Is There Evidence of Tampering by
Gnostics in Alexandrian Greek Texts?
Dr. L. Bednar
When a comparison of similar biblical-manuscript texts
indicates a passage present in one is lacking, or reads in a very different sense in another, corruption appears. Text
critics assume all texts are corrupt to a degree, and should consider
all possibilities; however they simply operate on the notion that
conservative scribes wanted to make the text look as good as
possible, so they assume such scribes changed a text to make it read
as well as possible, often lengthening it. They ignore
any suggestions of passage distortion due to hostile intent, including
subtraction from the text, something likely to be indulged in by
meddlers disliking some biblical teachings. Their view of texts was
adopted just because Westcott & Hort, who championed Alexandrian texts, claimed there is no
evidence of falsification for dogmatic purposes in New Testament
Tampering of types favorable to Gnostic dogma potentially accounts for much of the difference between Greek Alexandrian texts and the Traditional-Text ancestor of the Received Text. A notable number of Traditional-Text passages hostile to Gnosticism are absent in Alexandrian texts, and Alexandria, Egypt was an active center of Gnostic heresy in the first few centuries of the church era. In Alexandrian texts, the
Johannine Comma portion of 1 John 5:7,8 and the through
his blood portion of the Col.1:14 pass- age on redemption by the Savior are particularly contradictory to Gnostic dogma (Essay 4a,b), and their absence in such texts must be contrasted with the textual proof of their authenticity; the critics show no evidence of interest in doing so (this website offers such evidence). Another factor here is consideration of reasons for confinement of these portions
in a small minority of Traditional-Text manuscripts. Gnosticism was so potent in early centuries it
threatened to overthrow the church, and would likely influence unbiblical churches that eventually became the dominant large ones in the eastern church where the Traditional Text originated.
Now most anti-Gnostic teaching remains intact in most
Traditional-Text manuscripts, likely due, in part, to the eastern region responsible for maintenance of the Traditional Text being generally located beyond the direct influence of Gnostics,
preventing easy access to most copies. What is perhaps most important is that the extent of tampering
in a manuscript would be limited by a likely desire of this false cult to achieve a
sense of authenticity by minimizing disagreement with the popular New Testament, many true passages being susceptible
to distorted verbal interpretation that might seem to harmonize them
with Gnosticism. Certain types of passages could not be
interpreted in such fashion, leading to efforts to remove them
It is unwise to ignore tampering potential
of select readings in early Traditional-Text manuscripts exhibiting minor Greek manuscript support.* One
should never think that tampering is unlikely, as modern scholars are
inclined to do. The main thrust of Gnostic tampering is aimed at
Christology, likely because satan covets the position of Christ as prince of heaven, as we see in Isa.14:13-14, where he says, "I
will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars
(angels) of God.....I will be like the most
High" (a title reserved for the Son of
God). God responds to this arrogance and self-exaltation in verse 15,
saying, Yet thou shalt be brought down to
hell, to the sides of the pit. The world has
always been plagued by agents of Satan, and his servants among the
Gnostics could be expected to do his will.
*J.R. White. The King James Only Controversy.
Beth. 1995, shows no awareness of possible Gnostic-type
tampering, and his commentary mostly reiterates usual positions of
scholars on supposed superiority of modern critical Greek texts and
the ways they account for absence of crucial passages. He adopts
their usual positions on supposed error in the KJV and its textual
basis. Here we refute his positions on the few occasions when he makes a
substantial effort to support his views.
Traditional-Text passages with minor manuscript support and some with majority support are rejected by textual critics who refuse to consider evidence of tampering and
methods that Gnostics would utilize in this matter, just because their few favored Alexandrian manuscripts omit, or
otherwise differ from, the passages. This blindness to any
possibility of error in Alexandrian texts, and refusal to
consider methods that would be utilized by agents of tampering, results in an
artificial standard that can't produce textual objectivity. The
entire Alexandrian family is a minority text, and scholars favor even non-unanimous readings in a minority-text family, despite potential quality prob- lems due to text association with
Alexandria, Egypt, as a center of Gnostic activity in the early church. Clearly, scholarship of modern textual critics is unrealistic, and faith in God's preservation of His Word is absent from their views.
Notable textual authorities of ancient and modern days
have attested to the evidence of text-tampering in the early-church
era.* The present writer has discussed below several passages, in
addition to the two cases noted above, that show evidence of
Gnostic-type or Gnosticism-related tampering. These are categorized
according to the type of Gnostic dogma they represent. Certain
categories are more prominent than others, and thus are indicative of
priorities on the part of the meddlers. The priorities are those
expected of Gnostics, that of greatest frequency being the Gnostic
view of the deity of Jesus Christ that was the most widely-known
differentiation from biblical Christianity, followed by their view of
the method of salvation as their basic approach to winning
people from Christianity to their dogma, and certain other popular
features of their dogma are also present.
heresies 111:11:7. This noted early-church
elder said of Cerinthian Gnostics, Those again, who
separate Jesus from Christ, alleging the Christ remained impassable,
but that it was Jesus who suffered...See
also Burgon, J. The
Revision Revised. ed. Fuller, D.O. 1983.
“True or False.” Gr. Rapids. International Publications.
p137-159, & Hoskier, H. The Codex
Vaticanus and its Allies. Ed. Fuller,
D.O. 1975. “Which Bible.” Inst. for Biblical Textual
Studies. Gr. Rapids. p136-141.
We consider some passages in the modern-version
critical-type Greek texts that are based mainly on Alexandrian texts.
Variants in Critical Greek
Texts Supportive of Gnostic Dogma
A. Gnostic-Type Dogma on the Deity Of Jesus Christ
1. Acts 8:36-38 Baptism of the Ethiopian
36…See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be
baptized? (spoken by the eunuch)
37: And Philip said, if thou believest with all thine
heart, thou mayest. And he…said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the
Son of God.
38…they went down both into the water…and he
36..the eunuch said, "Look here is water. Why
shouldn't I be baptized?”
38: And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both
Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized
The KJV verse 37 shows undeniable evidence that it's
genuine, for in its absence there is no answer by Philip to the
eunuch’s question on what hindered his baptism. The absence of the
verse denies the doctrine of limiting baptism to all who believe in
Jesus as God’s Son so that readers may think baptism, rather than
belief, is the important factor, a popular modern notion, and they
may never see the vital need to believe in God’s Son.
