re: Bible edits leave some feeling cross.

One of my readers sent me a link to {this article} and asked me what my thoughts were about it. Below you will find my response to her.

And yes, she knows this is being posted on the blog.  Ha.  :]

The Bible seems to be a very popular topic this month (and it has definitely been a popular topic right here on this blog as well). No doubt, part of the credit goes to this year being the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. So it seems that Christianity in general has been getting quite a bit more attention than usual… but especially our “Holy Book,” as some call it.

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I had so many problems with the article. Well, maybe not the “article,” but definitely the subject of said article.

Why can’t people just leave the Word of God alone? Why is there a need to “correct” and “fix” and “retranslate” and “help” and “interpret” and water down the Bible? No matter how hard they try, they will *never* get a better translation. The Word of God is perfect, and has been preserved in the English language by God in the King James Version. If God wanted the NIV to be “it,” then He would have allowed it to be such – but He hasn’t. That version (and every other version out there) has been corrected and re-corrected and changed and retranslated time after time.

This paragraph really got to me:

“But precisely because the Bible is a timeless document, we want it to speak to every generation of people, and as English changes and we learn more about the world of the Bible, we want to be able to put the Bible into the English that people are actually using,” said Moo, a New Testament scholar at Wheaton College, a leading evangelical university in Illinois.”

The Bible is not some “timeless document” like Pride and Prejudice or Moby Dick. It’s God’s Holy, Infallible Word. And just because the English language changes with the generations, doesn’t mean that God’s Word has to change. Because, truly, God changes not. Never has, never will.

Then there was this paragraph:

“But Chip Brown, senior vice president of Bibles for Zondervan, the division of HarperCollins Publishers that has exclusive rights to publish the New International Version in North America, predicted that it would be “the translation of choice for millions of people around the world who want to read and understand Scripture in today’s language.”

The “translation of choice”…? really? Not according to {this article}.

Then there was this paragraph:

“It’s the same stories that you know. It’s the same texts that you know,” Sperry said. “But you’re seeing them with greater precision and greater clarity. … It’s not rewriting. It’s retranslating.”

No, I don’t think so. When Mary ceases to be a virgin, and is simply a young woman, that completely changes the Christmas Story. And when the Blood of Christ is removed from key “salvation” verses, it changes the plan of salvation.

Did you also know that there was a lesbian and a gay man* on the NIV translation committee? Perhaps that’s why the word “sodomite” doesn’t appear in that translation. Just a thought…

There was also something in there about the Catholic Church having the final say on some sort or translations or such… and to that I say – really?  You’re going to leave the translation of the Bible up to a group of people who don’t even believe  the Bible? Or at least, they don’t believe ALL  of the Bible. And they especially do not follow Its teachings or adhere to what It says in regards to salvation, eternity, and Peter’s role in history. God got rid of His “need” (or usage, rather) for priests some 2000 years ago.

I no longer need an imperfect, human mediator to access God Almighty. Jesus has completed the work, and He is forever my Intercessor. I trust in Him, and Him alone for my Salvation. And I trust His Word as my Final Authority for faith and practice – all  of It, not just bits and pieces here and there.

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*For information regarding this, check out the following links:
   –  Dr. Marten Woudstra
   –
  Dr. Virginia Mollenkott
   –
  Zondervan publishers

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Posted on April 27, 2011, in Re:, The Bible and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Great thoughts as always, Heather. I truly appreciate your clear, calm, logical reasoning on an issue that can be so inflammatory.

  2. What comes to mind after reading this is to give the reminder that the TR was created in haste by a humanist catholic priest named Erasmus. …All this talk about knocking other translations to uphold one translation as inspired is silly and ignorant. You’re right God’s Word should be our final authority…but IT doesn’t begin and end in the KJV…IT is the KJV, ESV, NASB, NIV…etc as well.

    • Just a note on the statement ‘created in hast by a humanist Catholic priest named Erasmus.’ There is a lot wrapped up in that small statement.

      ‘Created in haste’—said alone, without the background of Erasmus—does a discredit to the man. He spent his entire life translating, editing, and writing. Ten columns of the library in the British Museum is written by Erasmus.

      ‘Catholic priest’ almost sounds petty. Erasmus was offered positions in the royal court by the Kings of England, France, and the Netherlands. He was offered cardinalship by the Pope himself. He refused all these, devoting his life entirely to scholarship. Catholic: yes, as were all your reformers. His writings expose the unscriptural beliefs and practices of the Catholic church. He sought to change the church from the inside out, not something we may agree with, but in context makes sense.

      16th century humanism is not the same as 21st century secular humanism. Renaissance humanism was about higher standards of civilization and the betterment of human society coming out of the tail-end of the dark ages. It wasn’t anthropocentric and naturalistic like today, so to label Erasmus with a modern definition of humanism is deceitful.

