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Veritas Super Omnia 



Scriptural Changes 2



"Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it."

~ Deuteronomy 12: 32


"Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar."

~ Proverbs 30: 5 - 6




7. John Mill's Greek New Testament, 1707.


This English scholar of Queens College, Oxford published a landmark book that compared 100 Greek NT manuscripts. He found 30,000 variations.  Actually, he found more than that but left out variations involving only changes in word order. Today we have 5,700 Greek manuscripts (the vast majority from the Medieval period). The earliest is P52, a fragment from the second century.  There are also about 10,000 manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate, produced by Jerome in the fourth century in an attempt to unify all the Latin speaking Christians to use one Bible instead of all the manuscripts and translations that were circulating at the time. There are also many other known manuscripts from various regions and the writings of the early church fathers - who were quoting Christian manuscripts.  If one looks at the total variations in the manuscripts there are at least 200,000 to 400,000; no one knows for sure.  The vast majority of these differences are insignificant; many are only copy errors and mistakes as the scribes tried to make an accurate copy. In the ancient world, only about 10 - 15% were literate, and that meant that they could sign their name not that they could necessarily read.  But sometimes the scribes changed the manuscripts for various theologial reasons; they changed scripture on purpose.   So, our current translations are hardly the word of God and we do not have any of the originals.  The Bible is not inerrant due to copying problems alone and more so due to deliberate alterations. With all the human influence, it also cannot be the word of God.



8. Luke 23:33- 34. "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing".


     This prayer is not found in all manuscripts.  In one of the earliest Greek manuscripts (P75, 200 CE), and several other high quality works from the fourth and later centuries it has been removed. Is Jesus talking about the Romans or the Jews in this passage?  The early church fathers interpreted the prayer as directed toward the Jews.  By the second century Christians were convinced that God had not forgiven the Jews but had punished them by destroying Jerusalem for killing Jesus (e.g. Origen).  It is thus probable that some scribes would delete the prayer since it appeared that Jesus could be asking for forgiveness towards the Jews.   Some scribes were thus actually changing scripture.  



9. Various books and letters battled for center stage in the early years of Christianity.  The first time anyone spelled out which books should be included in scripture and it matched what we have today, 27 books, was the Bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius. His list in the year 367 was nearly 300 years after the books were written.  In the fifth century most Christians finally agreed on the 27 books we have now. Lastly, at the Council of Trent in the 16th century the 27 books were finally ratified as the official New Testament. What we call scriptures are the work of men and include a mix of literature, history and most importantly mythology.  It came down to a competition among various books and those that were the most popular and thought to be orthodox eventually came to be included in the final NT scriptures.


Not only was the Bible not inspired andwritten only by men, one needs to ask which Bible. The Protestant Bible has 66 books, the Catholic 73 and the Ethiopian Orthodox 81. Mainstream Judaism recognizes 24, the Samaritan branch only 5. Jewish scripture ends with Israel restored to Jerusalem; Christian scripture ends with the book of Malachi.  The oldest surviving Christian and Jewish Bibles only date from the 4th Century. The oldest complete manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible only date from the Middle Ages. Clearly, committees of fallible men are deciding what is God's Word, not God. Suggested reading on Wikipedia: Bible, Deuterocanonical Books, Bible Canon. Not discussed are the Mormon scriptures, the Marcionite Bible, nor many others.


10. Judges 18:30


     "Sometimes scribes intentionally changed texts because of things they felt were inappropriate or objectionable.... (in Judg. 18:30 scribes added the Hebrew letter 'nun' above the line so that it read "Manasseh" instead of "Moses" because Jonathan was acting more like a son of wicked Manasseh than of Moses.")  ESV commentary, page 2586.


11. Can you trust your translation?


2 Chronicles 36:9 speaks of the age of Jehoiachin (aka Jeconiah), last King of Israel (sort of), as being either 8 or 18 when he started to reign, depending on what translation you use.  I say "sort of"  because the Jews exiled in Babylonia probably were not aware of his three month reign in Jerusalem and had his father, Jehoiakim, as King of Israel in Babylonia.  (See Dan 1:1)  Here is a summary:


NIV: 18 years old        

ASV: 8 years old

NLT: 18 years old

BBE: 18 years old

ESV: 18 years old

DRB: 8 years old

NASB: 8 years old

DBT: 18 years old

GW: 8 years old

ERV: 8 years old

KJV: 8 years old

WBT: 8 years old

AKJV: 8 years old

YLT: 8 years old


The Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament explains it this way:


"The reign of Jehoiachin. Cf. 2 Kings 24:8-17. - Jehoiachin's age at his accession is here [2 Chron 36:9] given as eight years, while in 2 Kings 24:8 it is eighteen. It is so also in the lxx and Vulg.; but a few Hebr. codd., Syr., and Arab., and many manuscripts of the lxx, have eighteen years in the Chronicle also. The number eight is clearly an orthographical error, as Thenius also acknowledges."


"lxx" is usually capitalized, LXX, and refers to the Septuagint version of the Old Testament translated from Hebrew to Greek by a committee of about 70 scholars, hence the name in Roman numerals is often abbreviated LXX.  The translation was done in Alexandria, Egypt, over a period of years in the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE as many Jews there were losing their ability to read Hebrew.


See: for the Bible version abbreviations and the above quote.


{From an email by John Addis, 12/27/2010}





The 'scriptures' we have are not inerrent, with multiple examples of scribes changing it for various reasons. God did not protect His word and did not find a way to preserve it.  It is written by men, copied by fallible scribes, and has imprinted within it the wishes of men throughout the ages.


List of Bible Verses not included in modern translations  (Wiki)