Is Your Bible “Missing” Verses?

Posted on: January 13th, 2015 by Michelle Stramel 22 Comments

We occasionally receive reports from PocketBible users that a PocketBible Bible is missing a verse (or verses). These “errors” are usually discovered in a group Bible study situation. Following along as someone else reads, you realize that a verse appears to be missing in your Bible. But in this case, there is more to this than meets the eye.

What are these “missing” verses and why are they missing?

The numbering scheme for verses in the English Bible was first used in the Geneva Bible in the year 1560. This pattern was followed in subsequent English translations including the King James Version, published first in 1611. In the years since these Bibles were translated, many additional manuscripts have been found which predate those used by the translators of the Geneva and King James Bibles. Because of their age, these older manuscripts are believed by many scholars to more accurately represent the original documents. In many cases, however, they do not include all the verses that are in the more recent manuscripts.

Translations such as the New International Version, Revised Standard Version, and other newer translations take advantage of these more recently discovered manuscripts and therefore do not include all of the verses found in the older translations. Rather than reinventing a numbering scheme for the whole Bible, the translators decided to use the same verse numbers as the older Bibles but leave the missing verses blank (or move them into footnotes). The result of this is that several verses in these newer translations appear to be “missing”.

The affected verses are:

  • Matthew 17:21; 18:11; 23:14
  • Mark 7:16; 9:44,46; 11:26; 15:28
  • Luke 17:36; 23:17
  • John 5:4
  • Acts 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29
  • Romans 16:24

For the Revised Standard Version, in addition to the above list, there are other verses and points of interest:

  • Matthew 12:47; 21:44
  • Luke 22:43,44
  • The order of Exodus 22 in printed form is 1, 4, 2, 3, 5. PocketBible displays these verses in numeric order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
  • James 1:7,8 was combined in verse 7 leaving 8 blank. 3 John 14 was split into 14 and 15.

Another point of view

Some are quick to jump on the idea that the newer translations are removing text from God’s Word and therefore are not to be trusted. It is important to note that it could just as correctly be argued that the older translations added text to God’s Word. Where one comes down on this argument depends on the nature of one’s own research, or on which scholars one decides to trust. We’ve determined it’s best to present a variety of options to you so that you can come to your own conclusions when choosing the Bible (or Bibles) that you find to be the most beneficial to your own spiritual growth.

If you enjoy learning about the history of the Bible, consider the PocketBible book: The Origin of the Bible by Philip Comfort.

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22 Responses

  1. morry says:

    Interesting article. Because I have only now begun to read the majority text bibles, I never noticed missing verses. For the last 20 years NIV was the bible of choice for me. Its an interesting debate about Major text vs minor text. Thanx for the info.Cheers, Morry.

    • Derk says:

      Awesome Morry try reading one of the translations they mentioned, because the NIV is not a literal translation

      • Buks says:

        There is no such thing as a purely literal translation. The range of translation philosophies range from the more literal (e.g. NASB) which is difficult to read and understand but try to be as close to a word-for-word translation as possible, through dynamic-equavilance (thought-for-thought) more understandable and easier to read but further from the original, to paraphrase (Message) which usually is not recommended to use for any kind of Bible study. In my opinion, you need at least two Bibles for proper study – a close to literal (e.g. NASB) and a more readable but still faithful translation (e.g. ESV or NIV).

        • Claude says:

          Sorry but last time I checked the ESV is almost identical NASB. A better choice for thought for thought would be NLT,NCV,GWT.

        • Bella says:

          While you are comparing literal v concept, I would also want to check modern bibles based on both majority with minority text sources.
          I think the NKJV is fairly readable and is similar to its name’s sake the KJV, and based on majority text, and should contain these missing verses. So compare that with NASB or ESV.

          Westcott and Hort started this drift from the majority text, and we’ve found more sources since then. But I see in my KJV intro that these guys are mentioned. Therefore to be sure you have an unchanged KJV, with only printing errors corrected, I think you have to go back to what they call the Cambridge edition, 1769? Then again, there are translation errors in that!
          Frustrating that we have no originals! My solution is to remember to pray, and compare, compare, compare. Simples!

          Do we have any thoughts on whether these missing verses are significant to faith? Does their omission water down the message?

          • Michelle Stramel says:

            Bella, you may find our article on our recent update to the KJV we use with PocketBible of interest (see link below):

            https://blog.laridian.com/?p=2617

            Michelle

          • Craig Rairdin says:

            Bela, with respect to whether the “missing” verses are significant, others here have argued that they are not. But it’s also important to consider the question from the other perspective: That is, that the verses are not “missing” in the Bibles that omit them, but rather that they were “added” to the ones that do. Some argue that the newer translations (based on older manuscripts) are omitting verses from the Word of God, while the translators of those versions would argue that the earlier translations (based on later manuscripts) added verses to the Word of God that God never intended to be there.

