Is The Old Testaments And New Testament Two Different Gods Westcott and Hort, Fathers of the Modern Bible Translations

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Westcott and Hort, Fathers of the Modern Bible Translations

Let’s look at Westcott and Hort. Yes, these are the famous – to some infamous – team that formed the Westcott-Hort Greek text, which became the standard for most modern translations.

Much bad and much good has been attributed to these people. There are many quotes about them. Lies are told. The truths are told. When all the dust settles, we have two more flawed men dealing with God’s revelation as best they can.

The great preacher Charles Spurgeon was a contemporary of Westcott and Hort. He never attacked their character or beliefs, as fundamentalists seem to be content to do in our day, although he did differ with some of their approaches to textual criticism. Spurgeon is not our ultimate guide, but it seems strange that one like him would never speak against the Christian faith of these two men.

Oh, and Spurgeon used and approved much of the Revised Version that was the final result, in England, of their work.

For the unconvinced, I may quote from the men themselves, letting them speak for themselves as to what they believed concerning the Scriptures which they so skillfully collected from the documents they used; documents, by the way, many years closer to the apostles’ originals.

They, in short, loved the Word of God. Allegations of spiritualism have been completely refuted. They aimed to produce a text as close as possible to what God gave to the apostles and prophets.

Did they doubt the inspiration of Scripture? Says Westcott,

“A belief in the authority of the books of the New Testament so widely spread throughout the Christian body, so deeply rooted in the deepest consciousness of the Christian Church, so perfectly consistent with all the facts we know, can only be explained by admitting that they are true and apostolic, a written rule of Christian faith and life.” (History of the New Testament Canon, Westcott, p.14)

And a contemporary witness,

“At the same time, it is a pleasure to see the evidence of the author everywhere visible [Westcott’s] convictions as a devout Christian and a firm believer in the authority and inspiration of the Holy Word. A tone of heartfelt belief in the Scriptures as truths and the source of truth pervades the work.” (An Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, London: MacMillan & Co., 1902, p. viii)

Westcott again:

“The Bible contains in itself the fullest evidence of its divine authority… legibly stamped with the divine seal as ‘breathed of God’ in a sense that no other writings have.” (The Bible In The Church, Westcott, p.14-15)

The fundamentalist problems with the two scholars is that they “raised antiquity above accuracy”. First they thus assume that the old manuscripts used are incorrect, then they must conclude, logically, that antiquity should not be a standard for truth.

Arguments against VATICAN AND Sinaiticus, the Greek manuscripts used by Westcott and Hort, together with their scholarly defense, are subjects into which this present article cannot descend. Here I only suggest that whether with the Catholic Erasmus or with these Protestant scholars Westcott and Hort, we are dealing, as we have said before, with imperfect men.

The wonder, in my opinion, is that there is no significant doctrinal problem between the KJV and all modern scholarly translations of our day! The differences are small and insignificant. Nothing about our salvation or growth in Christ is affected!

The antagonists are forced to admit, albeit unfortunately, that practically every version of the Bible from their day to ours has followed the Greek text of Westcott and Hort.

Really! And until our day, 2021. What a desire to jump on a bunch of Bible translators! How many accusations of ignorance against learned and spiritual people! How many accusations of motives! All the translators of this army of revisions and translations have been rounded up and trashed by KJV only advocates!

Ah! But although most followed W/H, there is at least one who followed Erasmus and him Textus Receptus. Really? Oh yes, the new King James Version, whose only fault was that it eventually alienated 17th-century English from 20th-century readers. Surely the KJV people will praise this volume?

I leave it to my reader to do the research. You will find that as much slander has been heaped upon this New KJV as upon all the works of Westcott/Hort. Some people are stuck in their ways. You know: Flat Earth. Not the holocaust.

As for Westcott-Hort, the battle continues, each side calling the other a promoter of a corrupt text.

Shy. Only the original autographs are uncorrupted. This is what we have believed and taught for centuries. Minor changes have gone into all subsequent manuscripts. All those. No two are exactly alike. But in the manuscript we have missed the point. I speak now to the reborn:

What were you saved by? I don’t ask which translation of the Bible. You were saved because your faith came to the Word of God that you heard preached, or because you read it yourself. The Word told you that you are a sinner. The Word told you what to do about that sin. The Word told you about the Spirit, whom you called into your life.

And the Word will perfect you in your understanding and your progress in the Christian life. Whether Erasmus is in the background or not. Whether Westcott, Hort, Luther, Calvin, Macarthur, or Spurgeon—flawed servants all—helped you to Christ, here you are, growing in Him.

Continue like this. The Word of God is working in you.

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