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What Did Jesus Say? (2012) - 7 topics 

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Deliberate Fabrication in Acts 15:24 From 10th Century. Also Fabrications in 15:1 & 21:5 At The Same Time.


I was listening to J. Vernon McGee on the radio yesterday (August 2, 2017). He was quoting from Acts 15:24 where it supposedly says the apostles decided it was "wicked to tell gentiles to still follow the Law," as McGee construed this verse.

I was disappointed to hear this claim. I even thought that rebroadcasts that accept a long-ago exposed forgery should be deleted by those hosting replays to prevent erroneous commentary. Long prior to McGee's radio speech, scholarship determined that this message was falsely inserted into Acts 15:24 (as well as other related changes in Acts 15:1 and 21:25 discussed after I recount my debate with Pastor Jonas over Acts 15:24.)


It began by small steps by commentators in the late 300s without altering the actual scripture until a full-blown forgery was committed in the 10th Century. Thus, I wish to share with you a dialogue from 2013 with a major pastor named Jonas who used Acts 15:24 with me to argue the same point J. Vernon McGee was making and how I responded.

At the outset, be aware of two things: first, the ASV of 1901 and the NIV removed the fraud. See this link.

Second, after my interchange with Pastor Jonas, I found  additionally two other related 10th Century nearby changes for the same purpose that ended up in the KJV: Acts 15:1 and Acts 21:25.

These equally outrageous changes are exposed in the Study Notes below after we witness first-hand how Pastor Jonas was duped by the KJV on Acts 15:24. Since I exposed it to him, he never responded for the past 6.5 years so far. 


Email from:

Jonas, A Major Pastor, October 8 2013

The reason I asked about Acts 15 is because men came from Judea representing that the apostles were teaching the Gentiles had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses. Paul went to meet with the apostles to determine if this was indeed their position on the matter. After much discussion The Apostle Peter stood up and said [in King James of Acts 15]

 "And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even ashe did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:24Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must

be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:25 it seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The conclusion the Apostles of Jesus Christ came to was as follows:

1. Why do we tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples. which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.

(could not bear what? The Law of Moses. Surely he wasn't referring to circumcision on the eighth day being a burden.)

2. By preaching the Gentiles had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses the Apostles concluded they were subverting their souls.  ( are you sure based on the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ you are not subverting souls by saying we need to keep the Law of Moses?)

3. The Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ called Barnabas and Paul beloved "Men who hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”   Surely they were not rebuking them as false brethren. 

These were the words of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. They sided with Paul's position.  The Gentiles did not have to be circumcised or keep the Law Of Moses.  Be Blessed, Jonas.


My Response October 13, 2013


I just noticed I did not respond to your quote of James in Acts 15:24 where it attributes to James that he said that they (the apostles) gave no command to obey the Law. But you of course agree we are talking about Acts 15 written by Luke, and not inserted later. I already did an in depth study on that verse-- and it first came into existence [in the NT] in the 10th Century. Here is footnote 24 from ch. 5 of Jesus' Words Only (2006):

The KJV atypically accepts one late textual corruption. This is in James' mouth in Acts 15:24. This makes it appear James said the Law does not apply at all to Gentiles. The KJV has it that James says some have tried "subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment." (Act 15:24.) However, the ASV, ESV, [ISV, Holman, Douay], & NIV correctly omits "ye must be circumcised and keep the law," saying instead some tried "subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment." [See Bible Hub of each version.]

Why did the King James Version add the above bolded words?

The UBS' Greek New Testament (4th Ed [2006]) says this entire phrase first appears in the miniscule 1175 (pg. 476), which dates from the Tenth Century A.D. (pg. 17). [See also this link on 10th Century as the correct date.] The phrase "keep the Law" first appears in quotations of Acts 15:24 in the Apostolic Constitutions [allegedly in 6:64] and in the writings of Amphilochius (pg. 467). Amphilochius died "after 394," and this copy of the Apostolic Constitutions [6:64] is dated to "about 380" (pg. 31.) All the earlier versions of Constitutions [see CCEL version lacks 6:64] and the NT, [including the Latin Vulgate commissioned in 382 AD], omit both changes to Acts 15:24.


[Also, no church 'father' in the first 379 years ever quotes Acts 15:24 having included that James rejected that "you must be circumcised" or "keep the law." See e-catena for Acts 15 at Early Christian Writings.]

Where is the origin of this change in Acts 15:24? And what motivated the change?

