Article: The Book of Hebrews - a Comparative Study by Will Kinney

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The Book of Hebrews - a comparison of conflicting versions

Hebrews chapters One through Nine

Hebrews 1:3 Person, substance, essence, being or subsistence? Is the King James Bible’s “Person” a “poor translation”?

At one of the Bible clubs I belong to a certain King James Bible critic posted the following as an alleged error and poor translation. This particular man is one of the loopier Bible Agnostics I have ever run into. He does not defend any Bible in any language as being the pure words of God. For example, he thinks John 7:53 to 8:12 should be omitted from all bibles, and that whole verses (about a hundred words) not found in any Bible on earth should be added to Mark 16.

In any event, here is what this man writes:

“A classic case of supposed re-inspiration as portrayed by KJVOnlyism!

Heb 1:3 Who being the brightnesse of his glory, and the expresse image of his *person* (hupostaseos), and vpholding all things by the word of his power, when hee had by himselfe (heauton) purged our sinnes, sate down on ye right hand of the Maiestie on high, (KJV 1611)

Did the translaters/revisers receive the notion the word "person" instead of "substance" should be used for the Greek word "hupostaseos" by inspiration from God?

The Greek word "prosopon" is the most often used word rendered in English as "person". (Mat_22:16, Mar_12:14, Luk_20:21, 2Co_2:10, Gal_2:6, 2Co_1:11, Jud_1:16)

The Greek word "hupostaseos" and the Latin "substantiae" usually would be rendered "matter" or "substance".

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the *substance* (hupostasis) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Somehow "person" just wouldn't fit!

2Co 11:17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence (hupostasei) of boasting.

Heb 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence (hupostaseos) stedfast unto the end;

2Co 9:4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident (hupostasei) boasting. “


Part One of my Refutation

When this self appointed Bible critic tells us that “Somehow "person" just wouldn't fit!”, then the obvious should be pointed out to him as well. Neither would the word “confidence”. Would it make any clear sense to say that the phrase should be translated as to show that the Son of God is “the express image of his confidence”?!?

Or how about any other of the possible meanings this word can carry as listed in the various lexicons? Would they “fit”? Let’s try any of these to see how well they might do. How about the Son of God is the express image of His “assurance”, or “steadfastness”, or “placing under”, or “substructure”, or “foundation”, or “firm trust”? Would any of these possible meanings of the word “fit”?

The Bible critic continues:

“Consider other versions of Heb 1:3

Heb 1:3 qui cum sit splendor gloriae et figura *substantiae* eius portansque omnia verbo virtutis suae purgationem peccatorum faciens sedit ad dexteram Maiestatis in excelsis (Latin)

Heb 1:3 Which whanne also he is the briytnesse of glorie, and figure of his *substaunce*, and berith alle thingis bi word of his vertu, he makith purgacioun of synnes, and syttith on the riythalf of the maieste in heuenes; (Wycliffe 1385)

Heb 1:3 Which sonne beynge the brightnes of his glory and very ymage of his *substance* bearinge vp all thinges with the worde of his power hath in his awne person (?; heauton) pourged oure synnes and is sitten on the right honde of the maiestie an hye (Tyndale 1535)

Heb 1:3 Who beyng the bryghtnesse of the glorie, and the very image of his *substaunce*, vpholdyng all thynges with the worde of his power, hauing by him selfe (heauton) pourged our sinnes, hath syt on the ryght hande of the maiestie on hye: (Bishop's Bible 1568)

Heb 1:3 who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his *substance*, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (RV 1881)

Well glory be! The KJV translaters/revisers must have received this revelation by divine inspiration from God himself! Re-inspiration!!!!! But from which god?

Well not so fast! Let's see if we can find a source for such a poor translation of the Greek! Hmmmmmmmmm! Here it is!

Heb 1:3 Who being the brightnes of the glory, and the ingraued forme of his *person*, and bearing vp all things by his mightie worde, hath by himselfe purged our sinnes, and sitteth at the right hand of the Maiestie in the highest places, (Geneva Bible, 1560, 1599)

Sorry no re-inspiration here, just someone copying a poor translation!

Maybe the "Bishop's Bible revisers" would have been more accurate by following the Latin and retranslated the reading into the English as "the representation (figura) of His substance (substantiae)". Following the Bishop's Bible would have been more accurate! But then accuracy was never the issue with the KJV (revisers)!


Part Two of my Refutation:

This Bible critic only mentions a few of the various ways different Bible versions have translated the word hupostasis. His suggested reading of “substance” when referring to God the Father is the worst of the lot. God the Father does not have any substance. The Bible clearly tells us that God the Father is a Spirit and not flesh and bones, and that He is invisible Spirit. See John 4:24 “God is a Spirit”, and Colossians 1:15 tells us that Christ “is the image of the invisible God”. See also 1 Timothy 1:17 and Hebrews 11:27.

Bible versions like Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, the Bishops’ bible, the Revised Version, American Standard Version, and Darby are just flat out wrong. The English Bible was in the process of being purified, and none of them got it right until God’s timing brought forth perfection in the Authorized King James Holy Bible.

Though I firmly believe the King James Bible is by far the best of all Bibles in any language, I do not have a serious problem with other versions that translate this phrase as something like “the express image of his BEING” (NIV, Weymouth, Berkeley), or “NATURE” (NASB, RSV, ESV, HCSB), or “ESSENCE” (NET, Complete Jewish bible), but I do have a big problem with translating it as “express image of His SUBSTANCE”.

One of the meanings of the word “substance” lends itself to rank heresy, whereas the word “person” cannot. One of the clear meanings of the word “subtance” is this as given by any good dictionary: Substance = physical material from which something is made or which has discrete existence b: matter of particular or definite chemical constitution c: something (as drugs or alcoholic beverages) deemed harmful and usually subject to legal restriction .”

The Mormons even use this translation of “substance” to support their idea that God the Father has a literal body. See one of their sites that promotes this idea based on the misleading translation this Bible agnostic promotes.

This Mormon defender states in part: “The Bible clearly teaches that God has a physical body. With serious proof-texting, many come to the conclusion that God is a spirit and hence without a physical body. New Research has shown that the scripture used for this has been misapplied. We believe that Hebrews 1:2-3 is one of the most clear, powerful and straight forward for showing that God is embodied with a divine body, with a human shape....Since the substance of Jesus is clearly flesh and bones, then the substance of the Father is flesh and bones. The scripture is quite clear on that!”

