Category Archives: BIBLE VERSIONS AND MANUSCRIPTS

Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in the Bible?

DOES MARK 16:9-20 BELONG IN THE BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In his eponymous study Bible published over a century ago, Dr. C. I. Scofield attached the following footnote to Mark 16:9: “The passage from verse 9 to the end is not found in the two most ancient manuscripts, the Sinaitic and Vatican, and others have it with partial omissions and variations. But it is quoted by Irenaeus and Hippolytus in the second or third century.” What kind of an annotation is this?! Well, honestly, it is the type of gloss that has bothered dispensationalists who have used the Scofield Study Bible for more than 100 years! Does Mark 16:9-20 actually belong in the Holy Bible? Is it Mark’s original inspired ending, or simply a later addition? Although we will always be indebted to Dr. Scofield for his dispensational insight, he was still just a human like all of us, and he had his theological blind spots. We want to vehemently confess this note was one of them—one we should clarify. Our goal in this treatise is to study the Scriptures as well as explore church history, that we may establish and weigh the evidence of the pertinent arguments for and against Mark 16:9-20, and ultimately establish a sound conclusion.

Although a highly technical study, the information contained herein is invaluable and worthy of our attention. Friend, if you have an open heart and mind, a sincere desire to know the truth concerning this textual matter, you will know it (John 7:17)! Ask the Holy Spirit to edify, encourage, and enlighten you as you progress through this study. While this author does not agree with everyone he will cite here, he considers this data vital to the reader’s understanding of how Satan’s evil world system operates. The Bible student will come to realize the ubiquitous doubt, confusion, heresy, and apostasy that have long plagued the Church the Body of Christ. Most importantly, the reader will understand how to avoid such spiritual ruin. Requesting your undivided attention in this, our special-edition Bible Q&A article #825, the author has made every attempt to present the truth as plainly and simply as possible, that sound Bible doctrine be advanced and the Lord Jesus Christ thereby glorified. Are you ready? Here we go!

DOWNLOAD THE 120-PAGE STUDY (PDF) BY CLICKING HERE

You may also watch our accompanying YouTube video, in which I teach this material in an abbreviated form. Click here for the video.

Does Mark 7:16 belong in the Bible?

DOES MARK 7:16 BELONG IN THE BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Textual critics question the authenticity of Mark 7:16, which reads: “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” Allegedly, this verse is not inspired of God. It is argued the verse is a copyist error, a duplication of either Mark 4:19 or Mark 4:23. The modern Greek New Testament on which modern English versions are based, eliminates the verse entirely. Modern English versions thus either bracket off the verse as doubtful, or totally omit it. Our King James Bible and its underlying Greek Textus Receptus contain the verse. Does it belong or not? Was “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear” in the original autograph of Mark?

Read Mark 7:14-23: “[14] And when he [Jesus] had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: [15] There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. [16] If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. [17] And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. [18] And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; [19] Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? [20] And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (cf. Matthew 15:10-20).

Jesus’ disciples want to know the meaning of this “parable” (verse 17). They assume He was speaking figuratively. Yet, as His response implies, they are mistaken in seeing this as a parable (metaphorical). He claims they are without comprehension (verse 18). That is, they should have taken Him literally. What made them conclude this was a parable? Why, verse 16, of course! “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” That expression hearkens back to the parables of Mark chapter 4 (verses 9 and 23; cf. Matthew 13:9,43; Luke 8:8). Jesus used the phrase in conjunction with parables, which is why the disciples concluded Mark 7:14-15 was a parable. In other words, if Mark 7:16 is removed, that means Jesus never said it here, and if He never said it here, there would be no reason for their bewilderment in verse 17.

Verse 17 assumes verse 16 belongs. Is Mark 7:14-15 a parable? No. Yet, if verse 16 is omitted, there is no reason for the disciples to ask whether or not it was (verse 17). Like parables, verses 14-15 were difficult to understand in the minds of those who believed not. Similarly, verse 16 troubles those who believe not—even now!

Also see:
» What is the “evil eye” of Mark 7:22?
» What is “lasciviousness?”
» Who were the “scribes?”

Does “neither the Son” belong in Matthew 24:36?

DOES “NEITHER THE SON” BELONG IN MATTHEW 24:36?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In the King James Bible, Matthew 24:36 reads: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Strangely, modern versions have: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (By the way, as a tangential comment, notice “my Father” was changed to “the Father,” eliminating a most important personal reference). We want to draw our attention to a stark inclusion. Whereas they usually omit or remove words found in the King James, here is one example of modern translations adding words. Modern versions contain “nor the Son,” but not the Authorized Version. Why does this disparity exist? How do we establish the correct reading? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

WHY THERE ARE DIFFERENCES: A BRIEF EXPLANATION

There are two reasons why the King James Bible and modern versions read differently. (And, contrary to what you have heard, there are differences—major differences! Here is one such instance, where a phrase is found in the former and not in the latter. That is distinction worth noting, and not to be taken lightly or easily dismissed.)

