THE ORIGINAL BIBLE

I) THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT

A) INTRODUCTION:

THE SEARCH FOR THE ORIGINAL TEXT

George Ricker Berry states, ("INTERLINEAR GREEK-ENGLISH NEW TESTAMENT", Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1981, Preface):

"Due to the fact that the original manuscripts of the books of the New Testament were copied over and over again, and that copies were made from various generations of copies, numerous variant readings appeared in New Testament manuscripts. Some of these were merely variations of spelling. But some were far more serious:

(1) additions of words or phrases;

(2) omissions of words, phrases, clauses, and whole sentences and paragraphs. These variant readings arose either from the inadvertent errors of copyists, or from the efforts of scholars (whether well-meaning or otherwise) to correct or even to improve the text.

It is the task of textual critics to ascertain just what the original reading was at every point in the New Testament text where there is a variant reading. This they do by carefully sifting through as massive quantity of manuscript evidence...."

["The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament", by Philip Wesley Comfort, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, p. 25-28]:

"Beginning in the seventeenth century, earlier manuscripts [than that which were used to compile the Textus Receptus - the source of the King James Translation of 1611] began to be discovered... Around 1630, Codex Alexandrinus was brought to England. An early fifth-century manuscript containing the entire New Testament, it provided a good, early witness to the New Testament text (it is an especially good witness to the original text of Revelation). Two hundred years later, a German scholar name Constantin von Tischendorf discovered Codex Sinaiticus in St. Catherine's Monastery (located near Mount Sinai). The manuscript, dated around 360-375, is one of the two oldest vellum (treated animal hide) manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. The earliest vellum manuscript, Codex Vaticanus, had been in the Vatican's library since at least 1481, but it was not made available to scholars until the middle of the nineteenth century. This manuscript, dated slightly earlier (350) than Codex Sinaiticus, has both the Old and New Testaments in Greek; the last part of the New Testament (from Heb. 9:15 onward, including Philemon and the pastoral Epistles) is missing. A hundred years of textual criticism has determined that this manuscript is one of the most accurate and reliable witnesses to the original text.

Other earlier and important manuscripts were discovered in the nineteenth century. Through the tireless labors of men like Tischenforf, Samuel P. Tregelles, and F.H.A. Scrivener, manuscripts such as Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, Codex Zacynthius, and Codex Augiensis were deciphered, collated, and published...

The nineteenth century was a fruitful era for the recovery of the Greek New Testament...the twentieth century have witnessed the discovery of the Oxyrhynchus papyri, the Chester Beatty papyri, and the Bodmer papyri. To date, there are nearly one hundred papyri containing portions of the New Testament - several of which date from the late first century to the early fourth century. These significant discoveries, providing scholars with many ancient manuscripts, have greatly enhanced the effort to recover the original wording of the New Testament...

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Eberhard Nestle used the best editions of the Greek New Testament produced in the nineteenth century to compile a text that represented the majority consensus. The work of making new editions was carried on by his son Erwin for several years, and it is now under the care of Kurt Aland. The latest edition (the 26th) of Nestle-Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece appeared in 1979 under the leadership of Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland (followed by several corrected printings). The same Greek text appears in another popular volume published by the United Bible Societies, the Greek New Testament (third edition in 1975, a corrected printing in 1983). The twenty-sixth edition of the Nestle-Aland text is regarded by many as representing the latest and best in textual scholarship...

Zane Hodges states, ("ACCORDING TO THE MAJORITY TEXT, INTRODUCTION", Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad, editors; Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville Camden, New York, 1982, Preface):

"The New Testament was originally written by its inspired authors in the Greek language. Through many centuries, until the invention of printing (about A.D. 1450), it was handed down in handwritten copies. Of these there now survive approximately 5,000 complete or partial manuscripts...

The two most popular editions of the Greek New Testament in use today are those produced by the United Bible Societies (Third Edition) and by the Deutsch Bibelstiftung (the Nestle-Aland Text, Twenty-sixth Edition). These two texts are nearly identical...

[Italics mine]

Although eclectic, both rely heavily on a relatively small number of ancient manuscripts that derive mainly from Egypt. Among these, Codex Vaticanus... and Codex Sinaiticus... are the most famous uncial (large letter) manuscripts. The most important papyrus witnesses in this group of texts are the Chester Beatty papyri... and the Bodmer papyri... these may fairly be described as Egyptian.... Egypt, almost alone, offers climatic conditions highly favorable to the preservation of very ancient manuscripts.....

....In contrast to this kind of text stands the form of text found in the vast majority of the remaining documents... and has been appropriately designated the Majority Text... The witnesses to the Majority Text come from all over the ancient world. There very number suggests that they represent a long and widespread chain of manuscript tradition....

.......The most ancient manuscripts of the New Testament were written in all-capital letters (uncials), and these later were replaced by the so-called minuscule script in which everything was written in what today might be called lower-case letters. In minuscule texts the beginnings of sections were often marked by larger letters, a practice reflected in most current printed Greek texts by capitals..."

[Comfort, op. cit., p. 50-56]:

Contrary to the common notion that many of the early New Testament papyri were produced by untrained scribes making personal copies of poor quality, several of the early New Testament papyri were produced with extreme care by educated and professional scribes. Paleographers have classified handwriting styles from the third century B.C. to the fourth century A.D. (and beyond). Many of the early New Testament papyri were written in what is called 'the reformed documentary hand' (i.e., the scribe knew he was working on a manuscript that was not just a legal document but a literary work)...

Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 405... ...was divided into sections according to a system also found... ...in the great fourth-century manuscripts... [Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus] ...this system clearly was not created by the scribe. Furthermore, this manuscript, written in handsome script, displays three different positions for punctuation, as well as omission and quotation signs... The paleographic evidence reveals that several of the early manuscripts were copied carefully with precision and acumen - undoubtedly affected by Alexandrian scriptoral practices...

The early New Testament papyri contribute virtually no new substantial variants, suggesting that all of the New Testament variants are preserved somewhere in the extant manuscript tradition. Kewnyon (1958:55) says:

'The number of manuscripts of the New Testament, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the church, is so large that it is practically certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities. This can be said of no other ancient book.'

This tells us that it is very unlikely that we would find additional significant variant readings if other manuscripts were discovered - even if these manuscripts were from the first century. We can safely assume, then, that the original text has usually been preserved in the earliest manuscripts."

[Comfort, op. cit., p. 129]:

"There are several manuscripts that are quite accurate copies of the original text. Most of these were manuscripts produced by early Christian scribes in Egypt or by Christians influenced by Alexandrian scriptoral practices. As the most ancient of textual critics [of the New Testament] they were probably in a better position to produce a good copy than modern textual critics. Even though the latter have far more manuscripts at their disposal than the ancients did, the ancients have had many manuscripts dating from the first and second centuries. The ancients were just as capable in evaluating the quality of manuscripts as modern critics are, and they were much closer to the text - especially with respect to familiarity with the language...."

F. F. Bruce states, ("THE BOOKS and the PARCHMENTS, Fleming H. Revell Co., 1963, pp. 184-190):

"The text of the Greek Testament established by B.F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort and published with an explanatory introduction and appendices in 1881 introduced a fresh and more scientific method of classification - classification according to textual types or families. This classification has the further advantage that it includes not only Greek manuscripts but also the early versions in other languages and New Testament quotations in ancient authors. Westcott and Hort were pioneers in this matter, and their classification has been corrected and expanded, but classification by types of text has been established as the most rational and fruitful classification of the evidence.

The great centres of Christianity in the early centuries tended, in the course of copying and recopying, to have distinct types of text associated with them. Textual students have been able to distinguish among our sources of evidence for the New Testament text groups of manuscripts, versions and citations associated in particular with Alexandria, Caesarea, Antioch and the West (and the West means primarily Rome). The Alexandrian type is represented in particular by Codices 'N', B and C and a few other uncials and minuscules;

[FOOTNOTE#1] also by the Coptic (Bohairic) version and by Biblical citations in the Alexandrian writers, Origen, Athanasius, and Cyril. The works of Origen, however, reveal the use of two types of Biblical text. When this was first pointed out (as it was in 1924 by B. H. Streeter in The Four Gospels), it was thought that the year 231, in which Origen left Alexandria for Caesarea, marked the time when he exchanged the use of the Alexandrian type of text even before he left Alexandria; and that he certainly used the Alexandrian type of text for a time after he went to Caesarea. Then, when the Chester Beatty papyri were discovered and studied, it appeared that they, too, constituted a witness for the New Testament text which Streeter had called Caesarean, so that this text was current in Egypt in the first half of the third century - that is to say, in the time of Origen. But wherever it originated, this text was certainly used at Caesarea, and radiated from there, and it may continue to be called the Caesarean text. It is the text which was used (in the Gospels at any rate) by Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, in the middle of the fourth century. Its chief representatives, in addition to the Chester Beatty papyri and the New Testament citations in some works of Origen, are Codices W and 'Theta', some 20 minuscules and the Palestinian Syriac, Old Armenian and Old Georgian versions.

The Antiochian (or rather the Old Antiochian, [footnote #2] text-type has not been isolated among Greek manuscripts, but it is the one to which the Old Syriac version belongs, and it is therefore a reasonable inference that the Greek text from which that version was made was of this type. It had close affinities with the Western text.

The Western text was widely diffused in the early Christian centuries, and is represented not only in several manuscripts (the chief of which is Codex D) and versions (in particular the Old Latin) but also in citations in a large variety of writers (as the African Fathers Tertullian, Cyprian and Augustine, the Latin translation of Irenaeus, and - remarkable enough - Clement of Alexandria). The chief characteristic feature of the Western text is its tendency to expansion. To this text, for example, belongs the famous insertion in the debate about Sabbath-keeping in Luke 6, where between verses 4 and 5 Codex D adds:

'The same day, beholding a certain man working on the Sabbath, He said to him: 'Man, if indeed thou knowest what thou are doing, blessed art thou. But if thou knowest not, accursed art thou and a transgressor of the law'.

When days of peace came to the Church in the fourth century, and a strong tendency to centralization set in, the new imperial capital of Constantinople (the former Byzantium) exercised great influence of the whole of Greek-speaking Christendom. One feature of this tendency was the dissemination of one particular type of text of the Greek Bible in place of the diverse local types hitherto in vogue. The text of the Greek New Testament which thus became the standard text for Greek Christendom may have been based on a recension made by the same Lucian of Antioch whose recension of the Greek Old Testament was [previously] mentioned... This text has sometimes been called the Antiochian text from its supposed place of origin, but this is liable to lead to confusion with the Old Antiochian text already mentioned, and so the new text had better be called the Byzantine text, since it was certainly adopted by the church of the eastern capital and radiated from that centre. (In Westcott and Hort's nomenclature it is called the 'Syrian' text.)

Whether it was based on the recension of Lucian or not, this Byzantine text was marked by the same feature which we mentioned in connection with its Old Testament counterpart - the conflation [composite] of divergent readings from the earlier text-forms. If a textual variant is shown to have arisen from the conflation or mixture of two other variants, it is plainly later than these other two; and this conflate type of variant is very characteristic of the Byzantine text [upon which the Textus Receptus is based]. This in itself suggest that the Byzantine text is later than those other types we have enumerated, and there is the further consideration that the Byzantine text is not represented in the translations or citations of the first three centuries A.D., whereas the other types of text are. Chrysostom is the first Greek Father whose Biblical citations show a Byzantine character (A.D. 347-407).

The Byzantine text is that represented by the bulk of later Greek manuscripts, and it is the text underlying the earliest printed editions of the Greek New Testament - the so-called Textus Receptus or 'Received Text of which our Authorized Version of the New Testament is in the main a translation....

Westcott and Hort believed that the text which we have called the Alexandrian represented as nearly as could be attained the original autographic text. In their eyes, this text was marked by none of the deviations which they saw in other texts, and they expressed their high regard for it by naming it the 'Neutral' text. But further discovery and study have led to second thoughts on this matter. A number of scholars have adduced weighty arguments for preferring the claims of the Western text to be regarded as the representative of the first-century text. Certainly the Western text has very ancient attestation; it appears in patristic citations earlier than the Alexandrian text does, and in the Gospels and Acts it exhibits a greater number of Aramaizing constructions than the other texts do. For all that, the Western text bears internal signs of being a revision of the first-century text text of the New Testament which deviates from it more than the Alexandrian text does. The Alexandrian and Caesarean (and probably the Old Antiochian) texts may also represent revisions of the text, but revisions which represent first-century text more faithfully than the Western text does. The position is now that we have evidence carrying our knowledge of the textual history of the New Testament well back into the second century. In particular, while we cannot regard the Alexandrian text with the same exclusive veneration as Westcott and Hort showed for it, and must see in it not a 'neutral' text (as they did) but a revised or edited text, yet we recognize that it is a well edited text, established by Christians of the second century on the basis of manuscripts far exceeding in antiquity those which have come down to us. The claims of the Caesarean and Old Antiochian texts are less easy to assess. While many...regard the Caesarean as an independent text, it is still possible to hold... that it is a correction of the Western text by the Alexandrian, and therefore later than both and secondary to them in importance. As for the Old Antiochian text, postulated as the Greek text from which the Old Syriac version was made, it must be earlier than that version, i.e., not later than the middle of the second century. For a similar reason the Western text must be equally old, because the earliest Old Latin version, which is Western in character, cannot be much later than A.D. 150.....

(Footnote #1): The Bodmer papyrus of John's Gospel.. has been assigned by some scholars to the Alexandrian text-type, but care must be exercised in applying to such an early manuscript a method of classification based on the comparative study of later manuscripts. See J N Birdsall, The Bodmer of the Gospel of John (London, 1960).[RETURN TO TEXT]

(Footnote #2) Old Antiochian to distinguish it from the later Antiochian text, thought to have been established by Lucian (died 312). [Return to text]

B) TEXTUS RECEPTUS =

THE RECEIVED TEXT

[FF Bruce, op. cit., p. 187]:

"The Byzantine text is that represented by the bulk of later Greek manuscripts, and it is the text underlying the earliest printed editions of the Greek New Testament - the so-called Textus Receptus or 'Received Text of which our Authorized Version of the New Testament is in the main a translation...."

