KJB - "And to make ALL MEN see what is THE FELLOWSHIP of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things BY JESUS CHRIST."
NASB - "and to bring to light what is THE ADMINISTRATION of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things."
ESV - "and to bring to light FOR EVERYONE what is THE PLAN of the mystery hidden for all ages in God who created all things."
Revised Version, ASV 1901 - "and to make ALL MEN see what is THE DISPENSATION of the mystery which from all ages hath been hid in God who created all things"
In this single verse there are three significant textual variations and the critical text versions keep changing from one edition to another.
One Bible critic, James Snapp says: “In Ephesians 3:9, the KJV follows the Textus Receptus’ reading “koinonia” and thus says “fellowship,” but massive and ancient evidence supports the reading “oikonomia” which refers to God’s administration, or dispensation.”
One thing you should know about James Snapp. He is writing his own New Testament bible version. The whole thing in not in print yet, but he is still working on it. He does not believe that any Bible in any language IS the complete and 100% true words of God. He rejects both the Traditional Textus Receptus of the Protestant Reformation Bibles in most languages and he rejects the UBS/Nestle-Aland/Vatican Critical text as well.
Does he always follow the so called "Majority" texts? Of course not. Does James sometimes himself favor "minority readings", including an entire verse? Yes, he does. In his own words, James Snapp tells us: "I am in the process of compiling a NT text that is not 100% identical to any printed text currently in existence."
It is true of James Snapp and others like him today who have NO infallible Bible in any language to believe in or to give to anybody else - "In those days there was no king in Israel; EVERY MAN DID THAT WHICH WAS RIGHT IN HIS OWN EYES." Judges 21:25
The text behind Ephesians 3:9 in the King James Bible and the Reformation Bibles in general is -
και φωτισαι παντας τις η κοινωνια του μυστηριου του αποκεκρυμμενου απο των αιωνων εν τω θεω τω τα παντα κτισαντι δια ιησου χριστου =
"And to make ALL MEN see what is THE FELLOWSHIP of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things BY JESUS CHRIST."
The present Nestle-Aland/USB/Vatican critical text 28th edition now puts the word for "all men" [παντας] in brackets, indicating doubt, even though this is the reading in the Majority of all text including P46, Sinaitic correction, Vaticanus, C and D.
The previous Westcott-Hort 1881 and Nestle critical Greek texts 4th edition 1935 and 21st edition 1975 omitted the word for "all men" [παντας]. Yet the inconsistency is seen in that though the earlier WH/Nestle texts omitted the word completely from the text, yet it was retained in the RV 1881 and the ASV 1901.
The Westcott-Hort text used to read: "και φωτισαι τις η οικονομια του μυστηριου του αποκεκρυμμενου απο των αιωνων εν τω θεω τω τα παντα κτισαντι"
But Tischendorf's 8th edition (another critical text scholar) had a different text from that of Westcott and Hort. His text read - "καί φωτίζω τίς ὁ οἰκονομία ὁ μυστήριον ὁ ἀποκρύπτω ἀπό ὁ αἰών ἐν ὁ θεός ὁ ὁ πᾶς κτίζω" = which isn't even grammatically correct.
But now that the word παντας IS in the [text] the NASB 1995 STILL omits it, but it is found in the ESV, RSV, NIV and Holman.
The second major variant is the word "fellowship" or communion (η κοινωνια) versus "dispensation /plan /administration" (η οικονομια) of the critical text versions. "Fellowship" is admittedly a minority reading in the King James Bible, but for every 1 minority reading in the Reformation bibles, there are at least 20 of them in the critical text versions.
The reading of "fellowship" or "sharing" is the very common New Testament word Koinonia, and it is the reading of most Reformation Bibles, and the Greek texts of Erasmus 1516, Stephanus 1550, Beza 1594, Elziever 1624 and Scrivener 1894. It is also the reading of the Apostolic Polyglot Greek N.T. 2003 and the Modern Greek Bible - "και να φωτισω παντας, ποια ειναι η κοινωνια του μυστηριου του αποκεκρυμμενου απο των αιωνων εν τω Θεω οστις εκτισε τα παντα δια του Ιησου Χριστου"
The words "by Jesus Christ" are found in the Majority of all remaining Greek manuscripts in existence. In his book, Early Manuscripts and the Authorized Version, A Closer Look!, Jack Moorman notes that this is the reading found in the Majority of all remaining Greek manuscripts plus D correction, Dabs, K, L, 049, 056, 078, 0142, 0150 and 0151.
