer. 51:14, 27)

26. champaign [6160] (Deut. 11:30) = plain [6160] (Deut. 1:1, 7)

27. chapiter [7218] (Ex 38:17, 19,28) = head [7218] (Ex 34:8) = top [7218] (Ex. 34:2; Gen. 11:4)

28. chapt [2865] (Jer. 14:4—once!) = broken [2865] (I Sam. 2:10; Isa. 9:4; Jer. 48:20)

29. charger [4094] (Matt. 14:8) = platter [4094] (Luke 11:39)

30. charity = love (translated "love" in John's Gospel, his Epistles and in Jude)

31. chode [7378] (Gen. 31:36; Num. 20:3) = contended [7378] (Job 9:3; 13:8)

32. choler = anger

33. churlish (I Sam. 25:3) = stiffnecked (Deut. 9:6, 13), = hardhearted (Ezek. 3:7)

34. clouts = rags

35. cockatrice [6848] (Isa 11:8; 14:29; 59:5) = adder [6848] (Prov. 23:32)

36. conversation = manner of life, conduct

37. corn [2848 NT] (John 12:24) = grain [2848] (Matt. 13:31)

38. countenance [6440] (Gen. 4:5-6; 31:2, 5) = face [6440] (Gen. 4:14—twice, 31:21)

39. dam [517] (Ex. 22:30) = mother [517] (Gen. 2:24; Ex. 21:15, 17)

40. descry [8446] (Judg. 1:23) = search [8446] (Num. 10:33; 13:2, 32) = spy [8446] (Num. 13:16-17)

41. devil = demon

42. discomfited [2000] (Judg. 4:15) = troubled [2000] (Ex. 14:24)

43. divers = various

44. dureth (Matt. 13:21—once) = endureth (many times)

45. durst (Matt. 22:26—7 times in NT) = dare (Rom. 5:7—3 times in NT)

46. earing [2758] (Judg. 1:23) = plowing—4 times (different words in the original)

47. ensample [5179] (Phil. 3:17; II Tim. 3:9) [5262] (II Peter 2:6) = example [5179] (I Tim. 4:12) [ 5262] (Heb. 4:11)

48. ensue [1377 NT] (I Peter 3:11) = pursue—28 times in OT [7291]

49. eschew [1578 NT] (I Peter 3:11) = avoid [1578 NT] (Rom. 16:17)

50. espied (Heb., tsaphah , Jer. 48:19) = watch (Nah. 2:1) = to spy out land ( tagal ) (Judg. 18:2) = go up and view the country (Josh. 7: 2)

51. fallow: referring to land untilled and unsown; or plowed without sowing (Jer. 4)

52. foal = any young animal, a colt or filly

53. folden (Nah. 1:10) = entangled, i.e., intertwined (as in a thicket)

54. forgat = forgot

55: fray = scare

56. froward [6141] (Prov. 11:20; 17:20; 22:5) = perverse [6141] (Prov. 8:8; 19:1; 28:6)

57. fuller (Mark 9:3—once) [1102] = cloth dresser, launderer

58. furbished (Heb., maraq , to rub, scour, clean, polish to brightness) (Lev. 8:28—both scoured and rinsed)

59. garner (Matt. 3:12) = barn (Matt. 13:30)

60. ghost = spirit

61. greaves = shin-guard armour (I Sam. 17: 6)

62. habergeon [8302] (II Chron. 26:14; Neh. 4:16) = coat of mail [8302] (I Sam. 17:5, 38)

63. hither [2008] (Gen. 15:16; 42:15; 45:5, 8, 13) = here [2008] (Gen. 21:23)

64. holpen [5826] (Ps. 86:17) = helped [5826] (Ps. 28:7)

65. host(s) [6635] = army (Ex. 14:9), armies (Ex. 6:26) = company (Ps. 68:11) = soldiers (I Chron. 7:4, 11)

66. leasing [3577—twice] (Ps. 4:2; 5:6) = lying [3577] (Ezek. 13:6, 7)

67. (have) lien (Gen. 26:10) = (have) lain (Ruth 5:19)

68. let = hinder (both words appearing in the KJV)

69. listeth [2309] (John 3:8) = willeth [2309] (Rom. 9:16—once)

70. malefactor [2555] bad-doer (John 18:30; I Peter 2:12) [2557] bad-worker (I Tim. 2:9) evil doer

71. noisome (pestilence) (Ps. 91:3) Heb., hauah : calamity, wickedness (Ps. 55:11), naughtiness noisome (beast) (Ezek. 14:21) = sore (in the same verse) = evil (beasts) (Ezek. 5:17) Heb: ra

72. nought [2600] (Job 22:6; Isa. 52:3) = nothing [2600] (Ex. 21:12; II Sam. 24:24)

73. ouches [4865] = settings (cp. settings [4396], Ex. 28:17)

