In 1870 at the general assembly of Episcopal clergymen, it was decided to revise the 1611 King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. The first principle of the committee was “To introduce as few alterations as possible into the text of the authorized version consistently with faithfulness.”
The committee was divided into two companies; one for the Old Testament, and one for the New Testament. Within the New Testament Company were two scholars who subscribed to the “Oxford Movement,” which was an effort to incorporate the Church of England into the Roman Catholic Church. The names of the two are Fenton John Anthony Hort and Brooke Foss Westcott.
Hort and Westcott led the effort to use a different Greek translation of the New Testament than was used by the original translators of the KJV. It appears that many of the members of the company were unaware of the change of the Greek manuscript basis. This major alteration was outside the original instructions given the group. The results of the work of the committee was published in 1881 as the Revised Version, the New Testament portion of which was based on the Greek translation substituted by Hort and Westcott.
The 1611 KJV was translated from the “Received Text” or Textus Receptus. The 1881 Revised Version is translated largely from Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. Without debating the differences between the Textus Receptus and the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, or “critical texts,” a miniscule look at the results speaks volumes.
In the 1611 KJV, Matthew 1:25 says, “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” The Revised Standard Version (RSV), the American Standard Version (ASV), the New International Version (NIV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New Living Translation (NLT), the English Standard Version (ESV), the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), all translated from the revised Greek of Hort and Westcott, all omit the word “firstborn” in Matthew 1:25.
If the word “firstborn” is omitted, then the Scriptural implication that Mary had more children is removed. In this manner, Hort and Westcott furthered their Vatican affinities by adding credence to the doctrine of perpetual virginity of Mary.
In the 1611 KJV, Mark 1:31 says, “And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.” In all the “modern” translations based on Hort and Westcott the word “immediately” is omitted, thereby removing the indication of a miracle. Liberal theologians love to denigrate the concept of miracles in the Bible.
In Mark 13:14 the Lord Jesus answered the questions of the Disciples, “when will this happen, etc.” Jesus told them of the “abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” The phrase “spoken of by Daniel the prophet,” found in the 1611 KJV, is omitted in all translations based on the work of Hort and Westcott. Liberal theologians love to say that the prophecies of Daniel were written after the fact, and he was not a prophet at all. Jesus is the final authority. So they removed the statement of Jesus and the authoritative confirmation of the authenticity of the prophecy of Daniel.
It is reported that the Codex Vaticanus has omitted 2,877 words from the Gospels alone. The Sinaiticus omits 3,455 words from the Gospels. It is said that Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus disagree between themselves over 3,000 times!
I urge you to consider the translation you are reading, and its effect on your understanding of the Bible. May it stir you study for yourself the subtle, but destructive, “tares among the wheat.”
To God be the Glory!