Welcome! The blog with the facts concerning the differences between the King James Version, and the New International Version!


On this blog all the reasons for the major differences between older translations like the KJV and modern translations like the NIV are given in plain English. All differences have logical explanations, but rather have the real naked facts! The only difference I found in more than 130 Scriptures studied that touches on a Biblical conviction is Revelation 22:14.

A list of Scriptures already studied can be found at “Scriptures“. If you miss something that is important to you, e-mail me (bibledifferences@gmail.com) and I will provide the facts.

Start here!

See what the blog “Bible Differences” can provide and how it may be of use to you. I focus mainly on the New Testament, but occasionally look at something from the Old Testament.

A list of Scriptures already studied can be found at “Scriptures“.

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157 Preaching to the Spirits in Prison. 1Peter 3:19

157 Preaching to the Spirits in Prison. 1Peter 3:19

In 1 Peter 3:19 we have an important difference between some translations like the King James Version versus other translations like the English Standard Version.

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah,” (KJV)

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.”(ESV)

The Greek word “kyrusso̅” which is used here, in essence means to proclaim, hence being used for preaching. Therefore both preaching or proclaiming to the spirits in prison are grammatically correct.
But there is a huge difference in the application and outcome of the two versions.
“Preaching” in essence is bringing the gospel of salvation to lost people in order to bring them to accepting the salvation through the Blood of the Lamb. Now if Jesus preached to the spirits in prison, the purpose would be to bring them to accept his victory and salvation and be saved. That means that they were given a second chance. On grounds of this meaning, there are indeed denominations that do preach and pray for their lost relatives after death! That is not according to the Scriptures.

On the other hand, if Jesus “proclaimed” his victory to the spirits in prison, it had the purpose of letting them take note of the restoration of the relationship between God and man. Especially to those who caused God to destroy all humans on earth except for Noah and his family, who had been the only righteous at the time of the great flood. That does make sense.
Therefore “kyrusso̅” should be translated as proclaimed and not as preached.
Ti is only when we thoroughly study the implications of the translation of a word that a difference in the meaning and application can be discovered.

God bless,

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156 Jesus Exulted. John 3:14

Some time ago I visited a member of my congregation in hospital. He said to me: ‘Reverend, I am finished. I want to go home.” In this case, “to go home” has a double meaning. On the one side he wanted to go home to rest, without all the pipes and monitors connected to his body. On the other hand, he wanted to die and “go home” to his eternal home with God!
We would all understand the expression with this double meaning.

John uses words with double meaning in an extraordinary way.

In the conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus explained that nobody on earth had ever been in heaven, except for Him, the Son of Man. Then He said that He had to return to heaven. Returning to heaven is of course an extremely exultation or glorification. John could have used the word “doxa” which would serve perfectly, had it only been about the glorification of Jesus. But in this conversation John used the word “huposyte”. This word however, has a double meaning. On the one side, it does mean to lift up or exult a person. On the other side it is an euphemism for crucifixion! Jesus had to be exulted back to heaven, but via the cross! Crucifixion was the cruellest form of execution in the Roman era!

The word “huposyte” is used in Matthew 11:23 and in Luke 10:15 where it clearly means only exultation: “And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades.” (English Standard Version) This is the normal use of this word, but John used it with its double meaning.
Where the other evangelists speak of crucifixion, they use “stauron”, the normal word for crucifixion.

All the Bibles that I could examine, correspond with the King James Version of John 3:14 by just stating that the Son of Man must be “lifted up”.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (English Standard Version)

No translation brings the meaning of exultation to the fore, though it is implicated in the verse. Only through careful studying the original Greek, this is revealed.

John is the only evangelist who used this word with its double meaning intended. The other evangelists used this word only in its meaning of exultation.
Matthew 23:12: ”And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (American Standard Version)

The way John used this word here in John 3:14, it is clear that he actually meant it to be understood in its double meaning, not only as crucifixion, but also as exultation!

