The Inherent Presupposition(s) of KJV-Onlyism

*Many readers have likely seen the July 10th clip circulating the internet which asserts that the NIV “removes” many passages “from the Bible.”  Not surprisingly, the post has gained much traction by KJV-only advocates {hereafter KJVO} – that is, those who affirm that the KJV alone constitutes “the word of God.”  And, any other translation of the original languages is a supposed “perversion” of God’s Word.  

*While such outlandish assertions really do not merit scholarly analysis, the outright misinformation in the post needs to be addressed.  In this piece I will briefly demonstrate the factual errors and inherent assumptions made by the original author of the article (this is not intended as an attack on anyone who may have reposted or linked the initial article) – and then I will post a rejoinder paper written by my esteemed Elder and friend, J.R. Ensey.

*First, the author makes the assertion(s) that the NIV has “removed” certain words and passages out of “the Bible” – which, obviously, means the KJV.  Hence, the writer assumes his conclusion before ever leaving the gate {i.e., “circular reasoning”}.  However, I am wondering which KJV he is calling “the Bible” since there have been numerous redactions and revisions since the 1611 KJV?  The KJV used by most today is known as the 1769 Blayney Revision, and there are two versions of this KJV revision – the Oxford and the Cambridge – which differ from one another in various places.  Which one of these two KJV’s does the original writer of the article claim as the solely “inspired word of God?”    

*Further, since KJVO’s like the author of the post typically argue that the “original KJV” is what all churches should use, I assume he uses the Apocrypha in his lessons {i.e., Roman Catholic deutero-canonical books (e.g., I Maccabees, Bel and the Dragon, I Esdras, etc.)} since it was not omitted from the KJV until 1885 A.D.  Indeed, the Apocrypha was a part of the KJV for 274 years before it was “removed.”  Hence, unbeknownst to the writer of the article, the “removal” charge is equally leveled at the KJV, not to even mention the numerous additions of the KJV {with virtually zero manuscript support – shall we discuss the Book of Revelation?}.  

*And, I assume that the original author of the clip never consults “Strong’s” concordance regarding the original languages since a 400 year old English version is apparently sufficient?  If the writer has ever been heard to say, “This Greek word means ___________” – then he has just abandoned the KJV.  What about the Chinese, Ethiopic, Japanese, Yugoslavs, etc.?  Do they all need to learn the Elizabethan English of the 1600’s to be saved?  Was no one saved prior to 1885 when the Apocrypha was “removed” from the KJV?  Did no one have the “true word of God” prior to 1611?  

*Clearly, those that make such baseless assertions have very little {if any} background in the discipline of textual-criticism, know nothing about the ancient Greek MS finds of the late 1800’s in Egypt, nor understand the history of the transmission process.  Moreover, it has been well-noted that those who actually do have some background in textual-criticism have been found guilty of sloppy research methods regarding ancient papyrological dating. 

*Before posting Elder Ensey’s article below, let me hasten to state that if someone wishes to solely use the KJV that is certainly their prerogative.  In fact, I always preach from the KJV myself!  There are places the KJV is rather lacking in its renderings {e.g., Phil. 2.6}, and there are places the KJV is absolutely excellent in its translation choices {e.g., Phil. 2.7}.  

*The point of this article is not at all to tear down the KJV, but rather to point out that no translation is absolutely flawless due to the nature of translating from an ancient language (i.e., the sender language) into a contemporary dialect (i.e., the receptor language).  And, sadly, there is such a thing as “Translation Idolatry.”  However, the core doctrines of the church remain untouched in any reputable translation {e.g., KJV, NASB, NET, ESV} and in this we can certainly rejoice and forge ahead!

*In addition to the data presented in this article, I would also point readers to this link which further explicates the NIV translation choices.

*While I could certainly continue ad-nauseum – {been researching this issue for numerous years now and have taught on this topic in numerous places} – the links below should suffice to any sincere seeker of biblical truth.  Note:  The YouTube links below are strictly educational debates and/or academical lectures on this issue:













**Elder J.R. Ensey’s paper below in full-text {used with permission}.  In some instances I have bolded and underlined Elder Ensey’s salient points for emphasis:

This brief article is submitted in response to a July 10 Facebook posting that was read by many people, including some of our folks here in Living Way Church. It concerned the topic of Bible translations.  The purpose of this response is not to uphold or corroborate the NIV renderings, but to bring balance to the topic.

