Article: Is Matthew 23:14 Scripture or not? by Will Kinney

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Is Matthew 23:14 Inspired Scripture or not?

The Lord Jesus Christ clearly stated “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY WORDS shall not pass away.” This is either a true statement or He was lying to us.

Matthew 23:14 records in full the words of the Lord Jesus Christ that are found no where else in the entire Bible. There are a couple of similar passages (See Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47) but nothing that is exactly like Matthew 23:14 where He says: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. “

The evidence for the authenticity of this entire verse is simply overwhelming, and we can even see the stumbling uncertainty of the modern versions by the way they handle this particular verse.

This whole verse has been omitted from many modern versions (but not all of them as we shall soon see) that follow the ever changing Westcott-Hort Critical text theories. Versions that entirely omit this verse first began with the Darby version in1870. John Darby basically made up his own peculiar text for the New Testament, following neither the Westcott-Hort revised Greek text, nor the Majority nor the Textus Receptus. Darby’s was followed by the liberal RSV in 1946 and then by the NRSV 1989, the ESV 2001 and the NIV 1982.

Daniel Wallace’s NET version (an ongoing train wreck) tells us that the verse is “not in the most important is almost certainly not original... The present translation follows NA27 in omitting the verse number as well, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.”

And what might these “best manuscripts” be? Well, they are primarily Siniaticus, Vaticanus and D, all of which wildly differ not only from the Majority of all Greek texts but even from each other. See my article on “the oldest and the best manuscripts?” here:

Isn’t it odd that by simply skipping from verse 13 to 15 neither the Nestle-Aland 27 people nor some modern versions appear to be able even count right? “And now let’s count class ... ten...eleven... twelve... thirteen...fifteen... sixteen...Ooops. Looks like something is missing, Huh?” Why don’t they just be honest and change the verse numbers? Because in spite of themselves, they are bearing reluctant witness to the fact that God has an absolute Standard for His Bible and it’s not their own watered down, bogus bible versions.

The history of the dividing the Bible into chapters and verse numbers is very interesting. Tyndale did not have chapter and verse numbers and the order of the books in the N.T. were quite different from the way they now stand today. The Geneva bible was the first English Bible to be divided into chapter and verse numbers. However the King James Bible did not always follow the same verse numbers as the Geneva Bible. Guess which Bible has become the Standard as far as chapter divisions and individual verse numbers all over the world? You got it. It is the Authorized King James Holy Bible.

Versions such as the Revised Version of 1881, the ASV of 1901 and the NASBs from 1960 to 1995 have the whole verse in [brackets] indicating doubt as to whether this verse is true Scripture or not. The Holman Standard of 2003 [does the same]. This means that even they did not have complete confidence in their own every changing Critical Greek texts as to whether this verse should be omitted or not. It’s a real faith destroyer to have versions like the NASB or Holman Standard that [bracket] anywhere from 17 to 45 entire verses in the New Testament alone. Guess who wants you to ask yourself “Yea, hath God said...?” (Genesis 3:1)

There are some versions that primarily follow the Critical Greek text theories and omit thousands of words from the true New Testament who still leave this verse intact. This includes Rotherham’s 1902 Emphasized bible and the brand new ISV (International Standard Version) which has gone back to including the entire verse in the text.

The evidence for the inclusion of Matthew 23:14 in the pages of the Holy Scriptures is ancient, massive and widespread. ALL English Bibles before the 1611 King James Bible included this verse. These are the Wycliffe Bible of 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Bishops’ Bible of 1568 and the Geneva Bibles from 1557 to 1602, and even the 1582 Catholic Douay-Rheims version, though the more recent Catholic versions like the St. Joseph New American Bible 1969 and the 1985 New Jerusalem have now omitted the verse. Of course, it is firmly in place in the King James Holy Bible.

It was also in Mace’s N.T. 1729, Wesley’s N.T. 1755, Webster’s 1833, the Douay version 1950, Youngs, and is included in the NKJV 1982, Green’s literal, the 21st Century KJV and the Third Millenium Bible 1998.

