Acts 12:25 - The Devil is in the Details
In Acts 12:25 we read: “And Barnabas and Saul returned FROM (ex) Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.”
This is the reading found in a multitude of Greek manuscripts and Bible versions including P74, Alexandrinus, the Textus Receptus, the Modern Greek N.T., the Vulgate 425, Wycliffe 1395, the Geneva Bible 1599, the Revised Version 1881, ASV 1901, Weymouth 1902, Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac 1933, Douay 1950, Darby, Young’s 1898, J.B. Phillips 1962, Berkeley Version in Modern English 1969,the NKJV 1982, NASB 1963-1995, RSV 1952, ESV 2001-2011 editions, The Message 2002, Bible in Basic English 1969, New English Bible 1970, Complete Jewish Bible 1998, the NIV 1984 -2011 editions, and Common English Bible (another critical text edition like the ESV, NIV, NASB that does NOT follow the UBS text here), the Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011, and The Voice (another Critical text version" of 2012 - "the time Barnabas and Saul spent in Jerusalem came to an end, and they reported back to Antioch, bringing along John, who was also called Mark."
The Names of God Bible 2011 says -" they returned TO Antioch FROM Jerusalem."
Foreign language bibles also read "returned FROM Jerusalem" such as the Italian Diodati 1649 and La Nuova Diodati 1991 - "ritornarono di Gerusalemme, Luther's German Bible 1545 and German Schlachter bible 2000 - "Barnabas aber und Saulus kehrten wieder von Jerusalem" = "returned FROM Jerusalem", the French Martin 1744, Louis Segond 1910, Ostervald 1996 - " s'en retournèrent de Jérusalem", the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Reina Valera 1602 - 1995 and Reina Valera Gómez 2010 - "Y Bernabé y Saulo volvieron de Jerusalén " and the Portuguese Almeida Bible - Barnabé e Saulo, havendo terminando aquele serviço, voltaram de Jerusalém, levando consigo a João" the Modern Greek Bible - "Ο δε Βαρναβας και ο Σαυλος υπεστρεψαν εξ Ιερουσαλημ αφου εξεπληρωσαν την διακονιαν αυτων" = "FROM Jerusalem", and the Modern Hebrew Bible - "וישובו בר נבא ושאול מירושלים אחרי כלותם את השמוש"
Clearly the whole context tells us that Barnabas and Paul had already gone TO Jerusalem and had now returned FROM Jerusalem. In Acts 11:29-30 we read: “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of BARNABAS AND SAUL.”
Then in 13:1 we again pick up with both Saul (Paul) and Barnabas already at Antioch, and not in Jerusalem. “Now there were at Antioch certain prophets and teachers: as Barnabas....and Saul.”
However the corrupt manuscripts of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus tell us in Acts 12:25 that both Barnabas and Saul (Paul) now returned TO Jerusalem, even though they had already been there as recorded in Acts 11:29-30, and were now in Antioch along with John Mark as recorded in Acts 13:1-6.
The total fickleness and inconsistency of the modern Critical text is seen in that Westcott and Hort originally went with the erroneous reading of “returned TO Jerusalem” (eis) -
but then the Nestle text 4th edition 1934 and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 1962 and the Nestle Greek text 21st edition 1975 all read “returned FROM Jerusalem (ex) - "ὑπέστρεψαν ἐξ Ἱερουσαλὴμ." There are other variant readings here too. Manuscript D has "ἀπὸ Ἰερουσαλὴμ", which would translated as "from Jerusalem" and Mss. E has "from Jerusalem TO ANTIOCH" - ἐξ Ἰερουσαλὴμ εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν" which is actually the reading found in some bible versions.
But wait; it gets worse. Now the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum 27-28th editions and the UBS 4th edition have once again rejected the previous Nestle critical text and have gone back to the reading originally adopted by Westcott and Hort that comes from both the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts...You know...those "oldest and best" ones that today's Vatican Versions are based on. And it is not like they discovered some startling ancient manuscript reading they never knew about before. No, our critical text "scholars" just arbitrarily changed their minds... AGAIN!
Versions that contain this erroneous reading - “returned TO Jerusalem” - and thus contradict the whole context of Acts 11 through 13 are Tyndale 1525 - (one of many reasons why Tyndale was not the perfect English Bible - see http://brandplucked.webs.com/tyntrorkjb.htm ) Coverdale 1535, Bishops’ bible 1568, and in modern times Rotherham’s Emphasized bible 1902, the Catholic St. Joseph New American Bible 1970, Hebrew Names Version, the NRSV 1989, Holman Christian Standard Version 2003, the ISV (International Standard Version 2003), Lexham English bible 2012 and Dan Wallace's NET version. The CEV (Contemporary English Version) 1995 has: "they WENT BACK TO Jerusalem".
Notice that the RSV 1952 and the ESV 2001 both read “FROM Jerusalem” but the NRSV 1989 read “TO Jerusalem”. These three are revisions of each other. Can’t seem to make up their minds, can they?
The Catholic Connection
As usual we see confusion and change among the Catholic versions. The older Douay-Rheims 1582 and Douay of 1950 both read "returned FROM Jerusalem". But then the 1970 St. Joseph New American Bible changed this to "returned TO Jerusalem." But then the 2009 Catholic Public Domain version has now gone back to "returned FROM Jerusalem."
Dan Wallace of the NET version chosen to read follow the corrupt reading and says: - "So Barnabas and Saul returned TO 85 Jerusalem when they had completed their mission, bringing along with them John Mark."
He then gives us these remarkable footnotes: "There are a number of variants at this point in the text: εἰς (eis, “to”) in א B Ï sams syhmg;ἀπό (apo, “from”) in D E Ψ 36 323 453 614 1175 al; ἐξ (ex, “from”) in Ì74 A 33 945 1739 al; ἐξ ᾿Ιερουσαλήμ εἰς ᾿Αντιόχειαν in a few later manuscripts and part of the Itala. A decision on this problem is very difficult, but for several reasons εἰς can be preferred. It is the most difficult reading by far in light of the context, since Paul and Barnabas were going to Jerusalem in 11:30. It is found in better witnesses, א and B being very strong evidence. ...This problem is so difficult that some scholars resort to conjectural emendation to determine the original reading. All in all, the reading εἰς should be preferred as original, recognizing that there is a good measure of uncertainty with this solution."
In other words, even though his so called oldest and best and "can be preferred" reading of "returned TO Jerusalem" makes absolutely NO sense and contradicts the entire context of chapters 12 and 13, he just can't bring himself to admit that his so called "oldest and best" are actually among the most corrupt manuscripts in existence.
That Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are so old is most likely due to the fact that they ARE so corrupt that people simply passed them over and did not use them. That's why they didn't get worn out with use. But now they have been resurrected with great fanfare by the Bible agnostics and the Vatican in order to overthrow what the Roman Catholic church refers to as "the Paper Pope of Protestantism" - the Bible itself - as the final authority.
The saying is true, if you mess with the Book, God will mess with your mind." Or as the Bible puts it - "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" 1 Corinthians 1:19-20
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