James White's Shell Game - "Now you see it, and now you don't"
Shell game - Definition
1. The game in which spectators bet on the final location of an object hidden under one of three walnut shells or cups that have been shuffled.
2. A scheme for defrauding or deceiving people.
James White is a well known critic of the inerrancy of the King James Bible. I have read his book, The King James Only Controversy, many times and I wish to address some of the issues he brings up regarding the accuracy of some of the readings found in the King James Bible.
You should first realize that James White does NOT believe ANY Bible or any text in any language IS NOW the complete, inerrant, and 100% true Holy Bible. He now works for the NASB committee, and James even "corrects" his own favorite version, according to his own understanding.
In spite of the fact that modern versions like the NASB, RSV, NIV, ESV, Jehovah Witness NWT omit some 3000 words from the New Testament text of the King James Bible, and either substitute or add another 1000 words, James tells us on page 48 of his book: "their text is NEARLY IDENTICAL to even the most Byzantine manuscript...ONE of those variant readings is indeed the original. We are called to invest our energies in discovering which one it is."
I have read the Holy Bible several times in my life, and I have yet to find the verse that tells me we are called to invest our energies in finding out what God did or did not cause to be written in His word. In spite of Mr. White's loftly calling, modern scholarship has resulted in a constantly changing series of new versions that contradict each other and the King James Bible in literally hundreds of verses, and the number of Christians who no longer believe in the inerrancy of Scripture continues to grow each day.
I have written several articles on my website which address some of the points James White brings up in his book. May I suggest you take a look at the following:
Colossians 2:9 Godhead or Deity - Is James White right?
Book of Jude - James White's "inferior texts"
James White Blunders - the turtle observed pineth away
James White - Blind Scholar
In this particular study I would like to focus on several readings found in the King James Bible in the book of Revelation. Mr. White spends a lot of time in his book listing examples from the book of Revelation that he thinks are errors in the King James Bible.
James makes a remarkable statement on page 66 regarding the underlying texts of the KJB. He says: "The TR (Textus Receptus) often gives readings that place it in contrast with the united testimony of the Majority Text and the modern texts such as the United Bible Societies' 4th edition and the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland text."
First of all, Mr. White cares nothing at all for the so-called "Majority Text". There really is no such thing as the majority text since what passes for this today is based on Von Soden's work of PARTIALLY comparing only about 400 of the 5000 Greek manuscripts that presently exist.
We freely admit there are some "minority readings" found in the King James Bible, but for every one minority reading in the KJB there are at least 20 minority readings found in versions like the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, Jehovah Witness NWT and the newer Catholic bibles like the New Jerusalem. So why does Mr. White make a show of upholding the Majority Text, when his own favorite versions reject it so often?
Since Mr. White mentions so many readings found in the book of Revelation, let's take a look at some facts about what the "Majority Text" says, and compare it to the others. Do many readings found in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, ESV also differ from the "majority text"?
I will be referring to the Majority Text put out by Hodges and Farstad, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers in 1982. These very few of many examples I could note are taken only from the book of Revelation, and they are found in the actual TEXT of the "Majority" Greek version, not from its many and varied footnotes.
There is also another so called "Majority Text" edition on the internet, by Robinson & Pierpoiint, and it differs in about 100 readings from the Hodges-Farstad edition.
In Revelation 1:4 "Grace to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come". So read the KJB, NASB, NIV, NKJV, ESV. However the Hodges-Farstad Majority Text reads: "Grace to you and peace from GOD, who is, and was, and is to come." Yet none of the modern versions (mvs) follow this reading.
Revelation 1:5-6 KJB - "Unto him that loved us, and WASHED us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us KINGS AND PRIESTS unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
ESV - "To him who loves us and HAS FREED us from our sins by his blood, and made us A KINGDOM, PRIESTS to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
In James White's book, the KJV Controversy, he tells us on page 65: "Other places where Erasmus' work, and hence the TR, fall short would include Revelation 1:6, where the KJV has "made US KINGS and priests", whereas the vast majority of manuscripts have "made us to be a kingdom and priests (NIV)"
Mr. White should know better than to say something like this. First of all, his favorite versions like the ESV, NASB, and the NIV reject the "vast majority of manuscripts" easily 20 times as often than does the King James Bible.
Secondly, it is not true that the vast majority of manuscripts say what he says they do. The Hodges-Farstad Majority text is generally divided up into 5 sections called a, b, c, d and e. In the Hodges-Farstad edition the footnote tells us that sections d and e read "kings and priests" as does the KJB and many others.
What is beyond all question is that Revelation 1:5 reads "WASHED us from our sins in his own blood" in the "vast majority of all manuscripts", whereas Sinaiticus second correction, A and C read as is found in the NASB, NIV, RSV - "LOOSED us from our sins in his own blood." The ESV says "HAS FREED US from our sins by his blood."
The hypocrisy and shell shuffling of men like James White boggles the mind. Even the Sinaitic manuscript has been changed twice. First it said "loosed us", then it was corrected to "washed us" - and this is the reading of the 1918 New Testament from the Sinaitic Manuscript translation seen here
and then it was changed once again to read "loosed us". This "now you see it, now you don't" phenomenon is seen in the constantly changing Catholic bibles themselves.
The Catholic Connection
The Catholic Douay-Rheims of 1582 reads ", the Douay of 1950, and 1968 Jerusalem bibles all say "washed us from our sins".
But the 1970 St. Joseph New American Bible changed it to read "LOOSED us from our sins"; but now once again the New Jerusalem Bible of 1985, and the Catholic Public Domain Version of 2009 have come out and they have gone back to "WASHED us from our sins"! Go figure.
However ALL the Catholic versions agree with the new Vatican Versions like the ESV, NIV, NASB and say - "made us A KINGDOM of PRIESTS"
"Unto him that loved us and WASHED us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us KINGS and priests unto God and his Father" Revelation 1:5
This online English Majority Text Version 2013 edition ( http://www.majoritytext.com/revelation.htm ) reads just like the King James Bible, contrary to what Mr. White tells us it should.
