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Posts Tagged ‘KJV-Onlyism

Why Did the KJV Translators Translate the Apocrypha?

Some KJV only believers believe that God inspired the KJV translators to translate the KJV so that He restored His Word perfectly in the English language in the King James Version.  The AV then is the standard for judging Scripture.  Even if the KJV is different from the Hebrew or Greek texts, the KJV is to be accepted since the KJV is the inspired, inerrant, and preserved Word of God.  While this is an extreme view, there are some KJV only followers who hold to this including Dr. Peter Ruckman of Pensacola Bible College (Pensacola Christian University), Jack Chick (of Chick Tracts), and Sam Gipp.  I have met a few of these folks doing evangelism.  They are an odd sort.  No matter what “errors” you show in the KJV text (such as Easter in Acts 12:4), these KJV only believers will argue that the KJV is absolutely correct in all things.

To prove this, some resort to saying that the KJV translators were men of flawless theology and were geniuses about biblical language (which is pointless if in fact God was inspiring them).  Often these men are presented as evangelicals or even fundamentalists Baptists.  In reality, the KJV translators were Anglicans.

Photo-1-First-Edition-King-James-Bible-16114These men practiced Anglican baptism (sprinkling and infant baptism) along with other Anglican practices.  They even translated and published the Old Testament Apocrypha.  If they were “faithful” fundamentalists, they would have avowed against Anglican teachings (liberals) and would have rejected the Apocrypha (Catholics).  Yet they did not.

I do believe the KJV translators were very capable men.  They knew the biblical languages and created a Bible translation that was a literary work that remains incredible.  I suppose the language of the KJV Bible will never be duplicated.  It is a work of art.  The beauty of the Psalms in the KJV is wonderful to read.  I don’t doubt one minute that the KJV translators did a marvelous job and their work would be the standard for Bible translation for years to come (including the modern translations who follow their examples in the NKJV, NASB, and ESV.  The ESV even commends the example of the KJV translation committee in setting the standard for English Bible translations.

Yet if the KJV is inspired of God, why did He also inspire the KJV translators to give us the Apocrypha and why doesn’t the KJV only movement also use and promote the Apocrypha?  Nearly all KJV only followers would denounce the Apocrypha but why if the KJV is from God and He gave us the inspired words in English in the KJV?

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/24/2013 at 11:28 AM

Bible Teachers: Explain Variants in the Texts

One of the common complaints among KJV only supporters is that the modern translations have so many variants in the English text.  How can we trust a translation that deletes God’s words?  So the KJV only supporter appeals to the KJV as the standard text to judge all other English translations by.  If a modern translation deletes a verse because it is using a different Greek text, the KJV only supporter will jump on the English translation and denounce it as a heretical translation that is disobeying Revelation 22:18-19.

The common Bible reader will often stumble if, for example, you are teaching on Luke 11:1-4 in the ESV and they are using the KJV.  The Textus Receptus, the Greek text that was primarily used by the KJV translators for the New Testament, contains words that make Luke 11:1-4 similar to Matthew 6:9-13.  At some point a scribe or even perhaps Erasmus himself, added words in Luke 11:1-4 because they believed Luke left out portions of the so-called “Lord’s prayer.”  The scribe was merely trying to help reconcile Luke 11:1-4 and Matthew 6:9-13 as they viewed them teaching the same thing.  While no gross errors can be attributed to the additions, I believe the ESV and the modern translations are correct to not have the words there.  The prayers are different because the teachings are at different times despite some similarities.

The faithful Bible teacher should labor to teach the disciples about variants in the English texts.  Why do modern translations not include these words in Luke 11:1-4?  Why does the NIV not include, as one KJV only supporter put it, over 2,000 verses in the New Testament?  Why does the ESV differ from the KJV over 1 John 5:7-8?

The Bible teacher should be able to explain these variants.  While textual criticism is a difficult area, we should labor to show the disciples how our Bibles came to us.  We should not gloss over the text while ignoring the variant readings.  Further, I think it is also equally wrong for the KJV only teacher to merely chalk up variants to conspiracy theories or to heretics.  One should research why English Bibles differ here and there including in the KJV itself.  Why do the KJV editions themselves differ in places and which KJV English Bible is the standard to judge all others by?  Variant readings in the text should cause us to do our homework and not ignore them.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/17/2013 at 1:00 PM

Why the KJV Only Emphasis?