Let’s Define the Terms

Person - Webster’s Dictionary 1913 - “6. (Theol.) Among Trinitarians, one of the three subdivisions of the Godhead (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost); AN HYPOSTASIS (Caps are mine) Three persons and one God." Bk. of Com. Prayer.”

Funk and Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary of the English Language, New York, 1917. Page 1007 defines Person as: - “Theology. One of the three individualities in the Trinity; HYPOSTASIS.” Again, just as Webster’s dictionary, it uses the very word this Bible agnostic uses when he ignorantly criticizes the King James Bible. The Greek word hypostasis is used to define the theological use of the word Person when referring to the Godhead.

Definition of hypostasis

Merriam Websters Dictionary - hy·pos·ta·sis Function: noun Etymology: Late Latin, substance, sediment, from Greek, support, foundation, substance, sediment, from hyphistasthai to stand under, support, from hypo- + histasthai to be standing

1 a: something that settles at the bottom of a fluid b: the settling of blood in the dependent parts of an organ or body 2: PERSON (caps are mine) 3 a: the substance or essential nature of an individual

CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY 1. the unique nature of the one God 2. any of the three persons of the Trinity, each person having the divine nature fully and equally 3. the union of the wholly divine nature and of a wholly human nature in the one person of Jesus Christ

The American Heritage Dictionary hy·pos·ta·ses Christianity a. Any of the persons of the Trinity. b. The essential person of Jesus in which his human and divine natures are united.

Bible Commentators

John Calvin’s commentary on Hebrews 1:3 supports the King James Bible reading of “person”. Calvin seems to be a bit mixed up and self-contradictory, but I believe one of his points is quite valid. Calvin comments: “The word (upostasis) which, by following others, I have rendered substance, denotes not, as I think, the being or essence of the Father, but HIS PERSON (caps are mine); for it would be strange to say that the essence of God is impressed on Christ, as the essence of both is simply the same. But it may truly and fitly be said that whatever peculiarly belongs to the Father is exhibited in Christ, so that he who knows him knows what is in the Father. And in this sense do the orthodox fathers take this term, hypostasis, considering it to be threefold in God, while the essence (ousia) is simply one. Hilary everywhere takes the Latin word substance for PERSON. But though it be not the Apostle’s object in this place to speak of what Christ is in himself, but of what he is really to us, yet he sufficiently confutes the Arians and Sabellians; for he claims for Christ what belongs to God alone, and also refers to two distinct PERSONS, as to the Father and the Son. For we hence learn that the Son is one God with the Father, and that he is yet in a sense distinct from him, so that a subsistence or PERSON belongs to both.”

John Gill comments on Hebrews 1:3 and the phrase “the express image of his person” saying: “And the express image of his person; this intends much the same as the other phrase; namely, equality and sameness of nature, and distinction of PERSONS; for if the Father is God, Christ must be so too; and if he is a PERSON, his Son must be so likewise, or he cannot be the express image and character of him.”

Other Bible translations

Other Bible translations that agree with the King James Bible’s “express image of HIS PERSON” are the following: The Geneva Bible 1560, 1587, 1599, 1602, John Wesley’s translation made in 1755, Webster’s bible 1833, the NKJV 1982, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, and the Third Millenium Bible 1998.

The French Martin Bible 1744, the French Louis Segond 1910, and the French Ostervald 1996 all read just like the = KJB -”et qui, étant le reflet de sa gloire et l'empreinte de SA PERSONNE...”

The NIV Portuguese translation, put out by the International Bible Society 2000 reads just like the King James Bible - “imagem perfeita da SUA PESSOA.” (HIS PERSON)

The King James Bible is always right. Don’t let the Bible Agnostics move you from your faith in a perfect, inspired and inerrant Bible.

Will Kinney

1:3 "when he had BY HIMSELF purged OUR sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."

“BY HIMSELF purged OUR sins” is the reading found in the Majority of all Greek texts as well as in the NKJV, Syriac Peshitta, Spanish Reina Valera, Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishops’, Geneva, Youngs, Hebrew Names Version, Third Millenium Bible, and Green’s Modern KJV.

The very few Greek texts the modern versions use are totally mixed up even among themselves in this verse.

The NASB, NIV, ESV and Holman Standard omit the words "by himself" and the "our" of our sins. The NASB reads: "When He had made purification of sins, He sat down...".

1:3 "when he had by himself PURGED OUR SINS, sat down...". This verse teaches that Christ accomplished something wonderful for His people - He actually and in fact purged our sins by His substitutionary, redemptive work on the cross. It is an accomplished fact of redemption. However the NIV not only omits "by himself" and "our" but also has rendered the rest of the verse as: "After he had PROVIDED PURIFICATION FOR SINS, he sat down at the right hand..." To provide purification is not the same as to actually purge.

1:5 "For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day HAVE I BEGOTTEN THEE?" This is a reference to Psalms 2:7 and the verse is quoted three other times in Scripture. Here in Hebrews 1:5, 5:5 and Acts 13: 33. It refers to the day when God the Father raised Jesus Christ from the dead, not to His incarnation, for Jesus was the only begotten Son BEFORE His incarnation and obviously before His resurrection.

Jamieson, Faussett and Brown commentary:

this day have I begotten thee-- (Psalms 2:7). Fulfilled at the resurrection of Jesus, whereby the Father "declared," that is, made manifest His divine Sonship, heretofore veiled by His humiliation (Acts 13:33, Romans 1:4). Christ has a fourfold right to the title "Son of God"; (1) By generation, as begotten of God; (2) By commission, as sent by God; (3) By resurrection, as "the first-begotten of the dead" (4) By actual possession, as heir of all . I the Everlasting Father have begotten Thee this day, that is, on this day, the day of Thy being manifested as My Son, "the first-begotten of the dead" (Col. 1:18, Rev. 1:5).The context refers to a definite point of time, namely, that of His having entered on the inheritance (Heb. 1:4)."

B.W. Johnson, People's New Testament:

"This day have I begotten thee. What day is referred to in the prophecy? Acts 13:32, 33 answers the question by quoting this very passage and declaring that it was fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. He was born from the dead and God, who raised him, thus demonstrated that he was his Son.

The Expositor's Greek Testament:

" Today" is evidently intended to mark a special occasion and cannot allude to the eternal generation of the Son. It is not the beginning of life, but the entrance on office that is indicated and it is as King the person addressed is God's Son. Thus Paul applies it to the resurrection of Christ in Acts 13:33.

