The King James Version and the Textus Receptus

Their history, accuracy, and relevance today

by Robert Nguyen Cramer, (version

1. Intro

Introductory remarks: Recognizing the contribution of the King James Version 5. KJV 1611 The 1611 King James Version and its early revisions
2. Importance

The importance of knowing and understanding Jesus actual words, actions, and life as accurately as possible -- at whatever theological or intellectual cost

6. Dependency Dependency on the King James Version versus dependency on the original texts -- the controversy continues
3. TR history The history of the Textus Receptus (TR) 7. Conclusion Conclusion
4. TR effect The effect of the Textus Receptus on the accuracy of the King James Version

Listing of versions

Appendix A. Lists of Bible versions, their NT basis, and their reliability.

1. Introductory remarks: Recognizing the contribution of the King James Version

The King James Version [KJV] has made and continues to make a great contribution in its nearly four hundred years of enabling the Word of God to be known to humanity. Until the general acceptance of the Revised Standard Version [RSV], after its introduction in 1952, the KJV had remained almost* the only Bible version standard for English-speaking Protestant Christianity for nearly 350 years.

Though the facts presented in this document may at times seem unflattering to the King James Version of the Bible, I myself continue to have much appreciation for the KJV and for the many Bible study aids that are based upon the KJV. In my own study of the Bible throughout each week, I still refer to the KJV along with other English language versions of the Bible, Hebrew and Greek texts, biblical commentaries, and other resources.

2. The importance of knowing and understanding Jesus actual words, actions, and life as accurately as possible -- at whatever theological or intellectual cost.

Whether I am reading from modern versions, the KJV, or from texts in the ancient languages, I conscientiously try to ensure that what I am reading accurately represents (as closely as currently can be determined) the unadulterated, first-edition wording of the original biblical writer. Most important to me when reading the New Testament is to verify that I am reading an accurate representation of Christ Jesus' words, as reported by the original biblical writers.

Due to the conscientious endeavors of archeologists, textual analysts, and researchers in a variety of disciplines, it has gradually become more and more possible to verify or accurately reconstruct Jesus' words as reported in the first Greek editions of what are now the texts of the New Testament. At the same time, Jesus' message, reflected in both his words and his actions, continues to make its demands on each one of us, whether or not we are aware of those demands.

The more nearly we can verify, understand, and obey Jesus' actual words, actions, and life, the more we can cooperate with the demands (and opportunities) of his loving sacrifice, victory, and liberating salvation. These are demands that each one of us must ultimately face. With or without our cooperation, these demands and the genuine spirituality they require will increasingly compel us to "put off the old self with its habits and ... put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself." (Colossians 3:9,10 - TEV) Resistance to God's demands - even ignorant resistance - is ultimately both futile and very uncomfortable; thus, it seems much more desirable and more efficient to participate willingly, humbly, lovingly, reverently, and understandingly. An accurate and understandable representation of especially Jesus' and the apostles' actual words and actions can be a big help!

3. The history of the King James Version's dependence on the Textus Receptus

When using the King James Version [KJV] the Bible, it is apparent that in some verses there are major differences between the KJV translation and all modern translations*.

In the original 1982 Preface of the NKJV, "the New Testament Text" subsection included the following:

The New King James Version has been based on this Received Text, thus perpetuating the tradition begun by William Tyndale in 1525 and continued by the 1611 translators in rendering the Authorized Version.

In the revised Preface of the NKJV, "the New Testament Text" subsection of The Scofield Study Bible (NY: Oxford University Press, 2002, page xiv) and other Thomas Nelson Publisher reference editions now include the following:

In light of these facts, and also because the New King James Version is the fifth* revision of a historic document translated from specific Greek texts, the editors decided to retain the traditional text [explained earlier in the Preface as "first publilshed in 1516, and later called the Textus Receptus or Received Text"] in the body of the New Testament and to indicate major Critical and Majority variant readings in the footnotes.