[Hodges, ibid]:

"...Any reading overwhelmingly attested by the manuscript tradition is more likely to be original than its rival(s)...

In any tradition where there are not major disruptions in the transmissional history, the individual reading which has the earliest beginning is the one most likely to survive in a majority of documents. And the earliest reading of all is the original one. Unless an error is made in the very first stages of copying, the chances of survival of the error in extant copies in large numbers is significantly reduced. The later a reading originates, the less likely it is to be widely copied...

It should be kept in mind that by the time the major extant papyrus texts were copied, the New Testament was well over a century old..."

[Comfort, op. cit., p. 25]:

"When the first Greek New Testament was printed (ca. 1525), it was based on a Greek text that Erasmus had compiled, using a few late Byzantine manuscripts. This printed text, with minor revisions, became the Textus Receptus. The name Textus Receptus is associated with the second printed edition of Elzevir's Greek New Testament (1633), which told the reader 'you have the text, now received by all.' "

[Berry, ibid.]:

"[The Textus Receptus]...is the Greek text of Stephens, 1550, which (with the Elzevir Text of 1624) is commonly called the Textus Receptus, or the Received Text, from which the New Testaments of the King James Version, William Tyndale's Bible, Luther's German Bible, Olivetan's French Bible, the Geneva Bible (English), and many other vernacular versions of the Protestant Reformation were translated. It is a Traditional Text that has been read and preserved by the Greek Orthodox Church through the centuries. From it came the Peshitta, the Italic, Celtic, Gallic, and Gothic Bibles, the medieval versions of the evangelical Waldenses and Albigenses, and other versions suppressed by Rome during the Middle Ages...

This interlinear text maintains the basic integrity of the Received Text (also called the Majority Text, since it is represented by 95 percent of the manuscript evidence)..."

http://www.bible.ca/b-kjv-only.htm

The following is an excerpt from the above website:

"The Text Behind the King James Version The Greek text used by the translators who made the King James Version is commonly referred to as the Received Text, which in turn had its beginnings in the early 1500's when the first printed Greek texts were made. The Complutensian Bible was a polyglot Bible, published in several volumes. The fifth volume, which included a Greek text of the New Testament, was printed in 1514. However, Erasmus' Greek text, printed in 1516, was the first to be marketed. For this reason, and others, the text prepared by Erasmus surpassed the Complutensian text in popularity, and exerted the greatest influence on all the texts to follow for the next few centuries. After Erasmus' text had seen several revisions, Robert Estienne, commonly referred to as Stephanus, published successive editions of a Greek text. His first two editions were compounds of Erasmus' text and the Complutensian text. However, the third edition (1550) was based primarily on the fourth and fifth editions of Erasmus' text. This 1550 edition gained wide acceptance in England, and for many is synonymous with the Received Text. However, it was not until 1624 that the phrase, Received Text, or in the Latin, Textus Receptus, was actually coined, and then it was from the preface to the third edition of a Greek text published by Bonaventure and Abraham Elzevir. The words were, as described by Bruce Metzger, part of "a more or less casual phrase advertising the edition (what modern publishers might call a 'blurb')." The phrase boasted in Latin that the text presented was "the text which is now received by all." Thus came the phrase Textus Receptus, or Received Text. The text published by the Elzevir brothers was mainly taken from a text published by Theodore de Beza in 1565. Beza's text showed its heritage from that of Stephanus, and ultimately from that of Erasmus. It is this basic text, common to Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, and the Elzevir brothers, which lies behind all the protestant translations into English that were made from the Greek language prior to the nineteenth century, including the King James Version. According to The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, "The textus receptus...resolves itself essentially into that of the last edition of Erasmus." As we stated before, no translation is due the reverence which many have toward the King James Version. Moreover, while the King James Version represents a scholarly translation from the Greek, because of the Greek text which lies behind it, it is perhaps even somewhat less deserving of such high esteem than some other translations. Bruce Metzger writes, 'So superstitious has been the reverence accorded the Textus Receptus that in some cases attempts to criticize or emend it have been regarded as akin to sacrilege. Yet its textual basis is essentially a handful of late and haphazardly collected minuscule manuscripts, and in a dozen passages its reading is supported by no known Greek witness.' (The Text of the New Testament, p. 106) The vast majority of textual variations between the Textus Receptus and later texts (which are based to a large extent on older manuscripts that have been discovered or made available only in the last 150 years) are of no significance whatever. Often, variants are such that they are not at all distinguishable after being translated into English. At other times the variants merely represent the attempt of some scribe to supplement one synoptist's account with a detail legitimately provided in the account of another synoptist. However, occasionally the variations are more serious. Although much credit is due to Erasmus for having made a Greek text available at all, the text which he presented was not of good quality. The half dozen manuscripts used by Erasmus were all of late origin. Most, if not all, were from the fifteenth century, while two may have been made as early as the twelfth century. He had only one manuscript which contained the book of Revelation, and it was missing the final leaf, which had contained the last six verses of Revelation. For these verses, Erasmus turned to the Vulgate, a Latin translation of the scriptures. Erasmus translated the Latin back to Greek. Thus, for those verses, it was a contrived Greek text which eventually came to be translated into English in the King James Version. Trying to discover the original Greek text by looking at a Latin translation is a little like trying to discover the exact ingredients used in making a German chocolate cake by tasting it. While your guess may be close, you will not be exactly right. Thus some words which have never been found in any Greek manuscript were incorporated into Erasmus' text, and in turn, into the Textus Receptus and the King James Version. For example, at Revelation 22:19, the phrase, "book of life" in the King James Version should be "tree of life" according to all known Greek manuscripts. In other passages also, Erasmus took into his text words and phrases found in the Latin Vulgate, but supported by virtually no Greek manuscripts. Thus in Acts 9:5-6, the King James Version inherits from the Vulgate by way of Erasmus the following words: '...it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him...' We should note that these words do legitimately belong in Paul's account of his conversion as recorded by Luke in Acts 26 (verses 14-15), and therefore no factual error has been introduced in this instance."

C) WESTCORT-HORT TEXT

[Hodges, ibid.]:

"...In 1881, Westcott and Hort published their two-volume work, The New Testament in the Original Greek. To produce this text they relied heavily on the witness of... [Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus]... but especially Vaticanus. Both of these documents come from the fourth century and were the oldest available manuscripts in their day... the critical texts in current use differ relatively little from the text published by Westcott and Hort a hundred years ago..."

[F. F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 184]:

"The text of the Greek Testament established by B.F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort and published with an explanatory introduction and appendices in 1881 introduced a fresh and more scientific method of classification - classification according to textual types or families. This classification has the further advantage that it includes not only Greek manuscripts but also the early versions in other languages and New Testament quotations in ancient authors. Westcott and Hort were pioneers in this matter, and their classification has been corrected and expanded, but classification by types of text has been established as the most rational and fruitful classification of the evidence."

[F.F. Bruce, op. cit., pp. 187-189]:

"Westcott and Hort believed that the text which we have called the Alexandrian represented as nearly as could be attained the original autographic text. In their eyes, this text was marked by none of the deviations which they saw in other texts, and they expressed their high regard for it by naming it the 'Neutral' text. But further discovery and study have led to second thoughts on this matter. A number of scholars have adduced weighty arguments for preferring the claims of the Western text to be regarded as the representative of the first-century text. Certainly the Western text has very ancient attestation; it appears in patristic citations earlier than the Alexandrian text does, and in the Gospels and Acts it exhibits a greater number of Aramaizing constructions than the other texts do. For all that, the Western text bears internal signs of being a revision of the first-century text text of the New Testament which deviates from it more than the Alexandrian text does. The Alexandrian and Caesarean (and probably the Old Antiochian) texts may also represent revisions of the text, but revisions which represent first-century text more faithfully than the Western text does. The position is now that we have evidence carrying our knowledge of the textual history of the New Testament well back into the second century. In particular, while we cannot regard the Alexandrian text with the same exclusive veneration as Westcott and Hort showed for it, and must see in it not a 'neutral' text (as they did) but a revised or edited text, yet we recognize that it is a well edited text, established by Christians of the second century on the basis of manuscripts far exceeding in antiquity those which have come down to us."

D) CONCLUSION: ALL OF THE DOCTRINES OF THE ORIGINAL BIBLE HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE THROUGHOUT THE AGE

[F.F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 189]:

" We have been discussing various textual types, and reviewing their comparative claims to be regarded as best representatives of the original New Testament text. But there are not wide divergences between these types, of a kind that could make any difference to the Church's responsibility to be a witness and guardian of Holy Writ. The Authorized Version of 1611 represents, by and large, the Byzantine text. The Revised Version of 1881 and the American Standard Version of 1901, which were produced under the influence of Westcott and Hort's textual theory and work, represent in the main the Alexandrian text. The Revised Standard Version of 1946 reflects the views of contemporary textual scholars, who have traced the various early lines of textual transmission back to the second century, and represents an eclectic text, each variant reading of the second-century textual types being considered on its merits, without marked preference being given to any single one of these types. But the words of one of the editors of this latest revision are perfectly true:

'It will be obvious to the careful reader that still in 1946, as in 1881 and 1901, no doctrine of the Christian faith has been affected by the revision, for the simple reason that, out of the thousands of variant reading in the manuscripts, none has turned up thus far that requires a revision of Christian doctrine.'

[F.C. Grant, 'An Introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament', (1946), p. 42]

[Comfort, op. cit., p. 56]:

"The early New Testament papyri contribute virtually no new substantial variants, suggesting that all of the New Testament variants are preserved somewhere in the extant manuscript tradition. Kewnyon (1958:55) says:

'The number of manuscripts of the New Testament, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the church, is so large that it is practically certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities. This can be said of no other ancient book.'

This tells us that it is very unlikely that we would find additional significant variant readings if other manuscripts were discovered - even if these manuscripts were from the first century. We can safely assume, then, that the original text has usually been preserved in the earliest manuscripts."

II) WAS THE BIBLE ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN ARAMAIC?

A) THE LACK OF AVAILABILITY OF THE ARAMAIC LANGUAGE TO THE WORLD AND OF SUFFICIENT NUMBERS OF ARAMAIC MANUSCRIPTS THROUGHOUT THE AGES INDICATE THAT GOD DID NOT INTEND FOR THE ARAMAIC LANGUAGE TO BE USED TO RELAY HIS WORD TO THE WORLD AS AN ORIGINAL TEXT

1) INTRODUCTION:

Since God is sovereign;

and since the particular Aramaic dialect that was spoken over the period of time when the applicable books of the Bible were written has not been substantially available for thousands of years;

and since we do not have a sufficient number of such Aramaic manuscript copies reflecting the words of God's Word with which to examine and adequately determine the normative meanings and use of the particular Aramaic dialect in question;

and since God's Word is intended for all of humanity of all ages;

then it is questionable that the Aramaic language was intended by God to be one of the original languages to be used to disseminate His Word.

2) CLAIMS THAT NEITHER GREEK NOR ARAMAIC TEXTS HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE THROUGHOUT THE CENTURIES ARE REFUTED

a) INTRODUCTION

The best language to convey the words of God's Word at the time that the New Testament was written was Greek not Aramaic, since Greek was the universal, international language at the time. And indeed the gospel was spread throughout the known world with the aid of copies of the books of the New Testament in koine Greek. For example,

[Berry, ibid.]:

"[The Textus Receptus]...is the Greek text of Stephens, 1550, which (with the Elzevir Text of 1624) is commonly called the Textus Receptus, or the Received Text, from which the New Testaments of the King James Version, William Tyndale's Bible, Luther's German Bible, Olivetan's French Bible, the Geneva Bible (English), and many other vernacular versions of the Protestant Reformation were translated. It is a Traditional Text that has been read and preserved by the Greek Orthodox Church through the centuries. From it came the Peshitta, the Italic, Celtic, Gallic, and Gothic Bibles, the medieval versions of the evangelical Waldenses and Albigenses, and other versions suppressed by Rome during the Middle Ages..."

The false claim of the 'Aramaic' camp that the Greek text has not historically been available to mankind down through the ages and therefore was not really the original text is untrue and ignores the purpose of the Greek text as the original text and its availability to mankind provided mankind is interested in what God has to say.

b) THE BEST LANGUAGE TO CONVEY GOD'S WORD TO THE WORLD AT THE TIME IT WAS WRITTEN WAS GREEK

The best language to convey the words of God's Word at the time that the New Testament was written was Greek not Aramaic, since Greek was the universal, international language at that time. And indeed the gospel was spread throughout the known world with the aid of copies of the books of the New Testament in koine Greek.

History proved out later that the Greek was God's intended language medium for communicating the original New Testament message to the world since there have been discovered thousands of examples of koine Greek writings including thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament books available throughout the ages. But few examples of writings in the actual Aramaic dialect that our Lord spoke have been discovered in all of this time - none of which are original, all of which show that they have been copied from the Greek, directly or indirectly. So we have a very incomplete basis of information as to how to interpret the particular Aramaic dialect that our Lord actually used, even if there were preserved a so called 'original manuscript' of the New Testament books in this dialect.

Incidentally God does not have a language - His thoughts transcend man's language and are able to be communicated to the mind of man in any language. We are not lacking anything if we try to comprehend what God has to say in any language. So if the koine Greek manuscripts adequately communicate what God has had to say, and we can adequately translate it into a language we understand best, we do not need to go any further, we already have His truth available for us to understand. In view of the historical fact that languages evolve, (consider trying to read 16th century 'olde Englishe' versus today's modern American English - just a few centuries of time passing by), it is not necessary that we know the precise Aramaic words that our Lord uttered, especially since they would not mean as much as what they mean to you in your native tongue. Why did our Lord occasionally quote from the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament instead of the Hebrew original - to communicate better to the Jews in Jerusalem who were from other parts of the world and who knew the koine Greek better at that time than they knew Hebrew.

