King James and Other Versions
by George Gunn Professor of
Biblical Languages, Shasta Bible College
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Recently, some controversy has arisen over the issue of Bible versions.
While some recommend modern language translations as a way for today's
Bible reader to obtain greater understanding of God's Word, others assert
that such modern versions are vastly inferior to the King James Version
and should not be used. I am one who believes in the validity and helpfulness
of some modern translations, and I would like to explain why in this booklet.
Let me begin, however, by stating very clearly that I have a great admiration
for the King James Version of the Bible. In over 20 years of pastoral ministry,
I have used this venerable version almost exclusively from the pulpit.
It has been a tremendously popular Bible and has displayed a staying power
for nearly four centuries that gives evidence of the blessing of God. Having
said that, however, I must take issue with some brethren who insist that,
of all the English language Bible versions available today, the King James
Version alone should be used by English speaking people, to the
exclusion of all other English language Bible versions.
This booklet is not intended to be a full scholarly treatment of the
subject. Such a task would require a full length book with some rather
technical discussions. Instead, It is my hope to present this material
in a more popular, easily understood format. For those who desire more
in-depth reading, I have included a bibliography of material I have found
In the debate over which version(s) God's people should use, there are
two somewhat related, but nevertheless separate, issues:
1. The issue of the King James Version vs. other English Bible translations.
2. The issue of the ancient Greek manuscripts used as a basis for various
Unfortunately, some have confused these two issues. They are really
not the same issue. Each must stand or fall on its own merits.
I. The King James Version vs. Other Bible Translations
A. The Doctrinal Argument
Defenders of the "King James Only" (KJO) position raise a number of doctrinal
issues which they believe support their position and argue against the
validity of modern translations. These are some of the most serious arguments
to consider, because they portray those who support translations other
than the KJV as errorists at best, and heretics at worst. Following are
some of the most frequently used doctrinal arguments:
1. The Preservation of Scripture (Matt. 24:35)
In Matthew 24:35 Jesus promised that, even though heaven and earth shall
pass away, His Words will never pass away. This is a wonderful promise,
and throughout the ages God has miraculously preserved His Word from destruction,
even though skeptics and powerful rulers have attempted to obliterate it
from the face of the earth. However, this promise is taken by some advocates
of KJO to mean that any Bible with words differing from the King James
Version is heretical. Let us remember at the outset that when Jesus uttered
these words, the King James Version of the Bible was an unknown entity
(first published in AD 1611). It would not come into existence for over
1500 years. Over that millennium and a half, through times of severe persecution
against Christians, God's promise to preserve His Word was kept faithfully,
and it had nothing to do with the King James Version of the Bible. The
Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. God has faithfully
preserved His Word as it was given in these original languages. Though
the King James version is an excellent translation, it is but one of many
translations of the Bible that have been made over the centuries into many
different languages. Jesus' promise of divine protection pertains to the
Bible in the original languages, not to any particular version.
Still, the charge is laid, that the modern versions omit words and even
verses (I have heard some claim that there are 146 verses missing from
the modern versions!) that appear in the KJV. Surely this proves that the
modern versions are part of some grand conspiracy to rob people of the
Word of God! In the second part of this booklet, I will discuss the matter
of the various ancient Greek manuscripts. Suffice it to say at this point,
that among these ancient manuscripts there is a great deal of variation.
Scholars who are engaged in the discipline called "Textual Criticism" attempt
to analyze these manuscripts in an effort to discover precisely what was
the content of the original writings (known as the "autographs"). Some
of these ancient manuscripts, through mistakes made in hand copying, contain
more words, others contain fewer words. Now it is just as serious a matter
to add to God's Word as it is to take away from God's Word
(Rev. 22:19). Our standard of measurement, however, should not be a translation
that was made over 1,500 years after the Bible was completed. We need to
examine the very best ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek manuscripts in
order to arrive at an understanding of what God's Word contains, and then
we can compare all the translations on an equal basis. It is circular
reasoning to assume first that only the King James Version accurately preserves
the exact words of God, then to compare all others against this standard.
2. The Deity of Christ (John 1:18; etc.)
Another doctrinal issue often raised by proponents of KJO has to do with
the Deity of Christ. No Bible doctrine is more precious than this one,
and false teaching about this one area of doctrine is a sure sign of a
cult (1 John 4:3). It is in connection with this doctrine that some of
the most vitriolic charges have been brought against modern English translations.
They are accused, for example, of purposely demeaning the Deity of Christ.
If it is true that modern translators have purposely translated in such
a way as to diminish the Deity of Christ, then they have done a very poor
job. The major modern translations in use by conservative, evangelical
Christians today all clearly teach the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The following is an excerpt from D.A. Carson's book, The King James
Version Debate: 1
"I suppose that no doctrine is more repeatedly thought to be under
attack in the non-Byzantine traditions, according to the defenders of the
KJV, than the doctrine of the deity of Christ. In a recent article Victor
Perry discusses the places in the New Testament where the Greek can
be understood (either by the right choice of witnesses or by the appropriate
grammatical interpretation) to call Jesus "God," quite specifically.2
In his chart, a simplified form of which I here reproduce, he provides
a neat summary of the places in the New Testament where various versions
call Jesus "God." A check (ü) means the version in question does directly
ascribe deity to Jesus; a cross (X) means it does not.
"A number of observations may draw attention to the most important
results: (1) Only the NWT omits all specific references to Jesus' deity;
and that of course is predictable. (2) Even James Moffatt and Edgar J.
Goodspeed, whose liberal propensities are well-known, manage one and three
references, respectively. (3) the KJV accepts only four of the eight as
references to Jesus' deity. (4) The highest number of such references belongs
to the NIV [and the NASB, -- G.G.], a translation done by evangelicals
but based on an eclectic text."
Clearly, to charge that the translators of the NIV and the NASB seek to
demean the deity of Christ is a hollow argument. The translators of these
two versions were godly men and women who had a desire to make God's Word
available to people in language they could understand, while at the same
time being accurate both in translation and in theology.
