The Trinity - A Doctrine Overdue for Extinction; Part 2

"Imperfections in the King James Version"

Ted Whitten

It's interesting to see that many of the scriptural "evidences" said to be in favor of the doctrine of the Trinity, are grounded in mistranslation, errors in textual transmission, and sometimes even outright forgery. These can often be exposed by even a cursory glance at an English/Greek interlinear Bible or a Greek concordance. To the unbiased it would seem the mere existence of such examples, and particularly when in such an abundance, is strong testimony to the doctrine's falsity. After all, if the Bible already clearly taught that God existed as "three co-equal and co-eternal persons," it should hardly seem necessary to tamper with the text. The truth is, it's unlikely the idea of a triune God could have ever been derived from the pages of scripture as originally given by God, for it seems to have been unknown to the writers of God's Word, and to the first century church.

In this section we'll examine some examples which I have become aware of over the years, beginning with a look at one of the most well known and blatant trinitarian forgeries to be seen.

I John 5:7,8
For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and
these three are one.
And there are three that bear witness in earth,
the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and
these three agree in one.

All words beginning with "in heaven" in verse 7 and ending with "in earth" in verse 8 were creatively inserted, probably by a scribe, sometime around the 16th century. They appear in no texts before 500 B.C., and consequently most modern versions, including the popular N.I.V. leave them out, and more accurately read...

For there are three that bear record: the
spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these
three agree in one.

In matthew 28 we read of Christ instructing his disciples, and he gives them what is sometimes called the "great commission":

Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost:

Did Christ instruct his disciples to baptize using the trinitarian formula, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"? It seems terribly unlikely, for if this were in fact the case, the disciples must not have been listening very carefully to their resurrected teacher. The book of Acts records several baptisms done in the early church, and they were consistently done, time and again, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Acts 2:38
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be
baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift
of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 8:16
(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

Acts 10:48
And he commanded them to be baptized in the
name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry
certain days.

Acts 19:5
When they heard this, they were baptized in the
name of the Lord Jesus.

Of course, the disciples were probably better listeners than that. The text in Matthew 28 may have been altered, or entirely added around the 4th century, because all texts dating earlier exclude this verse, and the early Christian writers Eusebius, Justin Martyr, and Aphraates of Nisibis quote the last part of verse 19 as simply, "...baptizing them in my name".

Here is another example which dates back to the same century:

Acts 20:28
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to
all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath
made you overseers, to feed the church of God which
he hath purchased with his own blood.

The verse has been made to say that "God" purchased us by dying on the cross himself, but earlier texts replace "God" with "The Lord", which could, and more likely does in this case refer to Jesus Christ, God's son. The word "lord" is not a synonym for "God", but simply means "master, one who is respected, or has authority over another". The title therefore can even apply to other human beings, in certain situations. (See for example Matthew 24:44,45)

Here is another subtle alteration that puts God himself on the cross.

Zechariah 12:10a
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon
the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of
supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they
have pierced, and they shall mourn for him...

This scripture prophetically refers to the soldiers piercing Jesus' side at his crucifixion, yet by one little word, "me", it has been made to read as if God himself was to be crucified. It's not clear when or where this change may have taken place, but we should note that while most western bibles read "me", eastern bibles use the word "him". "Him" is probably the more accurate rendering, since when you look at the prophecy's fulfillment in the gospel of John you see that the writer quotes this prophecy of Zechariah to have read "him"!

John 19:36,37
For these things were done, that the scripture
should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
And again another scripture saith, They shall look
upon him whom they have pierced.

In textual transmission (duplication by hand, as it was done necessarily before the invention of the printing press) small errors can make a big difference. The following is a case in point:

I Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery
of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified
in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the
Gentiles, believed on in the world, recieved up into

The first part of the verse accurately should read...

And without controversy great is the mystery
of godliness which was manifest in the flesh...
[As opposed to "God was manifest in the flesh...]

Personally, it consoles me to think that this is more likely just a simple error rather than a direct act of forgery, because it is easy to see where the error may have been made. In all critical greek texts other than that from which we got the King James Version, the word appearing after "godliness" is the word "hos" in greek, meaning "which". "God" in the greek looks similar to "OC" with a small horizontal line inside the O and a line over the top of the two letters. Take the lines away and you have "which". In fact, these lines in Codex A, in the British Museum, are said by some to be in different ink. The scribe in question may have sincerely thought that "God" was the more likely rendering, because of the growing trinitarian doctrine, and changed it accordingly.

