BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

What’s Missing from Codex Sinaiticus, the Oldest New Testament?

Compare differences between the King James Version and Codex Sinaiticus

codex-sinaiticus

A salvaged page of the Codex Sinaiticus from St. Catherine’s Monastery recovered in 1975. Photo: Courtesy of St. Catherine’s Monastery.

Two hundred years after Constantine Tischendorf’s birth, questions remain as to the conditions of his removal of Codex Sinaiticus from St. Catherine’s Monastery. Dating to the mid-fourth century C.E., Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest complete manuscript of the New Testament. In his article “Hero or Thief? Constantine Tischendorf Turns Two Hundred” in the September/October 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Stanley E. Porter contends that Tischendorf should be considered a hero, not a thief.

The text of Codex Sinaiticus differs in numerous instances from that of the authorized version of the Bible in use during Tischendorf’s time. For example, the resurrection narrative at the end of Mark (16:9–20) is absent from the Codex Sinaiticus. So is the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer: “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13). The woman caught in adultery from John 8 is omitted in Codex Sinaiticus. According to James Bentley, Tischendorf was not troubled by the omission of the resurrection in Mark because he believed that Matthew was written first and that Mark’s gospel was an abridged version of Matthew’s gospel. If this were true, the absence of resurrection in Mark would not be a problem because it appears in the older Matthean gospel. Modern scholarship generally holds that Mark is in fact the oldest of the Synoptic Gospels, which could cause theological concerns over the omitted resurrection.

One other omission in Codex Sinaiticus with theological implications is the reference to Jesus’ ascension in Luke 24:51. Additionally, Mark 1:1 in the original hand omits reference to Jesus as the Son of God.

Below, see a visual comparison of these and other differences between the King James Version and Codex Sinaiticus.


The religion section of most bookstores includes an amazing array of Bibles. In our free eBook The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide, prominent Biblical scholars Leonard Greenspoon and Harvey Minkoff expertly guide you through 21 different Bible translations (or versions) and address their content, text, style and religious orientation.


 

The Markan Resurrection
(Mark 16: 1–14)

King James Version

1 “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Codex Sinaiticus

1 “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

 


 

The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13)

King James Version

9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Codex Sinaiticus

Father,
Hallowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, as in heaven, so upon earth.
Give us day by day our daily bread
And forgive us our sins, as we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
And bring us not into temptation.

 


 

The woman caught in adultery
(John 8: 3–11)

King James Version

3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Codex Sinaiticus

Completely absent.

 


 

Significant omitted verses

King James Version

Luke 24:51: “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.”
Mark 1:1: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;”
Luke 9:55–56: “But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.”
Codex Sinaiticus

Omits “carried up into heaven.” Leaving no ascension in the Gospels.

Omits “the Son of God.”

Not present.

 


 

Alterations perhaps due to later theological beliefs

King James Version

Mark 1:41: “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.”
Matthew 24:36: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
Codex Sinaiticus

“Jesus, angry, stretched out his hand and touched him…”“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.”

 


Constantine Tischendorf’s chance finding of Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest New Testament manuscript, at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai—and his later removal of the manuscript—made him both famous and infamous. Learn more by reading “Tischendorf on Trial for Removing Codex Sinaiticus, the Oldest New Testament.”


This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on August 12, 2015.


 


98 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    I am mainly interested in all the verses that were not in the oldest manuscripts.

    Is there a list somewhere?

    1. Chris says:

      Like all of them If there is more than what is listed here on this page?

  2. Michael says:

    The idea that “older is automatically better” has deceived many people when it comes to this text that was found by Tischendorf and used by Westcott and Hort and the like. These discarded old manuscripts that were full of scribal errors and as result were never circulated by the church. 95% of all NT Manuscripts agree, yet modern “scholars” reject the testimony of the Received text underlying the KJV English translation in favor of something that was discarded asking us to believe that the True Words of God were lost for hundreds of years making God a liar in His Promise of Preservation. Read Edward F. Hills “Believing Bible Study”

  3. kevin m smith says:

    think ian mportant thought, before general literacy the spoken word was all one had and the idea of quoting a past remark was not part of the culture. When someone spoke the passage ended when the speaker finished. No one was copying the thought in ant way, it now was a part of each hearers memory and as such will be changed a bit by each hearer. No one said they were quoteing Joe but passing on what they remembered.
    Want to check this next time you are with friends, turn on a tape recorder, not tell others you have done so. After 10 minutes of conversation see who remembers exactly what was said 8 minutes ago. We rember what we want, what seemed imoortant to us, but mostly just very general ideas. Now do this over 5 days for 1 to 3 hours a day and see how much you remember, at the end from the first, second etc days tslks.
    When I have tried this really no one had remembered what had been said.

    The olympic hockey team that beat russia was given a talk by brooks in the locker room during the victory celebration. This was the greatest moment in thier lives for all there and they would have been really focused on what the ciach had to say,. When the film was made the producers had to ‘ create’ the speach as – no one remembered what brooks had said. A piece here and a piece there but no even close to a complete speach. And that was only a few years after it occured.
    More so with Jesus deciples, they were not listening to remember but to learn. They had Jesus , no need – even if they could have, to commit what was being said to memory. And again before the written word, the idea of memorizing what was said was not part of culture.

    best kevin m smith

  4. brian says:

    Being added to the church of Christ 2014.

    after having many different translations.

    personnaly have seen evangelists using NIV Codex Sinaiticus based bibles and in front of my eyes not but 3 different times this verse fulfilled.

    2 Timothy 4 King James Version (KJV)
    4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

    2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

    3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

    4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    i have an 1560 geneva bible and 1611 an an 1678 an 1769.. 1829..1841 and also use other revived text bibles.

  5. Braam Van Rooy says:

    Just thinking,could the handwriting he analised?
    Did the editor who has written the last book of Mark,wrote any other passages after Mark.
    From which scriptures did he translate?
    In the end I wonder,was this truly a omission,or could there be illness,war,fire or any other disasters??
    I dont know the history in exact of my great grand parents,how would we know ever about 400 generations ago.
    We won’t,we will always make asumptions based in what we have and might never been correct.

  6. wdk says:

    For those of us that interested in the background of texts, such as whether the verses are original or vary, it would make sense to have an annotated version of the Bible, whatever your faith might be, even if it is absent. I do have several annotated scriptures myself and they are from several different groups or editors A favorite is the New Jerusalem Bible, if for no other reason, it includes the deutero-canonical books of the OT such as Maccabees and Ecclesiasticus. Strange where you find some of BC assertions of the immortality of the soul. But also the TaNaKh which gives the OT a different structure to consider, especially when you talk about prophets.

    But regarding Mark, I would to point out another consideration. I don’t this boils down to Mark in KJV vs. Sinaiticus by any means.There are more books and there are more versions – of Mark.

    Let me point out that the oldest Bible on display in the United States is the Codex
    Washingtonicus and one of its principle claims to fame is its particular addition to the last chapter.

    In discussion of this codex it is discribed as perhaps the third oldest, but probably has better provenance than the other two. It was found in the Cairo environs with evidence of origin in the 4th or 5th century, right around the time of Athanasius – but l won’t jump to any conclusions.

    Here is Matthew 16:14. But understand that back then they probably did not quote scripture in that numerical manner:

    And they excused themselves, saying, “This age of lawlessness
    and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and
    power of God to prevail over the unclean things of the spirits [or:
    does not allow what lies under the unclean spirits to understand
    the truth and power of God]. Therefore reveal thy righteousness
    now” – thus they spoke to Christ. And Christ replied to them,
    “The term of years of Satan’s power has been fulfilled, but other
    terrible things draw near. And for those who have sinned I was
    delivered over to death, that they may return to the truth and sin
    no more in order to inherit the spiritual and incorruptible glory of
    righteousness which is in heaven.[”

    So it got past Mark 16:9, but I do not know for certain if it reached 16:20.

    Nevertheless, for many readers and contributors to this forum, there are things in that entry which they might not agree with; others might not bat an eye.
    But it would be fair for an annotated version of the Bible to include reference to
    this early version of the text, just as it would, perhaps, to the possibility that other
    things contrary to their beliefs, just might be a gloss – or the real thing.

    If we speak of provenance in an art museum, we know where the picture has been since it was painted by the artist. If not, then the art critic’s interpretation is

    conjecture.

    As the discussion suggests

  7. Michał Wojciechowski says:

    Mark 1.41 – MISTAKE. Sinaiticus has “moved with compassion”, splanchnistheis in Greek, and not “angry” as you write. “Angry” (orgistheis) is from codex D (Bezae) and some Old Latin manuscripts (so-called Western Text).

  8. Monkjohn1 says:

    Matthew 24/37 are you sure and how sure you are? But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.”. My question about, neither the son is there
    Thank you

  9. Peter says:

    While faith comes by the hearing of the Word, the fact that there is the omission of the ending of St. Mark’s Gospel in the Sinaiticus, whatever the reason, does not prevent the Holy Spirit from bringing hearers to the knowledge of salvation in Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Son of God. God works in, with and through fallen human beings, even when the errors/sins are most glaring. This certainly speaks to who He is – the I AM.

  10. Matt Edwards says:

    I really enjoyed the side-by-side comparison; it’s clear that scribes through time have substantially modified the text.

    Unfortunately, the comments section that follow the article remind us that anti-Catholic bigotry and the ignorance from which it springs is still present in the minds and hearts of fundamentalist Christians. Jesus would be ashamed that “believers” still foment hatred toward His holy Church.

    Nothing could be more errant than to write “… Catholics hate the Bible”. Silly, utter nonsense spawned by Satan’s minions.

  11. Cynthia says:

    In the end days, knowledge shall increase. Each will find their own way. ‘Hopefully their path will lead to righteousness worthy of Almighty God’s approval.

  12. DONGSZKIE says:

    THAT’S PURE SUPERSTITION, ROBERT

  13. Stephen says:

    Amen ! I believe GOD has preserved his word as he said he would . his word’s will never pass away !

  14. Laurie Cords says:

    Robert, i too recently read the kj for the first time starting in may. It cuts to the heart in a way the other versions never did. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
    Galatians 4:6

  15. Robert says:

    Thanks to the comment by Frank, now I am seeing where the “Oneness” BS concept is being derived from. After all this education I have decided to always demand the KJV Only. PLUS, why is it when I read the KJV for six months I experience a power, unlike anything I have ever experienced. And then when I read a modern version of the Bible (derived from the Westcott and Hort revisions) I never experience this power or anything like it at all??? I am just saying. We know the Catholics hated the Bible then and even today. Would the pressure they would have certainly applied to any revision process underway be made to uplift and promote the Bible OR to denounce and reduce the Bible’s Power??? Ask yourself this. (HINT: The Catholics would burn one at the stake for even possessing a Bible copy back in the day).

  16. Robert says:

    check out this documentary by Abduhla Films called “Bridge To Babylon”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukRCVDmiAts

  17. Donald R. Sutter says:

    Absolutely NOTHING is missing from any of the Uncial Codices – Vaticanus c. 325–350, Sinaiticus c. 330–360, Alexandrinus c. 400–440 or Ephraemi c. 450.

