Are ALL Bibles Valid?

In this particular study we will be looking at Luke 24:40-----“And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet.” But before we examine the various translations and the internal as well as external evidence for this verse I wanted to address a few popular ideas that are circulating among both scholars and unlearned individuals.

Many who have not taken the time to delve deeply into the Bible version debate are usually very easily taken in by the smooth talk of the many Bible critics. Phrases such as “All Bibles say the same thing”, “It is not the WORDS of the Bible that matter. It is the MESSAGE!” and “All Bibles are valid” flow from their lips like a mountain stream. In fact, this very series of articles was birthed due to an internet discussion that I had with an individual that insisted that “all Bibles are valid”. As has been shown in each of these articles it is simply asinine to believe that all Bibles are saying the same thing. Therefore, it is impossible for ALL Bibles to be valid.

For those that are born again it is obvious that we are living in a day of apostasy. The word of God is treated with contempt! And many now boldly proclaim that God’s very WORDS are not important-----‘just as long as the “message” is relayed’------is their battle cry. Sadly, we have regressed back to the days when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” To illustrate this point read what Kurt & Barbara Aland had to say on the first page of the Nestle-Aland Greek-English New Testament:

“The structure of the English part must be discussed here. The printed text represents the second edition of the Revised Standard Version, first published in 1971, and the section headings are taken from the Greek New Testament (Third Edition). The critical apparatus contains the variant readings of the Authorized Version (A), the English Revised Version of 1881 (R1), the American Standard [Edition of the English Revised] Version of 1901 (R2; R=the agreement of both editions), and the Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version (C). In each instance the current edition of theses texts is employed. Where the Revised Standard Version first edition of 1946 differs from the second edition of 1971, the reading of the 1946 edition is indicated by T1 (T=the 1971 edition). Thus the reader is not only given a survey of this English version of the New Testament from its beginnings, but he is also in a position to select the translation which appears most satisfying to him, and to monitor the work of the translators – often a most significant advantage (Aland's, From The Preface To The First Greek-English Edition).” (emphasis added)
As stated, this proves what I have been saying. Now, with all the hundreds of translations out there you can “select the translation which appears most satisfying to (you)”. Gone are the days when God’s word stood in judgment of us! Now we are implored by scholars, pastors and teachers to stand in judgment of God’s word. We are encouraged to choose the reading that “most satisfies us” (sic).

This selection process is no easy task considering the vast differences in the available translations. In fact, I dare say it is harder to find two consecutive verses that agree than two that disagree. Despite these vast differences we are still inundated with individuals that assure us that “all Bibles are valid”. As I have time and again proven this simply cannot be so and furthermore goes against the teaching of the Bible (any Bible) itself.

For those that still choose to remain ignorant of the facts perhaps some more words by the Aland’s will shed some light upon what I am currently trying to say.

“In the Acts of the Apostles, as also in the Pauline letter, the number of differences among the translations is sometimes so great that only the most important can be noted (Ibid.).”
With this much behind us we pass on to our discussion of Luke 24:40!

I would remind my readers, as we study this verse, that we are asking the question “Are ALL Bibles valid?” We have already established that God condemns ‘adding to’ or ‘taking away’ from His words. With these thoughts in mind here is how Luke 24:40 reads, “And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.” (NRSV)

This verse is privileged to have support from every corner of Christendom------manuscripts, versions and early church fathers overwhelmingly testify to the authenticity of the verse. Of the Greek manuscripts (mss.) it is found in EVERY ms. (both uncial and cursive) save one, viz. Codex Bezae (D). Of the ancient versions it is found “in all the ancient Versions (Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 90).” Burgon additionally lists the following Church Fathers as quoting the verse----“ps.-Justin, --Eusebius, --Athanasius, --Ambrose (in Greek), --Epiphanius, --Chrysostom, --Cyril, --Theodoret, --Ammonius, --John Damascene (Ibid.).”

As usual, despite the enormity of the evidence listed above Westcott and Hort (W-H) found it necessary to shut up within [[double brackets]] verse 40 based on the sole authority of D. Eventhough their highly esteemed Aleph and B both contain the verse. Because they bracketed the verse it is still labeled as spurious in the latest additions of the Nestle/Aland (N-A) and the United Bible Society’s (UBS) Greek texts. And this once again based upon the omission of ONE Greek manuscript.

Practically every translation contains the verse (and rightfully so!). Earlier I quoted the verse out of the NRSV for a reason. The reason being that the Revised Standard Version had previously omitted the entire verse based on the recommendation of the W-H/N-A Greek texts. Joining the RSV in omitting this verse is the World English Translation (WE). Are we to believe that these two translations ALONE have gotten it right? I doubt many will argue this point yet we still have those that incessantly argue that ALL Bibles are valid. This belief simply cannot be! When we look at, say, the NIV and the WE side by side we find that one of the two is in error. Either the NIV has ‘added to’ the words of God or the WE has ‘taken away’ from the words of God. Both cannot be ‘valid’ translations due to obvious reasons (or at least one would think it would be obvious). Where is the Biblical basis for believing that two versions with such obvious differences are both ‘valid’?

Though most translations contain the verse the church is still forced to endure such footnotes as that found in the New Living Translation (NLT)--------“Some manuscripts do not include this verse”. Again, at the risk of abusing the patience of my readers, I point out that the verse is wanting in only ONE Greek manuscript, viz. Codex Bezae. Is “some manuscripts” an honest footnote? Consider also the footnote we encounter in the ‘New’ King James Version-------“Some printed New Testaments omit this verse. It is found in nearly all Greek manuscripts.” What possible purpose can such a note serve? And why is the church forced to tolerate such perverse footnotes?

Once again I bring to a close this simply study of “Are ALL Bibles Valid?”. I trust that I have once more demonstrated that it is both Biblically and logically impossible for ALL Bibles to be valid. As the Aland’s stated the differences are just too great for anyone to continue to cling to the notion that ALL Bibles are valid. Selah!