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Bennetts End Reformed Baptist Church in Hemel Hempstead | The Holy Bible and The TV Guide
 

The preservation of the Textus Receptus

 

This article will tackle two main questions: What is the Textus Receptus? And, How it was preserved?

The Byzantine text-type receives its name from its early association with Constantinople, formerly known as Byzantium. It became the standard text of the church throughout its history since Nicea (by far most of our extant manuscripts go back to the early fourth century and no further).

Before having its connection with Byzantium, though, this form of text (in contrast with the Alexandrian which is largely corrupt by Gnostic interpolations) was associated with the capital of the Roman province of Syria, Antioch. The Cappadocian Fathers, Theodoret of Cyrus and Chrysostom among others are known to have used it regularly.

A fact that must be emphasized is this: The Byzantine text-type has overwhelming support from the extant Greek manuscripts (over 95%)!

The early papyri are distinctively Byzantine in reading. P45, P46, the Chester Beatty Papyri and P66 of the Bodmer Library Collection contain such readings. 150 Byzantine readings can be clearly in indubitably seen in the early papyri. The conclusion: the Byzantine readings can be traced as far back as the second century, contrary to the assertion of Westcott and Hort that the Byzantine family of manuscripts are an inflated ecclesiastical edition of the fourth century.

The sure evidence for the integrity of the Byzantine manuscripts continues in the Uncials: the fifth century Codices Alexandrinus (a-02; Byzantine in the Gospels), and Ephraemi (C-01), and in practically all the later ones.

The lectionaries critically examined so far also are in distinct favour of the Byzantine text.

Fuller support for the Byzantine manuscripts is found in the Minuscules, since nearly all of these are Byzantine in their readings!

Proof that the Byzantine text is the genuine and preserved text:

1. It is supported by the early versions: the Syriac (or Aramaic) and Latin versions; the Peshitta and the Gothic. Some of these go back to the mid-second century.

2. It is confirmed by the early Fathers: Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), Irenaeus (130-200), Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD), Tertullian (160-220 AD), Hippolytus (170-235 AD ) and even Origen (185-254 AD) quote repeatedly from the Majority Text, that is, the Byzantine.

Undoubtedly Satan made his attempt to corrupt the pure Word of God (as he still does today), and this corruption made itself felt in the earliest times, but the pure waters generally prevailed. “The Tradition is also carried on through the majority of the Fathers who succeeded them. There is no break or interval: the witness is continuous” (Edward Miller, quoted in Burgon’s The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels vindicated and established). The same scholar calculates that quotations of the Fathers in the first 400 years of Christianity agree with the Majority Text 2,630 times while other quotations agree with other texts only 1,753 times.

3. The printed Greek New Testament continued the godly Tradition of the Byzantine text. It is well known that Erasmus used representative Byzantine manuscripts for the publication of his edition of the Greek New Testament. Robert Estienne (Latinized as Stephanus) after him, as well as all the others (Theodore Beza, Bonaventure and Abraham Elzevir) used the same text. The church universal had been using that text throughout the centuries. That was the New Testament and no other!

The phrase Textus Receptus originated in Elzevirs’ second edition, published in 1633, which contains the words: “Therefore you have a text now received by all, in which we give no alteration or corruption.” Thus: the Received Text (that is, received from antiquity).

As the Old Testament was committed to the Jews for safe-keeping, the church received this heritage from the old covenant-people of God and in turn became the guardian and custodian of both the Old and the New Testament. The question therefore simply is: which text-type, generally speaking, has been recognized and propagated by the church from earliest times? The unequivocal answer is: The Textus Receptus!

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Bennetts Baptist Church

 

 

 

 

Welcome             Church Services and Times              Contact us          Map        

Sermon Recordings          What is a Christian           Our History           Reformer's Online Library           1689 Confession            TULIP

                 The Word of God           Worthy Hymns             Good Book Guide             CH Spurgeon'S Daily Readings  

    SITE Search            Young People’s Gospel Meetings          Catechism          R. Chaplin