From a Facebook post:

Simple and Clear History of Bible Text
With the new

Tyndale Greek New Testament

out, I realized that it is easy to be puzzled - why? what? still more versions?
Now more Greek editions?

So here is a work in process textual history.
Your feedback welcome!
Plan for online blog/forum posting.
The RTF is here
Major Texts Available for English Editions

Steven Avery – 1st draft – November 16, 2017

When the new Tyndale Greek New Testament came out, I realized that we need a solid scorecard to understand why!

Even more Greek New Testaments?
Even more English Versions?


To answer this question, it is really helpful to go back over the history of the pure Reformation Bible, and various earlier sources and later pretenders. That will be the goal of this little summary.


Up to 1500 AD – Byzantine Greek mss

Historic Bible
Good texts that had suffered some corruption and loss in the early centuries. moderate variants, (larger numbers in oddball Greek Western and Alexandrian mss.) 1000s of ms, although most are simply fragments, or sections. Some major problems, e.g. Acts 8:37, heavenly witnesses, and 1 John 2:23b all have small Greek support, and were preserved in the Latin.

The Greek Orthodox had accepted Reformation Bible corrections, but the corrupted type of Byzantine text had a retrograde resurgence c. 1975.

In a sense this was an attempt to create a “third way”, reject the abominable Westcott-Hort Vaticanus-primacy text yet still angle to be an opponent of the pure Received Text. While generally actually agreeing with the TR against the corruption text. Thus a type of nod of the cap could be given to “textual criticism” without falling all the way into the corruption version pit.

These are the prime nouveau “Byzantine” and “Majority” editions:

Hodges and Farsted
Pierpoint and Robinson
Wilbur Pickering


400 AD-1500 AD – Jerome’s Latin Vulgate – (Old Latin recension)

Historic Bible
Fair text that has fair amount of corruption, perhaps because of using mediocre Greek sources originally for the Latin. Nonetheless, a true historic Bible, and has many points where it maintained the proper reading over the Greek. Fairly large number of variants as seen by the Sixtene edition being overhauled by the Clementine in 1500s . In a desperation counter–Reformation move, the Council of Trent c. 1545 gave the Latin a special authority. (Before that, the RCC had endorsed Greek ms research and texts of the Complutensian and Erasmus.) More mss than the Greek, some estimates of 8,000. Agrees with the Byzantine Greek about 1/2 the time where there are Alexandrian corruption (Vaticanus) errors. Does have Acts 8:37 and heavenly witnesses in preponderance of mss.

Many RCC editions such as the::

Confraternity –> New American Bible
New Jerusalem Bible (yahwehista)


200 AD-1500 AD – Syriac Peshitta
(Some say the first translations were later, 300-350. This appears to have been necessary because of the severe damage an early Peshitta would do to the Hortian theories.

Historic Bible
Reasonably good text that agrees with the Byzantine Greek (against the corruption text) about 75% of the time. Does have some problems with major variants like the Pericope Adulterae and 1 Timothy 3:16 that are correct in the Greek majority. And omits Acts 8:37 and the heavenly witnesses. The later Philoxenaian and Harklean versions of this text are called “Western” and are a little closer to the Byzantine. 100s of mss.

(a few recent ones)


1520 – Today

Reformation Bible

These were superb textual science, Greek and Latin texts that were based on using all the necessary sources to bring us back to the pure Bible, the Greek correcting the Latin, the Latin correcting the Greek.

The three main names are Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza. They worked with a “high” view that the Bible is the inspired word of God.

The three main English Bibles would be:

Authorized Version, which was an independent edition of the Received Text.

All of the following were utilized, five distinct major components.

Greek mss
Latin mss
early church writers
sound textual principles – e.g. omission would be much easier than addition
“Internal” evidences, grammar, author style, consistency

Plus the Syriac was also available to Stephanus and Beza.


The Age of the Textual Apostasy

We enter an age of rebellion against the pure Reformation Bible.

In the 1700s until 1870 various men came up with wildly differing attempts to create a new alternative to the Received Text. Usually these would be Greek New Testaments that got little or no traction in the English Bible community. These were either based on the false idea of just using the early evidences, or were influenced by that error.

Richard Bentley (never completed)
Karl Lachmann
Johann Jakob Griesbach
Johann Martin Augustin Scholz
Samuel Prideaux Tregelles
Constantine Tishendorf – (wildly conflicting version after Sinaiticus)

In recent days, the new :

Tyndale Greek New Testament

is an attempt to gain a niche for yet another version that is similar to this confusion era (with Tregelles helping the pattern along.) It’s claim to honour will be a negative one, that it is perhaps a bit less corrupt than the Westcott-Hort recension. Like the Byzantine editions, it also wants to be marketed as from Bible believers, while the Westcott-Hort recension remains in the hands of various atheists and Jesuits as major players.


Westcott-Hort Recension – “Critical Text” – corruption versions

This is the Vaticanus-primacy text, ultra-corrupt, that was foisted to solve the problem of the litter of the previous corruption versions. Vaticanus is an abbreviated, Readers Digest type of ms that really has close to zero textual value. It was brought in as the centerpiece, first by Tischendorf declaring and early date and then attempted to be legitimatized by the wild and woolly textual theories (junque) of Hort.

The goal was to get one corruption text that could wedge into English Bibles and scholarship. (The 1800s inauthentic Sinaiticus played a key role as the Robin to the Vaticanus Batman.)

This has given us the hundreds of corruption versions, the alphabet soup:

NAS, NIV, TNIV, HCSB, CSB – and so many more.

Most of you know a lot about this, so I will keep in thin for now.