Furthermore, considering that mankind stops at nothing to make something instead of God as an object of worship, (recall that the Ark and the articles in it became Israel's objects of worship), it has been God's sovereign choice to allow the original texts to disappear lest we worship or enshrine them also - not focusing on the content, the words of God's Word but some unjustified mystical, and superstitious religious value. But God has left mankind with a more than adequate replacement in the multitude of ancient manuscripts available today.

So the words of God's Word are truly available to those who spend the time to sort through all that God has sovereignly left us in order to determine what those original words are.

c) THE RESULT OF MANKIND TURNING ITS BACK ON GOD AND HIS WORD OVER THE CENTURIES: THE WORD IS CAST OUT OF MAN'S IMMEDIATE REACH NEVERTHELESS IT WAS STILL AVAILABLE TO THOSE THAT SOUGHT HIS WORDS

The New Testament Bible was completed in the original Greek in the 1st century AD and was immediately disseminated over the known world in that language and other languages that it was translated into. As centuries went by and languages changed, the koine Greek no longer being the universal language that it was, and people no longer taking an interest in the actual words of God's Word, the words of God's Word in Greek and other languages that the original koine Greek manuscripts were translated into were 'shelved' out of immediate reach in numerous and various places around the world: libraries, monasteries, private homes of the wealthy, etc.

On the other hand the Aramaic camp claims that the lack of immediate availability of the Greek Bible, proves that the koine Greek was not God's appointed original language to witness to mankind down through the ages. They ignore, however, the possibility that when man ignores God's Word and sets it to the side, even takes radical steps to destroy it, it becomes unavailable through their own choosing but not totally unavailable for those who honestly seek what God has said.

Consider what happened when Israel turned her back on God and His Word:

They were dispersed throughout the world, they lost immediate contact with the Hebrew Scriptures and even the Hebrew language in which those Scriptures were written but God still provided truths from His word to His people but in the languages of their captors as the LORD predicted and as it was recorded historically as coming to pass:

i) [Isa 28:11]:

(v. 11) "Very well then [due to Israel's unfaithfulness she will be captured by foreigners], with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people"

Further proof that this is so is that after the Reformation, when interest in the words of God's Word began to grow and be translated in the languages of the time, the manuscript copies of God's Word began to show up - more and more from those 'hideouts' in monasteries, libraries, private homes of rich individuals, etc., etc.

And the great predominance of the manuscripts were in the koine Greek from which evidence shows the rest of the manuscripts in other languages were most likely translated from those Greek manuscripts or the Greek parent of those manuscripts. There has been little available or useful in the original Aramaic dialect that our Lord spoke.

3) ARAMAIC MANUSCRIPTS ARE TRANSLATIONS FROM THE GREEK, THEY ARE NOT ORIGINAL; AND THEY ARE WRITTEN IN A VARIANT DIALECT OF THE LANGUAGE THAT JESUS SPOKE NOT THE ACTUAL DIALECT

a) INTRODUCTION

[F. F. Bruce, op. cit., pp. 193-194]:

"The standard Syriac version of the Bible is known as the Peshitta or 'simple' version. In examining its history we have to consider the Old and New Testaments separately.

b) OLD TESTAMENT

The Syriac Old Testament is evidently a translation from the Hebrew original, although it bears some marks of Septuagint influence. When and by whom the translation was made we have no direct information. About A.D. 400 Theodore of Mopsuestia could write of it: 'It has been translated into the tongue of the Syrians by someone or other, for it has not been learned up to the present day who this was'. So we have to form our conclusions on the internal evidence of the version itself. This evidence suggests that we have to do with a translation made from Hebrew by Jews, in fact with a sort of Targum. There are in fact, some typical Targumic interpretations in the Syriac Old Testament, one of which (in Psalm 68:18)... Dr. Kahle says that 'there can be no doubt that the closest contact exists between the Syriac Pentateuch and the old Palestinian Targum'. [The Cairo Geniza (1947), p. 187. Cf. 2nd edn. (1959), p. 273.] He also suggests that the Syriac version of the Old Testament was carried through in connection with the Jewish mission among the pagan population of Adiabene at the time when the royal house of that country professed the Jewish faith (A.D. 40-70). When the Jewish mission was followed by the Christian mission there and in the neighbouring territories, the Syriac translation of the Old Testament was very likely taken over by the Christians and subjected to Christian editing. To this Christian editing the Septuagint influence detected in the version may well be due...."

c) NEW TESTAMENT

[F. F. Bruce, op. cit., pp. 194-200]:

"As soon as the Christian mission had been set afoot in Mesopotamia, the need would naturally arise for a version of the New Testament in the language of those parts. As regularly happened in the case of translations of Scripture, we find first a period in which several variant efforts at translation are in circulation, none of them being officially authorized, followed by the establishment and imposition of a standard edition. The standard edition of the Syriac New Testament has generally been identified with the revision undertaken by Rabbula, who was bishop of Edessa from 411 to 435. Rabbula's biographer tells us that he undertook his revision because of the variations in the existing texts (which is what we should expect when there was no one 'authorized' text), and that he carried it out accurately, in accordance with the 'authentic' text. As a matter of fact, the 'authentic' text in accordance with which Rabbula produced his revision was the Byzantine Greek text [and not an Aramaic text] which by this time had become the standard text of Greek Christendom. Together with the Christian recension of the Syriac Old Testament Rabbula's revision of the New Testament constitutes the Peshitta, which from his time to our own has remained the 'authorized version' of the Bible in the Syriac Church. Naturally, Rabbula's revision did not find immediate and universal acceptance; Old Syriac reading can be traced in quotations by Syriac writers down to the beginning of the sixth century, and Rabbula himself was so familiar with the older versions that even in works which he wrote towards the end of his life a large proportion of his Gospel quotations agree with the Old Syriac or Diatessaron texts rather than with the Peshitta. But the fact that the Peshitta is the 'authorized version' of the two main opposed branches of Syriac Christianity, the Nestorians and the Jacobites, indicated that it must have been firmly established by the time of their final cleavage, well before the end of the fifth century.

It was believed at one time that the Peshitta New Testament was earlier than Rabbula's time, but in point of fact the only forms of Syriac Scripture whose existence and use are attested before the fifth century are some of those texts whose variations impelled Rabbula to undertake his standard revision. For example, Ephrem, the greatest of the Syriac Fathers (c. 308-373), uses in his writings no version of the Gospels other than that known as the Diatessaron (on which indeed he wrote a commentary). This was a harmony of the Gospels very popular in Mesopotamia. Theodoretus, bishop of Cyrrhus near the Euphrates from c. 423 to 457, records that he collected and removed more than 200 copies from the churches in his diocese, replacing them by 'the Gospels of the Four Evangelists.' This last expression probably denotes Rabbula's revision of the Gospels. Rabbula himself seems to have taken similar steps in his neighbouring diocese of Edessa; one of his directions to his clergy ran: 'The presbyters and deacons shall see to it that in all the churches a copy of the 'Gospel of the separated ones' shall be available and read'. [Th. Zahn, Forschungen zur Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons, i. (1881), p. 105.] (The 'Gospel of the separated ones' refers to an edition of the four separate Gospels as distinct from a harmony which weaves them together into one continuous narrative; the edition which Rabbula prescribed would naturally be his own.) It might well seem that the supersession of the Diatessaron was a prime consideration with Rabbula in undertaking his revision.

What, then, was this Diatessaron? The word is by origin a Greek musical term, meaning a 'harmony of four (parts)' (Gk. dia tessaron, literally 'through four'). It is the name given to a work compiled by Tatian, an Assyrian Christian, shortly after the middle of the second century. The idea of weaving the four Gospels into one continuous narrative is one that has occurred to many people in the course of the Christian era, but Tatian was (so far as we can tell) the first person to do such a thing. He spent several years at Rome, where he became a disciple of Justin Martyr, and returned to his native Assyria about A.D. 172. Where exactly we are to locate the 'Assyria' to which Tatian belonged is a matter on which there has been some difference of opinion, but it is an interesting coincidence with what has been said already about Adiabene that the great German theologian Zahn should have concluded that Tatian came from that area. Zahn reached this conclusion on the evidence of the Greek geographers Strabo and Ptolemy. [Op. cit., p. 269] Others, however, have taught of the district round Edessa. In any case, the harmony of the Gospels which Tatian compiled became very popular among the Syriac-speaking Christians, and it required drastic measures even 250 years later, such as those adopted by Rabulla and Theodoretus, to abolish its use and see to it that the faithful read or heard the 'separate' Gospels....

One matter which has not been decisively cleared up concerns the original language of the Diatessaron. Did Tatian compile it in Syriac or did he compile it first in Greek and then translate it into Syriac? On the one hand we have the clear evidence of its circulation and popularity as a Syriac Gospel-harmony. On the other hand we have its Greek title, and also the fact that a third-century vellum fragment of the Diatessaron in Greek was identified in 1933 among a quantity of manuscripts found among the ruins of a Roman fort at Dura-Europos on the Euphrates....

But the Diatessaron was not the only form in which the Gospels were known among the Syriac-speaking Churches before the time of Rabbula. It would be the most natural thing in the world to do something in the way of New Testament translation [from Greek] into Syriac soon after the Christian mission had been inaugurated among the Syriac-speaking population. Eusebius [Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., ii., 2.] tells us that Hegesippus, a Jewish Christian writer who flourished about the middle of the second century, quoted Scripture 'from the Syriac'; and it was only in the last few years of Hegesippus's life that the Diatessaron appeared. We have two very valuable manuscripts of the Old Syriac translation of the [Greek] Gospels, and there is evidence that these two do not represent all the Old Syriac Gospel-versions....

The two Old Syriac copies of the Gospels do not show exactly the same text as each other. As the analogy of other Biblical translations would have led us to expect, there were several varying versions in circulation before these were superseded by an officially authorized edition (which, in the case of the Syriac Bible, was the Peshitta). One of the two copies is called the 'Curetonian', after William Cureton, who discovered it in 1847 and published it in 1858. It is a fragmentary fifth century manuscript of the Syriac Gospels which was procured from a monastery in the Nitrian Desert of Egypt. The other is called the 'Lewis' or 'Sinaitic' copy, because it was discovered in 1892 by Mrs. A. S. Lewis of Cambridge in the monastery of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai. This Syriac manuscript is a palimpsest (like the Codex Ephraemi), the older writing on which (the Gospel text) has been rendered reasonably legible by chemical means. The later writing was superimposed on the earlier in A.D. 778 at a convent near Antioch; the earlier writing is three or four centuries earlier, but the place where it was written is not known. Of course, we must make a clear distinction between the dates to which the two manuscripts belong, and the dates of the translations which they bear. There is little difference in date between the two manuscripts, but a comparison of their Gospel texts makes it clear that they are two variant forms of the Old Syriac version, and that the Curetonian text is later than the Lewis and looks like a revision of it. The Lewis palimpsest has traces of Palestinian dialect in its Syriac, which suggests that the translators of the Gospels into Syriac [from the Greek] were Palestinian Christians. According to Professor C. C. Torrey, the Curetonian text is 'a revision of the Sinai (Lewis) text improving its language in the direction of pure Syriac, removing the conspicuously Palestinian elements and conforming the text to a later form of the Greek'. [Documents of the Primitive Church (1941), p. 250]....

The standard (Peshitta, literally 'simple') text produced and imposed by Rabbula was a revision of the existing version, brought into conformity (as we have said) with the Byzantine Greek text. The older versions did not fall into disuse immediately. In particular, the Diatessaron continued to be used and valued for some centuries, in spite of episcopal disapproval, and if at last it died out in its Syriac form, it did not do so before it had been translated into Arabic and Latin..."

i) THE LANGUAGE OF THE SYRIAC BIBLE IS A VARIANT OF THE LANGUAGE OF OUR LORD'S AND NOT THE ACTUAL LANGUAGE

[F. F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 200]:

"Because the Syriac Bible is written in a variant dialect of the language that Jesus spoke, extreme views are sometimes expressed about the forms in which His sayings appear in the Syriac Gospels, as though His actual words in the language in which they were uttered might be found there. The ordinary reader, for example, may readily infer from the writings of Mr. George Lamsa that the Peshitta Gospels preserve the very words of our Lord better than the Greek Gospels do. This, of course, is quite wrong; the Peshitta New Testament is simply a translation of the Greek. Even the Old Syriac forms - Diatessaron and 'separate' Gospels alike - are translations of the Greek Gospels. The most we can say is that some Palestinian idioms in the Old Syriac Gospels may possibly go back to a living tradition of the original Gospel story and in particular of the words of Jesus. If the Syriac-speaking Churches were founded by Jewish Christians from Palestine, this is what we might expect."

B) SINCE ONLY THE 66 BOOKS OF THE BIBLE AND ONLY IN GREEK AND HEBREW HAVE PROVIDED AN INERRANT COMMUNICATION OF GOD'S WORD THROUGHOUT THE AGES OR FOR ANY AGE, THEN IT IS SELF EVIDENT THAT THIS IS WHAT GOD HAS INTENDED TO COMMUNICATE TO THE WORLD AS HIS REVEALED WORD

1) INTRODUCTION

The 66 books of the Bible as available in Hebrew and Greek, (via the 24,000+ available manuscript copies), testify to their own inerrancy by being inerrant. There is no other evidence available of the inerrant communication of God's Word in any other language.