3. One Truth, One Faith (John 14:6; Eph. 4:5; Jude 3)
Some KJO proponents defend their position by claiming that since there
is only one truth and one faith, there should therefore be
only one version of the Bible. My response to this argument is similar
to that in point #1 above. Why should we insist that the one Bible
we accept be one that was translated over 1,500 years after the Bible was
completed? Ultimate Biblical authority comes from the original Hebrew,
Aramaic and Greek. Insofar as any translation accurately represents the
original, it, too, is authoritative. Obviously, there are some very bad
translations available to the public. For example, the Jehovah's Witness
Bible, The New World Translation does a particularly bad job of
translating portions of Scripture that support the Deity of Christ. There
are also some very good translations of the Bible, of which, the King James
Bible is one such example. Other good translations also came from the efforts
of godly men who had a desire to make God's Word available to people in
understandable language. When Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and
the Life," no one had ever heard of the King James Version. When Jude referred
to the faith which has been "once for all delivered unto the saints," the
original New Testament in Greek was not even yet finished, to say nothing
of the King James Version or any other translation. When Paul wrote to
the Ephesians that there is "one faith, one Lord, one baptism," he was
not referring to a Bible version. God's truth is unchangeable. He has revealed
that truth to us in the Hebrew/Aramaic Old Testament and in the Greek New
Testament. Thankfully, godly men, including the KJV translators, over the
centuries have always sought to make that truth available to other men
in their own native languages. But to insist that the King James Version
is the only valid translation, just because there is only one truth and
one faith, completely misses the point of these Bible passages.
4. The Blinding of Men's Eyes by Satan
One reason given in favor of modern translations, is that they make the
Word of God more easily understood, because the modern reader struggles
to understand Elizabethan English. In 1611, when the original King James
Version came out, it was at that time a modern version. It's language was
easily understood by English speaking people, because it represented the
vernacular language of their day. But today, that language is no longer
the vernacular. Modern English speakers struggle with "thee," "thou" and
many other archaic expressions.
Some defenders of the KJO position, however, say that it is not necessarily
a bad thing that people have difficulty understanding the Bible. After
all, they claim, the Bible itself says that Satan has "blinded the minds
of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ,
who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Cor. 4:4). Satan, of
course, accomplishes this task quite without our help! It may be Satan's
desire to blind men's minds to the Gospel, but our desire should be to
make it more readily understandable. In the same passage just quoted, Paul
characterized his ministry as being a "manifestation
of the truth" (ver. 2), where the word translated "manifested" means "disclosure,
announcement, the open proclamation of the truth."3
This ought to be our desire -- to "disclose," "announce," "openly proclaim"
the truth of the Gospel -- not keep it hidden in archaic language almost
400 years old.
B. The Pragmatic Argument
In addition to the doctrinal arguments presented above, defenders of the
KJO position give numerous practical reasons in support of their contention.
Below are some of the more common practical reasons given:
1. So Many Versions, So Much Confusion
If you walk into any modern day Christian book store, you are likely to
be faced with an almost bewildering display of different Bible translations.
Defenders of KJO point out that this can create confusion in the mind of
a newly saved Christian. The "babe in Christ" is likely to wonder why it's
necessary to have so many different Bibles. This uncertainty may create
an impediment to faith for one so young in the faith.
In reply, let me relate an experience I had early in my Christian life.
I had been a Christian for perhaps a few months, and had spent a great
deal of my time eagerly reading my King James Version Bible. At one point,
I had a question about the meaning of a certain verse of Scripture. When
I asked a Christian friend for some help, he responded by saying, "Well,
see what it says in the Greek. Maybe that will help." I was astonished
at his reply. I remember asking him, "What do you mean by the Greek?"
My friend explained to me that the Bible was originally written in Greek
and Hebrew, then he proceeded to show me how to use the Strong's Concordance
to look up the original Greek word and its definition. It was the first
time I had ever realized that the Bible had not been originally written
in Elizabethan English. For all I knew before then, Jesus Himself spoke
using "thee" and "thou." That was a revolutionizing experience for me that
resulted in a hunger and thirst to learn more about this marvelous Book,
and how I could use tools to help me learn more about the meanings of the
original Greek and Hebrew words. One of the best tools available is a wide
variety of Bible translations.
Unfortunately, you and I were not born in the first century, a time
when we might have spoken the original languages of the Bible. Nevertheless,
just because we were raised as English speaking people does not mean that
we have to fool ourselves into thinking that only the English language,
or only one Bible version in the English language, has the blessing of
God upon it. Multitudes of modern English speaking people have been tremendously
blessed by the availability of numerous Bible translations. Most pastors
I know regularly consult a number of translations when they are preparing
their sermons and Bible study lessons (to do less would be irresponsible).
While one may be surprised, or even alarmed, at first discovering that
there are numerous Bible translations available, that is no reason for
us to give him a false security by hiding these translations from him.
Let the modern English speaking Christian have as many Bible study tools
available to him as possible, that he might be "approved unto God, a workman
that needeth not to be ashamed" (2 Tim. 2:15).
2. The Public Reading of Scripture
Admittedly, one disadvantage of having numerous Bible translations among
the membership of a church is that during public worship, the members of
the congregation may not all be reading the exact same words. This makes
responsive reading or reading in unison especially difficult, but there
are ways to work around this difficulty. To be sure, one may regret the
complexity of our modern age and long for more simple times when every
one had the same version and responsive readings could be done more easily.
But I have been in churches that used predominantly the New King James
Version or the New American Standard Version, and since it was predominantly
used among the membership, responsive readings were not a problem. Still
other churches have provided either pew Bibles, hymn books with responsive
readings, or even Scripture portions printed in the bulletin. There are
certainly ways of working around this difficulty. And when we remember
that the first Christians did not even have their own private copies of
the Bible, but had to content themselves with hearing the word of
God as it was read by their preacher, then certainly we have little right
to complain about the presence of a variety of translations among the church
3. "But I just like the good old KJV."
Of all the reasons in favor of the King James Version, this is probably
the most sensible one. Many have grown up on the KJV; they have memorized
verses from this venerable old Bible; their fondest memories are tied up
in experiences that had to do with this particular translation. It is widely
acknowledged that the King James Version is a literary masterpiece. As
a piece of English literature, it has an elegance, flow, and meter that
make it especially suitable for public reading and memorization.
But it is important to remember that when the KJV first came out, it
was not universally accepted by English speaking Christians. A number of
other good English translations had preceded the KJV, and many Christians
looked askance at this newcomer on the block. In fact in 1620, some nine
years after the appearance of the KJV, the Pilgrims who fled from persecution
by the English religious authorities, took with them, not the KJV, but
an earlier translation, known as the Geneva Bible.4
Then, too, we are now living at a time when many adult Christians have
known nothing in their entire Christian experience but the New International
Version (twenty-one years old) or the New American Standard Bible (thirty-nine
C. The Historical Argument
Having touched briefly on some matters of both doctrine and practice, I
would like to deal with the historical perspective. In the entire two-thousand
year history of Christianity, the appearance of the King James Version
of the Bible is relatively recent. Sadly, many Christians who love their
Bible are ignorant of its remarkable history. Here I sketch a brief history
of the origin, early copying, and subsequent translation of the Bible.
