Thinking Out Loud - Ms. Green

Commentaries from a female, conservative Christian worldview. Intermittent observations on human behavior and current events. Occasional bursts of personal tirades,confessions, and discoveries. Frequent discussions about my "Narrow-Minded Faith".

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Minority Text - Can it be Trusted?

Is it important which version of the Bible you read and trust?

Most modern Bible versions today are based on what is called the Minority Text. The main exception to this is the King James Version which is based on the Majority Text, which will be mentioned later in another post.

The newer versions of the Bible boast that they are based on the "oldest and best" manuscripts, and contain many footnotes and commentaries throwing doubt on the words contained within Scripture. Many people accept these versions and their claims as fact, but a study into the manuscripts behind these versions, as well as a look at the people involved in putting them together will in most cases cause one to back off and take a second look.

Take a look at the main manuscripts upon which the NIV, RSV, etc. are based:

Codex Sinaiticus – this manuscript was found in the garbage of a Catholic monastery on the site of Mount Sinai. It contains about ½ of the Old Testament and most of the New Testament. It is part of the Alexandrian Text family. Origen was a Gnostic/Arian in Alexandria Egypt. Origen altered the critical text to support his heresies of Gnosticism and Arianism. His disciples, Pamphilus and Eusebius, further altered the manuscripts.

Codex Vaticanus – property of the Vatican, based on the minority text type of the Alexandrian text type. Vaticanus is the key manuscript used in producing the modern critical text which was used for the modern versions of the Bible today.

Codex Alexandrinus - mentioned above under Sinaiticus

Codex Bezae (or Codex D) – This is an extremely compromised document. In the final 3 chapters of Luke, for instance, 354 words are removed, 250 of which are omitted in no other manuscript in existence. It also adds 173 words, substitutes 146 words, and transposes 243 words. Yet the preparers of the modern versions chose to delete 25 words from Luke’s final chapter based on this one document alone – even though every other manuscript in existence (including the other minority text manuscripts) contains these words.

Of the modern versions of the Bible, 90% of the 6000 or so changes in the Greek text are based primarily on Vaticanus. Sinaiticus was the 2nd most used manuscript.

What’s wrong with Sinaiticus and Vaticanus?

The two manuscripts differ with each other in over 3000 places in the Gospels alone. They differ with each other on almost every page. There are erasures and alterations on Vaticanus of at least 16 different individuals. Every single page has alterations.

Vaticanus has many words and phrases repeated twice
Vaticanus leaves out words and phrases

Vaticanus differs from the Traditional text of the New Testament in over 7000 places
Sinaiticus differs from the Traditional text in over 8900 places
The two’s differences from the Traditional text don’t often even agree with each other.

Erasmus, who prepared the Greek text that the KJV is based on, was aware of and rejected Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

The claim of being “oldest and best” is partially a lie and partially pure opinion. Although Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are the oldest of the most complete manuscripts, they are not the oldest. There are many Greek manuscripts in existence that are much older, and they almost universally represent the Majority text instead of the Minority text.

If the Bible in your hand is other than a King James Bible, it is most likely based on the Minority Text based on the documents listed above.

More on the Majority Text in another post.

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At 9:16 PM, Blogger brooke said...

Wow, I've never considered what translation may be the most or least accurate.

Fascinating. I can't wait to hear the about the KJV.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Richard said...

You wrote, "Erasmus, who prepared the Greek text that the KJV is based on, was aware of and rejected Vaticanus and Sinaiticus."

If you would, please provide me with a reference for that statement.

Thank you for your site, sis.


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