Hebrews 1:5 reads "this day have I begotten thee" in the KJB, NKJV, NASB, RV, ASV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, but the NIV and the Holman Standard actually say: "You are my Son, Today I have become your Father".!!! This is heresy and is found in no text on the face of this earth. If there was a day when God became the Father of Jesus Christ, then Jesus Christ was not the Son of God before that day. There is only one other version I have seen that renders this phrase "today I have become your Father" and that is the Jehovah Witness New World Translation, and they do not believe that Jesus Christ is eternal God.

The NIV, ESV and the Holman CSB also agree with the Jehovah Witness New World Translation in Micah 5:2 by stating that Christ had "origins" and was "from ancient times", rather than the correct reading that Christ's "goings forth are from everlasting". The Jehovah Witnesses use both Micah 5:2 and Acts 13:33 (both of which read exactly the same in the NIV) as proof texts to teach that Jesus Christ was a created being, and not the eternal and from everlasting Son of God.

If you think the "message" is the same in all bibles then you haven’t been paying attention. The obvious fact is they are frequently very different in both text and meaning.

1:8 "But UNTO the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of THY kingdom."

1:8 "But UNTO the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of THY kingdom."

This verse shows God the Father directly addressing His Son as God. However the NASB says: "but OF the Son He says...the righteous scepter is the scepter of HIS (not Thy) kingdom." The word "his" instead of "thy" is found in the corrupt manuscripts of Siniaticus and Vaticanus, yet they differ from each other literally thousands of times. We will see more instances of these differences between them as we continue.

The NASB has a misleading footnote that says: SOME mss. read "Thy" - Some?! How about the vast majority of all remaining manuscripts and ancient versions, including A, D, the Old Latin, Syriac Peshitta, Harkelian, Palestinian, Coptic Sahidic, Armenian, Ethiopian, Slavonic, Wycliffe, Coverdale, Tyndale, Bishops’, the Geneva Bible, the RV, ASV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, Holman, NET, NKJV, and even the NIV. For some reason these other modern versions chose not to follow Vaticanus in this verse, even though they do so hundreds of other times.

The Nestle-Aland critical text continues to change every few years. The Nestle-Aland text USED to read “HIS kingdom” (autou) , even when the RV and ASV came out, but they didn’t follow this reading. Only the NASB reads this way, but the latest Nestle-Aland 27th reads THY (your - sou) like the NIV, NKJV, ESV and most other bibles. I guess the old NASB is now out of date, huh?

Hebrews chapter Two

2:7 "Thou madest him A LITTLE LOWER than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, AND DIDST SET HIM OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS."

Here Vaticanus omits the whole phrase "and didst set him over the works of thy hands" and so do the NIV, ESV and the Holman Standard. However the phrase is found in the majority of Greek manuscripts and in Sinaiticus, and this time even the NASB, RV, ASV and NKJV include it. See how the "scholars" don't agree among themselves. This same confusion is constantly repeated in the new Bible of the Month versions that continue to pour off the presses.

"Thou madest him A LITTLE LOWER THAN the angels" is quoted from Psalm 8:5. "A little lower" is the reading of the RV, ASV and NIV, but the NASB, ESV and the Holman say God made man "FOR A LITTLE WHILE lower than the angels".

The interesting thing is when you look back at Psalms 8:5 the King James Bible correctly reads: "For thou hast made him a little lower than THE ANGELS." This is also the reading of the NKJV, the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, Lamsa, Webster's, New American Bible, Douay, Douay-Rheims, Spanish, Diodati, Darby, Living Bible, New Century Version, Modern Greek translation, KJV 21 and the Third Millenium Bible.

However the NASB and the Holman Standard actually read: "Thou hast made him a little lower THAN GOD." One could combine the NASB and Holman readings to say: "Thou hast made him for a little while lower than God", and thus imply that man will some day be equal to God. Isn't this the ultimate apostasy that fallen man will embrace?

The NIV and the ESV differ yet from both the KJB and the NASB in that they read in Psalm 8:5 "You made him a little lower than the HEAVENLY BEINGS." So, is it angels, heavenly beings, or God?

Do you think James White is correct when he says we can get a sense of the real meaning by comparing all the different versions together? All we really end up with is total confusion which leads to unbelief and apostasy.

2:16 KJB - "For verily he TOOK NOT ON HIM THE NATURE OF angels; but he TOOK ON HIM the seed of Abraham." This verse deals with the incarnation of our Lord who was made a little lower than the angels and "as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He likewise took part of the same". Not only does the KJB read this way but so also do the Geneva Bible, the KJV 21, Third Millenium Bible, Lamsa's translation, Webster's 1833, Modern Greek edition, Bible in Basic English, and the Living Bible.

However the NKJV, NIV, Holman and NASB read: "For indeed He DOES NOT GIVE AID TO angels, but He DOES GIVE AID TO the seed of Abraham." (NKJV). The meaning is very different, and it is also untrue. God does help and give aid to angels. Notice what John Gill and other commentators have stated.

John Gill

For verily he took not on him the nature of angels… Good angels; for they are all along spoken of in this book; and it would have been impertinent to have said this of evil angels: and this is to be understood not of a denying help and assistance to the angels; for though they have not redemption from Christ, which they needed not, yet have they help from him; they are chosen in him, and are gathered together under him; and he is the head of them, and they are upheld and sustained by him in their being, and well being: but of a non-assumption of their nature; there was no need of it with respect to good angels, and there was no salvation designed for evil ones; and to have assumed the nature of angels, would have been of no service to fallen man; an angelic nature is not capable of death, which was necessary to atone for sin, save men, and destroy Satan.

People's New Testament commentary:

16-18. He took not the nature. He did not lay hold of an angel form in order to save angels, but the human form and nature, in order to be our Savior. He chose to be the seed of Abraham.

Matthew Henry

“Here the apostle proceeds to assert the incarnation of Christ, as taking upon him not the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham; and he shows the reason and design of his so doing. The incarnation of Christ is asserted. He took part of flesh and blood. Though as God he pre-existed from all eternity, yet in the fulness of time he took our nature into union with his divine nature, and became really and truly man. Now Christ resolving to recover the seed of Abraham and raise them up from their fallen state, he took upon him the human nature from one descended from the loins of Abraham, that the same nature that had sinned might suffer, to restore human nature to a state of hope."

