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Questions about manuscript evidence

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  • Questions about manuscript evidence

    Hey guys, I have some questions about manuscript evidence. I know we don't have the original anymore (same with all ancient text) but from my gather research what I found is our English bibles translated straight back to Greek copies. We have about 5,686 copies right now in the Greek. So it's pretty close to the original.

    The reason I brought this up is because a lot of skeptic assumes our English bible was translated from another translation of an translation, so much that our bible became corrupted. Pretty much like the telephone analogy. I don't think it's an accurate depiction of the bible. That said, do you agree that our bibles go back to the Greek copies? What about the KJV and the NIV? Which copy they they used? Thanks for answering.
    Yeng Vg

  • #2
    Yes, KJV and NIV are done from the originals. Some translations such as Revised, and even Revised Standard try to stick as close to the KJV as possible. The translators certainly use the original Greek, but because they're committed to sticking close to the KJV where possible, you could say that it's not a pure translation from the Greek. Until recently, some Catholic translations were done from the Latin, but that isn't true of the current ones such as Jerusalem and NAB. The Jerusalem Bible used a French translation for guidance, but it was still done from the original languages.

    KJV was done from a Greek text largely put together by Erasmus, but with later work by others.
    NIV was done from the latest scholarly text.

    Both texts were done in the same way, but Erasmus only had access to about six manuscripts, whereas current scholars have access to a lot more, some of them earlier than those Erasmus used.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textus_Receptus for the text used by KJV, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novum_Testamentum_Graece for the text used by NIV.

    I would think it's obvious that the second is the one to use for modern translations, but lots of people want to stick with the KJV, and find justifications for why the older text is better (or for some people, perfect). If you do web searches you'll find plenty of outraged posts saying that the NIV has changed the Bible.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the clarification! This make a lot of sense to me now.

      Translator should have just use the Greek instead of having a Revised Standard imo. Not really sure what's the point for this.

      I think I understand why certain people want to stick with one or the other. After reading your post, I feel like because more manuscript means better. But in my personal life, I started out with the NKJV and this one had inspired me to become a Christian after reading it for some years. So I'd say the KJV probably wouldn't make that much difference. Honestly, and this is just my opinion. I don't really like the NIV because I find that it is too liberal and open doors to all kinds attack by the enemy. Great post btw.

      Oh, can you explain to me about the NKJV? Thanks.
      Yeng Vg

      Comment


      • #4
        Anyway here's my question. Why would God gave them a bible at the time and then 1500 years later gave us all these modern translation. The Latin Vulgate for instance were used throughout western Christendom for 1200 years. Maybe this is the reason why the Catholics wanted to do from the Latin. Just a thought.
        Yeng Vg

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by AkByR64 View Post
          Thanks for the clarification! This make a lot of sense to me now.

          Translator should have just use the Greek instead of having a Revised Standard imo. Not really sure what's the point for this.

          I think I understand why certain people want to stick with one or the other. After reading your post, I feel like because more manuscript means better. But in my personal life, I started out with the NKJV and this one had inspired me to become a Christian after reading it for some years. So I'd say the KJV probably wouldn't make that much difference. Honestly, and this is just my opinion. I don't really like the NIV because I find that it is too liberal and open doors to all kinds attack by the enemy. Great post btw.

          Oh, can you explain to me about the NKJV? Thanks.
          Care to explain the underlined?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by AkByR64 View Post
            Thanks for the clarification! This make a lot of sense to me now.

            Translator should have just use the Greek instead of having a Revised Standard imo. Not really sure what's the point for this.

            I think I understand why certain people want to stick with one or the other. After reading your post, I feel like because more manuscript means better. But in my personal life, I started out with the NKJV and this one had inspired me to become a Christian after reading it for some years. So I'd say the KJV probably wouldn't make that much difference. Honestly, and this is just my opinion. I don't really like the NIV because I find that it is too liberal and open doors to all kinds attack by the enemy. Great post btw.

            Oh, can you explain to me about the NKJV? Thanks.
            Originally posted by AkByR64 View Post
            Anyway here's my question. Why would God gave them a bible at the time and then 1500 years later gave us all these modern translation. The Latin Vulgate for instance were used throughout western Christendom for 1200 years. Maybe this is the reason why the Catholics wanted to do from the Latin. Just a thought.
            No modern translation is going to be as good as reading the Bible in its original languages. And even then, there are lots of variations in the surviving ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts copies. The reason why some modern translations don't stick to only one language has to do with accuracy in translating difficult passages. Translations like the ESV or the NIV may use a number of different sources for the Old Testament like the Masoretic text, the Aramaic Targums, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac Peshitta, and the Vulgate.

