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Thread: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

  1. #1

    Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Hey All.

    I've sort of been struggling with which Bible translation to read, off and on for months now. For the most part I just stuck with the NIV, and recently started to read more of the NASB. But every once in awhile I get stuck back wondering if its the right/best version. I don't seem to let it go, and it can get very frustrating.

    've read a bit about the kjvo arguments, and alot of the time I think its just crazy, then there are times I think maybe they have a point, then sometimes not so much.

    What did sort of hit me more when reading online, was the difference between the Textus Receptus and the Alexandrian Texts. It started to make sense to me that something isn't quite right with the Alexandrian Texts. So here are a couple things I've found about it, and tell me if I'm wrong or missing something.

    1.) There are just a few Alexandrian Texts compared to the TR, but because the Alexandrian Texts are older they are therefore considered more reliable?

    2.) The Alexandrian Texts don't match with eachother as much as the TR's do.

    3.) This seems the most important, which to me sort of proves the Alexandrian Texts were tampered, please tell me what may be wrong with this.
    The Alexandrian Texts don't have the long ending of Mark, it ends at 16:8. But the TR does have the long ending of Mark. Therefore this proves that either one of them is false. Either the TR added it, or the Alexandrian Text took it out or lost it. I can't see a third option.
    So with that in mind, how can you prove either? Which I thought. Now Irenaeus quoted from the long ending of Mark, and he did this years and years before the Alexandrian Texts we have. How could he quote from something that didn't exist? Doesn't this therefore prove there must have been a long ending to Mark, and therefore the Alexandrian Texts must have been altered, and that part taken out. While the TR kept it, showing it stayed reliable.



    Now, That third comment has been the most convincing to me. It's hard to look past it, doesn't it prove the Alexandrian Texts must have taken the ending of Mark out if it was quoted before those manuscripts? And if that was changed, who knows what else. This makes me think more that the TR is much more reliable than the Alexandrian Texts.

    And therefore seems like the KJV is the only one that bases itself on it, as much as I do have a harder time reading it. I'd like to read a newer Bible based on the TR if the TR is indeed more reliable, but there doesn't seem to be good ones. Is the NKJV fully based on the TR? One moment I think yes, and then the next I read things online that says it also has Alexandrian influences in it.


    Anyway, that's about it.

  2. #2

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Joey:

    First thing, you need to distinguish between the Textus Receptus and the Majority Text.

    MajT is a manuscript tradition which is reflected in the vast majority of NT manuscripts (mss) -- hence the name. It's also sometimes called the Byzantine Text, although I believe that's a misnomer.

    TR, on the other hand, is the text as edited by Erasmus in the 16th century. It varies considerably from MajT, including a couple of places where Erasmus back-translated from the Latin because he was missing a leaf of the Greek.

    For a long time I've favored MajT. You can read an excellent summary of its advocacy in Wilbur Pickering's The Identity of the New Testament Text. I think the historical arguments on behalf of MajT carry a lot of weight.

    Recently, though, I've been looking at a number of specific textual issues and I'm finding it more difficult to maintain my MajT position. There are a number of factors normally considered in evaluating competing mss readings. Perhaps the most prominent is Lectio difficilior potior ("the more difficult reading is the stronger"). It stands to reason that when you have two readings, one of which makes easier sense than the other, that the other is original. It's not common to change something easily understood to something grammatically difficult; the scribal tendency is to simplify and streamline rather than to complicate.

    On Mark 16:9-20, the patristic evidence -- citations in early Christian writings -- is overwhelming, in my opinion.

  3. #3

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Thanks alot for the post Obadiah. That does clarify that for me a bit. Yeah, its the Majority Text that I've recently found to be more reliable.
    Now, is there a good Bible that is based on the Majority Text? I just did a quick Google search and didn't really find anything. Thanks.

    EDIT: I just looked a little more into the Majority texts, and its giving me more questions. Why do so many people prefer the Alexandrian Text over the Byzantine?

    I guess my other question is, does the Byzantine text have the end of Mark while the Alexandrian doesn't? Is this correct? If so, its hard to dismiss that something is fishy with the Alexandrian not having it when earlier Christian writings have it.
    Last edited by JoeyA; Sep 2nd 2010 at 04:36 AM. Reason: Added Comments

  4. #4

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Pauls Esposito's translation is available at http://majoritytext.com/. Overall I like it, although I'm always a little wary of a Bible translation (even just the NT) made by one individual.