      Just to shine a little more light on your ‘reminder.’ We should also remember, then, the background and beliefs of Westcott and Hort if we’re going to be fair to which Greek texts are being used for translation.

      • Yes Nick, you’re right about the differences in the humanism between then and now. That was my misunderstanding and not done with deceit. And yes Erasmus did try to change the Catholic church from the inside out. He may have devoted his life to translating, editing and writing but from what I have researched the TR was created hastily.

        “There was also a time factor involved. Froben wished to get the edition out as soon as possible. Possibly he had heard of the project of Cardinal Ximenes, which eventually upon publication was called the “Complutensian Polyglot,” (Complutum being the Latin name of Alcala, the place of publication) the New Testament Greek portion of which had already been printed in 1514, the leaves being stored away until papal approval could be obtained. Therefore, the distinction must be made between the first printed Greek New Testament (Ximenes’ Complutensian) and the first published Greek New Testament, that of Erasmus.

        Erasmus was aided by two scholars – Nikolaus Gerber (to whom numerous misprints can be attributed) and Ioannes Oecolampadius, later an aid to Zwingli and a leader in the Reformation movement. Oecolampadius looked up all references to the Hebrew of the Old Testament, as Erasmus did not know Hebrew. Refusing payment for his services, Oecolampadius accepted only one of Erasmus’s manuscripts, the introduction to the Gospel of John, and is said to have treated it as a relic, kissing it and hanging it on a crucifix while he prayed, that is until is was stolen.17

        Between the inferiority of the manuscripts available, the stress for time under which the printer’s copy was made, and the numerous mistakes made by Gerber, it is amazing that the first edition made it into print at all. Erasmus himself called it “precipitated rather than edited”(praecipitatum verius quam editum)18 and that it was “hurried out headlong.”19 Scrivener said of it, “[It] is in that respect the most faulty book I know.”20Erasmus immediately began the tedious task of revision, as well as undertaking to defend his work.”

        Here is another example of a problem associated with it:
        “The most famous textual “problem” involved in Erasmus’s work was 1 John 5:7, the famous Comma Johanneum. Absent from every Greek text he had (indeed, some think from every Greek text in existence!), he rightly omitted it. A hue and cry was raised upon publication, and charges of heresy and Arianism were cast about. Erasmus asked his friend in Rome, Bombasius, to consult the famous Codex Vaticanus concerning the passage. When Bombasius replied that the verse was not contained in that ancient codex, Erasmus rashly proclaimed that if he were to find so much as one Greek text containing the “Three Witnesses” he would include it in his next edition. Of course, such a manuscript was quickly produced. Many suspect it as having been produced specifically for the occasion. It is today known as minuscule 61 and is housed at Trinity College, Dublin. It is dated to the 16th century, and Metzger reports it opens of its own accord to the passage in 1 John, its having been consulted at that point so often.24 True to his word Erasmus included the spurious passage in the third edition (1522) “that there be no calumny.”25 He expressed in a lengthy footnote his doubts concerning the authenticity of the manuscript. However, verse remains today a touchstone of orthodoxy for some, most notably the Roman Catholic Church.26 ”

        He did do a good work in helping to further push to help get the Scriptures available to people who otherwise would not have access to them in their language. And the author of the articles I quoted above does a good job in commending him:

        “Textual critics may argue technical points of his work, and well they should. But the importance of Erasmus’s work must not be allowed to be swallowed up in technical disputation. God’s Word, in its original tongue, was again available to all, and the effect was electric. ”

        However part of the real problem I notice is that people from the KJVO crowd will do everything in their power to discredit other translations and the translators themselves but never look at where the TR comes from and the fact that all the translators were/are human and all have their flaws…so to uphold one translation, created by a human, over another or even over the originals is unbiblical.

        Here is the link to the quotes.
        http://vintage.aomin.org/erasmus.html

        I hope this helps explain why I said what I said even in the misspeaking regarding Erasmus.

        • Understandable, I didn’t mean you were being incorrect on purpose.

          It was said that Erasmus could do the work of 10 hours in 1 hour. I really don’t have a problem with putting together a Greek New Testament in 1 year. It’s only the New Testament, and remember, this is not translating; it’s Greek.

          I also don’t have a problem with the Johannine comma. I don’t believe Erasmus issued that challenge, historically according to “A History of the Debate over 1 John 5:7,8,” by Michael Maynard. But, even if he did, it was not 1 manuscript produced that included the passage. It is in the Latin Vulgate, it’s in 61 (that you mentioned), it’s in Codex Ravianus, the 5th Century Old Latin, it’s quoted by numerous church fathers in the early centuries, etc.

