The Case of the Missing Verse – John 5:4

I always thought the fact that the NIV has 49 blank verses just made it easier to win a memory verse competition by saying, “Matthew 23:14” then pausing, “Mark 7:16” then pausing, until you have quoted 49 memory verses without having to say a word. Go figure. On a serious note, there have been accusations that the NIV has deleted verses in the New Testament. The insinuation is that the NIV committee did not have a proper respect for the text and that earlier versions of the English Bible are more accurate and faithful to God’s word because they contain these verses. The first thing that we have to understand when coming to this issue is that translation is a difficult job. There are over 3000 Greek manuscripts and fragments of the New Testament of varying age. Each one was hand copied, which leaves room for mistakes and even practical decisions of what to do with what the previous copyist has done. John 5:4 is one of the verses in contention. Here it is in the NIV and KJV.

John 5:3-5 (NIV)
“3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.”

John 5:3-5 (KJV)
“In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.” (italics mine).

What happened to verse 4? The KJV decided to include it because it was in the manuscripts they had at their disposal. The NIV decided to omit it because in the 400 years since the KJV was translated much older manuscripts had surfaced that did not have that verse. Remember, the KJV was translated largely from the Textus Receptus which was a compilation of manuscripts that did not even date prior to 1100 AD. The NIV translation committee had access to manuscripts dating back within 150 years of the original documents of the New Testament.

What happened in the 800 years between the texts the NIV is based on and the texts the KJV is based on? Copying, copying, and more copying. Often a copyist would write an explanation in the margin and some times that explanation would end up in the text. Bruce Metzger (Text of the New Testament, 194) thinks that is exactly what happened in the case of John 5:4. Why? For several reasons (listed in Metzger’s textual commentary 3rd ed, 209):

1 – Because the earliest manuscripts don’t contain it. Why not? Did they omit this verse just like the NIV? Of course not. They don’t contain the verse because the manuscripts they were copied from didn’t have it and the ones before them didn’t have it because the original didn’t have it. It doesn’t start appearing in manuscripts for at least 500 years When no manuscript before 500 AD has a verse you can be fairly certain that it was added in from a marginal note, from a copying error, or due to the copyist remembering that verse in another gospel and accidentally harmonizing them in his head and copying it wrong (such is the case of a few other “missing verses”). But once it is added it then gets copied over and over and from that point on may appear original to the next copyist
2 – Multiple Greek manuscripts copied after 900 AD have a mark showing that they thought the verse was questionable but they included it because it was in the manuscript they were copying from.
3 – This verse has multiple words that John doesn’t use anywhere else = out of character
4 – This verse has a larger number of textual variants = there are many versions of this text in many different Greek manuscripts which points to it being very questionable as to what was original if it even was original.

With all that weight against it the NIV decided not to include that verse in its translation. Did the NIV delete the verse from the inspired word of God? They didn’t delete it if it wasn’t there to begin with. It may seem like a verse was removed because previous English versions like the KJV included it because it was in the manuscripts they used to translate from. People read it for 400 years in English and became accustomed to it. So when they spot it missing from the NIV eyebrows go up and accusations begin to fly. So it probably wasn’t so much that the NIV deleted something or that the KJV added something. The problem was the texts the KJV was translated from were simply not ideal.


About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

71 Responses to The Case of the Missing Verse – John 5:4

  1. Brian says:

    good info that most Bible readers have never heard, and some actually have questions, especially in the “which version?” debate.

  2. Rev M.L. Houston says:

    The NIV and NLT also Deleted Act 8:37

    • Richard Grant says:

      That is very interesrting! M L Houston.

      A most important verse for salvation… one would think

      I notice also that no one wants to reply to your statement

    • Rob Harmon says:

      It isn’t deleted, just footnoted.

      • TJ Taylor says:

        Many people in need of a word from God who may pick up the bible are not looking for footnotes. When looking online there is no indication many times that there is a footnote. Truly the people are right for questioning such an event as to relegate scriptures to a footnote. However, many don’t question why certain books of the bible are missing but referred to in the KJV. Since every prophet had a scribe one should question where are their writings.

  3. Sean says:

    I’m glad to find a good explanation of this from a
    non-KJV bias source. I accept the explaination, but
    I don’t understand why the NIV doesn’t explain this.
    Some verses are explained in footnotes or included in
    footnotes, but some have no footnotes at all.
    I think each copy should have an article that explains the
    issue as clearly as this. This way people won’t be confused
    by such accusations.

  4. mattdabbs says:

    Glad that was helpful to you. There is so much misinformation and accusation out there that is totally uninformed.

  5. Michelle says:

    I have been going to a “KJV only” church, and the pastor there delivered a sermon in which he read the verse and then said that it was not an angel but an underwater spring which caused the water to roil and heal.

    I asked him where he got that from, and he said that the bible stated that people believed that it was an angel.

    I am confused. I don’t see that. I only see a preacher who says that the bible was wrong in this case and he is right.

    Where can I find a discussion of this particular item?

  6. mattdabbs says:

    The verse is John 5:4. You will find it in the KJV but in some newer translations you will see it goes from John 5:3 to John 5:5 and the verse is put in a footnote about the angel stirring the water.

    There are thousands of manuscripts dating from 150 AD to 1300 AD or so. The older manuscripts lack this verse across the board. As you get more recent manuscripts this verse starts showing up but usually with a mark to show that the scribe copied it but did not believe it was original. So this may have been a later addition to a text that eventually ended up in what the translators of the KJV had at their disposal. That is why you find it in the KJV and not other places.

    It was probably added as an editorial comment to make sense of 5:7 – it would explain why he thought he needed to be the first one in the water. Hope that helps. Let me know if you need more explanation.

    • Mark says:

      I find this humorous. According to the ‘facts’, there are 1000’s of Greek manuscripts (including fragments, I presume) during this period of history. The older ones don’t contain this verse, but suddenly, it starts showing up with a ‘mark’ indicating if’s dubious nature. I suppose the voracity of the copyist can and should be called into question. Problem is, why would one suddenly decide to insert it into the text, if it wasn’t there already?
      If I recall, there is only one gospel that records the account that upon the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb, many graves were opened and those who had occupied them were seen by those in Jerusalem. Should this account also be brought under scrutiny since it doesn’t appear in any of the other gospels? Perhaps a committee can convene soon and dispatch this verse from the Bible as well. Shame on us and may God overlook our attempts to assist the Holy Spirit with this infallible Word of God.