Hebrews chapter Three

3:1 "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, CHRIST Jesus." Here the word CHRIST is omitted in the NIV, ESV, Holman, and the NASB even though it is found in the majority of all mss., the Syriac Peshitta and in P13, both of which predate Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. CHRIST Jesus is also in the NKJV, Spanish Reina Valera and Luther's German.

3:2 "as also Moses was faithful in ALL his house." Here Vaticanus omits the word "all" (holoo), but it is in Sinaiticus, and this time the NASB includes it, while the RSV, NRSV omit it. Then the ESV, NIV and Holman keep the word "all" but they also add the word "God" when not in any text, saying "in all God's house".

3:6 " But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the REJOICING of the hope FIRM UNTO THE END."

In this verse the words "firm unto the end" are again found in the majority of mss. and in Sinaiticus and the NASB, RV, ASV, but Vaticanus omits them and so do the NIV, RSV, Holman and ESV. Again see how the "oldest and best" constantly differ between themselves and how the "scholars" also differ among themselves. They have no sure word of God, and neither do you if you follow them.

The "REJOICING of the hope" is the reading of the KJB, Geneva, NKJV, Young's and others, but the RSV translates this as "the PRIDE of our hope" and the NASB, ESV, NIV have "the BOAST of our hope", and the Holman says: "the CONFIDENCE of our hope". The Greek is the same, but they have altered the meaning. We can definitely rejoice in what God has done for us, but dare we take pride or boast?

3:16 "For SOME, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit, NOT ALL that came out of Egypt by Moses."

Notice that this is a statement in the King James Bible. Not everyone provoked God, but some did. Caleb and Joshua did believe God and the thousands of children from 20 years old and under did enter the promised land. It was only the grown men ages 20-up who were able to go to war (Numbers 1:3), numbering 603,548 (Numbers 1:46 minus Joshua and Caleb), who rejected God's command and died in the wilderness. The children, women, elderly men (unable to go to war), and possibly even all of the Levites (they were not numbered for war - Numbers 1:47) who came out of Egypt (therefore numbering more than the fighting men as a whole by estimation) are not included in the group of provokers. (Numbers 14:29, Deuteronomy 2:14) That is why the Hebrews passage is quite accurate to say "some" and then to describe who those "some" were.

This is the reading of the Textus Receptus that underlies the King James Bible and of Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Webster's 1833, the KJV21st Century Version 1994,the 1998 Third Millenium Bible, Young's, the Douay-Rheims, and the later 1950 Douay version (though the more modern Catholic versions now agree with the WH text), the Spanish Reina Valera 1909, the early Italian Diodati, the French Martin of 1744 and Luther's 1545 German Bible.

The earlier Spanish translations like the 1569 Sagradas Escrituras, the Reina Valera’s of 1858 and 1909 editions read just like the King James Bible. “Porque algunos de los que habían salido de Egipto con Moisés, habiendo oído, provocaron, aunque no todos.” However the latest 1960 and 1995 have been “revised” by people like Eugene Nida to adopt more of the Westcott-Hort readings.

Lamsa’s 1936 translation of the Syriac Peshitta is interesting in that it uses a question mark but still carries the same meaning as that found in the King James Bible. It says: “Who are those who have heard and provoked him? Were they not those who came out of Egypt under Moses, although not all of them? “

Though Mace’s New Testament translation of 1729 changed hundreds of textual readings found in the KJB, yet he agrees with the King James reading of Hebrews 3:16 saying: “or some when they had heard his voice, did provoke him: however, not all that were brought out of Egypt by Moses did so.”

However here in Hebrews 3:16 the NKJV departs from the Greek text underlying the King James Bible and follows the Westcott-Hort text of the modern versions like the RSV, NASB, Holman, ESV and the NIV. The NKJV reads: "For WHO, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, WAS IT NOT ALL who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?" The NKJV, along with the Holman, NIV, NASB, forces you to answer, Yes, it was all of them. But this is untrue.

JOHN GILL on Hebrews 3:16 - "howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses"; that is, they did not all provoke, but some did; which is another aggravation of their sin; they were just come out of Egyptian bondage; brought out of it by the Lord, with the mighty and outstretched arm of his power; and yet they provoked him: but however all did not, yet these were but few; it seems only Caleb and Joshua, out of six hundred thousand; God will have a few to serve him in the worst of times."

MATTHEW HENRY comments: "Though the majority of hearers provoked God by unbelief, yet some there were who believed the report. God will have a remnant that shall be obedient to his voice, and he will take care of such and make mention of them with honour."

JOHN CALVIN also translates it the same way as found in the King James Bible and then comments about the unbelief of the many as opposed to the faith of the few. He remarks: “David spoke of the fathers as though that whole generation were unbelieving; but it appears that some who truly feared God mingled with the wicked. The apostle mentions this to modify what had been more severely said by David, in order that we may know that the word is preached to all for this end, that all may obey it with one consent, and that the whole people were justly condemned for unbelief, when the body was torn and mutilated by the defection of the greatest part. But by saying that some provoked, while yet they were by far the greatest part, this object was not only to avoid giving offense, but also to encourage the Jews to imitate those who believed; as though he had said, “As God forbids you to follow the unbelief of the fathers, so he sets before you other fathers whose faith is to be your example”.

JOHN OWEN also translates Hebrews 3:16 as it stands in the King James Bible and goes on in great detail to explain that SOME provoked and did not belief, while OTHERS did believe.

“The apostle adds expressly a limitation, with respect to the persons who heard and provoked: “Howbeit not all.” In his preceding discourse he had expressed the sin and punishment of the people indefinitely, so as at first view to include the whole generation in the wilderness, without exception of any. Here, out of the story, he puts in an exception of some even of them who came up out of Egypt under the conduct of Moses....Caleb and Joshua; and it is certain that these are principally, if not solely intended. Now, the reason why the apostle expresseth this limitation of his former general assertion is, that he might enforce his exhortation with the example of them who believed and obeyed the voice of God, and who thereon both enjoyed the promises and entered into the rest of God.”

Owens continues: “He that would choose his party by tale would scarce have joined himself with Caleb and Joshua, against the consent of about six hundred thousand men, who cried out to stone them because they were not of their mind. God’s way, indeed, is always to preserve some; but sometimes his way is to reserve but a few, — as we have seen in sundry instances before mentioned. They that provoked God were about six hundred thousand men, and upon the matter two only opposed them. But, in the language of the Holy Ghost, all that great multitude were but “some,” — some, not “all;” the principal part was preserved in those who were obedient. They were his portion, his inheritance, his jewels, dear to him as the apple of his eye...”

Additional sources which support the King James Bible reading.