Moving on to yet more trinitarian textual alterations, look at the first part of I Corinthians, chapter 10. The first verse reads:

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should
be ignorant, how that all our fathers were
under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

These Old testament church "fathers" are then the subject of the following 10 verses, and are referred to several times with the pronoun "them". Keep that in mind as you read verse 9:

I Corinthians 10:9
Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also
tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

The word translated "Christ" should have been accurately translated "The Lord", which as we have seen, can refer to God or Christ. If the Trinity is correct and Christ has lived from eternity with God, there is no problem with the word "Christ" in this verse, whether it was supposed to be there or not. But I believe it would have been impossible for these men to have tempted "Christ", because Christ had not yet lived, died and been resurrected. Nevertheless, the text reads "The Lord", and to replace it with "Christ" is inaccurate.

Trinitarians believe that God himself took the form of a human being, a "person" if you will, to effect our salvation. The following verse may have been altered to support this idea.

Job 13:7,8
Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk
deceitfully for him?
Will ye accept his person? Will ye contend
for God?

The word "person" is actually "face". It has nothing to do with Christ, but the word "person" brings to my mind the three-person god, one member of which is said to be the man, Jesus Christ.

In some cases, the order of the words in a verse have been rearranged, resulting in a big change in the meaning of the verse. Consider the following.

Titus 2:13
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing
of the great God, and [or "even"] our saviour Jesus

But a correct rendering of the verse would read...

Looking for that blessed hope, and the appearing
of the glory of the great God, even our saviour
Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, and his future "appearing", is our great hope. It is what we Christians watch for day to day, to keep us going, "reaching for the mark". By some very small changes, basically of word arrangement, Jesus Christ becomes "the great God", when all the verse really says is that he, when he appears again, will be the great God's "glory".

Here is another example of the simple rearranging of words, to alter the meaning of a verse:

I Peter 1:11
Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit
of Christ which was in them did signify, when it
testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the
glory that should follow.

The way the verse stands now, "the Spirit" was Christ's spirit which was speaking to "them" (the Old Testament Prophets, mentioned in verse 10 of the chapter), putting Christ once again into conscious existence well before his birth. But in the text, the words "of Christ" do not follow immediately after the words "the Spirit", rather, the verse reads...

Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit
which was in them did signify of Christ, when it testified
beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that
should follow.

The first example that we looked at was I John 5:7,8, in which a certain scribe took the liberty of adding generously to the text from his own imagination. Such creative additions to the actual text of God's scripture constitute a serious offense to God:

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.

Let's conclude now with a few more of what I believe to be Trinity-related examples of this practice. These are clearly more simple, but no less effective in their common misrepresentation of God and Christ.

Now, in John's gospel we read...

John 3:13
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he
that came down from heaven, even the Son of man
which is in heaven.

Now wait a minute! That's Jesus speaking these words, yet he says that he "is in heaven", present tense. Well, that might be possible I suppose, if the trinity were true, for he'd only be one part of a three-part-god. I submit to you first, that one possibility is that the words "which is in heaven" were added, and are a direct forgery. Numerous Greek Bible texts do in fact omit that phrase. However, this is not the only possible explanation.

You'll notice that Jesus is speaking here in the past or "perfect" tense - "...hath ascended...", although the ascension was still, at that time, a future event (See John 20:17). This is an example of "prophetic prolepsis", a legitimate Hebrew figure of speech which Christ used in other places in John's gospel as well. The use of figures of speech in the Bible indicate emphasis. The use of this figure here indicates that the ascension was so dead certain to happen, since it was a part of God's prophesied plan for him, that it could be spoken of as if it had already occurred. With this in mind, "which is in heaven" is not such a difficulty for Christ was soon to ascend to God's right hand, where he is even today. (NOTE: The phrase "came down from heaven" does not indicate a pre-birth existence, as will be explained in detail in Part 3)

John 14:26
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,
whom the father will send in my name, he shall
teach you all things, and bring all things to your
remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

In this verse, and in certain others in the gospels, God's gift of holy spirit is personalized, seemingly spoken of as a "person", a seperate being from God, thereby supporting the Trinity doctrine. But the greek word translated "whom" can just as accurately be translated "which", and this is determined by the translator, who judges it in its context. Also, the word "he" does not appear in the greek at all. It was added. Similarly, in John 16:13-15, where the gift of the holy spirit is referred to with the pronoun "he", it could, and should, be translated as the pronoun "it".