          I know what you mean about how people react to this issue. I just want to share what I’ve learned also. I don’t believe a translation can be better than the original, but I believe in a preserved pure stream of Greek texts. I believe that is Biblical.

  3. To quote you:

    “If God had wanted the NIV to be “it”, then he would have allowed it to be such, but He hasn’t”

    The KJV is no different from the NIV in this respect.

    Or does it say in the KJV that the KJV is God’s personal choice?!

    I must have missed that bit…

  4. I know people enjoy their KJV, but the fact is, it’s still a translation which was subjected to the translators’ human opinions, interpretations, culture, and doctrine. I don’t understand the concept that ONLY the KJV is God-inspired and every other version is essentially mad-made. What? Where is that opinion coming from?

    The KJV was translated in 1611, which was only 400 years ago … if it were translated today we obviously we wouldn’t use the style English that was used then. What automatically makes the people from 1611 “more Godly and accurate” than anyone living today? That concept seems a bit ridiculous. In 2411 are people going to look back and think that everyone in 2011 was amazingly Godly? I doubt it. We’re putting way too much stock in people, here.

    I think it’s important to use multiple resources to ‘rightly divide the word of truth’ instead of putting all our stock into the interpretations of some guys from the 1600s.

  5. Just a few thoughts, Heather. You know I am not KJV-only so the direction I’m coming from is one that is more analytical of what you say instead of just hearing what I like and saying “AMEN!” Criticism can be helpful and that is what I hope to offer concerning this topic. I think the fact that it is the 400th Ann. of the KJV brings this topic to the forefront. I figured this year would have many battles as the KJV-ers came out in full force. LOL! Anyway… i have a few (and by few do not hear me say this will be short) comments. 😉 You say there was a lesbian on the NIV translation committee. I know Riplinger stated this in her book. I also know she has an affinity for stating half truths. It is true that lesbian sympathizer Virginia Mollencott was involved with the NIV development. However, it is my understanding that she was not a translator, and had nothing to do with the translation. She served on the literary (stylistic) committee of the NIV for a few months. Once her sexual views were known, she was promptly asked to resign. At no time did her work impact the translation of the NIV. It seems to me that any person reading the NIV can see clearly that homosexuality is condemned as a sin. Which leads to my next point: I will give KJV and NIV passages, and ask how the NIV fails to condemn homosexuality as the KJVO’s charge. 1 Corinthians 6:9 (King James Version) 9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 1 Corinthians 6:9 (New International Version, ©2011) 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] Footnotes: a. 1 Corinthians 6:9 The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts. Note the footnote that is in the NIV explaining why they translated it men with men instead of effeminate. I have no problem with this. Effeminate can also men a man who has a soft sounding voice or walks less manly than other men I have heard preachers preach against thistype of thing. I find it hard to believe God would exclude soft sounding men from heaven if they are true believers. Romans 1:26-27 (King James Version) 26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence oftheir error which was meet. Romans 1:26-27 (New International Version, ©2011) 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Again the NIV condemns homosexuality.one more… Deuteronomy 23:17-18 (King James Version) 17There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 23:17-18 (New International Version, ©2011) 17 No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute 18 Youmust not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute[a] into the house of the LORD your God to pay any vow, because the LORD your God detests them both. Footnotes: a. Deuteronomy 23:18 Hebrew of a dog Note the footnote in the NIV. They are attempting to be faitful to the text and still make it understandable. They didn’t omit the word “sodomite” out of sympathy to the homosexual agenda. This is a conspiracy theoryActually, sodomy is more than just homosexuality. The dictionary defines it as: –noun 1. anal or oral copulation with a member of the opposite sex. 2. copulation with a member of the same sex. 3. bestiality ( def. 4 ) .So I think to try to use Deuteronomy to say the NIV sympathizes with homosexuals is wrong. If we are honest we will have to say the NIV also condemns homosexuality. It seems to me that much of what goes on in attacking other english translations is done so on an unfounded premise that the KJV is superior by default. There were english Bibles in use prior to the KJV and the KJV was held in great speculation by many because it was new. Why did they need a new english Bible? did they not have one already? Theyasked the same questions the KJV-ers ask today. I tell you this KJVO position is not orthodox. it is new and if we want to cast aspersions on positions based on guilt by association then the KJVO people should know that this belief originated by a 7th day Adventist who thought that if you had church on Sunday you would go to hell. =) see how easy it is to paint someone as wicked? We should be more cautious in this. The KJV translators would hold that the NIV is the Word of God just the same as the KJV (read their letter to the reader). When one attacks the NIC, NASB, ESV, etc. He is attacking the word of God.there is no conspiracy to change the truth within these translations. The New World Translation? Absolutely! They are not seeking to be faithful to the original manuscripts. But the other translations mentioned above, those men/women translating it are.

