Article: The character of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus texts by Will Kinney

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The character of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus texts

Most of the over 5000 New Testament differences between the King James Bible and modern Bible versions like the NASB, NIV, RSV, Living Bible, and others, are the result of two manuscripts which allegedly date to around 350 AD called Sinaiticus (Aleph) and Vaticanus (B). Dean John William Burgon, personally collated the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts. In his book, "The Revision Revised", which he wrote in 1881, he gives his opinion and lists undeniable facts about what these two manuscripts say.

Mr. Burgon states on page 11;

"Singular to relate Vaticanus and Aleph have within the last 20 years established a tyrannical ascendance over the imagination of the Critics, which can only be fitly spoken of as a blind superstition. It matters nothing that they are discovered on careful scrutiny to differ essentially, not only from ninety-nine out of a hundred of the whole body of extant MSS. besides, but even from one another. In the gospels alone B (Vaticanus) is found to omit at least 2877 words: to add 536, to substitute, 935; to transpose, 2098: to modify 1132 (in all 7578): - the corresponding figures for Aleph being 3455 omitted, 839 added, 1114 substitued, 2299 transposed, 1265 modified (in all 8972). And be it remembered that the omissions, additions, substitutions, transpositions, and modifications, are by no means the same in both. It is in fact easier to find two consecutive verses in which these two mss. differ the one from the other, than two consecutive verses in which they entirely agree."

On page 319 of he remarks,

"In the Gospels alone Vaticanus has 589 readings quite peculiar to itself, affecting 858 words while Aleph has 1460 such readings, afecting 2640 words."

In his book, Revision Revised, Dean Burgon wrote over a hundred years ago, concerning the ages of Codices Vatican (B) and Sinai (Aleph): Quote:

"Lastly, - We suspect that these two Manuscripts are indebted for their preservation, solely to their ascertained evil character, which has occasioned that the one eventually found its way, four centuries ago, to a forgotten shelf in the Vatican library; while the other, after exercising the ingenuity of several generations of critical Correctors, eventually (viz. in A.D. 1844) got deposited in the waste-paper basket of the Convent at the foot of mount Sinai. Had B and Aleph been copies of average purity, they must long since have shared the inevitable fate of books which are freely used and highly prized; namely, they would have fallen into decadence and disappeared from sight." (Ref: P1)

In short these two codices are old simply because, first,they were written on extremely expensive and durable antelope skins, and secondly, they were so full of errors, alterations, additions and deletions, that they were never used by true believers and seldom even by their own custodians. Thus they had little chance of wearing away. Herman Hoskier also has written a 2 Volume set called: Codex B and Its Allies: A Study and an Indictment. - Hoskier, Herman Charles (1864-1938) This thorough and scholarly work can now be seen online here: In it he documents many of the 4000 or more differences that exist just between these two "oldest and best" manuscripts.

The purpose of this article is to give you just a few of many examples showing just how contradictory and confusing these two "oldest and best" manuscripts really are when contrasted with the Traditional Greek Text that underlies the King James Bible of 1611. Literally thousands of words have been omitted from the KJB text primarily on the basis of Aleph or B, yet the modern versions follow no discernable or logical pattern as to when they decide to include or exclude readings from one or the other


Sinaiticus Text
Sinaiticus Text

SINAITICUS (Aleph) completely omits the following verses while they are found in Vaticanus. Matthew 24:35 - "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away"; Luke 10:32 - "And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side."; 17:35 - "Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left."; John 9:38 - "And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him."; 16:15 - "All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you."; 21:25 - "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."; and I Corinthians 2:15- "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man." and 13:1b -2 - "I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not- (charity, I am nothing)."

(As a side note, there are many sections and even whole books missing from the Old Testament. Aleph-"Sinaiticus: written more than 200 years after the completion of the New Testament. It omits Genesis 23:19-24:46, Numbers 5:27-7:20, 1 Chronicles 9:27-19:17, all of Exodus, Joshua, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Judges. It contains New Testament Apocrypha.)