I explained that when the pagan emperor Constantine wantedGreek New Testament UBS 4th Face page in 325 AD Christians to worship Sol Invictus in the guise of "Jesus", and stop resting on Sabbath, and move this to Sun-day -- the worship day of the god Sol Invictus which he decreed as the day of rest in 321 AD -- Paul's status was elevated. For Paul alone aided the notion the sabbath was abolished, and that the Law did not have to be followed any more. See Council of Nicea of 325 AD, and The Sabbath Command

[So after 380 there was some effort to use similar words as now present as merely comments on this passage after 380. However, no New Testament prior to the 10th Century had an insert into the actual verses of any of these words that James rejected "you must be circumcised and obey the Law." We can prove this also by checking all major strains of the NT up through the 10th century.

First, the oldest Greek NT recovered is the Sinaiticus from 340 AD. It lacks those words. Here is a photograph of what it looks like at this Sinaiticus webpage if you open up 15:24: 

Acts 15 24




Thus, it truly reads: "since we have heard that some gone out from among us and troubled you with words, subverting your souls, to whom we gave no commandment." A You Tube entitled "Tampering with Sacred Texts" does an excellent comparison of what was original, and what was added centuries later: Tampering













The Alexandrinus Codex version of the NT in Greek and its lineage -- the form that predominates "in earliest surviving documents" up through the 10th Century -- also lacks entirely that James rejected "you be circumcised and obey the law." (See reference to Gil in Bible.hub at this link.)

Here also is the oldest translated version of  Acts 15:24 from the Latin Vulgate by Jerome commissioned in 382 AD, and it too lacks these words. It reads: "Quoniam audivimus quia quidam ex nobis exeuntes, turbaverunt vos verbis, evertentes animas vestras, quibus non mandavimus." Link.

In English, this would be: "Since we have heard that certain [ones] which went out from us, have troubled you with words, subverting your souls; to whom we gave no such commandment,...."

You can readily see there is no mention of James rejecting "you must be circumcised and obey the Law...."]

So around 380 AD and later, this verse begins to be explained in commentary books as meaning such views. However, Acts 15:24 was not modified with these words to make such views "officially" part of the NT [in Greek, Latin or Ethiopian NT]. It was not until the 10th century when these words first appear in a small Miniscule 1175 within the actual verse of Acts 15:24. This is why the Nestle Aland -- the modern compilation of the best estimate of the original Greek of the NT -- entirely omits that James rejected that “you be circumcised and obey the Law," as is mentioned by the NKJV in its footnote to Acts 15:24. See link. See final Greek reconstructed text in Nestle Aland which is at this link.]

Can you dispute that, and prove 15:24 in the KJV was originally written by Luke? If you cannot, please realize that the NT manuscripts have been tampered with -- 1%-2% -- usually to edge things slightly to help Paul's validity to abrogate the Law - beginning in the late 300s because of this strenuous battle to wipe out Sabbath observance, and replace it with observance of Sun-Day -- first passed as a pagan Roman law in 321 AD.





It turns out that other marginal notes with the same purpose are placed in the official text very late, and as a result they appear in the King James. All these late changes were with the aim of implying the Jerusalem Conference decided Torah-keeping was not applicable to Gentiles.

First, a similar alteration was made in Acts 15:1, adding that the issue to consider at the conference was not just circumcision but also whether Gentiles must "live according to the custom of Moses to be saved." (The bold is the addition in the later western text, as Peter Head explains in the article cited below.) [Note: prior to 3/27/2020 I had a miscite to 15:5 when it is 15:1. Please accept this correction.]

The third alteration to consider is in Acts 21:25 when read with 21:24. So here is the KJV and then compare this to the NIV which fixes this. It does so because, as we shall see, the extra words were marginal notes which very late were added to the Western tradition (post-10th Century manuscripts) that became the KJV's source of supposedly valid manuscripts.

The context of Acts 21:24-25 is James speaking to Paul about the charge he has become apostate against the Law given Moses of which James heard rumors. James wants reassurance from Paul that this rumor is false by Paul taking brothers to the Temple to do a ritual from Numbers chapter 6 -- known as the Nazarite vow: 

  1. 24 Them take, and purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, of which they were informed concerning you, are nothing; but that you yourself also walk orderly, and keep the law.
  1. 25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. (Acts 21:25 KJV.)   


The bold is fabrication, as proven below. If you just read this, you would conclude that Gentiles do not have to follow the Law except four commands. This is how Brother Yarashalam read it in his well-meaning video on whether Paul was Against the Law or Not. See YouTube at 11:43-12:06.