      • John Cowne says:

        I’m afraid Mark is comparing apples to oranges. You can’t compare 1) the argument that the existence of a large number of earlier documents holds evidential weight, and therefore makes them more likely to follow the originals (autographs), with 2) the fact that many details in the gospels are not dealt with by each other should, using the same reasoning, make you suspect the legitimacy of a unique recording of an event. Your analogy simply does not follow. Christians need to THINK LOGICALLY (by that I mean using the common sense God has given you to apply to any dilemna) as well as THEOLOGICALLY(by that I mean coming under, being informed and shaped by, God’s word). Guys, don’t let yourselves be swayeed by Mark’s sloppy thinking. It is not honouring God’s Word. Just because you read a translation beyond the date of the KJV does not mean you should be ashamed. Let’s use our minds for the glory of God, and not take pot shots at each other.

      • antonio says:

        I agree Mark, the voracity of the copyist may well be an issue. If he’s salivating over the meal he’ll be sitting down to as soon as he’s finished copying his mind may not be on the job and mistakes could happen.

  7. Phil McCheddar says:

    Thank you for the explanation. However, it seems to me that if you leave out verse 4, the rest of the passage doesn’t make sense. So I find it difficult to suppose that John’s original manuscript did not contain something at the position of verse 4 to explain to his readers why the lame man said what he said in verse 7. Verses 2 and 3 indicate that John assumed that at least some of his readers did not have any background knowledge about this pool with its alleged angelic phenomenon.

  8. mattdabbs says:

    Hi Phil,

    That is probably why it was added – to give continuity to an awkward verse. So you can look at it either way – either it seems awkward without it so it must have been original or a scribe added in an oral tradition as an aside to make the passage seem less awkward. I know I have written things only to go back and notice something could have been a little clearer or given more explanation.

    If you read it without the verse just like it wasn’t there I think it still reads pretty well we just don’t know exactly why it is important that he is first and why he can’t be healed if others go in before him.

  9. David says:

    Hi Matt,

    I strongly believe that the King James Bible is the inerrant Word of God. I believe that the way you look at holy scripture throughout time, lacks some reverence to the author. The men who wrote, copied and translated the scriptures where pensmen, but the word came from God. Do you not believe that God would preserve, and make sure that His word would reach all people exactly as it was written. Would you not agree that if non- believer read your article, he would be confused as to which Bible holds the truth?
    Would it not cause confusion even among Christians? Would it not make them ask, well if thats not in the original scriptures then what else does not belong here? The Bible states that God is not the author of confusion. See, God did not leave the scriptures in our hands to do what we may with them. Believing that troughout time scribes added things or re arranged things, insinuates that the word of God was at the mercy of these men. God has been and will always be in control of his word. There were no mistakes. Not even in centuries of copying.

    But i have a question. I have not read the NIV Bible so it’s why i’m asking. So, the NIV Bible leaves out verse 4 of John chapter 5 right? So it skips from 3 to 5. Then verse 4 is in the footnotes? So the NIV Bible still shows verse 4 as verse 4, just not in the text?

    • Bradford Dock says:

      Why would you believe that a translation of the Bible from 1611 is the inerrant word of God? Because it says “authorized” in the front? You really think that a translation from the 17th century is superior to Greek manuscripts from the 4th century, and Hebrew manuscripts from the 2nd century B.C.? I do not see any logic at all in that. I see no basis for that belief at all. You are simply making a statement with no proof of any kind to back it up so that you can establish some kind of “authority” to what you say. This position is nonsense, my friend.

      Also, if God is God, all powerful, all knowing, why do we have to defend him? If Christianity is the one true religion won’t it stand the test of questions and doubt? I think you need to take a good hard look at what you believe. Pray this prayer: “God, show me the truth, no matter what it is.” Do you have the courage to do that honestly, without preconceived notions? I challenge you to do it.

    • Victor Hafichuk says:

      A. The Angel at the Bethesda Pool

      In the gospel of John, it is recorded:

      “In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had” (John 5:3-4).

      Let me ask the ardent KJV fans some questions regarding this passage. Do you believe the story here? Have you never wondered about the strangeness of it? Ask yourself, “Does God play ‘cat-and-mouse,’ or ‘dangle the carrot,’ or does He tease the weak and helpless? Does He take pleasure in watching physically handicapped people awkwardly trying to jostle their way to the pool to get healed, where only the fastest one wins?”

      Did you know that the words from “waiting for the moving” in verse 3, and all of verse 4 are not found in the more original manuscripts? Is it not understandable that this is so? This was a piece of superstition inserted by some unbelieving scoundrel or ignoramus. It is the stuff of a carnal perception of Jesus Christ. It is the stuff of Lourdes, Fatima, of Catholic occultish heresy.

      It is a contradiction of the basic testimony of the Scriptures concerning the character of God. How do I know? How should YOU know? Consider God’s character, if you know anything of Him. Would He do such a thing? Does He display similar cruelty and callousness anywhere else in Scripture? Yes, He judges; yes, He destroys, but He does not toy, He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and He is no sadist.

      Several translations omit the portion of verses 3 to 4. The NIV commentary says this: “Verse 4 was doubtless inserted by a later copyist to explain why people waited by the pool in large numbers.” If that is true, and I have no doubt of it, then that person has not heeded this admonition found in both Old and New Testaments:

      “Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6).

      “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2).

      “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

      Has not this copyist done harm? Yes, he has, both to himself and to his readers. Nevertheless, we are all tried. As Paul said to some saints:

      “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Corinthians 11:19).

      Think about it, you who think the KJV to be perfect. This threefold (heavenly) admonition is only there because the possibility exists that one can add or take from His Word. Any possibility for evil that has existed has been fulfilled.

      Now why would God care or warn about adding or subtracting from spurious translations or men’s writings? Does not this admonition from His Word suggest that one can do it to the true? Is not His Word that of which He speaks? Therefore, if we were to grant you that the KJV is supposed to be the Perfect Word of God, how can you, in light of these Scriptures in the KJV (which, by the way, are not questioned by any other translations, but are included), deny that men’s words can be added to the KJV or that men can take words away from it? Your own version declares your folly! Do you not contradict yourselves, saying the KJV is perfect?