74. peradventure [5020] (Rom. 5:7) = perhaps [5029] Phile. 15

75. plaister = plaster

76. prevent = precede (went before, Ps. 68:25-26; come before, Ps. 95:2) = met (Deut. 23:4; Neh. 13:2)

77. privily [2977] (Matt. 1:19) = privately (8 times NT) = secretly [2977] (John 11:28)

78. purloining (dates from AD 1440) (Titus 2:10) [3557] = kept (keep) back [3557] (Acts 5:2-3)

79. purtenance [7130] (Ex. 12:9) = inward parts [7130] (Ps. 5:9; Jer.31:33)

80. quicken(ed) [2421] (Ps. 119:50, 93) = keep alive (Ps. 22:29; 30:3) [2421]

81. rereward = rearward, rear-guard (Isa. 52:12)

82. scrip = bag (11 times in Scripture), wallet, script (I Sam. 17:40)

83. seethe [1310], sod [1310] (II Chron. 35:13) = boil [1310] (Lev. 8:31)

84. slew [2026] (Gen. 4:8, 25) [4191] (Gen. 38:7, 10) = killed [2026] (Num. 31:19) [4191] (Ex. 21:29)

85. smote [5062] (Ex .12:27; I Sam. 25:68) = struck [5062] (II Sam. 12:15; 20:10; II Chron. 13:20)

86. strait [6862] (II Kings 6:1; Isa. 49:20) = narrow [6862] (Num. 22:26; Prov. 23:27)

87. strawed = strowed = cast (threw)

88. supple (Ezek. 16:4, Heb. mishi ) to make soft, pliant, flexible

89. tare (4 times) = tore, ripped, convulsed

90. throughly (12 times) = thoroughly [7495] (Ex. 21:19) [3190] (II Kings 11:18)

91. trow [1380] (Luke 17:9) = think [1380] (Matt. 3:9; 18:12; Luke 13:4)

92. vain [7386] (Deut. 32:47) = empty [7386] (Gen. 37:24; 41:27)

93. vial (NT) is bowl. (The word "bowl" does not appear anywhere in the NT of the KJ Bible)

94. victual [3978] (II Chron. 11:11) = food [3978] (Gen. 2:9)

95. wanton [2691] [4684] been wanton (James 5:5) = liveth in pleasure (I Tim. 5:6)

96. waxeth [1095] (Heb. 8:13) = becometh [1096] (Matt. 13:22,32)

97. wen [2990] (Lev. 22:22), Heb yabbal, a running sore

98. whence [834, 8033] (Num. 23:12) = from where [834, 8033] (Num. 17:4)

99. which (which made heaven and earth, Ps. 121:2) = who made (Ps. 124:8)

which had done great things (Ps. 106:21) = who hast done great things (Ps. 71:19) which art in heaven (Matt. 6) = who art the confidence: of all (Ps. 65:5)
which keepeth covenant (Deut. 7:9; II Chron. 6:14) = who keepeth covenant (I Kings 8:23)
who keepest covenant (Neh 9:32)

100. whither [834, 8033] (Num. 15:18) = to where

101. winefat = winevat (which is under the wine-press). See Smith's Bible Dictionary.

102. wist [1492] (John 5:13—13 times) = wot [1492] (Acts 3:17—4 times) = know [1492] (Acts 2:22; 3:16; Rom. 14)

103. without [1855] (Rev. 11:2; I Tim. 3:7) = outside [1855] (Matt. 23:25)

104. wroth [2734] (Gen. 4:5-6) = angry [2734] (Gen. 18:30, 32)


The Name Given Our Bible

We believe the Bible ought not to bear the name of a mere man, as quite a few editions of the Bible do. Yet our Bible does bear the name of a man, which, from one point of view, is regrettable, since he was a wretched, utterly despicable person. He was tyrannical, cruel, of vindictive nature, petty enough to be swayed by flattery, unbelievably conceited, known as "the wisest fool in Christendom," the flagrant immorality of whose court was exceeded only by the imbecility of his government. But to the church universal, the best Bible, the Bible, although bearing the name of a bad man, has an indisputable reputation for utter faithfulness to truth.

Still, for a name, is "the Authorised Version" any better? For our Bible surely needs no human authorisation. However, strangely enough, the Authorised Version, as far as can be determined, was never authorised. True, it was dedicated to King James, and the title page is often, if not always, printed with, "Appointed to be Read in Churches." Nor could it have been printed except with the permission of the crown. Yet, it was never literally, distinctively, formally, or officially authorised. It did have the royal order, but was not authorised by regal constitution, legal council or convocation, parliament, king, or ecclesiastical decree. It simply stood forth received and acclaimed on its own merits, character, and enduring superiority. This Bible alone rides the crest in the tide of Bible versions flooding the land today.

But how may we judge of any or all of these? Is there a tool enabling us to do this? There is if the intention of this pamphlet is realised, for it is meant to be a rough tool for this purpose which others may refine and develop. It is sent forth with the hope that its use and effect will be increased appreciation and love for the old 1611 Bible.


