John 5:3-4 The Troubling of the Water
Many modern versions and some "scholars" cast doubt on the authenticity of the inspired words we find in John 5:3-4. Here we read of the pool of Bethesda, having five porches.
KJB (NASB 1995 edition, ISV 2014, Holman Standard 2009, Legacy N.T. 2021) John 5:3 - "In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, WAITING FOR THE MOVING OF THE WATER.
John 5:4 - FOR AN ANGEL WENT DOWN AT A CERTAIN SEASON INTO THE POOL, AND TROUBLED THE WATER: WHOSOEVER THEN FIRST AFTER THE TROUBLING OF THE WATER STEPPED IN WAS MADE WHOLE OF WHATSOEVER DISEASE HE HAD."
ESV John 5:3: - (NASB 2020 edition, NIV, NET, Jehovah Witness NWT, modern Catholic versions - "In these lay a multitude of invalids - blind, lame and paralyzed........................"
John 5:4 ..................................................................................................................................................
All these capitalized words are omitted in such modern versions as the NASB 2020 edition, ASV, NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, Wallaces NET version, Common English bible, and the Message. They are also omitted in the Jehovah Witness New World Translation and in the more modern Catholic versions like the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible 1985.
The Greek texts that omit most of these words are Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, P66 and P75. However as we shall soon see, these so called "oldest and best" manuscripts, which are all from a localized area in Alexandria Egypt, are in constant disagreement even among themselves.
See many concrete examples of how these so called "oldest and best" are in constant disagreement with each other =
The NASB is of interest because of its confusion and constant changes to the text. From 1963 to at least 1972 they omitted all these words from their text and consigned them to a marginal note which said "many authorities insert..."
However in 1977 and again in 1995 the NASB has now once again placed these words in their text but placed [brackets] around them, thus indicating doubt as to their authenticity. But wait! Now, once again in the NASB 2020 edition they have once again omitted this verse along with about 10 others they previously had in the 1995 edition.
See - Textual Differences between the NASB 1995 edition and the NASB 2020 edition.https://brandplucked.webs.com/nasb-2020-vs-1995-editions
We should logically ask Mr. James White and the other NASB scholars this simple question. Are these verses inspired Scripture or not? Do they belong in the Text or not? Make up your minds for us, please. Either put them in or leave them out once and for all.
The Catholic Connection
Likewise the Catholic versions are all over the map. The 1582 Douay-Rheims included both verses with no brackets or footnotes as also did the 1950 Douay-Rheims. Then the Catholic Jerusalem Bible came out in 1968 and it also included all of verse 3 and all of verse 4 in its text with no brackets and no footnotes.
Then the 1970 Catholic St. Joseph New American Bible came out and it included the last 7 words of verse three but omitted all of verse four. Then in a footnote the NAB criticizes the existence of verse 4 as "missing in our best Greek witnesses", yet it grudgingly admits that "toward the end of the second century in the West, and among the fourth century Greek Fathers, there is knowledge of this additional verse."
Then in 1985 the NEW Jerusalem bible appeared on the scene and it has once again omitted the last 7 words of verse 3 and all of verse 4, with a lame footnote telling us that "some witnesses add....".
But wait. There's more. Now the 2009 the latest Catholic Public Domain Version has come out and they have gone back to including both verses in full with no brackets or footnotes! Seems like the Catholics are not the only ones who don't have an inspired and inerrant Bible.
One of many Bible critics who do not believe that ANY Bible in ANY language IS or ever was the complete and infallible words of God is Dave Miller, Phd. He is the Executive Director of Apologetics Press.
He has written an article criticizing the reading found in the King James Bible, in which he says: "The ultimate answer to this challenge to the Bible's integrity is found in the fact that the last part of John 5:3 and the entirety of verse four were NOT a part of the original inspired autograph by John. The oldest, most reliable manuscripts omit the words, and with near unanimity scholars agree that the preponderance of the evidence shows its spurious status to be "virtually certain" (Metzger, 1971, p. 209). Renowned Greek scholar A.T. Robertson observed: "It is a relief to many to know that the verse is spurious" (1932, 5:79)."
Note: It is so funny to hear these scholarly types discussing "the Bibles integrity" when none of them actually believes that any Bible or any text in any language out there in print is now the complete and inerrant word of God.
Mr. Miller often quotes from the NKJV in his articles, yet he obviously does not believe even the "bible" he quotes from is the pure word of God. You see, his own NKJV also contains the very words Mr. Miller criticizes as being spurious and uninspired.
The full quote from A.T. Robertson is this. "All of this verse is wanting in the oldest and best manuscripts like Aleph B C D W 33 Old Syriac, Coptic versions, Latin Vulgate. It is undoubtedly added, like the clause in verse 3, to make clearer the statement in verse 7. Tertullian is the earliest writer to mention it. The Jews explained the healing virtues of the intermittent spring by the ministry of angels. But the periodicity of such angelic visits makes it difficult to believe. It is a relief to many to know that the verse is spurious."
Actually, "renowned Greek scholar A.T. Robertson" is misleading and inaccurate in the information he provides. Even the recent Nestle-Aland 27th edition critical text acknowledges that verse four is found in the Majority of all Greek manuscripts, the Old Latin, the Vulgate Clementine, the Syriac Peshitta and Harkelian, and in some copies of the Coptic Boharic ancient versions.