"And the make ALL MEN see what is the FELLOWSHIP of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things BY JESUS CHRIST." - Ephesians 3:9
"FELLOWSHIP" (communion) along with "ALL MEN" and "BY JESUS CHRIST" is also the reading found in Tyndale 1525 - "to make all men se what THE FELYSHIPPE of the mistery is which from the begynnynge of the worlde hath bene hid in God which made all thynges thorow Iesus Christ", Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, Beza's N.T. 1599, The Bill Bible 1671, Whiston's N.T. 1745, John Wesley's N.T. 1755, the Worsley Version 1770, the Haweis N.T. 1795, The Revised Translation 1815, Webster 1833, The Longman Version 1841, The Hammond N.T. 1845, The Morgan N.T. 1848, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Calvin Version 1856, The Revised N.T. 1862, The Dillard N.T. 1885, Young's 1898, the NKJV 1982, The Revised Webster Bible 1995, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Lawrie Translation 1998, The Tomson New Testament 2002, the Apostolic Polyglot Greek-English Bible 2003 - "και φωτίσαι πάντας τις η κοινωνία του μυστηρίου" = "and to enlighten all as to what is the FELLOWSHIP of the mystery", The Resurrection Life New Testament 2005, Green's Literal 2005, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, The Bond Slave Version 2009, the English Jubilee Bible 2010, The Conservative Bible 2010, The Hebrew Transliteration Scripture 2010 - “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in Elohim, who created all things by Yehoshua (יהושע) Mashiach", The Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, the 2012 Natural Israelite Bible - "and to make ALL see what is THE FELLOWSHIP of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in Yahweh who created all things THROUGH YAH'SHUA THE MESSIAH.", The Hebraic Roots Bible 2012 - “what is the fellowship of the mystery having been hidden from eternity in Elohim, the One creating all things through Yahshua Messiah”, The Far Above All Translation 2014 and The Modern English Version 2014.
Foreign Language Bibles
Luthers' German bible 1545 and German Schlachter Bible 2000 - "und zu erleuchten jedermann, welche da sei die Gemeinschaft des Geheimnisses, das von der Welt her in Gott verborgen gewesen ist, der alle Dinge geschaffen hat durch Jesum Christum", the French Martin 1744, the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602, Spanish Jubilee Bible 2000 and Reina Valera Gómez 2010 - " y de aclarar a todos cuál es LA COMUNION del misterio escondido desde el principio del mundo en Dios, que creó todas las cosas por Jesucristo", the Russian Synodal Bible - "и открыть всем, в чем состоит домостроительство тайны, сокрывавшейся от вечности в Боге, создавшем все Иисусом Христом" = "the FELLOWSHIP of the mystery...created all things by Jesus Christ", the Finnish Bible 1776, The Czech Kralicka Bible - “A vysvětlil všechněm, kteraké by bylo obcování tajemství skrytého od věků v Bohu, kterýž všecko stvořil skrze Ježíše Krista” = “the FELLOWSHIP of the mystery…created all things BY JESUS CHRIST.”, the Dutch Staten Vertaling Bible - “En allen te verlichten, dat zij mogen verstaan, welke de gemeenschap der verborgenheid zij” = “the FELLOWSHIP of the mystery”.
