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The Peshitta and KJV-onlyism

by Brian Tegart
thanks to Rick Norris for some of the quotational references and verse comparisons

The Peshitta (or "Peshitto") is an ancient Syrian translation of the Bible into the Aramaic language. Produced between the 2nd and 4th centuries A.D. there is little disagreement amoung participants in the Bible Version debate as to its age, validity, or title as "scripture".

In fact, the following well known supporters of the Textus Receptus and KJV-only authors had this to say about the Peshitta:

Indeed, the readings in the Peshitta often support the TR and KJV over the non "traditional" texts and "modern versions". The age of the Peshitta, putting it at least as old as the Alexandrian manuscripts, provides great weight in determining the age of certain readings and overall integrity of scripture. Certainly, the Peshitta is an important part of Biblical history and the Bible version debate.

But even though the Peshitta is as important as many believe (especially KJV-only supporters), does it really support KJV-onlyism? Or have these KJV-only authors chosen to only present the aspects of it that support only their view? I think the following table, containing verse comparisons KJV-only supporters for some reason don't refer to, speaks for itself. This is just a sampling of verse comparsions:

Scripture passage KJV Peshitta13 NIV and/or NASB
Genesis 1:26 "...and over all the earth..." "...and over all the wild beasts of the earth..." "...over all the earth [with footnote]..."
Genesis 2:2 "And on the seventh day God ended his work..." "And on the sixth day God finished his works..." "By the seventh day God has finished the work..."
Judges 14:15 "And it came to pass on the seventh day..." "But on the fourth day..." "On the fourth day..."
1 Samuel 1:24 "three bullocks..." "three-year old bullock..." "three-year-old bull..."
1 Samuel 2:13 "...when any man offered sacrifice..." "...of every man who offered a sacrifice, and they made for themselves meat-forks with three prongs..." "...whenever anyone offered a sacrifice..."
1 Samuel 13:5 "...thirty thousand chariots..." "...three thousand chariots..." "...three thousand chariots..."
2 Samuel 15:7 "...forty years..." "...four years..." "...four years..."
2 Samuel 18:4 "And the king said unto them, What seemeth you best I will do..." "And the servants of David said to him, we will go forth quickly to fight against him. And the king said to them, Whatever seems good to you, do it..." "The king answered, "I will do whatever seems best to you.""
1 Kings 5:11 "...twenty measures of pure oil..." "...twenty thousand measures of pure oil..." "...twenty thousand baths of pressed olive oil..."
2 Chronicles 3:4 "...one hundred twenty..." "...twenty cubits..." "...twenty cubits..."
2 Chronicles 21:2 "...Jehoshaphat king of Israel." "...Jehoshaphat king of Judah." "...Jehoshaphat king of Israel [with footnote]."
2 Chronicles 28:19 "...Ahaz king of Israel..." "...Ahaz king of Judah..." "...Ahaz king of Judah [with footnote]..."
2 Chronicles 36:9 "Jehoiachin was eight years old..." "Jehoiachin was eighteen years old..." "Jehoiachin was eighteen years old..."
Psalm 145:13 "Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations." "Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endures throughout all generations. The LORD is faithful in his words and righteous in all his works." "Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made."
Mattthew 8:23, 8:24, 9:36, 11:20, 12:9, 14:18, etc. "he" "Jesus" "Jesus"
Matthew 10:8 "...cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils..." "...cleanse the lepers, cast out demons..." "...cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons..."
Matthew 27:41 "...scribes and elders..." "...scribes and elders and Pharisees..." "...scribes and elders..."
Matt 27:35 "And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots." "And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes by casting lots."14 "When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots."
Matthew 28:18 "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Just as my Father has sent me I am also sending you." "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."
Mark 1:2 "...the prophets..." "...Isaiah the prophet..." "...Isaiah the prophet..."
Mark 7:24 "And from thence he arose, and went..." "Jesus moved away from thence..." "Jesus left that place and went..."
John 1:18 "...the only begotten Son..." "...the only begotten God..." "...the only begotten God..."
John 6:11 "...distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down..." "...distributed it to those who were sitting down..." "...distributed to those who were seated..."
John 7:53-8:11
(the story of the woman caught in adultery)
present not present present, but footnotes indicate this is of questionable origin
Acts 4:25 "Who by the mouth of thy servant David..." "who spoke through the Holy Spirit by the mouth of thy servant David..." "You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:..."
Acts 14:10 "...Stand upright on thy feet..." "...I say to you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, stand upright on your feet..." "...Stand up on your feet..."
Acts 18:7 "...Justus..." "...Titus..." "...Titius Justus..."
Acts 19:5, Acts 19:17, Acts 21:13 "...Lord Jesus..." "...Lord Jesus Christ..." "...Lord Jesus..."
Romans 3:26 "...Jesus." "...our Lord Jesus Christ." "...Jesus."
Romans 9:5 "...Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever." "...Christ appeared in the flesh, who is God over all, and to whom are due praises and thanksgiving for ever and ever. Amen. "...Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!"
Ephesians 5:9 "For the fruit of the Spirit..." "For the fruits of the light..." "for the fruit of the light..."
Ephesians 5:21 "...in the fear of God." "...in the love of Christ." "...in the fear of Christ."
Philippians 2:19 "...Lord Jesus..." "...Lord Jesus Christ..." "...Lord Jesus..."
1 John 5:6-8 "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." "This is he who came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ, not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit testifies that the very Spirit is the truth. And there are three to beat witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three are one." "This is the one who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement."
Jude 1:25 "To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." "To the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen." "to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen."

Links


Footnotes:

1. David Otis Fuller, Which Bible?, Grand Rapids Int. Pub., 1970, pp. 197-98.
2. Which Bible?, p. 130.
3. D.A. Waite, Defending the King James Bible, p. 45.
4. Jack Moorman, Modern Bibles - The Dark Secret, Foundation Magazine, Sept-Oct. 1992, p. 30; Forever Settled, p. 116.
5. Edward F. Hills, The King James Bible Defended, Des Moines, IA, Christian Research Press, 1993, 1956, p. 121.
6. William P. Grady, Final Authority: A Christian's Guide to the King James Version, Shererville, IN, Grady Publications, 1993, p. 34.
7. G.A. Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions, p. 488.
8. Peter Ruckman, The Christian's Handbook of Biblical Scholarship, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 94.
9. Peter Ruckman, Handbook of Manuscript Evidences, p. 79.
10. Bill Bradley, To All Generations, p. 52.
11. Mickey Winter, KJV On Trial, p. 16.
12. Donald Clarke, Bible Version Manual, pp. 19-20.
13. George Lamsa's translation into English, "Holy Bible - From Ancient Eastern Manuscripts", fourth edition, 1957. In the Introduction, he says "The translator of this work [(himself)] has access to the existing texts; he has spent many years comparing them in the course of translating the Bible. Astonishingly enough, all the Peshitta texts in Aramaic agree. There is one thing of which the Eastern scribes can boast: they copied their holy books diligently, faithfully, and meticulously." Not all other verse comparisons in the above table have been checked in other translations of the Peshitta.
14. John Wesley Etheridge's translation of the Western Peshitta in 1846-1849 contains "that what was spoken by the prophet might be fulfilled, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots."


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