How the Bible has Maintained God's Word

 

 

Many of you reading this have often heard someone say, "The Catholic Church is the oldest Church and is the original." As well, you have probably also heard someone say that the Bible has lost its translation over the years, that the original text is different, that it was too long after Jesus' death to be accurate, etc. That is all false. Long before the Catholic church, there were at least 20 books already accepted by the ORIGINAL Christian movement from the days of Jesus for the New Testament. The 4 Gospels, Acts, Paul’s letters, Peter 1&2, John 1-3,  & Revelation. Rome was on its way to becoming a superpower after the turn of the 1st Century AD. In this, the Roman Catholic church was also budding and anxious to become the hub of all things religion. Along came the Emperor Constantine, who felt felt if he donned crosses on his flags and uniforms he could have the support of the Christian faith and call it a holy war, thus the Crusades. This movement birthed the Catholic Church into what it is today, and the pagan rites in it followed suit as to attract the large pagan groups around Rome at the time. This in no way means that TRUE Christians accepted this and is why many true Christians died at the hands of the Roman Empire. The Roman Catholic church translated the Greek and Hebrew texts with Latin Vulgate and corrupted it to take control in becoming the "universal" church. This is where the belief that popes. priests, etc can forgive sins (confessional) because they would accept money for this. They killed anyone who threatened to use anything other than Latin to preach the "word". The reformation changed all of this. NO, the Catholic Church was NOT the true Christian faith and is not today with their catechisms that proclaim the Pope to be God on earth.

 

The first recorded instance of God’s Word being written down, was when the Lord Himself wrote it down in the form of 10 commandments on the stone tablets delivered to Moses at the top of Mount Sinai. Biblical scholars believe this occurred between 1,400 BC and 1,500 BC… almost 3,500 years ago. The language used was almost certainly an ancient form of Hebrew, the language of Old Covenant believers.

 

By approximately 500 BC, the 39 Books that make up the Old Testament were completed, and continued to be preserved in Hebrew on scrolls. As we approach the last few centuries before Christ, the Jewish historical books known as the “Apocrypha” were completed, yet they were recorded in Greek rather than Hebrew. By the end of the First Century AD, the New Testament had been completed.

 

By 500 AD the Bible had been translated into over 500 languages. Just one century later, by 600 AD, it has been restricted to only one language: the Latin Vulgate! The only organized and recognized church at that time in history was the Catholic Church of Rome, and they refused to allow the scripture to be available in any language other than Latin. Those in possession of non-Latin scriptures would be executed! This was because only the priests were educated to understand Latin, and this gave the church ultimate power… a power to rule without question… a power to deceive… a power to extort money from the masses. Nobody could question their “Biblical” teachings, because few people other than priests could read Latin. The church capitalized on this forced-ignorance through the 1,000 year period from 400 AD to 1,400 AD knows as the “Dark and Middle Ages”.

Pope Leo the Tenth established a practice called the “selling of indulgences” as a way to extort money from the people. He offered forgiveness of sins for a fairly small amount of money. For a little bit more money, you would be allowed to indulge in a continuous lifestyle of sin, such as keeping a mistress. Also, through the invention of “Purgatory”, you could purchase the salvation of your loved-one’s souls. The church taught the ignorant masses, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the troubled soul from Purgatory springs!” Pope Leo the Tenth showed his true feelings when he said, “The fable of Christ has been quite profitable to us!”

On the Scottish Island of Iona, in 563 AD, a man named Columba started a Bible College. For the next 700 years, this was the source of much of the non-Catholic, evangelical Bible teaching through those centuries of the Dark and Middle Ages. The students of this college were called “Culdees”, which means “certain stranger”. In the late 1300’s, the secret society of Culdees chose John Wycliffe to lead the world out of the Dark Ages. Wycliffe has been called the “Morning Star of the Reformation”. That Protestant Reformation was about one thing: getting the Word of God back into the hands of the masses in their own native language, so that the corrupt church would be exposed and the message of salvation in Christ alone, by scripture alone, through faith alone would be proclaimed again.

The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in the 1380's AD by John Wycliffe. With the help of his followers Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe. The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe had died, he ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river!

In the 1490’s another Oxford professor, and the personal physician to King Henry the 7th and 8th, Thomas Linacre, decided to learn Greek. After reading the Gospels in Greek, and comparing it to the Latin Vulgate, he wrote in his diary, “Either this (the original Greek) is not the Gospel… or we are not Christians.” The Latin had become so corrupt that it no longer even preserved the message of the Gospel… yet the Church still threatened to kill anyone who read the scripture in any language other than Latin… though Latin was not an original language of the scriptures.