The KJV verse 37 has just minor Greek manuscript
support, and is omitted in modern English versions on this basis.
Regarding a cause of omission of the verse in the NIV critical Greek
text, the eunuch’s confession of Jesus as God’s Son refutes the
dogma of Cerinthian Gnostics who said Jesus was born of a human
father, a mere man who was indwelled temporarily by the divine Christ to
impart a temporary deity, and removing verse 37 would serve their
The verse is in 6th-century Greek manuscripts,
church-elder quotes & the Old Latin Bibles. Preservation in the Old
Latin places the verse in the Traditional Text of a true early church, while NIV primary Greek manuscripts were lost to churches for
~1400 years. The true text preserved the verse in the early church,
as it does today in the KJV & its Received-Text basis. The
presence of the verse in 6th-century Greek manuscripts would mark a
stage of periodic renewal in select Traditional-Text manuscripts follow- ing severe early persecution aimed at eliminating all manuscripts of the true church. This persecution, by Roman emperors, did not end until the 4th century, indicating why extant texts containing it begin in the 6th century. The renewal process that the present writer postulates as
the method of preservation of the true text, would be made permanent in the Received Text (essay 2).
2. Luke 2:33 Joseph is not the father of
KJV: And Joseph and his
mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him (spoken
by Simeon of Christ).
NASV: And his father and mother were amazed at the
NIV: The child's father and mother marveled at what
In Luke 2:33, NIV & NASV critical Greek texts call
Joseph the father of Jesus, thus denying Jesus’ deity. But Joseph
was just a foster-father, the Holy Ghost being the true father of the
earthly form of Christ. The error relates to Alexandrian manuscripts
that scholars say are the best, but tampering by Cerinthian-type
Gnostics is indicated. As we noted, they denied Jesus was God in
the flesh, saying He was born of a human father and had a temporary
deity by union with the divine Logos
at the baptism in the
Jordan. They believed the divine nature vanished on
the cross where Jesus supposedly died a mere man.
Now if a mere man died for our sin, Christians would
not be forgiven. And getting accustomed to passages like this would
certainly rob us of the sense of divine purpose & mission, consecration to
the work and related hardships on behalf of a mere man not being appealing. This problem is unique to texts of a few 4th-century
manuscripts from Alexandria, Egypt. Gnostic heresy thrived there in
the 2nd - 3rd centuries, and carry- over of associated error in
4th-century manuscripts would hardly be surprising.
*White (p216-18) shows no
awareness of potential gnostic influence, and considers calling
Joseph the father of Jesus as acceptable on the basis of normal
earthly family relationships. He notes that in Lk. 2:48, the KJV and
its Greek text refer to Joseph as Jesus' father, but he misses the
point. In Lk.2:48, it's Mary, a fallible human being speaking
carelessly, who calls Joseph the father of Jesus when she is
displeased that Jesus absented Himself from the family company. True
scripture is inerrant, but in being so, it will record human error,
including that of Mary. Indeed in the KJV Lk.2:49, immediately after
Mary's statement, the Lord instructs us in this matter as He corrects
Mary to remind her who His Father really is, saying …Wist
ye not that I must be about my
(the business of heaven). This gives a reader proper teaching on
human error recorded in the biblical text.
The problem with modern critical texts is that the
Lk.2:33 speaker isn’t just a human being speaking improperly, but
is the authoritative inerrant voice of the Gospel, or in effect, the
Holy Ghost who inspired the Gospel. It’s not credible to say that
He who is the inerrant voice of the Gospel, and the true Father of
Christ’s earthly form, would refer to Joseph as the father of
Jesus. But a Gnostic meddler could see the advantage of altering
verse 33 to suit his dogma, and could see the futility of altering verse 48.
Modern critics accept manuscript language that
improperly refers to Jesus’ earthly family. A proper term in
referring to Mary and Joseph collectively would be "parents of
Jesus" since together they performed all parental
responsibilities after Jesus’ birth. Joseph is a parent in the
sense of a foster-father who exercises authority and ongoing
functions of a parent after the birth. Thus scripture use of parents
for a mother and foster-father collectively doesn’t attack Christ's
deity. But to suggest scripture calling Joseph the father of Jesus is
3. Philip.2:6,7 - Translation error adding
to text-criticism error
KJV: Who being in the
form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God…and took
upon him the form of a servant…
NASV: Who, although He existed in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied
Himself, taking the form of a bond servant…
NIV: Who being in very nature God, did not consider
equality with God something to be grasped…
Here we note a problem that isn’t caused by
critical-text renderings, but relates to that type of
rendering at Lk.2:33. The KJV says Christ in earthly form was God, so
equating Himself with God wasn’t robbery, as it would be for a mere
man. The NIV & NASV say Jesus didn’t grasp equality with God.
"Grasp" is an ambiguous word, but is wrong in any sense. As
"understood," it means Jesus didn’t understand Himself to
be equal with God. As "obtain," it means He didn’t
consider equality with God something He could obtain. As “retain,"
it means He once had equality with God, but considered it a thing He
could not retain, supporting Cerinthianism. This latter sense, in
conjunction with Lk.2:33 in modern versions, presents a full range of
Cerinthian dogma on Jesus. In Lk. 2:33 He supposedly is born of a
human father, and in Philippians, His deity can now be seen as
temporary, and thus imposed.
The rare Greek noun harpagmos
refers to the act of robbing and grasping of that type, not a thing
grasped. The noun relates to the verb harpazo
(to rob), and depicts seizing in robbery. “Grasped” in a
“retained” sense suggests Jesus gave up equality with God, or
gave up His deity, as in Cerinthianism. But He gave up His privilege
as deity (He did the works of the Creator). The Greek says harpagmos,
and a thing to be grasped
would require harpagma.*
Liberal-leaning lexicons offer wrong word choice & syntax so
inapplicable that they support Cerinthian dogma. This problem
isn't in critical texts, so why
do modern translators support Cerinthianism here? This suggests
it’s unhealthy to advocate faulty Greek texts, getting
scholars acclimated to Gnosticism as their norm, and spreading it by
promoting faulty Greek texts; this may reproduce the manner in
Gnostic dogma spread in the early centuries.
