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Home: Questions and Answers
Question:

Isn't it true that all modern Bible versions are translated from biblical manuscripts corrupted by heretics?

Answer:

No, it is not. The facts of history reveal that there is absolutely no evidence of heretics altering the Bible on a wide scale and in such a covert manner so as to produce heresy among the congregations of unwitting Christians. The claim by the King James Version only (KJVO) advocates, however, is that modern versions like the New American Standard Version and the New International Version are translated, especially in the New Testament, from a line of biblical manuscripts that were intentionally corrupted by heretics, where as the King James Version was translated from a family of biblical manuscripts that represent God's divinely preserved Bible and were safeguarded over the centuries from the corruption of tampering heretics by godly, orthodox Christians.

Historically, however, there were only a few heretics that intentionally altered biblical texts. The most famous example is that of Marcion. He was the first person to publish an edited version of what we call our New Testament around 150 A.D. He was totally enthralled with the Apostle Paul and believed he was the only faithful apostle who correctly taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. Marcion gathered together all the epistles of Paul, except for the three pastoral epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, and published them in the first known New Testament. His New Testament also contained a heavily edited version of Luke's gospel. Marcion's fake canon of scripture was important, because God used it to move the orthodox Christians to affirm the true books of the New Testament. The leadership in the Churches of that day responded immediately to Marcion by renouncing him as a false teacher and rejecting his edition of the New Testament.

A couple of things are noteworthy in light of the KJVO accusation that heretics introduced heresy into the stream of biblical texts that are used to translate the various modern versions. First, Marcion taught his heresy before he made his New Testament. That means his edited New Testament was a product of his heresy, not the other way around. KJVO advocates wish to argue that because modern versions are translated from biblical texts that have been corrupted by heretics, they in turn spread heretical teaching in our modern day Churches. However, there is no evidence of such undue influence upon Christians even in the record of ancient Church history, let alone proof of this influence happening today among Christians who use modern versions. KJVO advocates love to cite the example of the altered Jehovah's Witnesses Bible, The New World Translation. Yet, the same applies to that fake translation as well. It was published by the Watchtower Tract Society in 1950, nearly 50 years after Charles Russell, the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses, began to promote his false teaching. Thus, the NWT is a product of heresy, not the cause of it. The translation was designed for the purpose of affirming heretical teaching that already existed among the members of a cult. In order for this KJVO argument to stand, King James advocates would have to demonstrate that the corruptions that exist in the original language text of the NWT also exist in the original language texts used by the modern versions. But, the reality is that Watchtower translators purposely altered the original language text before they translated and those alterations depart dramatically from those Greek texts used to translate modern versions.

That leads to a second important note regarding Marcion. His personal tampering with the NT was caught immediately. None of his alterations and omissions found their way into the mainstream of the Christian scriptures. This is a key point to consider, because KJVO advocates promote a fanciful notion that heretics slightly omitted a verse here, or tweaked a verse there, and their tampering was passed along with out question by scribes, copyists and scholars until God providentially removed those corrupted texts by a lack of their use on the part of the orthodox Christian Church. KJVO advocates further argue that these texts were safely hid away and were unable to spread false teaching until supposed unorthodox textual critics resurrected them back to life in the 1800s. The textual critics who found them assumed these manuscripts were better than what had been used for the translation of the King James Version, and other previous English editions, because they were old and closer to the original biblical writings. Thus, these corrupted texts were re-introduced to the pure and preserved original language manuscripts, and all of the modern versions translated from these newly adulterated texts reflect the ancient heresy of those original false teachers who intentionally altered the Bible. However, if KJVO advocates are correct, that those texts truly reflect heretical tampering, then the early Christians would have stated so in their polemics against heretics, and exposed the men, and their work, who originally corrupted them. For the KJVO advocates' argument to be correct, they must assume that all orthodox believers were totally ignorant of these heretical corruptions so as to speak out against such alteration. But, if we learn anything from the psuedo-canon of Marcion, orthodox Christians did react, and it was rather loud and immediate. If there were other manuscripts that were slightly changed by heretics, those corrupted texts would not go silently into the sea of time "from a lack of use" by the Bible believing Church. Just like the reaction to Marcion, if those texts were really heretical, God's people would have reacted with vehemence and warned Christians as to their corruption. Yet, they did not do so, because there was never a question as to their orthodoxy.

Rather than physically altering the Bible to fit heresy, what is more common in Church History is bad, heretical teaching being passed along because of an unorthodox interpretive hermeneutic imposed upon the Bible by a false teacher. In other words, the false teacher re-interprets specific passages of an unaltered Bible in such a way that it is made to teach heresy. The physcial text in not changed by omitting a verse, but the true doctrine is peverted by an errant interpretation by a false teacher desiring to give affirmation to his heresy. There are myriads of examples that could be put forth to demonstrate this. A contemporary example involves the theology of open theism that claims God does not have knowledge of any future events and denies God's exhaustive foreknowledge and omniscience. Rather than altering the Bible, Open theists falsely interpret passages like Genesis 22:12, where God testifies of Abraham's faith by stating, now I know that you fear God, implying that God was previously unaware of Abraham's belief and commitment to Him. Hence, their heresy is not spread by the text of scripture being altered by omission of a pertinent verse or passage, but through the means of understanding the passage with an intentional and faulty, heretical interpretative method.


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