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Jul 2, 2020

Welcome to the FIFTH episode of the Every Word Podcast. This is a podcast series for those who enjoy studying details found in God’s Word. In every episode I will read from Dr. Wilbur Pickering’s fresh-sounding translation of the New Testament, which he named, “The Sovereign Creator Has Spoken.” In today’s episode, I will read and comment on Pickering’s translation of Mark chapter 16. 

Dr. Pickering’s translation is based on the Majority Text of the Greek New Testament, which is also called the Byzantine Text. 

Beginning in 1881 there was a shift in the Greek text used for English Bible translations, caused by the influence of the Wescott and Hort Greek New Testament, which was based on a very small sampling of manuscripts of the Alexandrian Text Type, that is from Egypt. 

[The main two manuscripts they relied on are Codex Sinaiticus (abbreviation א [Aleph] or 01) and Codex Vaticanus (abbreviation B or 03). Those are dated at 330-360 AD and 300-325 respectively.] 

At the time Wescott and Hort were working, it was anticipated that research into the most ancient manuscripts newly discovered in Egypt would reveal a coherent textual stream that would point to the authentic initial form of the Greek text. Now, over a century later, those ancient Egyptian manuscripts have been analyzed, but they do not reveal a coherent textual stream that can be followed. Instead they reveal that Egyptian scribes very freely edited the texts they copied. However the myth continues to be taught that Alexandrian manuscripts are better despite evidence to the contrary, and despite that only the first two picked by Wescott and Hort are still the only ones that are given priority.

In contrast, the Majority Text of the New Testament was made by copyists who lived in the same places as the original recipients of the apostles’ writings. Individual scribal errors have been weeded out, since this text type is based on the majority reading of thousands of Greek manuscripts. The Majority Text has been stable over the centuries and is the best academically defendable text of the Greek New Testament that we have today. It is my hope that these podcasts will build awareness of the faulty Greek text that underlies almost all of the English Bible translations of the last century, starting with the ASV (1901), and including RSV, NASB, NIV, GNT, NLT, NET, and ESV.

If you have questions you would like me to try to answer, please write. Aside from questions, please let me know where I have made mistakes. My favorite way for you to send your comments is via the Contact button at dailybiblereading.info. If you would like to send me a recording of your comments, it is very possible that I will play it.

About 4-5 years ago, the pastor at our church in Siloam Springs preached an expository series of sermons on the Gospel of Mark. Our pastor does a great job of preaching through books of Scripture, even through some of the hardest material in the Bible. So I was shocked that on the Sunday when we were all expecting to hear the last message in Mark’s Gospel, the pastor started his message by telling us that he would not be preaching on chapter 16. Before he launched into the new topic he had chosen for that Sunday, he said something like this, “I decided that I would not preach on this passage, because, after all, we don’t know whether it is part of inspired Scripture or not.”

I want you to know that my pastor believes in the inspiration of God’s Word. Was the pastor right to doubt if Mark 16:9-20 was written by Mark? Is he being inconsistent in his belief in the inspiration of the Bible if he doubts that the long ending of Mark is the correct text? What’s the evidence?

This is an important point, and that’s what we will deal with today.

After I read Pickering’s translation of Mark 16, I will read Pickering’s article, entitled Mark 16:9-20 and the Doctrine of Inspiration. This is the Appendix E in his book entitled The Identity of the New Testament Text. (See the Resources section of the episode notes for information on where you can download this book, or purchase it. The complete text of the article I will read parts from is in the PDF file attached to this podcast. To download the PDF, find the podcast entitled EveryWord005 at dailybiblereading.info.)

I think some of you will be disappointed that Pickering doesn’t put the overwhelming textual evidence for the inclusion of the last 12 verses of Mark right at the front of his article. So if you don’t have time 45 minutes of interesting discussion that leads up to that info, you can skip to minute xxxx.

I think it is good for us to start out considering the impact that the ending of Mark has upon our attitude toward the reliability of all of Scripture. I think Pickering’s article is a faith builder.

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My (PCF) comment at minute 33:54   Let me discuss briefly one of the ‘poison passages’ that Pickering mentioned, the one found in Luke 3:33.

LUKE 3.33
Majority Text: The son of Aminadab, the son of Aram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,

Eclectic Text: The son of Aminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah

Dr. Timothy Friberg says in his What is what article:
The reading of the Traditional Text is consistent with the known Old Testament account of Jesus’ ancestors (1Chronicles 2) and also Matthew 1, while the text of the Bible Society Text has no known Old Testament support.

For a link to Friberg’s article, see the Resources section, at the bottom of the episode notes.

PCF: Of new Bible translations, only NIV sort of follows the BT and harmonizes with 1Chronicles 2. All the others contain the fictitious Arni. I am surprised by this. It must be that most translators felt that most people would not notice a little change in Jesus’ genealogy. As I show in my Playing Follow the Leader article, in important places where readers will notice a difference, the translators for versions of the last century departed from the Eclectic Text about 30% of the time. Whenever translators do this, they show they are ashamed of the Eclectic Text. No one should deny that it contains the kind of ‘poison’ Pickering speaks of.

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Dr. Pickering named his NT, “The Sovereign Creator Has Spoken.” That title contains three concepts that were not believed by Wescott, Hort, and the succeeding managers of the Eclectic Text. They did not believe that our Creator created humans as described in Genesis. They did not believe in the sovereignty of God. Nor did they believe that God actively inspired and has preserved every word of Scripture for us.

Moses and Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Deut. 8:3; Mat. 4:4; Luk. 4:4)

May the Lord bless you ‘real good’!

 

Resources:

Fields, Philip:

Playing Follow the Leader in Bible Translation, 2019, by Phil Fields. See the Resources list in that article for many more helpful articles on the superiority of the Majority Greek Text.

 

Friberg, Timothy: 

On the text of the Greek New Testament that also happens to be the right one for cousin audiences

Although the title of this four-page paper refers to translating for Muslims, the principles and summary is widely applicable. 

I suggest reading this paper before reading Friberg’s other articles listed below.

Layman’s Guide A modest explanation for the layman of ideas related to determining the text of the Greek New Testament, 2019.

What is what? Differences between the Traditional Text and the Bible Society Text of the Greek New Testament. Some data for the reader to weigh, 2019.

 

Pickering, Wilbur:

New Translation of the New Testament: The Sovereign Creator has Spoken

Greek Text of the New Testament based on Family 35

The Identity of the NT Text IV This book is available as a free download for the Kindle reader app, and also can be purchased from Amazon.

All of Pickering’s articles and books are freely available for download at PRUNCH.net. All are released under the Creative Commons license. Additionally, his second edition (2016) NT translation is available for a free download via the Kindle app. It is also freely available as a module in the MyBible program for Android and Apple devices. 

 

Robinson, Maurice: The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Textform, 1991, 2005, 2018. 

This is available in free digital form in the MyBible Bible app, and in other ways.

Article:

Full Text of the 105 verses lacking overall Greek Manuscript Support in the NA edition 27