The Textus Receptus, is Latin for "Received Text." It is the name given to the very first printed and published complete Greek New Testament. The Textus Receptus has received many attacks, and wrongfully done at that by many professing Christians. There is a long and extensive amount of information regarding the Textus Receptus, and unfortunately I feel that if I did try to put the amount of information here, it would be too lengthy and a bit technical . . . and might cause the information to become sidetracked. So instead, here is a very brief introduction to the Textus Receptus, and just what it is and why it is important . . .
The Textus Receptus, is the hard work of Desiderius Erasmus. It is often claimed, that the Textus Receptus was both put together within a very short time, and also that it was put together from a very small source of manuscripts. Such lies are told only in an attack against it and Erasmus, perhaps due to jealousy because of the extensive amount of Scholarship and hard work put into it. Perhaps also, simply because of the evil deeds of men in this world. Let them be known as what they are: Lies.
The Textus Receptus was put together by Erasmus, from the many, many Greek handwritten manuscripts that were found throughout the world (In addition to other manuscripts written in languages other than Greek. Erasmus wanted to be as complete as he could, so went even beyond purely Greek-written manuscripts). Erasmus was one who dove deep into manuscripts and had such an eagerness to learn from them. While having such a yearning to know such manuscripts, and to do this work which became the Textus Receptus, Erasmus still yet never forgot the Truth of the importance of Christ in all things. Erasmus is quoted as saying when he decided to go to Venice, Italy (because it had the world's only native Greek-speaking Teacher):
Sucked every book like a bee
To know the Greek and Latin
Encompassed land and sea! . . .
Casting everything other aside
Your honor, your glory, your study
Is this, that Christ be your guide . . . 1
Now, the claims that the Textus Receptus was very hastily put together, and put together only from a single Library's worth of information, can easily be found false, through looking at the life of Erasmus. To prove it here, fully, would lead to a biography of Erasmus. This would be a great amount of information, and also would not pertain to the Textus Receptus, but rather Erasmus himself.
However, let it be known that History has proven true, that the Textus Receptus was not put together hastily nor upon "fringe research" which I like to call it. And if we today, look at the manuscripts from which the Bible was formed, we see that today there are over 5200 Greek New Testament Manuscripts, and those opposed to the TR hide the fact that over 99% of those manuscripts AGREE with the TR. Most certainly, it is impossible for such a hastily-put-together work, made from such limited information, to have such an agreement with so many separate manuscripts.
In Short, the Textus Receptus is the first Printed Greek New Testament, put together from the many separate handwritten Greek manuscripts that were known. Why is it important? Well, think of it this way:
The TR is like a huge puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle is one of those manuscripts Erasmus studied for more than 40 years (from his childhood in the 1460s to the publication of the TR in 1516). Making matters worse, think of the puzzle pieces as having numerous qualities. Seeing this though, there must be sorted out, identical pieces that were counterfeits of the True pieces. It was painstaking work, having to put each piece together, to form the whole Puzzle. That Puzzle is the Final Product: the Textus Receptus. But then, still, why is it so important? It is important because when translating the Bible into English, or into any language for that matter, we must look at the manuscripts which were passed down through the years. We must look at each "Piece" of a huge puzzle, in order to find out what the Word of God really says . . . And the Textus Receptus, did much work in putting together a big part of the Puzzle. It was the complete Greek New Testament!