    The fact all four codices, discovered in four separate places and times, all agree with one another suggests Textus Receptus (Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus) ADDED them in the 16th century AD

  18. Frank de Ruyter says:

    Just a thought, but if the Sinai Bible was a fourth century record of the New Testament, and the modern canon came about under Athanasius at around 390AD, then doesn’t it suggest that a lot of our modern Bible was filled in by the likes of Athanasius late in the fourth century, just before the text was canonized. Same guy that established the doctrine of the Trinity, btw.

  19. Carole says:

    Codex Vaticanus, gathering dust in the Vatican library since the 1500’s and Codex Sinaiticus, rescued from a trash can in St. Catherine’s monastery…used by Westcott and Hort to “rewrite” the KJV. Two men who did not believe the scriptures were inerrant, who conducted seances, who did not believe in the miracles of Christ and who were enamored of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. Unbelievable!

  20. Jerry Chandler says:

    Through this codex, the R.V. omits verses with a multitude of documented quotes by the earliest Pre-Nicene Christians including converts of the Apostles Paul, Peter, and John; all of whom certainly has autograph versions of the New Testament books. This cannot be an unblemished codex. It would enshrine the abominable concept that the church was without the most correct text for 1600 years.

  21. Sara Jones says:

    Until you have a personal experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit, you cannot see the truth.
    If you deny God, then you are truly out of His will and are dead already.
    Just as a defective plant does not grow but dies so is the nonbeliever already dead.

  22. Frikkie Brits says:

    Steve, you have the DNA of GOD in you.
    Every true child of GOD knows it and cannot live without it.
    Fact is you choose to suppress it, and by doing so you distance yourself from the Grace of GOD. I am so sorry that you do not see the work of GOD in our envroinment , yourself and in people around you. And no, Steve, the are thousands and thousands positives and no negatives at all. Steve, the Bible’s message is that of Justice, Love and Mercy. How is this negative? if this is negative, then how is murder, rape, child abuse, greed classified? Is it not because of these negatives that the world is so rotten as it is? Please force yourself to reconsider, take time and rethink your position, and seek the TRUTH.
    I bless you in the Name of the Father, the SON and the HOLY Spirit.

  23. Samantha says:

    Thank you

  24. Bob says:

    Well said steve

  25. Steve says:

    Just wish the world would realize that all organized religions are made up by mankind.
    Being in the ultimate best group (your current religion is the correct one of course) is a very powerful aphrodisiac.
    I found the many negatives, outweigh the few positives.I forced myself to face the truth of this, grew up and have been happy not to look back.
    Stop using your cult’s limited understanding of morality, spirituality and limited understanding of the universe.as a template for how you should think – believe.

    please

  26. Steve says:

    I’m aware of no historical evidence that anything was erased and replaced. Please site such evidence if it exists

  27. Eduardo Cecilia Ocana says:

    the textual variant “Jesus, angry, stretched out his hand and touched him…” is in the Codex Bezae, not in the Codex Sinaíticus.

  28. Mikha'el says:

    There are likely missing portions on the Codex because they added to the current texts in order to push their dogma and make it more palatable to those they wished to convert.

  29. Michael says:

    Unless I am mistaken, I have not seen the book of Daniel in the codex sinaticus.

  30. Dan says:

    If memory serves me, it was a book about women christian martyrs. Then that history was erased, and replaced with the gosple account agreeable to the era?

  31. Phil Goetz says:

    My mistake… 2 Cor 13:14 is in the CS. I had looked at a photo of the end of 2 Cor 13 in the CS, and it ended with verse 13, and the English translation on that same web page showed it ending with what we know as verse 13.

    On actually checking the Greek text, however, I found that what was numbered 13 in the CS was the verse we know as 14. The English translation was not translated from the Codex, but evidently copy-pasted from some English version of the Bible and mapped onto the verse numbers in the CS.

  32. Phil Goetz says:

    You forgot to mention 2 Corinthians 13:14, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” I just checked a photo of the relevant page in the Sinaiticus, and it’s not there. That leaves only Matthew 28:19 to support the doctrine of the Trinity. That is in the Sinaiticus, but not in any manuscripts prior to the Council of Nicea.

  33. Joel says:

    The textus receptus was essentially a slogan used by the distributors of the KJV after it was error corrected and reprinted on the printing press. The textus receptus was a shortened for of what was actually said… “Textum ergo habes, nun cab omnibus receptum,” which can be translated as “the [reader] now has the text that is received by all.” So it wasn’t that the text was “recieved” by anyone… the translator was just telling everyone that THIS VERSION is the one that everyone should now use, and that was in 1633, a long time after the text was actually written by the authors.

    https://www.gotquestions.org/Textus-Receptus.html

  34. R E Dillon says:

    Good Morning Oscar – here’s some interesting reading that may assist with your query: “In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture” by Alister McGrath
    Even ‘back then’ there was an undue political influence and the personal interests of committee members affected the outcome –
    https://books.google.com/books/about/In_the_Beginning.html?id=C8Nw_SN2zgYC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q&f=false

  35. Oscar Ferreira says:

    What is so important about the KJV being a translation from the Textus Receptus (received text)??? Did God speak directly to King James I and the various groups of translators assembled by him to produce the KJV for the English-speaking world???

  36. Jon McAuliffe says:

    I’m new to this discussion. Would appreciate knowing what is considered to be the oldest versions of the OT and NT. Tyndale? Earlier? Forgive my ignorance, please.

  37. Harry Powers says:

    This debate has been going on for centuries and likely there will always be disagreements as to which is closer to the original Greek autographs. What I think is significant is that the basic message of the bible hasn’t changed regardless of which Greek manuscript is used for translation into English. I like the KJV AND the ESV, NKJV and NASB, et al. There is really no difference in the basic doctrinal message and only a few details are really different–nothing that would affect anyone’s faith or salvation.

    It would be understandable to me if the KJV (published in 1611) had been the first English translation. The KJV is actually a revision of an earlier translation; “The Bishop’s Bible” published in 1568. The First English bible translated from Greek (not Latin) manuscripts was the Tyndale Bible (1525). There were several English translations published long before the KJV; to wit, “Coverdale bible” (1535), “Matthews bible,” (1537) “The Great bible,” (1539) “Geneva Bible,” (1560) “Bishop’s Bible,” (1568), et al.

    The KJV is familiar to most of us so naturally we prefer the familiar, but to place it on par with the original Greek manuscripts of the bible seems sacrilegious.

  38. Arthur F Green PhD says:

    There is growing forensic evidence that the Codex Sinaiticus is a 19th century forgery, sponsored by the Catholic Church, in order to undermine the Protestant Bible. See Dr Bill Cooper PhD, ThD, “The Forging of the Codex Sinaiticus” and “New Testament Fragments. Amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls.”
    I went to a lecture give by Dr Cooper on this subject, and his evidence and the surprised response of the British Library staff at the youthful condition of the manuscripts, was very compelling. I am still researching this. For example the Magna Carta (c.1200 AD) is so frail and desiccated that it is enclosed in a sealed environment, to prevent total disintegration. The Codex Sinaiticus is allegedly 800 year older that that, and has had no special preservative treatment or conditions in all that time, yet the parchment condition is fresh, supple and un-oxidised. This is the cause of the surprise of the British Library staff, who are acknowledged world class experts in handling such manuscripts. Additionally. there is evidence of textual tampering, attempts at artificially aging the manuscript, and alleged bookworm tracks that start in the middle of the page. I am still looking into this. If anyone is interested, a good place to start is the work of Dr Cooper.
    Of course, the implications of this, if true, are monumental. Much modern textual scholarship will be undermined and further investigations into the motives of the people involved will be needed.

  39. Elizabeth says:

    I will want a copy of the oldest new testament it is written how Jesus says it should be. Unlike the KJV. It leaves out fables and geneologies.

  40. Karen Lambertsen says:

    I will always prefer the KJV with all its faults. I read it for the prose. “One night some sheepherders were sitting around the campfire……..” just can’t hold a candle to “And there were shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night.”

  41. Franklin Perrini says:

    Any organization that uses the KJV as a baseline English translation for textual criticism can safely be dismissed by anyone looking to take this topic seriously.

  42. ADWIN says:

    i say that all things will be made clear when Jesus comes back pretty soon.

  43. Gene R says:

    A footnote on #46 above: Besides the New World Translation, the others were The Amplified New Testament, The Living Bible, The New American Bible With Revised New Testament, New American Standard Bible, The Holy Bible—New International Version, The New Revised Standard Version, The Bible in Today’s English Version, and King James Version

  44. Pastor Philip Spomer says:

    The discipline of Biblical manuscript analysis is mature, rich, and sophisticated. This article doesn’t reflect that at all. The King James and Tischendorf? Who is the envisioned recipient of this article?

  45. Gene R says:

    Some linguists have examined modern Bible translations—including the New World Translation—for examples of inaccuracy and bias. One such scholar is Jason David BeDuhn, associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University in the United States. In 2003 he published a 200-page study of nine of “the Bibles most widely in use in the English-speaking world.”* His study examined several passages of Scripture that are controversial, for that is where “bias is most likely to interfere with translation.” For each passage, he compared the Greek text with the renderings of each English translation, and he looked for biased attempts to change the meaning. What is his assessment?

    BeDuhn points out that the general public and many Bible scholars assume that the differences in the New World Translation (NW) are due to religious bias on the part of its translators. However, he states: “Most of the differences are due to the greater accuracy of the NW as a literal, conservative translation.” While BeDuhn disagrees with certain renderings of the New World Translation, he says that this version “emerges as the most accurate of the translations compared.” He calls it a “remarkably good” translation. https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102007409#h=22:2-23:524https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102007409#h=22:2-23:524

  46. Alistair McFarlane says:

    re 17. Kent says:
    He claims that the gospels were written after the deaths of Peter and Paul. This is just not possible, for there is no mention of the catastrophe in Rome when these apostles and most of the other Christians were cruelly massacred late in Nero’s reign. Instead.the Gospels end with a message of hope, (The Epilogue at the end of John was probably added later by a follower of Peter.)
    The massacres are implied in Revelation, so this was written by John shortly afterwards, before Jerusalem fell to the Roman army..
    .

  47. Rick C says:

    How do the >English< translations of Mark 16.1-14 match word for word in KJV and א, yet don't in Matt 6.9-13? The question is not so much that the English translations should vary — I get that — but how the Mark translations match.

  48. Nicole says:

    Recently found my way back to God, after researching for many, many years other types of religions/beleifs. I followed mostly Buddhism and Hinduism among other philosophies, because I found them to be helpful and peaceful. God has become a stigma in our society today, the lack of morality I think is a reflection of that stigma. Where can we find proof of the existence of God? In doctrines? Ancient manuscripts? Versions of the bible that are forever under scrutiny?. Disinformation is a great tool for controlling our minds! We simply don’t know what to believe anymore!. So I have only recently come across the codex sinaiticus, which has led me here, and Its been enlightening to read all of these comments and opinions, from all of you quite educated and well versed people. Thank you also for the many useful links provided.

  49. Peter Smith says:

    When it comes to a consideration of the authenticity of Siniaticus and Vaticanus, few academics seem to ask some very basic non-academic but practical questions such as:
    How is it that these ancient manuscripts lay forgotten (Siniaticus) or ignored (Vaticanus) for 1500 years or more?
    How come these two were preserved when many thousands of others were not?
    There’s also another question which IS academic but also glossed over:
    If these two represent an older and more original text, how come they differ from each other so much?