Revelation 1:5 "and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and who WASHED us from our sins in His own blood, and He made us KINGS AND PRIESTS to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."
"kings and priests" fits the context of Revelation 5:10 and 20:6, and is the reading of not only a very large portion of remaining Greek manuscripts, but also that of Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible (John Rogers) 1549, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, The Beza New Testament 1599, The Bill Bible 1671, Mace's N.T. 1729, Wesley 1755, Worsley Version 1770, The Revised Translation 1815, the Living Oracles 1835, The Longman Version 1841, The Morgan N.T. 1848, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Boothroyd Bible 1853, the Julia Smith Translation 1855, The Revised New Testament 1862, The Smith Bible 1876, Young's 1898, The Clarke N.T. 1913, the NKJV 1982, Green's 1998 Modern KJV, The Koster Scriptures 1998, the English Jubilee Bible 2010, the Natural Israelite Bible 2012 - "To Him who loved us and WASHED us from our sins in His own blood, 1:6 and has MADE US KINGS AND PRIESTS to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amam.”
Other English Bibles that agree with the KJB and also read "Unto him that loved us and WASHED us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us KINGS and priests unto God and his Father" are The Word of Yah 1993, Interlinear New Testament Greek 1997 (Larry Pierce), Lawrie Translation 1998, God's First Truth 1999, The Last Days Bible 1999, The Tomson N.T. 2002, The Evidence Bible 2003, Green's Literal 2005, The Resurrection Life New Testament 2005 (Vince Garcia), The Majority Text English Version 2009 by Paul Esposito - “To Him who loves us and who WASHED US from our sins in His own blood, and He made us KINGS and priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.", Faithful New Testament 2009, Bond Slave Version 2009, Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol), the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 - “To Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And has made us melekhim (KINGS) and Kohenim (priests) to Elohim (אלהים) and His Father”, The Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, Conservative Bible 2011 - "has made us KINGS and priests", the Hebraic Roots Bible 2012 and The Holy Bible, Modern English Versions 2014 - "To Him who loved us and WASHED us from our sins in His own blood, 6. and has made us KINGS and priests to His God and Father"
Foreign language Bibles that read the same as the KJB are the Italian Diodati 1649 and the New Diodati 1991, the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602, the Reina Valera of 1909, 1960 and 1995 - "Al que nos amó, y nos lavó de nuestros pecados con su sangre, y NOS HIZO REYES Y SACERDOTES para Dios, su Padre", the French Martin 1744, the French Ostervald 1996 - "qui nous a lavés de nos péchés par son sang, et qui nous a faits rois et sacrificateurs de Dieu son Père", both the Portuguese de Almeida of 1681 and the A Bíblia Sagrada -"Aquele que nos amou, e em seu sangue nos lavou dos nossos pecados, E nos fez reis e sacerdotes para Deus e seu Pai", ,Luther's German bible 1545 and Schlachter bible 2000, Russian Synodal Version 1876 - "и соделавшему нас царями и священниками Богу и Отцу Своему", Norwegian Det Norsk Bibelselskap 1930 - "og som har gjort oss til et kongerike, til prester for Gud og sin Fader", Smith & van Dyke Arabic Bible - وجعلنا ملوكا وكهنة للّه ابيه له المجد والسلطان الى ابد الآبدين. آمين," = "made us KINGS AND PRIESTS", the Afrikaans 1953, Dutch Staten Vertaling, Basque bible,
and the Modern Greek Bible - "και οστις εκαμεν ημας βασιλεις και ιερεις εις τον Θεον και Πατερα αυτου",
and the Modern Hebrew Bible - ויעש אתנו למלכים וכהנים לאלהים אביו הכבוד והעז לעולמי עולמים אמן׃ = He made us KINGS AND PRIESTS to God his Father.
Revelation 1:8 KJB - “ I am Alpha and Omega, THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDING, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
NASB (ESV, NIV, NET, J.W. New World Translation and modern Catholic versions) - “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord GOD, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
There are two main textual variants in this single verse. The Vatican Versions omit the words “THE BEGINNING AND THE END” (αρχη και τελος) and they add the word GOD after “saith the Lord GOD.”
The words “THE BEGINNING AND THE END” are in sections b, e and d of the Majority text, and not in sections a and c. The Book of Revelations has more textual variants than any other book in the New Testament.
The words “the beginning and the end” were in Sinaiticus original. Then a scribe omitted them, and then another one put them back in the text. Vaticanus completely omits the entire book of Revelation.
The words are also found in the Old Latin copies ar, c, dem, div, gig, haf, t and z. They are also in the Latin Vulgate and the Coptic Boharic ancient versions and are so quoted by Origen, Apringius, Andrew and Beatus.
The words are omitted primarily by Alexandrinus, C and and some others.
As for the extra word GOD, added after “saith the Lord (GOD), this word is found in the “majority” text and in the Critical text editions.
Agreeing with the King James Bible and reading “ I am Alpha and Omega, THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDING, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” are Tyndale, Coverdale, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587 - “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come, euen the Almightie.”, Mace N.T. 1729, the Worsley Version 1770, Thomas Haweis N.T. 1795, Julia Smith N.T. 1855, Young’s literal 1898, the NKJV 1982, Green’s literal translation, Third Millennium Bible 1998, the Natural Israelite Bible 2010, and the English Jubilee Bible 2010.
We see a mixture of the readings in Wycliffe’s bible 1395 because he used the Latin Vulgate - Y am alpha and oo, THE BIGYNNYNG AND THE ENDE, seith the Lord GOD, that is, and that was, and that is to comynge, almyyti.”
and the Douay-Rheims bible of 1582 (again, taken from the Latin Vulgate 404 A.D.) - “I am Alpha and Omega, THE BEGINNING AND THE END, saith the Lord GOD, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Foreign language Bibles that follow the reading found in the KJB which contain the words “THE BEGINNING AND THE END” and omit the extra word GOD after “saith the LORD” are:
The Modern Greek Bible -“Εγω ειμαι το Α και το Ω, αρχη και τελος, λεγει ο Κυριος, ο ων και ο ην και ο ερχομενος, ο παντοκρατωρ.” = “I am the Alpha and the Omega, THE BEGINNING AND THE END, says the Lord, who is, and was and is coming, the Almighty.”