Four Greek New Testament Texts Compared

1. The Greek Text of Stephens, 1550 (Zondervan first printing, 1970). This is a text of sound, orthodox scholarship.

2. Novum Testamentum Graece, D. E. Nestle, 16th edition, 1936. This is based on the old German destructive critical scholarship.

3. The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, Hodges/Farstad, 1982. This is of the latest and best scholarship.

4. Pocket Interlinear New Testament (Baker, 1983), which has in the margin the fourth edition of "the King James 11 Version, and interlinearly with the English translation F. H. A. Scrivener's Greek New Testament, 1894. This is a very trustworthy Greek text which updates the Stephens text. Our King James Bible stands in the line of the scholarship which produced the Stephens (1550), Scrivener (1894), and Hodges/Farstad texts (1982).

W. N. Pickering says that the Nestle-Aland text is "essentially Hortian," that is, of the Old German liberal school of Griesbach, Lachmann, and Tischendorf. Pickering does add that the "Nestle text in its various editions" is useful, but that "its critical apparatus is inaccurate, incomplete and misleading." As for the readings upon which our King James Bible is based, many of them in Nestle "have been rejected from the text and are not even acknowledged in the apparatus."


German and Dutch Bibles Compared

This study is also based on three foreign. language texts. The most reliable of these is the Dutch Staten Bijbel, a very eminently trustworthy translation of the whole Bible.

  1. Die Bibel, 1949, published by the United Bible Societies.
  2. Staten Bijbel, According to the Resolution of the Synod of Dordrecht, 1618-19, printing of 1901.
  3. Bijbel, copyright 1951, printed 1975. This follows the modern United Bible Societies scholarship.


Seventeen Modern Bible Versions Compared

Why do we list these seventeen versions of the New Testament? Why not more or less? For one reason, most, if not all, of these have been reviewed and evaluated by the author in past-issues of Beacon Lights (for Protestant Reformed Youth). Another reason is that these versions have been well known throughout the history' and ever extending line of modern Bibles and New Testaments. Note also the abbreviations in the following list.

  1. American Standard Version, 1901 (ASV)
  2. The New Testament—A New Translation, James Moffatt, 1922 (JM)
  3. Centenary Translation of the New Testament, Helen Barrett Montgomery, 1924 (HBM)
  4. New Testament in Modern Speech, R F Weymouth, 5th ed., 1930 (W)
  5. Revised Standard Version, 1946 (RSV)
  6. The New English Bible, 1962 (NEB)
  7. The Amplified Bible, New Testament, 1958; Old Testament, 1962-64 (AB)
  8. The New Testament in Today's English Version, 1966 (TEV)
  9. The New Testament in the Language of Today, Wm. F. Beck, 1967 (Beck)
  10. The Modern Language Bible, 1969, or, the New Berkeley Version (MLB or NBV)
  11. The New World Translation of the Holy Scripture, 1970 (NWT), the JW's Bible.
  12. The Living Bible, 1971 (LB)
  13. The New Translation in Modern English, J. B. Phillips, 1973 (Ph)
  14. The New American Standard Bible, 1960/1977 (NASB)
  15. Holy Bible—New International Version, 1978 (NIV)
  16. The King James II Version, 4th ed., 1979 (KJ2)
  17. The New King James Version, 1982 (NKJV)


King James New Testament Texts Compared

Are there other points in the New Testament which could be examined? Yes, many, many more, too many to include in our limited space. For the modern Bibles make numerous departures, of one kind or another, from the King James text. Take for example the American Standard Version (ASV, 1901), comparing it carefully, as with a fine toothcomb, with the King James. This will prove a task mentally and physically painful, which increasingly swells a growing list of unacceptable readings differing from the King James Version, and which so disappoints as to leave one with the feeling, "I was robbed!"

1. Matthew 1:23, "a virgin."

Stephens (1550), Nestle (1936), Scrivener (1894), and the Hodges/Farstad text (1982) all have "the virgin," which is the original, exactly.

German (United Bible Society) has "a young woman," and the same at Isaiah 7:14.

Dutch Staten Bible, "the virgin"; Isaiah 7:14, "a virgin."

The modern Dutch Bible, "the virgin"; Isaiah 7:14, "the young woman."

Modern versions favourable to the reading "the virgin:" American Standard Version, Helen Barrett Montgomery, (Revised Standard Version "a virgin"), New English Bible, Amplified Bible, Good News Bible (TEV), Beck, New Berkeley Version, New World Translation, Living Bible, Phillips, New American Standard Bible, New International Version (which is the same at Isaiah 7:14), New King James Version ("the virgin" in Isaiah 7:14 and "a virgin" in Matthew 1:23), King James 11 ("the virgin"). But not in line with the Hebrew and the Greek and so not as in the King James Version is James Moffatt's "maiden" and Weymouth's "maiden." Thus the sharp contrast, at this point, is between those versions which get in line with the doctrine of the virgin birth and those which do not.

