The Case of the Missing Greek
A layman in New Zealand, Evan Saddler, concerned about
the formation of modern Bible versions which he believed to have been
prepared from corrupted manuscripts, was challenged by a pastor concerning
his competence to make such a judgment. "How many languages do you
know?" asked the pastor. Mr. Saddler, a man of good humor, promptly
replied, "Two!óNew Zealand and Australian."
Unfazed by this humorous rejoinder, the pastor pressed
his point. "How can you make yourself an expert on Bible translation
if you do not know Greek or Hebrew?" Mr. Saddler replied by asking a
question himself. "Do you understand Greek?" When assured
that the pastor did, Mr. Saddler requested an analysis of the Greek
wording upon which the New International Version translation of Matthew
18:11 was based. The pastor diligently set about his assigned task, but
soon discovered that it was not easily fulfilled. Looking up from his
Bible in confusion and amazement, the minister exploded, "But there
is no Matthew 18:11!" His observation was correct. The tenth verse is
present, and the twelfth, but the eleventh is entirely omitted. Quietly,
Mr. Saddler replied, "Now what use is your knowledge of Greek when
the text is missing?"
Indeed this episode does demonstrate that a knowledge
of Greek is of no value whatsoever if those Greek words have been expunged
from the Word of God. Furthermore, God inspired the writing of the
Scriptures for the common man. Clearly, the common man is not a Classics
professor from Oxford or Cambridge Universities. It is thus irrelevant in
the discussion of such a matter to introduce inconsequential issues.
The omission of the great truth,
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
only arouses interest in a vast problem of the modern
versions of Scripture, for they depend upon corrupted Greek manuscripts.
Since the Bible is the sole standard of truth and
doctrine, it serves Satanís purpose to destroy confidence in the Word of
God. Furthermore, by altering a little here and there, he brings confusion
to Godís people until, alas, many cease to regard the Word of God as a
truly divine revelation. But God has informed us,
To the law and to the testimony: If they speak not
according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah
Unless we have a Bible uncorrupted by alterations, we
have no set standard of faith.
The omissions mentioned are not only in the New
International Version but also in the Revised Standard Version, the New
English Version, the Jerusalem Bible, the American Standard Version, Todayís
English Version and almost every other modern version, with the exception
of the New King James Version.
Appendix A sets forth the seventeen verses omitted from
most modern translations. In many cases, these verses are contained in a
footnote indicating that they have been omitted because they were not
found in "the most ancient and reliable manuscripts." Such a
statement diminishes the status of these verses as being truly part of
Holy Writ. Appendix B compares 178 texts containing major omissions in the
New International Version. Such widespread alteration of Scripture should
not be met with a shrug of the shoulder.