Just a few more words about the term "The Holy Spirit", or "holy spirit" (Remember that capitalization is always at the translator's discretion). As I mentioned before, it often refers to the spiritual gift which God clothes an individual with through the new birth. It's our spiritual "deposit", guaranteeing our eternal inheritence in the age to come (Ephesians 1:13,14). It is the "incorruptible seed" of our father God (1 Peter 1:23), and once it's given, never leaves us (1 John 3:9). But in other places, it's simply another name for the Father, God himself, and there is nothing in the context to make it a seperate person. God is "holy" (John 17:11), and God is "spirit" (John 4:24), therefore God can be called "The Holy Spirit", and sometimes is.

Ephesians 3:9
And to make all men see what is the fellowship
of the mystery, which from the beginning of the
world hath been hid in God, who created all things
by Jesus Christ.

In the above verse it seems that Jesus Christ was with God in the beginning, creating the world as God's "agent" of creation. The thing to note here, is that the words "by Jesus Christ" were again, added to the text. Again, they can be found in no other critical Greek text.

Jude 4
For there are certain men crept in unawares,
who were before of old ordained to this
condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of
our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only
Lord God, and ["which is"] our lord Jesus Christ.

Here, the word "and", is the greek word "kai" meaning "even" or "which is", so the way it stands the verse says that Jesus Christ is God. But the word "God" was inserted, probably intentionally by a trinitarian scribe.

And in our next and last example, the exact same thing was done. That is, the word "God" was inserted where there was no corresponding Greek word in the text.

Acts 7:59
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon [elsewhere
translated "invoking"] God, and saying, Lord Jesus,
recieve my spirit.

At least the translators of the KJV were honest enough to leave the word "God" in italics. (Italicized words in the King James Version indicate to the reader that they were not in the text, but were added for better understanding or easier reading) But I have included this example because it is so clearly a push for the trinitarian doctrine, and many readers still don't realize that the italics indicate something was added.

In speaking with my fellow Christians about this issue I have found many to be reluctant to accept the existence of forgery, or error of any kind in the English Bibles that they read from. "God must have protected His Word" they say, "because the average Christian layman is unskilled with in-depth research methods, and God could not expect them to be." And on the surface, this argument admittedly, might seem quite reasonable. But consider this: freedom of will is one of the greatest things God ever gave mankind, and He's never revoked it of anyone at any time. When God first gave the Word to "holy men of God" who "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:21) it must certainly have been perfect and without contradiction. But from then till now, man has had the freedom to tamper to his heart's content with this gift from God, these words which have since then existed in the physical realm. Even if you just compare a few English versions, for example, the King James with the New International Version, or with the Good News Bible, many obvious and significant differences can be observed (Take for example, 1st John 5:7,8), so who is to say which one should be regarded as this Bible that God "protected" and is therefore perfect?

I propose that God's Word has been amazingly well preserved, without God having to take "control" of anyone against their will. Comparisons between our English versions and the oldest existing manuscripts (The Old Testament's "Dead Sea Scrolls" date to around 100 B.C., and the oldest New Testament fragments date to around A.D. 120!), prove that the vast majority of the original meaning is still intact and easily percievable from most any Bible by the average Christian. Certainly all that is required for us to be saved, and to have a foundational knowledge of the major themes of Christianity - that we should love one another, treat eachother as we want to be treated, make Christ lord of our lives and believe in his resurrection, help the needy, give prayer and praise to God, etc... These things are not veiled or hidden, and salvation does not depend upon our ability or even willingness, to delve any deeper into the scriptures for the knowledge which is available to us. But it's certainly God's desire for us to do so (1st Timothy 2:3,4, 2nd Timothy 2:15, 2nd Peter 3:18). So let's all take time out of our lives to learn more about our God, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ, God's son.

Imperfections in the KJV / Last updated 3-20-03