Is today’s “TR” more authoritative than the KJV?

Is today’s “TR” more authoritative than the KJV?

Does Scrivener's Greek New Testament trump the KJV???

“In Scrivener We Trust”  

“My hope is built on nothing less –

than Scrivener’s edition, and the T.B.S. press –

I dare not fully trust the KJV,

But actually lean on Greek, you see!”

(motto & theme song of the “TR-only”, but NOT KJV-only “scholars”)

Whenever a “TR-only” man cites Greek, he usually points to Scrivener’s edition of the New Testament. And— to be fair, Scrivener’s is probably the best edition of any Greek New Testament, available today. However, it is NOT the “underlying text” of the AV1611.

Here are some reasons why:

  1. Scrivener edited & engineered his Greek NT in 1881 (the KJV was first published in 1611).
  • 3. In Scrivener’s original preface (1881 CUP), Scrivener indicates that he assumed the AV 1611 translators used Beza’s Greek NT more than any other, and thus, Scrivener collated from Beza (and a few others) as much as possible—HOWEVER, he also admitted— “It was manifestly necessary to accept only Greek authority, though in some places the Authorised version corresponds but loosely with any form of the Greek original, while it exactly follows the Latin Vulgate.” (NOTE: the TBS editions available today, do not include Scrivener’s original preface, but rather claim the following falsehood in their edited preface— “The Textus Receptus printed in this volume is the Greek text followed by the translators of the English Authorised Version of the Bible first published in the year 1611.”  [“…this volume IS the Greek text…”???] …THIS claim is NOT TRUE! …Certainly it is very similar, as was Scrivener’s goal— but it is not THE Greek text that the translators followed! …Is someone trying to sell “knock-off” copies of a Greek NT to desperate “TR-only” men???)

In 1881, Scrivener was trying to match a Greek text to the AV 1611, but he admitted that he could not always find a Greek text that actually matched the KJV, but instead, he did find that the Latin Vulgate matched the KJV, exactly. Therefore, in order to produce an “underlying Greek text” matching the KJV, one can only assume that Scrivener actually “back-translated” from either the Latin Vulgate, or the KJV, Itself, in said passages— in order to “reverse-engineer” his 1881 Greek edition. And, while the result is almost exactly the same in Greek, as It reads in the English, AV 1611— there are some minor differences between Scrivener’s 1881, and the AV1611. So, which should we choose as the “final authority”? …Seriously? …Is it even a debate???

(NOTE: It is of little concern to me that the AV1611 DOES read exactly as the Latin Vulgate, in certain places—obviously, if the KJV translators found the Vulgate to be correct IN THOSE passages, then they left It, as is— no harm done.)

But, here is where the harm is done—

Sadly, most “KJV Bible colleges” are using the “Scrivener TR” (the TBS edition— which does NOT include his original preface, as found in the 1881 CUP edition, cited above). And, when a young Greek student in typical “IFB Bible college” sees his professor hold up a TBS Greek NT, and hears — “this IS the TR underlying the AV 1611”, yet he discovers that “Scrivener’s TR” isn’t quite the same as the KJV— a similar thought process happens—as what happens to Greek students at BJU, et al, when a student is convinced that the Nestles-Aland is the “true Greek”, and yet, it doesn’t match the KJV— DOUBT – DOUBT – DOUBT — Doubt upon the 1611 English translation of God’s Word.

  • For those students convinced that the UBS, Alexandrian, Nestles-Aland text is more trustworthy—touting these corrupted Greek MSS results in a complete rejection for the authority of the KJV, and its TR family of texts.
  • Similarly, for the student at the IFB college— it results in a wariness that the KJV is “still the best we’ve got in English”—but, should not be considered to be as authoritative as the “trusted Greek TR”—edited by Scrivener in 1881. This is what happened to Timothy Berg (and, no doubt, to countless other young men, once enrolled at “IFB Bible College”, who are now casualties to the “Greek-is-better-game”) – see here:

Do I respect the “TR family”(the TRUE majority text)? Of course, I do. I believe that the vast majority of MSS within the TR family is obviously the correct lineage of Greek MSS, and the evidence is overwhelmingly on our side— but, I am NOT “TR-only”— I am unashamedly, “KJV-only”. I reject the false teaching that God only preserved His Word in “the originals”, or, only in the “original languages”. Anyone who believes that, doesn’t really have a BIBLE (Book) = a collated, single bound copy of God’s PRESERVED Word, that they can hold in their hand. Before I ever entered an “IFB Bible College”, my pastor warned me that today’s accepted Greek MSS remnants (the “originals” are gone) do NOT hold authority over the AV1611—praise God for faithful, Bible-believing pastors!

THIS is why I refuse to play the “Greek game”… It’s like playing a game of “Greek cards”— without all of the cards. It is a lose-lose game, and it isn’t necessary— we (today’s English speaking people) ALREADY have God’s Word. We don’t need to go backwards, searching for “something better”.

And, to all of my “TR-only” & “Scrivener TBS” friends, out there— Mark Ward is grinning at you, from ear to ear—See for yourself: — and, so also, is James White —

~Pastor Matt Furse

September 2023