Illustrating Why Verses Dropped Out of Newer Translations

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A few years ago I did a number of posts on translations and manuscripts that generated a lengthy discussion. Occassionally I still get comments on a number of those posts. One recent comment came from Chris who wrote this,

“Plus the NIV comes from Textus sinaiticus….And the KJV comes from Textus Receptus
So I pose another question….do you think GOD would of let his people for hundreds of years have and generations of people just to magically say in the 1800’s you know..now I’ll give them the good stuff….If you truly desire a relationship with JESUS which is what it should be about..make sure you know him and he knows you..the last thing anyone should want to hear from Christ is I never knew you…you worker of iniquity…make sure you know Jesus, he wants to know you”

I asked Chris if I could use his comment in a new post and he agreed. So let’s say that instead of commenting on my blog, Chris wrote this by hand and mailed it to me. Upon receiving his comment I am struck by just how profound it…so I do what any reasonable person would have done 2000 years ago to preserve such important information…I copy it by hand and pass it on to others. Maybe I make a few copies and give them out. Those who I give copies to are likewise struck by the profundity of his comment and they copy my copy.

In the ancient world paper wasn’t readily bought at the store. So if you had something you really needed copied you might copy it on the back of any paper you could get your hands on. What is more, as this gets copied and copied and copied, one of the copiers ads a note in the margin that the next copiest thinks was from the original and adds it into the text and so instead of a perfect copy you end up with some fairly predictable errors, ommissions and additions to the original text. Once the original text is ravaged by the passing of time or inadvertently destroyed or used to write something else on we don’t have the autograph to compare it to. All we have are other copies to compare it to in order to try to figure out what the original said.

So let’s use his comment as an example of how hand written texts can change over time. Instead of this,

“Plus the NIV comes from Textus sinaiticus….And the KJV comes from Textus Receptus
So I pose another question….do you think GOD would of let his people for hundreds of years have and generations of people just to magically say in the 1800’s you know..now I’ll give them the good stuff….If you truly desire a relationship with JESUS which is what it should be about..make sure you know him and he knows you..the last thing anyone should want to hear from Christ is I never knew you…you worker of iniquity…make sure you know Jesus, he wants to know you”

We get this,

“Plus the TNIV comes from Textus sinaiticus….And the NKJV comes from Textus Receptus
So I pose another question….do you think GOD would of let his people for hundreds and thousands of years have and generations of people just to magically say in the 1800’s you know..now I’ll give them the good stuff….If you truly desire a relationship with JESUS which is what it should be about..make sure you know him and he knows you..the last thing anyone should want to hear from Christ is I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers…you that work iniquity…make sure you know Jesus, he wants to know you”

Now let’s say that for whatever reason this version of the original gets copied more than the rest and let’s say this is the only version those who are working on numbering the lines and translating this have this version (remember, the original is no more). So now this version has become the standard.

But then one day older versions are discovered. They say NIV rather than the TNIV and KJV instead of NKJV. They omit the words “and thousands” and we also discover that somewhere along the line a copiest had ironed out the Matt 7:23 quotation to find that the original didn’t exactly quote it but paraphrased the KJV in the last phrase. So now you have something far more in line with the original if not verbatim. What you also discover is that to get it back in line with the original several words have to be deleted and other words edited.

All of that to say, the NIV or whatever modern translation they are picking on, must be wrong because it omits things have no concept of how manuscripts are copied, amended, etc. It is entirely possible that deleted certain verses gets us more in line with the originals, all the while causing ire amongst some for the modern translations being careless with the word of God, even deleting verses! If you delete what wasn’t there you get more accurate, not less.

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