The reason for my emphasis as of late on the KJV only movement has simply been from interactions with a few KJV only folks.  Occasionally on a Sunday night, if I am off work, I will visit a local KJV only church.  I enjoy the fellowship, the singing, and the preaching.  However, the KJV only emphasis at the church has a cultic feel to it.  One man named Clarence is emphatic about the KJV issue.  The church has a testimony time and this man will stand and testify to the Lord saving him and then he will praise God for the KJV Bible.  He is of the opinion that the KJV Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, and preserved Word of God.  He even told me that he believes that God inspired the KJV translators to add words in the English Bible for clarity and to avoid confusion.  He now believes that those words, the added words for clarity though not found in the Hebrew or Greek, are inspired by God.

I know that for many of you, the KJV only movement is not found.  It is small and contained.  Here in the South, the KJV movement is perhaps the strongest.  In my city of about 650,000, we have several KJV only churches.  They will often put this on their church marquee (KJV Only).  Most are independent, fundamentalist Baptist (IFB).  Most are small though one church nearby runs around 1,000 people.

The KJV only churches in our area are zealous.  They can be found most Saturday nights street preaching near the bars.  They do prison ministries, bus ministries, and other ministries to reach people.  They are zealous not just for people to be saved from sin but also to reach “neo-evangelicals” with the truth of the KJV.

Those then are the reasons for my emphasis as of late on the KJV only movement.  The KJV issue distracts people from what truly matters.  Further, the KJV controversy divides churches.  It also casts doubt upon the Word of God in various translations such as the ESV, the NKJV, the NASB, or the NIV.  Again, it is illogical to believe that only a 17th century Bible translation is the Word of God and that all other translations are corrupt, from Satan, and are not the Word of God.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/14/2013 at 10:53 AM

Short Note on Bible Translation Issues

As I working the other day, I heard a KJV only preacher preaching on the radio.  In the midst of his sermon, he stated that we must hold firmly to the KJV since all the other Bibles deleted thousands of verses.  KJV only followers often will spout out that the NIV, for example, deletes many verses.  They will turn to Acts 8:37-38 and ask you to read it in your modern translation.  Verse 37 is often not found in the modern text (exceptions would be the NKJV and the NASB which puts it in brackets).  The KJV follower will then turn to Acts 8:37-38 and read it from their Bible.  They will often say that this verse is deleted in modern Bibles because it denies infant baptism and affirms believers baptism.

The poor soul now feels betrayed by their modern Bible.  The learned KJV only supporter will often then turn to other passages to build their case that modern Bibles have deleted many precious truths from God’s Word.  Only the KJV upholds these and leaves them in the text.  This would range from 1 John 5:7-8 (the Trinity) to salvation in Acts 15:11.  The KJV only supporter will point out that only his people doesn’t delete passages of Scripture.

Now this post is to be short for the sake of time but the science of textual criticism is not an easy task.  As I have pointed out before, the KJV translators worked with very few Hebrew and Greek manuscripts though they did have some.  The KJV translators utilized what they had but they also relied on various English texts including Coverdale, Bishop, Geneva, and other Bibles.  They compared their own translation of the Hebrew and Greek with the other English Bibles and also used the Latin Vulgate.  They relied upon Erasmus’ Greek text.  The point is that even the KJV translators were practicing the science of textual criticism.

Textual criticism is not a bad term.  We have various textual critics in many other books.  For instance we have textual critics of William Shakespeare.  Their task is not to rewrite Shakespeare but to seek to determine what is original.  Since the time of Shakespeare, various portions of his works have been written and spread abroad but what did Shakespeare originally say?  What did he originally write?  That is the goal of the textual critic.  The textual critic is not seeking to judge the work but to determine what was originally said.  This is no easy task.

Now imagine a biblical textual critic having to work through over 6,000 Greek manuscripts that have various variant readings.  While 95% of the Greek texts variants have nothing to do with theology, they are still there.  The work of the textual critic is to try to determine what has been added and what was deleted.  They, like the Shakespeare critic above, are not there to judge the text but to try to see what is original and what is not.  This is no easy task.

When it comes to variant readings, I do wish the ESV would have the amount of footnotes the NKJV has on this or put them in brackets as in the NASB.  For the average Bible reader, they simply have no answer to why Acts 8:37 is not found in the ESV or the NIV nor is an answer given in the text.