Brother Steven Avery has done a lot of research on this verse and has found the following information.


First I think it is helpful to emphasize that the Rheims NT seems to be representing the full Old Latin and Latin manuscript evidence, 100% like the Reformation Bible. No Latin variants of significance having been referenced from :

Rheims - “For some who heard did provoke: but not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.” quidam enim audientes exacerbaverunt sed non universi qui profecti sunt ab Aegypto per Mosen

As mentioned above, this is the Old Latin (Itala) line of 200 AD as well as the Vulgate translation of Jerome utilizing Latin and Greek ('the fountainhead' - Jerome) manuscripts in 400 AD. This solidifies the fact that these ancient translators and scholars, knowing the language much closer to the NT time, understood the uncial Greek as did the Reformation scholars much later. Thus the value of this evidence can be properly emphasized, against the modernists who tend to simply place it on ignore. Here is the early English translation from the Latin.

Wycliffe (1395) - “For some men hearing wrathed, but not all they that went out of Egypt by Moses.”

Beza's Latin translation - Nam quidam, quum audissent, exacerbarunt [Domine]: non omnes tamen ii qui exierunt ex AEgypto per Mosen.

Calvin's Latin translation (used in his commentaries) Quidam enim quum audissent, exacerbarunt; at non omnes qui egressi fuerant ex AEgypto per Mosen.


B. W. Johnson, in the People's New Testament is another who did not mangle this meaning of the verse and gave commentary in synch with the verse.

“For some, when they had heard, did provoke. Some in the wilderness heard God, but refused to listen, and did not provoke him. Howbeit not all.” * There were a few exceptions; Joshua and Caleb, Eliezer, and perhaps some more of the Levites.


Similarly Lamsa from the Syriac. Note that also the two other main Peshitta translators, while using a question, also do not reverse the verse meaning. As is done by the NKJV and the modern versions.

Murdock - “But who were they that heard, and angered him ? It was not all they, who came out of Egypt under Moses. “

Etheridge- “For who are they who heard and provoked him ? Not all they who came out of Metsreen by the hand of Musha. “

Lamsa - “Who are those who have heard and provoked him? Were they not those who came out of Egypt under Moses, although not all of them? “

All the Syriac translators line up with the meaning of the Reformation Bible against the Westcott-Hort deformed version juggernaut which rolled over the NKJV. A good guideline with the Bible text is Reformed over deformed.

Here are a couple of additional fine commentaries. An Exposition of Hebrews - Christ Superior to Moses. - Arthur Pink (1886-1952)

"For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses" (verse 16). The apostle here begins to describe the kind of persons who sinned in the provocation, amplification being given in what follows. His purpose in making mention of these persons was to more fully evidence the need for Christian watchfulness against hardness of heart, even because those who of old yielded thereto provoked God to their ruin. The opening "for" gives point to what has preceded. The unspeakably solemn fact to which He here refers is that out of six hundred thousand men who left Egypt, but two of them were cut off in the wilderness, Caleb and Joshua. Thomas Chalmers (1780- 1847)

And let me not be insensible to the call of " to-day," that I may no longer postpone the good work either of faith or of repentance. Let it be remarked that "some" might signify a small or a very large proportion of the whole. It is said that some, howbeit not all, who came out of Egypt by Moses did provoke God : certainly not all — for both Caleb and Joshua were faithful, and got both an entry and an inheritance in the land of Canaan. Let them be examples to us, that we may shine as lights in the midst of a perverse and crooked generation.

Interestingly Edwin Gifford used the Hebrews verse as part of his interpretation of Romans, which led to the excellent Thomas Chalmers section above. The Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans By Edwin Hamilton Gifford

Romans 3:3 - It is to be remarked that "some" in the original signifies a part of the whole, but not necessarily a small part of it. It may be a very great part and majority of the whole, — as in Hebrews iii. 16, where it is said, " Some when they heard provoked, howbeit not all that came out of Egypt with Moses." All did provoke God on that occasion except Joshua and Caleb, and those who were still too young to bear arms . . (Chalmers) - (end of notes by Steven Avery)

The King James Bible is right: "For SOME, when they had heard, did provoke: HOWBEIT NOT ALL that came out of Egypt by Moses."

Hebrews Chapter 4

Unbelief or Disobedience?

It is somewhat amusing to see the "scholars" stumble over themselves as some of them try to discredit the King James Bible. A case in point is the rendering and meaning of the word apeitheoo and its noun form of apeitheia, which are translated in the KJB as "believed not" and "unbelief" in Hebrews and other places.

In Chapter 4 the noun form is found twice and the verb occurs in 3:18 where it says: "And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that BELIEVED NOT?" Verse 19 - "So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." Verse 19 effectively defines the contextual meaning of the verb rendered as "believed not". Apeitheoo can have the meaning of "not being persuaded", and thus, to not believe. We often string synonymns together to illustrate a point. If I say someone is unbelieving, without faith, incredulous, doubting, disbelieving, and not persuaded, I mean that he does not believe.

Again in 4:6 and 4:11 we are told: "Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of UNBELIEF"..."Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of UNBELIEF." Again the context of verse three defines the meaning of these two nouns - "For we which have believed do enter into rest".

Some lexicons and commentaries come right out and say this word only means disobedience and not unbelief - "as the A.V. incorrectly has it". Yet if you consult others like Liddell & Scott, Thayers and Vines we see they do allow for both meanings. The KJB sometimes translates apeitheo and its noun form as Disobedience and at othertimes as Unbelief - all the versions do the same thing with this word.

The whole context of the book of Hebrews is the ultimate importance of faith and the dangers of unbelief.

John Gill comments on Hebrews 3:18 where the KJB says they "believed not" but the NKJV, NIV, ESV, NASB, and Holman say they "did not obey": - "And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest but to them that believed not the Lord; notwithstanding the signs and wonders he showed among them, they would not be persuaded by Moses and Aaron, by Joshua and Caleb, to be still and quiet, to cease murmuring, and submit to the will of God, and believe in him; Unbelief is a source of sin, and cause of judgment, being greatly provoking to God."

The NKJV has joined an host of modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV, Holman, and the RSV in rendering this word as "disobeyed" and "disobedience" in Hebrews 3:18. "And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did NOT OBEY?", and in 4:6 "they entered not in because of DISOBEDIENCE" and 4:11 "lest anyone fall after the same example of DISOBEDIENCE." The NKJV is not just updating the "archaic words" of the KJB, but is changing the meaning of hundreds of verses.

