THE MINORITY TEXTS
Vaticanus (B) & Sinaiticus (Aleph)
There are other extant Greek texts which are referred
to as the 'Minority Texts' simply because they represent
only about 5% of existing manuscripts. Another 5% are Neutral
Texts: sometimes agreeing with the majority and at others
with the minority. The 'Minority Texts' are also known
as the Alexandrian Texts because they were produced in
Alexandria in Egypt. The Minority Texts were rejected by the early
Christians and also by all the Protestant Reformers
of the 16th and 17th centuries. The Reformers,
who were well aware of the existence of the Minority Texts, considered
them unfit for translation purposes. These are very important
points to bear in mind. Why did the early Christians and the
Protestant Reformers reject the Minority Texts?
The answer is:
Proof of these astonishing allegations will follow
in Part Two where we will take a close look at some 80+
Bible verses corrupted by the Minority Text.
Yet, startling as it may sound, virtually every modern English
Bible relies on the Minority Text as its underlying New Testament
text in preference to Textus Receptus! Isn't that an amazing
revelation? What brought about this almost incredible switch
from the reliable Textus Receptus, beloved by the early
Christian church and the Protestant Reformers, to the corrupt
minority text favoured by the Roman Catholic Church? It is
important that you find out soon: because the modern "Bible"
you may be faithfully studying every day is really nothing more
than a counterfeit posing as the Word of God! If it is
any consolation to you, do remember that I was equally in the
dark and totally devastated by my findings.
Modern translations abound with misleading footnotes,
which do little else but cast doubt on the King James Version.
In this article we will not analyse these footnotes,
simply because there are scores of them scattered throughout the
modern translations and each has a slightly different slant. However,
one thing they all have in common: and that is, they ALL cast
doubt on the accuracy of the Authorised King James Bible!
By implication they all claim to be more accurate and reliable
than the King James Version. In the preface of the Revised Standard
Version (RSV) we read this misleading statement. "Yet
the King James Version has grave defects." Oh
how subtle is Satan, how evil and how sinister! The stunning fact
is: the very opposite is true. The King James Version is infinitely
more accurate and reliable than ANY modern English translation
on the market today. And that is why for nearly 400 years
it has had - and continues to have - the blessing of the Almighty
God upon it: something no modern version or translation can come
anywhere near. Most, after a decade or two, disappear from the
book shops, only to re-appear some years later with a few alterations
under a new name.
How did it happen that the Minority Text supplanted
the trustworthy and respected Textus Receptus which triggered
the great Protestant Reformation during which tens of thousands
of true believers perished by flame, famine and torture? Who is
behind this dangerous deception that has engulfed the Christian
Church? Do you know? Do you care? Is it important? Does it really
I most certainly didn't know. But I do believe that
it is vitally important that every believer know that Satan
is behind it: not any particular Church, its leaders or its
members - but the great enemy of souls! He is behind every
deception ever aimed at the human race and millions, in and out
of the church, believe his lies. I for one had been living in
blissful ignorance of the danger for many years; till a massive
heart attack laid me flat on my back and I was moved - yea inwardly
compelled - to make a deep study of the History of God's Word
and how He has providentially preserved it till today.
Now let us turn our attention to the Minority
Text's two most prominent manuscripts on which most modern
translations of the Bible heavily rely. They are called Codex
Sinaiticus (Aleph ) and Codex Vaticanus (B). The word
'codex,' incidentally, means that the manuscript
is in book form, with pages, as opposed to being a scroll. But
first a little about the man whom God raised up over 150 years
ago to expose the errors of the Minority Texts. His name is John
Dean John William Burgon
John Burgon was undoubtedly one of the greatest
defenders of the Greek text of the New Testament. He exposed
the hundreds of amendments, deletions and additions in the Minority
Text and defended the reliability of Textus Receptus till
the day of his death. Unlike most Bible students and ministers of today, John Burgon was a masterful Greek scholar of the highest rank who spent much of his life browsing
through the museums and libraries of Europe examining the ancient
Greek manuscripts. He had first hand experience examining the
Vatican texts whilst he ministered as a chaplain to a congregation in
Rome. His findings are of utmost value in these days of wilful,
spiritual ignorance and sin. I will quote a few extracts about
this magnificent warrior from David O Fuller's book Which
"John William Burgon was born August
21, 1813. He matriculated at Oxford in 1841, taking several high
honours there, and his B.A. 1845. He took his M.A. there in 1848
thing about Burgon, however, which lifts him out of the
nineteenth century English setting and endears him to the hearts
of earnest Christians of other lands and other ages is his steadfast
defence of the scriptures as the infallible Word of God. He strove
with all his power to arrest the modernistic currents which during
his lifetime had begun to flow within the Church of England, continuing
his efforts with unabated zeal up to the very day of his death.