    • You’re right about being cautious to use guilty by association, and about painting these men and women as wicked. We see God use all sorts of people in his word, even unbelievers, to carry out his will. Just one note though, on Virginia Mollenkott, and your statement, “Once her sexual views were known, she was promptly asked to resign.” Here is a primary source from Mollenkott herself:

      “I was never removed, sacked, or made redundant from my work on the NIV; if I were, my name would not have appeared on the list sent out by the IBS. It was Dr. Edwin Palmer, who lived near my college, who invited me to work on the NIV. He had heard me speak and respected my integrity and my knowledge. So far as I know, nobody including Dr. Palmer suspected that I was lesbian while I was working on the NIV; it was information I kept private at that time.”

      Now, I’m not endorsing her in any way or getting into how I feel the NIV has affected the ‘Christian’ homosexual movement, I’m just again introducing to this feed your same point, that facts are important.

  6. Gene Raye Jones

    If you compare, line by line, the KJV to any other version (I have done thie with 3 other “versions”), and if you are a committed student of the Word, then you’ll know without any doubt of the strength, wisdom and beauty of the KJV above every other version. The “translators” don’t accept “all” of the Word and their interpretation and changes are always made looking through the windows of their own watered-down convictions and less than the “straight and narrow road” view of life in eternity’s light. We should all do our own “translations” as we read the KJV in a committed effort, which is life-long btw, to be more like Him. Those “translators” try to make Him more like them. Enough already. Just give me the KJV!

    • Gene,

      | If you compare, line by line, the KJV to any other version (I have done thi[s] with 3 other “versions”), and if you are a committed student of the Word, then you’ll know without any doubt of the strength, wisdom and beauty of the KJV above every other version. |

      It might surprise you that the archaic language used in the KJV was, in 1611, the language of the English commoners (not peasant-level dialect or high scholarship dialect), just as the apostle Paul wrote in the “everyday” Greek dialect of the common man, as opposed to “peasant” Greek or high-level Greek spoken by Scholars. Ironically though, the formal-sounding renaissance period text of the KJV was, even during the initial writing of the KJV in 1611, already being pushed into obscurity by the more modern English of that time. I am not suggesting that the KJV is inaccurate because that is simply not true. However, I want you to know that before and after the renaissance period, the archaic language (Shakespearean language) of the KJV quite simply did not exist. The accuracy of the KJV is a given, but the style of language in which it was written is no more accurate or spiritual than the Greek of Paul’s day or the English of our day. The truth contained in the underlying message is what makes the Bible a God-breathed spiritual document, not the language or dialect in which it was written.

      We each have our favorite translation versions: KJV, NASB, ESV, NIV, etc. But the real issue is not translation familiarity or “feel good” readability, but transparency to the original languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek) in a readable, understandable format. The KJV does a fine job of achieving this transparency, but does so in a 400 year old dialect that neither you nor I speak today. The NASB also does a fine job of achieving transparency to the original languages. It is today’s equivalent of the KJV in every sense of the word, while eliminating “thee”, “thou”, etc, and, alongside the KJV, is widely regarded as the most literal of literal translations. The ESV too achieves a good transparency but not quite to the degree of the KJV or NASB. The NIV is not based on the literal word for word translation philosophy – as is the KJV, NASB, and ESV – so I’ll not include it with this comment.

      When deciding on whether to accept or reject a certain translation, it is important to understand what factors to consider: to what degree does the text transparently remain faithful to the original language; to what degree does the text allow us to understand the underlying language in today’s everyday language, as did the KJV for the “common man” living in 17th century England, as did Paul’s “everyday” Greek dialect for the early Christian believers.

      Not too long ago, the average person had no access to commentaries or other scholarly publications because the cost was prohibitive. Today, all that stands between these documents and us is a willingness to visit the Biblos.com commentaries (or other) for any given scripture. These commentaries explain the meaning of the original languages and then discuss the accuracy or inaccuracy of various translations rendered from that meaning. Unless one is familiar with Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek (as spoken in the period of original authorship), or unless one consults the commentaries and/or language studies publications (or consults those who have sincerely studied them), one has no basis for accepting or rejecting the accuracy of a particular translation – including the KJV.

      • I know there a lot of bbeils out there, but the one I like best are the study bbeils (NIV) modern english, where you have a better chance of deciphering some of the verses…King James is from the 15th-16th century………too king henry (or king james) like.