            The King James and The New King James texts use a lot of the Masoretic text for the Old Testament, but I believe the NKJV has been supplemented with some of the Dead Sea Scroll findings. The biggest difference between something like the KJV/NKJV and other modern English translations like the ESV, the NASB, or the NIV is that the KJV and the NKJV rely mostly on a 15th century translation of the Greek New Testament, while other modern translations rely on a continuously revised and improved translation of the Greek New Testament called the Critical Text. You can read a bit about that here: http://www.gotquestions.org/critical-text.html

            There are some Christians who hold to the King James texts because they believe that the 15th century translation was divinely imparted. The textual critic, Daniel Wallace, deals with this issue pretty thoroughly here: https://bible.org/article/majority-t...they-identical

            You should probably also understand that modern Bible translations are typically divided into two types of readings. Dynamic Equivalence and Formal Equivalence. A dynamic translation will be more thought for thought. Getting to what the original Biblical authors likely meant the text to mean to the original audience, and translating the text so that it makes as much sense to the modern reader as possible. A formal translation will be a more word for word translation. It's a much more literal translation of the text where meaning takes a bit more of a backseat to an actual direct translation of the words themselves. Word for word formal equivalence translations are still going to be somewhat dynamic, since the nature of translating text from one language to another (especially an ancient language to a modern one) will require some interpretation of the text to make sense of it.

            Bibles that are more thought-for-thought include translations like the NIV, and the NET Bibles which are middle of the road dynamic, while translations like the NLT, and the CEV are further out still, and translations like The Message Bible or The Living Bible are basically complete rewritings of the Bible using modern lingo. More word-for-word Bibles include Bibles like the KJV/NKJV, the NASB, and the ESV. I like both dynamic and formal translations. When I'm trying to explain a passage to someone completely unfamiliar with the Bible, I don't mind using something like the Message, just as an introductory. I think the NIV is a good Bible for new Christians to read as well. It's a very readable text. For serious study I prefer the ESV or the NASB. I also like the NET Bible a lot. I don't know where they all fall in place, but I've heard that for English translations, the most accurate ones tend to be the NET, ESV, and NASB. But as I mentioned previously, there's nothing like reading the Bible in its original languages.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Adrift View Post
              No modern translation is going to be as good as reading the Bible in its original languages. And even then, there are lots of variations in the surviving ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts copies. The reason why some modern translations don't stick to only one language has to do with accuracy in translating difficult passages. Translations like the ESV or the NIV may use a number of different sources for the Old Testament like the Masoretic text, the Aramaic Targums, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac Peshitta, and the Vulgate.
              The article from Carm.org written by Matt stated that the copies are close enough to the originals. Statistically the bible is 95.5% textually pure. The remaining half are due to spelling errors and minor alterations.

              Originally posted by Adrift View Post
              The King James and The New King James texts use a lot of the Masoretic text for the Old Testament, but I believe the NKJV has been supplemented with some of the Dead Sea Scroll findings. The biggest difference between something like the KJV/NKJV and other modern English translations like the ESV, the NASB, or the NIV is that the KJV and the NKJV rely mostly on a 15th century translation of the Greek New Testament, while other modern translations rely on a continuously revised and improved translation of the Greek New Testament called the Critical Text. You can read a bit about that here: http://www.gotquestions.org/critical-text.html
              Yes, I know that.

              Originally posted by Adrift View Post
              There are some Christians who hold to the King James texts because they believe that the 15th century translation was divinely imparted. The textual critic, Daniel Wallace, deals with this issue pretty thoroughly here: https://bible.org/article/majority-t...they-identical
              Right. But you do aware many texts were removed from these modern translation that are found in the KJV (which some people believe to be divinely inspired) right?

              Why would God allowed this?

              Originally posted by Adrift View Post
              You should probably also understand that modern Bible translations are typically divided into two types of readings. Dynamic Equivalence and Formal Equivalence. A dynamic translation will be more thought for thought. Getting to what the original Biblical authors likely meant the text to mean to the original audience, and translating the text so that it makes as much sense to the modern reader as possible. A formal translation will be a more word for word translation. It's a much more literal translation of the text where meaning takes a bit more of a backseat to an actual direct translation of the words themselves. Word for word formal equivalence translations are still going to be somewhat dynamic, since the nature of translating text from one language to another (especially an ancient language to a modern one) will require some interpretation of the text to make sense of it.