* note regarding the 2002 Preface stating that the NKJV is "the fifth revision of a historic document translated from specific Greek texts." The Tyndale New Testament (1526-1530) was the first English translation to use the TR. Matthew's Bible (1537) simply used Tyndale's New Testament. The five 'revisions' mentioned may include those listed below, all of which were based on the Textus Receptus and all were influenced by Tyndale:

  1. Coverdale Bible (1535) / The Great Bible (1539) (both Bibles done by Coverdale)
  2. Geneva Bible (the Bible of the Pilgrims) (1557-1560)
  3. Bishop's Bible (1568)
  4. King James Version (a.k.a., Authorized Version; original version, 1611; Dr. Benjamin Blayney's final revision, 1769)
  5. New King James Version (1982)

For some additional details on the NKJV, see

Truly major differences between the KJV and modern translations of the New Testament are primarily due to the inaccuracy of the so-called Textus Receptus [TR], the Greek text upon which the KJV's New Testament was based. According to Bruce Metzger (The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, Third Edition, Oxford University Press, 1992, pages 95-118), the TR primarily resulted from the work of a Dutch Roman Catholic priest and Greek scholar by the name of Desiderius Erasmus, who published his first Greek New Testament text in 1516. The first edition of Erasmus' text was hastily and haphazardly prepared over the extremely short period of only five months. (ibid., page 106) That edition was based mostly upon two inferior twelfth century Greek manuscripts, which were the only manuscripts available to Erasmus "on the spur of the moment" (ibid., page 99).

The Greek New Testament project was seen by its publisher, Johann Froben, as a considerable commercial opportunity. (ibid., pages 98 and 102-103) Accordingly Froben expeditiously negotiated with Erasmus, who had already nobly intended to produce a Greek-Latin parallel text New Testament for the primary purpose of allowing Latin readers to become better acquainted with the original New Testament text, which he wanted to approximate as best as possible. Froben rushed Erasmus' first edition text to market, in his attempt to get it into circulation ahead of the much more methodically prepared Complutensian Polyglot Bible, which was due to be published soon. (In contrast to the five months that Erasmus used to hurriedly put his text together and get it printed and circulated, the Complutensian text required eighteen years of careful preparation before its first edition appeared. Erasmus himself said in a letter in Latin in 1516 that this first edition had been "praecipitatum verius quam editum," -- more precipitated than edited.)

1Jo 5:7,8 - an example of textual corruption. Even up to the fifth and final edition of Erasmus' Greek text in 1535, Erasmus occasionally fell prey to pressure from Roman Catholic church authorities to add to subsequent editions phrases and entire verses that he strongly (and rightly) suspected were not part of the original text. Metzger (Ibid., pages 100-101) and others document how Erasmus was manipulated to include what later was translated into the KJV in 1Jo 5:7-8, the following text: "in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth." Conservative biblical scholar F.F. Bruce (History of the English Bible, Third Edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 1978, pages 141-142) explains the sad history of how those words were errantly added to Erasmus' Greek text of 1Jo 5:7-8:

The words ["in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth."] omitted in the R.V. [Revised Version, 1881] were no part of the original Greek text, nor yet of the Latin Vulgate in its earliest form. They first appear in the writings of a Spanish Christian leader named Priscillian, who was executed for heresy in A.D. 385. Later they made their way into copies of the Latin text of the Bible. When Erasmus prepared his printed edition of the Greek New Testament, he rightly left those words out, but was attacked for this by people who felt that the passage was a valuable proof-text for the doctrine of the Trinity. He replied (rather incautiously) that if he could be shown any Greek manuscript which contained the words, he would include them in his next edition. Unfortunately, a Greek manuscript not more than some twenty years old was produced in which the words appeared: they had been translated into Greek from Latin. Of course, the fact that the only Greek manuscript exhibiting the words belonged to the sixteenth century was in itself an argument against their authenticity, but Erasmus had given his promise, and so in his 1522 edition he included the passage. (To-day one or two other very late Greek manuscripts are known to contain this passages; all others omit it.)

