“What is the best bible version?”, what a good question. One that deserves/demands an answer. In my laymans’ understanding you will need various texts. Because the Bible is a ‘book of books’. First question is, ‘which cannon’? So, for this post we will only look at the Americanised Cannon of 66 books.
A book that we will not consider is Esther. The book wasn’t added until later on in the Christian era. Ezra did not canonize it, Josephus did not canonize it, it wasn’t found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, so Jesus never heard of it. The book ‘they’ call Proto-Esther from the Dead Sea Scrolls doesn’t contain a single line found in the book of Esther. Proto-Esther is in fact Esdras (Ezra).
The Book Of Esther Is Not Inspired
The old Testament:
Moses could not read Hebrew, he wrote in Akkadian. Moses coauthored the first five books, of the bible with Joshua utilizing the Phonetician script. Hebrew was not invented until 925 BC, at best. That’s several hundred years after the deaths of Moses and Joshua.
The evidence is strong, that no book of the Bible was originally autographed in Hebrew. Hebrew was just a liturgical language and never a spoken vernacular. Similar to Latin of the Catholics. The Bible was written in Akkadian, Greek, and Aramaic. (There was never an “offical” Aramaic language, even today there are 13 forms, and none are Franka Lingua)
The Old Testament portion in almost all modern bibles are just translations of the Leningrad Codex, also called the ‘Masoretic Text’ or ‘MT’. To say it’s not very reliable is an understatement, highly corrupt might be more accurate, and was written about 1100 AD. It has many DELIBERATE doctrinal errors, because the Jewish Masoretes wanted to ‘prove’ Yeshua is not the messiah. Its a book rewritten to disprove the God it claims to portray. So, we will not even consider examining this document. It would behoove you to avoid it like the plague. So, with that out of the way. (The evidence AGAINST the MT is quite extensive and reserved for a future post)
The following video explains how the Jews tried to cover the Messiaship of Yeshua. They ‘added’ and ‘took away’ scripture to make the claim Shem is Melki-Tzadok.
The Samaritan Pentateuch (SP)
For the first 6 books (Includes Joshua) The Samaritan Pentateuch is by far and away the most superior copy of the Holy Script. Probably as close to when it left the hand of Moses and Joshua as available. Its still written in Phoenician (Proto-Sinatic) script, in the Akkadian language. Word for word, indeed letter for letter, it is the most reliable. The problem is there are not enough study tools, commentaries, or dictionaries for this version. What you will find, are “translations” into Hebrew then into English without any way to know how accurate the translators are. Its very grueling and arduous task to vet passages from the original SP.
On a side note: there is no such alphabet called “Paleo-Hebrew”. It’s not scholarly and a very dishonest term, would be like calling Old Germanic ‘Paleo-American’.
This discussion is about the language of Moses NOT the religion of the Samaritans
Its time to thank the Samaritans for their respect for scripture! The Samaritan Pentateuch (SP) is the oldest Bible manuscript in the world. Although the extant copy is 1065 AD the Samaritans acquired it from Josiah around 610 BC. Samaritan theology venerates Joshua’s altar on Mt. Gerizim at Shechem and rejects all scripture except for the first five books of Moses. There are 40 Samaritan Pentateuch Harmonizations (text from one location in the Torah replicated into a new second location) also witnessed in Dead Sea Scrolls and against the Septuagint (LXX).
- Wikipedia is a good source to explore this topic more…yes, Wikipedia
- For an exhaustive comprehensive source written by a respected scholar and archeologist…. WHO ISN’T A SAMARITAN (meaning he has no bones to pick). Check it out.
Yes, I know, scholars will use the silly term ‘paleo-hebrew’ when they are talking to laymen, but not in books written for other scholars. The proper terms are Phoenician, Proto-Sinitic (Only used for writing found at Mt Sinai), or Proto-Canaanite (For writings found NOT at Mt. Sinai).
- The Samaritan Pentateuch: An Introduction to Its Origin, History, and Significance for Biblical Studies
- The Samaritan Version of Saadya Gaon’s Translation of the Pentateuch: Critical Edition and Study of MS London BL OR7562 and Related MSS
- Before The Muses: An Anthology Of Akkadian Literature
- The Shared Tradition of the Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch
- A Dictionary of Samaritan Aramaic (2 vols.)
- Dictionary of Qumran Aramaic pdf for the Qumran version of the SP
- The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah: First English Translation Compared with the Masoretic
- There is another “Samaritan Bible” its in Old English, translated by Emmanuel Tov, but I cant find it. Maybe you can, and if you do, please send me a link.
Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS)
The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient Hebrew manuscripts discovered in 1946/47 at the Qumran Caves in what was then Palestine, near Ein Feshkha in the West Bank, on the northern shore of the Dead Sea. They date from 3rd century BC to first century AD.