1.  The poster on FB said: “The NIV is published by Zondervan but is now owned by HarperCollins, who also publishes the Satanic Bible and the Joy of Gay Sex.”

Wow, that sounds ominous—as though H-C is really into the gutter of the publishing industry.  It is stated in a way that readers would put the NIV in bad company.  Zondervan has been owned by HarperCollins for 27 years. H-C is owned by Rupert Murdoch who owns FoxNews. HarperCollins is a conglomerate publishing firm with a number of publishing houses, including Zondervan, in their stable of publishing firms.  One of them is Avon Publishing that in 1969 published The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey who died in 1997.   He was an occult nutcase in California.  It was not a “Bible” but simply a collection of essays about his experiences and teaching in his cult of Satanism.  He merely named his book The Satanic Bible.  But reading the FB post one would think that it was a Bible-like book inspired by Satan.  It is a classic example of guilt by association {a formal logical fallacy}.  

Four years ago, HarperCollins also bought Thomas Nelson Publishers in Nashville.  Both Zondervan and Thomas Nelson publish KJV Bibles.  By the poster’s logic, all KJV Bibles should be considered tarnished by being published by a company owned by HarperCollins.  Sadly, most readers won’t take the time to find out the truth but will accept what some Facebook posting says.

2.  The poster said: “The NIV has ‘removed’ 64,575 words from the Bible.”  That is roughly 8% of the 773,692 words in the KJV, including the italics.  Sounds like whole sections of the Bible have been unilaterally excised by unbelieving villains.  How deceptive such statements are.  Actually, thousands of words have not been “removed” from the Bible—one translation simply uses fewer words to say the same thing.  Let’s look at the truth below.

Many thousands of words were added to the KJV as italics.  They were not a part of the biblical text, merely added to smooth up the text for English readers.  Also, the Byzantine text family, from which the KJV was translated, was known to be an “expansive” text, i.e., the Byzantine scribes/copyists freely added words to the text, drawing some from the margins of earlier copies of manuscripts, and adding them when they appeared in other places in the text.  Words were brought in from the Vulgate and from Roman Catholic liturgical readings.  When newer versions do not include the added words they are accused of “omitting/removing/leaving out words” from “the Bible.”

The word count statistic is obviously published and quoted to make it sound like modern versions are arbitrarily leaving out words or passages they don’t like, perhaps affecting doctrines.  In applying the word count principle used by the KJV advocates, it should be noted that there are some verses where the NIV has more words than the KJV.  Does that mean that the KJV has “left out” some words of the Bible?  No, but KJV loyalists do not want the same standards applied to the KJV they insist on for later versions.  

Allow a simple illustration:  In II Timothy 4:17 in the KJV Paul states that he was delivered out of the “mouth of the lion.”  The NIV and other translations render that phrase as “the lion’s mouth.”  That is saying the same thing with only 75% of the number of words.  Apply that principle over the entire Bible and it probably amounts to thousands of words.  It is also interesting that Hebrews chapter 11 in the KJV only has approximately 920 words, while the NIV has approximately 952.  By the poster’s standards, some words have been “left out” of the faith chapter by the KJV translators.  Overall, the NIV has approximately 92-94% of the number of words the KJV has, counting the KJV’s italicized words.  Saying the same thing with fewer words does NOT mean something has been “left out” that was in the original Bible.

Remember:  “the Bible” is not a 17th century version, but the inspired words put down by the writers of Scripture 2000+ years ago.  The KJV is merely one in a line of English translations done in Elizabethan England over 400 years ago.  Approximately 80% of the KJV was borrowed from Tyndale’s Bible, with other sections, words and phrases taken from the Bishop’s Bible and the Geneva Bible.  As early Greek manuscripts were scarce then, they used the 1550 Stephanus and 1598 Beza editions of what would become the Textus Receptus for the basic Greek text.

The NIV is condemned for having fewer words to express the Greek in English, but is it OK for the KJV translators to “leave out” words entirely from Greek text?  Apparently so, but if modern translators leave out words contained in the KJV translation, it is called heresy.  That makes absolutely no sense at all.  Where is the consistency?

