Morton/Steele Debate A

A Written Debate Concerning The Preservation Of Scripture

Compiled by
Timothy S. Morton

The first column is the text of my outline as found here.

In the center column is the entire text of answers Steele made concerning my outline. He also included a bibliography which can be found in HTML format here, and his introductory remarks can be found here. Steele's use of a Greek font could not be reproduced on this page so the Greek characters have been replaced with an asterisk "*". His original PDF file which includes the Bibliography and the embedded Greek font can be found here [219k].

The third column is my rebuttal to Steele's answers and reasoning.

The following three columns of correspondence is optimized for a horizontal screen

resolution of 1024 pixels. This page uses the very readable "Georgia" font available free from Microsoft

Morton's Outline

Steele's "Concise Answers"

Morton's Rebuttal

I. God gave His very words to man in the form of “Scripture” by direct “inspiration.”

2Tim. 3:16 states clearly that God gave His word in the form of written Scripture to mankind by inspiration. 2Pet. 1:20-21 says the Holy Ghost “moved” “holy men of God” to speak many of the words that became Scripture. The first purpose for the inspiration of the Scriptures was they be “profitable for doctrine” ( 2Tim. 3:17) so believers could discern truth from error.

There is no disagreement with Timothy Morton’s points I-III.

It seems we have three basic points of common ground, but notice, Steele says he has no disagreement in my saying the Bible came by "inspiration." This will come into play, below.

[Since Mr. Steele refers to me in the third person in his comments, I will do the same with him in this rebuttal.]

II. God promised to preserve this word in pure, written form for all generations.

The following verses attest to the nature and extent of God’s preservation of His word: 2Kings 10:10; Psa. 12:6-7, Psa. 19:7, Psa. 33:11, Psa. 100:5, Psa. 119:89, Psa. 119:140, Psa. 119:152, Psa. 119:160; Pro. 30:5, Isa. 40:8, Isa. 55:11; Matt. 5:18, Matt. 24:35; Luke 16:17; John 10:35; 1Pet. 1:23, 1Pet. 1:25.

There is no disagreement with Timothy Morton’s points I-III.

Notice here as well Steele doesn't disagree that God preserves His word in written form, he just can't produce a pure copy.

III. God’s actual “words” are preserved, not just basic thoughts or general teachings.

The above references and others also attest that God preserved the specific “words” He gave man, not mere generalities, concepts, or ideas ( Deut. 8:3; Matt.4:4).

There is no disagreement with Timothy Morton’s points I-III.


IV. The Bible declares the preservation of Scripture is not exclusive to the original autographs.

The term “Scripture(s)” in the Bible is not a term exclusive to the original autographs. In fact, it is always in reference to copies of texts available to the people: Dan. 10:21; Matt. 21:42, Matt. 22:29; Luke 4:21, Luke 24:32, Luke 24:45; John 5:39, John 20:9; Acts 8:32, Acts 8:35, Acts 17:2, Acts 17:11; Rom. 15:4, 1Cor. 15:3, Gal. 4:30, 2Tim. 3:15-16; 1Pet. 2:6; 2Pet. 3:16.

At this point we need to indicate an authority. For those of us who seek to emulate the New Testament church in matters of faith, doctrine, and religious practice, we should seek to have the same authority that they did. English did not exist when the New Testament church existed; their New Testament was in Greek. The Greek of II Timothy 3:16a is translated “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (ESV) and 3:17a is translated that this is so “that the man of God may be complete” (ASV). The word translated “complete” is ****** and means “perfectly fit” (Friberg et al, 76) and “entirely suited; complete” (in Perschbacher, 54). This means that the New Testament church’s Old Testament and Greek New Testament are completely sufficient to build proper doctrine. The New Testament church’s Old Testament and Greek New Testament are proper standards for all things doctrinal.

The Greek word translated “Scriptures" is ***** (Strong, Concordance 1176, Greek Dictionary 20; Young, Analytical 844), means “what has been written” (Richards, 544), and refers to the text of written documents (Strong, Greek Dictionary 20; Vine et al, 552). The text on manuscripts and copies of Scripture, and not the manuscripts and copies themselves, are Scripture.

Notice, Steele does not name what Greek text this authority is and then quotes the corrupt ESV and says this Greek text "is translated," "All Scripture is breathed out..." This is pure hogwash.

In my comments to his outline seen, here, I show how the Greek word "theopneustos" means to breath IN, not breath OUT! That is where the word "inspiration" comes from. But now Steele says it doesn't mean inspiration, it means essentially "expiration." The ASV, RSV, NASV, NKJV, Amplified, Geneva, Tyndale, etc. as well as the KJB all get "inspiration" [or "inspire"] right. The NIV says the weaker "God-breathed" and now the ESV says, "breathed out." Dear reader, you can see the progression into error.

I agree the Greek and Hebrew text the NT believers had were sufficient for all doctrine, but we don't have those texts today, and these languages are for all practical purposes dead.

In considerable detail in my comments on his outline I show the fallacy of Steele's claim that the manuscripts themselves are "not" Scripture. This is strange and desperate reasoning. The text of Scripture cannot be separated from the document and remain Scripture. Both the text and the document are required for God's words to be Scripture.

There are many words Christ spoke that were, of course, God's very words, but they are not Scripture because they were never written down and therefore included in the Scriptures. Steele is trying to justify why he cannot produce a tangible copy of the pure Bible.

V. The Bible indicates the preservation of Scripture is not exclusive to the original languages.

No where does the Bible state that only the original languages can accurately convey God’s words in their purity. There is no indication that His words loose any of their authority or power when accurately translated into another language. The word of God is “quick and powerful” and not limited to the original languages. In fact, the Bible honors translation of God’s words and makes no distinction between them and the original words ( Gen. 42:23; Ex. 5:2; Acts 22:2, etc.)