Yet the inconsistency of these modern versions is that the NKJV has also rendered this same Greek word as "Believed not", and "Unbelief" in John 3:36, Acts 14:2, 19:9, Romans 15:31 and Hebrews 11:31. The NASB has done so in Acts 14:2 and 1 Peter 2:7, while the NIV has "rejects" in John 3:36, "not believe" in 1 Peter 3:1, and Romans 15:31, and as "refuse to believe" in Acts 14:2 and 19:9.

Other Bible versions that agree with the KJB in Hebrews 3:18, and 4:6, 11 in saying they did not enter because they believed not are Tyndale, Geneva, Coverdale, Wesley, Young's, Darbys, Wycliffe, Douay, Douay-Rheims, Italian Diodati, Spanish Sagradas Escrituras, Webster's, KJV 21, Third Millenium Bible, MKJV (Green), New English Bible and Today's English Version.

We are told in the Old Testament that the reason the children of Israel did not enter the promised land is because they did not believe God. Numbers 14:11 "And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they BELIEVE me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?"

Deuteronomy 1:32 "Yet in this thing (entering the promised land) ye DID NOT BELIEVE the LORD your God." And in Deut. 9:23 "Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and YE BELIEVED HIM NOT, nor hearkended unto his voice."

Why, you might ask, is this distinction so critical here? Because we are talking about our salvation from sin and our resting in the finished, redemptive work of Christ. We do not obtain these things by our obedience or lose them by our disobedience, but rather we "believe to the saving of the the soul" Hebrews 10:39.

Who among us can claim to be totally obedient to God in all things at all times? We often fail and fall far short of the character of Christ, yet if we believe in our hearts that Christ alone is our only Saviour from sin and hell, we belong to Him and can never be lost.

Notice again this legalistic tendency in the NASB, RSV, ESV in John 3:36 where this same word apeitheoo is used. The KJB reads: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that BELIEVETH NOT the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

Pretty straight forward, isn't it? If you believe on the Son you have life; if you do not believe, the wrath of God abides on you. This is also the reading of the NKJV, Bible in Basic English, Douay, Spanish, Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishops' Bible, Diodati, Young's, Webster, TMB, KJV 21, French Louis Segond, Worldwide English N.T., and Wycliffe. Even the Holman Christian Standard Bible agrees with the KJB reading. It says: "The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life..."

The NIV paraphrases by saying "He that REJECTS the Son will not see life", but there is no great theological error here. However the NASB, RSV, ESV say: "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, but he who DOES NOT OBEY the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

So, according to the NASB, RSV, and ESV where do you stand if you believe on the Son and yet are at times disobedient? Will God's wrath fall upon you in this condition? Is there any rest and confidence in the finished work of Christ for you?

As Hebrews 4 tells us: "For we which have believed do enter into rest...For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."

7:4 "to whom EVEN the patriarch Abraham". The word "even" (kai) is in majority, Sinaiticus and the NIV and Holman include it, but Vaticanus omits it and so do the NASB and the ESV.

7:14 "Moses spake nothing concerning PRIESTHOOD" - so read the majority of all texts, but Alexandrian texts read " nothing concerning PRIESTS" and so do the NASB, NIV, ESV and Holman.

7:21 "Thou art a priest for ever AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC" - This phrase is in the majority of all texts including Sinaiticus correction, A and D. It is also the reading of the NKJV, Wycliffe, Tyndale, Geneva, Youngs, Hebrew Names Bible and many others, but Vaticanus omits it and so do the NIV, ESV, Holman, and the NASB.

8:11 "shall not teach every man his NEIGHBOR" (plesion) is in the traditional text and NIV and ESV too!, but the Alexandrian texts read FELLOW CITIZEN (politen) and so do the Holman and the NASB. See how the scholars disagree among themselves.

8:12 "and their sins AND THEIR INIQUITIES will I remember no more." - in majority, Sinaiticus correction and A. Also found in the NKJV, Tyndale, Geneva, Young's, Spanish and many others, but Vaticanus omits and so do the NASB, ESV, Holman, and the NIV.

9:11 " high priest of good things TO COME" (mellonton). This is the reading of the majority of all Greek texts, A, and Sinaiticus and the NKJV, NASB, RV, ASV, and Douay. However the NIV, ESV, and Holman this time follow Vaticanus and says: "good things THAT ARE ALREADY HERE" (genomenon). We see from this and many other examples how the so called "oldest and best" constantly differ from each other and the bible scholars often don't agree in their "science of textual criticism". Today's Bible of the Month Clubs constantly skip from one of the oldest and best to the other one without any rhyme or reason.

Vaticanus is missing from the middle of Hebrews chapter 9 till the end. In fact, it is also missing all of 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and the whold book of Revelation, so it is no longer consulted in the footnotes.

9:14 "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge YOUR conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

Here YOUR conscience is the reading of the majority and Sinaiticus, the NASB, NKJV, ASV and the RSV, but manuscript Alexandrinus reads OUR conscience and so do the NIV, Holman, and the ESV.

Hebrews chapters 10-13

Hebrews 10:9 "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O GOD." The words "O God" are in the majority of all Greek texts and Sinaiticus correction. It is also the reading of Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale, Geneva, the Syriac Peshitta, Spanish Reina Valera, NKJV and many others. However the other minority Alexandrian texts omit "O God" and so too the NASB, ESV, Holman, and the NIV.

10:30 "I will recompense, SAITH THE LORD" - in Majority, Sinaiticus correction and even A. It is also found in Tyndale, Geneva, the Syriac Peshitta, Spanish, NKJV, Hebrew Names Version, Green's MKJV, Young's and others but the NASB, NIV, ESV and Holman omit "saith the Lord".

10:34 "For ye had compassion OF ME IN BY BONDS" (tois desmois mou) which again is in the majority, Sinaiticus and P46 which predates Sinaiticus and Vaticanus by 150 years. It is also the reading of the NKJV, Tyndale, Geneva, Young's, Hebrew Names Version and others. But manuscript Alexandrinus (which the NASB, NIV, ESV and Holman just got done rejecting in verse 30) reads: "you sympathized with THOSE IN PRISON" (tois desmiois) and so do the NASB, NIV, Holman, and ESV!

10:34 "knowing in yourselves that ye have IN HEAVEN a better and an enduring substance." IN HEAVEN is in the majority and Sinaiticus correction and is highly significant in the context. That we have a better and enduring substance IN HEAVEN is the reading of the NKJV, Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishops', Geneva, Syriac Peshitta, Spanish, Youngs and Green's MKJV. However, the NASB, NIV, ESV, and Holman omit these important words and say: "because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions."

