From "Answers To Your Bible Version Questions" © 2001 by David W. Daniels
Question: How do I show which Bible is correct to those who refuse to hear “King James only” arguments?
Answer: The key is to show them how the broad evidence of history tells us which Greek text is correct. It then becomes easy to know which Bible we can trust. First, please remember the simple fact that there are two streams of Bible history. The first line comes straight from the Apostles and people of Antioch. To date, 5,702 manuscripts, and the broad evidence of history support that line.
The Broad Evidence of History
This evidence for this stream spans from some of our oldest manuscripts to some of the least ancient. These manuscripts are in agreement with those of the persecuted believers, such as the Vaudois in the Alps northwest of Italy. They received the Scriptures from apostolic groups from Antioch of Syria about AD 120 and finished their translation by AD 157, according to Calvin’s successor,
Theodore Beza. These manuscripts influenced one of
the greatest events in Christian history: the Protestant
The Polluted Stream
The other stream comes from questionable sources.
About the time of Christ, a Jewish man named Philo
decided to blend pagan Greek philosophy with Judaism.
The so-called “Christians” who came after him in
Alexandria were not much better. Though they talked
about “Jesus” and “Christianity,” they did not believe
that Jesus was God. They also did not believe that the Old
Testament detailed literal events. It was a school in this
pagan city that decided to write their own copies of the
The problem is that they changed the Scriptures, while
saying they were copying them. They used the heretic
Marcion’s Lord’s Prayer in Luke, for example. (See
Question 43, “Is the Lord’s Prayer in Your Bible?”). From
there it goes downhill.
In truth there are only a handful of semi-complete
“Bibles” from Alexandria, Egypt. The only other texts
from there are literally pieces of paper. The grand total of
manuscripts is only 44. Of those 44, only 3 are taken very
seriously: the Sinaiticus (Aleph), the Alexandrinus (A)
and Vaticanus (B).
But there is a very big problem. It is rare that these
three ever agree. Between Sinaiticus and Vaticanus,
for example, it is extremely difficult to find just two
successive verses that agree.
Look at the Lord’s Prayer in Luke again. Between
codices Aleph, A [Alexandrinus], B [Vaticanus], C
[Ephraemi Rescriptus] and D [Bezae Cantabrigiensis]
there is no agreement in 32 out of 45 words. That means
these major books only agree in 13 out of 45 words!
A Visual Image
Here’s one way to explain the difference between the
manuscripts. Imagine a stadium with 5,746 people. 5,702
of them are in harmony, agreeing with one another and
enjoying themselves. But there are also 44 other people.
These are not like the first. They dislike the crowd around
them and slander their words when they can. But they
have another problem: they also disagree with each other.
Which group would you rather listen to? The one
with people in one accord, or the one that is filled with
discord? The one that knows what it is saying, or the one
that cannot agree on what it wants to say? The answer is
Where Do the Two Streams Lead?
A tree is known by its fruit. Where, then, do these two
streams of Bibles lead?
The Alexandrian manuscripts fell into disuse, and
many were relegated to a desert trashcan. A number of
“scholars” tried to make the expensive codices better by
changing the words to be more like the other stream, but
they finally gave up. Those are the many corrections we
see in the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.
But where do the Alexandrian manuscripts lead?
Straight to the Roman Catholic institution. They were
used by Constantine with the help of Eusebius. They
became the basis of the Apocrypha and many incorrect
readings in the Roman Catholic Bible. They were used to
dominate and subject true believers under a false religion.
This was the Bible of the persecutors.
Alexandrian Bibles are legion. Such are the NIV, TNIV,
NAS, CSB, ASV, ERV, TEV, GNB, Living, NCV, ISV,
RSV, NRSV, etc., but also Catholic Bibles as the New
American Bible, the Jerusalem and New Jerusalem Bibles.
The Antiochian manuscripts (from which we got the
King James Bible) continued to be used and were passed
down by faithful Christians from generation to generation.
The Vaudois, for example, passed them down faithfully
by even having their children memorize whole books of
the Bible. These faithful people hand-copied little Bibles
they could fit in their heavy garments. They were ready to
give an answer, literally “in season and out of season”!
And where do the Antiochian manuscripts lead? Straight
to the Protestant Reformation. Wesley and writers of
the Geneva Bible actually saw the Vaudois as a “pre-
Reformation” group, even as the “two witnesses” who
were protected by God in Revelation. (See pp. 115-116).
That is how much they were indebted to these faithful.
Antiochian Bibles are easily recognizable. They are the
Bibles of the Reformation: the Reina-Valera (Spanish),
Diodati (Italian), Statenvertaling (Dutch), and all the other
Protestant Bibles published between the 1530s and 1600s.
In English they are the Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthew’s,
Great Bible, Bishops Bible, Geneva and King James.
The fruit, for example, of the King James Bible in
English is easily discernible. Look at many English-speaking
Protestant denominations that were formed in
an effort to get “back to the Bible.” The King James Bible
was the starting point. The pilgrim Puritans in the USA
switched from the Geneva to the King James in their
next generation, despite the fact that they had used the
Geneva since the 1560s. And ironically, the churches and
Christians called “extreme Fundamentalists” and “rightwing
extremists” are simply the churches that did not
leave the fundamentals.
There are two kinds of churches: those that left their
founding doctrines and those that stuck to them. There
are also two kinds of Bibles: those that follow corrupt
and perverted Alexandrian texts and/or Roman Catholic
doctrine, and those that follow the line of preservation
through godly and persecuted Christian brethren.
The choice is obvious.