              Bibles that are more thought-for-thought include translations like the NIV, and the NET Bibles which are middle of the road dynamic, while translations like the NLT, and the CEV are further out still, and translations like The Message Bible or The Living Bible are basically complete rewritings of the Bible using modern lingo. More word-for-word Bibles include Bibles like the KJV/NKJV, the NASB, and the ESV. I like both dynamic and formal translations. When I'm trying to explain a passage to someone completely unfamiliar with the Bible, I don't mind using something like the Message, just as an introductory. I think the NIV is a good Bible for new Christians to read as well. It's a very readable text. For serious study I prefer the ESV or the NASB. I also like the NET Bible a lot. I don't know where they all fall in place, but I've heard that for English translations, the most accurate ones tend to be the NET, ESV, and NASB. But as I mentioned previously, there's nothing like reading the Bible in its original languages.
              Interesting. Thanks for clarifying.
              Last edited by AkByR64; 05-14-2015, 11:15 AM.
              Yeng Vg

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
                Care to explain the underlined?
                Hey, sure. I can't really remember exactly the verses but I remember a while ago I couldn't get around some passage because it just doesn't make sense to me. One example would be Jonah. Some translation had it "in" while he was praying inside the fish belly. Other had it "out" while Jonah was already out of the belly, then he prayed. This is just randomly off of my memory. I'll have to go back and check. There are other passage that are like that - quite confusing to know if it's in or out. Is it this or is that - kind of thing. You know what I mean?
                Yeng Vg

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AkByR64 View Post
                  The article from Carm.org written by Matt stated that the copies are close enough to the originals. Statistically the bible is 95.5% textually pure. The remaining half are due to spelling errors and minor alterations.
                  I don't know what textually pure means, but I would agree with Matt Slick that the majority of differences in NT manuscript copies come down to things like spelling errors and alterations in pronouns, grammar, that sort of thing. There are still a number of difficult passages that require alternative manuscript copies to help translators correctly parse the original author's meaning, especially for the Old Testament.

                  Yes, I know that.
                  Good.

                  Right. But you do aware many texts were removed from these modern translation that are found in the KJV (which some people believe to be divinely inspired) right?

                  Why would God allowed this?
                  Why would God allow what? Current translators have access to far more manuscript copies than the King James' translators did, and thanks to textual criticism, modern translators also have access to a much more accurate version of the Greek NT. It wasn't like the King James authors had access or used older or better manuscript copies than modern translators do, quite the opposite. The widely accepted view of inerrancy (found in places like the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy) holds that only the original autographs (the original manuscript texts) are completely inerrant and divinely inspired. Those manuscripts no longer exist, and haven't existed for near 2000 years, far before the King James translators lived. If your question is, why didn't God preserve his original text perfectly, the answer probably depends on the inerrantist. For me, personally, I think part of the answer may have something to do with efforts of Satan to undermine God's will. I also think it might have something to do with God preventing believers from worshipping ink and paper rather than the living Word who is Jesus Christ. It may also have something to do with God's desire that we are proactive in studying out the scriptures. Some believe that it simply wasn't that big of a deal to the Jewish scribes and the early church to preserve the text, and that the concept of an inerrant text is mostly a modern invention. Though I'm an inerrantist, I'm not completely unsympathetic to that view.

                  Interesting. Thanks for clarifying.
                  You're welcome.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AkByR64 View Post
                    Hey, sure. I can't really remember exactly the verses but I remember a while ago I couldn't get around some passage because it just doesn't make sense to me. One example would be Jonah. Some translation had it "in" while he was praying inside the fish belly. Other had it "out" while Jonah was already out of the belly, then he prayed. This is just randomly off of my memory. I'll have to go back and check. There are other passage that are like that - quite confusing to know if it's in or out. Is it this or is that - kind of thing. You know what I mean?
                    I'm not sure what you're trying to say at all. If i'm getting it even remotely right, I don't see how that's "liberal" either.

                    Oh, and there is a good article for why God would allow textual variants here.