[For more details on Erasmus' addition of the 1Jo 5:7,8 text, see Metzger's The Text of the New Testament, Second Edition, pages 101-102 and also]

Erasmus' Greek manuscript basis. Erasmus' final 1535 edition still relied upon no more than six Greek manuscripts, the oldest (but least used!) of which was from the tenth century. Though Erasmus did in later editions of his work consult the Complutensian version of the Greek New Testament, Metzger is able to truthfully state:

Thus the text of Erasmus' Greek New Testament rests upon a half-dozen minuscule manuscripts. The oldest and best of these manuscripts (codex I, a minuscule of the tenth century, which agree agrees often with the earlier uncial text) he used least, because he was afraid of its supposedly erratic text! [Metzger, p. 102]]

The very first complete Greek New Testament to be printed was the Complutensian Polyglot New Testament, which was to become the New Testament portion of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible. It was first printed in 1514, two years earlier than Erasmus' first edition, but it was not published until 1520, when the Complutensian Polyglot Bible was complete, including the Old Testament, and it was not circulated until 1522. Thus, Erasmus was the first to have a printed Greek New Testament actually published and circulated.

Textus Receptus: a publisher's self-proclaimed statement that became a dogmatic title. Though Erasmus' text was not as consistent with the original texts as was the Complutensian text, Erasmus' text was marketed earlier and much more effectively and thereby achieved centuries of preeminence. In 1550 a French publisher, Robert Stephanus, published his third edition of an Erasmus-based Greek text. (Stephanus, the name by which he is best known, is just the Latin equivalent of Estienne, which was his French surname.) Stephanus' 1550 Greek text was very close to being the same as Erasmus' fourth- and fifth-editions. It was the primary basis for Beza's 1565 edition, which was virtually the same as the Elzevirs' 1633 edition, which became known as the Textus Receptus.

The term Textus Receptus, or Received Text, was derived from the self-proclaimed statement by the Elzevir printer family, in their preface to the 1633 edition of their Greek New Testament. They stated (in Latin), "Textum ergo habes nunc ab omnibus receptum, in quo nihil immutatum aut corruptum damus." In English this means, "Consequently you now have the text received by everyone, in which we present nothing that has been changed or that is corrupted." Rather than pronouncing divine sanction, the Elzevirs simply were stating that they had made no textual changes in their 1633 edition of the popularly accepted 1624 text -- the text that had been received from the work of various scholars and publishers of the New Testament Greek editions and that had been received by the scholarly community as the standard text representing the Greek New Testament. Erasmus' 1514 text and the continuingly evolving texts over the next 119 years, which came to be known as the Textus Receptus, were to most European Bible scholars of that time what the United Bible Society's Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (UBS4) is to most international Bible scholars of today. They all represent conscientious endeavors to best approximate the original Greek New Testament writings. The reconstruction of the original Greek texts will continue as additional ancient manuscripts are discovered and analyzed and as the methodology for such textual reconstruction becomes even further refined. Though this reconstruction process -- which included the Textus Receptus and its conceptual offspring of today, the UBS4 -- will always be a work in progress, the Word of God is always complete.

4. The effect of the Textus Receptus on the accuracy of the King James Version

The TR was used as the basis for the KJV and all the principal Protestant translations in the languages of Europe until 1881, when the Revised Version [RV] was first published in England. The KJV translators most directly relied upon the 1598 Greek text by the Theodore de Beze of Geneva, but it also was virtually identical with Stephanus' 1550 and 1551 Greek texts, which were virtually identical with Erasmus' 1535 Greek text. Again, these all were noble efforts, but the editors of these editions did not have access to the current wealth of ancient documents and to today's more scientific knowledge of how those documents had been transmitted and partially corrupted over many centuries.

Due to the errors in the Hebrew and Greek texts from which the KJV were translated, the KJV contains some texts that are not consistent with Jesus' genuine teachings and other genuine New Testament teachings, as represented in the earliest Greek texts of the New Testament. For example:

Many, many other examples in the KJV of additions to, omissions from, and alterations of the Greek New Testament texts are listed in the following webpages:

In the latter webpage you will find links to textual commentaries for all 66 books of the Bible. For instance the webpages for Matthew (at and many other books of the Bible, include numerous references to

5. The 1611 King James Version and its early revisions

Unknown to many people is the fact that the KJV actually was revised many times between the date of its first publication in 1611 and the publication of the Revised Version, which was published between 1881-1885. Those early KJV revisions were published without being labeled as a "revision." That today's KJV editions are revisions can be seen from the title page to the last verses of Revelation, which in the 1611 KJV was written, "Reuelation." The 1611 KJV text of the title page was written:


Conteyning [containing] the Old Teftament [Testament],


Newly Tranflated [Translated] out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Tranflations [Translations]

diligently compared and reuifed [revised] by his Maiesties [Majesty's] Speciall Comandement

The 1611 KJV text of Rev 21:20,21 was written:

There was also an introductory dedication that is still found in most KJV editions printed today, but following this "Dedicatorie" section there was also an 11-page section titled, "The Translators to the Reader." Though unfortunately not found in modern editions of the KJV, this section the original 1611 edition stated (The Holy Bible 1611 Edition, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, no date, no page numbers, but the passage below is on page 9 of this section):

"The Translators to the Reader" section also defends the appropriateness of having included marginal notes that suggested other possible renderings or translations. (Unfortunately these marginal notes also eventually were removed.) On this point biblical scholar F.F. Bruce (pp. 102-103) observes:

In another reference to the inclusion of alternative renderings noted in the margins of the KJV, "The Translators to the Reader" section of the original KJV points out and illustrates how the KJV translators' expertise in the ancient biblical languages is limited.

F.F. Bruce further notes (p. 103):

Without changing its name or labelling it as "revised," the KJV in fact was revised many times from 1611 to 1769, including changes in spelling, changes in punctuation, changes in wording, the removal of the Old Testament Apocrypha, the removal of marginal notes with alternative renderings. It was in 1769 that Dr. Benjamin Blayney of Oxford completed what Bruce Metzger describes as "the most careful and comprehensive revision" that came to be known as "the Authorized Version." Blayney's 1769 revision produced the text that is used by most publishers of the KJV today. (This is explained in Bruce Metzger's article on "Translations" in The Oxford Companion to the Bible, edited by Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan, New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, page 759-760.) Metzger notes that in the 1614 edition alone, changes were made in over four hundred places.

Even the changes did not satisfy many of the early critics of the KJV, including Dr. Hugh Broughton. This distinguished biblical scholar and translator was described by John Lightfoot as "the Great Albionean Divine, renowned in many Nations for Rare Skill in Salems [Jerusalem's; i.e., Hebrew] and Athens [Athen's; i.e., Greek] Tongues and Familiar Acquaintance with all Rabbinical Learning." After the KJV was introduced Broughton described the KJV as follows (History of the English Bible, Third Edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 1978, page 107):

It took another two generations before the KJV completely succeeded in replacing the Geneva Bible in the hearts of the people and colonies of England. (Metzger, The Oxford Companion to the Bible, page 760)

In "The Translators to the Reader" section mentioned above, the KJV translators themselves provided the most convincing justification for the KJV's revision/replacement of the Geneva Bible and for later revisions/replacements of the KJV. (The passages below are on pages 3-4 and 6 of this section.)

After quoting some of the passages above, Sakae Kubo and Walter Specht (So Many Versions? Twentieth Century English Versions of the Bible, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1975, page 22-23) comment:

Encouraged by such "noble words" as found in the original KJV's "Translators to the Reader" section, revisions of the KJV continued to be used without any change in the title, until the publication of the 1881 Revised Version New Testament and the 1885 Revised Version of the Bible. The title page of the 1885 Revised Version of the Bible stated:


Holy Bible






6. Dependency on the King James Version versus dependency on the original texts -- the controversy continues

In 1881 the Revised Version of the New Testament was published, and by 1885 the Revised Version of the Bible (including Old Testament and the New Testament) was published as the first major English translation of the Bible in over three hundred years that did not base its New Testament on the Textus Receptus. These issues resulted in a serious campaign of opposition to the RV from some very articulate, influential, and outspoken Christian theologians throughout the Protestant world, who were very critical of the RV. When the RV was introduced in its 1881 New Testament edition, it aroused great indignation and outrage among many English-speaking Protestant theologians. Most church leaders considered it to be a scandalous and heretical sacrilege for anyone to use any version except their time-honored KJV.