The 2003 Apostolic Bible Polyglot Greek N.T., Luther’s German Bible 1545 and the 2000 German Schlachter Bible - “Ich bin das A und das O, der Anfang und das Ende, spricht der HERR, der da ist”, the French Martin 1744 and French Ostervald 1996 - “Je suis l'Alpha et l'Oméga, le commencement et la fin, dit le Seigneur,” the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602, Spanish Reina Valera 1909-1995 and the R.V. Gómez of 2010 - “YO SOY el Alfa y la Omega: principio y fin, dice el Señor, el que es y que era y que ha de venir, el Todopoderoso.”, the Italian La Nuova Diodati 1991 - “Io sono l'Alfa e l'Omega, il principio, e la fine», dice il Signore «che è, che era e che ha da venire, l'Onnipotente».”, the Portuguese Almeida Corregida 1681 and A Sagrada Biblia em Portugués - “Eu sou o Alfa e o Omega, o princípio e o fim, diz o Senhor, que é e que era, e que há de vir, o Todo-poderoso.” and the 2014 Romanian Fidela Bible - “Eu sunt Alfa şi Omega, începutul şi sfârşitul, spune Domnul, care este şi care era şi care vine, Cel Atotputernic.”
Other foreign language Bibles that read just like the KJB are the Dutch Staten Vertaling - “Ik ben de Alfa en de Omega, het Begin en het Einde, zegt de Heere, Die is, en Die was, en Die komen zal, de Almachtige.”, the Afrikaans Bible 1953 - “Ek is die Alfa en die Oméga, die begin en die einde, sê die Here”, the Czech Kralicka Bible - “Jáť jsem Alfa i Omega, počátek i konec, praví Pán,”, the Finnish Bible 1776 - “Minä olen A ja O, alku ja loppu, sanoo Herra,”, the Hungarian Karoli Bible - “Én vagyok az Alfa és az Omega, kezdet és vég, ezt mondja az Úr,” the Russian Synodal Version - “Я есмь Альфа и Омега, начало и конец, говорит Господь, “, Smith & VanDyck’s Arabic bible - “انا هو الالف والياء البداية والنهاية يقول الرب الكائن والذي كان والذي يأتي القادر على كل”, the 2013 Updated Polish Gdansk Bible - “Ja jestem Alfa i Omega, początek i koniec, mówi Pan”, the Russian Synodal Version - “Я есмь Альфа и Омега, начало и конец, говорит Господь, Который есть и был и грядет, Вседержитель.”, and the 1998 Tagalog Ang Salita ng Diyos Bible - “Sinasabi ng Panginoon: Ako ang Alpha at Omega, ang simula at ang wakas. Ako ang kasalukuyan, ang kahapon at ang darating.”
The Catholic Connection
The earlier Douay Rheims 1582 followed the Latin Vulgate and had BOTH readings in it - “I am Alpha and Omega, THE BEGINNING AND THE END, saith the Lord GOD, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac Peshitta also reads this way.
But the more modern Catholic versions like the Jerusalem bible 1968, the St. Joseph New American bible 1970 and the 1985 New Jerusalem bible all read like the NASB, ESV, NIV saying: “I am Alpha and Omega, says the Lord GOD, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
And this is because in 1968 the Vatican made a formal agreement with the UBS (UNITED Bible Society) to create an “inter confessional” text, and Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Martini was one of the 5 chief editors of the ever evolving Nestle-Aland Critical Greek text.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
This from the Vatican’s own website -
Collaboration for the Diffusion of the Bible
“Following the responsibility undertaken by the then Secretariat for the preparation of the dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, the PCPCU (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) was entrusted with promoting ecumenical collaboration for the translation and diffusion of Holy Scripture (Dei Verbum, n. 22). In this context, it encouraged the formation of the Catholic Biblical Federation, with which it is in close contact. TOGETHER WITH THE UNITED BIBLE SOCIETIES IT PUBLISHED THE GUIDELINES FOR INTERCONFESSIONAL COOPERATION IN TRANSLATING THE BIBLE.” (1968; new revised edition 1987).
So, once again, it comes down to the Reformation Bible text and the only English Bible believed by thousands even today to be the infallible words of God - the King James Bible - Or one of the new Vatican Versions. You pick.
Revelation 4:8 "And the four beasts...rest not day and night, saying Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty..." All versions read "holy, holy, holy" three times, yet the Majority text reads: "holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty..." Nine times the word "holy" appears in the Majority Text. By the way, one of the "oldest and best" manuscripts upon which the modern versions are based is Sinaiticus, and it has the word "holy" EIGHT times.
In Revelation 4:11 in the King James Bible we read:
Revelation 4:11 KJB - "Thou art worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure THEY ARE and were created."
ESV - Revelation 4:11 - "Worthy are you, OUR LORD AND GOD, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will THEY EXISTED and were created."
There are numerous textual variants in this one verse alone. The Majority text by Hodges and Farstaad, instead of "O Lord" reads: "O Lord and our God the Holy" (ὁ κύριος καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν ὁ ἅγιος) but nobody follows the Majority text here, except the Majority Text.
Sinaiticus says: "Lord, the Lord and our God" (κύριε ὁ κύριος καὶ θεὸς ἡμῶν), but modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV do not follow Sinaiticus either.
Alexandrinus is the one they follow and it says: "the Lord and our God" (ὁ κύριος καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν).
Then when we get to "for thy pleasure THEY ARE" - eisi (εἰσι) = present tense, Sinaiticus and A both say "THEY WERE" (ἦσαν)= past tense, and then Alexandrinus omits "and were created" (εκτισθησαν), but they don't follow the Alexandrinus reading they just got done following here. They include the reading of "they were created".
