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.
The official, in certain circles established opinion is that Acts 8:37 was omitted
from the NIV text, because it is not found in the early manuscripts and
that it seems to be a later scribal addition of the KJV.
concerning Acts 8:37 ... is not found in the early manuscripts of Acts
There is strong evidence that there were earlier manuscripts upon which the received text of the KJV is based. Dr. Benjamin Wilkinson, dean of theology of the Washington Missionary College (1930 Tacoma Park DC) explains the origins of the Received Text - see further down this compilation.
concerning Acts 8:37 ... seems to be a later scribal addition?
According to the following source it appears that verse 37 perhaps was not a scribal addition, but one of numerous omissions to be found in the Vaticanus (Codex B) one of the main sources of the Greek Text by Westcott & Hort which is the basis of the NIV: "One marked feature, characteristic of this copy (Vaticanus), is the great number of its omissions, which has induced Dr. Dobbin to speak of it as presenting 'an abbreviated text of the New Testament': and certainly the facts he states on this point are startling enough. He calculates that Codex B leaves out words or whole clauses no less than 330 times in Matt., 365 in Mark, 439 in Luke, 357 in John, 384 in Acts, 681 in the surviving Epistles; or 2556 times in all..." Ref.-1
Another important source of Westcott & Hort's Greek text from which the NIV was translated, is the Sinaiticus (Codex A), discovered by Tischendorf in a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai (1859). This is one of the manuscripts that textual critics assert is the oldest and the best. But what do we find upon closer investigation? Ref.-2
"The Codex Sinaiticus has been corrected by so many hands that it affords a most interesting and intricate problem to the palaeographer who wishes to disentangle the various stages by which it has reached its present condition...." (Codex Sinaiticus - New Testament volume; page xvii of the introduction).
What is the writer talking about? Did you note the phrase "to disentangle the various stages?" This indicates that there is a scribal problem with this codex and it is a BIG problem. Tischendorf identified four different scribes who were involved writing the original text. However, as many as ten scribes tampered with the codex throughout the centuries. Tischendorf said he "counted 14800 alterations and corrections in Sinaiticus." Alterations, more alterations, and more alterations were made, and in fact, most of them are believed to have been made in the 6th and 7th centuries. "On nearly every page of the manuscript there are corrections and revisions, done by 10 different people." Tischendorf goes on to say, "...the New Testament...is extremely unreliable...on many occasions 10, 20, 30, 40, words are dropped...letters, words even whole sentences are frequently written twice over, or begun and immediately canceled. That gross blunder, whereby a clause is omitted because it happens to end in the same word as the clause preceding, occurs no less than 115 times in the New Testament."
Here we find that, rather than Acts 8:37 to be a later scribal addition in the KJV, it most likely is a fatality of the unrestrained spirit of editing by the scribes which lead to the omission of that verse in the Sinaiticus, or else it was omitted from the very beginning in the original stage, even before editing took place.
Acts 8:37 is not the only passage which was omitted. Matthew 18:11 which is of utmost importance because it describes the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, is missing in the Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus: "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost." This verse is at odds with Gnosticism which had quite a sway in certain circles of early Christians, and as far as the scribes is concerned, they must have been the leaders of this philosophy with an agenda to spread it wide and far, compare Ref.-3. This is an article dealing with the corruption of the Western/Alexandrian Manuscripts through Gnosticism which can be thought of as the precursor of today's New Age movement. Gnosticism teaches that salvation is gained through acquisition of divine knowledge. This is salvation by works - then, if man is going to save himself by his own abilities, the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ is no longer needed, explaining why Matthew 18:11 is missing.
Ref.-4 see also Ref.-5
Getting back to the notion that "Acts 8:37... is not found in the early manuscripts" - the following quotations (by Dr. Benjamin Wilkinson) show that there was an earlier, more reliable source than the Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus, as shown in the following - last 10 paragraphs of Ref.-6
A short review of authorities here - Benjamin Wilkinson:
Please note again the quotation I have already given that "In the very earliest times translations must have been made from Aramaic or Syriac into Latin, as afterwards from Greek. Thus a connection between the Italian and Syriac churches, and also between the teaching given in the two countries, must have lain embedded in the foundations of their common Christianity, and must have exercised an influence during very many years after." Burgon and Miller, "Traditional Text", p. 145.
Now add to this Sister White's testimony that the Waldenses had "not a faith newly received. Their religious belief was their inheritance from their fathers,"... Great Controversy," p. 64
"The Waldenses were the first of all the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures." (Old Edition, 1884, p. 65). "Some MSS contained the whole Bible." Ibid. p. 68.
"In a most wonderful manner it (the Word of Truth) was preserved uncorrupted through all the ages of darkness."...Ibid. p. 69.
Add to this the testimony of many Protestant authorities and the writings of the Waldenses themselves that they never belonged to the Church of Rome, they always remained separate, and had received their religion through father and son since the days of the Apostles. Add to this the beautiful testimony of Muston that the "Vaudois are the chain which united the Reformed Churches with the first disciples of our Saviour." (Muston, Vol. I, p. 29.)
Then, finally, add to this the statement of the Vaudois themselves in the preface of their Bible translated by Olivetan which they gave to the French people that they had "always fully enjoyed that heavenly truth contained in the Holy Scriptures ever since they were enriched by them by the Apostles themselves."
Is not the chain complete? The Spirit of Prophecy and the plain statements of history unite to tell us that we do have as represented in the Received Text the same Bible that the Waldensian Church possessed in "MSS directly descended from the Apostolic originals."
Here I take a stand with Nolan, with the Waldensian historians themselves, and with Sister White, any textual critics to the contrary not withstanding.
Of course we must not forget, as I presented in my book, that the Authorized Version is the legitimate descendant of another great stream, which did not pass through the Waldenses. I refer to the thousands of Greek manuscripts, which carry the Received Text. In the Authorized Version, then, the two pure streams meet: that of the Greek Received Text, and that of the Old Latin, preserved in its Waldensian descendant.
Thus, through those valleys, in which dwelt those people through the centuries, miraculously preserved by God, we are connected with the primitive churches. They handed over to us, not the Bible of Rome, but the Bible of the primitive churches, which found at last a resting place in our noble Authorized Version, under whose name and beauty, it was, like the waters of the sea, to touch all shores and refresh all nations.
For continuation see: Bibles with less about Jesus
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