  7. I just think why keep retranslating one version?

  8. I have always read the KJV, ever since I was a small child. I used to think the “old” English and all those “thee’s” and “thou’s” were difficult too. Why not get rid of them, and just use “you”? However, I learned that there’s a reason that the KJV was translated this way, and it opened a whole new window of understanding. I think if more people knew the real reason for the “thee’s” and “thou’s” they wouldn’t be so hasty to have them removed or changed. The KJV does have the word “you” in it too. Genesis 9:2 for example.

    In Greek there are different words for singular and plural pronouns. The KJV translators faithfully preserved this usage by translating all singular pronouns as “thee”, “thou”, “thy”, and “thine” and all plural pronouns as “you”, “your”, and “ye”. In English we no longer use different pronouns for the singular and the plural, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are in all the Greek texts. The KJV is the only translation I know of that has faithfully produced what is in the original languages in this respect.

    Think about it. John 3:7 says “… ye must be born again.” Jesus was speaking to one person here, Nicodemus. Why didn’t he say “thou” must be born again? It makes no sense to use a plural pronoun when speaking to only one person. That’s why God’s Word is so amazing. Jesus said “Ye” because the admonition of this verse is to ALL people. It wasn’t just Nicodemus that needed to be born again, the whole world needs to be born again. Thus, the use of the plural pronoun. It fits right along with what comes later in the chapter in verse 16: “For God so loved the world…” This wonderful application is lost in the newer translations because they don’t faithfully translate what is in the original languages.

    Now I enjoy reading the “thee’s” “thou’s” and “ye’s” in the Scripture because I understand why they are there and how much the add to the meaning of the text. Perhaps if more people knew this, they wouldn’t be so quick to through away those “thee’s” and “thou’s”.

    • JessB,

      While I agree with your singular and plural pronoun argument (and by the way, it is very awesome to understand this), your argument works against itself in John 21:15-17; “[15] So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. [16] He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. [17] He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

      Consider the following:

      Vincents Word Studies

      Simon, son of Jonas

      Compare Christ’s first address to Peter, John 1:43. He never addresses him by the name of Peter, while that name is commonly used, either alone or with Simon, in the narrative of the Gospels, and in the Greek form Peter, not the Aramaic Cephas, which, on the other hand, is always employed by Paul. For Jonas read as Rev., John.

      Lovest (ἀγαπᾶς)

      Jesus uses the more dignified, really the nobler, but, as it seems to Peter, in the ardor of his affection, the colder word for love. See on John 5:20.

      More than these

      More than these disciples love me. Compare John 13:37; Matthew 26:33. The question conveys a gentle rebuke for his former extravagant professions.

      I love (φιλῶ)

      Peter substitutes the warmer, more affectionate word, and omits all comparison with his fellow-disciples.

      Feed (βόσκε)

      See on 1 Peter 5:2.

      Lambs (ἀρνία)

      Diminutive: little lambs. Godet remarks: “There is a remarkable resemblance between the present situation and that of the two scenes in the previous life of Peter with which it is related. He had been called to the ministry by Jesus after a miraculous draught of fishes; it is after a similar draught that the ministry is restored to him. He had lost his office by a denial beside a fire of coal; it is beside a fire of coal that he recovers it.”

      The Greek text contains types of love (with each rendered as an entirely different word (meaning) in Greek) but like the other translations you reject, these important distinctive meanings of Love that, in the Greek, accurately describe Jesus’ true question, remain incorrectly translated – entirely absent – in the KJV.

      JessB, the KJV is highly accurate, but not completely, as is your ardent wish. These slight translation discrepancies, as found in every translation, bar none, do not make a particular translation incorrect in whole, only in part – including the KJV. The NASB, the modern-day equivalent of the KJV in every sense of the word, is just as accurate as the KJV. The only reason you adamantly reject any other version than the KJV is for your trust in, and familiarity with, the KJV, but not because you have studied and understand the original Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek, or because you have consulted others who sincerely have studied the original Biblical languages.

      This is not to say you should necessarily forsake the KJV, but you stand in error when presuming that all other versions are incorrect translations of the original languages. See my previous comment.

      • You only put the Greek for verse 15. In 17 Jesus switches to the other Greek word that Peter was using, yet it says “saith unto him the third time.” How could it be the third time he said it if he was saying something completely different? Wouldn’t that make it the first time?

        Different word, yes; entirely different meaning, maybe not so much. Let’s look just in the gospel of John. In John 3:16, God’s love for man is agape love, but in John 16:27, it is phileo love. The Father’s love for His Son is agape love in John 3:35, but phileo love in John 5:20. In John 13:34 our love toward one another is agape love, but in John 15:19 it is phileo love. Seems like John may have used these words interchangeably.

      • Todd Beal,
        Thank you for your comment. I found it interesting. Let me address a few things you said.