      Take that passage of John 5 in context of the entire Bible testimony. Be honest. “Examine yourselves whether you be in the faith.” Stop being unbelieving fools; repent; begin to believe the Lord Jesus Christ, and not some fictional character, some angel of light coming in His Name!


  10. mattdabbs says:

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments and questions. I can see your concern over what a non-Christian might think about my post. The facts are we don’t have original manuscripts. We have copies of copies. The good news is those copies are extremely accurate and rarely ever have any bearing on any major doctrine or core belief of the Christian faith.

    But let’s start at the beginning of your comment. You believe that the KJV Bible is the inerrant word of God. Which one? There have been many revisions with tens of thousands of changes. The 1611 even had typos and spelling errors. Translation is a process and involves human beings to get it done. Therefore, it is done imperfectly…otherwise you have to say God inspired those men to make typos and spelling errors. Right?

    You seem to deny the very existence of textual variants. That is just not an optional path to go down. They exist and we have to have means to deal with them. I can give you all kinds of examples from manuscripts all over the map. Even the 1611 KJV translators had to deal with textual variants in the manuscripts they had at hand. They dealt with them because they existed then and they exist now. They exist because mankind has had to hand copy these texts for hundreds and hundreds of years producing variants in the text that have to be dealt with. That doesn’t shake my faith in the least. They exist and we have to deal with them. We have to be honest about that.

    It cannot be transmitted into English “exactly as it was written” as you stated above because it was not written in English. It was written in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. When people wrestle with translating those languages (which are from copies of copies and therefore contain textual variants) into English there will always be problems but we do the best we can. I believe the KJV translators did the very best job they could but I do not believe it is a perfect translation…otherwise those same men would not have seen the need to make over 300 corrections to their own translation by 1613 (See Lewis, Questions You Have Had About Bible Translations, p.254).

    I hope you hear this comment with the greatest degree of love and respect possible. I also hope you understand that I believe in the inspiration of scriptures. I am not sure what I think about the inspiration of translators.

    Last, by the same standard – that God would make sure his word would reach all people and be preserved across generations…why pick out the KJV as the only translation that God could do this with? Why not some before it like Tyndale’s? Why not some after it like the NASB or NIV? The same logic could be applied to any number of translations from different generations and say God continued to work in the process but somehow proponents of the KJV never come to that conclusion.

    To answer your last question – John 5:4 is translated in full in the footnotes.

    I hope this has been helpful and I would love to hear back from you on it. God bless

  11. Great post. The fact that you site your sources is unblog-like of you 🙂 Thanks.

  12. Phil McCheddar says:

    Hi Matt

    I don’t agree with David’s views about the inerrancy of the KJV. I think your reply to him adequately shows the falsehood of such a view. You used an empirical method to refute him. However, David made a very interesting philosophical point that I would like to hear you address also please. He said that because God is perfect and infallible, he would ensure that his revelation to mankind would not be corrupted by fallible men, and that since he is not the author of confusion he would not allow anything false or misleading to infect his message. Would you like to comment on that from a philosophical point of view please?
    Many thanks.

  13. mattdabbs says:

    Hey Phil,

    Great question. I believe that David’s concern for how this comes across to non-believers and even Christians is a valid concern. However, we cannot deny, ignore, or manipulate the truth in order to alleviate people’s concerns. The truth is that there are lots and lots of minor textual variants in the thousands of manuscripts we have on hand. The vast majority of them are extremely minor.

    We have variants because these texts were copied over and over again by real people over a long period of time. The copies we have even show that this process was not an exact science as many of the copyists left notes in the margin questioning what they were copying. Why? Say you are copying Mark 9 and you get to Jesus’ words “This kind can only come out by prayer.” Some Greek texts say “prayer” and others say “prayer and fasting.” So which do you choose? The older manuscripts don’t have “and fasting” so it is assumed that over time someone copied that into a text because that is a common biblical concept that prayer is often combined with fasting.” The KJV used newer manuscripts which had “prayer and fasting” while the NIV had access to older manuscripts which only had “prayer.” Another thing you run into is when a copyist is copying from the synoptic gospels they may, from memory, accidentally add in a line from another gospel into a parallel account. So the next guy who copies that manuscript sees something in the verse he didn’t think was supposed to be there…what does he do? He either copies it and moves on (which results in more copies having the miscopy or he checks it against other texts, and changes it in his copy to reflect other texts. Usually when this is done the copyist will leave a note that a change was made.These notes in the margin are not uncommon. I say all this to say – I am not making this up. These changes took place but they should not rattle our faith! This does not make the scriptures any less valid as these things are few, far between, and never have major doctrinal significance.

    So here is the deal, the original texts of the New Testament as written by the apostles, early Christians and amanuensis were infallible. They were without mistake and communicated exactly what God wanted them to communicate. But once those texts began to get copied…and even moreso, translated into entirely new languages! there is bound to be room for some questions. Notice there are only 50 or so of these that have any significant impact on portions of verses in the New Testament out of 7958 verses in the New Testament

    Anytime anyone translates something, interpretation takes place. There is no getting around that. There is no perfect process where one takes an ancient language, finds the perfect English word-for-word equivalent and then just switches all the words to English. Anyone who has studied Greek or English or any other language would agree with that statement.

    So, here is the problem. In order to say that any translation is inerrant means that God would have had to directly inspire the translators to make a perfect translation into the new language. Why? Because translators have to interpret what they are translating into the new language. So in order to get a perfect translation, God would have to inspire those doing the translation to get it perfect. Here is a problem – the original KJV had typos, misspellings, and many other mistakes in it. Does that mean God inspired the intended meaning of the work of those translators but didn’t help them get the spelling right? What does that mean? It means when people get involved in the process of God expressing himself to us there are going to be hiccups in the process.

    Then you have this question – how do you know the KJV is THE English translation God chose to inspire the translators to translate? Why not Tyndale’s version or any of the other dozens of early English translations contemporary with the KJV? Then, who is to say he didn’t continue to inspire translations all the way to today? That would make the NIV, NLT, etc all potentially inspired by God with their same logic, right? But they would never say they. They assume that only they know which one God inspired the translation of and that can, to them, only be the KJV. But that just doesn’t work in my book. We cannot say God inspired the translation of the KJV but never, ever any other translation…how would we know that?