2. Matthew 1:25, "her first born son."

So the Stephens, Scrivener, and Hodges/Farstad Greek texts. The Nestle (16th ed.) has "a son," as does the 1975 Dutch Bible. The German United Bible Societies Bible, the Dutch Staten Bible, the New King James Version, and King James 11 are as in the King James Bible. Versions which omit "firstborn" are these: American Standard Version, James Moffatt, Helen Barrett Montgomery, Weymouth, Revised Standard Version, New English Bible, Amplified Bible (questions its authority), Good News Bible, Beck, New Berkeley Version, ("a son"), New World Translation (the Jehovah's Witnesses' Bible), Living Bible, Phillips, New American Standard Bible, New International Version. Note: this omission denies Christ the honour of being the firstborn, the virgin-born, son of Mary.

3. Matthew 16:16, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God."

Greek texts supporting this Stephens, Scrivener, Hodges/Farstad, Nestle—16. The German and Dutch Staten Bible agree with the King James. All the above 17 modern versions also agree, which is remarkable, but:

4. Compare Matthew 16:16 with John 6:69, "Thou art that Christ the Son of the living God. "

So read the Greek texts: Step hens, Scrivener, Hodges/ Farstad. So the German and Dutch Staten Bibles. The Greek Nestle—16 and the Dutch '75 Bible have, "Thou art the Holy One of God." The modern versions agreeing with this last rendering are these: American Standard Version, James Moffatt, Helen Barrett Montgomery, Weymouth, New English Bible; Good News Bible: "Holy One from God" (note how this detracts from the deity of Christ). Beck, New Berkeley Version, New World Translation, Phillips, New American Standard Bible, New International Version, Living Bible, all have, "the holy Son of God." The modern versions agreeing with the King James translation are Amplified Bible, New King James, and King James II. (See Number 14.)

5. Matthew 19:16, "Good Master."

The Stevens, Scrivener, Hodges/Farstad Greek texts have "Good Teacher." Nestle—16 has merely "Teacher," omitting "Good." The Dutch Staten Bible and the German Bible preserve "good." The Dutch Bible of 1975, as most modern versions, omits "good." The American Standard Version has "good" only in a footnote. The Living Bible has "Good Master" and the New King James and King James 11 have "Good Teacher." The evil in this omitting of the word "good" mars Scripture's testimony (to Christ's divine goodness) that He is good and therefore God.

So the reading, "Good Master," is based on the best Greek texts, the German Bible, the Dutch Staten Bible, plus the best manuscript authorities: Ephraemi Rescriptus, the Received Text, the Caesarian Text, the majority of the remaining witnesses, plus Justinius and Irenaeus. The omission of "good" has only the support of Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus (known also as Aleph and B).

6. Mark 1: 1, "the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. "

Greek text support: Stephens, Scrivener, and Hodges/Farstad. The latter appeals to the support of the Codex Vaticanus (B). Nestle—16 omits "the Son of God," so also the modern Dutch, while the Dutch Staten Bible and the German text have "the Son of God."

On this reading, the modern versions follow one manuscript, the Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph). For example, American Standard Version, footnote: "Some ancient authorities omit 'the Son of God.'" James Moffatt brackets these words, questioning their authority. Revised Standard Version has, "Other ancient authorities omit 'the Son of God.''' The New English Bible, also used by Jehovah's Witnesses, omits these words. The Amplified Bible questions their authority. The New World Translation (the Jehovah's Witnesses' Bible) omits them. The New American Standard Bible margin has, "Many manuscripts do not contain 'the Son of God.' " The New International Version, in a footnote, has, "Some manuscripts do not have 'the Son of God.'" Other versions retaining "the Son of God" are Helen Barrett Montgomery, Good News Bible, Beck, New Berkeley Version, Living Bible, Phillips, New King James, King James II. These words are supported by Codex Vaticanus (B), Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis, the B. Weiss Text, the Koine Greek Text, and the Majority Text. The loss of the reading, "the Son of God," is both intolerable and unnecessary. It is a wicked chipping away at Christ's deity.

Notice: One cannot look to the modern versions for document support of character, quality, unity, and agreement. Consequently, none of the modern Bibles have the substantiality of the King James Version. Varying in quality, they do not agree among themselves. For such desirable attributes we turn to Stephens' Greek Testament, the Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, Scrivener's Greek Text, the Dutch Staten Bible, and the English Authorised Version.

7. Mark 15:28, "And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors."

Those who followed in the line of the German critical school, as namely, Tischendorf (b. 1815), Tregelles (b. 1813), and Alford (b. 1810), omit this verse. So does the Nestle text. The following retain it: the Stephens, Scrivener, and Hodges/Farstad Greek texts, the Bible of the German United Bible Societies, and the Dutch Staten Bible. The modern Dutch Bible brackets it as having insufficient manuscript support. The Van Soden Greek text retains it. So does the New King James Version and the King James II Version.

