Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611



Preservation of God's Word was taught by Dr. James Modlish

The Material Available


Having dealt with "internal evidence" in lesson one we will now begin to look at the historical evidence for the preservation of the WORD. This may be best prefaced by the following questions:

[1]. Would God inspire a text and then lose it?

[2]. If so, is this Theistic Evolution a-la-Bible translation?

[3]. If God would inspire it, would He preserve it?

[4]. Would He preserve it through men who did not believe that He inspired it?

[5]. Would there be any counterfeits of the preserved text circulating around the world?

[6]. Where would these come from?

[7]. How could you tell the difference, or would God show you the difference?

[8]. Does God bear witness to a Divinely - preserved text, or must you go to a Seminary to find it?

[9]. Since speech by communication of word is the main thing that distinguishes men from animals in (Darwin's zoo), why would God not reveal Himself by words in a book?

[10]. Which Book? More than one? Which ONES?

I. The Greek Uncial Manuscripts:

These comprise 140 copies; dating from the 4th to the 10th century. They are codices and vellum (animal skins) scrolls written in Block Capital Greek letters.

A. Vaticanus - The most "universally esteemed" in the group is the Roman Catholic Vaticanus. Vaticanus popped up in the Vatican Library in 1481. It was written around 350-370 A.D., and it survived 11 centuries in excellent condition, due to the fact that the Christians never used it.

B. Siniaticus - This manuscript was found in St. Cathrine's Monastery, on Mt. Sinai, by Tischendorf. It was written about the same time as Vaticanus. Siniaticus omits - Jn. 5:4, 8:1-11; Matt. 16:23; Rom. 16:24; Mk. 16:9-20; 1 Jn. 5:7; Acts 8:37 and dozens of other verses. Siniaticus, as Vaticanus, has survived the storms of the centuries because it was in a Monastery; and who in the world in a Greek Orthodox or Roman Monastery ever used the Bible for soul-winning and personal work?

C. Alexandrinus - This manuscript (written in the 5th century) bears a strong resemblance to the Byzantine text of the A.V. 1611, and it must never be forgotten that any set of manuscripts (genuine or counterfeit) must contain 90% of the A.V. 1611 text in order to pass off as "Bibles." Alexandrinus omits - Jn. 6:50 through 8:52; II Cor. 4:13 through 12:6, I Kings 12:20-14:9; Matt. 1:1-25:6, Gen. 15:1-5, Gen. 14:14-17 and Gen. 16-19 etc. It contains the remnants of the two Epistles of Clement (supposedly 95 A.D.) There are many other uncial fragments which are seldom cited because they agree with the Receptus so many times, it is embarrassing for the advocates of the "New Bibles" to list them. They are usually listed by numbers such as 046,047,048, etc. up to numbers as high as 0250.

II. The Greek Cursives:

Referred to sometimes as "minuscules"; lower-case Greek writings, as with a flowing motion.

These number about 2,429 manuscripts dating from the ninth to the sixteenth century. In Nestle's critical apparatus they are listed by thin, slanting numbers. They make up the vast majority of the New Testament manuscripts and bear witness (99% of the time) to the text of the A.V. 1611. The cursive style is the style adopted by all of the critical Greek editions (Nestle, 1898: Alford, 1849; Westcott and Hort, 1881: Tischendorf, 1869; Tregelles, 1857, etc.), and it is the style used in the Greek text books used to teach Greek Grammar.

The Greek minuscules (cursives) which are usually cited, are cited only if they differ from the Byzantine text: they are outnumbered three to one by the minuscules which agree with the Byzantine Textus Receptus.

III. The Lectionaries:  

These are service books for church worship which would be similar to the "responsive readings" in the back of some modern Hymnals. These writings contain scripture "lessons or readings." There are about 1,678 of them available for use, which contain extracts from the New Testament.

IV. The Church Fathers:

These are the Christians who left,works in writing, after the close of the Canon.

There are the "Western Fathers" - Irenaeus (180), Tertullian (15), Cyprian (200), Jerome (345), Augustine (184-254, approx.), Didymus (313), Athanasius (297) and Cyril (380); and the "Antiochan Fathers" - Ignatius (35-107), Polycarp (69-155), Lucian (250-315) Diodorus (died 394), Chrysostom (445-407), and Theodoret (397-457). The Cappadocian Fathers should be added to these, as connected with the church of Asia Minor and Greece.

