New Testament Textual Criticism
Solving the Bible Versions Debate
by John Aziza
What exactly is textual criticism? Textual criticism, or TC for short, is the method used to determine the actual words contained in the original manuscripts of the Bible. As you may have guessed, the Bible's original manuscripts are either lost, hidden, or no longer in existence. What we have instead are tens of thousands of copies of the originals dating from between 1-15 A.D. for the New Testament and 4 B.C.-15 A.D. for the Old Testament. These copies contain
many minor differences, and in some cases, a few significant ones also. That's why the study of TC is so essential. By carefully analyzing the available copies it is possible to accurately pinpoint the original reading.
The purpose of this article is to focus on the New Testament side of TC. But first, let's begin with the basics.
WHAT MAKES THE NEW TESTAMENT SO SPECIAL?
The New Testament is by far the most widely circulated and best preserved book of antiquity—bar none (see here). It is also the ONLY ancient text for which copies exist so close to the dates of the original autographs (see here). And even if all of the Greek manuscripts were completely lost or destroyed we could still reconstruct the entire NT with the quotations preserved in the writings of the early Church Fathers. This fact is significant because the fewer manuscripts available, the less certain we can be of the accurate reproduction of the original reading. Simply stated, no book is as unique or so well attested as the New Testament.
NEW TESTAMENT TEXT TYPES
The New Testament is predominately based on the manuscript evidence contained in the Byzantine and Alexandrian text types. An insignificant portion of it is also included in the Western MSS (manuscripts) and the Papyri. Between these four there are over 5,800 Greek manuscripts (some fragmentary and some complete) containing the entire New Testament.
The Byzantine or Majority text has been favored by almost all Bible scholars before the modern era. What sets it apart is the fact that it collates the majority of manuscripts available today, compares the differences, and chooses the most likely correct reading based on the reading that occurs the most. For example, if 700 manuscripts read "he did" and 1400 manuscripts read "they did", the Majority text will go with "they did" as the most likely original reading. This text type was used to create the Textus Receptus, which was compiled by Erasmus in the 1500s (A.D.) and formed the textual basis for many Reformation-era Bibles, such as the Geneva and King James Version.
The Alexandrian or Minority text is immensely popular with modern Bible scholars. Most notably, it includes the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus. When employed in textual criticism, it is sometimes referred to as the eclectic method or reasoned eclecticism. The eclectic method usually involves considering the oldest dated manuscripts currently available while searching for still older manuscript readings of the New Testament. This method assumes that the Bible could be better improved over time as more archeological findings provide older readings that presumably better reflect the original. The NIV, ESV, and NAS are just a few of the modern Bible translations that rely on the Alexandrian text type. Reasoned eclecticism is the dominant method of TC.
WHICH IS MORE ACCURATE?
Obviously, the question of accuracy is paramount to this study. And it shouldn't be taken lightly since its outcome determines whether we end up with a faulty and unreliable Bible version or one that is trustworthy instead. So let's examine some important facts.
There are approximately 400 thousand differences or variants spread out between the Greek manuscripts extent to us. However, only 0.5% of them are significant enough to warrant concern. The rest represent irregular spellings, differences in the order of words, punctuation, grammar, and scribal errors (see here). The few variants that may actually impact the meaning of the text merit careful examination and represent the difference between a good translation and a really poor one. Thankfully, the roughly 1,500-2,000 variants that fall within the 0.5% of significant variants are easy enough to avoid since they exist predominantly in the Alexandrian text stream.
Alexandrian Vs. Byzantine
Between 95%-98% of all NT manuscripts belong to the Byzantine/Majority text family and less than 2% represent the Alexandrian family, which is very significant in terms of broad testimony. The Vaticanus and Sinaiticus which make up the Alexandrian text type are about 85% identical to the Byzantine. The 15% variance between the two accounts for a total of 6,500 differences. While the majority of these differences are small and insignificant, a few of them are significant enough to call into question the integrity of the NT text and threaten Christian theology. This is the main reason why skeptics like Bart Ehrman exist to challenge the claims of the NT. Take for instance the following three examples where depending on which variants are chosen, errors of fact and theology exist and Jesus is made to look like a liar:
Note: There are literally hundreds of these, some much worse than others (see here for a full list).