And he is flat out wrong about the Latin Vulgate. It contains all these verses and words. You can see it yourself here -
The Latin Vulgate 382-405 A.D.
3 In his jacebat multitudo magna languentium, cæcorum, claudorum, aridorum, exspectantium aquæ motum.
4 Angelus autem Domini descendebat secundum tempus in piscinam, et movebatur aqua. Et qui prior descendisset in piscinam post motionem aquæ, sanus fiebat a quacumque detinebatur infirmitate.
5 Erat autem quidam homo ibi triginta et octo annos habens in infirmitate sua.
As for Robertson's codex C, it was amended to now agree with the reading found in the King James Bible, and the codex D he mentions retains the words Robertson would have us omit from verse three. Robertson's "oldest and best manuscripts" can't even agree among themselves.
The fickle nature of their "science" of textual criticism is seen in that ALL these words were found in all Traditional Text Bible translations from the very beginning and in all Reformation Bibles in all languages. But Westcott and Hort decided to omit them.
But, later on the Nestle critical Greek text put them back in the text! I have a copy of the Nestle critical Greek text 4th edition printed in 1934. Guess what. It contains ALL the missing words IN THE TEXT.
But later on the same Nestle-Aland group of 'scholars' decided to once again remove all these words from verses 3 and 4. It seems Robertson and the Nestle-Aland people can't get their stories straight.
James White will NEVER show you a copy of this "Bible" that he SAYS he believes is the infallible words of God. Don't believe it? Just ask him.
Likewise, and not surprisingly, James White also criticizes these verses as found in the King James Bible. In his book, The King James Only Controversy, Mr. White says on page 156: "This verse provides a classic example of how a marginal note explaining something in the text can end up as part of the text somewhere down the line. John's reference to the pool of Bethesda and the sick lying about it would be confusing to some. A marginal note explaining the traditional belief of the Jews regarding the angel stirring the waters COULD HAVE easily been accidentally inserted into the text by a later copyist, thinking that it was actually a part of the text that had been accidentally left out and placed in the margin."
Well, it's nice of Mr. White to give us his conjectures and personal theories, but we may well turn the tables on his view and suggest that some few scribes may have had a problem with what the verses clearly say and simply removed them.
Not only are the verses found in the Majority of all Greek texts, including at least 22 uncial copies, but, as Dean Burgon and Jack Moormon note, so also in the Old Latin copies of a, aur, b, c, e, ff2, g1, j, r1, Latin Vulgate, the Vulgate Clementine, the Syriac Peshitta, Harclean, Palestinian, some Coptic Boharic copies, the Armenian and the Ethiopian ancient versions.
Jack Moorman significantly points out that by omitting the last part of verse three and all of verse four, we then have no explanation as to why all those people were gathered at the pool, and verse 7 makes no sense at all. Verse seven states: "The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me."
Both Burgon and Moorman also confirm that the verses in question are quoted by many early church Fathers including Tertullian 200 A.D; Tatian 175 A.D., Gregory of Nazianzus 390 A.D.; Ambrose, Chrysostom 390 A.D. and Didymus 379 A.D, Ammonius, Hilary, Ephraem the Syrian, Nilus, Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria, Augustine, and Theodorus Studita. (See Burgon, The Traditional Text, Volume 1 pages 82-84).
Many early church writers testified to the legitimacy of these verses -"And there was in Jerusalem a place prepared for bathing, which was called in Hebrew the House of Mercy, having five porches. And there were laid in them much people of the sick, and blind, and lame, and paralysed, WAITING FOR THE MOVING OF THE WATER. AND THE ANGEL FROM TIME TO TIME WENT DOWN INTO THE PLACE OF BATHING, AND MOVED THE WATER; AND THE FIRST THAT WENT DOWN AFTER THE MOVING OF THE WATER, EVERY PAIN THAT HE HAD WAS HEALED." Tatian (140 AD), Diatessaron
Tertullian (160-221 A.D.) in one sermon On Baptism makes it clear that the passage was in the early manuscript that he was using for he says, "If it seems a novelty for an angel to be present in waters, an example of what was to come to pass has forerun. An angel, by his intervention, was want to stir the pool at Bethsaida. They who were complaining of ill-health used to watch for him; for whoever had been the first to descend into them, after his washing ceased to complain." (On Baptism I: 1:5)
"Therefore it is said: AN ANGEL OF THE LORD WENT DOWN ACCORDING TO THE SEASON INTO THE POOL, AND THE WATER WAS TROUBLED; AND HE WHO FIRST AFTER THE TROUBLING OF THE WATER WENT DOWN INTO THE POOL WAS HEALED OF WHATSOEVER DISEASE HE WAS HOLDEN." Ambrose (339 - 397 AD), On The Mysteries, Chapter 4
"And all benediction has its origin from His operation, AS WAS SIGNIFIED IN THE MOVING OF THE WATER AT BETHESDA." Ambrose (339 - 397 AD), On The Holy Spirit, 1.7
"You read, too, in the Gospel that THE ANGEL DESCENDED AT THE APPOINTED TIME INTO THE POOL AND TROUBLED THE WATER, AND HE WHO FIRST WENT DOWN INTO THE POOL WAS MADE WHOLE." Ambrose (339 - 397 AD), On The Holy Spirit, 1.7