    I can answer the first question here in part from my own experience. I had/have a New World translation in my home with all the incorporated mistranslations driven by theological ideology. I didn’t want to put it with other translations on my bookshelves lest someone read it unawares and was led astray, but I did not feel comfortable destroying it – so I hid it. I’ve now forgotten where and cannot find it. Jews and Muslims to this day consider the destruction of their “holy book” to be a terrible sin, so Christian monks realising that they had a very misleading copy of the Bible on their hands would most likely act for the same reasons as I and in just the same way that I did.That very easily and practically explains Siniaticus and the explanation for Vaticanus is similar. It was given to the Vatican from the East and was pretty well hidden away although not totally forgotten, Erasmus in compiling Textus Receptus was told of it but warned of its unreliability and so he ignored it.

    The simple reason for the disappearance of most manuscripts – and why there are so many small fragments containing excerpts around is that they simply wore out! That is why the copying of Bible manuscripts was such a big business. Many of the larger monasteries had a scriptorium in which the production of new manuscripts was constant. Such a production line was slow and laborious and costly. Those manuscripts used as “originals” in this business wore out very quickly, those used in worship or sold on for private devotions lasted longer, but not for centuries – unless unused. The hurricane of Islamic conquest across the Middle East from the 7th century on was, of course, another major factor in destruction. So our second question is really: why were these two “unorthodox* manuscripts unused? Clearly that must have been because they were recognised from a very early date to be unreliable to the point of theological fraud. How else could it be that no copies of these manuscripts, not even on small fragments, have been discovered?

    As for the differences between the two rogue manuscripts, they are seldom mentioned by their main supporters because they really destroy the underlying support for authenticity. The argument made is that because they are believed to be physically the oldest, they must represent the fewest changes from the originals. But if that were so, how could they be so different? in fact some say that the differences between the two are greater than their individual differences with Textus Receptus. If they were deliberately mis-copied by different groups in different locations to support certain theological doctrines, then one could expect differences between the two results, but it is simply not possible to explain how two “faithful” copies of an original text could end up so incompatible.

  50. Mary says:

    William posts “As Rodney King said, ‘Can’t we all just get along?’ Actually at least to me it does seem to be more important to be able to get along than to be right, however right is defined.” That is called relativism, a scourge which has infected our culture. Christians believe “absolute truth” does exist. All religions are based on truth claims. There can be only one truth among multiple truth claims. They can’t all be simultaneously true so it is important to seek out the truth. You are right about charity. At least to me this discussion thread is very interesting but I always skip the comments that bash another religion or denomination especially when they lack charity and sound scholarship.

  51. WILLIAM BOONE says:

    May a non-Christian, non–Jewish reader of no particular faith point out that you would seem a much greater tribute to your respective Catholic and Protestant faiths were you to behave with more charity to each other and, with good will, attempt to dissipate all odium theologicum, replacing it with a more expansive spirit of brotherly/sisterly love and respect? Of course I don’t want to seem to imply that such inability to feel empathy is limited to Christians, Far from it. And why do we humans who take such pride in our organizational and community identities save in one kind of organization or community seem to save their harshest rebukes for each other for that matter, in this case Protestants against Catholics and vice versa? It dismays me, sincerely. As Rodney King said, “Can’t we all just get along?” Actually at least to me it does seem to be more important to be able to get along than to be right, however right is defined.

  52. Paul says:

    I think the most useful comparisons would be for several of the oldest manuscripts be compared side-by-side to one another, this I think would provide a better understanding of how the KJV has different content compared to the Sinaiticus. I’ve known for a long time these differences existed, I just have never been able to figure out how these differences came to be.

    If somebody knows the existence of side-by-side comparisons I’d like to know about them. Thanks in advance.

  53. John says:

    CB I had to laugh as I was thinking nearly the same thing when I read you post. I mostly appreciate the articles but always find the comments helpful and sometimes entertaining.

  54. Robin says:

    Interesting article….and interesting comments. Before Mark and Matthew and Luke, there was supposedly Q, M, L — all those other documents? That is, assuming they existed….. There also was the first letter to the Corinthian church which described resurrection appearances and so on…..And there are numerous modern scholars (agnostic, Christian, not Christian—apparently also Jewish) who assert that belief in the physical resurrection rose up within the church immediately. As for the resurrection in Mark or not in Mark versus Sinaiticus…..I think there are endless debates over the Long Ending and the Short Ending of Mark, with scholars evenly divided in their views. Thanks, BAR, for discussing it as it relates to Sinaiticus onlyl

  55. C.B.Ross says:

    Am I the only person who often finds more help, information, and encouragement in the comments than I do in the article provided? It’s the reason I continue to receive the articles!

  56. Bradley Miller says:

    The earliest manuscripts are consistent. The textus receptus is based of all older manuscripts that are fairly consistent. The problem here is would you rather have translations from the 10th centurey or the 4th century (as they became available) which are more removed from Catholic theological bias. Its simple as that folks.

  57. Amanda says:

    Constantine Tischendorf was a false teacher, like one of the ones Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, warned about.

  58. Lol says:

    Everyones complaining yet the letter, sent from Juda to his apostles, in jerusalem warning of people corrupting the words of jesus clearly names jesus as a “servant of god” rather than the “son of god” if they were “gods” first companions why didnt they state so i mean jesus should have told them at from the beginning quite EXPLICITLY!

  59. Clear says:

    “And We sent Noah and Abraham, and established in their descendants prophecy and the Book: and some of them are rightly guided, but many are rebellious.

    “Then We sent after them our apostles and We sent Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy; and monasticism, they invented it. We did not command it…yet We bestowed on those among them who believed, their due reward, but many of them are rebellious.”

  60. John Robertson says:

    Regards Codex Siniaticius. I recommend “The forging of Codex Siniaticus” by Bill Cooper. The title says it all, and the constant attack on God’s Holy word to us by many.

    God Bless you all with light to Truth. In Jesus Name.

  61. Chuck says:

    I prefer to accept the word of God by faith, the same way we attain salvation. Jesus was in the OT, in Genesis 1:26 God said let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness,… this would be funny language for God alone and by himself to be using. If Satan can place doubt about the word of God in man’s head, he has the war half won… It is by faith and faith alone we can be saved… I have personally been transformed from a drunkard, dope head, and whoremonger, into a son of God by faith and our so called flawed KJV.
    Be Blessed, Chuck

  62. Roger says:

    Those wanting to use the Greek manuscripts needs to consult the fact that these were Yisraelis writing, not Greek and the language would have been written in Hebrew. Any Greek representation of the New Testament is not factual as to the true text.

  63. Ian says:

    Andrew says on – 27 May 2016.
    “Nowhere does the OT say; “He was with God in the beginning”. -Thus proving anything Godly about Christianity is bogus”

    Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea at the time of Jesus Christ’s death. Jesus was hauled before Pilate for the Jewish religious Elite wanted Him dead, because they charged Jesus with blaspemy.
    Pilate was used to trouble makers in Judea and he saw and heard a lot of phony messiahs, and many of those were armed to the teeth to try and get rid of Rome’s power base in Judea. One of Jesus’ disciples had been such a zealot.
    Pilate flatly told the Jewish leaders that he found NO FAULT in this man.
    This is history.
    A Roman Governor finds no fault with someone charged with insurrection and turning the world upside down??
    But the very reason why the Jewish religious left (or right) charged Jesus with blaasphemy and wanted Hm dead was because thy understood perfectly that Jesus was stating that He was equal with God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc.
    They knew this. It was not something that they had to work out..DID HE or DIDN”T HE?
    He had claimed to be God – equal with God, and they had tried on a number of occasions to stone HIm, just as Moses had said they should for a charge of blasphemy…as long as two or three witnesses could testify. But they as a group had heard Jesus Himself. They were first hand witnesses.
    This is history.

    These two facts should be enough to get your mind thinking whether you have made a right judgement in your comment – “…proving anything Godly about Christianity is bogus”
    Those Jewish leaders I dare say would have been far more familiar with the OT than you or I have ever been. They knew exactly what Jesus was saying…
    Jesus also told them that I and My Father are one – John 10:30 (read the rest of the narrative). You can’t get any plalner than that.

    Have a look at Proverbs 30:4
    “Who has gone up to Heaven, and come down? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in His garments? Who has made all the ends of the earth to rise? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name? Surely you know.”
    WHAT IS HIS NAME? WHAT IS HIS SON’S NAME?
    That is the question you must ask and answer for yourself honestly and carefully.

  64. Ian says:

    (re Luke. .September 25 .2015)…
    The devil you can see is not so much a problem as the devil which you can’t see, but yet is very active. That is the nature of deception.
    Subversion is often of a greater danger than frontal attack. The old proverbial Trojan Horse trick worked very well back in the old days. And no less so today.

    Just like the serpent was doing the devils’ dirty work in the Garden of Eden where God walked and talked with our first parents, (and conquered – for a time), so too the devil has had his agents working to subvert and pervert Scripture……little by little, line by line, here a little there a little over many centuries.

    Rome couldn’t get rid of all the Bibles which were being mass produced by the “protestors” – the “heretics” as Rome branded them, so after a time they got busy by subversion and decided it would suit their purpose better if they worked to alter the Text of the Bible from within.

    And presto, what do we have today? Hundreds of english Bible versions, and most of them are ONLY making small changes ..INSIGNIFICANT changes which over time become gradually accepted. All ready for the next generation of innocent and naive seekers for truth.
    People will accept critical change if it appears in small and harmless doses. That is how the system works. Last time I looked poison is stil poison no matter what kind it is.
    Westcott and Hort highly valued the Romish texts -Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, as well as the doctrines of Rome above Protestant doctrine though they were publicly involved in the Protestant church. One said to the other of the Textus Receptus – “Think of that vile Textus Receptus leaning entirely on late MSS.; it is a blessing there are such early ones.”
    …this same author states “The practical effect of the W-H theory was a complete rejection of the “Syrian” text and an almost exclusive preference for the “Neutral” text (equals B and Aleph). Subsequent scholarship has generally rejected the notion of a “Neutral” text but (still has – Ed) sustained the rejection of the “Syrian” text.” -( source http://www.revisedstandard.net/text/WNP/id_3.html) (Ed is my remark to clarify)

    Just like in the 1800’s , Europe saw an infiltration into the Seminaries and Colleges by Rome’s agents to weaken Protestant influence for the ensuing generations and swing them back to Rome (still going on today folks), so too the work of W&H in the late 1800’s brought a major shift in the thinking about how scholars should or could go about their work of translation of Scripture.

    The devil is in the detail AGAIN. Details are important.

    It must be stated that most modern versions/translations still have statements in their pages that will support the divinity of Jesus Christ and His work on earth and on the cross, and all or most of His message etc. The greater danger is not so much whether a version states such things AT ALL, but how many times the total testimony is weakened.

    If I have 999, 999 dollar coins, one may conclude that I am a millionaire, even I might. But the fact remains I do not have a million dollars. A million is a million, not one less than a million.
    If somebody takes one of those dollar coins, it still looks like a lot money and I almost have a million dollars. almost a millionaire…And so if my little stash is diminshed little by little who will care? Near enough is good enough. Is it? Not in God’s economy.

