Part Two   As our church has been studying the Sermon on the Mount, one of the works I have referred to is Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ significant book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount.  (5)  Concerning Matthew 5:43-48, Lloyd-Jones makes the following introductory statement: We come now to verses 43-48 in which we […]


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Part Two


As our church has been studying the Sermon on the Mount, one of the works I have referred to is Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ significant book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount(5)  Concerning Matthew 5:43-48, Lloyd-Jones makes the following introductory statement:

We come now to verses 43-48 in which we have the last of the six illustrations which our Lord has used to explain and display His teaching with regard to the meaning of God’s holy law for man, as contrasted with the perversion of it by the Pharisees and scribes.  There is just one textual point which we must dismiss first.  You will notice that in the Revised Version there is a slight difference in verse 44.  In the Authorized Version we read: ‘But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’  In the Revised Version it is just: ‘Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you.’  The Authorized Version is therefore fuller than the Revised version and contains a number of clauses which the latter lacks.  The explanation of course is simply a matter of textual criticism.  There are many ancient manuscripts containing the Gospels, and there are slight variations in them here and there, not with regard to any vital matter of doctrine, but with regard to certain details such as this.  Now many of the recognized best manuscripts do not contain this fulness which is to be found in the Authorized Version, and that is why these statements are absent from the Revised.  However, as the same teaching is certainly to be found elsewhere, I think it best for us to take the teaching as given in the Authorized version.  (6)


A Few Ancillary Points


Lloyd-Jones makes the point that “you will notice.”  He is speaking to the average Christian reader, not the so-called scholar or text-critic or doctor of theology.  This is significant because the average reader of the Bible does indeed notice the differences between Bible translations, the comments regarding text issues in the margins of study Bibles, and the bibliological debates that have been going on for some time regarding the doctrine of preservation and the matters of text and translation.  Probably no pastor wants the text issue / translation issue to exist, but it does.  Pastors have to address the reality of the situation and provide Biblical answers to our churches.  Just like in the topic of origins (creation versus evolution) each of the positions on either side requires faith.  Our church holds that the best position is the one that believes that every one of God’s originally inspired words  (7)  has been preserved, (8) and that these words are found in the received text which the Lord’s churches have historically used for study and for translation. (9)

Secondly, Lloyd-Jones acknowledges that there is a difference, which he refers to as, “a slight difference.”  The difference is in fact 17 words in the English text.  He states that the AV is “fuller,” and “contains a number of clauses which the (RV) lacks.”  17 words in one passage seems to be more of a significant difference than a slight difference, and it does not seem practical that we can argue that such differences are non-issues.

Thirdly, Lloyd-Jones says the explanation is “simply a matter of textual criticism.” (10)  We must point out here, that in the matter of textual criticism (TC) the Bible offers no assistance, for the Bible never mentions TC.  The NT disciples, apostles, and church members, while being in the same situation as the modern reader of the Scriptures, never speak of any principles of TC, even though none of them possessed any of the autographa of the Old Testament (OT), but were instead dependent upon apographa.  (11)  The Bible gives no directions for or definition of TC.  Lloyd-Jones is not able to refer to any cross-reference on TC because there are not any.  TC is neither a biblical concept nor a church practice.  If TC were taught in the Bible, the church alone would have the responsibility to practice it and no other institution, because the church is the pillar and ground of the truth.  If Christians were supposed to practice something allegedly as important as TC they would receive at least some guidance from Scripture, but they have none.  This point cannot be stressed strongly enough. (12) 

Fourthly, Lloyd-Jones states that the variations within the ancient MSS are “not with regard to any vital matter of doctrine.”  This is a very popular claim, but we must remember that “doctrine” means “teaching,” and that missing doctrine is missing teaching, and there is certainly teaching missing in Matthew’s Gospel of the CT and RV.  We can rightly assume that many first century churches that possessed copies of Matthew did not immediately possess the other three Gospels, and so their doctrine would be affected by such variations.

Fifthly, Lloyd-Jones states that, “many of the recognized best manuscripts do not contain this fullness which is to be found in the Authorized Version, and this is why these statements are absent from the Revised.”  Opinions vary concerning which manuscripts are the best.  Lloyd-Jones does not cite any sources when he makes this statement, but in contrast to this claim, our church believes that the manuscripts underlying our Bible, known generally as the Received Text, are the best ones to use.  That is part of our biblical position and faith tradition.


The Main Issue


Sixthly, Lloyd-Jones states that “as the same teaching is certainly to be found elsewhere, I think it is best for us to take the teaching as given in the Authorized Version.”  This is the crux of our series on TR Readings Keep Showing Up.  While Lloyd-Jones seems to have an affinity for the CT, when writing on the topic of the Sermon on the Mount, he uses the TR reading in the passage.  Just as we stated in part one when we looked at Bauder and Baxter, so here Lloyd-Jones is choosing to use the text as found in the KJV even though, one would think, he does not believe those words are part of the Gospel of Matthew.  When given the opportunity to use a translation based upon allegedly “the best manuscripts,” Lloyd-Jones opts not to. 


