Your word is a lamp
for my feet and a light
for my path.
Psalms 119:105

any Bible question, get Bible ANSWERS from a real person,
more about your Bible!
The Bible Translated

To Christians the Bible is a divine revelation, written by holy men of old, who wrote as they were moved by the Spirit of God. (II Pet. 1:21) However, it was not originally given in the convenient form in which it is now possessed by millions throughout all parts of the earth. Neither were the original copies of the Bible written in the English language.
The ancient Hebrew language, in which the Old Testament portion of the Bible was written, is now the official language of Israel, while the language used in Greece today somewhat compares with that which was used in the original writings of the New Testament.

All modern versions of the Bible are translations. Today, it seems, a new translation of the Bible appears every few years. Ever since the Revised Version, published in 1884, appeared with corrected errors of the authorized King James Version, which is so widely used in the Christian world, many new versions came upon the scene. About the same time, (1872 -- 1st edition; 1902 -- 3rd edition) Rotherham's Emphasized Bible was published. Ferrar Fenton's, "The Holy Bible in Modern English," issued in 1903, was republished with slight modifications several times into the 1940's.

In 1939, The Complete Bible, an American translation by Goodspeed and Smith also known as The Goodspeed Bible became available. The original Revised Version was revised in 1901, and became known as the American Standard Version. The copyright to this 1901 ASV Bible was procured by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the 1920's, and they began a revision to the ASV in 1946, publishing the Revised Standard Version in 1952. This work, conducted by a committee of many scholars, received wide publicity because it was sponsored by the Federal Council of Churches of the USA.

New translations of the Bible did not end there. A list of the more notable ones follows:

- New Testament in Modern English, (1958), J.B. Phillips
- Berkley Version, (1959)
- Amplified Bible, (1965), by the Lockman Foundation
- Jerusalem Bible, (1966), Roman Catholic translation in French at the Ecole Biblique et Archeologique in Jerusalem
- New Testament: A New Translation, (1968), William Barclay
- New English Bible, (1970). Scholars from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, in cooperation with Cambridge and Oxford Universities
- New American Bible, (1970), by Catholic scholars and the first departure from the Latin Vulgate
- New American Standard, (1971), by the Lockman Foundation
- Living Bible, (1974), K.N. Taylor<197>paraphrase of the ASV
- Today's English Version, (1976), also known as the Good News Bible, sponsored by the American Bible Society
- New International Version, (1978), sponsored by the New York Bible Society using worldwide scholars, each book of the Bible assigned to a team of scholars
- New King James Version, (1982), sponsored by the International Trust for Bible Studies and Thomas Nelson Bible Publishers using 119 scholars
- Revised English Bible, (1989). Updating and revising of New English Bible
- New Revised Standard Version, (1994), Revision of Revised Standard Version

With so many translations of the Bible becoming available, many people wonder what they should do with their old Bible, which in most cases is the authorized King James Version, and whether or not the new translations are of great importance to them. When the highly publicized Revised Standard Version was published in 1952, many Protestant and other Fundamentalists were opposed to it. The opposition on the part of some was very bitter, manifesting itself in public burnings of the new translation. In many quarters it was condemned as a work of the Devil. Such opposition continues to many of the succeeding translations that have appeared.

It is well to realize that no translation of the Bible is perfect. Our own observation to date is that where vital doctrines of the divine plan are not involved, these new translations frequently state the thought more clearly than does the King James Version. However, the new translations are not always entirely trustworthy. This can be ascertained by consulting reliable Greek and Hebrew concordances of the Bible.


When the Revised Standard Version of the Bible was issued, the publishers called special attention to the changed meaning of many English words since the King James Version was first published. This is true, and the use of modern English in the new version helps to clarify some texts. For example, the King James Version translates Psalm 119:147: "I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy Word." The Revised Standard Version of this text reads, "I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in thy words." Obviously, this is more correct, for David could not very well `prevent' the `dawning of the morning'. In Old English the word prevent meant `to precede', so it was a correct translation when first used.

