Bible Translations (One)

Recently, I have been asked by several sincere student of the Bible about differences In Bible Translations.

It is not unusual to find Facebook memes that attack modern translations of the Bible with the allegation that “this wicked translation takes entire verses out of the Bible.” (A good example is found in Mark 9:44, where we are told that this verse is completely removed from the Bible in some modern day translations).

What should we make of this?

The first thing to consider is this: one reason why some verses are removed from modern day translations is because there are different kinds of Greek manuscripts from which these versions are translated.

“1. The Byzantine text. This is the textual tradition which, in large measure, stands behind the KJV. It was largely preserved in the Byzantine Empire, which continued to use Greek, unlike the (western) Roman Empire and its offshoots, for which Latin was the common language. There are far more manuscripts extant in this tradition than in the other three combined; but on the other hand, most of these manuscript witnesses are relatively late. 2. The Western text. There is considerable scholarly dispute about this text-type. Some scholars hold that the Western text is the creation of a group of scribes whose work developed in more rather than less confusion as each generation of scribes toiled without knowledge and care. A few contend for an individual scribe at the heart of the tradition. Others argue that the text-type is not homogeneous enough to be considered a true textual recension, and postulate that the manuscripts classified under the “Western” rubric sprang from fairly wild and undisciplined scribal activity. 3. The Caesarean text. This text-type probably originated in Egypt and may have been brought to Caesarea by Origen. It boasts a unique mixture of Western (above) and Alexandrian (below) readings, prompting some scholars to question the value of calling it a text-type. 4. The Alexandrian text. This text-type was probably prepared by trained scribes, most likely in Alexandria and its regions. F. J. A. Hort called its prime exemplars the “Neutral” text and ascribed to them a preeminence that has been somewhat mitigated by subsequent research. Nevertheless the Alexandrian text has excellent credentials, far better than its harshest critics have been willing to concede. On this I shall have more to say.” (D.A. Carson, The King James Version Debate: A Plea For Realism, 320-335 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic)

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