22:18 I testify to the one who hears the words of the prophecy contained in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described 1 in this book.
22:19 And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life 2 and in the holy city that are described in this book.
1 tn Grk “written.”
2 tc The Textus Receptus, on which the KJV rests, reads “the book” of life (ἀπὸ βίβλου, apo biblou) instead of “the tree” of life. When the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus translated the NT he had access to no Greek mss for the last six verses of Revelation. So he translated the Latin Vulgate back into Greek at this point. As a result he created seventeen textual variants which were not in any Greek mss. The most notorious of these is this reading. It is thus decidedly inauthentic, while “the tree” of life, found in the best and virtually all Greek mss, is clearly authentic. The confusion was most likely due to an intra-Latin switch: The form of the word for “tree” in Latin in this passage is ligno; the word for “book” is libro. The two-letter difference accounts for an accidental alteration in some Latin mss; that “book of life” as well as “tree of life” is a common expression in the Apocalypse probably accounts for why this was not noticed by Erasmus or the KJV translators. (This textual problem is not discussed in NA27.)