NT TEXTUAL STUDIES: Lucian of Antioch (c. 240-312 C.E.): The Teacher of Arius?

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Lucian of Antioch (c. 240 – January 7, 312),[1] known as Lucian the Martyr, was a Christian presbyter, theologian, and martyr.[2] He was noted for both his scholarship and ascetic piety.[3]


According to Suidas,[4] Lucian was born at Samosata, Kommagene, Syria, to Christian parents, and was educated in the neighboring city of Edessa, Mesopotamia, at the school of Macarius. However, this tradition might be due to a conflation with his famous namesake, Lucian of Samosata,[5] the pagan satirist of the second century.[6]

At Antioch,[7] Lucian was an ordained presbyter. Eusebius of Caesarea[8] notes his theological learning[9] and Lucian’s vita (composed after 327) reports that he founded a Didaskaleion, a school. Scholars following Adolf von Harnack[10] see him as the first head of the School of Antioch,[11] with links to later theologians Diodorus of Tarsus[12] and Theodore of Mopsuestia,[13] but that contention is unrecorded in the extant sources.

Young Christians

After the deposition of Antioch’s bishop Paul of Samosata,[14] he fell under suspicion for heresy, and was excommunicated. According to Alexander of Alexandria,[15] he remained in schism during the episcopates of three bishops, Domnus, Timaeus, and Cyril, whose administration extended from 268 to 303. Lucian was reconciled with the Church either early in the episcopate of Cyril (perhaps about 285), which seems more likely, or under Cyril’s successor Tyrannus.

During the persecution of Maximinus Daia,[16] Lucian was arrested at Antioch and sent to Nicomedia,[17] where he endured many tortures over nine years of imprisonment. He was twice brought up for examination, and both times defended himself ably and refused to renounce his Christian faith.


His death is uncertain. He might have been starved to death. Another, more likely, possibility is that he was beheaded. The traditional date ascribed to his execution is January 7, 312, in Nicomedia. There is a late tradition of uncertain origin that he had been drowned in the sea and that his body was returned to land by a dolphin.[18]

He was buried at Drepanum[19] on the Gulf of Nicomedia, which was later renamed Helenopolis to honour Helena,[20] mother of Constantine the Great.[21]

See Also: CONSTANTINE THE GREAT: A Defender of Christianity?

He is also commemorated as a saint, with a feast day of January 7 in the Roman Catholic Church[4] and October 15 in the Orthodox Church.


Lucian’s theological position is a matter of contention. Attempts to reconstruct his theology from the extant sources have led to contradictory results.

Because Arius[22] in a letter addressed Eusebius of Nicomedia as “sylloukianistes” (“Fellow-Lucianist”), Lucian’s theology came to be associated with the Arian controversy.[23] Following Adolf von Harnack, many scholars have interpreted the word (which only appears in this instance) as denoting a theological school and have therefore seen not only Eusebius but also Arius and other Arian leaders (among them Maris, Theognis of Nicaea[24] and Asterius) as pupils of Lucian and have transferred Arian views unto Lucian.[25] The first writer to clearly attest such a discipleship for a number of Arian sympathizers—but not for Arius and his closer associates—was the Anomoean[26] church historian Philostorgius.[27]

Others have interpreted the word as indicating not a theological link but the special veneration accorded to Lucian by Eusebius, who by that time headed the church of Nicomedia,[28] the place of Lucian’s martyrdom. Lucian’s veneration increased during the latter half of Constantine’s reign, in particular, due to the patronage of Empress Helena.[29]

Opponents of Arianism, such as Alexander of Alexandria, countered this veneration by noting Lucian’s schismatic past. Marcus Victorinus identified the Eusebian party with Lucian. Epiphanius associates Lucian with heretical views about Christ’s human soul held by Arians (but also by others) and relates that the Arians venerated Lucian as their martyr and that Lucian lived together with Eusebius at Nicomedia.[30]

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST by Stalker-1 The TRIAL and Death of Jesus_02 THE LIFE OF Paul by Stalker-1

Associated with Lucian’s name is also the Creed of the Dedication passed at the Council of Antioch[31] in 341. This association is unknown to Athanasius of Alexandria and Hilarius of Poitiers[32] but known and accepted by later writers. It was most likely brought up by the Homoiousian party.[33] In their opposition against the Homoian party[34] supported by Emperor Constantius II,[35] the Homoiousians claimed the legacy of Lucian and adopted the definition of 341 as their creed.

Other attempts to reconstruct Lucian’s theology have started out with Paul of Samosata, whose rejection of the allegorizing[36] tendencies of the Alexandrian School, and especially those of Origen,[37] was transferred to Lucian.

Because these identifications created a contradictory picture of Lucian, some scholars have proposed the existence of two Lucians, the first being a follower of Paul of Samosata,[38] the second being Lucian the martyr, a theologian in the Origenist tradition and the teacher of Arius and Eusebius of Nicomedia. However, this proposal has now been largely rejected.


Whatever his theology had been, his status as a martyr and a saint was not impacted by concerns of orthodoxy. In the words of Philip Schaff: “The contradictory reports are easily reconciled by the assumption that Lucian was a critical scholar with some peculiar views on the Trinity and Christology which were not in harmony with the later Nicene orthodoxy, but that he wiped out all stains by his heroic confession and martyrdom.”[39]

Biblical Text

Lucian is also commonly credited with a critical recension of the text of the Septuagint[40] and the Greek New Testament,[41] which was later used by Chrysostom[42] and the later Greek fathers, and which lies at the basis of the Textus Receptus.[43] Rosalie Levy’s book states, “He purged both the Old and New Testaments of errors that had crept in by the inaccuracy of transcribers or the malice of heretics.”[44] Rosalie Levy is quite mistaken.

