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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text. In the original manuscripts, every word of Scripture was given by the inspiration of God, so as to produce a Bible completely without error or omission.

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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

In the original manuscripts, every word of Scripture was given by the inspiration of God, so as to produce a Bible completely without error or omission.

  • “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” --2 Timothy 3:16, 17

“Inspiration” is theopneustos which means “God-breathed”

  • “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
  • --2 Peter 1:20, 21
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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

  • While divine inspiration extends ONLY to the original manuscripts, God promised to providentially preserve His Word.
      • “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” --Psalm 119:89
      • “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” --1 Peter 1:24, 25
      • Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. --Matthew 5:17, 18
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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

  • There is more textual evidence for the Greek New Testament than any other piece of ancient literature.
  • The best attested piece of secular literature is Homer’s Iliad. There are 643 surviving copies of Homer’s Iliad, the oldest being copied 500 years after the original documents.
  • There are over 5,300 copies of manuscripts of the Greek New Testament or portions thereof, the oldest dating from only 150 to 200 years after the originals.
  • There are over 18,000 other witnesses to the text of the New Testament, such as translations, lectionaries, and quotations.
  • As manuscripts of the Greek New Testament have come to light over the years, they have been analyzed and catagorized as belonging to either one of TWO families, either the Alexandrian text-type or the Byzantine text-type.
  • Some of the most early manuscripts uncovered in the 19th century belong to the Alexandrian text family, because they have their roots in Alexandria, Egypt.
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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

However, the vast majority of manuscripts of the Greek New Testament belong to the Byzantine text-type, because they agree with the text commonly used by the Greek speaking churches.

  • Between 90% to 95% of the known Greek NT manuscripts are of this type.
  • Byzantine texts were more widely distributed and accepted than those of the Alexandrian text type, which was used primarily in Egypt.
  • The Byzantine (Majority) text predominated during the greatest period of manual copying of Greek New Testament manuscripts (ca. AD 350 to AD 1516). It was the dominant text used by the Greek speaking community.
  • Early translations of the New Testament into other languages show evidence of being translated from a Byzantine text type. Among these are: The Syriac Peshitta (c. 400); the Palestine Syriac Version (c. 400); the Armenian Version (c. 400); the Gothic Version (c. 341)

We believe the The Byzantine (Majority) Greek text is closest to the original manuscripts of the Greek New Testament.

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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

These translations were based upon the Textus Receptus

  • In February 1516, the Dutch humanist scholar Desiderius Erasmus produced an edition of the Greek New Testament. He had at his disposal six Greek manuscripts belonging to the Byzantine text type. He also used the Latin Vulgate, to supplement missing portions of his manuscripts.
  • As more manuscripts became available, subsequent revisions of Erasmus’ work were made, the most scholarly being that of Robert Stephens (Estienne) in 1550. This is the Greek text from which the King James Version was translated.
  • In 1624 the Elzevir brothers printed an updated edition of the same text. In their preface they indicated that this is the text which has been commonly received. The name “Textus Receptus” was then commonly applied not only to their edition of the Greek New Testament, but those which had preceded it, beginning with the work of Erasmus.
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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

4) The Byzantine (Majority) form of the text provided the basis for almost all translations of the New Testament into modern languages down to the nineteenth century.

Martin Luther - German (1522)

William Tyndale - English (1525)

Miles Coverdale - English (1535)

The Great Bible - English (1539)

The Geneva Bible - English (1560)

The Bishop’s Bible - English (1568)

The King James Version - English (1611)

Revisions of the King James Version - English (1629, 1638, 1762, 1769)

Note: The King James Version in general use today is not the 1611 version, but the 1769 REVISION.

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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

The Alexandrian Text of Westcott and Hort

  • In the 19th century, two English scholars, B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort published a critical edition of the Greek New Testament based primarily on three Greek manuscripts dating back to the 4th century, Vaticanus, Siniaticus, and Alexandrinus. Their overriding major premise was that the oldest manuscripts must be the best manuscripts.
  • The parchment codices B (Vaticanus) and Aleph (Sinaiticus) were assigned to the fourth century and are generally understood to have been produced in Egypt, along with the third manuscript Alexandrinus.
  • In the Gospels alone these first two MSS differ from each other well over 3,000 times, which number does not include minor errors such as spelling, nor even variants between certain synonyms.
  • The United Bible Societies Greek text, based on Westcott and Hort’s work varies from the Byzantine (Majority) Greek text in over 6,000 places.
  • The best explanation for the survival of these parchments is that they were set aside, because it was recognized they had been corrupted.
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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

Factors leading to a corruption of some of the Greek manuscripts

(1) “Localized text types”

During the persecution of Christians prior to the time of Constantine, copying of New Testament Greek manuscripts would have been localized, as Christians sought to keep a low profile. Copyist’s errors would have been perpetuated in what may be called “localized text types.”