"As it is written in the prophets..." (Byzantine)
"As it is written in Isaiah the prophet..." (Alexandrian)
The problem in the Alexandrian example is that the very next line in verse 2 comes directly out of Malachi 3:1, while verse 3 quotes Isaiah 40:3. Fortunately, the Byzantine reading does not contain this problem. But if the Alexandrian is chosen we wind up with a pretty big discrepancy.
1 Timothy 3:16
"great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh..." (Byzantine)
"great is the mystery of godliness: who was manifested in the flesh..." (Alexandrian)
Here, the Alexandrian reading contains a significant grammatical error and a nonsensical statement. After all, is there anything mysterious about a person being manifested in the flesh? Clearly, the Alexandrian reading makes no sense.
"I am not yet going up to this feast..." (Byzantine)
"I am not going up to this feast..." (Alexandrian)
In the Byzantine example, Jesus appears perfectly honest because later in verse 10, He actually does go up to the feast. But such is not the case in the Alexandrian where "yet" is left out making Jesus appear to lie. So "yet" makes a world of difference. It is important to note that "yet" is actually present in P-66, P-75, and in the Vaticanus, YET for some mysterious reason the critical text editors left it out.
So why do the majority of modern Bible scholars prefer to rely on the Alexandrian text rather than the Byzantine? And why is it that nearly 95% of all modern NT Bible translations are based almost exclusively on the Alexandrian instead of the Byzantine? We will address this question further down in another section. But for now it's important to realize that this method is fairly new and the result of reasoned eclecticism.
Reasoned Eclecticism & the Alexandrian Text Types
The three main pillars of reasoned eclecticism are as follows:
1. Older and more ancient MSS are better
2. Variants are chosen based on Griesbach's Canons
3. Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus best reflect the original Greek text
Almost all modern scholars are partial to this school of textual criticism and therefore the majority of New Testament translations today are based on the Alexandrian text types. But what you should know is that reasoned eclecticism only began to dominate in the last 60 years or so. Furthermore, when eclecticism was first introduced into universities across Europe and America, it was vigorously opposed by the majority of Protestant scholars who noticed its flawed assumptions almost immediately. In fact, the main reason why they rejected reasoned eclecticism was because of its strong reliance on the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, which were known to be inferior for the following reasons:
1. Both the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are in the extreme minority and represent only 2% of all NT MSS (manuscripts). Unlike modern scholarship which favors older manuscripts, earlier scholarship favored the text stream possessing the most number of similar MSS which closely agreed with each other. After all, scholars of the earlier era championed the Biblical principle in Deuteronomy 17:6, which states that a valid testimony must carry support from at least two or more witnesses. For this reason, they felt there was greater safety in a multitude of manuscripts containing the same testimony as opposed to only a few.
2. The Sinaiticus and Vaticanus differ greatly with 98% of all NT manuscripts. John William Burgon found 7,578 deviations from the Majority/Byzantine, with 2,370 of them being serious. In the Gospels of Sinaiticus, he found 8,972 deviations, with 3,392 serious ones. He also checked these manuscripts for particular readings, or readings that are ONLY found in that manuscript. In the Gospels alone, Vaticanus has 197 particular readings, while Sinaiticus has 443. A particular reading signifies one that is most definitely false. Manuscripts repeatedly proven to have incorrect readings lose credibility. Thus, manuscripts boasting significant numbers of particular readings cannot be relied upon.
3. According to Herman Charles Hoskier, who collated the Alexandrian text types, the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus disagree with each other 3,036 times in the Gospels ALONE, which means you will find a discordant passage every five verses.
