The Earliest Manuscripts

The Papyrus Manuscripts

Before the discoveries of the papyri and their exhaustive collation by scholars such as Colwell, Sturz, Zuntz, and Pickering, some scholars of the nineteenth century believed that the 'Majority text' was a fourth century recension and did not represent the earliest manuscripts. In 1881 Hort contended, “….all distinctively Syrian readings may be set aside at once, certainly originating after the middle of the third century."31 This idea of 'the less' of the Majority text was repeated in textbooks like Kenyon's, who in 1937 echoed, "The relatively late date….must now be taken as established. The [Majority] text may be dismissed from further consideration." However he added, "If it can be shown, that the readings which Hort called 'Syrian' existed before the fourth century, keystone would be knocked out of the fabric of his theory."32

Out it comes! Harvard scholar, Hills writes, "This….[theory] has been abandoned by most present day scholars."33 The ninety-six papyri (with the exception of P3, 4, 7, and 14) were all discovered after 1890. Pickering observes:

“In Hort's day….the early papyri were not extant—had they been the W-H theory could scarcely have appeared….Each of the early papyri (A.D.300 or earlier) vindicates some Byzantine [KJV] reading….Bodmer II shows some Syrian readings to be anterior to corresponding [Alepl and B] readings….[T]he early papyri vindicate Byzantine readings in 660 (or 885) places where there is a significant variation.”34

Pickering cites H.A.Sturz, The Byzantine Text New Testament Textual Criticism, and summarizes his concerning the superiority of the KJV text-type, based on discoveries in the papyri.

“H.A.Sturz….surveyed all the available papyri….each new MS discovered vindicated added Byzantine readings The magnitude of this vindication can be more appreciated by recalling that only about 30% of the New Testament has early papyri attestation. . .[I]f we had least three papyri covering all parts of the New Testament, all of the 5000+ Byzantine readings rejected by the critical (eclectic) texts would be vindicated by early papyrus….Henceforth no one may reasonably or responsibly characterize the Byzantine text-type as being….late….[Although modern editors continue to reject these readings, it can no longer be argued that they are late.”35

A. F. J. Klijn, in his book A Survey of the Researches into the Western Text of the Gospels, compared Aleph and B (fourth century) readings with the papyri (second century). Pickering added to his research and compared the Textus Receptus to Aleph and B. He concluded that the KJV readings (TR) dominated the early papyri to a greater percentage than the readings of Aleph and B, seen in the new versions.


P45 19 24 32

P66 14 29 33

P75 9 33 29

P45,66,75 4 18 20

P45.66 7 3 8

P45.75 1 2 2

P66.75 0 8 5

P45 2 1 1

P66 2 3 5

P75 2 3 4

Total 60 124 139

John  1-14  P75

W45% D38.9% C48.5% C45.6%

Aleph44.6% B50.4% TR51.2%

*(Note: Even P75 which is touted as the great ally of Aleph & B, agrees here with the TR to a greater extent.)


P45 has TR 33 places B25 places Aleph 21 places

P66 has TR38 places B32 places Aleph 16 places

P75 has TR33 times B36 times Aleph 11 times

Total 104 93 48

Together P45, 66, and 75 have: 

TR20 places B18 places Aleph4 places

Two of these papyri agree with the:

TR20 places B13 places Aleph8 places

One of these papyri follows:

TR69 places B62 places Aleph36 places

Pickering concludes, "[T]he TR has more early attestation than B and twice as much as Aleph—evidently the TR reflects earlier text than either B or Aleph."36

Other scholar's findings reveal results which vindicate KJV readings, which in the 1870's were considered ‘later.’

