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John 14:14 in the King James Bible
By Will Kinney
There are some Bible correctors who ignorantly assert that the reading of the King James Bible in John 14:14 denies or obscures the deity of Christ.
Let's look at the evidence. In the King James Bible we read: "If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it." This is the reading of the Majority of all remaining Greek texts, including A (Alexandrinus), and D, along with the Greek Lectionaries, many Old Latin copies, the Coptic Boharic and Sahidic, Ethiopian and Slavonic ancient versions.
However, primarily based on Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, many but not all modern versions add the extra word "me" to the text, and so the NASB reads: "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.", while the NIV has: "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
Those who criticize the reading found in the KJB say that the new versions show the believers asking Jesus directly and so show His deity, while the KJB does not. This is obviously an unsound argument. In the KJB and Majority of all texts, we have Christ saying "If ye ask anything in my name, I WILL DO IT." If Christ Himself ANSWERS PRAYER then He is God!
Not only do the NKJV, Tyndale, Geneva Bible, Young's, Spanish Reina Valera, Luther's German bible and others based on the Traditional Text read as does the King James Bible, but so also do many other modern versions that are even based primarily on the Westcott-Hort text.
These other modern versions which usually follow the W-H text and yet still read as does the KJB in John 14:14 are the American Standard Version, the Revised Standard Version, the Hebrew Names Bible, World English Bible, Darby, the New Living Translation, and the Message.
Besides trying to make a point where there is none, the NASB, NIV, ESV and an host of other modern versions are based primarily on the readings found in two manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, often referred to by the Bible of the Month promoters as "the oldest and the best".
Let's take a closer look at how these two manuscripts are constantly disagreeing with each other. We need go no further than right here in John chapter 14 to amply demonstrate the unreliability of these two "oldest and best manuscripts".
14:2 "If it were not so I WOULD HAVE told you" Sinaiticus omits "would have" and says " if it were not so I TOLD YOU", but Vaticanus reads as does the KJB.
14:5 "Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; AND (kai) how can we know the way?" The little word "and" is in Sinaiticus and the NIV, but Vaticanus omits it and so does the NASB. Also in this verse "how can we know the way" is "pws dunametha ten hodon eidenai" even in the UBS text, but neither Sinaiticus nor Vaticanus reads this way and they both disagree with each other, Sinaiticus reading: "pws ten hodon eidenai dunametha", while Vaticanus has "pws oidamen ten hodon - omitting the verb "can" (dunametha) and having a different verb form for "to know".
In 14:7 both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus differ from each other 5 times and twice in 14:9.
In 14:10 they differ from each other 4 times as well as disagreeing with the Majority of all texts.
"BELIEVEST thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I SPEAK unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father THAT dwelleth in me, he doeth THE WORKS."
Here Vaticanus alone reads future "you SHALL BELIEVE" instead of "believest"; both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus differ from each other in the verb "I speak"; Vaticanus omits "that", while found in Sinaiticus, and instead of "the works" (ta erga -plural, Majority text), Sin/Vat read "HIS works", and so reads the NASB, but the NIV follows no text and says: "who is doing his WORK."
14:11 "or else believe ME for the very work's sake." Here ME is found in the Majority, A and Vaticanus, and even in the RV, ASV, RSV, and NRSV, but because Sinaiticus omits the word "me", it is omitted by the NIV, NASB and ESV.
14:14 Even here where Sinaiticus and Vaticanus both add the extra word "me", which started this whole discussion, they both disagree with each other. For the phrase "I will do it", Vaticanus reads: "touto poieesoo" (I will do it), while Sinaiticus has: "ego poieesoo" (I, I will do).
14:15 "if ye love ME, KEEP my commandments."
Here Sinaiticus original omits ME but it is in Vaticanus, while both Sin/Vat differ in their spelling of the verb "keep".
14:16 "And I WILL PRAY the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may ABIDE with you forever."
Sinaiticus original actually says "I WILL KEEP the Father" (teereesoo instead of erooteesoo), but Vaticanus reads as do the rest. Instead of "that he may abide" (hina menee) both Sin/Vat disagree with each other in word order and substitude a different verb than the majority reading, having "to be" (ee) rather than to abide (menee).
For the last one in this series we will look at 14:17. We could easily continue through the rest of this single chapter demonstrating the same disagreements between "the oldest and best" not only with the Majority of all Greek texts but also with each other.
14:17 "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth HIM; BUT ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and SHALL BE in you."
Here both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus omit HIM in the phrase "neither knoweth HIM", but the NASB, NIV still keep it. Then the little word "but" (de) is in the majority text, but omitted by both Sin/Vat, and the NASB puts it in italics, but the NIV retains it. Finally, "and SHALL BE in you" future tense, is found in the Majority of all texts as well as Sinaiticus and A, but Vaticanus has a present tense verb and destroys the whole meaning by saying: "and IS IN YOU."
To sum up, in the first place John 14:14 as it stands in the King James Bible in no way detracts from the full deity of Christ. If He answers prayer, "I will do it", then He is God. Secondly, if you are trusting in many modern versions that rely primarily on Sinaiticus and Vaticanus you have a corrupt bible version that does not represent the true words of the living God. It is that simple.
By: Will Kinney