A Short KJV Detour (Part 3)

This is a continuation of our evaluation of the arguments used to support the King James Only position:



The age of a manuscript does not determine its value. The oldest manuscripts survived only because they were faulty and did not wear out through use.


It is true that the value of a manuscript is not determined by its age. A late manuscript could be a copy of a very ancient one, whereas an older manuscript might be a copy of one not much removed from it in time. All things being equal, however, the oldest manuscripts are closer in time to the autographs. The shorter time interval implies fewer copies and fewer chances for error. This is a principle of all literary textual criticism, not just textual criticism of the Greek New Testament. Also, the assertion that the oldest manuscripts survived only because they were faulty is disproved by the scribal corrections evident on these manuscripts. Logic demands that faulty manuscripts would have been destroyed or corrected rather than shelved for future use or discovery.



The Greek manuscripts upon which all modern versions of the New Testament are based come from Alexandria, Egypt. The Alexandrian manuscripts, touted by Westcott and Hort as the best manuscripts, cannot be the most reliable because they have been in the possession of gnostics and other heretics, such as Marcion, Origen, and the Roman Catholic Church, and have been altered to teach doctrines which differ from those found in the TR. These errors include justification by works, Arianism, and the belief that the Apocrypha is part of the text.


There is no factual substantiation to the claim that Aleph, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, or any other of the earliest Greek manuscripts in existence today were of gnostic origin and altered to conform to their heresies. Marcion is an example of a gnostic who mutilated the Bible text; however, he did not limit himself to texts, but he published a canon of the New Testament which included only eleven books. An avowed anti semite, Marcion included only the gospel of Luke and ten epistles of Paul in his version of the New Testament. He deleted Paul’s pastoral epistles.

Several passages of Scripture are commonly cited as examples of the way heretics have removed key doctrines from the text of manuscripts other than those of the TR. These passages are noted below:

1. The phrase “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” is deleted from Matthew 6:13 in modern versions but is included in the KJV. If this was the work of heretics, why did they leave the phrase intact in 1 Chronicles 29:11, the Old Testament attestation of this great truth?

2. Matthew 18:11, “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost,” is deleted in some manuscripts but the same phrase is present in Luke 19:10. The fact that the text has apparently been added to or subtracted from does not demand that it was necessarily in the original text.

3. Mark 16:9-20 has evoked no end of critical discussion. Many believe that this questionable passage should be deleted since it is used to back up the claims of charismatics; others, Grace Church included, believe that it should be considered part of the authorative text and rightly interpreted.

4. Some claim that the word “father” is added to Luke 2:33 to discredit the virgin birth of our Lord, yet the quotation from the Old Testament in Matthew 1:23 is a powerful affirmation of the fact of the virgin birth.

5. In John 3:15, the idea of perishing is not included in some manuscripts, yet the same idea is present in verse 16. This obviously cannot be the work of one trying to delete the idea of eternal punishment.

6. In Acts 2:30, the idea of Christ being raised up is deleted, and some have concluded that those who removed it were trying to deny the resurrection; however, the term “resurrection” is present in the very next verse.

7. In Ephesians 3:9, the name “Christ” is omitted from a phrase that would give Him credit for creation. Why, then, is the same idea left in the parallel passage, Colossians 1:16?

8. Perhaps the biggest error of fact is the claim that 1 John 5:7-8 is a part of the autographa and should be included in all versions of Scripture. To say that to delete the phrase in verse 7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are One” is to deny the tri unity of God is not true. The passage is absent from every known Greek manuscript except four, and these four contain the passage of what appears to be a translation from a late edition of the Latin Vulgate. These four manuscripts are dated very, very late.

The passage is quoted by none of the Greek fathers, who, if they had known it, would certainly have used it in the trinitarian controversies of the early centuries. The passage is absent from the manuscripts of all ancient versions. It is quoted first in time not in a Bible text but in a Latin treatise about the Bible in the fourth century A.D. Its inclusion in the TR seems to have come through the pen of Erasmus, a humanistic Roman church scholar. When charged by Stunica, Erasmus replied that he had not found any Greek manuscript containing these words, but that if a single Greek manuscript could be found that contained it, he would include it in a future edition. The one manuscript that was later presented to Erasmus to substantiate inclusion of that verse has now been identified as a Greek manuscript written in Oxford about 1520 by a Franciscan friar who took the words from the Latin Vulgate. Erasmus inserted the passage in his third edition of 1522 but indicated in a lengthy footnote his own personal suspicions that the manuscript had been prepared in order to refute him. These are the facts.

Ancient ScrollAs can be seen from the discussion of these verses, it is unlikely that doctrines were manipulated by heretics since truths were not consistently deleted.

Another interesting fact surrounding the translation of the KJV is that a portion of the manuscript used to translate the book of Revelation came from Erasmus. He translated the last six verses of chapter 22 from the Latin Vulgate back into Greek because his Greek manuscripts lacked these verses.

One final note. The King James translators originally included the apocrypha as part of the King James Bible. This certainly is no evidence of their orthodoxy.



The Alexandrian Text was not in general use from the eighth to the nineteenth centuries. This is evidence that God’s providence has kept the TR as the authoritative text. God would not allow the church to have the “wrong text” while keeping the “true text” hidden from public view for such a long time.


The TR was not the text of the early church in Egypt, Palestine, or the West. God’s providence has preserved all text types, and the Christian message is intact in each of them. Also, God’s providence has allowed the church to lose things of much more importance than differences between competing text types, for example, the doctrine of justification by faith. In addition, as was discussed in the response to Argument #1, the TR manuscripts differ even among themselves. If God had preserved His Word inerrantly in the TR manuscripts only, then there should be no variation whatsoever in all of the manuscripts that make up the “textus receptus”.



The TR manuscripts are the only manuscripts that properly exalt the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Alexandrian manuscripts are compared with the TR, many places are found where the words “Lord” and “Christ” are missing in reference to Jesus, showing that the Alexandrian writers tried to deny or play down the deity of Christ.


Throughout church history there have been heretics who mutilated the Bible to conform with their errors. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a classic modern example. In their New World Translation, they have stripped the text of all support for the deity of Jesus Christ. Note carefully, however, that they did it consistently and completely; it was not a half hearted, random attempt. We should expect this kind of thoroughness when any cult or heretic tries to denude God’s precious Word of vital truth. It is highly unlikely that one would be so inconsistently selective as to leave obvious references to the deity of Christ in a manuscript if his purpose was to remove it.

(To be concluded tomorrow)

By. Pulpit Magazine