By Will Kinney
Acts 15:17-18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world
Acts 15:17-18 King James Bible – “That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18 Known UNTO GOD ARE ALL HIS WORKS from the beginning of the world.”
ESV – 17. that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.”
NIV – 17. that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things — 18. things known from long ago.”
It should be obvious that the modern, ever changing critical Greek text has omitted the words “UNTO GOD ARE ALL HIS WORKS” and the resultant meaning of the verse has been radically changed. The meaning of the King James Bible is that God knows perfectly everything that will ever happen. It reveals the omniscient God who knows all things from the beginning of the world. The critical text reading merely describes a God who reveals certain facts before they happen. A prophet can do that, but only an omniscient God can know all His works from the beginning.
John Gill expounds the meaning of the passage as: “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world – These are the words of James, and not of Amos; all the things which God does in the church and in the world, they were all foreknown and predetermined by him: from the beginning of the world; or from eternity; even all his works of creation, providence and grace.”
The differences between the two texts can best be seen by showing both in the Greek. The Byzantine, Majority reading of Acts 15:17-18 looks like this:
Acts 15:17 ὅπως ἂν ἐκζητήσωσιν οἱ κατάλοιποι τῶν ἀνθρώπων τὸν κύριον, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, ἐφ’ οὓς ἐπικέκληται τὸ ὄνομά μου ἐπ’ αὐτούς, λέγει κύριος ὁ ποιῶν ταῦτα πάντα. Acts 15:18 γνωστὰ ἀπ’ αἰῶνός ἐστιν τῷ θεῷ πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ.”
And the Westcott -Hort, UBS, Nestle-Aland critical text looks like this: Acts 15:17 ὅπως ἂν ἐκζητήσωσιν οἱ κατάλοιποι τῶν ἀνθρώπων τὸν κύριον, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ἐφ’ οὓς ἐπικέκληται τὸ ὄνομά μου ἐπ’ αὐτούς, λέγει κύριος ποιῶν ταῦτα Acts 15:18 γνωστὰ ἀπ’ αἰῶνος.
Verse 18 is not even a complete sentence either in their own printed Greek text nor in many modern versions that follow it. The fact that it is merely a phrase and not a complete sentence testifies to an omission of words that once were there. Something is lacking from the absolute Standard of God’s complete and infallible words. Something has been removed and taken out. This Vatican engineered critical text has been “weighed in the balances, and is found wanting.” Daniel 5:27.
The NIV also adds a second additional word – “things” ( ταῦτα) – to verse 18 that is not even in the deficient Greek text it follows.
Agreeing with the Vatican Critical text’s shorter reading are the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, NET, Darby, Holman Standard, the Jehovah Witness New World Version, the modern Catholic versions like the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible 1985 and the Common English Bible. The NASB takes the last part of verse 17 and puts it in verse 18 and reads: “Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.”
It is interesting that the earlier Catholic Douay-Rheims of 1582 and the Douay of 1950 both were more like the King James Bible – “his own work known from the beginning of the world.” ( Catholic Douay Bible) but the more modern Catholic versions like the St. Joseph, New Jerusalem and the 2009 Catholic Public Domain Version read like the modern Vatican Versions ESV, NIV, NASB, NET. – “the Lord who made this known so long ago.” (New Jerusalem bible 1985)
There is a lot of confusion among the critical texts that are normally used in the modern Vatican Versions. P74 and A read one thing; D reads another and Sinaiticus, Vaticanus have yet a third different reading, while the Majority text and the Received Greek text agree and is the one found in the King James Bible and in the Traditional Greek text used by the Greek Orthodox churches all over the world to this day – “γνωστὰ ἀπ’ αἰῶνός ἐστι τῷ Θεῷ πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ.”
Agreeing with the reading found in the King James Bible in Acts 15:18 “Known UNTO GOD ARE ALL HIS WORKS from the beginning of the world” are Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525 -“knowne vnto God are all his workes from the begynninge of the worlde.”, Coverdale 1535, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Douay-Rheims 1582 – “To the Lord was his own work known from the beginning of the world.”, the Great Bible 1539 – Knowen unto God are all his workes from the begynning of the world”, the Geneva Bible 1587 – “From the beginning of the worlde, God knoweth all his workes.”, Mace’s N.T. 1729 – “for the works of God are all known to him from the beginning of the world.”, Wesley’s translation 1755, Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac Peshitta, Webster’s translation 1833, Youngs, the Douay Version 1950, J.B. Phillips The N.T. in Modern English 1962 – “Known to God from eternity are all his works.”, The Living Oracles N.T., Whiston’s N.T., Worsley N.T., the New Life Bible 1969, World English Bible, the Complete Apostle’s Bible, the NKJV 1982, KJV 21st Century 1994, Third Millenium Bible 1998, English Jubilee Bible 2000 and the Knox Bible 2012.
Among foreign language Bibles that have the much fuller reading of “Known UNTO GOD ARE ALL HIS WORKS from the beginning of the world.” are the Apostolic Bible Polyglot Greek, Luther’s German Bible 1545 and the German Schlachter of 2000 – “Gott sind alle seine Werke bewußt von der Welt her.”, the Italian Diodati 1649 and Nuova Diodati 1991 – “A Dio son note ab eterno tutte le opere sue.“, the Portugues Almeida Corrigida E Fiel 1681 – “Conhecidas säo a Deus, desde o princípio do mundo, todas as suas obras.” , the French Martin 1744 and Ostervald 1996 – “Toutes les ouvres de Dieu lui sont connues de toute éternité.“, and the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, and the Reina Valeras of 1909 and the 2010 Reina Valera Gómez Bible – “Conocidas son a Dios todas sus obras desde la eternidad.” = “Known are to God all His works from eternity.” (Unfortunately, through the influence of modern textual critics like Eugene Nida the Reina Valeras of 1960 and 1995 have switched over to the Westcott-Hort text and read – “dice el Señor, que hace conocer todo esto desde tiempos antiguos.” = “Says the Lord, who makes all this known from ancient times.”). The Romanian Fidela Bible of 2009 reads like the KJB – “Cunoscute sunt lui Dumnezeu toate faptele lui, de la in- ceputul lumii.” and so does the Modern Greek Bible – Απ’ αιωνος ειναι γνωστα εις τον Θεον παντα τα εργα αυτου.“
The King James Bible is right and it is not missing any whole verses or parts of verses that add up to literally thousands of words. It is the complete, inspired and 100% true words of the living God and the true Book of the Lord. Accept no substitutes. God bless,