10:38 presents us with not only a slight textual difference, but also with a serious theological difference resulting from the different ways in which some versions have rendered this verse.

Let's look at the context. "Now THE just shall live by faith: but if ANY MAN draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."

First of all, "the just" is the reading of the majority, D and even P13 which predates Sinaiticus by 100 years and Alexandrinus by 200 years. However Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus read; "MY just one will live by faith" and so do the NASB, ESV, Holman, and the NIV.

The most serious problem with the NASB, NIV, ESV and others is how they render the rest of this verse. In the King James Bible there is a contrast between the just person who lives by faith, and the others who may draw back unto perdition and condemnation. Notice what some commentators have said of these verses.

Hebrews 10:38 John Gill

but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. One who finally and totally apostatizes from the doctrine of faith, and the profession of it: and in such persons God has no pleasure, never had, nor never will have; such stand opposed to the just man, that lives by faith, walks humbly with God, in a dependence, not on his own righteousness, but on the righteousness of Christ, in which he is safe from condemnation, and secure of the divine favour; for drawing back is not supposed of the just man, but of any man, as we, with the Ethiopic version, rightly supply; and is to be understood of anyone of the external professors of religion, who forsake the assembling of the saints and is denied of the truly righteous in the following words.

People's New Testament

If any man draw back. He who draws back through fear, or because of trial, in him God hath no pleasure. 39. But we are not of them. The apostle has confidence that the Hebrew saints are of those who "shall live by faith" rather than those who draw back to perdition. He that draweth back is lost.

J.N. Darby also comments: "The apostle is contrasting two characters; the one who perishes, and the one who saves, preserves, his life (spiritually, of course)...the writer urges as a practical truth 'the just shall live by faith'...if he was living by faith in him, he was not drawing back. In a word, drawing back is one character, living by faith another."

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown say the Greek admits of "if any man", and comment on the passage much like Gill and others. The fact is there is no subject here in the Greek and so the context and correct theology determine whether it should read "any man" or "he". The NASB and the others often add the words "any man" or "a man" to give the sense. See for example Romans 9:16 (twice); 10:10; 14:2,5; and 2 Cor. 3:16.

However contrast Wesley’s Arminian theology, as he states in his commentary: "Now the just - The justified person. Shall live - In God's favour, a spiritual and holy life. By faith - As long as he retains that gift of God. But if he draw back - If he make shipwreck of his faith My soul hath no pleasure in him - That is, I abhor him; I cast him off."

Wesley believed a person could be redeemed by the blood of Christ, have his sins forgiven and be bound for glory only to lose it all if he later chose to reject Christ. A true child of God could never do this, but let's see how the NASB, NIV, Holman and ESV have rendered this verse.

"But MY righteous one will live by faith. And if HE shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved." (NIV) This rendering implies that one who is just or righteous by the blood of Christ, can then be lost, destroyed and not saved.

Hebrews 10:38 "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him" is referring to a quote in Habakkuk 2:4 where two different kinds of people are contrasted. There it says: "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith." Clearly there is a contrast between two different kinds of people, and the KJB has rightly carried over this distinction in the New Testament.

Not only does the King James Bible contrast the just who lives by faith with the "any man" who draws back unto perdition, but so also do the Geneva Bible, the NKJV, NRSV, New Life Version, Goodspeed, Phillips, Contemporary English Version, 20th Century Version, New Living Translation, Lamsa's Syriac translation, Webster's 1833 translation, the KJV 21 and the Third Millenium Bible.

Hebrews 11:11 A Classic Case of Scholarly Confusion

King James Bible - "Through faith also SARAH HERSELF received strength to conceive seed, AND WAS DELIVERED OF A CHILD, when SHE was past age, because SHE judged him faithful who had promised."

This verse is the same in the Majority of all Greek texts and reads the same in the texts used today by the Greek Orthodox church. It is also the reading of Tyndale, Geneva Bible, Young's, NKJV, Hebrew Names Version, Lamsa's and many others.

The Westcott-Hort text differs, not only from the Traditional Text of the KJB, but also from the more recent UBS (United Bible Society) texts. The UBS text adds BEING STERILE (steira), which obviously refers to Sarah. So this would read: "Through faith also Sarah herself BEING STERILE, received strength...". This reading of "being sterile" is not found in the majority, nor in Sinaiticus (Vaticanus omits Hebrews 9:15 to the end of the book) nor Alexandrinus, nor Westcott and Hort. It comes from a small handful of manuscripts that differ wildly among themselves. Not even the NASB, RSV, ESV include "being sterile", though it is now found in the UBS texts and the NIV.

The ESV, NASB, and Holman read: "By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised." The part they leave out here is "and was delivered of a child", but they do not add "being sterile". Please notice that Sarah is the subject of the sentence.

However the NIV actually says: "By faith ABRAHAM, even though HE was past age - AND SARAH herself WAS BARREN - was enabled to BECOME A FATHER because HE considered him faithful who had made the promise." Here the subject of the sentence is Abraham who became a father, not Sarah who became a mother.

So who is the person being spoken of here, Sarah or Abraham? There is no known Greek text that reads as does the NIV. They made it up out of thin air. It is amusing to see how the scholars continually change their "bibles". The RSV reads as does the KJB, except for leaving out "and was delivered of a child". Then the NRSV reads as does the NIV, changing Abraham for Sarah and adding that she was barren, but then when they again revise the new revision and come out with the ESV (the 2001 revision of the revision of the revision) they again go back to the KJB reading where it is Sarah who is the subject of the sentence and not Abraham, and they again leave out the “being sterile” part. But guess what! Now the new Today's NIV has come out and it again corrects the previous NIV reading and goes back to the meaning found in the King James Bible. If this sounds confusing, that's because it is.

Again in verse 37 a similar example of disagreement and confusion exists. "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, WERE TEMPTED, were slain with the sword..."

The part about "were tempted" is epeirasthesan and is found in the Majority of texts, A, D correction and in P13 which dates to around 250 A.D. It is also found in Sinaiticus, though it reverses the word order and says they were tempted, they were sawn asunder, and it is in the Westcott-Hort text and in the NASB, RV, ASV, NKJV, Douay, and Spanish. However, once again the UBS text has changed and now omits this word based primarily on one manuscript, P46, which has many divergent readings not followed in other parts of this book. The NIV, RSV, Holman and ESV now omit "were tempted" and the ESV footnote tells us: "Some manuscripts add 'were tempted'. SOME manuscripts?! Why not be truthful and tell us a very few actually omit it? The modern scholars are constantly changing the New Testament texts and they do not consistently follow each other in these changes. There is continual uncertainty and ongoing disagreement even among themselves.