4. Sinaiticus's origins are dubious to say the least. It was discovered in a pile of waste paper used for kindling in St. Catherine's Monastery which had a library full of ancient Biblical texts. The monks at St. Catherine's were obviously unimpressed with Sinaiticus and committed it to the burn pile. Furthermore, a flurry of controversy ensued at the time of Sinaiticus's discovery after Constantine Simonodes claimed to be its original author and bolstered his claim with substantial evidence (see here).
5. Dean Burgon described the poor workmanship of Vaticanus as follows:
"Codex B [Vaticanus] comes to us without a history: without recommendation of any kind, except that of its antiquity. It bears traces of careless transcription in every page. The mistakes which the original transcriber made are of perpetual recurrence. ...On many occasions, 10, 20, 30 words are dropped through very carelessly.”
Burgon's colleague, Frederick H. Scrivener, goes into further detail:
"Letters and words, even whole sentences, are frequently written twice over, or begun and immediately canceled: while that gross blunder technically known as homoeoteleuton…whereby a clause is omitted because it happens to end in the same words as the clause preceding, occurs no less than 115 times in the New Testament… Tregelles has freely pronounced that 'the state of the text, as proceeding from the first scribe, may be regarded as very rough.'”
The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible concurs, “It should be noted, however, that there is no prominent Biblical MS in which there occurs such gross cases of misspelling, faulty grammar, and omission, as in B [Vaticanus].”
Sinaiticus has also been corrected by “…at least ten revisers between the IVth and XIIth centuries…” and the Codex Sinaiticus Project readily admits:
"No other early manuscript of the Christian Bible has been so extensively corrected. A glance at the transcription will show just how common these corrections are. They are especially frequent in the Septuagint portion. They range in date from those made by the original scribes in the fourth century to ones made in the twelfth century. They range from the alteration of a single letter to the insertion of whole sentences."
6. Vaticanus omits Mark 16:9-20, yet there is a significant blank space here for these verses. Sinaiticus also lacks these verses, but has a blank space for them. These two manuscripts are the only Greek manuscripts that omit these verses.
7. The unique readings in the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are the only reason why skeptics are able to undermine the resurrection account and many of the other Gospel accounts. Eliminate the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and skeptics lose all of their ammunition against Christianity.
Reasoned Eclecticism and Griesbach's Canons
Johann Jakob Griesbach is responsible for developing the principles upon which reasoned eclecticism is founded. Unfortunately, Griesbach was a rationalist who disbelieved many of the Bible's miraculous accounts. His pursuit of textual criticism at the academic level eventually led to his compilation of rules that would govern the selection of NT manuscripts and thereby direct its translation from Greek. These rules came to be known as Griesbach's Canons and are as follows:
1. The shorter readings are to be preferred because scribes were much more prone to add than to omit.
2. The more difficult reading is to be preferred eg, "that reading is rightly considered suspect that manifestly gives the dogmas of the orthodox better than the others" because scribes were much more prone to correct errors.
3. The reading that differs from quoted or parallel material is to be preferred because scribes were prone to harmonize discordant passages
4. The reading that best explains the origin of the others (per these canons) is to be preferred
Now when closely examining Griesbach's Canons we begin to realize that his entire system for selecting manuscript variants is based strictly upon assumption and conjecture. In fact, throughout Griesbach's career he was never able to supply any type of evidence to support his assumptions concerning scribal habits in relation to the transmission of the NT text. Nevertheless, his critics were able to prove based on historical record and the testimony of the Patristic Fathers, that as a matter of fact, scribal habits went contrary to Griesbach's assumptions. For instance, Dr. Michael J. Kruger wrote a book titled Early Christian Attitudes toward the Reproduction of Texts which details the habits and attitudes of first century scribes in relation to the reproduction of NT MSS. His findings completely destroy Griesbach's assumptions which were never evidence based to begin with and should have never carried any weight in scholarly circles, but on account of dishonest bias won out. The careful analysis of scribal habits by the following scholars conspicuously agree with Kruger's findings as per their writings:
C.C. Tarelli Omissions, Additions and Conflations in the Chester Beatty Papyrus --JTS 1938.