2) FALSE CLAIM THAT SINCE THE GREEK BIBLE CONTAINS ELEMENTS OF ARAMAIC THINKING AND BACKGROUND THAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN ARAMAIC

A document originally written in one language can certainly and normatively reflect the background and influence and even vocabulary of another language and culture without it having to have been first written in that second language. A document can be for example written by an author in a second language who is obviously multilingual and who injects into his work the culture, vocabulary and language influences with which he is most familiar out of habit or for a particular purpose. This can be done without committing errors in the actual language used and without having to first write the document in the other language even if it is a more familiar language. Individuals who are multilingual can indeed think in any of the languages they are fluent in and likewise utilize whichever cultural background and vocabulary suits them as authors relative to their purpose in writing their work.

Since the New Testament books of God's Word is largely based in Jewish culture, it would be not be unexpected for the works to reflect Jewish cultural ideas, vocabulary and concepts of the particular language which was used at the time the the books were written: Aramaic and Hebrew; especially since the first audience was the Jew and then the Gentile and the basis for much of the New Testament writings was the Hebrew Old Testament. On the other hand the language used would have to be a more universal language than Aramaic in order to more effectively communicate what was being said to the whole world, hence we find that the autographs of the New Testament are in the koine or common Greek which was spoken and written world wide at the time.

3) CLAIMS THAT CERTAIN PASSAGES DO NOT MAKE SENSE IN THE GREEK BUT AN ALTERNATIVE RENDERING IN ARAMAIC DOES MAKE SENSE ARE REFUTED

a) Acts 11:27-30:

(v. 27) "During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.

(v. 28) One of them named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread all over the world.

[This happened during the reign of Claudius Caesar.)

"all over the world" = the habitable world, comprising primarily the Roman Empire = "ephiolen ...ten oidoumenen" = "over whole the inhabitants (of the world)"]

(v. 29) "The disciples [= "matheton"] each according to his ability decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea.

(v. 30) This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul."

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

[James Trimm, The Society for the Advancement of Nazarene Judaism, (SANJ): PO Box 471; Hurst, TX 76053; USA http://www.nazarene.net]

"Now this doesn't make sense at all, why would those in Antioch send relief to those dwelling IN JUDEA if the famine was to strike all THE WORLD. They would be facing famine themselves. The solution lies in the fact that the word for "WORLD" in the Aramaic manuscripts is A'RA (Strong's #772) the Aramaic form of the Hebrew word ERETZ (Strong's 776). This word can mean "world" (as in Prov. 19:4) "earth" (as in Dan. 2:35) or "land" (as in Dan. 9:15) and is often used as a euphemism for "The Land of Israel" (as in Dan. 9:6). Certainly the word here is not meant to mean "world" but "land of Israel."

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

OIKOUMENE does not mean "world", but "inhabited world", and was commonly used in the vernacular of the day to refer to the Roman empire. Christians who were in Rome were not necessarily "living in" Rome, but perhaps were pilgrims from other more prosperous areas not hit by famine (compare with Acts 2.5-6).

In actuality there were a series of severe famines which struck various sections of the Roman Empire during the reign of Claudius which would then qualify for such a statement as made that the famine was predicted to cover the area of the world's inhabitants. (Whether or not this Roman Empire-wide famine was also occurring in other parts of the world that had no historical reporting available is obviously not known, but certainly arguable due to the extent of the famines within the Roman Empire.) This was an area that encompassed much more than just Judea. So the forcing of Aramaic words into the text to mean Judea instead of the inhabited world does not meet the context of the passage nor the reality of what happened according to Agabus' prophecy. It is also strange that not a single manuscript in any language is apparently translated to mean Judea, thus reflecting a supposed original aramaic writing. And certainly those who had additional provisions in Antioch would appropriately send what they had to Judea out of their plenty knowing that the brothers in Judea as a matter of course lived hand to mouth already. Otherwise what would be the purpose of Agabus' prophecy if the brothers in Antioch could do nothing?

b) [Mt 26:6, cp. Mk 14:3]:

"While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper..."

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[James Trimm, cont.]:

"Mt. 26:6 = Mk. 14:3 And when Y'shua was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, As any Bible student knows, lepers were not permitted to live in the city (see Lev. 13:46). Since ancient Hebrew and Aramaic were written without vowels, there was no distinction between the Aramaic words GAR'BA (leper) and GARABA (jar maker or jar merchant). Since in this story a woman pours oil from a jar it is apparent that Simon was a jar merchant or jar maker and not a leper."

ii) [GREEK CAMP]

The possibility that Simon once had leprosy but was cured of it, probably by our Lord, went through the proper ceremonial procedures of the Mosaic Law so that he could return to society, and now occupies a house in the city and is normatively called Simon the Leper because he once had leprosy recently is not considered. But consider if our Lord is indeed the Son of God and that He indeed kept every statute of the Law perfectly and did not break the Law by socializing with one who had leprosy and that He did heal Simon as he healed countless individuals, especially those with whom He associated regularly; then certainly He would not permit Simon to have leprosy nor socialize with him while he had the disease. If Simon was not previously healed, no one would have been sitting with him, and, by Law, he would be having to shout "unclean" to warn others away. Scripture is silent on the matter of indicating that Simon and our Lord were in violation of a number of Mosaic Law statutes due to Simon's supposed unhealed leprosy and there is no manuscript that indicates that Simon was anything but a leper, so we are left with the scenario as normatively interpreted: that evidently Simon no longer has leprosy, was fully and ceremonially cured of it and could live in the city, but he was called Simon the leper because he once recently had leprosy. Thus our Lord was indeed not violating any statute of the Mosaic Law and disqualifying Himself as able to complete His mission of providing for the salvation of mankind by paying the penalty for the sins of the whole world.

The above scenario is totally ignored and instead the premature conclusion is therefore arrived at that due to the similarity of the words in Hebrew for leper and jar maker and the fact that there was a jar in Simon's home, that this evidence conclusively makes Simon a jar maker and not a leper, ignoring the point that every home had jars in them. Thus as a result of all of this the Greek text, it is concluded, has an error in it!!!!

c) [Mt 19:12]:

"For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake [i.e., have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven]. The who can accept this should accept it."

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[James Trimm, cont.]:

"Mt. 19:12 & Acts 8:26f ....there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake...

...The Torah, however, forbids a eunuch both from becoming a proselyte Jew, and from worshipping at the Temple (Dt. 23:1f). This also raises the question of why one would become a eunuch (be castrated) for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. After all eunuchs are excluded from the assembly of Israel. The word for "eunuch" in the Aramaic manuscripts of both of theses passages is M'HAIMNA which can mean "eunuch" but can also mean "believer" or "faithful one" as it clearly means.

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

The first part of verse 12 which sets the context is ignored and the last part taken out of context has a literal meaning imposed upon it so that it is made out that one can physically castrate oneself so as not to have lustful desires and therefore serve God for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

On the other hand our Lord's point is relative to whether one who is to serve the Lord most effectively should not be married and have a divided interest, and therefore there is the matter of sexual interest in answer to the disciples question in the previous verse which was ignored:

[Mt 19:10]:

"The disciples said to Him [Jesus, (v. 8)], 'If this is the situation between a husband and wife [relative to unfaithfulness, adultery, sex, divorce, marriage, etc., - with serving God in view (vv. 1-9)], it is better not to marry."

So marriage - who should marry and be legitimately sexually active and who should not relative to serving God is in view in this question, not whether it is ok to become a eunuch. Our Lord's answer is that there are some who are born enuuchs, i.e. born without a sexual interest and that there are some who are made this way, i.e., actually undergo some sort of physical operation to deaden their sexual interest, and then in the last part of this verse that the Aramaic camp takes out of context, our Lord now using the term eunuch as a euphemism for purposely staying unmarried and sexually inactive, states that there are some who volunteer to remain unmarried in order to best serve Him and His kingdom of heaven.

The NIV, picking up on the correct context, paraphrases it this way:

"For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven.

The one who can accept this should accept it."

If the last part of this verse is intended to mean an actual physical action in order to deaden a man's sexual interest then the second part would be redundant since it also indicates such an action and the point of the context would not be well made for there certainly are individuals who voluntarily stay single and sexually inactive in order to best serve the Lord and His kingdom of heaven without emasculating themselves.

Furthermore, the Apostle Paul had much to say on this topic and considered himself a eunuch for the sake of the kingdom of heaven:

[1 Cor 7:1-10]:

(v. 1) "Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.

(v. 6) I say this as a concession, not as a command.

(v. 7) I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

(v. 8) Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.

(v. 9) But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."

So Paul was indeed a "eunuch" for the Kingdom of Heaven, not by castration, but by will and the gift of God. He devoted himself to God, not to a woman.

In Numbers 6 we see the Law of the Nazarite, who were people who separated themselves strictly to the Lord. They were not castrated, yet stayed away from women (or men) to fulfill their vows

d) [Acts 8:27]:

"So he [Phillip] arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship."

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[James Trimm, cont.]:

'''The man in Acts 8:27 appears to be a proselyte to Judaism since he seems to be making the Torah-required pilgrimage to Jerusalem (Dt. 16:16). The Torah, however, forbids a eunuch both from becoming a proselyte Jew, and from worshiping at the Temple (Dt. 23:1f). This also raises the question of why one would become a eunuch (be castrated) for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. After all eunuchs are excluded from the assembly of Israel. The word for "eunuch" in the Aramaic manuscripts of both of these passages is M'HAIMNA which can mean "eunuch" but can also mean "believer" or "faithful one" as it clearly means here.'''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

The Ethiopian individual was described as an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. Such officials of great responsibility under an absolute type monarch of a pagan empire in those ancient days were often made to be eunuchs in order to keep their loyalties to their ruler and their duties.

The man was traveling back from Jerusalem having worshipped God there in whatever manner he could in his apparent ignorance of the Scriptures which he was vainly attempting to read and understand when Phillip approached him and explained the Scriptures relative to the gospel to him. He could not really be described as a faithful one or a believer or a proselyte as the Aramaic Camp maintains because verse 31 indicates that he really did not understand the Scriptures at all. So he did not become a faithful one until after Philip had explained the Scriptures to him whereupon he was baptized as a new born believer - after the time in which the Scriptures applied the Greek Word eunouchos = rendered eunuch in English, meaning a castrated man.

Incidentally, although the Mosaic Law prohibited eunuchs from entering the Lord's assembly (Dt 23:1) - which the eunuch did not have to be part of in order to worship God in Jerusalem - Isaiah 56:3-5 predicts great blessing for eunuchs I the Millennial Age. Evidently this eunuch worshipped God but was not a proselyte - which of course is feasible but ruled out by the Aramaic camp.

Finally, there is nothing in the passage which indicates that the eunuch became a eunuch in order to better serve the kingdom of God, nor that he was making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in obedience to the Mosaic Law as a Jewish proselyte, for he showed his ignorance of the Scriptures, evidently was not a proselyte in the absence of any support to that effect and evidently simply went to Jerusalem to worship God as the passage simply states.

e) [Mt 19:24-26]:

(v. 24) "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

(v. 25) When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, 'Who then can be saved?'

(v. 26) Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.' "

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[James Trimm, cont.]:

'''Mt. 19:24 = Mk. 10:25 = Lk. 18:25 ...it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. The word for "camel" in the Aramaic manuscripts is GAMLA which can mean "camel" but can also refer to a "large rope," which is certainly the meaning here.'''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle" =

Although the word needle must refer to a needle in general since it is not preceded by a definite article, some interpreters incorrectly indicate that the word "needle" refers to a small gateway within city walls or a specific mountain pass in the Israeli countryside by that name which is narrow but passable if one strips down the load on the camel to the bare minimum. But that would imply that man can enter into the attaining process of eternal life at least by not hanging on to one's wealth so tightly. Verse 26 of this passage, however, refutes this, so we are left with two statements that eternal life is hard and impossible for man followed by verse 26:

(v. 26b) "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible".

So man can do nothing to merit eternal life, even via the Mosaic Law.

So the impossibility of man attaining eternal life is being made. If the rendering of the text is a large rope rather than a camel, the human mind might conceivably think of the needle being one of the larger nautical variety made to fit larger ropes and then destroy the concept of an impossibly attainable eternal life on the part of man. But paint the impression of the comparatively huge camel - a common sight to our Lord's audience and a needle of any size and impossible is the inevitable conclusion. The word camel is therefore even more feasible than large rope and not at all such an absurdity as to be claimed as an error in the Greek Bible.

f) [Mt 6:22-23]:

(v. 22) "The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.

(v. 23) But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!"

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[James Trimm, cont.]:

'''Mt. 6:22-23 (&Mt. 20:15; Lk. 11:34) The lamp of the body is the eye, if therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! In Greek and in English this passage is meaningless. However, in Hebrew and Aramaic, to have a "good eye" ("single eye" in the KJV) is an idiomatic expression meaning to be generous. Having a "bad eye" or "evil eye" is an idiomatic expression meaning to be stingy.'''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

In ancient times the eye was considered the "window of the soul". If you focus your soul on darkness (the world) your body will follow. If you focus your soul on light (God and His Will) your body will follow. This was not strictly an Aramaic concept.

Certainly idiomatic expressions used in one language can be effectively expressed in another language without confusing the reader with something that is incomprehensible or making the reader suspicious that the work must have been written first in another language. And certainly one can determine the meaning of the idiomatic expression without having the expression presented to him in the language that that idiomatic expression originated from. Many idiomatic expressions have been adopted into other languages without difficulty - often as a literal rendering. This particular idiomatic expression has been adopted in many world wide languages and there is no difficulty for the average reader to comprehend what it is saying. So indeed the passage does make sense in the Greek as well as in the rendering from the Greek to the English. As a matter of fact the point made in the previous section is repeated in this section under consideration:

[Mt 6:21]:

"For where your treasure is, there your heart [i.e., your 'eye'] will be also."

