James White and the Received Text (Truelove)

Source and discussion: https://puritanboard.com/threads/james-white-the-received-text.92697/

See also: http://www.jeffriddle.net/2017/05/word-magazine-75-james-white-versus.html?m=1


The “Treasure” is the Word

“The modern love for manuscripts was no part of the history [of Christianity down through the ages]. Mss. were not the object of devotion. Mss. were not looked upon as “treasure,” “blessing to the church,” etc. This is the language of modern empiricism. When one hears this language come from a speaker one should immediately recognise a departure from true Protestantism.

The text underlying the AV is the reformation text. The translators did not consult “mss.” in the sense the word is used of Sinaiticus. The “treasure” is the Word; the revelation of God’s will and its preservation is the “blessing to the church.” Protestants recognised that this treasure and blessing was to be found uncorrupted in the text which had passed down to them.”

– Rev. Matthew Winzer
Australian Free Church,
Victoria, Australia

Source: http://electofgod.blogspot.ca/2013/12/james-white-burned-like-eck-in.html

The Witnesses Often Predate the Variants

The Sola Scripturist:

“The fact is that the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus readings are often not the ones copied (and therefore received) by the Church. The Textus Receptus position holds that God’s providential preservation of His Word is reflected in the transmission of the text, so we trust the texts copied over those which were lost. For the most part, the Textus Receptus is supported by the majority of Greek manuscripts and also by the witness of the Early Church Fathers and various versions such as the Syriac, Old Latin, Vulgate, and the Diatessaron. The witness of these together often predate the variants found in the oldest extant manuscripts and therefore the critical text: the “oldest is best” principle is therefore not applied consistently, but rather weighted subjectively.”

Read more: http://solascripturist.ragstrad.co.uk/2016/03/why-i-use-the-king-james-bible-textus-receptus-primarily/

Not a Matter Primarily of Science, But of Faith

Pastor Robert Truelove on the Reformers, the Received Text, and the “problem of variants”:

“To say they didn’t possess the evidence we now have and make anachronistic claims fails to grasp the concerns of our forbears. While it is true they came before the discoveries of the ancient papyri, they were yet aware of the problem of variants (as their writings reveal) and rejected the older uncials they had considering them unreliable (See The Text of the New Testament (second edition), by Kurt and Barbara Aland, P.4). However, it is also clear that they approached the issue with a completely different set of presuppositions. To the 17th century Reformed Scholastics, the text of the Bible was not a matter primarily of science, but faith. God had preserved his word in the Traditional Text that had been in use and preserved in all ages.”

Source: http://www.theauthorizedversion.com/reformed-confessions-of-faith-and-the-traditional-text/

The KJV Is An Independent TR Variety

Dr. Edward Hills, Believing Bible Study:

The King James Version a Variety of the Textus Receptus

The translators that produced the King James Version relied mainly, it seems, on the later editions of Beza’s Greek New Testament, especially his 4th edition (1588-9). But they also frequently consulted the editions of Erasmus and Stephanus and the Complutensian Polyglot. According to Scrivener (1884, Authorized Ed. of the Eng. Bible, p 60), out of the 252 passages in which these sources differ sufficiently to affect the English rendering, the King James agrees with Beza against Stephanus 113 times,, with Stephanus against Beza 59 times, and 80 times with Erasmus, or the Complutensian, or the Latin Vulgate against Beza and Stephanus. Hence the King James Version ought to be regarded not merely as a translation of the Textus Receptus but also as an independent variety of the Textus Receptus. . . (p 206)

. . . The texts of the several editions of the Textus Receptus were God-guided. They were set up under the leading of God’s special providence. Hence the differences between them were kept down to a minimum. But these disagreements were not eliminated altogether, for this would require not merely providential guidance but a miracle. In short, God chose to preserve the New Testament text providentially rather than miraculously, and this is why even the several editions of the Textus Receptus vary from each other slightly.