JOHN 8:28.
In John 8:12 – 30 Jesus explained to the Jews that He came from above, but they are from below. He would ultimately judge over them, but of course that would only happen after He had returned to the Father. In this paragraph Jesus then identified Himself as “I am He”, the Greek rendering in the Septuagint for the covenant name of God, Yahweh. Thereby He identified Himself with Yahweh. Returning to the Father is the ultimate exultation of the Son of Man. But that would be done through the hands of the Jews, by crucifixion.

That is where we find this verse where John again used the same word “huposyte” with its double meaning intended:
“So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.“ (English Standard Version)

Surely both meanings of this word are equally in the centre of this announcement of Jesus.

Unfortunately I could not find an English translation depicting also the meaning of exultation in this verse. We have to deduce this double meaning from the words “have lifted up”.

John 12:32-34.
For a third time John used this word with its double meaning in mind.
Jesus explained to Andrew and Philip that the time has come for Him to be glorified “doxa”. But to achieve that, He had to die, like a kernel of wheat that can only then produce many seeds. This all is to glorify (doxa) his Father. Then Jesus spoke of the way He had to die. Here John again used this word “huposyte” with the double meaning intended. It is to the glorification of the Father, but also indicating the way He would die, through crucifixion.

“ ‘Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So the crowd answered him, ‘We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?’ ” (English Standard Version.)

The crowd understood that He was speaking of crucifixion, but they would also hear in their minds the implication of glorification, the focus of the whole conversation.

Unfortunately this double meaning again has to be deduced from the expression “be lifted up. I could find no bible translating in that way.

These precious jewels in the Bible are only revealed through intense study of the text in its original Greek.

God bless,

You are welcome to e-mail me at bibledifferences@gmail.com , or comment at the bottom of this page.

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156 To boast is not Profitable. 2 Corinthians 12:1

To boast. 2 Corinthians 12:1

In 2 Corinthians 12:1 the translator of the Bible is confronted with no less than four variations that are caused by a very slight difference in the Greek. There is a little word that could either be: “dei” = must/should;
or “de” = and/but;
or “dy” = therefore/in reality;
or “ei + dei” = if indeed + should.

1. External criteria.

Let us first consider how these variations are represented in the manuscripts in our possession. A summary is given in brackets.

1) “dei” must/should; “I must go on …”: (Papyrus 46 (±200); 4 Uncials; 15 Minuscules; 8 Antique Translations)
“I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven.” New International Version.

2) “de” and/but; “But for me to take glory to myself …”: (3 Uncials; and one Antique Translation)
“It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” New King James Version.

3) “dy” therefore/in reality; “But therefore to boast …”: (2 Uncials; 4 Minuscules and a Byzantine lectionary)
“It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” King James Version: Pure Cambridge Edition.

4) “ei + dei” if indeed + should; “If indeed … I should …”: (1 Uncial; 3 Minuscules and a Byzantine lectionary; as well as 5 Antique Translations)
“This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations of the Lord.” New Living Translation.

According to the manuscripts in our possession, the first version has an abundance of manuscript evidence, as well as the oldest. Therefore it has the greatest possibility to represent the original autograph.

2. Internal criteria.

The second criterion is to try and discern how these variations could have originated.

All four have the same possibility to be an ordinary reading mistake. Grammatically each could be correct, and anyone could be the original, with each of the variations being a reading mistake.
Therefore the internal criteria bring us no nearer to a definite answer.

3. Intrinsic criteria.

Our third criterion is to try to make a reconstruction to see whether the one or the other fits in best in the context of this paragraph.
It is clear that Paul indeed comes to the point of boasting concerning his spiritual growth and a living relationship with the Lord. But in the same paragraph he also comes to his own humbleness, revealing the precautionary measure God had given him – the thorn in the flesh! Yet again any of the four variations could fit in perfectly within this context!

One honestly has to conclude that no guidance can be deduced from the context where these four variations are found!

