Why the Majority Greek Text
Is Superior to the Westcott-Hort / Nestle Text

The writers of the New Testament used the Greek language to record the inspired word of God for the sake of future generations.  Most people are not aware that the original manuscripts (or autographs) were used for so long that they wore out and were probably all lost.  However, scribes diligently copied them, so as to preserve them for future generations.

Most people are also not aware that there are two main groups of New Testament Greek manuscripts available today, the Majority Greek Text and the Westcott-Hort Greek text.  Here is a brief comparison:

Majority Greek Text Westcott-Hort Greek Text
Also called the Byzantine text type or the M-text. Also called the Alexandrian text type, W-H text, or Eclectic text
Has over 5000 manuscripts that are fairly consistent with each other An eclectic (hybrid) version of only a few inconsistent texts, mainly the Codex Sinaiticus (also called Codex Aleph) and Codex Vaticanus (also called Codex B)
Used throughout Church history, but lost popularity after 1881 Has been popular since 1881
Used as a basis for the Textus Receptus (Received Text), the KJV, NKJV, the World English Bible and any version translated prior to 1881 Used as a basis for the United Bible Society (UBS) Greek New Testament, the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, almost all versions translated after 1881, including the NASB the NIV and the Chinese Union Version
Manuscripts were stored in wet climates and did not last as long, so the oldest ones are dated from the 5th to the 9th century AD. Manuscripts were mostly stored in dry, desert climates and lasted longer, so some date as far back as the 4th century AD.

A number of Greek scholars like Dr. Wilbur Pickering believe that the M-text is far superior to the W-H text. Here are some reasons:

  1. The patristics (early church fathers) quoted the M-text.
  2. No autographs (original manuscripts) were written to people in Egypt.
  3. Egyptian texts naturally kept longer due to the dry climate, so earlier is not necessarily closer to the autograph.
  4. Older does not mean better, and it may mean it's worse, since well-used books wear out, and little-used books stay preserved longer.
  5. All copies were made by hand, and that takes time; it follows that the demand for good copies of the NT writings would exceed the supply, and any copy of tolerable quality would certainly be worn out by use.
  6. The manuscripts that still exist today from the first eight or nine centuries survived physically because they were too poor to be used; the good copies were worn out by use, but their text continues in their descendents. 
  7. The W-H text has a lot of "dropout" errors relative to the M-Text. (Maybe the W-H text scribes didn't want to believe certain truths, so they just omitted them.)
  8. Different scribes copying the same passage arenít all likely to make the same mistakes at the same places, even though some mistakes are likely to be copied over many times.
  9. When a scribe had a choice of manuscripts to copy, he would normally copy the one that he trusted the most, thus causing the most trusted text to be copied more often.
  10. The W-H text relies heavily on the dating of the media upon which the text was written, but those texts that are used more and trusted more would both be copied more often and worn out from use sooner.
  11. The W-H text is heavily weighted to a small number of manuscripts relative to those available to us, and relies heavily on one manuscript, Codex Sinaiticus, that was pulled from a trash can at a monastery.
  12. The Holy Spirit takes an active interest in preserving what He has inspired. If the Word of God is eternal, God is able to preserve the original words, even if the autographs wore out over time.
  13. The Codex Sinaiticus is something used by theologians in Alexandria, men who made great errors by allegorizing and trying to mix Greek thought with Godís word in order to make it appeal to the Greek mind and to the masses. The allegorical teaching of men like Origin ended up forcing people to look to the tradition of the institutional church for a proper interpretation of scripture.
  14. Hort's theory was actually never tested, yet most Bible scholars accepted it as true!
  15. It is generally agreed that most variants existed by the end of the 2nd century; after that, it became impossible to "sell" them.
  16. Hort's notion of a Lucianic Recension (a supposed major ecclesiastical revision of the Greek NT text) has since been abandoned by all or most Biblical scholars. (for further reading, see http://www.revisedstandard.net/text/WNP/)
  17. Many of the Alexandrian texts were destroyed during the Diocletan purge in the early 4th century, which possibly illustrates Godís displeasure.
  18. The Codex Vaticanus is something the Roman Catholics use, and Roman Catholics have erred greatly in their interpretation of scripture.
  19. Westcott and Hort may have embraced some Gnostic doctrines and some records say they were part of the Apostles Club, The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) and the Ghost Society, the precursor of the SPR.  They were also part of the "Oxford Movement", a secret group of Anglican Priests who tried and almost succeeded to take over the Entire Anglican Church and force her to become Roman Catholic and join again under the dominion of the Roman Catholic Church.
  20. Some people suspect that Westcott and Hort attempted to change all Bibles away from their Historic sources & transmission back to the corrupted Roman Catholic translations.
  21. Westcott and Hort made their Revised Version into the Anglican version of the Bible.

Further reading

  1. The Identity of the New Testament Text, by Dr. Wilbur N. Pickering
  2. The Majority Text Society
  3. The Clapham Sect, The Ghost Society & The Word of God
  4. Gnosticism Reborn in the End Times