Matthew 23:14 is found in the vast Majority of all Greek texts, including many uncial copies like E, F, G, H, K, M, O, S, U, V, W, Y Gamma, Delta, Pi, Sigma and Omega. It is found in the Old Latin copies b, c, f, ff2, h, 1, r1, 2. The Old Latin copies bear witness to a N.T. text that existed long before anything we have in the existing Greek copies. It is included in such ancient Bible translations as the Syriac Peshitta, Curetonian, Harkelian, Palestinian, as well as some Coptic Boharic copies, the Armenian and the Ethiopic versions. The Gothic bible is missing the entire chapter, so it is not much help in determing the text at all. The Latin Vulgate texts as well as the Catholic versions that come from them are all mixed up. The 425 A.D. Vulgate omitted it, but the later Clementine Vulgate included it.

Matthew 23:14 is included in the Modern Greek New Testaments used by the Greek Orthodox churches all over the world today. It is also found in all these foreign language Bibles: THE MODERN HEBREW N.T., the Arabic Life Application bible 1998, the Africaans Bible, Armenian, Basque, Bulgarian, Chinese bibles, Check, Dutch Staten Vertaling, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French Louis Segond 1910, Martin 1744 and French Ostervald 1996; the German Luther 1545 and the more modern Elberfelder, the Modern Greek N.T.; the Hungarin Karoli, Quiché Bible 1997, Italian Diodati 1649, the Riveduta 1927 and the New Diodati 1991, Icelandic, Japenese bibles, Latvian, Lithuanian, Manx Gaelic, Norwegian Det Norsk Bibelselskap, Portuguese Almeida, Russian Synodal, Victor Zhuromski and the 2000 Russian Slovo Zhizny bible, the Spanish Reina Valeras from 1909, 1960 and 1995; the Swahili bible, Thai, Tagalog, Turkish, Ukranian and the Vietnamese bibles.

Also to be noted is that the International Bible Society, who puts out the NIV which completely omits Matthew 23:14, is not always consistent when it comes to the foreign language bibles the IBS publishes. Among the modern foreign langugage versions the IBS publishes that DO contain this verse in their translations are The Arabic Life Application bible 1998, the French La Bible du Semeur 1999, the Italian La Parola e Vita 1997, the Portuguese O Livro 2000, the modern Romanian bible, and the Russian Slovo Zhizny of 2000.

As we enter the early 21st century, the ever growing unbelief in the inspiration, inerrancy and infallibility of any Bible in any language is in full swing. The King James Bible believers are the only ones who will not budge on this most vital doctrine. We fully believe that God has indeed preserved His precious and perfect words in “the book of the LORD” (Isaiah 34:16) and that this Book is the Authorized King James Holy Bible - the Standard by which all others are to be measured.

“In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.” Psalm 56:10

Will Kinney


Objection Raised: At an internet Bible club I belong to, one poster had this to say.

He was not lying, Will. You correctly described Jesus as being "Lord" & "Christ" which is virtually stating that He is God, which He is. And God cannot lie. Jesus' statement is true!

However, ALL of Jesus earthly spoken words have not been preserved for us in writing. For examples, Jesus surely spoke before He was twelve years of age; and Luke witnesses that Jesus taught "daily" for a while in the temple, and frequently "on the sabbath days" (clearly, none of the Gospels contain over three years worth of spoken ministry). John says that Jesus preformed "many other signs" not written down in his gospel (and presumably also the associated speech).

Therefore, Jesus must NOT have literally meant that all His words would be preserved in the Bible for us. In a sense, some of His words are inaccessible from us for now. Many of Jesus words are not found in the Bible anywhere.

Jesus potentially could have spoken the same words (found in Matthew 23:14) many times; and even if they were never recorded, they would still be His words. Jesus statement doesn't exclusively apply to enscriptured words (written revelation). In other words, just because Jesus said something, it doesn't mean those words had to get into the Bible.