  14. Phil McCheddar says:

    Thanks Matt. I agree with what you said in your last post. There is no denying that the autographs don’t exist any more and that the copies contain variants. We can make a pretty good stab at reconstructing the original text but we can’t be 100% dogmatic about every jot and tittle. And also it cannot be denied that it is impossible to translate from one language to another with mechanical precision because each language has its own idiosyncrasies and no two words share an identical semantic range.

    But David presented an intriguing argument which, although it is demonstrably false in practice, raises an important question about how God relates to mankind. David said that since God is infallible and everything he does is perfect, he would have chosen to communicate his rational truth to mankind in such a way that we would receive it in its pure unadulterated form. God would want us to have a record of his revelation that was as reliable and perfect as he is because it is not God’s nature to be chaotic, inexact, confusing, or inaccurate. Even though some men would tamper with his revelation, God would providentially ensure that his unspotted truth was still available for those who earnestly sought it (just like muslims regard the Qur’an in Arabic).

    Clearly the facts on the ground show that God hasn’t done it that way. He chose to communicate to us through the medium of human language despite its ambiguities, and we know he didn’t preserve the autographs or accurate copies of the autographs. And the compilation of the canon was, on the surface, very slipshod and haphazard. We don’t have a checklist from heaven telling us which books to include in the canon.

    So why do you think God chose to communicate to us in this rather messy way, where undeniably there are some grey areas and fuzzy edges (even though no fundamental doctrine is at stake)?

  15. mattdabbs says:

    I think the stab we can make at reconstructing the original text is very good. Without the autographs we cannot be certain that we have 100% accuracy but I do believe that we can still ascertain, based on what we have, what God’s will is and what he was trying to communicate. When I read my Bible, a translation, I feel very adequate that I am getting at what God was trying to communicate with me. I don’t have a cloud of doubts hanging over my head wondering, “Is this what he said?” or “What if all this is mistaken!?!” Why? Because the vast majority of manuscript evidence we have corroborates itself and shows that there is indeed a high level of accuracy with the texts we do have.

    I wholeheartedly agree that God does not want there to be chaos and misunderstanding and that it is in his nature to have order and clarity. God inspired the biblical writers to write down what he wanted to be recorded. God then allowed that word to be passed down through generation after generation. That required copy after copy.

    Here is the deal…It is one thing to say God had to have every word copied perfectly every time in order to ensure that his will was clearly communicated. That I cannot agree with based on the fact that we don’t have that but we know God’s will is done. It is another thing to say that God can communicate his will perfectly even though some of the copies have very minor and mostly insignificant issues. So yes, God has communicated clearly to us exactly what he wanted, it just so happens that he did not do so by inspiring the copyists to copy perfectly.

    I would have to disagree with your statement that we do not have preserved accurate copies of the autographs. Of course we don’t have perfect copies but I believe we have copies accurate enough to communicate God’s will and truth to us today.

    Why did God choose to communicate this way? Well, if I was God I could certainly tell you with some certainty! God has revealed himself in a particular day and time. Faithful men wrote it down so that they and the generations after could have the benefit of hearing what God revealed to mankind. Ever since then, faithful people have done their best to ensure that the process continues.

    Are there fuzzy edges? Yes. But I would liken it to a masterpiece painting where the main focus of the painting is still vibrantly visible while some of the edges, even out of view due to the frame, have some wear and tear. The truth of what the artist intended to capture and communicate is plain to all but the wear and tear of time and transportation have put some wear on some places that are non-essential to understanding what the artist painted. Hope that helps.

    • antonio says:

      Reading this 7 years later Matt, I wonder if you still have the view that God inspired the writing of the bible in order to communicate to us what God’s will and truth is. It seems to me that the bible is more of a set of writings, stories and other pieces, telling later generations what happened in the past, the things they witnessed and felt and how they and their contemporaries interpreted what was happening and what God was like.
      It is more revealing of those previous humans’ understanding of their experiences in their relationship with God, than it is necessarily of the actual nature and will of God. It is information that can provide clues to people today as to what God may be like and what God’s purpose for us may be. But it’s more of an indirect indication, not, I believe, a set of clear directions and descriptions from God, not God talking directly to us through the bible writers, as many assume.
      I think we need to be fairly circumspect in reading it, and not be dogmatic about what it might appear to be saying about God and God’s will for us. Who knows, some of the ideas God inspires in you and me may be equally as helpful in understanding the things God wants us to understand. I don’t believe the bible is our only source of information and inspiration in this regard. You?

    • antonio says:

      I should add that, feeling that way, I don’t believe the differences and discrepancies from one bible version to the next are in any way important. They’re perfectly understandable and I’d be suspicious if they were any other way.

    • antonio says:

      This is just my inexpert opinion and I hope it doesn’t cause offence to anyone.
      If anything in the bible was given to be a clear and lasting set of directions from God it was the Ten Commandments. These, or the original Hebrew ones, were God’s words and two of the instructions contained therein were to not make for ourselves an image to worship, and to not misuse God’s name.
      Does anyone else get the impression that the reverence which is sometimes expressed for the bible itself might be bordering on idolatry? And that the way some speak with the authority of the bible, as interpreted by them, as if it was a warrant signed by God, might be a misuse of God’s name?
      We have God in our presence continuously, it is God who is creating our lives right now. It seems a bit strange to be relying so much on words recorded by Moses and Samuel and the gospel writers thousands of years ago, giving their accounts of those events, however sincere they may have been.
      The bible is a great blessing for us to have today, but it is what it is, not what we might want it to be. To me the best thing about it is it demonstrates the relationship God can have with humans, not just Moses and Samuel and Paul, when we put our faith and trust completely in God and in Jesus and appreciate the life we’ve been given.

  16. Alejandro says:

    Hey Matt ,
    Just wanted to say that you have done a wonderful job of explaining these things. You’ve certainly cleared up a lot of questions I’ve had, since I’m reading from the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ bible. The missing texts being an error makes the most sense, I mean, if the translators were trying to alter the text, they wouldn’t acknowledge the presence of the text at all, would they? Anyways, great site, you definitely get a thumbs up in my book =D

  17. mattdabbs says:


    Thank you for the kind words. I hope you can find some things here that are helpful to you and your walk with God.