1. Hebrew for the Jews, Aramaic and Koine Greek for the world
One might profitably ask, Why did God choose the languages He did for the
revelation of His Word? It is instructive to consider which portions of
the Bible are written in which languages. I remember when I first learned
that the Bible was written in a language other than English. I was told
that it was originally written in Greek and Hebrew (I only learned of the
Aramaic portions years later). I was not told which parts corresponded
to which languages. Naturally, I assumed that the book of Hebrews must
have been written in Hebrew. I was wrong, of course. Hebrews happens to
have been written in Greek!
Broadly speaking, the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the New Testament
in Greek. There are a few portions of the Old Testament that were written
in Aramaic (about one fourth of the Book of Ezra, 4:8-6:18
and 7:12-26, and the middle chapters of Daniel, 2:4b-7:28),
a language very similar to Hebrew, but used by the Babylonians, rather
than the Israelites. The reason that most of the Old Testament is written
in the Hebrew language is because Hebrew was the language of the Israelites,
and most of the Old Testament is addressed to the Israelites. Interestingly,
the Aramaic portions of the Old Testament have to do with the Gentile nations,
and God used the chief language of the Gentiles at that time for this part
of His revelation. In the New Testament era, relatively few Jewish people
any longer spoke Hebrew. Alexander the Great, through his world wide conquests,
had introduced Greek as the universal language in the civilized world.
The New Testament addresses not only the Israelites, but all the people
of the world. Thus it stands to reason that God would use the universal
language of the day for His revelation to the people of the world. In every
case, God used language well suited to the people He was addressing, language
easily understandable to His target audience. It seems to me that we ought
to continue this approach and make the Bible available to people today
in their own common language.
2. The Septuagint
Some three hundred years before Christ was born, the large Jewish community
in Egypt found themselves without a Bible in their own language. These
Jews were part of what was known as the Diaspora -- Jews who lived
outside the land of Israel. In these foreign lands, the Jews learned to
speak and read whatever local language their neighbors used. In time, Diaspora
Jews lost the ability to read their Bible in their own Hebrew language.
When the Babylonians invaded Israel in the 7th century BC, they dispersed
the Jews throughout the Babylonian empire. Other Jews fled to Egypt in
an attempt to avoid the tyranny of the Babylonians (see Jeremiah 41-44).
"The heyday of Jewish colonization in Egypt dawned when Alexander the Great
founded Alexandria in 332 B.C.. Practically from the first, Jews formed
a very important element in the population of this great commercial and
cultural capital."5 It was in Alexandria that Greek
speaking Jews composed a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. This
translation became known as the Septuagint,6
and eventually became the standard Bible used by Greek speaking Jews throughout
the Roman empire in the first century. The Septuagint represents an effort
on the part of godly Jews to make the Bible available to their countrymen
in language they could understand. The New Testament itself, contains numerous
quotes from the Septuagint.
As a translation, the Septuagint is good, but not perfect. In some places
it is better than in others. Nevertheless, the apostles did not hesitate
to quote from it in the New Testament when it suited their needs. On other
occasions, the authors of the New Testament chose to translate directly
from the Hebrew. The significant point to note here is that the apostles
felt free to use a less than perfect translation for clarity's sake, but
they could still quote it as the authoritative Word of God.
3. The Vulgate
One of the great paradoxes of history is seen in the story of what happened
to the Latin Vulgate. By the fourth century, fewer and fewer people in
the Roman empire were speaking the Greek language, as Latin increasingly
prevailed. Jerome, one of the few Christian leaders of his day to learn
both Greek and Hebrew, undertook the translation of the entire Bible into
the Latin language with the encouragement of the Roman bishop Damasus (bishop
from 366-384). Jerome's desire was to give the people a Bible in language
they could understand. Up to this time, a number of unofficial Latin translations
had appeared, but they were of varying value, some better, others worse.
Especially lacking in the value of most was that the Old Testament had
been translated from the Greek Septuagint, rather than from the original
Hebrew. Jerome was a man uniquely prepared by God to provide a good translation
in contemporary language to the people of his day. This Bible version became
known as the "Vulgate" (Latin for "common") because it gave the people
the Bible in their common language -- Latin.
The reason the Vulgate's story reveals such a great paradox of history
has to do with what became of the Vulgate centuries later. Just as the
Vulgate became necessary because a day came when people no longer spoke
Greek, so a day came when people no longer spoke Latin. As the Roman empire
declined, western Europe became carved up geographically by the feudal
system which led to a number of different languages being spoken throughout
"Christian" lands (Germanic, Frankish, Anglo, Saxon, Celtic, etc.). By
this same time, the Roman Catholic church had developed a very complex
hierarchical system comprised of a priesthood, bishops, deacons, and a
number of monastic orders. This perversion of Biblical Christianity taught
that only priests were authorized to interpret the Bible, and that the
common man was incapable of rightly interpreting the Word of God. For this
reason, the Catholic authorities authorized only the Vulgate and forbade
the translation of the Scriptures into common languages.7
Thus, the "Vulgate" (common) Bible became the assurance that no
one had the Bible in his common language! The period of time during
which this was the case is known in history as the "Dark Ages." They were
truly dark, because the Bible, God's light, was withheld from people. It
was not that there were no Bibles anywhere, only that the common man could
not understand the only Bibles that were available. Could it be that those
who would deprive people today of modern language translations are unwittingly
committing the same grave error as the Roman Catholic authorities of the
4. Martin Luther and the German Bible
Throughout the Middle Ages, Roman Catholicism pretty much ruled the day
in western civilization. The common man was denied access to God, unless
it was through the approved channels of the church. As we have seen in
the previous section, one way the Catholic church accomplished this was
by keeping the Bible from being translated into the common language.
The Middle Ages came to a close with the onset of the Protestant Reformation
of the sixteenth century. Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk and professor
of Bible at Wittenburg, Germany, came to the realization that there were
two fundamental errors in the theology of Roman Catholicism: the requiring
of works for salvation, and the elevation of church tradition to the same
level of authority as the Bible. From this realization came the two great
watchwords of the Reformation -- sola fides and sola scriptura
("faith only" and "The Scriptures only").
In 1521 Luther was summoned by the Roman Catholic officials to a formal
assembly in Worms, Germany, so that he might recant his views. Luther refused
to recant, almost certainly assuring his condemnation and arrest as a heretic.