With this purpose in mind he laboured mightily in the field of
New Testament textual criticism.
In 1860, while temporary
chaplain of the English congregation at Rome, he made a personal
examination of Codex B (Vaticanus), and in 1862 he inspected the
treasures of St. Catherine's Convent on Mt. Sinai. Later he made
several tours of European libraries, examining and collating New
Testament manuscripts wherever he went
Of all the critics
of the nineteenth century Burgon alone was consistently
Christian in his vindication of the Divine inspiration
and providential preservation of the text of Holy Scripture
Burgon regarded the
good state of preservation of B (Codex Vaticanus) and Aleph (Codex
Sinaiticus) in spite of their exceptional age as proof not of
their goodness but of their badness. If they had been good
manuscripts, they would have been read to pieces long ago.
We suspect that these two manuscripts are indebted for their preservation,
solely to their ascertained evil character; which has occasioned
that the one eventually found its way, four centuries ago, to
a forgotten shelf in the Vatican Library; while the other,
after exercising the ingenuity of several generations of critical
Correctors, eventually (viz. In A.D.1844) got deposited in the
wastepaper basket of the Convent at the foot of Mount Sinai.
B (Vaticanus) and Aleph (Sinaiticus) been copies of average purity,
they must long since have shared the inevitable fate of books
which are freely used and highly prized; namely, they would have
fallen into decadence and disappeared from sight. Thus the
fact that B and Aleph are so old is a point against them, not
something in their favour.
It shows that the Church rejected them and did not read them. Otherwise they would have worn out and disappeared through much reading.
For an orthodox Christian Burgon's view
is the only reasonable one. If we believe that God gave the Church
guidance in regard to the New Testament books, then surely it
is logical to believe that God gave the church similar guidance
in regard to the text which these books contained
Who but those with Roman Catholic sympathies
could ever be pleased with the notion that God preserved the true
New Testament text in secret for almost one thousand years and
then finally handed it over to the Roman pontiff for safekeeping?
Surely every orthodox Protestant will
prefer to think with Burgon that God preserved the true text of
the Greek New Testament in the usage of the Greek-speaking Church
down through the centuries and then delivered it up intact to
the Protestant reformers." (Ref:F11)
Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph)
This codex was produced in the 4th century.
In his book Let's Weigh the Evidence, Barry Burton writes
of Codex Sinaiticus:
"The Sinaiticus is a manuscript that was
found in 1844 in a trash pile in St.Catherine's Monastery near
Mt. Sinai, by a man named Mr Tischendorf. It contains nearly all
of the New Testament plus it adds the 'Shepherd of Hermes'
and the 'Epistle of Barnabas' to the New Testament. The
Sinaiticus is extremely unreliable, proven by examining
the manuscript itself. John Burgon spent years examining every
available manuscript of the New Testament. He writes about Sinaiticus...
'On many occasions 10, 20, 30, 40 words are dropped
through very carelessness. Letters, words or even whole sentences
are frequently written twice over, or begun and immediately cancelled;
while that gross blunder, whereby a clause is omitted because
it happens to end in the same words as the clause preceding, occurs
no less than 115 times in the New Testament.
THAT'S NOT ALL!
On nearly every page of the manuscript there are corrections and revisions, done by 10 different people. Some of these corrections were made about the same time that it was copied, but most of them were made in the 6th and 7th century.
Phillip Mauro, a brilliant lawyer who was admitted to the bar of the US Supreme Court in April 1892, wrote a book called "Which Version" in the early 1900s. He writes concerning the Sinaiticus 'From these facts, therefore, we declare: first that the impurity of the Codex Sinaiticus, in every part of it, was fully recognized by those who were best acquainted with it, and that from the very beginning until the time when it was finally cast aside as worthless for any practical purpose.' " (Ref:C1)
In his excellent book An Understandable History
Of The Bible, Rev. Samuel Gipp writes of Codex Sinaiticus:
"One of the MSS is called Sinaiticus
and is represented by the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet,
Aleph. This MS from all outward appearances looks very
beautiful. It is written in book form (codex) on vellum. It contains
147 1/2 leaves. The pages are 15" by 13 1/2" with four
columns of 48 lines per page. It contains many spurious books
such as the 'Shepherd of Hermes,' the 'Epistle of Barnabas'
and even the Didache.