So, once again we see that the so called "oldest and best manuscripts" not only disagree with the Majority and the Textus Receptus, but also with each other and the new Catholic versions like the NIV, NASB, ESVs jump willy nilly from the readings found in one to the other just in this one verse.
The ESV and NASB, when referring to the created of all things, say "THEY EXISTED" - past tense. Well, the simple fact is, they ARE. They DO exist - present tense. Even the corrupt Vatican critical text is "οτι συ εκτισας τα παντα και δια το θελημα σου ησαν και εκτισθησαν" = because you have created all things and by your will (pleasure) THEY WERE and were created."
But the NIV resorts to a paraphrase in order to smooth out the blunder found in the ESV, NASB. The NIV paraphrases this last part as: "for you created all things, and by your will THEY WERE CREATED AND HAVE THEIR BEING." There is NO text that reads this way on this earth. It is a total paraphrase.
Agreeing with the Reformation text as found in the King James Bible - "Thou art worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure THEY ARE and were created." are Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568 and the Geneva Bible 1587. This is the Reformation text of the English Bibles.
Revelation 6:9 "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held." So read the modern versions as well as the KJB, but the Majority text says: "slain for the word of God and the testimony OF THE LAMB which they had."
Revelation 9:16 "and the number of the army of the horsemen were TWO hundred thousand thousand", and so read the modern versions too. However the Majority text says the number was "A hundred thousand thousand".
Revelation 13:10 "He that LEADETH into captivity, SHALL GO INTO CAPTIVITY; HE THAT KILLETH WITH THE SWORD, must be killed with the sword."
The Majority text actually reads: "If any HAS CAPTIVITY, HE GOES. IF ANY BY SWORD, he must be killed." The Majority omits the verb "leadeth" and omits "into captivity". Then it also omits "He that killeth with the sword". No Bible version follows the Majority text here.
Another instance of fickle change and disagreement among the modern versions is found in Revelation 13:10. There we read: "...HE THAT KILLETH with the sword must be killed with the sword..." The phrase: "He that killeth" is in the active voice, that is, he is the one doing the killing. This is the reading found in the Textus Receptus, Sinaiticus and manuscript C. It also USED to read this way in the previous Westcott-Hort, Nestle-Aland Greek texts.
The Nestle-Aland, UBS (United Bible Society) texts, upon which most modern versions are based, are continually changing every few years. The Nestle text used to read the same as the King James Bible Textus Receptus - "HE THAT KILLETH with the sword must be killed with the sword." So read Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Douay-Rheims 1582, the Geneva Bible 1587, Wesley's translation 1755, the Revised Version 1881, Darby, Youngs, the American Standard Version 1901, Weymouth 1902, Rotherham's Emphasized bible 1902, Lamsa, Etheridge and Murdocks three different translations of the Syriac Peshitta, Williams N.T. 1937, Goodspeed 1943, J.B. Phillips N.T. 1962, the World English Bible, the New Berkeley Version in Modern English 1969, the New English Bible 1970, the NKJV 1982, the Amplified Bible 1987, the NASB 1960-1995, the RSV 1952 - "if any one slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain." the NRSV 1989, Green's literal 2000, the Third Millenium Bible 1998 and even the 2002 paraphrase called the Message.
However, later on, they once again changed the Nestle-Aland (UBS) Greek text and they decided to follow the reading of ONE manuscript, (according to the UBS Greek text 4th edition,) that is, Alexandrinus. This single manuscript changes the reading from "he that killeth" to "he that is to be killed." (passive voice, that is, he is the one being killed by another). The NIV 1977-1984 , the 2001 ESV, the 2003 Holman Standard, Dan Wallace's NET version and the 2011 Common English Version have now adopted this variant reading based on one manuscript, and they now read: "IF ANYONE IS TO BE KILLED with the sword, with the sword he will be killed."
Westcott and Hort themselves as well as Tischendorf and the previous Nestle critical Greek texts (I have a copy of the Nestle 4th edition 1934 and the Nestle 21st edition 1975) all read εἴ τις ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτενεῖ, δεῖ αὐτὸν ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτανθῆναι. = If any by the sword KILLS, HE MUST be killed by the sword." Just like the KJB has it. But then later on, the Nestle 27th edition has changed their text and it now reads: εἴ τις ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτανθῆναι αὐτὸν ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτανθῆναι. = if any IS TO BE KILLED, with the sword HE IS to be killed." The latest, ever changing critical Greek Vatican text has now changed an present active indicative verb (kills=ἀποκτενεῖ) to a passive infinitive (to be killed =ἀποκτανθῆναι) and they omitted to previous word "ought to" or "it is necessary" = δεῖ
Notice that the RSV and NRSV both followed the King James reading, but now the new ESV (a revision of the old RSV, NRSV) has now "scientifically" decided to go along with the NIV and follow a different text based on just one manuscript.
Actually, if you stop and think about it, the variant textual reading now adopted by the latest UBS, Nestle-Aland critical texts and several of the latest modern versions is the stupidest reading possible. The whole parallel idea of righteous retribution is lost (you reap what you sow) and the painfully obvious is stated twice. The KJB says: "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: and he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword." = just retribution for ones actions. However versions like the ESV, NIV, NET and Holman now read: "If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword he must be slain." Well, Duh!
Among the Catholic versions we see the same typical confusion. The 1582 Douay-Rheims as well as the 1950 Douay read like the Traditional Greek text and the KJB with "he that shall kill by the sword must be killed by the sword." Then the Catholic St. Joseph NAB changed their Greek text and reads like the ESV, NIV, NET, Holman versions with "if anyone is destined to be slain by the sword, by the sword he will be slain." BUT now the 2009 Catholic Public Domain version has come out and it has gone back to the previous reading of "he that shall kill with the sword must be killed by the sword." This is how the scholars' game is played.
We might point out to Mr. James White that not only do his recommended "reliable and trustworthy versions" fail to follow the Majority reading here, but can't seem to agree among themselves as to which Greek text to follow either. The RV, ASV, NKJV, NASB go one way and the ESV, NIV another.