    If I misquote the Prime minister of my country just by a little bit, publicly, and insist that my quote is what he said, even when it is pointed out that I got it wrong, will I be excused by the Chief Prosecutor for the Government? Hardly.
    But it seems quite okay and acceptable if we put our own spin on God’s word. And our excuse….? …no one can be certain about what God said in the first place.

    God has stated in Deuteronomy, in Proverbs and in Revelation that anyone who adds to or subtracts from God’s word will be held accountable.
    Let us fear God and love Him and treat His word with more respect.
    Ignorance is one thing and may be forgiven, but a careless approach or deliberate twisting is another.

    …further reading… AN INTRODUCTION TO TEXTUAL CRITICISM VOL 1. UNHOLY HANDS ON THE BIBLE, BURGON, GREEN, SOVEREIGN GRAC PUB.

    Wilbur N. Pickering, Th.M Ph.D is qioted as saying
    “It has commonly been argued, for at least 200 years (John Bengel, d. 1752, was the first), that no matter what Greek text one may use it will not affect any doctrine. In my own experience, for over thirty years, when I have raised the question of what is the correct Greek text of the New Testament, regardless of audience, the usual response has been: “What difference does it make?” The purpose of this article is to answer that question, at least in part.” (APPENDIX II, A COMPARISON BETWEEN SIX MAJOR BIBLE VERSIONS, VOLUME II, UNHOLY HANDS ON THE BIBLE. GREEN, SOVEREIGN GRACE TRUST FUND.

    W N Pickering points out that one of the major thrusts of modern versions is to undermine the authority of Scripture, by the use of enclosing “parts of the text in brackets and have” (ing) “numerous footnotes of a sort that raise doubt about the integrity of the Text. The consequences of all this are serious and are far reachiing for the future of the Church.”

    Little doubts often repeated become entrenched in the mind and eventually produce either a serious warning, or a platform for lies.

  65. NO!!! says:

    The person who wrote this is obviously undereducated read Mark 16:6!!!

    Mark 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

  66. RJ says:

    I find it amazing that you all believe in this nonsense.

  67. Ben says:

    – “Nowhere does the OT say; “He was with God in the beginning”. -Thus proving anything Godly about Christianity is bogus.”

    -> Proverbs 8:22 The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. (..) 27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth (..) 30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; 31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

    Have a nice day 🙂

  68. Andrew says:

    “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Nowhere does the OT say; “He was with God in the beginning”. -Thus proving anything Godly about Christianity is bogus.

  69. Steven Avery says:

    Actually, the Christian apologist who says that BAR is wrong to point out the theological significance of omitting the ascension and the resurrection appearances in the corrupt Critical Text is himself naive. They are significant.

    However, Sinaiticus itself is not relevant, since the evidence is very strong that it was produced in the 1800s, which is why it is in such incredible flexible, supple condition, and the Leipzig pages are white parchment, contra the chemistry of parchment aging..

    For more information:

    Codex Sinaiticus Authenticity Research
    http://www.sinaiticus.net/

    Sinaiticus – authentic antiquity or modern?
    http://purebibleforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=65

  70. GREG says:

    Why don’t you ask GOD for the understanding. ……He’s giving me understanding of things I’ve ask him…
    Besides, that’s what he tells us to do, ask.

  71. Olinad P Aznaila says:

    The Apocripha/Deuterocanonicals is present in Sinaiticus. Being the “oldest and best” makes Rome correct in their belief. Hooray for the proponents of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. Woe to the Textus Receptus supporters. And how about the epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas? Both are included in the Sinaiticus. So why do these proponents never complained that these are not included in evangelical churches’ bible? Makes me cringe if it really is the “best” and the “oldest”

  72. Andree says:

    Craig, thanks for the link to battle of the bible. Excellent information.

  73. Sean says:

    What about the recognized theory that John is the first gospel written? From what I read, that gospel goes straight to the point that Jesus was the living Word of God, the only begotten son, and the light to the world. Whether Mark’s gospel is more definitive or not would be a moot issue if it was written as a subsequent addition to John’s.

  74. Kent Lo says:

    Actually Mark and other gospels is written after the death of Peter and Paul. Most of the epistles are written before the gospels. From the epistles we find the basic Christian beliefs: Christ is the Son of God and His resurrection etc.

  75. JAMES MOODY says:

    Loved reading and learning from your article. Thanks.

  76. Craig says:

    The above article barely scratches the surface of the difference between the King James Version Bible (based on Textus Receptus) and Codex Sinaiticus. Textes Receptus has over 5000 manuscripts in numerous languages which all agree with each other in terms of content and detail. Other versions like the Codex Sinaiticus have but one or two manuscripts, so despite the age and missing content versus the KJV Bible, one needs to only weigh the odds of which versions seems likely to be more correct. And why would God hide the ‘truth’ from his people for almost 2000 years before giving them the ‘correct’ script of His Holy Word in the form of Codex Sinaiticus?

    One needs to study the various Codices and again ask why have certain critical aspects like (1) Jesus Christ being part of the Godhead, or (2) that we are saved only through Jesus Christ and his blood atoning sacrifice for our sins, have been changed or completely left out? For those who wish to expand their knowledge of Bible versions and what is missing, and more importantly why, I suggest you watch the attached Walter Veith videos on youtube as a starting point.

    “Battle of the Bibles” on link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNv-zzpIwBs ; and “Changing the Word”on link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqBEuxGY7DI

  77. Seadragon says:

    Raghaven…..Yes then it must be true because you read it here. Set it in stone rag. I just love it when people cannot think outside of their TV dinner box and read ONE thing and run with it, yet they never believe what the Bible says. Ever think possibly he had more than ONE resource ???

  78. Kurt says:

    The Sinaitic Syriac is considered one of the most important Biblical manuscripts discovered, right along with such Greek manuscripts as the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus. It is now generally believed that both the Curetonian and Sinaitic manuscripts are extant copies of the old Syriac Gospels dating from the late second or early third century.
    “THE WORD OF OUR GOD ENDURES FOREVER”
    Can these manuscripts be useful to Bible students today? Undoubtedly! Take as an example the so-called long conclusion of the Gospel of Mark, which in some Bibles follows Mark 16:8. It appears in the Greek Codex Alexandrinus of the fifth century, the Latin Vulgate, and elsewhere. However, the two authoritative fourth-century Greek manuscripts—Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus—both end with Mark 16:8. The Sinaitic Syriac does not have this long conclusion either, adding further evidence that the long conclusion is a later addition and was not originally part of Mark’s Gospel.

    Consider another example. In the 19th century, almost all Bible translations had a spurious Trinitarian addition at 1 John 5:7. However, this addition does not appear in the oldest Greek manuscripts. Neither does it appear in the Peshitta, thus proving that the addition at 1 John 5:7 is indeed a corruption of the Bible text.

    Clearly, as promised, Jehovah God has preserved his Holy Word. In it we are given this assurance: “The green grass dries up, the blossom withers, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:25) The version known as the Peshitta plays a humble but important role in the accurate transmission of the Bible’s message to all of humanity
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200270815

  79. Luke Valenti says:

    BAR, you are supposed to be a scholarly magazine. When you allow biased comments like this:
    “Modern scholarship generally holds that Mark is in fact the oldest of the Synoptic Gospels, which could cause theological concerns over the omitted resurrection. One other omission in Codex Sinaiticus with theological implications is the reference to Jesus’ ascension in Luke 24:51. Additionally, Mark 1:1 in the original hand omits reference to Jesus as the Son of God.”

    I want to cringe. You know perfectly well that the omission of these texts in no way theologically threatens any Biblical doctrine. Mentioning of Jesus’ resurrection and his identity as the “Son of God” and even as the “I am” are found in numerous other passages in the “Codex Sinaiticus.” Why have you chosen to have an article about “What’s missing….” with 2 passages (John 8 and Mark 1) we already knew were out of several manuscripts? This is old news for many.

    Why not do an article as well featuring “What’s included in Codex Sinaiticus” which includes Jesus’ exalted position in Revelation, being referenced as the Son of God in many other parts of the gospels, the fact that Mark leaves with someone announcing Jesus’ resurrection, the fact that all 4 gospels and Paul’s letters are there (all of which clearly spell out Jesus’ deity and identity as Risen Lord)…and all of this from the 4th century…and when compared to other manuscripts and documents from early church fathers, the Codex Sinaiticus only further confirms that early Christians viewed Jesus as God?

    Why don’t you do another article comparing all the similarities of the CS with other early manuscripts? Are you afraid readers will get a conclusion contrary to your publishing bias? Perhaps one that shows there is far more unity and consistency in early Christian theology than disunity and change, as this article suggests?

  80. Barbara says:

    Well, well, here we go again.

    Anything that gets into the public arena gets trashed, but in a way it makes me happy to read all

    the responses, because it tells me that there are still passionate people out there who are looking

    for the resurrected Jesus to appear.

  81. Dr.Howard Davis says:

    See the works of Dr.Ivan Panin on internet concerning this and other issues..

  82. Jonathan says:

    BAS seems to use the Codex when it suits the notion that Yeshua was not the Son of God.

    First, Codex Sinaiticus is not the oldest manuscript – it’s the oldest complete codex and from the 3rd-4th centuries. There are hundreds of papyri (pages and fragments) much older, but incomplete.

    Second, they use the Codex to show that several key parts of the New Testament showing the deity of Messiah are absent, and the Codex is more original. Then at the last, they show one instance when the Codex referred to the “Son of God” and said it is an addition, not original. They play both sides – sometimes it is original and sometimes not.

    How about logic? Both the Codex and the KJV Greek manuscripts show the diety of Yeshua in different ways!

  83. M_Raghavan says:

    I was fascinated by the contrast to Mark’s telling of the resurrection. It’s as if phrases were added with reckless abandon. There is nothing when and how Mary Magdalena saw the Risen Christ, indicating, of course, it never happened.

  84. Wayne Bundza says:

    Better read Revelation 22:18
    Interpretation is of God also.

  85. Bill says:

    Whatever happened to the mummy mask discovered in Egypt with the book of Mark used for making the mask? What does it say? Also there are several copies of the book of Matthew written in Hebrew. How does it compare to the MSS?

  86. Dave / NM says:

    Yawn…

  87. James Snapp Jr. says:

    Back in 2008, a BBC report by Roger Bolton spread the erroneous claim that Codex Sinaiticus read “angry” in Mark 1:41 — and Bolton also described the verse as part of an encounter between Jesus and a blind man, instead of a leper. So I suppose by repeating only one of Bolton’s amateurish mistakes, BAR is making progress. Keep studying, kids!

  88. James Snapp Jr. says:

    After a cursory review, I count eight mistakes in this little article. Did James Tabor help write it?

  89. James Snapp, Jr. says:

    As Jeff said, you guys are confused about Mark 1:41. Codex Bezae is the lone Greek manuscript that reads “orgistheis” (“angry” or “indignant”) there, probably because the Greek text of Codex D at this point is a retro-translation of a flawed Latin attempt to render the Greek word for “moved-in-the-guts.”

    Does this brief article represent the quality of work that is typical of the BAR staff?