For example, the KJV clearly omits “Jesus Christ our Lord” in Romans 1:4, when it is plainly there in the TR Greek New Testament.  Jude 25 in the KJV omits “through Jesus Christ our Lord,” a phrase found in the NIV, ESV and other modern versions because of its Greek manuscript support.  My edition of the Textus Receptus (Stephanus 1550) has it in the footnotes.  Wycliffe had the phrase, as did the Cranmer Bible and the Rheims prior to 1611, but the KJV translators did not include it. By the poster’s logic, the 1611 translators were heretical modernists and liberals trying to intentionally delete references to Christ’s ministry as Mediator.  The KJV also “omitted” the phrase kai esmen, “and so we are” (ESV), “and that is what we are” (NIV) from I John 3:1.  Were the KJV translators attempting to deny that we are actually children of God?

When you hear that some new version has “omitted” something from “the Bible,” think about it. The sword cuts both ways.  What can be charged against the contemporary versions can also be charged against the KJV.  In reality, no charges need to be filed—just try to understand the process of textual criticism and the difficulty of translating from one language to another with nearly 6000 Greek manuscripts to consider.  No doctrines have had to be scrapped because of any variants in the Greek texts.

The poster suggested in print to hand someone a current Bible, such as the NIV, and say, “Find these verses:  Matthew 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mark 7:16,” knowing those particular verses would not be found in the body of the text, only in footnotes.  However, even Mark 7:16 is labeled in the Textus Receptus as doubtful.  Perhaps he meant to add Luke 17:36, a verse that obviously does not belong in the Bible.  Even the KJV translators expressed as much in the margin of the 1611 KJV.  It doesn’t belong because it appears only in D and a few late manuscripts, and absent from virtually all early manuscripts, even from the Textus Receptus (1550 Stephanus).  This seems to corroborate the perception that the KJV actively pursued an “expansion of piety.”  

However, to KJV apologists, versions lacking the words have “excised” them from “the Bible.”  Have you ever wondered why there are no marginal notes in modern KJV Bibles?  Many notes included by the translators that they were not sure about certain renderings, didn’t know what certain words actually meant, and put in the margins what contemporary Bibles put in footnotes.  But the marginal notes have been removed.  Also removed from modern KJV Bibles is the important Preface where the translators expressed their opinions about the need for further translation work, and why they made certain renderings.  It is on the Net and it makes good reading.

Back to the scriptures “left out.”  Regarding Matthew 17:21, it is considered by virtually all textual critics to be an assimilation from Mark 9:29, a copyist’s practice called “parallel influence”—importing a verse or phrase from another place in the text to make them match.  Luke 18:11 is an assimilation from Luke 19:10; Matthew 23:14 from Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47.  Mark 7:16 is usually footnoted in the contemporary versions because of its absence in a number of early manuscripts, and seems to be borrowed from Mark 4:9,23 where it functions as the “conclusion” to an important teaching of the Lord.*  In Mark 9:44,46 the phrase “where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched” was inserted in later manuscripts to match v. 48.  Many manuscripts do not contain the two earlier verses, therefore they are often omitted or footnoted in contemporary versions.

That same “hand a Bible” exercise could be played like this:  Hand someone a KJV and ask them to try to find “Jesus” in Acts 16:7, or in Acts 24:24, or Romans 1:4, 8:34, or find the “cross” in Colossians 2:15, or find “salvation” in I Peter 2:2, or “nor the Son” in Matthew 24:36, or find “the holy One” in Revelation 16:5—in the Greek but omitted completely in the KJV.  Or, hand someone any Greek New Testament, including the first two editions of the Textus Receptus, and say, “Find “the three heavenly witnesses” of I John 5:7,8.  That phrase appears in no Greek Bible text before the 16th century.  Or hand someone a Majority Text (representing the inclusions in a majority of Greek manuscripts) and say find Acts 8:37.  Not there.  That is why it is “missing” or footnoted in contemporary Bibles.  Rather than play these word games, let’s sit down at a table and look at the original language Bible manuscripts and arrive at the real reason there are variants in them that have to be considered.  These silly word games ultimately prove nothing.

{* See James White, The King James Only Controversy (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1995), p. 155.}

3.  The poster said that there were 45 complete verses “removed” from the Bible (i.e, the KJV).  The ones the poster was referring to could probably be easily identified, but he did not list them.  Why?  To say some verse or phrase was “omitted” without providing an explanation borders on deception. It creates the image of someone unilaterally cutting scriptures out of the Bible that contradict their theology.  “Conspiracy is afoot” is the thought they wish to instill. If the poster will provide them, we will be happy to show the reasoning behind the variants.