            Each of us needs to determine what they believe to be the truth in this matter, either based on their own research, or, more commonly, based on the opinions of scholars they trust. At Laridian, we’re aware of the controversy but wouldn’t want someone else making our decisions for us, so we afford you the same freedom we would want to have ourselves: We provide a variety of translations of the Bible and encourage you to use the one(s) that you think is(are) best.

  2. Morry,
    I also was given an RSV Bible in Sunday School and used it through confirmation. My Dad always had the elaborite KJV Bible and I always though the main difference was the translation to modern English rather than a revision to the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus texts. I will be interested to check out “The Origin of the Bible” since there is a great story to the faith of the scholars that worked to bring the scriptures to the English speaking believers.
    The story doesn’t end there as the same difference in versions exists in Spanish. So I am wondering if there is any plans for My Bible to include the Rena Valera?

  3. Peter says:

    “Because of their age, these older manuscripts are believed by many scholars to more accurately represent the original documents.”

    I recommend anyone who is serious about this issue to look into the resources available from the Trinitarian Bible Society who go into this in detail.

  4. Steven Abram says:

    The other answer is to learn Hebrew and Greek!!!!!!! Oh, and a smattering of Aramaic. PS I only have a slight working knowledge of Greek but it can help show at least the problems people have in moving from the originals to another language. Also ‘The Origin of the Bible’ will probably help as well – I shall look forward to looking at that. Pray for Bible translators as there are many people still without the scriptures in their language.

  5. David Rossall says:

    But even the Greek texts vary of course, because it is from them that the translations are prepared. The varying Greek texts (i.e. that some texts lack some of the verses listed above) are the reason for the variation in the verses included in the English ones. Fortunately, none of the debated verses makes a significant theological difference.

    • Steven Abram says:

      David I agree completely and your final comment is very apt. Scripture is not only ‘God breathed’ but also God protected by the same Spirit. Hence, I want a translation that reflects the best ‘original text’ and best ‘English’ for me to convey that and the equally for people of other languages. I appreciate the comment therefore about a French version, see Robin below, etc.

  6. Cate Richardson says:

    These discussions about versions, translations and manuscripts are vital in their place: That is be sure that we are reading an accurate, reliable text of God’s word and to guard against heresy.
    However they can be a distraction: If detailed study of subtle or minute variations pulls us away from allowing God to speak to us by his word we are missing the point. I want to focus all my energy in knowing and loving Jesus better and to consider how our church family can best show him to others.
    I am very thankful for those whose expert knowledge of source languages has enabled us to hear God speaking to us daily in our heart language. For most of us the effort required to learn NT Greek could be better spent listening to God speak to us clearly in whatever translation we already have. Obviously we need Bible academics but most of us just need to listen more and put it into practice! Lets not make reading the Bible just an academic exercise rather let us listen to God and live out his word in our lives (by the power of the Holy Sprit, not by the power of our own wisdom and learning.) May we listen to him more for the honour of Jesus.

    • Bella says:

      Here here!
      I have wasted many an hour trying to work out which is best for my ‘go to’ Bible, and feeling some loss and sadness there isn’t one I can wholly trust, and realising that this line of enquiry is destroying my love for the Word. I think I know where that has come from!

      My ideal would be word for word, with all the contributions from all sources and the mistranslations fixed.
      I’ve bought myself a parallel bible which is interesting reading. KJV, NKJV, NIV and NLT.

  7. Robin Watts says:

    I have spent many years using Laridian, precisely because you can so easily compare texts between versions. It really helps Bible study due to ‘badly’ translated verses in certain versions.

    Now I live in France and have to teach and preach in French and the problem is multiplied many times. But I can’t use Laridian for my French because there is no French version – PAIN !

    PLEASE Laridian can we have a recent French version of the Bible available to download. Segond 21 or La Bible de Semeur? Or any French version?
    Keep up the great work! Solo Deo Gloria.

    • Michelle Stramel says:

      Robin, thanks for letting us know of your interest in a French Bible along with the exact versions. We do hear you!

      Michelle

  8. Paul Ghartey says:

    So,does it mean the translations and their omissions of some verses are not important?

    • Craig Rairdin says:

      No, it’s precisely because the differences between translations are important that we wrote the article.

  9. ralph says:

    Your bibles are under supernatural attack from Satan. These verses are now also mising from the KJV Romans 6: 24-25 16:24 Matthew :17:21 18:11 23:14
    Mark 7:16 9:44 9:46 11:26 15:28 17:36 John 5:4 Acts 8:37 15:34 24:7 28:29 1John 5:7 The great deception is upon us.

    • Craig Rairdin says:

      There is no such thing as Romans 6:24-25 in any Bible.

      Romans 16:24 is not missing from the KJV. It is footnoted in newer Bibles, as it is not present in the oldest manuscripts. It could be argued that it was incorrectly “added” to the KJV, though they were working with what they had, so it’s hard to make that case.

      All the other verses you cite are present in the KJV and are footnoted in newer Bibles, as they are not present in the oldest manuscripts.

      Again, nobody is removing anything from the Bible. They are correcting errors that crept in to older English translations whose translators did not have access to the oldest and best manuscripts. Read the article again.

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