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Answered by Dr. Edward Freer Hills

The differences between the various editions of the Textus Receptus have been carefully listed by Scrivener (1884) [1] and Hoskier (1890). [2] The following are some of the most important of these differences.

Luke 2:22 their purification, Erasmus, Stephanus, majority of the Greek manuscripts. Her purification, Beza, King James Elzevir, Complutensian, 76 and a few other Greek minuscule manuscripts, Latin Vulgate (?).

Luke 17:36 Two men shall be in the field: the one shall be taken and the other left. Erasmus, Stephanus 1 2 3 omit this verse with the majority of the Greek manuscripts. Stephanus 4, Beza, King James, Elzevir have it with D, Latin Vulgate, Peshitta, Old Syriac.

John 1:28 Bethabara beyond Jordan, Erasmus, Stephanus 3 4 Beza, King James, Elzevir, Pi 1 13, Old Syriac, Sahidic. Bethany beyond Jordan, Stephanus 1 2, majority of Greek manuscripts including Pap 66 & 75 Aleph A B. Latin Vulgate.

John 16:33 shall have tribulation, Beza, King James, Elzevir, D 69 many other Greek manuscripts, Old Latin, Latin Vulgate. have tribulation, Erasmus, Stephanus, majority of Greek manuscripts.

Rom. 8:11 by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Beza, King James, Elzevir, Aleph A C, Coptic. because of His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Erasmus, Stephanus, majority of Greek manuscripts including B D, Peshitta, Latin Vulgate.

Rom. 12:11 serving the Lord, Erasmus 1, Beza, King James, Elzevir, majority of Greek manuscripts including Pap 46 Aleph A B. Peshitta, Latin Vulgate. serving the time, Erasmus 2345, Stephanus, D G.

1 Tim. 1:4 godly edifying, Erasmus, Beza, King James, Elzevir, D, Peshitta, Latin Vulgate. dispensation of God, Stephanus, majority of Greek manuscripts including Aleph A G.

Heb. 9:1 Here Stephanus reads first tabernacle, with the majority of the Greek manuscripts. Erasmus, Beza, Luther, Calvin omit tabernacle with Pap 46 Aleph B D, Peshitta, Latin Vulgate. The King James Version omits tabernacle and regards covenant as implied.

James 2:13 without thy works, Calvin, Beza (last 3 editions), King James Aleph A B, Latin Vulgate. by thy works, Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza 1565, majority of Greek manuscripts.

This comparison indicates that the differences which distinguish the various editions of the Textus Receptus from each other are very minor. They are also very few. According to Hoskier, the 3rd edition of Stephanus and the first edition of Elzevir differ from one another in the Gospel of Mark only 19 times. [3] Codex B. on the other hand, disagrees with Codex Aleph in Mark 652 times and with Codex D 1,944 times. What a contrast!

The texts of the several editions of the Textus Receptus were God-guided. They were set up under the leading of God’s special providence. Hence the differences between them were kept down to a minimum. But these disagreements were not eliminated altogether, for this would require not merely providential guidance but a miracle. In short, God chose to preserve the New Testament text providentially rather than miraculously, and this is why even the several editions of the Textus Receptus vary from each other slightly.

But what do we do in these few places in which the several editions of the Textus Receptus disagree with one another? Which text do we follow? The answer to this question is easy. We are guided by the common faith. Hence we favor that form of the Textus Receptus upon which more than any other God, working providentially, has placed the stamp of His approval, namely, the King James Version, or, more precisely, the Greek text underlying the King James Version.

This text was published in 1881 by the Cambridge University Press under the editorship of Dr. Scrivener and there have been eight reprints, the latest being in 1949. [4] In 1976 also another edition of this text was published in London by the Trinitarian Bible Society. [5] We ought to be grateful that in the providence of God the best form of the Textus Receptus is still available to believing Bible students. For the sake of completeness, however, it would be well to place in the margin the variant readings of Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, and the Elzevirs.

Footnotes

  1. Authorized Edition of the English Bible, pp. 56-60, 242-63.
  2. A Full Account and Collation of the Greek Cursive Codex Evangelism 604, by H. C. Hoskier, London: David Nutt, 1890, Appendices B & C.
  3. Ibid.
  4. The New Testament in Greek According to the Text Followed in the Authorised Version, Cambridge University Press, 9th Printing, 1949.
  5. The New Testament, The Greek Text Underlying the English Authorised Version of 1611, London: The Trinitarian Bible Society, 1976.

Source: Hills, Edward F. The King James Version Defended, 4th ed. Des Moines, IA: The Christian Research Press, 1956, 1984. Pages 221-223. Read online.