What Difference Does It Make? The Greek Text We Accept Makes A Big Difference -- By: Wilbur N. Pickering

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 25:48 (Spring 2012)
Article: What Difference Does It Make? The Greek Text We Accept Makes A Big Difference
Author: Wilbur N. Pickering

What Difference Does It Make?
The Greek Text We Accept Makes A Big Difference1

Wilbur N. Pickering


Valparaiso De Goias, GO, Brazil

I. Introduction

It has been commonly argued, for at least 260 years,2 that no doctrine will be affected no matter what Greek text one may use. In my own experience, for over fifty years, when I have raised the question of what is the correct Greek text of the NT, regardless of the 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.

The eclectic Greek text presently in vogue, N-A26/UBS3 [hereafter NU] represents the type of text upon which most modern versions are based.3 The KJV and NKJV follow a rather different type of text, a close cousin of the Majority Text.4 The

discrepancy between NU and the Majority Text is around 8% (involving 8% of the words). In a Greek text with 600 pages, that represents 48 solid pages’ worth of discrepancies. About a fifth of that reflects omissions in the eclectic text (e.g., Mark 16:9-20; John 7:53-8:11), so it is some ten pages shorter than the Majority Text. Even if we grant, for the sake of the argument, that up to half of the differences between the Majority Text and eclectic text could be termed inconsequential, this leaves some 24 pages’ worth of differences that are significant (in varying degrees). In spite of these differences it is usually assumed that no cardinal Christian doctrine is at risk (though some, such as eternal judgment, the ascension, and the deity of Jesus, are weakened). However, the most basic doctrine of all, the divine inspiration of the text, is indeed under attack.

The eclectic text incorporates errors of fact and contradictions, such that any claim that the NT is divinely inspired becomes relative, and the doctrine of inerrancy becomes virtually untenable. If the authority of the NT is undermined, all its teachings are likewise affected. For well over a century the credibility of the NT text has been eroded, and this credibility crisis has been forced upon the attention of the laity by the modern versions that enclose parts of the text in brackets and have numerous footnotes of a sort that raise doubts about the integrity of the text.

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