The Modern Greek Editions

The Battle in the Bookstore: The Critical Greek Text

The action is in the aisles of the bookstores in this spiritual war, where two highly disparate types of critical Greek Texts are available today. The first, representing the Majority text is the Textus Receptus, from which the KJV was translated. (The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text by Hodges and Farstad must be rejected since it follows von Soden's collation of only 414 of the 5000+ manuscripts and ignores the older Andreas line of Revelation manuscripts.)

The agent in the aisle, representing the minority type text, is called the Nestle-Aland twenty-seventh edition or the United Bible Societies fourth edition. The Nestle's and UBS editions differ from the Textus Receptus in nearly 6000 places. This skimpier 'Raider's Digest' version scuttles enough words, verses and chapter sections to crowd a complete anthology on Christian creeds.

Nestle's Makes the Very Best….

….Chocolate, not Greek texts. Hort's heir was Ebeihard Nestle, who in 1898 cloned the text for the next generation. In 1927 his son Erwin became warden, reforming its critical apparatus in minor ways and making a dozen or so changes in the text, yet guarding the minority 'spectre' of Hort's kin. In 1950, custody was transferred to Kurt Aland, who with the help of Matthew Black, Bruce Metzger and Allen Wikgren, today recommit allegiance to the Westcott-Hort text type.

A verbatim translation of the Nestle-Aland text, with all of its deletions, would shock even the most liberal reader and could never be sold as a ‘New Testament’. [The closest actual translation of it are the super-liberal NEV, TEV, NRSV and Catholic Bibles, all of which use many of Nestle's manuscript D readings.] Consequently, other versions which are based on Nestle's, such as the NASB, 'borrow' some 'Majority' readings from the Textus Receptus in order to be marketable (e.g., John 7:53 and 8:1-11). Nestle's own statement, in his preface, cautions the reader that it is not the 'Traditional' Greek Text but a "Kind of New Textus Receptus."51 Its advocates even caution the unlettered, who would take such a text and pronounce, "The Greek says..." For example, Philip Comfort, collaborator on The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament—NRSV yields:

This text however is by no means 'inspired' or 'infallible' as many scholars will readily attest. In fact, some scholars have openly criticized UBS3/NA26 as trying to gain the reputation of being the new 'Textus Receptus'; and other scholars are discouraged that this new text still looks so much like the Westcott-Hort text.52

Of the UBS3/NA26, other researchers conclude:

[It is] the Greek text pieced together.53

[T]he edition Nestle-Aland is clearly non-Byzantine.54

It is of utmost importance to the true text of the Bible to oppose their minority Greek text and to support the traditional Greek text which basically is the text underlying  the  King   James   Version of the New Testament.55

Changes in both the Nestle's text and the critical apparatus have been made over the years. The NASB is based loosely on Nestle's 23rd edition (1959), but the NASB Greek Interlinear is marketed with Nestle's 21st edition (1951). In the recent Nestle's twenty-sixth edition (1979) the chameleon becomes a cobra with a whopping 712 changes in the Greek text. These drastic changes were a response to the cry of scholars who saw the mounting evidence of the papyri discoveries stacking up on the side of the KJV. Consequently, nearly 500 of these changes were 'white flags', retreating back to the pre-Westcott and Hort Textus Receptus readings. Now every third page reflects some sort of back-to-the King James Version reading. This about-face leaves Greek-o-philes footless, often armed only with their 1951 NASB-Nestle's Interlinear.

Resting on this Achilles heel, their case is further crippled by the new Introduction to Nestle's 26th edition. It no longer boasts of Theta, Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, or Caesarean families of manuscripts. Verses which had previously been discarded based on ‘conflation’, 'assimilation' or 'harmonization' suddenly pop back into the text. "The body of the Lord Jesus" even pops in, in Luke 24:3. "The age of Westcott and Hort is definitely over," the Introduction says.56 Scholars are aware of this shift, yet the pews are still piled high with NIV's, NASB's, NKJV's, Living Bibles, New Jerusalem Bibles, NRSV's, etc.. Comfort's extensive collation for his recent book, Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the New Testament prompted him to say:

Although the NASB translators had claimed consideration was given to the latest available manuscripts with a view to determining the best Greek text (cited by Kubo and Specht in So Many Versions?, 173), the evidence does not bear this out. On the contrary, the NASB does not reflect the impact of the latest available manuscripts.57