Earnest Cadman Colwell, Scribal Habits in Early Papyri: A Study in the Corruption of the Text --1965
Peter M. Head, The Habits of New Testament Copyists. Singular Readings in the Early Fragmentary Papyri of John --Vol. 85 2004
James Ronald Royse, Scribal Habits in Early Greek New Testament Papyri – 2010
So isn't it fascinating that for the better part of a century we accepted the claims that scribes freely meddled with the texts without bothering to check whether they actually did so or not. [Further down I will disclose the shocking truth about what motivated this corrupt misapplication of textual criticism.]
It is interesting that the Papyri are said to closely resemble the Alexandrian text type according to modern scholars. However, a close look at the Papyri reveals a different story. Dutch scholar Albertus Frederik Johannes Klijn did a comparison of the Papyri against the other prominent text types and here's what he found:
P-66 agrees with Codex Sinaiticus 14x, Codex Vaticanus 29x, and the Byzantine 33x
P-75 agrees with Codex Sinaiticus 9x, Codex Vaticanus 33x, and the Byzantine 29x
When David Stutts wrote his thesis on the textual characteristics of the 5 earliest Papyri of Matthew comparing them against the Alexandrian and the Byzantine, here is what he found:
P-1 agrees with all Alexandrian variants in 93% of the text and with the Byzantine 92%
P-45 agrees with all Alexandrian variants in 84.8% of the text and with the Byzantine 89.3%
P-64 agrees with all Alexandrian variants in 85.7% of the text and with the Byzantine 88.9%
P-70 agrees with all Alexandrian variants in 87.5% of the text and with the Byzantine 94.6%
P-77 agrees with all Alexandrian variants in 87.6% of the text and with the Byzantine 91.2%
So as we can see by combining the two charts above, in 5 out of 7 cases, the Papyri more closely resemble the Byzantine, NOT the Alexandrian. And as far as the other Papyri, there are over 150 distinctly Byzantine readings, including longer readings and conflate readings which greatly frustrate modern scholars. All this to say, that the earliest NT MSS which predate the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus by a long shot make a better case for the Byzantine than they do for the Alexandrian. So this essentially drives the final nail in the coffin of reasoned eclecticism, since two out of three of its main pillars state the following:
1. Older and more ancient MSS are better
3. Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus best reflect the original Greek text
Skeptics like Bart Ehrman like to claim that "not one Christian scholar is brave enough to translate the Papyri [P-46, P-66, P-47, etc.] because they know it will bury Christianity’s theological claims". But this claim is simply untrue. In fact, we can find the full English translation of P-46 online at the Chester Beaty Library (see here). David Hutchinson Edgar prepared the translation back in 1998 and even compared it with NA27 (Nestle Aland Greek New Testament 27th edition). Now the only reason why there is no mainstream scholarly translation for P-66 is because it is indisputably the most error ridden NT manuscript in existence and too highly fragmented. It has 482 singular readings, 400 itacisms, 54 forward leaps, 22 backward leaps, and it has a mistake every 16 words. Also, it is too close to NA27 for it to merit its own translation since it differs only in punctuation. So it already exists in the NASB, NIV, ESV, etc (which is unfortunate). Lastly, there are plenty of non accredited scholars who have fully translated P-66 into English with parallel Greek-English texts and a critical apparatus. The best one I found is here.
