The background for the Differences.

On this blog we look at the three main reasons for differences between the KJV and NIV. It is a fact that God employs man in His plans to carry forward His Word. At present we have different types of translations like the Direct, and Dynamic translations. There are also Paraphrases and Bibles translated with Pre conceived purposes or for specific groups.

To understand the causes for differences, we have to understand the origin of the New Testament. We look at the first century and how the Church decided on the Canon. At first all manuscripts were written in the Uncial type, but since the ninth century, Minuscule type took over. With more than 5000 Greek manuscripts we can reconstruct the New Testament. Scribes played a vital role in the duplication of manuscripts, making unintentional errors by interpolating letters or by leaving some words out by mistake. Sometimes they altered the text with synonyms or did not hear properly what was dictated. But in other cases some scribes intentionally altered the grammar, or tried to harmonize texts. There are cases where they altered it for doctrinal considerations.

Due to differences with the first printed Greek New Testament that came into use in 1516 A.D., the available manuscripts were studied more intensely, discovering that texts belonged to specific Text Types according to their peculiar readings. By studying the important witnesses of the New Testament, and comparing them with Antique Translations and quotations of Church Fathers, we are able to evaluate variant readings. Yet this has to be done with legitimate criteria and not personal preference.

The translator of the Bible is often challenged in the technique of translation and sometimes confronted with unique translational problems. I urge you the reader of this blog to study the causes for the differences between the KJV and NIV with an open mind. But most of all I beg you to study the Word of God until you are in a living relationship with Him.

God Bless!


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32 End of the Lord’s Prayer

End of the “Lord’s Prayer”, Mat.6:13

In most of the modern versions of the Bible, the doxology at the end of the “Lord’s Prayer” as recorded by Matthew, is omitted or printed in the margin. This doxology also does not appear in gospel according to Luke.
Let us look at the facts recorded in the manuscripts available:

Matthew 6:13; end of the “Lord’s Prayer”:

Possibilities Omitted: Included:
Witness Greek: Translations Church Fathers Greek Translations Church Fathers
101-200 Diatessaron Didache
201-300 Origen , Cyprian , Tertullian
301-400 א, B Vulgate , Boharic Hilary Caesarius-N , Gregory-Nyssa , Cyrel-Jerusalem Gothic , Syriac Apostolic Constitutions
401-500 D 7 Old Latin Chromatius Augustine W 2 Syriac , Armenian , Georgian Chrysostom
501-600 0170 Peter-Laodicea Old Latin Ethiopic Version
601-700 Maximus-Confessor Old Latin , Syriac
701-800 L
801-900 Vulgate K, Λ, Θ, Π, 33 Old Latin
Minuscules f1 f13, 28, Many late Minuscules

The question before us is whether this doxology had been given by Jesus Himself as the end of the prayer, or had been added to the prayer at a later stage?

1. In the manuscripts no less than 7 variations are presented. Some add words like: “…the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” or “…for ever and ever!” etc.
2. The only Greek manuscript before the year 700 having the doxology is Codex Washingtonianus. This manuscript is most probably a compilation of fragments from different origin. The codex has many unique variations throughout.
3. The doxology does appear in the Diatessaron of Titan, a document with some arbitrary additions and omissions.
4. Manuscripts lacking the doxology are widespread, while those containing it are almost all from the Byxantine area.
5. A possible explanation for the origin of this doxology could be a note in the margin (Gloss) as a meaningful ending of a prayer adapted from 1Chron.29:11-13.

1. Up to 700 A.D. which version is supported by most Manuscripts?_______ Translations?_______ Church Fathers?______
2. Does the inclusion of the doxology cause a break in the general course of the pericope?________________________
3. How do you consider the possible explanation given in remark 5 above? ____________________________________
4. Would it be appropriate to compile a personal doxology for one’s own prayers taking i.a. Rom.11:36 or 16:27 as guideline?_________________
5. Does the inclusion or omission of the doxology bring any aspect of faith in the balance?_____________________________
6. Own choice: _________________________

The doxology is beautiful and very appropriate. Yet if it had been added at a later stage by some pious priest or scribe, that is exactly what it is – an addition, putting his own words in the mouth of the Lord! Removing it from the gospel of Matthew would then be a restoration back to the original words of our Lord. Do we really need more than what the Lord deemed necessary?

God bless.


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31. Some Unique challenges

Some unique challenges in the translation of the New Testament.

Translation always poses some unique challenges in any language. I mention two examples in the New Testament:

*John 8:28. Jesus tells the Jews: “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be…” The word that John employs here, (hupsosyte = to lift up) has a double meaning. It does mean to lift up, to extol, pointing to the high position Jesus would have at the right hand of the Father in heaven. But it is also used to indicate crucifixion. Greek readers would most probably notice this, but how could we render this double meaning in English? John uses the same word in John 3:14 and 12:32-33 again with this double meaning in the eye. I quote John 12:32-34 from the NIV: “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.” Continue reading

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30 A Last Word.

A Last Word.

It could come as a shock to many when they discover that the Bible that they learned to love and trust is revealed to have shortcomings, inclusions or omissions that had not been part of the original autographs of the New Testament documents. One should honestly ask how that impacts on one’s mind and heart. Does that cause a breach in the trust of the word of God or even in God Himself?