Scripture states nothing about how God will preserve Scripture other than that Scripture will always exist. There are great translations of the Bible into English, Spanish, and Portuguese with which the respondent is familiar, and they are all different. However, T. Morton makes the error of suggesting that human translation can be placed on an equal plane with God translating. In Genesis 42, Exodus 5, and Acts 22, in the process of God writing Scripture He Himself translated what was said in other languages into Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament. Human translations of the Scriptures from the original languages are not shown by Scripture to have the same authority as these translations made by God Himself during the inspiration process; nowhere in Scripture does God promise to translate Himself what He already wrote into additional languages.

On the contrary the Scriptures do state some of the ways God preserves his word, He commits it to His people. In Romans 3:2 Paul says Israel was "committed" the "oracles" [words or utterances] of God. They kept and preserved these words until NT times and after. Notice how Steele admits this in the next section!

Steele says all this about God's translation verses human translation when in his outline he says concerning the human translated "Septuagint," "God quoted a [man's] translation and called it "Scripture." As stated in my comments on his outline, I take issue with his statements concerning the Septuagint, but, here, Steele is arguing with himself! Apparently, to him consistency is not something much to be desired.

Nevertheless, Steele does not disprove my point that the Bible does not limit the Scriptures to the original languages.

VI. God preserves His word through His true believers.

God’s pure word can be found among His true believers. The Jews were committed the oracles God gave to them (Hebrew OT, Rom. 3:2) and preserved them throughout the millennia. New Testament believers are the means God uses to preserve the New Testament Scriptures. They are the “priesthood” which cherished, copied, and circulated the pure Scriptures ( Col. 4:16).

The Bible does not say this. Romans 3:1-2 says that the Old Testament text is preserved by the Jews. There is no indication how of this is done for the New Testament text. In many cases God does not do via the church what He did through the Jews. For instance, Judaism has a hierarchy of clergy; the New Testament nowhere mentions such for the New Testament church.

Above Steele said, "Scripture states nothing about how God will preserve Scripture" and here quotes Scripture to prove the OT was preserved by the Jews!

"No indication"? Look at my point IX. Christ said the HS would guide believers in "truth," and "truth" is His word.

What does a "hierarchy of clergy" have to do with God preserving His word through believers? Where does Steele think a person should look for God's word if not among God's people? In the Vatican?

VII. The Scriptures declare there are forces at work that attempt to corrupt and pervert God’s word.

The Bible warns that there would be those who would “corrupt the word of God” ( 2Cor. 2:17) and handle it “deceitfully” ( 2Cor. 4:2). There would arise false gospels with false epistles ( 2Thes. 2:2), along with false prophets and teachers who would not only bring in “damnable heresies” but would seek to “make merchandise” of the true believer through their own “feigned words” ( 2Pet. 2:1-3).

Scripture does not mention corruption of itself. The Greek of the start of the first passage mentioned, II Corinthians 2:17, is translated into Spanish as “Porque no somos como muchos, mercaderes falsos de la palabra de Dios” (RVR 1909) = “Because we-are not as many, false merchants of the word of God.” The context is what Paul preached. This passage describes people preaching a false message of God and doing so for profit. It does not refer to people sitting down to corrupt the text of Scripture.

It doesn't? Well, Steele should get him a real Bible and put aside the inferior. Any Greek lexicon will tell you that the Greek word for "corrupt" can be translated as "corrupt" or "adulterate."

Of course, the publishers of the new Bibles don't want to be known as corrupters of the Scriptures, but I guess they don't mind being called "false merchants" or "peddlers." However, they are both.

VIII. The Scriptures and history declare there were heretics and false prophets who produced corrupted texts.

Speaking of false prophets, Jesus taught that if a tree is corrupt, the fruit will be corrupt. Likewise, if a tree is good, the fruit will be good ( Matt. 7:17). False prophets and false teachers corrupt the scriptures ( 2Pet. 2:1-3). We are told we can recognize these false prophets and teachers “by their fruits.” The fruit of the false prophet is false prophecies and the fruit of the false teacher is false doctrine. If a man's doctrine is corrupt, we must conclude that he will corrupt the scriptures ( 2Cor. 2:17) to support his doctrine. So, if a man's teachings are good and sound, we can expect that those sound teachings came from sound scriptures.

History declares it, but not Scripture. II Corinthians 2:17 is addressed immediately above. II Peter 2:1-3 refers to false teachers and nowhere says that they would sit down to corrupt the text of Scripture. Matthew 7:17 refers to false prophets and may extend to false teachers, but nowhere says that they would sit down to corrupt the text of Scripture.

Really? Paul said there were people sending counterfeit letters to churches "as from us" that were NOT from him [2 Thes. 2:2]. Why would someone send forged letters supposedly from an apostle if they were not trying to deceive the readers into believing their words were not corrupt but genuine?

Jehudi tried to corrupt Scripture by destroying an original part of it in a fire [Jer. 36:23]! However it didn't work, God gave Jeremiah the words back, plus some new words!

Satan corrupted the Scripture He quoted to Christ in the desert [Matt. 4:4]. He left out "all thy ways" when he quoted Psa. 91:11 in trying to get Christ to cast Himself down from the temple. The reason he left those words out was because they didn't serve his purpose. It was not God's "ways" for Christ to do this.

Here the Holy Spirit shows us a great lesson concerning the tactics of Satan; the omission of words from Scripture is a key method of his corruption. And what is one of the major and obvious flaws showing the modern Bibles are corrupt? They omit scores of passages, verses, and words from the Scriptures.