What you occupy your mind's eye with, (i.e., what you occupy your thoughts, words and deeds with - including what you actually look at with treasure in your heart: 'treasures on earth', (v. 19), which are not lasting and which reflects who you are inside - materialistic and temporal or 'treasures in heaven', (v. 20), which are eternal reflecting the eternally minded godly person you are inside.

[Mt 6:22-23 cont.]:

(v. 22) "The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.

(v. 23) But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!"

"The lamp of the body is the eye" = What one has his eye on is a direct indicator of what kind of person that person is inside. A lamp shines light on objects and provides a clear picture of whatever it shines on. So what one is observed as eyeing the most can be determined as a clarification, an enlightenment, of who that person is inside, his motivations, whether good or evil.

"If therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light." = the eye, the heart being clear, i.e., pure, not centered on temporal things but on the eternal, this reflects a person, a soul which is full of light, i.e., good. And the opposite is also true:

(v. 23) "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!"

Incidently, the Aramaic camp's interpretation of generosity vs lack thereof is too limited for the context of this section of Mt chapter 6 in light of the immediately preceding section about storing treasures in heaven and the final verse of the section which caps off the 'Treasure in heaven' theme, going far beyond simple generosity to that which one devotes one's entire life, i.e., is servant to:

[Mt 6:24]:

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money"

[mammona = riches, wealth derived from the Aramaic but nevertheless a legitimate Greek word.

g) [Rev 19:17]:

"And I say an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, 'Come, gather together for the great supper of God"

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[James Trimm, cont.]:

Rev. 19:17 Then I saw an angel standing IN THE SUN; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in heaven, "Come gather together for the supper of the great God... Since ancient Hebrew and Aramaic are written without vowels, B'SHESHA (in the sun) and B'SHAMESHA (in the service/ministry) are indistinguishable. Clearly the text here should read "in the service/ministry."

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

The point that the angel is in the service of God does not have to be made to be understood, clearly all angels of God by definition as messengers and servants of God are in the service of God - so a statement to this effect might be a bit too emphatic if not redundant. Standing in the Sun on the other hand creates a very feasible image of John's visiting angel, images the likes of which the Book of the Revelation is full. I have stood in the Sun in front of others many times, and I'm no angel.

h) CONCLUSION

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[James Trimm, cont.]:

These are just a few examples of passages from the NT that don't make sense in Greek and English but only begin to make sense when we look at them in Hebrew and Aramaic.

Some of the features of the Semitic NT version will be: * Religiously neutral language ("immerse" not "baptize"; "assembly" not "church" etc.)

* Judaic terminology ("Messiah" not "Christ" etc.)

* Hebraic renderings of proper nouns ("Yochanan" not "John" etc.)

* YHWH in the correct places in the text based on manuscript evidence.

* Very literal renderings.

* Insights based on the Semitic cultural and linguistic origin of the text.

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

THE GREEK BIBLE AND A GOOD ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF IT DO NOT PRESENT A PROBLEM IN THE COMMUNICATION OF THE WORDS OF GOD'S WORD

Clearly all of the above verses make sense in the Greek and English rendering and do not present a problem of doubt about whether there are errors in the original Greek Bible. The Aramaic camp seems bent upon forcing the idea that the Greek Bible is so seriously defective and has been all these thousands of years with not a single manuscript in Greek available that is trustworthy that there must be a conclusion made that the original language must have been Aramaic and that none of the Greek manuscripts have been accurately translated from such a supposed original text. Yet the Aramaic camp insists on using the untrustworthy Greek text to ascertain what the supposed Aramaic original was.

THE BETTER FEATURES OFFERED BY THE ARAMAIC CAMP TO ENHANCE THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE BIBLE ARE EITHER ALREADY AVAILABLE OR NOT GOOD FEATURES AT ALL

Furthermore, the 'better features' that are offered by the Aramaic camp's new rendition of the Bible are not better features at all:

* Religiously neutral language ("immerse" not "baptize"; "assembly" not "church" etc.) =

If the original text is translated into the best possible rendering in the translated language and such a rendering in order to communicate the most accurate meaning utilizes such words as baptize, (which by the way is a transliteration of the word baptizo from the Greek into English and the Greek text clearly implies immersion) or church (which the Greek text clearly implies a special meaning of the word ekklesia = an assembly of New Testament believers and not a general assembly, so that the rendering of church is a more accurate one than assembly), then that is what is to be desired in such a translation. Languages differ from one another and the best possible rendering from the original language to the one to be communicated in may not always be a literal one even it that were always possible which it obviously is not.

* Judaic terminology ("Messiah" not "Christ" etc.)

Christ is the word used in English and Christos in the Greek for Messiah - they are all equivalent renderings in the particular language being communicated in. They are in effect all Judaic for that indeed was Who Jesus Christ the GodMan was - a Jew, and Christ was what He is called - as rendered in English, since few individuals today are familiar with the original Aramaic dialect that our Lord spoke or the Hebrew of the day for that matter! And so that which is correctly rendered in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, French, English, German, Russian, Hindi, Farsi, Japanese, etc., etc., which best reflects a Judaic concept in Scripture is no less Judaic!

* Hebraic renderings of proper nouns ("Yochanan" not "John" etc.)

It is interesting to note that individuals in the day of our Lord and even today in other parts of the world, especially the Middle East had and have a number of names for individuals, places, etc., depending upon the dialect or language that the person was using and the individuals to whom he was communicating. John is the proper rendering for Yochanan in Hebrew, Jean in French, Ioannes in ancient koine Greek and not using the precise name for the individual or place in the most native language applicable to the original circumstances does not take away from the intended meaning of the passage. It did not when our Lord taught the multitudes of crowds from one part of Palestine to the other - all kinds of people of all different language backgrounds - repeating the same message many times in different ways and perhaps languages: perhaps He even used more than Aramaic, for many indeed may not have understood that language, especially when He preached to the Gentiles in the north.

* YHWH in the correct places in the text based on manuscript evidence.

This has already been done using the Hebrew O.T. and Greek N.T. manuscripts.

The question is which manuscripts of the New Testament are the Aramaic camp intending to use in order to accurately determine when to render YHWH if the Greek is so 'contaminated' and there are no Aramaic manuscripts available except renderings in a later dialect of Aramaic which were copied from the Greek? It sounds like they are indeed going to use the Greek Autographs in spite of their position that the Greek is contaminated.

* Very literal renderings.

Very literal renderings are:

1) Often not the intended meaning of the author who at times conveys his message in a figurative fashion and not a literal one.

2) When a literal meaning in the original language is intended it cannot always be perfectly translated into another language in a literal fashion and still convey what the author was saying simply because no two languages are alike in every way, nor is the cultural and experiential understanding of the peoples of the world of all ages. So one must always interpret what the author is saying in the original language then express it as accurately as possible in the translated language. Idiomatic expressions and figures of speech are especially difficult to translate and often one needs to consult with a pastor or teacher or informed fellow believer or a trusted commentary so that the rendering in the translated language can be better explained - no rendering will be perfect to the infallible human mind - even in the original language. But then, isn't this by God's design - to have fellow believers confer with one another over the meaning of the words of God's Word. In such an imperfect world honestly seeking believers are indeed drawn to one another especially for this purpose.

* Insights based on the Semitic cultural and linguistic origin of the text.

Careful examination on a verse by verse basis of a good modern day English translation, (NKJV, NAS, NIV, etc.), with an eye on the original Hebrew (O.T.) and the original Greek (N.T.) via various resources such as Greek and Hebrew lexicons, word study volumes good commentaries and with an eye on the background of the author, time, place and individuals which is largely semitic via extra Biblical literature which is largely based on archeological findings and often reflected by a good study Bible in marginal annotations and footnotes provide a clear picture of the background of the text in order to properly understand the words of God's Word. So God in His sovereignty has already provided the resources for the honestly seeking believer to discern the meaning of the words of God's Word.

4) CLAIMS THAT THE GREEK TEXT HAS SERIOUS GRAMMATICAL ERRORS IS REFUTED

a) INTRODUCTION

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[Trim, cont.]:

"In addition to the evidence for Semitic grammar imbedded in the Greek New Testament, the fact that serious grammatical errors are found in the Greek New Testament books may be added. Speaking of the Greek of Revelation, Charles Cutler Torrey states that it "...swarms with major offenses against Greek grammar." He calls it "linguistic anarchy", and says, "The grammatical monstrosities of the book, in their number and variety and especially in their startling character, stand alone in the history of literature."

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

One wonders at such a negative reaction, and if what is said is true, why the Aramaic Camp even bothers with considering the Greek Bible at all, yet that very set of manuscripts which they so despise is the main source for their point of view. Interestingly enough, the major doctrines that the Greek Bible teaches are hardly refuted by that point of view. Furthermore, most of the points made to illustrate 'serious' errors in the Greek Bible such that there should be a massive doubt as to its authenticity and reliability are made in sections of the Bible, (exclusive here in the Book of the Revelation), which have far less bearing on the eternal destiny of individuals especially in this age. And they are often in sections which portray yet future events utilizing ancient and often obscure images to portray future events that we today even have a difficult time visualizing. The meaning of these passages can be generally discerned but often not too specifically, so it is hard to tell which manuscript variant applies or which specific meaning of the Greek text applies. This difficulty discerning the meaning of as yet unfulfilled prophecy is evident with prophecies that have already come to pass yet those in the past could not discern its meaning. On the other hand future generations have had no trouble looking back at those prophecies, comparing them to events that have occurred and understanding their meaning as a result of their historical perspective.

b) POINT #1 = Rev 1:4

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

'''Rev. 1:4 "Grace to you, and peace, from he who is and who was and who is to come" (all nom. case)'''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

[Debbie Gilliam, Dallas Theological Seminary

Debbie_Gilliam@dts.edu To: ansbible@cyberramp.net Subject: Supposed grammatical errors in the bible Date: Wednesday, October 21, 1998 7:15 AM]:

"Rev. 1:4 "Grace to you, and peace, from he who is and who was and who is to come" (all nom. case)

This is thought to be in the nominative case to make the connection between the speaker in this verse with that of the I AM in Exodus 3:14 obvious to the reader. "

c) POINT #2 = Rev 1:14

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

'''Rev. 1:15 "His legs were like burnished brass (neut. gender dative case) as in a furnace purified" (Fem. gender sing. no., gen. case)'''

ii) [GREEKCAMP]:

[Gilliam, cont.]:

'''Rev. 1:15 "His legs were like burnished brass (neut. gender dative case) as in a furnace purified" (Fem. gender sing. no., gen. case) The word for "brass" here is not well-known in Greek. BAG says it is not found independent of Revelation. Robert L. Thomas says it is feminine although he cites no proof. BAG has it as both masculine and neuter. Henry Alford said that even the meaning of the word is uncertain. What I have found does not give a certain answer to the problem either, but it does say that little enough is known of some Greek words that neither defense nor criticism is well-founded."

d) POINT #3 = Rev 11:3

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

'''Rev. 11:3 "My witness (nom.) shall prophesy for many days clothed (accus.) in sackcloth." '''

ii) [GREEKCAMP]:

[Gilliam, cont.]:

"Rev. 11:3 "My witness (nom.) shall prophesy for many days clothed (accus.) in sackcloth."

This is not accurately quoted. The verse says "And I will give to my two witnesses (dat. in Nestle-Aland 27, as it should be), and they shall prophesy 1260 days clothed (nom., to refer back to the verb "they shall prophesy") in sackcloth (acc.). I am missing the problem here. Perhaps Torrey could explain what it is, and I will see it."

e) POINT #4 = Rev 14:14

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

'''Rev. 14:14 "I saw on the cloud one seated like unto a Son of Man (accus.) having (nom.) upon his head a golden crown."

ii) [GREEKCAMP]:

[Gilliam, cont.]:

'''Rev. 14:14 "I saw on the cloud one seated like unto a Son of Man (accus.)having (nom.) upon his head a golden crown." Here Son is accusative and having is nominative. This is not the normal way a Greek speaker would word a sentence, and John's use of "having" here is thought to be patterned after the Hebrew way of using "saying." He uses it this way in 1:16; 4:8; 5:6; 9:14; 14:14; 19:12; and 21:12, 14. He is using the participle in a manner independent from the rest of the sentence although it is actually not independent the way a genitive absolute is independent.'''

f) POINT #5 = Rev 14:19

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

'''Rev. 14:19 "He harvested the vintage of the earth, and cast it into the wine press, the great [wine press] (masc.) of the wrath of God." '''

ii) [GREEKCAMP]:

[Gilliam, cont.]:

'''Rev. 14:19 "He harvested the vintage of the earth, and cast it into the winepress, the great [winepress] (masc.) of the wrath of God." Here winepress is feminine, and great is masculine. I saw no good explanation for this one. Henry Alford said that this was "only to be accounted for by uncertainty in the gender of the substantive," but I don't know how uncertain this actually is. He notes that winepress is masculine in Gen. 30:38, 41 and thinks this may have been what John was thinking of.'''

g) POINT #6 = Rev 17:4

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

'''Rev. 17:4 "A golden cup filled with abominations (gen.) and with unclean things" (accus.)'''

ii) [GREEKCAMP]:

[Gilliam, cont.]:

'''Rev. 17:4 "A golden cup filled with abominations (gen.) and with unclean things" (accus.)