Fausset & Brown Co. 1997. Hendrickson. Vol.3. p429
4. 1 Timothy 3:16 God manifest
in the flesh
KJV….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, received up
NIV…the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared
in a body…
NASV…mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in
The concept of Jesus as God in the flesh was contrary,
not only to Cerinthian-Gnostic dogma, but also to that of Docetist
Gnostics, the latter suggesting Jesus was a phan- tom spirit
manifested as the divine Christ, and only seemed to have a body. Greek
manuscripts containing this verse on Jesus in His earthly history as
would displease Gnostics. To remove their problem, all they needed to
do was remove The
from Theos (God) to
produce os (who),
adding a vowel breathing mark. The texts of modern versions replace
God with who
(resultant language is awkward, and certain manuscripts have which,
increasing the evidence of tampering).
Cerinthian Gnostics would likely want to remove this
witness to Jesus’ deity, and this could be accomplished with a
suggestion that His power was a part of the mystery of godliness, the
way God works through men. The NIV says, He appeared in a body,
and the NASV says, He who wasrevealed in the flesh,
reflecting their Greek texts. He can refer to a mere man since
every man is a human personality appearing in a body, so a testimony
to Jesus' deity is lost. NIV translators attempted a correction,
omitting who or which, but accentuated the error with
awkward language resulting from trying to justify a faulty Greek
5. 1 John 4:2,3 Tampering that identifies
the guilty sect
As noted above, Docetists claimed Jesus was a phantom
spirit who just seemed to have a body, denying the concept of deity
in the flesh, while Cerinthians claimed Jesus was just a mere man temporarily inhabited by Christ.
John says that both of these parties are of antichrist in the KJV,
but the NIV Greek text deviates.
KJV…Every spirit that
confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And
every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ
is come in the flesh is not of God:
and this is that spirit of antichrist.
NIV…Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus
Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does
not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the
KJV and NIV Greek texts both tell us God ordains spirits
that say Jesus Christ (God) is come in the flesh. But only the KJV
Greek Received Text says spirits not confessing this are of the
antichrist. The NIV not acknowledge Jesus (liberals acknowledge
the man Jesus) is far short of confesseth not that Jesus Christ
is come in the flesh.
In the first part of the KJV Greek-text verse,
Docetism is denied, and in the latter part Docetism error is exposed.
Cerinthian error too is denied in the initial part, but this sect
said Christ came upon the flesh of a man, which seems close enough to
the true biblical teaching that they likely wouldn't be troubled by
this part, especially since the tenor is positive. But the latter
part of the KJV passage exposes in a stark negative fashion
Cerinthian & Docetist error in rejecting Jesus as God in the
flesh, and this can't be rationalized away. A change in the latter
part of the verse in the Alexandrian texts underlying the critical-text rendering of the NIV made it possible
for Cerinthians to explain the verse as supportive of their dogma,
but a denial of Docetism in the initial part was still a major
problem for Docetists. Thus Cerinthians are indicated as guilty of selective tampering, serving their interests and
ignoring those of Docetists.
6. Lk.24:51,52 A very strange
KJV…he was parted from them,
and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him and returnedtoJerusalem with
NASV: And it came about that while he was blessing
them, He parted from them. And they returned to Jerusalem with great
In the KJV the Savior is worshiped and ascends to
heaven. Cerinthians, who said that Jesus lost His divine nature at
the Cross, reverting to the nature of a mere man, would not like His
being resurrected, worshiped and ascending bodily to heaven. The NASV
critical Greek text follows non-traditional manuscripts that omit all
attestation to Jesus’ deity, which is obvious tampering of major
importance. The KJV presents the triumph of worship of the
resurrected divine Christ in the Ascension. The NASV merely suggests
a happy parting of earthly friends who had a joyful time together.
Due to this change, the NASV chapter can suggest a
blessed man Jesus who was raised from the dead by God, but was not
deity himself, in accord with Cerinthianism.
Critics eventually rejected this odd rendering.
Manuscripts they utilized here aren’t in the group they normally prefer,
so why did they depart from their preferred manu- scripts to adopt this
rendering that removes all attestation of Jesus’ deity in the
pass- age? Again we might wonder if Gnosticism has exerted a consuming
influence on scholars today through their unhealthy preference for
7. John 1:18 Christ a lesser god?
KJV: No man hath seen God at any time; the only
begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared
NASV: No man has seen God at any time; the only
begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained
NIV: No one has ever seen God, but God the One
and Only,* who is at the Father's side, has made him known. (*later changed to the one and only Son)
Here the KJV teaches Jesus Christ as the Begotten
Son of God in the bosom of, or very close to, the Father. This
accords with traditional bible teaching in that Eternal Christ, who
had no beginning of days, became the only Begotten Son of God by
Incarnation when He entered into the stream of human events in a
body. His body was generated by the Holy Ghost so that He was the Son
of God, and the body was generated through Mary so that He was also
the Son of Man.
The NASV Greek-text begotten
God supports doctrine of Arians, early
heretics who said Christ was a lesser god begotten or created by the
Father at an unknowable time in eternity past. The NASV begotten
God, Who is in
the bosom of the Father changes the
contextual sense of the verse, suggesting Christ was created or
begotten as god in the sense of coming from the Father’s bosom of
creation. Thus He wouldn't be eternal, but generated at a point in
time, as in Arianism.
Those who favor this interpretation need to realize
there’s no such entity as "begotten God," for true God by
definition has no beginning of days. Arian heresy suggesting Jesus
Christ was a lesser created God, followed on the heels of Gnosticism,
and likely developed from Gnostic thought that Jesus Christ was
created by the Father and sent to earth to help men find salvation
through hidden knowledge. Arianism initiated in Alexandria, Egypt, and flourished in the 4th century. Non-traditional manuscripts
with "God" in the text are 4th-century Alexandrian ones. Arianism caused contention that forced the early church
to define doctrine of the Trinity and the equality of Christ and the
The rendering of its manuscript source places the
NASV a giant pre-Trinitarian step backward in time and theology.
Modern scholars deny this, suggesting that modern versions attest to
the deity of Christ better than the KJV by using “God” rather
than Son.* But the
effect is just the opposite, attacking His deity and restoring
ancient Arian and Gnostic heresy. If Christ had been begotten as the
Son of God at any time prior to His Incarnation, He would be begotten
as god rather than as man, and thus would be a created god.