In his principal work, Lucian analyzed the Greek text of both the Old and New Testaments, creating a tradition of manuscripts known as the Lucianic Byzantine, or Syrian, text. Until the development of 19th-century biblical criticism, its clarity made it the common text. By a comparative study of the Greek and Hebrew grammatical styles in their Semitic background, Lucian proposed to limit the symbolical interpretation characteristic of the Alexandrian (Egyptian) allegorical tradition by emphasizing the primacy of the literal sense, whether expressed directly or metaphorically.

Such analytical methods influenced Antiochene theological formulations by Lucian’s students and colleagues relative to doctrines on Christ and the divine Trinity. Later critics, including Alexander of Alexandria, during the Council of Nicaea in 325, associated Lucian’s school with the condemned theological revisions of Arius and his attack on the absolute divinity of Christ. Lucian, in 269, had also been implicated with the denounced teachings—known as Monarchianism—of the Antiochene bishop Paul of Samosata. Church authorities subsequently accepted Lucian’s conciliatory statement of belief in 289 and, posthumously, in 341 at a church council in Antioch. Lucian’s influence permanently oriented Christian theology toward a historical realist approach in its debate with classical non-Christian thought.


Lucian produced the Syrian text, renamed the Byzantine text. About 290 C.E., some of his associates made various subsequent alterations, which deliberately combined elements from earlier types of text, and this text was adopted about 380 C.E. At Constantinople, it became the predominant form of the New Testament throughout the Greek-speaking world. The text was also edited, with harmonized parallel accounts, grammar corrections, and abrupt transitions modified to produce a smooth text. This was not a faithfully accurate copy. As we had just learned earlier under the corruption period, after Constantine legalized Christianity, giving it equal status with the pagan religions, it was much easier for those possessing manuscripts to have them copied. In fact, Constantine had ordered 50 copies of the whole Bible for the church in Constantinople. Over the next four centuries or so, the Byzantine Empire and the Greek-speaking church were the dominant factors as to why this area saw their text becoming the standard. It had nothing to do with it being the better text, i.e., the text that more accurately reflected the original. From the eighth century forward, the corrupt Byzantine text was the standard text and had displaced all others; it makes up about 95 percent of all manuscripts that we have of the Christian Greek Scriptures.


Westcott and Hort proposed that Lucian of Antioch (d. AD 312) was responsible for the recension that we now know as the Byzantine text by combining readings from earlier text-types. Although few have held to this theory, it has recently been revived as a means of accounting for earlier readings in the Byzantine text-type that do not require the existence of an independent text-type. The great preacher and writer John Chrysostom arrived in Constantinople from Antioch in AD 398 and brought with him the form of the New Testament text used in Antioch that we would now identify as the Byzantine text-type. Largely through his influence, the Byzantine text-type began to gain widespread currency in the Byzantine Empire. Increased institutionalization of religion in the empire, including the copying and preservation of manuscripts, led to less freedom and more rigidity in the Byzantine textual tradition. Rather than there being more diffuse readings with increased copying, as we find in the Alexandrian tradition, the Byzantine text-type tends toward homogenization.

Recension is a revised edition of a text; an act of making a revised edition of a text.

Lucian’s edition contributed significantly to the Syrian recension used by Chrysostom and the later Greek fathers and mentioned by Jerome in De Viris Illustribus (III. I, xxvii Praef. ad Paralip.Adversus Rufium xxvi, Epistle, 106). In addition to Lucian’s recension of the Bible, Jerome (De Vir. Ill. # 77) refers to “Libelli de Fide;” neither are extant. Jerome mentions that copies were known in his day as “exemplaria Lucianea,” but in other places, he speaks rather disparagingly of the texts of Lucian.—https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Lucian_of_Antioch

Lucian’s martyrdom by torture and starvation for refusing to eat meat ritually offered to the Roman gods during the early-4th-century persecution of the Roman emperor Maximinus elicited praise from his antagonists.

It has long been held by textual scholars up unto the days of Bruce M. Metzger (THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, p. 215, 4th ed. 2006) that Lucian of Antioch began what became known as the Lucianic recension to explain the origin of the Byzantine text. Metzger writes concerning the work of the British biblical scholar and textual critic B. H. Streeter (1874 – 1937), who “agreed with Westcott and Hort that the Syrian text, which he renamed the Byzantine text, arose during the fourth century through the recensional activity of Lucian of Antioch and was adopted about 380 at Constantinople. This text became the prevailing ecclesiastical form of the New Testament throughout the Greek-speaking world and eventually constituted the basis of the Textus Receptus” which would be the foundational text for the King James Version 1611. Metzger was in agreement with this position in 2006 and never adopted another before his death in 2007. Let us not be dogmatic in the extreme and say that critics are incorrect when they say that it was not Lucian who gave rise to the Syrian text (Byzantine text). This does not remove the fact the Byzantine text-type was not in existence 4th/5th centuries and that it was standardized early on and developed at the outset of the Byzantine Empire (395–1453) and primarily the only text to be copied throughout. In addition, the earliest Church Father to witness to a Byzantine text-type in substantial New Testament quotations is John Chrysostom (c. 349 – 407).

