(Article for publication week of 2-3-2010 AD)
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35).
Our Lord Jesus Christ assured us that He would preserve His word as long as the world shall stand. We can be confident that we still have the inspired, infallible Word of God in our generation.
The Lord has preserved His word for the English-speaking people in the Authorized Translation (a.k.a. the KJV). Our Authorized translation is based on the underlying Greek Text known as the Received Text. This is the Greek text that was used by the Waldenses during the Dark Ages when Anti-Christ was endeavoring to keep the word of God from the common people. The Received Text is the text that has been used by the True church since the days of the Apostles. There are fragments of it going all the way back to the first century.
The received text was the Greek text that William Tyndale used to translate the Bible into English in the sixteenth century. William Tyndale was a most Godly man and was put to death for his work. He told one of the "priests" of the anti-Christ that one day "the boy who drives the plow will know more scripture than you." The Received Text was also used by Martin Luther in translating the Bible into German. The Received Text was also the Greek text from which the Geneva Bible was translated. Then in 1611, the King of England commissioned fifty-four of the ablest Greek and Hebrew scholars of that day, or any day since to translate the scriptures into English. This is the translation known as the Authorized or King James Version. The translators used the Received Text and copied about eighty per cent of the Geneva Bible. It is also close to Tyndale's translation. The Received Text is the text of the Reformation and the Puritans. The men who used it hazarded their lives to bring us the Word of God in our own language.
Most modern translations of the Bible are derived from a corrupt text compiled by Westcott and Hort in the nineteenth century. The Westcott and Hort text is derived from the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus, not the Received Text. Westcott and Hort were probably not Christians (the Lord knoweth). There are many questionable things concerning their beliefs and lives. The proponents of the Westcott and Hort text claim that it is derived from "older and better manuscripts." What they do not tell you is that the manuscripts are older because they were not in use by the True Church. The oldest copies were worn out from use, and were preserved by reliable copies that we know as the Received Text. God has preserved His word through the usage of His people, not by putting it in a cave or a trash can.
We have many reasons for using the Authorized Translation and the other translations based on the Received Text. We will consider them in next week's article, Lord willing.