Did you notice how the ESV (English Standard Version 2001) did not follow the UBS text in verse 11, but now it does in verse 37? But the NASB 1995 does not follow the ESV readings in either of the two? None of the modern versions match each other in both text and meaning. Who do you suppose might be behind such efforts?

One more textual change to be noted in this chapter is found in verse 13. There we read: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, AND WERE PERSUADED OF THEM, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." The part about "and were persuaded of them" is found in the Greek texts of Stephanus, Beza and Elzevir. The reading is in Tyndale, Great, Geneva and Bishop's Bibles. It is in the NKJV, Young's, Webster's, the Spanish Reina Valera and the Italian Diodati and others.

However the NASB, NIV, RSV and most other modern versions omit this phrase.

Hebrews 12:28 - 29 "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, LET US HAVE GRACE, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire."

The whole theme of the book of Hebrews is contrasting the law of Moses which was but an inferior shadow of the good things to come through the grace of God in Christ. It is by the grace of God that Christ tasted death for all men 2:9; we can come boldly unto the throne of grace 4:16; there are those who do despite unto the Spirit of grace 10:29; we are told to look diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God 12:15; and that it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace, and the author closes with the desire that the grace of God be with us all.

LET US HAVE GRACE is the reading of the KJB, NKJV, RV, ASV, Douay, Lamsa, Spanish, Darby, Young's, Hebrew Names Version, Tyndale, Geneva, Bible in Basic English, Hebrew Names Version, Webster's, Third Millenium Bible, and the KJV 21. Even the Holman Christian Standard says: "let us hold on to grace".

However the NIV says: "let us be thankful", the NASB has "let us show gratitude" and the RSV, ESV say: "let us be grateful". "Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably" is not the same thing as "Let us show gratitude by which we may offer to God an acceptable service." Obviously both sentences make sense, but the meaning is not at all the same. The KJB reading exhorts us to cast ourselves upon the grace of God and what He has done for us as the only way of approach and fellowship. The NASB, NIV focus on what we should be doing and our attitude rather than on what God has done.

Notice how even the earlier revisions of the RV, ASV read as do the KJB, as well as other modern versions.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown:

"let us have grace-- suits the English Version "grace" (that is Gospel grace, the work of the Spirit, producing faith exhibited in serving God), but does not suit "thankfulness.

John Gill

let us have grace; by which is meant, not thankfulness for so great a blessing, though this is highly requisite and necessary; nor the habit or principle of grace in the heart, unless particularly the grace of faith, and the exercise of it, should be designed; but rather the doctrine of grace, the Gospel, is intended;

Matthew Henry: " How necessary it is for us to obtain grace from God, to serve him acceptably: if we be not accepted of God under this dispensation, we shall never be accepted at all"

Hebrews 12 and 13 Textual differences

12:3 "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners AGAINST HIMSELF, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." AGAINST HIMSELF is the reading of the majority, A and Sinaiticus correction. Sinaiticus original said "against themselves" and P46, which the NIV sometimes follows against all others, says "against them". Here the NKJV, NASB, ESV and Holman follow the King James reading, but the NIV omits these words.

12:7 "IF (ei) ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons." The reading of IF is found in the NKJV, Young's, Tyndale, Geneva, Spanish Reina Valera, Diodati and others, but Sinaiticus and A say FOR (eis) chastening you endure. P46, which the NIV, and ESV sometimes followed in chapter 11, omits 21 words which make up half of verse 6 and most of verse 7. The NASB and ESV make it a statement and says: "IT IS FOR discipline that you endure" while the NIV and Holman make it a command with: "Endure hardship as discipline" and adds the word "hardship" which is not found in any text.

12:9 "we have had fathers OF OUR FLESH which corrected us." This is the literal reading of all texts - tes sarkos hemon- and is the reading of the RV, ASV, Young's and many others, and it is in contrast to the phrase in the same verse "shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father OF SPIRITS, and live?"

The contrast is between flesh and spirit, but this distinction is lost in the NKJV, NIV which say "we have had HUMAN fathers" and the NASB, ESV have "earthly fathers", while the Holman has "natural fathers".

12:20 "And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, OR THRUST THROUGH WITH A DART". This reading is found in Tyndale, Geneva, Bishop's, Great Bible, Spanish, Young's and Modern Greek used by the Greek Orthodox church. However the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, Holman and other modern Westcott-Hort versions omit the phrase.

13:6 "So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, AND (kai) I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Notice this is a statement in the KJB, and in Wycliffe, Young's, Tyndale, Coverdale, Geneva, Lamsa's Syriac Peshitta, Webster's, the Spanish and even in the Catholic Douay versions.

The NKJV does not always follow the same Greek texts that underlie the King James Bible and here are two examples found in this one verse where the NKJV departs from the KJB texts.

That little word AND (kai) is in the majority, A and even P46, and Sinaiticus correction, but the original Sinaiticus omitted the word AND, and the Westcott-Hort text also makes this sentence a question rather than a statement. So the NKJV follows the NASB, NIV, ESV, Holman here and says: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do unto me?"

13:21 "Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in YOU that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ." Working in YOU is in the majority and C, and in the NKJV, Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishops', Geneva, Spanish and even in the Catholic Douay. But Sinaiticus and A say: working in US, instead of "you" and so do the NASB, NIV, ESV and Holman.

Finally in the last verse of 13:25 we read: "Grace be with you all. AMEN." The word Amen is found in the majority of all texts, A, C and even in Sinaiticus correction. It is also found in Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishops', Geneva, the Revised Version of 1881, the American Standard Version 1901, Douay, World English Bible, Weymouth, Luther, French Louis Segond, Spanish, Syriac Peshitta, and the RSV of 1952. However the NIV, NASB, Holman and ESV all omit the word Amen. This is not because any new manuscripts have been uncovered, but because what one set of scholars, using their "science of textual criticism" choose to accept, the others reject.

You can either trust the ever changing Bible of the Month club $cholar$, who constantly differ among themselves, or you can trust the tried and true Authorized King James Bible as the sure words of the living God.

“Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:104

Will Kinney

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