IX. The Lord Jesus Christ promised the Holy Spirit would guide believers in all truth.

John 16:13 says, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth,” and John 17:17 says that this truth is God’s word. Thus true believers have a promise that God will reveal the truth of His word and the truth about His word. Thus believers have a means to discern truth from error and His pure word from counterfeit and corrupt text

It is dangerous to build a new religious doctrine solely upon a perception of what the Holy Spirit may be leading one to believe and do. Many Pentecostals believe that they are led by the Holy Spirit into a true understanding of Scripture and that it is acceptable for them to make wildly emotional parties out of what should be dignified worship services of God. Catholic apologists use John 16:13 to insist that the Holy Spirit has guided the Vatican's leadership into proper faith.  Examples are Philip St. Romain (St. Romain, Philip.  Catholic Answers To Fundamentalists' Questions.  Liguori, MO:  Liguori Press, 1994.  Pg. 19) and defector from fundamentalism to Catholicism David B. Currie (Currie, David B..  Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic.  San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, 1996.  Pg. 65). They believe that the Holy Spirit has authorized the Catholic church to in practice place church leadership -- with the bishop of Rome as head of that leadership -- over the Bible, and to practice worship-like "veneration" of Jesus' mother and of graphic repesentations.  Orthodox priest John Whiteford applies John 16:13 to suggest that the Orthodox branch of Christianity was guided into proper doctrine by the Holy Spirit (Whiteford, John.  Sola Scriptura:  An Orthodox Analysis Of The Cornerstone Of Reformation Theology.  Ben Lomond, CA:  Conciliar Press, 1996.  Pg. 19); this would mean that he believes that the Holy Spirit has authorized the Orthodox churches to pray to Jesus' mother and to practice worship-like "veneration" of graphic representations.  Since Orthodoxy and Catholicism are different, most notably on the authority of the bishop of Rome, both cannot be correct in believing that their organizations are led of the Holy Spirit into doctrinal purity.  The fact is simply that Jesus at John 16:13 promised only His apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth.

A "new religious doctrine"? Saying the HS will guide believers according to the Scriptures [or believing the Scriptures God has provided him] is a new religious doctrine? Steele needs to get out more.

"Only His apostles"? We non-apostles have no promise of God's guidance? I suppose Paul was wrong then in saying to the Corinthians,

"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." [1 Cor. 2:12]

Needless to say, the Scriptures were "given to us of God."

And John also must have been wrong in saying to his non-apostle readers,

"But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." [1 John 2:20].

"But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie,..." [1 John 2:27].

However, on the other hand, even Peter [who I believe Steele will agree was an apostle] did not follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 2:11. Paul says he was to be blamed. He had the promise of guidance [as all believers], but did not follow it. 

Also, it is the word of God itself that is defined as truth in John 17:17, not the ramblings of Catholics and others who wish to promote some false doctrine that is foreign to Scripture. That a group or "church" perverts and misuses a passage of Scripture does not annul the Scripture. It is still valid.

The simple truth is the Lord guides true believers [apostles and non-apostles] in recognizing His true and pure word. That does not mean that all who profess Christianity follow His guidance.

X. The Holy Spirit providentially guided true believers in discerning the true books of Scripture and forming the New Testament canon.

“Through the Holy Spirit's guidance of individual believers, silently and gradually - but nevertheless surely, the Church as a whole was led to a recognition of the fact that the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, and only these books, form the canon which God gave to be placed beside the Old Testament Scriptures as the authoritative and final revelation of His will” ( John 14:25-26). The canon was determined by believers long before the council of Carthage "officially" recognized it.

Again, nowhere does Scripture promise that the church would be inerrant in discerning which books belong in the New Testament and which ones do not. Nowhere does Scripture promise that we would stick to the New Testament church’s list, nor does it teach that after the church strayed God would lead them back to the true New Testament canon.

So, according to Steele, the true church cannot really be sure it even has the right canon. What can believers be sure of if not the principles found in the Scriptures? It is not unreasonable to conclude that since the Lord used His people to determine the canon of the OT, He would do the same with the NT. Steele offered no method of determining the canon, not even one based on principle."

Furthermore, it is very likely the apostle John, himself, determined the canon before he died. He wrote the last book of Scripture and would be in the perfect position to do so.

True, there are no passages that state specifically how the canon would be formed, but the principles of God guiding and directing His children in these matters clearly indicate God would direct them. Steele talks about believers like they are a bunch of fatherless orphans.

XI. The Holy Spirit providentially guided true believers in discerning the true reading of the Scriptures from those corrupted.

“Since the Holy Spirit guided the early Christians to gather the individual New Testament books into one New Testament canon and to reject all non-canonical books, in the same manner also the Holy Spirit guided the early Christians to preserve the New Testament text by receiving the true readings and rejecting the false” (John 16:13).

Again, nowhere does Scripture promise that the church would be inerrant in discerning New Testament textual variants and those that are original. For example at James 2:18 the 1545 German Luther Bible by Protestant Reformer Martin Luther has "mit deinen werken" = "with your works" from ****** ***** *** (Berry, 588) where the 1611 KJV has "||without thy workes" from ***** *** ***** *** (Green, 698) with margin note "||Some copies reade, by thy workes." German Protestants accepted the one, and English Protestants took the other.

I did not say the church would be inerrant in discerning the true Scriptures, but that the Holy Spirit would providentially guide them in truth. Sometimes there is a process involved in finding the truth. In spite of this very slight variation in the texts, Luther's Bible and all other Reformation Protestant Bibles were translated from essentially the same Greek text.