That the RV did not remain - or that the ASV did not become - the standard Bible version used in Protestant church services is not surprising, given some of the extremely severe criticism of the RV and the ASV during the years immediately following their publications. In the intervening years, the RV has been largely vindicated as having ushered in a new era of English-language versions of the Bible; however, some of the original criticisms are still seen as valid today by modern Bible scholars, even those who have high regard for the RV's role as the initiator of a new era of Bible translations. Among those vigorously articulating the shortcomings of the RV was an outspoken nineteenth-century English biblical scholar named Dr. John William Burgon. He wrote:

F.F. Bruce (p. 152) summed up the RV's impact as follows:

American biblical scholarship had been part of the RV translation effort since 1870. In that original 1881 edition of the Revised Version of the New Testament, the English scholars agreed to publish the American Committee's preferred readings and rendering in an Appendix for a fourteen year period, and the American Committee agreed not to publish an American edition of the Revised Version (which was to include textual changes reflecting the American Committee's preferences) for the same fourteen year period. The "Preface to the American Version" [ASV, 1901, page iii] stated:

In 1901 the American Committee published what was to become known as the American Standard Version (ASV). The title page actually describes it as follows:

For reasons similar to the criticisms of the RV, the ASV did not gain much popular support.

Even C.I. Scofield in the original 1909 edition of his very popular Scofield Reference Bible wrote in the "Introduction,"

Though Scofield had great respect for the RV, he knew that it was not widely enough accepted to be used as the basis for the Scofield Reference Bible. "After mature reflection" Scofield decided not to challenge the then virtually uncontested supremacy of the King James Version in English-speaking Protestant churches.

Roman Catholic biblical scholar John McKenzie provides this insightful observation:

It should be noted that though Scofield himself really would have preferred to use the Revised Version for his Reference Bible, his true preference was not publicly articulated in the "Introduction" to his Reference Bible. In his following statement of support for the KJV, he is really publicly justifying his private resignation to the fact that the KJV public would not endorse a challenger to the KJV at that time. He continued his above-quoted statement as follows:

In actuality Scofield included in his margins only a very few of the many textual corrections that were made by the scholars he mentions above and that were included in the Revised Version and virtually all subsequent modern translations. His above statement about the KJV was very generous indeed. He knew that the Protestant clergy and public would not endorse his use of another translation. Scofield's "mature reflection"/pragmatism enabled his Reference Bible to become the leading study Bible for the next half century. In recent years the Scofield Reference Bible became available with the following versions: NIV, NASV, and NKJV. There is also a New Scofield Reference Bible, first published in 1968, which substitutes into the text itself corrections for what textual scholars' consider the KJV's most unbearable textual errors.

Until 1952 there continued to be no serious competitor to the KJV in Protestant churches in America. It was in 1952 that the complete Revised Standard Version [RSV] was published as an authorized revision of the ASV, which itself was an authorized revision of the KJV.

Public book-burnings: Even the RSV met with great hostility when it was first introduced. In 1983 when I visited with Dr. Bruce Metzger in his private library at Princeton Theological Seminary, Dr. Metzger took me to one of his shelves to show me something that was obviously quite special to him. He pointed out a simple can, which he described as containing ashes. They were the remains of a copy of the RSV, intentionally burned during a public book-burning in 1952. It was especially meaningful to Dr. Metzger, because he had served on the RSV's translation committee. He still humorously remarks that he is grateful that opponents of the RSV translation had only burned the book and not the translators. Here he is referring to the burning at the stake of William Tyndale, 1494-1536, whose translation later served as a primary basis for the KJV!

F.F. Bruce (p. 196) graphically describes the intense animosity toward the Revised Standard Version [RSV] as follows:

When the whole Bible was published in 1952, the cricitism which greeted it from some quarters was remarkably reminiscent of criticism voiced in earlier days against the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, against the versions of Luther and Tyndale, agains the A.V. and R.V. One American preacher was reported to have burned a copy of the R.S.V. with a blowlamp in his pulpit, remarking that it was like the devil because it was hard to burn... Pamphlets appeared bearing such titles as The Bible of Antichrist (an echo, untting no doubt, of More's description of Tyndale's New Testament), The New Blasphemous Bible, and Whose Unclean Fingers Have Been Tampering With The Holy Bible, God's Pure, Infallible, Verbally Inspired Word? (The last-named opens with the sentence: "Every informed and intelligent person knows that our government is crawling with communists, or those who sanction and encourage communism" -- which indicates another line along which the version was attacked.)