4.  The poster specifically listed four words he said were “removed” from the NIV. It sounded like the whole concept behind each word was excised, as though God Himself and the whole experience of Calvary were removed.  They want readers to think the worst.

  • “Jehovah” – This is a manufactured word appearing in the Middle Ages as an outgrowth of the hesitancy to pronounce the real name of the Lord YHWH.  It appears seven times in the Old Testament, including in the compound names like Jehovah-Jireh, but none in the New Testament.  It is spelled “Iehovah” in the original KJV because the letter J was not in common use in that era.  For the sake of time let me share with the reader what the Wikipedia says about this word:
  • Jehovah (/dʒɨˈhoʊvə/ jə-HOH-və) is a Latinization of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה, one vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH), the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible.  This vocalization has been transliterated as “Yehowah”,[1] while YHWH itself has been transliterated as “Yahweh.”[2] יְהֹוָה appears 6,518 times in the traditional Masoretic Text, in addition to 305 instances of יֱהֹוִה (Jehovih).[3]  The earliest available Latin text to use a vocalization similar to Jehovah dates from the 13th century.[4]

Most scholars believe “Jehovah” to be a late (c. 1100 CE) hybrid form derived by combining the Latin letters JHVH with the vowels of Adonai, but there is some evidence that it may already have been in use in Late Antiquity (5th century).[5][6]  The consensus among scholars is that the historical vocalization of the Tetragrammaton at the time of the redaction of the Torah (6th century BCE) is most likely Yahweh, however there is disagreement.  The historical vocalization was lost because in Second Temple Judaism, during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE, the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton came to be avoided, being substituted with Adonai (“my Lord”).

“Jehovah” was popularized in the English-speaking world by William Tyndale and other pioneer English Protestant translators,[7] but is no longer used in mainstream English translations, with Lord or LORD used instead, generally indicating that the corresponding Hebrew is Yahweh or YHWH.[8][9] 5.

**Footnotes to above article:  {1.  GOD, NAMES OF – 5. Yahweh (Yahweh) – Bible Study Tools. Retrieved 19 November 2014.  2.  Preface to the New American Standard Bible;  3.  Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon;  4.  Pugio fidei by Raymund Martin, written in about 1270}  5.  Roy Kotansky, Jeffrey Spier, “The ‘Horned Hunter’ on a Lost Gnostic Gem“, The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 88, No. 3 (Jul., 1995), p. 318.  Quote: “Although most scholars believe “Jehovah” to be a late (c. 1100 CE) hybrid form derived by combining the Latin letters JHVH with the vowels of Adonai (the traditionally pronounced version of יהוה), many magical texts in Semitic and Greek establish an early pronunciation of the divine name as both Yehovah and Yahweh”  6.  George Wesley Buchanan, “The Tower of Siloam“, The Expository Times 2003; 115: 37; pp. 40, 41. Quote from Note 19: “This [Yehowah] is the correct pronunciation of the tetragramaton, as is clear from the pronunciation of proper names in the First Testament (FT), poetry, fifth-century Aramaic documents, Greek translations of the name in the Dead Sea Scrolls and church fathers.”  7.  In the 7th paragraph of Introduction to the Old Testament of the New English Bible, Sir Godfry Driver wrote, “The early translators generally substituted ‘Lord’ for [YHWH]. […]  The Reformers preferred Jehovah, which first appeared as Iehouah in 1530 A.D., in Tyndale’s translation of the Pentateuch (Exodus 6.3), from which it passed into other Protestant Bibles.”  8.  English Standard Version Translation Oversight Committee Preface to the English Standard Version Quote:  “When the vowels of the word Adonai are placed with the consonants of YHWH, this results in the familiar word Jehovah that was used in some earlier English Bible translations.  As is common among English translations today, the ESV usually renders the personal name of God (YHWH) with the word Lord (printed in small capitals).”  9.  Bruce M. Metzger for the New Revised Standard Version Committee. To the Reader}

**  “Calvary” – This word was translated from the Greek kranion, meaning “the skull.”  It came into the KJV from the Catholic Latin Vulgate. Wycliffe, who translated the Latin Vulgate into English in the 14th century, rendered it “calveri,” from the Latin “calvaria.” Tyndale picked it up at Luke 23:33 (the only place it appears) and it was carried forth in the 1611 KJV as “Calvarie,” still clinging to the Latin.  It is spelled “Calvary” in modern KJV editions, but contemporary versions correctly use the English translation of the Greek word:  “The Skull.”

