Some Variations in the Book of Acts
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The purpose of this essay is to point out that there have been changes in the manuscripts which were used in preparing the texts and the various versions of the New Testament. Some of the changes apparently resulted from notes being interpolated into the text of the Scriptures by copyists. Some were made for other reasons.

The New King James Version has virtually the same text as the King James Version, but with the use of modern language. However, it notes any words, phrases, or sentences that do not appear in the NU-Text and the M-Text. The NU-Text represents the Alexandrian or Egyptian type of text, as found in the twenty-sixth edition of The Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (N) and the United Bible Societies' third edition (U). The M-Text represents readings as found in the first edition of The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text.

The New King James Version is quoted in each of fourteen selected passages from the Book of the Acts. Each has a footnote which states the addition to the passage. Following this is the King James rendering of the same passage.

Following these two versions is the passage in five other versions. In the fourteen passages are a total of thirty-five versions, in addition to the King James and the New King James. Each set of five versions is used for two passages.

The sources for the King James Version are as follows: Latin Vulgate, Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, Tyndale's Version, Coverdale's Version, the Geneva Bible, and the Bishop's Bible. The most ancient and reliable Greek manuscripts are Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Vaticanus, and Codex Sinaiticus, all dating back to the first half of the fourth century A.D. The canon of the New Testament was finalized in the second half of the fourth century A.D. after considerable difference of opinion. These codices were not located until after the publication of the King James Version. It is noted that the additions found in this version were not in many manuscripts, especially the most reliable. Twentieth century translators have had access to many more manuscripts and other resources that the translators of the King James Version did not have.


Versions Compared

 

AAT An American Translation (Beck)
AB Amplified Bible
AIV An Inclusive Version
CEV Contemporary English Version
CJB Complete Jewish Bible
CNT Cassirer New Testament
DRB Douay-Rheims Bible
EBR The Emphasized Bible
GW God's Word
IB Interlinear Bible
IV Inspired Version
KJV King James Version
LB Living Bible
LBP Lamsa Bible
MCT McCord's New Testament Translation
NAB New American Bible
NAS New American Standard Version
NBV New Berkeley Version
NCV New Century Version
NEB New English Bible
NET New Evangelical Translation
NIV New International Version
NJB New Jerusalem Bible
NKJ New King James Version
NLV New Life Version
NRS New Revised Standard Version
NWT New World Translation
PRS Phillips Revised Student Edition
SGAT An American Translation (Smith-Goodspeed)
SNB Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible
REB Revised English Bible
RSV Revised Standard Version
TEV Today's English Version
TM The Message
WET Wuest Expanded Translation
WNT Williams New Testament
YLR Young's Literal Translation, Revised Edition


Acts 2: 30

 

NKJ Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, ....
Footnote: NU-Text omits according to the flesh, and completes the verse with He would seat one on his throne.
KJV Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; ... .
AAT He was a prophet and knew God had sworn to him to put one of his descendents on his throne.
LBP For he was a prophet, and he knew that God had sworn by his oath to him that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up one to sit on his throne.
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.
NJB But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, ... .
YLR ...; a prophet, therefore, being, and knowing that with an oath God did swear to him, out of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, to raise up the Christ, to sit upon his throne, ... .


Acts 3: 20

 

NKJ ..., and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, ... .
Footnote: NU-Text and M-Text read Christ Jesus who was ordained for you before.
KJV And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: ... .
MCT ..., and that he may send to you the one who has been appointed for you, Christ Jesus, ... .
NAB ... and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus, ... .
Footnote: [This is] an allusion to the parousia or second coming of Christ, judged to be imminent in the apostolic age. The reference to the nearness is the only explicit one in Acts. Some scholars believe that this verse preserves a very early christology, in which the title "Messiah" (Greek "Christ") is applied to him as of his parousia, his second coming (contrast 2:36). This view of a future messiahship of Jesus is not found elsewhere in the New Testament.
RSV ..., and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.
TM ..., and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus.
WNT ..., and He may send back Jesus, the Christ who long ago was appointed for you.
Footnote: Literally, formerly appointed Christ (WH).


Acts 5: 24

 

NKJ Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be.
Footnote: NU-Text omits the high priest.
KJV Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
DRB Now when the officer of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were in doubt concerning them, and what would come to pass.
NLV When the religious leaders and the leader of the house of God heard this, they were much troubled as to what might happen.
NRS Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were perplexed about them, wondering what might be going on.
SGAT When the commander of the Temple and the high priests heard this report, they were very much at a loss as to what would come of it.
WET Now, when they heard these words, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests continued to be entirely at a loss concerning them as to what might become of this.