For a remarkably fair but disturbing account of some groups' continuing, wrathful resistance to any use of any Bible version other than the KJV, you can read The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? by James R. White. It is published by Bethany House Publishers in 1995. The back cover includes the following quote from Dr. Metzger:

Now in the beginning of the twenty-first century, the situation has changed quite a bit. In most English-speaking churches, the KJV has been largely replaced, except primarily in the most fundamentalist, conservative churches. Many churches had switched to the Revised Standard Version Bible after its initial publication in 1952. Then later many churches switched to the New American Standard Version (1971), the New International Version (1978), the New Revised Standard Version (1989), or one of the other more recent versions.

7. Conclusion

We have been considering which are the most viable ancient texts to be used from which to translate the Bible into English. The original Hebrew (Old Testament), Aramaic (Daniel only), and Greek (New Testament) texts are what actually constitute "the Bible." All other versions, whether in Latin, English, Chinese, or Hindi, whether produced in 384 A.D. or in 1611 A.D. or in 1996 A.D., are merely translations indirectly derived from those original Hebrew and Greek texts. The Bible Commentary at provides verse-by-verse textual corrections that are based upon the most current knowledge of those original Hebrew and Greek texts. Most of those corrections are relevant only to the KJV, because most modern versions such as the NRSV and the TEV were translated from Hebrew and Greek texts that are much more consistent with "the original texts" than those Hebrew and Greek texts from which the 1611 KJV was translated. In the KJV most of the substantive errors are due to the faulty Hebrew and Greek texts from which the KJV was translated. (See S&H 139:15.)

Objectively viewed, those Hebrew and Greek texts that most accurately represent the original texts should be used by translators and should serve as the final standard for biblical interpretation. In this context the words of Protestant Christian historian Ernst Wilhelm Benz provides appropriate perspective:


A.1. Various Bible versions, their New Testament basis, and their reliability

Please note: The listing below provides a comparison of the reliability of the Greek textual basis for each translation, but it does not describe the relative value, methodology, or accuracy of the English or other language translation.

Some of the translations below that are under the heading "New Testament based upon more reliable Greek texts" are mere interpretative paraphrases of other translations. Some were translated from the original languages but without sound methodology to guarantee that the text in English is consistent with the intent of the original author. Some translations are to be avoided, because their translations are theologically biased, sometimes even choosing to translate from Greek readings that are not recognized by the biblical scholarly community as reflecting the original texts but simply supporting their theological biases.

There are, however, translations that do stand the test of sound methodology, theological neutrality, readability, and reverence. Of these, some provide a good word-for-word translation, and others provide an accurate phrase-by-phrase translation. Word-for-word translations are best for word studies and other in depth studies, and the good phrase-by-phrase translations accurately convey the meaning and the nuances of the original text to modern readers. For some recommended Bible versions, see

Some English New Testaments based on the Textus Receptus (TR)

Some English New Testaments that are based on more reliable Greek texts. The primary standard Greek texts for each of the most recent four periods are below.

  1. 1869-1881 - The Tischendorf text (1869).
  2. 1881-1898 - The Tischendorf text and the Westcott & Hort text (1881).
  3. 1898-1956 - The Nestle text.
  4. 1956-present - The UBS text and Nestle-Aland text, which are identical.
Version Date
Tyndale New Testament 1526-1530
Coverdale's Bible 1535
Matthew's Bible (using Tyndale's New Testament) 1537
The Great Bible (also by Coverdale) 1539
Geneva Bible (the Bible of the Pilgrims) 1557-1560
Bishop's Bible 1568
King James Version (original version) [book review] 1611
King James Version (Dr. Benjamin Blayney's revision; the standard KJV used today) 1769
Webster Bible 1833
Young's Literal Translation 1862-1898
New King James Version [book review] 1982
Revised Webster Bible 1998


Some non-English versions that include Vulgate and/or TR corruptions -- without identifying those corruptions in the text