Another English word which has greatly changed in meaning is hell. Originally it meant `to cover', or `conceal'. In Scotland burying potatoes in the ground for the winter was referred to as `helling' the potatoes. Putting a thatched roof on a cottage was `helling' the cottage. Now, through misuse, hell usually suggests fire and torment. In the new translation, this word is not used to translate sheol of the Old Testament and hades of the New Testament. Instead, these words are usually left untranslated. This is a step in the right direction, but the student of the Bible would have been much better informed on the state of the dead had sheol and hades in every instance been properly and uniformly translated.

In Matthew 16:18, the King James Version translates hades by the English word hell, in the expression "the gates of hell." Here the Revised Standard Version translates hades by the word "death" the expression reading, "the powers of death." This is better than the word `hell', with its modern meaning, but it still leaves the student to determine what `death' might be. Probably the best translation of sheol and hades would have been "oblivion." This, indeed, is the Bible's own definition of sheol, as given in Ecclesiastes 9:10.

In the King James Version, Matthew 6:34 reads, "Take therefore no thought for the morrow." The Revised Standard Version gives a more correct thought. It reads, "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow."

In some texts which deal with God's great plan of redemption and restoration, the Revised Standard Version is not as accurate as the King James Version. Acts 3:21 is an example. Here the King James Version uses the word `restitution', which is an equivalent of the Greek word which it translates. The text is part of the Apostle Peter's sermon in which he explains that following the second coming of Christ there would be "times of restitution of all things."

The Revised Standard Version uses the word `establishing' instead of `restitution', omitting the prefix `re', which is definitely contained in the Greek text. By this omission the reader is not made to realize that what is to be established as a result of Christ's return had previously existed, particularly life and man's lost dominion over the earth. Matt. 25:34


The story of how the Bible reached us in its present form is a very interesting one. The first copies were handwritten, and in manuscript form -- not in book form at all. These manuscript copies of the Bible were exceedingly scarce in the days of the Early Church. Not all the individual members of those early congregations possessed them. It was not until the year A.D. 120 that the books of the New Testament, as we know them, were complete and available for use, but even then they were very scarce.

Seemingly larger congregations of Early Christians possessed manuscript copies of at least parts of the Bible. There were some manuscripts of the Old Testament in the Hebrew language, and some which had been translated from the Hebrew into the Greek language. This Greek translation of the Old Testament was known as the Septuagint Version. Besides, there were copies of the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the various apostolic epistles, and the Book of Revelation<197>all in manuscript form. These have reached us by a long and complex chain of circumstances, including the hand copying of manuscripts and translating, both of which were often done under most trying conditions. The early translators were usually persecuted -- sometimes even unto death -- not by the worldly, but by their contemporary religionists, who often took the viewpoint, as one of the early translators expressed it -- that "ignorance is holiness." The bitter opposition manifested by some against the Revised Standard Version of the Bible indicates that human nature has not changed much since those early days.

One of the first English versions of the Bible was translated by John Wycliffe about the year 1367, although no part of it was printed before the year 1731. Concerning the death of Wycliffe, one of the church writers at the time said: "On the feast of the passion of St. Thomas of Canterbury, John Wycliffe, the organ of the devil, the enemy of the church, the idol of hypocrites, the restorer of schisms, the storehouse of lies, the sink of flattery, being struck by the horrible judgment of God, was seized with palsy throughout his whole body."

Wycliffe was referred to by another writer as "that pestilent wretch, the son of the old serpent, the forerunner of Antichrist." He was evidently himself keenly aware of the opposition that would be aroused by his translation of the Bible, and in the preface had the following inscribed: "God grant us, to ken and to kepe well Holie Writ, and to suffer joiefulli some paine for it at the laste."

The first book to be printed was the Bible. It was published by Mr. Gutenberg, the inventor of moveable type for the printing press. This was in 1455 or 1456. It was in Latin, and bound in two volumes.

Then in 1526 came Tyndale's English Version of the Bible -- the first English translation to be printed. The language of Tyndale's translation was essentially the same as that in our Common, or King James Version. Tyndale, even as former translators of the Bible, was persecuted by the orthodox church of his day.