G. Zuntz in The Texts of the Epistles write "[KJV type] readings previously discarded as late are [in] P46….[A]re all Byzantine readings ancient?….G. Pasquali answers in the affirmative….Papyrus 46 and 45 support the Majority text readings.. ."37

Metzger says, "Papyrus 75 supports the majority text dozens of times. In relation to the [majority] text, P46 (about A.D.200), shows that some-readings….go back to a very early period….P66 [has] readings that agree with the [majority] text type."38

Hills notes, "Byzantine readings which most critics have regarded as late, have now been proved by Papyrus Bodmer II to be early readings."39

The Journal of Theological Studies (London: Oxford University Press) N.S., vol.11, 1960) p. 381 says, "Papyrus 66 supports the readings of the Majority text."

Comfort writes, "[S]ome of the N.T. papyri that have been discovered show remarkable similarity with later MSS. In fact, several of the extant early papyri are related to many later MSS (fourth century and beyond) or at least share a common ancestor."40

Carson, a KJV detractor who felt 10% of its readings were late now concedes, "with new discoveries this percentage is still falling."41

Colwell found that as early as A.D.200 scribes were altering manuscripts, changing them from a Majority-type text to a minority type. He notes, "The Bodmer John (P66) is also a witness to the early existence of many of the readings found in the [KJV]. Strangely enough to our previous ideas, the contemporary corrections in that papyrus frequently change a [KJV] reading to a….[new version type]. This indicates that at this early period readings of the….[new version type] were supplanting the….[KJV type]."42

Colwell’s discovery that the earliest manuscript, P66, had corrections on it, which change a KJV type reading to a new version typer reading, shows that the KJV was anterior to the minority type text.

The following are but a handful of the verses in which the manuscripts, the papyri of the first, second, and third century, side with the Byzantine Majority-type KJV readings, rather than the minority Aleph and B (fourth century) readings of the new versions.


Mark 5:42 Majority plus P45 Aleph & B

Mark 7:35 Majority plus P45 Aleph & B

Luke 13:2 Majority plus P75 Aleph & B

Luke 24:47 Majority plus P75 Aleph & B

John 4:29 Majority plus P66,75 Aleph & B

John 5:37 Majority plus P66 P75, Aleph & B

John 7:39 Majority plus P66` P75, 66 & Aleph

John 10:19 Majority plus P66 P45, 77, Aleph & B

John 10:31 Majority plus P66 P75, Aleph & B

John 11:22 Majority plus P45,66 P75, Aleph & B

John 12:9 Majority plus P66,75, Aleph



John 14:14 Majority   plus   P66, 

Aleph P75, B

John 7:41 Majority   plus   P66, 


P66, 75, B

John 9:6 Majority plus P66, 74, 


B  (Hort follows B)

John 13:36 Majority   plus   P66, 



I Cor. 9:21 Majority plus Aleph C, 

P46 verb

Aleph & B

2 Cor. 7:14 Majority   plus   P46, 

Aleph, C

Aleph & B

John 8:51 Majority plus P66

P75, Aleph, B

John 9:28 Majority plus P66

P75, Aleph & B

John 11:21 Majority plus P45, 

P66 (word order)

P75, Aleph & B

John 11:32 Majority plus P45 P66,  75, Aleph & B

John 14:5 Majority plus P66


I Pet.5:8 Majority plus P72


(Expanded Appendix B is included at the end of this book; citing some of the thousands of instances in which the earliest discoveries reveal KJV readings, while the new versions have readings from later manuscripts.)

A typical example of the use of the earliest manuscripts by the KJV is seen in the last chapter of Luke. In this chapter, the NASB omits or brackets nearly 100 words based on one fifth century manuscript, D, and Westcott's now defunct 'theory of interpolation'. These verses are in all of the other manuscripts, including the second century P75, the fourth century Aleph, B, and W, as well as A, C, L, and 33. The witness of the Majority text coupled with the early attestation of second to fourth century uncials certainly outweighs one highly corrupt fifth century manuscript. The NASB footnote, when explaining its gaps says, "Some manuscripts insert….” A more accurate footnote would read, "All manuscripts insert….except one."

