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Scriptural Document Changes  1

 

"I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book."

~ Revelation 22: 18 - 19. 

 

"You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you."

~ Deuteronomy 4: 2.

 

 

1. Ecclesiastes  - 1:1 and 12: 9 - 14.

 

"Because if you were paying attention, then you noticed a major shift in person and voice at verse 9. Suddenly it is clear that someone other than Qoheleth is speaking. Indeed, the Teacher is referred to in the third person. So it looks like the Teacher's last word on this book came in verse 8, where in both the original Hebrew and in the English translation the very last word is "Phhhht!" In literature this is called an "inclusio" because it ends the book the same way it began. If you compare Ecclesiastes 1:2 with 12:8, then you will see that those two verses are nearly word-for-word identical. Hence, the Teacher's final sentiment is that Hebrew word we looked at in the first sermon of this series: that throat-clearing word hevel, which I've been loosely translating as "Phhht" throughout this series.

 

But that's hardly a hopeful way to end a book! So at some point some scribe or some editor or some monk who was copying this book in a monastery somewhere, tacked on verses 9-14. Since "Phhht" did not seem like a proper way to end a biblical book, this unknown person decided to round things out with the more pious sounding sentiment of "Behave, or else!" We end on a note of law, a note of "trust and obey for there's no other way." We end with a reminder of judgment as a goad to spur people to lead moral lives.

 

But that it is not the way Qoheleth himself wanted this book to end".

 

Source: Hoezee, Scott. Ecclesiastes 12 "Days of Youth". Calvin - Christian Reformed Church.  Link.

 

 

2. Mark 16: 9 - 20

 

The most famous example of a well meaning scribe or other person changing scripture because they did not like the way it was written is the ending to Mark.  Mark ends at 16:8, but having the women fleeing the tomb afraid did not seem like a good way to end this gospel, so someone changed it. Most Bible translations have verses 9 - 20 bracketed with warnings that "Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16: 9 - 20".  It is clear from the ESV and other commentaries that this section was added later.  Although a few older manuscripts have them, they are not found in older and reliable Greek manuscripts such as Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, early Latin, Syriac, Armenian, and Georgian manuscripts. Early church fathers such as Origen and Clement of Alexandria do not mention them.  Eusebius and Jerome mention that these verses are missing in most manuscripts.  The versus themselves contain various Greek words and expressions uncommon in Mark and there are stylistic differences here compared to Mark. [Source: ESV commentary, end of Mark]

 

One of the most exhaustive reviews of this is Richard Carrier's 2009 article, "Mark 16:9 - 20 as Forgery or Fabrication".  It is difficult after reviewing this how any Christian can hold that the ending of Mark was not forged. Since it was, then the Bible cannot be inerrent, and there must be other areas that were changed whether we can identify them or not.

 

The strange ending of Mark and why it's important: James Tabor - Link

 

A glaring omission - Vati Leaks - Link

 

 

3. Ehrman's Top Ten NT Verses that were later added to the original scriptures.  These are examples of NT verses that are known to not be a part of the original text, but added by later scribes. **

 

1) 1 John 5:7

2) John 8:7

3) John 8:11

4) Luke 22:44

5) Luke 22:20

6) Mark 16:17

7) Mark 16:18

8) John 5:4

9) Luke 24:12

10) Luke 24:51

 

 ** From: Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus. 2005. page 265 - 266.

 

4. John 7:53 - 8:12

 

This story of the woman caught in adultery, saved by Jesus, and the scribes and Pharisees brought to humiliation by Jesus was not in the original gospel.  How do scholars know this?  The story is not found in the oldest manuscripts, it's writing style is very different, if it is left out it the writing in that section flows better, and it includes a large number of words and phrases not present in the gospel.  According to the Law of Moses both the man and woman were to be stoned.  Where's the man? In addition, other scribes inserted it after John 21:25 and still others after Luke 21:38.**  If the bible is the inspired word of God and some say inerrent, is it not disturbing that (1) we have here clear evidence of tampering with the original by later scribes and (2) why are translators leaving it in?  The ESV in it's commentary states, "There is considerable doubt that this story is part of John's original Gospel, for it is absent from all of the oldest manuscripts.  But there is nothing in it unworthy of sound doctrine. It seems best to view the story as something that probably happened during Jesus's ministry but was not originally part of what John wrote in his Gospel." Not unworthy? It probably happened? This part of the gospel is proven to be corrupted and yet it is rationalized to leave it as is?  Is this scholarly theological integrity?

 

 

5. Codex Vaticanus margin note - Heb. 1:3

 

Most manuscripts open the book of Hebrews with the phrase, "Christ bears all things by the word of his power". In Codex Vaticanus, one of the finest old manuscripts we have, dating from the fourth century, the original scribe changed the word 'bears' to 'manifests'.  The Greek words are close.  Several centuries later a second scribe changed the word back to 'bears'.  Several centuries later a third medieval scribe noticed the alteration and he changed the word again back to 'manifests'.  He then added a scribal note in the margin directed against the second scribe that translates, "Fool and knave! Leave the old reading, don't change it!" ** Ehrman has a picture of the page in his book (pg 44). Saying that Christ reveals all things by his power is different from saying that he keeps the universe together by his word.

 

6. Ancient scholars complained that copyists were changing the early scriptures **

 

     a. Third century church father Origen:  "The differences among the manuscripts have become great either through the negligence of some copyists or through the perverse audacity of others; they either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please".

 

     b. Pagan critic Celsus: "Some believers, as though from a drinking bout, go so far as to oppose themselves and alter the original text of the gospel three or four or several times over and they change its character to enable them to deny differences in face of criticism".

 

     c. Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, complains that some christians are changing his writings as they have more sacred texts: "When my fellow-Christians invited me to write letters to them I did so.  These the devil's apostles have filled with tares, taking away some things and adding others. For them the woe is reserved.  Small wonder then if some have dared to tamper  even with the word of the Lord himself, when they have conspired to mutilate my own humble efforts."

 

 

 

~ Biomed