Following the Nestle-Aland (26th ed.) text and the United Bible Societies text (3rd ed.), the modern versions omit this verse. An American Standard Version footnote has, "Many ancient authorities insert" it. James Moffatt and the New English Bible omit it. Helen Barrett Montgomery has a note, "Lacking in most ancient manuscripts." Weymouth includes it in a footnote, as does the Revised Standard Version. The Amplified Bible has it in italic as not adequately supported by the original manuscripts. For the same reason the Good News Bible (TEV) brackets it. Beck omits it with the note, "the oldest manuscripts do not have" it. The New Berkeley omits it to bracket it in a footnote. The New World Translation omits it, replacing it with merely a long dash: —. Phillips omits it with no notice whatsoever. The Living Bible includes it with the note, "Omitted in some ancient manuscripts." The New American Standard Version has it in the text bracketed. The New International Version omits it with the note, "Some manuscripts left verse 28 in" the text.

Notice the wide diversity of difference in referring to some, many, most, or the oldest authorities. How these modern versions do differ from one another! The King James Version rests upon the Caesarean Text, the Latin Vulgate, and some of the Old Latin manuscripts, but most of all upon the Majority Text. It should also be noted that in the omission of this verse there is the loss of one of those remarkable coincidences, which were brought about by Divine Providence, between the infallibly inspired prophecies and the circumstances of our Lord's death. Lost, too, is one of the fundamental grounds upon which our Lord was so highly exalted. (See the because clause in Isaiah 53:12.)

8. Mark 16:9-20. (See your King James Bible.)

The modern Bibles include this ending to Mark's Gospel but usually with a note that the two oldest Greek manuscripts, and some other, and best, authorities, omit it. The following do this very thing: the American Standard Version, the Amplified Bible, Beck's translation, the New Berkeley Version, the New American Standard Version, the New International Version, and the New English Bible. Weymouth brackets the passage; the Revised Standard Version puts it in a fine print footnote. Today's English Version has it under a newspaper type heading, "An old ending." James Moffatt, Helen Barrett Montgomery, and the Living Bible make it an appendix, while Phillips, including it, nevertheless suggests a brief alternative reading. The New World Translation includes it with a note that five authorities (the Peshito, the Vetus Itala, the Vulgate versions, the Gothic, and the Egyptian—RCH) include it while four (Aleph, B, Syrian, and Armenian texts—RCH) omit it.

The German and Dutch Staten Bibles retain these last verses of Mark. The Nestle text and the modern Dutch Bible bracket it as not having sufficient manuscript support. Of course, the Stephens and Scrivener Greek texts include it, as also does the Majority Text of Hodges/Farstad, which states in a note that although this passage is not supported by Codices Aleph and B, it is, nevertheless, supported by the Majority Text, by Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, and Codex Bezae (D). (Note: Compare what is said about code: D under No. 11 and under "One More Concluding Point.") Also, because they are not based on the modern enamorment with Codices Aleph and B, but based on the Majority Text, the New King James Version and King James 11 retain the last verses of Mark.

But this disputed passage is actually supported by eighteen (18) uncial manuscripts plus six hundred (600) cursives. (Use your Bible dictionary to help with the meaning of these terms.) Also nineteen (19) of the early church fathers witness to these verses as genuine Scripture.

For further excellent testimonial to the genuineness of these verses read, "The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to Mark," by John Burgon (1871, unanswered and unanswerable!), in Counterfeit or Genuine? Mark 16? John 8? edited by D. O. Fuller, Grand Rapids International Publications, a Division of Kregel, Inc., 1978, pp. 25, 159.

9. Luke 1:28, "Blessed art thou among women."

The Stephens, Scrivener, and Hodges/Farstad Greek texts, together with the German and Dutch Staten Bibles, retain this clause, and, naturally, so does the Douay Rheims Bible (the Roman Catholic translation from the Latin Vulgate). But except for the New King James and the King James II (and the Amplified Bible, which italicises it), all the modern Bibles under review omit this benediction. Five of them omit it without notice. Is this omission justifiable? Not at all; especially in view of the fact that it is supported by a majority of good, weighty documents. For it is found in the Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, the Koine Text, the Caesarean Text, Codex Alexandrinus, the Majority Text, some Old Latin manuscripts, and the Syrian texts versus only two manuscripts, the oldest, indeed, and supposedly the best, the Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) and Codex Vaticanus (B). How then may anyone dare to maintain that these words are not genuine Scripture? Furthermore, is it likely that these words were copied from verse 42 and inserted also here in verse 28, especially in view of the fact that the textual ground for the King James Version reading is as solid as a rock?