Firstly, there are two Greek New Testament manuscript families. It is not a matter of “old English” versus “modern English,” but rather competing manuscripts forming respective bases for those English versions. Earlier English Bibles—the last being the King James Bible—relied on one set of manuscripts (commonly called the Textus Receptus). However, about 140 years ago, British “scholarship” began to shift from that set of Greek Bible manuscripts and began to embrace the other manuscript stream. The result was the 1881 Revised Version (RV). Intended to be an “improved” Authorized Version (King James Bible), it was actually based on a different manuscript family. The alterations were extensive, and that was due to the influence of two apostate Cambridge “scholars,” Westcott and Hort, emphasizing Roman Catholic readings (Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus). In 1901, the American Standard Version—the American counterpart of the 1881 British RV—was released. Over 100 modern English versions have since followed, heavily depending on the “new” manuscript family as translation sources.

Secondly, modern English versions differ from the King James Bible because they were rendered using two divergent translation philosophies. Opinions of men have crept into the modern versions through a technique called “dynamic equivalence” (words can be changed, so long as their “sense” is retained—which is impossible!). The King James is not only based on the proper manuscripts, it was rendered correctly because of its “formal equivalence” (individual words matter, not merely thoughts!). While more could be said, this is enough information to set the background for the matter at hand.

WHY THERE IS A DIFFERENCE IN MATTHEW 24:36

Let us look at the verse comparison once again.

  • King James: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
  • Modern versions: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

“Nor the Son” appears in modern versions, but not the King James. Why? This is because modern versions depend on manuscripts that are not the same as the manuscripts on which the King James is based. The modern Greek has “nor the Son” in Matthew 24:36; the King James Greek (Textus Receptus) lacks it.

At this point, the modern version proponent would appeal to the parallel verse, Mark 13:32. Here is the verse in the King James: “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” Now, Mark 13:32 in modern versions: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” So, the phrase “nor the Son” appears in both the King James and modern versions in Mark 13:32. Yet, it appears in Matthew 24:36 in modern versions only. The modern version supporters would argue it belongs in both verses, and the King James and its manuscripts are wrong in “eliminating” it from Matthew 24:36.

To summarize, one of two possibilities is true:

  1. Either…. The King James and its manuscripts removed “nor the Son” (“oude o huios”) from Matthew 24:36. Thus, Mark 13:32 indicates the phrase belongs in Matthew. (Here is what modern-version supporters contend.)
  2. Or…. The modern versions* and their manuscripts added “nor the Son” (“oude o huios”) in Matthew 24:36 to force it to match Mark 13:32. (This is the argument of the King James users.)

(*Modern versions: American Standard Version, Amplified Bible, English Standard Version, Good News Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Living Bible, The Message, New American (Roman Catholic) Bible, New American Standard Bible, New International Version, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, New World Translation [“Jehovah’s Witness bible”], Revised Standard Version, the Voice.)

Who is right? Which position is correct? This will be quite a challenge, huh? How would we even proceed in resolving this technical conflict? Actually, friend, it is not that difficult!

It is generally agreed that the Book of Matthew presents Jesus Christ as King, while the Book of Mark views Him as Servant. A careful comparison of both Books yields this to be true. This would explain why Matthew and Mark do not read word-for-word all the time. The Holy Spirit is emphasizing or stressing various and sundry points in order to portray Jesus from diverse angles. (Luke and John are two other independent Gospel Records, meant to read differently as well.)

John 15:14-15 is useful here: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” Could the Bible be clearer here? Does the servant know what his master is doing? No! Both the Authorized Version and modern versions agree here. Let us read those same verses in the New International Version: “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” The servant submits to his boss. Stated another way, the employer determines what should be done, then he issues orders to his employee to follow. Jesus’ comments in John actually help us resolve the textual disagreement concerning Matthew 24:36.  

CONCLUSION

Does “neither the Son” belong in Matthew 24:36? NO! If Mark is stressing Jesus’ servanthood (and that is the overwhelming consensus), and Matthew is underscoring His royalty (and that too no one denies), then Matthew and Mark would not harmonize concerning “knowledge.” Mark would certainly need “nor the Son,” for the Son of God is acting as Servant to Father God. Matthew, however, would not need “nor the Son,” for Matthew is not stressing Jesus’ servanthood. In other words, modern versions discredit themselves. John 15:15 in any and every version demands the inclusion of “nor the Son” in Mark 13:32, but there is no such necessity for its presence in Matthew 24:36 (an entirely different view of Christ!). No, the King James Bible and its underlying Greek did not eliminate “neither the Son” from Matthew. Modern English versions and the modern Greek added “nor the Son” to Matthew, so as to harmonize it with Mark… and they are wrong in doing so.

SUPPLEMENTAL: IF JESUS WERE GOD, HOW DID HE NOT KNOW?

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36 KJV). “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32 KJV). No man or angel knows when Jesus Christ will return to Earth at His Second Coming. How could Jesus say that only the Father knew when He would return? Was not Jesus God? Why did Jesus not know when He would return?