And the same explanation applies to P-45 and P-75 which show an unprecedented degree of corruption and contain the following mistakes as noted by Ernest C. Colwell (Scribal Habits in Early Papyri. The Bible in Modern Scholarship. J.P.Hyatt. New York: Abingdon Press, 1963. p.370-389):
Careless Readings 20
Singular Readings 275
Nonsense Readings 28
Leaps Forward 16
Leaps Backward 2
Careless Readings 57
Singular Readings 257
Nonsense Readings 64
Leaps Forward 27
Leaps Backward 10
Missing or Deleted Verses in the Alexandrian Text Types
Modern scholars will tell you that the Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7-8), the last 12 verses of Mark 16, and the Pericope Adulteraie in John 7:53-8:11 do not exist in the "earliest" and best" manuscripts and therefore should be omitted from all modern translations. However, is this claim really accurate or is it yet another example of flawed modern scholarship used to sow doubt and mistrust in the New Testament text? Let's look at the hard facts:
1. Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7-8)
Early Bible Versions that contain it:
(a) Old Syriac (170 AD)
(b) Old Latin in North Africa and Italy (200 AD)
(c) Italic 4th and 5th century
(d) Latin Vulgate 4th and 5th century
(e) Italic Monacensis 7th century
(f) Italic Speculum 9th century
Early church writers that mention it:
Cyprian 200-258 AD, “The Lord says, ‘I and the Father are one;’ and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 'And these three are one’.” If Cyprian quotes I John 5:7 from his Bible in 200-258 AD, it must be a valid reading. His Bible was copied from an older manuscript containing this verse. Cyprian lived only 100 years after John wrote the book of I John. Cyprian would have had access to the original manuscript to check.
Priscillian 350 AD, a Spanish bishop quotes I John 5:7,8. Idacius Clarus 360 AD, who opposed Priscillian quotes it. And so do all these other Patristic era scholars: Varimadum 380 AD, Cassiodorus 485 AD, Cassian 435 AD, Victor Vita 489 AD, Jerome 450 AD, Fulgentius 533 AD, Ps. Vigilius 484 AD, Ansbert 660 AD.
Early writings that contain it: Liber Apologeticus 350 AD. and Council of Carthage 415 AD.
Greek grammar rules demand its presence. NIV has mismatched genders in vs. 7-8.
2. The last 12 verses of Mark 16
Early Bible Versions that contain it:
(a) Old Latin, Peshito Syriac (100-199 AD)
(b) Coptic Sahidic, Bohairic, Fayyumic, Curetonian Syriac (200-299 AD)
(c) Jerome' s Latin version, Gothic version (300-399 AD)
(d) Egyptian, Armenian, Philoxenian Syriac (400-499 AD)
(e) Georgian, Ethiopic (500-699 AD)
18 Early Church Writers who quote Mark 16:9-20 as genuine are:
Papias (100 AD); Tertullian (145-220 AD); the Epistula Apostolorum (150 AD) contains a narrative based apparently on Mark 16:9-14; Justin Martyr (151 AD) quotes v.20; Tatian (150 AD) in his Diatessaron; Irenaeus (180 AD) comments on v.19 in 180 AD; Hippolytus (190-227 AD) quotes v.17,18; Vincentius (256 AD) quotes v.17,18 at the Seventh Council of Carthage in the presence of 87 African bishops; Augustine quotes it on 7 occasions (v.9, v.12,14, v.15,16,19, v.15-18) in 400 AD; the Gospel of Nicodemus (circa 250 AD) contains v.15,16,17,18; the Apostolic Constitutions (circa 300 AD) quote v.16; 54; Eusebius (325 AD) acknowledged v.9-20; Aphraates (337 AD) quotes v.16,17,18; Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan (374-397 AD) quotes v.15,16,17,18,20; Chrysostom (400 AD) quotes v.19,20 and adds: "This is the end of the Gospel"; Jerome's (331-420 AD) Vulgate retains v.9-20. Nestorius the heretic quotes v.20; Cyril of Alexandria (410 AD) accepts it and comments on it; Victor of Antioch (425 AD) strongly endorses its genuineness, quoting and refuting Eusebius' doubts; verses 9-20 were in Victor's Palestinian copy of Mark. The above 18 authorities belong to every area of the Ancient Church (Burgon, p.423).
