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What Does "Testament" Mean?

I think it's important to understand what the word Testament means before getting started on the sources of the New Testament.

According to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, Testament means the following:

1   A: a tangible proof or tribute

     B: an expression of conviction : creed

2   A: an act by which a person determines the disposition of his or her property after death

     B: will

3   A: capitalized : either of two main divisions of the Bible

     B: archaic : a covenant between God and the human race

So based on definition 1, A and B above, the word testament means "tangible proof" or a "tribute." Merriam-Webster also lists "Testamony" and "Witness" as Synonyms of Testament so in the case of the Bible, the 5000+ Manuscripts that makeup the "Majority Text" could be considered testamony, or the words of witnesses. We'll go deeper into the 5000+ Manuscripts in a little bit.

Definition 3, B backs up that line of thinking by defining "Testament" as the covenant between God and Mankind to preserve Gods Word which is also stated in the Bible in Psalms 12:7-9.

"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted."

Why Are There Newer Versions of The Bible?

Lets try to discover how and possibly why the NIV and other New Age Bibles came to exsist. For the most part I will use the NIV as my example of a New Age Bible because it seems to be the most well known.

When it comes to different versions of "The Bible", many people think all Bibles are essentially the same, just diffent levels of readability. So it's no wonder that so many people have left the "ancient" King James Version and "upgraded" to a "newer version", such as the NIV. The word "version" implies that there is something different. In the case of the KJV vs virtually all of the New Age Bibles, it goes a lot deeper then improved readability. Lets take a look at that.

Have you ever heard of the two Textual Bible Critics, Westcott and Hort? If you haven't, dont feel bad, most people have not. Few are aware that virtually all modern Bible versions are built upon the Greek Text translations of Westcott and Hort. It is frequently referred to as the "Westcott-Hort text". I have a copy of the NIV that I use for reference and comparison. In it, it says in the preface that "they have striven for more then a word-for-word translation" and there are at least two references to "textual criticism", one quoted as follows:

"Where existing manuscripts differ, the translators made their choice of readings according to accepted principles of New Testament textual criticism."

Textual Criticism

To understand Westcott and Hort and textual criticism you need to know that the New Testament was originally written in the Greek language, just before and just after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ so none of the originals are still available. Since the original books of the Bible do not exist any more, it was necessary to translate the Bible from copies of the originals. The word Manuscripts is used to describe these copies which still exist today. There are over 5000 known manuscripts of the New Testament, most in Greek and some that were translated to other languages such as Hebrew. Though none of these manuscripts are exactly the same in content, the majority of them agree with each other almost perfectly.

Theologians and Translators of the Bible over many years have assembled these agreeing manuscripts into what is today called the "Majority Text" or in Latin, the Textus Receptus. This Majority Text is made up of more than five thousand manuscripts. Since 99.9% of these manuscripts agree, we can rest assured that God has indeed preserved His Word. How could it be otherwise if over five thousand witnesses agree that this New Testament is God’s holy Word. Not only do we have 5000+ manuscripts, but Jesus Himself promised us in Matthew 24:35 that, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." As you can see, in Jesus own words, we have been promised purity in the Word, and God always keeps His promise.

So, over hundreds of years of study and research it has come to be known that 99.9% of those 5000+ manuscripts agree with each other, but what about the other .1%??? These are commonly called the Minority Texts. These five manuscripts not only don't agree with the other 5000+, they don't even agree with each other. Their names are as follows:

Codex Vatican (B)

Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph)

Codex Alexandrian (A)

Codex Ephraemi (C)

Codex Bezae (D)

This is where it starts getting interesting. To grasp the foundation of the New Age Bibles, it is essential to know that they were translated from these five manuscripts.

So herein lies the problem. When it comes to the "witness" of the Greek manuscripts, do we accept the 5000+ witnesses that all convey the same story, or do we accept the 5 random stories? If God truly IS preserving his Word, how do you think he would do that.

Having come to know all of that, we can better understand what "textual criticism" is. A textual critic is a person, who, when presented with multiple options, chooses which part of whose story they believe to be true or perhaps want to be true. In this case, they essentially make themselves the author of something new but they are still calling it "The Bible".

As an example, the manuscript "Codex Vatican B", one of the 5 manuscripts that was excluded from the Majority Text, testifies that the last 12 verses of Mark do not exist. This manuscript does not contain Mark 16:9-20. Take a look at a KJV Bible and look at Mark 16:9-20. You will see that it's about Jesus Christ after he was resurected, not some trivial low impact passages. The KJV was translated from the Majority Text. But if you have a NIV Bible, between verses 8 and 9 there is a line and a large space along with this caption in brackets:

[The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20]

After this bracket in the NIV they then list verses 9-20.