Codex Vaticanus B
Codex Vaticanus B

VATICANUS (B) omits Matthew 12:47 - "Then one said unto him, Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee." and Luke 23:17 while Sinaiticus retains them. Luke 23:17, "For of necessity he must release one onto them at the feast", is omitted in B, the NASB, and NIV, yet it is in Sinaticus and the majority of all Greek texts. Yet B omits Luke 23:34, "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do", while it is retained in Sinaticus and this time kept in the NASB and NIV. Go figure.


This entire verse is found in the Majority of all texts as well as Sinaiticus. However Vaticanus omits the whole verse and so do the NIV, RSV, ESV, RV and ASV. The NASB pulls its usual trick, and from 1963 to 1972 the NASB omitted the verse, but then in 1977 and again in 1995 the NASB scholars decided to put the verse back in the text. The brand new ISV of 2004 and the Holman Christian Standard of 2003 also retain the verse and place it in their modern versions, but The Message and the NET version continue to omit it. Aren't you glad we have the latest sure findings of modern scholarship to help us find out what God REALLY said?

Matthew 12:47 reads: "Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee." This verse is found in the Majority of all texts, in Sinaiticus correction, C and D. However Vaticanus omits it.

The RV and ASV included the verse. Then the Revised Standard Version of 1952 omitted it, but the NRSV of 1989 but it back in again. But wait. Now the 2001 ESV again omits it! However the NASB, NIV, ISV and Holman all keep it in their texts. Some "science" huh?

In the gospels alone, both SINAITICUS and VATICANUS omit the following verses. Matthew 17:21, 18:11, 23:14; Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46, 11:26, 15:28; Luke 9:55-56, 17:36, 23:17, and John 5:4. They are all found in the majority of the remaining Greek texts we have today. The NASB of 1972 omitted these verses, but in 1977 put them back [in brackets]. The NIV continues to omit these verses entirely.


Matthew 6:13

What is commonly referred to as the Lord's Prayer ends with these words: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." Out of about 1000 remaining manuscripts these words are found in all but 10, or a ratio of 100 to 1. They are included in the Didache 150 AD, and the Diatessaron 170 AD (200 years before Sinaticus and Vaticanus). They are also found in the following ancient Bible versions: The Old Latin 200 AD, the Syriac Peshitta 250 AD, Harclean, Curetonian, Palestinian, Coptic, Gothic, Armenian, and Ethiopic.

These inspired words of our Lord Jesus Christ are also found in Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishops' Bible, the Geneva Bible, NKJV, Lamsa's 1936 translation of the Syriac, the Italian Diodati, Spanish Reina Valera, German Luther, and the new Complete Jewish Bible.

However both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus omit all these words and the NIV, RSV, ESV omit them while the NASB, and Holman Standard put them in brackets.

Matthew 16:2-3

Both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus completely omit most of 2 and all of verse 3. "When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky: but can ye not discern the signs of the times?". Here the NASB includes the words with no notes while the NIV footnotes that these words "are not found in some early manuscripts". .

Matthew 17:20

An error still retained in the NASB, ESV and NIV is the result of following Aleph and B. When the disciples could not cast out a devil they ask Jesus why. The Lord tells them, "Because of your UNBELIEF: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove." In this instance they had no faith at all and Jesus tells them that if they had just a little bit of faith they could remove mountains.

However both Aleph and B read "little faith" instead of “unbelief”, and so the NASB, ESV and NIV read, "Because you have SO LITTLE FAITH. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed. . .". If they had a little bit of faith to begin with, it doesn't make sense to tell them they only need a mustard seed of faith to accomplish great things. But if they had no faith, then Jesus's words make sense.

Matthew 27:49

A very serious error occurs here in both of these manuscripts, which is not used by the NASB, NIV, or the RSV, though the reading is noted in the RSV footnote as, *Other ancient authorities insert - "And another took a spear and pierced his side and there came out water and blood." None of the major English Bible translations in history ever included this added verse. This includes Wycliffe 1396, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' bible, the Geneva Bible, the RV, ASV, NASB, NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NKJV, Holman, Darby nor Youngs. It is an obvious textual blunder. Yet there are a couple of wackos going around the internet claiming that the KJB is wrong because it does not include this extra verse! We do live in interesting times. This reading of both Aleph and B has a man killing our Lord rather than He Himself commending His spirit into the hands of the Father and voluntarily giving up the ghost.

