Question of the day: italicized words.

Today is week 11 in the series of questions put forth by Dr. Sam Gipp in His book “The Answer Book.”* I feel like these questions have been beneficial for people on both sides of the fence:  you share your thoughts, others share their thoughts – everyone learns something in between.

As I said before, the point of these questions is not to start a Baptist War, but rather encourage everyone to engage in a discussion and learn from and among fellow believers. I don’t want you to rely on “he said, she said” or even unconfirmed history. Read your Bible, study accurate accounts of History, pray about it, and take what you don’t understand by faith.

I will post Dr. Gipp’s written answer to the question tomorrow, so be sure to check back on here for the answer to today’s question.

Here’s the question for today…

I’ve heard that the italicized words in the King James Bible should be removed because they were added by the translators. Should they be removed?

Thoughts?  Opinions?  Scriptures to back your position?

*All material from “The Answer Book”© is used on Grow Up! with permission received directly from Dr. Sam Gipp.


Posted on August 1, 2011, in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. No, they should not be removed, if they help the reader understand. The idea that they don’t belong is based on the misconception that there is a word-word equivalent in English for each Greek word, each Hebrew word, and each Aramaic word in the source texts. But because sentence structure is fundamentally different, it’s more understandable to go thought-by-thought than word-by-word. Have you ever tried making sense of an interlinear translation?

    Jesus Himself gave us many devices to help us understand better, starting with parables and metaphors. It seems silly to me that anyone arguing against devices which are designed for better understanding to ignore this truth.

  2. Yeah…I’m with Anthony on this. To translate a Bible, maintaining word order would render most of what’s there complete nonsense. Words in italics AREN’T in the original, but that doesn’t mean they don’t supply things that are evident (or must be inferred one way or the other) in the original text in order for it to make sense.

    However, I suspect that Dr. Gipp’s answer might involve something about how the translators were guided by the Holy Spirit to make interpretations and expansions on Holy Writ since the KJV is the Word for the Church post-apostolic era or something like that. I’m trying very hard to not lampoon what Dr. Gipp will say.

    As another word, though, a person can’t simply read their bibles and make calls one way or the other on most of these questions. One has to delve into scholarship and understand the history of Bible translations. Would Dr. Gipp, for example, say that the original Puritans were in rebellion of God’s word when they preferred the Geneva Bible of 1599 to the KJV of 1611 simply because they didn’t like James I’s politics or the fact that a Reformed soteriology had been removed from the study notes (which, by the way, the original KJV was published with marginal notesaiding study…why aren’t those considered Holy Writ?

  3. Isn’t the point of the italics to show that it wasn’t a part of the original, so that it can be distinguished and not tried to pass off as original? Isn’t it considered more like study notes within the text? The difference would be that the newer translations do not distinguish this and pass off the changes as being the original text.

    Plus, I believe many of the italics are more things like articles and pronouns added to complete the sentence than anything else whereas many newer translations don’t add just that but change context words and meanings. There are some that are not pronouns or articles, but they are words that we need to translate into English. They do not change meanings, and again, they use the italics to make sure readers know they did it. It is believed that when they translated that it was done in heavy prayer and even the italicized words were only added after they felt the leading of the Lord.

    This is merely what I have found in my own personal studies. I don’t mind discussion but don’t have time for wars right now.

    “The italic words in the KJV actually PROVE that the translators were honest in their work. When translating from one language to another, the idioms change, thus making it necessary to add certain words to help the reader grasp the full meaning of the text. When the KJV translators added such words they set them in italics so that we’d know these words were added, UNLIKE we find it in so many new versions today, which do NOT use the italics.” –

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