How would you know what the evangelical textual critics were describing the Bible if they did not have the TR to compare it to? The first text of Scripture the critic read was the TR and this foundation allowed the expert to place his investigation within the realm of Scriptural texts. His new text isn’t something wholly different from the TR and that is how everyone knows he’s talking about a Bible. If you were to take away the TR it would be impossible for the critic to say he is working with biblical texts. He is only “close” because the TR had already got him most of the way there. So while disparaging the Reformation text, it is the same text that gives the critic’s study credibility, so much so that many churchmen don’t see a difference between the two. Instead of criticizing the TR the modern text critic should thank the Reformers for giving them a huge head-start in creating their historical critical text. They could not have done it without the TR.
As we shall see, because so much of the critical text was first in the TR, the following are some editorial suggestions for the sake of methodological transparency.
- Introductory Material
In one way the critical text is like the Qu’ran. Both plagiarize the Christian Scriptures to gain credibility. To be fair, in the front of each critical Greek text, a disclaimer should be included stating that 80-90%?of the text is taken from the Received Text either in the chosen reading or apparatus. It is misleading to infer by omission that the critical text, except for some lexigraphical, grammatical, or syntactical changes, is original.
In long passages, the critical text and versions should include the following note in the text column which states, “The following [number] of verses have been excerpted without change from the Trinitarian Bible Society’s TR.” This will prevent the accusation of plagiarism. After all, giving credit where credit is due is a scholarly virtue.
- Color coding
In keeping with the editorial design of the Five Gospels, all TR readings should be in black to separate them from the blue lettered critical text. In this way a true accounting of the critical changes to the TR can immediately be made by the reader, again relieving the critical text of accusations of plagiarism.
The following are a few examples of critical text passages plagiarized from the TR. The sad thing about this is that the historical critical method is so feckless it cannot come up with its own text. The critical text is not a text; the critical text is a number of different words and grammatical structure inserted into the TR. The critical text could have been a companion lexicon, including only the suggested changes to the TR, with footnotes to the TR, a glossa ordinalis of a sort. Instead, the editors initial step was to includ lexical entries or the gloss, directly into the text of the TR. It’s like Ford Motor Company putting its badges on a Chevy and calling it a Ford because it has “Ford” monogrammed on the seat covers. (This is not intended to disparage Ford by this comparison. See the 1966 Ford GT40 victory at Le Mans). While the TR is maligned, the critical text could not exist without it. It is a text, and not a lexicon, only because the CT borrows the text of the TR. For our purposes a verse-by-verse examination of the Book of Philemon is offered. Twenty-five verses should be sufficient to demonstrate the focus of this post.
Bold numbers, or the second line are Nestle’s 28th edition. Bold print in the text accents the variations between the TR and Nestle’s 28th ed.
1 Pαῦλος δέσμιος χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ, καὶ τιμόθεος ὁ ἀδελφὸς, φιλήμονι τῷ ἀγαπητῷ καὶ συνεργῷ ἡμῶν
1 Παῦλος δέσμιος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ καὶ Τιμόθεος ὁ ἀδελφὸς Φιλήμονι τῷ ἀγαπητῷ καὶ συνεργῷ ἡμῶν
2 καὶ ἀπφίᾳ τῇ ἀγαπητῇ, καὶ ἀρχίππῳ τῷ συστρατιώτῃ ἡμῶν, καὶ τῇ κατ᾽ οἶκόν σου ἐκκλησίᾳ
2 καὶ Ἀπφίᾳ τῇ ἀδελφῇ καὶ Ἀρχίππῳ τῷ συστρατιώτῃ ἡμῶν καὶ τῇ κατ’ οἶκόν σου ἐκκλησίᾳ,
3 χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν, καὶ κυρίου ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ
3χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
4 εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου, πάντοτε μνείαν σου ποιούμενος ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν μου
4 Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου πάντοτε μνείαν σου ποιούμενος ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν μου,
5 ἀκούων σου τὴν ἀγάπην καὶ τὴν πίστιν ἣν ἔχεις πρὸς τὸν κύριον ἰησοῦν καὶ εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους
5 ἀκούων σου τὴν ἀγάπην καὶ τὴν πίστιν, ἣν ἔχεις πρὸς τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν καὶ εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους,
6 ὅπως ἡ κοινωνία τῆς πίστεώς σου ἐνεργὴς γένηται ἐν ἐπιγνώσει παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ τοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν εἰς χριστὸν ἰησοῦν
6 ὅπως ἡ κοινωνία τῆς πίστεώς σου ἐνεργὴς γένηται ἐν ἐπιγνώσει παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ τοῦ ἐν ἡμῖν εἰς Χριστόν.