English Bible Versions King James Bible KING JAMES BIBLE II

Jerome mentions that copies of his work on the Greek Old Testament were known in his day as “exemplaria Lucianea” but in other places, he speaks rather disparagingly of the texts of Lucian.[45] Jerome also wrote: “This (Testament) certainly differs in our language and is led in the way of different streams; it is necessary to seek the single fountainhead. I pass over those books which are called by the name of Lucian and Hesychius, for which a few men wrongly claim authority, who anyway were not allowed to revise either in the Old Instrument after the Seventy Translators, or to pour out revisions in the New; with the Scriptures previously translated into the languages of many nations, the additions may now be shown to be false.”[46] In the absence of definite information, it is impossible to decide the merits of Lucian’s critical labors.[47]

He believed in the literal sense of the biblical text and thus laid stress on the need of textual accuracy. He undertook to revise the Septuagint based on the original Hebrew, and the resulting manuscript was popular in Syria and Asia Minor.[48]

Metzger on the Lucianic Recension


The earliest references to Lucian are two brief and highly favorable estimates that Eusebius includes in his Church History. Here Lucian is described as a presbyter of Antioch, “whose entire life was most excellent (aristos)” (VIII.xiii.2), and as “a most excellent man in every respect, temperate in life and well-versed in sacred learning” (IX.vi.3).

Later in the fourth century, Jerome makes three references to Lucian, which differ considerably in temper and appreciation of his work. The differences are no doubt to be accounted for by considering the several contexts and Jerome’s immediate purpose in referring to Lucian. On the one hand, when Jerome is comparing his own work as reviser of the Old Latin text with similar work by others in Greek, he is rather severe in his judgment of Lucian. Thus in his Preface to the Four Gospels, which takes the form of an open letter addressed to Pope Damasus and which was composed perhaps about the year 383, he refers somewhat contemptuously to the “manuscripts which are associated with the names of Lucian and Hesychius, the authority of which is perversely maintained by a few disputatious persons.”

Continuing in the same vein Jerome condemns the work of Lucian and Hesychius as infelicitous:

“It is obvious that these writers could not emend anything in the Old Testament after the labors of the Seventy; and it was useless to correct the New, for versions of Scripture already exist in the languages of many nations which show that their additions are false.” (1a)

 Subsequently, in the Preface to his translation of the books of Chronicles, Jerome makes a more temperate allusion to the work of Lucian and other Biblical scholars. In referring to the diversity of the editions of the Greek Old Testament, he declares that three are current in various parts of the Empire:

“Alexandria and Egypt in their [copies of the] Septuagint praise Hesychius as author; Constantinople to Antioch approves the copies [containing the text] of Lucian the martyr; the middle provinces between these read the Palestinian codices edited by Origen, which Eusebius and Pamphilus published.” (1)

In his valuable Lives of Illustrious Men, written soon after A.D. 392, Jerome is still more generous in his description of Lucian. Here, in a biographical sketch devoted to the martyr from Antioch, he characterizes him as “a man of great talent” and “so diligent in the study of the Scriptures that even now certain copies of the Scriptures bear the name of Lucian.” (2)

What is of special importance is the declaration that copies of the Scriptures (and not just of the Septuagint, as Jerome is sometimes quoted) passed under the name of Lucianea.

Information of the widespread use of Lucian’s recension of the Psalter is contained in Jerome’s letter to Sunnias and Fretela (about A.D. 403). These two Gothic churchmen had inquired of Jerome why his own Latin Psalter (the so-called Roman Psalter) differed so frequently from the Septuagint. In his reply Jerome points out that they have been misled by their edition of the Septuagint, which varied widely from the critical text of Origen given in the Hexapla and used by himself. Jerome writes:

“You must know that there is one edition which Origen and Eusebius of Caesarea and all the Greek commentators call ‘Koine’ [common], that is common and widespread, and is by most people now called Lucianic; and there is another, that of the Septuagint, which is found in the manuscripts of the Hexapla, and has been faithfully translated by us into Latin.” (3)

Here Jerome distinguishes the Lucianic text from that of the Hexapla, and indicates that the former met with such universal acceptance that it received the name of the Vulgate or common text.

Later testimonies refer to Lucian’s competence in Hebrew. For example, Suidas and Simeon Metaphrastes (in the Passio S. Luciani martyris) assert that “he translated [literally, renewed] them all [i.e. the books of the Old Testament] again from the Hebrew language, of which he had a very accurate knowledge, spending much labor on the work.” (4)

Though Lucian may have consulted Hebrew in connection with his revision of the Septuagint, this statement is obviously exaggerated in the manner of hagiographers.

More sober, and doubtless nearer to the truth of what Lucian attempted to do, is the description of pseudo-Athanasius in his Synopsis sacrae scripturae:

“Using the earlier editions [i.e., of Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus] and the Hebrew, and having accurately surveyed the expressions which fell short of or went beyond the truth, and having corrected them in their proper places, he published them for the Christian brethren.” (5)

Among testimonia of uncertain origin there is an unequivocal statement that Lucian concerned himself with the New Testament as well as the Old.  Under the date of October 15, the Menaeon of the Greek Church (this is a liturgical volume which includes short accounts of saints and martyrs to be read on their festivals) states that Lucian made a copy with his own hand of both the Old and New Testaments, written in three columns, which afterwards belonged to the Church in Nicomedia.(6)  Substantially the same information in a more extended hagiographical context is contained in the Synaxarium ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae for October 15. (7)

This list of testimonies may be brought to a close with a reference to the condemnation of Lucian in the so-called Decretum Gelasianum, where mention is made of “Evangelia quae falsavit Lucianus, apocrypha, Evangelia quae falsavit Hesychius, apocrypha” (v, iii, 8-9).  It is generally agreed that this statement rests upon a misunderstanding of the critical remarks of Jerome. (8).

