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THE BIBLE--PRESERVED IN EGYPT
OR
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 would be!

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 on Origen."

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." (Emphasis added)

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 to Rome?

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 4:2)."

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 Scripture

· Subordination 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."

Considering Jerome 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 any way."

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 FOREVER SETTLED.

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 this manuscript.

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 towards.

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, Vaticanus!

www.earlham.edu web 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 incomplete.

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." (Emphasis added).

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 public arena.

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 the worst.

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 place?

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 best?

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."

Fundamentalists should 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 missions!

DO NOT GO TO EGYPT FOR YOUR BIBLE!
 

 
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Missionaries David and Pamela Bennett

The Bennetts Serving the Lord in Australia Since 1979.

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