Bible students are often told that the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus are better (i.e. more accurate) than other manuscripts because they are older.  So, let's examine if OLDER necessarily equates with BETTER, shall we?

The whole subject of New Testament criticism is too complex to discuss here (or for me to try to discuss anywhere!), but it is significant that almost all of the new versions of the New Testament are based on what is known as the Westcott and Hort Greek Text, or some modification thereof (such as the Nestle-Aland text), whereas the King James Bible is based largely on what is known as the Textus Receptus (aka the Received Text or the Byzantine Greek Text).

Of significance is the fact that Westcott and Hort were involved in the occult and spiritism and they both hated ("reviled" in their own words) the Textus Receptus.  So, what did they do? They basically "invented" their own Greek text, which was based primarily on two very corrupt 4th century Catholic manuscripts: Codex Vaticanus (discovered in the Pope's library in 1481) and Codex Sinaiticus (discovered in 1844 in a trash can at St. Catherine's monastery near Mount Sinai).

Since the late 1800's, their Greek New Testament text has largely replaced the traditional Textus Receptus in modern seminaries, especially as revised and updated by two Germans, Eberhard Nestle and Kurt Aland. All of these men were evolutionists. Furthermore, Westcott and Hort, although they were Anglican officials, they were "closet" Roman Catholics, denied the inerrancy of Scripture, hated the Biblical teaching of substitutionary atonement, believed that all men were gods, and were involved in spiritism and the occult.  

The evidence shows that both codices (Vaticanus and Sinaiticus) are corrupt beyond measure. To be honest, they are "better" in appearance, but certainly not in their content. Remember they are written on expensive vellum; so they ought to be in good shape. Yes, these two codices are older than other Greek manuscripts, but for anyone to suggest that they are more accurate is absurd. It is like someone saying "You will find the greatest TRUTH being preached in the oldest and most beautiful cathedrals of the world," or, "the most beautiful women have the best characters."

It is interesting to note that these two manuscripts are NOT older than the earliest versions of the Bible (the Peshitta, Italic, and Waldensian), all versions which agree with the Textus Receptus, the underlying text of the King James Bible. These anient versions are some 200 years older than Vaticanus and Sinaiticus; so the "older is better" argument should not be used.



COLONEL SANDERS - The Kentucky Fried Chicken Analogy

Let me attempt to illustrate the "older is better" fallacy by means of a story.

I love Kentucky Fried Chicken. Don't you? I mean who doesn't love a hot, juicy piece of the Colonel's original recipe? Now, let's suppose that when Colonel Sanders was 17 years old, he developed his original recipe and he wrote it down on an old piece of paper. He always kept this paper it in his pocket, and whenever someone wanted to fry chicken, he would pull it out and give them the recipe. However, there were 2 boys (Dick and Harry) that really despised him.  His white clothes, white hat, and white beard (well, maybe not at age 17 :-) really irritated them. So, these 2 boys copied his original recipe and they changed it... not a lot...just a little...  They added a few ingredients and subtracted a few ingredients, and they copied it on pretty letterhead. They tried to sell the recipe, but no one liked it. Their chicken tasted terrible, and the people were already used to the excellent taste of the Colonel's original recipe. So, they put the recipe in an old shoe box and forgot about it.

About 20 years later, Colonel Sanders began to make millions of dollars franchising his restaurant, and his original recipe became the favorite chicken of millions of Americans. He had so many franchisees, and had pulled the paper out of his pocket and copied the original recipe so many times that the paper literally fell apart.  Eventually, he had 2,000 franchisees and millions of satisfied customers. Unfortunately, Colonel Sanders eventually died, but his chicken lived on. Now, when Colonel Sanders died, Dick and Harry (both very old men) remembered the old recipe in the shoe box. They climbed into Harry's attic, pulled out the recipe and began to take out newspaper ads that they had "discovered" their recipe for fried chicken. They sent copies of their supposedly "original" recipe (written on the pretty letterhead) to all 2,000 franchisees, and they demanded that they change their recipe and also pay Harry and Dick a royalty for using the "older" and "better" original recipe, which had mysteriously been lost for decades but now was discovered in an old shoe box.

After trying the new "original" recipe, the franchisees had a dilemma. The recipe which Harry and Dick had "discovered" was definitely OLDER than their recipe (since the Colonel's original recipe had long since disappeared), but the chicken just didn't taste right. Which recipe was the REAL ORIGINAL RECIPE? Well, they solved the problem rather quickly. On one hand, there were 2,000 franchisees, all using the same recipe, all with millions of satisfied customers. On the other hand, there was one recipe, which was definitely older, however, there were no satisfied customers, and no franchisees were using that recipe.

So, what do you think they decided? With such a great "cloud of witnesses" supporting the Colonel's original recipe, the franchisees unanimously concluded that, while Harry and Dick's recipe was definitely OLDER than any of their recipes, it definitely was not better, and it definitely was not the original recipe, since all 2,000 franchisees were using the SAME RECIPE. Thus, they had the TRUE original recipe.

In this analogy, OLDER definitely did NOT mean better.


Back to the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus as compared to the Textus Receptus

The fact that the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are older obviously does not prove they are better. More likely it indicates that they were set aside and not used because of their numerous gross errors. Thus, they would naturally last longer than the good manuscripts which were being used regularly and thus wore out sooner. Due to the fact that 95% or more of the manuscripts support the Textus Receptus, we can confidently conclude that it is the true "Original Recipe" and the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus were altered by scribes with alterior motives.


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