The great Greek scholar, Dr Scrivener, points
this out in his historic work A Full Collation of the Codex
Sinaiticus. He speaks of correctional alterations made to
the MS: 'The Codex is covered with such alterations... brought
in by at least ten different revisers, some of them systematically
spread over every page, others occasional or limited to separated
portions of the MS, many of these being contemporaneous with the
first writer, but the greater part belonging to the sixth or seventh
century.' " (Ref:B5)
Codex Vaticanus (B)
The second major manuscript of the Minority Text
is known as Codex Vaticanus, often referred to as 'B'.
This codex was also produced in the 4th century. It
was found over a thousand years later in 1481 in the Vatican
library in Rome, where it is currently held. It is written
on expensive vellum, a fine parchment originally from the skin
of calf or antelope. Some authorities claim that it was one of
a batch of 50 Bibles ordered from Egypt by the Roman Emperor
Constantine; hence its beautiful appearance and the expensive
skins which were used for its pages. But alas! this manuscript,
like its corrupt Egyptian partner Sinaiticus (Aleph) is
also riddled with omissions, insertions and amendments.
Of Codex Vaticanus Samuel Gipp writes on
"This codex omits many portions of Scripture
vital to Christian doctrine. Vaticanus
omits Genesis 1.1 through Genesis 46:28; Psalms 106 through 138;
Matthew 16:2,3; Romans 16:24; the Pauline Pastoral Epistles; Revelation;
and everything in Hebrews after 9:14.
It seems suspicious indeed that a MS possessed
by the Roman Catholic church omits the portion of the book of
Hebrews which exposes the 'mass' as totally useless (Please read
Hebrews 10:10-12). The 'mass' in conjunction with the false doctrine
of purgatory go hand-in-hand to form a perpetual money making
machine for Rome. Without one or the other, the Roman Catholic
Church would go broke!
It also omits portions of the Scripture
telling of the creation (Genesis), the prophetic details of the
crucifixion (Psalm 22), and, of course, the portion which prophesies
of the destruction of Babylon (Rome), the great whore of Revelation
Vaticanus , though intact
physically, is found to be in poor literary quality. Dr Martin
declares, 'B' exhibits numerous places where the scribe has written
the same word or phrase twice in succession. Dr J Smythe states,
'From one end to the other, the whole manuscript has been travelled
over by the pen of some
scribe of about the tenth century.'
If Vaticanus was considered a trustworthy text originally,
the mass of corrections and scribal changes obviously render its
testimony highly suspicious and questionable."
Rev. Gipp continues on
"The corrupt and unreliable nature of these
two MSS (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) is best summed
up by one who has thoroughly examined them, John W Burgon: 'The
impurity of the text exhibited by these codices is not a question
of opinion but fact...In the Gospels alone, Codex B(Vatican)
leaves out words or whole clauses no less than 1,491 times.
It bears traces of careless transcriptions on every page
If we are to be thorough and discriminatory
in our evaluation of the true New Testament text, then we must
not -- we cannot -- overlook these facts.' How
did these MSS come into being? How did it happen that they should
be beautiful to the eye, yet within contain such vile and devastating
corruption? It seems that these uncial MSS along with the papyrus
MSS included in this category all resulted from a revision of
the true, or Universal Text. This revision was enacted in Egypt
by Egyptian scribes! " (Ref:B6)
Rev. Gipp continues:
"So we see that once a pure copy of the Universal
Text (Textus Receptus) had been carried down into Egypt,
it was recopied. During the process of this recopying, it was
revised by men who did not revere it as truly the Word of God.
This text was examined by the critical eye of Greek philosophy
and Egyptian morals. These men saw nothing wrong with putting
the Book in subjection to their opinion instead of their opinion
being in subjection to the book. This process produced a text
which was local to the educational centre of Alexandria, Egypt.
This text went no further than southern Italy where the Roman
Catholic Church found its unstable character perfect for overthrowing
the true Word of God which was being used universally by the true
The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible has
this to say about Codex Vaticanus (B) on page 624
under article Versions.
" It should be
noted, however, that there is no prominent Biblical MS. in which
there occur such gross cases of misspelling, faulty grammar, and
omission, as in B." (Ref:H2)
Barry Burton comments
"For one thing
Vaticanus and Sinaiticus
disagree with each other over 3000 times in the gospels alone
Facts about the Vaticanus.
"It was written on fine vellum (tanned animal
skins) and remains in excellent condition. It was found in the
Vatican Library in 1481 AD. In spite of being in excellent
condition, it omits Genesis 1:1-Gen.46:28, Psalm 106-138, Matt.16:2-3,
the Pauline pastoral Epistles, Hebrews 9:14-13:25, and all of
Revelation. These parts were probably left out on purpose."
