This will be our final installment on the series “Are ALL Bibles Valid?”. I have certainly enjoyed researching and writing this series of articles. I hope that you, the reader, have enjoyed reading each part and that you have benefited in some way from each segment. When I began this series I stated that my goal throughout was to prove without a doubt that it was impossible for ALL Bibles to be valid. This I planned to prove by demonstrating the enormous differences in the many modern versions in just the 24th chapter of Luke. At this point I believe I have sufficiently proved my thesis; however, there remains one last verse to discuss in our present study. In this article we will be focusing our attention on Luke 24:53. Let’s get started!
The 53rd verse of Luke 24 is the final verse in the book of Luke. The verse reads, “And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.” in our Authorized Version (AV).
While studying for this particular article I was reminded that this verse was used by F. J. A. Hort in his ‘Introduction’ in an attempt to prove his erroneous theory of conflation. Though Hort and many modern text critics claim that the Traditional Text is full of conflations Hort himself struggled to produce more than 8 such (supposed) instances. What is so interesting is that 4 of Hort’s examples are found in Mark (viz. vi. 33, viii. 26, ix. 38, ix. 49) while the other 4 are found in Luke (viz. ix. 10, xi. 54, xii. 18, xxiv. 53). If conflations were as frequent as Hort supposed surely he could’ve, and no doubt would've, given more than 8 examples. Additionally, one would think that he would’ve made use of more books in the NT other than just Mark and Luke (again assuming that conflations were as numerous as Hort proclaimed). John William Burgon commented, “What can we infer from this presentment, but that ‘Conflation’ is probably not of frequent occurrence as has been imagined, but may indeed be---to admit for a moment its existence---nothing more than an occasional incident? For surely, if specimens in St. Matthew and St. John had abounded to his hand, and accordingly ‘Conflation’ had been largely employed throughout the Gospels, Dr. Hort would not have exercised so restricted, and yet so round a choice (Burgon, Causes of Corruption, p. 269).” With those words we pass on!
Based in part on this theory of ‘conflation’ the Westcott-Hort text types read “and they were continually in the temple blessing God.” Now this is the reading of p75, Aleph, B, C and L. Once again we find the critical text based upon no more than 5 mss. Consequently this reading is adopted by many of our modern translations: e.g. NRSV, ESV, Holman NT, ASV, New English Translation and the New World Translation.
One Greek manuscript alone reads “praising God”, viz. D. In an interesting turn of events the NASV changed its reading of “blessing God” (ASV) to “praising God”. This, based on ONE single ms. Following the NASV in this patently absurd reading is the NIV, CEV, BBE and the New Living Translation. It must again be pointed out that these versions have followed the reading of one single Greek ms. out of thousands.
In support of the Traditional Text we have A, C2, W, Theta, Psi, Delta, Gamma, K, P, et al. Of the cursive copies we have 1, 13, 33, 69, 118, 124, 131, 209, 230, 788, 826, 983, 1582, 1709, etc. etc. The copies are simply to great to list! In short, every other Greek ms. testifies to the Traditional reading except those few listed above in support of the shorter Alexandrian reading.
It would thus stand to reason that not ALL of these Bibles can be valid considering the fact that they follow different mss. and texts. So, what are we to conclude---either the ASV is valid and the NASV is not because they have totally changed the text or the ASV is not valid and the NASV is because they finally got the correct reading. If the ESV, Holman, NET and NWT are correct then the NIV, CEV, BBE and New Living Translation are all invalid because they have followed the wrong Greek manuscript. However, if by chance this singular Greek ms. is the sole deposit of the true words of God then the ESV, Holman, NET and NWT are all corrupt because they have followed the wrong Greek text—thus adding to God’s words. As I’ve said before they ALL can’t be valid!
Lastly, I want to look at the final word of the book of Luke “Amen”. This tiny word is has been omitted in a few Greek copies, viz. p75, Aleph C, D, L W, 1, 33 and a few others. However, “Amen” is found in every other Greek manuscript whether uncial or cursive. This would include the famed B as well as A and the corrected C. Now follow the hypocrisy of the textual critic----earlier they were more than willing to follow B and C and reject the reading of 1 and 33. Now they forsake B and C and follow the reading vouched for by 1 and 33. The NET even attaches this footnote to the verse: “The majority of Greek mss, some of the important witnesses (A B C2 Q Y 063 Ë13 Byz lat), add "Amen" to note the Gospel's end. But since this is a liturgically motivated reading and since significant witnesses omit the word (Ì75 Í C* D L W 33 it cop et pauci), it is evidently not original.” The question must be asked then, ‘How are we to trust these very same witnesses to give us the “original” reading in one instance when we can’t trust them to give us the “original” reading just 2 words later?’ See how the critics pick and choose which reading they will follow. There is no ‘science’ in their ‘science of textual criticism’.
I trust that these lessons have been a blessing to you. I also trust that henceforth you will not be fooled by others as they claim that ‘ALL Bibles are valid’. The notion is ridiculous and cannot be supported by the Bible itself. Selah!