Text and the Trinity:

No Doctrine Affected?

Trinitarian Bible Society

It is often said that the difference in broad categories of the Critical Text and the Received Text do not affect Biblical doctrine.

It might be argued that the Critical Text does not eliminate any doctrine completely. However, the number of the omissions is of doctrinal importance and
has the effect of diminishing the testimony of Holy Scripture, especially concerning the deity and sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is done by the removal of verses or the use of different words when referring to Christ, as in 1 Timothy 3.16 with God being replaced by ‘he’ or similar.

This concern over text and Trinity is no new thing. Irenaeus (AD 130 to 202) accused a group that denied the orthodox Biblical doctrine of the Trinity of ‘adapting the Holy Scriptures to their own figments and
leading captive from the truth those who do not retain a steadfast faith in one God, the Father Almighty, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God’.

Irenaeus denounces them for dismembering the truth and ‘adapting the oracles of the Lord to their
baseless fiction’. Irenaeus then proceeds to evidence how this group adapted the opening verses of John’s Gospel to their false system.

The Bible states: ‘All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made’ (John 1.3).

The opponents of Irenaeus taught that the Word was the author of form and beginning to all who came into
existence after Him. They continued their adaptation by changing the first part of John to ‘What was made in him is life … and the life was the light of men’.

Irenaeus asserts that this was a Valentinian adaptation of the Scriptures to their own fiction.

We, with Irenaeus, assert the true text as translated is: ‘… without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life … ’.

This signifies that all made things were made by Him. The altered text says that all things were made by the Word, a rendering designed to fit in with the Valentinian error that Christ and the Holy Spirit were among the ‘all things’ that were ‘made by the Word’.

The English Standard Version today adds this in the margin at this verse: ‘Or was not anything made. That which has been made was life in him’.

This is similar to the RSV which has in the margin, ‘Without him was not anything made. That which hath been made was life in him; and the life’.

In so doing we find in the margins as a valid alternative the very words condemned by Irenaeus as a Valentinian corruption…