"Now there is at Jerusalem a sheep pool, called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of halt, blind, withered, WAITING FOR THE MOVING OF THE WATER." Chrysostom (347 - 407), John, Homily 36
"Around this pool lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, WAITING FOR THE MOVING OF THE WATER; but then infirmity was a hindrance to him who desired to be healed, now each hath power to approach, FOR NOW IT IS NOT AN ANGEL THAT TROUBLETH, IT IS THE LORD OF ANGELS WHO WORKETH ALL." Chrysostom (347 - 407), John, Homily 36
"WHEN THE ANGEL GAVE THE SIGN BY THE MOVING OF THE WATER. FOR THUS WAS THAT POOL SANCTIFIED, FOR THAT THE ANGEL CAME DOWN AND MOVED THE WATER." Augustine (354 - 430 AD), Sermon 75
"And when did the sick man descend into the pool? WHEN THE ANGEL GAVE THE SIGN BY THE MOVING OF THE WATER." Augustine (354 - 430 AD), Sermon 75
"Bethesda, the pool in Judea, could not cure the limbs of those who suffered from bodily weakness WITHOUT THE ADVENT OF AN ANGEL." Jerome (347 - 420 AD), Against the Luciferians
"And in the same way in the case of the man who had been lying for thirty-eight years near the edge of the pool, AND HOPING FOR A CURE FROM THE MOVING OF THE WATER." John Cassian (365-433 AD), Conferences 13.16
In his book, The Revision Revised, Dean John William Burgon adamantly defends the authenticity of these verses. He says on page 283 regarding the troubling of the pool of Bethesda that this passage "is not even allowed a bracketed place in Dr. Hort's Text. How the accomplished Critic would have set about persuading the Ante-Nicene Fathers that they were in error for holding it to be genuine Scripture, is hard to imagine."
The so called "oldest and best" manuscripts, upon which many modern versions rely, omit not only these verses in John 5, but anywhere from 11 to 45 entire verses from the New Testament. They frequently don't even agree among themselves. Instead of the traditional reading of BETHESDA, Vaticanus reads Bethsaida, D has Belzetha, while Sinaiticus has Bethzatha.
Before going on with what some other scholars of equal or greater learning than those behind the modern version bibles have said regarding John 5:3-4, I would like at this time to mention the long list of Bibles that continue to include all the words found in John 5:3-4.
The Anglo Saxon Gospels 990 A.D.
The oldest Bible translation online that I was able to find is the Anglo Saxon Gospels, of 990 A.D. There is also a copy of the Saxon Gospels from 1175 A.D. Both copies contain all the words in both verses 3 and 4. It is almost impossible to read, but you can clearly see that this very old pre-English translation contained all the words found in
John 5:3-4 This is what it looks like - "John 5:3 on þam porticum læg mycel menygeo ge-adlugra blindra. & healtra ænð forscruncenra & ge-anbidedon þæs wæteres steriunge. John 5:4 "Drihtnes engel com to hys time on þonne mere. & þæt wæter wæs astyred. and se þe raðest com on þonne mere æfter þas wæteres steriunge wærd ge-hæld fram swa hwilcere utrumnysse swa he on wæs."
Bible translations that include the two verses in full are Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible of 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1560-1599, the Beza N.T. 1599, Mace N.T. 1729, Wesley's New Testament 1755, Worsley Version 1770, Haweis N.T. 1795, the Thomson Bible 1808, The Revised Translation 1815, the Living Oracles 1835, Pickering N.T. 1840, Morgan N.T. 1848, the Boothroyd Bbile 1853, The Revised English Bible 1877, Darby 1890, Youngs 1898, J. B. Phillips translation 1962, New Life Version 1969, Living Bible 1971, The New Berkeley Version in Modern English 1969, the NKJV 1982, Amplified Bible 1987, KJV 21st Century 1994, Third Millennium Bible 1998, The New Testament 1999 by Jonathan Mitchell, Green's Modern KJV 2000, Tomson N.T. 2002, The Resurrection Life N.T. 2005, the Concordant Version 2006, the Holman Standard Bible 2009, the Jubilee Bible 2010, the Orthodox Jewish Bible of 2011 and The Legacy New Testament 2021.
Other English Bibles that contain all these words are The Word of Yah 1993, Interlinear Greek N.T. 1997 (Larry Pierce), Lawrie Translation 1998, The Koster Scriptures 1998, God's First Truth 1999, Last Days Bible 1999, The World English Bible 2000, the Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, The Evidence Bible 2003, the Pickering N.T. 2005, the Faithful New Testament 2009, Bond Slave Version 2009, English Majority Text Version 2009 (Paul Esposito), Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, The New European Version 2010, the Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol), Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, The Aramaic N.T. 2011, Far Above All Translation 2011, The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible 2011, Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011, Interlinear Hebrew-Greek Scriptures 2012 (Mebust), Modern English Bible 2012, the Natural Israelite Bible 2012, the International Standard Version 2014, Hebrew Names Version 2014, The Modern Literal New Testament 2014, the Modern English Version 2014, the International Children's Bible 2015 and The New Matthew's Bible 2016.