For someone reading the NIV, this might cause some doubt as to the authenticity of these verses. They might argue, "My Bible says the "earliest" manuscripts do not have these verses." Without researching it, how would this reader know of the thousands of other manuscripts which do contain this verse? The one who wrote "the earliest manuscripts....." is the textual critic. They think they have the right to decide what belongs in the Bible and what doesn’t, based upon their education, beliefs, ideals and possibly even their goals. They made themselves the judges as to what belongs in the NIV and what does not. In Psalms 118:8 it says "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." It's clear that God has kept His promise and that His Word is faithfully preserved in more then 5000 manuscripts.

The problem with textual criticism is that man becomes the judge of what belongs in the Bible and what doesn’t. A textual critic establishes himself as judge over God’s Word. In 2Pe 1:20, the Bible says: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation." We are not supposed to "interpret" the Manuscripts, we are simply supposed to translate them to the languages of the world from the Manuscripts we know to be accurate. Due Diligence and a little Common Sense makes it clear which manuscripts those are. Textual criticism is flawed from the start because man's heart is corrupt and sinful. In words directly from Jusus Christ, Matthew 7:18 says "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." So our New Age Bibles have been translated from corrupt Manuscripts by those who must fancy themselves equal with God. Instead of simply translating what the majority of witnesses agree to, they translate from their own sinful hearts, the false witness of the five. With knowledge of the 5000+ being available to Westcott and Hort, this corrupt translation could not have been done innocently but rather with purpose. The book of Revelation warns us about this. Read on to discover the corrupt nature of Westcott and Hort.

Revelation 22:18-19 "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

As far as we know, Westcott and Hort were the original textual critics. Though they no longer live, their legacy lives on in the form of a corrupted Greek text. The influence of their methods blackens and corrupts every modern translation of the Bible available (NIV, NASB, NKJV, NRSV, NAB, REB, RSV, CEV, TEV, GNB, LIVING, PHILLIPS, NEW JERUSALEM, NEW CENTURY, and the New Word Translation). Readers of these new Bibles are mostly unaware that they are reading the translation of a corrupt text. Without thinking or looking deeper into the matter, they blindly assume that every Bible is the same. Why wouldn't they, they trust their Pastors to guide their flocks to salvation. I think that's supposed to be their job. Unfortunatly, too many of the Christians of today have become very complaicent, they just follow along for an hour per week and assume they are saved. We must remember that Bibles are translated by men, and thus corruption is not only possible but likely. Westcott and Hort however went much farther, they thought themselves equal with God by picking through five corrupt Manuscripts and coming up with a new revised version of the Bible and I don't mean revised in a good way. We don't even know what part of which text they used. What we do know is that there are huge differences between the KJV and the NIV. Things like removing 64,000 words and removing the notion of hell. Read our Bible Comparison for a more in depth look.

Matthew 7:13-20: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

It amazes me how little emphasis is put on Matthew 7:13-20 in our Churches. It makes a stark revelation that "narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" and the warning to "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" and the knowledge that "a corrupt tree (or Manuscript in this case) can not bring forth good fruit." These are not just some filler passages from the Bible. These are the words of Jesus Christ Himself. He's emphasizing for our benefit that despite ALL THAT HE HAS DONE FOR US, ...and few there be that find it, with "it" being Salvation.

This is where I find fault with the Pastors and the Seminaries they graduated from. They want to modernize the Church by liberalizing the Bibles to increase the number of members attending their Church. In my case, I believe these are conscious decisions made by people and organizations that have been corrupted by satin himself. They base their actions on how many members they have which directly translates to how much money they make instead of focusing on the purity of the Word. Just as Eve was successfully tempted in the Garden of Eden, these people, Pastors and organizations have succumb to the temptation of satin on a grand scale as Jesus points out in Matthew 7:13-20. I find it astonishing that so many Pastors, Churches and Synods are so willing to incorporate these corrupt translations into their organizations yet Jesus knew this was coming.

The Men Who Made Themselves Judges

What do we know about these men who made themselves the judges over The Word of God? Much has been written about them, but also their own recorded words shed light on their beliefs. The following information is take from two sources, G.A. Riplinger's New Age Bible Versions, and Mr. Joseph Van Beek's tract, kjv vs niv.

