Thursday, July 30, 2020

Are Modern English Versions of the Bible Corrupt? -- Part 6

This is the sixth part in a multi-part series concerning social media posts that are circulating and accusing the NIV and other modern English translations of the Bible of taking out important words and concepts, leaving out verses, and other nefarious things.

Read part 1 here
Read part 2 here
Read part 3 here
Read part 4 here
Read part 5 here

Today we are going to tackle the “missing verses” from the Gospel According to Mark.

•Try and find these scriptures in NIV and ESV on your computer, phone or device right now if you are in doubt:
     Matthew 17:21, 18:11, 23:14;
     Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46;
     Luke 17:36, 23:17;
     John 5:4; Acts 8:37.

Mark 7:16

The King James Version has this verse as:
16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

After Mark 7:15, the NIV has a footnote that says:
Some manuscripts here include the words of 4:23 (referring back to chapter 4 of Mark itself).
while the ESV has a footnote that reads:
Some manuscripts add verse 16: If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear

This verse is not present in the earliest manuscripts, including Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. A scribe copying Mark may have thought it was appropriate to repeat the formula of Mark 4:9 and 4:23 here to emphasize the importance of what Jesus was teaching. In any event, the thought conveyed in this verse still exists in the Bible in several places. So no truth has been removed from Scripture in the modern translations.

Mark 9:44 and 9:46

This verse says:
44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Verse 46 in the KJV is identical.

For both verses 46 and 48, the NIV here has a footnote:
Some manuscripts include here the words of verse 48.

The ESV includes a similar footnote.

Mark 9:48 in the NIV says:
where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
which is a quotation of Isaiah 66:24.

According to commentator R.T. France, “These verses repeat what is firmly in the text at v. 48. It is more likely that the omission of vv. 44 and 46 in a wide range of witnesses represents the original text than that an original threefold repetition was eliminated.”[1] In any event, the words are still there in verse 48 in all translations. Honestly, claiming that verses 44 and 46 have been “removed,” when just a few lines later the same words are in verse 48, seems to be a bit of a stretch, if not an outright dishonest attempt to alarm people unnecessarily.

[1] R. T. France, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 2002), 379.

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