7 χάριν γὰρ ἔχομεν πολλὴν καὶ παράκλησιν ἐπὶ τῇ ἀγάπῃ σου, ὅτι τὰ σπλάγχνα τῶν ἁγίων ἀναπέπαυται διὰ σοῦ, ἀδελφέ
7χαρὰν γὰρ πολλὴν ἔσχον καὶ παράκλησιν ἐπὶ τῇ ἀγάπῃ σου, ὅτι τὰ σπλάγχνα τῶν ἁγίων ἀναπέπαυται διὰ σοῦ, ἀδελφέ.
8 διὸ πολλὴν ἐν χριστῷ παῤῥησίαν ἔχων ἐπιτάσσειν σοι τὸ ἀνῆκον
8Διὸ πολλὴν ἐν Χριστῷ παρρησίαν ἔχων ἐπιτάσσειν σοι τὸ ἀνῆκον
9 διὰ τὴν ἀγάπην μᾶλλον παρακαλῶ τοιοῦτος ὢν ὡς παῦλος πρεσβύτης νυνὶ δὲ καὶ δέσμιος ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ
9 διὰ τὴν ἀγάπην μᾶλλον παρακαλῶ, τοιοῦτος ὢν ὡς Παῦλος πρεσβύτης νυνὶ δὲ καὶ δέσμιος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ
10 παρακαλῶ σε περὶ τοῦ ἐμοῦ τέκνου ὃν ἐγέννησα ἐν τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου ὀνήσιμον
10 παρακαλῶ σε περὶ τοῦ ἐμοῦ τέκνου, ὃν ἐγέννησα ἐν τοῖς δεσμοῖς, Ὀνήσιμον,
11 τὸν ποτέ σοι ἄχρηστον νυνὶ δέ σοι καὶ ἐμοὶ εὔχρηστον
11τόν ποτέ σοι ἄχρηστον νυνὶ δὲ [καὶ] σοὶ καὶ ἐμοὶ εὔχρηστον,
12 ὃν ἀνέπεμψα σὺ δὲ αὐτὸν τουτέστι τὰ ἐμὰ σπλάγχνα προσλαβοῦ
12 ὃν ἀνέπεμψά σοι, αὐτόν, τοῦτ’ ἔστιν τὰ ἐμὰ σπλάγχνα
13 ὃν ἐγὼ ἐβουλόμην πρὸς ἐμαυτὸν κατέχειν ἵνα ὑπὲρ σοῦ διακονῇ μοι ἐν τοῖς δεσμοῖς τοῦ εὐαγγελίου
13ὃν ἐγὼ ἐβουλόμην πρὸς ἐμαυτὸν κατέχειν, ἵνα ὑπὲρ σοῦ μοι διακονῇ ἐν τοῖς δεσμοῖς τοῦ εὐαγγελίου,
Note: From verse 14-17 the TR and N28 read exactly the same
14 χωρὶς δὲ τῆς σῆς γνώμης οὐδὲν ἠθέλησα ποιῆσαι ἵνα μὴ ὡς κατὰ ἀνάγκην τὸ ἀγαθόν σου ᾖ ἀλλὰ κατὰ ἑκούσιον
14 χωρὶς δὲ τῆς σῆς γνώμης οὐδὲν ἠθέλησα ποιῆσαι, ἵνα μὴ ὡς κατὰ ἀνάγκην τὸ ἀγαθόν σου ᾖ ἀλλὰ κατὰ ἑκούσιον.
15 τάχα γὰρ διὰ τοῦτο ἐχωρίσθη πρὸς ὥραν ἵνα αἰώνιον αὐτὸν ἀπέχῃς
15 Τάχα γὰρ διὰ τοῦτο ἐχωρίσθη πρὸς ὥραν, ἵνα αἰώνιον αὐτὸν ἀπέχῃς,
16 οὐκέτι ὡς δοῦλον ἀλλ᾽ ὑπὲρ δοῦλον ἀδελφὸν ἀγαπητὸν μάλιστα ἐμοὶ πόσῳ δὲ μᾶλλόν σοι καὶ ἐν σαρκὶ καὶ ἐν κυρίῳ
16 οὐκέτι ὡς δοῦλον ἀλλ’ ὑπὲρ δοῦλον, ἀδελφὸν ἀγαπητόν, μάλιστα ἐμοί, πόσῳ δὲ μᾶλλον σοὶ καὶ ἐν σαρκὶ καὶ ἐν κυρίῳ.
17 εἰ οὖν ἐμὲ ἔχεις κοινωνὸν προσλαβοῦ αὐτὸν ὡς ἐμέ
17 εἰ οὖν με ἔχεις κοινωνόν, προσλαβοῦ αὐτὸν ὡς ἐμέ.
18 εἰ δέ τι ἠδίκησέν σε ἢ ὀφείλει τοῦτο ἐμοὶ ἐλλόγει
18 εἰ δέ τι ἠδίκησέν σε ἢ ὀφείλει, τοῦτο ἐμοὶ ἐλλόγα.
Note: From verse 19-24 the TR and N28 read exactly the same
19 ἐγὼ παῦλος ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμῇ χειρὶ ἐγὼ ἀποτίσω ἵνα μὴ λέγω σοι ὅτι καὶ σεαυτόν μοι προσοφείλεις
19 ἐγὼ Παῦλος ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί, ἐγὼ ἀποτίσω ἵνα μὴ λέγω σοι ὅτι καὶ σεαυτόν μοι προσοφείλεις.
20 ναὶ ἀδελφέ ἐγώ σου ὀναίμην ἐν κυρίῳ ἀνάπαυσόν μου τὰ σπλάγχνα ἐν κυρίῳ
20 ναὶ ἀδελφέ, ἐγώ σου ὀναίμην ἐν κυρίῳ ἀνάπαυσόν μου τὰ σπλάγχνα ἐν Χριστῷ.
21 πεποιθὼς τῇ ὑπακοῇ σου ἔγραψά σοι εἰδὼς ὅτι καὶ ὑπὲρ ὃ λέγω ποιήσεις
21 Πεποιθὼς τῇ ὑπακοῇ σου ἔγραψά σοι, εἰδὼς ὅτι καὶ ὑπὲρ ἃ λέγω ποιήσεις.
22 ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἑτοίμαζέ μοι ξενίαν ἐλπίζω γὰρ ὅτι διὰ τῶν προσευχῶν ὑμῶν χαρισθήσομαι ὑμῖν
22 ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἑτοίμαζέ μοι ξενίαν ἐλπίζω γὰρ ὅτι διὰ τῶν προσευχῶν ὑμῶν χαρισθήσομαι ὑμῖν.
23 ἀσπάζονταί σε ἐπαφρᾶς ὁ συναιχμάλωτός μου ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ
23 Ἀσπάζεταί σε Ἐπαφρᾶς ὁ συναιχμάλωτός μου ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,
24 μάρκος ἀρίσταρχος δημᾶς λουκᾶς οἱ συνεργοί μου
24 Μᾶρκος, Ἀρίσταρχος, Δημᾶς, Λουκᾶς, οἱ συνεργοί μου.
25 Ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ὑμῶν ἀμήν 12
25 Ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ὑμῶν. 10
The following are the differences between the texts using the TR as the authority.
Nestle’s 28th ed.
2: Changes ἀγαπητῇ to ἀδελφῇ — “beloved” to “brother.” Different words with similar meanings.
6: Omits ἰησοῦν, Jesus
7: Transposes and changes ἔχομεν πολλὴν to πολλὴν ἔσχον – “we have great (joy)” to “has given me great (joy)” Change from active to passive
9: Transposes ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ to Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ — “Jesus Christ” to “Christ Jesus.”
10: omits μου – “my (bonds)”
11: adds [καὶ] –“and”
12: omits σὺ δὲ and προσλαβοῦ. Changes τουτέστι to τοῦτ’ ἔστιν – omits “thou therefore receive.” “that is” us translated the same way.
13: transposes διακονῇ μοι to μοι διακονῇ — “ministered unto me” is translated the same way.
18: changes ἐλλόγει to ἐλλόγα – “he hath wronged” to “he has done you any wrong.” Change from verb to a noun.
25: omits ἡμῶν and ἀμήν – “(the grace of) our Lord” to “the grace of the Lord,” and omitting “Amen.”
Verses 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 are identical. 15 out of 25 verses are identical. Then of the remaining 10 verses 13 changes are made that affect 17 words out of 339 words in the TR or 5% of the words in the book.
The point of this exercise is to show that to read Paul’s letter to Philemon in Greek in the N28 is to read the TR with minor variations. Though a corruption of the Original (apograph), pragmatically speaking little has been gained by the N28 critical changes. 95% of the book reads exactly as the TR, and yet we are supposed to accept that the 5% makes this an entirely different text of Philemon? If the critical text is considered a stand-alone critical edition on the book of Philemon, which of course it is touted to be, it can’t be any other way, then the editors of the N28 Book of Philemon are culpable of plagiarizing the TR.