By way of summarizing ancient testimonies concerning Lucian’s textual work, we find that his contemporaries generally regarded him as an able scholar, entirely competent to undertake such a recension. As a native Syrian he could, of course, have consulted the Syriac version; he also appears to have had some acquaintance with Hebrew. As would have been expected, he made use of previous Greek translations of the Old Testament and sought to adjust the Greek to the underlying Hebrew text. But we are told nothing as to the amount of revision which he undertook in either Old or New Testament text, the nature of the manuscripts which he consulted, the relation of his work to the Hexapla, and other similar matters. For information bearing on such problems, we must turn to the manuscripts which have been thought to contain the Lucian recension.”—(Metzger, Chapters in the History of NTTC, “The Lucianic Recension” (1963) p. 3–8)

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace:

“(Lucian was proposed by Hort as the father of the Byzantine text. This proposal, incidentally, was by no means necessary to Hort’s theory, but was a decent hunch that may well be correct.)”


The Byzantine Text Led to the Textus Receptus, the Textus Receptus Became the Foundation Textus Until 1881

In Biblical textual criticism, the Byzantine text-type (also called Majority Text, Traditional Text, Ecclesiastical Text, Constantinopolitan Text, Antiocheian Text, or Syrian Text) is one of several text-types of the Greek New Testament manuscripts. It is the form found in the largest number of surviving manuscripts. Something that is seldom talked about is the fact that the earlier Byzantine text is near to the Alexandrian text in that it differs from the later Byzantine text in roughly 3000 places. It is the later Byzantine text (12-century manuscripts) that would be the texts behind the Textus Receptus.

The Textus Receptus

In Christianity, the term Textus Receptus (Latin for “received text”) designates all editions of the Greek texts of the New Testament from the Novum Instrumentum omne established by Erasmus in 1516 to the 1633 Elzevier edition; the 1633 Elzevier edition is sometimes included into the Textus Receptus. It was the most commonly used text type for Protestant denominations.

The first printed edition of the Greek New Testament was completed by Erasmus and published by Johann Froben of Basel on March 1, 1516 (Novum Instrumentum omne). Due to the pressure of his publisher to bring their edition to market before the competing Complutensian Polyglot, Erasmus based his work on around a half-dozen manuscripts, all of which dated from the twelfth century or later; and all but one were of the Byzantine text-type. Six verses that were not witnessed in any of these sources, he back-translated from the Latin Vulgate, and Erasmus also introduced many readings from the Vulgate and Church Fathers. This text came to be known as the Textus Receptus or received text after being thus termed by Bonaventura Elzevir, an enterprising publisher from the Netherlands, in his 1633 edition of Erasmus’ text. The New Testament of the King James Version of the Bible was translated from editions of what was to become the Textus Receptus. The different Byzantine “Majority Text” of Hodges & Farstad, as well as Robinson & Pierpont, is called “Majority” because it is considered to be the Greek text established on the basis of the reading found in the vast majority of the Greek manuscripts. The Textus Receptus differs from the Majority Text in 1,838 Greek readings, of which 1,005 represent “translatable” differences.

Michael D. Marlowe statesyet it differs from the Received Text in about a thousand places, most of them being trivial. while Daniel B. Wallace Archived 2007-08-05 at the Wayback Machine has counted 1,838 differences between it and the Textus Receptus.

Michael D. Marlowe – What is the Difference between
the Majority Text and the Received Text?

The “Received Text” is also not a single text. It is a tradition of printed texts published during the time of the Protestant Reformation, that is, the 1500s and early 1600’s. It includes the editions of Erasmus, Estienne (Stephens), Beza, and Elzevir. These texts are closely allied, and are all mostly derived from Erasmus 1516. They are based upon a small number of late medieval manuscripts. The King James Version is based upon the Received Text. The Majority Text is derived from the plurality of all existing Greek manuscripts; but because most of these manuscripts are late medieval manuscripts, there is a family resemblance between the Received Text and the Majority Text. They agree with one another much more than either of them agree with the critical Greek texts published by scholars in the past two hundred years. These critical texts are based upon the oldest manuscripts and versions (from the 100’s to the 600’s), and agree with one another much more than any of them agree with the Received Text or the Majority Text. And so it is appropriate to say that the texts in question fall into two groups: (1) The kind of text found in the majority of medieval manuscripts (often called the Byzantine text-type); and (2) the ancient type of text which is exhibited in our oldest available manuscripts (often called the “Alexandrian” text-type). I personaly do not put much store by the terms “Byzantine” and “Alexandrian,” because I think that these terms are prejudicial. They imply that the texts are local products of Byzantium or Alexandria, and this cannot be proven in either case.

For a complete list of differences between the Robinson-Pierpont text (representing the majority of manuscripts) and the text underlying the King James Version, see the collation posted here.

On another page on this website, I have presented an elaborate statistical comparison of the various texts, showing their degrees of affinity. It is probably more than anyone really wants to know, but readers may now go to that page by clicking here. For our present discussion, the most relevant statistics are the number of translatable disagreements of the texts from the Received text:

 Hodges-Farstad (Majority Text)   1005 
 Tregelles (critical text) 3095 
 Nestle-Aland (critical text) 3323 
 Tischendorf (critical text) 3498 
 Westcott-Hort (critical text) 3618 

And so the Majority Text has a little less than a third as many differences from the Received text as do any of the critical texts. It does not stand halfway between the Received Text and the critical texts; it is definitely closer to the Received Text — and yet it differs from the Received Text in about a thousand places, most of them being trivial. For those who wish to examine the differences, they are all translated and listed in the collation of majority text readings on this site. The Majority Text readings are indicated by the sign “HF” (Hodges-Farstad) in the collation.