Jesus Christ is serving His Father, so He is submitting to His Father when it came to setting dates. Jesus could have openly declared precisely when He would come back, but He would appear to be autonomous (independent). He showed His reliance on Father God by saying that only Father God knew the date of His coming. Remember, Jesus Christ is both God and Man. As God, He knew the future, but, as a Man, Jesus could honestly say He did not know when His Second Coming would occur. Luke 2:40,52 say He learned just like we learn. This is not a detraction of His Deity; it is an emphasis on His Humanity (which we should never ignore either). “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him…. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

Also see:
» Did Jesus ever claim to be God?
» Does God suffer from Alzheimer’s disease?
» Why did God ask where Adam was?

How was Marcus “sister’s son to Barnabas?”

HOW WAS MARCUS “SISTER’S SON TO BARNABAS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Colossians 4:10 in the King James Bible tells us, “Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)….” Marcus is said to be “sister’s son to Barnabas.” Barnabas’ sister is Marcus’ mother; therefore, Marcus is Barnabas’ nephew. Alas, some have complicated the matter by arguing “sister’s son” is inappropriate, since the Greek word for “sister” (“adelphe”) appears nowhere in the verse. What our Authorized Version scholars have translated “sister’s son” is “anepsios” (“a” [article of union] joined to an obsolete word “nepos” [“brood, family”]). How should we go about handling this issue?

Here are the earlier English Bibles (note the King James Bible was published later, in 1611):

  • WYCLIFFE BIBLE (1382): “Aristarchus, prisoner with me [mine even-captive, or prisoner with me], greeteth you well, and Marcus, the cousin of Barnabas, of whom ye have taken commandments; if he come to you, receive ye him;….” (This edition of Wycliffe has modernized spellings, as Middle English is unintelligible to us.)
  • TYNDALE BIBLE (1530): “Aristarchus my preson felowe saluteth you and Marcus Barnabassis systers sonne: touchinge whom ye receaved commaundementes. Yf he come vnto you receave him:….”
  • COVERDALE BIBLE (1535): “Aristarchus my preson felowe saluteth you, and Marcus Barnabasses sisters sonne, touchinge whom ye receaued commaundementes: Yf he come vnto you, receaue him,….”
  • MATTHEW BIBLE (1537): “Aristarchus my preson felowe saluteth you/and Marcus Barnabas systers sonne: touching whom ye receaued commaundementes. If he come unto you/receaue hym:….”
  • GREAT BIBLE (1539): “Aristarchus my preson felowe saluteth you, and Marcus Barnabas systers sonne: touchynge whom, ye receaued commaundementes. If he come vnto you, receaue hym:….”
  • GENEVA BIBLE (1557): “Aristarchus my prison fellow saluteth you, and Marcus, Barnabas’s cousin (touching whom ye received commandments: If he come unto you, receive him.)” (The spelling here has been modernized.)
  • BISHOPS BIBLE (1568): “Aristarchus my prison felowe saluteth you, & Marcus Barnabas sisters sonne, (touchyng whom ye receaued commaundementes:) If he come vnto you, receaue hym….”

Most of them agree with the King James Bible—or, better stated, the King James Bible (published after) agrees with most of them. Only two out of the seven read “cousin.” The King James follows the remaining five with “sister’s son.” (In fact, the King James is largely based on Tyndale’s work, so the two read quite similarly here and many other places.)

In stark contrast, as pertaining to the modern English versions (produced during the last 150 years), “cousin” is the prevailing reading—Amplified Bible, Contemporary English Version, God’s Word, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Phillips, The Message, New American Standard Bible, New Century Version, New English Translation, New International Version, New King James Version, New American (Roman Catholic) Bible, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, New World Translation (“Jehovah’s Witness Bible”), Revised Version, Revised Standard Version, The Voice. The Living Bible takes a more general position with “relative.” Knox’s Translation (Roman Catholic Bible) has “kinsman.”

Unfortunately, the King James translators are no longer alive on Earth (they are in Heaven!), so we cannot ask them why they chose “sister’s son” over a broader term (“cousin,” “relative,” “kinsman,” et cetera). All we have is speculation—and that will get us nowhere. So, what should we do? We take the position of faith and retain their reading. If we are “Bible believers” as we claim, then we will believe the Bible we have. If we disagree with it, and seek to change its text, then it is not (as we assert) our final authority. We should believe whatever Bible we use, or we need to stop playing the hypocrite and find a Bible we do believe. As touching many other passages, the King James translators have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt they were fully competent in handling the Greek, Hebrew, and other manuscripts before them—as well as the English Bibles that preceded their translation work. We trust they made the right choice in conveying the sense of the original Hebrew and Greek into English, and that would include “sister’s son” in Colossians 4:10.

SUPPLEMENTAL: MORE ABOUT “MARCUS”

“Marcus” is his Latin and Greek name (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24; 1 Peter 5:13). He is also known as “John surnamed Mark” (Acts 12:12,25; Acts 15:37), “John” being his name in Hebrew. In 2 Timothy 4:11, he is simply called “Mark.” Acts chapter 13, verses 5 and 13, refer to him as merely “John.” John Mark was a servant and ministry coworker of the Apostles Peter, Saul/Paul, and Barnabas. He accompanied Barnabas and Saul/Paul on their first apostolic journey, but abandoned them in Acts 13:13.