*White (198-200) takes this
position that the rendering of critical texts here attests to
Christ's deity better than the Received Text does. He says only
to Jesus’ uniqueness, not an origination. But, while uniqueness is
part of the teaching here, it’s never right to say God is begotten,
for that can only mean an origination in time. The only begotten Son
at the Incarnation is the only way to denote Jesus’ uniqueness as
deity in the flesh.
Apparently the NIV committee was aware of this
problem, for they omitted begotten.
But they favored "God" over Son
since this term is in their preferred
manuscripts. Their rendering is curious and confused since it says
"God the One and Only," which would have God standing at
His own side declaring Himself in Jn.1:18. This syntact- ical confusion is due to
lexical error in preferring an incorrect word over a correct one.
The NRSV committee saw the problem here and made a
realistic correction, offering "No one has ever seen God. It is
God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made
him known." This is close to the correct sense found in the
traditional Greek text, but changes syntax drastically by
paraphrasing their preferred Greek text to retain “God.” This arbitrary practice, like that of the NIV rendering, is indicative of
preference for the Alexandrian Greek text, while trying to make it
more realistic. The NRSV is far more realistic than the NIV, but
their rendering denies the committee’s presumed accuracy of its
Alexandrian-type text, and they seem willfully bound to its errors.
And the error of eliminating begotten in
this verse by the use of “God the only Son” is revealed by
resultant contradiction of Job 38:7 that calls angels sons of God, and Luke 3:38 that calls Adam the son of God, both by creation.
8. Matthew 19:17 God is good
And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou
me good? there is none good but one,that is God.
Here the Savior causes a young man to consider who it is
he is talking to. The question posed in simple form is, "What's your
reason for calling me good. Only God is good, so are you recognizing
the fact that I am God, or are you just using a title of respect"?
On the other hand, critical texts make the question
read, "Why do you ask me about what is good, only God is good."
This makes it seem as though Jesus Christ is denying His deity, and is very suggestive of the Cerinthian notion of Jesus indwelled by
Christ, but still just a mere man of a physical nature, which is part
of dogma on a supposedly unworthy nature of matter that was
espoused by all Gnostics.
Textual critic Rendel Harris, once a follower of
Westcott & Hort theory on a supposed superiority of Alexandrian
texts, eventually referred to this Alexandrian rendering as a Gnostic
The King James Version Defended. Des Moines. Christian research
9. John 10:14,15 Jesus Christ is known of his
14. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am
known of mine.
15. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the
Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
In the KJV verse 15 an interactive association of Christ and the
Father is indicated in that the way Christ knows the Father is the
same way in which the Father knows Christ, through divine
understanding & wisdom. The KJV verse 14 contrasts with this in
that it says Christ knows His sheep in the total sense that the
Creator knows His creation, but it indicates the created sheep can't
know Christ in this way, being limited to what Christ permits.
However, in verse 14 of modern critical texts, Christ is said to know
His sheep, and His sheep are said to know Him, which would be
indicative of the same type of interactive understanding and wisdom
that exists between Christ and the Father. This latter rendering is
indicative of Gnostic dogma suggesting each man has a divine spark
that Christ was sent to help release in them, suggesting a kind of
deity in them, as well as Christ, and this is clearly blasphemous.
Gnostic differentiation of Jesus
from names for God: In numerous passages
of the Alexandrian texts, the name Jesus
or the term Son of man
is disassociated from terms such as Christ,
Lord or Son
of God. This reflects Cerinthian dogma on a
human Jesus who supposedly was temporarily indwelled by the divine
Christ. We note below some of the many examples of this.
10. John 9:35 A passage disconnecting Jesus
from the title Son of God
KJV: Jesus heard that they had cast him out (from
the synagogue); and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost
thou believe on the Son of God?
NIV…”Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
The NIV critical Greek text has Son
of Man in place of the Received-Text Son
of God, reflecting a disconnect of the man
Jesus from the divine Christ, in accord with the dogma of Cerinthianism.
11. Matthew 8:29
Another disconnect passage.
KJV And, behold, they
(devils) cried out, saying, What have we to do
with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?
NIV…”What do you want with us Son of God?”
Here devils show an awareness that Jesus in the
flesh is the Son of God, speaking of Him as the one who will destroy
them ultimately. Both texts recognize this concept relating to the
Son of God, but the NIV critical Greek Text removes the name Jesus
from association with the title Son
of God, in accord with Cerinthian dogma.
12. 2 Cor. 4:6
Another dissssociation passage
KJV For God, who commanded the
light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give
the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus
NIV…the glory of God in the face of Christ
This KJV passage relates the glory of God in the
face of Jesus Christ to the initial light involved in creation in
Genesis chapter 1. Omission of the name Jesus
in the NIV critical Greek text disconnects Jesus from Christ of
creation. This also accords with Gnostic dogma on creation by the Old
Testament God, one they called the demiurge who supposedly was linked to their version of Christ, and supposedly was different from the God of the New Testament represented by Jesus Christ.
13. Galatians 6:17 Another disassociation
KJV…I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus
NASV…I bear in my body the brand marks of Jesus
This disconnect of Jesus
from the term Lord,
again serves Cerinthian dogma.
14. Acts 2:30
Another type of disassociation passage
KJV: Therefore being a prophet (David), and
knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of
his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise upChrist to sit on his throne; He seeing this
before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not
left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
NIV: But he was a prophet and knew that God had
promised him on oath that he would place one of
his descendants on his throne…
Now it's important to understand that it’s very
appropriate to refer to Jesus as Christ since He is always the divine
eternal person, but to omit either the name Jesus or
the name Christ
or to omit Lord from
when the Greek text has these names, is indicative of differentiating
the man Jesus from the divine person. The critical Greek texts go a
step further in this omission business, speaking only of a descendant
of David who would sit upon David’s throne, rather than saying
Christ. This serves
the Gnostic notion of keeping the divine person separate from
association with Jesus Christ and from the supposed evil material
world of all flesh.
15. Ephesians 3:9 Fellowship in the gospel
of Christ the Creator
KJV: 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:
NASV…what is the administration
of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all
NIV…the administration of this mystery, which for
ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things____?____
Critics favor Alexandrian manuscripts lacking the note
on creation by the divine Jesus Christ, and they deny an omission
here, but Gnostics denying Jesus’ deity were active in church
history when and where Alexandrian texts originated.
In critical Greek texts administration substitutes
by far the most manuscript support, but fellowship is
the true term providing the true sense. The text teaches sharing
(fellowship) of a mystery, Gentiles being included in knowledge
of the gospel of our Creator Christ dying for our sin. To
make all men see refers to fellowship of all
people in the gospel mystery, and verses 6-10 emphasize that Gentiles
share in the fellowship. Thus a true reading retained in a relatively
few Greek Traditional-Text manuscripts is restored by
Providential intervention in Reformation times as the Received Text
supersedes the Traditional Text (preservation isn't left to sinners). The
Received Text fellowship
is the restored true reading replacing a faulty administration,
and the true by Jesus Christ
preserved in correct Traditional-Text manuscripts is retained.
Age (Gr. aion) &
oikonomia) relate to each other, so use of the two can seem valid, but
linking them supports a Gnostic view rejecting Jesus as God, seeing
Him as of the aionon, lesser deities emanating from a superior God.
Eph.3:9 in critical texts can be crudely interpreted (characteristic
of tampered-text quality) as to bring to light
administration of hidden mystery originating from the aionon in God.
Removing Christ Jesus’ creation role and linking administration
to aion supports
a gnostic view of themselves as administrators of exclusive knowledge
of mystery. Fellowship
in the KJV makes the true mystery non-exclusive, and isolates aion
to its usual sense ages.
And the KJV removes all hint of error with from
the beginning of the world, rather than from
ages past (either is fine, but KJV
translators seem aware of Gnostic text corruption). Evidently
true Traditional-Text readings lost in many manuscripts of a large
unbiblical Greek church careless over Gnostic heresy, endured in
those of small biblical churches. Variant manuscript support likely
reflects relative sizes of churches & numbers of copyists.
True readings were restored in the Received Text to extend truth, for
God ensures preservation of the true text that reveals Christ as
Creator. Scholars imagine Received-Text error, but contrary to them,
the two Greek terms aren't close enough in spelling to attribute the
difference to misreading (koinonia for
16. Mk.16:9-20 The 12 final verses of
Mark on Resurrection morning lost?
16:8 And they went out
quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were
amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were
Some scholars think verse 8 ends Mark's Gospel,
saying the last 12 KJV verses are not genuine, even though most
events of those verses are in other gospels. They think that Mark's
gospel omits events that center on Resurrection-Day events of the
divine Jesus Christ, not only the actuality of the Resurrection, but
the report of Mary Magdalene to the disciples, the meeting with Jesus
on the Emmaus Road, the great commission, the Ascension and the error
of disbelieving in Christ. That would make the Gospel of Mark
incomplete in the extreme, and would have it terminate on a note of
the fear of certain women entering the sepulcher, rather than a
note of Resurrection triumph. Some say Mark ended his gospel here,
which would make it abnormally different, but most say there’s
a lost true ending different from that of the KJV.
Such theories arise since two favored Alexandrian
manuscripts, a Latin one and an old Syriac version omit the 12
verses. But a great majority of Greek manuscripts, Old Latin
manuscripts, translations and commentaries have the verses. The Latin manuscript omitting them shows evidence of Docetist tampering,
indicating deliberate omission. Scholars can't justify ignoring this Traditional-Text passage, and the biblical church and
others have retained it for centuries. To justify their negative
view, scholars offer only their manuscript preference and imaginative
arguments like a writing style of the 12 verses supposedly different
from the normal one of Mark.* Thus the laity are taught that the 12
verses of God’s Word aren't genuine, through use of improvised
arguments of style and grammar.
*White (p255-57) imagines anomalies in the
12 verses, including Jesus appearing in another
form in verse 12, saying this denies a
physical resurrection body, but it signifies that the new physical
body of Jesus was supernatural (Lk.24:33-40). He notes 11 disciples
are at the table in verse 14, and absence of Thomas would make 10,
but the 11 would be those of John 20:26 that included Thomas. He also
says it's unlikely that Jesus would rebuke the disciples for their
unbelief in their fearful post-Crucifixion state, which He did
according to verse 14 of Mark, but Jesus earlier rebuked them for
unbelief in their fearful state regarding a storm at sea (Mt.8:26).
He also claims that a link of baptism to belief in verse 16 is
unlikely, but the kind of belief that is a true one is that which is
accompanied by obedience to God and is a witness to the world, and
baptism is the first public act of obedience to God, and is a notable
example of a public witness. He also suggests that verses 17 & 18
present a problem in stating that signs will accompany those who have
believed, suggesting to him that all who have believed will show
signs, but White just interprets that way; the passage simply speaks
of the fact of signs
accompanying believers, and this was true of some of those who
believed in the early church as part of God revealing His
ordination and approval of the church to a world that had never
before known of it. White's arguments are just a result of an
unrealistic imagination that seeks to justify modern versions, and that can never even begin to disqualify true scripture.
Resurrection of the divine Jesus Christ was viewed
by Gnostics as spiritual, instead of physical, and the Cross as the
occasion to discover the inner divine self and impart the hidden
knowledge to men. With the scriptures plainly revealing the
Resurrection as a physical event, with the purpose of sin remission
for mankind, Gnostics would see the gospel accounts of Resurrection
morning as a major hindrance to the teaching of their dogma. But
tampering aimed at altering this teaching would be difficult to
achieve since the matter is so basic to Christianity and well known
to Christians. Any success of the effort could never be more than
very minor, so it is no surprise that so few texts were affected,
just the two main Alexandrian manuscripts and a few versions, and
even this was achieved in just one gospel. The indicated
tampering with Mark's Resurrection account also eliminated various
other teachings disliked by Gnostics, such as Christ's Resurrection and Ascension in
bodily form, the importance of belief, and damnation for disbelief,
in Christ's gospel, these all denying the Gnostic concept of
hidden knowledge as the basis of salvation. They would dislike the
teaching on miraculous empowerment of men in their earthly bodily
form for the work of ministry, miraculous signs that would attend the
bodily ministry of the gospel by early believers, and the
importance of bodily baptism. Further, the finale of this gospel
would be the part most easily omitted from the textual standpoint
since this omission would least likely interfere with various other
aspects of this gospel.