  18. Arnaldo says:

    This was extremely helpful. Thanks

  19. Pingback: ¿Missing Verses? | Old Hickory Church of Christ

  20. BringTruth says:

    Thanks for your hard work and research. I don’t know if we can ever get the pastors or hardcore bible thumpers to accept the deletions–they are hooked on the KJV and swear by it.

    I think we should acknowledge the errors and fabrications, or whatever people choose to call them. If we ignore them and act as though it doesn’t matter, then we give fuel to the critics.

    I will visit your site often, keep up the good work!

  21. Alan says:

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for posting a link to this article on my blog. I agree that the NIV did not carelessly omit those verses. OTOH I must disagree with the statement that these verses did not exist prior to AD 500. A number of these verses were quoted by early church writers, as early as the second century — at least 150 years prior to the “early” manuscripts we now possess which omit the verse. For examples of this see

  22. Alan says:

    It is generally acknowledged that Tertullian argued from John 5:4 in “On Baptism” (early 200’s AD) chapter 5. Quoting:

    Why have we adduced these instances? Lest any think it too hard for belief that a holy angel of God should grant his presence to waters, to temper them to man’s salvation; while the evil angel holds frequent profane commerce with the selfsame element to man’s ruin. If it seems a novelty for an angel to be present in waters, an example of what was to come to pass has forerun. An angel, by his intervention, was wont to stir the pool at Bethsaida. They who were complaining of ill-health used to watch for him; for whoever had been the first to descend into them, after his washing, ceased to complain.

    • mattdabbs says:


      I have to stick by my original position, “It doesn’t start appearing in manuscripts for at least 500 years When no manuscript before 500 AD has a verse you can be fairly certain that it was added in from a marginal note, from a copying error, or due to the copyist remembering that verse in another gospel and accidentally harmonizing them in his head and copying it wrong (such is the case of a few other “missing verses”).”

      The Tertullian reference is an interesting one. One could also point out that Chrysostom was the first Greek evidence to knowledge of this verse (around 400 AD). But when it comes to the manuscripts themselves it is absent for 500 years. So, either these two were familiar with the tradition that eventually led to the marginal note or it was original, got omitted, and was later added back in. I believe the first to be true but without the originals in hand we can’t prove it either way.

      • Alan says:

        Pretty much all of the early manuscripts which might support your position come from the same region, and might well descend from the same copy. More damaging to your position is the fact that Tertullian predates your evidence by more than 100 years. The implication that the verse was added after the fourth century is conclusively refuted by the Tertullian reference.

        Instead, the evidence demonstrates that copies in Egypt lacked the verse, while at the same time copies elsewhere contained the verse (as demonstrated by Tertullian.) Which copies were correct? Does the oldest manuscript in our possession win, or does the oldest testimony win? Actually, neither piece of evidence weighs on the question of whether the verse was added or deleted.

    • mattdabbs says:

      “Instead, the evidence demonstrates that copies in Egypt lacked the verse, while at the same time copies elsewhere contained the verse (as demonstrated by Tertullian.)”

      I would be with you 100% if there were such a manuscript. But based on the current evidence we don’t know what Tertullian was relying on (oral tradition or inspired text). It is very much possible it was a manuscript. We just don’t have it to know.

      • Alan says:

        If “we just don’t know” then we would be equally justified in including the verse or excluding it. Maybe that the oldest manuscript we happen to have found is the best evidence of what was in the original, or maybe not. There’s no way to quantify the likelihood of one over the other. So it’s just a guess.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Agree 100% on your last comment.

      • Kalev says:

        It is also witnessed to be in The Diatessaron of Tatian (160 A.D.), which is based on a text that is even older than 160 A.D. And was also in the texts that Jerome used to translate the Latin Vulgate (380 A.D.), which was the oldest he could find no doubt.

        Without the Angel information, it reads rather strange and confusing…that those needed healing would be waited until the water was agitated…Why, and by what? And why would a non-spiritual process (if it were) heal them, just because the waters swirled around? Silly.

  23. Pingback: John 5:3b-4 and the Abduction of a Verse « Belonging To God

  24. TMac says:

    Greetings, while tracking down the Jhn 5-4 question I found myself here.

    I have enjoyed the article And what Alan and Matt have had to say at the very end. But one question now for you Matt. In light of Alan’s last statement and your 100% agreement, do you have any changes for your last sentence in your writing? Eg. “The problem was the texts the KJV was translated from were simply not ideal.”

    Is this still incorrect? Or should it be changed from ‘simply’ to ‘maybe’? And if so, or even not, it is starting to sound like Both the KJV and NIV translators should be under that Same challenge, not just the KJV translators. So in fairness, or more then that, for accuracy’s sake, either that statement should be ommitted or applied to both???

    Peace and Blessings

    • mattdabbs says:

      Obviously the “ideal text” is to have all the originals (autographs) in hand. By that standard, all modern translations are lacking. I will say that the KJV translators were working from less ideal texts than we currently have at our disposal. Better texts do not guarantee a better translation by any given committee, whether it is the NIV, NLT, or anyone updating a translation today. But I do believe we are more likely to get in the ballpark with better texts at our disposal and I would be hard pressed to find a scholar who would say our texts have gotten worse since 1611 than better.

      Hope that makes sense, it has been 6 months+ since I have had to think about this conversation. Feel free to start the dialog back up if you like.

  25. Kent says:

    In all the variants in the later manuscripts of John 5:4 I would be interested to know if the earlier (of the later texts) just say “angel” and if so, am wondering if perhaps it is in the later (of the later texts) that it becomes “angel of the Lord”. I noticed the KJV just says “angel” and the NIV footnote says “angel of the Lord”.

    On the one hand if a person is willing to think a little I do not feel vs. 4 is essential. It just makes it easier. On the other hand a scribe’s marginal note linking an angel with the pool and miracuolous healing (meant to clarify) could possibly instead introduce into the text the opportunity to be mislead through the course of time to the assumption that since miraculous healing takes place the angel mentioned is an angel of the Lord. Paul declares Satan is transformed into an angel of light, and John writes in Rev. about a definetly ungodly beast (seeminly spiritual in nature)that deceives men by doing miracles. If so it seems God would have indeed been wise to inspire John via the Spirit to omit mention of an angel. W/O an angel John presents us a picture of desparate humanity trying to “save” (cure) themselves by their own actions and beliefs in the curative medicinal power of some aspects (a specific special water in a specific moment of time at a specific place built by the skill and strength of man) of the fallen natural world. I think it revealing that the man apparently had been coming to the pool year after year for up to 38 years and never had thought of finding (through friendship, family, or just hiring/bartering) someone to help him into the pool. He continually just kept trying to save himself. Jesus saw a man who was not just unwhole physically but was not whole in his thinking, in his relationships, his beliefs, or his actions. When he asked, “Do you want to be made whole?”, I think it inconceivable that Jesus’ main focus was the guy’s body. That was just the symptom of a far more foundational and pervasive lack of wholeness that Jesus was going to make whole (see Strong’s 5199 & 837). He saw a sinful (vs. 14) idolatrous creature trying to save himself through the smallness of creation rather than through the infinite wholeness of His Creator. Jesus’ intent was to make a very unwhole creation completely whole and wholly new spiritually.