V. The Early Translations:

A. Latin - The Old Latin manuscripts date from the 2nd century, and those used by the Waldensians (1170-1600) do not contain the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha was added to many Old Latin manuscripts by admirers of Origen, and Augustine. Tertullian speaks of a complete Latin Bible which was circulating all over North Africa as far back as 190, and this Bible was from manuscripts far superior to anything Rome had in 350 A.D. This "Old Latin" was constantly being brought back into European Bibles and used instead of Jerome, and Cassiodorus (540) had it revised to bring it in line with the corrupt "LXX" of Origen.

The first Latin version was circulating before 210 A.D. and it (as the Byzantine Greek Receptus) was the work of the spontaneous efforts of African Christians. Jerome's version is an official revision of this text, exactly as the ASV and RSV are official revisions of the Received Greek text. The real "Bible" is copied by hand from 100-400 A.D. by common ordinary Christians, who recognize at sight the corrupt Bibles when they see one. The Albigenses continued to use this "Old Latin," long after Jerome's Vulgate came out and their preservation of this text is attributed (according to Burkitt) to the fact that they were "heretics!"

B. Syrian - The Syrian versions are far more interesting than the Latin versions, for two reasons:

[1]. The majority of autographs of the original New Testament writers was in Asia Minor and Syria (To this, all agree).

[2]. Since this was in the closest proximity to Syria, the early Syrian manuscripts may have been copied from the originals themselves.

The standard approach toward this text is to judge the early Syrian manuscripts by the Peshitta. The word "Peshitta" means "simple" - (easy to be understood), In its original form, it contained the O.T. as it stands in the A.V. 1611, and the New Testament as it stands in the A,V. 1611. Corruptions did not enter the text until the middle of the third century, at the time when Origen moved from Alexandria to Caesarea (bringing his publishing company with him). From then on, and especially during the time of Eusebius and Pamphilus (260- 340), the Peshitta disintegrated into its present condition and into the types known today as the Philoxenian (485-519), and the Harclean (616), and the Jerusalem Syriac (a lectionary of the Gospels, date unknown).

C. Others - Besides the early Latin and Syrian translations are the Egyptian translations - the Sahidic and Bohairic. These are called "Coptic" translations and represent the Southern Translation - Sahidic, and the Northern - Bohairic. The Sahidic has about 5 manuscripts for purposes of reconstruction and the Bohairic has about 80 manuscripts. Being closer to Alexandria than the Syrian translations (or even the Latin as some Latin becomes European), the Coptic usually agrees with Origen's corrupt "LXX". Other than the Coptic versions, the Latin versions, and the Syriac versions, the most important one was the one produced by the "little wolf" (Ulfilas), a missionary bishop to the Goths. This Bible was in circulation before Vaticanus was written (350 A.D.), and according to Kenyon, the text in it is for the most part that which is found in the Textus Receptus of the A.V. 1611.

The Coptic translations, from the third to the sixth century (in addition to the Sahidic and Bohairic), are the Fayyumic, the Achmimic, and the SubAchmimic.

In addition to these basic ancient versions, one might include 3 Ethiopic versions from the 6th century, the Georgian version from the 5th century, the Nubian from the 6th century, and the Arabic, Old High German, Persian, Provencial (old French), and Old Slavonic.

VI. The Papyrus Fragments:

The papyrus is obviously the source of our word "paper". Herodotus (484-425 B.C.) calls the papyrus "parchment". It was made from the byblos plant and constituted a cheap paper, similar to modern day "Newsprint". It was the "poor man's" writing material and before it was used in Codex form (like a modern book), it was used as a roll, written on both sides.

It is highly probable that the Codex was invented by soul-winning personal workers, who carried New Testaments with them. It is certain that no real 2nd century Christian would have been caught dead with "vellum scrolls" on him, or the high-class "revised versions" put out by Alexandria. Rather, the first and second century Bible believing people used papyrus rolls and codices which they copied by hand from one another. This explains why few papyrus copies of the receptus survived the first three centuries of Roman persecution.

The vast majority of all papyrus readings agree with the A.V. 1611.

VII. The Sermons of Early Preachers:

These are valuable as they usually contain dozens of quotations from the New Testament.

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