    (If you’d like to learn something about the ending of Mark in Codex Sinaiticus, by the way, I have some research about that I would gladly share. It should be noted, for starters, that the four pages containing Mark 15:54b-Luke 1:56a were not produced by the same copyist who wrote the text on the surrounding pages.

  90. Jeff Cate says:

    Several corrections are needed to this post.

    Neither the original hand nor any corrector afterward in Codex Sinaiticus has the wording that Jesus was angry in Mark 1:41. The only Greek manuscript with that reading is the bilingual Codex Bezae (D/05) from the V century. That reading is also found in a few Old Latin mss of the Gospels. Codex Sinaiticus says that Jesus was moved with compassion in Mark 1:41. This is a famous variant in the mss, but Codex Sinaiticus attests compassion, not anger.

    Also, Luke 9:55-56 are not completely absent in Codex Sinaiticus. The manuscript has what is now considered the beginning of v. 55 and ending of v. 56 (rem: versification was added in 1551): “But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.” Most textual critics think Jesus’ words (in between) found in medieval Byzantine mss was a late addition to the text.

    Also, in Matthew 6:9, Codex Sinaiticus *does* have the phrase “who is in heaven” (which is omitted as presented above). In Mt 6:12, Codex Sinaiticus reads “forgive us our *debts*” (not “sins”). Also, in Matthew 6:13, Codex Sinaiticus ends the Lord’s Prayer with the phrase “but deliver us from [the] evil [one]” (which is omitted above), but the doxology (“for thine is the kingdom…”) is absent.

    Also, like most early mss, Codex Sinaiticus omits John 7:53-8:11, not just 8:3-11.

    Hope this is helpful to prevent some misunderstandings. It is a very important manuscript.

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98 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    I am mainly interested in all the verses that were not in the oldest manuscripts.

    Is there a list somewhere?

    1. Chris says:

      Like all of them If there is more than what is listed here on this page?

  2. Michael says:

    The idea that “older is automatically better” has deceived many people when it comes to this text that was found by Tischendorf and used by Westcott and Hort and the like. These discarded old manuscripts that were full of scribal errors and as result were never circulated by the church. 95% of all NT Manuscripts agree, yet modern “scholars” reject the testimony of the Received text underlying the KJV English translation in favor of something that was discarded asking us to believe that the True Words of God were lost for hundreds of years making God a liar in His Promise of Preservation. Read Edward F. Hills “Believing Bible Study”

  3. kevin m smith says:

    think ian mportant thought, before general literacy the spoken word was all one had and the idea of quoting a past remark was not part of the culture. When someone spoke the passage ended when the speaker finished. No one was copying the thought in ant way, it now was a part of each hearers memory and as such will be changed a bit by each hearer. No one said they were quoteing Joe but passing on what they remembered.
    Want to check this next time you are with friends, turn on a tape recorder, not tell others you have done so. After 10 minutes of conversation see who remembers exactly what was said 8 minutes ago. We rember what we want, what seemed imoortant to us, but mostly just very general ideas. Now do this over 5 days for 1 to 3 hours a day and see how much you remember, at the end from the first, second etc days tslks.
    When I have tried this really no one had remembered what had been said.

    The olympic hockey team that beat russia was given a talk by brooks in the locker room during the victory celebration. This was the greatest moment in thier lives for all there and they would have been really focused on what the ciach had to say,. When the film was made the producers had to ‘ create’ the speach as – no one remembered what brooks had said. A piece here and a piece there but no even close to a complete speach. And that was only a few years after it occured.
    More so with Jesus deciples, they were not listening to remember but to learn. They had Jesus , no need – even if they could have, to commit what was being said to memory. And again before the written word, the idea of memorizing what was said was not part of culture.

    best kevin m smith

  4. brian says:

    Being added to the church of Christ 2014.

    after having many different translations.

    personnaly have seen evangelists using NIV Codex Sinaiticus based bibles and in front of my eyes not but 3 different times this verse fulfilled.

    2 Timothy 4 King James Version (KJV)
    4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

    2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

    3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

    4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    i have an 1560 geneva bible and 1611 an an 1678 an 1769.. 1829..1841 and also use other revived text bibles.

  5. Braam Van Rooy says:

    Just thinking,could the handwriting he analised?
    Did the editor who has written the last book of Mark,wrote any other passages after Mark.
    From which scriptures did he translate?
    In the end I wonder,was this truly a omission,or could there be illness,war,fire or any other disasters??
    I dont know the history in exact of my great grand parents,how would we know ever about 400 generations ago.
    We won’t,we will always make asumptions based in what we have and might never been correct.

  6. wdk says:

    For those of us that interested in the background of texts, such as whether the verses are original or vary, it would make sense to have an annotated version of the Bible, whatever your faith might be, even if it is absent. I do have several annotated scriptures myself and they are from several different groups or editors A favorite is the New Jerusalem Bible, if for no other reason, it includes the deutero-canonical books of the OT such as Maccabees and Ecclesiasticus. Strange where you find some of BC assertions of the immortality of the soul. But also the TaNaKh which gives the OT a different structure to consider, especially when you talk about prophets.

    But regarding Mark, I would to point out another consideration. I don’t this boils down to Mark in KJV vs. Sinaiticus by any means.There are more books and there are more versions – of Mark.

    Let me point out that the oldest Bible on display in the United States is the Codex
    Washingtonicus and one of its principle claims to fame is its particular addition to the last chapter.

    In discussion of this codex it is discribed as perhaps the third oldest, but probably has better provenance than the other two. It was found in the Cairo environs with evidence of origin in the 4th or 5th century, right around the time of Athanasius – but l won’t jump to any conclusions.

    Here is Matthew 16:14. But understand that back then they probably did not quote scripture in that numerical manner:

    And they excused themselves, saying, “This age of lawlessness
    and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and
    power of God to prevail over the unclean things of the spirits [or:
    does not allow what lies under the unclean spirits to understand
    the truth and power of God]. Therefore reveal thy righteousness
    now” – thus they spoke to Christ. And Christ replied to them,
    “The term of years of Satan’s power has been fulfilled, but other
    terrible things draw near. And for those who have sinned I was
    delivered over to death, that they may return to the truth and sin
    no more in order to inherit the spiritual and incorruptible glory of
    righteousness which is in heaven.[”

    So it got past Mark 16:9, but I do not know for certain if it reached 16:20.

    Nevertheless, for many readers and contributors to this forum, there are things in that entry which they might not agree with; others might not bat an eye.
    But it would be fair for an annotated version of the Bible to include reference to
    this early version of the text, just as it would, perhaps, to the possibility that other
    things contrary to their beliefs, just might be a gloss – or the real thing.

    If we speak of provenance in an art museum, we know where the picture has been since it was painted by the artist. If not, then the art critic’s interpretation is

    conjecture.

    As the discussion suggests

  7. Michał Wojciechowski says:

    Mark 1.41 – MISTAKE. Sinaiticus has “moved with compassion”, splanchnistheis in Greek, and not “angry” as you write. “Angry” (orgistheis) is from codex D (Bezae) and some Old Latin manuscripts (so-called Western Text).

  8. Monkjohn1 says:

    Matthew 24/37 are you sure and how sure you are? But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.”. My question about, neither the son is there
    Thank you

  9. Peter says:

    While faith comes by the hearing of the Word, the fact that there is the omission of the ending of St. Mark’s Gospel in the Sinaiticus, whatever the reason, does not prevent the Holy Spirit from bringing hearers to the knowledge of salvation in Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Son of God. God works in, with and through fallen human beings, even when the errors/sins are most glaring. This certainly speaks to who He is – the I AM.

  10. Matt Edwards says:

    I really enjoyed the side-by-side comparison; it’s clear that scribes through time have substantially modified the text.

    Unfortunately, the comments section that follow the article remind us that anti-Catholic bigotry and the ignorance from which it springs is still present in the minds and hearts of fundamentalist Christians. Jesus would be ashamed that “believers” still foment hatred toward His holy Church.

    Nothing could be more errant than to write “… Catholics hate the Bible”. Silly, utter nonsense spawned by Satan’s minions.

  11. Cynthia says:

    In the end days, knowledge shall increase. Each will find their own way. ‘Hopefully their path will lead to righteousness worthy of Almighty God’s approval.

  12. DONGSZKIE says:

    THAT’S PURE SUPERSTITION, ROBERT

  13. Stephen says:

    Amen ! I believe GOD has preserved his word as he said he would . his word’s will never pass away !

  14. Laurie Cords says:

    Robert, i too recently read the kj for the first time starting in may. It cuts to the heart in a way the other versions never did. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
    Galatians 4:6

  15. Robert says:

    Thanks to the comment by Frank, now I am seeing where the “Oneness” BS concept is being derived from. After all this education I have decided to always demand the KJV Only. PLUS, why is it when I read the KJV for six months I experience a power, unlike anything I have ever experienced. And then when I read a modern version of the Bible (derived from the Westcott and Hort revisions) I never experience this power or anything like it at all??? I am just saying. We know the Catholics hated the Bible then and even today. Would the pressure they would have certainly applied to any revision process underway be made to uplift and promote the Bible OR to denounce and reduce the Bible’s Power??? Ask yourself this. (HINT: The Catholics would burn one at the stake for even possessing a Bible copy back in the day).

  16. Robert says:

    check out this documentary by Abduhla Films called “Bridge To Babylon”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukRCVDmiAts

  17. Donald R. Sutter says:

    Absolutely NOTHING is missing from any of the Uncial Codices – Vaticanus c. 325–350, Sinaiticus c. 330–360, Alexandrinus c. 400–440 or Ephraemi c. 450.

    The fact all four codices, discovered in four separate places and times, all agree with one another suggests Textus Receptus (Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus) ADDED them in the 16th century AD

  18. Frank de Ruyter says:

    Just a thought, but if the Sinai Bible was a fourth century record of the New Testament, and the modern canon came about under Athanasius at around 390AD, then doesn’t it suggest that a lot of our modern Bible was filled in by the likes of Athanasius late in the fourth century, just before the text was canonized. Same guy that established the doctrine of the Trinity, btw.

  19. Carole says:

    Codex Vaticanus, gathering dust in the Vatican library since the 1500’s and Codex Sinaiticus, rescued from a trash can in St. Catherine’s monastery…used by Westcott and Hort to “rewrite” the KJV. Two men who did not believe the scriptures were inerrant, who conducted seances, who did not believe in the miracles of Christ and who were enamored of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. Unbelievable!

  20. Jerry Chandler says:

    Through this codex, the R.V. omits verses with a multitude of documented quotes by the earliest Pre-Nicene Christians including converts of the Apostles Paul, Peter, and John; all of whom certainly has autograph versions of the New Testament books. This cannot be an unblemished codex. It would enshrine the abominable concept that the church was without the most correct text for 1600 years.

  21. Sara Jones says:

    Until you have a personal experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit, you cannot see the truth.
    If you deny God, then you are truly out of His will and are dead already.
    Just as a defective plant does not grow but dies so is the nonbeliever already dead.

