How do you know the reading in the Textus Receptus is correct?
This objection to the Confessional View of Scripture keeps popping up along with the claim that we have no consistent methodology for textual criticism. Both of these are due to the assumption of RTC advocates that we, like them, are rationalists who place human reasoning above the word of God. Sadly, some on our side are also guilty of rationalism and in some cases fideism. Even to the point of claiming the final authority for the acceptance of the Textus Receptus is the Reformation. This post is an attempt to clear up certain misunderstandings about the Confessional View of Scripture (CVS).
The two guiding principles of CVS in evaluating Greek mss and their variants are:
1. The Testimony of the Holy Ghost among God’s people throughout the history of the church (Isa 59:21, Ps 12:6,7; John 17:17; Rom 3:1-2; 1 Tim 3:15)
2. Does the the reading comport with the rest of Scripture?
The Testimony of the Holy Ghost among God’s people throughout the history of the church (Isa 59:21, Ps 12:6,7; John 17:17; Rom 3:1-2; 1 Tim 3:15)
Let it be remembered that the vulgar copy we use was the public possession of many generations, – that upon the invention of printing it was in actual authority throughout the world with them that used and understood that language, as far as any thing appears to the contrary; let that, then, pass for the standard, which is confessedly its right and due, and we shall, God assisting, quickly see how little reason there is to pretend such varieties of readings as we are now surprised withal. (John Owen The Church & The Bible, p.366)
This and other writings by the Reformers show that along with Scripture the Reformers held to the doctrine of Providential Preservation which teaches that the true reading of Scripture has been know to God’s people throughout the history of the Church and has been borne witness to by the testimony of the Holy Ghost. (Thomas Manton; Reformers on Providential Preservation) These readings came down to the time of Erasmus preserved in faithful apographs and easily revealed themselves when they were collated and subsequently printed. While Erasmus began the work, and was used by God to spark the Reformation, it was other men like Calvin, Stephanus, Beza, & the translators of the Authorised Version through their textual choices who completed the work.
This was the view concerning the text of Scripture among Reformed Christendom until B. B. Warfield made the Enlightenment & counter-reformation views of the papist Richard Simon palatable to our seminaries. Since then, those of us who hold to the Biblical doctrine of Providential Preservation have been told we have no consistent method of textual criticism.
Does the the reading comport with the rest of Scripture?
To deal with the false claim that we have no consistent method we will look at the following passages:
In these passages, we see that the Critical Text reading destroys the lineage of Christ and causes significant doctrinal errors concerning who Christ is.
John 1:18: Doctrinal Significance of John 1:18
The reading of God originated with the Valentinian heretics
1 Tim 3:16: The Revision Revised
The removal of God from this passage was due unto the Arians
2 Peter 3:10: Word Magazine 91 – 2 Peter 3:10
The Greek word ουκ is not found in any extant Greek mss. It was added solely on the say of RTC advocates. And it changes not just the meaning of the text, but the whole doctrine of eschatology.
And that’s the the problem with RTC. Its changes to Scripture, which have been many and contradictory throughout the history of the NA/UBS series show that RTC advocates are the only ones lacking a consistent methodology. But this doesnt just apply to those advocating for the Critical Text. It equally applies to all of those who reject the Textus Receptus whether CT advocates or MT/ByzPr advocates. Not only do both groups rely on autonomous human reasoning for evaluating Greek manuscripts and refuse to reject those that are obviously the corruption of heretics, such as Codices Vaticanus & Sinaiticus, they willfully choose textual variants that create logical contradictions or outright heresies.
In conclusion, we know the Textus Receptus is the accurate Greek New Testament because 1) it is the text to which the Holy Ghost has borne witness to among God’s people throughout the history of the church as demonstrated by the collation of the faithful apographs beginning with Erasmus and concluding with the Reformers and printed as the TR, & 2) Only the variant readings of the Textus Receptus comport with the rest of the teaching of Scripture. 3) It is the text upon which the Reformers based their doctrines and differences from the TR were rejected as corruptions to the word of God. Furthermore, we know the texts and variant choices now in vogue were long ago abandoned by faithful Christians due to the leading of the Holy Ghost. So if RTC advocates are correct then 1) the Holy Ghost has been in error or has deliberately lied to His people, 2) the Bible has logical and doctrinal contradictions thereby proving it is not the word of God, 3) The Doctrines of the Reformation must be abandoned en toto. To reject the Confessional View of Scripture and its texts is to reject God for atheism, equate the Holy Ghost to a devil, and turns the Reformation into the biggest theological mistake in the history of Christendom. It is impossible to support RTC without being an heretic. God help them and grant them repentance from darkness unto light.