102 Will God reward us openly? (Mat.6:4)

102. Expected Addition Mat.6,4,6,18

One of the interesting variations that is sometimes found in manuscripts is the addition of expected words. As an example, let us look at Matthew 6:4

NIV: “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
KJV:”…thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”

People love to use opposites together Darkness against light, black versus white and even so secret versus openly. It is most often expected together. Therefore it is almost unthinkable that one would deliberately remove the expected “openly” from the sentence above, had it been in the original autograph. On the other hand it is easily acceptable that “openly” could have slipped into the text, had it not been part of the autograph. Whatever the case might be, both could not render the original. One must be an alteration of the original. But how could one establish the original?
The first criterion we have, is to examine the available manuscripts. They might bring us nearer to an answer. Look at the table showing the available manuscripts in their time of origin.

Matthew 6:4

Possibilities: …will reward you. …shall reward thee openly.
Witness: Greek: Translations: Church Fathers: Greek: Translations: Church Fathers:
101-200 Diatessaron
201-300 Sahidic Origen*, Cyprian
301-400 Sinaiticus, Vaticanus 1 Old Latin, Vulgate, 1 Syriac, Bohairic, Fayyumic Jerome Washington 1 Old Latin, Syriac, Gothic Apostolic Constitutions
401-500 Bezae 1 Old Latin Chromatius, Augustine 2 Old Latin, 2 Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic, Georgian Chrysostom*
501-600 1 Old Latin Pseudo-Chrysostom
601-700 1 Old Latin 2 Old Latin, Syriac
701-800 Regius, Uncial 0250
801-900 Minuscule 33 Cyprius, Sangallensis, Koridethi, Petropolitanus, 1 Old Latin
901-1600 Family 1, Family 13 1 Old Latin 18 Minuscules, Byzantine Lectionary 1 Old Latin

How do we evaluate this information?

1. External Criteria
First we look at what we can learn from the manuscripts themselves.
A few interesting and important facts demand our attention.
The oldest document we have of this part of Matthew, is the Diatessaron of Tatian, the Syrian. The Diatessaron is a very interesting document. About 170 A.D. Tatian created the Diatessaron by compiling the four Gospels into a single continuous narrative. He added and omitted how he saw fit. But in doing so he also created some unique readings found now where in the Gospels. Initially his compilation was very popular since only one document barely longer than any Gospel would have to be copied to have the full account of the life and teachings of Jesus.
At that time the canon had not yet been established, and alterations were not considered very seriously. Only much later this document was pointed out as a forgery and eradicated as far as possible. Unfortunately many of Tatian’s alterations found their way into later Greek manuscripts, especially in the Eastern regions where this document had been so popular.

Let’s look at the total spectrum to the year 500 A.D. We have three Greek manuscripts and seven ancient translations not having ‘openly’ in the text. In contrast, only one Greek manuscript but eleven ancient translations including six that directly originated from those Eastern regions, do have “openly” in the text.

According to the external data the weight lies heavier on the manuscripts without this word.
2. Internal criteria.
Our second criterion is finding a possible logical explanation for the origin of the variation. The question is whether it is more acceptable that some scribe could unintentionally have added this word to his copy, or would someone deliberately remove the word in question. I have already argued this question at the beginning of this dissertation, coming to the conclusion that the original autograph would rather have been without “openly”.

3. Intrinsic criteria.
Thirdly, we look at the context.
In this chapter Jesus handled three aspects of the Christian life. In 6:1 Jesus spoke of charity, in 6: 6 of prayer and in 6:16 of fasting. In all three cases, Jesus emphasized that these matters should be something in the right attitude between the believer and his Father. The danger in all three cases is that we could want to be famous in the eyes of fellow Christians and be honoured by them. This is why Jesus repeatedly emphasized that it should be a matter between us and the Father. It is of no concern to others. Our Father does see what is done in secret, and He will reward us. These matters we should not do to be hailed by men. But if the Father blows the trumpet on our deeds “openly” before men, then He is exactly doing that which Jesus warns against. Why would He “openly”, meaning in the sight of men reward us and thereby denounce us our reward? Adding “openly” to this sentence goes directly against the ethos of this teaching! And that is applicable in all three cases!
The intrinsic criteria clearly call for this sentence to be without “openly”!


All three criteria indicate that the original autography just said that the Father will reward us. ‘Openly’ should be seen as an addition that could be logically expected. Actually the addition of this word draws a line through Jesus’ teaching! “Do not blow the trumpet before the people to be honoured by them.” If the Father then would do this, He goes directly against Jesus’ teachings, and in reality robs us from the true reward by letting us find a reward in the honour and hail of men!

Even the slightest alteration of the original autograph as God had given the Evangelists to write down, might bring a deviation in the meaning or scopus of the text.
In all three verses in this chapter where this word was added, they all have the same effect. Drawing a line through Jesus’ teaching!

I prefer the Word of God exactly as He had given it – no omissions or the slightest of additions. God bless,


Your comments at the bottom of this page, or via e-mail to me at: bibledifferences@gmail.com will be appreciated.

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.
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1 Response to 102 Will God reward us openly? (Mat.6:4)

  1. Reblogged this on beliefspeak2 and commented:
    Herman Grobler again provides clear reasons to help us determine exactly what God says in His word.

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