On a closing note, the original 1611, which I have here with me, included marginal notes on variant readings.  This is an embarrassment to the KJV only believer.  Why would God allow the KJV translators to put marginal notes that included variant readings if in fact He was given us His perfect word in the KJV?  If Psalm 12:6-7 applies to the KJV then why the marginal readings?  Of course, the correct answer is that the KJV translators recognized correctly that there were variant readings and included these as good translators should do.  This was just a case of imperfect translators seeking to translate the Word of God into English and they determined to be faithful to this task.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/12/2013 at 10:19 AM

Psalm 12:6-7 and KJV Onlyism

Psalm 12:6-7 (KJV) reads:

6  The words of the Lord are pure words:
as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord,
thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Adam Clarke comments:

Verse 6. “The words of the Lord are pure words ” – None of his promises shall fall to the ground; the salvation which he has promised shall be communicated.

Silver tried in a furnace of earth ] A reference to the purification of silver by the cupel. This is a sort of instrument used in the purification of silver. It may be formed out of a strong iron ring or hoop, adjusted in width and depth to the quantum of silver to be purified, and rammed full of well pulverized calcined bone. The metal to be purified must be mingled with lead, and laid on the cupel, and exposed to a strong heat in an air furnace. The impurities of the metal will be partly absorbed, and partly thrown off in fume. The metal will continue in a state of agitation till all the impurities are thrown off; it will then become perfectly still, no more motion appearing, which is the token that the process is completed, or, according to the words of the text, is seven times, that is, perfectly purified.

Verse 7. “Thou shalt keep them-thou shalt preserve them ” – Instead of the pronoun them in these clauses, several MSS., with the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Arabic, have us. The sense is equally good in both readings. God did bring forth the Israelites from Babylon, according to his word; he separated them from that generation. and reinstated them in their own land, according to his word; and most certainly he has preserved them from generation to generation to the present day, in a most remarkable manner.

Puritan Matthew Henry on Psalm 12:7 wrote:

This intimates that, as long as the world stands, there will be a generation of proud and wicked men in it, more or less, who will threaten by their wretched arts to ruin religion, by wearing out the saints of the Most High, Dan. 7:25 . But let God alone to maintain his own interest and to preserve his own people. He will keep them from this generation, (1.) From being debauched by them and drawn away from God, from mingling with them and learning their works. In times of general apostasy the Lord knows those that are his, and they shall be enabled to keep their integrity. (2.) From being destroyed and rooted out by them. The church is built upon a rock, and so well fortified that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. In the worst of times God has his remnant, and in every age will reserve to himself a holy seed and preserve that to his heavenly kingdom.In singing this psalm, and praying it over, we must bewail the general corruption of manners, thank God that things are not worse than they are, but pray and hope that they will be better in God’s due time.

Charles Spurgeon wrote on Psalm 12:6-7:

Verse 6. What a contrast between the vain words of man, and the pure words of Jehovah. Man’s words are yea and nay, but the Lord’s promises are yea and amen. For truth, certainty, holiness, faithfulness, the words of the Lord are pure as well-refined silver. In the original there is an allusion to the most severely-purifying process known to the ancients, through which silver was passed when the greatest possible purity was desired; the dross was all consumed, and only the bright and precious metal remained; so clear and free from all alloy of error or unfaithfulness is the book of the words of the Lord. The Bible has passed through the furnace of persecution, literary criticism, philosophic doubt, and scientific discovery, and has lost nothing but those human interpretations which clung to it as alloy to precious ore. The experience of saints has tried it in every conceivable manner, but not a single doctrine or promise has been consumed in the most excessive heat. What God’s words are, the words of his children should be. If we would be Godlike in conversation, we must watch our language, and maintain the strictest purity of integrity and holiness in all our communications.

Verse 7. To fall into the hands of an evil generation, so as to be baited by their cruelty, or polluted by their influence, is an evil to be dreaded beyond measure; but it is an evil foreseen and provided for in the text. In life many a saint has lived a hundred years before his age, as though he had darted his soul into the brighter future, and escaped the mists of the beclouded present: he has gone to his grave unreverenced and misunderstood, and lo! as generations come and go, upon a sudden the hero is unearthed, and lives in the admiration and love of the excellent of the earth; preserved for ever from the generation which stigmatised him as a sower of sedition, or burned him as a heretic. It should be our daily prayer that we may rise above our age as the mountain-tops above the clouds, and may stand out as heaven-pointing pinnacle high above the mists of ignorance and sin which roll around us. O Eternal Spirit, fulfil in us the faithful saying of this verse! Our faith believes those two assuring words, and cries, “Thou shalt,” “thou shalt.”

