The KJV Bible
Texts That Are Used in
Bible Translations

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Last Updated By Bill's Bible Basics :
February 16, 2017

Source: Living By Faith Ministries 1998

Received Text - The Received Text, or Textus Receptus, was compiled in 1516 by Desiderius Erasmus from a few manuscripts that were accepted at the time as the only trustworthy and reliable manuscripts. Later manuscript discoveries, (Majority Text), have confirmed the reliability of the Received Text.

Majority Text - Similar to the Received Text, but also is made up of a large majority of other Greek manuscripts.

The Majority Text are the majority of the extant Greek manuscripts used in the making of Textus Receptus, (Text Received), that the King James Bible is translated from. There used to be only one Majority Text; now there is another. Later-found manuscripts have also been added to this group. One must be careful when he reads "Majority Text" to know which one they are referring to. For instance, some of the "new versions" state they come from the Majority Text. Well, this is true. They are not speaking of the same text that the KJB came from, although they use the Majority Text that it came from in their Majority Text -- got that! What they have done is add corrupt texts with it known as the Alexandrian Text. The "new version" translators often go to the Alexandrian Text in fabricating their counterfeit "Bibles". As always, you are better off reading the words of God found in the King James Bible.

Alexandrian Text - Is based mainly on two manuscripts; the Vaticanus, and the Sinaiticus.

Almost all modern English Bibles are based on the Alexandrian Text, (NIV, NAS, Good News, Living Bible, etc.); however, the King James Version is based on the Received Text.

When examining most modern English Bibles in relation to King James Bibles, there can be found many omissions and different wordings or verses. To understand what is going on, one must understand the history of the manuscripts in question.

There are two basic trains of thought concerning manuscripts that should be used when translating the Bible. One idea states that because the Alexandrian Text is older in age, (250 to 300 AD), in comparison to the Received Text, (400 AD for some of the oldest Received Text), that it should be trusted more than the Received Text. The other idea states that if you have two older manuscripts that omit a verse, while you have several hundred manuscripts from a later date that have that verse, then the later Majority Text can and should be trusted.

Now let's take a look at some facts about the Alexandrian Text from which most modern translations are derived. One of the manuscripts that make up the Alexandrian Text, is the Vaticanus. The Vaticanus was found in 1481 in the Vatican Library. It was available in the time of Erasmus, but was not used. The other manuscript is the Sinaiticus. The Sinaiticus was found in 1844 in a trash pile at St. Catherine's Monastery. It has a great number of omissions and has many words and phrases marked out and re-written. Both of these manuscripts are from Roman Catholic origin.

Which Version Best Renders The Original Manuscripts?

Even many King James Bibles have footnotes referring to what are said to be "better manuscripts", which indicate that certain changes should be made in the King James text. But what are these manuscripts, and are they really better? It is significant that almost all of the new versions of the New Testament are based on what is known as the Westcott-Hort Greek text, whereas the King James is based largely on what is known as the Textus Receptus. As far as the Hebrew text is concerned, the King James is based on the Masoretic Text, while the modern versions rely heavily on Kittel's revised Masoretic Text.

The Masoretic Text was compiled from the ancient manuscripts of the Old Testament by the Masoretes Hebrew scholars dedicated to guarding and standardizing the traditional Hebrew text as "handed down" (the basic meaning of Masoretic) from the earlier Hebrew scribes, who had in turn meticulously copied the ancient Hebrew manuscripts, scrupulously guarding against error. As far as the Hebrew text developed by Rudolf Kittel is concerned, it is worth noting that Kittel was a German rationalistic higher critic, rejecting Biblical inerrancy, and firmly devoted to evolutionism.

The men most responsible for alterations in the New Testament text were B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, whose Greek New Testament was largely updated by Eberhard Nestle and Kurt Aland. All of these men were evolutionists. Furthermore, Westcott and Hort both denied Biblical inerrancy and promoted spiritism and racism. Nestle and Aland, like Kittel, were German theological skeptics.

Westcott and Hort were also the most influential members of the English revision committee which produced the English Revised Version of the Bible. The corresponding American revision committee, which developed the American Standard Version of 1901, was headed by another liberal evolutionist, Philip Schaff. Most new versions since that time have adopted the same presuppositions as those of the 19th century revisers.

Furthermore, the Westcott-Hort text was mainly based on two early Greek manuscripts, the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus texts, which were rediscovered and rescued from long (and well-deserved) obscurity in the 19th century. Since these are both said to be older than the 5,000 manuscripts that support the Textus Receptus, they were called "better". This was in spite of the fact that they frequently disagreed with each other, as well as with the Textus Receptus, and also contained many obvious and flagrant mistakes.

The fact that these two manuscripts may have been older does not prove they are better. More likely, it indicates that they were set aside because of their numerous errors. Thus, they would naturally last longer than the good manuscripts which were being used regularly.

So one of the serious problems with most modern English translations is that they rely heavily on Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible developed by liberals, rationalists, and evolutionists, none of whom believed in the verbal inspiration of the Bible. Is this how God would preserve His word? Would He not more likely have used devout scholars who believed in the absolute inerrancy and authority of the Bible?

Ancient Greek Manuscripts

It is true that several thousand manuscripts have been discovered since 1611. This is the major factor that has been used to justify to the church at large, the need for a major revision of the King James. It seems logical that if a vast amount of data not available to the King James translators has been brought to light, these new materials must be considered. This especially seems reasonable, as some of these manuscripts were dated between 350 - 380 A.D., whereas Erasmus' five manuscripts were from the 10th to 15th centuries. Admittedly, this rhetoric seems very compelling; however, of the several thousand manuscripts discovered since 1611, the great majority, (90 - 95%), agree with the Greek text of those five manuscripts which Erasmus used. Nevertheless, the new translations are rife with footnotes informing the reader that "the oldest, the best manuscripts read such and such" as opposed to the King James. But is it not devastating to realize that what has been kept from the church at large, is the fact that the vast majority (c. 90 - 95%) of these more recent finds read the same as the Traditional Text which underlies the Reformers Bibles and the King James translation?

The Alexandrian manuscript ("A") arrived in London in 1627. Consequently, we often hear how unfortunate that was for the King James translators, as it arrived sixteen years too late for their use.(1) Being untrue, this serves as an example of the unreliable manner in which most of the history concerning the Authorized Version is reported. In the first place, Vaticanus B and Sinaiticus Aleph (2) were well known, not only to translators of the King James, but to Erasmus. The Old Testament portion of Vaticanus was printed in 1587, so the King James translators in 1604 knew all about Vaticanus insofar as the Old Testament was concerned.

Thus, the men working on the 1611 publication of the King James Bible knew the variant readings in Vaticanus B, and since they knew about B, they already knew about Sinaiticus and its variant readings, even though the first portion of it was not discovered until 1844, (the remainder in 1859), as the two of them read so similarly. In fact, the translators of 1611 had available all the variant readings of those vaunted manuscripts, and they rejected them! They also knew the readings of the codices of Alexandrinus A, B, C and D, (the "old uncials"), where they differed from the Received Text, and they denounced them all. How can this be so? The readings of those much boasted manuscripts recently made available are essentially the same as Jerome's Latin Vulgate (3) which finds its foundation in the works of Origen.

The Reformers knew all about the variant readings of the Vulgate, and they rejected them, which is the same thing as rejecting Origen. In rejecting Origen, they rejected Codex Vaticanus, as it was copied from his work. Thus, the Reformers had all the material necessary for the task at their disposal.

As to the oft heard claim that since much of the newly discovered material was older than that used by Erasmus and subsequently the Reformers, they were more reliable, the reader is reminded that the mighty Apostle Paul testified to the corruption of the Word in his day. Hence, "oldest" is not necessarily the best. This point will be more thoroughly dealt with later in our expos̩.

Virtually all modern Bibles published since the late 1800's are translated from Alexandrian texts. Bibles translated since 1898 use the Nestle's Greek New Testament, collation of Alexandrian texts. This includes the New American Standard Bible, the New International Version, the Living Bible, the New Revised Standard Version, the New World Translation, the New Century Version, etc. Up until the late 1800's, the Alexandrian texts were utterly rejected by orthodox Christians.

The words of God have been mutilated in the Alexandrian texts by many different Egyptian, Greek philosophy, and Humanistic "scholars". Perhaps one of the worst of these was Origen. Among other things, Origen said that Christ was a "created" God. (5) Origen also said, "The scriptures are of little use to those who understand them as they are written." (6) Two men, Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort, are probably the most responsible for introducing Alexandrian texts into modern Christianity. Their text of 1881 laid the foundation for modern "Christian" textual scholarship, and also was collated into Nestle's Greek New Testament.

Since modern Bible versions, Greek New Testaments, and textual scholarship is founded upon the teachings and fruits of these two men, it would be beneficial to know what these men thought on spiritual matters. After all, the Bible is a spiritual book!

Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828 - 1892) Chief Translator of the Revision Committee of the Church of England (1871 - 1881) (Responsible for the underlying Greek text used in the RSV, ASV, NASB, NIV)

Dr. Brooke Foss Westcott (1825 - 1901) Chief Translator of the Revision Committee of the Church of England (1871 - 1881) (Responsible for the underlying Greek text used in the RSV, ASV, NASB, NIV)

On the authority of the Bible : "I agree with them in condemning many leading specific doctrines of popular theology . . . especially the authority of the Bible."

Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828 - 1892)

On Creation/Evolution : "But the book which has most engaged me is Darwin . . . My feeling is strong that the theory is unanswerable"

Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828 - 1892)

On Satan : "Now if there be a devil, he cannot merely bear a corrupted and marred image of God; he must be wholly evil, his every energy and act evil. Would it not be a violation of the divine attributes for the Word to be actively the support of such a nature as that?"

Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828 - 1892)

On Jesus' Atonement : "The fact is, I do not see how God's justice can be satisfied without every man's suffering in his own person the full penalty for his sins."

Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828 - 1892)

On Miracles : "I never read an account of a miracle, but I seem instinctively to feel its improbability . . . "

Dr.Brooke Foss Westcott (1825 - 1901)

On Catholicism : "Mary-Worship and Jesus-Worship have very much in common"

Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828 - 1892)

On Baptism : "Baptism assures us that we are children of God"

Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828 - 1892)

On Infallibility of Scripture : "I am not able to go so far as you in asserting the absolute infallibility the canonical writing"

Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828 - 1892)

On Infallibility of Scripture : "I reject the word Infallibility . . . of Holy Scripture overwhelmingly"

Dr. Brooke Foss Westcott (1825 - 1901)

On Creation : "No one now, I suppose, holds that the first three chapters of Genesis, for example, give a literal history . . . I could never understand how anyone reading them with open eyes could think they did"

Dr.Brooke Foss Westcott (1825 - 1901)

On Democracy : "I . . . cannot say that I see much as yet to soften my deep hatred of democracy in all its forms"

Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828 - 1892)

On Democracy : "I suppose I am a Communist by nature"

Dr. Brooke Foss Westcott (1825 - 1901)

On America : "I care more for England and for Europe than for America, how much more than for all the niggers in the world! And I contend that the highest morality requires me to do so. Some thirty years ago Niebuhr wrote to this effect: Whatever people may say to the contrary, the American empire is a standing menace to the whole civilization of Europe, and sooner or later one or the other must perish. Every year has, I think, brought fresh proof of the entire truth of these words. American doctrine . . . destroys the root of everything vitally precious which man has by painful growth been learning from the earliest times till now, and tends only to reduce us to the gorilla state. The American empire seems to me mainly an embodiment of American doctrine, its leading principle being lawless force. Surely, if ever Babylon or Rome were rightly cursed, it cannot be wrong to desire and pray from the bottom of one's heart that the American Union may be shivered to pieces"

Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828 - 1892)

We can see from these quotes that Westcott and Hort were far from "Fundamental". One should wonder why "Christian" scholarship regards these two men in such high esteem!

Does it make sense to trust Egypt for God's words, Origen for God's words, and Westcott and Hort for God's words? Indeed it is undeniable that modern scholarship relies on the fruits of these men. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." (Matthew 7:16-17) After examining the beliefs of Origen, Westcott, and Hort, you should seriously consider whether or not they could bring forth good fruit! But we have only scratched the surface. The Alexandrian texts, which modern versions are all based on, have a very disturbing history of corruption by Greek philosophy and humanism.

The King James Bible, on the other hand, is translated from the Textus Receptus, (Received Text), also known as the Traditional Text, Majority Text, Universal Text, Byzantine Text, and other names. The Textus Receptus is made up of Antiochian texts, which have avoided the corruption of Alexandrian scholars. The Antiochian texts have passed down through time, copied by people who fear God, and believe the ultimate authority of His word. History shows that the Textus Receptus has the strongest claim of being the authentic representation of the original manuscripts.

How About The Archaic Language In The King James?

The beautiful prose of the King James is a treasure which should not be lost. It has been acclaimed widely as the greatest example of English literature ever written. Apart from a few archaic words, which can be easily clarified in footnotes, it is as easy to understand today as it was four hundred years ago. This is why the common people today still use and love it. It is the "intelligentsia" who tend to favor the modern versions. The King James uses mostly one and two-syllable words, and formal studies have always shown its readability index to be 10th grade or lower.

It is also noteworthy that the King James was produced during the period when the English language and literature had reached their zenith of power and expressiveness. This was the age of Shakespeare, for example. Modern English is merely a decadent remnant of its former beauty and clarity. It is no wonder that a Bible translation produced at that special time in history has endured for almost 400 years, meeting the needs and guiding the culture of over ten generations of English speaking peoples.

We have abandoned today many fine points of grammar commonly used in 1600. For example, we forget that "thee," "thou," and "thine" were used to express the second person singular, with "you," "ye," and "yours", reserved for second person plural. Today we use "you" indiscriminately for both singular and plural, thereby missing the precise meaning of many texts of Scripture.

Furthermore, the translators were not only Biblical scholars, but accomplished writers, and one of their goals had been to produce a Bible that would "sing" with beauty and power, as well as retaining literal faithfulness to the original texts, which had themselves been written with majestic musical beauty.

With all these factors in mind, do we not most honor the Lord and His revealed word by having it read and used in that form of our language which was in use when the English language was at its best, instead of in our modern jargon? All modern versions are inferior to the King James in this important regard.


I believe, therefore, after studying, teaching, and loving the Bible that Christians -- especially creationists! -- need to hang on to their old King James Bibles as long as they live. God has uniquely blessed its use in the great revivals, in the worldwide missionary movement, and in the personal lives of believers, more so than He has with all the rest of the versions put together, and "by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:20)

It is the most beautiful, the most powerful and, (I strongly believe), the most reliable of any that we have or ever will have, until Christ returns.

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