    I appreciate the KJV immensely but am far from the KJV only position. I regularly study from a number of different translations. As for inerrancy I find it somewhat incredible that believers in it commonly state, “We believe the Bible is inerrant in it’s original manuscripts.” Since there are no original manuscripts by their own statement any Bible they use is not inerrant and therefore it seems unrealistic and fruitless to insist on the inerrancy of something to which neither they nor anyone else has access.

    I could accept a statement that says, “We believe the Bible is inerrant in it’s proclamation of truth and an infallible guide for faith and practice.” Though the Bible contains much factual information that is true its primary purpose is not to sate true facts it is to state true truth. It is inerrant in presenting true truth but there is the possibility that there may be some factual misstatements. However that in no way impugns its authority or lessens its reliability to fulfill the purpose for which it was written.

    One last thought. Perhaps the reason God made the Bible somewhat “fuzzy” and open to “interpretation” is because He wants us to come to the end of ourselves in the areas of scholarship and intellect. Perhaps He wants us to come to the realization that ultimately we can not know for sure whether we have “gotten it rigtht”. In fact He may want us to realize that indeed we have not and can not “get it right”. He wants us to know we must remain people of faith who must rely on His Holy Spirit (Who was not mentioned in the whole discussion) to guide us into all truth. But even then He will usually only reveal the truth we need for each situation. He as Truth is infinite. Our finite minds can not contain Him (it) all at once. We must continually trust for that which is beyond us.

  26. cynthia says:

    Here is the one thing that has been left out of the conversation. We all are deceived in some areas of our life because we, at times are unwilling to let go of some of the things we have been taught. God knew there would be these types of “discussions” concerning his word. While it is true that God gave us his infallible, inspired Word and things have been lost or perhaps not accurately translated, our all knowing God gave us his Holy Spirit. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13
    Amazing isn’t it…I especially love the word all. Guess what, this is in the KJV and the NIV.

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  28. Lou says:

    Variants? Do we know how these copies were done? Were they not done with every word being counted and proof read?
    We do not have the original so we do not know all of the languages the Bible was originally written in.
    What are these transcripts that are supposed to be older?
    Does older mean better? Not if they are copies where mistakes were made and therefore not used and why they are still around, they were not used so did not get worn out?
    The devil has always tried to change God’s word to confuse and trick people. Did some people purposely change things in transcripts now being found? Gnostics?
    Where are these transcripts being found? Who are they coming from?
    I have read that none of these supposed to be older ones line up with each other so who and how is it decided what is to be written?
    I do not understand something. The NIV and other ones say they change things to make it easier to understand yet I have found many things changed that if anything makes it harder to understand.

    • mattdabbs says:


      Let me reply to as many of your points as I can:

      Do we know how these copies were done?
      -Which ones since everything we have are copies. For the most part scripture was copied with care but you have to remember when you copy this much text by hand errors are going to happen.

      Since we don’t have the originals do we know all of the languages the Bible was written in?
      – We do know: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less.

      What are the transcripts that are supposed to be older:
      – I am not sure what you are referencing there. In reference to John 5:4?

      Does older mean better?
      – Not necessarily but often that seems to be the case. It is a faulty assumption to think that if a text had a mistake that it was no longer copied/used. They were copied over and over again because people assumed them to be accurate. Remember, most of these “mistakes”/variants are extremely small and insignificant.

      Did some people purposely change things in transcripts now being found?
      – That is a hard question to answer as it is hard to tell the motives of someone from 1000+ years ago who didn’t journal their thoughts of why they copied things a certain way. Sometimes we get marginal notes where someone transcribing thought there was something fishy about the manuscript they were copying from.

      Where are these transcripts being found?
      – I am not sure on the more recent discoveries. The big ones people are referencing today are mostly papyri.

      As far as none of them lining up with each other that is pretty much false. Just about all the manuscripts line up on most points. Again, the variants are few and far between and insignificant for the most part between any two given manuscripts.

      Last, what you are talking about with the NIV is called dynamic equivalence and for the most part they do a very good job. Can you give some examples of where you have found it harder to understand? It is hard to respond to such a vague comment like that.

  29. Paul Cohen says:

    Matt, you backed down to Alan without just cause on his errant reasoning that seeks to lend credibility to this apocryphal addition to the Bible. He said to you:

    “If ‘we just don’t know’ then we would be equally justified in including the verse or excluding it. Maybe that the oldest manuscript we happen to have found is the best evidence of what was in the original, or maybe not. There’s no way to quantify the likelihood of one over the other. So it’s just a guess.”

    No, it’s not a guess. There is a way to know. The oldest manuscripts are right because they agree with the rest of the Scriptures, which inform us that God performs no such nonsense as attributed in the addition. You need to know the Author to judge the matter.

    “For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29 MKJV).

  30. Steve says:

    So the fact that modern bible translators had older mss at their disposal makes their translationa better? I say not really. Older does not mean better. In 2Cor 2:17 Paul tells us that even back then people were corrupting God’s word. All I know is that God promised He’d preserve His words for all generations.

  31. tonycook says:

    If there were no disputed passages in the Bible today, that would be a bona fide verifiable miracle. Scholars would be able to construct a case based on currently existing observable and presentable hard evidence that God is real.
    Does anyone else get the impression (I’ll try to find references) that that’s not really how God wants to play this*. That if Richard Dawkins (and I would’ve said Christopher Hitchens until last week) and others want fervently to disbelieve, God doesn’t want to skulldrag them up the beach?
    They can still get saved if they put aside their pride for a while. It comes down to humility, faith, and a choice, which a miracle of that magnitude mightn’t leave a lot of room for.