The trend above is that Psalm 12:7 is not promising that God would give us an inspired, preserved Bible translation.  Yet KJV only believers believe that Psalm 12:7 is referring to the preservation of Scripture.  One KJV only site stated it as thus:

Psalm 12:6-7 teaches us that God has preserved His perfect Word perfectly for His people. God inspired His Word perfectly, inerrant, infallible and He also preserved the same Word for His people throughout the ages so that every generation can assuredly say, “Thus saith the LORD!” with absolute confidence.

KJV Only Logic At Work

Since KJV only believers believe that Psalm 12:7 promises that God would preserve His Word and they believe that He has done this in the King James Version of the Bible, they make some strange claims about the KJV.  One KJV only teacher said that there were seven English translations before the KJV.  The KJV was the seventh in the line and thus fulfilled Psalm 12:6.  Further, there have now been seven revisions of the KJV with the last being in 1769.  He writes that the 1769 edition is the final, inerrant, infallible Word of God that was prophesied about in Psalm 12:6-7.

What the writer above failed to mention was that the 1769 edition has various editions in it.  The Oxford edition is different from the Cambridge edition and the Cambridge edition is different from the Zondervan edition.  Dr. James Price writes about this problem:

“The differences that exist among current editions of the King James Version are much like the differences that exist between the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Scripture.  The differences among the King James editions are not as numerous as those in the Hebrew and Greek texts, but they are of the same kind.  Those who place final authority in the English words of the Authorized Version do so to avoid the problem of variant readings in the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible.  To them, any degree of uncertainty is intolerable – a Bible with flaws is no Bible at all.  But they have the same problem with variant readings in the current editions of the Authorized Version.  They still must ask what English variant is the authentic one, but they do not have a flawless Standard English text of the King James Version to which they can appeal for final authority.  To resolve the differences, they still must appeal to the Hebrew and Greek texts to determine which English words are authentic.  Their retreat to a preserved, authoritative translation has solved nothing; they still have the uncertainty inherent in variant readings in the English texts, and the problem cannot be blindly ignored.”

There are currently 689 variant readings among the major KJV Bible editions.  The variants are not simply different spellings either.  The Oxford edition of the KJV at Matthew 4:1 reads, “Jesus was led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”  This lack of capitalization suggests that Jesus was led by His human spirit and not by the Holy Spirit as seen in Matthew 4:1 in the ESV.  The Oxford edition also has Psalm 51:11 which is normally translated in such translations such as the ESV as “Holy Spirit” as referring to the Person of the Holy Spirit but the Oxford edition of the KJV has it translated as “Take not thy holy spirit from me.”  By the way, the New World Translation (the JW’s Bible) does the same as the Oxford edition.

So which KJV edition is correct about Matthew 4:1 or Psalm 51:11?  If the Oxford is not then how can the KJV onlyist point to Psalm 12:6-7 and assure us that their edition of the KJV is the “preserved Word of God”?

Further, what was the preserved Word of God when David wrote Psalm 12:6-7 under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? What was the preserved Word of God during the time of Jesus?  What was the preserved Word of God in 500 AD?  If the KJV only logic is true and God has to purify His Word seven times to finally get to the KJV and then He had to purify the KJV seven times to give us a perfect English translation, does this not mean that He did not keep His words as David promised when he wrote Psalm 12:7 if the KJV only view is true?  The Lord did not keep His Word if in fact it was so corrupted that He needed to purify it with seven English editions before the finality of the King James Version.

Lastly, what final authority did the KJV translators appeal to?  Was it an English edition before theirs or was it the Hebrew and Greek texts?  Miles Smith, one of the executive editors of the KJV wrote:

“The Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New are the two golden pipes, or rather conduits, through which the olive branches empty themselves into the golden bowl.  If truth is to be tried by these tongues, then whence should a translation be made out of them?  These tongues therefore, we should say Scriptures in those tongues, we set before us to translate, being the tongues in which God was pleased to speak to his Church by his Prophets and Apostles.”

The KJV translators did not have many copies of the Hebrew or Greek texts but they used what they had and at times placed their own words into the text despite no such readings in the Hebrew or Greek texts.  The KJV translators did do textual criticism (despite the claims of KJV onlyist to the otherwise) but also compared their translation with other English editions to determine what was the better readings.  They also relied heavily upon the works of William Tyndale to help them translate the texts.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/11/2013 at 10:00 AM

Ten Questions for KJV-Only Supporters

I found this website and have printed their questions below.  I agree with the questions and would love to see a KJV-only supporter seek to answer the questions.