The DSS are greatly esteemed because they haven’t been touched in 2000 years! The problem is the only complete book is the Isaiah Scroll, the rest are fragmented.
These are the same copies of books Jesus would have read, James the Good, John the Baptist, and all the other God Fearers.
Here is a little background on the Septuagint.
The Septuagint (from the Latin septuaginta, meaning “seventy,” and frequently referred to by the roman numerals LXX) is the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The name derives from the tradition that it was made by seventy (or seventy-two) Jewish scholars at Alexandria, Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 B.C.).
“The earliest version of the Old Testament Scriptures which is extant, or of which we possess any certain knowledge, is the translation executed at Alexandria in the third century before the Christian era.
The Septuagint version having been current for about three centuries before the time when the books of the New Testament were written, it is not surprising that the Apostles should have used it more often than not in making citations from the Old Testament. They used it as an honestly made version in pretty general use at the time when they wrote. They did not on every occasion give an authoritative translation of each passage de nova [which means anew], but they used what was already familiar to the ears of converted Hellenists, when it was sufficiently accurate to suit the matter in hand. In fact, they used it as did their contemporary Jewish writers, Philo and Josephus, but not, however, with the blind implicitness of the former.
The veneration with which the Jews had treated this version [the Septuagint] (as is shown in the case of Philo and Josephus) [because Philo and Josephus quoted the Septuagint], gave place to a very contrary feeling when they [the Jews] found how it could be used against them in argument: hence they decreed the version, and sought to deprive it of all authority. [Previous to this, it was the Word of God as they were concerned. But as soon as the early church started using it against them and pointing out the depravity of Judaism, they tried to discredit the Septuagint]. As the Gentile Christians were generally unacquainted with Hebrew, they were unable to meet the Jews on the ground which they now took; and as the Gentile Christians…fully embraced…its authority and inspiration, they necessarily regarded the denial on the part of the Jews of its accuracy, as little less than blasphemy, and as proof of their blindness.”Preface and Introduction to the Septuagint, written by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton in 1851
From 280 BC and for the next 400 years the Septuagint was the Official Bible in the Temple and all the Synagogues. It was the Bible the Apostles read from. All across Europe, it is the bible all those who were fed to lions, burnt on stakes, buried alive, and martyred for the next 1500 years and after.
The Peshitta is a translation of the Septuagint and New Testament into the Syriac language in the 2nd century AD. The word “Peshitta” was first coined in the 900s AD. It is very likely the early translators had access to documents that we don’t have today.
It is assumed, Ezra translated the original language of the Bible (Akkadian, Chaldean, old-Aramaic) into a Persian Aramaic, also known as the “Quattuordecim“. Because the language the Hebrews spoke was extinct when they returned from Babylon. That copy of the Ezra translation was used to make the Septuagint. The Peshitta is a translation of the Septuagint, as well as Proto-Masoretic, and Goth bible (Wulfila Bible 3rd century AD).
The Ezra Variances, are four places in the bible where Ezra the scribe lied and deliberately wrote words in his translation of the Holy Bible that were not in the copy of the Law which he received.
- Peshitta Download translated by the Church of God (A group of expert translators, very good translation)
NOTE: A translation is more than just finding a synonym in another language. It REQUIRES His Great Spirit to give the understanding for the translation. That is why nonbelievers cant translate bibles. The Peshitta and Masoretic Text are notorious for having atheists, Jews, and Messianics’ (Jews that add Yeshua to Talmud and Kabbalah occult worship) doing translations for the Children of the living God. So, be careful and look for versions that don’t have hoof prints of the enemy or his fellow workers involved with scripture you are studying and learning from.
The New Testament
Don’t make this too complicated. There are “Minority” texts and “Majority” texts. We want the “Majority” text written in ‘Minuscule Greek’. The others were written by university professors that thought they could improve on the wording of the letters of the New Testament. The Majority Text was written by Plow Boys, Shop Keepers, Carpenters, Mule Tanners… someone from a town would travel to where one of the letters were, and copy it by hand on a piece of papyrus. They would then carry their writting back to their village and share it with everyone in town. People would have been very excited to receive this word. These “scribes” were usually not well educated and they made lots of little mistakes. But we have thousands and thousands of them, so we know exactly what was a mistake by checking it against all the others. Another point, is these blue collar guys weren’t trying to “write it better”, they were just copying down verbatim, as much as they could as fast as they could. That is why the Textus Receptus is King of the base texts.