Now there are several new bible versions recently put out that are based primarily on the Westcott-Hort revised Greek texts which generally omit some 3000 words form the New Testament, and yet they have included all these words in their versions.
These include the Living Bible 1971, the Amplified bible 1987, New Century Version 2005, the Holman Standard of 2009, the 2014 International Standard Version, the Expanded Bible 2011 and The Voice of 2012. All these versions have gone back to including all the words in these two verses. The new versionists are nothing but consistently inconsistent.
Foreign Language Bibles that contain ALL of John 5:3-4
In addition to all these English Bible that contain the ending of verse three and all of verse four, the following foreign language Bibles also contain all these words: The Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, the Spanish Reina Valera 1602, 1909, 1960 and 1995, La Biblia de las Américas 1997 and La Nueva Biblia Latinoamericana de Hoy 2005, the Italian Diodati 1649 and the New Diodati of 1991, the Riveduta 1927, La Parola e Vita 1997, the Afrikaans 1953, Arabic Smith & Van Dyke, and Arabic Easy to Read Version 2009, Basque Navaro-Labourdin, Bulgarian Protestant Bible 2000, Chinese Union Version Traditional, Croatian, Czech, the Danish BPH 2006, Dutch Staten Vertaling, Danish, Finnish, the French Martin 1744, Louis Segond 1910, French Ostervald 1996, the French Louis Segond 21 of 2007, the German Luther 1545 and the 2000 German Schlachter Bible, Icelandic Bible, Hungarian Karoli, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maori Bible, the Netherlands Het Boek 2000, Norwegian En Leavened Bok 1988, the Polish Updated Gdansk Bible 2013, the Romanian Cornilescu Bible and Romanian Fidela Bible 2014, the Portuguese Almeida Corregida 2009 and O Livro 2000, , Russian Synodal Version and the Victor Zhoromsky translation, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Ukranian, Vietnamese
the Modern Greek Bible
3. Εν ταυταις κατεκειτο πληθος πολυ των ασθενουντων, τυφλων, χωλων, ξηρων, οιτινες περιεμενον την κινησιν του υδατος.
4. Διοτι αγγελος κατεβαινε κατα καιρον εις την κολυμβηθραν και εταραττε το υδωρ· οστις λοιπον εισηρχετο πρωτος μετα την ταραχην του υδατος, εγινετο υγιης απο οποιανδηποτε νοσον επασχεν.
and the Modern Hebrew Bible - "שמה שכבו חולים ועורים ופסחים ויבשי כח לרב והמה מיחלים לתנועת המים׃ כי מלאך ירד במועדו אל הברכה וירעש את מימיה והיה הירד ראשון אל תוכה אחרי התגעשו המים הוא נרפא מכל מחלה אשר דבקה בו׃"
The NIVs in other languages
Even though the English version of the NIV omits all these words in John 5:3-4, yet the NIV Portuguese bible of 2000 called Nova Versao Internacional, has them all in the text!
It reads: João 5:3 "Ali costumava ficar grande número de pessoas doentes e inválidas: cegos, mancos e paralíticos. Eles esperavam um movimento nas águas.
João 5:4. De vez em quando descia um anjo do Senhor e agitava as águas. O primeiro que entrasse no tanque, depois de agitadas as águas, era curado de qualquer doença que tivesse."
And among the NIVs in Spanish, the NIV sold in Mexico and South America, called Nueva Versión Internacional, OMITS "waiting for the moving of the waters" from verse 3 and ALL of verse 4. It looks like this -
Juan 5:3 - "En esos pórticos se hallaban tendidos muchos enfermos, ciegos, cojos y paralíticos..............................
Juan 5:4 .........................................................
But the NIV sold in Spain, called Nueva Versión Internacional (Castilian) 2005, OMITS "waiting for the moving of the waters" from verse 3 (even though the Portuguese NIV DOES include them) BUT it adds ALL of verse 4. It looks like this -
Juan 5:3-4 - 3. En esos pórticos se hallaban tendidos muchos enfermos, ciegos, cojos y paralíticos............
4. De cuando en cuando un ángel del Señor bajaba al estanque y agitaba el agua. El primero que entraba en el estanque después de cada agitacíon del agua quedaba sano de cualquier enfermedad que tuviera.
So, the NIV English version omits all these words but the NIV Portuguese version includes them and the NIV Castilian Version adds all of verse 4. Folks, these are the type of "serious bible scholars" we are dealing with here.