"My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and MEDDLE NOT WITH THEM THAT ARE GIVEN TO CHANGE." Proverbs 24:21
Revelation 14:1 KJB - “And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.”
ESV (NASB, NIV, NET, Catholic versions, J.W. New World Translation) - “Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had HIS NAME AND his Father's name written on their foreheads.”
There is basically only one major variant reading in this verse, but it is surrounded by some very strange readings. The addition of the reading “HIS NAME AND” (τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ καὶ) comes into the Critical text mainly through Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus and C, though it is in many others as well, but these are usually ignored by the Critical text scholars.
However among these three codexes there are some very unique readings. In the previous verse (Rev. 13:18) where most mss. read the beasts number as being 666, codex C actually says 616 instead. And though both Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus tell us the number of the redeemed in 14:1 is 144,000, yet just two verses later (Rev. 14:3) where most manuscripts again repeat the number as being 144,000 Sinaiticus had 141,000 and codex C omits the words “and the elders” and tells us there were 140,000 instead of 144,000.
Then in 14:4 “these were redeemed FROM AMONG MEN”, C omits the words “FROM AMONG MEN”, and instead of “being THE FIRSTFRUITS unto God” Sinaiticus says “FROM THE BEGINNING unto God”.
Then in 14:10 we read of “the presence of the HOLY angels”, but Alexandrinus omits the word HOLY and in 14:13 we read of those “which die in THE LORD” but codex C says “which die in CHRIST”, instead.
Such is the nature of these so called “oldest and best manuscripts” all through the New Testament.
The additional words “HIS NAME AND” his Father’s name written in their foreheads” are found in the Latin Vulgate, Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, C, and even in the “majority” text.
But keep in mind that there are several readings, particularly in Revelation that are “majority” that nobody follows. For example, in Revelation 4:8 where the four beasts cry day and night “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY”, the “Majority text” (Hodges and Farstad 1982) actually says “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY” (9 times!) and Sinaiticus had the word “holy” 8 times! Yet nobody follows either one of these readings.
So they appear in ALL Catholic versions like the Douay-Rheims, the St. Joseph New American bible 1970, the New Jerusalem bible 1985, the Jehovah Witness New World Translation and most Critical Text versions like the ASV, NASB, RSV, ESV, NIV, Holman and NET versions.
However the Traditional Reformation text did not contain these extra words, but said simply that the 144,000 have His Father’s name in their foreheads.
Agreeing with the King James Bible reading are Lamsa’s 1933 translation of the ancient Syriac Peshitta version - “a hundred and forty-four thousand in number, having the name of his Father written on their brows.”, Tyndale 1525 - “havynge his fathers name written in their forhedes.”, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, Worsley N.T. 1770, Thomas Haweis N.T. 1795, Webster’s Bible 1833, the Living Oracles 1835, Julia Smith Translation 1855, Sawyer N.T. 1858, Young’s literal 1898, the NKJV 1982, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, Green’s literal Translation 2000, the English Jubilee Bible 2010 and the Natural Israelite Bible 2012 - “having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
The Modern Greek Bible - “εχουσαι το ονομα του Πατρος αυτου γεγραμμενον επι των μετωπων αυτων.” = “having the name of his Father written on their foreheads.” and the Modern Hebrew Bible - וארא והנה שה עמד על הר ציון ועמו מאת אלף וארבעים וארבעה אלפים הנשאים שם אביו כתוב על מצחותם׃ = "having his Father's name written on their foreheads."
Foreign language Bibles that read like the KJB are Luther’s German Bible 1545 and the 2000 German Schlachter Bible - “die hatten den Namen seines Vaters geschrieben an ihrer Stirn.” = “who had his Father’s name written in their forehead”, the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602, Corregida 1865, the Reina Valera 1909 and Reina Valera Gómez 2010 - “que tenían el Nombre de su Padre escrito en sus frentes.”, the French Martin 1744 and French Ostervald 1996- “qui avaient le Nom de son Père écrit sur leurs fronts.”, the Portuguese Almeida Corregida 1681 - “que em suas testas tinham escrito o nome de seu Pai.”
Other Foreign language Bibles that read like the KJB are the Dutch Staten Vertaling - “hebbende den Naam Zijns Vaders geschreven aan hun voorhoofden.”, the Czech Kralicka Bible - “ majících jméno Otce jeho napsané na čelích svých.” = “having his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”, the Finnish Bible 1776 - “ joilla oli hänen Isänsä nimi kirjoitettu heidän otsissansa.”, the Hungarian Karoli Bible - “ a kiknek homlokán írva vala az õ Atyjának neve.”, the Russian Synodal Version - “ у которых имя Отца Его написано на челах.”, the Smith & van Dyck’s Arabic Bible - ثم نظرت واذا خروف واقف على جبل صهيون ومعه مئة واربعة واربعون الفا لهم اسم ابيه مكتوبا على جباههم. and the 2012 Romanian Fidela Bible - “având numele Tatălui său scrise pe frunţile lor.” = “having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” , the 1998 Tagalog Ang Salita ng Diyos Bible - “Siya ay may kasaman May nakasulat na pangalan ng kaniyang ama sa kanilang mga noo.”, and the 2013 Updated Polish Gdansk Bible - “ którzy mieli imię jego Ojca wypisane na czołach.”
Again, you have a choice between the Traditional Reformation text and the Vatican Versions.
Revelation 14:4 "These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb." So read all the bible versions, but the Majority text has: "These were redeemed BY JESUS from among men, the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb." No version follows the Majority text here.
It is of interest to note that Sinaiticus reads in this place: "these were redeemed from among men FROM THE BEGINNING unto God and to the Lamb" instead of "the firstfruits", yet the NASB, NIV, ESV etc. did not follow this "oldest and best" manuscript, nor that of the Majority text reading of "Jesus".