- Textus Receptus is the name given to a series of Byzantine based Greek texts of the New Testament printed between 1500 and 1900
- The name Textus Receptus was first used, to refer to editions of the Greek New Testament published by the Elzevir Brothers in 1633. The name has been retrospectively applied to all the printed Greek texts of the same Byzantine text-type
- Textus Receptus was established on the Byzantine text-type, also called the Majority Text, which represents over 90% of the 5,800+ Greek manuscripts of the New Testament still in existence today
Textus Receptus contains the translation base for the first Greek translation of the New Testament into English by William Tyndale and is the textual base for the Bishops Bible, the Geneva Bible and the King James Bible.
- Textus Receptus was published by Desiderius Erasmus in his 1516 edition of the Greek New Testament: Novum Instrumentum omne
- Textus Receptus was refined by Robert Estienne [Stephanus] in 1550
- Textus Receptus was further refined by Theodore Beza in 1598
- Textus Receptus was again edited by F.H.A. Scrivener in 1881
Textus Receptus strongly upholds the Christian faith
- Textus Receptus is not corrupted by the deletions, additions and amendments of the Minority Text.
- Textus Receptus agrees with the earliest versions of the Bible: Peshitta (AD150) Old Latin Vulgate (AD157), the Italic Bible (AD157) etc.
- Textus Receptus agrees with the vast majority of the citations from scripture by the early church fathers. It has now been calculated that there are more than one million quotations of the New Testament by the fathers. These fathers come from as early as the late first century and the middle ages.
- Textus Receptus is untainted with Egyptian philosophy, heresies and unbelief
Erasmus did not invent the Textus Receptus, but simply collated a collection of what was already the vast majority of New Testament Manuscripts in the Byzantine tradition. The first Greek New Testament to be collated was the Complutensian Polyglot in (1514), but it was not published until eight years later, Erasmus’ was the second Greek New Testament collated and was published and printed in (1516).
To understand better who the Christians are and were our Bible comes from, the below link will take you to some videos that will greatly increase your understanding in this area.
The Peshitta (Eastern) & The Peshitto (Western): A New Testament Argument
The Assyrians’ and Arameans’ were some of the first non-Israelites’ to accept the Gospel message. This is very likely due to the fact that they spoke the same language as the apostles (Aramaic) and had a culture quite similar to the Israelites’.
According to church tradition, the Church of the East received the New Testament writings by the apostles themselves in Syriac, the dialect of Aramaic that was spoken by them. This New Testament became known by the fifth century as the Peshitta. The term Peshitta means straight, simple, sincere and true, that is, the original. The traditional position of the Church of the East has always been that the Peshitta is the original New Testament (known as “Aramaic primacy”).
The legend of Thaddeus (not of the twelve, but of the seventy) who healed an Armenian King, whom they claim Yeshua had correspondence with.
“Legends of Abgar, Thaddeus, and St. Bartholomew,” from Armenian Legends and Festivals by Louis Boettiger, 1920.
The Peshitta text is unique in several ways. For one, it is the oldest complete version of the New Testament written in the Aramaic language. It also includes wordplays, poetry, and other hallmarks of Semitic literature that are completely missing in the Greek versions. Another interesting thing about the Peshitta text is that is does not fully agree with the Byzantine or Alexandrian versions of the Greek New Testament, but is a mix of both with it’s own unique readings in several places. It also includes only 22 of the canonical 27 New Testament books. It’s missing II Peter, II John, III John, and Revelation. The Church of the East encourages their people to read these Books, but has never accepted them into their canon because the present Aramaic versions we have are translated from Greek sources and they also did not receive them from the apostles.
The Peshitta has been revised several times, but the original version has stayed intact by the care of the Eastern scribes. The earliest revision was most likely the Western Peshitto, which occurred after the First Counsel of Ephesus (which condemned the teachings of Bishop Nestorius), resulting in the formation of the Western Syriac Orthodox Church, who took on a monophysite Christology (the belief that Jesus is divine alone and not human). The Church of the East held to Nestorianism (the belief in both deity and humanity residing separately in Jesus Christ). The Western Assyrian Christians are commonly referred to as Jacobites, while the Church of the East are referred to as Nestorians.
The Western Peshitto added the five missing books, translated from the Greek and changed several passages. The only significant changes were to Acts 20:28 and Hebrews 2:9.
The Septuagint including the apocrypha, is highly reliable. Also get the Apostolic Polyglot as its the “Strongs” for the Greek OT.
Each King of Israel was commanded to write a copy of the Law to refer to through out his life. In this modern day and age computers and copy/paste, there is no reason each person cant have a copy of a Bible that they have worked on personally. Its a like long project of scripture you have learned and those revealed to you by His Great Spirit.
Set it up so that you can modify it, write notes in the footer, add inspired books or take away uninspired books from your canon. Keep the master copy on Google Drive and a copy on your phone. Build an app to make it more searchable.
Guard yourself in these last days,
Blessings my friends