The Apparatus Criticus

Kenneth W. Clark, noted textual scholar and author of "The Theological Relevance of Textual Variations in Current Criticism of the Greek New Testament" in the Journal of Biblical Literature, warns dabblers, as well as seasoned translators, of "pursuing the retreating mirage of the originals."58 Yet pastors with post-graduate degrees, too sophisticated to use a bookstore variety Greek interlinear, are clutching their Greek edition published by the British and Foreign Bible Societies or by Privilegierte Wurttembergische Bibelanstalt. These contain a critical apparatus, that is, footnotes which enumerate which manuscripts attest to or omit a certain questionable reading. This gives the pastor, teacher or translator a sense that they can judge for themselves which reading is best, based on their (typically limited) exposure to the manuscripts themselves. Comfort talks about this teeter-tottering.

For example some translators may have used a specific edition of the Nestle's text, but they deviate from the text at will choosing to follow here and there a variant reading cited in the apparatus.59

The swaying state of the new versions and their minority text is caused, in part, by this random rocking back and forth to the apparatus, not content to 'nestle' in the text.

Another crisis has now been uncovered as their 'critical' cushion crashes to the concrete, leaving unsupported, fans of the eclectic minority text. Colwell, University of Chicago's late President, gives us a frightening peek behind the closed doors of a meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature as he reports on the discovery by the International Greek New Testament Project (IGNT) of the 'sorry' state of the critical apparatus.

[C]areful study shows that the textual evidence in these editions cannot be used in the IGNT apparatus, since they fail to cite witnesses completely, consistently or accurately .60

Other noted scholars have concluded "the critical apparatus….misleads the user and presents a distorted view of the evidence."61 Ebeihard Nestle's son, Erwin, said, "My father knew quite well that a certain one sidedness adhered to his text." This new version critical apparatus cites only 7% of the cursives, .02% of the lectionaries, 24% of the church fathers and 33% of the versions.

The crumbling cause of the minority text mounts debris in the margin, as each subsequent printing of the Nestle's 26th edition shows changes in the critical apparatus. Its eighth printing affected Hebrews 6:7-9, 15-17, Ephesians 1 and 2, and Thessalonians 1. Comfort says, "In future printings, we should see….[affected] John 18:36-19:7, John 2:30-37,46-3:2, John 13:15-17, Acts 2:30-37,46-3:2, John 5:26-29, 36-38."62

These changes are due to the historically weak foundation on which Nestle's readings lie. Nestle's omission of Matthew 21:44 is a typical example. It is based on three witnesses—D (fifth century), 33 and Lucifer of Cagliari. (The latter is not a legitimate witness since he quotes verse 43, not 42, 44, or 45.) The verse in question is in every known Codex, five from the second and third century, eight from the fourth, seven from the fifth and all other manuscripts following. It is in the ancient Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Curetonian, Haikleian, Peshitto, Old Latin and Vulgate versions. A few other brief examples represent the irrational judgements which have abounded in various editions of Nestle's Greek text.

Each of the gospels had at least six instances in which
Nestle's ignored the oldest manuscripts. It disregarded the
oldest readings in such places as Luke 16, Romans
5,8,9,12,15, Matthew 22,27, I Corinthians, II Corinthians,
Galatians 1, 2, 3, Ephesians 3, Colossians 1, and Revelation
11 (e.g., I Corinthians 13:3 in Nestle's reads like manuscript
C (5th century) rather than P46, Aleph, B (2nd and 4th
century) and the Majority.

"Jesus" was omitted scores of places, such as Matthew 4:23,
where its omission is based on only one manuscript; all other
MSS have Jesus.

Based on D (5th century) alone, 38 critical words (15%)
were omitted from the last chapter of Luke. Nestle's followed
'D' alone many times. Ironically, however, D has John 5:34,
yet Nestle's omits them.

United Bible Society:   UBS 3rd & 4th Edition

The uncertainty, rampant in the state of these critical editions, is further evident in the UBS 3rd & 4th edition, The Greek New Testament, The disputability of their text is even 'codified' by their editors in the Introduction.

By means of the letters A, B, C, and D, enclosed within braces' { } at the beginning of each set of textual variants, the Committee has sought to indicate the relative degree of certainty, arrived at….The letter A signifies the text is virtually certain, while B indicates that there is some degree of doubt. The letter C means there is a considerable degree of doubt whether the text or the apparatus contains the superior reading, while D shows that there is a very high degree of doubt concerning the reading for the text.63

Much like Nestle's dramatic turn around, the UBS third edition was forced to make 500 changes from its second edition. Since there were no manuscript discoveries in that interim, Pickering observes, "It is hard to resist the suspicion that they are guessing." The New International Version (NIV) followed the UBS first edition (1966), thereby missing hundreds of updates.

"A New Age in the Church"

Who are these guessers? The UBS Vice President is Roman Catholic Cardinal Onitsha of Nigeria. The executive committee includes Roman Catholic Bishop Alilona of Italy. Among the editors is Roman Catholic Cardinal Martini of Milan. In the past, Catholics would not work with Protestants in the work of bible translation, because Catholics translated using the Greek manuscript Vaticanus (B) as seen in Jerome's Latin Vulgate. Protestants, until 1881, used the Majority Greek Text. Now that liberal Protestants are using the Vatican Manuscript also, Catholics are saying (Vatican II):

Catholics should work together with Protestants in the fundamental task of biblical translation….[They can] work very well together and have the same approach and interpretation….[This] signals a new age in the church…..64

This began in 1943 when Papal encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu called for an ecumenical bible. It said:

[T]hese translations [should] be produced in cooperation with separated brothers.65

Subsequently, Jesuit scholars moved on to editorial positions in the previously Protestant Journal of Biblical Literature. Their work on the UBS/Nestle's text and influence in biblical scholarship has biased so many 'new' readings that the recent Catholic New American Bible was translated directly from UBS/Nestle, rather than the traditional Catholic Latin Vulgate. Its introduction notes:

In general, Nestle's-Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece (25th edition, 1963) was followed. Additional help was derived from The Greek New Testament (editors Aland, Black, Metzger, Wikgren) produced for the use of translators by the United Bible Societies in 1966.66

Since both the Catholic and 'New' Protestant bibles are now based on the identical critical Greek texts (UBS/Nestle's,) which are based on the same 1% minority Greek Manuscripts (Vaticanus, B), the Catholic doctrinal bend in the NIV and NASB and other 'New' bibles is substantial. (This is documented in Chapter 8.) Hand-in-hand, Catholics and unwary Protestants, with their Gnostic Vatican manuscript under their arm, are being steered into the waiting arms of the one world church of the Antichrist. Dean Stanley, a member of one of these corrupt translation committees, applauds this subtle work of the new versions in preparing for “amalgamation”.

[T]he revision work is of the utmost importance….in its indirect effect upon a closer union of the different denominations.67

New Inconsistent Versions (NIV, NASB, NEB, etc.)

To determine the consistency of manuscript use in the new versions, six verses were selected at random from within the short compass of a few pages of the bible, that is, the last nine chapters of I Corinthians. My collation of the manuscript evidence shows new version editors using Majority or KJV readings when no doctrinal issues are involved (three out of three verses). This might be expected since a large part of even new versions must contain the traditional bible readings in order to be sold as 'bibles'. However, they used random minority text type readings when an opportunity arose to present New Age philosophy or demote God or Christ. The inconsistent choice of witnesses throughout these six verses will be evident upon study by the reader. Note particularly that the favored manuscripts in item four and five are diametrically opposite.


1. I Cor. 7:15

Ignores: Aleph. Follows: P46, and Majority

2. I Cor. 8:3

Ignores: Aleph, B and Majority. Follows:  P46

P46 reads, "If any man loves he is known" rather than the other reading "If any man loves God, he is known by him."

3. I Cor. 10:9

Ignores:  P46 and Majority. Follows:  Aleph and B

Denies deity of Christ by not identifying him as the rock that accompanied the Israelites in the desert.

4. I Cor. 11:24

Ignores: Majority. Follows:  P46, B, and Aleph

Denies Christ was "Broken for you."