Acts 8: 37

 

NKJ Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may."
And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
Footnote: NU-Text and M-Text omit this verse. It is found in the Western texts, including the Latin tradition.
KJV And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
AB And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart [that is, if you have a conviction, full of joyful trust, that Jesus is the Messiah, and accept Him as the Author of your salvation in the kingdom of God, giving Him your obedience, then] you may. And he replied, I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, ... .
CJB [Omitted.]
Footnote: Some manuscripts include verse 37: And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." He answered, "I believe that Yeshua the Messiah is the Son of God."
IV And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
LB "You can," Philip answered, "if you believe with all your heart."
And the eunuch replied, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
Footnote: Many ancient manuscripts omit verse 37 wholly or in part.
NCV [Omitted.]
Footnote: Some late copies of Acts add verse 37: "Philip answered, 'If you believe with all your heart, you can.' The officer said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'"


Acts 9: 5, 6

 

NKJ And he said, "Who are You, Lord?"
Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?"
Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
Footnote: NU-Text and M-Text omit the last sentence of verse 5 and begin verse 6 with But arise and go.
KJV And he said, "Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecuteth: it is hard to thee to kick against the pricks.
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
EBR And he said --
      Who art thou, Lord?
And /he/ [said] --
      //I// am Jesus whom //thou// art persecuting!
      But rise up and enter into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
IB And he said, Who are you, Sir? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute. It is hard for you to kick against the prods. Both trembling and being astonished, he said, Lord, what do You desire me to do? And the Lord said to him, Rise up and go into the city, and it will be told you what you must do.
NBV He said, "Who are You, Lord?" He answered, "I am Jesus, whom you have been persecuting. [It is hard for you to kick against the goads." Trembling and astonished, he asked, "Lord, what would You have me do?" The Lord said to him,] "Rise and enter the city and it will be told you what you must do."
Footnote: The words in verses 5 and 6 that are enclosed in brackets are not found in the majority of the most reliable ancient manuscripts.
NET "Who are You, Lord?" he asked.
"I am Jesus," He said, "whom you are persecuting. But get up, go into the city, and you will be told what you should do."
PRS "Who are you, Lord?" he asked.
"I am Jesus whom you are persecuting," was the reply. "But now stand up and go into the city and there you will be told what you must do."


Acts 10: 6

 

NKJ He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.
Footnote: NU-Text and M-Text omit the last sentence of this verse.
KJV He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
AIV "...; he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside."
CEV "He is visiting with Simon the leather maker, who lives in a house near the sea."
CNT "He lodges with another Simon, a tanner, who owns a house by the seashore."
GW He is a guest of Simon, a leather worker, whose house is by the sea.
NEB "...; he is lodging with another Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea."


Acts 15: 24

 

NKJ Since we heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law -- to whom we gave no such commandment -- ... .
Footnote: NU-Text omits saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law".
KJV Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: ... .
AAT "Since we heard that some men, coming from us without instructions from us, have said things to trouble you, and they continue to upset you, ... ."
LBP We have heard that certain men have gone out and disturbed you with words, thus upsetting your souls, saying, You must be circumcised and keep the law; concerning these things we have never commanded them.
NIV We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.
NJB We hear that some people coming from here, but acting without authority from ourselves, have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds; ... .
YLR ...; seeing we have heard that certain having gone forth from us did trouble you with words, subverting your souls, saying to be circumcised and to keep the law, to whom we did give no charge, ...


Acts 17: 5

 

NKJ But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar ... .
Footnote: NU-Text omits who were not persuaded; M-Text omits becoming envious.
KJV But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar.
AB But the unbelieving Jews were aroused to jealousy, and getting hold of some loungers in the market place -- ruffians and rascals -- they gathered together a mob, and set the town in an uproar, ... .
CJB But the unbelieving Jew grew jealous; so they got together some vicious men from the riffraff hanging around in the market square, collected a crowd and started a riot in the city.
IV But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, ... .
LB But the Jewish leaders were jealous and incited some worthless fellows from the streets to form a mob and start a riot.
NCV But the Jews became jealous. So they got some evil men from the marketplace, formed a mob, and started a riot.


Acts 18: 21

 

NKJ ..., but took leave of them, saying, "I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing."
Footnote: NU-Text omits I must through Jerusalem.
KJV ...; But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will.
EBR ...; but <bidding them adieu saying --
      //Again// will I return unto you /God willing/> ... .
IB ...; but took leave of them, saying, I must by all means keep the coming feast at Jerusalem; but I will come again to you, God willing.
NBV Instead, he said good-by to them with a promise, "God willing, I shall come back to you."
NET As he said good-bye to them, he told them, "I will come back to you if God wants me to."
PRS ..., bidding them farewell with the words, "If it is God's will I will come back to you again."