Conclusion to Part Two


The two-edged sword of the philosophy here is, 1) the CT is superior to the TR, and, 2) the differences between the CT and TR are minor and inconsequential, to the point that one can flip flop between texts.  How can something be superior if it is inconsequentially different from what it is being contrasted with?  And how can it be superior when it is, again, set aside in favor of its inferior counterpart?  (13)  How can the inferior (TR allegedly) ever be chosen over the superior (CT allegedly)? (14)

Our church, in a spirit charity and with a humble desire for the truth, will continue to hold to the Received Texts of Scripture and faithful translations based thereon, such as the Tyndale and the King James, and, in cases like the Model Prayer in Matthew 6, we will do as Brother Lloyd-Jones has done: appeal to the traditional reading, not an eclectic revision.  As the Lord Jesus said earlier in His sermon concerning the law of the Lord, “Till heaven and earth perish, one jot or one tittle of the law shall not scrape, till all be fulfilled.” (15)  Our church is thankful we can assemble each week to minister to the LORD and to one another with God’s Word in our hands and hearts as we study The Model Prayer. (16) 


Epilogue to Part Two


James White gives a good representation of the CT position on the reading of The Model Prayer in Matthew 6.  First, he argues that the longer reading in the TR of Matthew is an example of scribal expansion, and that it reveals the habits of the scribes.  He goes on to say, “scribes sensed a problem and made a number of attempts at harmonization.” (17)  Of course, it can only be mere conjecture to surmise that the habits of the scribes, down to what they “sensed,” are knowable through these mss, and, further, if these were the scribes’ habits then, unfortunately for them, their habits were unbiblical and were in violation of Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, Proverbs 30:6, and Revelation 22:18-19.

Second, White argues that the number of variants in these texts, which he calls a variant cluster, is “a sure sign of a later addition.”  (18)  But all we can be sure of is that it is a sure sign of something.  Either there was an addition, or there was a deletion, or a combination of the two.  White does not give a good reason why the TR reading could not be the original, nor does he show why the CT reading is not guilty of having deletions.

Finally, White states, “The comparison between the KJV and a modern translation such as the NIV is often disconcerting to someone who is not familiar with the reason for the differences.” (19)  Certainly the differences are undeniable, but the reasons for the differences are debatable.  As Martin Lloyd-Jones has illustrated for us, the KJV reading is to be preferred.


(5) Evans calls this book, “A lengthy, reverent, penetrating exposition, which deserves a place on every pastor’s shelf!  Lloyd-Jones’ collection of sermons will never lose its value to the preacher.”  John F. Evans, A Guide to Biblical Commentaries and Reference Works (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 2016,) p. 288.  Evans’ evaluation is correct, and since so many pastors do possess Lloyd-Jones’ work, it is worth analyzing his comment here on textual variants.

(6) D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1959), p. 299.

(7) II Timothy 3:16.

(8) Psalm 12:6-7, et. al.

(9) Romans 16:26.

(10)  Speaking of Textual Criticism, White says, “This activity involves the study of the manuscripts of the Bible, those written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, as well as ancient translations into other languages like Latin or Sahidic or Coptic.  Its goal is to reproduce the original text of the Bible from this vast wealth of information.”  James R. White, The King James Only Controversy (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1995), pp. 27-28.

(11)  The term autographa refers to the original writing of a document, such as the original book of Acts which Luke wrote with his own hand.  The term apographa refers to copies of the autographa.

(12)  To follow this logically, 1) the Bible is truth, 2) TC claims to determine what words belong in the Bible, therefore, 3) TC determines what is truth.  Furthermore, 4), the local church is the pillar and ground of the truth, 5) local churches do not perform TC, therefore 6) local churches do not have truth without TC being performed for them by someone else.  It is obvious that this logical fallacy is not defensible scripturally.

(13)  This argument may also be made in reverse.  As some say, “go ahead and use this MV since it still has the teaching in other passages that are omitted from TR readings,” it may be argued, “the TR may always be used for present day Greek studies and textual research since the teaching of significant TR readings may be found in other places in the NT.”

(14)  This author is not aware of TR proponents choosing CT readings in the way that CT proponents sometimes appeal to TR readings.

(15)  This is the wording of Matthew 5:18 from Mr. William Tyndale’s English translation of the Received Text from 1526.

(16)  Cf. A.T. Robertson who states, “It should be called “The Model Prayer” rather than “The Lord’s Prayer.”  A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 1, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1930, p. 52.

(17) White, p. 252.

(18)  Ibid.

(19) White, p. 253.