10. Luke 2:14, "on earth, peace, good will toward men."

So also reads the New King James, while the King James II has, "peace on earth, good will among men." But the American Standard Version renders it, "on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased," with the Weymouth translation and the Amplified Bible about the same. Today's English Version, the Revised Standard Version, and the New American Standard Version read similarly. The Moffatt Bible has "peace on earth for men whom he favours"; the New English Bible reads, "on earth peace for men on whom his favour rests" (so the New International Version) and adds, "Some ancient witnesses read, 'and on earth his peace, his favour towards men.'" So the New Berkeley Version: "among men in his favour." The Montgomery translation and the Living Bible are similar: "among men who please him," and, "for all those pleasing him." Better is Beck's version, "among people who have his good will"; while Phillips has, "among men of good will" and the New World Translation, the same. The Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible is similar: "to men of good will." On this latter rendering Godet says, "This term [good will—RCH] does not suit the relation of men to God, but only that of God to man." R. C. H. Lenski remarks that "the Authorised Version's translation is just about correct: 'goodwill toward men.''' It is because of God's goodwill on men that He receives glory in the highest, and upon earth (the effect is) peace (the peace of reconciliation to God)— Lange's Commentary. Sir Robert Anderson writes, "the Christian … may assume with confidence that here, as in so many other instances, the changes in the text [from that of God's goodwill on men RCH] are new errors, and not the correction of old errors." All these comments may confidently be made inasmuch as the Greek texts, Stephens, Scrivener, and Hodges/Farstad support the Authorised Version.

11. Luke 24:6, "He is not here, but is risen."

This chapter in Luke's Gospel is excellent for use as a standard of judgement in evaluating the translations in the modern language Bibles. Compare them with the King James Version (and the New King James Version, which stands firmly) at the following points: verses 3, 6a, 9, 12, 17, 36, 40, 42, 51, 52, 53. Keep in mind that as you get into the modern versions you will begin to see of what you are being robbed. For a great deal of Scripture will be missing.

But this indispensable sentence of Luke 24:6 appears without question in the German and Dutch Bibles and in, the three best Greek texts. It also appears in all the modern versions, except that: (1) the American Standard Version includes it with the note, "Some ancient authorities omit" it. Why? (2) The New American Standard Version also includes it with the note, "Some ancient manuscripts do not contain" it. Why? (3) The Revised Standard Version omits it with the note, "Other ancient authorities add" it. Why? (4) The New English Bible omits it with the note, "Some witnesses insert" it. Why? (5) The New World Translation brackets it, thus questioning its authenticity. Why? (6) The Nestle Greek text also brackets it (with the same bad implications as above). Why? Nestle's (16th ed.) furnished the answer to why nearly fifty years ago. It is because this sentence is rejected by one single manuscript authority, Codex D, deemed the most authoritative witness by the New Testament critics. But it ought to be noted that D has a lengthy history both offensive and scandalous, it is of such bad character. Pickering says it is "the most depraved of all," so that its testimony is valueless.

12. John 3:13, "the Son of man which is in heaven."

"Which [who] is in heaven" is omitted by the Nestle editions of the Greek text, by the modern Dutch Bible, the Revised Standard Version, the New World Translation, New International Version, New American Standard Version, and the Moffatt Bible. The New English Bible and the New Berkeley Version make it, "whose home is in heaven," thus eliminating Christ's omnipresence as fully as the others with their omissions. These versions usually have some sort of note, as, "some witnesses omit …" This time, the omission is made chiefly on the ground of an Egyptian type text. But the Stephens and Scrivener Greek texts, and the Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text are the basis for the reading as in our King James Bible. The New King James Version and the so-called King James II Version stand also on that same textual basis. So this reading is absolutely the correct rendering of the text! But the versions omitting this clause remove from Scripture a proof of the deity and omnipresence of the Lord Jesus Christ! This is unnecessary and certainly intolerable.

13. John 6:47, "He that believeth on me hath ever lasting life."

The words "on me" are omitted by the manuscripts Aleph and B and by some others. It is also omitted by Tischendorf (1815-1874), and of course by B. F. Westcott (1900) in his commentary, by Lenski (1947) in his commentary, is bracketed by Alford (b. 1810), and retained by Lachmann (1793-1851). It is found in other manuscripts: in the Koine text (also called the Byzantine Text), Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (C), Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis (D), and most witnesses. Naturally, it is omitted by the Nestle Greek text, and also by the modern versions: New American Standard, New World Translation (as expected!), Revised Standard Version, New International Version, New Berkeley Version, Amplified Bible, Moffatt Bible, New English Bible (et al.). The latter Bible has, "the believer possesses eternal life," following Moffatt, and so makes the omission with no notice whatever. The Amplified does give notice that "on me is not in the authentic text"! But the best Greek texts, Stephens, Scrivener, Hodges/Farstad, plus the German and Dutch Staten Bibles do retain it.

Why is it so important to insist on this retention? First, because the immediate context supports it. Cf. verses 27, 29, 35, 40, 51, 54, 57. Second, because on Me "refutes all forms of ecclesiasticism which throw away kind of obstruction between the soul and Christ as an essential condition of salvation, whether it be the authority of the pope, or council or creed or system of theology, or the intercession of saints, or good works of our own ... Without faith in Christ there can be no salvation for any sinner!"— Lange's Commentary , John, p. 222.

