How did we get the New Testament? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
So today, we’re going to see what Jeff Johnson has to say about the New Testament. Of course, we expect no scholars of textual criticism to be cited here. If you want the source material, you can go here.
“The books which make up the Bible were written over a period of 1700 years from 1650 B.C. to 90 A.D. by men who were directly inspired by God” [S4P96]. (These dates include both the Old and New Testaments).
As to the New Testament:
“The last of the Apostles to pass away was John. His death is usually placed about 100 A.D. In his closing days he co-operated in collecting and forming of those writings we call the New Testament” [S4P94].
The information about John is possible. We don’t really know how or when a lot of the apostles died. Sean McDowell’s book is the go-to on this one. Also, I don’t know of any evidence we have that John gathered these writings.
“John the Apostle was said to be about the only writer of the New Testament who did not die a violent death as a martyr. Then, following the completion of the New Testament, most of the men who translated the Bible manuscripts into the language of the common people were put to death. History reveals the surprising fact that it was members of the clergy, those supposed to be ministers of Christ, who directed and carried out the cruel deeds of martyrdom” [S4P96].
Again, it would have been nice to have some sources for what history reveals. The problem here with Johnson is not so much the passing on of these ideas, but that he accepts them uncritically, just like many of us, myself in the past included, do so with the deaths of the apostles. We should always check into our claims to the best of our ability.
We now have about 5,000 manuscripts of the New Testament. These manuscripts were written in Greek. And, as we have said earlier; the Greek Text used in the King James Bible, agrees with 90-95% of these 5,000 manuscripts.
This number on agreement could be right as far as percentages go, though I wonder how you get a 100% text from a 95% set of documents. The number of manuscripts could be accurate depending on when this was written, but that date is not known.
Later, we will discuss the 5-10% of the manuscripts and why they are different.
And we hope some textual scholars will be cited, but we are not holding our breath.
Because the King James New Testament agrees with the majority of these 5,000 manuscripts, it is called the ‘Majority Text’. It has also been referred to as the ‘Traditional Text’ and it is also called ‘The Textus Receptus’.
The New Testament of the KJV got its name ‘Textus Receptus’ because; in 1624 the Elzevir brothers printed, in the preface of their 1624 edition of the Greek New Testament, the following words (translated into English):
“Therefore thou hastthe text (textum) now received (receptum) by all, in which we give nothing altered or corrupt. From Textum Receptum came the words we now use as the Textus Receptus, or Received Text” [S4P96].
So the King James Bible is called the ‘Majority Text’, the ‘Traditional Text’, the ‘Textus Receptus’ and the ‘Received Text’. All of these names refer to the SAME Greek New Testament Text. All of these names refer to the King James Bible.
Nothing really problematic here.
For this report I will be use the term ‘Traditional Majority Text’ to describe the text which underlies the King James Bible.
And, I will use the term ‘Corrupted Minority Text’ to describe the substitute text used in ‘modern’ versions.
Nothing like poisoning the well for an argument.
Now, let’s trace the history of both the ‘Traditional Majority Text’ and the ‘Corrupted Minority Text’ and their translations into various languages.
And I am sure it will be full of scholarly and accurate information!
We’ll continue next time.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)