Acts 21: 25

 

NKJ "But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality."
Footnote: NU-Text omits that they should observe no such thing, except.
KJV As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
AIV But as for the Gentiles who have become believers, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.
Footnote: Other ancient authorities lack and from what is strangled.
CEV Some while ago we told the Gentile followers what we think they should do. We instructed them not to eat anything offered to idols. They were told not to eat any meat with blood still in it or the meat of an animal that has been strangled. They were also told not to commit any terrible sexual sins.
CNT "But as for those who have come to the faith as Gentiles, to these we have sent out a letter containing the decision we have come to -- that they are to abstain from meat which has been offered in sacrifice to an idol, from eating blood from the flesh of animals killed by strangling, and from committing fornication.
GW "[To clarify this matter] we have written non-Jewish believers a letter with our decision. We told them that they should not eat food sacrificed to false gods, bloody meat, or meat of strangled animals. They also should not commit sexual sins."
NEB As for the gentile converts, we have sent our decision that they must abstain from meat that has been offered to idols, from blood, from anything that has been strangled, and from fornication.
Footnote: Some witnesses omit from anything that has been strangled.


Acts 22: 9

 

NKJ "And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me."
Footnote: NU-Text omits and were afraid.
KJV And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spoke to me.
NAS And those who were with me beheld the light, to be sure, but they did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.
NWT Now the men who were with me beheld, indeed, the light but did not hear the voice of the one speaking to me.
REB My companions saw the light, but did not hear the voice that spoke to me.
SNB Now they who were with me, beheld indeed, the light, but heard not the voice of Him that was speaking with me.
TEV The men with me saw the light, but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me.


Acts 23: 9

 

NKJ ..., "We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God."
Footnote: NU-Text omits last clause and reads what if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?
KJV ..., We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.
MCT "... . What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?"
NAB ..., "We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?"
RSV ..., "We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?"
TM ...: "We don't find anything wrong with this man! And what if a spirit has spoken to him? Or maybe an angel? What if it turns out we're fighting against God?"
WNT ..., "We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit or angel has really spoken to him!"


Acts 24: 6-8

 

NKJ "He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law. But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him."
Footnote: NU-Text ends the sentence here [after and we seized him] and omits the rest of verse 6, all of verse 7, and the first clause of verse 8 [ending to come to you].
KJV ...: Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.
But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,
Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him.
NAS "And he even tried to desecrate the temple; and then we arrested him. [And we wanted to judge him according to our own Law."
But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands, ordering his accusers to come before you.] And by examining him yourself concerning all these matters, you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him.
Footnote: Many mss. do not contain the remainder of verse 6, verse 7, nor the first part of verse 8.
NWT "..., one who also tried to profane the temple and whom we seized. ---- From him you yourself can by examination find out about these things of which we are accusing him."
REB "He made an attempt to profane the temple and we arrested him. If you examine him yourself you can ascertain the truth of all the charges we bring against him."
Footnote: Some witnesses add It was our intention to try him under our law; but Lysias the commandant intervened and forcibly took him out of our hands, ordering his accusers to come before you.
SNB ..., Who also attempted to desecrate even the temple, whom we also seized,
But the chief Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands.
For whom thou shalt be able thyself, by making examination concerning all these things, to ascertain the things of which we are accusing him.
TEV "He also tried to defile the Temple, and we arrested him. If you question this man, you yourself will be able to learn from him all the things that we are accusing him of."
Footnote: Some manuscripts add verses 6b-8a: We planned to judge him according to our own law, but the commander Lysias came, and with great violence took him from us. Then Lysias gave orders that his accusers should come before you.


Acts 24: 26

 

NKJ Meanwhile he had also hoped that money would be given by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore, he sent for him more often and conversed with him.
Footnote: NU-Text omits that he might release him.
KJV He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.
DRB Hoping also withal, that money should be given him by Paul; for which cause also oftentimes sending for him, he spoke with him.
NLV He was hoping that Paul would give him money so that he could go free. For that reason he kept sending for Paul and talking to him.
NRS At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul, and for that reason he used to send for him very often and converse with him.
SGAT At the same time he hoped to get money from Paul, and for that reason he used to send for him very often and talk with him.
WET ...; at the same time also hoping that money will be given to him by Paul. On this account also he kept on sending for him more frequently and conversing with him.


Commentary

 

If the oldest and most reliable manuscripts are closest to the original writings of the New Testament, it follows that the later manuscripts have additions by man. If the later manuscripts are closer to the original, then those considered to be the oldest and most reliable have had deletions by man. In the first case, the King James Version and other older versions contain additions to what the original writers wrote. In the second case, the modern versions have had deletions from them. The Book of the Acts includes only a few of the changes in the New Testament.

The additions to the King James Version appear to be logical, making sense. They do not really affect the doctrine of the Messiah. The important point is, however, that there have been changes to the original. It is generally accepted that the original writers embellished their own work and used their own style of writing, even though inspired.

James I. Packer states in The Bible Almanac, "God revealed His truth to the writers and showed them how they should present it, but in so doing He led them to express His Word in terms of their own outlook, interest, literary habits, and peculiarities of style."

Christians accept the Bible, or a particular version of it, without question, including the additions and/or deletions by man in his copying and translating of manuscripts over the centuries. Were these changes inspired by man or by God? I leave it to my reader to determine if those copyists and translators violated Revelation 22: 18 and 19.