Revelation 1:8 and the Bible Critics.

A certain Bible critic who does not believe that any Bible in any language is the inerrant words of God, points out what he thinks is a textual error in the King James Bible and the Reformation Bibles.

He says: “Textually, Erasmus omitted “God” in Revelation 1:8. TR editions didn’t catch this omission until the mid 1800’s, and so the KJV likewise omits “God” from the text. Despite the fact that no Greek manuscripts of the passage (except for two as I recall) which contain this passage have omitted this word. It is a clear textual mistake in the TR and KJV, whose history is easy to trace.”

So, let’s take a closer look at this verse and see if our Bible critic is right or not.


Revelation 1:8 KJB – “I am Alpha and Omega, THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDING, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

ESV (NASB, NIV, NET, Holman Standard, Jehovah Witness NWT, Catholic St. Joseph NAB, New Jerusalem bible) – “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord GOD, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

The textual differences are the omission of the phrase “THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDING” in the Vatican supervised text versions, and the addition of the word GOD  in the phrase “saith the Lord (God)”

First, let’s take a look at the additional word GOD.

Our critic tells us that this is a textual mistake in the Textus Receptus.

The King James Bible translators were well aware of the existence of the additional word GOD in the phrase “saith the Lord GOD” because it existed in the previous Wycliffe bible of 1395 and the Roman Catholic Douay Rheims N.T. of 1582.

They both read: “I am Alpha and Omega, THE BEGINNING AND THE END,  saith the Lord GOD, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

You will notice that it contains the words THE BEGINNING AND THE END, which the ESV, NIV, NASB etc. omit, and has the extra word GOD.

And Jerome’s Latin Vulgate of 382-405 A.D. also contains the phrase THE BEGINNING AND THE END as well as the extra word GOD.

8 Ego sum alpha et omega, principium et finis, dicit Dominus Deus: qui est, et qui erat, et qui venturus est, omnipotens.

Some earlier English Bibles read even differently. For example Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, and the Bishops’ bible 1568 all read: “I am Alpha and Omega, the begynnyng and the endyng, sayth the Lorde almyghtie, which is, and which was, and which is to come.”

Notice the inclusion of the words ‘the beginning and the ending” (which the modern Vatican Versions omit) and the placing of the word “Almighty” after “saith the Lord” instead of placing it at the end of the verse.

BUT there is NO additional word GOD.

So the previous English Bibles from Tyndale onward followed the same Greek texts as did the KJB. Some of them just had a slightly different word order.

Reading like the KJB is the Geneva Bible 1587 – “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come, euen the Almightie.”

The Book of Revelation has far more textual variants in it than any other book of the New Testament.

With all the additional textual information gathered by Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, Elzevir and Stephanus, they all included the phrase “THE BEGINNING AND THE END” and did not include the extra word God.

This was not some accidental oversight, but a deliberate textual choice.

Even after the KJB was completed, the Greek TR of Elzevir 1624 read like the text that underlies the KJB – εγω ειμι το α και το ω αρχη και τελος λεγει ο κυριος ο ων και ο ην και ο ερχομενος ο παντοκρατωρ

The Modern Greek Bible also reads like the KJB –

Εγω ειμαι το Α και το Ω, αρχη και τελος, λεγει ο Κυριος, ο ων και ο ην και ο ερχομενος, ο παντοκρατωρ.

Greek manuscripts 141 and 187 read as does the KJB and so does the 1569 Spanish Las Sagradas Escrituras and the 1602 Spanish Cipriano de Valera – “YO SOY el Alfa y la Omega: principio y fin, dice el Señor, el que es y que era y que ha de venir, el Todopoderoso.”

The Spanish Reina Valera 1909- 1995 still read this way – Yo soy el Alfa y la Omega, principio y fin», dice el Señor, el que es y que era y que ha de venir, el Todopoderoso.

Agreeing with how the KJB reads are all the previous English Bibles from Tyndale to the Geneva Bible including the Beza N.T. of 1599, Mace N.T. 1729, The Revised Translation 1815, Webster’s bible 1833, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Smith Bible 1876, Young’s 1898, the NKJV 1982, The Koster Scriptures 1998, the Laurie Translation 1998, The Third Millennium Bible 1998, God’s First Truth 1999, The Last Days N.T. 1999, The Tomson N.T. 2002, Green’s Literal Translation 2005, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, the Jubilee Bible 2010, The Conservative Bible 2010, The Hebrew Transliteration Bible 2010 – “Anochi  Alef ve Tav, the beginning and the ending, said Adonai, which is, and which was, and which is to comeElohei Tzavot (Almighty).”, the Modern English Version 2014, and The New Matthew Bible 2016.

The Reformation Bibles read like the KJB. These include the French Martin Bible 1744, French Ostervald 1996, the Italian Diodati 1649 and La Nuova Diodati 1991 – “”Io sono lAlfa e lOmega, il principio, e la fine”, dice il Signore “che , che era e che ha da venire, lOnnipotente”., the Portugues La Biblia Sagrada and the Portuguese Almeida 2009- Eu sou o Alfa e o Omega, o principio e o fim, diz o Senhor, que , e que era, e que h de vir, o Todo-Poderoso., Spanish Reina Valera 1909-1995,  and the German Schlachter bible 2000 – “ Ich bin das A und das O, der Anfang und das Ende, spricht der Herr, der ist und der war und der kommt, der Allmächtige.”