Do Modern Bible Translations Remove Verses? (Y1.T2.D10)
Unsplash; "Tanner Mardis"
No, all reliable translations contain all 31,102 verses of the Bible—this includes the ESV and NIV.
Some of those translations do identify sections (like those from our reading today) with statements like "The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53–8:11." They sometimes place such passages in the footnotes rather than the body of the text.
This practice has led to unfair commentary about post-KJV translations. If you are interested in whether you can trust the modern translations consider the post I wrote on this topic. Another great source is the book, Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible, by Mark Ward.
With that said, I am the kind of person who gets curious about why passages as powerful as "He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her" (John 8:7) and "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more" (John 8:11) got added or removed centuries ago.
This kind of questioning always leads to the process of canonization which you can read about on britannica.com, a topic too large for this blog.
With that said, I invite each of you to research as deeply as God leads you into this topic. Just know that all Protestant Bible versions contain 31,102 verses. And whether you are reading KJV, NIV, ESV, or following this journey through the WEB, remember "Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that each person who belongs to God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
And if you aren't sure if you can trust John 7:53–8:11 because it isn't found in earlier manuscripts, the best thing to do is ask yourself if this passage supports or contradicts what you've already read about Jesus. And ask God what good work he would have you do with this—or any—verse you read on a given day.
Guide Me, Lord
37 Now on the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! 38 He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But he said this about the Spirit, which those believing in him were to receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus wasn’t yet glorified.
40 Many of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, said, “This is truly the prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “What, does the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Hasn’t the Scripture said that the Christ comes of the offspring of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So a division arose in the multitude because of him. 44 Some of them would have arrested him, but no one laid hands on him. 45 The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why didn’t you bring him?”
46 The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this man!”
47 The Pharisees therefore answered them, “You aren’t also led astray, are you? 48 Have any of the rulers believed in him, or of the Pharisees? 49 But this multitude that doesn’t know the law is cursed.”
50 Nicodemus (he who came to him by night, being one of them) said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man, unless it first hears from him personally and knows what he does?”
52 They answered him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search, and see that no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”
53 Everyone went to his own house, 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Now very early in the morning, he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him. He sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery. Having set her in the middle, 4 they told him, “Teacher, we found this woman in adultery, in the very act. 5a Now in our law, Moses commanded us to stone such women." (John 7:37–8:5a)
13 If any man takes a wife, and goes in to her, hates her, 14 accuses her of shameful things, gives her a bad name, and says, “I took this woman, and when I came near to her, I didn’t find in her the tokens of virginity;” 15 then the young lady’s father and mother shall take and bring the tokens of the young lady’s virginity to the elders of the city in the gate. 16 The young lady’s father shall tell the elders, “I gave my daughter to this man as his wife, and he hates her. 17 Behold, he has accused her of shameful things, saying, ‘I didn’t find in your daughter the tokens of virginity;’ and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity.” They shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18 The elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him. 19 They shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver, and give them to the father of the young lady, because he has given a bad name to a virgin of Israel. She shall be his wife. He may not put her away all his days.
20 But if this thing is true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the young lady, 21 then they shall bring out the young lady to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done folly in Israel, to play the prostitute in her father’s house. So you shall remove the evil from among you.
22 If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then they shall both die, the man who lay with the woman and the woman. So you shall remove the evil from Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:13–22)
5b "What then do you say about her?” 6 They said this testing him, that they might have something to accuse him of.
But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with his finger. 7 But when they continued asking him, he looked up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground with his finger.
9 They, when they heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning from the oldest, even to the last. Jesus was left alone with the woman where she was, in the middle. 10 Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, “Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more.” (John 8:5b–8:11)
I do not want to forget Your teaching. I want to keep your commands in my heart. Help me hold onto kindness and truth for Your sake. Help me trust in You with all my heart and not lean on my limited understanding. Show me how to acknowledge You in all my ways and not be wise in my own eyes. I want to depart from evil, fearing You. (Proverbs 3:1–8).
Is this the first time you're reading a blog from The Mosaic Bible Experience? Click to learn more.
To receive more content, remember to click Like and Subscribe.