"Besides all that - in the gospels alone
it leaves out 237 words, 452 clauses and 748 whole sentences,
which hundreds of later copies agree together as having the same
words in the same places, the same clauses in the same places
and the same sentences in the same places... The Vaticanus
was available to the translators of the King James Bible, but
they did not use it because they knew it is unreliable."
Dean Burgon comments on
Codices Sinaiticus (Aleph)and Vaticanus (B).
"Compromise of any sort between the two conflicting
parties, is impossible; for they simply contradict one another.
Codd.B and Aleph are either amongst the purist of manuscripts,-
or else they are among the very foulest. The Text of
Drs.Westcott and Hort is either the very best which has ever appeared,-
or else it is the very worst; the nearest to the sacred
Autographs,- or furthest from them."
is no room for both opinions; and there cannot exist any middle
view." (Ref: P3)
Oldest and Best
Bible students are often told that Codices Sinaiticus
and Vaticanus are older and better than other manuscripts:
the implication being that they must, therefore, be more accurate.
But this conclusion is wrong. We have already seen how Sinaiticus
and Vaticanus are corrupt beyond measure. To be sure they are
'better' in appearance, but certainly not in their content.
Remember they are written on expensive vellum; so they
ought to be in good shape. They are older, but older than
what? They are older than other Greek manuscripts of the New
Testament. But they are not older than the earliest versions of
the Bible: the Peshitta, Italic, Waldensian and the Old Latin
Vulgate: versions which agree with the Majority text. These
ancient versions are some 200 years older than Aleph and B. Yes
Aleph and B are older than other Greek mss, but for anyone to suggest
that they are more accurate is absurd. It is like someone
saying 'You will find the greatest TRUTH being preached in
the oldest and most beautiful cathedrals of the world,' or,
'the most beautiful women have the best characters.'
In his masterful book Revision Revised Dean
Burgon wrote, over a hundred years ago, concerning the ages of
Codices Vatican (B) and Sinai (Aleph):
"Lastly, - We suspect that these two Manuscripts
are indebted for their preservation, solely to their ascertained
evil character, which has occasioned that the one eventually
found its way, four centuries ago, to a forgotten shelf in the
Vatican library; while the other, after exercising the
ingenuity of several generations of critical Correctors, eventually
(viz. In A.D. 1844) got deposited in the waste-paper basket
of the Convent at the foot of mount Sinai. Had B and Aleph been
copies of average purity, they must long since have shared the
inevitable fate of books which are freely used and highly prized;
namely, they would have fallen into decadence and disappeared
from sight." (Ref: P1)
In short these two codices are old simply because:
Can any true believer imagine JEHOVAH, the Holy
One of Israel, hiding Codex Vaticanus away for over 1000 years
in the Vatican Library till 1481? or prompting the
deeply religious monks of St Catherine's Monastery to dump
Sinaiticus into a waste basket? The very idea is ridiculous.
A vital fact to remember is that though codices Aleph
and B (produced in the 4th century) are older than
other Greek manuscript copies of the Scriptures, they are not
older than the Peshitta, Italic, the Old Latin Vulgate and the
Waldensian versions which were produced 200 years earlier in the
2nd century. All these versions, copies of which are
still in existence, agree with Textus Receptus, the underlying
text of the King James Bible. I repeat: these ancient versions
are some 200 years older than Vaticanus and Sinaiticus:
so the 'oldest is best' argument should not be used.
All Bibles fall, basically, into one of two categories.
Which Bible you select for study each day is going
to have an enormous effect on your spiritual growth and well being.
Bear this vital fact in mind.
The Invention of Printing
The invention of the printing press in the 15th
century was a giant step forward in the circulation of the Bible.
The printing press reduced the time taken to produce a Bible from
about nine or ten months to a few hours: and once proof reading
had been done, every copy was as good as the master. Printing
also greatly reduced the price of a Bible.
"In the reign of Edward 1 of England, about
1272, the price of a complete (hand-written) Bible was from £30
to £37, and occupied a careful scribe in his scriptorium
about ten months, while the days wage of a working man only averaged
1.5 pennies. When it is borne in mind that it only cost £25
to build two arches of London Bridge in 1240, while the price
of a complete Latin Bible was considerably more, it will readily
be allowed that only the rich and scholarly had access to the
Word of God."
"While Martin Luther called the art of printing
'the last and best gift of providence' the Catholic Rowland
Phillips, in a sermon preached at St.Paul's Cross, London in the
year 1535, frightfully remarked.
or printing will root us out.'
Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland