If you have a Bible on your phone or close by I want you to look up Matthew 18:11. I have on my desk an English Standard Versions (ESV) Study Bible, and it has verses 10 and verses 12 but no verse 11. Where did it go? Well, it was removed.
You can still find it in the King James Version, but it’s not in the New King James Version. And this is just one of many verses that have been removed from the Bible.
Do you know the story of the woman caught in adultery from the Gospel of John? Jesus writes something in the sand and then says whoever has no sin can throw the first stone. That story is very popular, but unfortunately it’s not supposed to be in there.
If you look at it in your Bible, there should be brackets or a note that says these verses are not found in the original manuscripts. This means the Bible has indeed been altered.
Skeptics often claim that the Bible has been changed over the years. I agree with them, but I don’t think that is a problem for me, and if you continue reading I hope to show that it is not a problem for you either.
Sometimes when people think about the translation of Scripture, they think of the telephone game we would play as kids. It was a game where one person says a word and it gets whispered down the line, and the last person ends up with a completely different word. That is how most non-Christians view the Bible.
The truth is, no other historical document has been studied as much as the Bible. We have more manuscripts for the New Testament than any other historical document, and nothing else even comes close. We have almost 6,000 Greek manuscripts and close to 24,000 if you include other languages. It’s precisely this reason that we have some verses that found their way into the Bible that should not actually be there.
Somewhere along the line, a scribe might accidently write something that was in the margins into the manuscript itself. As for the story about the woman caught in adultery, we find it in different books of the Bible at different times.
It seems as though it may have been an actual event that a scribe wanted to include, but they could never decide where to put it. Despite their best efforts to include it into Scripture, we know it is an addition due to the great number of manuscripts we can compare it to.
It’s important for Christians to understand that the removal of these verses is a good thing, and in no way does it damage the authority of Scripture. What it actually does is show how well we can recreate the original letters written by the New Testament authors. Yes, the Bible has been changed, but we are aware of all the additions that happened along the way.
We continue to find more manuscripts that were not available at the time the King James Version was written. The more we learn the more certain we are that we have what God wanted us to have.