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Chapter 7

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. Matthew 18:11

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 8:20

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.

 


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