4. Conclusion.

This sentence is only introductory to the arguments Paul will be presenting next. The choice of a variation only lets the light shine in a certain direction on the arguments that will follow.
With all four variations presenting equal possibility to represent the original autograph, it would be the safest to choose the variation with the best and oldest manuscript evidence. That would be the first as is found not only in the NIV, but in most of the modern translations.

It is the responsibility of the translator to choose the variation that he deems best in this case.

But in the second part of the same sentence another variation is found.
Some manuscripts read: “… it is not profitable to …”; others read: “… it is not profitable for me to …” and others: “… it is not profitable for us to …” and even other small differences.
Again the variations are often represented by the same manuscript evidence as the first group of variations.
As for the internal and intrinsic criteria, one comes to the same conclusions as with the first. Therefore again nothing will be gained by studying each variation.

Though these variations might be trivial, they still reveal the reality of human error in copying the manuscripts of the New Testament. Yet it also emphasizes the effort and honesty with which copies were made. A scribe would write down what is before him in his source manuscript, though is might let the light fall on a certain angle of the material at hand.

The modern translator of the Bible has a huge responsibility to deliver a text that is understandable, yet as near to the original as can be concluded. Therefore he has to study each possibility and choose with great care what he considers the best.

Comments at the bottom of this page or via e-mail to me at bibledifferences@gmail.com are welcome.

God bless,

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155 Cornerstone or Capstone. Matthew 21:42

Language is an interesting field to study. Words should give 
expression to what we have in our minds and what we want to convey. 
And this is where we sometimes have trouble to bring certainty 
when we translate from one language to another.
This is the problem we are faced with in Matthew 21:42.
“42 Jesus said unto them, Did you never read in the scriptures, 
The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the 
head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous 
in our eyes?” King James Version.
“...The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone...” 
New International Version.
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;...” English Standard Version

This is a quotation from Psalm 118:22:, which is also quoted in 
Acts 4:11.

Psalm 118:22: “The stone which the builders refused is become the 
head stone of the corner. Or Capstone...”

To what stone is Jesus referring to? A capstone or a corner stone, 
or the head of the corner? 

The Hebrew word in Psalm 118:22 should be understood as referring 
to a cornerstone from which all measurements and direction was 
taken for the erection of the whole building. But in Greek two 
different words are used when referring to a Capstone or a 

In Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17 as well as Acts 4:11 the 
quotation from Psalm 118:22 all refer to Jesus. In all these 
quotations “kefalyn gõnias” is used, meaning “head of the corner”. 

In Ephesians 2:20 Paul uses “akrogõnaios” meaning a capstone. In 
the next verse Paul says that in Christ the the whole building is 
“joined together” and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 
This would then refer to a “capstone”.

Peter uses “akrogõnaios” (capstone) in 1 Peter 2:4 - 7 where he 
points out that God had chosen Jesus to be the “living stone”. 
In most translations this word is not translated as “capstone”, 
but as “cornerstone”. Yet in the next verse Peter uses the word 
“kefalyn gõnias” meaning the “head of the corner”, which would 
refer to a “cornerstone”. Peter uses two different words in the 
same paragraph.
Let us look at the translation found in the English Standard 
Version: “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but 
in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like 
living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a 
holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God 
through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: 
'Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.'
So the honour is for you who believe, but for those who do not 
'The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,'”
The translators do not make any difference between these two 
different words Peter uses, and translate both with “cornerstone”. 
Yet it seems as though Peter was referring to two different stones!

Let us then consider whether there were indeed different stones 
used in buildings at that time. What was a capstone and what a 

A Capstone. 
When an arch was built, whether as part of a building or as a 
stone bridge, a specific wedge stone was hewn slanting on both 
sides. This stone had the function to join together both sides 
of the arch, to become a unity. This stone as the central point 
of focus, was often decorated to honour some deity or important 
person. Without this stone, the two parts of the arch would tumble 
in. Both Paul and Peter say that Jesus is indeed this “capstone”.