But before he could be arrested, friends kidnapped him and secreted him
away to Wartburg castle for his protection. While in Wartburg, Luther spent
his time translating the Bible into the German language.8
It was his conviction that God's people should have the Bible available
to them in their own common language. This sentiment was followed by virtually
every leader of the Protestant Reformation, and soon Bible translations
were appearing in most of the western European countries, including England,
where a young man by the name of William Tyndale produced an English language
translation at the cost of his own life.
The lesson we learn from this era is that godly men have historically
recognized that purity in the church is always tied to the common people
of God having the Bible available to them in the language of their common
tongue. As long as the Bible remained obscure, they needed someone to tell
them what it meant. But when the Bible was rendered into understandable
language, as individual believer-priests (see 1 Peter 2:5), the people
of God were able to approach God with individual liberty, and worship God
according to conscience. The concepts of individual soul liberty, freedom
of conscience and the priesthood of the believer ran contrary to the controlling
and domineering practices of the Roman Catholic church, but they were the
liberating concepts that brought western Europe out of the Dark Ages.
5. The English Bible
Since we are English speaking people, of great interest to us is the Bible
in our own language. Of course, we should not lose sight of the fact that
neither the Bible itself nor Christianity originated with English speakers.
As pointed out above, the original inspired documents of the Bible originated
in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew over 1,500 years before the King James Version
of the Bible arrived on the scenes of history. Neither was the King James
Version the first English language version of the Bible to appear. The
story of the Bible in English is one of the most interesting episodes in
Prior to the 14th century several portions of the Bible had been translated
into English, but no English translation of the entire Bible had
been made. It was John Wycliffe (1330 - 1384) and his disciples who first
translated the whole Bible into the English language. When we say "English"
language, it should be noted that the English of Wycliffe's day was quite
different than the English of today. For example, Hebrews 1:1 in Wycliffe's
translation reads as follows, "Manyfold and many maners sum tyme God spekinge
to fadris in prophetis, at the laste in thes daies spak to us in the sone."
Wycliffe lived long before the Protestant Reformation (c. 1517). The
only church known in England at that time was the Roman Catholic church,
and it was to the Roman Catholic church that Wycliffe belonged. What led
this 14th century Roman Catholic cleric to translate the Bible into English?
Quite simply, it was Wycliffe's conviction, contrary to the teachings of
his church, that, "each man was God's direct tenant-in-chief, immediately
responsible to God, and immediately responsible to obey His law [i.e. the
Bible].... But if every man was responsible to obey the Bible ... it followed
that every man must know what to obey. Therefore the whole Bible should
be accessible to him in a form that he could understand."9
This Scriptural doctrine led John Wycliffe to disobey the leaders of his
church and make the Bible available to his people in their own common tongue.
Wycliffe's translation was made over 200 years before the King James
Version. That is a long period of time, but it is not nearly as long as
the time that has transpired between the publishing of the King James Version
and our own day.
Wycliffe was condemned by the Roman Catholic authorities, and as many
copies of his Bible as possible were collected and burned. The Constitutions
of Oxford, passed in 1408, forbade the further translation of the Bible
into the English language upon pain of death, as a result, it was over
100 years before any Englishman dared to undertake this dangerous venture.
After graduating from Cambridge in 1522, William Tyndale, while translating
Erasmus' "The Christian Soldier's Handbook," came to the conclusion that
it was the duty of every Christian to study the New Testament and make
it the final court of appeal in questions of life and doctrine. This was
very similar to the conclusion that Wycliffe had reached years earlier.
So, armed with this Scriptural conviction, Tyndale, in opposition to the
Constitutions of Oxford, purposed to translate the Bible into the English
tongue. On one occasion he was heard to say to the local Roman Catholic
bishop, "I defy the Pope and all his laws.... If God spare my life, ere
many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of
the Scripture than thou dost."
If you are wondering why people didn't simply bring back the Wycliffe
Bible, the answer is threefold: (1) Between Wycliffe's day and Tyndale's
had come the invention of the printing press. All copies of Wycliffe's
Bible had been made by hand, and there were very few in existence; (2)
Wycliffe had not learned either Greek or Hebrew, and it is extremely unlikely
that he could have had access to any Greek or Hebrew manuscripts anyway.
Thus, his Bible had been translated entirely from the Latin Vulgate; (3)
The English language had changed considerably during the years between
Wycliffe and Tyndale. Wycliffe's Bible seemed almost as foreign to Tyndale's
England as it does to us. Clearly, a new translation was called for. Tyndale,
at the expense of his own life, gave us the first printed Bible in the
English language. On October 6, 1536 William Tyndale was burned at the
stake by authorities of the Holy Roman Empire for his "crime" of providing
the English speaking people with a modern language translation of the Bible.
Though Tyndale's Bible was much more understandable to the English speaking
people of his own day than Wycliffe's Bible would have been, it still seems
a bit strange to us today. Consider Hebrews 1:1 in the Tyndale Bible: "God
in tyme past diversly and many wayes, spake vnto the fathers by Prophetes:
but in these last dayes he hath spoken vnto uv by his sonne." And Tyndale's
1534 version of the Lord's Prayer reads:
O oure father which arte in heven, halowed be thy name. Let thy kyngdome
come. Thy wyll be fulfilled, as well in erth, as it ys in heven. Geve vs
thisdaye oure dayly breede. And forgeve vs oure treaspases, even as we
forgeve oure trespacers. And leade vs not into temptacion: but delyver
vs from evell. For thyne is the kyngedome and the power, and the glorye
for ever. Amen.
c) "Authorized" English Bibles before KJV
Tyndale's Bible was greatly loved by the English people, but it had
one drawback: its author had been condemned and executed as a heretic!
What many desired was an English Bible that had the stamp of approval of
the British government. A series of such "authorized" versions came forth,
beginning remarkably even before Tyndale's execution. In succession, the
English people saw the publication of Coverdale's Bible (1535) authorized
by king Henry VIII, Matthew's Bible (1537) licensed by Henry VIII, The
Great Bible (1540) authorized by Henry VIII at the instigation of Thomas
Cromwell, and the Bishop's Bible (1571) authorized for the English churches
at the Convocation of Canterbury while Elizabeth was queen.
d) The Geneva Bible (1560)
Mention should be made here of the Geneva Bible. During the reign of
Mary Tudor, England reverted to Roman Catholicism, with many reformation
minded ministers and scholars being persecuted for their faith, while others
fled to Protestant Geneva. In exile, these reformers undertook a fresh
translation of the Scriptures. It is generally agreed that the Geneva Bible
was the best English language translation to date. It was not completed
until after Mary had been dethroned and Elizabeth restored the Church of
England to a more Protestant persuasion. Indeed, when the Geneva Bible
was finally published it contained a title page dedicating the work to
the Queen, although she never officially authorized it.