While we are here in Revelation 14 let's look at Mr. White's comment on Revelation 14:1. On page 65 he says: "Another important accidental deletion in the text of Revelation is found at the beginning of chapter 14."
The NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, and the Catholic versions all contain a few words not found in the Greek texts used in the making of the King James Bible. The NASB reads: "Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000, HAVING HIS NAME and the name of His Father written on their foreheads."
James then goes to say that the omission of the words "having his name" is found in only six Greek manuscripts. Well, need I point out that 6 Greek manuscripts is far more support for the KJB reading than that of many readings found in such versions as the NASB, NIV and RSV?
Not only does the King James Bible not contain the extra words of "having His name", but neither do Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549 - "Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Webster's, Youngs, the NKJV 1982, Green's Modern KJV, the KJV 21st Century, the Third Millenium Bible, Luther's German Bible, the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569, the Reina Valera of 1569, 1602, 1858 and 1909 - "con él ciento cuarenta y cuatro mil, que tenían el nombre de su Padre escrito en sus frentes.", the Portuguese de Almeida of 1681 - "e com ele cento e quarenta e quatro mil, que em suas testas tinham escrito o nome de seu Pai.", the French Martin 1744 and French Ostervald of 1996 - "qui avaient le Nom de son Père écrit sur leurs fronts."the Dutch Staten Vertaling, and the Modern Greek version which is used by the entire Greek Orthodox church - "και μετ' αυτου εκατον τεσσαρακοντα τεσσαρες χιλιαδες, εχουσαι το ονομα του Πατρος αυτου γεγραμμενον επι των μετωπων αυτων." The Greek texts of Stephanus, Beza, Elziever and Scrivenir do not contain these extra words Mr. White is so concerned about.
To show the fickle inconsistency of scholars like James White it should also be pointed out that in Revelation 14:3 we read: "And they sung AS IT WERE a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no one could learn that song but the HUNDRED AND FORTY AND FOUR THOUSAND, which were redeemed from the earth."
In this verse the word for "as it were" ('ws) IS FOUND in the TR and in the present Nestle-Aland, UBS Greek texts, A and C. The Nestle-Aland text used to omit the word, but later editions now put it back in. But Sinaiticus omits the word and so do the NASB, ESV, New Jerusalem and the NIV. Instead of reading "the 144,000 which were redeemed" Sinaiticus actually reads 141,000 while manuscript C has 140,000! But nobody followed these readings here.
Revelation 15:3 "thou King of saints"
One of the silliest comments James makes is his criticism of the KJB reading found in Revelation 15:3. Here we read: "And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy words, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King OF SAINTS."
James says on page 66 that King of saints "should be either "King of the AGES (NIV) or "King of THE NATIONS" (NASB), the TR's reading again fails to have Greek manuscript support."
James is such a joker, isn't he? In his book he recommends three different versions as being "reliable and trustworthy" - the NASB, the NIV and the NKJV, yet all three of these "reliable versions" differ from each other, and every "erroneous" reading of the KJB in the book of Revelation that he discusses in his book is also found in the NKJV which he recommends! Then he now gives us two different versions with two different readings, and then lies when he says the KJB reading fails to have Greek manuscript support. The proof that James is either lying or is an incompetent "scholar" is that if he had bothered to consult even his own UBS Greek textual apparatus he would have noticed that the UBS First edition notes here at Revelation 15:3 that the reading of "king of SAINTS" is found in mss. 296, and 2049 and is so quoted by Victorinus-Pettau, Tyconius, Apringius and Cassiodorus. The UBS 4th edition omits a lot of this information, but still lists mss. 2049 as reading like the KJB does in this verse. As the UBS texts continue to change every few years, they omit more and more textual evidence that is found that supports the KJB readings. They want people to think there is little or no evidence for the readings found in the Traditional Greek texts that underlie the KJB and the Reformation bibles. They are not at all interested in giving information that supports these readings, and seem to only do so occasionally and reluctantly.
You can even go online and see The Greek New Testament site for variant readings and listed there is this support for the reading found in the King James Bible and in most Reformation Bibles - "king of SAINTS".
This site lists in favor of the KJB reading:
ἁγίων 296 2049 Victorinus-Pettau Tyconius Apringius Cassiodorus When Mr. White affirms in no uncertain terms: "the TR's reading again fails to have Greek manuscript support." he is either lying to us, or he is incompetent. Who knows? He might even be an incompetent liar ;-)
Where did Erasmus, Stephans, Beza and Elziever brothers get their Greek readings? They must have had Greek manuscripts in their possession at the time they made up their N.T. Greek texts. Erasmus didn't use the Latin Vulgate texts because the Latin Vulgate does not read "king of saints" but "king of the ages".
Of these four early church fathers who also quoted Revelation 15:3 as the KJB has it - "king of saints" we have Victorinus-Pettau who around the year 270 A.D. wrote commentaries on the book of Revelation as well as Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Matthew and other books of the Bible. His works were later anathemetized by Pope Gelasius 1. The only surviving work of his it this commentary on Revelation and according to the UBS's own notes he quoted the verse as it stands in the TR that underlies the KJB and all other Reformation bibles.
We also have Tyconius who around 370 A.D. also wrote a commentary on the book of Revelation and he quotes the verse as it stands in the KJB.
Then there is Apringius who himself wrote another commentary on the book of Revelation in the 6th century and it says the same thing as the Textus Receptus - "king of saints".
And lastly we have the Roman statesman and writer Cassiodorus who around 460 to 485 established a library of Greek and Latin texts and himself wrote a commentary on the book of Psalms, and he makes reference to Revelation 15:3 and quotes it as it stands in the Textus Receptus.
So it should be obvious that there have existed throughout the centuries Greek manuscripts that did contain this reading long before Erasmus and all the others included it in their Greek textual editions for the complete New Testament.
In addition to this we have the comments made by several well known Bible commentators about this verse.