  22. Frikkie Brits says:

    Steve, you have the DNA of GOD in you.
    Every true child of GOD knows it and cannot live without it.
    Fact is you choose to suppress it, and by doing so you distance yourself from the Grace of GOD. I am so sorry that you do not see the work of GOD in our envroinment , yourself and in people around you. And no, Steve, the are thousands and thousands positives and no negatives at all. Steve, the Bible’s message is that of Justice, Love and Mercy. How is this negative? if this is negative, then how is murder, rape, child abuse, greed classified? Is it not because of these negatives that the world is so rotten as it is? Please force yourself to reconsider, take time and rethink your position, and seek the TRUTH.
    I bless you in the Name of the Father, the SON and the HOLY Spirit.

  23. Samantha says:

    Thank you

  24. Bob says:

    Well said steve

  25. Steve says:

    Just wish the world would realize that all organized religions are made up by mankind.
    Being in the ultimate best group (your current religion is the correct one of course) is a very powerful aphrodisiac.
    I found the many negatives, outweigh the few positives.I forced myself to face the truth of this, grew up and have been happy not to look back.
    Stop using your cult’s limited understanding of morality, spirituality and limited understanding of the universe.as a template for how you should think – believe.

    please

  26. Steve says:

    I’m aware of no historical evidence that anything was erased and replaced. Please site such evidence if it exists

  27. Eduardo Cecilia Ocana says:

    the textual variant “Jesus, angry, stretched out his hand and touched him…” is in the Codex Bezae, not in the Codex Sinaíticus.

  28. Mikha'el says:

    There are likely missing portions on the Codex because they added to the current texts in order to push their dogma and make it more palatable to those they wished to convert.

  29. Michael says:

    Unless I am mistaken, I have not seen the book of Daniel in the codex sinaticus.

  30. Dan says:

    If memory serves me, it was a book about women christian martyrs. Then that history was erased, and replaced with the gosple account agreeable to the era?

  31. Phil Goetz says:

    My mistake… 2 Cor 13:14 is in the CS. I had looked at a photo of the end of 2 Cor 13 in the CS, and it ended with verse 13, and the English translation on that same web page showed it ending with what we know as verse 13.

    On actually checking the Greek text, however, I found that what was numbered 13 in the CS was the verse we know as 14. The English translation was not translated from the Codex, but evidently copy-pasted from some English version of the Bible and mapped onto the verse numbers in the CS.

  32. Phil Goetz says:

    You forgot to mention 2 Corinthians 13:14, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” I just checked a photo of the relevant page in the Sinaiticus, and it’s not there. That leaves only Matthew 28:19 to support the doctrine of the Trinity. That is in the Sinaiticus, but not in any manuscripts prior to the Council of Nicea.

  33. Joel says:

    The textus receptus was essentially a slogan used by the distributors of the KJV after it was error corrected and reprinted on the printing press. The textus receptus was a shortened for of what was actually said… “Textum ergo habes, nun cab omnibus receptum,” which can be translated as “the [reader] now has the text that is received by all.” So it wasn’t that the text was “recieved” by anyone… the translator was just telling everyone that THIS VERSION is the one that everyone should now use, and that was in 1633, a long time after the text was actually written by the authors.

    https://www.gotquestions.org/Textus-Receptus.html

  34. R E Dillon says:

    Good Morning Oscar – here’s some interesting reading that may assist with your query: “In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture” by Alister McGrath
    Even ‘back then’ there was an undue political influence and the personal interests of committee members affected the outcome –
    https://books.google.com/books/about/In_the_Beginning.html?id=C8Nw_SN2zgYC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q&f=false

  35. Oscar Ferreira says:

    What is so important about the KJV being a translation from the Textus Receptus (received text)??? Did God speak directly to King James I and the various groups of translators assembled by him to produce the KJV for the English-speaking world???

  36. Jon McAuliffe says:

    I’m new to this discussion. Would appreciate knowing what is considered to be the oldest versions of the OT and NT. Tyndale? Earlier? Forgive my ignorance, please.

  37. Harry Powers says:

    This debate has been going on for centuries and likely there will always be disagreements as to which is closer to the original Greek autographs. What I think is significant is that the basic message of the bible hasn’t changed regardless of which Greek manuscript is used for translation into English. I like the KJV AND the ESV, NKJV and NASB, et al. There is really no difference in the basic doctrinal message and only a few details are really different–nothing that would affect anyone’s faith or salvation.

    It would be understandable to me if the KJV (published in 1611) had been the first English translation. The KJV is actually a revision of an earlier translation; “The Bishop’s Bible” published in 1568. The First English bible translated from Greek (not Latin) manuscripts was the Tyndale Bible (1525). There were several English translations published long before the KJV; to wit, “Coverdale bible” (1535), “Matthews bible,” (1537) “The Great bible,” (1539) “Geneva Bible,” (1560) “Bishop’s Bible,” (1568), et al.

    The KJV is familiar to most of us so naturally we prefer the familiar, but to place it on par with the original Greek manuscripts of the bible seems sacrilegious.

  38. Arthur F Green PhD says:

    There is growing forensic evidence that the Codex Sinaiticus is a 19th century forgery, sponsored by the Catholic Church, in order to undermine the Protestant Bible. See Dr Bill Cooper PhD, ThD, “The Forging of the Codex Sinaiticus” and “New Testament Fragments. Amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls.”
    I went to a lecture give by Dr Cooper on this subject, and his evidence and the surprised response of the British Library staff at the youthful condition of the manuscripts, was very compelling. I am still researching this. For example the Magna Carta (c.1200 AD) is so frail and desiccated that it is enclosed in a sealed environment, to prevent total disintegration. The Codex Sinaiticus is allegedly 800 year older that that, and has had no special preservative treatment or conditions in all that time, yet the parchment condition is fresh, supple and un-oxidised. This is the cause of the surprise of the British Library staff, who are acknowledged world class experts in handling such manuscripts. Additionally. there is evidence of textual tampering, attempts at artificially aging the manuscript, and alleged bookworm tracks that start in the middle of the page. I am still looking into this. If anyone is interested, a good place to start is the work of Dr Cooper.
    Of course, the implications of this, if true, are monumental. Much modern textual scholarship will be undermined and further investigations into the motives of the people involved will be needed.

  39. Elizabeth says:

    I will want a copy of the oldest new testament it is written how Jesus says it should be. Unlike the KJV. It leaves out fables and geneologies.

  40. Karen Lambertsen says:

    I will always prefer the KJV with all its faults. I read it for the prose. “One night some sheepherders were sitting around the campfire……..” just can’t hold a candle to “And there were shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night.”

  41. Franklin Perrini says:

    Any organization that uses the KJV as a baseline English translation for textual criticism can safely be dismissed by anyone looking to take this topic seriously.

  42. ADWIN says:

    i say that all things will be made clear when Jesus comes back pretty soon.

  43. Gene R says:

    A footnote on #46 above: Besides the New World Translation, the others were The Amplified New Testament, The Living Bible, The New American Bible With Revised New Testament, New American Standard Bible, The Holy Bible—New International Version, The New Revised Standard Version, The Bible in Today’s English Version, and King James Version

  44. Pastor Philip Spomer says:

    The discipline of Biblical manuscript analysis is mature, rich, and sophisticated. This article doesn’t reflect that at all. The King James and Tischendorf? Who is the envisioned recipient of this article?

  45. Gene R says:

    Some linguists have examined modern Bible translations—including the New World Translation—for examples of inaccuracy and bias. One such scholar is Jason David BeDuhn, associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University in the United States. In 2003 he published a 200-page study of nine of “the Bibles most widely in use in the English-speaking world.”* His study examined several passages of Scripture that are controversial, for that is where “bias is most likely to interfere with translation.” For each passage, he compared the Greek text with the renderings of each English translation, and he looked for biased attempts to change the meaning. What is his assessment?

    BeDuhn points out that the general public and many Bible scholars assume that the differences in the New World Translation (NW) are due to religious bias on the part of its translators. However, he states: “Most of the differences are due to the greater accuracy of the NW as a literal, conservative translation.” While BeDuhn disagrees with certain renderings of the New World Translation, he says that this version “emerges as the most accurate of the translations compared.” He calls it a “remarkably good” translation. https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102007409#h=22:2-23:524https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102007409#h=22:2-23:524

  46. Alistair McFarlane says:

    re 17. Kent says:
    He claims that the gospels were written after the deaths of Peter and Paul. This is just not possible, for there is no mention of the catastrophe in Rome when these apostles and most of the other Christians were cruelly massacred late in Nero’s reign. Instead.the Gospels end with a message of hope, (The Epilogue at the end of John was probably added later by a follower of Peter.)
    The massacres are implied in Revelation, so this was written by John shortly afterwards, before Jerusalem fell to the Roman army..
    .

  47. Rick C says:

    How do the >English< translations of Mark 16.1-14 match word for word in KJV and א, yet don't in Matt 6.9-13? The question is not so much that the English translations should vary — I get that — but how the Mark translations match.

  48. Nicole says:

    Recently found my way back to God, after researching for many, many years other types of religions/beleifs. I followed mostly Buddhism and Hinduism among other philosophies, because I found them to be helpful and peaceful. God has become a stigma in our society today, the lack of morality I think is a reflection of that stigma. Where can we find proof of the existence of God? In doctrines? Ancient manuscripts? Versions of the bible that are forever under scrutiny?. Disinformation is a great tool for controlling our minds! We simply don’t know what to believe anymore!. So I have only recently come across the codex sinaiticus, which has led me here, and Its been enlightening to read all of these comments and opinions, from all of you quite educated and well versed people. Thank you also for the many useful links provided.

  49. Peter Smith says:

    When it comes to a consideration of the authenticity of Siniaticus and Vaticanus, few academics seem to ask some very basic non-academic but practical questions such as:
    How is it that these ancient manuscripts lay forgotten (Siniaticus) or ignored (Vaticanus) for 1500 years or more?
    How come these two were preserved when many thousands of others were not?
    There’s also another question which IS academic but also glossed over:
    If these two represent an older and more original text, how come they differ from each other so much?

    I can answer the first question here in part from my own experience. I had/have a New World translation in my home with all the incorporated mistranslations driven by theological ideology. I didn’t want to put it with other translations on my bookshelves lest someone read it unawares and was led astray, but I did not feel comfortable destroying it – so I hid it. I’ve now forgotten where and cannot find it. Jews and Muslims to this day consider the destruction of their “holy book” to be a terrible sin, so Christian monks realising that they had a very misleading copy of the Bible on their hands would most likely act for the same reasons as I and in just the same way that I did.That very easily and practically explains Siniaticus and the explanation for Vaticanus is similar. It was given to the Vatican from the East and was pretty well hidden away although not totally forgotten, Erasmus in compiling Textus Receptus was told of it but warned of its unreliability and so he ignored it.

    The simple reason for the disappearance of most manuscripts – and why there are so many small fragments containing excerpts around is that they simply wore out! That is why the copying of Bible manuscripts was such a big business. Many of the larger monasteries had a scriptorium in which the production of new manuscripts was constant. Such a production line was slow and laborious and costly. Those manuscripts used as “originals” in this business wore out very quickly, those used in worship or sold on for private devotions lasted longer, but not for centuries – unless unused. The hurricane of Islamic conquest across the Middle East from the 7th century on was, of course, another major factor in destruction. So our second question is really: why were these two “unorthodox* manuscripts unused? Clearly that must have been because they were recognised from a very early date to be unreliable to the point of theological fraud. How else could it be that no copies of these manuscripts, not even on small fragments, have been discovered?