14. John 6:69, "Christ the Son of the living God."

This phrase is lacking in the oldest sources, Codices Aleph, B, C, D, L, and so is omitted by the critics, Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Westcott. These sources and critics prefer the reading, "the holy one of God." So the modern Dutch Bible and the modern English versions. The incomparable textual scholar, Dr. Burgon, throughout his works constantly complains of these codices (Aleph, B, C, D, L) for their depravity, their bad character, as, namely, neither good nor pure, having serious blemishes, scores and scores of omissions, and bad spelling. But the King James rendering of the phrase is supported by the mass of manuscripts (the Majority Text) and the Syriac. Both the Nestle Greek Text and Westcott admit this. Following the same reading as the King James are the German and Dutch Staten Bibles, the New King James, and King James H. So the modern Bibles omit another witness to the truth that Christ is the Son of the living God. He is called this because He is the divine second Person of the Trinity, truly God, of one and the same essence with the Father.

15. John 9:35, "the Son of God."

The reading is "the Son of man" as supported by the authorities Aleph, B, D, the Thebaic version, Ethiopic version, and as adopted by Chrysostom, Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort. Also adopting this reading are the modern Dutch Bible, the New International Version, the New American Standard Version, the New Berkeley Version, Good News Bible (or Today's English Version), the New English Bible, etc.

The reading, "the Son of God," as in the King James Bible, is supported by the authorities A, L, X, I, 33, and all other manuscripts, the Latin, Syriac, Memphitic versions. Tertullian and Cyril of Alexandria refer to this reading. At the basis of this reading is the Majority Text, the Stephens and Scrivener Greek texts. The German United Bible Societies text (1949), the Dutch Staten Bible, the New King James, and King James H all adopt the reading, "the Son of God."

Is this preference for the reading "the Son of man" intended to emphasize Christ's humanity to the disparagement of His deity? It would be erroneous to think that the Son of man exclusively and therefore thoroughly underscores the idea of humanity as to render it opposite to the Son of God, designating deity. For the Son of man, in His Person, has the divine attribute of omnipresence (John 3:13), performs the divine act of bestowing eternal life (6:27), has divine authority to forgive sin (Matt. 9:6), is Lord of the Sabbath (12:8), is the Son of the living God (16:13, 16), saves the lost (18:11), is the co-equal Son of God (26:63-64), rises from the dead (Mark 9:9), is the divine judge of all men (John 5:22, 27), believing on Him brings eternal life (6:40), He abides forever (8:28, 35), and He is the First and the Last (Rev. 1:13, 17). So the name "the Son of man" is freighted with Christ's deity. But the point we are making is that the reading in this text, "the Son of God," also emphasizes His deity and is supported by the best and the majority of the textual authorities. Furthermore, this much-to-be-preferred reading explains what Jesus meant when, according to John 10:36, His words were, "… I said, I am the Son of God." Where do we find that He had said that? In John 9:35! Therefore, with all our might we insist on this reading found in the King James Bible.

16. John 14:14, "If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it."

Tischendorf, in his 8th edition, and Lachmann, in accordance with Aleph and B, had the text read, "If ye ask me anything in my name." As to the Greek texts on which the King James is based, without the word me in the text, we have Stephens, Tischendorf in his 7th edition, on the basis of A, D, G, K. Also Alford's text so read in its 6th edition. This also goes for Scrivener's text and the Hodges/Farstad text.

But read the text with the addition of me and then it no longer teaches prayer to the Father through the media­tion and intercession of the Son. Following Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort", and the critics generally, the modern language Bibles have dropped almost all the vast manuscript and version authority to rest their case on mainly the two, Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) and Codex Vaticanus (B). A lower case "m" might well designate these two, standing for "mutilated," for they leave us a shredded Bible. W.N. Pickering tells us in "The Identity of the New Testament Text" that Aleph and B have 3,000 mistakes between them, and that at least 1,000 are in B!


A 1982 Version

A word relative to the New King James Version: does this version follow in the line of the liberal Westcott and Hort scholarship, as practically all the other modern Bibles do? In all fairness and honesty, it does not. Is it based on the German critical Nestle-Aland Greek text, also of Hortian scholarship? No, it is not; but is based on the Majority Text, which is the basis of the old King James Bible. Many of the current criticisms of the New King James Version are unfair. Recently, 55 verses in the New King James were cited as containing errors, but unjustifiably so. However, there are four points in the New King James Version worthy of some criticism.

(1) John 5:24, "condemnation." New King James: "judgment." True, this word krisis appears in the New Testament 48 times, and is rendered judgment about 40 times (cf. John 5:22, judgment; verse 24, condemnation; verse 27, judgment; verse 29, damnation). Nevertheless, the translation condemnation in verse 24 is correct. For all men shall come to judgment, but the believer shall never come into condemnation.