According the Jack Moorman's book, When the KJV Departs from the "Majority" Text, on page 110 he gives the evidence for the reading found in the King James Bible. The same reading "King of SAINTS" is also that of Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthews Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, the Worsley Version 1770, the Living Oracles 1835, Young's 1890, Webster's 1833, Luther's German Bible of 1545 - "du König der Heiligen!", the Russian Synodal Bible of 1876 -"Царь святых!", the Dutch Staten Vertaling Bible - "Gij Koning der heiligen!", the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909, 1960 and 1995, and the 2004 Reina Valera Gómez Bible -"Rey de los santos.", the NKJV 1982, KJV 21st Century, Green's Modern KJV 2000, the French Martin 1744 and French Ostervald 1996 - "Tes voies sont justes et véritables, ô Roi des saints!", the Portuguese de Almeida of 1681 and the modern Bíblia Sagrada - " ó Rei dos santos." and the Modern Greek Bible as can be seen at The Unbound Bible site - "βασιλευ των αγιων." This is the reading found in the Greek manuscripts of 296, 2049 and 2066. It is also the reading of the Greek texts of Stephanus, Beza, Elziever, and the Trinity Bible Society Scrivener text. And as we have seen, "King of saints" is also quoted by various church fathers such as Victorinus, Tyconius, Apringius, and Cassiodorus.
Not even the modern versions agree among themselves. The UBS text says "king of NATIONS" and so read the NASB, NRSV, ESV, Jerusalem bible, and Holman Standard. However, versions like the Revised Version, the American Standard Version, RSV, Douay, and the NIV 1984 all read: "king of THE AGES". There is no Vaticanus mss. for Revelation, but the other so called "oldest and best mss." - Sinaiticus - originally read "ages" then it was changed to "nations" and then somebody changed it once again to "ages".
Further confusion and contradictions found in these "oldest and best manuscripts". The reading of "nations" is found in manuscript A (Alexandrinus) but C reads "ages", but in Revelation 15:6 of this same chapter instead of the seven angels clothed "in pure and white LINEN" (which is the TR and Sinaiticus) both A and C have the angels clothed "IN STONE". This was the reading adopted by Westcott and Hort and how the Revised Version of 1885 and the ASV of 1901 actually read! But then the textual critics later "scientifically" decided to go back to the reading of "clean and white LINEN".
John Gill (1697-1771) comments on Revelation 15:3 saying: "thou King of saints: the Alexandrian copy, one of Stephens's, the Complutensian edition, and Arabic version, read, "King of nations", the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions read, "King of ages" but the generality of copies read as we have it."
Barnes' Notes on the New Testament Commentary says: "Thou King of saints. King of those who are holy; of all who are redeemed and sanctified. The more approved reading here, however, is King of nations--\~o basileuv twn eynwn\~--instead of King of saints--\~twn agiwn\~. So it is read in the critical editions of Griesbach, Tittmann, and Hahn."
Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament notes: "Some MSS. have "the king of the saints" and some "the king of the nations."
But then, so you get a better idea of how the Scholar's Shell Game Shuffle works-
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown (around 1870) tell us: "saints--There is no manuscript authority for this." Do you see how the game is played?
Notice that the RV, and ASV read "king of the ages", but then the revision NASB changed this to "king of nations". The RSV read "ages" but the revisions of the RSV now read "nations". The Douay read "ages" but the other Catholic revision now says "nations". The NIV 1984 edition says "ages" too, but wait! Now the revision of the NIV has come out in 2010 along with the TNIV of 2005 and they both say: "king of the NATIONS". NONE of the revisions agree with the previous versions, and yet Mr. White has the temerity to recommend three different bible versions, none of which agrees with the others, and then he incorrectly affirms that the KJB reading "fails to have Greek support." In addition to this, of the three "reliable versions" James recommends in his book, one of the three, the NKJV, also reads "king of saints", the reading he just got done criticizing! In fact, in his book in chapter 4 which he calls "Putting it Together" James goes through a whole laundry list of whole verses and particular textual readings that he thinks the KJB got wrong. Just for the book of Revelation, from pages 63 to 66 he lists no less than nine (9) readings found in the KJB that he thinks are in error, based on the wrong texts or not found in any Greek manuscripts. These are Revelation 1:6; 1:8; 5:14; 14:1; 15:3; 16:5; 17:4; 17:8 and 22:19. And in the rest of the chapter he lists another 20 verses (29 total) that he thinks are based on the wrong texts and these include Matthew 20:22; Luke 2:22; 17:36 (whole verse); John 1:28; 8:59; 16:33; Acts 8:37 (whole verse); Acts 9:5-6; Romans 4:1; 8:11; 10:17; 12:11; Ephesians 1:18; 3:9; 1 Tim. 1:4; 2 Tim. 2:19; Hebrews 9:21; James 2:18 and 1 John 5:7. Yet every one of these 29 alleged "errors" in the KJB are also found in the same NKJV which James recommends as one of his three "reliable and trustworthy" versions!!! Would you trust this man to sell you a used car?
Revelation 17:4 "And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour....having a golden cup in her had full of abominations and FILTHINESS of her fornication."
Here Mr. White again reveals his blind bias and ignorance against the Book of books. On page 64 of his book he criticizes this passage as found in the KJB by saying: "The most famous of these textual errors are found in Revelation chapter 17. In verse 4 the scribe created a new Greek word, never before seen, "akathartetos" - the actual term is "akatharta" - which is still to be found in the pages of the Trinitarian Bible Society's Textus Receptus. And then there is Revelation 17:8, where the scribe mistakenly wrote "and is not, and yet is" KJV, for the actual reading "and is not and will come" NASB".
I have run into this false allegation by other Bible critics over the years. They tell us that there is no such Greek word as "akathartetos", but according to several Greek lexicons there is such a word. There is a textual variant here with this word. It is ironic that the Greek text that underlies the UBS and the NASB, NIV, RSV versions is actually grammatically INCORRECT. The words "abominations and filthiness" should grammatically both be in the genitive case, and they are in the TR, but the Nestle text commits a blunder by placing "abominations" in the genitive, but gives a plural rather than a singular word, and places it incorrectly in the accusative case.