Other Bible Scholars and Commentators -
John Calvin included these verses of John 5:3-4 in his translation without any note of doubt as to their authenticity and expounded upon them in great detail. He says: "At intervals - God might have at once, in a single moment, cured them all:, but, as his miracles have their design, so they ought also to have their limit; as Christ also reminds them that, though there were so many that died in the time of Elisha, not more than one child was raised from the dead, (2 Kings 4:32-33) and that, though so many widows were famished during the time of drought, there was but one whose poverty was relieved by Elijah, (1 Kings 17:9; Luke 4:25). Thus the Lord reckoned it enough to give a demonstration of his presence in the case of a few diseased persons. But the manner of curing, which is here described, shows plainly enough that nothing is more unreasonable than that men should subject the works of God to their own judgment; for pray, what assistance or relief could be expected from troubled water? But in this manner, by depriving us of our own senses, the Lord accustoms us to the obedience of faith. We too eagerly follow what pleases our reason, though contrary to the word of God; and, therefore, in order to render us more obedient to him, he often presents to us those things which contradict our reason. Then only do we show our submissive obedience, when we shut our eyes, and follow the plain word, though our own opinion be that what we are doing will be of no avail. We have an instance of this kind in Naaman a Syrian, whom the prophet sends to Jordan, that he may be cured of his leprosy, (2 Kings 5:10) At first, no doubt, he despises it as a piece of mockery, but afterwards he comes actually to perceive that, while God acts contrary to human reason, he never mocks or disappoints us."
Adam Clarke comments: "Waiting for the moving of the water." This clause, with the whole of the fourth verse, is wanting in some MSS. and versions; but I think there is NO SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE AGAINST THEIR AUTHENTICITY." (Caps are mine)
Barne's Notes on the New Testament says: "In regard to this passage, it should be remarked that the account of the angel in the 4th verse is wanting in many manuscripts, and has been by many supposed to be spurious. There is not conclusive evidence, however, that it is not a part of the genuine text, and THE BEST CRITICS SUPPOSE THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE REJECTED." (Caps are mine.)
David Guzik's commentaries does not question the truth of these verses at all, and he comments: "A pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda: This pool has been excavated in the area just north of the temple mount, and found to have five porches, just as John says. There are many unusual occasions healing in the Bible,The purified pot of stew (2 Kings 4:38-41); The healing of Naaman by washing in the Jordan River (2 Kings 5:10-14); The healing of the man who touched the bones of Elisha (2 Kings 13:20-21); Healing of those who have the shadow of Peter upon them (Acts 5:14-16); The healing of those who have Paul's handkerchiefs upon them (Acts 19:11-12)."
Even Jamieson, Fausset and Brown support the verses saying: "The want of John 5:4 and part of John 5:3 in some good manuscripts, and the use of some unusual words in the passage, are more easily accounted for than the evidence in their favor if they were not originally in the text. Indeed John 5:7 is unintelligible without John 5:4."
For more information on the disputes about the inspiration of these verses and why they are a part of God's words, see this site here
In summary, these words found in John 5:3-4 are part of God's precious, inspired and infallible words. Any bible that omits them is to varying degrees a corrupt and incomplete Bible. The only ones that omit these words are the inconsistent witness of the Catholic Church and the new Vatican Version "interconfessional" text United Bible Society versions like the English NIV, [NASBs], ESV, NET, Jehovah Witness New World Translation and some of the modern Catholic versions.
The King James Bible is God's Book of the Lord and the Standard of absolute written truth. Accept no substitutes.
All of grace, believing the Book,
Additional Notes from the Internet -
A brother named Jim wrote me about John 5:4
Jim writes: "John 5:4. I have no difficulty with any of the objections people make to this verse except one. (And thanks, by the way, for addressing the objections people do have to this, in particular, pointing out the other unusual manner of healings that occur in the Bible.) What I have a hard time accepting is that the Lord would heal someone based on whether or not they were capable of getting into the water first. It's as though healing will be available to the "fittest". The ambulatory leper would have a great advantage over the paralytic. I find it hard to accept that the Lord would grant healing to someone simply based on whether or not they could get into the water first.
Some would argue that verse 7 indicates that indeed the Lord did grant healing on this basis. But others will say that verse 7 is merely a correct quotation of what the paralytic believed, but that what he believed was incorrect (i.e.-it was superstition).
I wish I could find another verse in the scriptures that supported the idea that the Lord would grant healing based on "who could get there first". Are you aware of any??
My response: Hi Jim, thanks for writing. As for John 5:4 I see it as the Lord can heal in whatever way He chooses to do so. Why did Jesus apparently ONLY heal this impotent man and not one of all the others that were there? See also Luke 4:25-27 (King James Bible)
25But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
26But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
27And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
PART TWO - THE "OLDEST AND BEST MSS."
The following is just a sampling of some of the divergent readings found in the few conflicting manuscripts that many modern scholars follow in their attempt to overthrow the traditional Received Text of the New Testament.
This handful of older manuscripts are often in complete disagreement among themselves. The ones I will mention are Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, P66, P75, and sometimes C or D too.
In John 3:3 we read “Jesus answered AND SAID UNTO HIM”. So reads Vaticanus, but Sinaiticus omits the words “and said unto him”.
In John 3:8 we read “so is every one that is born of the Spirit”, but Sinaiticus says: “BORN OF WATER and of the Spirit”.
In John 3:5 “he cannot ENTER into the kingdom of GOD”, but Sinaiticus says “he cannot SEE the kingdom of HEAVEN.”
In John 3:20 Sinaiticus omits the words “neither cometh to the light” and it omits all of verse 21: “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”, but they are found in Vaticanus.
In John 3:25 there was a question with THE JEWS (Sinaiticus), but Vaticanus says it was with A JEW.