But what do we do in these few places in which the several editions of the Textus Receptus disagree with one another? Which text do we follow? The answer to this question is easy. We are guided by the common faith. Hence we favor that form of the Textus Receptus upon which more than any other God, working providentially, has placed the stamp of his approval, namely, the King James Version, or, more precisely, the Greek text underlying the King James Version. This text was published in 1881 by the Cambridge University Press under the editorship of Dr. Scrivener, and there have been eight reprints, the latest being in 1949. In 1976 also another edition of this text was published in London by the Trinitarian Bible Society. We ought to be grateful that in the providence of God the best form of the Textus Receptus is still available to believing Bible students. For the sake of completeness, however, it would be well to place in the margin the variant readings of Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, and the Elzevirs (p 209). [emphasis added]

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/87658-Dr-Maurice-Robinson-%E2%80%94-Recent-Interview-on-Evangelical-Textual-Criticism-blog/page2?s=44046e9d6cdf690b09adc0a6cbb223bb, Comment #50 (Jerusalem Blade)

Fixed v Flux

Rev. Matthew Winzer:

“The historian can only tell you “how” things happen; he cannot tell you “why” they happen. The explanation why one chain of events occurred and another did not is traced back to one’s philosophy of history, and that philosophy is often influenced by tradition and emotion among other things. Discerning the text of Scripture includes historical factors, and this is true regardless of which text one decides on. Besides, the very idea of the Word of God touching someone’s life is going to have an emotional element to it.

When it comes to this so-called “critical text,” I would point out that it is not an actual text. It is an idea that is developed in opposition to the received text. The received text is a fixed text. The so-called “critical text” is in a state of flux. It differs from one scholar to another. Nor does it claim to be an exact copy of the original. It is at best a reconstruction with a degree of “probability.” At the end of the day, not one word of this critical text can be proven by empirical evidence to be the word of God.”

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/86687-Text-Tradition-of-New-Testaments, Comment #10

Three Views on the Textus Receptus

E.F Hills, The King James Version Defended, chapter 8:

“from 1. Three Alternative Views Of The Textus Receptus (Received Text)

One of the leading principles of the Protestant Reformation was the sole and absolute authority of the holy Scriptures. The New Testament text in which early Protestants placed such implicit reliance was the Textus Receptus (Received Text), which was first printed in 1516 under the editorship of Erasmus. Was this confidence of these early Protestants misplaced? There are three answers to this question which may be briefly summarized as follows:

(a) The Naturalistic, Critical View of the Textus Receptus
Naturalistic textual critics, of course, for years have not hesitated to say that the Protestant Reformers were badly mistaken in their reliance upon the Textus Receptus. According to these scholars, the Textus Receptus is the worst New Testament text that ever existed and must be wholly discarded. One of the first to take this stand openly was Richard Bentley, the celebrated English philologian. In an apology written in 1713 he developed the party line which naturalistic critics have used ever since to sell their views to conservative Christians. (1) New Testament textual criticism, he asserted, has nothing to do with Christian doctrine since the substance of doctrine is the same even in the worst manuscripts. Then he added that the New Testament text has suffered less injury by the hand of time than the text of any profane author. And finally, he concluded by saying that we cannot begin the study of the New Testament text with any definite belief concerning the nature of God’s providential preservation of the Scriptures. Rather we must begin our study from a neutral standpoint and then allow the results of this neutral method to teach us what God’s providential preservation of the New Testament text actually has been. In other words, we begin with agnosticism and work ourselves into faith gradually. Some seminaries still teach this party line.

(b) The High Anglican View of the Textus Receptus
This was the view of Dean J. W. Burgon, Prebendary F. H. A. Scrivener, and Prebendary Edward Miller. These conservative New Testament textual critics were not Protestants but high Anglicans. Being high Anglicans, they recognized only three ecclesiastical bodies as true Christian churches, namely, the Greek Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Anglican Church, in which they themselves officiated. Only these three communions, they insisted, had the “apostolic succession.” Only these three, they maintained, were governed by bishops who had been consecrated by earlier bishops and so on back in an unbroken chain to the first bishops, who had been consecrated by the Apostles through the laying on of hands. All other denominations these high Anglicans dismissed as mere “sects.”