The great scholar Erasmus was so moved to correct the corrupt Latin Vulgate, that in 1516, with the help of printer John Froben, he published a Greek-Latin Parallel New Testament. The Latin part was not the corrupt Vulgate, but his own fresh rendering of the text from the more accurate and reliable Greek, which he had managed to collate from a half-dozen partial old Greek New Testament manuscripts he had acquired. The 1516 Greek-Latin New Testament of Erasmus further focused attention on just how corrupt and inaccurate the Latin Vulgate had become, and how important it was to go back and use the original Greek (New Testament) and original Hebrew (Old Testament) languages to maintain accuracy.

In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention (a list of 95 issues of heretical theology and crimes of the Roman Catholic Church) into the church door at Wittenberg. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs records that in that same year, 1517, seven people were burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church for the crime of teaching their children to say the Lord’s Prayer in English rather than Latin.

William Tyndale wanted to use the same 1516 Erasmus text as a source to translate and print the New Testament in English for the first time in history. Tyndale showed up on Martin Luther’s doorstep (he had done the same making a German version) in Germany in 1525, and by year's end had translated the New Testament into English. Tyndale New Testament became the first printed edition of the scripture in the English language. They were burned as soon as the Bishop could confiscate them, but copies trickled through and actually ended up in the bedroom of King Henry VIII. The more the King and Bishop resisted its distribution, the more fascinated the public at large became. The church declared it contained thousands of errors as they torched hundreds of New Testaments confiscated by the clergy, while in fact, they burned them because they could find no errors at all. One risked death by burning if caught in mere possession of Tyndale's forbidden books.

Having God's Word available to the public in the language of the common man, English, would have meant disaster to the church. No longer would they control access to the scriptures. If people were able to read the Bible in their own tongue, the church's income and power would crumble. They could not possibly continue to get away with selling indulgences (the forgiveness of sins) or selling the release of loved ones from a church-manufactured "Purgatory". People would begin to challenge the church's authority if the church were exposed as frauds and thieves. The contradictions between what God's Word said, and what the priests taught, would open the public's eyes and the truth would set them free from the grip of fear that the institutional church held. Salvation through faith, not works or donations, would be understood. The need for priests would vanish through the priesthood of all believers. The veneration of church-canonized Saints and Mary would be called into question. The availability of the scriptures in English was the biggest threat imaginable to the wicked church.

Myles Coverdale and John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers carried the English Bible project forward and even accelerated it. Coverdale finished translating the Old Testament, and in 1535 he printed the first complete Bible in the English language, making use of Luther's German text and the Latin as sources. Thus, the first complete English Bible was printed on October 4, 1535, and is known as the Coverdale Bible.

John Rogers went on to print the second complete English Bible in 1537. It was, however, the first English Bible translated from the original Biblical languages of Hebrew & Greek. In 1539, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, hired Myles Coverdale at the bequest of King Henry VIII to publish the "Great Bible".  See, King Henry VIII had in fact, requested that the Pope permit him to divorce his wife and marry his mistress. The Pope refused. King Henry responded by marrying his mistress anyway, and thumbing his nose at the Pope by renouncing Roman Catholicism, taking England out from under Rome’s religious control, and declaring himself as the reigning head of State to also be the new head of the Church. This new branch of the Christian Church, neither Roman Catholic nor truly Protestant, became known as the Anglican Church or the Church of England. King Henry acted essentially as its “Pope”.

Later, Queen Mary became possessed in her quest to return England to the Roman Church. In 1555, John "Thomas Matthew" Rogers and Thomas Cranmer were both burned at the stake. Mary went on to burn reformers at the stake by the hundreds for the "crime" of being a Protestant. This era was known as the Marian Exile, and the refugees fled from England with little hope of ever seeing their home or friends again. It was during this time that many reformers fled to Switzerland as to Geneva as it was one of a few safe havens for true protestants. The Church of Geneva was determined to produce a Bible that would educate their families while they continued in exile.

The New Testament was completed in 1557, and the complete Bible was first published in 1560. It became known as the Geneva Bible. By the 1580's, the Roman Catholic Church saw that it had lost the battle to suppress the will of God: that His Holy Word be available in the English language. In 1582, the Church of Rome surrendered their fight for "Latin only" and decided that if the Bible was to be available in English, they would at least have an official Roman Catholic English translation. And so, using the corrupt and inaccurate Latin Vulgate as the only source text, they went on to publish an English Bible with all the distortions and corruptions that Erasmus had revealed and warned of 75 years earlier. The Geneva Bible was toned down some in 1568 with the advent of the Bishop’s Bible. In that sense, there were sidebars and footnotes in the Geneva Bible (also known as the Great Bible) that eluded to the Pope being the antichrist and such. It never really caught on.

The Protestant clergy approached the new King (King James) in 1604 and announced their desire for a new translation to replace the Bishop's Bible first printed in 1568. They knew that the Geneva Version had won the hearts of the people because of its excellent scholarship, accuracy, and exhaustive commentary. However, they did not want the controversial marginal notes (proclaiming the Pope an Anti-Christ, etc.) Essentially, the leaders of the church desired a Bible for the people, with scriptural references only for word clarification or cross-references.

 The 1611 King James Bible shows clearly that its translators were influenced much more by the Geneva Bible, than by any other source. The Geneva Bible itself retains over 90% of William Tyndale's original English translation. This "translation to end all translations" was the result of the combined effort of about fifty scholars. They took into consideration: The Tyndale New Testament, The Coverdale Bible, The Matthews Bible, The Great Bible, The Geneva Bible, and even the Rheims New Testament. The great revision of the Bishop's Bible had begun. From 1605 to 1606 the scholars engaged in private research. From 1607 to 1609 the work was assembled. In 1610 the work went to press, and in 1611 the first of the huge (16 inch tall) pulpit folios known today as "The 1611 King James Bible" came off the printing press. A typographical discrepancy in Ruth 3:15 rendered a pronoun "He" instead of "She" in that verse in some printings. This caused some of the 1611 First Editions to be known by collectors as "He" Bibles, and others as "She" Bibles.

What does it mean in modern versions when someone says: "based on the oldest texts," or "based on the best texts"? Men who say that have used as their sole reference for a Bible translation a Greek text that is very well preserved, or that is very old. These men have chosen to ignore the majority of texts available. The texts they focus on often teach great heresy. The quality of these ancient texts shows that they were not used very often, indicating that people did not trust them. Why would these texts be so different from the rest? One of the most popular of the "ancient texts" was found in a trash can of a monastery. The good condition it was in proved that few people trusted it enough to read it. Good books get read!

If 5,000 texts are available and they differ from each other, how has God preserved His Word? Look below:

 

MAJORITY TEXT PRINCIPLE (TEXTUS RECEPTUS)

Looking below, you see 15 examples of a verse in the Bible taken from 15 different translations. Read through them and then follow the instructions at the end.

1st Copy: AM I A GOD AT HAND, HE SAITH, AND NOT HIM WHO IS AFAR OFF?
2nd Copy: AM I GOD NEARBY, SAITH THE LORD, AND NOT A GOD AFAR?
3rd Copy: AM I THE GOD AT HAND, SAITH THE LORD, AND NOT A GOD AFAR OFF?
4th Copy: AM I A GOD AT HAND, HE JEHOVAH, AND NOT A GOD FAR OFF?
5th Copy: I AM A GOD AT HAND, SAITH THE LORD, AND NOT A GOD AFAR OFF?
6th Copy: AM I A GOD, AND NOT A GOD AFAR OFF?
7th Copy: AM I A GOD CLOSE BY, SAITH THE LORD, AND NOT A GOD AFAR?
8th Copy: AM I A GOD AT HAND, SAITH HE, AND NOT GOD?
9th Copy: I AM HE WHO IS AT HAND, SAITH THE LORD, AND NOT AFAR OFF?
10th Copy: AM I A GOD AT HAND, SAITH GOD, AND NOT A GOD AFAR OFF?
11th Copy: AM I A GOD AT HAND, SAITH THE LORD, AND NEVER AFAR OFF?
12th Copy: AM I HE, ALWAYS AT HAND, SAITH THE LORD, AND NOT THE GOD AFAR OFF?
13th Copy: WAS I A GOD, EVER AT HAND, SAITH THE LORD, AND NOT A GOD?
14th Copy: THUS SAITH THE LORD, AM I A GOD?
15th Copy: AM I A GOD AT HAND, SAITH THE LORD GOD, AND NOT A GOD AFAR OFF?
Majority text: AM

Now, please complete by comparing each one, word by word, and putting the word used by the majority at the bottom. The first word is done for you.

None of these copies represent an exact copy of the "Autograph". After copying each word that appears the majority of times, refer to Jeremiah 23:23 (the Autograph).

The 1611 Bible was derived using this textus receptus method. God promised for His Word to be kept no matter what, and it is done so in this way. No matter how polluted the catholic church made their version, nor how the world changes some of the more liberal translations, God’s true Word has stayed with us.

Mike Harris

 

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