Thayer's lexicon is the only one that tries to "correct" the KJB reading, and even he does not go as far as James White to suggest that the scribe invented a non-existing Greek word. Thayer merely says of akathartetos "impurity - Rev. 17:4 - not found elsewhere, and the reading here is ta akatharta."
All Thayer does is give the incorrect plural accusative word found in the UBS text, but he does not say the KJB word (which again, is the only grammatically correct word in the sentence) is non-existent. Liddell and Scott's Abridged English-Greek Lexicon, 17th edition, 1887, on page 23 merely gives the Greek word as found in the Textus Receptus and says that it equals the other Greek word akatharsia. No mention is made that it is a fake word.
Likewise the Baer, Arndt, and Gingrich English - Greek Lexicon, page 28, gives the Greek word as found in the TR and references Revelation 17:4, and gives the definition of "uncleanness" with no mention of it not being a legitimate Greek word.
Even Vine's Expository Dictionary of N.T. Words on page 1189 merely says: "The A.V. follows texts which have the noun akathartes - filthiness."
Also showing the inconsistency of Mr. White's arguments regarding Revelation 17:4 we should consider the following point. In the KJB we read: "full of abominations and filthiness of HER fornication." This is likewise the reading of all the versions, but the Majority text says: "full of abominations and filthiness of THE fornication OF THE EARTH". Sinaiticus again is corrupted and reads: "full of abominations and filthy things of HER fornication AND OF THE EARTH." No version adopts the readings here of either the Majority text or that of Sinaiticus.
Revelation 17:8 "and they shall wonder, whose NAMES were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and YET IS." The reading "and yet is", criticized by Mr. White, is the reading found in several Greek texts, including Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, Elziever and Scrivenir. It is also the reading found in the 1569 Spanish Sagradas Escrituras which reads: "los moradores de la tierra, (cuyos nombres no están escritos en el libro de la vida desde la fundación del mundo,) se maravillarán viendo la bestia que era, y no es, aunque es." = yet is.
The reading James White prefers - "is not, and will come" is not that found in the TR or in Sinaiticus. The Sinaitucus manuscript actually has had three different readings. The first Sinaiticus reading apparently was "and AGAIN shall be", but then another scribe changed this to the absurd "and again YOU ARE" and finally another scribe changed it to read "and IS", which essentially agrees with the KJB reading of "and yet is". Jack Moorman points out that not only does the Sinaiticus third reading give the same sense as that found in the TR, but so also do manuscripts 2049, 1854, 2014, 2034 plus 31 other Andreas type manuscripts.
Mr. Moorman points out: "Keep in mind that the context of the reading is the future tribulation, not John's day. It strains the sense to be looking at something that "will come". NASB - "Those who dwell on the earth will wonder...when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come." When the world looks at him, he IS, not "shall be".
There is a great deal of confusion found in the existing texts of Revelation 17:8 regarding the various readings of "and yet is" or "and shall be" or simply omitting the phrase altogether. The Latin Vulgate of 380 and 420 A.D. simply omit the phrase, and so do Tyndale, Coverdale and the Catholic Douay. Sinaiticus original reads "and again shall be", but Sinaiticus correction says "and is". Vaticanus omits all of Revelation, so it is of no help in determining the correct reading. Modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV have chosen to follow Alexandrinus here, but often reject the readings of Alexandrinus in other places in the book of Revelation.
The versions translated from the Syriac are also in disagreement, even with each other. Lamsa's translation reads: "the beast that was, and is, and NOW WHOSE END HAS COME", while Murdoch's translation reads: "the beast that was, and IS NOT AND APPROACHETH."
The reading of "the beast that was, and is not, and YET IS" is found in the Geneva Bible, Bishops' Bible, the NKJV, Young's, Green's Modern KJV, the KJV 21, Third Millenium Bible, Las Sagradas Escrituras of 1569, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909, and the Italian Diodati of 1649 - la bestia che era, e non è, e pure è.", the French Martin 1744 - "qui n'est plus, et qui toutefois est." and French Ostervald 1996. It is also the reading in the Greek texts of Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, Elziever and Scrivenir. It is a somewhat amusing to see men like James White criticize the KJB reading here, and yet at the same time recommend the NKJV as being a reliable version, when it reads the same way as the King James Bible.
Another textual difference in Revelation 17:8 is between the plural reading of "whose names were not written" which is found in many Greek manuscripts including Sinaiticus and is the reading of the KJB, NKJV, NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV and Holman Standard; but the NASB, ASV follow the Alexandrinus manuscript and make it singular "whose name was not written."
The last major complaint James has about the KJB that I wish to mention in this article is the oft repeated claim that in the final chapter of the book of Revelation the King James Bible tells us that for those who take away from the words of this book, God shall take away his part out of THE BOOK of life." James asserts that Erasmus got this reading, not from any Greek manuscript, but from the Vulgate, and that it should properly read "tree of life" as do the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV and Holman Standard.
I have already put together an article dealing with this verse where I and others show that "book of life" is indeed found in some Greek manuscripts, in many Bible versions both old and new, (in English and many foreign languages), and is so quoted by various church fathers in their writings. It can be seen here:
All of the examples of alleged errors in the King James Bible that James White lists in his book can be answered with a little study and comparison of the various Bible versions both old and new. The simple fact is that James White does not believe in the inerrancy of any Scripture we can hold in our hands and read with full confidence that we are reading the very words of God. All he has to offer us is an endless series of conflicting and contradictory ball-park approximations of what God might or might not have said.
It is somewhat humorous to see his "political correctness" in recommending to his readers the NKJV along with the NASB and the NIV as being "reliable and trustworthy versions", and then turn around and criticize many readings as being erroneous which are also found in one of his recommended bibles. It seems Mr. White's real agenda is: #1 the promotion of uncertainty regarding the inerrancy of Scripture, #2 himself as the "final authority", and #3 "anything but the King James Bible" as the source of relative Truth. It's all a big, tragic Shell Game. "Now you see it, and now you don't."
"Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail" Isaiah 34:16
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