Matthew 17:21

Christopher ThomasMatthew, The GospelsLeave a Comment



Matthew 17.21
Textus Receptus/Byzantine Text:


Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

(Matthew 17:21 Authorised Version)

Nestle Aland 27:


Manuscript/Patristic Support:







The omission of this verse by the Nestle-Aland Text is supported by Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. The inclusion of this verse is supported the Diatessaron of Tatian in the 2nd century A.D.,[i] and by Origen in the 3rd century in his Commentary on Matthew.[ii] These words were also cited by the third century Latin Father Tertullian.[iii] They are also universally found in the Byzantine Text.
Doctrinal DifferenceThe Alexandrian Text also deletes references to fasting in Mark 9.29 and Acts 10.30. The Alexandrian Text has thus eliminated all references by our Lord and Saviour Himself to prayer and fasting, and it has eliminated from our purview the fact that Cornelius the centurion was also fasting when in prayer, when the angel appeared to him, commanding him to summon Peter to bring the Gospel to his house. These deletions of fasting from the Holy Writ would appear to be systematic. Given the antinomian trends that were rampant in Egypt in the second and third centuries A.D. as detailed above, along with the unspeakable moral licentiousness of the Egyptian Gnostics as related in great detail by the early Father Epiphanius[iv], it is impossible not to suspect the mischief of heretics also in this deletion.

[i]           Tatian, ANF09, Diatessaron, Section XXIV, line 45.

[ii]            Origen, ANF09, Commentary on Matthew, Book 1, chapter 7.

[iii]          Tertullian, ANF04, Part Fourth, ‘On Fasting’.

[iv]          Epiphanius, The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salmis (translated by Frank Williams) (Leiden, the Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 2009), pp 90 – 109. Epiphanius on these pages explicitly mentions the most wicked sexual immoralities of the Gnostics who proliferated in Egypt in his time, and with whom he had come in contact while in Egypt.

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