Timothy Berg struggles to try to attack the beautiful Acts 8:37 baptism testimony verse

Steven Avery

Acts 8:37 And Infant Baptism In The King James Bible
Timothy Berg | Mar 25, 2020
https://bloggingtheword.com/the-blog/a-brief-note-on-acts-8-37 (2017 - earlier version)

in some ways one of the dumber attempts.

btw, why use vs. for verse?


Acts 8:36-38 (AV)

And as they went on their way,
they came unto a certain water:
and the eunuch said, See, here is water;
what doth hinder me to be baptized?

And Philip said,
If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.
and he answered and said,
I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

And he commanded the chariot to stand still:
and they went down both into the water,
both Philip and the eunuch;
and he baptized him.


1 Peter 3:20-21 (AV)
Which sometime were disobedient,
when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah,
while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is,
eight souls were saved by water
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us
(not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,
but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:


Acts 8:37 - the PBF threads!

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Steven Avery

The first thing to realize is that Timothy Berg, like textcrit dupes in general, does not understand that inclusion/omission variants are totally different than alternate text variants.

The issues are different. The spiritual imperative comes to play. (Has the Lord Jesus been allowing extra sections and verses to pollute the Scriptures?)

And the evidence evaluation is very different. It is easy for a text to drop out of lines, but to be added to multiple language and geographic lines is a very difficult road.

Plus, on verses like Acts 8:37, the internal consistency issues are primary.

Timothy does the normal textcrit trickery of talking about "manuscripts" when he really means "extant Greek manuscripts". That way he can basically ignore the massive Latin manuscript base.


Some claims are simply imbecilic.



Another imbecilic part of this presentation is not even discussing the fact that the question of Acts 8:36 should have an answer!


Timothy Berg, as a textcrit dupe, can barely discuss the 20+ uses of the verse by early church writers, before most all of the manuscripts.

Why not list their actual quotes?

Combined with the minority Greek, and the overwhelming Latin, and some other evidences, and the fact that the text cries out for the answer to Acts 8:36, and the proper thinking about inclusion/omission

-- you have a fully probative evidence of originality.


Timothy Berg
"I won’t address a defense of Believer’s Baptism here."

Why not? At least state your position! That is the key issue. Acts 8:37 is the only verse in the Bible that clearly supports believers baptism, since a baby cannot "believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

So Timothy starts by saying that he will avoid the key issue.

"For most who defend the KJV, it can be assumed as a given."

Apparently not for Timothy.
However, he does not have the integrity to simply tell us his position.


Most modern translations do contain the vs., but in a footnote (as Ouellette’s story admits)

A common stupid argument, since the footnote is de facto saying it is not Scripture.

It is not an "admission" to point out the confusion of the textcrits.

this vs. is not found in the majority of manuscripts (hereafter abbreviated MSS.). It’s not in the Byzantine MSS. [2]. It’s not present in any of the earliest MSS. In those that do have it, it’s sometimes only in the margin as a marginal comment. Further, its not in any of the MSS. that Ouellette himself would in other places identify as most important.

Timothy throws sand with a bunch of confusing and inaccurate statements.

The majority of Greek manuscripts. The Latin manuscripts, a much greater number, overwhelmingly have the verse.

It is in a solid group of Byzantine MSS. About 10%. It is simply wrong to say it is not in the Byzantine mss.

About five early mss. omit the MS. All of corrupt Alexandrian provenance, so their weight is minor.

Marginal "comment". No, marginal entry, in a small number of mss., which is expected in any inclusion/omission variant.

What MSS. does Ouellette consider the most important. Likely, Byzantine mss. so this is against false. Remember, Codex Bezae is lacuna, and it likely had the verse.


Followed by an equally dumb footnote

[2] A printed Greek text used by the Greek Orthodox Church does contain the vs. It would be a mistake to assume from its presence in that text that it was a Byzantine reading, which it is not. The Greek orthodox Church is well aware that the text they currently use is not truly the “Byzantine” text which they would venerate as inspired, and requested years ago that the INTF would produce a Byzantine text actually based on the available Greek manuscripts. Currently, the INTF has only completed the gospel of John (an early electronic edition is available here http://www.iohannes.com/byzantine/index.html).

The Orthodox churches accept the Reformation Bible corrections to minority readings in its texts, including Acts 8:37 and the heavenly witnesses. The fact that a few Orthodox textcrit dupe scholars whine about that is basically irrelevant. Timothy's speaking for them that they would "venerate" a lacuna text is total nonsense, a blunder.
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Steven Avery

Timothy Berg's chart

I have divided this evidence into that which supports the KJV/TR form, and that which would suggest that the KJV/TR is in error, or is too partial to be used to support the full TR form.

Dumb. The real issue is simple, is the verse essentially authentic. Timothy is simply throwing more sand.

Incidentally, passages like this one (and hundreds of others we could look at) reveal that when someone claims that the KJV is based on “the majority of manuscripts,” or that “the majority of manuscripts support the KJV,” they are, quite simply, either ignorant, or dishonest.