XII. The preserved true readings of Scripture became know as the Traditional or Byzantine Text.

Many trustworthy copies of the original New Testament manuscripts were hand-copied by faithful scribes and were then recopied by other believers down through the centuries. These copies became the standard, accepted, Traditional Text in the eyes of discerning believers.

There are three types of texts found among the manuscripts: the Alexandrian, Byzantine, and Western. At what is now I Timothy 5:18 God wrote through Paul "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his hire" (ASV). The first quote of "the scripture" in I Timothy 5:18 is from Deuteronomy 25:4, and the second is from Luke 10:7 (in Criswell, 1843). What is of note is that the Byzantine text has one Greek reading for Luke 10:7 and the Alexandrian and Western texts have another Greek reading. Alexandrian-type Codex Vaticanus has ********* * *********** ****** ***** (Maius, 133) and Western-type Codex Bezae has the same text (Scrivener, Bezae, 204). The source text for the KJV adds ?st? at the end of the sentence (in Green, 218) as do the majority of manuscripts (Hodges, Farstad, 275) and the Greek text traditionally approved and used by the Eastern and Greek Orthodox churches (Zodhiates, 235); these represent Luke 10:7 in the Byzantine text. Literal English renderings of each Greek reading are as follows: Alexandrian/Western: “for worthy the workman of the pay of him” (Marshall, 202) Byzantine: “for worthy the workman of his hire is” (in Berry, 186); **** = “is” (Farstad, Hodges, et al, 250). The Byzantine text clarifies the sentence with an additional word: **** = “is.” I Timothy 5:18 has ****** * ******* *** *********** (in Douglas, 246, 733), and this matches the source text for the KJV (in Green, 645), the text used by the Eastern and Greek Orthodox churches (in Zodhiates, 695), and the majority of manuscripts (Hodges, Farstad, 631) and the 1881 Westcott-Hort text (Westcott, Hort, 488). This is an exact match for Luke 10:7 minus *** = "for" (in Douglas, 246, 733), which is understandable because “for” connects the clause into another sentence at Luke 10:7, while at I Timothy 5:18 the clause was intended to stand by itself. What is to be noticed is that the quotation of Luke 10:7 at I Timothy 5:18 does not have the Byzantine text’s ****, leaving the “is” implied, as in the Alexandrian and Western texts for Luke 10:7. If the Byzantine text was both original and available to Paul, it is not likely that he would have chosen the opposing less-clear version of the clause; the less-clear version must have been what Paul had to quote from. Therefore, when Paul quoted the Gospel of Luke in the 060’s C.E., the text that he used was not Byzantine in nature. The significance of this should not be overlooked. First of all, God ultimately wrote what is now I Timothy through Paul. God did not use a Byzantine-type text to write this passage of Scripture, and because writing the New Testament was part of establishing the church, this means that God did not use a Byzantine-type text to establish the church. Second, this is the oldest evidence that we have among the manuscripts, translations, and church writers. In this evidence we find that a Byzantine-type text was not followed. The Byzantine text was not the text of the New Testament church.

Since Steele essentially repeats word for word one of his points in his outline, I will reply with what I wrote there to challenge is assertions.

The "three families" of manuscripts claim is a mere human invention. It was essentially unheard of until Westcott and Hort developed it in an attempt to justify their radical new version. Many "esteemed scholars" of today believe dividing the manuscripts into three [or four] subjective families is misleading and self-serving. Notice these quotes as found in Jack Moorman's work, Forever Settled,

"We have reconstructed text types and families and subfamilies and in so doing have created things that never before existed on earth or in heaven." (Parvis).

"It is still customary to divide MSS into four well-known families ...this classical division can no longer be maintained." (Klijn).

"Was there a fundamental flaw in the previous investigation which tolerated so erroneous a grouping ... Those few men who have done extensive collating of MSS, or paid attention to those done by others, as a rule have not accepted such erroneous groupings." (Metzger).

"I defy anyone, after having carefully perused the foregoing lists ... to go back to the teaching of Dr. Hort (regarding text-types) with any degree of confidence." (Hoskier) .

Concerning the "Western Text," notice this quote from Moorman,

"Colwell observes that the Nestle text (25th edition) denies the existence of the Western text as an identifiable group, saying it is "a denial with which I agree." Speaking of von Soden's classification of the Western text, Metzger says, "so diverse are the textual phenomena that von Soden was compelled to posit seventeen subgroups." And Klijn, speaking of a pure or original western text affirms that "such a text did not exist."

In short, the content of the subjective "families" of manuscripts can be shifted at will by any scholar who wishes to, thus it is a meaningless designation.

Concerning Steele's quote of 1 Tim. 5:8, take a look at 1 Cor. 9:9 where Paul quotes the same passage he quotes in 1 Tim. In 1 Cor. he says in reference to Deut. 25:4,

"Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn."

Now look at the verse in Deut. 25 he was quoting,

"Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn."

And now the verse in 1 Tim 5:8,

"Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn..."

Neither of Paul's two quotes exactly match the original in Deut., and furthermore, Paul's two quotes don't match each other! He adds "the mouth of" in 1 Cor. and leaves "he" out in 1 Tim! What is the lesson? Any author can freely quote His own work and the Holy Spirit did just that.

Since quotes are freely made throughout the NT that are not verbatim, Steele's contention that Paul's non verbatim quote of Luke ["The labourer is worthy of his reward"] proves that he was using an Alexandrian based text is laughable if not pathetic. It is pure, biased supposition. That he would have to go to such a desperate extent to defend his position shows just how tenuous his position is.

XIII. At the advent of the printing press the compiled Traditional Text became know as the “Textus Receptus” or “Received Text.”

