Article of the Month
SOME SCRIPTURE FORGERIES!
Those who treasure the Bible are,
understandably, very cautious about changing so much as
one word of it. This is commendable. Nevertheless,
those who give cautious and prayerful consideration to
such matters realize that our Bible was not written in
English. Our English versions have had to be translated
from either the Hebrew and Greek, or, in some instances,
from previous translations. There has been much
opportunity for errors to enter the text—not only errors
of translation, but errors of addition and omission.
There are scholars, known as
recensionists, whose life-work is to evaluate and to
compare diligently all of the manuscripts and fragments
of Scripture which have been, and continue to be,
discovered. Their work is difficult, but invaluable.
We are learning constantly that many of our Bibles are
based on altered manuscripts. By the work of these
recensionsits, we are gradually able to learn which
words should be rightly added or subtracted from the
Bibles we use every day.
― Some Corrected Versions
Those among us who use some quality
modern translations can see how these versions are more
careful in indicating the correctness of the texts. For
instance, the New American Standard Bible actually omits
illegitimate words and phrases in some texts. In
others, it puts the doubtful words in brackets
[ ]. Even the King James (or “Authorized
Version”), which dates from 1611, has been relatively
careful in indicating words which the translators have
supplied. It does so by putting these words in italic
print. Our eyes readily catch this once they are used
to it. Look, for example, at II Thessalonians 2:3. The
entire phrase, “that day shall not come,” is
italicized—meaning that those words are not in
the original Greek manuscript of the Bible, but have
been supplied by the translators for clarity. (NOTE:
Some modern KJV Bibles no longer use italicized print.
This is unfortunate and even a little dishonest.)
Words or verses which are clearly not
part of the old or original manuscripts are called
“spurious”—they simply have no business being considered
as part of the inspired testimony of the Bible.
― The Old Versus the New
Translation, of course, is always
difficult. One language does not have easy word
equivalents in another. If we add to that the problem
that figures of speech, very meaningful in one language,
may have no parallel figures in another, we find
translating to be a gargantuan undertaking.
But translation is not our subject here.
Spurious words are.
It is curious to note that the oldest
part of our Bibles, the so-called Old Testament or
Hebrew Scriptures, has fewer problems with omissions or
spurious additions. The Jews were extremely zealous and
painstakingly careful in maintaining the accuracy of
every “jot and tittle” of God’s Word. For this we owe
them an immense debt of gratitude.
Christians, unfortunately, have been much
sloppier in maintaining the purity of the so-called New
Testament or Greek Scriptures. The number of variants
found of New Testament Scripture is enormous. Deciding
what the originals said is a science. Nevertheless, the
accuracy of our New Testament is improving rapidly as
new discoveries are made.
The number of corrections needed in the
Bibles which most of us carry is large. The objective
of this short article is merely to show a few spurious
texts. Some make an enormous difference for our
understanding. Some are more innocent; yet, we all want
to be aware of this situation and to seek purity of The
Word insofar as is possible. The following list is only
a sampling, but it should function to help us see how
former tampering with the text has obscured important
information for our faith structures.
― Revelation 20:5
The ONLY legitimate words in this verse
are “This is the first resurrection.” The rest of it is
spurious. The words “But the rest of the dead lived not
again until the thousand years were finished” are not an
original part of Revelation, and they serve to confuse
seriously our understanding. Apparently the Lamsa
translation is the only one which correctly omits these
Manuscript evidence shows these words
should not be in this text. But, even beyond manuscript
evidence, it is somewhat easy to see by the CONTEXT that
these words make no sense.
First: Notice the logical and
flowing sense when the
end of verse 4 meets the LEGITIMATE words
of verse 5.
“They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
This is the first
This makes sense! But with the spurious
words present, the “rest of the dead” NOT LIVING is said
to be the “first resurrection.” This makes NO sense!
Second: Notice that the
whole reason for the binding
of Satan is SO THAT the “nations” will
not be deceived
during the thousand years.
But the “nations” ARE the “rest of the
dead.” If the
“rest of the dead lived not again until
years were finished,” there would be NO
to have bound Satan!
The point is this: Spurious texts
frequently violate context and reason. Revelation 20:5
should have been suspicious even before recensionists
did their work.
― Mark 16:9-20
EVERYTHING in these verses is spurious!
And because this has not generally been known, entire
religious sects have grown up based on the unfortunate
spurious information given in these words. We all know
of the “snake handlers” whose trust in Mark 16:18 has
upon numerous occasions caused deaths. But Jesus NEVER
SPOKE THESE WORDS! The poor, misinformed faithful who
have trusted this testimony and died as a result are
scorned as having died because their faith was faulty!
It is an honor and a mark of the faithful
to believe God’s Word. But how horrible when what some
of us believe is NOT GOD’S WORD!
― Matthew 6:13
This verse concludes “The Lord’s
Prayer.” The words at the beginning of the verse are
“And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
The remainder of the verse is spurious:
“For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever. Amen.”
The spurious words sound quite good! So,
what is wrong with them (other than the fact that they
are not actually a part of the Bible!)?
There is a historic background to the
placement of these spurious words here. In the earlier
ages, it was preached and believed that
the then-current amalgamation of church and state WAS
God’s Kingdom on earth. The concept seems to us now so
incredible! But these words were added as an
acknowledgment of that teaching. Strangely, the Roman
Church (which both instigated and preached this
doctrine) DID NOT add these words to Roman Catholic
Bibles. But Protestants did. Jesus, however, never had
this sentence in his model prayer. It should NOT be in
― Luke 22:43, 44
The entirety of these two verses is
spurious. Jesus did not sweat blood!
One might argue that there seems little
difference whether he did or did not. However, these
words do not belong in the Bible, and they are wrong.
They might, among other things, seem to undermine the
fact of Jesus’ perfect humanity—a teaching VITAL to the
doctrine of the ransom sacrifice which he gave.
We all should affirm in our minds that,
no matter how innocent an omission or interpolation of
words in the Bible might seem, WE DO NOT WANT ANYTHING
SAID WHICH WAS NOT DIRECTED OF GOD.
― John 7:53 – 8:11
Our final example for this article is one
which is so often quoted by ministers as to make it one
of the most famous passages in the Bible.
ALL IN THESE VERSES is spurious.
The mercy shown here is typical of Jesus’
attitudes—and should be that of ours also. But there
are many other texts which teach us about this mercy.
The problem with this episode (other than its
illegitimacy) is that it shows Jesus’ admonishing the
breaking of the Law. He DID NOT DO SUCH THINGS!
Jesus would soon nail the Law to the
cross—removing his disciples from its burdens.
(Colossians 2:14) But for those Jews who did not become
disciples, Jesus never admonished the ignoring nor the
breaking of the Law. Thus this little story of the
woman taken in adultery contradicts one of the great
principles of the relationship of Jesus to the Law.
We have reviewed only a tiny fraction of
spurious Bible texts. We have done so to awaken our
minds to the fact that even our best Bible versions are
faulty. Thus, if our faith is troubled by a text, it is
important to find out if it is legitimately a part of
Scripture, if it is a poor translation, or if we are
just missing something in our understanding. It takes
diligent prayer and tireless searching, but the rewards
are more than worth it all.
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