This reading also has Christ being put to death at this time, yet we see from the very next verse and the other gospels that He continues to speak. In Luke 23:44-46 Jesus says, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit", and John 19:30 says, "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost".

It is not until AFTER our Lord said all these things, and He Himself voluntarily gave up His own life that we read in John 19:34, "one of the soldiers with a spear piered his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water".

Obviously some very careless scribes took this reading from John's gospel and placed it in Matthew 27:49, where it is completely out of order. Yet this reading is found in both of these "oldest and best" manuscripts upon which most modern versions are based.


Mark 1:2

Another error still retained in the NASB, ESV and NIV is found in this verse. The KJB reads: "As it is written IN THE PROPHETS, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way BEFORE THEE. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."

Here we have two different prophets quoted. One is Malachi and the other Isaiah. That is why it says prophets - plural. It is the reading of the Majority of Greek texts. It is found in many ancient versions and quoted by Ireneaus and Tertullian who lived 150 years before Aleph and B ever saw the light of day. The NASB, ESV and NIV say, "as it is written in ISAIAH..." but only part of the quote is from Isaiah (40:3); the other part is from Malachi (3:1).

In Mark 1:1-2, both Aleph and B change “the prophets” to “Isaiah”, and both omit the words "before thee". Sinaiticus omits THE SON OF GOD from verse 1, but it is found in Vaticanus.

Mark 6:22

"And when the daughter of THE SAID (autns tns) Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod..." both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus read, "And when HIS daugher Herodias came in and danced", thus making Herodias the daughter of Herod.

The Nestle-Aland Greek texts previously read like the King James Bible and the Majority of all Greek texts: When the daughter OF THE SAME (or 'the said' autns tns) Herodias came in and danced...". However in the latest Nestle-Aland critical texts they once again have changed their Greek reading and decided to go with that found in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and D which reads: "and when HIS daughter Herodias came in..."

The fickle nature of the "science" of textual criticism is seen in the following versions. Reading like the King James Bible that this was the daughter of Herodias by her previous marriage to Phillip (as the context, as well as Matthew 14:6-11 clearly show) are the RV, ASV, RSV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, ISV, Holman, and the ESV. However the NRSV of 1989 actually says: "When HIS DAUGHTER Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod." Notice that the RSV of 1952 went with the KJB reading. Then the NRSV followed Sin/Vat. and then again the ESV of 2003 went back to the KJB reading.

But wait! There's more. Now Dr. Daniel Wallace and company in their NET bible version also follow this bogus reading of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus and their ongoing train wreck reads: "When HIS DAUGHTER Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests."


Luke 1:26

"And the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of GALILEE, named Nazareth." Sinaiticus reads "a city of JUDEA, named Nazareth" - a clear geographical error (one of many). Nazareth is in Galilee, not Judea.

Luke 10:1

"After these things the Lord appointed other SEVENTY also, and sent them two and two before his face." Here, B reads 72 sent and so do the NIV, ESV but Aleph reads 70, and so do the RSV, NRSV, and NASB.

Luke 22:43-44

"And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

The total hypocricy of the modern versions is shown by how they deal with these two verses. They are found in the Majority of all texts including D, the Old Latin copies, Syriac Peshitta, Curetonian, Harkelian, Palestinian, Armenian and Ethiopic ancient versions. Vaticanus omits all these words. Sinaiticus original contained all these words; then a scribe omitted them, and then another scribe put them back in again!

Even though Vaticanus omits all these words, and the modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV omit thousands of words because of the Vaticanus readings, yet the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, ISV and Holman continue to include these two verses in their versions.

Daniel Wallace's NET version also includes them in brackets, but reveals the mindset of many scholars today in his footnotes. Mr. Wallace tells us: "Arguments can be given on both sides about whether scribes would tend to include or omit such comments about Jesus’ humanity and an angel’s help. But even if the verses are NOT LITERALLY AUTHENTIC, they are PROBABLY HISTORICALLY AUTHENTIC...Nevertheless, because of the SERIOUS DOUBTS as to these verses’ authenticity, they have been put in brackets."

So, in other words, even though God may not have inspired them, and they were later added by mere human hands, it may be OK to keep them in our bibles, but we should continue to call them into question!!! Do you see how these guys think?