The first edition of the Textus Receptus, printed in 1516, contained a number of errors of a minor sort, some of which persisted in later editions, But in all essentials the New Testament text first printed by Erasmus and later by Stephanus (1550) and Elzevir (1633) is in full agreement with the Traditional Text providentially preserved in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts.

What is “all essentials?” There is no substantial difference between the Byzantine-type text and the Alexandrian-type text. Second, the editions of the “Textus Receptus” do not always match the majority of Greek manuscripts. The vast majority of Greek manuscripts do not have equivalents to the KJV’s “in heaven…in earth” and the first Erasmus Greek text did not either ((Hills, King, 197-8). At Matthew 27:41 the Greek for “Pharisees” appears among those who mock Jesus at the cross in the majority of Greek manuscripts (NKJV margin note). No edition of the “Received Text” matches the majority of manuscripts at all points.

"All essentials" is all the essential components of God's word. To claim that the very minor differences between the editions of the TR is no different than the numerous and major differences between any edition of the TR and the Alexandrian Text is like comparing "Old Faithful" geyser to a "squirt gun." Many entire verses are missing in the Alexandrian Text and the new Bibles based on it. And many more parts of verses and words. There is no comparison.

The King James Bible is not a direct translation of the Textus Receptus anyway. It has readings from other sources that God providentially led the translators to use.

XIV. Because of their much use, the existing copies of the Traditional Text are generally not as ancient as the rejected, corrupt texts, but it has other ancient witnesses.

Since over the centuries believers were constantly reading and copying their Scriptures, the older parent copies simply decayed out of existence from use. Although its representatives are not as ancient, the Traditional Text has very ancient witness in writings of early believers such as Ignatius (d. 107 AD) and Polycarp (d. 155 AD). It also has witness in early Syrian, Latin, and other translations.

T. Morton engages in speculation about manuscripts that might have existed in ancient times. This is an important difference between Byzantine-text supporters and Alexandrian-text supporters. When one focuses on ancient manuscript evidence that we do have, one comes to the conclusion that the Alexandrian text was predominant in the earliest centuries. When one chooses to speculate on manuscript conditions before 500 C.E., without regard for manuscripts from that time, then any speculation will do. In 1899 F. C. Burkitt argued from church quotations and translations alone that the Western text (that of the Latin versions) was predominant in the earliest centuries (in Barnard, xviii). In fairness to him, it needs pointed out that the bulk of papyrus fragments from c.100-400 were not discovered until the next century.

Notice Steele does not challenge the fact that readings from the TR can be found among the early church fathers, but he does claim I am speculating that the manuscripts these "fathers" quoted from existed. Then how did these ancient fellows quote Scripture they didn't have and Steele implies didn't exist?

This is not speculation at all. The "fathers" were quoting from copies of Scripture they had before them that have since disappeared. "Manuscript evidence" is not the only method of determining the existence of texts. The quoting of Byzantine texts by the ancient fathers demands the text's existence.

XV. The rejected corrupt texts, known as Vaticanus and Sinaiticus (the Alexandrian Text) contain the non-canonical books called “Apocrypha” within their "Canon."

One reason these texts were rejected is they contain non-canonical books within their Old and New Testaments thus treating them as Scripture. Because of this addition of false books, the subtraction of many true words, and the many disagreements of these two texts between each other and the Traditional texts, these manuscripts were little esteemed and thus little used and copied by believers. Though they are generally older, the “Alexandrian” texts represent only around 5% of the available Greek manuscripts

So what? This has nothing at all to do with the New Testament text. The issue of copying is honesty; the scribe had to accurately reproduce what he saw in front of him. If he was honest, he copied carefully; if he was not honest, he may have copied falsely. We do not know who copied any of the pre-500 C.E. manuscripts into being. We do not know what they thought of these apocryphal books. They might have revered them as Scripture. They might have simply respected them in the way that the KJV translators did: as worthwhile reading but not Scripture. They may have rejected them or had no opinion of them, but copied them anyway because their boss told them to do so or simply because they were in the manuscript that they were copying from. Regular exposure to Roman Catholics and/or to members of Orthodox churches shows that acceptance of the apocrypha does not by itself make one deceptive and untrustworthy. On the other hand, regular exposure to non-Catholic/non-Orthodox professing Christians has shown that rejection of the apocryphal books does not automatically make one honest or trustworthy. People with regular exposure to those who accept apocryphal books know that acceptance or rejection of these books has no effect on honesty. This means that copies made by someone who accepts apocryphal books are not necessarily dishonest. It is worth noting that the only known pre-500 C.E. manuscript which originally contained the whole Bible and had Byzantine text in it is Codex Alexandrinus, and it had the Roman Catholic “deuterocanonicals” and other pre-Christian Jewish books that even the Vatican rejected, such as III and IV Maccabees and Psalm 151 (Comfort, Essential, 78). If the apocrypha objection is applied consistently, then the Byzantine text should not be followed either, but the apocrypha objection is not valid; it has nothing at all to do with the New Testament text.

"So What?" How can Steele say this? That the three major manuscripts of the "Alexandrian Text" have the phony books called "Apocrypha" within their canon says a lot. This indicates that true believers who knew the true canon were not involved in their production. Unlike the King James translators and others who included the Apocrypha between the testaments, clearly marking them as non-canonical, these "scribes" [or those who caused the manuscripts production] stuck the phony books right beside the true books without making any distinction! The OT Jews would have never considered such a sacrilege. The King James OT canon is identical to theirs.

It is clear Steele treats the texts of the Scriptures as just another book "lost in the sea of time." He emphasizes the human element [human ability or "honesty"] rather than biblical principles or precedent.