A Cornerstone.
When a building was to be erected, a specific large stone was 
hewn to perfect measures and carefully put on the corner of the 
building as part of the foundation. All measures and direction 
was then taken from this stone to ensure that the building is 
built square and to the correct measures.
In modern times this original purpose of a cornerstone is no longer used, 
but the word usually refers to a large stone near the base of a building 
where two walls meet, often giving information about the building and 
sometimes put in position with a ceremony. 

Yet Matthew uses another word, “lithon” (stone) in verse 21:44 to refer to 
There he indicates Jesus as the stone that could refer to either a 
”capstone” or a “cornerstone”.
“And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; 
and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” One can fall 
on a cornerstone, but it is a capstone that can fall on someone, 
crushing him.

Jesus is the cornerstone from whom we should take all our measures 
and direction. But He also is the capstone that joins together what 
needs to be together.

Since it is uncertain to which of the two stones Matthew is 
referring in verse 42, a definite choice is not obvious. Versions 
using either of the two words are putting the emphasis on one of 
the important meanings this verse brings to our attention. 
But a final decision is not possible.

God bless,

You are welcome to comment at the bottom of this page, or directly 
to me at bibledifferences@gmail.com.


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154 Fruit of Light, Ephesians 5:9.

In Ephesians 5:9 we find an interesting difference between the King James Version versus the New International Version, as is the case also with most modern translations. Yet it is only when we study the deeper meaning and application of the words that we understand the significance of this difference.
“…(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” (KJV)
“…(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.” (NIV)
Was Paul talking of the fruit of the “Spirit”, or of the fruit of the “Light”?

1. External Criteria.
Our first criterion is to study which variation is represented by which manuscripts. It is obvious that the older manuscripts are nearer to the original autograph and therefore has a greater chance to be without alterations that could happen due to the process of the copying of the manuscripts.

Ephesians 5:9

Variation: Fruit of the Light Fruit of the Spirit
Witneses Greek: Translations: Church Fathers: Greek: Translations: Church Fathers:
101-200 Papyrus46
201-300 Papirus 49 Sahidic Origen*, Gregory-Thaumaturgas
301-400 Sinaiticus, Vaticanus Bohairic,
Ambrosiaster, Lucifer, Victorinus-Rome
401-500 Alexandrinus, Bezae 2 Syriac,
1 Old Latin
Jerome, Augustine, Euthalius Chrysostom*, Theodore, Theodoret
601-700 1 Syriac
701-800 Mosquensis, Atous- Laurae John-Damascus
801-900 Boernerianus,
Porphyrianus, Minuscule 33
4 Old Latin
901-1000 2 Old Latin Byzantine Manuscripts, Lectionary
1001-1600 8 Minuscules 3 Old Latin 13 Minuscules

Up to the year 500 A.D. “…fruit of Light…” is represented by Papyrus 49 (±250 A.D.) as well as 4 Uncial Codices, as well as eight Antique Translations and eight Church Fathers. Another two uncial codices and nine minuscules and also nine Ancient Translations dated after 800 A.D. have the same version.
For the first 500 years “…fruit of the Spirit…” is found only in Papyrus 46 (±200 A.D.) and three Church Fathers. Even after 600 A.D. only two Uncial codices and one Ancient Translation and one Church Father have this version. It is more common after 900 A.D. with some Byzantine manuscripts, Lectionaries and 13 Minuscule manuscripts.
According to the manuscript evidence, the version with “…fruit of Light…” has overwhelming support.

2. Internal Criteria.
But let us consider how this variation could have originated. I am convinced that some scribe must have remembered Galatians 5:22 and from memory, and without noticing it himself wrote “…fruit of the Spirit…”. There Paul had given a list of sins, and then gave the very familiar list of “…fruit of the Spirit…”.