3. Pericope Adulteraie in John 7:53-8:11
Early Bible Versions that contain it:
(a) Latin Vulgate 4th century
(b) Codex Bezae 5th century
(c) 85% (or 1400) of all Greek NT manuscripts support its inclusion in the original
Early church writers that mention it:
Papias of Hierapolis (refers to a story of Jesus and a woman "accused of many sins" circa 125 A.D. Didymus the Blind (refers to the passage being found in "several gospels", lived circa 313-398 A.D. Pacian (370 A.D.) cites the passage. Many other Latin Fathers including Ambrose, John Chrysostom, and Augustine all speak of the passage as being canonical. Augustine claims that some may have excluded it earlier to avoid the idea that Christ had sanctioned adultery (4th and 5th centuries). Jerome says that the passage was found in "many Greek and Latin manuscripts" in Rome and the Latin West (late 4th century. A majority of the Old Latin and Latin Vulgate (perhaps mostly due to Jerome's influence). It is also cited by other early Christian writings including the Didascalia (Teaching) of the Apostles and the Apostolic Constitutions from the 3rd and 4th centuries respectively.
ROME'S EFFORTS TO UNDERMINE THE NEW TESTAMENT
While few realize it, the Catholic Church is directly responsible for promoting reasoned eclecticism. In fact, the actual funding for modern textual criticism can be easily traced to the Vatican. However, this shouldn't surprise us considering the fact that Catholic Rome has been the foe of Protestantism since the days of the Reformation and has a history of destroying Bibles. But they particularly dislike the New Testament because it disproves all of their religious claims to authority. And of course, when the reformers read the Bible in their own language for the first time they immediately realized this--hence the Reformation.
But ever since the Reformation, Rome has been fairly busy repairing the damage inflicted by the reformers. Yet they've also grown much more discreet and sophisticated in their methods. For instance, instead of attacking the Bible openly, Rome's Jesuits have been doing so covertly by secretly infiltrating Protestant seminaries where they are able to forward their agenda more successfully. Even the famous Bible Society has been tainted by their corrupt influence. But in case you doubt this, please consider the evidence presented in Chris Pinto's fascinating new documentary series, which traces Rome's direct influence on the development of modern Bible versions (see pt. 1, pt. 2, and pt. 3)
So here are the facts that pertain to Rome's involvement in modern textual criticism, starting first with their history of Bible burning:
Fact 1. To prevent the circulation of the Bible among the common people, the Vatican resorted to burning Bibles throughout the medieval period. Men like John Wycliff, William Tyndale, and Martin Luther, who translated the Scriptures into the common vernacular were subject to intense persecution and martyrdom (see here).
Fact 2. After the Reformation, the Roman Catholic church launched the Counter-reformation in an attempt to stamp out Protestantism and its spread of the Holy Scriptures (see here).
Fact 3. From 1534 onward, they have had the infamous Jesuit Order or the Society of Jesus at their disposal (see here). Note: The Society of Jesus is the Vatican's militant order sworn to wipe out any opposition to the Catholic Church.
Fact 4. The Society of Jesus, founded by Ignatius of Loyola, has since managed to infiltrate universities, seminaries, and Bible schools across the Western world in order to launch disinformation campaigns from the highest levels of society. Atheism, communism, socialism, and the numerous schools of secular philosophy can all be traced back to a Jesuit individual pushing these ideals (see here). Pinto's films successfully expose these individuals and their deliberate attempts to undermine Christianity with plenty of historical data. [Note: We must remember that Rome is the final beast described in Daniel 2-7 and Revelation 13, and is presently using Ecumenism to produce the final blow to Protestantism. See my video series on Bible Prophecy here.]
Fact 5. The Vaticanus was conveniently "discovered" and produced for inspection right around the time the Reformers were printing in mass their own Bibles and translating them into the common vernacular. It conveniently supports the Latin Vulgate (the Catholic Bible) in nearly all of its readings (see Pinto's documentary series for proof).