Now compare this to the NIV version of verse 25 which follows what is the older text tradition -- the Alexandrian line of manuscripts: 

25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality."

The words "concluded they observe no such things save only" is missing. This is materially different. And it is materially different than when the four laws for Gentiles were given in Acts 15. For when we go back to the decision in Acts 15, we see right after these four laws, James gives what happens next in Acts 15:21 for Gentiles:

21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. (Acts 15:21 KJV.)

Hence, the four commands from the Law were a starter-mandatory beginning, and the Gentiles will hear more each Sabbath when they go to fellowship.

So where did these misleading words "concluded they observe no such things save only" come from in Acts 21:25? Well, the Cambridge Bible School Commentary quoted in Bible Hub on this passage says: 

that they observe no such thing, save only The oldest texts omit all these words, and they appear merely to be a marginal comment, echoing in part, but with a negative, the language of Acts 15:5Acts 15:24. They do not represent any part of the form given in that chapter of the letter of the synod.

Hence, like Acts 15:24, the change in 21:25 came from marginal notes that were added to the text very late. Thus the same explanation explains why both 21:25 and 15:24 are in the KJV.

For detailed scholarly review, see Peter M. Head's article "Acts and the Problem of its Texts," from The Book of Acts in its Ancient Literary Setting (ed. B.W. Winter & A.D. Clarke), Vol. 1, The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting (Eerdmans: Paternoster, 1993) at 292-397 Google Play Book version available for $42 from Google Books at this link.  This article by Head is also in the print version at pages 415-444. Interestngly, Head's article was formerly reprinted and posted online at Tyndale College's link here but that link has not been functioning at least since 3/28/2020, and the article exists nowhere any longer on the Internet. 


Acts 15:24 Alteration Affects Issues Peter appears to Address.

When you read Peter's speech about not wanting to burden Gentiles, this false addition in 15:24 causes the speech to have an entirely different significance than its true original context about only circumcision: 

10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? (Acts 15:10 KJV)

Hence, this alteration causes one to infer Peter is talking about more than the issue of circumcision -- which the Law does not generally require of Gentiles (Lev. 12:1-3). The Pharisees were insisting for a long time that Gentiles needed to do it anyway. Peter is rebuffing that position, and not the application of the entire Mosaic law. As Peter Head says, the scope of the question being altered in verse 24 makes Peter's remark have a different meaning in Acts 15:10 than in its original context, making it appear that Peter endorsed negating Torah: 

This significantly shapes the context in which Peter’s

statement ‘Now therefore why do you make trial of God by

putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither

our fathers nor we have been able to bear.’ .... These

alterations result in a presentation of the council as a

discussion of the principle of Torah-keeping among


[Head, The Book of Acts in Ancient Literary Setting  (Erdmann's 1993) supra, pages 306-07 - PDF excerpted at this link.]

N.B. Old Link to Tyndale House deactivated page as of 9/26/2020. 


The Illicit Purpose of these Alterations.

Peter Head after discussing 15:24 and 15:10 then discusses Acts 21:25 -- another verse changed in the later Western tradition as discussed above. It bears mentioning here what he observes, for a pattern is emerging: 

It is clear thatkeeping nothing of the sort’ in the Western witnesses here refers to observance of the Torah as a whole; rather Gentile believers should merely assent to the three items given. The terms of the ([false] Western) decree do not in any way enforce Torah observance upon Gentile Christians.

[Head, supra, at 306-07. See PDF Link to viewable pages 306-07.]

Then Peter Head makes a conclusion about the purpose shared behind alterations in 15:24 and 21:25: 

The evidence adduced ... suggests that the [false] Western text must be understood as a thoroughgoing attempt to address the question of Gentile Torah-observance in a more decisive manner than the Alexandrian text allows. The focus is not on table fellowship and food laws, but quite specifically upon the place of Torah in the life of believing Gentiles, and the answer given is negative.[128] [Footnote 128] The importance of harmonising Paul's [negative] attitude to the law with that of Acts would be an important factor in this [falsifying] process. [End Fn. 128] The [false] Western form of the decree emerges as a Christian, ethical document, plainly stating total freedom from Torah. 

[Peter Head, supra, at 307 & fn. 128, viewable excerpt in PDF at this link.]


Thus, these illicit changes go beyond what the original "text allows" -- to state a total freedom from any of God's Law for a Gentile, and not just circumcision.

The KJV thus contains fake news for the Gentile.



Pastor Jonas of a large church stopped corresponding with me after the email chain I quoted from above. So I believe he must have confirmed these facts were accurate.