These statistics do not, however, tell the whole story. That is because the Majority Text happens to agree with the Received Text in some very significant verses. By way of example, I would mention the “Story of the Adulteress” in the eighth chapter of John’s Gospel, and the phrase “God was manifest” in 1 Timothy 3:16, both of which are often treated as key texts in preaching from the King James Version. But when the Story of the Adulteress is referred to in a modern version based upon a critical text, one encounters brackets and footnotes warning the reader that it is a later addition to the Gospel; and at 1 Tim 3:16 one encounters a decidedly weaker text, “He who was manifested.” Other examples could be given, but this would take us into a very long excursion here. The point is, many people who are used to the King James Version and who compare it with the Majority Text are pleased to find the agreement in such passages, and this has been no small factor in the popularity of the Majority Text among users of the King James Version.

KJVOists, TROists, BTOists, MTOists Questions

There is a common phrase, the King James Version Onlyists who are a part of King James Version-Onlyism. The KJV Onlyist movement claims its loyalty to be to the Textus Receptus, a Greek New Testament manuscript compilation completed in the 1500s. There are possibly tens or maybe even hundreds of thousands of KJV Onlyist Believers in the world, and we even have a new generation that is taking over the movement.

The Gospel Coalition writes,

KJV-only views tend to fall between two poles. One extreme makes strident claims for the absolute perfection of the KJV, viewing it as the perfect product of divine (re)inspiration. The other pole prefers the KJV out of an aesthetic sense or the belief that valuable, unifying traditions shouldn’t be given up lightly. More than likely, the KJV-only brothers and sisters you’ll run into are between these poles: they’re part of the mainstream King-James-only movement—which means, if you’ll listen to them, you’ll find they’re not technically KJV-only. The mainstream KJV-only movement insists that its ultimate concern is not actually the KJV. It’s the full “preservation” of the Greek and Hebrew texts from which the KJV was translated, namely the Masoretic Hebrew Text and the Greek Textus Receptus, or “TR.” KJV-onlyism is actually, officially, TR-onlyism. Evangelical biblical scholarship looks at all the differences among Greek New Testament manuscripts and, in textual criticism, takes up the complicated challenge of culling out copyist errors. KJV-onlyism looks at those same differences and feels them to be a threat to the stability of Christian faith. So it adopts the TR and rejects modern textual criticism.

Almost all KJVOist have taken the time to learn the very minimum when it comes to Koine Greek. They have not even read some 150-page introductory book that might give them just enough understanding to actually examine the evidence. They have not even bought small books of 150-200 page introductions to New Testament  Textual Criticism by Harold Greenless. Instead, most almost all KJVOists in the church have formed their textual studies views secondhand from misinformed so-called authorities they trust implicitly and unquestionably. As Dr. Daniel B. Wallace has many times stated, only a tiny percentage of textual differences are both meaningful and viable. This includes “the Tiny Percentage Fallacy, that an amount or action that is quite significant in and of itself somehow becomes insignificant simply because it’s a tiny percentage of something much larger.”  Let’s take the small number of terrorist bombers that blew up the twin towers and took over three planes on 911 2001, and then make the claim that the number of terrorists who have caused meaningful havoc in America over the past 40 years is very tiny in comparison to how many have been caught and stopped. It now sounds idiotic. When we turn to chapter 22 verses 18-19 of Revelation, we are told that if anyone adds or takes away from the book of Revelation, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. The warning not to add not take away is found in several other places in the Bible as well. We can note that there is no qualifying number adding or taking away or any level of significance. Note that they do not say, do not add, or take away many things, as though a low number would be fine. Note that they do not say, do not add, or take away meaningful things, as though a low-level significant addition or removal would be fine.

Developing Healthy Churches

Let’s compare this to complicity in a crime. If John Smith and Jim Jones rob a bank, with Jim Jones believing they were using guns with no bullets and that no one would be hurt, yet John Smith shoots and kills the bank teller. They are both going to receive the death penalty for first-degree capital murder. If ancient copyists commit the sin of adding or removing material from God’s Word, God will add to them the plagues described in the book of Revelation. If the textual scholars know that something has been added or removed, and they retain that corruption in their critical master Greek text because of theological reasons or simply tradition, God will add to them the plagues described in the book of Revelation. If the translator and the publisher willfully know that the critical text he has chosen willfully retained things that have been added or removed, God will add to them the plagues described in the book of Revelation. If the pastor willfully knows that the translation they have chosen for their church retains things that have been added or removed, God will add to them the plagues described in the book of Revelation. If the churchgoer willfully knows that the Bible he or she has chosen has things that have been added or removed, God will add to them the plagues described in the book of Revelation.

So, now, let’s look at some basic questions that KJVOists, TROists, BTOists, MTOists cannot answer. 

(1) If God’s Word is only found in the 1611 KJV, where was God’s Word from 100 A.D. – 1610 A.D.?

(2) How many textual errors (differences) are in the Byzantine manuscripts used to make the Textus Receptus, which is behind the KJV?

(3) How many textual errors (differences) are in the handful of Byzantine manuscripts used to make the Textus Receptus, which is behind the KJV?

(4) If there are no textual differences in the 4,000 Byzantine texts (which there are), what was the Word of God before the fifth-century Byzantine text of Codex Alexandrinus (400-440 A.D.)? Only the Western and the Alexandrian family texts existed in the third and fourth centuries, and only the Alexandrian in the second century. So, God allowed errors by the copyists of the Alexandrian and Western manuscripts but miraculously inspired the thousands of Byzantine copyists from 400 to 1455 A.D.?