3. Intrinsic Criteria.
It is logic that both the fruit of light and the fruit of the spirit would be the work of the Holy Spirit. But is there any difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of the Light? Aren’t they the same? To come to a conclusion we have to study these two Scriptures carefully.
In Galatians it is clearly concerned with the deeds revealed in practice. That is why Paul sets the deeds of the sinful nature of man against the fruit of the Spirit. There he gives a list of sinful deeds as well as a list of deeds brought forth as fruit of the Spirit. Both are revealed in practical life.
But in Ephesians 5 it is about a completely different matter. In this paragraph Paul uses the image of light that reveals what otherwise would remain unseen. Light brings discretionary power. That is why Paul encourages his readers to discern whether something is acceptable to the Lord. The fruit of Light is not about specific deeds, but the three criteria with which to evaluate deeds. “Goodness” is not a deed, but a norm of discernment or to evaluate the worth of some deed. Likewise “righteousness” is about discerning whether a deed would satisfy the judgement of God, and “truth” whether the deed would stand the test of not being false. These three fruits of the light helps us to evaluate our deeds.
The “fruit of the Spirit” refer to specific deeds being lived out, while the “fruit of the Light” refer to the ability of discernment.

To me this is an interesting difference though both are the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul chose his words with great care under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Let us then consciously develop the fruit of Light in our daily lives. Then we need not ask ourselves whether something is sin or against the will of God. By developing our sense of discernment and allow the spirit of Light to grow in us, we will allow the light to a lamp for our path.

God bless,

Posted in Causes for Variations, External Criteria, Internal Criteria, Intrinsic Criteria, KJV/NIV Controversy | Leave a comment

153 The spirit of the Antichrist. 1 John 4:2-3

Did John caution against Gnosticism per se? The spirit of the Antichrist, 1 John 4: 2-3.

Why would confessing Jesus as BORN IN THE FLESH be a standard by which to judge the spirit working within a prophet? And today?

In 1 John 4: 2 – 3 we find a small variation of paramount importance! The words in uppercase in the KJV are not present in the NIV: “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not THAT JESUS CHRIST IS COME IN THE FLESH is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

1. External Criteria

This version is supported by Codex Sinaiticus (±350 A.D) and 5 codices after 750 A.D. as well as 17 minuscule manuscripts after 850 A.D. and 2 Syrias and an Aramaic Translation.

Modern translations have a shorter version, like the NIV:
1 John 4:2 – 3: “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

Supported by Vaticanus (±350 A.D) and Alexandrinus (±350 A.D) and 5 minuscules after 850 A.D. as well as 11 Ancient translations dating from 250 A.D. and spread out from Egypt, Ethiopia, and Europe up to Rome.

According to the Greek manuscripts available the two versions have very equal support. The great geographic distribution of the Ancient Translations lets the pendulum swing more towards the NIV-version.

2.  Internal Criteria.
How could the origin of this variation be explained? 1) Jumping of the eye, either dittography or haplography by which the phrase could be duplicated or left out. Both are equally possible. 2) Duplicating the description of Jesus by memory. This is possible, giving preference to the shorter version. 3.) Deliberately removing this descriptive phrase of Jesus at this crucial point. For such a corruption to be done there must be good reason. In this specific verse a scribe following the Gnostic heresy of the Docetism could indeed have done this!
The internal criteria brings us no further to a definite choice.

3. Intrinsic Criteria.
By studying the context we try to discern what the function of this clause is in this part of John’s epistle. Why would the confession that “JESUS IS COME OF THE FLESH” be a criterion by which to indicate the spirit of the Antichrist?
In 1 John 4:1 we read: “Do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God …” In the time of John the Docetism as a Gnostic heresy had already been active. They renounced the human nature of Jesus. As Son of God he supposedly was only a spiritual being, so divine that He could not have been human. Since God lacked a material body, even so Jesus only appeared to be a flesh-and-blood man; his body was only a phantasm, which therefore could not physically suffer.
According to them, the history of Jesus’ suffering, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven had been constructed by the disciples to incorporate the atonement sacrifice of the Old Testament. This heresy not only nullifies Jesus’ atonement, it denies Jesus’ human nature.