        First of all, it is NOT my “ardent wish” that the KJV is completely accurate. You wrongly assume this. In fact, I whole heartedly believe that the KJV is the 100% pure, infallible, inerrant, preserved Word of God. This is a belief I have by faith. I am fully aware of many arguments that try to discredit the accuracy of the KJV (and other translations). There are many aspects of Christianity that are not logical, but we believe them. I.E. the Trinity, the Virgin birth, etc. This is also how I view the preservation of Scriptures. Logically the arguments rest in favour of supposed “translating errors”; however, God, in His Word promised to preserve what He said forever (Is. 40:8, Ps. 12:6-7, Matt 24:35). I simply choose to believe what God said is true, and that He has preserved His Words forever. Again, I am familiar with MANY of the arguments against this too.
        “What makes you think God only preserved His Word in the KJV?”
        “It’s only the originals that were without error”
        “All translations are simply translations done by humans, and thus, none are 100% correct.”
        … and so forth. I’ve been down this road many times, and many of these things have already been addressed on this feed, so I won’t bother going into them again.

        About the KJV and NASB. The NASB probably is as accurate as the KJV considering we’re following your definition of accuracy. However, the KJV and NASB were translated from different manuscripts. Again, a very lengthy discussion, so I’ll leave it at that.

        Regarding the original languages. I have very little knowledge of Greek, and less of Hebrew or Aramaic. I realize there is value in knowing these languages when it comes to studying the Scriptures. I also believe that I can fully understand everything God has said in His Word without knowing the original languages. Everything that God wanted to communicate is present in His inerrant, infallible, preserved Word, which for English speaking people is the KJV. I know you will disagree with me on this, but that’s OK. I just don’t think that God is going to require every born again Christian to learn Greek and Hebrew in order to fully understand what He wants them to know from His Word. If this was God’s plan, then all the scholars need to stop re-translating the Scriptures (especially since they say they do it with the purpose of helping us better understand the meaning of the text), and focus on teaching believers the original languages, because a translation is never going to cut it!

        I believe God can put His Word into any language complete, perfect, and without error, AND without needing Greek to fully understand it.

        • Jess,

          | I just don’t think that God is going to require every born again Christian to learn Greek and Hebrew in order to fully understand what He wants them to know from His Word. |

          You misunderstand my comment. I did not say you must learn the original languages in order to understand the Bible, but rather, without some form of accurate knowledge of the original languages (whether personally, or through consultation), one cannot correctly assume that a particular translation is, by default, less accurate than the KJV.

          I wrote my comment in response to your assertion that the KJV translation is the Word of God to the exclusion of all others. I said in my reply, “The only reason you adamantly reject any other version than the KJV is for your trust in, and familiarity with, the KJV, but not because you have studied and understand the original Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek, or because you have consulted others who sincerely have studied the original Biblical languages.”

          Translations existed for 2000 plus years before the KJV, even as they do now, 400 years after the KJV. You may not realize it, but your statements imply that all translations before and after the KJV are not the Word of God. Essentially, you are saying that the KJV is the only existing correct translation of the scriptures since their original authorship 2000 years ago and before.

          My original point was not to minimize the KJV, or to in any way cast doubt on its accuracy. My point is to say, no translation is without minor errors. However, these minor errors are not the same as bad translation, and in no way distort scriptural truth. When translating any language, one to another, not all subtleties of the original language are ever perfectly translated: some words (especially in OT Hebrew) still remain imperfectly translated because we simply don’t know what they mean. We can only do our best to overcome the language barrier with the tools we have available. The degree to which these slight imperfections are minimized depends solely on four main factors: the accuracy, completeness, and preserved physical quality of the available manuscripts from which we translate; the translation committee members’ accurate knowledge of the original languages’ word meanings and usages (linguistics); the translation committee members’ level of scholarship competency; and above all else, the translation committee members’ personal relationship with God.

          No competent scholar would ever claim that the accuracy of the KJV is untrustworthy: to this day, it remains the gold standard of literal word for word scripture translation. Originally, in 1611, it was a breakthrough translation that, as asserted by the Puritans, resolved the shortcomings of previous translations: specifically, the Great Bible commissioned by the Church of England in the reign of King Henry VIII, and the Bishop’s Bible of 1568. The awesome part about the KJV is that it was written in the common dialect of that day so that the average person could understand the scripture in his/her everyday words.

          Unfortunately, we don’t speak that type of English today; we speak very differently. However, even though we use different words than did the English speaking world 400 years ago, our words and manner of speaking have no less capacity to contain and proclaim the same truth as found in the KJV dialect: hence the need for a translation every bit as accurate as the KJV, except, in words we commonly speak today. The NASB is widely acclaimed to be that translation for its faithful literal word for word transparency to the original languages. The ESV is also a fine translation, but not as literal as the NASB.