17. Further comment on Acts 2:30
KJV: Therefore, being a prophet (David), and knowing
that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his
loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his
NASV: And so, because he was a prophet, and knew that
God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his
descendants upon his throne,
Again a genuine scripture verse does not support Gnostic
dogma, and again we see a modification favoring Gnostic views in the
Alexandrian basis of the critical Greek text for a modern version.
Gnostics would not appreciate the concept of Christ coming from the
loins of a mere man David, in lieu of their type of Christ descending
from heaven as an aion sent by the high God. They might not realize
that the text refers to Christ as God and man united in one person
descended from David on the human side only, but that concept denies
Cerinthian dogma on a mere man inhabited by Christ (It also denies
the Docetist concept of a spirit-only Christ).
The way the verse is rendered in the NASV indicates
Cerinthians modified the verse to cover two possibilities that would
be favorable to their view. One interpretation of this rendering
would be that the verse speaks of a typical human descendant of David
who would sit on David's throne at some time yet in the future in
the early-church period of history when Gnostics were influential.
Another possibility would be that it speaks of their mere man
inhabited by the divine Christ as one of David's seed sitting on
David's throne in a spiritual sense, rather than a literal sense,
during their time in history. The NASV rendering can be interpreted
to support either possibility. Either way, teaching of the
Traditional Text on the millennial-era reign of the God-man Christ is
eliminated in the verse.
B. Gnostic Views of Salvation
Several passages in the Received Text conflict with the
Gnostic notion of salvation by release of hidden knowledge through a
divine seed in human hearts, so it's no surprise to find passages of
this type absent in critical texts, suggesting Gnostic-type
inter-ference. Omission of the role of Christ's blood in salvation in
the Col.1:14 verse in the traditional Bible text is a notable example
of this, and there are several others also.
18. Mark 10:24 Salvation the hard way, by
KJV…Jesus answereth again…Children, how hard it
is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God…
NIV:…"Children, how hard it is to enter the
kingdom of God…
The phrase for them that trust in riches is
absent in the NIV critical text, resulting in a suggestion that
there's a hard way to gain heaven, which can only be by hard works.
On the other hand, the KJV says trust in riches sidetracks us from
trust in Christ to gain heaven. Text critics favor a short reading
derived from just 4 manuscripts. They say conservative scribes added
words, disliking a harsh short reading (works salvation is harsh).
They deem conservative scribes as the ones likely to alter scripture,
and they believe a works-salvation rendering is the true, though
*White (p168-69) suggests that the mention of a Mark 10:25
rich man having difficulty in entering the kingdom of God,
necessitates a scribe adding the subject phrase in verse 24 to obtain
a smoother transition to speaking of riches. But that's just an
imaginative excuse, for without the phrase in verse 24, readers are
left with no knowledge that trust in riches is the reason why it's so
difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God in verse
The entire salvation scheme of Gnostics was one of
works-salvation, in the form of asceticism and struggling to release
the hidden knowledge within themselves.
The Book of Life or the Tree of Life?
Tree of life (much
manuscript support) is book of
life (little support) in the Received
Text. The latter restores what is lost in most manuscripts, original
emphasis on loss of names in the book of life and death in the lake
of fire (Rev.19:15) for subtracting from God’s Word. This is a
drastic threat against text-shortening, a notable Gnostic habit
indicated by a strong tendency toward shorter Alexandrian texts, and
loss of the right to the tree would seem far less threatening to such
heretics, while enabling tampering to seem like part of the true
text. The basic Gnostic view of this verse would be that the book of
life speaks of names written in God’s book in regard to salvation,
contrary to their works-salvation achieved through asceticism and
release of hidden knowledge. They would be inclined toward tree
of life as indicative of a living
organism that they could be a part of through their growth in hidden
knowledge by their works, while the book of
life is fixed and unrelated to their
10:17-21 Taking up the Cross
...there came one running, and kneeled to him, and
asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal
life?And Jesus said unto him...Thou knowest the commandments,
Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal...And he
answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my
youth....One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever
thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in
heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow
The phrase on taking up the cross is absent in critical
Greek texts & modern versions of scholars. Here Christ counsels a
rich young ruler on what he would need to do if he were to pursue the
popular notion of that day that salvation was earned by the proper
keeping of the law, something that is quite impossible. In the case of this
young man, keeping the law in his own strength to earn his own
salvation would even require that he give away all his wealth to
benefit those less fortunate than himself. Christ finishes His
counsel to the young man with a note that taking up the cross, or
self-denial for the Lord's sake, is needed in the life of one who
follows the Savior. This note denies the concept of works-salvation,
indicating that surrendering to God's will in handling all that He
brings into our life is required as a consequence of the
salvation that He confers. Thus the phrase is a logical follow-up to show
that what the Savior said about works really applies as a
consequence of being saved, something the Savior doubtless would
have further expounded on if the young man had just been willing to
*White (p159-62) suggests that the phrase
on taking up the cross is adequately noted elsewhere in modern
versions and their Greek texts, but the presence of
the phrase is essential to the context of the present passage, and
readers will not likely see the application if they must make the
connection through other scripture passages. White notes that the
subject phrase is absent in parallel passages of Matthew and Mark on
the same incident, but the absence is part of the business of
cross-referencing, a normal scriptural device that encourages
comprehensive reading to get the full meaning of a passage. Mark's
gospel is needed to complete all that can be related to readers about
a given passage, and the need for cross-referencing is common in the gospels.
The subject phrase directly contradicts a
works-salvation notion of keeping the law. Gnostics would be apt to eliminate the phrase in order to support works salvation as a supposedly-correct general concept, taking advantage of this in their effort to defeat scriptural salvation by grace. A supposed salvation by works of the law would fit their concept of asceticism supposedly involved in salvation, which could then introduce their notion of hidden knowledge for salvation. They could claim their own concept of
works offered the latest revelation on a more-advanced type of law in an effort to make it seem that the Lord promoted new doctrine affirming their basic salvation mode (He really taught
fulfillment of Old-Testament doctrine). This would be one reason they
produced Gnostic gospels, those of the Nag Hammadi Library found in Egypt in 1945.
21. John 6:47 Words of Jesus to a gathering of
KJV: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
believeth on me hath everlasting life.