In order to complete his task he was forced to leave England, and he became an exile in Germany. But it was this, in the providence of God, that put him in touch with the printing press. This resulted later in large quantities of his printed Bible being smuggled into England contrary to the decree of the church, and distributed among the people. It was in the year 1524 that Tyndale left his native land, never to see it again, and as the historian states: "At Hamburg, in poverty and distress, and amid constant danger, the brave-hearted exile worked on his translation, and so diligently that the following year we find him at Cologne with sheets of his quarto New Testament already in the printer's hands."

It was difficult enough to stop the circulation of the Wycliffe Bible, when it required months to finish a single copy. But what could be done about Tyndale's translation? These books were pouring into the country in great numbers because they were coming off the printing press at the rate of a hundred a day, and at a price within the reach of many. The Bishop of London hit upon what he thought was an excellent plan to put a stop to this plague. He contacted a man by the name of Augustine Pakington, a merchant trading between England and Antwerp, and asked what he thought of the possibility of buying up all of Tyndale's copies of the Bible, bringing them to England, and burning them. Pakington was a friend of Tyndale's and sympathetic with what he was doing, so he quickly agreed with the bishop, saying: "My lord, if it be your pleasure, I could do in this matter probably more than any merchant in England, so if it be your lordship's pleasure to pay for them -- for I must disburse money for them -- I will insure you to have every book that remains unsold." The bishop agreed to this, thinking, as one humorous writer of the time said, "that he hadde God by the toe, whenne in truthe he hadde, as after he thought, the devyl by the fiste."

What happened is this: Tyndale accepted the offer, charged a good price for the Bibles he had on hand, and with the money paid his debts and then published a much larger and better edition. Hence the bishop's plan acted as a boomerang, and Tyndale's Bible continued to pour into England. Poverty, distress, and misrepresentations were Tyndale's constant lot. Prison and death were ever staring him in the face. Finally, in October 1536 he was strangled at the stake and then burned to ashes, fervently praying with his last words, "LORD, open the King of England's eyes."

After this, various translations appear such as the Coverdale Bible, the Great Bible, the Geneva Bible, and others. There was also published in 1568 the Bishops' Bible. And then, in January 1604, at a conference of bishops and clergymen held in the drawing rooms of Hampton Court Palace, the first suggestions were made which led to the revision of versions then in use. This, in turn, led to our authorized King James Version, in 1611.

To prepare this translation, forty-seven learned men from Oxford, Cambridge, and London were selected as impartially as possible from high churchmen and Puritans, as well as from those who represented scholarship totally unconnected with any party. King James I authorized that the cooperation of every Bible scholar of note in the entire kingdom should be secured. Excellent rules were adopted to govern the work of translating. Never before had such labor and care been expended upon translating the English Bible. The language of the King James Version follows closely the pattern of that used by Tyndale in his translation. Revised and improved by a committee of such excellent scholars, it has stood the test of more than three hundred years of popular use.

Since the publishing of the King James Version of the Bible, many other translations have appeared for the use of students. In addition to the first official revision of the King James Version starting in 1881 in both England and the USA, we have seen such translations<197>in addition to those mentioned earlier<197>as Weymouth, Moffatt, Wilson's Emphatic Diaglott, as well as study Bibles such as Scofield's, and the Thompson Chain Reference Bible. All of these have their merits, but none of them is any more than a translation. All translations thus far made have one thing in common, which is that they reflect more or less the theological viewpoints of their translators.


Probably the greatest weakness of the King James Version is the fact that when it was translated only eight manuscripts were available from which the work could be done -- the oldest one dating back only to the tenth century. Since then, many hundreds of manuscripts have come to light, some of them dating back as early as the fourth century, and a few even back to the second century.

This fact has been given a great deal of publicity in connection with the new Protestant translation of the Bible. Some have the idea that these newer manuscripts have only been recently discovered; but this is not true. Many students of the Bible have known of the older manuscripts, and for years have been taking advantage of the more accurate presentation of God's Word which they afford.

The original writings of the Bible are all lost, therefore manuscripts now available are merely copies, usually copies of copies, many times removed. The value of a manuscript for critical textual examination depends largely upon its age. The oldest manuscripts, and therefore tending to be the most valuable, are written in printed-style (pre-uncial) letters, in the style of the original writings of the Bible. They contain no punctuation, and they show no division between words.