In this sentence John uses the participle of the verb that emphasizes the ongoing effect of something that happened in the past. John does not say that Jesus only came in the flesh, but that “He is come in the flesh” meaning that his human nature has ongoing effect in the present! And this John says, is a standard by which to evaluate the spirit working within a prophet, or leader coming to them in the name of Christ. Who spiritualizes everything and denies the two natures of Christ, the divine as well as the mortal, is not filled with the Holy Spirit, but indeed the spirit of the Antichrist.

John gives a criterion by which to judge someone who is coming in the name of Christ therefore already “acknowledging Christ” as in the NIV-version. But how he acknowledges Christ is the criterion. That is confessing his HUMAN NATURE as in the KJV-version!

An open question: In our modern age we often find a diminishing of physical deeds directly commanded or directly forbidden in the Word of God, by replacing them with “spiritual” criteria. Are we not re-enacting the very essence of Docetism in a modern guise? Compare for instance the long list in Romans 1. How often we “not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practise them.”

In Greek different tenses of the verb are used to express specific meaning. If I want to express something that happened in the past, but wanted to stress its effect in the present, I use the a participle.
As an example, I do not merely want to state that “the cup fell and was broken”, but the effect it has in the present: “I wanted to pour myself a cup of coffee, but the cup fell and was broken.” This is the tense John uses when he stated that “Jesus is come in the flesh.”
The fact that Jesus came in the flesh and accepted a fully human body has effect until the present day. The atonement sacrifice on the cross, the resurrection and ascension and being seated at the right hand of God are not merely historical facts, but has ongoing effect. Who spiritualizes everything and denies the two natures of Christ, the divine and the mortal is not filled with the Holy Spirit, but indeed the spirit of the Antichrist.
Prof. Francois Malan (emeritus) explains it as follows: “ ‘Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God’ – is a test whether the person that comes to you, is confessing the truth concerning Jesus; That Jesus Christ came from God and in reality became a human being. (Literally in the flesh, as in John 1:14 and 6:51 – 55 his flesh eat and his blood drink – that He really became a weak human being). This is confessed against the Greeks who would not believe that Jesus fully became human and the Jews who could not accept his divinity. The coming of Jesus in the past has effect in the present. The Son of God fully stepped into history as mediator between us and the Father. It is not merely a confessional article, but indicates a true personal relationship with God through Jesus and the consequence on how we live.

Both the short and the long variations convey this same message.

In the short version there is however another difference found in the English translations. Grammatically both are equal.
Some translations, like the NIV states: “every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.”
Here the translator puts the emphasis on Jesus as Person. That would include both natures the divine as well as the human.

Other translations have another interpretation,
Like the BBE: “And every spirit which does not say this is not from God:”
And the CEV: “But when someone doesn’t say this about Jesus,”

Now the translation is referring back to the statement in the preceding sentence, and on the acknowledgement of the human nature of Jesus, which is the test in the struggle against the Docetism.

Looking at all the facts above, the short variation as we find in the modern versions, seems to render that which John had written down under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Even the choice between the two possibilities in the short version accentuates the delicate choices the translator is often confronted with.

In our time it is not the human nature of Jesus that is attacked. It is His divine nature. The translation with “Who does not confess Jesus” emphasizes both natures of Jesus. Therefore I personally prefer this version. “Every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” And in our day those who do not acknowledge Jesus, are very active. We should take note and not allow them to undermine our faith! “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.”

God bless,


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152 Without a cause, Matthew 5:22.

In the King James Version, we find a statement that is lacking in the NIV and most modern versions of the Bible. “…Without a cause…” is left out.
“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…” (KJV)

What would be the reason for this?
To come to an objective answer, we use three criteria.

1. External criteria.

Our first criterion is to look at the manuscripts available that represent these variations.