(5) The Byzantine Advocates (the text behind the TR) acknowledge there are differences between the Byzantine text and the Textus Receptus and Textus Receptus Advocates believe there are differences between the TR and the Byzantine text. So, where is the miraculous preservation of Scripture?

(6) The TRIST and the KJVOIST argue that the New Testament original is found in the majority of the manuscripts, which is the Byzantine. However, there is a problem, there was no Byzantine text for the first four centuries, and the Byzantine text did not become the majority of the manuscripts until the 9th century. So, what was the New Testament Text before the 9th century when the Byzantine came to be the majority and until that time the Alexandrian was the majority?


(7) Which is inerrant, the Latin Vulgate Erasmus used to make some of the Textus Receptus or the Byzantine texts?

(8) What was the inerrant word of God in the second and third centuries AD, before the development of the Byzantine text?

(9) You say scribes/copyists do not make changes to the text intentionally and unintentionally, so how do you explain the copyists who write in the margins that a previous copyist made changes? How do you explain the differences in the manuscripts?

(10) Speaking of the Textus Receptus, which of the four editions by Desiderius Erasmus do you prefer (1519, 1522, 1527, 1535), or the four editions of Robert Estienne (Stephanus) (1503– 1559), or the nine editions by Théodore Beza (1519– 1605)? How did the term Textus Receptus come about? How did the Greek text develop from Desiderius Erasmus to Robert Estienne to Théodore Beza, and did any of the editions have a critical apparatus with variants, and did any of these men consult any Alexandrian manuscripts?

(11) If the KJVOist advocates are correct and the copyists for the Byzantine text DID NOT make all of the additions to the Greek text but rather the Alexandrian copyists removed them, why do the 100+ papyri manuscripts discovered in the 1930s – the 1950s date with decades of the originals, 200 years before the 4th-century Alexandrian Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and 350 years before the earliest 5th-century Byzantine text looks just like the Alexandrian of manuscripts?

(12) THE PREFACE to the 1611 KJV by the translators says the KJV was a revision of the 16t century translations of Coverdale, Tyndale, the Great Bibles, and others. The translators said that they expect new revisions of their KJV translation when more manuscripts come to light and a better understanding of Hebrew and Greek, there should be revisions. Were those translators wrong?

(13) What do you do with the fact that the KJV has 1,000 different words that do not mean today what they meant in 1611, even having the opposite meaning? The understanding of Hebrew and Greek has astronomically improved since 1611, and the 1611 KJV translators said in the 1611 PREFACE that a new revision should be made upon such circumstances. So, why reject efforts to do so with the 1881 English Revised Version (ERV), the 1901 American Standard Version (ASV), the 1952 Revised Standard Version (RSV), the 1995 New American Standard Bible (NASB), the 2001 English Standard Version (ESV), and the forthcoming Updated American Standard Version (UASV)? Are not these revisions simply following the instructions of the 1611 KJV translators?

(14) Why is the earlier Byzantine text more similar to the Alexandrian text in that it differs from the later Byzantine text in roughly 3000 places?

“The manuscript evidence, as found in the major majuscule codexes [Vaticanus and Sinaiticus], and then confirmed by early papyri [esp. P66 (150 C.E.) and P75 (175-225 C.E.)], points to the Alexandrian text-type as the earliest (and a very stable) textual witness.” Stanley E. Porter. How We Got the New Testament (Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology) (p. 64). Baker Publishing Group.



Attribution: This article incorporates text from the public domain: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and Edward D. Andrews



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[1] January 7 was the calendar day on which his memory was celebrated at Antioch.

[2] A martyr (Greek: μάρτυς, mártys, “witness”; stem μαρτυρ-, martyr-) is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, or refusing to renounce or advocate, a religious belief or cause as demanded by an external party. In the martyrdom narrative of the remembering community, this refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of an actor by an alleged oppressor.

[3] Asceticism (; from the Greek: ἄσκησις áskesis, “exercise, training”) is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their practices or continue to be part of their society, but typically adopt a frugal lifestyle, characterised by the renunciation of material possessions and physical pleasures, and also spend time fasting while concentrating on the practice of religion or reflection upon spiritual matters.

[4] The Suda or Souda (; Medieval Greek: Σοῦδα, romanized: Soûda; Latin: Suidae Lexicon) is a large 10th-century Byzantine encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world, formerly attributed to an author called Soudas (Σούδας) or Souidas (Σουίδας). It is an encyclopedic lexicon, written in Greek, with 30,000 entries, many drawing from ancient sources that have since been lost, and often derived from medieval Christian compilers.

[5] Lucian of Samosata (c. 125 – after 180) was a Syrian satirist and rhetorician who is best known for his characteristic tongue-in-cheek style, with which he frequently ridiculed superstition, religious practices, and belief in the paranormal.

[6]CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Lucian of Antioch.” Newadvent.org. 1910-10-01. Retrieved Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

[7] Early Christianity (up to the First Council of Nicaea in 325) spread from the Eastern Mediterranean throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. Originally, this progression was closely connected to already established Jewish centers in the Holy Land and the Jewish diaspora.

[8] Eusebius of Caesarea (; Greek: Εὐσέβιος τῆς Καισαρείας, Eusébios tés Kaisareías; AD 260/265 – 339/340), also known as Eusebius Pamphili (from the Greek: Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμϕίλου), was a historian of Christianity, exegete, and Christian polemicist. He became the bishop of Caesarea Maritima about AD 314.