The Old Testament was divided into chapters, as they now stand, by Cardinal Hugo, in the middle of the thirteenth century. These chapters were divided into verses, as we now have them, by Rabbi Nathan and adopted by Robert Stevens, an English printer, in his edition of the Vulgate, in 1555. The chapter and verse divisions in the New Testament, likewise were done in 1551, long centuries after the original manuscripts were written.

Punctuation was not used in the original writings of the Bible, nor does it appear in the oldest of the manuscripts, as punctuation was not generally used until the end of the fifteenth century. It is important to keep this fact in mind when we study any English translation of the Bible, and to remember that the punctuation is not a part of the inspired record.
Generally speaking, the punctuation of all the English versions of the Bible is very good, but at times it has helped to confuse the meaning of the text. The accompanying lines in Greek are the words of Jesus to the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43), as they appeared from the pen of the original recorder: When punctuation was introduced into this statement -- which in the King James Version says: "Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise," the misplacement of the comma makes it appear that Jesus expected to be in Paradise with the thief on the very day he died. But, by placing the comma where it should be, in harmony with what the Master really meant, Jesus' words simply emphasized that the promise he was making to the thief was made on a day when, from the human standpoint, it seemed impossible that it could be fulfilled: "Verily I say unto thee this day, with me shalt thou be in Paradise." -- Luke 23:43, Rotherham Translation

It is well also to remember that all the manuscript copies of the Bible were written by hand, and that each additional copy of these copies, when needed, also had to be written by hand, letter by letter, at a great expense of time and trouble. And very often, also at some expense of the original correctness. Careful though the scribe might be, it was well nigh impossible to keep from making mistakes. One letter could be mistaken for another. If the manuscript were read to the scribe he might confound two words of similar sound. Remarks and explanations written in the margin might, sometimes, in transcribing, be inserted into the text.

In these, and various other ways, errors might creep into the copy of the manuscript. Naturally these errors would be repeated by the copyist. To these, at times, would be added other errors of his own. It is evident, as copies increased, that errors would also be liable to increase. Therefore, as a general rule, the earlier the manuscript the more nearly correct it is likely to be.
Even in the case of the printed Bible, errors are liable to occur, as all acquainted with the publishing business are painfully aware. And this despite every precaution and care in the preparation of copy by proofreaders and editors with years of training and experience. For example, in an edition of the Bible published in 1653, I Corinthians 6:9 reads: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?" In an old version known as the Printer's Bible, Psalm 119:161 reads, "Printers have persecuted me without a cause."


The three oldest known nearly-complete (major) manuscripts of the New Testament available for use today are those designated the Sinaitic, the Vatican 1209 (3rd century), and the Alexandrian (5th century). The Sinaitic and the Vatican 1209, were written about the same time. The Sinaitic, however, is complete. The Vatican has a number of omissions, including the entire Book of Revelation. The Sinaitic manuscript is so named from the place it was found in a convent at the foot of Mt. Sinai. It was discovered by the great German scholar, Dr. Tischendorf, in 1859.

The Alexandrian manuscript is the latest of the three, has a good text from Acts to Revelation but is also incomplete. The original of this manuscript can be seen at the British Museum, but copies which exactly represent it are kept in many of the principal public libraries. The Arabic inscription on the first sheet states that it was written by the hand of "Thekla the Martyr." Much of the New Testament is also covered by ancient papyrus manuscripts from a century or more earlier. These generally support Sinaitic and Vatican 1209.

Dr. Tischendorf, who naturally was interested in making a careful comparison of the Sinaitic manuscript with the King James Version, has made available a long list of additions and alterations appearing in the King James Standard Version translation which do not appear in this old manuscript. Careful students of the Bible will wish to be on guard against the unscriptural teachings fostered by these obviously uninspired additions to the sacred text.