The note on me is absent in critical Greek texts,
and believing on Jesus as essential to salvation contradicts the
Gnostic concept of salvation by a hidden knowledge in the form of a
divine seed in each man, the Savior supposedly coming to earth to
enable men to release that power.* With the note absent, anyone is
free to speculate on what kind of belief is needed for eternal life.
*White (p170-73) defends this omission in
critical Greek texts, saying these texts teach belief in Christ in
various other nearby verses in John and in other more remote ones. He
seems unaware of the selective way Gnostics tampered with texts of
scripture. False cults have always operated with a mask of
credibility by seeking to identify with the true faith, but twisting
their interpretation of it to suit their own dogma. (this is just what Irenaeus taught in his Against Heresies - see Antenicene Fathers, Vol.1). Gnostics would
retain as much of the truth as possible in scripture texts available to them, all that could be interpreted in twisted fashion
to support their dogma, and the critical-text verses that White
speaks of as teaching belief in Jesus are those susceptible to such
interpretation. To maintain as much resemblance to the true faith as
possible, and be able to deceive many, Gnostics would alter only
verses that could not be interpreted in their favor, like John 6:47.
Indeed, Gnostics were very successful in deceiving multitudes and
came close (from the human point of view) to overthrowing the true
faith in the first few centuries (since then, major false cults that
mix true & false doctrine have gathered many followers to compete
with the true faith). We cover below verses that White references
from NASV readings of its critical Greek text that would be open to Gnostic-slanted interpretation.
How verses that White references would likely be
interpreted by Gnostics
To reiterate, Gnostics thought Jesus was a lesser deity
sent to earth by a superior God to enlighten men on a supposed divine
spark within them that brought salvation through hidden knowledge. The body, like other
material things, was said to be inherently evil, and resurrection
from the dead was seen as a release of the divine spark from the vile
body through an awakening of hidden knowledge within men.
1. John 6:35 Jesus said to them, I am
the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who
believes in Me shall never thirst.
This speaks of the Lord satisfying the spiritual hunger
and thirst of people, and Gnostics saw Jesus as one who came to earth
to provide enlightenment on mystery knowledge that could be described
in terms of spiritual food and drink.
2. John 6:40 & 11:25-26
a. 6:40 For
this is the will of my father, that everyone who beholds the Son and
believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I will raise him up
on the last day.
b. 11:25-26 Jesus
said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in
Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in
Me shall never die.
Any verse that speaks of believing in Jesus with the
result of Resurrection could be interpreted by Gnostics as pertaining
to their definition of resurrection, release from imprisonment in the
body of the divine spark that would exist forever, and the two above
passages could largely be interpreted this way.
3. John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as
the scripture said, From his innermost being shall flow rivers of
Gnostics could easily interpret this verse as speaking
of a release of new divine life coming out of imprisonment in the
body like rivers of living water.
4. John 12:44 And Jesus cried out and said,
He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me.
Gnostics could interpret this verse as saying that
belief in Jesus is really belief in the superior God who sent him to
earth to teach men about the hidden knowledge.
5. John 12:46 I have come a light into the
world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.
Gnostics could interpret this verse as saying that
believing in Jesus resulted in new light in the form of released
hidden knowledge that takes one out of the darkness of imprisonment
in the vile human body.
John 6:47 does not permit interpretation possibilities
like those noted above: It speaks of believing in Jesus for
eternal life without associating this belief with matters like
resurrection, spiritual food & drink, light & darkness,
living water or God in the person of one other than Jesus. In this
verse, eternal life is associated only with the person of Jesus
Christ, providing no avenue to associate salvation with the Gnostic
notion of release of hidden knowledge & the inner divine self, so
this verse would be a likely target of Gnostic meddlers. White
doesn't rightly relate grammar to context, which seems to be
a problem with most, if not all, modern scholars.
Cases noted by White where the KJV does not have the
believethon meof John 6:47
The problem with White's inability to relate language to
context continues in his comments about the KJV lacking in
me in other cases dealing with belief. In
such cases the contextual sense of belief does not require the phrase in
1. Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou
canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
Here the context has to do with a man whose son has been
possessed with a devil from childhood, and is in despair over the
situation, and the man's salvation is not even being considered here.
The belief required by Christ is belief that the son can be delivered
from a seemingly hopeless situation of devil possession. Only the
power of God could accomplish this, so it's not necessary to mention
even that, and this is quite different from John 6:47 where the only
point is a necessity of belief in Christ for salvation.
2. 1 Corinthians 7:12 But to the rest speak I,
not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she
be pleased to to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
Here the context refers to believing in the common faith
among believers, and this is crystal clear so that there is no need
whatever to expound the point by speaking specifically of faith in Christ, which
is quite different from John 6:47 where the only point is a necessity
of belief in Christ for salvation.
3. Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the
law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.
This verse says that righteousness in Christ brings a
conclusion on the role of the law in the lives of believers, and the
emphasis is on the new view of the law in regard to righteousness.
The verse tells of how believers are affected by Christ in this
matter, and believeth in Christ would be redundant in this
context since it tells us that the righteousness involved is that
received through Christ. Indeed despite the Greek word choice here,
context concentrates on believers as a group, rather than belief in
Christ specifically, the latter being obvious once Christ is named at
the beginning of the verse. Again this is quite different from John
6:47 where the text concentrates on belief in Christ for salvation.
4. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the
gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to
everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The context emphasizes the gospel of Christ as the power
of salvation so that belief in Christ by His gospel is the obvious
subject, and there is no need to add a note on the belief as being in
Christ. In John 6:47 belief in Christ for salvation is emphasized,
and belief in Him can't be excluded without impairing the teaching.
It's interesting to see that modern scholars miss the
role of context in word choice in the verses we have addressed, but
Gnostic heretics grasped this matter well enough to see how different
John 6:47 is from other verses where a note on belief in Christ
appears in modern versions. The others are verses Gnostics could
interpret to their advantage, while John 6:47 couldn't be interpreted
in this fashion, requiring some adjustment to make it support their
dogma. Failure to consider the context continued in White's notation
of KJV verses that he thinks require a literal note on belief in
Christ, but that is already handled quite well without the addition
of such a note.
22. Luke 2:14 God's goodwill toward all
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good
will toward men.