"FELLOWSHIP" and "created all things BY JESUS CHRIST" are also found in the Italian Nuova Diodati 1991 - "e di manifest are A TUTTI LA PARTECIPAZIONE del mistero che dalle piú antiche età è stato nascosto in Dio, il quale ha creato tutte le cose per mezzo di Gesù Cristo", the Tagalog Ang Salita ng Diyos Bible 1998 - "Ito ay upang malinaw na makita ng lahat kung ano ang pakikipag-isa ng hiwaga, na sa panahong nakalipas, ay dating nakatago sa Diyos na lumikha ng lahat ng mga bagay sa pamamagitan ni Jesucristo." = "the FELLOWSHIP of the mystery...created all things BY JESUS CHRIST.", the Ukranian N.T., the Basque Navarro-Labourdin N.T., the 2014 Romanian Fidela Bible - "părtăşia misterului" = "fellowship of the mystery", the Polish Updated Gdansk Bible 2013 - " I żebym ujawnił wszystkim, jaka jest wspólnota tej tajemnicy ukrytej od wieków w Bogu, który wszystko stworzył przez Jezusa Chrystusa", and the Smith and van Dyke Arabic Bible -وانير الجميع في ما هو شركة السر المكتوم منذ الدهور في الله خالق الجميع بيسوع المسيح.,
and the Modern Greek Bible - "και να φωτισω παντας, ποια ειναι η κοινωνια του μυστηριου του αποκεκρυμμενου απο των αιωνων εν τω Θεω οστις εκτισε τα παντα δια του Ιησου Χριστου"
Bible commentators are usually spread all over the board on what different verses mean or how they should read. What some affirm, others deny. But there are those who side with the reading "THE FELLOWSHIP of the mystery" found not only in the King James Bible but in the Reformation Bibles in many languages all over the world. Here are some of them.
John Calvin (1509-1564) made his own translation from Greek into the Latin and his Latin translation reads just like the King James Bible. He did not use the Latin Vulgate, because the Latin Vulgate does not read "fellowship" but rather "dispensatio sacramenti"
Calvin's translation was: "Et omnibus conspicuum faciam, quae sit COMMUNIO mysterii, quod absconditum fuit a saeculis in Deo, qui omnia creavit per Iesum Christum". And he comments - "What is the FELLOWSHIP of the mystery. The publication of the gospel is called a fellowship, because it is the will of God that his purpose, which had formerly been hidden, shall now be shared by men."
David Guzik Commentary - "To make all see what is THE FELLOWSHIP of the mystery: Having been entrusted with such riches, Paul’s passion was to make this gospel known to all people. He wants everybody to see and share in THE FELLOWSHIP of this mystery - which is a mystery precisely because it was unknown and unknowable until God revealed it.
FELLOWSHIP of the mystery: We should carefully consider what this phrase means. It demonstrates that these are not only facts to know but also a life to live, united in Jesus with other believers, without any separation such as existed between Jew and Gentile."
Robert Hawker Commentary - "Paul calls it a mystery, and THE FELLOWSHIP of the mystery. And what a mystery, indeed, the whole forms? Great is the mystery of godliness. God, manifest in the flesh, is the first chapter. And what an endless subject, of the unsearchable riches of Christ, doth this one open ? It contains depths of wisdom, and depths of love, which, like an ocean without bottom or shore, affords infinite scope for all God's intelligent creatures, to exercise their faculties, in sailing over, but never fully to explore, for it passeth all knowledge. Nevertheless, the Lord encourageth his people to enter upon the discovery, in that we are told, that though from the beginning of the world it was hid in God, who created all things BY JESUS CHRIST."
Matthew Henry - "With respect to all men, Ephesians 3:9. His business and employment were to make all men see what is THE FELLOWSHIP of the mystery (that the Gentiles who have hitherto been strangers to the church, shall be admitted into communion with it) which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God (kept secret in his purpose), who created all things by Jesus Christ"
Matthew Poole's Commentary - "What is THE FELLOWSHIP of the mystery; or communication of the mystery, viz. concerning the salvation of the Gentiles without circumcision, or the works of the law which God now made known by Paul’s ministry, contrary to what the Jews believed."
John Wesley Commentary - "What is THE FELLOWSHIP of the mystery - What those mysterious blessings are whereof all believers jointly partake. Which was, in a great measure, hidden from eternity by God, who, to make way for the free exercise of his love, created all things - This is the foundation of all his dispensations."
