1John 2:23 Who confesses the Son…
1John 2:23 “Everyone who denies the Son neither has the Father. The one confessing the Son also has the Father.” (MKJV)
When I was a young boy I was looking on while my father was plowing on our farm. Two of our farm laborer’s little barefoot boys were following in the furrow. Suddenly the youngest, a little chap of about four froze as he saw a large spider threatening him in the middle of the furrow. Startled he looked up to see what his older brother was doing. He was just walking along, hands behind his back, looking far away to the distant mountains. He obviously didn’t even notice that spider! The young chap clenched his little hands behind his back, with a determined face looked towards the mountains, gave one huge step right over the threat and proceeded as though nothing ever happened. “As big brother does, so do I.”
This memory sprang into my mind when I noticed that the second half of 1 John 2:23 had until recently been printed in italics in the King James Versions. This part of the sentence is lacking in a few late Greek manuscripts.
This is a typical form of error called “haplography”. When two sentences begin or end with the same words, like here in 1John2:23 “…also the Father” it could happen that the jumps to the next sentence leaving out the second part of the sentence. In the same way a clause could be duplicated, called “dittography”. Mistakes like these are easily identified and should be corrected by consulting another reliable manuscript.
Unfortunately this clause is also wanting in both minuscule manuscripts No. 2 (±1150 A.D.) and No. 4 (±1450 A.D.), the two late Greek manuscripts Erasmus used when he compiled the text for the first printed Greek text in 1516. Therefore it is lacking in the Textus Receptus used by the translators of the King James Version in 1611.
According to Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.S.A., (1715-1832) this mistake had been identified and corrected very soon after Erasmus printed his hastily compiled edition. He states that “…it was in Coverdale’s Bible, printed 1535; Tindal’s Text, printed 1548; and in all the early printed editions (which I have seen) previously to 1566 …” (See e-Sword)
That brings me to the conclusion that the translators of the 1611 King James Version must have known that it was lacking from the Textus Receptus by mistake. Though they did include it in their text, it was in italics, indicating that they deemed it as of “spurious” origin.
One of our most important manuscripts from around 350 A.D. the Codex Sinaiticus has many instances of haplography. Though this might be disturbing to some, the text that is present, is of excellent character and corresponds with the oldest papyri available. An obvious mistake by a scribe is just that, a mistake by the scribe. When we endeavor to establish the very words of the original autograph, the text before us gives an indication of what had been present in the earlier manuscript from which it had been copied. That brings us nearer to the original autograph.
When we at present become aware of some of the glaring mistakes obvious in the Textus Receptus and from there found its way into the King James Versions, should we have the courage to restore the original autographs, or just look at the mountains with an attitude of “like big brother did, so do I”?