In John 3:28 we read Jesus’s words saying: “Ye yourselves bear ME witness”, and so read P66, Vaticanus, A and D, along with the NASB, but Sinaiticus and P75 omit this word and so does the NIV.
In John 3:31 the Majority, Vaticanus and P66 say “he that cometh from heaven IS ABOVE ALL”, but Sinaiticus original and P75 omit these words.
In John 3:34 we read that GOD giveth not THE SPIRIT by measure unto him”, yet Vaticanus, Sinaiticus omit the word GOD and so does the NASB, but the NIV retains it, and Vaticanus omits the words THE SPIRIT, but Sinaiticus and the others retain it.
In John 4:1 we read that THE LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus baptized, and this is the reading of P66, P75 and Vaticanus along with the NASB, but Sinaiticus says JESUS and so does the NIV.
In John 4:41 we read: “...his servants met him, AND TOLD HIM, saying THY son liveth.” P75 and Vaticanus omit the words “and told him” and the NASB omits them too, but they are found in the Majority of texts, Sinaiticus and P66 and are included in the NIV. “THY son liveth” is the Majority reading, as well as that of P66 correction, but P75, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus read HIS son lives, and so too the NASB, NIV.
John 5:17 - “But JESUS answered them...”. So read the Majority, P66, A, C, and D and the NIV, but P75, Sin and Vat omit “Jesus” and the NASB simply says “he”.
This may seem minor, but the inconsistency is seen in John 5:19 where again we read: “Then answered JESUS and said unto them...”. This time the word JESUS is in the Majority, P66 and A, while Vaticanus and P75 omit the word JESUS again, but this time the NASB decided to keep it in. They just reversed themselves in their “scientific” method of textual criticism.
John 5:30 “but the will of THE FATHER which hath sent me.” So read the Majority and P66, but Sinaiticus and Vaticanus omit “the Father” and so do the NASB, NIV.
John 5:44 - “and seek not the honour that cometh from GOD only.” Here Vaticanus, P66 and P75 all unite in omitting the word GOD, yet it is in Sinaiticus, A and D and this time the NASB, NIV include it too!
John 6:69 - “we believe and are sure that thou art THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.” So read the Majority of all texts including at least 17 uncials, the Old Latin copies, Syriac, Peshitta, Harkelian, Palestinian, some Coptic Boharic, the Gothic, Armenian and Ethiopic ancient versions. However P66 reads “THE CHRIST, the HOLY ONE OF GOD”, while P75, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus all omit “the Christ” and have instead “the holy one of God”. So read the NASB, NIV.
John 7:8 - Here the Lord says: “I go not up YET unto this feast; for my time is not yet come.” So read the Majority of all texts including P66, P75 and Vaticanus, and so too does the NIV. However the NASB makes Jesus a liar by following the Sinaiticus reading where it says “I go NOT to this feast” and yet two verses later He does indeed go up to the feast.
John 7:10 - “then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but AS IT WERE, in secret.” So read the Majority, Vaticanus, P66 and P75 and the NASB. But this time Sinaiticus omits the words “as it were” and so does the NIV.
John 7:39 “...for the HOLY Ghost was not yet given”. So read the Majority of Greek texts, plus P66 correction and Vaticanus. However Sinaiticus and P75 omit the word “holy” and so too do the NASB, NIV.
John 7:53 all the way through John 8:11. These entire 12 verses are missing from Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, though they are found in the vast Majority of all Greek texts including D plus at least 15 other uncials, many Old Latin copies, the Vulgate, Syriac Palestinian, Lamsa’a translation of the Syriac Peshitta, some Coptic Boharic, and the Ethiopian versions. It is quoted or referred to by many early church Fathers.
However since P66, P75, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus all omit these entire 12 verses, we can well ask, Why do the NASB, NIV, ESV, and Holman versions all keep them in their bibles?. Why not be consistent and delete all 12 verses from their texts just like the old RSV did? Hello? Is any body there?
John 8:16 - “for I am not alone, but I and THE FATHER that sent me.” Here the reading of THE FATHER is found in Vaticanus, P66, and P75 and in the NIV. But the NASB used to follow Sinaiticus and D which omit “the Father” and from 1963 to 1977 the NASB simply said “HE who sent me.” But now in 1995 the NASB has changed once again and now adopts the reading of “the Father that sent me.”
John 8:28 - “Then said Jesus UNTO THEM, When ye have lifted up...” The words “unto them” are found in the Majority, P66, P75, and Sinaiticus, but Vaticanus omits them and this time the NASB, NIV go along with the Vaticanus reading instead and omit the words.
John 8:28 Again -Then in the very same verse, the “scientific” method of textual criticism has led the NASB, NIV people to completely reverse themselves just a few words later. Here we read: “but as MY Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” MY Father is the reading of the Majority of texts and Vaticanus.
But P66, P75 and Sinaiticus omit the word “my” and this time the NASB, NIV reverse themselves180 degrees and now reject the reading found in Vaticanus, whose text they just got done accepting for the first part of the verse, while rejecting the others. Go figure.
John 8:38 - “I speak that which I have seen with MY Father: and you do that which ye have SEEN with YOUR Father.”. So read the Majority of all texts, but the “oldest and best” are all over the board.
