Article claims no evidence for Luke 23:34

(Jeremy Finison) #1

As we gear up for Easter weekend no doubt the “Biblical Scholars”, wolves in sheep’s clothing, false teachers, etc…will be coming out of the woodwork (so to speak). An article w/ news video was sent to me to look at where professors claims that there’s no evidence for Luke 23:34 where Jesus famously says on the cross, “father forgive them for they know not what they do.” The professors in the article makes an assertion (basically questions the Word of God) that this verse was added (code for made up) in the 3rd or 4th century (there’s a lot of error in that timing if you ask me). I had never heard this claim before so I started digging a bit. Note that I have a response to the claims in this article referring to love vs fear…that’s a whole other topic of course. Also I do not like how the article / news story didn’t show both sides of this story from a textural/historical perspective that other professors have.

Link to article:

In a quick search I couldn’t find any reference to this verse being added hundreds of years after Luke was said to have been written (most agree around 59-70 AD) other than the age old debate of which is the true text (standards) that you prescribe to Alexandrian or Textus Receptus. In this case the professor seems to be referencing those on the Codex Vaticanus / Codex B that apparently leaves out Luke 23:34. I’ve seen a claim that Bishop Ignatius (early second century) actually quoted Luke 23:34 thus making the article claim false but how do we know that he truly quoted this passage ?

I could see how this could lead someone studying to be led astray and I know that God is not the author of confusion (I Cor 14) and that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44).

I’m not looking for a rabbit trail that’s gone on for centuries here but rather a high level response such as; in the end someone is right and someone is wrong and you’ll just have to chose which ancient text to assume is the truth and move on ?

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(SeanO) #2

@Jfynyson Let us pray that all people may truly come to know Jesus during this Easter season - even false teachers. May Christ have mercy.

It appears, based on notes from the NET Bible maintained by Dallas Theological Seminary, that this particular verse is indeed missing from some early manuscripts. However, there is still good reason to believe that it is a historically accurate saying of Jesus, even if it was not in the originals.

Many important mss (P א B D* W Θ 070 579 1241 pc sy sa) lack v. 34a. It is included in א* (A) C D L Ψ 0250 ƒ 33 M lat sy. It also fits a major Lukan theme of forgiving the enemies (6:27-36), and it has a parallel in Stephen’s response in [Acts 7:60](javascript:{}). The lack of parallels in the other Gospels argues also for inclusion here. On the other hand, the fact of the parallel in [Acts 7:60](javascript:{}) may well have prompted early scribes to insert the saying in Luke’s Gospel alone. Further, there is the great difficulty of explaining why early and diverse witnesses lack the saying. A decision is difficult, but even those who regard the verse as inauthentic literarily often consider it to be authentic historically. For this reason it has been placed in single brackets in the translation.

Interestingly enough, more of the remainder of ancient translation and versions retain this reading. The early church father Irenaeus, who lived at the end of the 2nd century, has this saying of Jesus. Finally, 95% of all the manuscripts of the New Testament, stretching from at least the 5th century to 16th century contain this reading. This kind of evidence tells me at least that Luke 23:34 is likely original and at bare minimum, is a preserved saying that came from Jesus’ lips on the cross.