"Different commentators have different opinions on the change from genitive to the accusative. A few say that this would make unclean things parallel with cup, which is also accusative; but this seems awkward. At least one says it was to keep genitives from stacking up, which is rather preposterous, but I mention it because it is a genuine difficulty. It may be, as another suggests, to make a distinction between the more abstract description of the contents of the cup as abominations and the more concrete description as unclean things of her immorality. I have heard of no grammatical justification for a change like this, however, and the author cites none."

h) POINT #7 = Rev 19:20

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

[Trimm, cont.]:

'''Rev. 19:20 "The lake of blazing (fem.) fire (neut.).

ii) [GREEKCAMP]:

[Gilliam, cont.]:

'''Rev. 19:20 "The lake of blazing (fem.) fire (neut.). Gerhard Raske takes blazing not to modify fire but to be in apposition to lake, which is also feminine. The phrase would read, then, "the lake, the blazing lake of fire." '''

i) POINT # 8 = Rev 20:2

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

'''Rev. 20:2 "And he seized the dragon (accus.), the old serpent (nom.) who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him." '''

ii) [GREEKCAMP]:

[Gilliam, cont.]:

'''Rev. 20:2 "And he seized the dragon (accus.), the old serpent (nom.) who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him."

'''In Revelation, a nominative is often used for a title or proper name even when it is in apposition to an oblique case. This is no doubt for emphasis. Here John would want to make the tie clear between the Devil and the serpent in Genesis.'''

j) POINT # 9 = Rev 21:9

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

[Trimm, cont.]:

'''Rev. 21:9 "Seven angels holding seven bowls (accus.) filled (gen.) with the seven last plagues." '''

ii) [GREEKCAMP]:

[Gilliam, cont.]:

'''Rev. 21:9 "Seven angels holding seven bowls (accus.) filled (gen.) with the seven last plagues."

This is an odd one, but it looks as if "filled" (gen.) may be describing "angels" (also gen.). If so, it would indicate that the angels were still filled with their task of pouring out the seven plagues.'''

k) POINT # 10 = Rev 22:5

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

[Trimm, cont.]:

'''Rev. 22:5 "They have no need of lamplight (gen.) nor of sunlight (accus.)." '''

ii) [GREEKCAMP]:

[Gilliam, cont.]:

'''Rev. 22:5 "They have no need of lamplight (gen.) nor of sunlight (accus.)." The Nestle-Aland 27 text has sunlight as a genitive. There is no problem here'''

5) FINALLY, MISTAKES IN THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT ARE CLAIMED IN ADDITION TO GRAMMATICAL ERRORS

a) INTRODUCTION

[Trimm, cont.]:

'''In addition to grammatical errors in the Greek New Testament, there are also a number of "blunders" in the text which prove that the present Greek text is not inerrant.'''

B) [Mt 23:35]:

"And so upon you [Pharisees] will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel [Note that our Lord goes all the way back to Gen 4 and the beginning of creation and then will name a prophet of His generation to complete the picture of the historical persecution of God's prophets:] to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar." '''

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[James Trimm, cont.]

'''One of the mistakes in the Greek New Testament may be found in Matthew 23:35 where Zechariah the son of Jehoidai (2 Chron. 24:20-21; b.San. 96; j.Ta'anit 69) mistakenly appears as Zechariah the son of Berechiah (Zech. 1:1). This error was not to be found in the ancient Hebrew copy which Jerome held. Jerome writes of Hebrew Matthew: "In the Gospel which the Nazarenes use, for 'Son of Barachias' I find 'of Joiada' written" '''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

Berechiah evidently was found in the most significant manuscripts available to the various staffs producing all of the versions of the Bible.

[When Critics Ask, Geisler and Howe authors, Victor Books, Wheaton, Ill, USA, 1992, pp. 357-358]:

"The Zechariah referred to has to be the son of Berechiah.

This Zechariah is one of the minor prophets, and his father is listed as Berechiah (Zech 1:1). He would be the most likely candidate because the other Zechariah (son of Jehoiada) died about 800 B.C. If one thinks Christ referred to this Zechariah, then the time span from Abel to this Zechariah would not cover the OT period, which extended to 400 B.C. [to which our Lord was referring in Mt 23:35]

Abel to Zechariah the son of berechiah would make a much better sweep of the OT period than would the period from Abel to Zechariah the son of Jehoica. Since many Zechariahs are mentioned in the OT, it would not be too difficult to imagine two Zechariahs dying from similar circumstances."

Finally, the phrase 'son of' usually does not mean immediate father in such cases as genealogical statements as in our Lord being referred to as "the son of David, son of Abraham" (ref. Mt 1:1), so Berechiah may or may not be the immediate father of Zechariah, but in all cases is to be a male descendant from the male side of the family.

c) [Mt 27:9-10]:

(v. 9) Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 'They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on Him by the people of Israel,

(v. 10) and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me.'"

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[James Trimm, cont.]:

'''Another mistake in the Greek New Testament is to be found in Matthew 27:9 which quotes Zech. 11:12-13 but falsely credits the quote to Jeremiah . The Shem Tob Hebrew correctly attributes the quote to Zechariah, while the Aramaic (Old Syriac and Peshitta) simply attribute the quote to "the prophet." '''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

~~~mt27

[Mt 27:1-10]:

(v. 1) "Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death.

(v. 2) They bound Him, led Him away and handed Him over to Pilate, the governor.

(v. 3) When Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.

(v. 4) saying, 'I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.' But they said, 'What is that to us? See to that yourself!'

(v. 5) And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary [of the Temple] and departed ; and he went away and hanged himself.

(v. 6) The chief priests picked up the coins and said, 'It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.'

(v. 7) So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners.

(v. 8) That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

(v. 9) Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 'They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on Him by the people of Israel,

(v. 10) and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me.'"

['They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on Him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me.' = This part of the passage is very closely related to a passage from the prophet Zechariah:

[Zech 11:4-13]:

(v. 4) '''This is what the Lord my God says [to Zechariah]: "Pasture the flock marked for slaughter.

["flock" = the nation Israel who is slated for destruction due to their apostasy]

(v. 5) Their buyers slaughter them and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, 'Praise the Lord, I am rich!' Their own shepherds do not spare them. [Israel's rulers and leaders betray and slaughter their own]

(v. 6) For I will no longer have pity on the people of the land," declares the Lord. "I will hand everyone over to his neighbor and his king. They will oppress the land, and I will not rescue them from their hands."

(v. 7) So I [Zechariah] pastured the flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock. Then I took two staffs and called one Favor and the other Union, and I pastured the flock.

(v. 8) In one month I got rid of the three shepherds. The flock [Israel] detested me, and I grew weary of them

(v. 9) and said, "I will not be your shepherd. Let the dying die, and the perishing perish. Let those who are left eat one another's flesh.

(v. 10) Then I took my staff called Favor and broke it, revoking the covenant I had made with all the nations [the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel]

(v. 11) It was revoked on that day, and so the afflicted of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the Lord.

(v. 12) I told them, 'If you think it best, give me my pay; but if no, keep it' So they [the leaders representing Israel] paid me [Zechariah] thirty pieces of silver.

[They - the people of Israel, Zechariah is saying, paid 30 pieces of silver in order to be rid of this man whom they recognized as a prophet of God but did not want to hear and obey his message from God].

Comparing Mt 27:9-10 with Zech 11:4-13:

[Mt 27:9-10]:

(v. 9) "Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 'They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on Him by the people of Israel, (v. 10) and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me.'''

[Zech 11:12-13]:

(v. 12) "I told them, 'If you think it best, give me my pay; but if no, keep it.' So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.

(v. 13) And the Lord said to me, 'Throw it to the potter' - the handsome price at which they priced me!' So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord to the potter."

"And the Lord said to me, "Throw it to the potter" - the handsome price at which they priced Me!" = a sardonic, sarcastic comment on such a small sum of money paid to God's chosen man which is approximately equivalent to what one would pay for a slave.

"So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord [the Temple] to the potter" = the potter who worked his trade inside the Temple grounds - evidently for Temple use. So, Zechariah took the 30 pieces of silver -the price of getting rid of God's message and God's prophet and threw them into "the house of the Lord" - the Temple - to the potter who did his work there. Hundreds of years later, Matthew draws on this account in Zechariah with common points of fulfillment involving Judas Isacariot who would take his 30 pieces of silver paid to him to betray our Lord, the price again of getting rid of God's message and God's Prophet the GodMan Jesus Christ. And Judas would throw the money into the temple - the sanctuary where the priests were; just as Zechariah threw his 30 pieces to the potter who had his shop inside the Temple grounds. Notice that Matthew's words are not a precise quotation from Zechariah at all, but a commentary:

[Zech 11:12-13]:

(v. 12) "I told them, 'If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.' So they [the leaders representing Israel] paid me [Zechariah] thirty pieces of silver.

(v. 13) And the Lord said to me, 'Throw it to the potter' - the handsome price at which they priced me!' So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord to the potter."

[Mt 27:9]:

"Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 'They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on Him [Jesus] by the people of Israel (v. 10) and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me.'''

The critical part of this passage in the original koine Greek looks like this:

[Mt 27:9b]:

kai ..elabon ta ..triakonta arguria

And I took .the thirty .......pieces of silver

ton timen tou .............tetimemenou

the price .of him who was set a price on

on ........etimesanto ..............apo .nion ............Israel

whom ..they set a price on .of ....[the] sons of Israel

kai .edokan auta ...eis ..ton agron tou

and gave .....them. for ..the field ...of the

kerameos katha ..........sunetaxen .moi .Kurios

potter ......according ..as directed me ..[the] Lord

Matthew wrote his gospel presuming that his readers would have a good knowledge of O.T. Scripture, (cp Mt 1:1-17, 22-23; 2:17-18). The presumption of writers of Scripture that the readers would be familiar with the context of passages in the Old Testament occurs frequently both in the Old and New Testaments. So considering that Matthew presumes that his readers are familiar with Old Testament Scripture, that he does not actually quote Jeremiah or Zechariah verbatim, and that instead he paraphrases and draws a parallel from the writings of the prophets with the life of our Lord years later, then it cannot be concluded that Matthew is equating what Zechariah or Jeremiah wrote as a literal and detailed fulfillment in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, but as a fulfillment in certain common points of identity.

[D.A. Carson states, ('The Expositor's Bible Commentary', Vol 8, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1984, Frank E. Gaebelien, Editor, 'Matthew', p. 543)]:

"In both instances [referring to the passages in Matthew and Zechariah] Yahweh's shepherd is rejected by the people of Israel and valued at the price of a slave. And in both instances the money is flung into the temple and ends up purchasing something that pollutes."

On the one hand we have the passage in Zechariah, and on the other hand, the book of Jeremiah provides a lesson which is also very closely related to what author Matthew is saying in Matthew chapter 27:

[Jer 19:1-13]:

(v. 1) ""This is what the Lord says: '''Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. Take along some of the elders of the people and of the priests

(v. 2) and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you,

(v. 3) and say, "Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.

(v. 4) For they have forsaken Me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.

(v. 5) They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal - something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.

(v. 6) 'So beware, the days are coming', declares the Lord, 'when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.

(v. 7) In this place I will ruin the plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, at the hands of those who seek their lives, and I will give their carcasses as food to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth.

(v. 8) I will devastate this city and make it an object of scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds.

(v. 9) I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another's flesh during the stress of the siege imposed on them by the enemies who seek their lives.'

(v. 10) Then break the jar [which the Lord told Jeremiah to purchase, (v. 1)] while those who go with you are watching,

(v. 11) and say to them, "This is what the Lord Almighty says; 'I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter's jar is smashed and cannot be repaired. They will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room.'

["Topheth" = an area in the Valley of Hinnom south of Jerusalem where children were sometimes sacrificed to the false Ammonite god Molech (2 Kings 23:10; Jer 7:31; cf. Jer 7:32; 19:4-6, 11-14). Later the Assyrian army was destroyed there by God by fire, (Isa 30:31-33)]

(v. 12) This is what I will do to this place and to those who live here", declares the Lord. "I will make this city like Topheth.

(v. 13) The houses in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled like this place, Topheth - all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs to all the starry hosts [they were star worshipers] and poured out drink offerings to other gods." ''' ""

[D.A. Carson, op. cit., pp. 563-4]:

[In Jeremiah 19:1-13] "Jeremiah is told to purchase a potter's jar and take some elders and priests to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, where he is to warn of the destruction of Jerusalem for her sin, illustrated by smashing the jar. A further linguistic link [to Mt 27:9] is "innocent blood" (Jer 19:4); and thematic links include renaming a locality associated with potters (19:1) with a name ("Valley of Slaughter" denoting violence (19:6). The place will henceforth be used as a burial ground (19:11), as a token of God's judgment.......

[So, Dr. Carson states on pp. 564-5, Op. Cit.]:

"The reference to Jeremiah 19....provides equally telling parallels. The rulers have forsaken Yahweh and made Jerusalem a place of foreign gods (19:4); so the day is coming when this valley, where the prophecy is given and the potter's jar smashed, will be called the Valley of Slaughter, symbolic of the ruin of Judah and Jerusalem (19:6-7). Similarly in Matthew the rejection of Jesus........leads to a polluted field, a symbol of death and the destruction of the nation about to be buried as 'foreigners'...... In the light of these relationships between the events surrounding Jesus' death and the two key OT passages that make up Matthew's quotation, what does the evangelist mean by saying that the prophecy 'was fulfilled'? Matthew does not need to devise farfetched explanations for each word and phrase, because in each case he has truly represented the central theme. The verbal differences he introduces in citing the OT are not an embarrassment to him, because he is not claiming that the OT text is a prophecy to be fulfilled by a simple one-on-one pattern..........what we find in Matthew, including [Mt 27] vv. 9-10, is not identification of the text with an event but fulfillment of the text in an event" [Let's examine the parts of the passages which objectors claim involve a misquotation] [Jer 19:4]: (v. 4) For they have forsaken Me [God] and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.

[Zech 11:12-13]:

(v. 12) I told them, "If you think it best, give me my pay; but if no, keep it." So they [the leaders representing Israel] paid ME [Zechariah] thirty pieces of silver.

(v. 13 cont.) And the Lord said to ME [Zechariah], "Throw it to the potter" - the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord [the Temple] to the potter

[Mt 27:9-10]:

(v. 9) Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 'They [the chief priests: the leaders representing Israel] took the thirty silver coins, the price set on HIM [Christ] by the people of Israel,

(v. 10) and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded ME.' [Zechariah]

Notice that the passage in Matthew does not quote verbatim what Zechariah wrote down, or what Jeremiah wrote for that matter. Instead it draws on a number of points of identity - a number of parallels - with a commentary on what Zechariah and Jeremiah say. Matthew uses the pronoun "Him" in Mt 27:9 to mean Christ in order to emphasize a point of identity: which is to identify the prophet and GodMan Jesus Christ with the prophet Zechariah in the passage in Zechariah and God in the passage in Jeremiah in their rejection of God by the nation Israel. The 30 pieces of silver are also brought out as another point of identity. Notice that Matthew uses the pronoun "me" in 27:10 which cannot refer to Jesus because He was not given the 30 pieces of silver, Judas was. This use of "me" then must refer to Zechariah who was commanded to throw the money into the potters' area in the Temple, as Judas did years later, (Mt 27:5). Matthew states that Zechariah was ordered to buy the potters' field, something which the chief priests did in Judas' time, (Mt 27:7), not Zechariah: [Mt 27:10]: (v. 10) and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded ME.' [Zechariah] This is Matthew's way of bringing out points of identity. [D.A. Carson states, op. cit., p.564-5]: Here "ME" [in Mt 27:10] can only refer to the prophet [Zechariah and not to our Lord]; yet Matthew keeps it ["ME"] even though he changes other parts....to "HIM" [meaning Christ] because he believes that in obeying the Lord, the prophet - whether Jeremiah or Zechariah - was setting forth typological paradigms... ["typological paradigms" - patterns of behavior of individuals pointing to future parallel events in the life of our Lord. Therefore, by this construction, the author Matthew is maintaining NOT a literal fulfillment in every detail but a fulfillment in contextual points of identity, i.e., as Carson puts it: "... he [Matthew] believes that in obeying the Lord, the prophet [of the O.T. passage which Matthew referred to] - whether Jeremiah or Zechariah - was setting forth "typological paradigms" [emphasis mine] that truly did point to Jesus and the greatest rejection of all....... ....Matthew sees in Jeremiah 19 and Zechariah 11 not merely a number of verbal and thematic parallels to Jesus' betrayal but a pattern of apostasy and rejection that must find its ultimate fulfillment in the rejection of Jesus, who was cheaply valued, rejected by the Jews, and whose betrayal money was put to a purpose that pointed to the destruction of the nation..." Jeremiah alone is mentioned, perhaps because he is the more important of the two prophets, and perhaps also because, though Jeremiah 19 is the less obvious reference, it is the more important as to prophecy and fulfillment..... .....in Zechariah 11 the "buyers" (v.5) and the three shepherds (vv 5,8,17) apparently represent Israel's leaders, who are slaughtering the sheep. God commands Zechariah to shepherd the "flock marked for slaughter" (v.7), and he tries to clean up the leadership by sacking the false shepherds. But he discovers that not only is the leadership corrupt, but the flock detests him (v. 8). Thus Zechariah comes to understand the Lord's decision to have no more pity on the people of the land (v. 6). Zechariah decides to resign (11:9-10), exposing the flock to ravages. Because he has broken the contract, Zechariah cannot claim his pay (presumably from the "buyers"); but they pay him off with thirty pieces of silver (v.12). But now Yahweh tells Zechariah to throw this "handsome price at which they priced me" (probably ironical....) to the potter in the "house of the Lord", i.e., the temple (v.13).

[Footnote from Carson, op. cit., p. 566]:

"...if the amount [of thirty pieces of silver] represents a substantial sum, it is still [only] the price of a slave and representative of how God's prophet is valued [so little] by an apostate people. The same kind of irony probably stands behind ...Matt 27:9...[which literally states - from the original Greek]'the price of the one whose price had been priced by the sons of Israel!' Temple ritual required a constant supply of new vessels (cf Lev 6:28); so a guild of potters worked somewhere in the temple precincts. Certainly Jeremiah could point to a potter as he preached and could purchase pottery somewhere near the temple (Jer 18:6; 19:1)"

[D.A. Carson, (op. cit., p. 563)]:

"[Matthew's] quotation appears to refer to Jeremiah 19:1-13 along with phraseology drawn mostly from Zechariah 11:12-13..... Such fusing of sources under one 'quotation' is not unknown elsewhere in Scripture."

For example:

[Mk 1:2-3]:

(v. 2) "As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, 'Behold, I send My messenger before your face, who will prepare your way; [blends Mal 3:1 & Ex 23:20]

(v. 3) 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.' "[ comes from Isa 40:3] [cf. 2 Chron 36:21, verbally drawn from Lev 26:34-35, yet ascribed to Jeremiah [25:12; 29:10...]..."

[John D. Grassmick states re: Mk 1:2-3, (Bible Knowledge Commentary, Victor Books, U.S.A., Walvoord & Zuck, 1988, p.95)]:

'''Mark prefaced this composite quotation from three Old Testament books with the words: "It is written in Isaiah the prophet."

This illustrates a common practice by New Testament authors in quoting several passages with a unifying theme. The common theme here is the "wilderness" (desert) tradition in Israel's history. Since Mark was introducing the ministry of John the Baptist in the desert, he cited Isaiah as the source because the Isaiah passage refers to "a voice...calling in the wilderness." Under the Holy Spirit's guidance Mark gave those Old Testament texts a messianic interpretation by altering "the way before Me" (Mal 3:1) to "Your way", and "the paths of our God" (Isa 40:3 LXX) to "paths for Him." Thus the speaker "I" was God Who "will send" His "messenger" (John) "ahead of You" (Jesus) "who will prepare" Your (Jesus') way. John was a "voice" urging the nation of Israel to "prepare" (pl. verb) "the way for the Lord" (Jesus) and to "make straight paths for Him" (Jesus). The meaning of these metaphors is given in John's ministry (Mark 1:4-5).'''

[C.I. Scoffield, Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible, New York Oxford University Press, 1984, p. 1017, footnote #2]:

"A Talmudic tradition states that the prophetic writings were placed in the canon in this order: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, etc. Many Hebrew manuscripts follow this order. Thus Matthew cited the passage as from the roll of the prophets and by the name of the first book." Objectors to the inerrancy of Scripture point to an apparent error in the Book of Matthew in misquoting Old Testament Scripture, (Mt 27:10). Careful analysis of God's Word says differently. Because of the rule of context which applies to all of the passages concerned: i.e., the details of the earlier passages in Jeremiah and Zechariah do not perfectly match up with the details of the later historical passage in Matthew and therefore cannot be considered as a detailed fulfillment of a prophecy; it can therefore be established, because of the rule of context, that Matthew is not stating in Mt 27:9 that a prophecy in Jeremiah and Zechariah is herein literally fulfilled in all of its detail. Objectors might claim 'foul' to this corollary rule of context stating that this kind of reasoning is too contrived and unheard of. Objectors support their stand by pointing to instances in Scripture where they claim that an O.T. passage is misquoted by a N.T. writer such as Matthew or that a Bible passage is applied to a new situation or individual which is not directly referred to in the passage. Yet this is a common practice in Scripture and in the way people communicate with one another even today! For example, in describing the ways in which one might go to the airport one might bring up a point of comparison between an airport commuter bus and an automobile. But otherwise an automobile is quite different from a bus. So the point of comparison does not equate a car with a bus in every aspect - only with the relative commuting services they provide from home to the airport. In the book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul takes a number of historical passages from the Old Testament and uses them figuratively to emphasize and clarify the difference between the Law and the Promise, (grace). Paul directly explains in verse 24 that he is taking these O.T. passages figuratively to make a point. Other Bible authors like Luke in Acts chapter 2 explain what they are doing more subtly by simply stating something on the order of, 'This instance is like what happened over here in the O.T., ' not intending that the reader conclude that the two instances being compared are identical in all aspects. Let's examine what commonly occurs in Scripture, namely the use of a passage in God's Word to emphasize and clarify a point of identity:

[Gal 4:22-31]:

(v. 22) "For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman.[Gen 16:15; 21:2]

(v. 23) His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.[Gen 17:15-19]

(v. 24) These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. [Ex 19:5] One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: [Ex 24:6-8]

(v. 25) Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.

(v. 26) But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.

(v. 27) For it is written: 'Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.'[Isa 54:1]

(v. 28) Now you brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise [Gen 17:5-19]

(v. 29) At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. [Gen 21:9] It is the same now.

(v. 30) But what does the Scripture say? 'Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son.'[Gen 21:10]

(v. 31) Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman."

So when Matthew writes in Mt 27:9: "Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled...", he was not saying that what was spoken of in Jeremiah was literally fulfilled in all of its detail because the context, chronology and details obviously do not match up. What author Matthew is writing about is a comparison of points of identity which focuses on Israel's rejection of God's message of repentance from idolatry and sin through the prophet Jeremiah and through the prophet Zechariah and then again through the Prophet and GodMan Jesus Christ. The thirty pieces of silver mentioned in Zech 5:13 and the brutal, bloodletting violence alluded to in Jeremiah, (vv. 6-9), are also points of identity referred to in Matthew's account, (Mt 27:6), this time with respect to the crucifixion of our Lord.