MY Father is found in Sinaiticus, but P66, 75 and Vaticanus omit it and so too the NIV, with the NASB putting “MY” in italics.
Then SEEN is the reading of Sinaiticus and P66, while Vaticanus and P75 say HEARD, and the NASB, NIV go for this errant reading. YOUR Father is found in the Majority and Sinaiticus, but Vaticanus, P66 and 74 omit it and end up with the ridiculous reading like the one found in the NRSV and the NET versions with “you do that which you have heard with THE father.”!!!
Daniel Wallace’s goofy NET version actually reads like this: “I am telling you the things I have seen while with the Father; as for you, practice the things you have heard from the Father!”
John 8:39 - “If ye WERE Abraham’s children, YE WOULD DO the works of Abraham.” Clearly Jesus is telling the Pharisees that they are children of the devil and not of God, and that they are not the children of Abraham.
“If ye were” is contrary to fact; they weren’t Abraham’s children. YE WOULD DO is also contrary to fact and is the reading in the Majority, P75 and Sinaiticus. But Vaticanus original and P66 say DO, and the NASB has adopted this reading “If you ARE the children of Abraham, DO the deeds of Abraham.” Not even the NIV reads this way but says: “If you WERE Abraham’s children, then YOU WOULD DO the things Abraham did.”
John 8:54 - “it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is YOUR God.” YOUR God is found in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and P66 original, and in the NIV, RV, ASV, Douay, RSV, NKJV and of course the KJB. However P75 and P66 third correction read OUR God, and so the NASB now reads: “of whom you say, He is OUR God.”
John 8:57 - “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and HAST THOU SEEN ABRAHAM?” So read the Majority, Vaticanus and P66, but P75 and Sinaiticus actually read: “AND HAS ABRAHAM SEEN YOU?”
John 9:4 “ I must work the works of him that sent ME, while it is day.” Both “I” and “him that sent ME” are the Majority reading, and Sinaiticus correction, A and C, but P66, 75, Sinaiticus original and Vaticanus say “WE must work the works....” The NASB, NIV have adopted this reading. But wait. Instead of “him that sent ME” which is even the reading of Vaticanus (and so in the NASB, NIV), the Sinaiticus, P66 and 75 actually say “ of him that sent US.”
John 9:38 - “And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” This entire verse is omitted by Sinaiticus original and P75, yet it is found in the Majority, Vaticanus and P66. So far as I know, only Daniel Wallace proposes getting rid of this entire verse. It is still found in the NASB, NIV.
John 10:10 - “All that ever came BEFORE ME are thieves and robbers.” The words BEFORE ME are in Vaticanus and P66 and the NASB, NIV, but Sinaiticus and P75 omit them.
John 10:26 - “But ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep, AS I SAID UNTO YOU.” So read the Majority of texts including P66, A and D, but Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and P75 omit these words and so do the NASB, NIV.
John 10:29 - “My Father, WHICH GAVE THEM ME, IS GREATER THAN ALL.” So read the Majority, Sinaiticus, and P66. So to the NASB, NIV. However Vaticanus reads: “WHAT MY FATHER HAS GIVEN ME IS GREATER THAN ALL ELSE” and this is actually the reading found in the NRSV.
John 11:50 - “Nor consider that it is expedient FOR US, that one man should die for the people.” So read the Majority and A. However Sinaiticus omits the words “for us” altogether, and Vaticanus and P66 read “it is expedient FOR YOU”, and so the NASB, NIV.
John 12:1 - “came to Bethany, where Lazarus was WHICH HAD BEEN DEAD.” So read the Majority, D and A and P66. But Sinaiticus and Vaticanus omit these words and so do the NASB, NIV.
John 12:28 - “Father, glorify THY name.” So read most texts including Sinaiticus and the NASB, NIV, but Vaticanus says: “Glorify MY name”. So far no one has followed this reading yet.
John 13:6 and 9 - Peter saith unto him, LORD, dost thou wash my feet?...LORD, not my feet only...” In both these places Sinaiticus omits the important word LORD, but it is in Vaticanus.
John 13:18 - “He that eateth bread WITH ME hath lifted up his heel against me.” So read the Majority of texts including P66, A, D and Sinaiticus. However Vaticanus reads “he that eats MY bread” and so do the NASB, NIV.
John 13:32 - “IF GOD BE GLORIFIED IN HIM, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.” This is an interesting case. It is the reading of the Majority of texts, A, and Sinaiticus correction. These words are still found in the NASB, NIV, but the previous Revised Version and American Standard Versions omitted all these words because not found in Vaticanus, D or P66. So why do the NASB, NIV now go back to including them?
John 14:11 - “or else believe ME for the very works’ sake.” So read the Majority, A and Vaticanus. So too did the Revised version, and so do the RSV, NRSV, ESV and the brand new ISV. However P66, 75 and Sinaiticus omit the word ME and so do the NASB, NIV and Holman Standard. And they dare call this “science”.
John 14:17 - “for he dwelleth with you, and SHALL BE in you.” The future tense verb is found in the Majority and P75 and Sinaiticus. So read the NASB, NIV. However Vaticanus and P66 have a present tense verb which would make the sentence read: “for he dwells with you, and IS in you.”