          Gleaning truth from God’s infallible Word is unnecessarily hindered if a person cannot readily understand the language in which that truth is written. The whole purpose of James I of England’s decree for a new Bible translation was to provide both an accurate and common-language text for all his peoples – peasants, commoners, and scholars alike. The KJV so lived up to this expectation, it immediately took England by storm and transformed the English speaking world of that day. While the NASB does not read with the same poetic style as the KJV, it still achieves for us today what the KJV did for England 400 years ago; both in accuracy and accessibility for the common man (gender neutral).

          Once again Jess, my point is not to discourage you or anyone else from relying on the KJV, but to instead point out a few things that determine an accurate translation, and finally, to show that one need not read 400 year old dialect under the assumption that no other accurate translation exists.

  9. This isn’t directed at anyone in particular, I am enjoying the discussion. I hear so many people say that they don’t like KJV because it is hard to understand. That is their only argument. I wonder where they picked up that God’s Word was meant to be easy? It is God’s Word. It’s Holy and we are not. How could it be? It is meant to be studied and dwelled upon. As our walk gets stronger, the “archaic” words become poetic and rich. I actually have a 1611 version of the KJV and honestly, I have no problem reading it. I did when I was lost and when I backslid a while. Now, it is changing my life dramatically!! Again, no one here said that. Many have outside of this.

    • Let me give you some verses for this.

      Were the originals easily understood by all?
      2 Peter 3:16
      “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
      See also Matthew 13:10–13.

      Is the Bible to be understood by any possible reader?
      Acts 8:30–31
      “And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.”

      You’re right, it’s meant to be studied (2 Timothy 2:15); we get the meat when we’re ready for meat, we get the milk when we’re not (Hebrews 5:14).

      • Nick,

        The eunuch needed spiritual guidance in understanding the scriptural truth, not the language in which it was written. Our particular conversation is addressing the language/dialect in which scriptural truth is written, which has nothing to do with the condition of one’s heart, or level of spiritual maturity.

        • Right. I can asurse you that you will never find a Study Bible that you agree with wholeheartedly. I do not agree with MacArthur in every aspect of his theology however he really is a great theologian. Many on this site will testify to that. I would recommend his Study Bible above all available today.

    • Amen Rachel!!! It’s changing my life dramatically too. I SO agree with you. If we can’t understand God’s Word, it’s not God’s Word that’s the problem. It’s us. The Bible should not be changed to suit our intelligence. We really aren’t that smart. We are the one’s that need changing! How can we expect God’s Word to do it’s work if we’re constantly updating, changing, and correcting it? We need to pray, read, study, meditate, and seek understanding from the LORD!!! Not from the “easiest” version out there to read.

    • Rachel,

      | It is meant to be studied and dwelled upon. As our walk gets stronger, the “archaic” words become poetic and rich. I actually have a 1611 version of the KJV and honestly, I have no problem reading it. I did when I was lost and when I backslid a while. |

      While you may not mean what your words imply; just because someone has difficulty in understanding 400 year old Shakespearean-style English dialect, that does not mean that that person is either backslidden or spiritually immature. If you enjoy reading the old English dialect, and, at the same time, your grasp of truth is not retarded by the archaic format, then there is no reason for you to find another translation. However, please remember that while the truth contained in the KJV is God’s word, its 400 year old dialect is not. Thee, thou, ye, etc, does not appear in the Aramaic, Hebrew, or Greek manuscripts. These words appear in the KJV only because that was the dialect of the then English-speaking world. We don’t speak that way today, and to say that a translation must contain this Shakespearean format, is to say that the very manuscripts from which the KJV was translated are themselves incorrect – a gross contradiction – for then that would mean the KJV (the gold-standard of word-for-word scripture translation accuracy) is itself translated from unreliable manuscripts, and is thus not God’s Word. Either the Shakespearean dialect is necessary across the board – rendering the KJV an incorrect translation – or the Shakespearean dialect is not necessary, and the possibility exists that other equally correct translations, not containing Shakespearean dialect, coexist alongside the KJV.

      • Todd,
        You said…
        “Thee, thou, ye, etc, does not appear in the Aramaic, Hebrew, or Greek manuscripts. These words appear in the KJV only because that was the dialect of the then English-speaking world.”

        I thought you agreed with me earlier that the “thee” “thou” “you” “ye” accurately reflected the singular and plural pronouns that ARE present in the Greek texts??? Now you are saying those words aren’t there??? Am I misunderstanding you here, or are you contradicting yourself?