Probably the chief reason the Geneva Bible was not accepted by the English
monarchy was the strongly Calvinistic influence seen in its many explanatory
notes. Both Elizabeth and her successor James I had strong feelings against
Calvinism, and the presence of these notes prejudiced them against this
excellent translation. However, many English Christians took a strong liking
to the Geneva Bible. In fact, in 1620, nine years after the publication
of the King James Bible, the Pilgrims brought with them to America, the
Geneva Bible, in preference to the King James Version.10
e) The King James Version (1611)
After the Bishop's Bible, the King James Version was the next in the
series of translations to be authorized by the English monarchy. The original
publication contained a preface entitled, "The Translators to the Reader,"
not normally found in modern editions of the King James Version. In this
preface, we can see the attitude of the translators themselves toward this
new translation. They said, in part:
Truly, good Christian Reader, we never thought from the beginning that
we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one
a good one; ...but to make a good one [i.e. the Bishop's Bible] better,
or out of many good ones one principal good one, not justly to be excepted
against.... If you ask what they had before them, truly it was the Hebrew
text of the Old Testament, the Greek of the New.... These tongues ... we
set before us to translate, being the tongues wherein God was pleased to
speak to his Church by his Prophets and Apostles.... neither did we disdain
to revise that which we had done, and to bring back to the anvil that which
we had hammered: but having and using as great helps as were needful, and
fearing no reproach for slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we
have at length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the
work to pass that you see.
It appears that the translators saw their work as a continuation of the
revising process that had been going on through previous translations referred
to as "many good ones." There are some modern day KJO proponents who promote
the idea that the translators of the King James Version were divinely inspired,
and that their translation is therefore perfect. If this were the case,
it seems quite unlikely that they would have included the above remarks
in their preface.
i) James I of England and the Puritans
In 1603, James VI of Scotland succeeded Elizabeth to the throne of England,
and became known as James I. During the latter years of Elizabeth's reign,
Puritan leaders in the Church of England had been unsuccessful in securing
the queen's approval for further Biblical reforms. They saw in James an
opportunity to institute these reforms and thus bring the Church of England
more into line with Scriptural teaching. At their earliest opportunity,
these Puritan leaders presented James with a list of such reforms. James,
due to his rejection of his strict Calvinistic upbringing, was highly suspicious
of the Puritans, and denied them every request but one, that was for a
newly authorized translation of the Bible. At the time the request was
made, the Geneva Bible was immensely popular with the English people, but
it lacked official sanction. James particularly disliked the Geneva Bible
for at least two reasons: (1) Its explanatory notes were definitely Calvinistic
in theology; (2) Certain other notes, though not particularly Calvinistic,
James held to be "very partial, untrue, seditious, and savouring too much
of dangerous and traitorous conceits." What were these seditious, dangerous
and traitorous notes? Specifically, James mentioned two: Exodus 1:19 which
suggested that the Hebrew midwives were right to disobey the Egyptian king's
orders, seen by James as a threat to his own ability to exercise the "divine
right of kings," and that on 2 Chronicles 15:16, which stated that King
Asa's mother should have been executed, and not merely deposed, for her
idolatry. On the latter of these, "...it is supposed that James's suspicious
mind thought that this might react unfavourably upon the memory of his
own mother, Mary Queen of Scots."11 Thus, James
approved a plan whereby a committee of Anglican scholars would undertake
a new edition of the Bible that was to be made without any explanatory
notes of any kind.
ii) The Translation Committee
The Translation Committee was composed of six panels of translators (47
men in all). Three panels were responsible for the Old Testament, two for
the New Testament, and one for the Apocrypha. Two panels convened at Oxford,
two at Cambridge, and two at Westminster. After the work of these panels
was completed, their work was reviewed by a smaller group of 12 men, two
from each panel, and finally sent to the printer. The entire process took
about two years, nine months. James specified the following rules to guide
the new translation: (1) The Bishop's Bible was to serve as the basis;
(2) Proper names were to correspond as closely as possible to those forms
in common usage; (3) Ecclesiastical words (such as "church" "baptize" etc.)
were to be kept rather than translated ("congregation" "immerse"); (4)
The only marginal notes permitted were those which either explained Hebrew
and Greek words, or were cross references; (5) Words added to complete
the sense were to appear in distinctive type; (6) Existing chapter and
verse divisions were to be retained; and (7) New chapter headings were
to be supplied.
iii) "Translators to the Reader" Preface
I have already made reference to the Translators' Preface. The translators
reveal some interesting insights about this translation. For example, many
who originally objected to the KJV did so because it introduced so many
changes to the older English version. The translators expressed surprise
that revision and correction should be considered faults. "The whole history
of Bible translation in any language, they say, is a history of repeated
revision and correction."12
One of the reasons for having new translations today is that we have a
better understanding of Biblical Hebrew and Greek than scholars had in
1611. The modern sciences of linguistics and comparative philology have
vastly increased our understanding of the vocabulary of Biblical Hebrew.
The translators acknowledged their limitations in this area when they wrote,
There be many words in the Scriptures, which be never found there but once
(having neither brother nor neighbour, as the Hebrews speak), so that we
cannot be holpen by conference of places. Again, there be many rare names
of certain birds, beasts, and precious stones, etc., concerning which the
Hebrews themselves are so divided among themselves for judgment, that they
may seem to have defined this or that, rather because they would say something,
than because they were sure of that which they said.
In the next section of this booklet, I will be discussing the matter of
original language texts which stand behind the various translations. But
here it might be worth mentioning that some KJO proponents criticize modern
translations for having listed variant textual readings. This concern is
not a new one. In fact there were variant readings in existence in 1611
as well. The KJV translators criticized Pope Sixtus V for his ruling that
no variant readings should be put in the margin of his edition of the Latin
Vulgate. In the translators' words, "We know that Sixtus Quintus expressly
forbiddeth, that any variety of readings of their vulgar edition, should
be put in the margin, 70; but we think he hath not all of his own side
his favorers, for this conceit. They that are wise, had rather have their
judgments at liberty in differences of readings, than to be captivated
to one, when it may be the other."
iv) An Anglican and Amillennial Translation
As fine a translation as the KJV generally is, it should not be forgotten
that it was made by fallible men. There are places in the KJV where
the theological bias of the translators is evident. One of the most obvious
is their use of the terms "baptize" and "baptism." These are terms which
literally mean "immerse" and "immersion," but the KJV translators could
not render them literally without contradicting their own church's theological
position. The Anglican church practices both infant baptism as well as
sprinkling as the mode of baptism. A literal translation of these terms
would contradict these practices, so, in this case, the translators chose
allegiance to their church over literalness in translation.