Below we present an abbreviated list of interpolations. Many have found it helpful to strike out these interpolations in their own Bibles, so that when they read the sacred Word they will not be reading thoughts that have been injected into it by man.
To take proper notice of these spurious passages which were added through the centuries is not in the category of `higher criticism'. It is merely using sanctified common sense, with the aid of concordances and old manuscripts now available, to discover as nearly as possible the purity of God's inspired Word. Higher criticism, on the contrary, is a deliberate decision on the part of the worldly-wise that the historical records of the Bible, its prophecies and its miracles, are but legendary, and at best allegorical tales by which lessons in morality and righteousness are taught.


From the list of spurious passages, sentences, and words compiled by Dr. Tischendorf, based on his careful and analytical study of the Sinaitic manuscript, we have selected for comment what seem to be the most important from the standpoint of the effect they have upon the teachings of the Bible as a whole. In each case we have offered a brief suggestion as to how the interpolation changes the meaning of the text. In some cases we have suggested a possible reason why the copyist who made the addition may have thought it desirable.

These selections follow, and the spurious text, or portion of text, is shown in bold-face type at the beginning of the paragraph, followed immediately by our own observations. To save space, we have not quoted the entire passage in which these interpolations appear. We strongly recommend, however, that the reader look up these passages in his own Bible, which will most likely be the King James Version, and study it in connection with the observations suggested.

Matthew 6:13 -- "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." These words which were added to our Lord's Prayer make it contradictory. It would be useless to pray for God's kingdom to come if the divine rule is already fully operative in the earth. At the time these uninspired words were added to the Lord's Prayer, it was the general belief that Christ's kingdom was ruling through the church-state systems of Europe, hence this effort to make the Bible support the claim.

Matthew 16:2 -- "When it is evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: for the sky is red." This is merely a tradition, having no foundation in fact. The use of such a statement in the inspired Word tends to discount the authority of the whole Book in the minds of reasoning people.

Matthew 16:3 -- "And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" This entire verse is spurious. Note suggestion immediately foregoing.

Matthew 17:21 -- "and fasting." That this is spurious is evident from the fact that Jesus cast out the devil to which reference is made without being prepared by a season of fasting.

Matthew 25:6 -- "cometh." To announce that the Bridegroom is coming is contrary to the prophecies which show that none would know in advance the time of his arrival. With the spurious word `cometh' out of the text, the statement reads, "Behold the Bridegroom," which indicates a recognition that Christ has already returned and is present.

Mark 4:37 -- "so that it [the ship] was now full." This is obviously an enthusiastic exaggeration of a copyist, for no ship could be `full' of water without being awash, which evidently was not the case.

Mark 7:14 -- "unto me every one of you," This was evidently added by a copyist who had the erroneous idea that Jesus did all he could to convert everyone, which is not in keeping with the Master's teachings. Jesus did not expect everyone to understand at that time. Indeed, he often spoke in parables so they could not understand. The time for the general enlightenment of the world is yet future.

Mark 10:30 -- "houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions;" Verses 29 and 30, without these added words, contain a wonderful promise to Christians, assuring them of abundant compensating blessings of a spiritual kind in this life for every sacrifice they make, and in the world to come, eternal life. But no Christian has ever received a hundred houses in return for a house he may have sacrificed in the LORD's service. Material blessings are not promised to the Christian, and such statements as this tend to discredit the reasonableness of the Bible.

Mark 16:9-20 -- All these verses are spurious. Christians are not promised protection from harm resulting from snake bites and drinking poison, as in the 18th verse that says: "They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them." This, like many other interpolations, tends to make the Bible seem unreasonable.

Luke 16:16 -- "and every man presseth into it." It is not true that `every man presseth into' the kingdom. On the contrary, the privileges of the kingdom are available only to "a little flock" (Luke 12:32) during this Gospel Age. The addition to the inspired text was evidently made by a copyist who held the view that the divine plan for this age is the conversion of the entire world.

Luke 22:68 -- "me, nor let me go." These added words give the thought that Jesus was attempting to put up a defense that would result in acquittal, but this was not the case. Jesus knew that he was to die as man's Redeemer, and that his hour for the supreme sacrifice had come, so he was not asking to be set free.