John 15:18 - “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated YOU.” So read the Majority and Vaticanus and the NASB, but Sinaiticus omits the word YOU and so does the NIV.
John 16 - A few examples. In John 16:9 we read of the Comforter coming into the world to reprove of sin, righteousness and judgment - "Of sin, because they believe NOT on me". However Sinaiticus original says: "Of sin, because they believe on me". Not quite the same, is it? Sinaiticus original also omitted the entire verse of 16:15 -"All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you."
In John 16:16 we read: "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, BECAUSE I GO TO THE FATHER."
These last 6 words are found in the Majority of all texts, A, plus at least 23 other uncials, the Old Latin, Syriac, Gothic, Armenian, and Coptic manuscripts, and we see the disciples refer to these words again in the very next verse when they ask: "What is this that he saith unto us, A little while and ye shall not see me: and again, and little while, and ye shall see me: and, BECAUSE I GO TO THE FATHER?"
However both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus omit "Because I go to the Father" in verse 16 and so do the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV and Holman versions, but yet they include these words in the next verse when the disciples repeat what Jesus had just got done saying.
Why would they ask what Jesus had meant by saying "Because I go to the Father", when, according to the NASB, NIV, ESV, He never said it? Not only this, but Sinaiticus also omits the words "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again" in John 16:16 itself, but are included in Vaticanus and the modern versions.
Keep in mind, that these two manuscripts are "the oldest and the best" upon which most modern versions are based.
We see again the fickleness of modern scholarship in John 16:27. Here we read: "For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from GOD."
The word GOD is found in the Majority of all texts including the Old Latin, and Syriac. Sinaiticus first read GOD, then a scribe changed it to "the Father", and then another one changed it back to "God".
Vaticanus reads THE FATHER and so does the NASB, ASV and the RSV. However the "updated" UBS critical text now goes with "I came out from GOD" and so do the NRSV, ESV, NIV and the Holman Standard.
John 17:7 - “Now THEY have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.” Sinaiticus reads: “Now I have known....”
John 17:12 - “While I was with them IN THE WORLD (Vat and Sin omit and so too the NASB, NIV) I KEPT THEM IN THY NAME; THOSE that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost...”
“THOSE THAT THOU GAVEST ME I have kept” is the Majority reading, A and D, but Vaticanus has a very different reading and the NASB, NIV have adopted this, saying: “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your NAME WHICH YOU HAVE GIVEN ME.” In the meantime, Sinaiticus original and P66 omit the words “those thou gavest me” from the text entirely.
John 17:15- "I pray not that thou shouldest take them OUT OF THE WORLD". Vaticanus says: "I do not pray that you should take them FROM THE EVIL ONE."
John 17:17 - “Sanctify them through thy truth: THY WORD IS TRUTH.” Sinaiticus omits these last words “Thy word is truth”.
John 17:21 - “...that they also may be ONE in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” The important word ONE is in the Majority, A, C and Sinaiticus, but Vaticanus and P66 omit it and so do the NASB, NIV.
John 17:24 = “Father, I will that THEY also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.” So read the Majority of texts, but both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus say “I will that THAT also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am” but neither the NASB, NIV has yet to adopt this strange reading.
John 18:5 - “JESUS SAITH UNTO THEM, I AM HE.” So read the Majority, A, C and Sinaiticus. The NIV also followed this reading. Vaticanus reads: “HE SAYS TO THEM, I AM JESUS”, but nobody has yet followed this reading. The NASB instead chose to follow D saying: “HE SAID TO THEM, I AM HE.”
John 19:16 - “And they took Jesus, AND LED HIM AWAY.” So read the Majority of texts including A and Sinaiticus. However Vaticanus omits the words “and led him away” and so do the NASB, NIV.
John 19:20-21. Sinaiticus original was missing all of these two whole verses, but they are found in Vaticanus. Sinaiticus was also missing the words: “When Jesus therefore saw his mother” from John 19:26.
In John 19:30 we read: “When JESUS therefore had received the vinegar...”. JESUS is in Sinaiticus and the NIV, but not in Vaticanus nor the NASB. But then when we get to John 19:39 we see Nicodemos which “at the first came to JESUS by night”. Here JESUS is in the Majority and Sinaiticus and the NIV, but Vaticanus omit JESUS and so does the NASB.
Likewise Sinaiticus omits the words “AND CAME TO THE SEPULCHRE” in John 20:3 and the words “AND THE OTHER DISCIPLE” from John 20:4, but they are found in Vaticanus.
John 21:16 - “He saith to him again THE SECOND TIME, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” Here Sinaiticus omits the word “the second time” and so does the NIV, but it is found in Vaticanus and in the NASB.
John 21:23 - “If I will that he tarry till I come, WHAT IS THAT TO THEE?”. Sinaiticus omitted these last capitalized words as well as omitting the entire last verse of the gospel of the evangelist - John 21:25, but they are found in the Vaticanus copy.
If these “oldest and best manuscripts” are in fact the best, then we are in a world of hurt and God has failed to preserve His pure words anywhere on this earth in a true Book of the LORD, which is in any real way the complete, inerrant and perfect words of God. You either believe the King James Bible is the pure and perfect words of God or you simply do not believe in the inerrancy of any Bible in any language on the face of this earth.
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