5. I Cor. 13:3

Ignores: Aleph, B and P46. Follows: Majority

6. I Cor. 14:38

Ignores:  P46, Majority, B. Follows: Aleph

Again we see the New Age menu of 'brotherly love', the denial of the perpetual deity of Christ and his sacrifice for sins, served to unsuspecting Christians. In I Corinthians 10:9, new versions, following old editions of Nestle's Greek, use "Lord" despite the earlier and weightier attestation of "Christ." The recent switch in the Nestle's 26th edition to the KJV, P46 and Majority text reading of "Christ", marks the new versions as obsolete. New version collaborator, Philip Comfort, comments concerning the apparent doctrinal bias:

Some scribes from the fourth century onward must have had a theological problem with the reading 'Christ' and thus tried to neutralize it to 'Lord' or 'God'. I say fourth century because not one witness prior to the fourth century attests to the reading 'Lord' or 'God'. The earliest MS, P46 and several church fathers attest to the reading of 'Christ'. Later MSS and later church fathers attest mainly to the reading ‘Lord’. However a majority of MSS persist in keeping the reading Christ.68

By randomly extending the investigation a few more pages, over half of the new version verses are seen to have followed the exact opposite evidence as the other half. The remainder exhibit gross inconsistency in the use of witnesses. (The "accepted principles of the science of textual criticism" used to justify this 'shell game', are hardly worth the printer's ink to list them. They are illustrations of Timothy's "science, falsely so called" and can be summarized in one sentence—"I believe the writer is probably more likely to have said this."




1 Cor. 15:49

Ignores: P46, Aleph, and


Follows: B


I Cor. 15:54

Ignores: P46 and Aleph Follows:        Aleph (Corrector) and B


2 Cor. 1:10

Ignores: P46

Follows: Aleph and B         I




2 Cor. 1:11

Ignores: P46 and B Follows: Aleph


2 Cor. 1:12

Ignores: Majority Follows:  P46, Aleph and



2 Cor. 2:1


Ignores:     Aleph  and


Follows: P46 and B


Ignores: P46 and B

Follows: Majority


2 Cor. 2:17

Ignores: P46 Follows: Aleph and B


2 Cor. 3:2

Ignores: Aleph Follows: P46 and B


2 Cor. 3:9


Ignores: Band Majority

Follows: P46 and Aleph


Ignores: P46 and Aleph

Follows: Band Majority


2 Cor. 8:7


Ignores:     Aleph  and


Follows: P46 and B


Ignores: P46 and B

Follows:    Aleph and



Gal. 1:3

Ignores: P46andB Follows: Aleph


Gal. 1:8


Ignores: P51 and B

Follows: Aleph


Ignores: Aleph

Follows: P51 and B




Gal. 1:15


Ignores: P46 and B

Follows: Aleph


Ignores: Aleph

Follows: P46 and B


Gal. 4:25

Ignores: P46 and Aleph Follows: B


Gal. 4:28

Ignores:     Aleph  and


Follows: P46 and B


Gal. 6:2


Ignores: P46 and B

Follows:     Aleph  and



Ignores:     Aleph  and


Follows: P46 and B


Gal. 6:13

Ignores: P46 and B Follows: Aleph                   |

Not only do they choose to follow different manuscripts half of the time, but the NIV and NASB disagree as to which ones to follow.

“The Original Greek says….”

The next time this fictitious phrase is flipped at you, by a modem day Ananias, attempting to advance his ascendency and authority, simply say:

Save you too be 'slain in Spirit' like Sapphria, tell me— which Greek? In Matthew 13:28, we see the following disparity:

• Nestle's follows Manuscript C 

• UBS follows Manuscript B

Textus Receptus follows Manuscripts L, W, 1, 13, pm, vg, sy.

So, which Greek? Alephl, Aleph2, Aleph3, Bl, B2, B3, C, L, W, Textus Receptus, Westcott and Hort, Scrivener's, Alfred, Griesbach, Elzevir, Erasmus, Teschendorf, Lachman, Souter, von Soden, Hodge-Farstad, Nestle's-Aland, (If so which edition between 1 and 26?, which printing of the 26th?) UBS-Aland, Black, Metzger, Wikgren (Which edition between 1 and 4?) or the Greek-English Diglot for the use of Translators.

A complete list of manuscripts and critical texts will bury the boaster in words, with the epitaph, "It's Greek to me.."

In conclusion, recent scholarship demonstrates that the majority of manuscripts, as seen in the traditional Greek Textus Receptus and its translation, the King James Version, represent the earliest, broadest (numerically and geographically) and most consistent edition of the New Testament. On the other hand the new versions and their underlying unsettled Nestle's-Aland type eclectic text, use later readings, representing a narrow "fraction of 1%" of the extant manuscripts, from one locale. They typify Satan's meager and shaky attempt to counterfeit the written "word of God" (II Corinthians 2:17, Hebrews 4:12)—just like he tries to counterfeit the living "Word of God" (Revelation 19:13, Isaiah 14).