From a Bible believers point of view the Apocrypha within these texts is a clear sign these texts are to be heavily questioned as their trustworthiness. It is as if God was clearly marking them so those who have eyes to see can see them for what they are. What an ingenious way to mark a corrupt text, just place a bunch of obviously phony books in it!

Even from a secular perspective the addition of books or texts that don't belong in a record raises serious questions. If you went to the courthouse to check the record of your will and found one copy a clerk made [until the mid 1900s copies were handwritten] that was sloppily done with many corrections in the margin and also had whole paragraphsof someone else's will within it; and then found another copy that was neat, complete, and looked essentially as it did when you made it, which would you want your children to find and believe?

Steele's mention of "Alexandrinus" is a smokescreen. The TR was not derived from Alexandrinus, it was derived from much more consistent texts that don't include the Apocrypha within the canon.

The way Steele reasons the big three Alexandrian Texts [or any text for that matter] could have the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Koran, the ramblings of Buddha and Confucius, the Satanic Bible, a couple Batman comics, and the Betty Crocker cookbook intertwined within the canon of Scripture and it would make no difference!

One more thing before we leave this subject. People of Steele's ilk often claim some modern translation should be accepted because the translators "believe in the authority of God's word," etc. However, when it comes to the texts these versions are made from, believing in the authority of God's word is not necessary for the copiest or producer of these texts! Steele says "it has nothing at all to do with the New Testament text." Consistency is not a virtue among the Autograph Only.

XVI. During the Protestant Reformation the Lord led believers who loved His word to translate the Traditional Text/Textus Receptus into other languages.

With a love for God’s word and a fervent desire to provide a Bible in their native language, certain men, often with great sacrifice, labored tirelessly to translate God’s word. The resulting Bibles include Martin Luther's German version in 1522, Tyndale’s English New Testament of 1525, the French version of Oliveton (1535), the Spanish (Valera) and Czech translations (both in 1602), and Diodati's Italian translation of 1607

The so-called “Alexandrian” text was not known in Reformation times, so it is a natural consequence that all Reformation-era translations from the Greek agree with the Byzantine text class.

And do you think that this just happened by "chance"? God could have gave them these texts if He wanted.

Furthermore, the KJ translators had before them the Jesuit-Rheims version of 1582 that was translated from the Latin Vulgate as well as the Vulgate. The Vulgate was translated around the same general time as Vaticanus and shares some of its readings, but the translators were guided by the Lord to accept the genuine and reject the others.

XVII. The corrupt Vaticanus manuscript, was hidden in the Vatican by the persecutors of the true believers, the Roman Catholic Church.

“If the Textus Receptus line is the wrong line of manuscripts, why would God allow born-again Christians to use this line and suffer persecution, while giving to those who were persecuting the true Church the correct line?” If those who were persecuting the Church had the correct line of manuscripts, why did they prohibit it from being translated for so many years, even hiding it from their own people? If the Traditional line of manuscripts is not the correct line, why has God so greatly blessed this line and the translations of the Traditional Text throughout the history of the Church? Would not God bear witness to which is good and which is corrupt? ( Matt. 7:15-20)”

Yes, Vaticanus was secluded by the Vatican. It is the respondent’s suspicion that they did so because they knew Vaticanus would bring distrust of their beloved Latin Vulgate, which was derived primarily from a Western-type text.

Again, Steele looks at the human element and essentially ignores the divine. If God wanted Vaticanus out in the open, does any rational person think the pope could stop Him?

XVIII. From Tyndale’s translation in 1525 to the King James Bible of 1611 the text of the English Bible went through a period of purifying.

Although Tyndale’s New Testament was a magnificent work, the English Bible was not yet pure. Others set out to improve it by revising Tyndale’s work. The results include Coverdale‘s Bible, 1535; Matthew’s Bible, The Great Bible, 1541; The Geneva Bible, 1560; and The Bishop’s Bible, 1568. These Bibles were all valuable translations and God’s word in their time, but neither God nor learned men were completely satisfied with them.

How do we know from Scripture that the Geneva Bible was not the final stage of purification? How do we know it did not reach the zenith of purification with the 1881 English Revised Version? How do we know, without extrabiblical speculation, that it has reached that zenith, or ever will? Furthermore, how do we know, without extrabiblical speculation, that this “purifying” ever occurred? Psalm 12:6-7 places all purification of God’s Word in the past tense even before King David’s time. Nowhere in Scripture is it recorded that God declared one part no longer Scripture and replaced it with something else.

By opening your eyes! The Geneva Bible was popular for a few decades, but was eventually replaced by the King James Bible. Clearly the Lord blessed the KJ above the Geneva since it is still in print. The last printing of the Geneva [except of modern novelty printings] was in the 1640s.

We have always said there was an element of faith required to believe God has preserved His word in its purity. Because of the foundation He has laid and the promises He has made, we believe He has done so. All one has to do is open his eyes and look to see what God is doing and with which Bible He is doing it with.

XIX. King James of England was petitioned by a multitude of ministers and scholars to authorize the production of a new, more accurate English Bible. History also reveals this request was during an optimal period in the development of the English language.

Because of the weaknesses of the Bibles then in existence “nearly a thousand” English ministers petitioned King James for a new translation. King James saw the need as well and authorized the translation in 1604 by a hand-picked group of devout and expert believers ( Eccl. 8:4). “Not only was the English language by 1611 in a more opportune condition than it had ever been before or ever would be again, but the Hebrew and the Greek likewise had been brought up with the accumulated treasures of their materials to a splendid working point.”

No dispute here.