**  “Holy Ghost” – This is the 17th century rendering of “Hagios Pneuma”—literally, Holy Spirit. Holy Ghost was a term introduced by Wycliffe in the 14th century as “holi goost.”  Tyndale used the same term.  In 1582 it appeared as “holy Ghost,” and in 1611 as “Holy Ghost.”  The technically correct rendering of Pneuma is “Spirit.”  Wherever “Holy Ghost” appears in the KJV, most contemporary versions use Holy Spirit.  So the words you mentioned have not really disappeared, dear poster, only an archaic rendering.

**  “Omnipotent” – This word appears once in the New Testament (Revelation 19:6).  It is translated from the Greek pantokrator – meaning “Almighty.”  The KJV translators, in their 1611 Preface to the KJV, confessed the practice of rendering the same Greek term in different ways for the sake of “varietie.”  Therefore, they rendered the same Greek term as “omnipotent” in Revelation 19:6, but as “Almighty” in II Corinthians 6:18.  God is omnipotent, but that is just another word for “Almighty.”  The “variety of words” approach can be useful in certain cases, but it confuses some readers.  Renowned Greek linguist, Dr. William Mounce says, “Theos ho pantokrator” in Revelation 19:6 is literally “God the Almighty.”  To be clearer and more accurate, hardly any contemporary versions use “omnipotent.”  Please don’t be confused when you don’t find these words in your KJV.

This is submitted as a reminder that not everything one reads on Facebook is worthy of forwarding or repeating.



The Long Ending of Mark {LEM}

*The debate over the inclusion versus non-inclusion of the long ending of Mark’s gospel (16.9-20 {hereafter LEM}) has raged for centuries within the discipline of textual criticism. Indeed, there is certainly no shortage of “evidence” offered on-line from opposing sides.

*The argument against the inclusion of the LEM is largely based on the omission of these passages from roughly a dozen early manuscripts (MSS)—most notably Codices Vaticanus (A.D. 350) and Sinaiticus (A.D. 360).  Significantly, however, Codex Vaticanus—the earlier of the two ancient codices—contains a blank space at the ending of Mark where the LEM would fit perfectly.

*As evidence against the LEM, linguists often point to the stylistic differences in the LEM in contrast to the rest of Mark’s gospel and hence, posit a non-Marcan interpolation.  It is commonly asserted that since there are 53 Greek words in the LEM that appear nowhere else in Mark’s gospel—and 21 Greek words that appear nowhere else in the entire NT, this points to a later intrusion into Mark’s original text.

 **Internal Considerations:  In Luke 1.1-12 there are at least 20 Greek words and forms that are found absolutely nowhere else in the entire NT—not just Luke’s gospel.  Laying aside the LEM, Mark’s gospel contains 102 Greek words and forms that are found nowhere else in the NT. Similarly, Matthew uses 137 Greek words, Luke uses 312 and John uses 114 words that are entirely exclusive to their gospels—i.e. found nowhere else in the NT.  Hence, using the same textual criteria used to dismiss the LEM, we could just as easily discard all four gospels!

*In the same vein, many textual critics have rejected the authenticity of 2 Peter as originally Petrine based upon a vast difference in literary genre from I Peter to 2 Peter. Dr. Richard Bauckham comments, “The evidence which really rules out composition during Peter’s lifetime is that of literary genre and that of date.  Either of these might be fatal for any degree of Petrine authorship. Together they must be regarded as entirely conclusive against Petrine authorship.” {Richard Bauckham, Word Biblical Commentary: Jude, 2 Peter (Waco: Word Books, 1983), 159.}

*Most of the literary distinctions between I and II Peter are easily solved when considering that Peter likely used an amanuensis (dictation secretary)—just as was likely done with the gospel of Mark inasmuch as textual critics affirm that the gospel of Mark was dictated by the apostle Peter (Peter’s characteristics are clearly demonstrated in Mark).  For an absolutely excellent text-critical article debunking a non-Petrine authorship for II Peter see here:    

*It is common knowledge among paleographers that it was not uncommon for the last few leaves of a parchment book to fall off due to poor binding in conjunction with constant use and copying.  One of many examples would be Codex Vaticanus referenced above inasmuch as it omits the remainder of Hebrews from 9.14 onward (see here for actual photograph of Vaticanus:  Yet no one believes that the remainder of Hebrews is not authentic.  Vaticanus is equally missing 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Revelation—yet, again, no reputable scholar believes these books were not in the original autographs.

