Luke 23:17 KJB - "(For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)"
ESV, NASB 1963, 1972 and 1973 editions, NIV, NET, The Message, New Living Translation 2015, Jehovah Witness New World Translation, Catholic St. Joseph NAB 1970, New Jerusalem bible 1985 -
Luke 23:17 Is it Inspired Scripture or not?
In Luke chapter 23 we read the the events surrounding the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Both Pilate and Herod ask Jesus a series of questions about who He is. In verse 17 we read of a custom that had become established of releasing a condemned prisoner during the time of Passover; but it is stated in a different manner than in all the other gospels.
Luke 23:17 reads: “(FOR OF NECESSITY HE MUST RELEASE ONE UNTO THEM AT THE FEAST.)”
There are other references to this custom found in the other gospel accounts, but none of them reads the same way as found here in Luke 23:17. Each gospel adds some details of information not found in the others. See Matthew 27:15-16; Mark 15:6 and John 18:39. Only here in Luke do we read of this custom being referred to as “OF NECESSITY HE MUST release one unto them at the feast.”
As I understand the significance of this unique expression, I believe it refers to the Divine necessity that the Scriptures be fulfilled and the spiritual “type” revealed. The other man’s name was Barabbas, which literally means “son of the father” and Barabbas was both a murderer and a robber. The spiritual type is seen in that the “son of the Father” was a guilty sinner who deserved to die for his crimes, and yet the innocent Lamb of God took his place. So too, we who are the adopted sons of the Father were justly under the sentence of death, but the Son of the Father took our place and we were set free.
Luke is not copying from someone else but is being moved by the Holy Ghost to write inspired Scripture and reveal a precious truth that is not found in any other part of the Bible - “OF NECESSITY HE MUST RELEASE ONE at the feast.”
The evidence for the legitimacy of this verse is overwhelming. It is found in the Majority of all remaining Greek manuscripts including Sinaiticus, the Old Latin, Jerome’s Latin Vulgate 405 A.D. - “Necesse autem habebat dimittere eis per diem festum unum.”, the Syriac Peshitta, Harclean, Palestinian, Curetonian and Boharic, and the Anglo Saxon Gospels 990 - 1200 A.D. ancient versions.
However Vaticanus, A and P75 omit the entire verse. So once again we see that the so called “oldest and best” manuscripts (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) disagree with each other and the modern versions can’t seem to agree with each other either.
The entire verse of Luke 23:17 - “For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.” is found in Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587 - “(For of necessitie hee must haue let one loose vnto them at the feast.)”, the Beza N.T. 1599, the Douay-Rheims of 1610 as well as the Catholic Douay of 1950 - “Now of necessity he was to release unto them one upon the feast day.”, Mace N.T. 1729, Wesley’s translation 1755, The Alford N.T. 1870, Darby 1890, Young’s 1898, the New Life Version 1969, Hebrew Names Version, World English Bible 2000, the New Berkeley Version in Modern English 1969, the NKJV 1982 and the Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Lawrie Translation 1998, The Koster Scriptures 1998, The Complete Jewish Bible 1998, The Tomson N.T. 2002, The Pickering N.T. 2005, the Holman Standard 2009, The Conservative Bible 2010, International Standard Version 2012, Aramaic Bible in Plain English 2010, The New European Version 2010, Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011, The Voice 2012, the 2012 Knox Bible, The Biblos Bible 2013, The Far Above All Translation 2014, The Modern Literal N.T. 2014 and the Modern English Version 2014.
Several of these are Critical text versions, yet they include the verse.
The NASBs are interesting in that the whole verse was omitted in the 1963, 1972 and 1973 editions, but in 1977 and again in 1995 they put the verse back in!
Critical text versions that omit the entire verse and go from 23:16 to 23:18 are the Revised Version 1881, ASV 1901, RSV, NRSV 1989, ESV 2011, the NIV 1984 and 2011, the Message, Common English Bible, Dan Wallace’s NET version and the Jehovah Witness New World Translation.
The Catholic Connection
Among the Catholic versions we see the usual confusion. The older Douay-Rheims 1582-1610 and the 1950 Douay both contained the verse.
However the modern Catholic versions like the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 and the 1985 Catholic New Jerusalem bible omit the verse, just like the ESV, NIV and NET.
BUT now the 2009 Catholic Public Domain version has come out and it once again puts the verse back in - “Now he was required to release one person for them on the feast day.” This is how the “science” of textual criticism really works.
Also of interest is the fact that Jerome’s Latin Vulgate of 405 A.D. and the Clementine Vulgage both contain the verse - “Necesse autem habebat dimittere eis per diem festum unum.” but the Catholic New Vulgate of 1979 now omits it.
Several modern Critical text version have now gone back to putting the verse in the text again, even though the UBS and Nestle-Aland texts continue to entirely omit the verse from their text. Those that have put the verse back in are the International Standard Version 2012 - “Now he was obligated to release someone for them at the festival.”, the Holman Standard of 2009, and The Voice of 2012.
Foreign Language Bibles -
Foreign language Bibles that contain the entire verse are El Evangelio Según San Lucas 1260 A.D. Rey Alfonso X El Sabio (this is really old Spanish) - "Ca les auie a dar un preso el dia de su Pascua.", the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569 - “(Y tenía necesidad de soltarles uno en la fiesta.)”, Cipriano de Valera 1602, the Spanish Reina Valera of 1909, 1960, 1995 and Gómez of 2010, Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac Peshitta, the French Martin 1744 and French Ostervald of 1996 and French Louis Segond 2007 - “Or, il était obligé de leur relâcher un prisonnier à chaque fête.”, the Italian Nuova Diodati 1991 and Italian Nuova Riveduta 2007 - “Ora egli aveva l’obbligo di liberare loro un carcerato in occasione della festa”, the Portuguese A Biblia Sagrada and the Portuguese Almeida Atualizada - “E era-lhe necessrio soltar-lhes um pela festa.”, Luther’s German Bible 1545 and German Schlachter bible of 2000, the Romanian Cornilescu and the Romanian Fidela bible 2009, Dutch Staten Vertaling, Afrikaans Bible 1953 - "En hy was verplig om vir hulle op die fees een los te laat.", the Polish Biblia Gdanska, Czech BKR, Norwegian Det Norsk, the Tagalog Ang Salita ng Diyos of 1998, Chinese Union Version, Russian Synodal Bible, Swahili N.T., Vietnamese Bible 1934
The Modern Greek Bible - Επρεπε δε αναγκαιως να απολυη εις αυτους ενα εν τη εορτη.
And the Hebrew Modern Version - "ועליו היה לפטר להם איש אחד בימי החג׃"
Even though the NIV English version omits the whole verse, yet the Portuguese NIV of 1999 called Nova Versão Internacional contains the verse in the text - “ Ele era obrigado a soltar-lhes um preso durante a festa.”
Not even the NIV Spanish Versions are in agreement. The Spanish NIV - La Nueva Versión Internacional 1999, that is sold in Mexico and South America, OMITS the verse. But La Santa Biblia, Nueva Versión Internacional®,(Castilian Version) Copyright © 1999, 2005 sold in Spain, INCLUDES IT! - "Ahora bien, durante la fiesta tenía la obligacíon de soltarles un preso."
Luke 23:17 is inspired Scripture, and if your bible version omits it, (as it also omits hundreds and even thousands of God’s infallible words), then it is a corrupt bible version.
Get yourself the King James Holy Bible and you will never go wrong.
All of grace, believing the Book.
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