1) 3 Ghostly Guild members on the Bible Revision Committee:
In 1871, the 3 Ghostly Guild members, Westcott, Hort and Lightfoot, were invited by the Church of England to lead a revision committee of the KJV Bible. Hort wrote to his wife on this invitation: “Westcott…believes we ought to seize the opportunity, especially since we three [Ghostly Guild members] are on the list.” Life of Hort p.133 Vol. 2.
2) Fuller in “Which Bible” remarked that the Revision Committee members “are notoriously either tainted with Catholicism or infidelity.”
3) The Revised Version was done in secrecy behind closed doors, away from public inspection from 1871-1881. No public input or comment was allowed, as was with KJV. Members were not allowed to notify the public that the NT Greek text had been changed.
“Each member of the company had been supplied with a private copy of Westcott and Hort’s [Greek] Text,” writes Hort’s son. (Hort, Vol.2, p.237). “The New Greek Text was marked ‘Confidential’; members of the Revision Committee were all sworn to a pledge of secrecy. The Committee met secretly for ten years from 1871-1881. An iron rule of silence was imposed.” “Which Bible? ” p.257-8.
Wilkinson is quoted in “Which Bible?” by Fuller, p.290 as saying:
“When the English New Testament Committee met, it was immediately apparent what was going to happen. Though for ten long years the iron rule of silence kept the public ignorant of what was going on behind closed doors, the story is now known.”
4) The liberalism and false doctrines of the Revised Version Committee members was seen in their approval of Westcott and Hort’s using the Codex Vaticanus readings and rejecting the Received Text readings.
a) Drs Moberly, Pusey and Newman were invited to join all 3 emissaries of the Roman Catholic church.
b) Committee member Dean Stanley believed, as did Westcott & Hort, that the Word of God was also in the books of other world religions.
c) Bishop Thirwall was a follower of the liberal higher criticism of Schleiermacher.
d) Half the members of the Church of England at the time declined involvement, as did the American Episcopal church.
e) Others like Dr. Merival and the Bishop of St. Andrew left after seeing the sinister character of the New Greek Text.
f) Queen Victoria and her chaplain F.C.Cook refused to give the Revised Version her official sanction.
g) Westcott threatened to resign if committee member Vance Smith, a Unitarian pastor, who denied the Deity of Christ, was compelled to resign. Smith was therefore allowed to stay on the Revision Committee.
5) Dean Burgon states in “The Revision Revised.”
“The history of the ‘New’ Greek Text is briefly this: a majority of the Revisors …are found to have put themselves into the hands of Westcott & Hort.”
6) Hort chose readings by the “Light of his inner consciousness” a subjective approach that threw out the majority of readings when Westcott & Hort felt like it (eclectic method). “The obvious method of deciding between variant readings, is for the critic to ask which the author is most likely to have written, and so to settle the question by the light of his own inner consciousness.”
Life & Letters of Hort. Vol. 2, p.248.
7) They determined their Greek text by basing it on Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.
“Vatican Codex…is regarded by Hort as a first rate authority; even when it stands alone, its evidence is regarded as of very high value. When it agrees with some other of certain selected good manuscripts, especially with Tischendorf’s Sinai Codex, their joint testimony is accepted as almost decisive.” Hort, 2:246,247.
Question: How can Vaticanus and Sinaiticus both be regarded as authoritative or decisive when they disagree with each other 3061 times in the Gospels alone?
8) Westcott’s love for Origen, gave him a love for Codex Vaticanus (B) thought to come from Alexandria, Origen’s city. This is seen in their using Codex Vaticanus as their main authority for their Greek text and Revised Version. Hort 1:369.
“For many years the works of Origen were close to his hand, and he continually turned to them at every opportunity.” Westcott 1:319.
Question: How did the Revision Committee remove the Majority Text?
Answer: By a VOTE.