It was Burgon’s high Anglicanism which led him to place so much emphasis on the New Testament quotations of the Church Fathers, most of whom had been bishops. To him these quotations were vital because they proved that the Traditional New Testament Text found in the vast majority of the Greek manuscripts had been authorized from the very beginning by the bishops of the early Church, or at least by the majority of these bishops. This high Anglican principle, however, failed Burgon when he came to deal with the printed Greek New Testament text. For from Reformation times down to his own day the printed Greek New Testament text which had been favored by the bishops of the Anglican Church was the Textus Receptus, and the Textus Receptus had not been prepared by bishops but by Erasmus, who was an independent scholar. Still worse, from Burgon’s standpoint, was the fact that the particular form of the Textus Receptus used in the Church of England was the third edition of Stephanus, who was a Calvinist. For these reasons, therefore, Burgon and Scrivener looked askance at the Textus Receptus and declined to defend it except in so far as it agreed with the Traditional Text found in the majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts.

This position, however, is illogical. If we believe in the providential preservation of the New Testament text, then we must defend the Textus Receptus as well as the Traditional Text found in the majority of the Greek manuscripts. For the Textus Receptus is the only form in which this Traditional Text has circulated in print. To decline to defend the Textus Receptus is to give the impression that God’s providential preservation of the New Testament text ceased with the invention of printing. It is to suppose that God, having preserved a pure New Testament text all during the manuscript period, unaccountably left this pure text hiding in the manuscripts and allowed an inferior text to issue from the printing press and circulate among His people for more than 450 years. Much, then, as we admire Burgon for his general orthodoxy and for his is defense of the Traditional New Testament Text, we cannot follow him in his high Anglican emphasis or in his disregard for the Textus Receptus.

(c) The Orthodox Protestant View of the Textus Receptus
The defense of the Textus Receptus, therefore, is a necessary part of the defense of Protestantism. It is entailed by the logic of faith, the basic steps of which are as follows: First, the Old Testament text was preserved by the Old Testament priesthood and the scribes and scholars that grouped themselves around that priesthood (Deut. 31:24-26). Second, the New Testament text has been preserved by the universal priesthood of believers by faithful Christians in every walk of life (1 Peter 2:9). Third, the Traditional Text, found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts, is the True Text because it represents the God-guided usage of this universal priesthood of believers. Fourth, The first printed text of the Greek New Testament was not a blunder or a set-back but a forward step in the providential preservation of the New Testament. Hence the few significant departures of that text from the Traditional Text are only God’s providential corrections of the Traditional Text in those few places in which such corrections were needed. Fifth, through the usage of Bible-believing Protestants God placed the stamp of His approval on this first printed text, and it became the Textus Receptus (Received Text).

Hence, as orthodox Protestant Christians, we believe that the formation of the Textus Receptus was guided by the special providence of God. There were three ways in which the editors of the Textus Receptus Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, and the Elzevirs, were providentially guided. In the first place, they were guided by the manuscripts which God in His providence had made available to them. In the second place, they were guided by the providential circumstances in which they found themselves. Then in the third place, and most of all, they were guided by the common faith. Long before the Protestant Reformation, the God-guided usage of the Church had produced throughout Western Christendom a common faith concerning the New Testament text, namely, a general belief that the currently received New Testament text, primarily the Greek text and secondarily the Latin text, was the True New Testament Text which had been preserved by God’s special providence. It was this common faith that guided Erasmus and the other early editors of the Textus Receptus.”

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/87309-Ecclesiastical-Text-%E2%80%94-Response-to-James-White/page2, Comment #76