Paramountis that the study of the Bible and all intercourse with the Bible is not about the Bible per se. It is all about the AUTHOR of the Bible Himself. It is all about the One and only, the Holy God who revealed Himself as the Triune God. The Bible is only a medium to know God Himself better. To help establish a living relationship with Him which would be enjoyed every day, even into eternity. Continue reading

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29 Unique Translational Problems

29. Unique translational problems.

When I was a child, I heard this supposedly true but sad story of this old man who decided to hew in stone with his own hands an eulogy to honor his dear wife of so many years. But he had to fit the words according to the space on the rock he had chosen to be the tombstone. The poor man didn’t pay any attention to punctuation.

Here lies my wife Dot

In Heaven she is not

In Hell, that I know well.

Where man is involved, mistakes are sure to happen, often without the culprit noticing it himself. There are also unique translational difficulties coming forth from the language, writing material and writing habits of Koine (general) Greek. This is the language used all over the Greco-Roman world since the world rule of Alexander the Great. It was even used inEgyptwhere the numerous scraps of papyrus containing contracts and ordinary letters, even parts of the New Testament had recently been discovered. The New Testament Greek has numerous Semitisms as an influence of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament dating from around 300 B.C. Continue reading

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28 Challenges in the Technique of Translation

Challenges in the technique of translation.

Translation is always a challenge. All so often a choice has to be made between synonyms, and synonyms never cover exactly the same ground. Compare the words pastor, minister, priest and preacher. In other cases it is a struggle to translate when the receiver language does not have a word with the same content as the one in the source language. Sometimes the grammar or words have to be altered to convey the same message. Words also loose their meaning or even take up a complete new meaning to the ordinary person. Consider the 1611 King James translation of James 2:3: “And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing …” Continue reading

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27 Criteria to Evaluate Different Readings

Criteria to Evaluate Different Readings.

That variations exist is a plain fact. How should we decide on the variations we choose? Should we guess, or subjectively choose the one that fancy our taste? Translation experts are convinced that we should first look at the external evidence. That entails the manuscripts themselves and their origin.

Only then do we look at the internal evidence. Are there any typical mistakes or logic probability that the scribe could have unintentionally or even deliberately have altered the text? Only after these possibilities have been exhausted do we endeavor to decide what the original writer would most probably have written. Continue reading

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26. Evaluation of Variant Readings.

26 The evaluation of variant readings.

Every believer would like to know what God had written in His Word to us. Therefore every believer considers the Bible seriously.

Page from the UBS compiled NT. showing the textcritical variations on Acts8:37 on second half of page.

The New Testament was originally written in Greek. Since Greek is not our home language, we are dependant on a translation to know Gods Word. Every translation is an attempt to render the original as true as possible. Some put the emphasis on the meaning, others on trying to bring forth something of the form or wordplay of the Greek, but no translation can do all. We also do not have any of the original autographs, only copies of copies to our avail. But it was Gods decision to utilize the imperfect man to write down in imperfect words, and to copy and bring forward through the ages His prefect Word to let us know His will. And even now He speaks to each of us anew in our imperfect living environment. Continue reading

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25. Antique Translations and Church Fathers.

Antique translations and the contribution of Church Fathers.

Many of the first Christians were not Greek, or had sufficient knowledge of Greek to be confident in using the Greek New Testament scriptures only. Consequently as early as the second and third centuries the documents were translated into the common languages of that day like Coptic, Syrian and old Latin. The value of these translations lies in the fact that they preserve the text that was available at that specific time and at that location. Very accurate text critical deductions can not be made due to the intricate problem of translation in general, and the fact that peculiarities and even synonyms do not cover the same meaning in different languages. Yet, if a verse or phrase is missing in all translations as well as Greek manuscripts before a certain date, it is logic that these words must have been introduced into the manuscripts at a later date, and had not been part of the original autograph. Let us consider Acts 9:6. According to the Modern King James Version, when Jesus confronted Paul in a vision on his way to Damascus, he presumably said: “…Lord, what will You have me to do?” This phrase is not found in any Greek manuscript at all. Of all known manuscripts of nine translations dating from 201 to 700 A.D. it is found in only one Syrian and one Old Latin translation both dating between 601 and 700 A.D. After 701 A.D. it is found in another six manuscripts of the old Latin group. This evidence, confirmed by all other known documents of the New Testament, clearly proves that this phrase had never been part of the original autograph, but rather had been included under influence of the Latin translations. In fact it was interpolated from Acts 22:10 by Erasmus into the text that became the source for the KJV. Continue reading

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24. Important witnesses of the New Testament

24. The important witnesses of the New Testament.

Greek had been the lingua franca in the Roman world in the time of Jesus. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament translated during the years ±250-132 B.C. had been in common use in theChristianChurchesand contributed to the use of Greek as the common language of the first Churches. After the crucifixion of Christ and the resurrection, Jesus sent out the apostles into all the world to proclaim the Gospel. Because of the prosecution of the Christians by the Sanhedrin and the Scribes as well as the Pharisees and Sadducees alike, the followers of Jesus quickly spread outside the borders ofJudea, especially into the Greek world. Paul played no small role in the spreading of the Gospel and the establishing of churches in the Greek speaking world. Except for the letter to the Romans, also a Greek speaking church, all the other letters were written to churches within the Greek world. Everything points to all the original autographs of the New Testament being written in Greek. Therefore the Greek manuscripts are paramount in the quest to establish the original words of the New Testament documents. Continue reading

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