John 7:8-10

Here we read of Jesus telling his brethren to go up unto a feast and He says: "I go NOT up YET unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Gallilee. But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret." He did in fact go up to the feast.

Vaticanus, as well as P66, 75, and the majority of all texts read as does the KJB with: "I go not up YET unto this feast", and so do the Revised Version 1881, Geneva, Tyndale, Bishops', Coverdale, the NIV, Holman Standard, the 2005 ISV (International Standard Version), Young, Weymouth, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible 1902.

However Sinaiticus says: "I DO NOT GO to this feast", and so do the NASB, ASV, RSV, ESV and Wallace's NET version thus making our Lord a liar. The fickle nature of this so called "science" is also seen in that Westcott and Hort originally read "NOT YET" and so did the previous Nestle-Aland critical texts up until a few years ago. But the more recent ones have "scientifically" changed to now read "I do NOT go to this feast."

Daniel Wallace's NET version has the Lord saying He is NOT going to the feast, and then going. But the thinking of such "scholars" is revealed in his own footnotes where he says: " Most mss (Ì66,75 B L T W 070 0105 0250 Ë1,13 Ï sa), including most of the better witnesses, have “not yet” here. Those with the reading "not" (ouk) are not as impressive ( D K 1241 al lat), but "ouk" is the more difficult reading here, especially because it stands in tension with v. 10." So, in other words, because it absurdly makes our Lord Jesus a liar, it must be right!

Wilbur Pickering, who himself is not even a KJB onlyist, comments on this blunder: Serious Anomalies/Aberrations -John 7:8 oupw--P66,75,B,E,F,G,H,L,N,T,W,X,D,Q,Y 070,0105,0141,0250,f1,13,Byz,Lect,syrp,h,pal,cosa "NOT YET" ; ouk --À,D,K,P,lat,syrs,c,cobo "NOT" Problem: Since Jesus did in fact go to the feast (and doubtless knew what He was going to do), the UBS text has the effect of ascribing a falsehood to Him.

Discussion: Since the UBS editors usually attach the highest value to P75 and B, isn't it strange that they reject them in this case? Here is Metzger's explanation: "The reading ["not yet"] was introduced at an early date (it is attested by P66,75) in order to alleviate the inconsistency between ver. 8 and ver. 10" (p. 216). So, they rejected P66,75 and B (as well as 99% of the MSS) because they preferred the "inconsistency". NASB, RSV, NEB and TEV stay with the eclectic text here. (end of comments by Dr. Pickering.)

Also in just these three verses we see that the word “this” of THIS FEAST is omitted by B but found in Aleph, but the NASB and NIV both omit the word, while "UNTO THEM" is in the NASB and B, but not in the NIV or Aleph, and "AS IT WERE" is in B and the NASB, but not in Aleph and the NIV. This is the character of these two manuscripts and bible versions in a nutshell.

John 9:38

The blind man healed and his response to Jesus. In John 9:38-39 we read: "AND HE SAID, LORD, I BELIEVE. AND HE WORSHIPPED HIM. AND JESUS SAID, For judgment I am come into the world, that they which see might not see; and that they which see might be made blind."

This again is just one more of the multiple examples of where the fickle and contradictory "oldest and best" manuscripts upon which most modern versions like the ever-changing NASB, and others like the NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, and Holman Standard are based.

The entire verse and part of the next one read: "And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. And Jesus said..." This is the reading found in the Majority of all Greek texts including P66, A, Vaticanus, D, Sinaiticus correction, plus numerous other uncial copies. It is also the reading found in most Old Latin copies, the Syriac Peshitta, Harkelian, Palestinian, Coptic Sahidic, Boharic, Gothic, Armenian, Georgian, Slavonic and Ethiopian ancient versions.

The entire verse is found in every Bible version I have consulted, including the NASB, NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NKJV, and Holman Standard.

However both P75 and Sinaiticus original (it was later corrected to include the verse) omit the entire verse of John 9:38 and part of 9:39. So too do the Diatessaron, and a few of the Old Latin witnesses, though it is included in most of them.