Fact 6. Constantine Tischendorf's trip to the Sinai region and his archeological efforts were all sponsored by the Pope. In fact, he had a personal visit with pope Gregory XVI and his cardinals in 1843 just prior to this trip and continued to work closely with a Jesuit priest prior to and during his visit to the monastery in the Sinai region. His "discovery" of the Siniaticus parchments were celebrated by the Vatican and he was subsequently awarded accolades of honor by the pope himself for these finds. Note: Constantine writes about his meeting with pope Gregory in his book, When Were Our Gospels Written? An Argument by Constantine Tischendorf (New York: American Tract Society, 1866)
Fact 7. Constantine Simonides, a brilliant palaeographer from Greece, was in fact the true author of the Siniaticus and wrote numerous articles [and even a book] attempting to prove that the Siniaticus was a forgery work of his very own hand. He warned the public not to accept the bogus claims of Tichendorf in respect to the Siniaticus (see Neither Oldest, Nor Best by Dr. David H. Sorenson).
Fact 8. The men responsible for promoting the Alexandrian Text and producing most of our modern Bible versions possessed strong Catholic theological leanings, openly expressed their contempt for the Bible as a book full of myths, and had well documented contact with Jesuits and the pope of Rome. The men to which we refer are Constantine Tichendorf, Brooke Westcott, Fenton Hort, Kurt Aland (of the Nestle-Aland text), and Bruce Metzger. It is highly telling that every one of these men were openly honored by the Pope, embraced Ecumenism, and felt that the Roman Catholic paradigm was far superior to Protestantism (see Pinto's documentaries for proof). Note: Click here to view media images of Kurt Aland's meeting with John Paul II in 1984.
Fact 9. Dr. Bruce Metzger (1914-2007) was probably the most influential textual critic of his generation. Every book defending modern Bible versions lists his works. He is popular across all Christian lines: Catholic, liberal Protestant, Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Baptist. But he was also the personal mentor and tutor of professor Bart Ehrman, who is now a staunch critic and opponent of Christianity and has devoted his career to attacking the claims of the New Testament. But the fact that Metzger's longtime student is so rabidly anti-Christian should come as no surprise once we realize that Metzger himself did not believe in biblical inerrancy and was known for rationalizing away all of the Bible's fundamental claims. Most disturbingly, Metzger was a fervent promoter and leader of the ecumenical movement and the ecumenical New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of 1977–1990 was Metzger’s baby. Without Metzger there would be no NRSV. Metzger saw no better way to promote ecumenism than to produce a Bible that would unite both Protestant and Catholic elements. In 1993, Metzger presented a Catholic edition of the NRSV to Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
10. What the Roman Catholic Church could not achieve by openly burning the New Testament Scriptures, they achieved covertly in the modern era by producing and distributing the NIV, a Bible full of pro-Catholic, ecumenical theological corruptions. Sadly, the NIV is now the most popular Bible in the world and continues to be widely circulated. It would seem as though Rome has triumphed after all, if only for a little season. Yet the Bible predicted this would happen (see here for proof).
It is my fervent hope that this study has significantly broadened your understanding of TC and that the facts presented here have settled the dispute in favor of the Byzantine/Majority Text type. My intention was to make it abundantly clear that the danger in owning a Bible version such as the NIV or the many other modern versions now popular is that they often rely upon the spurious Alexandrian Text which is error ridden and faulty. By far the greatest threat to the Gospel message today is that it is becoming increasingly more truncated as Rome continues to promote reasoned eclecticism. With each new "ancient manuscript" finding, the printing of a new edition of the New Testament is required. Consider the fact that the Nestle Aland Greek New Testament is currently at its 28th edition and counting. So when will they have finally discovered the perfect New Testament that best reflects the original? After the 58th edition??? Or maybe after Christian Orthodoxy has been restored back to the Catholic paradigm?
Finally, allow me to recommend here my favorite Bible versions, which based on my personal research best reflect the original autographs. These are the KJV, ISR's "The Scriptures", and Wilbur Pickering's NT translation (found here). These versions are based upon the Textus Receptus and the fact that Wescott and Hort so passionately detested it is evidence enough to me of its superior quality. I fervently believe that the Byzantine's TR best reflects the original autographs and therefore reject the Alexandrian Text and the Papyri as corrupt.