  5. #5

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Obadiah View Post
    Overall I like it, although I'm always a little wary of a Bible translation (even just the NT) made by one individual.
    Thanks for the reply. Kind of interesting you said that, as I was just kind of saying/thinking to myself earlier today about being weary of a Bible written by one person. They could be good, and have great intentions, and great beliefs, but doing it by yourself errors, or biases (even unknown to yourself) my seep in.

    But the only other Bible I've been able to find that is based on the Majority, is the WEB Bible (http://ebible.org), which is still in the process. Its based on the ASV, but for the new testament they are doing it using the Majority Text. It seems promising.

    Anyway, I don't seem to know which Bible to go with now. As I don't really know if I can trust the Alexandrian Texts as I think early quotes prove some things were taken out, and if so, who knows what else was changed. But it seems most Bibles are based on the Alexandrian Texts. So I don't know what to read exactly, except maybe try and learn Greek.
    Well is the KJV closet to the Byzantine texts than other Bibles? You said it varies considerably Obadiah.

  6. #6

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    I'd go with the NEW king james -- I believe their notes indicate where they deviate from the MajT.

  7. #7

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyA View Post
    1.) There are just a few Alexandrian Texts compared to the TR, but because the Alexandrian Texts are older they are therefore considered more reliable?
    Well, there's only one TR, produced by Erasmus. But in general, we would expect older manuscripts to be more reliable, since there was less time for errors to creep in.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyA View Post
    3.) This seems the most important, which to me sort of proves the Alexandrian Texts were tampered, please tell me what may be wrong with this.
    The Alexandrian Texts don't have the long ending of Mark, it ends at 16:8. But the TR does have the long ending of Mark. Therefore this proves that either one of them is false. Either the TR added it, or the Alexandrian Text took it out or lost it. I can't see a third option.
    The ending of Mark is a thorny issue, and perhaps not the best reason for making a choice. Both versions of the ending of Mark are very old, so age on its own won't decide that question.

  8. #8
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    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Hello JoeyA,

    I read both the NKJV and NASB (along with occasional RSV reading and even less occasional NIV). The NASB is one of the best English translations which is more word-for-word. The NKJV is also a good woord-for-word version. The KJV is simply outdated English; the NKJV is an up-to-date version of the KJV. The NIV uses what is called "dynamic equivalence". The NIV is ok, like for casual reading, but when I really want to study the word, the NASB (or even the NKJV) is the better chioce. If I had to choose between the NIV or the NKJV, I would definitely go NKJV. In my opinion, even though the NIV may have started from better Greek texts, the translators of the NIV followed a translation process which led to (in my opinion) a less satisfactory translation than the NKJV.

  9. #9

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Radagast you say the ending of Mark is a very thorny issue and shouldn't be used in making a decision why? If the ending of Mark is in the Byzantine text and not the Alexandrian, then cleary either it was either added to the byzantine text or taken out in the alexandrian. I don't see a third option. So logically maybe the older mss would be more accurate. But when we have quote(s) from the long ending which pre-date the earliest alexandrian mss we have, doesn't this prove it was indeed taken off from the alexandrian texts? (As well as John 7:53.) And then therefore they shouldn't be as trusted?
    I'm just trying to figure this out, because it doesn't make sense to me that our newer bible translations are based on the alexandrian texts and not the byzantine.
    And I could easily be wrong on this one, but didn't christians use primarily the byzantine text for centuries, and trust it? Didn't we teach for centuries the ending of Make and John 7:53 happened, and was real scripture? Now all of a sudden after hundreds of years those manuscripts and verses are no longer "real" or considered as reliable. That all the bible scholars and christians for the past several hundred years were wrong? That all of a sudden after centuries Westcott and Hort tell us our manuscripts we've been faithfully using for centuries are no good, and we gotta start using the ones they say are good.

    It just doesn't make sense to me, it doesn't add up. Please correct me if I'm wrong, I feel in a small way my worlds been turned over, and I'm trying to figure it all out.

  10. #10

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyA View Post
    Radagast you say the ending of Mark is a very thorny issue and shouldn't be used in making a decision why? If the ending of Mark is in the Byzantine text and not the Alexandrian, then cleary either it was either added to the byzantine text or taken out in the alexandrian.
    There are old manuscripts with the long ending of Mark, and old manuscripts without. Irenaeus and Tertullian use the long ending. Clement and Origen do not. Obviously something was either added or cut; but it's not a simple Byzantine vs Alexandrian thing -- whatever happened, happened very early on, and both versions of the ending of Mark seem to have circulated in different parts of the Roman Empire from a quite early date.