        • Jess,
          You raise a valid point, and, to a certain extent, I cannot refute it. I do agree that the distinction between singular and plural pronouns, as represented in the original languages is preserved in the KJV, but also in the NASB 1977 version (not the NASB 1995 version). However, the words “thee”, “thou”, “ye”, etc – as archaic versions of their underlying meanings – as well as the other aspects of the KJV Shakespearean-style dialect, are not originally present in the original languages, but specifically as 17th century representations. The original languages used their version of the meaning of these words, just as, today, our language accurately renders the meaning of these words according to the context in which they appear (an attempt at avoiding extraneous words).
          There is nothing innately special about the actual words themselves, but instead the meaning they represent. For example, most modern translations (including the KJV) omit “extraneous” text that is otherwise present in the original NT Greek. The Greeks of the New Testament era were fond of making what we call rhetorical statements. Their version of the statement, “Jesus is the Son of God” could read something similar to, “Jesus is the Son of God, is he not” Also, their version of the statement, “Jesus forgave the woman of her sins” could read something similar to, “Jesus forgave the woman of her sins, did he not.” While you or I may consider this type of “add-on” a bit unnecessary, the Greeks certainly did not. Nonetheless the KJV translators, including the translation committees of numerous other translations, omitted these extra words because they considered them of no real significance to the underlying textual meaning.
          The same goes today for early 17th century English dialect. While the KJV translators decided to represent the underlying textual meaning with the words thee, thou, ye, etc, we combine the meaning of those words and then render that meaning according to the context in which they appear (just as most translations, including the KJV, omit the extraneous rhetorical Greek text while still preserving the underlying meaning).
          However, in all fairness to you Jess, I happen to prefer the word for word preservation of the underlying languages (as closely as possible) – including singular and plural pronouns, along with the extraneous rhetorical Greek (the NASB 1995 does preserve some of this Greek rhetorical quality, but excludes the pronoun type distinction as preserved by the KJV and 1977 NASB). I wish that today’s language had suitable plural pronoun replacement words instead of relying solely on context to represent their distinction, but I am not in favor of reviving a 400 year old dialect just to make that happen – especially considering that today’s language does a just job of preserving the pronoun distinction by context.
          To further expound, it is not simply the words thee, thou, and ye, etc that give the KJV its 17th century dialect, but also wouldst, camest, shouldst, and others.
          Consider the following two passages of text from the KJV period:
          Genesis 16:7-13 [KJV]
          [7] And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. [8] And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. [ 9] And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. [10] And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
          [11] And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
          [12] And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
          [13] And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? [14] Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
          Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”: SCENE II. The island. Before PROSPERO’S cell

          Enter PROSPERO and MIRANDA

          PROSPERO (reply #3 to Miranda)’Tis timeI should inform thee farther. Lend thy hand,And pluck my magic garment from me. So:

          Lays down his mantle

          Lie there, my art. Wipe thou thine eyes; have comfort.The direful spectacle of the wreck, which touch’dThe very virtue of compassion in thee,I have with such provision in mine artSo safely ordered that there is no soul–No, not so much perdition as an hairBetid to any creature in the vesselWhich thou heard’st cry, which thou saw’st sink. Sit down;For thou must now know farther.

          The Authorized Version, commonly known as the King James Version or the King James Bible, is an English translation by the Church of England of the Christian Bible begun in 1604 and completed in 1611.” “The first recorded performance of The Tempest occurred on 1 November 1611, when the King’s Men acted the play before James I and the English royal court at Whitehall Palace on Hallowmas night.” The similarity between these two passages of text is due to the poetic style of early seventeenth century language (properly known as the Jacobean era, 1567–1625), and not because it is a spiritual language. The KJV translation committee literally translated the Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek manuscripts into the language style commonly used in that period of time. This style of speaking did not exist before this time and did not exist after this time, except as a fading in and fading out of that Jacobean era.

          Jess, I cringe every time I hear someone pray and speak with this seventeenth century dialect as if it is in someway more spiritual than modern-day English. It says only one thing; they are completely ignorant of history and blindly assume that the Bible has always read that way. I want to reestablish that I am not throwing stones at the KJV. I am trying to make clear that one need not assume that the KJV dialect is the only correct language style in which the Bible is written.

          On a personal note, you may find it completely natural to read Biblical scripture in the Shakespearean format. I do not, and neither do a multitude of others. And the ability to, or inability to, gravitate toward and understand this style of writing, in no way determines scripture translation accuracy, or the degree to which someone is or is not relating to God and submitting wholeheartedly to his will.

          Once again, I am not trying to minimize the accuracy of the KJV, or trying to discourage anyone from employing it as his/her heart-felt translation of choice. My point is that while some persons are in no way hindered by its archaic literary style, others are. And also, there exists a select few other translations that equally coexist, in every respect, alongside the KJV as equally transparent to the original language manuscripts.

  10. Wow, didn’t know that about the people on the committee. I don’t really read NIV anymore anyway, though.

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