Daniel Wallace's NET version places all these words in brackets, thus casting doubt as to their authenticity. He then footnotes: "Some early and important witnesses lack the words, “He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him. Jesus said,” (vv. 38-39a). THIS IS WEIGHTY EVIDENCE FOR THE OMISSION OF THESE WORDS. " (Caps are mine). He then continues: "It is difficult to overstate the value of P75 here, since it is the only currently available papyrus ms. extant for the text of John 9:38-39." (Note: this is a lie. P66 also exists and it includes the words Daniel Wallace would have us doubt). He goes on: "Further, Sinaiticus is an important and early Alexandrian witness for the omission." (Note: Then why was it later altered to include the verse?) He continues: "The versional testimony and codex W also give strong support to the omission. Nearly all other mss, however, include these words. The omission may have been occasioned by parablepsis (both vv. 37 and 39 begin with “Jesus said to him”), though it is difficult to account for such an error across such a wide variety of witnesses. On the other hand, the longer reading appears to be motivated by liturgical concerns (so R. E. Brown, John [AB], 1:375), since the verb proskunew, “I worship”) is used in John 4:20-25 of worshiping God, and again with the same sense in 12:20. If these words were authentic here, this would be the only place in John’s Gospel where Jesus is the explicit object of proskunew. Nevertheless, a decision is difficult, and the included words may reflect a very early tradition about the blind man’s response to Jesus."

Daniel Wallace and men like him are willing to overlook all the evidence, and even to lie about it, and then conclude that the whole verse and more "appears to be motivated by liturgical concerns" and "may reflect a very early tradition". In other words, it probably isn't inspired Scripture, but was later added by well meaning men, so let's keep it in our versions, but continue to cast doubt about its authenticity! This is the type of thinking of we find in the men who continue to churn out the ever changing modern versions, none of which any of them believes to be the complete, inspired and inerrant preserved words of the living God.

John 16:9

In John 16:9 we read of the Comforter coming into the world to reprove of sin, righteousness and judgment - "Of sin, because they believe NOT on me". However Sinaiticus original says: "Of sin, because they believe on me". Not quite the same, is it? Sinaiticus original also omitted the entire verse of 16:15 -"All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you."

John 16:16

"A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, BECAUSE I GO TO THE FATHER." These last 6 words are found in the Majority of all texts, A, plus at least 23 other uncials, the Old Latin, Syriac, Gothic, Armenian, and Coptic manuscripts, and we see the disciples refer to these words again in the very next verse when they ask: "What is this that he saith unto us, A little while and ye shall not see me: and again, and little while, and ye shall see me: and, BECAUSE I GO TO THE FATHER?"

However both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus omit "Because I go to the Father" in verse 16 and so do the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV and Holman versions, but yet they include these words in the next verse when the disciples repeat what Jesus had just got done saying. Why would they ask what Jesus had meant by saying "Because I go to the Father", when, according to the NASB, NIV, ESV, He never said it? Not only this, but Sinaiticus also omits the words "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again" in John 16:16 itself, but are included in Vaticanus and the modern versions. Keep in mind, that these two manuscripts are "the oldest and the best" upon which most modern versions are based.

We see again the fickleness of modern scholarship in John 16:27. Here we read: "For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from GOD." The word GOD is found in the Majority of all texts including the Old Latin, and Syriac. Sinaiticus first read GOD, then a scribe changed it to "the Father", and then another one changed it back to "God". Vaticanus reads THE FATHER and so does the NASB, ASV and the RSV. However the "updated" UBS critical text now goes with "I came out from GOD" and so do the NRSV, ESV, NIV and the Holman Standard.

John 17:15

"I pray not that thou shouldest take them OUT OF THE WORLD". Vaticanus says: "I do not pray that you should take them FROM THE EVIL ONE."


Acts 10:19

“three men”, “two men” or just “ some men”? Further textual confusion both by Westcott-Hort and the two so called “oldest and best” manuscripts is further seen in Acts 10:19. In the King James Bible we read: “While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, THREE men seek thee.” The three men refers back to verses 10:7-8 where we read that Cornelius “called TWO of his household servants, AND a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually...he sent THEM to Joppa.” Thus there were three men altogether who went to find Peter.

The reading of "THREE men" is again confirmed in chapter eleven verse eleven where Peter is rehearsing the events that previously occurred in chapter ten. There Peter relates: "And, behold, immediately there were THREE men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me."