According to Acts 15:36-41, when Paul and Barnabas were setting out on their second apostolic journey, Barnabas preferred to take John Mark along with them but Paul opposed the idea because of Mark’s prior faithlessness. (Remember, Barnabas was partial to Mark because Mark was his nephew!) This major disagreement forced Paul and Barnabas to split, and they no longer travel together. Whereas Barnabas took John Mark, Paul picked up a new ministry coworker by the name of Silas. Many years later (15? 20?), John Mark and Paul reconciled, which brings us to Paul’s latter writings of Colossians 4:10, Philemon 24, and 2 Timothy 4:11. “He is profitable to me for the ministry.”

Also see:
» Why does the King James Bible say “nephews” instead of “grandchildren” in 1 Timothy 5:4?
» Were the King James translators justified in adding “women” to Matthew 24:41?
» Were the King James translators justified in adding the word “quarters” in Acts 9:32?

Does Acts 7:43 have mistakes?

DOES ACTS 7:43 HAVE MISTAKES?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Stephen’s sermon in Acts chapter 7 claims: “[42] Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? [43] Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.”

We can go turn the Old Testament Book of Amos to find the original quote. (Acts 7:42 says “the prophets” because Hosea to Malachi, while 12 Books in our Gentile Old Testament, were originally one Book in the Hebrew Bible—it was titled “the Twelve,” as in “Twelve Prophets”). Read Amos chapter 5: “[25] Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? [26] But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. [27] Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.”

If we are meticulous Bible students, we see two main points of controversy here. Firstly, Amos says “Chiun” whereas Stephen uses “Remphan” instead. Why? Secondly, Amos has “Damascus” but Stephen replaces it with “Babylon.” To what purpose?

The god “Chiun” is rather mysterious, so its identity is unclear. It may have been a statue to worship a pagan god associated with the planet Saturn (cf. “the host of heaven” in Acts 7:42). The Greek word “Remphan”—from Egyptian (?)—means “the shrunken [that is, lifeless].” God the Holy Ghost, speaking through Stephen (Acts 6:5; Acts 7:55), may have selected this word to underscore the lifelessness of “Chiun,” the false religion Israel had chosen. Whatever the idol’s name, it was still paganism and offensive to JEHOVAH God!

As touching “Damascus” in Amos, and “Babylon” in Acts, this is nothing more than the Holy Spirit through Stephen extending the initial prophecy so it encompasses a later prophecy. Amos was writing to the Northern Kingdom, Israel’s 10 tribes, which would soon go away into Assyrian Captivity (to the north, past Damascus—modern Syria). Judah, the Southern Kingdom, was exiled in the Babylonian Captivity approximately 100 years later (to the east, past Babylon—modern Iraq). Stephen, living many centuries after, replaces “Damascus” with “Babylon” to encompass all 12 tribes’ captivity in Gentile/foreign lands. In both cases, it was the fifth course of chastisement—God’s punishment on the idol-worshipping Jews (Leviticus 26:27-39)! Details concerning the Assyrian Captivity are in 2 Kings chapter 17; the Babylonian Captivity is found in chapters 24–25.

Also see:
» Does Acts 7:14 have a mistake?
» How did the Israeli patriarchs “resist” the Holy Ghost?
» Does Acts 7:16 have a mistake?
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?

Does Acts 7:16 have a mistake?

DOES ACTS 7:16 HAVE A MISTAKE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Read the following excerpt from the Prophet Stephen’s sermon in Acts chapter 7: “[15] So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, [16] And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.” Everything looks fine—until we check the Old Testament cross-references. Now, things get complex… and some poor, worried soul cries out, “Look, we have an error in the Bible!”

JACOB’S BURIAL: “For his [that is, Jacob’s] sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre” (Genesis 50:13). Jacob was entombed in the land of Machpelah. His grandfather Abraham bought that land from Ephron the Hittite: “And the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city” (Genesis 23:17-18). Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 25:9-11), son Isaac (Genesis 35:27-29), and grandson Jacob (Genesis 50:13) were all buried here at Hebron.

JOSEPH’S BURIAL: According to Joshua 24:32, Joseph was buried in Shechem, what his father Jacob purchased from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem: “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.”

Some argue Stephen in Acts chapter 7 condensed these two burial accounts into one. However, we do not believe Stephen was speaking of Jacob’s entombment at all. To demonstrate this, we simply read Acts again: “[15] So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, [16] And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.” Who was “carried over into Sychem [Greek form of Hebrew “Shechem”]?” The verb in verse 16 is “were,” so the implied pronoun is plural (“they”) not “he” (singular). Far better off we would be to apply “were carried” to the preceding nouns “he [Joseph], and our fathers [Joseph’s brethren].” Remember, as Joshua 24:32 just informed us, Joseph was buried in Shechem. Presumably, as Stephen says, all of Joseph’s brethren were buried there too. Jacob’s burial plot—and Abraham’s land transaction here—is another matter entirely.

We do not have to contend with any discrepancy between Genesis 50:13 and Acts 7:15-16. On one hand, yes, Genesis speaks of Abraham buying land from Ephron the Hittite. This was the eventual cemetery for the corpses of Abraham, son Isaac, and grandson Jacob. On the other hand, indeed, Acts refers to Abraham purchasing land from the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem (Shechem). This area ultimately became the cemetery in which Joseph and his brethren were disposed. Eliminating Genesis 50:13 as a companion verse to Acts 7:16 makes the matter considerably easier to handle.

The real controversy is between Joshua 24:32 and Acts 7:15-16. Who purchased Joseph’s burial land—Jacob or Abraham? Joshua claims Joseph was buried in land that Jacob, Joseph’s father, bought from “the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem.” Stephen in Acts asserts Joseph’s tomb was part of the property Abraham bought from “the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.” (“Hamor” and “Emmor” are interchangeable, as are “Shechem” and “Sychem.” Stephen’s words, part of the Greek New Testament, translate the Hebrew names found in Joshua.)

Abraham built an altar in Shechem back in Genesis chapter 12: “[6] And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem [that is, Shechem], unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. [7] And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.” Presumably, Abraham bought this land from Hamor’s family before erecting that altar. However, Abraham did not dwell here permanently, so the land reverted back to Hamor’s family. Evidently, Jacob repurchased it from them, and this matches Genesis chapter 33: “[18] And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. [19] And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for an hundred pieces of money. [20] And he erected there an altar, and called it EleloheIsrael.” (Notice he bought the land before constructing the altar. We would assume Abraham did the same earlier.)

CONCLUSION

The supposed “contradiction” between Acts 7:16 and the Old Testament record is nonexistent. No errors exist. Filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 6:5; Acts 7:55), Stephen supplements the Hebrew Bible not “corrects” it. Here is our reasoning:

  1. Jacob was buried in the field of Machpelah, what his grandfather Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hittite (Genesis 50:13). Note: Stephen in Acts is not referring to this transaction or burial.
  2. Abraham bought the land of Sichem/Shechem/Sychem from the sons of Hamor/Emmor, and then built an altar there (Genesis 12:6-7; Acts 7:16). However, Abraham did not settle in Shechem. Consequently, ownership of this real estate reverted back to Hamor’s family.
  3. A few centuries later, Abraham’s grandson Jacob repurchased the land of Shechem from Hamor’s family (Genesis 33:18-19). Jacob’s son Joseph, and Joseph’s brethren, were buried in Shechem (Acts 7:15-16).

Also see:
» Does Acts 7:14 have a mistake?
» How did the Israeli patriarchs “resist” the Holy Ghost?
» Does Acts 7:43 have a mistake?
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?

Does Acts 7:14 have a mistake?

DOES ACTS 7:14 HAVE A MISTAKE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In Acts 7:14, the Prophet Stephen preaches: “Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.” A “score” is 20, so “threescore and fifteen” totals 75. You may not realize it, friend, but this forms the heart of a centuries-old debate amongst textual critics (Bible correctors).

The Old Testament record calculates 70:

  • “And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten(Genesis 46:27).
  • “And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already” (Exodus 1:5).
  • “Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude” (Deuteronomy 10:22).

How do we reconcile Stephen’s reckoning with that of Moses? Was it 70 or 75? One method—the easiest and laziest!—is to hold to the 70 of Moses as factual and dismiss the 75 of Acts 7:14 as nothing but a “scribal error.” This is unbelief rather than faith. We have a serious problem if we claim to be “Bible believers” but are willing to renounce it where it has “mistakes!” Another “scholarly” way people have handled this textual difficulty is by appealing to the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament supposedly written a few centuries before Christ. The Septuagint adds five names to the family tree in Genesis 46:20. As with the other route, this too is doubt not faith.

First, notice Genesis 46:20 in the King James Bible (and its underlying Hebrew Masoretic Text): “And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.” You will recall verse 27: “And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.” The Bible says 70.

Now, based on the genealogy listed in 1 Chronicles chapter 7, the editors of the Septuagint cleverly altered Genesis 46:20 so it reads this way: “And there were sons born to Joseph in the land of Egypt, whom Aseneth, the daughter of Petephres, priest of Heliopolis, bore to him, Manasses and Ephraim. And there were sons born to Manasses, which the Syrian concubine bore to him, Machir. And Machir begot Galaad. And the sons of Ephraim, the brother of Manasses; Sutalaam, and Taam. And the sons of Sutalaam; Edom.” Did you see how the (Greek) Septuagint modifies the Hebrew Bible here? Five names have been added—one son of Manasseh (Machir), two sons of Ephraim (Sutalaam and Taam), and one grandson of both Manasseh (Galaad) and Ephraim (Edom). Now, the “revised” total of verse 27: “And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in the land of Egypt, were nine souls; all the souls of the house of Jacob who came with Joseph into Egypt, were seventy-five souls.” Verse 27 has been forced to match Stephen’s words (75 people; Acts 7:14).

As opposed to trusting the “new” Old Testament as found in the Septuagint—which contains the Apocryphal Books as though they are inspired of God—here is how we think we should approach this matter from a Bible-believing (not Bible-correcting or Bible-corrupting) standpoint.

Genesis 46:26-27 says: “[26] All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six; [27] And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.” Scripture is clear 66 came with Jacob into Egypt. Joseph and his two sons (Ephraim and Manasseh) were already living in Egypt, bringing the number up to 69. Jacob himself would be the 70th person of “the house of Jacob” (verse 27).

In Acts 7:14, Stephen says the number of Jacob’s “kindred” were 75. Genesis 46:26 leads us to conclude the higher number incorporates Jacob’s daughters-in-law (his sons’ wives). The number 75 would have been even greater, but some members of Jacob’s family perished in Canaan before the household migrated into Egypt. For example, Er and On—grandsons of Jacob through his son Judah—expired in Canaan (Genesis 46:12). Also, Rachel, one of Jacob’s four wives, died in Canaan while giving birth to Benjamin. Neither did Rachel accompany them into Egypt (Genesis 35:19).

If we will correct the Hebrew Bible using the Septuagint (LXX), attempting to harmonize it with Stephen’s words in Acts 7:14, we have introduced confusion that would have otherwise not occurred! The extra five names in Genesis 46:20 of the LXX increases the number to 80, so we would then have to alter Acts 7:14 from 75 to 80. (And that would be an error!!) Again, relying on the Septuagint’s “dependability” is hopeless here—and, if we cling to it, we will surely fall to our doctrinal demise!! It only complicates an already difficult matter.

CONCLUSION

Contrary to popular belief, Acts 7:14 is not a “scribal error.” Stephen’s number 75 is appropriate because it tallies Jacob’s daughters-in-law, whereas Moses’ number 70 of Genesis 46:27, Exodus 1:5, and Deuteronomy 10:22 excludes them (cf. Genesis 46:26). Friend, retain and believe the King James Bible’s readings, and you will not be confused—here, or any other passage.

Also see:
» Does Acts 7:16 have a mistake?
» How did the Israeli patriarchs “resist” the Holy Ghost?
» Does Acts 7:43 have a mistake?
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?

Were the King James translators justified in adding “women” to Matthew 24:41?

WERE THE KING JAMES TRANSLATORS JUSTIFIED IN ADDING “WOMEN” TO MATTHEW 24:41?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Our Authorized Version’s italicized words are a constant target of the critics who would have us believe they are totally unnecessary. One interesting italicized word is “women” in Matthew 24:41 and Luke 17:35. Were our 1611 scholars remiss in adding it? Did they have a valid reason for supplying it, or should we remove it?

“Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Matthew 24:41). “Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Luke 17:35). The underlying Greek Textus Receptus reads thus: “Duo [Two] alethousai [shall be grinding] en [at] to [the] muloni [mill], mia [one] paralambanetai [shall be taken], kai [and] mia [one] aphietai [left] (Matthew 24:41). “Duo [Two] esontai [shall be] alethousai [grinding] epi to-auto [together]; mia [one] paralephthesetai [shall be taken], kai [and] e [the] etera [other] aphethesetai [shall be left] (Luke 17:35).

As we can see, in neither verse does the Greek “gynaidzin” (“women”) appear. Yet, the Authorized Version translators inserted the English equivalent both times. Why? Furthermore, how did they know “women”—rather than “men”—is the correct interpretation?

According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, “it was the custom to send women and female slaves to the mill-houses to turn the hand-mills.” The Greeks called them “gynaikes aletrides” (“women grinders”). Exodus 11:5 speaks of Egyptian women who functioned in the same capacity: “And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant [female servant] that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.”

Were our 1611 scholars mistaken in supplying the word “women” in Matthew 24:41 and Luke 17:35? No, we think not. Their knowledge of Greek language and Bible culture led them to interpret the verses as they currently read in English. Let us take the position of faith and believe the wording of the King James Bible, the work of men whom the Holy Spirit led to bring His Greek Bible into its purest English form!

Also see:
» Were the King James translators justified in adding the word “quarters” in Acts 9:32?
» Is “corn” a mistake in the King James Bible?
» Why does the King James Bible say, “pisseth against the wall?”
» Is “rooms” a King James Bible mistake in Matthew 23:6?
» Is the King James word “borrow” a “mistranslation” in Exodus 3:22?
» Which belongs in Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26 in the King James Bible—“the Spirit itself” or “the Spirit Himself?”

Is “rooms” a King James Bible mistake in Matthew 23:6?

IS “ROOMS” A KING JAMES BIBLE MISTAKE IN MATTHEW 23:6?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,…” (Matthew 23:6). “And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:…” (Mark 12:39). “Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;…” (Luke 20:46).

While we usually assume our English word “room” indicates a place such as a bedroom or bathroom, it can be used in a more general sense. According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “room” simply means “a space that can be occupied.” (Size is irrelevant—it can be large or small.) For instance, we would say, “Make room so I can sit down.” “Room” here is obviously not an enormous space like part of a house. We just mean an empty area. Thus, there is no mistake when the King James Bible translators rendered the Greek word into English. “Room” in Scripture refers to a space at a table that someone can fill. We must be sure to do careful research before we start unfairly maligning our 1611 translators.

The same idea appears in Luke chapter 14, also referring to dining at a table: “[1] And it came to pass, as he [Jesus] went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him…. [7] And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, [8] When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; [9] And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. [10] But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. [11] For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Israel’s apostate religious leaders enjoyed drawing attention to themselves (read the contexts of the quoted verses). They sought the most prominent positions at the table. “Pay attention to me! I deserve the most distinguished seat—whether to eat at a home or worship at a synagogue! Look at me!” Such is nothing more than man’s sinful flesh, and we should be careful not to adopt this attitude.

Also see:
» What are “phylacteries?”
» Is it truly a good deed if done for selfish reasons?
» What are some verses to help me stop focusing on myself?

Is “Gergesenes” a mistake in Matthew 8:28 in the King James Bible?

IS “GERGESENES” A MISTAKE IN MATTHEW 8:28 IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Our Authorized Version has come under heavy criticism for an alleged “mistake” in Matthew 8:28. Moreover, to strengthen this argument, Mark and Luke as found in the King James text have been pitted against Matthew as found in the King James text. Here, through the eyes of faith, we will examine this technical issue and hopefully shed light on it to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Here are the three King James Bible texts we must consider:

  • Matthew 8:28: “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.”
  • Mark 5:1: “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.”
  • Luke 8:26: “And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.”

Upon studying the contexts of these three accounts, we conclude they describe the same basic event (for more info, see our related study linked at the end of this article). Yet, there is one striking discrepancy, an alleged “textual error” of the King James Bible and its underlying Greek Textus Receptus. Both read “Gergesenes” (“Gergesenon”) in Matthew 8:28. However, in Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26, both have “Gadarenes” (“Gadarenon”). Which reading is correct? Did Jesus go into the country of the “Gergesenes” or the country of the Gadarenes?” Why does God’s Word provide conflicting accounts? How do we resolve the matter?

Textual criticism is often more of a burden than a blessing. However, we must look at the manuscript evidence in order to see what is going on:

 

MATTHEW 8:28 — “GERGESENES” (KJB) OR “GADARENES?”
King James Bible (“Gergesenes”) following Textus Receptus (“Gergesenon”)

  • Gergesenes – KJV, Darby, Geneva (1599), New King James Version (NKJV), Wycliffe’s Translation, Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

Modern English versions (“Gadarenes”) following Critical Text (“Gadarenon”)

  • Gadarenes – American Standard Version (ASV), Amplified (AMP), Contemporary English Version (CEV), Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims American (DRA 1899), English Standard Version (ESV), God’s Word (GW), Good News Translation (GNT), Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), “Jehovah’s Witness” New World Translation (NWT), Knox’s Translation (KNX), Living Bible (LB), The Message (MSG), Mounce’s Translation, New American Standard (NASB), New Century Version (NCV), New English Translation (NET), New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), Phillips’ Translation, Revised Standard Version (RSV), The Voice

 

MARK 5:1 — “GADARENES” (KJB) OR “GERASENES?”

King James Bible (“Gadarenes”) following Textus Receptus (“Gadarenon”)

  • Gadarenes – KJV, Darby, Geneva (1599), NKJV, Wycliffe, Young

Modern English versions (“Gerasenes”) following Critical Text (“Gerasenon”)*

  • Gerasenes – ASV, Amplified, Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims American (1899), CEV, ESV, God’s Word, Good News Translation, HCSB, “Jehovah’s Witness” New World Translation, Knox, Phillips, RSV, Message, Mounce, NASB, NCV, NET, NIV, NLT, NRSV, Voice
  • (Living Bible has no proper name in Mark 5:1.)

* Some CT manuscripts read “Gergesenon” in Mark 5:1.

 

LUKE 8:26 — “GADARENES” (KJB) OR “GERASENES?”

King James Bible (“Gadarenes”) following Textus Receptus (“Gadarenon”)

  • Gadarenes – KJV, Darby, Geneva (1599), NKJV, Wycliffe’s, Young

Modern English versions (“Gerasenes”) following Critical Text (“Gerasenon”)*

  • Gerasenes – ASV, Amplified, CEV, Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims American (1899), ESV, God’s Word, Good News Translation, HCSB, “Jehovah’s Witness” New World Translation, Knox, Message, Mounce, Living Bible, NASB, NCV, NET, NIV, NLT, NRSV, Phillips, RSV, Voice

* Some CT manuscripts read “Gerasenon” in Luke 8:26.

 

LUKE 8:37 — “GADARENES” (KJB) OR “GERASENES?”

King James Bible (“Gadarenes”) following Textus Receptus (“Gadarenon”)

  • Gadarenes – KJV, Darby, Geneva (1599), NKJV, Wycliffe, Young

Modern English versions (“Gerasenes”) following Critical Text (“Gerasenon”)*

  • Gerasenes – ASV, Amplified, Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims (1899), CEV, ESV, God’s Word, Good News Translation, HCSB, “Jehovah’s Witness” New World Translation, Knox, Message, Mounce, NASB, NCV, NET, NIV, NLT, NRSV, Phillips, RSV
  • (Living Bible and The Voice have no proper name in Luke 8:37.)

*Some CT manuscripts read “Gergesenon” in Luke 8:37.

 

Having looked briefly at the Greek and English versions, and understanding why they read as they do, we move to analyzing the English words themselves.

GERGESENES

This term is found only once in the King James Bible (Matthew 8:28), and not at all in the modern versions because of dissimilar manuscript sources. While written off as “erroneous” (because Mark and Luke use “Gadarenes”), it is not a mistake. The Gergesenes were the “Girgashites,” a people native to the land of Palestine (Genesis 10:16; Genesis 15:21; Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 3:10; Joshua 24:11; 1 Chronicles 1:14; Nehemiah 9:8). Gergesa was a city on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, precisely where Jesus is at the close of Matthew chapter 8. Both Gergesa and Gadara were east of the Jordan River.

GADARENES

The name appears thrice in the King James Bible (Mark 5:1; Luke 8:26,37). Modern versions do not have it because their Greek source is different, and thus use “Gerasenes” instead. Gadara was a town east of the Jordan River, but there is no consensus as to its precise location. Some believe it was near the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee. Others think it was more to the south, toward the northern end of the Dead Sea. To complicate matters, there was a town by a similar name—Gerasa. It was also east of the Jordan River, and roughly halfway between Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. See next paragraph.

GERASENES

This is not found in the King James Bible at all, but modern versions use it in Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26,37. Relying on a different set of Greek witnesses, the King James reads “Gadarenes.”

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Matthew 8:28 reads “Gergesenes” in the King James Bible. Gergesa was a city on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Gergesenes are also known as the “Girgashites,” people native to the land of Palestine (Genesis 10:16; Genesis 15:21; Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 3:10; Joshua 24:11; 1 Chronicles 1:14; Nehemiah 9:8). The modern English versions do not use “Gergesenes” in Matthew 8:28; they rely on another Greek manuscript reading (“Gadarenes”).

Mark 5:1 has “Gadarenes” in the King James Bible. Gadara was eight miles (13 kilometers) southeast of the Sea of Galilee, and was one of the 10 cities of Decapolis (cf. Matthew 4:25). The modern English versions do not use “Gadarenes” in Mark 5:1; they rely on another Greek manuscript reading (“Gerasenes”). Gerasa was the name of both a city and a region. The city was 35 miles (56 kilometers) southeast of Gadara—and in the same region, Decapolis, that Gergesa was.

Luke 8:26 and 37 read “Gadarenes” in the King James Bible. The modern English versions do not use “Gadarenes” here; they rely on another Greek manuscript reading (“Gerasenes”).

Everyone agrees all three cities—Gergesa, Gadara, and Gerasa—were east of the Jordan River. The English and Greek versions shuffle these names in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. However, it is best to follow the King James Bible readings here and not let the modern English versions distract us. “Gergesenes” is the correct reading for Matthew 8:28 (as in the King James). “Gadarenes” is the correct reading for Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26,37 (as in the King James). The modern versions are based on different Greek manuscripts than the King James Bible; hence, they introduced into the English-speaking world a name (“Gerasenes”) that merely sidetracks us. For over 400 years, English-speaking Christians have used the King James Bible. Only in the last 140 years has unbelieving “scholarship” encouraged them to discard that manuscript family in a favor of a so-called “older and better” new Greek text (resulting in a new English text, thereby introducing changes in terminology). That, in actuality, is a relinquishing of the Protestant Bible text of the Reformation (King James manuscript family—the Antiochan Text or Textus Receptus) to pick up a Roman Catholic text (Alexandrian perversions—the Critical or Alexandrian Text).

Except unbelief, we have no reason to correct any King James readings. Yet, even if we eliminate the conflicting readings the modern versions bring, we still have the King James Bible text at odds with itself. Matthew 8:28 in the King James has “Gergesenes.” Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26,37 have “Gadarenes.” Why? Remember, the miracle involved two possessed men (Matthew 8:28), but Mark (5:2) and Luke (8:27) single out one of those two. One man may have been from Gadara and the other from Gergesa, resulting in two proper names. Or, they were Gadarenes living in or near Gergesa. Or, maybe they were Gergeshites living in or near Gadara. Or, one region could have been known by two names (“country of Gergesenes”  and “country of the Gadarenes” being interchangeable). There are various ways to explain these differences, but the fact remains there is no mistake in the King James Bible. The mistakes are in the modern English versions because they rely on a Greek manuscript minority whereas the King James Bible depends on a Greek manuscript majority!

Remember, divergences in the Four Gospel Records are not contradictions or mistakes. Instead, they show their uniqueness. Mark and Luke did not copy Matthew, so they will not read word-for-word. John did not copy any of those three. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are four separate portraits of one Jesus Christ. They do not read word-for-word because they were not meant to read verbatim. Jesus is functioning in four separate capacities, fulfilling four different roles. Therefore, the Holy Spirit edited each Book to stand apart from the others. It is the same earthly ministry of Christ, but presented from four angles so as to highlight His four offices (Matthew as King, Mark as Servant, Luke as Man, and John as God).

Also see:
» Are Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-19, and Luke 8:26-39 the same miracle?
» Should we strive to distribute the Four Gospel Records?
» Are Matthew through John “Old Testament” or “New Testament” books?