Albanian Bible (1984);
Bible kralicka (1613), Czech Nova kralicka Bible (1998);
Egen Wierod;
NBG (1951), Statenvertaling (1637);
Luther Unrevidierte (1545);
Modern Greek Bible;
Karoli (1993);
La Nuova Diodati (1991);
Corrigida Fiel (1753, 1995), Almeida Biblia (1994);
Russian Synodal Bible,
La Biblia de Las Americas
(1986; see also the recommended 1997 edition), Reina-Valera Revised (1960), Reina-Valera Update (1995), Reina-Valera (1909)


Some non-English versions that include Vulgate and/or TR corruptions -- and identify some (but not all) of those corruptions in the text

Czech Slovo na cestu (2000);
Louis Segond (1910), Nouvelle Edition Geneve (1979);
Luther Bibel (1912), Schlachter Version (1951);
La Sacra Biblia Nuova Riveduta (1994);

Almeida Revista e Atualizada (1993), Revista e Corrigida (1969)
Cornilescu Bible


Some New Testaments influenced by Latin Vulgate

Wycliffe (using a glossed/annotated version of the Vulgate) 1380
Textus Receptus (mostly translated from 10th to 16th century Greek manuscripts, but parts also translated from the Latin Vulgate, including a glossed/annotated version of the Vulgate, as explained above. 1514
Coverdale (Vulgate plus other sources, including Pagninus' Latin Bible, Luther Bible, Zurich Bible, Tyndale Bible) 1535
Douai-Rheims (using a glossed/annotated version of the Vulgate) 1582-1609
King James Version (parts of Revelation, using a glossed/annotated version of the Vulgate) 1611
Knox Bible 1944-1949

Evaluate Bible versions yourself

To evaluate each of the above or other Bible versions, look up 1Jo 5:7-8, Act 9:5-6, and Rev 22:19 in each. Then read the textual commentary on each citation at the links below. They will provide a clear indication of whether they are based upon the Textus Receptus and/or the Latin Vulgate, rather than upon the earliest Greek texts:

The verses below were not in the earliest texts of the New Testament. They were added by later copyists. If they appear in a Bible version, that is an indication that the Bible version's Greek text is not always representative of the earliest Greek texts.

  • Mat 17:21; Mat 18:11; Mat 23:14; Mar 7:16; Mar 9:44,46

See also:

Versions with a reliable textual basis Date
American Standard Version [book review] 1901
Bible in Basic English 1949, 1964
Contemporary English Version 1995
English Standard Version [book review] 2001
God's Word (website) 1982,1995
Goodspeed's Bible 1939
Holman Christian Standard Bible (if all bracketed text is excluded) 2004
The Jerusalem Bible 1966
Moulton's Modern Reader's Bible 1895, 1935
Moffatt's Bible 1954
New American Bible [book review] 1987
New Century Version 1986
New English Bible 1971
New International Version [book review] 1978
New Jerusalem Bible [book review] 1985
The New Living Translation 1996
New Revised Standard Version [book review] 1993
Phillips' New Testament 1957
Revised English Bible with the Apocrypha [book review] 1996
Revised Standard Version 1952
Revised Version 1881-1885
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible [book review] 1902
Schonefield's New Testament, Revised Edition 1985, 1998
Today's English Version [book review] 1976, 1992
The Twentieth Century New Testament 1904
Weymouth New Testament 1930

Interpretations, not truly translations, but still with a reliable textual basis Date
Amplified Bible (AB) - based on 1901 ASV, with word by word interpretation [book review] 1965
The Living Bible - a paraphrase of the 1901 ASV 1971
The Message [book review] 1993

Versions using Greek texts or other texts that are not always representative of the earliest, most reliable Greek texts (See Mat 17:21; Mat 18:11; Mat 23:14; Mar 7:16; Mar 9:44,46, which should be omitted from all versions, since they were not part of the original texts.) Date
Darby Bible 1884,1890
International Standard Version New Testament (website) 2003
Lamsa Bible - based most directly on the Syriac Peshitta, not on Greek texts, but reflecting some unreliable Greek texts from which the Peshitta was translated 1957
New American Standard Bible [book review] 1977,1995