Dr. Newth, a Revision Committee member states how they illogically removed the
Majority text. “This was the mode: A passage being under consideration, the Chairman asks, ‘Are any Textual changes proposed?’ If a change be proposed then ‘the evidence for and against is briefly stated.’ This is done by ‘two members of the company-Dr. Scrivener and Dr. Hort.’ And if those two members disagree ‘the vote of the Company is taken, and the proposed reading accepted or rejected. The Text being thus settled, the Chairman asks for proposals on the Rendering’ (i.e., the Translation).
Thus it appears that there was no attempt whatever on the part of the Revisionists to examine the evidence bearing upon the many disputed readings. They only listened to the views of two of their number. “True or False”, Fuller p.93.
9) With the Majority Text being continually removed by a Majority vote, many of the original 99 Revision Committee members resigned altogether. Dr. Newth states that the dropout rate from Hort’s overbearing presence as being 88%, with an average attendance of 16 and most members declining to vote.
10) Samuel Wilberforce, the committee’s original chairman, resigned after only one meeting saying, “What can be done in this most miserable business?” Which Bible? p291
11) Scrivener’s criticisms of Westcott and Hort’s Revised Version were:
i) Westcott & Hort rejected KJV readings on conjecture, and on what they think is intuitively true.
ii) Hort’s system is entirely destitute of historical foundation. iii) It is against all probability.
iv) W & H changed the Greek text of the Textus Receptus in 5,337 instances.
12) The Nestle/Aland 26th edition Greek New Testament (the present W&H text) is altered 5,604 times from KJV, involving 9970 Greek words being changed. (15 words per page) (“The King James Bible’s Fourfold Superiority”, D.A. Waite, Collingswood, N.J. Bible for Today, 1992, p.31).
13) Burgon shows the effect of marginal notes saying: “Many or some ancient authorities omit this word.”
“What else must be the result of all this but general uncertainty, confusion, distress?
A hazy mistrust of all Scripture has been insinuated into the hearts and minds of countless millions, who in this way have been forced to become doubters, yes, doubters in the Truth of Revelation itself.”
Miller in “Guide to Textual Criticism” p.3 states that there are 36,191 changes to the KJV in the Revised Version.
14) Burgon in “The Revision Revised”, p.376 refutes chairman Ellicott who defended
Westcott and Hort:
“The task of laboriously collating the five “old uncials” throughout the Gospels, occupied me for five-and-a-half years and taxes me severely. But I was rewarded. I rose from the investigation profoundly convinced that, however important they may be as instruments of criticism, Codices Aleph, B, C, D are among the most corrupt documents extant. It was a conviction derived from exact knowledge and based on solid grounds of reason.
You, my lord Bishop, who have never gone deeply into the subject repose simply on prejudice. Never having at any time collated codices Aleph, A, B, C, D for yourself, you are unable to gainsay a single statement of mine by a counter-appeal to facts. Your textual learning proves to have been all obtained at second-hand – taken on trust. And so, instead of marshalling against me a corresponding array of ANCIENT AUTHORITIES – you invariably attempt to put me down by an appeal to MODERN OPINION.”
Conclusion: Ask these questions:
Q1: Would God inspire a text and then lose it?
Q2: If God can create the universe, is he powerful enough to preserve His Word for 2000 years?
Q3: Would God preserve His Word through men like W&H who did not believe that God inspired it?
Q4: Would there be any counterfeits of the preserved text circulating the world? (yes) Q5: Where would these come from? (A corrupt place like Alexandria in Egypt).
Q6: How would you tell the difference?
Q7: Would Satan be interested in corrupting the Word of God? Yes indeed.
Q8: Would God use corrupt men like Westcott and Hort with at least 26 false doctrines to preserve His incorruptible Word? NO WAY!
The matter is more complicated than Westcott & Hort imagined. Their method of textual criticism is highly “over simplified.”
The warfare for man’s soul involves a series of battles over doctrine.
Paul foresaw this drift toward ‘teachings’ as a disdain for sound doctrine:
‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears. . .’ (II Timothy 4:3). a) Teaching = that which is taught; it may be true or false.
b) Doctrine = accepted as authoritative, true dogma beyond dispute.