Matthew 5:22

Variation: Without this indication: With “without cause”:
Witnesses: Greek: Translations: Church Fathers: Greek: Translations: Church Fathers:
101-200 Papyrus 67 Gospel of the Nazarenes, Ptolemy, Justin Diatessaron
201-300 Irenaeus (Latin), Tertullian, Origen* Sahidic Irenaeus (Greek), Origen*, Cyprian
301-400 Sinaiticus, Vaticanus Vulgate Eusebius, Basil 1 Old Latin, Bohairic, Gothic Eusebius, Lucifer
401-500 Ethiopic Augustine Bezae, Washington 4 Old Latin, 5 Syriac, Armenian, Georgian Augustine, Cassian, Ps- Justin, Chrysostom* , Cyrel- Alexandria
501-600 Pseudo-Athanasius
601-700 3 Old Latin
701-800 Regius
801-900 Cyprius, Sangallensis, Koridethi, Petropolitanus, Minuscule 33 2 Old Latin
901-1000 1 Old Latin
1001-1600 1 Minuscule Family 1, Family 13, 16 Minuscules, Byzantine Manuscripts, Lectionary 1 Old Latin

What immediately draws our attention is that the oldest Greek manuscript, the Papyrus 67 (±200 A.D.) together with three representatives of the Church Fathers before the year 200 A.D. all quote this verse without the indication “…without cause…). On the other hand the Diatessaron from the same period does have this indication. But the Diatessaron that Tatian the Syrian compiled in 170 A.D. is seen by Bible Experts as a document of low esteem. Tatian compiled the four gospels into one continuous narrative, adding some of his personal notes and leaving out portions as he pleased. Yet due to the convenience of having one instead of four gospels, his document was widely used and copied. Only much later the leaders in the Church realised that his document caused many alterations in the Greek texts. Then in was abolished and replaced with the original gospels.
It is noteworthy that Irenaeus (†202 A.D.) quoted this verse in his Latin writings without these words, but in his Greek writings with the phraze. Could it be that his Greek copy had already been influenced by the Diatessaron? Origen (†254 A.D.), Eusebius (†339 A.D.) and Augustine (†430 A.D.) also use both versions.
The Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus (±350 A.D.), both reckoned by Text experts as of the most reliable Greek manuscripts are without this phrase. The first Greek manuscripts with the phrase are the codices Bezae and Washingtoniensis of a hundred years later, both of much lower esteem. The later Greek manuscripts, all dating after 700 A.D. as well as most Antique Translation contain this phrase.

The manuscript evidence strongly calls for the variation without the phrase to represent the original autograph.

2. Internal criteria

Our next criterion is looking at a possible explanation of how a the variation could have originated.
Scribes could easily add a phrase as logic as this without even noticing it themselves, but for removing such a phrase from the text would require clear evidence. In this pericope no such reason is evident.
The original must have been without this phrase.

3. Intrinsic Evidence.
The third objective criterion is to look at the context and the function of the words under observation in the sentence itself. Would Jesus in fact have added this phrase, or would He rather have said or without this phrase?

Let us look at the context:
1) Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”
Jesus wanted to explain how the Law should be “fulfilled”, or have its real meaning.
2) Verse 20: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Would “without cause” not have been exactly what the scribes and Pharisees have said? But Jesus said that our righteousness should exceed what they teach.
3) Verse 22 b: “…and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
Jesus emphasizes that it is about much more than just the letter of the Law.
4) Verse 23: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you…”
Once again Jesus places the responsibility not on the guilty brother, but on his follower.

From the context it is obvious that Jesus is stressing much more than just justified anger. He stresses that his follower has a responsibility that should come from within.

Looking at the function of this phrase within the sentence itself, it is clear from the others examples that Jesus mentioned that He is not talking about cases where there are any grounds for being angry at all. Being angry with your neighbour has already damaged the relationship, and that is already against the core of this law.

According to the context it is obvious that Jesus is talking about being angry per se, and not whether there are grounds for being angry or not.

4. Conclusion.
With all three objective criteria in favour of the version where the phrase “..without cause…” is lacking, that version should be chosen as representative of the original autograph.

God bless,


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