(2) I Timothy 6:5, "supposing that gain is godliness." The New King James reads, "supposing that godliness is a means of gain." This is just the opposite to the Authorized Version, and, as a matter of fact, to the Greek original. This reading presents the Fundamentalists, not only, but also the Reformed, as fanatics, that is, they are all "holier-than-thou" who suppose their ultra-piety proof of their spiritual prosperity. Whereas the text applies to: (a) the burgeoning hierarchical church which boasts of being the leader in modern ecumenism; and (b) the giant super churches, the mammoth evangelistic crusades and the colossal and opulent religious television enterprises. They suppose that all their ostentatious gain (chiefly Numerically, but also financially) is evidence of their "godliness." At this point, the New King James obscures the truth, while the Authorised Version opens up the truth.

(3) Matthew 20:20, "worshipping Him" in the New King James is, "kneeling down." The word in the original appears 60 times in the New Testament, either "worship" or "worshipping," but never "kneeling down." What the New King James has done at this point is to remove from the text the idea of worship given Jesus as a divine person, to replace it with mere polite salutation.

(4) Philippians 2:8, "and being found in fashion [scheemati] as a man" in the New King James is "and being found in appearance as a man." The word means "figure" or "bearing" and everything about a man which strikes the senses, including his appearance; yet the word "fashion" is better than "appearance," since the latter term seems inclined to the ancient heresy of docetism.


One More Concluding Point

Within the last three chapters of Luke (especially at 22:19-20, 43-44, 64; 23:17, 34, 38; 24:6, 9, 12, 17, 36, 40, 42, 51, 52), the critics, Westcott and Hort (1870), deleted material from the Greek New Testament Received Text on the sole authority of the inferior manuscript D (6th century, reserved in Cambridge), which itself has subtracted 329 words from the genuine Received Text, adding 173 words, substituting 146 and transposing 243! So D is a wild chaotic mess, bringing its value close to zero. 80 Burgon. You may imagine, then, how this affects the value of the spate of Modern Bibles based on the Westcott and Hort critical system. This system produced the English Revision Committee (1881) controlled by Westcott and Hort and their obsession with Aleph and B. Besides changes in the Old Testament, this revision made 5,337 changes in the Received Text of the New Testament, thus producing a new Greek New Testament. The result was, in the English, that the Revisers made 36,000 changes from the King James Bible, averaging eight or nine changes in every five verses. In this way the English Revised Version, forerunner of the American Standard Version (1901), was produced.

Now this American Standard Version is one of the best of the lot, if not the best. Its boast is that it is based on the oldest and therefore the best manuscripts (mainly only two, Aleph and B, and definitely not the best). For the soundest textual scholarship (the Burgonian) in John William Burgon's The Revision Revised presents an unanswered and unanswerable exposure of the Westcott and Hort system of textual criticism as based on, not the best, but the worst manuscript authority. What has happened then is that the American Standard Version differs from the King James Bible, and its New Testament Greek textual basis in an unbelievable multitude of places throughout. So that to check this out for yourself would involve meticulous effort in labours both physically and mentally wearying in comparing the American Standard Version with and conforming it to the only acceptable pattern of the King James Version. Take, for example, just one feature of the American Standard Version, its marginal notes. This Bible is just loaded with marginal notes, some unnecessary, some providing worthless information, some insinuating suspicion and distrust as to textual authenticity. In some places a note ought to appear (where one does not, as at Matthew 1:25) indicating an omission. So these marginal notes spread doubt as to the truth of Scripture.

But then there are the later and more recent modern versions. What about them? They all, with one exception (the New King James Version) follow exactly in the line of the American Standard Version and the modern trend and train of the German "higher" critical system of evaluating manuscripts, versions, and church fathers. This means that the new Bibles will be honeycombed with flaws and untrustworthy divergences from the incomparable King James Version and its time-tested textual basis, the Majority Text. The modern versions take one farther and farther away from that safe and sound text. Study the modern versions; but to study aright one must always return to the King James Version which is like an oasis of welcome refreshment and rest and alone providing the feeling of being "at home."



The conclusion we come to is that the whole Word of God is preserved in our beloved King James Bible. The Lord God had and ever has "a special care" for His "holy and divine Scriptures" ( Belgic Confession 3). Exactly what these "Scriptures" are the next article in the Confession (Art. 4) makes plain. They are the sixty-six "canonical books of the Holy Scripture." Then these books are named and listed by their titles. These very books are all found in our King James Bibles. We, therefore, rightly conclude that the King James Bible in "all these books" is nothing less than "the Holy Scriptures" (Art. V). So the King James Bible "fully contain[s] the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein" (Art. 7). We conclude, then, that we know that we hold the very Word of God right in our hands. Let us prayerfully memorise it, praying by the grace of the Holy Spirit, "Thy Word have I hidden in mine heart that I might not sin against thee" (Ps. 119:11).