Luke 23:34 -- "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Some copyist added these words with the evident thought of revealing the Master's benevolence toward his enemies, but actually they are not in harmony with the known facts. Whatever Jesus requested of the Heavenly Father would be granted. But those who crucified him were not forgiven. It was a national sin for which they have suffered severely.

John 3:13 -- "which is in heaven." Jesus, the Son of Man, was not in heaven at the time of his dialogue with Nicodemus. Whoever added these spurious words may have believed that Jesus was God himself, and in some mysterious way could be on earth and in heaven at the same time.

John 4:9 -- "for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.<170> These words are historically incorrect, as is indicated by Luke 9:52.

John 5:3,4 -- From the word "waiting" in the third verse, through verse four. These words reflect superstitions which played such an important role in the religious lives of professed Christians during the Dark Ages.
John 5:25 -- "and now is," Soon after the apostles fell asleep in death the church began to lose sight of the real hope of the resurrection. The heathen doctrine of immediate survival after death -- which, in professed Christian circles became the doctrine of inherent immortality -- made void the necessity of a resurrection of the dead. The addition of the words "and now is" to this text is intended to convey the thought that Jesus' promise of the resurrection is fulfilled in some mysterious way when one hears the call of truth and becomes a Christian. Thus not only is the real meaning of this promise voided, but the text is made to contradict itself, because the resurrection could not be `coming' and `now is' at the same time.

John 8:1-11 -- All these verses are spurious. A very interesting story, but evidently merely legendary.

John 21:25 -- This entire verse is also spurious. Obviously no one could say enough in three and one-half years -- the length of Jesus' ministry -- to fill so many books that the world would not hold them. Passages like this help to discredit the Bible, regardless of what its friends had in mind when adding them.

Acts 15:32 -- "and confirmed them." These words, descriptive of a traditional ordinance, may have been added in an attempt to justify a practice not otherwise authorized in the Bible.

Romans 8:26 -- "for us" These two little words may seem like a harmless addition to this text, but when we analyze the passage we find that by their use the Holy Spirit, or power of God, is made to appear as a person who intercedes at the throne of grace on behalf of Christians, with groanings which cannot be uttered. By omitting these added words, we get the real meaning of the text. It is the Christian's own spirit, which oftentimes, for the lack of adequate words to express himself, approaches God in the attitude of prayer.

I Corinthians 6:20 -- "and in your spirit, which are God's." An evident attempt to bolster the erroneous theory which was introduced into the church during the Dark Ages that the `spirit' is an entity separate and distinct from the body.

Ephesians 5:30 -- "of his flesh, and of his bones." The body of Christ glorified, of which Christians are prospective members, is not a fleshly body, as these words tend to indicate.

I Timothy 3:16 -- "God" The addition of the word `God' in this text represents another effort to prove that Jesus and God are one and the same person. The personality discussed in this text is Christ Jesus, who is introduced in verse 13. According to the Greek text, the word "who" should be used instead of `God'.
I Peter 2:5 -- the second usage of the word "spiritual." The sacrifices offered by Christians are their earthly rights and privileges. They are promised a spiritual reward, but are not asked to sacrifice spiritual things.

I John 3:16 -- "of God" These words were supplied by the translators and are not in any Greek text. This is another effort to have the Bible prove that God and Jesus are the same. God did not lay down his life for us, but the Son of God did.

I John 5:7 -- "in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." These words were added in an effort to prove the Trinitarian doctrine. It is the only expression in the King James Version of the Bible that in any way suggests a triune God, but it is spurious, so should not be accepted as part of the inspired Word.

I John 5:8 -- "And there are three that bear witness in earth." Having added the above noted words in verse 7, the copyist evidently felt it necessary to add these words to verse 8 to make the entire passage seem more complete and reasonable.

Revelation 20:5 -- "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." These words were added at a time when the church claimed to be fulfilling scriptural promises concerning the thousand-year reign of Christ. The dead were not being raised during this pseudo-millennium, so it was convenient to make the inspired record teach that the resurrection should not be expected until the close of the thousand years.

Revelation 21:24 -- "of them which are saved." The copyist who added these words had evidently lost sight of the divine promises to bless all the nations of the earth. While the Scriptures do not teach the universal salvation of all individuals, yet all the families of the earth are to have an opportunity to be blessed during the kingdom reign of Christ, which fact these added words tend to annul.