    As for the differences between the two rogue manuscripts, they are seldom mentioned by their main supporters because they really destroy the underlying support for authenticity. The argument made is that because they are believed to be physically the oldest, they must represent the fewest changes from the originals. But if that were so, how could they be so different? in fact some say that the differences between the two are greater than their individual differences with Textus Receptus. If they were deliberately mis-copied by different groups in different locations to support certain theological doctrines, then one could expect differences between the two results, but it is simply not possible to explain how two “faithful” copies of an original text could end up so incompatible.

  50. Mary says:

    William posts “As Rodney King said, ‘Can’t we all just get along?’ Actually at least to me it does seem to be more important to be able to get along than to be right, however right is defined.” That is called relativism, a scourge which has infected our culture. Christians believe “absolute truth” does exist. All religions are based on truth claims. There can be only one truth among multiple truth claims. They can’t all be simultaneously true so it is important to seek out the truth. You are right about charity. At least to me this discussion thread is very interesting but I always skip the comments that bash another religion or denomination especially when they lack charity and sound scholarship.

  51. WILLIAM BOONE says:

    May a non-Christian, non–Jewish reader of no particular faith point out that you would seem a much greater tribute to your respective Catholic and Protestant faiths were you to behave with more charity to each other and, with good will, attempt to dissipate all odium theologicum, replacing it with a more expansive spirit of brotherly/sisterly love and respect? Of course I don’t want to seem to imply that such inability to feel empathy is limited to Christians, Far from it. And why do we humans who take such pride in our organizational and community identities save in one kind of organization or community seem to save their harshest rebukes for each other for that matter, in this case Protestants against Catholics and vice versa? It dismays me, sincerely. As Rodney King said, “Can’t we all just get along?” Actually at least to me it does seem to be more important to be able to get along than to be right, however right is defined.

  52. Paul says:

    I think the most useful comparisons would be for several of the oldest manuscripts be compared side-by-side to one another, this I think would provide a better understanding of how the KJV has different content compared to the Sinaiticus. I’ve known for a long time these differences existed, I just have never been able to figure out how these differences came to be.

    If somebody knows the existence of side-by-side comparisons I’d like to know about them. Thanks in advance.

  53. John says:

    CB I had to laugh as I was thinking nearly the same thing when I read you post. I mostly appreciate the articles but always find the comments helpful and sometimes entertaining.

  54. Robin says:

    Interesting article….and interesting comments. Before Mark and Matthew and Luke, there was supposedly Q, M, L — all those other documents? That is, assuming they existed….. There also was the first letter to the Corinthian church which described resurrection appearances and so on…..And there are numerous modern scholars (agnostic, Christian, not Christian—apparently also Jewish) who assert that belief in the physical resurrection rose up within the church immediately. As for the resurrection in Mark or not in Mark versus Sinaiticus…..I think there are endless debates over the Long Ending and the Short Ending of Mark, with scholars evenly divided in their views. Thanks, BAR, for discussing it as it relates to Sinaiticus onlyl

  55. C.B.Ross says:

    Am I the only person who often finds more help, information, and encouragement in the comments than I do in the article provided? It’s the reason I continue to receive the articles!

  56. Bradley Miller says:

    The earliest manuscripts are consistent. The textus receptus is based of all older manuscripts that are fairly consistent. The problem here is would you rather have translations from the 10th centurey or the 4th century (as they became available) which are more removed from Catholic theological bias. Its simple as that folks.

  57. Amanda says:

    Constantine Tischendorf was a false teacher, like one of the ones Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, warned about.

  58. Lol says:

    Everyones complaining yet the letter, sent from Juda to his apostles, in jerusalem warning of people corrupting the words of jesus clearly names jesus as a “servant of god” rather than the “son of god” if they were “gods” first companions why didnt they state so i mean jesus should have told them at from the beginning quite EXPLICITLY!

  59. Clear says:

    “And We sent Noah and Abraham, and established in their descendants prophecy and the Book: and some of them are rightly guided, but many are rebellious.

    “Then We sent after them our apostles and We sent Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy; and monasticism, they invented it. We did not command it…yet We bestowed on those among them who believed, their due reward, but many of them are rebellious.”

  60. John Robertson says:

    Regards Codex Siniaticius. I recommend “The forging of Codex Siniaticus” by Bill Cooper. The title says it all, and the constant attack on God’s Holy word to us by many.

    God Bless you all with light to Truth. In Jesus Name.

  61. Chuck says:

    I prefer to accept the word of God by faith, the same way we attain salvation. Jesus was in the OT, in Genesis 1:26 God said let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness,… this would be funny language for God alone and by himself to be using. If Satan can place doubt about the word of God in man’s head, he has the war half won… It is by faith and faith alone we can be saved… I have personally been transformed from a drunkard, dope head, and whoremonger, into a son of God by faith and our so called flawed KJV.
    Be Blessed, Chuck

  62. Roger says:

    Those wanting to use the Greek manuscripts needs to consult the fact that these were Yisraelis writing, not Greek and the language would have been written in Hebrew. Any Greek representation of the New Testament is not factual as to the true text.

  63. Ian says:

    Andrew says on – 27 May 2016.
    “Nowhere does the OT say; “He was with God in the beginning”. -Thus proving anything Godly about Christianity is bogus”

    Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea at the time of Jesus Christ’s death. Jesus was hauled before Pilate for the Jewish religious Elite wanted Him dead, because they charged Jesus with blaspemy.
    Pilate was used to trouble makers in Judea and he saw and heard a lot of phony messiahs, and many of those were armed to the teeth to try and get rid of Rome’s power base in Judea. One of Jesus’ disciples had been such a zealot.
    Pilate flatly told the Jewish leaders that he found NO FAULT in this man.
    This is history.
    A Roman Governor finds no fault with someone charged with insurrection and turning the world upside down??
    But the very reason why the Jewish religious left (or right) charged Jesus with blaasphemy and wanted Hm dead was because thy understood perfectly that Jesus was stating that He was equal with God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc.
    They knew this. It was not something that they had to work out..DID HE or DIDN”T HE?
    He had claimed to be God – equal with God, and they had tried on a number of occasions to stone HIm, just as Moses had said they should for a charge of blasphemy…as long as two or three witnesses could testify. But they as a group had heard Jesus Himself. They were first hand witnesses.
    This is history.

    These two facts should be enough to get your mind thinking whether you have made a right judgement in your comment – “…proving anything Godly about Christianity is bogus”
    Those Jewish leaders I dare say would have been far more familiar with the OT than you or I have ever been. They knew exactly what Jesus was saying…
    Jesus also told them that I and My Father are one – John 10:30 (read the rest of the narrative). You can’t get any plalner than that.

    Have a look at Proverbs 30:4
    “Who has gone up to Heaven, and come down? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in His garments? Who has made all the ends of the earth to rise? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name? Surely you know.”
    WHAT IS HIS NAME? WHAT IS HIS SON’S NAME?
    That is the question you must ask and answer for yourself honestly and carefully.

  64. Ian says:

    (re Luke. .September 25 .2015)…
    The devil you can see is not so much a problem as the devil which you can’t see, but yet is very active. That is the nature of deception.
    Subversion is often of a greater danger than frontal attack. The old proverbial Trojan Horse trick worked very well back in the old days. And no less so today.

    Just like the serpent was doing the devils’ dirty work in the Garden of Eden where God walked and talked with our first parents, (and conquered – for a time), so too the devil has had his agents working to subvert and pervert Scripture……little by little, line by line, here a little there a little over many centuries.

    Rome couldn’t get rid of all the Bibles which were being mass produced by the “protestors” – the “heretics” as Rome branded them, so after a time they got busy by subversion and decided it would suit their purpose better if they worked to alter the Text of the Bible from within.

    And presto, what do we have today? Hundreds of english Bible versions, and most of them are ONLY making small changes ..INSIGNIFICANT changes which over time become gradually accepted. All ready for the next generation of innocent and naive seekers for truth.
    People will accept critical change if it appears in small and harmless doses. That is how the system works. Last time I looked poison is stil poison no matter what kind it is.
    Westcott and Hort highly valued the Romish texts -Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, as well as the doctrines of Rome above Protestant doctrine though they were publicly involved in the Protestant church. One said to the other of the Textus Receptus – “Think of that vile Textus Receptus leaning entirely on late MSS.; it is a blessing there are such early ones.”
    …this same author states “The practical effect of the W-H theory was a complete rejection of the “Syrian” text and an almost exclusive preference for the “Neutral” text (equals B and Aleph). Subsequent scholarship has generally rejected the notion of a “Neutral” text but (still has – Ed) sustained the rejection of the “Syrian” text.” -( source http://www.revisedstandard.net/text/WNP/id_3.html) (Ed is my remark to clarify)

    Just like in the 1800’s , Europe saw an infiltration into the Seminaries and Colleges by Rome’s agents to weaken Protestant influence for the ensuing generations and swing them back to Rome (still going on today folks), so too the work of W&H in the late 1800’s brought a major shift in the thinking about how scholars should or could go about their work of translation of Scripture.

    The devil is in the detail AGAIN. Details are important.

    It must be stated that most modern versions/translations still have statements in their pages that will support the divinity of Jesus Christ and His work on earth and on the cross, and all or most of His message etc. The greater danger is not so much whether a version states such things AT ALL, but how many times the total testimony is weakened.

    If I have 999, 999 dollar coins, one may conclude that I am a millionaire, even I might. But the fact remains I do not have a million dollars. A million is a million, not one less than a million.
    If somebody takes one of those dollar coins, it still looks like a lot money and I almost have a million dollars. almost a millionaire…And so if my little stash is diminshed little by little who will care? Near enough is good enough. Is it? Not in God’s economy.

    If I misquote the Prime minister of my country just by a little bit, publicly, and insist that my quote is what he said, even when it is pointed out that I got it wrong, will I be excused by the Chief Prosecutor for the Government? Hardly.
    But it seems quite okay and acceptable if we put our own spin on God’s word. And our excuse….? …no one can be certain about what God said in the first place.

    God has stated in Deuteronomy, in Proverbs and in Revelation that anyone who adds to or subtracts from God’s word will be held accountable.
    Let us fear God and love Him and treat His word with more respect.
    Ignorance is one thing and may be forgiven, but a careless approach or deliberate twisting is another.

    …further reading… AN INTRODUCTION TO TEXTUAL CRITICISM VOL 1. UNHOLY HANDS ON THE BIBLE, BURGON, GREEN, SOVEREIGN GRAC PUB.

    Wilbur N. Pickering, Th.M Ph.D is qioted as saying
    “It has commonly been argued, for at least 200 years (John Bengel, d. 1752, was the first), that no matter what Greek text one may use it will not affect any doctrine. In my own experience, for over thirty years, when I have raised the question of what is the correct Greek text of the New Testament, regardless of audience, the usual response has been: “What difference does it make?” The purpose of this article is to answer that question, at least in part.” (APPENDIX II, A COMPARISON BETWEEN SIX MAJOR BIBLE VERSIONS, VOLUME II, UNHOLY HANDS ON THE BIBLE. GREEN, SOVEREIGN GRACE TRUST FUND.