[9] Church History IX, 6, 3.

[10] Carl Gustav Adolf von Harnack (born Harnack; 7 May 1851 – 10 June 1930) was a Baltic German Lutheran theologian and prominent Church historian. He produced many religious publications from 1873 to 1912 (in which he is sometimes credited as Adolf Harnack).

[11] The Catechetical School of Antioch was one of the two major centers of the study of biblical exegesis and theology during Late Antiquity; the other was the Catechetical School of Alexandria. This group was known by this name because the advocates of this tradition were based in the city of Antioch, one of the major cities of the ancient Roman Empire.

[12] Diodore of Tarsus (Greek Διόδωρος ὁ Ταρσεύς; died c. 390) was a Christian bishop, a monastic reformer, and a theologian.

[13] Theodore of Mopsuestia (c. 350 – 428) was a Christian theologian, and Bishop of Mopsuestia (as Theodore II) from 392 to 428 AD. He is also known as Theodore of Antioch, from the place of his birth and presbyterate.

[14] Paul of Samosata (Greek: Παῦλος ὁ Σαμοσατεύς, lived from 200 to 275 AD) was Bishop of Antioch from 260 to 268 and the originator of the Paulianist heresy named after him. He was a believer in monarchianism, a nontrinitarian doctrine; his teachings reflect adoptionism.

[15] Alexander I of Alexandria, 19th Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria. During his patriarchate, he dealt with a number of issues facing the Church in that day.

[16] Galerius Valerius Maximinus Daza (c. 270 – c. July 313) was Roman emperor from 310 to 313. He became embroiled in the Civil wars of the Tetrarchy between rival claimants for control of the empire, in which he was defeated by Licinius. A committed pagan, he engaged in one of the last persecutions of Christians.

[17] Nicomedia (; Greek: Νικομήδεια, Nikomedeia; modern İzmit) was an ancient Greek city located in what is now Turkey. In 286 Nicomedia became the eastern and most senior capital city of the Roman Empire (chosen by Diocletian who assumed the title Augustus of the East), a status which the city maintained during the Tetrarchy system (293–324).

[18] Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. 

[19] Helenopolis (Greek: Ἑλενόπολις) or Drepana (Δρέπανα) or Drepanon (Δρέπανον) was an ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine town and bishopric in Bithynia, Asia Minor, on the southern side of the Gulf of Astacus. It has been identified with the modern village of Hersek, in the district of Altınova, Yalova Province.

[20] Flavia Julia Helena (; Greek: Ἑλένη, Helénē; AD c. 246/248 – c. 330), or Saint Helena, was the mother of Roman emperor Constantine the Great. She was born outside of the noble classes, a Greek, possibly in the Greek city of Drepana, Bithynia in Asia Minor.

[21] Constantine I (Latin: Flavius Valerius Constantinus; Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος, translit. Kōnstantînos; 27 February c. 272 – 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor from 306 to 337.

[22] Arius (; Koinē Greek: Ἄρειος, Áreios; 250 or 256–336) was a Cyrenaic presbyter and ascetic, and priest in Baucalis in Alexandria, Egypt, who is most known for having been the founder of the heresy known as Arianism. His teachings about the nature of the Godhead in Christianity, which emphasized God the Father’s uniqueness and Christ’s subordination under the Father, and his opposition to what would become the dominant Christology, Homoousian Christology, made him a primary topic of the First Council of Nicaea, which was convened by Emperor Constantine the Great in 325.

[23] The Arian controversy was a series of Christian theological disputes that arose between Arius and Athanasius of Alexandria, two Christian theologians from Alexandria, Egypt. The most important of these controversies concerned the substantial relationship between God the Father and God the Son.

[24] Theognis of Nicaea (Greek: Θέογνις) was a 4th-century Bishop of Nicaea, excommunicated after the First Council of Nicaea for not denouncing Arius and his nontrinitarianism strongly enough. He is best known to history as an attendee present at the Council of Nicaea in 325.

[25]CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Lucian of Antioch.” Newadvent.org. 1910-10-01. Retrieved Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

[26] In 4th-century Christianity, the Anomoeans , and known also as Heterousians , Aetians , or Eunomians , were a sect that upheld an extreme form of Arianism, that Jesus Christ was not of the same nature (consubstantial) as God the Father nor was of like nature (homoiousian), as maintained by the semi-Arians.The word “anomoean” comes from Greek ἀ(ν)- ‘not’ and ὅμοιος ‘similar’: “different; dissimilar”. In the 4th century, during the reign of Constantius II, this was the name by which the followers of Aëtius and Eunomius were distinguished as a theological party.

[27]CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Lucian of Antioch.” Newadvent.org. 1910-10-01. Retrieved Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

Philostorgius (Greek: Φιλοστόργιος; 368 – c. 439 AD) was an Anomoean Church historian of the 4th and 5th centuries.

[28] The Metropolis of Nicomedia (Greek: Μητρόπολις Νικομηδείας) was an ecclesiastical territory (metropolis) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in northwestern Asia Minor, modern Turkey. Christianity spread in Nicomedia already in the 1st century AD. Following the capture of the city by the Ottoman Turks in the early 14th century, the metropolitan see remained for a period vacant.

[29]CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Lucian of Antioch.” Newadvent.org. 1910-10-01. Retrieved Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

[30]CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Lucian of Antioch.” Newadvent.org. 1910-10-01. Retrieved Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

[31] Beginning with three synods convened between 264 and 269 in the matter of Paul of Samosata, more than thirty councils were held in Antioch in ancient times. Most of these dealt with phases of the Arian and of the Christological controversies.