Another theological bias can be seen in the way the KJV translators dealt
with certain passages predicting Christ's millennial reign. The theological
position of the Anglican church in 1611 was definitely amillennial. Dr.
Northrup has written:
Few believers are aware of how much the theological presuppositions
of the translators of the Old Testament in the King James Version have
affected the clarity of their translation of great passages that prophesy
concerning the glorious future of the nation and of the land of Israel.
We tend to ignore the fact that these translators were of the theological
persuasion of the English Catholics, the identity of the Episcopalian church.
As a result, we remain unaware of the fact that their amillennial theology
required them to think of any eschatological passage that spoke of the
future of Israel as a passage that somehow spoke of the future of the church.
Some mistranslations noted by Dr. Northrup include the changing of a future
tense to a past tense in Psalms 2:6, mistranslations of Hebrew verb themes
in Psalms 2:7, and numerous examples throughout Isaiah 24.
v) The numerous editions
One final note regarding the King James Version should be made. One frequently
hears KJO proponents refer to the "1611" King James Version as the authoritative
version of the Bible. While it is true that the King James Version was
originally published in 1611, it should be acknowledged that the King James
Bible underwent three revisions in quick succession in 1611, incorporating
more than 100,000 changes. In succeeding years, numerous other revisions
were made. Most of these changes are very minor, but it does raise the
issue of which version should be considered as authoritative? In fact it
is extremely difficult to obtain an original 1611 version of King James.
As an example of the kinds of changes introduced, in the first edition
the closing words of Ruth 3:15 are rendered "and he went into the city,"
while in subsequent editions it is translated, "and she went into the city."
This is more than merely a typesetting error. The change actually reflects
a difference in the Hebrew manuscripts; some say "he" others have "she."
The King James translators originally selected one manuscript tradition,
then later realized they had originally been in error and opted for a different
Another significant difference in the successive editions of the King James
Version is seen in that the original 1611 version contained the Apocrypha,
as well as the Old and New Testaments. Most recent editions of the King
James Version omit the Apocrypha, since it is not considered to be inspired.
II. The Ancient Manuscripts Behind the Translations
The preceding section has focused principally on the matter of translation,
and whether there should be modern translations in order to update the
archaic language of the King James Version. A distinct, but nevertheless
related, issue has to do with the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts that stand
behind the various translations. There is very little disagreement among
Bible scholars regarding the original Hebrew/Aramaic text for the Old Testament.
The generally accepted text is known as the "Masoretic Text" which has
been preserved through the ages by the Jewish community. The real issue
surrounds the original text of the New Testament. There are essentially
three major positions taken today among conservative Bible scholars about
which text best represents the original. Textus Receptus In 1611
there were relatively few Greek manuscripts of the New Testament available
to scholars, but certain scholars had studied the few that were known and
put together the best complete Greek New Testament they could. There were,
in fact, at least 5 different editions of the Greek New Testament available
to the King James translators (and to the translators of the English Bible
who preceded them, as well): Erasmus' edition, the Complutensian Polyglot,
Beza's edition, the Stephanus edition, and the edition promoted by the
Elzevir brothers. All of these versions go broadly by the name Textus
Receptus (TR), Latin for "received text." No one knows precisely which
text or texts were used by the King James translators, and there are several
hundred differences between them all. The Trinitarian Bible Society, one
of the strongest promoters and defenders of the Textus Receptus,
states: "70; the AV was not translated from any one printed edition of
the Greek text. The AV translators relied heavily upon the work of William
Tyndale and other editions of the English Bible. Thus there were places
in which it is unclear what the Greek basis of the New Testament was."
F. H. A. Scrivener (1813-1891) attempted to reconstruct the exact Greek
text used by the King James translators by beginning with the KJV and comparing
it with the known TR editions. Scrivener's text probably comes closest
to representing the exact text used by the King James translators, but
he could not be 100% sure that he had the exact text in every place. Scrivener's
text is also referred to today as the
Textus Receptus. Again, from
the Trinitarian Bible Society: "There are approximately 190 differences
between the Scrivener text and the Beza 1598. There are 283 differences
between the Scrivener text and the Stephanus 1550." Majority Text
Since the seventeenth century, hundreds of Greek manuscripts have come
to light. These manuscripts come from all regions of the ancient Roman
empire and are dated from as early as the end of the first century, all
the way up to the fifteenth century. Some manuscripts contain the entire
Bible, others only portions of the Bible. Some differences exist in the
text between all these manuscripts. In determining the original text of
the Bible, one approach consists of always accepting the majority reading;
that is, where several different readings exist among the manuscripts,
the number of manuscripts supporting each reading is counted, and the reading
with the greatest manuscript authority is chosen as the preferred reading.
The text established in this way is referred to as the "Majority Text."
Many feel that the Majority Text best represents the original text of the
New Testament. Critical Eclectic Text The third way that scholars
seek to identify the original text is to compare the various qualities
of the manuscripts and the readings at any given point. For example, it
is generally held that earlier manuscripts are less likely to have errors
in them than later manuscripts, since there are fewer generations of copies
between them and the original. Other factors are also considered, such
as whether the reading appears to be an attempt to correct a perceived
error, which kind of error might have been made (an error of sight, of
hearing, of memory, etc.), and who the scribe might have been (was he a
careful scribe or simply someone making a quick copy for personal use).
The Critical Eclectic text examines each variant reading, and tries to
select the most reliable manuscript authority for each reading.
A. Autographs, Manuscripts and Versions
In discussing the issue of ancient original language texts, it is necessary
first to define some terms.
We have already mentioned that the Bible was originally written in three
languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The word "Autograph" refers only
to the originally written document, not to any copy of that document. So,
for example, the autograph of Matthew's gospel is the document actually
written by Matthew on the paper he used and with the ink he used. There
is only one autograph for each book of the Bible. Sometimes you will hear
the expression "original manuscript" used to refer to the autograph. This
is not strictly correct. There are no Biblical autographs in existence
today. They have all passed off the scene. What we do have are copies,
known as "manuscripts."
The term "manuscript" refers to a copy of an autograph or to a copy of
another manuscript. A manuscript is in the same language as the autograph.
Therefore, all New Testament manuscripts are in the Greek language, and
all Old Testament manuscripts are in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages.
The abbreviation for "manuscript" is "ms," and the abbreviation for the
plural "manuscripts" is "mss." While there is only one autograph for each
book of the Bible, there may be very many manuscripts.