After Christianity was sanctioned under Constantine (AD 313), improved communication between the churches led to a cross-correction of “localized text types.” Faulty manuscripts would have been be corrected or laid aside as being corrupted. Gradually “localized readings” would be weeded out, and the text which most closely followed the originals would be restored.

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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

Factors leading to a corruption of some of the Greek manuscripts

(2) “The Egyptian (Alexandrian) influence

  • A number of early manuscripts and fragments have been found in the region around Alexandria in Egypt. This is due, in part, to climatic conditions favourable to the preservation of papyri on which they were written.
  • During the 1st and 2nd centuries, Egypt was the centre for the Gnostic heresy. The church historian Eusebius records the claim of an unknown writer that Gnostics tampered with the Scriptures “without fear.”
  • The church in Egypt had a long record of being influenced by various schools of philosophy. The brilliant Alexandrian philosopher, Origen, (185 to 254 A,D.) believed that Christ was 'born of the Father before all creatures', was a 'second God', and a 'creature’. The 4th century heretic Arius developed his theology from Origin, and taught that Christ was the highest of created beings.
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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

The Westcott and Hort text tends to de-emphasize the deity of Christ, as compared with the Byzantine text.

  • Mark 1:1
      • 1 (AV) The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
      • 1 (BYZ) arch tou euaggeliou ihsou cristou uiou tou yeou
  • 1 (WH) arch tou euaggeliou ihsou cristou (the Son of God is omitted)
  • 1 Tim 3:16
      • 16 (AV) And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
      • 16 (BYZ) kai omologoumenwv mega estin to thv eusebeiav musthrion yeov efanerwyh en sarki edikaiwyh en pneumati wfyh aggeloiv ekhrucyh en eynesin episteuyh en kosmw anelhfyh en doxh
    • 16 (WH) kai omologoumenwv mega estin to thv eusebeiav musthrion ov(“God” is omitted and replaced by “who” efanerwyh en sarki edikaiwyh en pneumati wfyh aggeloiv ekhrucyh en eynesin episteuyh en kosmw anelhmfyh en doxh
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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

The Westcott and Hort text deemphasizes the virgin birth of Christ and His ascension into heaven.

  • Luke 2:33
      • 33 (AV) And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
      • 33 (BYZ) kai hn iwshf kai h mhthr autou yaumazontev epi toiv laloumenoiv peri autou
      • 33 (WH) kai hn o pathr (Here “father is substituted for “Joseph” )autou kai h mhthr yaumazontev epi toiv laloumenoiv peri autou
  • John 3:11
      • 13 (AV) And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
      • 13 (BYZ) kai oudeiv anabebhken eiv ton ouranon ei mh o ek tou ouranou katabav o uiov tou anyrwpou o wn en tw ouranw
  • 13 (WH) kai oudeiv anabebhken eiv ton ouranon ei mh o ek tou ________ouranou katabav o uiov tou anyrwpou(which is in heaven) is missing
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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

If the Alexandrian (Wescott and Hort) text is the correct Greek text of the New Testament. . .

  • it means that the family of Greek N. T. texts which prefers readings that tend to diminish the person and work of Christ is correct.
  • it means that the 90% to 95% of the extant Greek N. T. manuscripts which belong to the Byzantine family (Majority text) are wrong.
  • it means that the proper text of the Greek New Testament was preserved by professing Christians in an area where the church was known for its blending of Greek philosophy with Christian thought.
  • it means God did not allow His people to have the proper Bible until the 19th century, a period of almost 1,500 years. This is highly unlikely in view of God’s promise to preserve His word.
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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

If you want to use a Bible translation closest to the original manuscripts, choose one based on the correct Greek text of the New Testament, the Byzantine (Majority) Text.

This translation is based on the Textus Receptus, which is supported by the Byzantine text type.

The King James Version (KJV, AV)

This translation follows the traditional readings of the Textus Receptus in the body its text, although many editions have footnotes indicating where the Textus Receptus and Majority Texts differ.

The New King James Version (NKJV)

These translations are based on the Alexandrian (Westcott & Hort) text type:

American Standard Version (ASV)

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

New English Bible (NEB)

Living Bible (LB)

Good News Bible (TEV)

New International Version (NIV)

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Why I Prefer the Byzantine Text

Choose a Bible translation which seeks to be as literal as possible, while maintaining readability in English.

  • Some translations, such as the NIV, are based on the principle of “dynamic equivalence.” The translators only seek to capture the thoughts of the author.
  • Some “translations” are, in fact, not translations at all. They are paraphrases of Scripture. One example is The Living Bible.
  • Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. -Matthew 5:17, 18
  • We believe that, not only the thoughts, but the very words of the Scripture are inspired by God.

For the believer, the issue is not how easily understood is the translation, but how faithful is it to the original writings of Scripture.