    Maybe God’s happy for us to be sincerely disagreeing about this. He knows the hearts of all of us, KJV-onlyers and pro-moderns and those in the middle. Maybe it’s all good.

    I love reading the KJV btw, don’t ask me why. I read it aloud, very early in the morning when there’s no one else around, and I keep an NLT(2) open for help with the old English from time to time. That’s what I was doing when I got sidetracked looking for why v.4 was missing from John 5 and ended up here.
    Very informative btw, thanks Matt et al, greatly appreciate your balance and politeness.

    * Psalm 14:2, Isaiah 6:9-10, Matthew 13:14-15, Mark 4:12, Luke 8:10, Acts 28:25-27, Romans 1:28, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11.
    Any others?

  32. Vic says:

    Really appreciate this information. Many say “I’m a Believer of the Word” but there are few who can “I’m a student of the Word.” (Philippians 1: 9) Thank you.

  33. Vic says:

    Really appreciate this information. Many say “I’m a Believer of the Word” but there are few who can say “I’m a student of the Word.” (Philippians 1: 9) Thank you.

  34. steve w says:

    the sad part about the niv and NLT esv asv etc, is how they changed Doctrine.. 2 timothy tells us all scripture is given by inspiration from God and is profitable for Doctrine….. so with this as a measuring stick of truth, we see 2 different doctrines from KJV to the New versions… let me explain…… John 3:16 a well known verse states in KJV for God so loved the world He gave His only begotten sone that whosoever Believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

    yet the other versions removed begotten and stat that God so loved the world He gave His one and only son……………. well theres a problem with that ….. when you recieve Christ as saviour you become a son of God adopted .. Christ is the Begotten son of Go begotten means sired by God…. it shows Deity, yet the other versions removed deity.. let me show a different point on doctrine comparrison.
    Colosians 1:14 states in KJV in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgivenness of sins
    whereas the other versions state in whom we have forgiveness even the forgiveness of sins…….. now what a second here how are we saved? accoriding to Hebrews 9:22 without the blood there is no remission… so now why would the blood be removed?
    someone mentioned Acts 8:37 if you read Acts 8:35-38 you will see phillipi preached unto the Eunuch JESUS yet in verse 36 the eunuch stated here is water what doth hinder me to be baptized… verse 37 is the requirement…. to belive on the Lord jesus Christ ..
    now the other versions removed the plan of salvation in order in verse 37 of acts showing that baptism is a work…. are we saved by works? no according to ephesians 2:8 and according to 1 peter 3:21 baptism is a figure of a good Concience towards God like a wedding ring is to a married couple
    so far we have seen the plan of salvation removed to works… forgiveness is given without blood , and Christs deity is removed…….. sounds to me these other versions speak a different Gospel
    some say oh i have the footnotes….. psalm 119:11 does not say thy footnotes have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee……………….. it states Thy word! whose word? Gods word…..heres a quick thought for you the only bible without copyright is the KJV and it has 31101 verses in it no other has that many or less… the center verse is Psalm 118:8 which states it is better to truth in the Lord that to put confidence in man.. now there is 14 verses here no center word, but the 2 center words of the King james become the LORD…. think its a coincidence God is center of His word? 2 timothy 2:16

    • mattdabbs says:

      John 3:16:
      The word translated “begotten” is monogenes. It occurs 10 times in the New Testament. You may not be aware that the KJV translates this word as “only” in 3 of those verses: Luke 7:12, 8:42, 9:38. The word monogenes comes from two words mono – only and genos – sort/kind. Some mistakenly think it comes from mono + gennau – “to beget” but it doesn’t. According to Jack Lewis it was Jerome who introduced in Latin unigenitus (only begotten) into this verse rather than what the precedent had been, unicus for monogenes (only). So this goes back to Jerome missing it, not the NIV trying to take an accurate translation and tweak up the doctrine to suit themselves, removing the deity of Christ. If the NIV translators wanted to purposely remove the deity of Christ they did a lousy job because it is all over the place.

      Col 1:14:
      The NIV leaves out the blood part due to it only being in later manuscripts. Again, if the NIV wants to leave out the doctrine of being forgiven through the blood of Christ they did a lousey job because there are many other verses that still say that (Eph 1:7, Mtt 26:27-28, Mark 14:24, Acts 20:28, Rom 3:23-25 and many more I can list for you if you like). That tells me it wasn’t a concerted effort to remove the doctrine of forgiveness by the blood of Christ or else it would have been changed elsewhere as well. It tells me they are trying to get the closests to the original manuscripts as possible and they concluded that forgivness by his blood was not in Paul’s original letter based on the manuscripts we have at our disposal.

      Do you still agree with your statement?
      “so far we have seen the plan of salvation removed to works… forgiveness is given without blood , and Christs deity is removed…….. sounds to me these other versions speak a different Gospel some say oh i have the footnotes”

      The NIV clearly represents all of these doctrines and yet you say they are all removed to the footnotes. That is just not the case. Again, if the NIV had a grand conspiracy to move these doctrines they did a terrible job.

      I would love to hear your feedback.

      • saviourbreath says:

        Are you sure about “monogenes” Matt? If you’re right then the Greek NT in my Accordance bible software must have got that wrong.
        In John 3:16 it shows the Greek word as μονογενῆ:
        3439. μονογενής monogenes, mon-og-en-ace´; from 3441 and 1096; only-born, i.e. sole: — only (begotten, child).
        3441. μόνος monos, mon´-os; probably from 3306; remaining, i.e. sole or single; by implication, mere: — alone, only, by themselves.
        1096. γίνομαι ginomai, ghin´-om-ahee; a prolongation and middle voice form of a primary verb; to cause to be (“gen”-erate), i.e. (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literal, figurative, intensive, etc.)….

