58 The Last Supper, Luke 22:17-22

The Last Supper

Four cups, Word and Bread for Passover. Courtesy, Wikipedia.

Though there are no major differences between the King James Version and the New International Version, I decided to look at the interesting versions of Luke 22 verses 17-20 found the different manuscripts. This is caused by uncertainty amongst scribes concerning the “second cup”. In Matthew (Mat.26:26-29) Mark, (Mark 14:22-25) and 1 Corinthians (1Cor.11:23-25) the sequence is bread – wine. Yet in Luke we find wine – bread – wine. This rendering is supported by most manuscripts, including the oldest Greek witness (papyrus No.75,  ±250 A.D.) and at least 14 Greek uncials, (±350 – 950 A.D.) and most minuscules (±950-1500 A.D.) and most ancient translations.

Let us look at the version found in the NIV: “17 After taking the cup He gave thanks and said: ‘Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ 19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘this is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup saying, ‘this is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’

When we look at the manuscripts, we observe that many scribes knowing the versions in the other gospels and 1 Corinthians 11, were concerned that a previous scribe might have made a mistake in the source text and duplicated the cup. Therefore they devised ways to “restore” the text to what they thought might have been the correct version, bringing it in line with the other witnesses.

The first way was to omit the second half of verse 19 and 20, leaving us with a statement: “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘this is my body.”

In a Syriac version we find: “19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘this is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ 17 After taking the cup He gave thanks and said: ‘Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’” While in two old Latin manuscripts, this version omits the words: “…given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Some others only have only verses 19 and 20: ” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘this is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup saying, ‘this is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’ “ Even on this rendering there are two versions, one omitting the first part of verse 20, the other the second half of that verse.

Though all these versions are pure of academic value, they reveal to us how through the ages, scribes struggled with the source text before them, trying to reproduce what they believed would give the Word of God as He had given it at the beginning. We are privileged to have an overview over all the manuscripts through the ages, but still have the same challenge before us to give our children the Word of God as He had given it in the beginning! The question is whether we would have the guts to honestly face the facts and accept changes to the version of the Bible we got used to, and love, when facts do necessitate those changes!

While the KJV is based on the Textus Receptus, based on only six manuscripts, the NIV uses the UBS-text, giving all the variations available in more than 6500 Greek manuscripts, more than 18000 ancient translations as well as quotes by more than 200 old Church fathers.

One should also bear in mind that we do not know exactly how Jesus and his disciples celebrated Passover. According to Rabbinic interpretation, wine is consumed at least four times during Passover. There is a Rabbinic requirement that four cups of wine are to be drunk during the seder meal. Each cup is connected to a different part of the seder: the first cup is for Kiddush, the second cup is connected with the recounting of the Exodus, the drinking of the third cup concludes Birkat Hamazon and the fourth cup is associated with Hallel.

God bless,

Herman.

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About Herman of bibledifferences.net

The reasons for the differences between older Bibles like the King James Version and newer Bibles like the New International Version have fascinated me ever since my studies in Theology at the University of Pretoria in the seventies. I have great respect for scribes through the ages as well as Bible translators, so there must be good reasons for the differences. With more than 5600 Greek manuscripts and more than 19000 manuscripts of ancient translations to our disposal, the original autographs of the New Testament can be established without doubt. I investigate the reasons behind the differences and publish the facts in a post on my blogs www.bibledifferences.net (Afrikaans: www.bybelverskille.wordpress.com) to enable my readers to judge for themselves. Personally I love to make an informed decision based of facts. That is why I endeavor to provide that same privilege to the readers of my blogs. Since 1973 I am married to my dear wife and greatest friend, Leah Page, founder director of Act-Up Support (www.actup.co.za) a prayer ministry for families struggling with drug-, occult- and other dependencies. We are blessed with two daughters and two sons, four grand sons and two grand daughters. God is alive and omnipotent! Glory to His Name! Herman Grobler.
This entry was posted in KJV/NIV Controversy, Textus Receptus, United Bible Societies Text and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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