The Syriac Peshitta New Testament and the Authorized Version
By Will Kinney
(in loyal defense of the inspired King James Bible)
In the ongoing debate about whether God has preserved His inspired words or not and if we have an infallible Bible, I repeatedly hear one common objection raised by those who promote the conflicting multitude of modern versions and do not believe that the King James Holy Bible is God's preserved words.
They will admit that generally speaking about 90% of all known remaining Greek manuscripts support the King James readings, as opposed to those found in the NASB, NIV, RSV, but they ask: "How do you know all those missing verses in the modern versions weren't added later and not in the originals?"
I am convinced God has preserved His inspired words in the King James Bible and there are a multitude of reasons for believing this. Among these reasons is the textual support found in the ancient Syriac Peshitta version, which predates the manuscripts upon which most modern versions are based.
The NASB complete New Testament was first published in 1963. It bracketed 14 entire verses in the New Testament, thus indicating they were of questionable authority. They continued doing this through the 1977 edition - but they still left out some large portions of several verses and a couple whole verses in Luke 24. Then in 1995, the new update NASB omitted over 7000 words from their previous 1977 edition but they also added most portions of the verses back to Luke 24 which all the previous NASBs had omitted. So it might well be asked, “Which of all these conflicting NASBs was the real words of God?”
The NIV as well as the RSV, ESV continue to omit these 14 verses. In fact, the RSV, NRSV go even further than these 14 verses and also omit Matthew 12:47, 21:44, Luke 22:20, 24:12, and 24:40. The new ESV revision still omits Matthew 12:47 "Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.", but it went ahead and put the other four verses back in! Ah, the marvels of modern scholarship.
This is the kind of "scholarship" followed by today's Bible of the Month Club members.
As for the verses that the Westcott Hort text omits along with the NIV, RSV, ESV, NRSV, ISV, and the new Holman Christian Standard, every verse in the following list is found in the Syriac Peshitta versions.
Modern scholarship is focused on man and his abilities to restore what God supposedly lost, rather than first looking to God Himself and His promises to preserve His words till heaven and earth pass away. The result is over 100 conflicting English versions and uncertainty as to what God has said.
The following list shows the verses omitted by bible versions based on the Westcott-Hort texts, but they are all in the Byzantine texts, the KJB and in the Syriac Peshitta which dates to at least 100 years before Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.
Here is a site online that has two translations of the Syriac Peshitta - that of James Murdock, and one by John Wesley Etheridge. There is another translation of the Syriac you can buy which was translated by Lamsa in 1933. I have a copy of this in my study.
This site tells the history of the Syriac Peshitta and shows the support for it being a very early translation dating perhaps as early as 150 A.D., almost 200 years before Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.
Matthew 17:21, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”; 18:11, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost”; 23:14, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”
These verses are all found in the Syriac and the ending of the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:13 is also there - “for thine in the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen.” The NIV, NASB, ESV omit these words and verses.
Mark 7:16, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear”; 9:44,46, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched”; 11:26 “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses”; 15:28, “And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.”
All these verses are omitted by the NIV, RSV, ESV and bracketed in the NASB. All are found in the Byzantine texts and the Syriac Peshitta.
Luke 9:55-56, “and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them”; 17:36, “Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left”; 23:17, “For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.”
John 3:13, “even the Son of man which is in heaven”; John 5:4, “waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.” Also the whole section dealing with the woman taken in adultery in John 8:1-11 is included in the Syriac, but is omitted by both the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts.
Acts 8:37, “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”; 9:5-6, “And the Lord said, ... it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him...”; 15:34, “Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still”; 24:6b-8a, “and would have judged according to our law. But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands, Commanding his accusers to come unto thee” and 28:29, “And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.”
Romans 16:24, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
All of these verses are omitted in the NASB or in brackets, and omitted from the texts of the NIV, ESV, RSV and Jehovah Witness versions, but they are included in the Authorized King James Bible, Tyndale, Geneva Bible, NKJV and in the three Syriac translations.
So much for the modern version proponents like James White who says: “no early translation was based on the readings found in the Byzantine manuscripts.”
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