*Similarly, Codex Sinaiticus contains many Apocryphal books, the spurious Epistle of Barnabas as well as portions of The Shepherd of Hermas.  Clearly these two codices, as great a discovery as they were, do not warrant an outright dismissal of the LEM simply based upon their omission—especially when the oldest of the two contains a blank space fit perfectly for these passages.     

*However, there is an even greater primitive testimony to the authenticity of the LEM.  Suffice it to say that the ancient documentation in favor of the LEM actually dates to well over a century earlier than the supposed evidence against the LEM.

**External Considerations:  The ancient Bishop Papias, writing ca. A.D. 95-120, references the same Joseph Barsabbas of Acts 1—one of the two candidates chosen for the office of apostle after Judas Iscariot lost his apostleship.  Papias relates, upon the testimony of Phillip’s daughters, that this same individual “drank a deadly poison and suffered no harm”—an example to the fulfillment of the LEM (16.18).

*Even more convincing, Justin Martyr in his “First Apology” (A.D. 156), chapter 45, states that while the apostles were “GOING forth from Jerusalem, PREACHED EVERYWHERE.”  The three Greek words in ALL CAPS above reflect three Greek words identical to the Greek words used in Mark 16.20—including the extremely rare Greek adverb translated “everywhere” (πανταχοῦ).  Indeed, this particular Greek adverb is only used 7 times in the entire NT, indicating that this was an uncommon word during the Koine’ period.  As text critics have noted, such intentional selection of words suggests that Justin is directly quoting from the LEM in ca. 156 A.D.

*A direct student of Justin Martyr, Tatian, in a famous work entitled “The Diatessaron” (ca. 172 A.D.), a single commentary integrating all four Gospels, includes the LEM.  This is well demonstrated by the Syriac manuscript of Ephrem’s Commentary on the Diatessaron, the Arabic Harmony—as well as numerous other sources.

*In ca. 180 A.D. Bishop Irenaeus wrote his infamous work entitled, “Against Heresies,” in Book III, 10.5-6 he directly quotes Mark 16.19 stating that the quotation was from the end of Mark’s gospel:  “Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says:  ‘So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God’.”

*At the seventh Council of Carthage in 256 A.D., Bishop Vincentius of Thibaris specifically quotes the LEM.  We could also add to this list of quotes favorable to the LEM the following: Tertullian refers to Mark 16.19 ca. 215 A.D.; Tregelles reports that Hippolytus (ca. 235 A.D.) quotes Mark 16.18-19 more than once; Codex Alexandrinus (ca. 400 A.D.); Ephraemi Rescriptus (ca. 450 A.D.).

*Jerome’s earliest translation of the Latin Vulgate from the Greek MSS (ca. 384 A.D.) includes the LEM.  Interestingly, the Old Latin (or “Vetus Latina”) was translated from Greek ca. 200 A.D. and the Italic form of these texts formed the basis for the Waldensian Bibles of the Middle-Ages.  Significantly, these translations equally contained the LEM reflecting the Old Latin MSS from which they were rendered, which, in turn was transcribed from Greek MSS ca. 200 A.D.—again placing an extremely early dating for the LEM in the Greek manuscript tradition.

*To date, I have seen little meaningful explanation offered for the direct quotations of the LEM from these ancient writers.  Typically, the only reasoning offered is that the supposed “intrusion” of the LEM into the biblical text originated in the early part of the 2nd century which would explain the early writer’s allusion(s) to this text.  However, this assumes that the LEM is an “interpolation” from the outset—hence starting the journey at the desired destination (i.e., circular reasoning).  Indeed, such an idea seems quite fanciful and likely reveals a theological bias against the supernatural nature of the LEM.    

*While this post merely reflects a sampling of the textual data favoring the LEM, hopefully the case has been set forth to some degree (?).  I would highly commend James Snapp’s exhaustive research into this ancient text:

*Hence, for me at least, it is with great certainty that we can affirm the truths set forth at the conclusion of this earliest Gospel (Matthew and Luke used Mark as their template):

9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.  10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept.  11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country.  13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.  17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;  18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.  20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.  Amen. (NKJV)