1.  Is/was the Latin Vulgate the “word of God”? Why or why not? (Note: the Latin Vulgate was the standard Bible, by which all else was compared, more universally and for a longer period of time than the KJV has been)

2.  Is/was the Septuagint (LXX) the “word of God”? Why or why not? (Note: despite its obvious imperfections and inclusion of apocryphal books, the KJV translators still called it “the word of God”)

3.  Is/was the Geneva Bible, the Great Bible, Matthew’s, Tyndale’s, etc. the “word of God”? Why or why not?

4.  Which edition (year) of the KJV is uncorrupted? Why do they differ, even occasionally in words? (And if your response has to do with printing problems, why would God inspire a perfect translation only to have it corrupted by the printers? The common people would still be lacking an uncorrupt word of God. And how can we know the printing errors were all found, and all properly fixed?)

5.  Who publishes the uncorrupted KJV? Cambridge, Oxford, Kirkbride, Scofield, AMG, Zondervan, one of the Bible Societies, or one of the many other publishers? Why do they differ slightly, even occasionally in words?

6.  If passages like Psalm 12:6-7 and Matt 5:18 are about the KJV, what did these passages mean in 1610? In 1500? In 500 AD? Do these things, in the original context, have anything to do with a 17th century English translation of scripture?

7.  When you encounter an archaic term or phrase in the KJV, or come across a “contradiction”, why do you rely on fallible tools (dictionaries, etc) to interpret the infallible?

8.  Suppose you lived in the 10th or 15th century. How would you define “preservation” as it related to God’s word, so as to not contradict the KJV-only position?

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THE “BIG 2” QUESTIONS

9.  The KJV came out in 1611. Where was the “final authority”, the “preserved word of God” in 1610 and prior? Why does the KJV differ from it, and how was it “final” if the KJV replaced it? Explain.

10.  If scripture is the sole authority for matters of faith and doctrine, then by what authority should anyone accept the doctrine of KJV-onlyism? Since scripture does not teach the doctrine of KJV-onlyism, is it not then an extra-Biblical doctrine? Why should we accept a doctrine needing a second authority, proclaimed by those who argue that there is only one authority for matters of doctrine in the first place?

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/10/2013 at 1:32 AM

The Bizarre Logic of KJV Onlyism

I recently had a brief discussion with a KJV only follower and I asked him what Bible did people use before the 1611 King James Version?  Which Bible before the 1611 was the infallible Bible for the English-speaking world?  Was it the Coverdale Bible?  Was it the Geneva Bible?  Was it Tyndale’s Bible?  Perhaps it was Luther’s German Translation?  Was it the Latin Vulgate?  Which Greek New Testament should they have used?

His reply was bizarre and reflects the faulty thinking of the KJV only movement.  He replied, “Most Bibles were corrupt so God inspired the translators to give us the KJV.  The KJV is the perfect, infallible, inerrant Word of God for us today.  God has always had a perfect translation for His people but the Catholics had so corrupted the Greek texts that we needed a new revelation from God and He, in His grace, gave us the King James Version.  The King James Version helps us correct all others.”

The logic here is that the KJV = The Word of God and the Word of God = the King James Version.  All Bibles are to be judged by the KJV.

So I went further.  I asked, “What about non-English speaking people.  Must they learn English to either read the Bible or to translate the Bible?  His reply, “Yes.  Just as Greek was the Bible language for the early Church, so English today is the Bible language for the modern Church.”

Now this man reflects the radical views of the KJV only movement.  He is similar to Jack Chick, Sam Gipp, Gail Riplinger, and Peter Ruckman in his views on the KJV.  The KJV is the Word of God for these extremists.  If you quote the Greek text to point out errors in the KJV translation, these folks will correct you by saying that the KJV overrides the Greek text since it is the new revelation from God given to us to correct the others.

My biggest problem with the KJV only movement is their idolatry toward a Bible translation.  I know of one man who will always say, “I praise God that He saved me and gave me the King James Version.”  He never fails to always mention the KJV in his testimony.  He is 100% convinced that the KJV is the inerrant and infallible Word of God and that it, almost like the Muslim view of the Quran, came down from heaven as God’s revelation to us.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/09/2013 at 9:50 AM

Posted in Bible Translations

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