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John 6:11 Who fed the 5000?

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John 6:11 KJB - “And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed TO THE DISCIPLES, AND THE DISCIPLES to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.”


ESV (NASB, NIV, NET, Jehovah Witness NWT, Catholic Douay, St. Joseph NAB, New Jerusalem bible) - “Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.”


All of the other passages found in the synoptic gospels show that Jesus first gave the loaves of bread to the DISCIPLES and they, in turn, distributed to the multitude of people.


Matthew 14:19 - “And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves TO HIS DISCIPLES, AND THE DISCIPLES to the multitude.”


Mark 6:41 - “And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and GAVE THEM TO THE DISCIPLES TO SET BEFORE THEM; and the two fishes divided he among them all.”


Luke 9:16 - “Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and GAVE TO THE DISCIPLES TO SET BEFORE THE MULTITUDE.”


In John 6:11 the traditional reading of the Reformation bibles in all languages is that Jesus distributed “TO THE DISCIPLES, AND THE DISCIPLES” to them that were set down” (τοις μαθηταις οι δε μαθηται)


This is the reading found not only in the Majority of all remaining manuscripts but also in Sinaiticus correction, D, Theta, Psi, f13, the Old Latin b, e and j.


P66, P75, Vaticanus, A and a few others omit the words “to the disciples, and the disciples”.  Wilbur Pickering says that 97% of the Greek manuscripts read like the King James Bible does and that the omission of the words is just a case of what is called “homoioarcton” or “same beginning”.  What most likely happened is that the eyes of some scribe skipped from the word “the” (τοις) to the next word “the” (τοις), and thus the words were accidentally omitted, and then others copied from this deficient manuscript.


You can see how this could easily happen by looking at the Greek text which reads: “διεδωκεν τοις μαθηταις οι δε μαθηται τοις ανακειμενοις”


“He distributed TO THE disciples and the disciples TO THE ones that were set down.”


Agreeing with the reading found in the King James Bible are Tyndale 1524, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s bible 1549, the Bishops’ bible 1568, the Geneva bible 1587, Beza’s N.T. 1599, Wesley’s N.T. 1755, Worsley N.T. 1770, Haweis N.T. 1795, Young’s 1898, the NKJV 1982, The Amplified Bible 1987, The World English Bible, The Majority Text Version (Esposito), The Koster Scriptures 1998 - “and having given  thanks  He  distributed  them  to  the taught  ones,  and  the  taught  ones  to  those, sitting down", . Complete Apostle’s bible 2005, Jubilee Bible 2010, New Heart English bible 2010, The Hebrew Names Bible 2014 - “he distributed to the talmidim, and the talmidim to those who were sitting down”, Wilbur Pickering New Testament, the Modern English Version 2014, the New Matthew Bible 2016 and The Passion 2017.


Foreign Language Bibles = KJB


Reading like the KJB with “to the disciples, and the disciples” are the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602 and the Reina Valera 1960-1995, the Italian Diodati 1649 and the New Diodati 1991 - “li distribuì a’ discepoli”, the French Martin Bible 1744 and the French Ostervald 1996 and the French Louis Segond 2007 - “il les distribua aux disciples”, the Portuguese A Biblia Sagrada  and the Portuguese Almeida Corrigida - “discpulos, e os discpulos”, The Russian Synodal Version - “ученикам, а ученики”, Luther’s German bible 1545 and the German Schlachter Bible 2000 - “den Jüngern aus, die Jünger aber denen”, the Hungarian Karoli Bible - “adta a tanítványoknak, a tanítványok”, The Polish Gdansk Bible 2013 - “rozdał uczniom, a uczniowie siedzącym”, and The Romanian Cornilescu bible 2014 - “le-a împărţit ucenicilor, iar ucenicii le-au împărţit celor ce şedeau jos”.


The Modern Greek Translation - “Και ελαβεν ο Ιησους τους αρτους και ευχαριστησας διεμοιρασεν εις τους μαθητας, οι δε μαθηται εις τους καθημενους· ομοιως και εκ των οψαριων οσον ηθελον.”


And The Modern Hebrew Bible -

ויקח ישוע את ככרות הלחם ויברך ויתן לתלמידיו והתלמידים אל המסבים וככה גם מן הדגים כאות נפשם׃


Once again it comes down to the difference between the Reformation Bibles versus the Vatican Versions that nobody seriously believes are the inerrant words of God.


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Thank you for your fine, detailed, study on John 6:11 and the accuracy of the KJV text and the erroneous newer versions. Again, the newer versions are not accurate in any sense of the word.

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