Henry Ironside Commentary - "Paul wanted all men to enjoy the blessings and reality of THE FELLOWSHIP of this mystery. Men form their secret societies and delight to meet in hidden places to enjoy together mysteries that others cannot share. The Christian is through grace already a member of the society of the redeemed, A FELLOWSHIP divinely formed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And as a member of that society he can enjoy with fellow believers the marvelous secret that God has now made known."
From the beginning of the world this mystery was hidden in God “who created all things by Jesus Christ”
The Catholic Connection
Yet the modern Westcott-Hort/UBS/Nestle-Aland/Vatican critical text versions like the RV, ASV, NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, NET, Holman and ALL Catholic versions like the Douay-Rheims 1582, Douay 1950, St. Joseph NAB 1970, New Jerusalem bible 1985 and the 2009 Catholic Public Domain Version and the Jehovah Witness New World Translation ALL omit these important words - “God who created all things BY JESUS CHRIST”.
Sinaiticus originally omitted them, but a later scribe put them back in, but the Vaticanus copy omits them.
The teaching that God created all things by Jesus Christ is taught in such Scriptures as John 1:3, Colossians 1:15-16 and Hebrews 1:2 and here in Ephesians 3:9 - "God, who created all things BY JESUS CHRIST"."
Some early church writers made reference to this verse.
"Our God, who hast created all things BY CHRIST..." Constitutions of the Holy Apostles (200 - 400 AD), 8.3
"In God, he continues, who created all things BY JESUS CHRIST. And he does well to say BY JESUS CHRIST; forasmuch as He who created all things by Him, revealeth also this by Him; for He hath made nothing without Him; for without Him, it is said, was not any thing made." Chrysostom (347 - 407 AD), Ephesians, Homily 7
"I pray you, this view from the midst of the churches, and really believe that all things were made BY JESUS CHRIST, and that without Him nothing was made."Augustine (354-430 AD), Anti-Pelagian 2.57
"Really believe that all things were made BY JESUS CHRIST, and that without Him nothing was made." Augustine (354-430 AD), Anti-Pelagian 2.60
The King James Bible is always right and it exalts the Lord Jesus Christ to His rightful place as the Lord God Jehovah, our Creator God manifest in the flesh, like no other.
By His grace, believing the Book,
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Notes From The Internet
May 4, 2014
James Snapp posts: "And yet, Will, you seem willing to set aside the Greek New Testament of the Orthodox Church when it disagrees with the Textus Receptus, for instance in Ephesians 3:9, regarding the administration-versus-fellowship variant. The Greek text at the OnlineChapel site has "oikonomia," agreeing with the vast majority of manuscripts, whereas the Textus Receptus has "koinonia."
Hi James. Thanks for your comments. In a very real way, I am glad you brought something like this up. It serves to show the very real difference between those of us who are Bible believers who believe God has acted in history to give us a complete and inerrant Bible, and those like you, who do NOT believe that ANY Bible in any language IS or ever WAS the complete, perfect and infallible words of God.
You have a completely naturalistic view of the bible. You think it is an evolutionary process directed by man and the best he can do based on his own intellect, and personal preferences.
You are at this very moment in the long process of making up your own bible version, choosing the particular readings you happen to think are the best ones, and then translating them according to your own understanding. Yet many others are doing the same thing you are with their "preferred readings" and personal choices, and they will ALL differ from the textual choices and translations you make.
"In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Judges 21:25
What I and every other Bible believer I know maintains is the God alone knows for sure which readings are His and how He wants them translated into other languages.
Only God can guide a group of men to put together the perfect Book of the LORD, and we believe that He has done this. You do not. That is the difference between those of us who are Bible believers and those like you who are only "partial bible believers" or bible agnostics.
You believe selected portions and parts of the bibles out there, and other parts you do not believe and you aren't sure about many others.
This has nothing to do with being a Christian and believing the gospel of salvation. That is found in ALL of them, no matter how corrupt they may be in other areas. But when it comes to the fundamental issue of whether or not there exists a complete, perfect, inerrant and infallible Bible in ANY language, the only Christians I know who REALLY believe this, are the King James Bible believers.
The very verse you bring up here is Ephesians 3:9. I gather that the James Snapp New International Scholars Version (to be released at some undetermined future date) will not read as does the King James Bible.