THREE men (andres treis) is the reading found in the TR, Stephanus, Beza, Elziever, Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, C, E, many Old Latin copies, Coptic Sahidic, Boharic, Syriac, Georgian, Vulgate and the Ethiopian ancient versions. It is also the reading of Spanish Reina Valera and the Modern Greek N.T.

THREE men is also the reading found in Wycliffe 1395, Bishops’ bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Revised Version 1881, ASV 1901, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NASB, NKJV, NIV and the Holman Standard.

Quite a few manuscripts completely omit any number here and simply say “Men seek thee”. Among these are D, L, P and a few Old Latin copies. Among those versions that omit any number at all are Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535 and the New English Bible 1970.

However where the real confusion comes in is when we look at the Vaticanus manuscript and the early Westcott-Hort, Nestle Aland critical texts. ONLY the Vaticanus copy reads TWO men (andres duo) and Westcott and Hort as well as the Nestle 4th edition 1934 and the Nestle-Aland 1962 editions read “TWO men seek thee”, all based solely on the Vaticanus mss.

Later on the Nestle-Aland crtical text once again changed their previous reading and the current one now reads “THREE men”, and so too do the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV and Holman Standard.

There are only two bible translations I have found so far that actually contain the Vaticanus reading of “two men”. One is Rotherham’s 1902 Emphasized bible that says: “Behold, TWO men seek thee.”, and the other one is the Catholic New American Bible St. Joseph 1970 which reads: “There are TWO men in search of you.”

The Catholic versions present us with the usual hodge-podge of confusion, with the previous Douay 1950 correctly reading “three men”, then the 1968 Jerusalem bible came out with the reading “SOME men”. Then in 1970 the St. Joseph NAB 1970 went with the Vaticanus reading of “TWO men”, but now the latest Catholic bible, the New Jerusalem bible of 1985, has come out and it just omits the number altogether and once again reads: “SOME men have come to see you.”

This is the fickle nature of the so called “oldest and best manuscripts” and the men who support them.

Acts 12:25

The Devil is in the Details. In Acts 12:25 we read: “And Barnabas and Saul returned FROM (ex) Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.”

This is the reading found in a multitude of Greek manuscripts and Bible versions including P74, Alexandrinus, the Textus Receptus, the Modern Greek N.T., the Vulgate 425, Wycliffe 1395, the Geneva Bible 1599, the Italian Diodati 1649, Riveduta 1927, French Martin 1744, Louis Segond 1910, Ostervald 1996, the Spanish Reina Valera 1602 - 1995, the Revised Version 1881, ASV 1901, Weymouth, Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac 1933, Douay 1950, Darby, Young’s, the NKJV 1982, NASB 1963-1995, RSV 1952, ESV 2003, The Message, Bible in Basic English, New English Bible, the NIV 1984, and the TNIV 2005.

Clearly the whole context tells us that Barnabas and Paul had already gone TO Jerusalem and had now returned FROM Jerusalem. In Acts 11:29-30 we read: “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of BARNABAS AND SAUL.”

Then in 13:1 we again pick up with both Saul (Paul) and Barnabas already at Antioch, and not in Jerusalem. “Now there were at Antioch certain prophets and teachers: as Barnabas....and Saul.”

However the corrupt manuscripts of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus tell us in Acts 12:25 that both Barnabas and Saul (Paul) now returned TO Jerusalem, even though they had already been there as recorded in Acts 11:29-30, and were now in Antioch as found in Acts 13:1.

The total fickleness and inconsistency of the modern Critical text is seen in that Westcott and Hort originally went with the erroneous reading of “returned TO Jerusalem” (eis), but then the Nestle text 4th edition 1934 and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 1962 both read “returned FROM Jerusalem (ex). But wait; it gets worse. Now the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum 27th edition and the UBS 4th edition have once again rejected the previous Nestle critical text and have gone back to the reading originally adopted by Westcott and Hort. The UBS 4th edition once again says: “returned TO (eis) Jerusalem.”

