Edward F. Hills

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Edward F. Hills
Edward F. Hills

Edward Freer Hills (19121981) was an American Presbyterian scholar, perhaps the greatest 20th Century Traditional (“Byzantine”) Text, and Received Text defender.[1][2] Dr. Hills integrates his theological perspective alongside New Testament criticism.

Reading Dean John William Burgon inspired Dr. Hills to approach textual criticism from a “logic of faith” (1952 is the year that Dr. Hills made a definite commitment to this view).[3] As to the relationship of the King James Bible to the Received Text, Hills wrote "the King James Version ought to be regarded not merely as a translation of the Textus Receptus but also as an independent variety of the Textus Receptus."[4]

Hills specifically focused on the KJV as an independent edition of the Received Text, without the overbearing focus on Greek manuscripts that has become part of "Traditional Text" doctrine. He was very clear that preservation involved the Latin lines as well as the Greek. His view was that the Received Text is actually a restorational text, working with various solid inputs, including the Greek mss, the Latin mss, the ECW and faith-consistent textual principles. It is the Traditional Text as the Reformation experts were providentially enabled to harmonize the fullness of Tradition.

Hills studied with Cornelis van Til at Westminster, who was a Nestle-Aland text supporter. But when he began to apply the necessary implications that follow from a presuppositional view of the Bible, he realized the only tenable consistently Biblical position is that of the Traditional Text. It was then that he began to read Dean Burgon and other material supportive of the Textus Receptus.



  • Graduated summa cum laude at Yale University (1930–1933)[5][6]
  • Th.D. from Westminster Theological Seminary (ca. 1935)
  • Th.M. from Columbia Theological Seminary
  • Th.D. in New Testament textual criticism from Harvard under the supervision of Henry J. Cadbury, Kirsopp Lake as one of the readers[7]


“The defense of the Textus Receptus, therefore, is a necessary part of the defense of Protestantism” —Dr. E. F. Hills, from Text and Time: A Reformed Approach to New Testament Textual Criticism
"In nature, in the Scriptures, and in the Gospel of Christ God reveals Himself, not mere evidences of His existence, not mere doctrines concerning Himself, not a mere history of His dealings with men, but HIMSELF." The King James Version Defended, p 4
"Every believer is a priest unto God through Christ." The King James Version Defended, p 26
"Christ's kingdom is, in the first place, a kingdom of power." The King James Version Defended, p 27
"Our faith in Him and in Jesus Christ His Son is not the product of our sinful, human minds and will but the gracious gift of His Holy Spirit." The King James Version Defended, p 38
"For in the working out of their theory Westcott and Hort followed an essentially naturalistic method. Indeed, they prided themselves on treating the text of the New Testament as they would that of any other book, making little or nothing of inspiration and providence. 'For ourselves,' Hort wrote, ' we dare not introduce considerations which could not reasonably be applied to other ancient texts, supposing them to have documentary attestation of equal amount, variety, and antiquity.'" The King James Version Defended, p 66
"In dealing with the Gospel writers the fundamental emphasis must be on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit under which they wrote." The King James Version Defended, p 73
"According to the Form-critics, Paul was not teaching the Christian community anything, but merely rehearsing to the community what he had learned from it. But who were these unknown hymn makers of the Christian community who were able to mold the thinking of the Apostle Paul? How could these profound theological geniuses have remained anonymous?" The King James Version Defended, p 82
"Therefore when God saves sinners, He regenerates them through the power of the Holy Spirit. He raises them up out of their death in sin and gives them the gift of faith." The King James Version Defended, p 87
"Hence in the writing of the Scriptures the Holy Spirit did not have to struggle, as modernists insist, with the limitations of human language. The languages in which the writing was done were perfectly adapted to the expression of His divine thoughts." The King James Version Defended, p 90
"It would have been passing strange if God had guided His people in regard to the New Testament canon [i.e, the Byzantine canon] but had withheld from them His divine assistance in the matter of the New Testament text." The King James Version Defended, p 106
"Dr. Warfield's treatment of the New Testament text illustrates this cleavage in his thinking. In the realm of dogmatics he agreed with the Westminster Confession that the New Testament text had been "kept pure in all ages" by God's singular care and providence, but in the realm of New Testament textual criticism he agreed with Westcott and Hort in ignoring God's providence and even went so far as to assert that the same methods were to be applied to the text of the New Testament that would be applied to the text of a morning newspaper... [Warfield] would have us believe that during the manuscript period orthodox Christians corrupted the New Testament text, that the text used by the Protestant Reformers [who drew up the Westminster Confession] was the worst of all, and the true text was not restored until the 19th century, when Tregelles brought it forth out of the Pope's library, when Tischendorf rescued it from a waste basket on Mt. Sinai, and when Westcott and Hort were providentially guided to construct a theory of it which ignores God's special providence and treats the text of the New Testament like the text of any other ancient book." The King James Version Defended, p 110-111

Books by Dr. Hills

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