Saturday, April 21, 2018

King James Onlyism And The Doxology Of Matthew 6:13

  • Discussion:
           -King James only proponents oftentimes complain about how modern Bible translations tend to omit the doxology in the Lord's Prayer, which is the underlined section of the Scripture passage as follows:

          "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." (Matthew 6:13)

           This, of course, is an example of these people's attempts to demonstrate how modern Bible translators have corrupted the Word of God, but they ignore the simple fact that a difference in manuscript rendering does not in itself constitute a difference in doctrine or corruption of the text. In other words, different translations have different renderings because they use different manuscripts. Not one reads identically in every place. Thus, this King James only argument has already been negated before the main talking points of the discussion have been set forth. Additionally, King James only proponents just assume without proof that their translation of preference is the standard by which all others be judged, which is circular reasoning. It cannot be proven that textual criticism was supposed to stop with the King James Version. Nothing gets closer to the manuscripts, than the manuscripts themselves.

           To preface, it is widely known that the doxology translated into Matthew 6:13 of the King James Version can be traced back to the first century. However, there is great evidence that the omitted phrase was simply an appendage by early Scribes to manuscripts for the express purpose of glorifying God. These words were adopted strictly for liturgical purposes in the early church. The doxology was essentially an oral tradition, not Scripture itself. Notice how it echoes very similarly the message from this Old Testament passage:

           "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name." (1 Chronicles 29:11-13)
  • The Oldest And Most Reliable Manuscripts Do Not Contain The Doxology Of Matthew 6:13: 
           -"Although a majority of manuscripts include the doxology, the most ancient and trustworthy manuscripts, like the fourth-century parchment codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, the fifth-century Codex Bezae, and most of the earliest Latin Gospel manuscripts as well as Hieronymus’s Latin Vulgate translation, lack the words. In addition, important church fathers like Cyprian, Origen, and Cyril knew the short version. The doxology is preserved in a number of different forms in the sources, which is not surprising: readers and users, especially in liturgical contexts, could have been expected to add a suitable doxology, which at some point (or at many separate times) entered the text and continued to develop." (Excerpt taken from Bible Odyssey, "Manuscripts of the Lord's Prayer")
  • The Doxology Did Not Become Prominent In Greek Manuscripts Until The Eight And Ninth Centuries:
           -"The clause is not present in earlier manuscripts. Nor is the phrase mentioned in any early Christian commentaries on the Lord’s prayer (of which there are several). The earliest this phrase occurs in the manuscripts is the fourth or fifth centuries (once), and is not prominent until the eighth and ninth centuries (in one manuscript from the ninth century, scribes specifically noted that the phrase was not found in important copies)." (Excerpt taken from Start 2 Finish, "Lost in Translation: Textual Criticism")
  • Further Insights On The Spurious Reading Of Matthew 6:13:
           -"While it is true that neither Vaticanus nor Siniaticus attest to the doxology found in W at Matt, 6:13, the conclusion that the doxology was not original to the text of Matthew is hardly drawn from this fact alone. To say so is to ignore that the doxology is also not attested in Western (D), most of the Old Latin, and other MSS witnesses to the text of Matthew (i.e. f 1) or by such early commentators on the LP as Origen, Tertullian and Cyprian…And it is entirely fallacious to conclude, as proponents of the originality…when they do note that there MS evidence apart from that in Vaticanus and Sinaticus for Matt. 6:13 ending as Siniaticus and Vaticanus say it does, that when a majority of witnesses testify to a particular reading, that reading is indeed original.” (Excerpt taken from Academia, "Did the Original text of Matt. 6:13 contain a doxology?")
  • There Were Some Archaic English Bible Translations Which Included The Doxology Of Matthew 6:13, While Others Omitted It. One Example Of A Translation That Omitted The Phrase Is The Douay-Rheims Translation, Which Existed Prior To The King James Version:
           -"And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen." (Matthew 6:13)
  • Notice That The Latin Vulgate Does Not Include The Doxology, Either:
           -"Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen." (Matthew 6:13)

           So it would be absolute nonsense to suggest that this omission was part of some sort of a conspiracy to attack the King James Version. Translations contain slight differences because they use different manuscripts. That is the nature of the translation process, which is not simply a matter of matching words identically to an original sentence structure in a foreign language. They must also be accurate and coherent to the reader.

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