Versions that contain this erroneous reading - “returned TO Jerusalem” - and thus contradict the whole context of Acts 11 through 13 are Tyndale 1525 - (one of many reasons why Tyndale was not the perfect English Bible - see ) Coverdale 1535, Bishops’ bible 1568, and in modern times Rotherham’s Emphasized bible 1902, the Catholic St. Joseph New American Bible 1970, the NRSV 1989, Holman Christian Standard Version 2003, the ISV (International Standard Version 2003), and Daniel Wallace’s NET version. Notice that the RSV 1952 and the ESV 2001 both read “FROM Jerusalem” but the NRSV 1989 read “TO Jerusalem”. These three are revisions of each other. Can’t seem to make up their minds, can they?

Acts 17:28

An interesting textual blunder is found here in the Vaticanus manuscript, but no version I am aware of has followed this unusual reading. In the context the apostle Paul is speaking to the Athenians and he quotes from their own poets. He says: "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of YOUR own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."

Clearly the apostle was referring to certain pagan poets and not Jewish writers. The reading of YOUR own poets is that of the majority of all texts, including Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus. However P74 and Vaticanus actually have the Jewish apostle Paul referring to this saying as coming from "certain of OUR poets".

Acts 19:16

In Acts 19 we are told of SEVEN sons of Sceva, who were vagabond Jews, exorcists, which "took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, WE adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth". There are two blunders found here in the "oldest and best" texts of both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, against the majority of all others. The Majority of all texts, as well as the Syriac Peshitta, read as does the KJB with these seven sons saying "WE adjure you by Jesus". The word "we" is obviously plural, and the evil spirit answers in verse 15 "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are YE?". Now, the word "ye" is plural in all texts answering to the plural "we" of "We adjure thee".

However Sinaiticus and Vaticanus both have only one individual saying: "I" adjure you by Jesus, and so read the NASB, NIV, and ESV. Nevertheless, the evil spirit still answers addressing a plural number of persons rather than one individual even in the corrupted Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts.

The more striking blunder is found in Acts 19:16. There we read: "And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame THEM, (autoon) and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." There were seven sons and the spirit leaped on THEM.

The single word "them" is the reading of the majority of all texts. However both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus tell us that the evil spirit "overcame BOTH OF THEM, (amphoteros autwn) and prevailed against them."

The Amplified bible brings out this errant reading and even tries to tell us that it is found “in the best texts”. The Amplified reads: “Then the man in whom the evil spirit dwelt leaped upon them, mastering TWO OF THEM, and was so violent against them that they dashed out of that house in fear, stripped naked and wounded.” Then in a footnote is says: “The best texts read "both of them."

The word for "both" is amphoteros, and always means "both". Yet the word "both" can only refer to the number two, not the SEVEN sons of Sceva. In fact, the NASBs from 1963 through 1972 read "and overcame BOTH OF THEM", and so also do the Revised Version 1881 and ASV 1901.

Not even the RSV, NRSV or ESV followed this bogus reading found in the “oldest and best manuscripts”, though they do mention it in their footnotes. The RSV and ESV read “mastered ALL of them”, but then footnote: “Or BOTH of them.” Even to this day the ever changing Nestle-Aland critical Greek text used in making up most modern versions still reads “overcame BOTH of them”.

Finally, after several years and numerous editions, it apparently occured to the NASB scholars that there was a clear blunder in their "oldest and most reliable texts", so in 1977 and again in 1995 the NASB changed their versions to read that the evil spirit overcame "ALL OF THEM" instead of "both of them". The NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, Holman Standard also say "all of them". Actually, the word "all" is not found in any text whatsoever, but the NIV, NASB, RSV, ESV put the extra word in anyway.

Again, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are clearly wrong. The NKJV correctly footnotes that the Nestle and UBS text says "both of them" instead of "overcame them".

Acts 27:37

“216 souls” or “about 76”?

Vaticanus alone has a silly reading in this verse. The Holy Ghost is relating the shipwreck that occured when Paul was on his way to Rome. The Scripture says: “And we were in all the ship two hundred and sixteen souls.”

So read the majority of all texts as well as Sinaiticus and C. Alexandrinus uniquely reads “275” instead of “276”, but Vaticanus alone reads “we were in all the ship ABOUT 76 souls”. Now, you can have about 200 or about 300, but it is more than a little silly to say ABOUT 76. The number 76 is an exact number, not a round number.

Westcott and Hort initially followed the erroneous reading of Vaticanus and placed “about 76 souls” in their critical Greek text, but later revisors decided to reject this unique reading, and changed their texts to read 276 souls.

