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Tim Kelly wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am hoping that you can help me with this. I actually found some information on another Catholic site but found no way to submit a question there.

Any way, on the Catholic Answers website under the question:

The answer begins with:

Acts 8:37 is not included in many Bible translations because it is not found in the oldest and best translations of Acts.

  • Can you please tell me what those early or older translations are?

I would like to be able to inform a co-worker about this but I'm not sure how to answer his question on this topic.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks so much!

Tim K.

  { What translations are they referring to when talking about the absence of Acts 8:37 in the Bible? }

John replied:

Hi, Tim —

Actually it's not a matter of translations. It's a matter of which ancient manuscripts the translations used. Most major translations do have the verse. The oldest manuscripts aren't necessarily the most accurate just because they are older. Some manuscripts omit other texts in the Gospels according to Mark and John as well as a couple of verses or phrases from John's Epistles.

As I said, they aren't necessarily the most reliable manuscripts for everything. They are just older and are simply missing texts. Remember these manuscripts aren't exactly in pristine condition. Actual physical pieces of some are missing.

With a quick search I was able to find two English translations that specifically omit that verse:

  1. the Weymouth New Testament . . . hardly a well used translation, and
  2. the English Revised Translation.

The Douay-Rheims, which comes from the Latin Vulgate, translated by St. Jerome, does have the verse therefore the Catholic Church considers it part of the Canon of Inspired Scripture.

The verse doesn't contain any doctrinal truth that is not found elsewhere in abundance in the Bible so it's not exactly something to lose sleep over. Whether or not the verse is omitted or included from the text, it doesn't change meaning that Luke (the Author of Acts) was trying to convey.

John

Tim replied:

Thank you so much, John!

You were indeed very helpful.

  • Is there anywhere I can find an official Church teaching or information on this subject, and your excellent answer on it?

I'd like to be able to reference something in order to back it up.

Thanks again,

Tim

John replied:

Tim —

The only official teaching on such a thing is the Catholic Canon of Scripture itself.

The fact that there are many varying manuscripts is just an archaeological reality. Moreover, it's self-evident because various translations omit different phrases or verses or the same verses might contain slightly different language.

Case in point:

Matthew 6:27: Some translations reads:

The New King James reads:
27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

Whereas the New International Version reads:
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Now the first part of the verse is clearly just a different translation of the same Greek words to English but the last part of the verse indicates a different original Greek text. The underlying meaning is the same but the examples of what you can't do, by worrying, are different.

  • Now why this so?

We aren't sure but when we dig further and look at the parallel text in Luke 12:25 we see the same exact phenomena.

The King James 2000 again uses cubit and the New International Version uses single hour.

So this seems to indicate that whoever copied these ancient manuscripts were consistent but, bear in mind, contemporary translators don't always rely on only one manuscript so it could be the choice of the translators.

There are all kinds of variables but the underlying point remains the same: There are obvious differences between the various ancient manuscripts . . . none of which amount any doctrinal differences, as we don't base doctrines on single Scripture verses.

John

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