Textcrit dupes like the fallacy of composition. The statement is generally true, and there are a thousand and more variants where Vaticanus gives a short corrupt text that becomes the corruption critical text, and the AV has the pure, ultra-majority reading.

Notice that when Timothy discusses the ending of Mark, there is no effort to list the 1600+ mss. with the ending.
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Steven Avery

From the Powerpoint:

Defenders listed by Timothy


Acts of the apostles - Vol 1 - (1857)
Joseph Addison Alexander

Joseph Addison Alexander (1809-1860)


(not in Berg - should be in any list of defenders)

James Henshall

Millennial Harbinger (1860)
Is Acts viii:37 Genuine Scripture
p. 147-150
p. 249-255


Baptism in the New Testament (1950)
Oscar Cullmann

Oscar Cullmann (1902-1999)

Oscar Cullmann, Baptism in the New Testament. Studies in Biblical Theology No. 1. London: SCM Press,1950
Traces of an Ancient Baptismal Formula in the New Testament

The oldest baptismal ritual appears in Acts 8. 36-37.80 As in all accounts of Baptism in the New Testament, the case here, in accordance with the situation of these earliest days, is one of adult Baptism. We have seen that in this case faith precedes Baptism and why it must so precede. It is probably an error to regard verse 37 as a later addition, though it is only attested by the Western Text and from this reaches the Antiochean Text. Replying to the question of the eunuch (verse 36), Philip here says to him: ‘If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest [be baptised].’ The eunuch replies: ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ This short confession refers to earliest times. For it is just on the occasion of Baptism that the confession was soon developed further, and, in consequence of the need to mention the Spiritas the baptismal gift, was broadened out into a three-membered formula.81 Thus if we had in verse 37 only an interpretation influenced by later baptismal practice, we should not have had here a brief confession which takes us back to the earliest times. It is congruous with this that, according to the earliest texts, only the name of Christ is invoked even in the very act of Baptism.

Verse 37 in chapter 8 of the Acts appears to me, moreover, to contain the earliest baptismal ritual
when it gives the liturgical answer, ἔξεστιν , to the question in verse 36 which itself, as we shall see, is liturgical in character. Certain baptismal accounts in the New Testament permit us to follow up the traces of this liturgical question, as it was customarily placed at the beginning of the baptismal ceremony even in the first century.

80 V. sup., p. 52f.
81 See O. Cullmann, The Earliest Christian Confessions of Faith, Eng. edn., 1948, pp. 43ff.


“Acts 8:37 – A Textual Reexamination,” (1997)
Union Seminary Quarterly Review 51:1-2 (1997): pp. 57-78.
Cottrel Ricardo Carson


Word Magazine # 45: Is Acts 8:37 in the New Testament? (2016)
Jeffrey Riddle


James Snapp
https://www.facebook.com/download/402564876607010/Acts 8 37 Evidence and Analys


Brandon Staggs and James White
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Steven Avery

Irenaeus and Cyprian - the Acts 4:12 "analogy"

Acts 4:12 (AV)
Neither is there salvation in any other:
for there is none other name under heaven given among men,

whereby we must be saved.

Acts 4:8-12 (AV)
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

In fact, ironically, in exactly every single place that Irenaeus or Cyprian disagrees with the KJV, they find them untrustworthy. And even when they both agree together, but against the KJV, their witness is suddenly suspect. For example, in Acts 4:12 , the KJV reads, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” But both the Latin text of Irenaeus, and the text of Cyprian (according to the UBS 5 apparatus), in unity, omit the first clause, and only read, “For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Here, just a few chapters before these twin writers become unimpeachable in Ac.8:37 , every KJV defender would conclude that these two Fathers cannot be trusted, even when they speak in unity, and that the majority of Greek MSS. (which agrees here with the KJV) is clearly most important.

First, this is unity in an omission, a text drop, which means very little. Then, there is no need for a writer to quote the full verse, if it is not the point they are making. They were not working with our verse numbers.

Then you see that the Greek and the Latin mss. agree on the section
... and you have to wonder what Timothy is smoking.

This type of analogy argument is so bad that it does not even qualify as dumb.

When you study it out, it is even still worse.



Also in the Acts of the Apostles, Peter: You princes of the people, and elders of Israel, hearken: Behold, we are this day interrogated by you about the good deed done to the impotent man, by means of which he is made whole. Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you have crucified, whom God has raised up from the dead, by Him he stands whole in your presence, but by none other. This is the stone which was despised by you builders, which has become the head of the corner. For there is no other name given to men under heaven in which we must be saved.

So this looks like an issue of placement, the supposed omission phrase is in an earlier spot:

Expositor's Bible Commentary (2009)
Editors - Trempor Longman III and David E. Garland







Also Treatise on Rebaptism,
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Steven Avery

After this last disaster Timothy goes back to the full verse of Acts 8:37:

Timothy Berg
Erasmus made a rather premature judgment that its omission in the few Greek MSS. that he had access to was an accidental scribal error. He should be forgiven for such a judgment, as he was working with less than 1% of the amount of manuscript evidence we have available today.