The only version I am aware of that actually followed this bogus reading found in the Vaticanus manuscript is Rotherham’s Emphasized bible of 1902. It reads: “Now we were, in the ship, in all, ABOUT SEVENTY-SIX souls.”


Romans - The book of Romans, just as every other New Testament book, is full of examples where the two so called oldest and best manuscripts (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) are at odds with each other. I could show numerous examples, but for the moment here are a couple of them.

Romans 13:9

"...Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Thou shalt not covet..." The words "Thou shalt not bear false witness" are found in multiple manuscripts and ancient versions like the Old Latin, the Syriac Harkelian, Coptic Boharic, Armenian and Ethiopic. They are also in Sinaiticus. They are included in all English Bibles from Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishops', and the Geneva. However Vaticanus omits these words and so do the versions from the Revised Version, to the NASB, RSV, ESV, NIV and Holman Standard.

Romans 14:21

"It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, OR IS OFFENDED, OR IS MADE WEAK." The capitalized words are again found in the Majority of all Greek texts and even in Vaticanus, plus the Sinaiticus correction. They are found in Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishops, Geneva, Douay-Rheims, NKJV and the Spanish Reina Valera. Even some modern versions that usually follow the Westcott-Hort text include the words. Among these are the Amplified Bible (put out by the same people who give us the NASB), and the brand new ISV (International Standard Version). However Sinaiticus original had a different reading that said "or is grieved". Then it was corrected to agree with the KJB reading. In spite of all this evidence, versions like the RV, NASB, RSV, ESV, NIV and Holman omit "or is offended, or is made weak" - all done on a strict "scientific method", don't ya know.

For a mind blowing study showing the utter foolishness of the "art and science of textual criticism" please see this factual study of the book of Romans here:

1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 13:3

Instead of reading, "and though I give my body to BE BURNED, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing", both Aleph and B read: "and though I give my body THAT I MAY BOAST". The NRSV actually adopted this reading, but the RSV, and the new ESV went back to "to be burned".

1 Corinthians 13:5

". . .charity seeketh not HER OWN". Vaticanus alone reads "love does not seek that which IS NOT HERS" - the opposite meaning.

1 Corinthians 15:51

"We shall NOT all sleep, but we shall all be changed" in Sinaticus reads: "we shall sleep but we shall NOT ALL be changed" - the exact opposite.

1 Corinthians 15:54-55

"Death is swallowed up in VICTORY. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your VICTORY." In Vaticanus this verse reads, "Death is swallowed up in CONTROVERSY. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your CONTROVERSY."

1 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 2:7

"But we were GENTLE among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children". "But we were BABIES among you." according to Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. The older Nestle-Aland text read "gentle among you" but the newer Nestle-Aland, UBS texts have now adopted the reading of "we were infants among you".

2 Peter

2 Peter 3:10

. . ."the earth also and the works that are therein SHALL BE BURNED UP", reads in both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, "the works that are therein SHALL BE FOUND". The old RSV stayed with the reading of "shall be burned up" and does the NASB, but the NIV, ESV say the works "shall be exposed" or "shall be discovered".


Revelation- The Vaticanus manuscript is missing ALL of the book of Revelation as well as I and II Timothy, Titus, and from Hebrews 9 to the end of the book. However Sinaiticus give us some really strange readings in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 4:8

"HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." But Sinaiticus says: " Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty..."

Revelation 7:4 14:3

Both verses mention the number of 144,000. However Sinaiticus has 140,000 in 7:4 and 141,000 in 14:3.

Revelation 10:1

"And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and A RAINBOW was upon his head..." Sinaiticus says: "clothed with a cloud with HAIR on his head."

Revelation 21:4

"For THE FORMER THINGS are passed away". Sinaiticus reads: "For THE SHEEP are passed away."

Revelation 21:5

"Behold, I make all things NEW", while Sinaiticus says: "Behold, I make all things EMPTY."

These are just a few samples from these two "oldest and best" manuscripts which so many modern versions are based on. It is my firm conviction that God has preserved His inspired, pure, and perfect words as He promised and they are found today in English only in the Authorized King James Bible.

"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16

"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 11:15

by Will Kinney

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