Notice, Steele doesn't dispute,

“Not only was the English language by 1611 in a more opportune condition than it had ever been before or ever would be again, but the Hebrew and the Greek likewise had been brought up with the accumulated treasures of their materials to a splendid working point.”

Since English was in a more opportune condition then, would that not make it a more opportune time to translate a Bible?

XX. The King James Bible translators were of unparalleled linguistic achievement and ability, but also tempered by God for their great task with persecution and suffering.

“Moreover linguistic scholarship was at its peak. Men of giant minds, supported by excellent physical health, had possessed in a splendid state of perfection a knowledge of the languages and literature necessary for the ripest Biblical scholarship.” “The translators of the King James, moreover, had something beyond great scholarship and unusual skill. They had gone through a period of great suffering. They had offered their lives that the truths which they loved might live.”

Perhaps unparalleled at that time, but since the translators are no longer with us, it is difficult to know for certain whether they could compete with modern translators or not. Second, the 1569 Spanish Reina Bible of Cassiodoro de Reyna and the 1602 Valera Bible of Cipriano de Valera were both produced by religious refugees from the Spanish Inquisition.

I wonder how many scholars Steele can name that are fluent in 15 languages? I wonder how many he knows who spake and wrote in Hebrew at five years of age [Bois]? English language experts who make no claim to Christianity, insist the King James Bible of 1611 is the most influential book ever written in the English language [see, The Story of English]! That was not done with marginal linguistic skills.

XXI. The Lord providentially guided the King James translators to produce what He would latter make the standard English Bible.

Since the Lord has access to the hearts of men ( Pro. 16:1, Pro. 16:9, Pro. 20:24, etc) and can easily influence and guide their thoughts and choices, His nearly exclusive use of the King James Bible during the following centuries indicates He guided its translators to produce the English Bible in the manner he wants man to have it. He guided them in what readings to use and the words to translate them. It is clearly the English Bible He has placed His “stamp of approval” on; His standard Bible. This may have been impossible for man to realize in 1611, but during the following years the Lord led believers to believe and use the King James Bible as His pure, inerrant word and reject all others.

Perhaps He gave us the English Bible in the manner He wanted English-readers to have it THEN, and not necessarily now. Second, God did not exclusively use the English KJV; there were Bible translations in other languages which differed from the KJV. The German Luther Bible, which differed from the KJV at such places as James 2:18 and Revelation 16:5, propelled German Protestantism so much that up to the 1800’s many considered the Luther Bible as “`second inspiration’” (in Beacham, Bauder, 41-2).

If the Lord wanted to "update" the language of the King James Bible, He of course could, but He hasn't.

As for the other languages, believers can choose the Bible God has blessed in their language. Luther's Bible is a very good translation and is to be preferred over any Bible based on the Alexandrian Text.

XXII. Although typographical corrections have been made, the King James Bible has not gone through any true revision and is textually the same today as in 1611.

During the 17th century printing was still crude and prone to mistakes and minor typographical misprints were introduced into the text. Subsequent printings corrected these mistakes. In 1769 the current edition of the King James Bible was published which updated the spelling and removed the last of the “typos.” Therefore, the text of the King James Bible today is the same as that submitted by the translators. There is no difference in the hearing between a 1611 edition and today’s 1769 edition, except for the very few and usually obvious “typos.”

This is patently false. There were changes in source Greek text, such as at John 16:25 (1): the 1611 KJV had “prouerbs : the time” and the 1638 KJV had “proverbs : the time” where the 1769 KJV has “proverbs: but the time”; “but” is from *** (in Berry, 295). The 1550 Robert Stephanus Greek text had *** between **** = “to you” and ******* = “is coming” (ibid.) but the 1516 Desiderius Erasmus Greek text just had **** ******* without ***. The Bishops’ Bible 1602 edition had “prouerbs : the time” but the Geneva Bible had “parables : but the time” (GenB). All Bible quotations in the 1611 KJV's long preface “The Translators To The Reader” are from the Geneva Bible (Daniell, xiii; Bruce, English, 92), so the KJV translators were familiar with the Geneva Bible. Therefore, by excluding “but” both the 1611 KJV and 1638 revision of the KJV rejected the source reading of the 1769 revision of the KJV at John 16:25.

(1) Noted at,,
July 2003.

Notice how Steele says what I said was untrue and then shows his desperation by citing a supposed textual change that doesn't even change the meaning of the verse!

To say my statement is "patently false," Steele should be able to "patently" prove his case, but he doesn't. He claims the 1769 edition was translated from the 1550 Stephanus TR but the 1611 and 1638 editions were translated from the 1516 Erasmus TR and all he can come up with for "proof" is one "but." This could easily be a typo, but even if it wasn't it makes no difference.

In a report given to the American Bible Society in 1852 a researcher states,

"The English Bible as left by the translators has come down to us UNALTERED in respect to its text. With the exception of typographical errors and changes required by orthography in the English language, the text of our present Bibles remains UNCHANGED AND WITHOUT VARIATION FROM THE ORIGINAL COPY AS LEFT BY THE TRANSLATORS."

So even the American Bible Society says the text of the 1769 edition is the same as the intended 1611 edition!

XXIII. The rejected Alexandrian Text is the basis for nearly all the new versions designed to replace the Authorized Version.

During the late 19th century enemies of the Textus Receptus/Authorized Version produced a Bible called the Revised Version based on the Alexandrian text. It was intended to replace the King James Bible. However, in spite of its heavy promotion it was rejected by believers and has been out of print for decades. During the 20th century still more corrupt versions were produced including the ASV, RSV, etc., and many of these have been rejected and thus are essentially out of print. Some modern versions such as the NASV, NIV, and others are in use today mainly because of heavy use of worldly advertising techniques and deceptive marketing. However, none of these versions have any “staying power” and each will be replaced by the next “new” version.