The first section of this booklet did not deal extensively with autographs
and manuscripts, but with translations into other languages. The technical
term for any translation is "version." Bible versions exist in many different
languages, Syriac, Latin, Armenian, Coptic, German, Spanish, etc. And,
of course, there are many different English versions.
B. Byzantium and the Preservation of the Greek Language
The vast majority of Greek mss. come from the old Byzantine empire, centered
in what is now modern day Turkey. The reason for this is that while western
Europe increasingly used the Latin language, Greek remained the native
language in the east. After Constantine moved the seat of the Roman empire
to Byzantium in the early fourth century, there developed first a cultural
split, then a linguistic split, and finally a church split between the
east and the west. The reason this is important to know in our present
discussion is because it explains why the majority of late Greek mss. are
from Byzantium, while the earlier mss. tend to come from a variety of areas
throughout the old Roman empire. Greek continued as the preferred language
for copying the Scriptures until Byzantium was overthrown by the Moslems
in 1453. When Byzantium fell to the Moslems, Eastern Orthodox clerics fled
west with their precious Greek mss. The arrival of Greek New Testament
mss. was undoubtedly a chief factor influencing the Protestant Reformation
in western Europe. But it should be remembered that, though these mss.
are in the majority, they tend to be from a later period of time and are
dependent upon a great number of copies between them and the autographs.
Thus, some feel there is a greater likelihood of error existing in these
C. Manuscripts Available in the Early 17th Century
When Erasmus put together the first Textus Receptus text, he had
available to him only five or six Greek mss. In the succeeding years some
more mss. came to light, but by 1611 there were still only a handful of
Greek mss. known in the west. As more mss. were discovered it became evident
that there were also more variant readings with which to deal. Thus we
see the hundreds of differences between the six competing Textus Recepta.
For those who believe that the divinely preserved text is the Textus
Receptus a reasonable question to ask is, Which one really is
the Textus Receptus? Is it Erasmus, The Complutensian Polyglot,
Stephanus, Beza, Elzevirs, Scrivener, or some other construction based
on the mss available in 1611?
D. Manuscript Discoveries Since the Early 17th Century
1. Majority Text Manuscripts
Since the 17th century, hundreds of mss. have come to light. The majority
of these are of Byzantine origin, where they were faithfully copied over
the centuries by Eastern Orthodox monks. Of the Byzantine mss., it should
also be observed that the vast majority of them originated late in the
Middle Ages, from about the eighth century on. Proponents of the Textus
Receptus and of the Majority Text view insist that these mss. preserve
the original text of the New Testament. But why should these late mss.
be preferred over other mss. which, in some cases were copied within a
few years of the autographs? Gordon Fee, responding to arguments put forth
by David Otis Fuller writes: 70; The logical consequence of the position
that God's providential care is to be found in the majority of MSS, because
they are the majority, is that the majority should all be identical
and as free from error as the autographs. In lieu of that, [David Otis]
Fuller's theology logically demands that at least one MS be identifiable
as the divinely-preserved and therefore errorless MS against which
all others can be checked. The proponents of the TR, however, are quick
to deny that this is their intent -- and for good reasons. They also know
that no two of the 5340-plus Greek MSS of the NT are exactly alike. In
fact the closest relationships between any two MSS in existence -- even
among the majority -- average from six to ten variants per chapter. It
is obvious therefore that no MS has escaped corruption. We are reassured,
however that these variations are "superficial," which turns out to be
no argument at all. For "superficial" or otherwise, errors exist in the
majority text.... If the text has merely fewer errors, then the whole theological
argument of divine inspiration demanding divine preservation by the majority
is a theological ploy.
2. Alexandrian Manuscripts
In the latter part of the nineteenth century, archaeological work in Alexandria,
Egypt uncovered a treasure trove of ancient documents from the first seven
centuries A.D., some from within a few years of the completion of the New
Testament autographs themselves! The dry sands of Egypt had made perfect
conditions for preserving these fragile papyrus documents over the centuries.
The documents included such everyday items as school lessons, love letters,
shopping lists, and sales receipts, but they also included at least a hundred
very ancient New Testament mss. These New Testament mss. have vastly increased
the raw data from which textual decisions can be made. Especially helpful
is the knowledge that these mss. are dependent on many fewer generations
of copies standing between them and the autographs, thus less likelihood
that careless errors crept in through hand copying. Modern editions of
the Greek New Testament have, not only the vast majority of late Byzantine
mss., but also the earlier, but less numerous Alexandrian papyrus mss.
However, these Alexandrian mss. have been vilified by some due to heretical
teachings that emanated from Alexandria in the early history of the church.
It is alleged that these heretical teachings must have influenced these
mss., and that they, therefore, contain a corrupt text. But it should be
remembered that not all Alexandrian teaching was heretical. In fact for
over 3 centuries some of the staunchest defenders of orthodoxy came from
the Alexandrian school. Perhaps chief among these is Athanasius, the great
defender of the deity of Christ at the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325). Furthermore,
it must be recognized that theological heresy was not restricted to Alexandria,
Egypt. The theological position of the Eastern Orthodox church, which God
used to preserve the Byzantine mss., is rejected by all Protestants as
heretical, teaching salvation by works and elevating church tradition to
the same authority as Scripture. It seems to me that a fair approach to
textual criticism will recognize that there are both good and bad mss.
from Alexandria, just as there are both good and bad mss. from Byzantium.
Each mss. must stand or fall on its own merits, not simply because it originated
in a particular geographic region.
E. The Practice of Textual Criticism
1. Westcott and Hort.
At the end of the nineteenth century, when many mss. discoveries were being
made, the science of textual criticism was in its developmental stages.
Probably the two best known leaders in this field were B. F. Westcott and
F. J. A. Hort. They were convinced that new mss. discoveries showed that
the Textus Receptus could be corrected in many places. They, and
other scholars of their day, developed a system of rules by which ancient
New Testament mss. could be evaluated. These "canons of New Testament textual
criticism" were applied to the known mss. of their day. Unfortunately,
Westcott and Hort became unduly enamored with two mss. in particular --
Sinaiticus, a fourth century ms. discovered by Tischendorf at St. Katherine's
monastery at the base of Mt. Sinai, and Vaticanus a fourth century ms.
discovered forgotten in the vast library at the Vatican in Rome. The Greek
text adopted by Westcott and Hort became the basis for the English Revised
Version and the American Revised Standard Version. However, because of
their undue reliance on Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, modern textual critics
no longer rely on the text adopted by Westcott and Hort. Instead modern
textual criticism has opted for an eclectic text, which forms the basis
for such modern translations as the New American Standard Bible and the
New International Version.