~~~mt27

d) [Lk 3:23, 36]:

(v. 23) "Now Jesus Himself was about thirty years old when He began His ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph..."

(v. 36) "the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech..."

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[James Trimm, cont.]:

'''Yet another apparent mistake in the Greek text of the New Testament is the name "Cainan" in Luke 3:36. In this passage the name appears but not in the corresponding Masoretic genealogies in Gen. 10:24; 11:12 and 1 Chron. 1:18, 24. The Old Syriac does not contain this reading, but reads "Elam" a name which appears in the Masoretic genealogy of Gen. 10:22 and 1Chron. 1:17 as a brother, who apparently is inserted into this family line based on Deut. 25:5-6.'''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

[Denny Petrillo, DennyPet@aol.com]:

"First, whenever considering genealogical records, one must remember that the Jews did not require preciseness (unless it was regarding the descendants of Aaron. Those who were to serve as priests had to prove their lineage - cf. Ezra 2:62). This is evidenced by the differences between genealogical records given in the Bible, and has long been a known fact by genealogical scholars. Thus, when one was making up a genealogical listing, he would include only those names which were relevant to the point he was making. Therefore, he was at liberty to skip over a name (or in some cases several names) just to hit the main names in the genealogy. In addition, it is frequent that one would omit a name from a record if that person was considered a "black mark" in the family tree.

Second, one must ask what is the purpose of this particular genealogical record. For example, it is well known that Matthew and Luke's genealogies are different. Is this a contradiction? Hardly. Both inspired writers were using the genealogy of Jesus for different purposes. For this point I would refer you to Ray Summers, Commentary on Luke (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1972), pp. 50-52.

Third, you are assuming that Luke was getting his genealogy from either Genesis 10, 11 or 1 Chron. 1. This is an unnecessary assumption. In actuality, Luke could be referring to a number of genealogical records at his disposal - some of which are no longer in existence.

Fourth, since we have limited information on Jewish genealogies (because most of them were destroyed in 586 B.C. and in 70 A.D.), it is foolish to say with any certainty that any genealogical entry is an "error."

The text in Genesis 11:12, 13 verifies that Arpachshad had other children - who are not named. Is it possible that Cainan of Luke 3:36 could be one of those unnamed children?

Fifth, it is a well know fact that people in Biblical times were known by several different names (e.g. Coniah = Jehoiachin and Shallum = Jehoahaz). Perhaps Cainan is known by another name given in these genealogies.

A wrap up: Based on these 5 points, I would consider it foolish to consider the insertion of Cainan to be "yet another apparent mistake in the Greek text of the New Testament." We have hundreds of Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of Luke, and we have NO major variant readings on 3:36."

e) [Mt 1:1-17]:

The genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ through Joseph has listed three sets of fourteen generations:

(v. 17) "Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, forteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ."

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]

[James Trimm, cont.]:

'''Greek Mt. 1:1-17 subtracts a name in the Messiah's genealogy. The genealogy in Matthew is supposed to contain three sets of fourteen names each (Mt. 1:17) yet the last set contains only 13 names in the Greek. The missing name, Abner (Av'ner) does appear in the DuTillet Hebrew text of Mt. 1:13." '''

ii) [GREEKCAMP]:

[When Critics Ask, Geisler and Howe authors, Victor Books, Wheaton, Ill, USA, 1992, pp. 357-358]:

"PROBLEM: Matthew says the generations 'from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations' (1:17). However, he lists only 13 names after the captivity is counted. So, which is correct, 13 or 14?

SOLUTION: Both are correct. Jeconiah is counted in both lists, since he lived both before and after the captivity. So, there are literally 14 names listed 'from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ,' just as Matthew says. There are also literally 14 names listed between David and the captivity, just as Matthew claims (Matt. 1:6-12). There is no error in the text at all."

6) CLAIMS THAT VARIANCES IN GREEK MANUSCRIPTS PROVE THAT THE GREE BIBLE IS NOT TRUSTWORTHY ARE REFUTED

a) INTRODUCTION

The conclusion that any variance is indicative of a doctrinal error or any error at all ignores the following possibilities:

i) THE POSSIBILITY THAT ONE OF THE VARIANTS IS CORRECT, THE OTHER A COPYING ERROR

The possibility that one of the variants is what was originally written, the other merely being a copying error whether deliberate or otherwise. So given all of the evidence at hand including the context and parallel passages, one can ascertain which is the true rendering thus immediately resolving the 'error' problem in the original Greek.

ii) THE POSSIBILITY THAT NONE OF THE VARIANTS WAS THE ORIGINAL THEREFORE NOT PROVING ANYTHING

The possibility that none of the variants is what was originally written, therefore there is no error in the original Greek manuscript that can be ascertained.

iii) THE POSSIBILITY THAT ANY OF THE VARIANTS DO NOT ADVERSELY AFFECT THE DOCTRINES OF SCRIPTURE

The possibility that although at this time neither variant is arguably provable as to what was originally written, neither when considered adversely effects any doctrinal matter in God's Word, i.e., the outcome either way being insignificant in the matter of contradicting what God's Word elsewhere teaches or proving that the Greek autographs had an error in them.

b) [Jn 1:18]:

"No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, Who is at the Father's side, has made Him known."