[BTW - Have your words and mine passed away? Well, since we must give account unto the Lord someday our words must be preserved somewhere at least until then.]

While "my words will not pass away" is a true statement, it actually adds nothing to prove the authenticity of any particular words attributed to Christ. Thinking folks will recognize your inclusion of "my words will not pass away" as a circular argument here at best. You don't need it.[/QUOTE]

My Response: Hi CT. Thanks for your thoughts. I have heard these arguments before, but I must say, I apparently look at the meaning of "heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" differently than you do.

If we take this saying by the Lord Jesus they way you do, then He either lied, exaggerated, didn't know what He was talking about, or else He was mistaken.

The way I understand His words there is this. The Lord Jesus Christ knew what was going to be written in "the book of the LORD" before it was actually penned. He knew what inspired Scripture would be, because God Himself is the Author of it. Didn't He say things like: "the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's that sent me." (John 14:24) and "the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself, but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak." (John 12:48-49.

I also sense from a certain buzz word you used - 'enscriptured' - that you yourself are one of those people we run into so often who does not believe that there ever existed nor exists now any Bible in any language (including your "the" Hebrew and Greek) that IS the complete, inspired and 100% true Holy Bible. Am I right? Please let us know what your views on "the Bible" really are. Will you do that for us?


Will Kinney

External Link

Other Artilces by Will Kinney in the Textus Receptus database ~

Old Testament

Genesis Genesis 1:28 Replenish or Fill? - Genesis 6:6 Can God repent? - Genesis 22:1 Did God "Tempt" Abraham? Exodus Exodus 20:13 Thou Shalt Not KILL - Exodus - the Israelites "borrowed" of the Egyptians Numbers Numbers 22 Why was God Angry with Balaam? Job Bible Babel in Job - a comparative study 1 Samuel 1 Samuel 13:21 "a file" a "pim" or "two-thirds of a shekel"? 2 Samuel 2 Samuel 21:8 Michal or Merab? - 2 Samuel 21:19 Who Killed Goliath? 1 Kings 1 Kings 20:38 ashes upon his face - 1 Kings 22:38 "washed his armour" or "while the harlots bathed" NKJV Nonsense Psalms Psalm 8:5 Lower than the Angels, or a little lower than God? - Answering Doug Kutilek's anti-Preservation in Psalm 12 - Psalm 74:8 the synagogues of God; Psalm 77:2 my sore ran in the night - Psalms 1 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 2 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 3 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 4 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 5 How Different the Versions! Proverbs NKJV Bible Babel in Proverbs - Bible Babel in Proverbs Isaiah Isaiah - a Comparative Study - Does God Create Evil? Isaiah 45:7 Jeremiah Jeremiah 8:8 the pen of the scribes is in vain - Jeremiah 27:1 Jehoiakim or Zedekiah? - Ezekiel Ezekiel 29:7 Hebrew, Greek or Syriac? Hosea Hosea - a Comparative Study

New Testament

Did Jesus Tell Them to Take a Staff or Not? Matthew Is Matthew 23:14 Scripture or not? - Matthew 27:44 cast in teeth Mark Gospel of Mark - a Modern Version Mix-up Luke Is "cousin" wrong in Luke 1:36 - Luke 17:36 Is it inspired Scripture or not? John John 1:18 the only begotten Son Acts Act 3:19 times of refreshing; 7:20 Moses was exceeding fair - Acts 9:5-7 hear the voice; 7:20 exceeding fair - Acts 5:30 slew and hanged; 19:20 word of GOD - Acts 13:33 this day have I begotten thee - Acts 19:9 DIVERS were hardened, and believed not - Acts 19:35 Diana or Artemis? Jupiter, Zeus or Heaven? - The So-called "Science" of Textual Criticism. Science or Hocus-Pocus? Gospels through Acts Romans James White discussing Romans 6:17 Philippians Textual Studies in Philippians 2 Timothy 2 Timothy 3:16 Inspiration of God or God Breathed? Hebrews The Book of Hebrews - a Comparative Study 1 Peter 1 Peter - Shifting Sands of Scholarship 1 John And These Three Are One Article defending the inclusion of 1 John 5:7. - 1 John 5:7 These three are one Jude The Book of Jude - James White's "inferior" texts Revelations Revelation 13 Confusion - Vials or Bowls in the book of Revelation - Rev.16:5 and SHALT BE; 5:8-10 redeemed US - Revelation 17:8 "the beast that was, and is not, and YET IS" - Acts 28:13 We Fetched a Compass; 1 Tim5:4 Nephews - Matthew 24:3; Hebrews 9:26 End of World or Age?