2. The Majority Text Approach.
In the last 20 to 30 years the Majority Text approach has become quite
popular in some circles. As discussed above, this approach favors the majority
reading at any place where the mss. display variants. Of course, the majority
reading is virtually always a Byzantine reading, and, hence, a late reading.
This approach does not apply the canons of textual criticism equally to
all readings, but simply counts up the number of mss. supporting each reading.
Since the Textus Receptus relied on Byzantine mss., the Majority
Text is very similar to the Textus Receptus, though there are some
significant differences as well. There are some good arguments made in
favor of the Majority Text view. Some of its ablest modern defenders include
Zane Hodges, Wilbur Pickering, and Harry Sturz.
Most modern English Bible translations are based on what is called an "eclectic"
text. That is, a reading is not preferred simply because it is "Byzantine"
or "Alexandrian," nor simply because it is "early" or "late." Geographical
origin, and date are included along with many other considerations in evaluating
each variant reading. Thus it is believed that the best scientific judgment
can be obtained by a thorough examination of all the mss. This kind of
textual criticism is painstaking, but many scholars have given their lives
to this task out of a desire to see the Word of God made available today
in the best possible form. In the past some textual critics have made some
errors of judgment in their zeal for one or another family of texts. Thus
Gordon Fee observes: 70; one cannot, as Westcott and Hort tended to do
with the Egyptians and Hodges with the Byzantine, follow certain MSS wherever
they lead. The most up to date representation of the Critical Eclectic
Text can be found in the United Bible Society's 4th edition (which is the
same as the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland edition).
F. A Comparison of Different Manuscript Traditions
So, what is the bottom line in all this debate? Are there serious differences
between the Textus Receptus, the Majority Text and the Critical
Text? There are those on all sides of the issue who argue that
the differences are indeed truly significant, and have spent much ink casting
theological missiles at one another. I remember taking a class in textual
criticism while in seminary. As a class project, the professor divided
up much of the New Testament between the students, and had each student
study the differences between the Textus Receptus and the modern
critical eclectic text for his portion of the New Testament. I happened
to have the books of First and Second Peter and Jude. At the conclusion
of the project we found that the vast majority of differences (in the high
90 percents) had to do with inconsequential matters such as punctuation,
spelling, and word order. Of the few percent that were left, most only
slightly altered the actual meaning of the verse, and none altered any
point of Christian doctrine. In the small handful of verses where variant
readings significantly altered the meaning, no major point of Christian
doctrine was seriously impacted by either reading. I am convinced, beyond
any shadow of doubt, that, all other things being equal, if two sincerely
born-again Christians were shipwrecked on two separate desert islands,
and one had a King James Version Bible while the other had a New American
Standard Bible, they would both end up with the same Christianity, the
same Christ, the same salvation, the same theology. I believe the responsibility
of determining, to the best of our ability, the original text of the New
Testament, is a responsibility that we must take seriously. But, at the
same time, I also believe that different approaches to this task can exist
along side each other in conservative, fundamental churches. I have seen
too many good churches divided over the issue of Bible translations. And
I will say quite frankly, that I believe this kind of dissension is only
applauded by the enemy of our souls. As long as the devil can keep us busy
fighting one another on the issue of Bible versions, he will keep us from
reaching the lost with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. As a friend
of mine, who happens to be a King James Only proponent, said, "Ultimately,
I don't care so much what Bible a Christian has, as long as he obeys the
Bible he has." To that sentiment from a King James Only proponent, I can
say a hearty "Amen."
Black, D.A., New Testament Textual Criticism, Grand Rapids: Baker
Book House, 1994. Bruce, F.F., The Books and the Parchments, London:
Fleming H. Revell Company, 1953. Bruce, F.F., History of the Bible in
English, 3rd edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Carson,
D.A., The King James Version Debate, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House,
1979. Metzger, B.M., The Text of the New Testament, New York: Oxford
University Press, 1968. Pickering, W.N., The Identity of the New Testament
Text, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers, 1977. Sturz, H.A.,
The Byzantine Text-Type and New Testament Textual Criticism, Nashville:
Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984. Wallace, D.B., "Why I Do Not Believe the
King James Translation Is the Best Version Available Today" http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/soaptoc.htm.
Wallace, D.B., "The Conspiracy Behind the New Bible Translations" http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/soaptoc.htm.
Wallace, D.B., "The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are They Identical?"
http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/soaptoc.htm. Wallace, D.B., "Some Second
Thoughts on the Majority Text" http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/soaptoc.htm.
White, J.R., The King James Only Controversy, Minneapolis: Bethany
House Publishers, 1995.
1. D.A. Carson, The King James Version Debate
(Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979) 64. I have added to this table the
last two rows (NASB and NASB mg.) and the final column (Total checks),
as well as the question mark (?) which appears twice in the column Rom.
9:5. Unfortunately, in this HTML version, the check marks appear as the
character "ü". This is due to a font
limitation. The hard copy version of this booklet prints an actual checkmark.
2. "Problem Passages of the New Testament in Some
Modern Translations: Does the New Testament Call Jesus God?" ET
87 (1975-76): 214-15.
3. Arndt, William and F. Wilbur Gingrich,
Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature
-- electronic ed. of the 2nd ed., rev. and augmented (Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1979; Published in electronic form by Logos Research
Systems, 1996) q.v. phanerosin.
4. David Ewert, A General Introduction to the
Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983), p.195.
5. F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments
(London: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1950) p.142.
6. "Septuagint" is Latin for "seventy",
from the traditional account of this translation having been made by 72
Jewish scholars over a period of 72 days.
7. One such example can be seen in the decisions
of the 1408 synod of clergy at Oxford which "forbade anyone to translate,
or even to read, a vernacular version of the Bible in whole or in part
without the approval of his diocesan bishop or of a provincial council.
This prohibition was one of thirteen provisions passed by the synod against
Lollardy [John Wycliffe's followers]; they are generally known as the "Constitutions
of Oxford...." (F.F. Bruce, The History of the Bible in English
[New York: Oxford University Press, 1978] p.21.
8. He began with the New Testament, translating
in 1521-22 from Erasmus' recently published Greek text. The Old Testament
came out in parts, the Pentateuch in 1523, the Psalter in 1524, the entire
Bible by 1534.
9. Bruce, History of the Bible in English,
10. David Ewert, A General Introduction to
the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983), p.195.
11. Bruce, History of the Bible in English,
12. Bruce, History of the Bible in English,
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