Some non-English versions with New Testaments based on more reliable Greek texts

The New Testament translations in shown in red below most consistently reflect the original Greek. Versions with asterisks (*) usually but not always identify corrupted text in brackets.
Bulgarian Bible* (1938);
Biblia catalana (1993, 2002),
Chinese Union Version (1979), Today's Chinese Version (1975);
Cesky Ekumenicky preklad (1985),
Preklad KMS* (1994);
Bible* (1931);
Leidse Vertaling (1912, 1994), Lutherse Vertaling* (1750, 1933, 1994);
Raamattu* (1933, 1938 kaannos);
Bible en francais courant* (1997), Haitan Creole Bible, Version Darby* (1885), Bible Jerusalem, Nouvelle Edition Geneve (1979),
Traduction Oecumenique de la Bible*;
Einheitsubersetzung* (1980), Revidierte Elberfelder (1993), Unrevidierte Elberfelder* (1905), Municher NT* (1998), Revidierte Lutherbibel (1984);
Bahasa Indonesia Sehari-hari*,
Terjemahan Baru*;
NVB San Paolo Edizione* (1995);
Bible* (1954);
Common Translation (1977);
Norwegian Bokmal* (1930), Nynorsk* (1938), Norsk Bibel Konkordant* (1988), Norsk Bibel Nynorsk* (1994);
Biblia tysiaclecia - Wydarie 4* (1965, 1984);
A Biblia na Linguagem de Hoje (1988);

Svate Pismo (1995);
Dios Habla Hoy (Version Popular, 1989), La Biblia de Las Americas (1997), Reina-Valera Actualizada (1989)
Bible (1917)

Important Comments on Textual Criticism

food for thought

In Biblical Hermeneutics, Second Edition (edited by Bruce Corley, Steve W. Lemke, and Grant Lovejoy, Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002, page 388), Harold Freeman, in his chapter on "Biblical Criticism and Biblical Preaching" honestly comments on the textual corruption of 1Jo 5:7, which appears in both the Textus Receptus and the KJV:

Textual criticism is the discipline that seeks to identify the original wording of an ancient document. Textual criticism of the Bible benefits preaching by preventing nonbiblical sermons... We regret giving up a nice doctrinal sermon on the Trinity based on 1 John 5:7b (KJV). Nevertheless, if it is determined that these are additions to the original writings, whether intentional or accidental, biblical preaching based on these texts cannot occur... Sermons based on spurious or corrupted texts cannot be genuinely biblical. The determination of exactly what the Scripture said is the starting point for biblical preaching.


A.2 Various biblical scholars' descriptions of the history of the Textus Receptus

REB Raymond E. Brown, D.W. Johnson, and Kevin G. O'Connell (The New Jerome Biblical Commentary) [book review] BMM

Bruce M. Metzger (The Text of the New Testament, Second Edition and Harper Collins Bible Dictionary, Revised Edition)

FFB F.F. Bruce (History of the Bible in English, Third Edition) KWP K.W. Park (Peake's Commentary on the Bible)
EGK Emil G. Kraeling and C.S.C. Williams (Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, Second Edition) JR John Reumann (The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible)
WGK Werner Georg Kummel (Introduction to the New Testament) JRW James R. White (The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations?)


You are welcome to email any additional information and insights that you may have

If you have historical information or insights that shed further light on any of the above descriptions, either in agreement with or contrary to what has been stated above, please email me at or click on The BibleTexts editor's desire is to arrive at honest conclusions that are consistent with all available facts. He deeply respects all who honestly arrive at genuine conclusions, even if those conclusions differ from his own conclusions. It is not the intent of the BibleTexts editor to prop up any opinions, which are often the result of one's selectively using only those facts that support such opinions -- and conveniently disregarding facts that undermine such opinions. The BibleTexts editor does not want to have any personal opinions. He only wants to develop faith-inspiring, honest conclusions that lead to being "filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding." (Col 1:9, NRSV) So please feel free to share with this website editor any facts that may help lead to even better or further refined conclusions.


Copyright 1996-2004 Robert Nguyen Cramer