Modern Versions

Bible Babel 1 - Bible Babel 2 - Bible Babel 3 - Bible Babel 4 - The Oldest and Best Manuscripts? - Every Man for Himself Bible Versions - the HCSB, NET, ESV, TNIV, NKJV - The Inerrancy of Scripture - are you a Bible believer or a Bible agnostic? - True Bible? - Modern Versions Teach Racism - Modern Versions Teach Pride as a Virtue - Do Ghosts Exist? Modern Versions say Yes ESV The English Standard Version 2001 NASB The Ever Changing NASB's NKJV NKJV Word Changes - When the NKJV departs from the TR - The New KJV is a Hack Job Translation - NKJV vs KJB Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah - Is the NKJV the same as the KJB? - Don't go on Safari with a New KJV Translator - The NKJV is a Poor Substitute for the True Bible - NKJV vs KJB Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah - NKJV Bible Babel in Proverbs

King James Word Definitions

Lucifer - Jehovah - Unicorns - Is the word "Easter" an error in the King James Bible? - Are the words "CHURCH" and 'BISHOP' wrong? - Hell and Damnation in the King James Bible - "By and by" versus "the-by-and-by" - Servants or Slaves? - Is "charity" an error in the KJB? - The Grace of God Destroyed - "Would to God" - Another alleged 'error' bites the dustIs "bottles" an inaccurate word in the King James Bible?

King James Bible

Is King James onlyism Scriptural? - Does the KJB only position "blow up"? - What About Those Printing Errors in 1611? - Does the King James Bible depart from the Hebrew Texts? - Why do you King James Bible onlyies Attack the word of God? - The Historic Confessions support the KJB position - Can a Translation be Inspired? - The Old Latin versions and the KJB


NO LXX Part 1 - NO LXX - the Fictitious Use of Septuagint

Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls Fiasco

Hebrew Text

The NIV, NASB reject the Hebrew Texts - NIV, NASB reject Hebrew texts Part 2 - How to Destroy Messianic Prophecies

Greek Text

"The Greek" and Hebrew Games

Gender Inclusive Versions

Gender Inclusive Versions Dealing with the TNIV

Answering Critics

E mail exchange with Bible Agnostic Doug Kutilek - John MacArthur - Pastor with NO Infallible Bible - A Bible Believer's Response to James Price's book King James Onlyism - a New Sect - A King James Bible Believer's Response to Rick Norris' book 'The Unbound Scriptures' - 17 Parts

Part 1 - The "logical" Premise of Mr. Norris

Part 2 - Those Dreadful Archaic Words

Part 3 - Imperfect men, Perfect Bible

Part 4 - Revision

Part 5 - Printing Errors and Spelling

Part 6 - Inspiration and Inerrancy

Part 7 - Alleged Errors in the King James Bible

Part 8 - Let Me Count The Ways

Part 9 - Beasts or Living Creatures?

Part 10 - Mules or Hot Springs?

Part 11 - "Digged down a wall" or "hamstrung an ox"?

Part 12 - Steel, brass, copper, bronze - Paper or Plastic?

Part 13 - The Usual Suspects

Part 14 - The Preservation of the words of God

Part 15 - KJB Only versus Latin Vulgate Only Argument

Part 16 - Where Was the Word of God Before 1611?

Part 17 - Final Thoughts

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