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Question: Wasn't Erasmus, whose work led to the Textus Receptus and ultimately the King James Bible, really a Roman Catholic? Doesn't this mean that the King James Bible is just another Roman Catholic Bible?

Answer: Erasmus was raised a Catholic, and did not openly "leave" the Roman Catholic religion, but he did not believe Roman Catholic doctrine either. In fact, his best friends and defenders were the Christians, like the Anabaptists and Martin Luther. Here is proof from researcher Gail Riplinger.

Gail Riplinger, author of New Age Bible Versions and "The Language of the King James Bible" has written another excellent book, **The History of the Bible: Erasmus and the Received Text. In it she proves the Christian, Biblical beliefs of Erasmus and exposes the evil motives of the people who try to defame him. The following research can be found in her book.

Did Erasmus' contemporaries believe he was a Catholic?

The following are quotes from various researchers:

"In the midst of the group of Protestant scholars who had long been his truest friends, and so far as is known, without relations of any sort with the Roman Catholic Church, he died." 1

"He died at Basel in 1536, committed to neither party, but amid an admiring circle of friends who were all on the , Reformed side."2

[He was an] "ex monk … a Protestant pastor preached his funeral sermon and the money that he left was used to , help Protestant refugees."3

"In 1559 Pope Paul IV 'placed everything Erasmus had ever written , on The Index of Forbidden Books."4

"[H]e was branded an impious heretic, and his works were forbidden , to Catholic readers" 5

"The Council of Trent , condemned Erasmus' translation"6 of the Bible. It is clear that his Bible was not a perverted Roman Catholic Vulgate translation at all.

In 1527, Spanish "monks of the Inquisition began a systematic scrutiny of Erasmus' works, with a view to having [Erasmus] condemned , as a heretic."7

In his own words

Listen to Erasmus explain his own views:

"All I ask for is the leisure to live wholly to God, to repent of the sins of my foolish youth, to study Holy Scriptures, and to read or write something of real value. I could do nothing of this , in a convent."8

In 1505 he wrote, "I shall sit down to Holy Scriptures with my whole heart, and devote the rest of my life to it… all these three years I have been working entirely at Greek and have not been , playing with it."9

Here are some other quotes, cited by Riplinger:

"As to me, all I have sought has been to open my contemporaries' eyes and bring them back from ritual to true Christianity."

"Read the Gospels … and see how we have degenerated."

"A man of piety would feel that he could not employ his time better than in bringing little ones to Christ."

"We must forget ourselves, and think , first of Christ's glory."10

Are these the words of a Roman Catholic?

The judgment of history

Even historian Will Durant wrote of him that by 1500 (when he was 34 years old), he had "formed his resolve to study and edit the Greek New Testament as the distilled essence of that real Christianity which, in the judgement [sic] of reformers and humanists alike, had been overlaid and concealed by the dogmas , and accretions of centuries." 11

These facts and others lead us to believe that Erasmus did not believe in the doctrines of the Roman Catholic religion. We see why he worked so hard to find God's preserved words and publish them for all to read. A copy of the second edition of Erasmus' Greek New Testament ended up in a school in Wittenberg, Germany, where a monk named Martin Luther found it. That Greek text helped Martin Luther to start the Reformation, which brought us the King James Bible.

Erasmus, who was counted by everyone around him as a Christian, not a Catholic, helped to bring about the resurrection of the preserved Bible (not the Roman Catholic perversion), which in turn helped bring the Protestant Reformation.

For more background on Erasmus, and his place in the development of the Textus Receptus, see "Was Erasmus, the editor of the Textus Receptus, a "good" Roman Catholic?"

Get more answers in "Answers To Your Bible Version Questions"


Gail Riplinger, The History of the Bible: Erasmus and the Received Text (Ararat, Virginia: AV Publications Corp., ©2000)
This will soon be released as part of a larger book but the information above is currently available in spiral-bound format on request. Contact

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  1. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1909), vol. I., p. 166
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  2. Hastings' Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (New York: Scribner's, 1928), Vol VI, p. 83.
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  3. Owen Chadwick, A History of Christianity (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995), p. 198. Riplinger notes of Erasmus, "He was buried at a Protestant church in Basel" (p. 1).
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  4. Roland Bainton, Erasmus of Christendom (New York: Scribner's, 1969), pp. 277-278
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  5. Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: The Reformation (New York: MJF Books, 1957), Vol. 6, p. 437.
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  6. Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: The Reformation, Vol. 6, p. 285
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  7. Will Durant, p. 435
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  8. J.A. Froude, The Life and Letters of Erasmus (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1894), p. 25.
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  9. J.A. Froude, The Life and Letters of Erasmus, p. 87.
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  10. J.A. Froude, The Life and Letters of Erasmus, pp. 260, 356, 118, 349.
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  11. Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: The Reformation, Vol. 6, p. 273.
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