                    A summary of one of the arguments is that it would be a huge temptation for people to worship the Bible itself, rather than God.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AkByR64 View Post
                      Why would God allowed this?
                      I look at this way. If we had one copy of the New Testament or even multiple copies of manuscripts that were exactly the same, skeptics would argue that it was either a controlled church conspiracy as they copying the versions and changing it how they wanted or that we can't trust the single copy because humans have a tendency to distort the original account -- and they'd bring up the "telephone game" as a reference. Instead, we have multiple manuscripts, in multiple languages, all with variations. This shows two things: that there was no conspiracy to control the content in these manuscripts as they were being copied over and over again and that the telephone game is not applicable to this situation.

                      Instead of one group passing on a story to another group and the story getting more and more distorted along the way as it moves from one group to another, or even one group being supervised by a group leader in how to relay the story, we have thousands of independent groups passing on thousands of versions of the same story to thousands of more groups. Though we have some distorted versions of that story from the thousands of groups that passed on their versions of it, which is what we would expect in an uncontrolled environment, we can analyze the thousands of versions and pretty much accurately gauge what the original version said. In other words, if one version says Jesus walked down to the lake and said "Peace be with you," while four other separate versions say Jesus walked down to the lake and held his silence, then it's pretty certain that "Peace be with you" was a later interpolation. This is just a microcosm example of the thousands of versions scholars have to compare in this fashion.
                      "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
                        I'm not sure what you're trying to say at all. If i'm getting it even remotely right, I don't see how that's "liberal" either.

                        Oh, and there is a good article for why God would allow textual variants here.

                        A summary of one of the arguments is that it would be a huge temptation for people to worship the Bible itself, rather than God.
                        Well, being liberal means you are more open up to newer ideas. I remember reading the passage in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 where the passage meant rape. But then, I did some research and some articles say it does not mean rape. Some suggest it is seduce.. well, can we have them change that word 'rape' into seduces in all the bible versions.

                        I guess there is also no slavery in bible history. Only servants right?

                        See, the people who redo the new version of the bible tried to make it more acceptable by using words that total means something else. It doesn't mean what it says!
                        Last edited by AkByR64; 05-14-2015, 07:29 PM.
                        Yeng Vg

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AkByR64 View Post
                          Well, being liberal means you are more open up to newer ideas. I remember reading the passage in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 where the passage meant rape. But then, I did some research and some articles say it does not mean rape. Some suggest it is seduce.. well, can we have them change that word 'rape' into seduces in all the bible versions.

                          I guess there is also no slavery in bible history. Only servants right?

                          See, the people who redo the new version of the bible tried to make it more acceptable by using words that total means something else. It doesn't mean what it says!
                          Not to derail the thread, but would you classify those Christian's who were open to newer ideas, back in the day, like heliocentrism, as liberal?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AkByR64 View Post
                            Well, being liberal means you are more open up to newer ideas. I remember reading the passage in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 where the passage meant rape. But then, I did some research and some articles say it does not mean rape. Some suggest it is seduce.. well, can we have them change that word 'rape' into seduces in all the bible versions.

                            I guess there is also no slavery in bible history. Only servants right?

                            See, the people who redo the new version of the bible tried to make it more acceptable by using words that total means something else. It doesn't mean what it says!
                            Reading a translation won't always offer you the full context of a passage. That's not good Bible study. If you can't read the original language, it's good to go to commentary sources in order to get a better understanding of said passage. In your Deut. example the NIV uses the word "rape" and the NET Bible uses the phrase "overpowers and rapes her", whereas the King James version uses the phrase "lay hold on her, and lie with her". It has the same meaning, but different wording. Other modern translations use similar language as the King James. The ESV and the NASB use the phrase "seizes her and lies with her".

                            Academic commentators aren't using the King James or any modern translations like the ESV or NASB. They're reading the words in the original languages, but even reading the passages in the original languages doesn't guarantee that they're all going to agree with one another on an interpretation. While the Gospel message may be simple enough, the Bible take dedication and prayerfulness to understand. The Bereans were commended for their exuberance in examining the scriptures. I've been studying the scriptures for decades now, and am constantly learning new things, and finding new dimensions to things I thought I already knew. An old translation or a modern translation of the Bible isn't going to change that.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just another thought real fast. The Bible scholar Michael Heiser has a fantastic podcast on how to understand and study/research the Bible. It's called The Naked Bible. I would start with episode 16 and work yourself through the podcasts from there. It's incredibly informative.

                              Here's the streaming version of podcast #16 if you're interested. I think it'll be a real blessing:

                              http://www.nakedbiblepodcast.com/nak...-bible-part-1/

                              Comment

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