    If you look at the Codex Sinaiticus (the oldest complete Bible: here), it doesn't have the long ending; but it has a blank space, almost as if the scribe new about different endings, and wasn't sure how to finish the book until he checked with his boss.

  11. #11

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    There are thousands of differences between the modern versions, and the KJV. The NKJV uses the TR manuscripts for the NT, but does not use the same Masoretic text for the OT. This makes quite a big difference in the OT between the KJV, and NKJV.

    Westcot and Hort also did not help the Alexandrian text, and neither did the Dead Sea Scrolls. In fact these sources added even more confusion; to an already corrupted text.

  12. #12

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Interesting, thanks for the reply Radagast. Gives me more to chew on.
    It's been kind of frustrating/exhausting, this search. Up until now usually when I had some question, it was clarified, and I had a sound conclusion to end the matter.

    I'm having a hard time here to just "pick a bible" as I don't want to do it without even thinking about it.

    You said "it's not a simple Byzantine vs Alexandrian thing". Are there some byzantine mss that don't have the ending of Mark or John 7:53? Are there some alexandrian that do?

    I'm just wondering why are english Bibles for the past few hundred years were all seemed to be embedded in the byzantine instead of the alexandrian, then all of a sudden it gets reversed. Is that correct?

    And Samuel Owen, I haven't even really begun to look at the mss used for the ot, thats gonna be something I have to tackle as well.

  13. #13
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    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Hi JoeyA. I can't help you much with the research you are doing but there are some people on here that can. BadDog is one and Theophilus is another. Both of them are very well versed in the questions you are asking. Also, you could do a search on the topic KJVO or KJV only. That might turn up some previous threads though many of them were archived in the system upgrade.

    Anyway, my brief testimony on the KJVO issue is that was what I was raised in. But as an adult, I was exposed to some believers who had power, I mean real power, in their lives. They overcame sin. They walked with God. And they used another version. It was their testimony and their walk with God that moved me past the KJVO issue. But it took a few years and of course, I have left much out in this little paragraph. I wish you well in your studies!

    Mark
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

  14. #14

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyA View Post
    You said "it's not a simple Byzantine vs Alexandrian thing".
    Manuscripts aren't just divided into "Byzantine" and "Alexandrian." And there are actually THREE endings of Mark in circulation.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyA View Post
    I'm just wondering why are english Bibles for the past few hundred years were all seemed to be embedded in the byzantine instead of the alexandrian, then all of a sudden it gets reversed. Is that correct?
    At first, Bibles were based on the Latin Vulgate, handed down in the Catholic church. After Erasmus, people used the TR, based on the Byzantine texts handed down in the Greek Orthodox church. However, after about 1800 many older manuscripts were discovered, including the "Alexandrian" ones, and translators started taking them into account. For example, the Codex Sinaiticus (the oldest complete Bible) was discovered by Europeans in the Monastery of Saint Catherine at Sinai around 1800.

  15. #15

    Re: Textus Receptus/Bible Version Question

    Thanks for the reply Brother Mark. It is hard if not impossible to say the NIV, NASB, etc are not real, or good Bibles when so many people have grown with them. I myself never really grew up with the KJV, or NIV, or any Bible really. I just became a Christian a few years ago, and read the NIV primarily, until I started wondering about all these versions. And thanks for the people that know about this stuff, I may send them a message.

    And thanks for the continued replies Radagast, I appreciate it.

    I did a quick Google search for Codex Sinaiticus Reliable and found http://www.timetracts.com/Whatarethe...nuscripts2.htm
    I'm wondering if what it says is true. Primarily, does the Codex Sinaiticus have Bel and the Dragon, Tobit, and Shepard of Hermes in it? And does the Shepard of Hermes teach Take the Mark of the Beast, and Works are part of one's salvation?
    If so, why would we possibly take this as a reliable Bible? It freaks me out a bit, that newer Bibles are based somewhat on this Bible, if this is true.
    I myself, if I found a really old Bible and saw it had additional books, and some of them had heresies in them, I wouldn't use that Bible to translate others, I would probably just throw it away. Because if they added a book of heresies to the Bible, who knows what else they tampered with.

    If someone has a logical explanation for this, then please tell me, as this doesn't make sense to me. Thanks.

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