2.1.5 Where then did our modern Bibles come from?:
The Biblical world has in its possession a large collection of ancient manuscripts of the Bible. These ancient copies of the Bible were written in different locations around the world and in different ages. We are told that in our current age there are up to 24,000 such ancient copies of the Bible. These are the manuscripts that the scholars go to in order to produce our modern Bibles (such as the KJV, the RSV, the NIV, etc.). In most cases the most ancient copies of the Bible are the ones held in the highest regard and considered to be the most accurate. This, however, is not a hard and fast rule.
All biblical versions of the Bible prior to the revised version of 1881 were dependent upon the "Ancient copies" (those dated at about five to six hundred years after Jesus). The revisers of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) 1952 were the first biblical scholars to have access to the "Most ancient copies" which date roughly four hundred years after Christ. It is only logical for us to concur that the closer a document is to the source the more authentic it is. Upon discovering these "most" ancient copies of the Bible, what did the scholars of the Bible learn about their "King James Version" (KJV) of the Bible? In the preface of the RSV 1971 we find the following:
"...Yet the King James Version has GRAVE DEFECTS.."
They go on to caution us that:
"...That these defects are SO MANY AND SO SERIOUS as to call for revision"
The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible by Oxford Press has the following to say in its preface:
"Yet the King James Version has serious defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of biblical studies and the discovery of many biblical manuscripts more ancient than those on which the King James Version was based made it apparent that these defects were so many as to call for revision."
Who says so? Who are these people who claim that the Bible in the hands of the majority of today's Christians contains "many" "grave defects" which are so "serious" as to require a complete overhaul of the text? Well, we can find the answer in the very same RSV Bible. In it, the publishers themselves (Collins) mention on page 10 of their notes:
"This Bible (RSV) is the product of thirty two scholars assisted by an advisory committee representing fifty cooperating denominations"
Let us see what is the opinion of Christendom with regard to these scholars and their work in the revision of the Bible (revised by them in 1952 and then again in 1971):
"The finest version which has been produced in the present century" - (Church of England newspaper)
"A completely fresh translation by scholars of the highest eminence" - (Times literary supplement)
"The well loved characteristics of the authorized version combined with a new accuracy of translation" - (Life and Work)
"The most accurate and close rendering of the original" - (The Times)
"Bias" In NT Development
A balanced look at the status and authenticity of the New Testament texts.