In the Received Text this great declaration of God
sending the Savior to confer great salvation peace on all people, is
expressed very differently in critical Greek texts where God's
salvation peace is conferred on men of good will. The NIV presents the latter kind of teaching, rendering, peace to men on
whom His favor rests. This latter teaching makes the
offer of salvation apply to select persons, a concept central to the Gnostic concept of salvation by the notion that only those who
achieve a release of hidden inner knowledge are saved. A change in
meaning to favor a sense of select persons receiving God's salvation
peace was likely achieved simply by changing the Greek
for good will from the nominative case in the
Received Text to the genitive in Alexandrian texts underlying
23. Ephesians 1:14 The redeemed are purchased
by the Savior
the earnest of our inheritance (the Spirit) until the
redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
The word purchased is absent in
critical texts, and this applies to salvation, referring to the fact
that trust in Christ results in our being purchased by Christ and
belonging to Him. This, like various true passages, contradicts the
Gnostic concept of salvation by means of hidden inner knowledge and
the involvement of personal strength. The absent word in critical texts is the primary one conflicting with Gnostic dogma.
24. Luke 4:4 The Word of God in our lives
KJV…It is written, That man
shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
NASV…”It is written, Man shall not live on bread
Absence of but by every word
of God in the NASV critical text is favorable
to Gnostic dogma suggesting true life related to a divine seed
placed in each man, with the seed needing to be freed from entrapment
in the human body. Asceticism was practiced in denial of the body, to
reduce the need for bread in hopes of releasing the power of the
divine seed for salvation supposedly achieved with hidden
knowledge. Such thought, supported by omission of the subject phrase,
is contrary to the biblical concept of man receiving the Word of God relating to life in Christ that is made possible by salvation. Further,
Gnostics viewed God as He appears in the Old Testament unfavorably,
as if He were a different entity from the God of the New Testament,
and they would never consent to the validity of the reference that
the Lord Jesus makes here to God’s Word in the Old Testament. It's
no surprise that Alexandrian texts underlying the NASV critical Greek
text do not include the note about living by every word of God.
25. Romans 11:6 Salvation and grace versus
And if by grace, then is it no more of works:
otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works,
then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.,
The underlined portion is clearly part of the original
text since a contrast of grace and works is presented, and the second
portion is inherent to the totality of contrast. It is absent in
critical Greek texts, suggesting a way that Gnostics might address
the issue of grace-vs.-works in favor of their works-salvation
A works-salvation interpretation of the passage that is
crude (the quality produced by tampering) can be achieved since the
Greek for otherwise is often rendered for/since (the
KJV correctly chooses otherwise as vital to the true passage
sense). By use of for, the first portion might be interpreted
as saying of salvation, "If it were by grace then it could not
be by works (the supposed true method), for grace wouldn't
really be grace" (thus grace is eliminated, in the thinking
of men, not in actuality), implying a false notion of a role of works
in salvation and a lack of a role of grace. However, to achieve
this distortion of truth, a meddler would need to apply the same type
of interpretation to the second portion so that the latter clause
would read, "works would not really be works," destroying
his works approach. He needed to remove the complete underlined
portion to avoid obvious interruption in the continuity of
contrasting grace and works if the latter clause alone were removed.
26. Ephesians 4:6 God is in all of His people
KJV: One God
and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Paul speaks of God as in the Ephesian
Christians when he says you all. Omission of you
in critical texts makes it appear that God is in everyone, refuting normal biblical teaching of God being in those who receive Christ
as Savior. Dropping you producesa fit with the Gnostic
concept of the divine seed placed in all men, though released only in
the select few for salvation, which would be handled by false interpretation.
The Gnostic View of Good and Evil Relating to Their
The understanding or the heart?
KJV The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that ye may know what is the hope of his calling and what is the
riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
A subtle Gnostic influence is indicated by use of the
incorrect eyes of your heart
that's in most extant manuscripts. This was replaced by the true eyes
of your understanding when the Received Text
superseded the Traditional. The true understanding has
only minor Greek support, likely because of widespread tampering by
Gnostics in support of their view of good & evil as due to two gods
of equal power so that evil would seem inevitable. Anguish of the
heart over inevitable evil and hurt in life causes acceptance of
hidden knowledge of Gnosticism. On the other had, Gnostics did not
believe there was any need for their understanding to
be enlightened, thinking they knew all things related to what they could achieve through
Christ. Allowing the term understanding
to remain in the text would diminish their status among people they
sought to convert to their supposed superior way of thinking.
C. The Gnostic Notion of the Depraved Nature of the
28. Ephesians 5:30 The redeemed are
members of His body
KJV: For we
are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
This verse speaks of the Christian relationship to
Christ in symbolic bodily terms, but in critical texts the phrase of
his flesh, and of his bones is absent. The absence suits Gnostic dogma about the supposed evil of all things of material
nature. The term body alone can be seen as symbolic of an
assembly of the redeemed, but the subject phrase emphasizes that the
symbolism of the assembly takes on a likeness to Jesus' body that gnostics saw as part of the material world, and they thought of all
material as depraved.
29. John 3:13 The Son of man
KJV: And no
man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven,
even the Son of man which is in heaven.
The clause the Son of man which is in heaven
would be problematic to Gnostics since the earthly nature of man was
considered depraved and unworthy to reside in heaven. The clause
which is in heaven is absent in critical texts, and removal
assists Gnostic dogma since the term Son of man can be seen as
symbolic, the Son of God serving as the Son of man in the sense of
one who came to serve the need of man, regarding their hidden
30. Luke 22:44 The great drops as of blood
KJV: And being in an agony he
prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of
blood falling down to the ground.
Modern versions have this verse, but some
Alexandrian texts don't. Gnostics would view this verse as denying
their view of the purpose of the Cross, the occasion to discover the
inner divine self. Their view is contradicted by the redemption plan
of God by the Cross, which involves, in addition to His bearing our
sin in His sinless soul, His great drops of blood and agony of the
body over His intense physical suffering. The true redemption plan
contradicts the Gnostic view of a lack of value of a physical body.
The matter would relate most directly to Docetist
Gnostics who thought of Jesus as a phantom spirit and wouldn't accept
the note of human sweat on His brow, especially with its appearance
being like that of blood.