Attesting to the deity of Christ and his post-resurrection appearances, Matthew 28:17 records, "they worshipped him, but some doubted." In Luke's last chapter, the NASB ‘doubters’ removed, 1.) "they worshipped him," 2.) his Ascension and 3.) two eyewitness accounts of his resurrection and the record of his care for them. The 'doubters' doubt if verses 12 and 40 really happened.

LUKE   24  


verse 1

“….and   certain others with them"

verse 5  NASB ADDED “One”


[Then arose  Peter and  ran  unto  the sepulchre      and stooping down, he beheld   the   linen clothes    laid    by themselves,    and departed, wondering in  himself  of  that which was come to pass.]


"and are sad?"

verse 26 NASB ADDED

"the" (to Christ)


"and said unto them Peace be unto you" Footnote mistakenly says, "Some ancient MSS insert."


["And when he had said this, He showed them his hands and his feet."]   Footnote mistakenly says, "many manuscripts do not contain this verse."


"and of a honeycomb"

LUKE   24

verse 44  NASB OMITTED

switches "the" to "My" contradicting John 12:49, 50; 17:8


"And carried up into heaven"


"And  they worshipped him"



Within the confines of just one chapter, the NASB lines up in queue with standard New Age teaching. Historians admit manuscript D was truncated by Marcion, Mme. Blavatsky's mentor, and has now been resurrected in the last days for the religion of the Antichrist. Note the following five New Age doctrines taught in Luke 24 NASB.

1. God becomes the impersonal "One" of Hinduism; he is not concerned if you are "sad," nor would he greet your fearfulness with the calming, "Peace be unto you." (He would probably appear saying—"Boo"—.)

2. “Christ” becomes “the Christ,” a position not a person.

3. Jesus did not ascend; he was just a man. He left them travel to India (or, as the Mormons insist, to America.)

4. Since he was just a man, they did not worship him.

5. The "suffering for sins" evident by the nail-prints, is ‘doubted by some’ lining up with the bloodless creeds of the New Age.

If you want to follow manuscript D in Luke, as the NASB and old Nestle's do, get your pen and cross out another 121 words from the last chapter, another 229 words from the last three chapters, 1,552 of the 19,941 words in Luke altogether, and another 4,000 words in the Gospels and Acts. Conforming to D, you will make 13,781 changes in your New Testament, perhaps more, depending on which of the 10 correctors of D you follow. Be sure to remember to change to D's Gnostic Ebionite reading in Luke 3:22. Here the first century New Agers changed the verse so that 'the Christ' pole descends on Jesus at his baptism and leaves him on the cross. This is why manuscript D must change Luke 24. You'll now be in company with Madame Blavatsky, the senior New Age Luciferian, who thinks D should be followed, because it was sculpted by Marcion.

Other Early Witnesses

In addition to the second and third century papyri, which show that the KJV text-type dominated the early church, codex W (fourth century) and Codex A (fifth century) support the KJV. In addition the Sinaitic Syriac Version (third century), the Gothic Version (fourth century) and the Peshitta Syriac (now dated much earlier than the fifth century) agree with the KJV.  One scholar reminds the new version editors:

“You talk of 'Antiquity'. But you must know very well that you actually mean something quite different. You fasten upon….two perhaps three….documents of the IV and V century….[T]hose are 1, 2, 3, or 4 specimens of Antiquity, not antiquity itself….[Y]ou use Aleph and B, why not A, C or D, [you] use the old Latin or the Coptic, why not the Peshitta or the Sahidic. [You] quote Origen or Eusebius, why not Didymus, Athanasius, Epiphanius, Basil, Chrysostom, Theodoret, the Gregories, or the Cyrils….The Traditional Text receives more support from the early Church Fathers than does the critical text.”43 [at a ratio of 2:1 before A.D.350 and 3:1 for important passages.]

The following writers pre-date Aleph and B and attest to KJV-type readings in the early church.





Justin Martyr


The Gospel of Peter 











Gregory of








Macarius Magnus





Titus of Bostra

Cyril of Jerusalem

Gregory of Nyssa

Apostolic Canons and Constitutions



"Men of High Degree….”