In 1841 an old manuscript (Codex Vaticanus) was discovered lying on a shelf in the Vatican library. In 1844 part of another old manuscript (Codex Sinaiticus) was found in a wastebasket in St. Catherines’s monastery (the other part was found in 1859). It is generally believed that these were from the 50 that Eusebius prepared for Constantine. In 1853 these two Cambridge professors, Westcott and Hort, began to prepare a Greek Text based primarily on the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts. They passed by the Traditional Text (Textus Receptus) which was the text upon which the King James Version is based. Instead they used the corrupted manuscripts of the Gnosticism-Origen-Eusebius-Jerome-Augustine lineage." (Joseph Van Beek‘s tract: KJV vs NIV, pgs 5 & 6)

As to the personal beliefs of Westcot and Hort, in recorded history, they:

1) never claimed or testified that the Bible was verbally inspired or inerrant.

2) denied the Genesis account of creation and questioned whether Eden ever existed

3) praised Darwin’s 1859 theory of evolution.

4) found nothing wrong with the worship of Mary.

5) did not believe that the Bible was God’s Word.

Hort wrote, "The popular doctrine of substitution is an immoral and material counterfeit. Certainly nothing could be more unscriptural than the modern limiting of Christ’s bearing our sins and sufferings to his death; but indeed that is only one aspect of an almost universal heresy."

Hort also wrote, "I have been persuaded for many years that Mary-worship and Jesus worship have very much in common in their causes and their results."

Hort did not believe in the complete blood atonement of Christ for the forgiveness of sins, calling such doctrine "heresy".

Westcott once found a statue of Mary and a crucified Christ in a remote chapel and wrote, "Had I been alone, I could have knelt there for hours."

The following are quotes of Westcott and Hort, found in Riplinger’s book.

Westcott - “I reject the word infallibility of Holy Scriptures overwhelmingly.” Riplinger, pg 622

Westcott - “I shall aim at what is transcendental in many peoples eyes. . . I suppose I am a communist by nature.” Riplinger, pg 624

Westcott - “our Bible as well as our Faith is a mere compromise.” Riplinger, pg 625

Hort - “Evangelicals seem to me perverted. . . There are, I fear, still more serious differences between us on the subject of authority, especially the authority of the Bible.” Riplinger, pg 621

Hort - “[T]his may be cowardice - I have sort of a craving that our text should be cast upon the world before we deal with matters likely to brand us with suspicion. I mean, a text issued by men who are already known for what will undoubtedly be treated as dangerous heresy will have great difficulty in finding its way to regions which it might otherwise hope to reach and whence it would not be easily banished by subsequent alarms. (Hort’s letter to Westcott regarding their writing other things.)” Riplinger, pg 623

Westcott and Hort were spiritualists. They sought out contact with the spiritual world (talking with the dead, etc.). Riplinger speaks much on this subject and also aligns them with the New Age movement. They started the “Ghostly Guild” in 1851 and before that the “Hermes Club” in 1845. Riplinger links the spiritualist teachings of Westcott and Hort to the occult teachings of Madame Helena P. Blavatsky who wrote the Lucifer magazine. Westcott, Hort, and Blavatsky are all forerunners of the modern day New Age movement which aims at one world religion.


The conclusion is obvious. Any modern translation that is based upon the Westcott-Hort text cannot be relied upon for accuracy because it is based upon five corrupt manuscripts. The KJV, on the other hand, is based upon the Majority text, over 5000 witnesses agreeing. If the casual reader of the Bible were to compare a New Age Bible with the KJV, they will easily find numerous differences between the two. Even a brief comparison of passages between the NIV and KJV will yield useful information. To learn more about Bible versions and the many problems with modern translations, consider the following:

If you want to see the sharp contrast between the KJV and the NIV, take a look at our KJV vs NIV Comparison on this same website. There is a link at the top of the main index.

David Otis Fuller, D. D.
Which Bible
Grand Rapids International Publications
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49501

David Otis Fuller, D. D.
Counterfeit Or Genuine Mark 16? John 8?
Grand Rapids International Publications
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49501

Pastor R. W. Shekner
Anchor Publications
Sioux City, Iowa

Taylor and Young
Distorted Scripture
Anchor Publications
Sioux City, Iowa

G. A. Riplinger
New Age Bible Versions
A V Publications
Box 388
Munroe Falls, Ohio, 44262