There is not much that need be said analytically concerning the Old Testament manuscripts. It is rather surprising to realize that the earliest Hebrew manuscripts in existence, of most of the Old Testament, do not date back earlier than about the 9th century A.D. Within recent years, however, manuscripts of the Book of Isaiah and parts of others have been discovered which date back to the first and second centuries before Christ. This general lack of early Hebrew manuscripts is less important than it might seem.

As far as can be learned, there appears to have been a gradual, though a not too critical revision of the Palestine manuscripts going on almost continually from the days of Ezra. History indicates that from the Dispersion, this process of Hebrew manuscript revision ceased. At that early date, the Hebrew Old Testament was made as nearly correct as the best scholarship of the Jewish academies could make it. After this, the older manuscripts gradually disappeared. The manuscript of the Book of Isaiah, recently discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls, is nearly identical with those from which our English versions of the Bible have been translated.

While it is true that the existing Hebrew Masoretic manuscripts are not very old, yet much dependence can be placed upon them, owing to the great reverence the Jewish scribes held for the Word of God, and their consequent carefulness in transcribing. It is said that these scribes were so scrupulous that even if a manifest error appeared in the copy from which they were transcribing they would not change the text, but would write an explanatory note in the margin, giving the proper thought.

It is claimed, also, that even if one letter were larger than another, or a word running beyond the line, or other irregularity, they would copy it exactly as found. Another important factor which enters into the accuracy of the Old Testament is that in the recensions more than one person was occupied in making the copies. One scribe copied the consonants; another inserted the vowels, points, and accents, in fainter ink; a third revised the copy; and a fourth wrote in the Masorah.


This, briefly, is the story of the Bible as it has come to us from earliest times, all the way to the King James Translation -- and now to the most modern translations. All the details have not been presented, as the story would have been too long. But our hope is that the question, how our Bible has reached us, has been answered comprehensively enough to increase our enthusiasm for its use, and to cause its influence to be more effectual in our lives.

Equally important to the purity of the Bible, in obtaining the most exact and best translation and separating from it the interpolations of men and mistranslations, is an understanding of the message of the divine plan which it presents. Of great assistance to this end are the availability today of Hebrew and Greek concordances listing every word in the Bible, together with the meaning of the Hebrew or Greek term from which it is translated.

Likewise, we believe that it is due time for God's Word to be better understood. Therefore, there have been other valuable helps provided by God. Most important among these is the book, "The Divine Plan of the Ages." It is the first volume of a series of six entitled, "Studies in the Scriptures." Thousands have been helped to a better understanding of the harmony of the Bible through the use of these wonderful volumes, and we commend them to every thoughtful person interested in the study of God's precious and inspired Word.


The following list of interpolations is taken from notes by Professor C. Tischendorf, based on the Sinaitic Manuscript which he discovered at the foot of Mount Sinai. There are many others, but those contained in this list seem to be the only ones which materially change the meaning of the texts in which they appear. Although some have contested the exclusion of these, individuals have deemed it wise to delete these from their Bible:

Matthew 5:22 -- without a cause
Matthew 6:13 -- For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Matthew 6:25 -- or what ye shall drink
Matthew 16:2 -- When it is evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
Matthew 16:3 -- This entire verse.
Matthew 17:21 -- and fasting
Matthew 18:12 -- into the mountains
Matthew 20:7 -- and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive
Matthew 22:13 -- and take him away
Matthew 23:35 -- son of Barachias
Matthew 24:10 -- and shall hate one another
Matthew 24:31 -- sound of a
Matthew 24:41 -- women shall be
Matthew 25:6 -- cometh
Matthew 27:52 -- and the graves were opened
Matthew 27:53 -- and went
Matthew 28:19 -- therefore
Mark 4:37 -- so that it was now full
Mark 6:51 -- beyond measure, and wondered
Mark 7:8 -- For . . . as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do
Mark 7:14 -- unto me every one of you
Mark 9:24 -- with tears
Mark 9:29 -- and fasting
Mark 9:44 -- This entire verse.
Mark 9:45 -- into the fire that never shall be quenched
Mark 9:46 -- This entire verse.
Mark 9:47 -- fire
Mark 9:49 -- and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt
Mark 10:24 -- for them that trust in riches
Mark 10:30 -- houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions
Mark 14:30 -- twice
Mark 14:68 -- and the cock crew
Mark 14:72 -- the second time, twice
Mark 16:9-20 -- All these verses.
Luke 2:40 -- in spirit
Luke 8:45 -- and sayest thou, Who touched me?
Luke 16:16 -- and every man presseth into it
Luke 17:12 -- which stood afar off
Luke 17:35 -- women
Luke 18:11 -- with himself
Luke 22:43 -- This entire verse
Luke 22:44 -- This entire verse.
Luke 22:68 -- me, nor let me go
Luke 23:5 -- teaching
Luke 23:34 -- Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do
Luke 24:42 -- and of an honeycomb
John 1:25 -- asked him, and
John 3:13 -- which is in heaven
John 4:9 -- for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans
John 5:3 -- waiting for the moving of the water
John 5:4 -- This entire verse.
John 5:25 -- and now is
John 8:1-11 -- All these verses.
John 8:59 -- going through the midst of them, and so passed by
John 16:16 -- because I go to the Father
John 19:23 -- and also his coat
John 21:25 -- This entire verse.
Acts 6:3 -- Holy Ghost and should read: spirit of
Acts 6:8 -- faith should read: grace
Acts 8:37 -- This entire verse.
Acts 9:31 -- churches should read: church
Acts 15:32 -- and confirmed them
Acts 18:5 -- pressed in the spirit should read: earnestly occupied with the Word
Acts 18:21 -- I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but
Romans 3:22 -- and upon all
Romans 6:12 -- it in
Romans 7:6 -- that being dead should read: being dead to that
Romans 8:26 -- for us
Romans 11:6 -- But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work
Romans 14:6 -- and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it
I Corinthians 2:1 -- testimony should read: mystery
I Corinthians 6:20 -- and in your spirit, which are God's
I Corinthians 7:5 -- fasting and
I Corinthians 10:28 -- for the earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof
I Corinthians 15:24 -- cometh
Galatians 3:1 -- that ye should not obey the truth
Galatians 3:17 -- in Christ
Galatians 5:19 -- adultery
Galatians 5:21 -- murders
Ephesians 5:9 -- Spirit should read: light
Ephesians 5:30 -- of his flesh, and of his bones
II Thessalonians 2:9 -- Even him
I Timothy 3:16 -- God should read: who
I Timothy 4:12 -- in spirit
I Timothy 6:5 -- from such withdraw thyself
II Timothy 3:3 -- without natural affection
Hebrews 12:18 -- mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire
should read: fire that might be touched and burned
Hebrews 12:20-- or thrust through with a dart
I Peter 2:5 -- spiritual (before the word sacrifices)
I Peter 3:8 -- courteous should read: humble
II Peter 1:1 -- God and should read: our Lord and>
I John 3:16 -- of God
I John 5:7 -- in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one
I John 5:8 -- And there are three that bear witness in earth
I John 5:13 -- and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God
Revelation 1:17 -- unto me, Fear not
Revelation 2:22 -- their should read: her
Revelation 5:3 -- neither under the earth
Revelation 6:2 -- to conquer should read: he conquered
Revelation 9:4 -- neither any green thing
Revelation 9:13 -- the four horns of
Revelation 10:6 -- and the sea, and the things which are therein
Revelation 11:17 -- and art to come
Revelation 12:12 -- inhabiters of (before the sea)
Revelation 14:5 -- before the throne of God
Revelation 14:12 -- here are they
Revelation 16:5 -- and shalt be should read: the holy
Revelation 16:7 -- another out of
Revelation 16:11 -- and their sores of their deeds
Revelation16:17 -- from the throne
Revelation 18:22 -- whatsoever craft he be and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee
Revelation 20:5 -- But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished
Revelation 21:24 -- of them which are saved and honor
Revelation 21:26 -- and honor
Revelation 22:3 -- more