    W N Pickering points out that one of the major thrusts of modern versions is to undermine the authority of Scripture, by the use of enclosing “parts of the text in brackets and have” (ing) “numerous footnotes of a sort that raise doubt about the integrity of the Text. The consequences of all this are serious and are far reachiing for the future of the Church.”

    Little doubts often repeated become entrenched in the mind and eventually produce either a serious warning, or a platform for lies.

  65. NO!!! says:

    The person who wrote this is obviously undereducated read Mark 16:6!!!

    Mark 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

  66. RJ says:

    I find it amazing that you all believe in this nonsense.

  67. Ben says:

    – “Nowhere does the OT say; “He was with God in the beginning”. -Thus proving anything Godly about Christianity is bogus.”

    -> Proverbs 8:22 The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. (..) 27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth (..) 30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; 31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

    Have a nice day 🙂

  68. Andrew says:

    “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Nowhere does the OT say; “He was with God in the beginning”. -Thus proving anything Godly about Christianity is bogus.

  69. Steven Avery says:

    Actually, the Christian apologist who says that BAR is wrong to point out the theological significance of omitting the ascension and the resurrection appearances in the corrupt Critical Text is himself naive. They are significant.

    However, Sinaiticus itself is not relevant, since the evidence is very strong that it was produced in the 1800s, which is why it is in such incredible flexible, supple condition, and the Leipzig pages are white parchment, contra the chemistry of parchment aging..

    For more information:

    Codex Sinaiticus Authenticity Research
    http://www.sinaiticus.net/

    Sinaiticus – authentic antiquity or modern?
    http://purebibleforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=65

  70. GREG says:

    Why don’t you ask GOD for the understanding. ……He’s giving me understanding of things I’ve ask him…
    Besides, that’s what he tells us to do, ask.

  71. Olinad P Aznaila says:

    The Apocripha/Deuterocanonicals is present in Sinaiticus. Being the “oldest and best” makes Rome correct in their belief. Hooray for the proponents of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. Woe to the Textus Receptus supporters. And how about the epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas? Both are included in the Sinaiticus. So why do these proponents never complained that these are not included in evangelical churches’ bible? Makes me cringe if it really is the “best” and the “oldest”

  72. Andree says:

    Craig, thanks for the link to battle of the bible. Excellent information.

  73. Sean says:

    What about the recognized theory that John is the first gospel written? From what I read, that gospel goes straight to the point that Jesus was the living Word of God, the only begotten son, and the light to the world. Whether Mark’s gospel is more definitive or not would be a moot issue if it was written as a subsequent addition to John’s.

  74. Kent Lo says:

    Actually Mark and other gospels is written after the death of Peter and Paul. Most of the epistles are written before the gospels. From the epistles we find the basic Christian beliefs: Christ is the Son of God and His resurrection etc.

  75. JAMES MOODY says:

    Loved reading and learning from your article. Thanks.

  76. Craig says:

    The above article barely scratches the surface of the difference between the King James Version Bible (based on Textus Receptus) and Codex Sinaiticus. Textes Receptus has over 5000 manuscripts in numerous languages which all agree with each other in terms of content and detail. Other versions like the Codex Sinaiticus have but one or two manuscripts, so despite the age and missing content versus the KJV Bible, one needs to only weigh the odds of which versions seems likely to be more correct. And why would God hide the ‘truth’ from his people for almost 2000 years before giving them the ‘correct’ script of His Holy Word in the form of Codex Sinaiticus?

    One needs to study the various Codices and again ask why have certain critical aspects like (1) Jesus Christ being part of the Godhead, or (2) that we are saved only through Jesus Christ and his blood atoning sacrifice for our sins, have been changed or completely left out? For those who wish to expand their knowledge of Bible versions and what is missing, and more importantly why, I suggest you watch the attached Walter Veith videos on youtube as a starting point.

    “Battle of the Bibles” on link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNv-zzpIwBs ; and “Changing the Word”on link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqBEuxGY7DI

  77. Seadragon says:

    Raghaven…..Yes then it must be true because you read it here. Set it in stone rag. I just love it when people cannot think outside of their TV dinner box and read ONE thing and run with it, yet they never believe what the Bible says. Ever think possibly he had more than ONE resource ???

  78. Kurt says:

    The Sinaitic Syriac is considered one of the most important Biblical manuscripts discovered, right along with such Greek manuscripts as the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus. It is now generally believed that both the Curetonian and Sinaitic manuscripts are extant copies of the old Syriac Gospels dating from the late second or early third century.
    “THE WORD OF OUR GOD ENDURES FOREVER”
    Can these manuscripts be useful to Bible students today? Undoubtedly! Take as an example the so-called long conclusion of the Gospel of Mark, which in some Bibles follows Mark 16:8. It appears in the Greek Codex Alexandrinus of the fifth century, the Latin Vulgate, and elsewhere. However, the two authoritative fourth-century Greek manuscripts—Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus—both end with Mark 16:8. The Sinaitic Syriac does not have this long conclusion either, adding further evidence that the long conclusion is a later addition and was not originally part of Mark’s Gospel.

    Consider another example. In the 19th century, almost all Bible translations had a spurious Trinitarian addition at 1 John 5:7. However, this addition does not appear in the oldest Greek manuscripts. Neither does it appear in the Peshitta, thus proving that the addition at 1 John 5:7 is indeed a corruption of the Bible text.

    Clearly, as promised, Jehovah God has preserved his Holy Word. In it we are given this assurance: “The green grass dries up, the blossom withers, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:25) The version known as the Peshitta plays a humble but important role in the accurate transmission of the Bible’s message to all of humanity
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200270815

  79. Luke Valenti says:

    BAR, you are supposed to be a scholarly magazine. When you allow biased comments like this:
    “Modern scholarship generally holds that Mark is in fact the oldest of the Synoptic Gospels, which could cause theological concerns over the omitted resurrection. One other omission in Codex Sinaiticus with theological implications is the reference to Jesus’ ascension in Luke 24:51. Additionally, Mark 1:1 in the original hand omits reference to Jesus as the Son of God.”

    I want to cringe. You know perfectly well that the omission of these texts in no way theologically threatens any Biblical doctrine. Mentioning of Jesus’ resurrection and his identity as the “Son of God” and even as the “I am” are found in numerous other passages in the “Codex Sinaiticus.” Why have you chosen to have an article about “What’s missing….” with 2 passages (John 8 and Mark 1) we already knew were out of several manuscripts? This is old news for many.

    Why not do an article as well featuring “What’s included in Codex Sinaiticus” which includes Jesus’ exalted position in Revelation, being referenced as the Son of God in many other parts of the gospels, the fact that Mark leaves with someone announcing Jesus’ resurrection, the fact that all 4 gospels and Paul’s letters are there (all of which clearly spell out Jesus’ deity and identity as Risen Lord)…and all of this from the 4th century…and when compared to other manuscripts and documents from early church fathers, the Codex Sinaiticus only further confirms that early Christians viewed Jesus as God?

    Why don’t you do another article comparing all the similarities of the CS with other early manuscripts? Are you afraid readers will get a conclusion contrary to your publishing bias? Perhaps one that shows there is far more unity and consistency in early Christian theology than disunity and change, as this article suggests?

  80. Barbara says:

    Well, well, here we go again.

    Anything that gets into the public arena gets trashed, but in a way it makes me happy to read all

    the responses, because it tells me that there are still passionate people out there who are looking

    for the resurrected Jesus to appear.

  81. Dr.Howard Davis says:

    See the works of Dr.Ivan Panin on internet concerning this and other issues..

  82. Jonathan says:

    BAS seems to use the Codex when it suits the notion that Yeshua was not the Son of God.

    First, Codex Sinaiticus is not the oldest manuscript – it’s the oldest complete codex and from the 3rd-4th centuries. There are hundreds of papyri (pages and fragments) much older, but incomplete.

    Second, they use the Codex to show that several key parts of the New Testament showing the deity of Messiah are absent, and the Codex is more original. Then at the last, they show one instance when the Codex referred to the “Son of God” and said it is an addition, not original. They play both sides – sometimes it is original and sometimes not.

    How about logic? Both the Codex and the KJV Greek manuscripts show the diety of Yeshua in different ways!

  83. M_Raghavan says:

    I was fascinated by the contrast to Mark’s telling of the resurrection. It’s as if phrases were added with reckless abandon. There is nothing when and how Mary Magdalena saw the Risen Christ, indicating, of course, it never happened.

  84. Wayne Bundza says:

    Better read Revelation 22:18
    Interpretation is of God also.

  85. Bill says:

    Whatever happened to the mummy mask discovered in Egypt with the book of Mark used for making the mask? What does it say? Also there are several copies of the book of Matthew written in Hebrew. How does it compare to the MSS?

  86. Dave / NM says:

    Yawn…

  87. James Snapp Jr. says:

    Back in 2008, a BBC report by Roger Bolton spread the erroneous claim that Codex Sinaiticus read “angry” in Mark 1:41 — and Bolton also described the verse as part of an encounter between Jesus and a blind man, instead of a leper. So I suppose by repeating only one of Bolton’s amateurish mistakes, BAR is making progress. Keep studying, kids!

  88. James Snapp Jr. says:

    After a cursory review, I count eight mistakes in this little article. Did James Tabor help write it?

  89. James Snapp, Jr. says:

    As Jeff said, you guys are confused about Mark 1:41. Codex Bezae is the lone Greek manuscript that reads “orgistheis” (“angry” or “indignant”) there, probably because the Greek text of Codex D at this point is a retro-translation of a flawed Latin attempt to render the Greek word for “moved-in-the-guts.”

    Does this brief article represent the quality of work that is typical of the BAR staff?

    (If you’d like to learn something about the ending of Mark in Codex Sinaiticus, by the way, I have some research about that I would gladly share. It should be noted, for starters, that the four pages containing Mark 15:54b-Luke 1:56a were not produced by the same copyist who wrote the text on the surrounding pages.

  90. Jeff Cate says:

    Several corrections are needed to this post.

    Neither the original hand nor any corrector afterward in Codex Sinaiticus has the wording that Jesus was angry in Mark 1:41. The only Greek manuscript with that reading is the bilingual Codex Bezae (D/05) from the V century. That reading is also found in a few Old Latin mss of the Gospels. Codex Sinaiticus says that Jesus was moved with compassion in Mark 1:41. This is a famous variant in the mss, but Codex Sinaiticus attests compassion, not anger.

    Also, Luke 9:55-56 are not completely absent in Codex Sinaiticus. The manuscript has what is now considered the beginning of v. 55 and ending of v. 56 (rem: versification was added in 1551): “But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.” Most textual critics think Jesus’ words (in between) found in medieval Byzantine mss was a late addition to the text.

    Also, in Matthew 6:9, Codex Sinaiticus *does* have the phrase “who is in heaven” (which is omitted as presented above). In Mt 6:12, Codex Sinaiticus reads “forgive us our *debts*” (not “sins”). Also, in Matthew 6:13, Codex Sinaiticus ends the Lord’s Prayer with the phrase “but deliver us from [the] evil [one]” (which is omitted above), but the doxology (“for thine is the kingdom…”) is absent.

    Also, like most early mss, Codex Sinaiticus omits John 7:53-8:11, not just 8:3-11.

    Hope this is helpful to prevent some misunderstandings. It is a very important manuscript.

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