The Erasmus comment sounds like he is talking about the text-line drop, not the specific mss. he was using. So he does not need the forgiveness of Timothy Berg.

Timothy Berg
In other words, from his very first edition he gave both readings through the use of the annotation, so how can Lee complain? One or the other reading is surely right. This is the basic point of using marginal notes – to make sure the reader has the right reading either in the text or note.

More mangling of Erasmus. He said nothing was missing because the verse is in the text, not because "One or the other reading is surely right."

It does become laborious to read Timothy, because he gets virtually everything wrong.

Timothy Berg
Erasmus often ignores the Greek MSS. on the basis of the Latin Vulgate or Patristic citations alone in constructing his text. He does this throughout his whole New Testament. He actually thinks it’s silly to demand that one follow only the Greek manuscripts. With one caveat: if the oldest copies of the Latin Vulgate agree with the readings of the Greek manuscripts, that combination is his most certain witness that the reading is correct. [16]
[16] See edition of his response edited by Rummel, ASD IX-4, pg. 211.

Fair enough.
Why did you not think of this on your Acts 4:12 attempt?

Timothy Berg
Scrivener ... . He noted that often marginal notes could accidentally move into the text, like in I John 5:7 . He explains;

A shorter passage or mere clause, whether inserted or not in our printed books, may have appeared originally in the form of a marginal note, and from the margin have crept into the text, through the wrong judgment or mere oversight of the scribe. Such we have reason to think is the history of 1 John v. 7, the verse relating to the Three Heavenly Witnesses, once so earnestly maintained, but now generally given up as spurious. Thus too Acts viii. 37 may have been derived from some Church Ordinal… [19]

[19] Brown, Erasmi Opera Omnia, VI-4, pg. 398.

No surprise that textcrits make the same blunder in analysis on the heavenly witnesses and Acts 8:37.

Why not give the easy to find and read primary source?

A plain introduction to the criticism of the New Testament for the use of Biblical students (1894 - 4th edition)
Scrivener by Miller
https://books.google.com/books?id=QkNVAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA8 (1861)
Also in the 1874 2nd edition.

When you go to the primary source, this is 1861. you see Scrivener blundering with this claim on many verses, also with no evidence.


So the same type of margin blunder analysis is speculated for:
Romans 8:1, Matthew 5:22, 1 Corinthians 11:29, Galatians 3:1, Matthew 6:13, Luke 22:43-44 and John 5:4!

Timothy Berg tries to hide that from his readers.

Now Timothy Berg moves to drama queen analysis.

Timothy Berg
Whether it is or isn’t original is not so much the point here. My point is that it is not a majority text reading, and that one should be consistent in invoking evidence. Further, one should be especially careful, when selectively presenting only evidence that favors one position, about making accusations. And even more, one should be careful of accusing someone of trying to “delete” a passage, when the accused are actually simply trying to present the evidence honestly. Moses required 2 or 3 witnesses to establish an accusation (Deut. 19:15 ), and there is wisdom in such a practice.

This boils down to one fact.
We actually believe our Bible is the pure word of God!

And we are totally consistent. e.g. I explain how the actual methodology of Erasmus emphasized the majority Greek and Latin texts, yet also used a type of reasoned eclecticism. Timothy simply does not understand the basics of the Reformation Bible.

Next Timothy has a section on issues like baptismal regeneration and infant baptism. Maybe a later post.
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Steven Avery

However, when Erasmus added the vs. to his text, since he added it in the form found in his copy of the late Latin Vulgate, not from the marginal note in 2816, he actually created a form of the text almost unknown in Greek. [18]
[18] Scrivener, A Plain Introduction, 4th ed., pg. 8.

Which is simply the worthless Scrivener margin speculation mentioned earlier:






In his edition of the Greek/Latin text of Erasmus for Acts, Brown notes of the vs.,

Erasmus did not find this verse in his [codex] 1 or 2815, but derived the wording [13] from the margin of [codex] 2816: see [his annotation], where he suggests that it was originally omitted by scribal error… Consequently, he inserted a caret mark at the end of vs. 36 in [codex] 2815, accompanied by a symbol in the margin, to indicate that an addition was required. The subject was further discussed in his [letter to Lee] LB IX, 207 CE. [14]

[13] Brown is actually slightly mistaken at this point, for it is clear that Erasmus derived the “wording” for his insertion from the Vulgate. What he derived from 2816 (in its marginal note) was the boldness to think the Vulgate reading had some basis.

[14] Brown, Andrew, Opera Omnia Desiderii Erasmi, Oridinas Sexti, Tomus Secundas, pg. 293.

The claim from Timothy Berg needs proof, especially as he claims to be correcting Andrew Brown.

Show us the Vulgate wording, compared to the 1816 Greek, and compared to the Erasmus 1st edition.

Or, if the "it is clear" claim comes from some other writer, give the reference, it is definitely not in Scrivener.

Elliott says so,

Others, including Wallace, say he used 2816, and Scrivener hints above at a hybrid.
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