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

Jn. 1:18 "...only begotten Son..." (T.R.) "...only begotten God..." (Alex.)

ii) [GREEKCAMP]:

THE CORRECT RENDERING IS 'ONE AND ONLY' AND 'GOD' AND NOT 'BEGOTTEN' NOR 'SON'; EITHER WAY, HOWEVER, THERE IS NO CONTRADICTION WITH ESTABLISHED BIBLE DOCTRINES

Jesus Christ is both God, as established in Jn 1:1 and the Son as established in 3:16, so either way there is no conflict of doctrines involved.

[D. A. Carson states, (The Gospel According to JOHN, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, p. 139]:

"The nest of textual variants [relative to Jn 1:18] is rather complicated, but probably the right reading is monogenes theos, 'the unique and beloved one, [himself] God' - taking 'God' appositionally. No other passage puts these words together like this, which probably accounts for the change made by many copyists to monogenes huios, 'the unique and beloved Son' (or, in more traditional language, 'the only begotten Son'). That is so common an expression in John that it is hard to imagine any copyist changing 'Son' to 'God'. Similarly, it is possible to explain the weakly-attested monogenes, without either 'Son' or 'God' by simply dropping the latter; it is hard to imagine why any copyist would have added 'God' to 'monogenes', if this short form had been original. Cf. Metzger, p. 198."

F.F. Bruce states, (THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1989, pp. 44-45):

"The weight of the textual evidence here favours the reading monogenes theos, 'God only-begotten' or 'the only begotten, (Himself) God'. Not only is it attested by early authorities, including the two earliest known (the Bodmer papyri 66 and 75); the tendency would inevitably be to replace it by the commoner monogenes hyios ('only - begotten son'), whereas, if the commoner reading were original, it is difficult to see what could have impelled any scribe or editor to replace it by the unparalleled monogenes theos. This unparalleled reading is supported both by the principle that the more difficult reading is to be preferred and by transcriptional probability....

If monogenes theos is the original reading, then the Evangelist [John the author] is repeating what he said of the Logos in the third clause of verse 1: since the Logos was God, the Only-begotten is God in that sense, for the Logos and the Only-begotten are identical."

ONE AND ONLY, I.E., UNIQUE IS THE CORRECT RENDERING AND NOT BEGOTTEN

"only begotten" - "monogenous". The Greek word "monogenous" is translated "only begotten" in the KJV. However it should be rendered "only" or "unique" and not "only begotten". Monogenous consists of the Greek prefix "mono" -"one" and the Greek verb = "genous" - "One Who is".

So "monogenous"-"the only One Who is: The Greek verb form "genous", which is part of the word "monogenous" is derived from the main Greek verb, (the infinitive), "ginomai" which means TO CAUSE TO BE. Notice: only one "n" occurs in the verb "ginomai" and only one "n" occurs in the form of this verb which the Apostle John uses in this verse: "genous". "genous" is NOT derived from the Greek verb "gennao" - to procreate, beget. Notice the two "n"'s in this verb. This will help to distinguish between these two different words in the Greek. One verb, meaning to cause to be, (unique), has one "n" and the other, meaning to beget has two. So the word "monogenous" means "the only One Who is" or "the unique One"

Further support for this corrected translation is found in Hebrews 11:17:

[Heb 11:17]:

"By faith Abraham, when God tested Him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his ONE AND ONLY son...."

"MONOGENO" This is the same verb used in John 1:18. Isaac was not Abraham's only begotten son for Abraham had another son, Ishmael, before Isaac and other sons after Isaac, (Gen 25:1-4). What this passage in Hebrews is saying when it uses the same verb that John uses in Jn 1:18 is that Isaac was Abraham's one and only - unique - son of the promise of God that through him the nation of Israel would be born. Through Isaac our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would become flesh, adding humanity to His diety to become the Savior of the world. So this passage in Hebrews 11:17 and the passage in John 1:18 do not refer to the begetting of human offspring but rather refer to the uniqueness of a particular son of Abraham and of the uniqueness of the Son of God being God in Jn 1:18."

c) [1 Pet 3:15]:

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

[Trimm, cont.]:

'''1Pt. 3:15 "...set apart God as Lord..." (T.R.) "...set apart Messiah as Lord... (Alex.)'''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

d) [Acts 20:28]:

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

[Trimm, cont.]:

'''Acts 20:28 "...the Assembly of the Lord which he bought with the blood of his Son... (Some Byzantine) "...the Assembly of God which he bought with his own blood..." (Alex.)'''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

e) [Heb 2:9]:

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

'''Heb. 2:9 "...for he apart from God suffered death..." (several Byzantine mss.) "...for by the Grace of God suffered death..." (Alex.)'''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

f) [Col 1:15-16]:

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

[Trimm, cont.]:

'''I also recall there being a doctrinal variance between the Byzantine and Alexandrian text of Col. 1:15-16 but I don't have that info handy.'''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

g) CONCLUSION

i) [ARAMAIC CAMP]:

[Trimm, cont.]:

'''Many proponents of the Byzantine text point to these and other variances as evidence of Gnostic influence on the Alexandrian text. None-the-less the Alexandrian text is the favored text in modern Greek editions.'''

ii) [GREEK CAMP]:

So far neither the Byzantine nor the Alexandrian text have proven to be 100% reflective of the original text, only about 96+%, both being nearly identical but each varying here and there from the other usually in insignificant areas. There is hardly anything that can be pointed to as having been under some influence such as Gnosticism. The Alexandrian text is favored to some extent over the Byzantine, but since both are nearly identical to one another, that 'favoriticism' hardly seems significant.

III) CONCLUSION: THE LANGUAGE OF THE GOSPEL - THE NEW TESTAMENT BIBLE WAS GREEK

[Thomas S. McCall, ThD states, (LEVITT LETTER, May 1997, Vol 19, Number 5, 'The Language of the Gospel', p. 7), Dallas, Tx, http://levitt.metronet.com]:

A) INTRODUCTION

Christianity was born in Israel. By the end of the first century, it had spread throughout the Roman Empire and was armed with a new holy book: the New Testament. This collection of inspired Scriptures had been added to the Hebrew Scriptures, the Tenach, which Christians call the Old Testament. The new writings, composed primarily of the Gospels and the Epistles, were distributed widely in the Greek language. It seems fairly certain that the Gospels of Luke and John, the Book of Acts, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation were originally written in Greek, but what about the Gospels of Matthew and Mark?

The oldest known manuscripts of Matthew and Mark are in Greek. According to recent scholarship, Greek fragments of these two Gospels have been verified as dating from as early as the 60s A.D. Some scholars have argued that these Gospels were originally written in Aramaic and later translated into Greek. If that is the case, no extant copies or fragments of the Aramaic text have been found. The only evidence we have is that the original text of Matthew and Mark was in Greek."

B) WHAT LANGUAGE DID JESUS SPEAK?

[McCall, cont.]:

"Does this mean that Jesus spoke in Greek to His disciples and to the crowds He addressed in His Galilean ministry? Probably not, but what we have to understand is that first-century Israelis were tri-lingual, and even perhaps quadri-lingual. The languages spoken in Israel at the time of Christ were Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin. Most Jewish people spoke the first three, and some were conversant in Latin as well.

Most of our readers know the difference between Greek and Latin, but there is some confusion about Hebrew and Aramaic. Hebrew was the language of the Old Testament [with few exceptions], and has been adapted into modern Hebrew, the language spoken in Israel today. Modern Hebrew is similar to biblical Hebrew, with the addition of new words (such as telephone and automobile), and some very significant changes in syntax. In biblical Hebrew, the verb usually comes first, then the subject, then the object. In modern Hebrew, the order of words is similar to English, with the subject first, then the verb, then the object. Hebrew was a 'dead' language for over two thousand years, used only for religious purposes (like Latin); but now it is a 'living' language once again in Israel.

Aramaic is a different language from biblical Hebrew. They use the same alphabet, but much of the vocabulary and syntax are different. In fact, Hebrew and Aramaic were almost as different as English and German are today. Webster's Dictionary offers the following definition: Aramaic: a Semitic language of which documents are known from as early as the 9th century B.C., orig. the speech of the Aramaeans but later used extensively in southwest Asia as a commercial lingua franca and governmental language and adopted as their customary speech by various non-Aramaean peoples including the Jews among whom it replaced Hebrew after the Babylonian exile.

Thus, the Jewish people learned to speak Aramaic in Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity. The Book of Daniel illustrates this transition. The first part of the Book of Daniel was written in Hebrew, but as Daniel began to explain teh prophetic dream to King Nebuchadnezzar, he switched to Aramaic (which is sometimes also called Syriac or Chaldee). The next several chapters of Daniel deal with the succession of Gentile world powers and were written in Aramaic, and then the final chapters reverted to Hebrew.

When the Jewish people returned to Israel, they carried back with them the language they had learned in Babylon. Hebrew was used in the synagogue when the Scriptures were read, but the language of the streets was Aramaic. This continued through the time of Christ, and it is probable that the language He most frequently used was the common Aramaic.

One source of confusion is that Aramaic had by Jesus' day, become so identified with the Jewish people that it was commonly referred to as 'Hebrew,' as it is in the New Testament. Note how the Gospel of John uses the term:

'''...in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha...in a place that is called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha (John 19:13, 17).

Both Gabbatha and Golgotha are clearly Aramaic words, but John calls them Hebrew. Scholars explain to us that 'Hebrew,' as commonly used in the New Testament, refers to the Aramaic or Chaldee language:

Hebrew, the Hebrew language, not that however in which the OT was written but the Chaldee, which at the time of Jesus and the apostles had long superseded it in Palestine. (Thayer's Dictionary of the New Testament)....

[Perhaps this might be similar to calling the language spoken in America 'English' as opposed to that which was spoken in England - also referred to as 'English' but the difference between the two languages in Palestine was much greater]

.....Thus, the 'Hebrew' language described in the New Testament is not biblical Hebrew, or even the Hebrew that is used today in modern Israel, but is rather Aramaic, the ancient language of Mesopotamia. In a very real sense, the language of Aramaic that Jesus and most of the people of Israel in His time spoke, was as Gentile as the Greek language.

C) THE PROCESS USED FOR WRITING THE GOSPELS - EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT THE GOSPELS INCL MATTHEW AND MARK WERE ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN KOINE GREEK

What, then, was the process used for writing the Gospels of Matthew and Mark? The tradition about Mark is that John Mark wrote his Gospel under the guidance and encouragement of the Apostle Peter. After the early years of the Christian movement, Peter apparently worked among the Jewish people of the Diaspora (Jews living outside of Israel), including Babylon, as indicated in his epistles. There is also the tradition that |Peter spent his last years in Rome, although there is nothing in the Scriptures to support this. In either case, Peter and Mark would have communicated primarily in Greek, rather than in Hebrew or Aramaic, since that was the common language among Diaspora Jews, as well as of most Gentiles. Thus, there seems to be no reason why Mark would not have written his Gospel in Greek as he recorded Peter's recollections of the events described.

This leaves the Gospel of Matthew. Of the four Gospel writers, Matthew is the only one who was both an eyewitness to almost all of the events in Galilee and Jerusalem, and also wrote his Gospel near the beginning of the Christian movement. Matthew is an interesting personality who is often overlooked. Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede, in his recent book Eyewitness to Jesus: Amazing New Manuscript Evidence about the Origin of the Gospels, observes that Matthew, as a tax collector (probably a supervisor of the Capernaum office), undoubtedly had important writing skills. It has been discovered that the ancients who were skilled in writing had developed a form of shorthand so that they could take dictation. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Matthew could have written down entire messages, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the Olivet Discourse, just as Jesus delivered them, verbatim, in shorthand.

Later, the faithful tax collector could have assembled his notes and written his narrative with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As stated above, Jesus probably delivered most of His messages in Aramaic, and therefore Matthew would have necessarily taken his shorthand dictation in Aramaic. Would he, then, have written his Gospel in Aramaic? We truly do not know. All we know for certain is that, perhaps as early as 66 A.D. (as Thiede suggests), the Gospel of Matthew was distributed in the Greek language as far as Egypt. If Matthew was still in Israel when he wrote his Gospel, it would seem appropriate that he would have used Israel's common language: Aramaic. In that case, his Gospel would have been translated into Greek quite early, before 66 A.D. It should be noted that Matthew's Gospel has more 'Hebraisms' than any of the others. This suggests an earlier Aramaic version, although, as indicated above, no early Aramaic version has been found....

[Another explanation: it is not uncommon to have insertions of another language into an original writing in a different language to better express the point to be made, especially considering the background of the events - the 'Hebraisms' portraying a much more accurate concept for those particular expressions in the 'Hebrew', (i.e., Aramaic)]

...Thus, there is no evidence that the Gospels were written originally in any other language but Greek. If there were versions of Matthew or the other Gospels originally penned in Aramaic (in accordance with the language Christ used), they were so quickly translated into Greek so that they could be utilized throughout the Roman world. Both Greek and Aramaic were essentially Gentile languages, and the Lord was able and willing to use them to convey His teachings, so that the Good News could go forth from His homeland of Israel to 'the uttermost parts of the earth.' "

Incidentally, upon careful examination, it becomes evident that every book of the New Testament is inerrant and completely harmonious with all the other books of the Bible in the Greek so we are assured that we have the communication of God to the world as it has stood over all these years.