[32] Hilary of Poitiers (Latin: Hilarius; c. 310 – c. 367) was Bishop of Poitiers and a Doctor of the Church. He was sometimes referred to as the “Hammer of the Arians” (Malleus Arianorum) and the “Athanasius of the West”, His name comes from the Latin word for happy or cheerful.

[33] The Arian controversy was a series of Christian theological disputes that arose between Arius and Athanasius of Alexandria, two Christian theologians from Alexandria, Egypt. The most important of these controversies concerned the substantial relationship between God the Father and God the Son.

[34] The Arian controversy was a series of Christian theological disputes that arose between Arius and Athanasius of Alexandria, two Christian theologians from Alexandria, Egypt. The most important of these controversies concerned the substantial relationship between God the Father and God the Son.

[35] Flavius Julius Constantius (Greek: Κωνστάντιος; 7 August 317 – 3 November 361), known as Constantius II, was Roman emperor from 337 to 361. His reign saw constant warfare on the borders against the Sasanian Empire and Germanic peoples, while internally the Roman Empire went through repeated civil wars, court intrigues and usurpations.

[36] As a terrible, damaging literary device, an allegory is a narrative in which a character, place, or event is used to deliver a broader message about real-world issues and occurrences. Authors have used allegory throughout history in all forms of art to illustrate or convey complex ideas and concepts in ways that are comprehensible or striking to its viewers, readers, or listeners. Christians do not use allegory in their interpretation of the Scriptures because it is subjective, and the interpreter can twist the Scriptures to say what they want.

[37] Origen of Alexandria[a] (c. 184 – c. 253), also known as Origen Adamantius, was an early Christian scholar, ascetic, and theologian who was born and spent the first half of his career in Alexandria. He was a prolific writer who wrote roughly 2,000 treatises in multiple branches of theology, including textual criticism, biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, homiletics, and spirituality. He was one of the most influential figures in early Christian theology, apologetics, and asceticism. He has been described as “the greatest genius the early church ever produced.”

[38] Paul of Samosata (Greek: Παῦλος ὁ Σαμοσατεύς, lived from 200 to 275 AD) was Bishop of Antioch from 260 to 268 and the originator of the Paulianist heresy named after him. He was a believer in monarchianism, a nontrinitarian doctrine; his teachings reflect adoptionism.

[39] Philipp Schaff, History of the Christian Church.

[40] The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, US also ; from the Latin: septuaginta, lit. ’seventy’; often abbreviated 70; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible, various biblical apocrypha, and deuterocanonical books. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch, were translated in the mid-3rd century BCE. The remaining books of the Greek Old Testament are presumably translations of the 2nd century BCE. The full title (Ancient Greek: Ἡ μετάφρασις τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα, lit. ’The Translation of the Seventy’) derives from the story recorded in the Letter of Aristeas that the Hebrew Torah was translated into Greek at the request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–247 BCE) by 70 Jewish scholars or, according to later tradition, 72: six scholars from each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, who independently produced identical translations.

[41] In Biblical textual criticism, the Byzantine text-type (also called Majority Text, Traditional Text, Ecclesiastical Text, Constantinopolitan Text, Antiocheian Text, or Syrian Text) is one of several text-types of the Greek New Testament manuscripts. It is the form found in the largest number of surviving manuscripts. It is also a later text from the 5th century and is a corrupt text because the copyists took many liberties in their copying.

[42] John Chrysostom (; Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος; c. 347 – 14 September 407) was an important Early Church Father who served as archbishop of Constantinople. He is known for his preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities.

[43] In Christianity, the term Textus Receptus (Latin for “received text”) designates all editions of the Greek texts of the New Testament from the Novum Instrumentum omne established by Erasmus in 1516 to the 1633 Elzevier edition; the 1633 Elzevier edition is sometimes included into the Textus Receptus. It was the most commonly used text type for Protestant denominations up until 1881. Because a rushed copy by Desiderius Erasmus in 1516, using only a few late 12th century Byzantine texts, it is even more corrupt than the Byzantine text itself.

Dr. Hort, Introd. and Append. to Westcott and Hort’s Greek Test. (Lond. and N. York, 1881), p. 138, says of Lucian: “Of known names his has a better claim than any other to be associated with the early Syrian revision; and the conjecture derives some little support from a passage of Jerome. Praetermitto eos codices quos a Luciano et Hesychio nuncupatos adscrit perversa contentio, ” etc. Dr. Scrivener, who denies such a Syrian recension as an ignis fatuus, barely alludes to Lucian in his Introduction to the Criticism of the N. Test., 3rd ed., Cambr., 1883, pp. 515, 517.

[44] Levy, Rosalie Marie. (1984). Heavenly Friends. Boston: St. Paul Editions. p. 32. 

[45] De Viris Illustribus III. I, xxvii; Praef. ad Paralip.Epistle, 106.

[46] “Jerome, Letter to Pope Damasus: Beginning of the Preface to the Gospels”http://www.tertullian.org. Retrieved Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

[47] On his labors in regard to the Sept., see Simeon Metaphrastes and Suidas, quoted in Routh IV. 3 sq.; Field’s ed. of the Hexapla of Origen; Nestle in the “Zeitschr. d. D. Morgenl. Gesellsch., ” 1878, 465-508; and the prospectus to the proposed ed. of the Sept. by P. de Lagarde.

[48] Duchesne, Louis; Jenkins, Claude (1912). Early History of the Christian Church1. New York: Longmans, Green & Co. p. 362.

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