Wednesday, September 23, 2009

John 5:4 The Angel's Stirring of the Pool of Bethesda

I was just listening to a sermon by John Piper at Sermon Audio, and found him repeating the familiar falsehood about the supposed superiority of the Greek texts on which most of the newer Bible translations are based. (This starts at about 6:25 on the counter and goes to about 10 if you are listening to it.)

In this case it's in relation to the omission of John 5:4 from some of these newer translations, the NIV, ESV and the NASB being some he lists. I looked at Blue Letter Bible for the different versions on this verse and the version of the NASB they use appears to have it, at least in brackets.*

The main point is that John Piper accepts the received wisdom of the modern scholars and declares that it's RIGHT to omit John 5:4, saying
"verse four... is omitted intentionally and I think rightly, because it is missing in the oldest and best Greek manuscripts."
He then goes on to discuss a bit of text criticism, gives a speculation as to why verse 4 might have later been added (to make sense of verse 7), says it may be in fact the truth but if it's omitted from the best manuscripts we can't rightly include it, etc.

There's one excellent proof that omitting the verse is wrong:


"An angel, by his intervention, used to stir the pool at Bethesda. Those who were complaining of poor health used to watch for him.... 3.169. --in David Bercot's Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, p. 67

J W Burgon discusses this passage as well, commenting that

"The troubling of the pool of Bethesda is not even allowed a bracketed place in Dr. Hort's Text [made up of those "oldest and best" Greek texts]. How the accomplished Critic would have set about persuading the Ante-Nicene Fathers that they were in error for holding it to be genuine Scripture, it is hard to imagine."
If someone writing in the 2nd century, who would have had access to many of the Bible manuscripts available at the time, refers to this passage, we can be sure it came from a manuscript taken to be authentic scripture, showing that the supposed "earliest and best" manuscripts were NOT the Alexandrian texts preferred by Westcott and Hort and used in all the modern Bibles, but the very Byzantine type texts, even the Textus Receptus, that the KJV was based on, that the modern scholars despise.

So once again we have evidence that FALSE BIBLES, first foisted on us by the FALSE TEACHERS Westcott and Hort, have poisoned the pulpits of the English-speaking world (and all the rest of the world that follows the same false texts) and the poison is defended by some of the best preachers.


* Here I want to object to the NASB's choice of wording. Why do we need to be afflicted with such a phrasing as "...made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted" when the KJV's is so much more direct: "...made whole of whatsoever disease he had." Pompous language, blech! Here's the comparison of the whole verse:
KJV: For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

NASB:...for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.
But that's a side issue. Just another way the newer translations are inferior.