        (I suspect you’re right, the Strongs dictionary has the translation for G3439 as “only, unique”)

  35. steve w says:

    heres another thought into this…. galatians 3:8 states and the scripture forseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith preached before the Gosepl unto abraham saying in thee shall all nations be blessed

    now what is the scripture? we know it is Gods written word but take note to this verse, the scripture forsaw, is preached and it spoke …. to whom? abraham where do we find abraham in the word of God? in genesis. but wait a minute didnt moses pen genesis? how could a book forsee? preach? and speak before it was written? and how could it say what God told abraham in thee shall all nations be blessed…. theres a verse in psalms that shows how… it is psalms 119:89 which says forever O lord that word is settled in heaven….. forever means eternally…. settled means completed hmmmm so is God a liar? my biible states God is not a man that he would lie….titus 1:2 states he cannot lie… we even see God fulfilling Jobs plea on his own words in job 19 which he cries out and states oh that my words be written oh that my words be printed in a book…….. seems oh righteous Job they are long before you cried that out as galatians 3:8 shows us so to even say there is a need for a different version of an english bible is to say our ways are better than Gods ways…. considering the NIV alone has approx 257 missing and altered verses…..

  36. Kyron L. Riley says:


    The last thought that you posted on April 7,2012 is definitely ‘food for thought’.As children of God,if we are puzzled or cannot grasp a particular scripture,we are to pray to the Lord for understanding as it is written in James 1:5-6.It is God’s will that we learn more about Him,not just intellectually but personally as well.The Holy Spirit is given to us to lead us into ALL truth.To go a litlle deeper,everything that happened in the beginning of time,as far as Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God’s command,HAD to happen because God wanted us (mankind) to REALLY know why He is good.If Eve had not disobeyed God,they (and eventually,we) wouldn’t know WHY He is good,simply for the fact that they didn’t have a concept of what evil was.Plus we would just be like robots worshipping Him without an inkling of WHY,not only man but the angels as well.That’s why:”The Lamb was slain from the creation of the world” (Rev 13:8/NIV).That’s also the reason why Lucifer was to become Satan so that the 2/3 of the angels left in Heaven could see that while He loves His creation with an agape love,a love that cannot be comprehended with our human minds,He is also a God of justice Who cannot tolerate sin in any way,shape or form.Lucifer could not receive forgiveness for the simple fact that he was NOT tempted by anyone.Satan conceived and brought forth sin into existence in his own heart,in the very presence of God Almighty Himself no less.And that’s the reason why Heaven must be made new as well as the Earth.I could go on forever and ever but I will end this reply.I pray that the Body of Christ will finally become one body,one mind and one spirit.I thank our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for shedding His precious blood for ALL the sins of mankind throughout ALL history,past,present,and future.I love you all.

    • gonzomediocre says:

      I disagree with your statement, “.Lucifer could not receive forgiveness for the simple fact that he was NOT tempted by anyone”, because Adam likewise was not tempted, but ate the fruit wilfully. Lucifer was not offered forgivness because he was not made in the likeness of God.

      • mattdabbs says:

        Adam wasn’t tempted by anyone? What is more, why is it necessary for there to even be another person involved for it to be temptation?

      • Dwayne Reed says:

        According to the context found at Isaiah 14 chapter, “lucifer” is not Satan the Devil.

  37. Savannah Grove says:

    I am 13 and I felt like God was telling me to read John chapter 5 and then I realized that there was no verse 4 and I told my mom and she said it must be a type-o but then I looked in all our niv bibles and there was no John 5:4 I thought it was the weirdest thing in the world!

  38. Gregor Lauermann says:

    Hi, loved your discussion. One thing I am missing is the aspect of the forshaddowing. The angel who stepped into the water was a picture of Jesus, who was the first to get baptised into death and who was resurrected. The water ist the water of death and life simultaniously. So the whole scene is like a sign pointing to the saviour, who gives the water of life.
    Thats why I love the Textus Receptus version of this passage. Can’t understand why people are so concerned about superstition in this angel-case. This is not the only story, where an angel is foreshaddowing the work of the son. I apologize for my poor english.


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  40. Pingback: Do you want to be healed? | Peter Beddow | Teaching is Everything

  41. Thupukhoto says:

    I’m really grateful to your well and concise writing where I could follow up without hanging around. Indeed, I’m well informed through your writing regarding the case of missing verses. However, I do have something to be cleared through your help.
    Well, according to your writing,regarding the case for missing verses, both NIV and KJV had faithfully done their own part according to the pertaining source. They didn’t depend each other there is no point here to contradict these versions because both the versions have their own way.Anyway, what I want to know is that, what do you say what if you are asked of which version( NIV OR KJV) to preserve? Because there certain reasons which I cannot accept the missing verse from NIV and at the same, I find it difficult to ignore it. But I think I should be certain to the word of God. Show me the way please.

  42. David says:

    Matt. Thank you so much for all your researched info. It has been very helpful to glean such a tremendous depth of knowledge from you. It gives me great confidence to know that all our Bible translators are not ashamed to dig deep to render God’s word as close to the original as possible. Boy! You do have some patience with some of the critical replies. I do praise you for your controlled and polite responses.
    One point I did not find in the discussion – if the KJV is so inerrant as some purport, then that must mean that for the first 1600 years God allowed most people to have incorrect versions? I can’t accept that.
    I have come to realise over my 50 years of reading the Bible that we are often so tied up with the significance of a single word that we miss out on what God is actually trying to say. I have adopted the NLT over the last 5 years and God’s word and His teaching has come alive for me in a new, fresh and significant way that has increased my faith and my relationship with Jesus.
    Whatever version we may have… the greater questions are 1) How much do you spend time reading it? ; 2) How much are you open to the Holy Spirit revealing His truth to you?; and 3) How much of it do you live it out in obedience and faith?
    Thank you Matt for all the work you have put into this discussion.

  43. Ngando Hermos says:

    Why All This Mess?Wish Bible Should I Use?

    • antonio says:

      In my humble opinion, all versions of the Bible contain information and inspiration that God would be happy for us to be exposed to. All were written by holy men living over 2,000 years ago and because of that we make allowance, as we read it, for cultural influences, prejudices, and gaps in their knowledge that have since been filled. But it is clear from reading the Bible that those human authors were inspired by God, for the purpose of providing subsequent generations with a view of the relationship between God and our ancestors, and to give us an understanding of how humans thousands of years ago saw God, what they believed God’s nature and purpose might have been.
      There is no doubt that God speaks to us also, today, the way those ancient people were spoken to by God, and by reading those ancient texts we have an opportunity to stand on the shoulders of those holy men and gain greater understanding of the God that created our world and the purpose of the life we have been given.
      The Bible is part of the evidence God has left lying around for us to investigate in developing our own relationship with the one who created and sustains all life, and the material universe in which it exists.

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