Bible Versions Questions and discussion about the Bible version issue.

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Old 07-01-2009, 10:43 PM
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Will Kinney Will Kinney is offline
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Default Matthew 23:14 Inspired Scripture or not?

Is Matthew 23:14 Inspired Scripture or not?

The Lord Jesus Christ clearly stated “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY WORDS shall not pass away.” This is either a true statement or He was lying to us.

Matthew 23:14 records in full the words of the Lord Jesus Christ that are found no where else in the entire Bible. There are a couple of similar passages (See Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47) but nothing that is exactly like Matthew 23:14 where He says: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. “

The evidence for the authenticity of this entire verse is simply overwhelming, and we can even see the stumbling uncertainty of the modern versions by the way they handle this particular verse.

This whole verse has been omitted from many modern versions (but not all of them as we shall soon see) that follow the ever changing Westcott-Hort Critical text theories. Versions that entirely omit this verse first began with the Darby version in1870. John Darby basically made up his own peculiar text for the New Testament, following neither the Westcott-Hort revised Greek text, nor the Majority nor the Textus Receptus. Darby’s was followed by the liberal RSV in 1946 and then by the NRSV 1989, the ESV 2001 and the NIV 1982.

Daniel Wallace’s NET version (an ongoing train wreck) tells us that the verse is “not in the most important is almost certainly not original... The present translation follows NA27 in omitting the verse number as well, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.”

And what might these “best manuscripts” be? Well, they are primarily Siniaticus, Vaticanus and D, all of which wildly differ not only from the Majority of all Greek texts but even from each other. See my article on “the oldest and the best manuscripts?” here:

Isn’t it odd that by simply skipping from verse 13 to 15 neither the Nestle-Aland 27 people nor some modern versions appear to be able even count right? “And now let’s count class ... ten...eleven... twelve... thirteen...fifteen... sixteen...Ooops. Looks like something is missing, Huh?” Why don’t they just be honest and change the verse numbers? Because in spite of themselves, they are bearing reluctant witness to the fact that God has an absolute Standard for His Bible and it’s not their own watered down, bogus versions.

Versions such as the Revised Version of 1881, the ASV of 1901 and the NASBs from 1960 to 1995 have the whole verse in [brackets] indicating doubt as to whether this verse is true Scripture or not. The Holman Standard of 2003 [does the same]. This means that even they did not have complete confidence in their own every changing Critical Greek texts as to whether this verse should be omitted or not. It’s a real faith destroyer to have versions like the NASB or Holman Standard that [bracket] anywhere from 17 to 45 entire verses in the New Testament alone. Guess who wants you to ask yourself “Yea, hath God said...?” (Genesis 3:1)

There are some versions that primarily follow the Critical Greek text theories and omit thousands of words from the true New Testament who still leave this verse intact. This includes Rotherham’s 1902 Emphasized bible and the brand new ISV (International Standard Version) which has gone back to including the entire verse in the text.

The evidence for the inclusion of Matthew 23:14 in the pages of the Holy Scriptures is ancient, massive and widespread. ALL English Bibles before the 1611 King James Bible included this verse. These are the Wycliffe Bible of 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Bishops’ Bible of 1568 and the Geneva Bibles from 1557 to 1602, and even the 1582 Catholic Douay-Rheims version, though the more recent Catholic versions like the St. Joseph New American Bible 1969 and the 1985 New Jerusalem have now omitted the verse. Of course, it is firmly in place in the King James Holy Bible.

It was also in Mace’s N.T. 1729, Wesley’s N.T. 1755, Webster’s 1833, the Douay version 1950, Youngs, and is included in the NKJV 1982, Green’s literal, the 21st Century KJV and the Third Millenium Bible 1998.

Matthew 23:14 is found in the vast Majority of all Greek texts, including many uncial copies like E, F, G, H, K, M, O, S, U, V, W, Y Gamma, Delta, Pi, Sigma and Omega. It is found in the Old Latin copies b, c, f, ff2, h, 1, r1, 2. The Old Latin copies bear witness to a N.T. text that existed long before anything we have in the existing Greek copies. It is included in such ancient Bible translations as the Syriac Peshitta, Curetonian, Harkelian, Palestinian, as well as some Coptic Boharic copies, the Armenian and the Ethiopic versions. The Gothic bible is missing the entire chapter, so it is not much help in determing the text at all. The Latin Vulgate texts as well as the Catholic versions that come from them are all mixed up. The 425 A.D. Vulgate omitted it, but the later Clementine Vulgate included it.

Matthew 23:14 is included in the Modern Greek New Testaments used by the Greek Orthodox churches all over the world today. It is also found in all these foreign language Bibles: THE MODERN HEBREW N.T., the Arabic Life Application bible 1998, the Africaans Bible, Armenian, Basque, Bulgarian, Chinese bibles, Check, Dutch Staten Vertaling, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French Louis Segond 1910, Martin 1744 and French Ostervald 1996; the German Luther 1545 and the more modern Elberfelder, the Modern Greek N.T.; the Hungarin Karoli, Quiché Bible 1997, Italian Diodati 1649, the Riveduta 1927 and the New Diodati 1991, Icelandic, Japenese bibles, Latvian, Lithuanian, Manx Gaelic, Norwegian Det Norsk Bibelselskap, Portuguese Almeida, Russian Synodal, Victor Zhuromski and the 2000 Russian Slovo Zhizny bible, the Spanish Reina Valeras from 1909, 1960 and 1995; the Swahili bible, Thai, Tagalog, Turkish, Ukranian and the Vietnamese bibles.

Also to be noted is that the International Bible Society, who puts out the NIV which completely omits Matthew 23:14, is not always consistent when it comes to the foreign language bibles the IBS publishes. Among the modern foreign langugage versions the IBS publishes that DO contain this verse in their translations are The Arabic Life Application bible 1998, the French La Bible du Semeur 1999, the Italian La Parola e Vita 1997, the Portuguese O Livro 2000, the modern Romanian bible, and the Russian Slovo Zhizny of 2000.

As we enter the early 21st century, the ever growing unbelief in the inspiration, inerrancy and infallibility of any Bible in any language is in full swing. The King James Bible believers are the only ones who will not budge on this most vital doctrine. We fully believe that God has indeed preserved His precious and perfect words in “the book of the LORD” (Isaiah 34:16) and that this Book is the Authorized King James Holy Bible - the Standard by which all others are to be measured.

“In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.” Psalm 56:10

Will Kinney

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