The medieval Greek Orthodox church did reject the so-called “Alexandrian” text in favor of the Byzantine text. The so-called “Alexandrian” text virtually disappeared because of 1) the Vatican’s decision to follow the Latin Vulgate, and 2) the Orthodox church’s decision to follow the Byzantine text and so it was not available to Protestant Reformation scholars to use or to reject. “Enemies of the of the Textus Receptus/Authorized Version” seems to be rhetoric. Rather, the reason for the Revised Version was simply that many people wanted a more accurate English translation of the Bible, not malice against the KJV.

What? You mean Hort didn't mean it when he said,

"...having read so little Greek Testament. and dragged on with the villainous Textus Receptus.... Think of that vile Textus Receptus leaning entirely on late manuscripts;"

And if the text was "vile" what about the translations made from it?

Again, Steele talks as if God had no influence on the availability of texts to the Protestant reformers.

Not very many wanted this supposed "more accurate" Bible because the RV went out of print generations ago!

XXIV. The publishers of the modern versions compare their versions with the King James Bible thus confirming that after nearly 400 years it is still the standard Bible in the English language.

If one will read the Preface/Introduction of virtually any English translation since 1611 he will find that that version will always compare itself with the King James Bible in attempt to show itself superior. So even the words of its critics indicate that the the Lord has made the Authorized Version of 1611 the standard English Bible; the Bible He has placed His stamp of approval on until the end of the age.

The former is not correct; the translation committee for the Today’s New International Version compare their new translation to the New International Version in the TNIV New Testament preface. There may or may not be a standard Bible in the English language. Many older Christians use the King James Version, many younger ones use the NIV. Even if one grants that the KJV is the standard English Bible, this does not prove that the KJV is the most accurate English translation of the Bible, nor does it prove that God does not will the existence of other English translations, nor does it prove that Christians knowing two or more languages should adhere to the KJV over a foreign translation. We observed earlier that at James 2:18 the 1545 German Luther Bible by Protestant Reformer Martin Luther has "mit deinen werken" = "with your works" from ?? t?? ????? s?? (Berry, 588) where the 1611 KJV has "||without thy workes" from ???ì? t?? ????? s?? (Green, 698) with margin note "||Some copies reade, by thy workes." Even if it is granted that the KJV is the standard English Bible, this does not prove that someone who knows both English and German should adhere to the KJV above the German Luther Bible.

As anybody can tell the TNIV is merely a rehashed NIV; an NIV "updated" to include "politically-correct" "gender-neutral language." The NIV was published in 1978 but apparently the English language has changed so much since then that it had to be "revised." Hogwash. It has to do with $$$!

Take a look at the Preface to the NIV, the only other English version mentioned is the King James. Apparently the publishers didn't see any other version as a threat.

Steele completely misses the point. How does a Bible become the standard Bible among true believers in any language without the Lord's guidance and influence? Steele talks like God is completely uninterested in the preservation, transmission, and use of His word, and He in no way indicates to His children where His word is and in what form it can be found. God shows His true word to His people by blessing it in USING IT!

XXV. The King James Bible of 1611 has to its credit more redeemed souls, more true revivals, more God-called preachers, and in general more godly fruits than any other Bible in any other language throughout history.

The full results God has obtained with the Authorized Version will never be known this side of heaven, but the results we can see are utterly amazing. God has used it to save the souls of untold millions, civilize countless savages, convict the hardest hearts, change the course of nations, and bring innumerable workers into the ministry. He has used it much more than any other Bible including the original autographs. It has been translated into hundreds of other languages by missionaries called by it to other lands; it has been carried hundreds of thousands of miles on horseback, by ship, and on foot to the lost in the remotest parts of the earth; and it has had its words echo in fields, woods, city streets, and churches for nearly four centuries and they are still ringing true today. Woe unto the person who would cast it aside! Woe unto the person who would ignore its precious truths! If God has no problem with the King James Bible, why should any man?

Actually, since the Authorized Version came from printed Greek New Testament texts, which came from Greek manuscripts, which themselves came from older Greek manuscripts, and on down through history to the original Greek manuscripts, any fruit of the Authorized Version comes ultimately from the original Greek manuscripts. “If God has no problem with the King James Bible, why should any man?” We do not know that God had not decided that the KJV’s time had passed and that better translations are now what He wants for His English-reading Christians. Second, if God had no problem with the Greek New Testament text that He Himself gave to His New Testament church, why should any person reject it in favor of a later translation thereof, especially without authorization from Scripture to do so?

It seems any way Steele can downplay the power, authority and influence of the King James Bible he does it.

He claimed above the RV was a "more accurate English translation" than the KJ thus he would claim it came from,

"[better] printed Greek New Testament texts, which came from [better] Greek manuscripts, which themselves came from [better] older Greek manuscripts, and on down through history to the original Greek manuscripts,"

but the undeniable fact is the RV, [and most other modern translations] was a big flop! God didn't bless it and nobody wanted it.

Finally, Steele bases his last statement on a classic "straw-man" argument. He makes an invented position and then attacks it. In this case I have not rejected "the Greek New Testament text that He Himself gave to His New Testament church." In fact, I have never seen it and neither has Steele!

I have said throughout this debate and other material that the Greek and Hebrew is all the Greek and Hebrew speaking people need, but hardly anyone speaks these languages [as found in the manuscripts] today. These texts must be translated into languages people can understand, and the Lord led and guided people to do just that. He has blessed and used the fruit of their labors much more than He used the original autographs alone, and the King James Bible of 1611 is the pinnacle of these translations. Amen!

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