Men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance they are altogether lighter than vanity. Psalm 62:9

New version editors exhibit gross unfamiliarity with recent papyrological scholarship (i.e., the oldest papyrus in the world, P66 has predominantly KJV readings). They appear also to be in the dark concerning the numerical preponderance of the Majority Text. Repeating the rhetoric of their timeworn 1937 edition college textbook, they pass passe accounts on to the unwary. Edwin Palmer, chief editor of the NIV, delivers his unversed version of the facts.

“The KJV translators….all they had to work with was a handful of copies of the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament books. These were very late copies dating from a thousand (!) years after the New Testament was written….many more Greek manuscripts had been preserved and were subsequently discovered—in fact, more than five thousand of them….even to about A.D.200.”44

(!) to use his style. Is he unaware that: 1.) Of these 5000, all but a fraction of 1% agree with the KJV against his NIV and 2.) The A.D.200 manuscript also agrees with the KJV against his NIV. Proof—the Greek text used by the NIV (Nestle's 25th/UBS 1st, 1963) was later changed in nearly 500 places in the 1979 Nestle's 26th/UBS 3rd edition—to agree with the KJV. The NIV committee foreesaw some of these but ignored many others.

Other new version editors also voice their 'varnished' view of the facts:

Calvin Linton, NIV Committee member repeats Palmer's varnished version: “[T]he first ancient Greek manuscript of the New Testament was not available in English until 1628.”45

Ralph Earle, another NIV committee member discloses his sciolism by stating, the KJV “….is a text based primarily on late medieval manuscripts. Fortunately now we have a little over 5000 Greek manuscripts….[W]ith thousands of Greek manuscripts of the N.T. now at our disposal, we can reach a high degree of certainty with regard to the probability of the best text."46

Lewis Foster, NIV and NKJV committee member echoes, "But we have great assurance of knowing what the originals said because of the number of copies of the Bible available….[M]ore manuscripts are known today than were used in the making of the KJV. Today's judgement is better because we have more information….47

But they choose to ignore the vast "number" of manuscripts and the  latest "information."

Why, as we have seen, do world-class scholars refer to the new versions and their editors as “unscientific,” “unscholarly” “incompetent” and far adrift from the realities of manuscript history.48 Even Hort, chief architect of their 'New' Greek text, admits in a letter to a friend:

“I am afraid I must have talked big and misled you when you were here, for I really know very little of Church History.”49

Actually, the members of new version committees are selected by their chief editors to show a broad representation of denominations, thereby broadening their versions' market. Those chosen may be Greek grammarians, but most are in no sense eminent paleographers, papyrologists, codicologists, historians (or most importantly Spirit-led Christians). The NASB committee list remained a closely guarded secret for over 30 years, lest conservative Christians catch of glimpse of the liberal membership. (However, Dr. Frank Logsdon renounced his participation. At numerous speaking engagements he denounced his part in what he now perceives to be a heretical version. "I may be in trouble with God" because of it, he confesses.) The editors of the new versions are not qualified by the endless hours of pouring over the ancient manuscripts, as were Burgon, Colwell, Hoskier, and scores of others. In fact, as committee member Foster admits, they are not involved with actual manuscripts or facsimiles at all:

“The New Testament translators may choose to differ from the decision founded in the Greek text [i.e. Nestles/UBS] he is using, but he does not deal with the manuscripts themselves. He works indirectly through the use of the modem Greek text.”50

So moving from a discussion of the Majority and minority type manuscripts themselves, we now move on to the critical editions of the Greek N.T. or as Foster called it 'the modern Greek text'. These reduce the hundreds of thousands of variant readings in the Greek manuscripts to a 'manageable' 6000 or so variants.


TO  BE  CONTINUED: ALL was nice and orderly on my PC, why some is not so orderly when uploading I have no idea, but the technical stuff can still be understood I believe.